Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Angels Among Us

I just have to share the latest picture of the girls!

Before we left for Kansas I got this review for Wish Craft. Four and a half siren stones. Reviewer Stacey says, “You just can’t help but fall in love with this short story. Wish Craft is wonderfully creative and unique.” Today, I received a four spur review for Boot Hill Bride from Love Western Romances.

Now, on to Cody’s angel story that I promised last week.

The day after Grandpa died, our youngest son, Cody, was cleaning up their property because the historical society was coming out to take pictures for the 150 year anniversary of when Cody’s wife’s family had homesteaded the property. He was at the recycling center, waiting in line, thinking about Grandpa and all the junk he’d hauled out of Grandpa’s yard over the years. (Every summer we would take a trip to Kansas and ‘clean up’ Grandpa’s yard, which he readily filled back up over the next twelve months.)

The person behind him tapped Cody’s shoulder. He turned around to face an elderly man wearing bib overalls covered in holes and patches.

The man smiled. “There’s an angel looking over you today.”

An odd tingle zipped up Cody’s spine. “Oh,” he replied.

“I’m serious,” the man said. “I can see it.”

Again, all Cody could think to say was, “Oh.”

The man, in his seventies or so, dug in one of his side pockets. “I want you to have something.”

“Okay,” Cody said, glancing around. There was nothing out of the ordinary, just a long line of people conversing with one another as they waited.

The man pulled out a key chain made of odd beads in the shape of an angel. “Here, this is for you.”

Cody was hesitant.

The man held it out. “Take it. I want you to have it.”

“Thanks,” Cody replied, taking the key chain. Just then his number was called and he turned to move to the desk. After completing the paperwork for the scrap he’d hauled in, Cody turned around to walk past the line of people behind him, and the old man was no longer there, he wasn’t outside either.

Cody said if not for the key chain in his hand, he’d wonder if he’d really met the old man.

Upon our return to Minnesota, Cody stopped over to show us the angel key ring. I wasn’t home, but DH saw it. Three days later when Cody stopped over again, I asked about the key chain and he said he couldn’t find it. He said right after he showed it to his dad it disappeared. He’s looked everywhere, including under the cushions on our sofa, but it’s just gone.

I said that was too bad, but Cody just shrugged. “Maybe the old man needed it to give to someone else,” he said. “It helped me, maybe it’ll help them.”

Yep, I believe angels are everywhere, we never know when or where we’ll meet them, and evidently my son feels the same way.

You have the power to make it a great week—do so.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There is a time for everything, a time to be born, and a time to die...

Sorry for the delay in posts. We spent a week in Kansas for my DH's grandfather’s passing. Grandpa had turned ninety back in March (we were down there then, too). He was a hoot of a character, full of old man quirks and generational behaviors. I’ll never forget the time he bellowed, “Hold your horses, Walt!” at his brother. (We were in church at the time. Walt had to have been in his eighties, Grandpa in his seventies.) Grandpa was from the generation that felt a handshake meant more than a signature, and family was more important than careers, money, or politics. (Here’s a picture of DH and Grandpa when we were in Kansas last January.)

Yes, he was old, and had lived a good, long, life, yet, no matter how prepared we are, death is always difficult. Grandpa’s passing has left a void we’ll feel for years to come. But, funerals are also a time of gathering, and in that sense, we had a wonderful time visiting with family, friends, old acquaintances, and new ones. There was also plenty of story telling—some we’d heard before, some we hadn’t—especially one about Grandma and Grandpa when they were young. They were newly married and lived in a house that didn’t have any water. Grandpa had to haul water for them from his parents’ farm a few miles away. It seems Grandpa got ‘detained’ at his parents’ house, and by the time he returned with the water, Grandma was very angry—to the point she threw eggs at him. Grandpa later declared she threw over three dozen eggs at him, and hit him with everyone. (I might have to use that story in a book at some point.) There were five generations at the gatherings, a fact Grandpa would have been very proud of.

On our trek home, we purposely went through Wichita to see my aunt. She laid out a feast for our arrival which included homemade lemon meringue pie. After a week of restaurant eating, I can only hope she believed how truly refreshing and special her meal was. It was wonderful to see her and her family, and the visit was an energizing break during the long journey home. I can’t complain, though, my little car practically drives itself since it knows the roads so well. I’ve only had her two years, and she was in storage for 6 months of each of those years, and I’ve put over 30,000 miles on her—the majority has been trips to Kansas.

We’ve been busy playing catch-up since arriving home, and this weekend is filled with previously planned activities. I hope you all are enjoying the transition into autumn, and are finding the time to embrace the change of seasons.

Next week I’ll share Cody’s Angel story with you…it’s remarkable.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

All Better

Thanks for all the well wishes about my back. It was just a strain, and is just fine and dandy now. The heat sock did wonders.

We had a quiet, long weekend. Family drove up from Iowa, and we all just puttered around. Visited others, went out to eat, etc. etc. I did some target practice with my six-shooter, and we ‘babysat’ the granddogs all weekend. (Yes, they were at the June wedding. They even had their own boutonnieres). Bear, the larger of the two, topping one-hundred pounds, really thought he should sleep in the bed with us. In the end, he agreed to sleep on the floor next to my bed. We also watched the new grandbaby for a few hours on Monday. She is such a good baby, and our time together was lovely.

I’ve had the song, The Yellow Rose of Texas, in my head lately, mainly because it’s the tune my son’s doorbell plays. They didn’t even know what song it was until I told them. It was just the one that my granddaughter liked the most out of the many the doorbell offers. I couldn’t remember all the words and did a Google search…Wikipedia states the Center for American History at the University of Texas has an unpublished handwritten version of the song that dates back to 1836. It’s claimed to be associated with the battle of San Jacinto…Yes, I’m a research junkie. I love finding little bits of fascinating history. Of course, the version in my head is slightly different, since it’s sung by Dolly Pardon.

Speaking of research, I now know more than I’ll ever need about raising hogs. In my current work in progress, the heroine is a ‘pig’ farmer, and the hero is an outlaw. It’s turning out to be a fun story to write.

I hope you all had a fabulous long weekend, and that you’ll have an even more wonderful week. Smile at a stranger—you might make their day.