I just got back on Friday evening from a trip to my parents' house in Maryland. I went up for several days to try to help out in the wake of my dad's traumatic brain injury nearly four weeks ago and my grandmother's hip replacement last Monday. My dad is recovering well, but he gets frustrated at being so restricted and supervised in his activities. I feel for him. Thank you for all of your prayers!
Things were pretty quiet there compared to our busy home with several children. My main purpose was just be there as an extra pair of hands and eyes. I didn't do anything particularly spectacular around the house -- just dishes, laundry, a little cooking, fetching things, going to the end of the driveway to get the paper, taking the compost down to the back of the yard, staying up until midnight to let the nighttime home health aide in, etc. My Grandpa Hess, who is the family baker, taught me how to make English muffins from scratch and admonished me to always open them up with a fork instead of knife to make sure I create the nooks and crannies. Probably the most noteworthy household chore I did was to clean the refrigerator, which is hard for my mom to do since she has arthritis. I also drove Grandpa Hess over to the hospital to see his darling wife a few times, and enjoyed taking him out to lunch to Red Lobster for his 96th birthday on Friday.
Thoroughly enthralled with the gorgeous autumn colors that we don't get in Florida, I took dozens of pictures of trees and birds and everything else I could find in my parents' large yard. My mom has several bird feeders hung within view of the front windows, so I spent quite some time observing the squirrels, chipmunks, cardinals, yellow finches, blue jays, house finches, tufted titmice, chickadees, red headed woodpeckers, etc. Mom also saw a deer down near the garden on Friday, but it wasn't there when I went out with my camera a few minutes later. I also took pictures of family members and things around the house that I like, including a few things that I had made in years past.
Here are some of the photos on-line:
- Maryland in November 2008 (Tuesday)
- More Maryland pictures (Wednesday)
- Autumn and Family in Maryland (Thursday and Friday)
Another thing I squeezed in was scanning vintage photos and news clippings from my grandparents' photo albums, which are falling apart. I uploaded dozens of them onto Facebook. I figured that my siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins would enjoy them! Some are from the 1800s, and a lot from the very early 1900s, so really anyone might find them fascinating. I even found a big old pulpit Bible donated to a church by my great grandpa and grandpa, William and Lillie Brazier, and there were all sorts of neat clippings in it. I remember in January recording my father (using my MP3 players) as he spoke of his memories of them. This week I unearthed a picture of my great great grandmother Ida Wrislar that I had never seen, and since I didn't know anything about her, I asked my Grandma and Grandpa Hess to share their recollections, which I recorded. I encourage each of you to poke around and see what you can find out about your family history through photos, journals, genealogy notes, and personal interviews. What a splendid way to teach history! Check out my photos here:
- Vintage Photos from My Mom's Family
- Vintage Photos from My Dad's Family
And finally, as an extra gracious and unexpected gift from God, I had the chance to slip away on Thursday afternoon for a grand adventure all by myself. I have so longed to get back to the National Gallery of Art for years. The last time I went, my young children distracted me from enjoying the art for myself. Last year, Thad took a few of the older ones when we were up for Christmas, but I stayed home with the little kids and missed it. I love art! It feeds the soul and reflects how we were created to be creative in the image of our Creator. I was amazed at how many of the pieces there had Biblical themes. I sat for the longest time just looking at Rubens' masterpiece "Daniel in the Lion's Den." I will write more about that sometime on my blog, but for now, I am sharing my pictures! I had to take most of them from a slight angle to avoid glare from the camera flash. I'll figure this out eventually!
I believe there is an art to paying attention and to receiving all of the gifts that God has for us. I hope that these photo albums on-line will give you a taste for how the Lord blessed me this past week.
Much love to all of you,