Thursday, March 27, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago, our sweet granny was having surgery to replace her aortic valve that had been deteriorating for years.  This picture was taken about a week after she got out of the hospital. 

Needless to say, it was a scary time and we all worried that she would not make it through, but without the surgery, she did not have much longer. 

God, in His way of handling all of the details, made is so that out of all the doctors in the country, the one who operated on Granny was the dad of a dear friend of mine.  A friend who had been telling me about this awesome new procedure they did to extend life on people. For those of you who don't believe in God, this is just a big coincidence--maybe karma.  But I KNOW that my God orchestrated it. 

Granny is back in town today to have her one year check-up.  I don't know about the rest of the family, but she surprised me with the way she embraced her exercises after surgery and worked to get back to her "normal" self.  Her 95 year old self has more energy and spunk than most people half her age--she's pretty amazing--and ornery.

So, today, I am celebrating life.  The fact that I still get those phone calls asking me if I've been shopping to pick out curtains and telling me we are too busy and that my "bedspread" is old and needs to be replaced and my kitchen "certainly is very red" and that even though I wasn't born into her family, I am hers just as much as the ones who were--all mean that I have this amazing lady in my life for another day. 

I am celebrating that this crazy Polish lady is still around to stir up trouble (which she does very well).  I am looking forward to seeing her and hugging her neck this weekend and cherishing the time we have together--she will be thrilled to see the small changes we've made to the house since the last time she was here.  I KNOW I will have to explain to her once again how much I hate shopping and haven't made time to do it.  And I know she will shake her head at our chickens and dogs and turtle and tell us the swallows on the porch sure do make a lot of poop. 

But isn't that what 95 year old Grannys are supposed to do? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Birds are Back in Town!

We saw them flying around this weekend, but tonight, we FINALLY saw them sitting in their next!  I can't explain how happy this makes us!  Each (human) member of our family has snuck a peek at them tonight and closed the door with a smile and giddiness.  Ok, maybe Brian wasn't giddy, but he was just as happy to see them.

When we started working on our house last spring, they were flying around, singing and sitting on our roof and porch.  Before they left in the fall, 2 batches of babies had hatched out of this  nest--one of which we got to see learn to fly.  Even though they make a ton of poop on our front porch, there's just something "home-like" about having them live with us.  We missed them this winter and are choosing to believe it's the same family that's back again.  They are just as loud as my girls, so they fit right in!

Then, tonight, as we were sitting in the laundry room talking to the chickens (yes, they are STILL in my house--hopefully their coop will be ready for them this weekend), this one hopped up on Brian's lap.  See that red thing on the side of her beak?  That's new!  We noticed that her waddles are growing in!  Again, we all had to gather round to take a look and she even  posed for a picture for me.  I know they have birdbrains, but they've got some funny personalities, too.  Half of them have been named--Caroline's favorite is "Pecky" (named because she pecks everybody).  The babies are growing up!

Ok, so I just re-read this and some of you might think it's crazy, but yes, we talk to our chickens.  If you saw my facebook post, you know that I even reprimand them and call Brian their "daddy." 

We're just a little wacky  here at the Royal house, but I'm okay with that.  While it's not a farm, we may turn it into one before you know it.  Even though I'm the least "country-fied" (redneck might be a better term) in our house, I find myself constantly amazed at what an incredible Creator we have when I look at animals and see the cycle of life. 

And I'm still a bit giddy, myself about the swallows!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Gentle and Kind

In this day and age, gentle and kind are not words I use to describe many people.  Today, we lost--in my opinion--the gentlest and kindest of them all.  Grandmama Wade finally got to be with Jesus.  While I know she was welcomed with much rejoicing into heaven, my heart is heavy for all those she left behind.

As I was scanning facebook just a few moments ago, I was overwhelmed with the number of posts about her.  She was the most gracious woman I've ever known.

My own mom left when I was a teenager and I was blessed with some amazing women in my life.  Grandmama--who at that time was "Mrs. Wade, my pastor's wife" allowed me to sit next to her in choir and never said an unkind word about my lack of ability to carry a tune.  She had a strong alto voice--not one that she ever used to sing on her own (at least not in all the years I've known her)--but one she used to harmonize with others and make them sound better.

When my dad and her daughter got married, she continued to be as gracious as always to me. Christmas Eve and Easter were always spent at her house and she never made me feel like a "step-granddaughter."  Most of my memories of her are in the kitchen or sitting around the dining room table in her old house--not that she sat much--she was always the first one to hop up and get whatever was needed for the rest of us. 

I think the most poignant memory I will always carry with me is the love story she and Pal (her husband) displayed for all to see.  I've told some friends over the past few weeks that it reminded me of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.  Even Pal--a strong Baptist preacher--was gentle with her.  When her Alzheimer's first set in, I remember him caring for her in the same way she did for everyone else when she could.  The gentleness of it still brings me to tears and I pray that Brian and I are like that with each other in years to come. 

Needless to say, we are sad.  Even though her mind has been gone from us for a while, there was still some hope in the back of my mind that she would "wake up" and remember us again.  And while I know she is in heaven with that sweet smile on her face that I haven't seen in the past few years, I can't help but grieve the loss of such an amazing example of a lady.  A lady who loved those around her, but loved her God first.

She left a large hole on this earth, but I am thankful for the past 30+ years I got to be around her and pray that just a little bit of her legacy is passed on to my children.