Posts Categorized: Joy

Stamp Acts

Mother and/or Daddy must have thought, at some time in my childhood, that I should be a stamp collector. They bought a book and a package of stamps. In the package of stamps, as I remember it, there were lots of stamps, but many were duplicates. The thinking, I suppose, was that I would trade some of those with other young stamp collectors. Then you were supposed to attach (with the appropriate stamp attacher) the stamps in the little book, on the matching stamp pictures. Many of them, as I remember, had Queen Elizabeth on them. It seems like all the mail that came to the house had the same stamps on them, and I lost interest. I stopped paying any attention to stamps, and the only stamps we used in our house were those that came on a roll. Very convenient, but not particularly interesting.

I’m a little embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t realize that there were lots of other kinds of stamps that we could have been buying. I didn’t learn that until, and I am being really honest here, I came home for a friend’s wedding, a year and a half after we’d gotten married. While I was here in Waco, she and I were out running errands, and we stopped by the post office. She had run out of the attractive stamps that she’d chosen for her wedding invitations. “I think these are so pretty,” she said, as she purchased them. “They look nice on the envelopes.” I agreed. They did look nice on the envelopes.

That didn’t make me start being a stamp collector. I’m not a stamp collector now. But I do go looking for pretty stamps when I visit the post office.

Recently, at the post office, I found the cutest stamps. I found some really pretty ones, too. And I like the forever stamps, that you buy at one price, and they stay current and usable, no matter how much the price of stamps rises. Of course, when I use them all up, I have to buy replacements at whatever the current first-class stamp price is.

And I have to confess that I still prefer to send off real, snail-type mail. I do pay some bills online, and I do send some greeting cards that way, too. I like to get those kinds of good wishes, but there’s something about pulling a special envelope out of the mail box and opening it up and finding a card, a note, a photograph. And, here is what else I do. I like to use address labels that look nice with the stamps I’m putting on the envelopes.


I know, I know. In this day and age, it seems a little, um, weird? Ridiculous? Silly? But it makes me happy. It sparks joy. Do you think it makes my mail carrier smile a little bit? Okay. Probably not. Maybe I’ll ask some morning, if I’m outside when it gets picked up.


A cheerful heart is a good medicine,
    but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (New Revised Standard Version)

Several years ago, I was at the post office, mailing something and getting stamps. I asked for first class stamps and requested “something attractive.” flagstampThe postal worker searched through his drawer and came up empty. “Really?” I said. “Nothing pretty?” He looked at me and reached into the next drawer. He pulled out a regular, old, ordinary roll of stamps and put it in my hand. “These are the most beautiful ones we have,” he said. I bought the roll of American flag stamps and went home humbled and happy.

When the Grandchildren Come

Well, at our house, it’s the grandchild. He’s our one and only. And it’s just as great as people have said it would be, and as I suspected it would be. Which doesn’t mean that we don’t have our moments…

But for every disagreement there are many, many more moments of delight and joy and charm.

And of course, at grandparents’ house, things can be a little more lax. Vegetables at most meals at home. Vegetables at some meals at Mimi and Grandad’s. At home, a regular, specific bedtime routine beginning at about 7 o’clock: bath, book, bed. In Waco, well, at 7:30 or so, it’s: bath, ice cream and Nutty Bar, two or three or four books, and bed. And things rock along pretty well for all three of us.

A few weeks ago, some folks across the street cut down a tree in their back yard, doing some work before getting the house ready to rent. The limbs and leaves and lengths of trunk have been out on the curb for weeks, waiting for the city to come and pick it all up. Meanwhile, I sent David there a couple of weeks ago to get two of the trunk pieces for Peter to use for woodworking. The garage gets pretty warm right now, but Peter did spend a little time out there with his new tools.

We went to Target Thursday, mainly for a prescription and some groceries. You can get everything you need there for a great lunch!


But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have not idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi's supervision).

After post-lunch “quiet play time” in the living room (which is essentially Peter’s room, as it is where he sleeps and where all the toys are), I went to release him from there and we ended up playing for the next couple of hours. At one point, we pretend rode the TRE, which is a commuter train in Fort Worth that Peter and friends took a ride on for Peter’s birthday celebration, back in January. We walked around the house, on the TRE, and ended up in the guest room which was the “sleeper car.” (FYI, the TRE is a commuter train and doesn’t have a sleeper car, but, apparently, according to Peter, it should.) By then, I was pretty happy to lie down and close my eyes. After all too sort a time, Peter left. Eventually, I went off to locate him, imagining all sorts of unsupervised devilment that might be happening.

But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have no idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi’s supervision).

For dinner, his idea was that we should have a BIG grilled cheese sandwich, that everyone could share. I couldn’t quite figure out how to do that, but I did make some homemade bread in the bread machine (oh, yes, I did, because it makes a taller loaf and I could make a bigger grilled cheese sandwich than usual). So, the three of us shared two big grilled cheese sandwiches. And ate the rest of the cucumber.

Then he and David went to the Mayborn Museum, which is open late on Thursdays, and they always do that when he comes. (I’m not the only pushover in the house.) Friday morning, we’re going on a first-thing-in-the-morning-before-the-temperature-gets-unbearable trip to the zoo, to see the elephants, giraffes, and orangutans, which we didn’t see last month when we went. Then, a stop by the zoo’s splash pad to cool off.

IMG_1458Saturday is supposed to be much cooler (well, in the 90’s instead of 104). David is supposed to help Peter practice kicking a soccer ball into a tiny, preschool-sized soccer goal, because he’s going to play soccer this fall. April ordered cleats for him, and they arrived this evening.

  Grandparents are proud
    of their grandchildren,
    and children should be proud
    of their parents.

Proverbs 17:6  (Contemporary English Vesion)

And my favorite thing he said this trip: When I went to get Peter on Wednesday, I had lunch with him and Kevin and April at their house. At one point, we were talking about our respective Sunday School classes (their kindergartners and my 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s). I said to Peter, “In a few months, you’ll be four!” “I know,” he said. “I’m so excited about being 4 years old.” “You’re really growing,” I said.

He became quite serious, and said, (with sort of choppy, delineating hand motions) “First you turn one. Then you turn two. Then you turn three. Then you turn four. Then you turn five. Then you turn six. Then you turn seven. Then you turn eight. Then you turn nine. Then,” (a brief pause, for dramatic effect, I suppose), “you turn ten.”

Kevin and I waited for a moment, then Kevin, said, “And then what,” expecting some more numbers, because Peter usually counts pretty reliably to about thirty. Peter looked at him, shrugged his shoulders a little and said, “Then you die.” I’m so proud.

Tiny Tidiers

One of the things that teachers of preschoolers are interested in, whether it’s in a school classroom or a church classroom, is the development of life skills. Like putting things away. If the kids don’t help put things away, then teachers are left with significant clean-up work at the end of a day, or even just when Sunday School is over. And, as with much of life, if it’s fun, the work goes more quickly.

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Follow the Tidy Brick Road

I got the new tidying book, Spark Joy, from the library. It’s what I took with me to the urgent-care center last week. I read about half of the introduction and got re-tidyized. I know I’m not doing it the official TIDY way, but I absolutely canNOT take every item of clothing out of my closet and drawers, pick up each individual item and hold it close to me to determine if it “sparks joy,” and then put it in my closet (if it gets a “yes”). Conversely, I do NOT have time to hold each reject, one at a time, close to me and thank it for being part of my wardrobe and wish a fond farewell as I put it lovingly into the Goodwill bag. I certainly can, however, identify the places in my home where, when the tidy bug bites (as opposed to those other kind that send you to urgent care), I need to treat it. And the tidy bug has noticed my office/miscellaneous storage/can’t-find-any-place-else-for-it closet.

Lest you think I staged this for dramatic effect, no, I just opened the door and snapped the photo.

Lest you think I staged this for dramatic effect, no, I just opened the door and snapped the photo.

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I Always Forget About the Subway Stairs


And then there was this wedding. JoAnne and Jim’s oldest kid, Collin, married Amy. It was on a pier by The Admiral Fell Inn. Right on the water. It was lovely.

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I’m Going on a Trip


Actually, I’m back from the trip, but I’m not a hip modern girl with a laptop and a tablet. I only have my phone. And that’s no way to write and post a blog each week. So, before I left home on May 21, I had to get three blogs ready to go out on the three Fridays I’d be away. So, let’s pretend that it’s three weeks ago, and I’m getting ready to leave. Okay?

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Happy Easter Weekend

I thought that Kevin and April (and PETER!) weren’t coming for Easter. But, then, they decided to!!! Which made a good weekend even more anticipated, more delightful, more satisfying.

I had Peter all by myself on Friday. There was a little shopping. A little napping. And a surprise! April’s birthday is coming up soon, and I thought we could make a surprise for her. I planned to make treats to serve on Sunday. However, when a three-year-old prepares a surprise on a Friday, you just have to have that surprise on a Friday. I asked what kind of cupcakes he thought Mommy would like. White. And what kind of frosting? White. With sprinkles. So that’s what we did.


Saturday was a beautiful day.



Peter was the first one who arrived with flowers.

Peter was the first one who arrived with flowers.

Sunday morning–We have a large cross that stays in the Worship Center all the time.

We have a tradition of putting fresh flowers on it on Easter Sunday morning.





I handed Peter over to David when I arrived at church. Then I went on along to my Sunday School room to prepare for preschoolers’ arrival. As I was rushing around the room, suddenly, something seemed a little odd.

Of all the things we do at my church, and maybe ever have done, my most favorite is how we do baptisms these days. Instead of sitting in our pews and watching from afar (well, it’s not that far), we gather forward. Kids in front, so they can see well. The rest of us packed behind them, on the platform, on the steps, pressed together.

Welcome, young lady. Welcome into your faith family.


“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”

Matthew 28:7 (The Message)

Christ is risen. Christós Anésti, or Χριστός Ανέστη. (We have Greek relatives.)

Let’s face it, for people who love Jesus, every weekend is a happy Easter weekend.

And THEN What Happened?

I don’t know when my parents started measuring us on the pantry door. But, it could have been in 1959, when we moved into the house where David and I live now. There are marks for me and JoAnne, then, our husbands, and our children. For years, well, three years, we’ve been saying, “Hey, we need to put Peter on the door.” Last week, I finally did. I showed him marks from his parents and his cousins. I called Kevin and got Peter’s birth length, which we also put on the door. He’s grown 18 inches since he was born (from 19 1/2 to 37 1/2). And, you can see below, how much he’s grown in just the past year.

This week, I’m doing a little more “the rest of the story,” catching up on things I blogged about that ended up needing more, needing changes, needing revisiting.

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Trowels and Work Gloves and Rakes, Oh My!

Apparently, spring is here. I’ve checked the 10-day forecast. Not only does no really cold or freezing weather appear, but a couple of days are predicted to be in the 80’s. Our last average freeze day here in Central Texas is March 15. It’s hard to believe that some giant freeze will show up. It’s possible, of course, but unlikely.

I’ve mentioned before that the white oak in my front yard is the earliest to change color in the fall and the first to lose its leaves. It’s also usually the first to leaf out. However, many of the local trees have weighed in with the “spring is here!” attitude and begun to leaf out.

All that to say, I’ve been sucked in by the warm weather and begun to work in the yard. Last week, when I was in Fort Worth (for pretty much just a day), Peter and I did some shopping and went to Archie’s Gardenland, one of April’s favorite plant nurseries. I just planned for us to mostly walk around and look at the pretty flowers and interesting plants, but they had yellow pansies, which I needed, and that was the end of that. I bought a succulent with vicious spines on it, a geranium, some new plants to put in the front bed and a couple of things to put on the side and a couple of rosemary plants. I’ve spent most of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday working outside.

I packed up my overalls before I went outside. I needed my iPhone, of course. I might need to take a call, and I would most likely want to take some photos. I also would probably need to set the timer for one reason or another. On Monday, I also needed the landline phone. I have an eye infection and had called the ophthalmologist earlier with some questions and was waiting for a return call. And that’s the number I had automatically given, instead of the iPhone number. I had a Playaway, with earbuds attached, to listen to a book while I worked. And, of course, a pair of glasses, because the new plants had information on them that I should read. And, it was harder to take this photo, as you might have figured out, because my iPhone was in my pocket. I do have a digital camera, and that’s what I used. But first, it needed fresh batteries. The battery box was a mess and I had a hard time locating 4 AA batteries. The last 4 AA batteries. Then there was the challenge of trying to take a selfie-type picture without the benefit of seeing what I was photographing or having a camera selfie stick (or selfie plank). It was just holding out my arms and trying to guess if the thing was tilted properly. Success in only 11 attempts.

Thursday, I went to Bonnie’s Greenhouse, where I still had credit from a gift certificate I won back in the fall. And I bought more stuff. I planted and weeded and trimmed. Both green bins are absolutely full, waiting for pickup on Monday. The overflow bin is full of holly trimmings, and there are buckets of old ferns. Usually, the fern fronds are all brown and crunchy from freezing weather. This year, I was pulling out green ones, to make room for the new ferns, whose cute little fiddleheads are beginning top poke up. After the recycle truck comes on Monday and empties the green bins, I’ll be able to fill them almost completely up again.

Nor should you worry about clothes. Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They do not work or weave or sew, and yet their garments are stunning. Even King Solomon, dressed in his most regal garb, was not as lovely as these lilies.

Matthew 6:28-29 (The Voice)

And daffodils, too.

What *Is* It About Outside!?!

I suppose there are little kids who don’t like to go outside. Most of the ones I know (or knew when they were little), very much do like to go outside. Or, sometimes they look out the window and just think they want to go outside. When they do get out there and it’s 105° or 25°, they want to come right back in. (Of course, the problem is that no parent or responsible caregiver is going to let them go out when it’s 105° or 25° so the kids keep on standing by the door wailing at the injustice of it all. And the parents/caregivers are pretty much wailing on the inside…at the injustice of it all.)

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