Maybe They All Use the Same Lotion...

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and as the mother of an 8 year old, the last thing I expected was to have to take her out of the service to use the restroom... but we did.

Unfortunately, we weren't on the end of the row and had to tap the shoulder of the woman next to us to get by she and her husband.

We managed to squeeze out during a song while everyone was standing. And in the privacy of the women's restroom, Olivia began to chatter. She always has interesting observations, and after pointing out several things including how she felt like EVERYONE was staring at her when we walked out, she mentioned the lady sitting next to her.

"She smelled like Grandma or like Grandma's house." She said.

"Really?" I replied, wondering which Grandma she was referring to. Thinking it was most likely Grandma Wachtel who is older than Grandma Warden (I still forget my mom is getting old), but not wanting to interrupt the flow of her thoughts to ask, I simply listened.

She quickly continued "Yeah, I like that smell. It feels nice." Then she added thoughtfully, I don't know what it is, maybe they all use the same kind of lotion or something." Her thoughts rambled on in an 8 year old way, wondering why all old women would think they need to wear lotion....


And then I found myself thinking about Triple Lanolin that has a distinct smell. My mom probably started using it when I was 8 or 9. She was a beautician with eczema and it was the only thing to soothe her chapped hands after all those shampoos. She still carries a tube in her purse that she finds at Dollar General, and occasionally shares a half used tube with Olivia or me. Whenever I open the tube, I think of her instantly. Glad they don't all use the same lotion, or I'd hardly distinguish it as a unique smell even now.

I wonder thirty years from now what smell Olivia's daughter will say reminds her of her Grandma...


The roots of a gardener

Spring is peaking it's head in Ohio. It's about time!

Sunday in church we viewed beautiful asters and dahlia's behind our music. I thought about how I hope to be able to garden and perhaps conquer growing dahlia's when my kids are adults. Sounds lame, but I have the roots of a gardener in me.

Eric has been talking alot about the new earth regenerated. Gardening for us is one way of making our immediate world better. Each home we've lived in we've gardened and landscaped as if we'd live there forever. As we sang, I thanked God that in the beginning he made us all gardeners, and that even our gardening can be a thing to bring him glory.

Then I thought of my mom. She is a quiet gardening force to be reckoned with. She grows dahlias and astors like the picture! Post college, While I was off living in the Bahamas and then California, she transformed the hill behind our house into beds that would rival any you've seen in a magazine. I never really noticed it much, until I tried my hand at a few things and then realized what time (aka years) and effort (aka sweat, sweat and more sweat) and care it all took. She just quietly did it. She did it for the pure pleasure of transforming something whether or not anyone ever noticed. I think it was therapy for her, as her life, once built around ours, was changing.

Today she's transformed a rocky hillside in the ozarks into another lush garden. She begins at 5 or 6 am to beat the sun, wearing heavy coveralls to beat the poison oak and chiggars. She's relentless about moving the BIG stones/boulders and hauling in loads and loads a sheep manure to get the soil perfect. Her hollyhocks are beautiful, and her climbing rose bush oozes with blooms, and she cultivates awesome iris and there is no gift I love better from her than some treasure from her garden!

And I had to say thank you to God for giving me that heritage. Asking him for the grace and years to grow into the gardener she is. And asking him for time to sit in her gardens with her and drink coffee in the early morning sun a few more times.

And then the tears began to flow.

My mom lives where she and my dad retired, 16 hours away from me. It's even longer if you miss the exit and end up in Oklahoma. I've chosen much of my adult life to live away from my family, and now I find I long for more time with my mom. Time to say thank you for all the gifts she gave me in her quiet ways. She worked my rocky soil, and she added things to the soft soil of my heart preparing me for the seeds that God would one day sew in my life. And years later I am beginning to realize how much work it was, and how much time (years) and effort (sweat and tears) and care it took.

She's not quite 70 and even before my eyes during our all too short visits, I see her changing. Her short term memory is weakening, and the once undaunted farm girl from Siren, Wisconsin, now has to monitor her stress level or the memory difficulties get worse. I find myself lost to know how to help from far away, at a loss to know how this will progress and how urgent time should be. Longing for time with her, yet accepting that life right now makes that difficult, and trusting that God in his soveriegnty knew of even this time in my life and this has too passed through his loving hands. And even today I know there will be gardening this spring and summer for my own therapy. And I thank God for that.


Winston is 12!

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Hard to believe that 9 years ago we went to Golden Retrievers in Need to view Chumbly (thank God they allowed us to change his name) and fell in love with this teddy bear faced golden and had to bring him home with us! We feel so blessed to have had another Christmas with him and reach this anniversary with him. We all feel certain this is an answer to much prayer and yet another indication of God's kindness.

(p.s. that's Buster in the photo with Wiston. We are fostering him to see how it works for all... so far all can't imagine living without him!)

About Me

Eric & Amy, Ben 10, Olivia 8, and of course Winston 12, Buster <1