Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shelter Under the Auntie Tree

An aunt is someone special to remember with warmth, think of with pride, and cherish with love.

Elvis was born on January 8th, 1935.  But on this same date in 1993 a tiny girl was born to RB and me -- and Elvis had to take a back seat!  Emily lit up our lives then and continues to do so to this day.  Honest, kind, obedient, helpful, joyful, and most of all, striving to be like Christ.  On Emily's 11th birthday she received the best gift ever -- a nephew.

Aunties are special people.  I had many sweet aunties, but one that invested herself in my life was Aunt Posie.  Her name was Rosalee, but she was Aunt Posie to her nieces and nephews.  I loved going to her home.  Her homemade bread was unbeatable.  She covered the bread with peanut butter and sprinkled on some raisins.  And, oh my, her jonny cakes -- cornmeal and hot water fried and eaten with peanut butter and honey.  I won't comment on her homemade cottage cheese or tell you which of her shrubs was the recipient of it.

Uncle Jim and Aunt Posie with Sarah
Not only did I love her food, I loved her stories.  When Aunt Posie got out the ironing board, I knew stories were coming.  The story that I remember her telling the most often was The Little Boy who Called Wolf.  She taught us how to make dolls out of holly hocks and let me help her wring the clothes in her old wringer washer. 

Just like my Aunt Posie influenced my life, Emily gives herself to Ethan (her birthday present), her other nephew, and niece. (She can't wait until the end of the month to have a brand new nephew to love.)  She invests herself in their lives, and they love her without reserve. 

Here are a few ways an Auntie can shelter nieces and nephews:

Read them books -- lots of books:  Like this one by Vanessa Newton.  It's an amusing story about Auntie Mable praying around the table, but full of love and warmth. 

For younger children, What Aunties Do Best is a fun book.  When you turn it over there is another story, "What Uncles Do Best."

Take pictures when you are together and put them together in an album.  Look at them together for a "remember when" time.

Take them for an ice cream cone. 

Plan a craft for you to do together.

Fill his car with gas.

Send her cookies at college.


Make their favorite dish.  My Aunt Judy made a chocolate cake sprinkled with powdered sugar.  No wonder I remember it 45 years later.

And nieces and nephews can shelter an Auntie, too:

Share a memory in a card or letter.

Include an aunt in your holiday meal celebrations.

Send pictures of your great nieces and nephews.  I love it when I get pictures from South Dakota.  It makes me feel like I'm a part of my great nieces and nephew's lives.  Kokomo and Chicago pics are loved just as much.  Melanie is good at doing this for her aunts.

Visit.  I love visiting my Aunt Jean.  Her back yard is a fairy land.  She knows each plant and where she got each one.  I love seeing them all and drinking tea from one of her big mugs.

Be there when they need you.  During the last move we made, RB's sister came to be with us for several weeks.  Aunt Marsho, with the girls' help, did most of the packing of our house.  But she planned times to get them out of the house (even if it was to get more boxes) and just kept things sane so they would have the least trauma possible.  They have a lot of "remember whens" from those weeks -- one of which was making soup with what she thought was leftover chicken in the fridge -- found out later it was fish. 

Mommies can help when the kids are small.  Melanie made Emily a special desk calendar this year filled with pictures of Auntie and the kids.  It was one of her favorite gifts.

Gift a book like Hugs for Aunts.

Attend programs, sports events, etc., or send a note of congratulations when an achievement is reached.  Aunt Melly is great at doing this for Emily, and it makes her feel special and celebrated.

If a niece is getting married, plan a time to teach her to cook a family favorite.  This is a good way to get to know a niece in law, too. 

Sheltering goes both ways.  So whether you're the Auntie or the niece or nephew, you can shelter.  Through the shelter a heart is cheered and warmed, lifetime memories are made, and a new generation is taught the blessing of family.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Color Someone's World

Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

What colors your world?  A hot Starbucks on a cold day?  A new book?  A cup of custard sprinkled with nutmeg?  Actually, although I like all those items, what colors my world isn't things--it's "whos."

It's RB bringing me amber tea each morning.  It's Emily brightening my world by her consistent sunny yellow cheerfulness.  It's Melanie sharing her multi-colored eclectic projects she's planning.  It's my grandchildren's red hearts of expressive love, the periwinkle encouragement of my mother, and my sister's orange love of carrots--and me!  Oh, and then I think of my friends.  It's the cream of bagels when breakfasting with Eleanor, the green on Starbucks bags Renae showers on me, and the blue of the heavens when I call on Janene for prayer--again.

If joy comes by giving it to others, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, then my family and friends should have much internal joy.  I'm blessed--over and over again.

I don't know about you, but I'd like to capture some of that joy for myself.  Here are 10 quick ideas to get us going.

Leave a favorite treat by your husband's treat (RB usually gets cashews or combos).

Do a chore you child is responsible for.

Deliver a Starbucks or one of McDonald's $1.00 drinks to a friend's place of business.

Compliment a sales clerk or waiter.

Leave a candy bar for the cleaning staff at the office.

Loan a favorite book to a friend.

Make eye contact and be the first to smile.

Double the next dessert you make and give to a working mother.

Ask to see a grandmother's pictures.

Give a compliment --  tape one to a coworker's monitor, your friend's refrigerator, or insert it into someone's Bible at church.

Another color of my "whos" is the butter white of popcorn --  compliments of our pastor and wife.  Here's a recipe to thank a friend who colors your world.

My childhood world was colored with a mixture of red and green popcorn.  Made by my Great-Grandma Miller each Christmas, piled high in a big enamel ware wash basin beside  my Great-Papa's chair.

 Each color:

1 bag microwave popcorn
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Food coloring

Cook sugar, water and food coloring until a thread forms.  Poor over popcorn.

Be careful of food coloring.  I used 4 drops and the green looked muddy.  Less is best.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Kids Sheltering Kids

"Jesus loves the little children...they are precious in His sight."

Flipping through photos, I discovered the sympathy cards my boys made for some friends and thought I would save them for a post. Little did I know, that same day my mother would post: 'Sheltering the Sorrowful' and mentioned the grandmother and mother of the children these sympathy cards were made for.

Mom mentioned when starting this blog that the three of us -- Mom, Em, and myself -- would be able to share stories of how to shelter different ages. In this case, she was sheltering the adult mother, whose own mother had passed. I decided to reach out to this mother as well -- but through her children (one being around the same age as Ethan.)

The boys had gotten new stamps and an ink pad as a gift from our Junior Church and so we used that for decorating our cards.

Before putting the cards in a sealed envelope, we prayed for this family.  Praying for this family isn't something new for my kids. Nighttime prayers used to mention Linda Rich's name before she passed because of her illness and her being so sick. After her funeral, we directed their prayers be prayed for her daughter's family.

Children are so sweet and sincere in their praying. Sometimes we snicker at the way they pronounce a word or a name that sounds funny to us, but they remember night after night to pray for someone sick and hurting. I can still remember my friend, Kristen, whose kids would always mention a girl named Annie, who had cancer and needed healing.

God can use you, just as He uses my mother with her wonderful way of picking special gifts to give to the hurting. God can use you, along with your children, to show other children that God loves them and that they are precious in His sight.

In my case, it was triple-fold:
1. Opportunity to spend some time with my children while making the cards.
2. Opportunity to teach my children encouragement.
3. Reaching a hurting family with God's love by showing them we care.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Esther from Shoregirl's Creations awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award.  I was so pleased, but it was Christmas and I was barely getting a blog post up.  So today things are back to normal -- Emily went back to school yesterday, RB is back to work today and, although the house is way too quiet, I'm getting back in my routine.

Please check out Esther's blog  -- it is delightful.  Besides her beautiful cards, there are other artistic projects (incuding sewing) that she uses to shelter others. (An act dear to my heart!)  Esther homeschools her daughter and one of the neat things she does is include Makayla in her crafting.  I hope you'll check her out.

Mindy from In the Loop also gifted this award to me.  Mindy loves to crochet and she has pictures of her projects on her blog.  You'll find tips here and there, too. She also has a sweet little boy which keeps her busy -- including kindergarten.
There are 4 duties to perform to accept this award:
1.  Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2.  Share 7 things about yourself
3.  Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4.  Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Seven things about me:

1.  One of my favorite books is Safely Home by Randy Alcorn.
2.  I am a collector of quotes.
3.  I have fibromyalgia.
4.  I hate cooking.
5.  Tazo black tea is my favorite drink -- iced.
6.  I like to drink my tea in one of my one-of-a-kind goblets.
7.  I enjoy picture books.

Now to forward it --- Here are my 15  recently started or discovered blogs I'm enjoying!
 1.  The Pink Parsonage  A sweet, young mother of four daughters
 2.  A Cuppa Tea with Me Beautiful embroidery
 3.  A Moment With God  Thoughtful writing and a challenge to memorize James.
 4.  Nuggets from God  Inspirational thoughts
 5.  Something about the Joy  A writer's thoughts
 6.  Fresh from the Charri Tree  Homemaker--check out her Pastor Appreciation cake
 7.  Abby's Paperie Garden  Creative journey
 8.  Bird/Like Feeds my love of birds
 9.  Blissfully Content  And ecletic mix of creative crafts
10.  Brown Paper Packages  Another creative blog

And now a five that aren't new, but are my favorites:

1.  The Clemens Clan  Creative mother of [almost] four
2.  You're Something Special  Homeschool mother
3.  South Dakotan Satterfields  Missionary mother
4.  For God's Glory  Short devotionals to ponder
5.  Kim M  Another creative mother of boys