Family Time

My family from Germany is here.  Mike has been working for the American military there for about 20 years. They get  home leave every other year.  The main attraction this summer is that Janan’s parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary in July.

Right now, Janan and Victoria are busy preparing what looks like a feast–a full German breakfast.  I suspect lunch won’t be much of an issue today 🙂  It’s a treat to have them taking over in my kitchen, and they’re enjoying all the renovations that have been made since they were here last.

Connell injured his big toe a couple of weeks ago, a pretty severe cut, but he seems to be doing well.  He went with his grandfather yesterday to mow a friend’s yard.

It’s great to have them, and we’re having a great time catching up.  I’m going to try to maintain my normal blogging schedule, but I’m making no promises.  If I do drop out of sight for a day or two, don’t worry.  I’ll be back 🙂

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Mind Clutter

Saturday morning.  Yesterday I spent most of my day cleaning out, sorting, boxing up the overflow in my closet.  Now I have a much more accessible wardrobe, arranged by type and color.  No, I’m not OCD  🙂 I just like not having to sort through things I don’t want to find things I do want.  Before, it looked something like this:

Image result for crowded clothes closet

It feels really good, a project I should have done long ago but kept putting off.  Some of the stuff will go to donations.  Some will stay in storage in case I ever, ever get back down to the sizes I boxed up. I know, wishful thinking. I did get rid of things that are so dated that I wouldn’t want to wear them anyway.   Now, it looks more like this:

Image result for organized clothes closet

Doing that long-avoided chore has motivated me to do the same thing in my dresser drawers. That’s today’s project. Shouldn’t take as long, and I suppose I’ll find things I’d forgotten I had.

While I worked, I thought about how necessary it is to do an “organize-sort out-throw away” spiritually, too. I’m not as busy as I was during the years when my kids were all home, growing up, getting into high school with all the activities that included. Life has settled down a good bit. It’s not my hours that are crowded these days so much as my inventory of books I want to read, paperwork to catch up on, the blogging I do, the book I’m working on. Sometimes I need to just BE with the Lord, without all the busy-ness that can crowd Him into a corner of my heart and mind.

Taking inventory spiritually isn’t hard, really.  It’s just a matter of recognizing what gets in the way of having the kind of walk with God that I need and want. So what needs to go? Well, less time on Facebook would be one improvement. If I took the time to read every single thing that shows up on my newsfeed, I’d never get anything else done all day.  I’m not on any other social media, just that one.  It’s enough.

I don’t watch TV during the daytime, usually.  That’s not a trap I’ve fallen into. But books?  Yes, I still love to read.  Books are like chocolate. You can never have too many.  My collection needs a good sorting out/throwing out. Wait–throwing out BOOKS?  Isn’t that illegal or something?  No, but it’s very hard for me to do, even when I’m pretty sure I won’t ever read a particular book again. Most often, I give it to someone else.  There’s also a bookstore downtown that takes donations.  I could always check out whether or not the Good Will or Salvation Army stores accept used books, too. Or the library.

What it boils down to, more than physical objects or activities, is spending more time in the Word; more time in prayer; more time with uplifting Christian music and listening to some of my favorite preachers.

More time memorizing God’s Word. There’s a huge key to keeping that spiritual inventory under control.  Hiding God’s Word in my heart, that I might not sin against God (Psalm 119:11). Keeping my mind centered on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praiseworthy–these are the things to think about (Phil. 4:8).  That means I don’t spend any more time than necessary thinking about the wretched  political state of my country.  I keep up, I know what’s going on, but if that’s what I fill my mind with all day every day I’m going to need to see a counselor 🙂

Cleaning out closets and drawers is good.  Cleaning out mind clutter is even better.

One More

One more post about our travels.  Next week we’ll get back into Isaiah.

My bag was delivered around 11:45 last night.  My computer was there, thank God, including the cord. Also my Kindle cord.  No phone charger, though.  I was sure I had put it in the same pocket as the rest, but it just isn’t there.

There was a note that my bag had been randomly selected for opening and searching.  Maybe my phone cord disappeared at that point.  I’ll contact Ken and Sheila today to see if I left it with them. I have to say, the searchers did a good job of keeping my suitcase packed exactly as I had left it. At least they didn’t find THIS in my bag:

 

Image result for suitcase opened and searched at airport security

Back to work this morning, for the only day this week.  Six clients to see, and I’m sure I’m going to be ready to relax at the end of my day. It’s going to be a busy month, and I need to start getting my house in order.

Today is our 49th anniversary!  Good grief, how did all that time pass so fast!

Praying you all have a blessed day 🙂

Home Again!

We had a wonderful visit with our South Dakota family.  It was amazing to see our second high school graduate among the nine of our grandchildren.  And it was, of course, very hard to say goodbye.

We left Sioux Falls right on time, arriving in Dallas/Fort Worth right on time. We had less than an hour to make our next connection, so we took the Sky Link.  Would have been fine if the second one that should have been running hadn’t broken down.  It got pretty funky in there with all that restless, sweating humanity packed in like sardines.

We got to our gate with about 25 minutes to spare, and I expected that they would have already begun boarding. Not so. I’m not sure what the delay was, but I have never seen or heard such a mess.  Not the airline’s fault.  The woman behind the desk was doing her level best to tell waiting boarders to PLEASE keep the lanes clear for the off-boarding passengers.

What is it about human nature that simply ignores a request like that, with dozens of people milling around where off-loading passengers are trying to get through?  The poor woman finally called for airport security to come, and that did have a rather dampening effect on the herd.  They reluctantly moved back out of the way, but they weren’t happy about it.

Then people started trying to board with luggage that was way bigger than their carry-on was supposed to be.  Lots of disgusted people ended up having to pay extra, having to go to a different line to be processed. There was no excuse for their anger.  The woman at the desk had been repeating over and over again what the requirements were as people began to board.  Besides which, when you make your reservation you are told clearly what that airline requires.  I had no sympathy for any of them.  There will always be people who think they can slip past the rules, or that it just doesn’t apply to them, or something.  And then they get all twisted up when they get sent to the back of the line.

Image result for Dallas Fort Worth airport crowded departure gate

All this was going on as more groups were being called to board the plane.  Then the ominous announcement came:  “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a completely full flight.  There is no more luggage space available, either in cargo or in the passenger area.  Please make sure your carry-on is small enough to fit under the seat. . . . .”

And my heart dipped.  Somehow, I just knew.

Once we boarded, I found that the wife in a little old couple from somewhere in Asia was occupying my seat.  I tried to explain the dilemma, but I don’t think they spoke much English, and they were obviously terrified of being separated. The flight attendant came to help, and I said, “Look, can I just swap my seat with hers?  Then they can stay together.”  So we did that, and I ended up in row 5 right behind first class instead of in row 18.  Waved goodbye to Terry in row 21, and enjoyed the extra leg room.  I also enjoyed the woman on my left who was flying to Philly and then to Germany to visit family there. At age 79, she was a peppy little woman who was fun to chat with

We departed from Dallas more than a half-hour late.  This would have been around 10 p.m.  EDT.  We were scheduled to land in Philly @ 12:30 a.m., but we didn’t land until 1:30 a.m.  Then the long hike to baggage claims, looking for bathrooms on the way.  We didn’t find one that was open until we got all the way down to baggage. They were all being cleaned.

I mean, I’m glad they were being cleaned, right?

When we finally got to the right carousel, it was still going around.  Empty, but moving.  Empty.  My bag was nowhere in sight. A pleasant young woman came out of the baggage claims office and waited with me for another complete revolution, and then invited me into her office.  In less than a minute she had contacted Dallas and was told my bag was being sent on a different flight.  Supposedly, it arrived around 10 this morning in Philly, and they’re going to bring it up here.  So far, I haven’t heard a thing.

I may have to do a little shopping today.  The thing that really upsets me is that my laptop is in my suitcase.  Usually, I have it in my carry-on, but for some reason I decided to put it in my suitcase this time.  Less weight to carry, I guess.  So my phone charger, my Kindle charger, and my laptop are all —–somewhere out there.  I don’t like not having my clothes, either. So we wait, and pray the suitcase will arrive intact someday soon.

We finally made it home around 4 a.m.  And of course, once I crawled into bed I couldn’t fall asleep.  Finally turned off my light around 5 a.m. slept soundly until around 8:30.   Dozed some more,  but finally rolled out around 11.  And now here I am, with no laptop, no cell phone (needs charging) no makeup, no decent hairbrush, and waiting for some clothes that are among my favorites.

Other than that, we had a great trip.  And I guess, if this is the worst thing that could happen, then we’re really in pretty good shape, right?  This too shall pass 🙂

It was worth it.

 

 

Almost Over

Kyle graduated last night, from a class of 530 students.  The program went surprisingly quickly considering the number of grads.

Today and part of tomorrow, and we’ll be on a plan on our way home. I hate to leave my family, but I do look forward to being home. No place like it, right?

So I’ve been thinking about graduations from high school. My own took place in 1965, when the “flip” hairdo was very popular, along with the beehive 🙂  And cat-eye glasses, remember those? I still think the flip is pretty.  Today, girls seem to opt for completely straight and very long, although everyone seems to feel free to do her own thing these days.

Image result for 1960's flip hairdo and cat-eye glasses frames     Image result for 1960's flip hairdo and cat-eye glasses frames                 Related image

Bouffant and flipped.  I went with the flip, but not the think bangs.  Things sure are simpler now.

Then there was college graduation four years later.  A wedding a week after that. and yet another graduation for my master’s degree nearly 40 years later.  Lots of living went on in the years between!

Some teens know exactly what they want to do after high school.  Others are at sea, not having a direction or passion that leads them forward.  It can be a most difficult time, because there is a great deal of pressure to know exactly what your next step is going to be after high school.

I had an interest in psychology way back then, but it was a relatively new field in the ’60’s for girls who came from the background I did.  I’m not sorry I went in the direction of teaching instead.  It certainly paved the way for the decision I would make at age 50 to go back to school so I could do private-practice counseling.

When I think about all the twists and turns our lives have taken, again, I’m not sorry for the decisions we’ve made.  God brought Terry and me together at just the right time. We’ve had a (mostly !)  wonderful marriage, and four adult children who have given us nine wonderful grandchildren.

It’s true that high school graduation is a huge steppingstone into life, but it’s not the ONLY point of decision. There is always opportunity, always the possibility of changing courses.

No decision has to be set in cement.

 

 

So Lazy!

Ken and Terry needed the library for a project they’re working on, so here I am again, getting in some wifi time.

I have been incredibly, unbelievably lazy.  Is it Wednesday already?  Wow.  The kids are in their last full day of school.  Thursday and Friday will be half days.  Sheila’s parents will be coming in on Friday, and graduation for Kyle is Sunday.

I’ve taken a very short walk each day, trying to stretch out those hip flexors and regain some strength.  I’m continually distressed at how weak I am, although I shouldn’t be surprised.  It’s been over two years of back issues now, and exercise has been out of the question for quite a bit of that time.  But I’m determined to regain whatever I can, and being on vacation  gives me the opportunity to get started. There’s a very convenient walking path right outside the back gate.

The weather has been gorgeous, although hotter than I’m used to.  Today is lovely, about 75 right now and breezy. The best thing is that I haven’t needed ANY of my allergy nasal medications. That’s just amazing to me, because back home in PA I’m pretty sure I’ll have to be right back on them.

I can see Alayna’s middle school if I crane my neck a little bit. Very roomy, and large athletic fields.  She loves it there. She’s having lots of opportunities to be in music and drama, which she loves.

There are lots of pretty scenic areas in and around the city.  If I had to move here, I think I’d be okay.Image result for sioux Falls, SD scenery

Not that I want to move 🙂

South Dakota!

We had an uneventful flight from Philly to Dallas/Fort Worth to Sioux Falls.  Kind of a round-about-route, but also less expensive that a straight route.

I had a fascinating seat mate on the Philly-to-Dallas flight. He is from South Africa, here in the States to get an education.  Smart and articulate, with a charming accent, he  was eager to answer my questions about what is going on in his home country right now. Back in the end of the Victorian Era, @ 1901-02, the Boers (Dutch) and some English took control of South Africa. The indigenous peoples were removed from their tribal lands, and  the white colonists created a new order.  Now, those natives whose parents and grandparents were dispossessed are demanding the return of their land, with no remuneration being offered, and the whites must all leave.  Power has been regained since the end of Apartheid.  My seat mate had a lot to say about all of it, and he was reasonable and practical.  His major concern is that as the whites leave, the economy, in his words, will tank.  He says that his people will suffer, because they simply don’t know what to do with the land. He said that the President has been convicted of at least 750 counts of corruption, yet he was re-elected because he promised that the poor would be restored to their homelands, and that they would all become wealthy, like the whites had been.  He said that the history of Africa has this story repeated in country after country, yet they never seem to learn from it.

He also told me that he can thank CNN for helping him see that he needed to stop being a Democrat and switch to being a Republican.  He is studying economics, and he believes in free enterprise and capitalism.  Made me laugh out loud 🙂

It was delightful, of course, to see Kyle and Alayna, who have both grown up SO much since we last saw them.  Ivan was away on a band trip, and didn’t get home until late last night.  He’s so tall!  And his voice has deepened to what I’m sure is a very nice bass singing voice.  He and Kyle still look very much alike.

After supper last night, Sheila, Kyle, Alayna and I went for a short walk.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Well, the pics are going to have to wait.  I can’t figure out how to copy/paste them with from my email to here.  I’m sure it’s simple, and I’m usually pretty good with this stuff, but not this time.

Anyway, we’ve had a relaxing, enjoyable couple of days.  Kyle graduates on Sunday.  The kids have school through Friday, although half days only on Thursday and Friday.

You may or may not hear from me again until we get back home and things are back to my normal routine.