Welcome to Life!

I feel as though I should begin this post with a “Hello”, and the lyrics from Adele’s song. As you already know, I haven’t been around much lately. Life is happening at a pace that I’m having a hard time adjusting to. But I will…eventually.

We now have seven grandchildren, as of 6:36 pm on the 22nd. Her name is Josie. I had the privilege of being there for her birth, just as I have for all but one of our grandchildren. Eden decided to be born quickly in the middle of the night, so I stayed with the older two children while her parents made a trip to the birth center. When I say privilege…it is! At one time, I seriously considered being a midwife, or at least working in labor and delivery at a hospital. I love being with women in labor. The process of labor and birth is absolutely amazing to me…and it never dulls. So, it is a privilege to be a part of that very intimate time in a couple’s life, no matter how many times that process occurs. Mother and little Josie are doing well, and big sister Ashlynn is taking well to her new responsibilities.

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I am now also working full-time as the Activity Director at our local rest home. I do love this job…even if it seems strange to call it that. But it is hectic, and it takes the stuffing out of me by the end of the day. I love being more active and walking for much of my day. The sitting at my desk all day was wreaking havoc on my back and hips, but I’m adjusting to the activity. Sitting is about all I can handle by the time I arrive home. I am hoping that with warmer, spring air and sunshine, my energy level is back. After all, I’ll have a yard to tackle!

Renovation projects…of course have come to a stand still. I’m happy I accomplished as much as I did before Christmas. I really do want our son to have a life of his own, but I hope he has a couple months after he finishes with school in South Dakota to help me get caught up. Then I think we should sell the house and move to an apartment! ūüėČ We shall see. The little house by some water is still extremely appealing. And of course my lap-top will travel where no desk-top can. A row-boat in a middle of a pond with frogs croaking and birds chirping is beckoning me.

So, I’m still here, and I check in every now and then. Thank you to all of you that keep stopping by and commenting. It is a real encouragement! Have a great week…spring flowers and painted toe-nails are just around the corner!

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Those Precious Memories

When in doubt, I go to Jim Reeves and his melodious voice.

Our memories mean more and more to us as we grow older. I see this every day. It amazes me what the mind can recall. I pray your memories are indeed precious and beautiful this Sunday morning. Have a wonderful week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMGtWkJgdIM

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I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

This life we live is uncertain, filled with obstacles, lost expectations of our youth, and a lot of ‘just getting by’. Life is a journey that each of us has been given, and it is also a gift. Along with the struggles, and the not-so-good days, there is hope, and there is joy.

I’ve always loved the words to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n3iLXHzX9k

It was written by Ira F. Stanphill in 1950, during a very difficult time in his own life. From what I could find, his wife left him to pursue a career of her own, at the zenith of his. If any of you know of different facts, or more, please share. I always enjoy learning more about a person. Mr. Stanphill wrote this song out of the pain, betrayal and loss he was experiencing at that time, and you can feel it.

So many items in this life are unknowns. We don’t know what the day will hold, we don’t know if any of us will be here tomorrow. But we do have today, and we can rejoice and take comfort in that. Make your Sunday… today, a good one.

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Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. The house has been draped in garland and ribbons, the tree twinkling, aglow with Christmas memories.

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The baking is done, lovely aromas of sugar and spices, a confectioner’s dream. The green and red dye has worn off from tiny fingers, the tongue will be tinged for days…until no crumb remains.

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If you are privileged, you’ve seen carolers, and listened to their sweet voices, and maybe not so sweet, lifted with joy in song. You’ve enjoyed a Christmas program or two, and delighted in your children or grandchildren, niece or nephew.

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The music has played, and set the tone, and all that remains is the opening of gifts, and a day filled with family, friends and laughter. The absolute best part about the festivities. That meal is also pretty special!

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Tomorrow, let us recall the reason for it all. That babe in a manger, so very small. You may not be surrounded by family and friends, your house a delight of colors and smells. You…alone physically or emotionally… have the most special of days, the time spent with a Man, that died for you…the same. He now sits at the right hand of the Father, waiting for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB3Fo6yG2n0

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I wish you a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for reading, for being part of my life.

 

That Christmas Feeling

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I love this time of year! The aromas wafting through the house…cinnamon sticks and pine. Well, normally our house smells of those items, but today it smells of burnt toast thanks to our youngest. I’ll have to light some more candles tomorrow. At one time, I had a can of pine scent to spray through the house since we had a fake tree, but those kind of smells lead to a whopping headache for me these days!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas:

Snow drifting lazily outside your frosted window,
The fire crackling merrily,
The orange and yellow flickers mesmerizing with their glow.
The fresh-cut tree being dragged through the house,
Just “one more inch” to help it clear the ceiling.
The winter crispness emanating from those needles,
The pine scent filling the air.
Then commence the decorating,
Lights weaved over the prickly branches.
The “oohs” and “aahs” of each ornament plucked from the box,
A kaleidoscope of memories besieging your heart.
The stockings are hung, the nativity displayed,
The routine of the festivities replayed.

A candlelit house, smelling of pine and baked goods,
A hint of cinnamon and spice.
The gentle pause in the daily routine,
A soft snuggle by the twinkling lights.
These are my memories,
This is what the Christmas season looks like for me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGBie5pT9nw

Christmas is the time of year that we set aside to remember that our Lord and Savior came to earth as a baby. The decorations, the lights, baking and presents are traditions handed down from many countries for many generations. They are what they are…pleasant traditions that I look forward to sharing each year. For me, they don’t take away the importance of that tiny baby, humbled, but still a King. They add to the feeling of home and family…my memories. And I cherish them.

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I pray your Christmas season is one filled with joy, and many happy memories…

I Was Where?

At one time in my life, I spent literally hours at shopping malls. I kept up this habit until we had two small children. By then it was a great way to get out of the house for a few hours and incorporate some much-needed walking into my day. I never really spent much money, but I recall the people-watching and the store windows. At Christmas time, I loved the decorations and the music, the shoppers with the common goal of locating that perfect gift.

Then, for many years, the thought of entering that brightly-lit fray had the power to make me feel as though an elephant was sitting on my chest. The mall was the last place I wanted to be, and during the Christmas season I really wanted to avoid it. My comfy office chair guided me through many years of birthday and Christmas shopping.

I’ve noticed that life seems to travel in full circles. I’m also the person that would always do the opposite of others, not wanting to follow the crowds. If hair was to be short, mine was long, and if curls were the go-to style, I wouldn’t fuss so much to have that bounce. I haven’t told my family this, but the other day when I was contemplating the painting of our house, two sides one color and two sides of another color flashed through my head. After all, people don’t normally decide to do this to their homes. (And, if you live in a neighborhood with rules, you may not be allowed to do this!) I just know that our house has been the same color for over ten years now, and I want something different and unique, but all in good taste…of course!

So maybe that is the greater reason that I found enjoyment in not one, but two days at two malls…all in the same week! That, or the company I was with. It was also an excellent way to get that walking in! Because I was having such a good time, I even had my picture taken a few times…also a rarity. Thank you to my husband and our youngest for two fun days. It reminded me of why I once spent many hours at the mall, and shopping. The picture below is actually at Home Depot. I’ve never looked so good in red!

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I think this is one of my favorite pictures of my husband and me. It just makes me smile. Merry Christmas! May your Christmas shopping be peaceful, enjoyable and those gifts right at your fingertips.

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The Time for Giving!

My newest release is available! Lots of excitement here! That’s me doing a little happy dance in the snow.

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Okay, not really. It’s been almost in the seventies the past couple of days here in Kansas. So no snow, but that’s what I would be doing if I could!

In honor of When Love Grows and the release, I am having a Goodreads giveaway. 

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/269283-when-love-grows

This will begin on December 11, 2017 and end on January 8, 2018. So you will have one month to enter this giveaway. I will be giving away three, signed copies of When Love Grows. No purchase necessary. But if you would like, you may read When Hope Blooms first and get acquainted with the little town of Wheatacre, Kansas. The story continues in When Love Grows, but it can be read as a stand-alone. You may purchase When Hope Blooms, or any of my books right here: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Ann-Dykeman/e/B01B2BYPK6/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1512426480&sr=1-2-ent

Happy reading everyone, and I wish you a very happy December!

Welcome To the World!

Because I delivered five babies, I went through labor five times. My labors weren’t the ones where you went in and played cards for a while, skipped down the hospital corridor with your backside for all to see, had an epidural and then were told to push because you were numb from the middle down.

Now, to be fair, I’ve never had an epidural. These were stories told by other moms that had one. Because of my fear of anyone poking around my spine, I always declined. I would rather be completely sedated. But you understand that with any fear, it can be completely irrational. Facts don’t matter! Each woman is different, every person experiences pain in a different way. Every woman needs to do what she feels is best for her labor and delivery, and she¬† needs the support of those with her.

My labors were long, and I delivered big babies. With each one, the first cry and the first glimpse of that tiny face…made all those hours very well worth it. Around thirteen years later with each child, I rethought those moments and my conclusion was that I was delusional at the time. Extreme discomfort and pain can do that to you! But with each child, when active labor began, it was that feeling of despair. The memories of what that long contraction felt like…and I wanted to run!

So it was with our second oldest when she was in labor with our sixth grandchild last Wednesday. Believe me, I felt those contractions, I knew by the look on her face that she wanted to run. But labor is one of those items in this life that you have to see through until the end. And women all around the world for ages have done it over and over again. Women are strong, they are formidable, a force to be reckoned with. And yet, when a child is small, and sometimes big, they want their mother to ease the pain…to comfort.

Our sixth grandchild, the fifth girl, arrived last Wednesday, November 22nd at 3:43 pm. Her name is Eleanor Rose Elise…Ellie to us. She weighed 7 pounds and 6 ounces, 19 inches and then some, I think. The statistics dim for me after the first few days. Because of her parents request to not post pictures at this time, I will not. But she is a real cutie! Her big sister Ava thinks so as well.

Family is one of those Divine Institutions that God has given us in this life. Marriage and family is to be honored and cherished. It is a Blessing far beyond my comprehension. It is what makes this world, rather difficult to live in at times, just that much better. I am thankful for mine!

Welcome to this big world, Miss Ellie Rose! I look forward to watching you grow into the delightful woman God created you to be. And may your mother have the honor of watching your little ones arrive in this world one day. It is a Blessing to behold!

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All Hallow’s Eve

It’s October 31st, the last day of the month. For me, even as a child, I greeted this day in the hope that it would pass quickly, and the anticipation for what I think of as the holiday season. It always seemed as though the end of October signaled the beginning of winter, and a slower way of every day life.

Halloween has never been a favorite day of mine. When I was young, our family did dress up in costumes and our father walked us around the neighborhood to only those people we knew. Even in the early 1970’s. We always carved a pumpkin or two, setting it outside our door. Our maternal grandparents came over, bringing donuts and apple cider. That was never a good mix for me! You would think I would have learned after several years to go with one or the other. But not me. I had to go to bed with a tummy ache every year.

Fast forward to our teenage years. We were living in a little town called Crown Point in upstate New York. Our house was huge. A gorgeous home built by the town banker in the late 1880’s from what we were told. His name was A.J. Wyman, and he began a banking business in April, 1881 in Crown Point.¬† My mother loved older homes, and she has always done a fantastic job of making them look beautiful. Well, of course this was a great place to have a Halloween party for all our friends. This included a scary trip through the barn, and probably the attic of the house. This same attic was filled with bats every summer. I’m not saying a couple, I mean thick with bats. I’m pretty much terrified of them today. October 31st in upstate New York wasn’t great for bat activity. They were either gone or sleeping by that time. But none-the-less, the attic was a scary place to be with the lights off! I remember the night being fun…hands through spaghetti and that kind of stuff. Nothing like what you see today. We had refreshments, probably played games. I remember having a good turn-out. Those were the years of big celebrations for birthdays, etc. I had a couple sleep-overs in that house, inviting all the girls in my class. It was a very small school, our class of 50 being the largest at the time. Here is a picture of the house, the photo my parents used for our Christmas cards that year. It was taken on Thanksgiving Day! Yes, we had a lot of snow that winter.

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Our family didn’t talk about it with most people at the time, but that house had some strange things going on. I won’t go into all the details, but when my sister toured the house many years later as an adult, she asked the owners if they had noticed anything, and they had. The house was being used as a bed and breakfast at the time. So of course he didn’t want to advertise too much! I will tell you this little bit because it was very strange, and it involved the family pets. So it wasn’t just us humans noticing odd things! Every day, around four in the afternoon, if I recall, my brother’s bedroom would smell of fish. I don’t mean like fish cooking. It was if you were at the wharf. The cats in our house would go in and sleep on his bed, enjoying the aroma. After all, fish is a cat’s best friend. Then about an hour later, the smell would be gone…no trances remaining.

As I said earlier, Halloween was never my favorite day. It could go by with no notice from me. When I was younger, it was fun to dress up and get candy, but as I grew older, probably around my 30’s, I really began to be uncomfortable with it. I have never believed in ‘ghosts’. I do believe there are fallen angels and¬†demons. I won’t go into a theological discussion here on whether they are the same thing or different, but only that they are real and not a good thing. My personal belief is that given an opportunity in your life as a Believer, they can and will play around. As a non-Believer, you are on extremely dangerous ground. I believe this is the ‘ghost’ activity that is spoken of, and I do believe it is very real. And that is why I am uncomfortable with dabbling in things that are borderline evil or just plain evil. In a verse that I have shared here before:

Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

I believe that as a Christian, your life should be filled with what that verse says. I think this can be applied to our speech, our actions, the books we read, the music we listen to and the shows we watch. All things should be honoring to God. As a Believer, if you are attracted to ‘stuff’ that is not good, you should be knowing why. Why is your soul seeking those books, movies and activities that are not uplifting? I know that in my own life, those times come when I am not in fellowship with God, the times that I am not continually seeking Him. An analogy I would use is this: You fill your car with gasoline. If it is full and rich in what your vehicle needs, it runs well. If you purchase watered-down gasoline, or add something you shouldn’t, your car will chug down the road, get poor gas mileage, etc. It is the same in our Christian walk.

Personally, I will be glad when today is over. November 1st begins a long month of many birthdays in our family. It’s the month I really start thinking about fall decorating, baking and celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the month when my life begins to take a slower pace, relishing of the days when the cold, winter wind blows and we are snuggled up inside. I wish the same for you.

Friday Trivia – Our Wedding!

Today, my husband and I are celebrating thirty-three years of marriage. Everyone says it…but where have all those years gone? Today’s trivia is about me and our wedding. I’ve included some pictures of the day. Of course, if you’ve known me for a while, you’ll have the answers. If you’ve read any of my books, or my posts on here, you should be able to answer them. If not, then you will know me better. To make it a bit easier, I will make this one multiple choice. (The answers will be in red.)

  1. What was my maiden name?
    1. Babcock
    2. Johnson
    3. Kelsey
  2. What year were my husband and I married?
    1. 1983
    2. 1980
    3. 1984
  3. Where was the tiny town we were married located?
    1. Vermont
    2. Texas
    3. New York
  4. Where was our wedding reception held?
    1. Our church
    2. My parent’s home
    3. A nearby park
  5. How old was I when I married?
    1. 21
    2. 19
    3. 23
  6. Where did we go for our honeymoon?
    1. The Poconos
    2. The Outer Banks
    3. Schroon Lake
  7. How long was our engagement?
    1. About 5 weeks
    2. About 6 months
    3. 1 year
  8. Was it cold the day of our wedding?
    1. Yes, unseasonably cold
    2. No, unseasonably hot

 

1) Johnson
2) 1984
3) New York
4) My parent’s home
5) 19
6) Schroon Lake
7) About 5 weeks
8) No, unseasonably hot

I’ll fill you in on a couple details. My parent’s home was located in Breakabeen, New York. We married at a small church just down the road from them. This picture is of my father and me before we left the house.

October 20, 1984 - Dad and I before the wedding

This is me arriving at the ceremony with my father.

October 20, 1984 - Arriving at the church

It was unseasonably hot that day for upstate New York…eighty degrees! We were married at 5:30 in the evening, and it was still warm. Of course, the next few days in the Lake George and Schroon Lake areas were back to normal October weather. Cold and rainy! This was taken after the ceremony.

October 20, 1984 - after ceremony - Breakabeen, New York

And of course we have to include a picture of the cake. It was absolutely beautiful, as well as very yummy. It was a white cake with a raspberry filling to match my colors of red and white. The lady that made this cake made many over the years for us and they were always delicious!

October 20, 1984 - reception

I love this picture! It has always been one of my favorites. Please forgive the quality of the photos. Thirty-plus years, and taking them with my phone from our wedding album. Some are a bit shiny and difficult to see. I’ve enjoyed posting this one. It’s given me many reminders of that day…a wonderful day in my life. Here’s a last one of me taken at my parent’s house, before we left for the ceremony.

October 20, 1984 - before the wedding

It is a bit difficult to see, but I like it because it seems to reflect the years to come. A moment frozen in time. Happy Anniversary, George! Thank you for all those years!