Tag Archive | grandparenting

Out with the old and in with the new.

12-30-15 Trash Cans What’s Mimi up to with those trash cans? you might be thinking. Well, Orange County, Florida recently switched things up a bit. Beginning January 1 we go from twice weekly trash pick-up with regular old trash cans to once weekly pick-ups in huge trash cans on wheels.

Change is not always easy and Orange County has been trying their best to get us ready. Lots of info came our way throughout the fall along with two new rolling containers (one for trash, one for recycling). Each household has received implicit instructions on exactly how and when to use them, too.

So we’re in for some change: new pick-up days, larger containers that hold a lot of stuff (yay) but that also take up a lot of room in the garage (boo), and while currently a green container holds recyclables, the new ones are blue. (I betcha lots of recyclables are going to end up in the wrong container for a while.)

There’s been a little griping here and there but no doubt things will work themselves out over time and soon the old ways will fade away, replaced by the new system.

At the start of 2016 some of us may be desperately looking for something new—a new adventure, a new job, a fresh start while others may be lamenting change and just as desperate to hold on to the familiar.

On any given day I may lay claim to any of the above thoughts but as Greek philosopher Heraclitus states “There is nothing permanent except change.” While I can argue that some things don’t change such as God’s love and provision for us, his statement with a little tongue in cheek drives home a good point.

So my prayer for the coming year is that I will treasure what has been a blessing in my life and hold tight to precious memories while at the same time I will boldly and courageously accept new challenges and look forward to what God has in store.

Blessings and love to all.

With love, Mimi

 

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It was a grand-filled weekend.

12-16-15 raceIt certainly was a grand-filled weekend. One evening we spent the night with the boys and two days later we had time with the girls. So all four grandchildren in one weekend—what a joy!

We drove around to view Christmas lights with three of the four grands and it was so interesting to hear or see their reactions. We had two-year old Zoe Kate all by herself while her older sister went with her parents to Mickey’s Christmas Party at Disney. Zoe quietly took it all in. I kept looking back to see if she was asleep but no, she was just wide-eyed in wonder at the beautiful lights.

Contrast that with four-year-old Callan. As we drove down a street he would loudly proclaim “That’s the winner.” Until we got to the next pretty house when he would state “No, that’s the winner.” Every new house we passed with any kind of Christmas decorations instantly became the new winner.

Being the winner is something nearly all of us strive for at one time or another. To be at the top in the workplace, to be the fastest racer on the team, to bowl the highest score in the tournament, to bring home an A to show our parents. Much of life is a competition and we find ourselves on the hamster wheel of that competition over and over again.

But all that striving takes a toll and often results in stress, fatigue, and sometimes a sense of failure. And while there may, at times, be a victor’s crown or ribbon to wear around our neck, the victory is often short-lived.

There is, however, one race worth running with everything we have in us, a race with an eternal reward. That race is to walk with God each and every day. To hear His voice and to follow His commands. “Friends, don’t get me wrong: by no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:14, The Message)

This is the race that counts. And this is the race I want to win, where at its finish line I can declare that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7, New Century Version)

With love, Mimi

I know better; I really do!

Cookies

Your eyes do not deceive you. That’s Mimi tossing out the four dozen cookies I baked last week.

While I don’t pretend to be a gourmet chef or outstanding pastry baker, I do fairly well in the kitchen. I understand that cooking is one thing and baking is another. That is, baking is science and needs to be more exacting.

So what went wrong when it started out so right? I was using coconut oil instead of butter in the chocolate chip cookie dough and despite reading that the dough would be more like batter (wet), at the end I did my own thing and added enough flour so the result was a dough that looked more traditional. BIG MISTAKE!

Cookies were formed, put on baking sheets, and baked to perfection. All was well until I ate one. And then another. Yuck. Pah-tooey! Every single one was tasteless and floury. Of course I thought maybe my discerning palate was over-analyzing so I brought one to hubby to taste. The hubster agreed with my assessment. Hence you see me tossing my hour’s work into the trash.

What was so wrong about deviating just a little? About trying my own thing? About ignoring all the rules of science in baking and thinking I knew best? I’ll tell you…I should have just followed the directions. They were there for a reason. And for the best results, at least in baking, the rules should be followed exactly step by step.

We also need to follow the rules in life. As kids, we followed our parents’ rules because if we didn’t punishment of some kind was sure to follow.

In school we knew homework, performing well on tests, and class participation were important parts of the grading system. By not following those rules you might end up with a bad report card.

Even at work we have rules to follow from HR requirements to job duties. Not following those rules could lead to dismissal.

Our heavenly Father also provided rules to help us. From the Ten Commandments to Jesus’ words in the Gospels to the letters written to the churches, all were provided to reveal Him to us, show us The Way, provide access to Him, and grant us life in Him eternally. God’s rules are there to give us abundant life and to keep us from making some disastrous mistakes.

It is up to us to choose God, choose His ways, and choose to obey Him no matter how we feel or think. I used all the right ingredients in the cookie recipe and followed it almost exactly. I only changed up one little thing. But that one choice destroyed the whole batch. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” (I Peter 1:14 NIV)

We don’t have to live in ignorance. Those who know Christ have the Spirit within to teach and to guide. Our part is to obey. I encourage all of us to decide following God’s path and His rules is really the only right choice.

Mimi

A moment at the beach.

BeachWe’re enjoying a little visit at the beach where my parents live. Their tiny town abuts the Atlantic Ocean and they have been blessed with a waterfront home. Their 12th story view is just amazing.

As often happens, we visit the pool, but don’t always make it to the beach. I decided to end that abysmal track record so yesterday ventured out for a brief walk.

In the middle of the summer walking on the sand without enduring first degree burns is impossible but at this time of year it’s just perfect. The sand retains just the right amount of the sun’s warmth so walking down to the water’s edge can be slow and thoroughly enjoyed.

Yesterday’s water temp was a beautiful 83 degrees so I walked in the salty loveliness and let my mind wander. I realized very quickly how loud the breaking waves were…they created a din like a deafening roar. The sound blocked out everything else and as I watched people play in the surf I realized I couldn’t hear a thing other than that roar. The conversations and shouts of glee were blocked out, the seagulls’ squawks were muted, and I found myself in my own little world. And instead of being disconcerting, it was instead rather pleasant.

And the light bulb went off as I realized this may be one of many reasons why some people I know absolutely love going to the beach and plan their weekends and vacations around it. I’ve kind of taken it for granted since I can go anytime I want simply by visiting my folks, but in that moment yesterday when the entire world faded away as the ocean roar took over I discovered how beautiful and calming being near the ocean can be.

Mimi

The appeals kept coming to save a life!

CindiDonatesBloodNearly every day for the past five weeks my email has been filled with requests to donate blood as the supplies were critically low. I wanted desperately to answer that call but after going twice and being rejected for a low hemoglobin I figured I needed to eat my leafy green veggies and try again in another few weeks.

But today, after reading yet one more plea, I threw on my shoes and dashed out the door to the nearby bloodmobile. And then nearly danced with joy when I learned I had reached the magic number and could indeed donate.

I’m one of those who has a very easy time donating: nothing about the process bothers me, I’m an easy “stick” as my veins seem to stand at attention just waiting for the technician to do his or her thing, and overall I just love knowing that something so seemingly insignificant can make such a big difference. In fact, donating blood truly does save lives.

I think we all deal with feelings of insignificance from time to time. No matter what levels of success we’ve reached or goals we’ve achieved, sometimes we just plain old wonder if our lives really matter.

GregByKyacksWell, friends, they certainly do matter. Today my life matters to the person or persons who will benefit from my blood donation. Last Saturday Greg’s life mattered to the many people he assisted at the beautiful Access Life event, a place where people and families with disabilities could come for hours of free fun and entertainment. Greg tirelessly loaded people into kayaks all day long so they could escape a wheelchair for a bit and enjoy the freedom of gliding across the water.

Your life matters to your families in all the little and big things you do for them every day. Your life matters when you take dinner to a neighbor or teach a Sunday school class. Your life matters when you smile warmly at the store cashier and sincerely inquire as to how they’re doing.

And your life matters to God. Victoria Osteen sums it up very well in an article entitled “Your Life Matters” in The Christian Post (http://www.christianpost.com/news/your-life-matters-50652/):

You matter to God and every detail of your life matters to Him. Scripture says that He counts every hair on your head and bottles every tear that you’ve cried. You are significant, and your life is significant. In this day and age, people are considered to be important for so many different reasons-titles, positions, possessions, where you go, what you drive. But God’s value system is very different. If you’ve ever thought that God has too many other “important” things on His plate to be concerned about you and your life, know this today: You are God’s number one priority. And there’s nothing you can do to be more important or less important to Him. God values you simply because He created you. You are precious to Him, and your value will never change.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! (Psalm 139:17–18 NLT)

Be encouraged in knowing how much God loves you and relish the knowledge that God Himself finds your life significant!

And, please also consider saving a life by making a blood donation yourself at a nearby donation center.

Mimi

Summer Fun

With school over, this Mimi now spends the day with both grandsons. And I’ve quickly discovered that the day has become a whole lot longer. Oh, it’s still the same amount of hours but without the structure of school (that we used as our scheduling guide) we now experience a long expanse of time to fill.

Their mom has thoughtfully put together a great daily guide of activities such as outdoor time, structured activities, school work, quiet time, chores, and even screen time (screens being electronic devices). But with energetic boys it can still be a challenge to come up with those structured or quiet time activities.

What’s a Mimi to do? Well, it was Pinterest to the rescue. I’ve been collecting ideas for the grands for quite some time so with a little research I came up with several things to do. They were lots of fun but I have to admit it took longer to research them, gather supplies, and set them up than it did for the boys to actually do them!

Of great help is the website FrugalFun4Boys. Please feel free to visit the site. There are some great ideas and they aren’t just for boys.

Proud Boys With Their Pyramid

Proud Boys

The first thing we did was pyramid building with 16-oz. cups. The boys had great fun and were still playing with them days later. After building them came the best part: kicking them over or using Nerf guns to shoot them apart.

The boys also had a good time with the pom-pom/straw race. It’s really self-explanatory but using masking tape you “draw” a few tracks on the floor, then provide large pom-poms for each contestant. Using a straw and their breath they need to guide the pom-pom along the path until they reach the end. Check out the short video to see their efforts first hand.

I’m always open for more ideas…after all, there’s still a lot of summer left. So if you have some to share, please send them along and we’ll post them here in upcoming weeks.

Happy summer.

Mimi

Retired! Who me?

Yup, my last day of work was April 1 so I’ve just finished up my first week of retired life and so far so good.

The decision was made in January and for the past few months I’ve been really conflicted. Not about the decision; no, it was definitely the right time. But mostly about the “what now?” I’d wake up at night and wonder what I’d do all day if I didn’t go to work. I’d wonder if I would end up wasting time and accomplishing nothing since I no longer had a schedule to keep. And I’d wonder if hubby and I would grow tired of seeing each other 24/7.

While there are still no answers to any of the above, one very interesting thing happened. On April 1, my last work day, I woke up feeling different. Feeling settled. Feeling happy. All the emotional ups and downs were gone. Oh, the questions remain but there’s no longer the fear of the unknown. In fact, there’s mostly anticipation at what is ahead.

As you may have surmised by my musings, I’m a child of God and as such endeavor to follow His lead rather than asking Him to bless mine. But even when I clearly hear His voice and follow His plan, there can still be questions or concerns. And simply put, that’s because I don’t have foresight as He does; I have to totally trust God even when I have no idea what the future holds. So though Greg and I both know this was God’s plan and His timing, and though I try to walk by faith and not by what I see or experience, I have still felt a little uneasy. Thankfully, God knows this and often spoke to me through the Word, through His voice, and through Greg reassuring me over and over again that this was the right time.

So far, I’ve simply enjoyed not having to get up with an alarm, staying in my jammies longer, taking morning walks rather than evening walks when it’s still in the upper 80s, and being able to do a lot of things during the day that normally would be done at night or on the weekend. I’ve even accompanied Greg to one of his Lifelong Learning classes at Stetson where we are getting lots of travel ideas both domestic and international.

On the horizon? A car trip, more time spent with my parents, time with the grands who live two hours away, volunteer activities, learning new skills, and exploring new hobbies. And then planning out some of the great travel ideas we’ve picked up in class.

For now, my weekly babysitting day remains so I hope to continue sharing some Mimi stories, but even that will change in August when the four-year old begins pre-K. And that means that after seven years of watching the boys one day a week, more changes are in store. I’ll always be Mimi, and I’ll always be available to watch my grands, but it will be like another graduation for me as that very precious part of my life comes to an end and I turn again toward more new beginnings.

Hmm, it actually all sounds kind of exciting, doesn’t it?

So after one week of retired life, all is well. I promise to keep you posted. Meanwhile, I rejoice in this (from Jeremiah 29:11): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Mimi