Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wonderful Granny

She joined many of her family and friends in Heaven twenty years ago today... and I miss her.

I was about ten years old when Granny invited me to spend two weeks of the summer with her. My brothers weren't invited, nor my parents, just me. Given the throng of our cousins and large family that typically gathered at the South Texas ranch, to be there by myself and have Granny's undivided attention was a real treat.

I'm sure we ate beans and tortillas every meal, I really don't remember. But I would remember if it had been something different, as that's the only meal Granny seemed to serve, period. And we all loved it. I especially loved the tortillas... big surprise.

Each day we walked up and down the dirt road from the house to the big oak at the highway. I forget how many laps made a mile, but Granny knew, and we walked 3 miles every day. I don’t remember constant conversation on those walks, though we would not have been at a loss for words. Being outside in nature was soothing for her, therapeutic, and she simply appreciated a slight breeze, the tall green grass that didn't have to be mowed, and swaying mesquite trees that provided pockets of shade in the sprawling front lawn.

We swam in the pool each evening and performed water ballet routines under the watchful eyes of cattle and horses grazing just beyond the barbed-wire fence. Granny's long, slender body every bit as agile as mine, I thought of her as a modern day Audrey Hepburn. Hair pulled back from her face, cheekbones prominent even without rouge, I can still see her sitting gracefully on the side of the pool with the silver Somerset water tower and huge oak trees framing her silhouette.

Granny told and retold stories, and I listened with delight, even when I already knew the ending. I’m sure I told my share as well. Granny appreciated stimulating conversation, so much so that she could dialogue with, laugh with, and even argue with animals to keep her mind sharp. Even though I offered a mere decade of insight, she was interested in my thoughts and opinions on things like politics, relationships and movie stars.

We stayed up until wee hours of the night, and I mean really wee hours... we read aloud to each other from her stash of books and magazines filled with quotes, quips and jokes. She laughed loud and long at the jokes I read... as I would come across ones that amused her, I read them over and over again, her laughter never subsiding. She loved the written word, and in those midnight hours we celebrated the beauty of poetry and prose alike.

Granny told me later the highlight of our time together that summer was when we went to her weekly painting class, and her teacher recognized me as her granddaughter. "You must be here with Gladys," he said when he saw me, though I’d never met him before. Granny got a kick out of the fact that our resemblance was so strong.

I look back on that summer with great tenderness, grateful for the time Granny poured into me, and for the intimacy that comes with shared interests. And grateful for a strong resemblance...

I've posted it here before, but my favorite of her poems...

Wonderful Me

Headnote: Smarting from my husband's remark of "Aren't you going to do the other side?" after I had completed the admittedly impossible task of clearing the tall and partly seeded grassburs from the patch between our mesquites and the oak by the highway. I felt driven to write an angry response to this attitude about women but decided instead to write something that I could use to build me back up after he tore me down.
This should do it.

I can work like a field hand with pitchfork or hoe;
I can mow or edge or prune
And make it more effective
At the right time of the moon.

I can learn from the slowest mental case
Or stimulate the smartest
Or laugh aloud at boredom;
At living, I'm an artist.

I can wage a war with the grassburs
And ignore the ridicule;
I can drip with sweat til it blinds my eyes
Then languish in my pool.

I can make something of nothing
Or make-do when I must;
I can really pinch a penny;
I can survive on dry bread crust.

Or I can delight the hungry crowds
With hearty home cooked dishes
Or play most gracious hostess
And cater to their wishes.

I come by my talents naturally
From the finest of the fine
What a blessed thing to follow
In the line of Caroline.

I can sing and dance and write and sketch
I can play and sometimes win;
I can thrill to the touch of attentive males
Whether stranger, acquaintance, or kin.

I can jog three miles in the heat of the day;
I can ride and swim and dive;
I can swap tall tales and listen well
And charm any man alive.

I can lull a fretting child to sleep
In a matter of minutes or less
Or soothe a frightened, snarling beast
Or make a thief confess.

I can talk to crowds, control their thoughts,
Awake their admiration,
Or humbly bow before my God
In prayerful meditiation,

Or talk with Him, solicit help
And feel the exultation
Of surging power that accompanies truth
And dissipates depression.

I'm wonderful when I'm with God;
When I am One with Him,
I'm capable of anything:
Dear God, help me be slim.
- Gladys James

Missing you, Granny! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Practicing Gratitude 9.19.16

- Essie snapping a quick pic ~ even with a highway setting the Texas sunset is gorgeous

- Prov 14:10 - Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy ~ why it’s so critical to be in the Word, to have God’s rich encouragement indwelling inside of us ~ because really others aren’t going to share our sorrows or our joys, the deep stuff comes from God alone

- Getting to see Pilar, love her so much

- Essie and Ava doing WW together - knocked it out early, what a relief

- Another great football week with SCS and BU in the W column
Coach Flowers is just awesome
Bran #3
- My out-of-control allergies (!!!!!) - truly practicing gratitude!

- Getting to see Ward, made Bran so happy

- Some margin over the weekend ~ which turned out great since I felt so crummy

- Wamstads taking Essie to the TCU game, a treat!

- Prov 19:11 - A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense ~ oh my gosh as we sat in the kitchen late last night, and I complained to Corbin and the boys about a rude FB comment and then a rude teenager... can I just learn to keep my mouth shut? But here is my encouragement ~ written two centuries ago ~ that it's possible and profitable to overlook an offense

- Prov 14:13 - Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief  - so true that it's all mixed in. heartache and joy all swirling together this side of Heaven, and the Lord knows

- Daboo's hamburger stroganoff - always a favorite

- Fall is here in the Wilson backyard ~ Hud's willingness to skim the pool... again

- These sweet girls! (thanks, Betsy!)

- 7th grade football game ~ cute girls cheering them on

- A phone call from the principal ~ so sweet of our choir teacher and administrators to call home with GOOD news

 - Weekend vb tourney
2nd place (and a close game at that!)
Proud Daddy ~ mostly just from watching her enjoy this sport
Daboo is a loyal fan, only one to make the early game (!)
 - Bran actually made it to SCS Homecoming ~ our plans kept shifting, and sweet Ashlyn filled in last minute, love this girl
And thank you, Jennifer ~ so sweet to get a pic of Bran for me
- Such a sweet group! Thanks, Anne, for a special day for all of our girls

- Watching this kid play baseball ~ and how excited he was for the game

 - He did it! Hud asking Sadie to PHS Homecoming

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Practicing Gratitude 9.14.16

- A day AWAY at the lake over Labor Day weekend
Obligatory Taco Casa stop on way to the lake
Trailer trouble. Lots of creative geniuses to figure it out
Dad and Mom get a turn
Daddys and Daughters
Harper doesn't look too sure about her driver...
Evening at 7R ~ so relaxing

- Essie and Meggie in the kitchen for me, school lunch prep

- That Basden made volleyball B team, even though she wanted A. Thankful in all things ~ You know, Lord.

- Our visit to Waco on 8/31 ~ Eph 3:20, Malachi 3:10
Touring the athlete's weight room
He's sold
Um, wow. More on this later, but just wow.
 “I want you on my team” ~ Coach Rod  (!!!!!!!!)

- Richie

- A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul ~ Prov 13:19

- A full kitchen

- Proud Papa and Cappy ~ Baylor gear all around
- Hudda playing Panther football (#12)
Elliott's handoff

Pushing through
Just a little bit more...
Sildeline coaching
Let's try this again
That he gets up ok after tumbles like this

-  Freshman team meals (THANK you, Dana and moms!)

 - Taylor's hand-made gift for the Medfords; grateful for his time and talent that enables us to give a heart-felt gift

- 10 minutes with Sarah Meek outside of SmartBarre

- Hud and Basden managing their studies so well, I hardly know what classes they're taking

- That I can turn the page on a crummy afternoon and evening; that Your mercies are new every morning

- Paulette's baptism, her reconciliation and humility
Such a special day. This could be an entire post
- How much Basden is enjoying volleyball
Such sweet girls!
- Luke, Hunter, Skylar, Summer

- Must be football season

- SCS football games, now a weekly part of our routine. Especially love the wins
He says its not his sport, but love that he's part of this team
Joy and Julia! Especially fun to see J in a PHS shirt
- Bran is not lacking grandparent support

- Coach Howard, his leadership at SCS, and his investment in Bran and our family

- How Essie, even at an SCS (away!) game, where we hardly know anyone, finds herself in the mush pot of the student section

- Because how can you just drive by and not stop??

- My little Baylor Bear and her selfies

 - Getting to meet Brad Deal's mom at Local Foods
Happy bday, Dana ~ thanks for letting me hijack your conversation!
- 911 Service at McLean Middle

Basden getting to sing with honor choir
- Precious Ashlyn G ~ love that girl

- A dozen cupcapkes flipped over from the seat into the floorboard. Thankful they were store bought.

- HMS baptism service ~ praying over those being baptized. Love our church and student leaders

- How Basden spends her spare time

- BU v. SMU... Sic em bears!

Noah and Cade drove up from Wimberly AND donned BU shirts

Julia and Basden
Introducing Krista to Baylor football! Even this SEC Georgia girl was impressed

Special treatment ~ I think he could get used to this
I spy Branson... and he's not in a bad seat
Darling girls
I love several things about this pic... Sanders in it with us, Essie on C's shoulders (that's about to end), and Julia and Basden not too old to hold hands. At least they don't think they're too old!

Great game, great crew
- Basden's coaches telling her last night that they're moving her to the A team (at least for now) ~ that they recognized her hard work and continued effort; her sensitivity to those who aren't getting to play

- That Heavenly Father, I know I don’t have to earn your ability to fill me, You want to do it. I consent to live under your gracious influence and control. I will look for your refreshment to my parched spirit.

 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12