Monday, July 12, 2010

A Day in the Mud

We took the four younger grands on a class picnic with us to a farm up above White Hall, IL. I don't consider any of my children or grandchildren to be excessive risk takers, but they are definitely up for a good time. One of the girls wasn't interested in muddin', but the other three were. Here are some pics to prove it.

The third girl spent most of her day babysitting - and loved it!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

No Need to Impress

Don and I have attended two weddings lately - very different and uniquely personal weddings. It seems that the young couples weren't concerned about impressing others with complicated details or astounding numbers of attendants. In both, the bridesmaids were dressed in beautifully simple, elegant dresses. The brides were exquisite in their picture-perfect white gowns. The young men were dashingly handsome in their simple black (white) tuxedos. Each ceremony had some sort of detail that made it belong personally to that couple. A simple message and advice spoken by the minister to that couple, and that couple alone. A minor blunder that made the audience chuckle and know this couple was in it for the long-haul.

I'll admit it. I was impressed by the simplicity. No need to impress someone. Just marrying the man/woman of your dreams and making the whole day very distinctly yours.

How much of life is spent doing things because it's what's expected? How many minutes are wasted wondering if a specific thing pleases those around us? I believe it's important to care what others think. As I was reminded today, impressions are important. I further believe that moderation is of value, and we should never blatantly do things with no thought of offense. But when we spend too much time living our lives to please others, living up to others' expectations, we're not fulfilling God's purpose for us to be ourselves - uniquely.

Wish I was as purposely myself as some of my young friends are.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

As the Eagle Soars

Don and I took Mom with us up to Beasley's in Grafton today for a fish dinner. The drive was, as usual, beautiful. I mentioned to them, though that I was seeing no eagles (I'm usually the one who spots them). We were commenting on how high the water had been and enjoying the sights. After driving around a bit, we headed home.

We hadn't gone far down (up?) the River Road when I started noticing the eagles. They were flying so high that, at times, your eyes had to adjust before seeing them. The clouds were hanging low, and it seemed as if the great birds were flying in and out of the clouds. I would spot one, then another, and then another. Finally seeing five or six before they faded from sight. Don's eyes aren't as good as mine, so it would take him longer to catch them in his vision, but he loved watching them soar in the sky. He commented how they seemed to be catching the high wind drafts today instead of those closer to the earth. What a thought!

There have been times when, though I might feel like I'm flying above things, it's just BARELY above. I'm avoiding the treetops, but I'm not really soaring on the high wind currents. Other times, even though circumstances around me may not have changed much if any, I've managed to catch one of those high drafts. I'm flying so high you can barely see me from where you're standing. Your eyes may have to adjust. Then, as you look more closely, you may find one or two more -- maybe my friends or family -- soaring up there with me.

I'm convinced you never lift another person without being "lifted" yourself. Isn't that encouraging? Being a caregiver can be draining: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But every now and again an eagle comes by and coaxes me to follow into the high drafts. Higher and higher to where I'm flying effortless. What a blessing my family and friends are to me. I'm sure they don't know how they lift me up. At times, I don't realize it myself. Until I'm looking down. Unable to hear the traffic and the confusion of where I've been. Just looking up to the Source of my strength. I want to spend more days soaring with the eagles!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

, , , Just a Note

Life continues pretty much the same in the Stewart household. I've had a few days recently when I struggled emotionally (that old depression thing has long talons), but Don and I have both learned to deal with these days, knowing they will pass. All in all, life is good. Don continues to hold his own, with a minor bump in the road now and then. We both thoroughly enjoyed the few days that we celebrated the 4th of July with family and friends. We have wonderful kids (Julie's included as one of our girls,) grandkids, siblings, in-laws, and even outlaws! Several of them went out of their way to make Don comfortable during the recent holidays, making it as easy as possible for him to navigate their homes and yards. That matters!