Time Travel Tuesday: High School Graduation

timetraveltuesday.gifAnnie created and hosts Time Travel Tuesday each week with a question about our past. It’s a lot of fun! Click on the button to join in.

The topic today is high school graduation:

It’s that time of year… graduation! Which made this week’s time travel theme very easy to decide. So, what do you remember about graduating from high school? Was there anything special about the actual ceremony you remember? What did you do after graduation?

I don’t remember many of the details. I graduated in 1975 — over 30 years ago! 😮 There were 8 in our class. I was the valedictorian, so I had to give a speech (scary!) which I think was probably very dull to the poor listeners, to judge by their reactions. Bud Bierman spoke, for those who know him. He had been in my pastor’s former youth group many years before. They did tape everything but something didn’t work right, so we didn’t get copies.

I can’t remember specifically what we did afterward. but the usual thing after graduations was to all go out to a restaurant. People didn’t really have receptions then, at least among people I knew.

Of the graduation presents I remember, my mom gave me several things I would need for college (towels, etc.) and my boyfriend at the time gave me luggage to take stuff to college in. I think several people gave money, which was probably saved for college. 🙂

I wore a long red and white checked dress (must have been before I decided I didn’t like red) that had lace short sleeves and a lace inset at the bodice with lace around a square neckline (which I tried to iron one time — just a little bit of lace sticking up — while it was on. Dumb move!!! 😳 Thankfully it wasn’t this night.)

Here is a picture of my dad and I after the ceremony:

And here are a couple of my senior portraits:

Senior portrait

Senior portrait

I don’t really like my expressions there, but I had gone to the studio our school was using alone and felt very stiff and uncomfortable. I should have gone with one of the other girls — it would have been a lot more fun! Senior portraits have come a long way since these days, though!

I do remember being very excited at reaching that milestone!

How about you?

Time Travel Tuesday: Fight Edition

timetraveltuesday.gifAnnie created and hosts Time Travel Tuesday each week with a question about our past. It’s a lot of fun! Click on the button to join in.

The topic this week has to do with the stress of planning a wedding and whether we and our then-fiances had a big fight in regard to or in planning for the wedding.

Though we didn’t “fight” about it, our first serious disagreement in our relationship had to do with one aspect of our wedding. At the time I had only been to weddings at the church I had begun to attend while in high school, and though there was a little variation, they were pretty much done the same way. In one part of the ceremony, the couple knelt at a kneeling bench (that I think a man in the church made for the purpose) while the pastor prayed for them, and then usually someone sang at that point, either “The Lord’ Prayer” or some song that was basically a prayer for the couple (ours was “Nearer, Still Nearer” with the pronouns changed to plural and a few verses from “The Sands of Time Are Sinking” [the verses beginning “Oh, I am my beloved’s…” and “The bride eyes not her garments..” Both hymns can be sung to the same tune and coordinate quite well together.])

We got married while we were still in college and we were really tight on funds. In fact, looking back, I have no idea how we managed financially. My dear fiance objected to having to kneel before all those invited guests because the soles of his shoes were very worn and he couldn’t afford to get new ones for the wedding. But I was horrified at the thought of not having that part of the ceremony. It just wasn’t done!!

Looking back, that was so silly of me. I’ve attended multitudes of weddings since and learned there are dozens of ways to “do” weddings. We could have stood during that part of the ceremony or angled the kneeling bench so that our soles weren’t facing the people.

And you know what’s really funny? I can’t remember what we actually did do! I even looked back at our wedding pictures to see, but there is no picture of that part, and there were no videotapes back then. I think we did kneel as planned, my dear husband acquiescing to my desires. I wish I had been more sensitive to his.

If there is one piece of advice I would pass a long to brides about the ceremony itself, it would be to just relax. It’s a day that most brides have dreamed of for years, some since they were little girls, and some have actually had it all planned out for years even before having a fiance and without any consideration of what he might want. But the meaning and significance of the day can get somewhat lost in the details and stress and expense. I had a friend who was a wedding coordinator who finally gave it up because it was so stressful for her. I think the wedding that did her in was an outdoor wedding in August (that would be my second piece of advice — no outdoor weddings in August in the South!!) in which the bride got mad because some older people chose to stay in and watch from the lake house nearby because it was so hot and because the coordinator had the nerve to faint at the reception. This friend used to lament that most brides seem to spend much more time and thought on the wedding than on the marriage. A wedding is a beauitful rite, but keep the big picture in mind and don’t stress over details that no one will remember in the coming years.

Time Travel Tuesday: To Grandmother’s house we go…

timetraveltuesday.gifMy Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday asks this week:

Travel back to grandmother’s (or aunt… or ?) house.

What are the smells you remember walking in when you were young?

What are things you remember seeing every time you were there?

Any special things you always did with or at grandmother’s house?

We spent some time living with my mother’s father when I was a child. He loved to tease and had a very distinctive laugh. That laugh is what always comes to mind when I think of him. Later on when we moved to another town and he remarried, whenever he came to visit he always brought Dunkin’ Donuts, and when I woke up in the mornings he and my mom were always visiting at the kitchen table.

My grandmother tended to move to be near different ones of her children at different times, so I don’t remember a particular house associated with her. But for some years when she lived near us, I very often went to spend the night with her. We shared a love of reading, and one of my delights was staying up late to read when I spent the night with her. She must have had an additional bed in her room, because I can remember us both being in our respective beds with a book and a lamp on until late at night. Her children were scattered from Texas and Louisiana to Alabama, and she would spend some part of the summers driving around to visit them. Two or three of those summers she took me with her, and though I don’t remember a lot of specifics, I remember that as a special time with her. She also loved to crochet and was almost always working on some project or another if she was sitting still. Sadly I don’t have much of anything that she crocheted except a few coasters and a doily and one baby blanket. But I remember the industriousness and always associate crocheting with her.

Time Travel Tuesday: Smells

timetraveltuesday.gifMy Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday asks this week if there are any smells that take us back in memory. I don’t really remember too many.

My dad wore Old Spice cologne, so a whiff of that always makes me think of him. I don’t remember my mom wearing perfume, though I think she did. I don’t think she had one particular scent that she wore all the time.

I grew up near the Gulf of Mexico with frequent excursions to Padre Island, and the smell of sea water takes me back to my childhood there. So many birthday parties, overnight camp-outs, family get-togethers, and fish fries held there! And this was no wimpy strip of beach alongside a highway and hotels: this was sand dunes and sea grass as far as the eye could see in one direction, and endless waves in the other. I forget how much I miss the sea until I am around it again. We’re a few hours away from the water now, and, really, with the lack of public modesty we wouldn’t go much any more anyway, especially with three boys in tow. But a few years ago our kids’ spring break was an off week from the public schools’ and we spent a few days in Charleston at a hotel right on the beach. Hardly anyone else was around. It was wonderful!

Time Travel Tuesday: Easter

timetraveltuesday.gifMy Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday asks this week:

Share your Easter traditions. Did you have egg hunts every year? A new dress? Was it a spiritual event in your family, or just a fun day?

My family  was not a Christian one, but my mother did let me go with her father and sister to the Lutheran church. I remember the different cloths on the pulpit and the sash the pastor wore (I forget the exact names of them) being purple at Easter. I am not in a liturgical type of church now, but I did like that obvious change with the seasons and holidays. I do remember getting a new dress, shiny black patent leather shoes, and an Easter basket. I remember dyeing eggs. I don’t remember if we did egg hunts at home: I do remember attending one somewhere.

And that’s about all I remember of my childhood Easters. 🙂

When our own kids came along, at first I was somewhat militant against any part of the holidays that wasn’t specifically Christian: I wanted to keep the emphasis of Easter on Christ’s death and resurrection. But I have softened over the years. I came to see that all of spring, really, is a picture of the resurrection, of new life. And for young children, when they don’t understand all the spiritual significance, doing little things to make the day special in some way is a good thing, I think. So we began having small Easter baskets with candy and just a few little trinkets like decorated pads and pencils, etc. — I still don’t like the idea of a humongous basket with a dozen toys and cashiers asking the kids, “What’s the Easter Bunny bringing you for Easter?” as if it is another Christmas (not to criticize anyone else who does that: we just prefer to keep that side of Easter simple for our family). I did like the idea of a new outfit: that seemed symbolic of walking in newness of life, of a change of appearance after salvation. Plus when the kids were little they needed new clothes every year anyway. But then they kind of grew out of that and didn’t seem interested. I have all boys, and they all went through a phase of only wearing one dress shirt every Sunday no matter how many shirts they had in the closet. So the new outfits for them for Easter kind of fell by the wayside. I often will still get a new dress for myself, but I don’t stress about it and don’t ‘”have” to have one.

We never did do the Easter Bunny, but one year my husband hid money in plastic eggs and hid them around the yard for the boys, and that has become a tradition. We never dyed or decorated eggs, and that makes me a little sad, but no one liked hard-cooked eggs, so there is really no reason to. I like an egg salad sandwich or deviled eggs every now and then, but I don’t want to personally eat everyone’s eggs. 🙂

Another thing that has become a tradition is making Resurrection Rolls, which is basically bread dough wrapped around a marshmallow: the marshmallow melts into the bread, leaving it with a sweet taste and a hollow place which looks sort of like the empty tomb.

Resurrection Rolls

The recipe for that and some other Easter treats are here.

Another big part of our Easter is that our church usually has some special things going on, usually a choir cantata Easter Sunday evening.

Time Travel Tuesday: Answered prayer edition

timetraveltuesday.gifMy Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday asks this week:

Today we are traveling back to a time that a prayer was answered. I have had so many prayers answered and usually in a way that is totally unpredictable and not exactly how I imagined, but BETTER! So, let’s pick one and travel back to that prayer and tell about how God worked it out or answered it for you.

It was hard to narrow this down to just one! But I think the Lord would have me share this one.

I told this story in more detail here, but to condense it a little, my family is mostly unsaved. I became a Christian when I was about 17, and since then, of course, my major concern has been my family’s salvation, though verbal witnessing has been my major failing. I have prayed and I have written to family members about salvation many times, but speaking to them about it is very hard. To me the hardest one of all — both the hardest to speak to and the hardest to the gospel — was my dad. He was an alcoholic, not the most reasonable of men, and had a very bad, very short temper. My mom’s watchword was “Stay out of his way,” so staying “under the radar,” especially if he was in a bad mood, became second nature.

My parents divorced when I was 15 and my mom took the five of us kids and moved several hours away from my dad to Houston. A few years later he moved up to Houston, but an hour away on the other side. It wasn’t long after I was saved that I went to college in South Carolina. When I wrote to my dad, sometimes I wrote out the full plan of salvation, sometimes I just wrote out a salvation verse at the end of my letter, but he never commented on any of it. I figured he just ignored or skimmed over that part.

To fast forward several years, after my husband and I were married and had my oldest two boys, my dad came to SC to visit for the first time. We asked him if he would attend church with us, and at first he said no, but later he agreed to. Then he got sick. He had just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia not long before he came, and we figured he was just doing to much too soon. We had pinned all our hopes for his salvation on his attending that service and we were greatly disappointed when he couldn’t attend that Sunday: we couldn’t understand why the Lord would allow him to be sick after he agreed to come.

The following Monday he was considerably worse, and we took him to our doctor, who sent him by ambulance to ICU with some kind of deep-seated infection. I think it was the second or third night he was in the hospital that he almost died. When they let us in to see him, he said, “When I get home, me and the Lord and Pastor Hodges (my former pastor in Texas) are going to have to have a long talk.” He had never said anything like that before, never indicated any interest. We asked him if he would like for our pastor here to visit him, and he said yes.

So our pastor came to see him for a few minutes at a time as much as ICU would allow for several days. The first night after my dad was moved to a private room, when we came in to see him, he told us he had accepted the Lord that day when Pastor Minnick came to see him. We were bowled over!

Pastor Minnick told me later that my dad had told him that he used to read the verses I wrote about salvation. I was amazed and so thankful that the Lord worked through those, and I want to encourage those of you with lost loved ones that often the Lord is working in someone’s heart through His Word even when we can’t see any outward signs of it. Keep praying; keep sharing!

To quote from my previous post:

To share with you “the rest of the story” — my dad ended up being in SC for six weeks instead of one. When he went home, I excitedly thought this would be the catalyst to reach the rest of my family. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. Though there were small, discernible changes, there was no big, dramatic, obvious change. My pastor here said that when someone has lived “on the other side” for so many years (Dad was 61 at this point), sometimes the changes take place more slowly. Plus he wasn’t in church being taught and being around other believers, so I am sure that hindered his spiritual growth. He did, however, love to read, and would devour Christian books I sent him. I remember one phone call when we discussed one of the books I had sent about Soviet Christians who had been imprisoned for their faith, marveling at all they had gone through and God’s grace in sustaining them. When I got off the phone, I just sat for a moment, marveling that I had just had a conversation with my father about the Lord.

He passed away at the age of 67 and I have no doubt he is with the Lord now.

Time Travel Tuesday: Before your time edition

My Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday asks this week:

For this week’s time travel we will be traveling back really really far! Travel back to the oldEN days… how did your parents meet?

Well, my dad used to ride in rodeos. I don’t know what events for sure, but one day he was riding a bull that threw him: he sailed through the air, and as he came down, the bull’s horn ripped his pants leg. My mom was a teen-ager and thought the bull had ripped into his leg. She dashed into the eating area to tell her parents all about the guy whose leg had been slashed by a bull, when in he walked with nothing worse than a ripped pants leg. That’s all I can remember of the story — I imagine she was embarrassed. I don’t know if they continued to see each other there before he asked her out or if he asked her out right away. He was seven years older than she was.

The plan was for my mom to work two years after graduating from high school, and then they would get married, but my father’s father had cancer and said if they wanted him to be at their wedding they should probably move it up. So they got married in June not long after my mom graduated. I was born two years later; my grandfather did pass away before I was born..

Sadly, they divorced after eighteen years and five children. My mom said if they had waited the two years, they likely would not have gotten married. But then I wouldn’t be here, so I have mixed emotions about that. 🙂 They were not Christians at the time, and I believe they both did come to know the Lord, my dad about six years before he died at the age of 68, and my mom in her later years. Though I wish they had both believed sooner, I am glad I have the hope of seeing them again.

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Time Travel Tuesday: 2013

My Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday looks ahead this week:

Where do you see yourself in five years? Will you be living where you live now? What’s going on in your life five years from now???

Five years from now my kids will be 28, 25, and my baby will be 19. I can hardly believe it!! The older two will likely have moved from home, probably will be married, and may even have a child or two by then. Jesse will be in college. So we’ll be well on our way to an empty nest.

It’s funny that I looked forward to an empty nest when my kids were little and I was sometimes overwhelmed, but over the last several years I have been dreading it. It’s not that I won’t have plenty of things to occupy my time and attention, but I just can’t imagine missing them as much as I know I will.  It will be sad that part of my primary occupation will be over.

But….that’s how life is supposed to go. And I am looking forward to new phases of marriage and grandchildren. Since I have been living with all males for 28 years, it will be nice to have some females around when my guys marry. And I am so excited about having grandchildren some day that I can hardly stand it!

I have no idea where we’ll be living. We’ve learned long ago that, with corporate takeovers and buy-outs, closings and downsizings, the days of a lifelong career with one company seem to be over, so who knows what will happen with my husband’s job in the next years. I do love this area and hope we can stay in the southeast. But I do hope to be moved from this particular house. Though we’ve improved it from what it was when we first moved in, there are some problems with the layout, particularly in the kitchen/dining area, which can’t be overcome without a lot of money and time and trouble. And I’d like a home with a little more space around it.

In five years I’ll be 55. I can hardly believe that, either!! I hope to be in better shape and at a lesser weight than I am now: I’ve started taking baby steps that direction in the last few months. I will probably still be doing much of what I am now: being a homemaker, reading, blogging, helping with the ladies’ ministry at church, hopefully doing more writing.

Thanks, Annie, for this opportunity to stop and look ahead a little. The next few years are sure to be quite eventful! I am thankful that the Lord knows what is ahead and has promised to be with us every step of the way.

Time Travel Tuesday: Valentine’s Day edition

My Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday question for today is:

It’s almost Valentines Day! So to give us all some good ideas, travel back to the funnest gift you gave your valentine and/or the most special thing your honey did for you on Valentines Day!

We don’t usually do a whole lot for Valentine’s Day, though it is one of my favorite holidays. I have some heart-shaped cupcake pans that I use for treats for the day (usually just a boxed cake mix and frosting pink or red decorating sugar or sprinkles over the top) and I usually buy a card for everyone. I also have heart-shaped mini cupcake pans and have sometimes made little heart-shaped muffins to go with breakfast: one year I sent some with Jesse for his class.

One year I made up a big card out of poster board and used candy bars within the sentences for certain words (this wasn’t an original idea — I think I had seen it in a magazine). Another year I made a little scavenger hunt — I put clues on sides of a heart and hid them, with some kind of treat being the final “find.” The kids really liked that at the time and begged for it the next year, but making up the clues for where to hide things had been the hardest part, and I didn’t think I could do it again.

The kids used to make cards, and I miss that. And it’s funny, though I dreaded in some ways making up the little Valentine’s box for Jesse’s class Valentines, in a way I kind if miss that, too. Since he is a guy, of course, and doesn’t like all the hearts and lace that I would, I tried to find different ideas. One year his box looked like a space ship, another year it looked like an alligator. There was a magazine put out for Scouts that used to have good ideas for that kind of thing, and we enjoyed working on it together once we got going.

The church we attended when we first married had a “Sweetheart Banquet” in February, and that was always fun. It was the only event where the ladies didn’t have to make the meal: it was catered, and there were skits and a devotional.

Other than that we try to focus the day on the family rather than just my husband and I as a couple.

Time Travel Tuesday: Bad hair day?

My Life as Annie’s weekly Time Travel Tuesday question for today is:

We’ve all had them… the worst haircut or hair mistake ever! It didn’t just go away either… Travel back to that tragic day that your hair went wrong. What happened? How did you deal with the problem… did it take a long time to work it out or grow it out?

I’ve only occasionally had what I would consider a good hair today. My hair is straight, fine, limp, lifeless, and resists most efforts to do anything with it. I’ve had some success with permanents (though I have never understood why a temporary hair treatment is called a permanent…), but I also lose a lot of hair when I have one, and since my hair is thin in the first place, I don’t want to risk it becoming even thinner.

So, besides static electricity making me look like Medusa or a simple walk through the house making me look like I’ve been out in the wind, I couldn’t think of any more serious hair disasters, until I remembered one day in college…

Our school, being a liberal arts university, would have occasional Shakespearean plays or classical music concerts that students were required to attend. These were dress-up affairs and considered to be prime dating occasions. Once toward the end of my sophomore year one of my roommates and I had no dates for an upcoming play and arranged to go together. For some reason I decided to try to curl my hair with the hot curlers that were used a lot at the time. After getting all dressed and ready to go, I took the curlers out as the last thing before we left — and one got stuck in my hair. The curlers had little prongs to keep them from sliding around, and somehow those caught in one strand of hair and got hopelessly tangled. We would get demerits if we were late to the play, so we were frantically trying to get that curler out without ripping out my hair. Finally after several minutes we got it disentangled, I ran a comb through my hair, and we dashed off as fast as we could, forgetting all the dignity of the occasion, and found our seats just in time. As the house lights began to dim for the beginning of the play, my roommate turned and looked at me and said, “And it didn’t even curl!!” All that effort and frustration to no avail. All we could do was laugh.