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Showing posts with label Nora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nora. Show all posts

Monday, January 29, 2018


It is not about the movie!

 Nora and Ben made the best of our recent icy weather with a table for sand and water that she calls her water table. They filled it and she chose a variety of small toys and objects to put in the water. As the temperature fell, they would wrap up and go to check what the water was doing. When all they found was a solid block of ice, they brought it inside, set it on a plastic tablecloth in the middle of the floor, and held it up for a good look.  She was intrigued to find all the small treasures she put in captured in the ice. When we looked at the photos, we delighted in all the tiny Noras that can be seen in the ice bubbles!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Opal's Button Box

Nora's middle name is Opal.  Named for her great grandmother, my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, she does not yet realize all the ways she connects with her great-grandmother every day.  Since we share a home, she is with me often and does not yet know when she calls me - "Granmary" or climbs in my lap, she is connecting not only by relationship but in ways that I grandparent.  My own grandmother modeled grandparenting for me, but Opal did so by being a wonderful Nana to our boys. Then there are countless ways that come into everyday life - the results of my upbringing in a home with parents who valued faith and family.  Last week, Nora discovered the magic and mystery of Opal's Button Box.  The buttons in a discarded kitchen cannister are leftovers from not only her many years of sewing but also her mother's, my grandmother. They never threw buttons away but saved them carefully for reuse and repurposing. If a shirt could no longer be mended, they cut off the buttons and saved them,  using the fabric scraps in another way. There are baby buttons, the one or two buttons from a card of buttons purchased to march down the front of dresses and blouses and coats, shirt buttons, glass buttons, plastic buttons, wooden buttons, and metal buttons. Nora is only beginning to discover the thrill of handling them, and ways she can use them. So in this photo, she finds the fun in making print and pattern in play dough - all with Opal's buttons. Since then, she has carried them around in one of her own boxes and speaks with pride of her own buttons.  She says buT Tons, and I love it.  Today, she told me she needs more buttons.  She is acting true to her heritage.  Mother would be proud.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Shell Seeker

One of my favorite authors is Rosamunde Pilcher.  Her novel, Shell Seekers is my favorite of her writings.  Made into a movie and enjoyed by many others, this book is one of the few I saved when I packed so many of our books away to be given to to others and donated to the library last year when we moved to share a home with our youngest son Ben and his family. I kept books I knew I would like to read again.

I thought of the book's title when Nora remembered my shell basket yesterday and ran to pull it from under my bed.  She loves to sort the shells and is most fond of the tiniest shells.  We spent a long time handling the shells and talking about how beautiful each one is.  She knows the names of a few.  Later, she will learn more.  For now, it is enough to delight in them, to touch them, and pretend. She is a little shell seeker.

Our sons loved shells and liked to keep them.  Jeremy had quite a collection so many of these are his. Many of them came from the beaches on Sanibel Island, Florida, where our family spent time in 1980. The tulip shells came from a flat boat journey out to the mud flats.All of our sons talk about that trip and the fun they had being shell seekers. There are many years between their shell hunting and Nora's discovery of the same shells. The family story is still being written.  I am grateful for the seeking and the finding and the keeping, of shells, and of story.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Birthday Gift for Nora

We celebrated Nora's Birthday yesterday.  She is now 2 years old.  Grandparents from Tennessee and Texas (that would be us), aunts and uncles from both sides of her family plus her cousin Skye were all here to enjoy the balloons and bubbles that were floating everywhere.  There was a chocolate cake, a candle to blow out, the birthday song, and of course, presents.  Among our gifts to her was this apron with lots of polka dots and pockets.                                                                                     

I made it from 2 sizes of red and white polka dot fabric, so it was reversible.  This apron is actually gift from 3 grandmothers.  I, her paternal grandmother, found the valentine print in my own fabric stash to make tiny pockets. The other 2 pieces of fabric were cut from scraps of fabric from my own grandmother's quilting scraps. That means Mary Clyde Terrell, Nora's great great grandmother is part of the gift. Her daughter, my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, Nora's great grandmother (for whom she is named), contributed to my grandmother's quilting scraps from her own sewing although she did not quilt herself.  Plus, she kept the box of fabric pieces for years before handing them down to me!  She is the third grandmother represented in the gift.  
I like thinking about the stories behind aprons and quilts and grandmothers.  I am glad Nora's first apron has a story.  She just likes wearing it!
Nora Opal Parker

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Wonder

 “For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” 
― Charles DickensA Christmas Carol

It is also good (wonderful!) to be a grandmother at Christmas. To share in the wonder of twinkle lights and cookie baking, to give even your tea table a Christmas dress and  cover tiny trees with pretty decorations. Nora brings us the delight of her joy this season, making it all new again for everyone in our family. She runs around discovering every tiny manger scene, angel, and Santa. She loves dancing to all the sweet carols.  I find myself being astonished and full of wonder in new ways and saying it just like she does:   "OOOH!   Wow!"  

Friday, May 22, 2015


Nora's favorite new word is Wow!  When I am with her, my favorite word is Joy! I begin smiling this big, too. I pray she keeps this joie de vivre forever, and that I will remember that my smiles and enthusiasm can help to change clouds to sunshine for other people.  Thank you for a good life lesson, Nora.

Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.
" `It "can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do…  may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung. Robert's Dictionnaire says joie issentiment exaltant ressenti par toute la conscience, that is, involves one's whole being." ` Wikipedia

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First Christmas

Nora is discovering Christmas for the very first time this year. Her eyes are full of laughter and wonder and she delights in every small new thing she has never seen or touched before:  twinkle lights, red balls, music boxes that tinkle "Joy to the World."  I remember holding her Daddy up to find joy in the same things, some of them the very same when we stand in front of the Christmas tree at our home. We enjoy all the sights and sounds and the fragrance of cinnamon and cloves, press our hands to window glass to feel the cold, and sing the simple carols.
This is my 74th Christmas, but in her delight, I find all of it new again.  Thank you, Nora.   Merry Christmas!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Wrapped in Love, Covered with Grace

As Nora nears 6 months of growing and changing and exploring her world, we celebrate the gift she is to us and are grateful.  One day, after I rocked her to sleep and laid her in her crib, I saw the coverlet I made for her hanging nearby and covered her gently with it. In previous posts, I told the story of the lace which I knitted for edging. I made a short piece of the lace when I was pregnant with Nora's Daddy, Ben. Forty years passed before I pulled the lace out and began again.  The story is explained in these two blog posts.

I stood and watched her, smoothing the satin and fingering the tiny knitted stitches. I thought about how fast she is growing and prayed she will always know she is wrapped in love, covered in Grace. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter 2014

In recent years, Lent resolving into Holy Week and Easter has become rich with ritual and remembering for me, but it is always a time of remembering  Easters in the 1940's, when I was a little girl.

  Mother sewed new dresses for my sister and me, which  inevitably wound up being hidden under coats as we made our way to the Sunrise Service held. in our hometown.  This service was early, and happened at a place called Love's Lookout where there was a large ampitheatre formed from  red rock, a WPA project. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Depression-era Works Progress Administration came to the hill in the 1930s and, using red rock mined from Cherokee County, built a park, picnic grounds and an amphitheater used for these sunrise services, plays and other events.

The scenic bluff which was the location of  the ampitheatre was named to honor Wesley Love who in 1904 bought much of the surrounding area and planted a 600-acre peach farm. After Love's death in 1925, his wife donated 22 acres to the state for a state park. The state, however, failed to create the park and in 1934 the City of Jacksonville purchased an additional 20 acres and developed the two tracts as a city park. That's when the Works Progress Administration began its project.

In the Spring, dogwoods and other spring flowers are in bloom, making the setting even more beautiful.  I remember shivering on the cold hard semicircle of rock on which we sat, but I loved this sunrise service, with its gathering of Christians from many area churches, the joy of singing "Christ Arose" and Alleluia, the feelings of newness and festivity in our Easter clothes, and our family traditions that would follow:  church services at First Baptist Church, Easter Sunday dinner which would included having grandparents at our house or going to theirs.  There was baked ham, potato salad, new potatoes with green beans put up in Mason jars, Jello salads and sometimes Coconut cake or pie - all homemade and delicious.  I can almost smell the vinegar we used for die to color boiled eggs the day before so that we could hide them over and over again on Sunday afternoon.

Today our family includes some version of many of the same traditions as those I loved 70 years ago, but
we have added to these a deeper awareness of the season of Lent, and more intentional observance of Holy Week.  Our church for 22 years now, First Baptist Church in Richmond, Texas is where we gather for services such as one we attended last night, Tenebrae.  The church  has a prayer garden with a small labyrinth where chairs will be set up for a Sonrise service tomorrow morning followed by breakfast with our church family served from dishes made with eggs and sausage made at home and brought as families arrive. There will be an egg hunt for children.  I will sing in the choir and ring with the handbell choir as we express joy and praise with some of the same hymns I sang with my family all those years ago.  Then we come back here to our house with all of our sons and their wives and children who can be here.  That will include our newest granddaughter, sweet Nora Opal, who is exactly one month old and celebrating her very first Easter.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Nora Opal

On March 19, 2014, we welcomed our granddaughter, Nora Opal into our arms.  She was already in our hearts. The only thrill more wonderful than cradling her and feeling her melt into my arms is watching my son as he holds and adores her.  I love seeing them:  mother, baby, and father, God's good gifts for each other  - precious new family.  We celebrate!

Saturday, March 15, 2014


The 3 inch wide kntted lace which I began when I was pregnant many years ago and picked up to work on again for that son's first child is finished.  I attached it to layers of crepe back satin, solid cream on one side, and a richly colored butterfly and roses print on the other. I knitted the lace, blocked it, cut and stitched the satin, went around the edge with pearl cotton in a blanket stitch, and finally, whip-stitched the lace to those stitches. It has been a labor of love, giving me the opportunity to focus on this baby, every stitch a prayer for her safe passage into this world and her journey in the years to come.  I have folded the coverlet and will pass it into the hands of my son and his wife today. Nora has been in our hearts for all these months, within days she will be in our arms.  Welcome, sweet little girl. You are covered with more than satin and lace. You are covered with Grace.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Beginning Again: for Nora

Beginning Again:   For Nora

2014:  The year of Nora!  In about 3 months, I will hold a new grandchild in my arms.  This baby will be our 4th birth grandchild, but the first baby for our youngest son and his wife of 5 years. I find myself more excited every day. Just as I did for our other granddaughters, I began a letter, or journal, for her as soon as her conception was announced.  This letter tells of our joy as we wait for her arrival, and chronicles family events as well as talking about how we look forward to sharing our family journey with her.  The difference in Nora's letter and ones I previously wrote is that this letter is in the form of a password protected blog!  The following excerpt is posted there on October 1, 2013, so this is written to Nora.

I have begun a knitting project, or shall I say begun to finish one I started over 40 years ago!  When I was pregnant with our first son, I finished a lovely cream colored knitted shawl in which we wrapped him for his trip home from the hospital.  Each of his two younger brothers also came home wrapped in the shawl, as have each of their daughters now.  When I knew our 2nd son was coming, I started something that would be “his” by knitting some wide lace intended to grace a receiving blanket. I was so busy taking care of a toddler and getting ready for another baby, the project was laid aside.    When Ben, your Daddy,  was on the way, I picked up the lace again and completed another 8 or 10  inches.  Now that we celebrate your approaching birth,  I have once again begun to knit on the lace.  It isn’t easy getting started and striking my stride on a project that old, plus I had to order some yarn that is as close to the original as possible.  I hope I successfully complete it this time.  Arthritic fingers don’t knit as nimbly!  I am keeping my eyes glued to the pattern and the knitting!
In the Bible, in Psalms, there are verses that talk about how well God knows you because He knit you together in your mother’s womb.  God knows you completely and best.  He loves you completely and best. He gave you to us to help us understand His love.  We are so blessed!
I pray for your growing strong and healthy in your body, but most of all I pray that you will love God and know that you belong to Him and that he loves you even more than I do.  Every day I pray for your Mother and Daddy and you.  Your family.
There is no question that I failed to knit lace for a blanket for son number two.  There is no question that I failed to provide Nora's Daddy with a blanket with lace knitted just for him.  But by beginning again, long ago failure has turned into the dearest project I have ever worked on.  I am not yet finished.  Unknitting?  Oh my, yes.  I don't knit the same way I did 40 years ago. That was discouraging.  The tension is much looser.  Unknit.  I dropped down a needle size.  Unknit.  Matching yarn was difficult. It won't look exactly the same as the first yard, no matter what I do. But it will be an example of things worth keeping and determination and new beginnings.  For Nora.