"" Writer's Wanderings

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Praying Grandmother

[This was written quite some time ago. It was neat to read how some of the prayers have been answered since then. And grandchildren added. More on my prayer list. More joy in my life.]

My friend, Trish Berg, author of Rattled, Surviving Your Baby’s First Year Without Losing Your Cool (Multnomah Books, 2008), says in her book that the only place she often finds to do her devotional reading and praying is the bathroom. She’s the busy mom of four young children including a teenager now. I can relate to that. It seemed with five kids at home, there was never any private time for me to set aside for spending some time with God. Now there is just me and hubby. Guess what? There still doesn’t seem to be uninterrupted time.

With this new phase of life comes a new perspective on prayer time. While my children were growing up, I was growing up along with them. I learned how much better life could be if sprinkled with prayer. Now as a grandmother, I realize that I can be one of the greatest helps to my grandchildren if I am more dedicated to remembering them and their parents in prayer.

Those young moms and dads are juggling their time between jobs, parenting, and lots of other distractions that often keep their prayer times minimal. Maybe it is a little leftover guilt on my part but I’m thinking that a praying grandmother just might help to make life a little easier, a littler richer, a little more peaceful, joyous, enriched if I spend time remembering my children and grandchildren each day in prayer.

Here’s a couple of suggestions to help you find that time to ask God for his blessings on your family:

·       Pick your best time of the day. Are you sharper in the morning, afternoon, or evening? I do best with prayer time in the morning. Right after breakfast when I’ve had my cup of coffee and am finally awake.
·       Remember that you don’t need to relegate prayer to only once a day and at the same time every day. If you experience a personal relationship with Jesus, you know that you can talk with Him any time, any place.
·       Try praying in the laundry room as you’re putting in a load of clothes. Or maybe while you are doing the dishes. I don’t think God minds you multi-tasking. We talk with each other as we do chores. Why not with God as well?
·       Include your grandchildren in some prayer time when they visit with you. As they grow older they will learn to appreciate that they have a grandmother who prays for them.

What to pray for? That depends upon the individual needs of each. For grandkids, certainly health, growth both spiritually and physically and those little milestones in their lives that become bigger as the years go by. Right now I’m praying for Annalise to catch on to her potty training and Tyler to make good choices during his school days in the first grade. Caleb needs protection from being too curious and Danielle could use a little more confidence. Kotomi could use help with learning patience and TJ with learning two languages (Japanese and English) and their little baby sister, Emiko, well, she needs God’s touch as she grows. Then there is the little one developing that needs prayer for a healthy entrance into this world.  


Pray that moms and dads will have patience, will make time to be good parents, will be kind and will be good guides for their children in this world. You know your children and you know where they may need extra prayer as parents. And even if you aren’t sure, God knows. Just ask him to supply their needs. And know that with those prayers, you are making a difference in all of their lives.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Grandma's Journal

[This is a story from when I wrote a column on grandparenting. Lots more things have been added to these fond memories including the more recent conversations my granddaughter had with each fish she caught. "Sorry, fishy. Here's a little bait to take on your way." And back into the water it would go.]

Do you keep a journal? Journaling is one of those things that I toy with now and then. I used to be a diary-keeper when I was a teen and young adult but life got busy with five kids and I fell out of the habit. Now, with all the writing I do I find that I have a kaleidoscopic journal that is in colorful pieces here and there. I keep a blog and journal on many of my trips—especially if it is to an interesting place like China.

Here and there in my writing I am influenced by my grandchildren. Usually it is because they have provided a good laugh. Case in point: One night we got a 1-800-Grandma call from our oldest grandson, Tyler. It went something like this:

"Tee-hee. Grandma? Can you come and give my Daddy a spanking? Tee-hee-hee."

"A spanking? Why? What's Daddy doing?"

"Well, he's your son and he keeps teasing me."

"Yes, he's my son, but what's he doing?"

"He flipped me with his sock. And it smelled, Grandma! Tee-hee-hee."

"Tyler, is this a 1-800-Grandma call?"

"A what?"

"Never mind. But if your Daddy needs a spanking, you better call 1-800-Grandpa."

Guess I still subscribe to the just-wait-until-your-father-gets-home threat. Tee-hee-hee.

And then there was the time when Kotomi, who was about four, walked up to Cinderella at the Disney World Castle and asked, “So, where’s the prince?”

I could go on but then I’d just be taking advantage of your listening ear—or make that reading eye. The point is that these are precious memories worth noting somewhere because along the way, they are often forgotten and too soon these little people will be grown up with little people of their own. What fun to be able to share the memories of their young lives with each other and their parents who may not have the time to write it down. And what a precious treasure for the future generations.

Journals come in all sizes, shapes, and price-points. When I was younger, I used a diary with the lock that had a one-key-fit-all to open it. Then I advanced to a seventy-nine cent spiral notebook when I figured out anyone could get into the locked diary.

Whatever type of journal you may choose, a clothbound fancy parchment-papered book with a raffia ribbon or a spiral notebook, put it in a place where you will see it often and remember to record those warm fuzzy moments with grands. And even if they aren’t so fuzzy, it may help you to see them in a different light. A journal is a map of a journey. Not necessarily where you are going but where you have been. It’s nice to look back once in a while.



Friday, February 16, 2018

FIshing?

Growing up in a family that was fanatic about fishing, I had a fishing rod in my hands as soon as I could hold one. It has stuck with me even though I don't get to fish as often as I did growing up. I married a guy who doesn't mind fishing as long as someone baits his hook and takes the fish off.

Some of my grandchildren though have inherited the fishing gene and I do get to indulge in the sport on occasion. Some of our Florida grandkids enjoy fishing so this past couple of weeks I've gotten to sit with them and drop a line in.

From the dock at the condo complex, there's not a whole lot to catch that has much size to it. Grunts, the occasional snapper, maybe a small barracuda and even a needle fish. I always tell people we're catching appetizers. Although they are too small to keep, they are still fun to hook and reel in.

Shark fishing (excluding hammerheads) is legal in Florida and one night a friend invited our grandson to bring a couple of fish heads and fish for shark with him. Both the friend and the grandson were ecstatic when he hooked into a sand shark about 35 inches long and reeled it in. A couple of pictures and it was released.




One morning though I had quite a time with a small needle fish. I had caught a good sized one a few days before but this one just kept swimming up on top of the water. He would follow my bobber as I reeled my line in and nip at it. Then as if he knew it, he would hustle after the line as I brought up whatever might be left over of my bait on the hook. If I hung the bait over his head, he would swim in circles waiting for it like a puppy dog waiting for a treat. Yes, I was teasing the wildlife.

When we were done fishing, I tossed in what was left of my bait and he was rewarded for his patience.

It's okay, fishy. I'll have the hook
out in a minute.
Oh, about the question of fishing. I was fishing. My grandkids were catching. They certainly had me beat by numbers.




Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Great Keys Hurricane

While Irma tore into the Keys with a fury, she in no way came close to the devastation and loss of life incurred in the Great Hurricane of 1935. The hurricane was unnamed. Hurricanes did not receive names until the 1940s. It earned its title as the Great Hurricane due to its Category 5 designation with winds that reached near 200 MPH and a storm surge of 18-20 feet.

At the time the fastest way in and out of the Keys was by rail, ferry or boat. A railway ran from the mainland to Key West. A large group of World War I veterans were encamped in the area working on various government projects. When it was finally determined that the hurricane would hit the area, a train was sent to try to evacuate the workers but unfortunately it arrived at the wrong time and was derailed by the surge. It was reported that 269 of the veterans perished.

All in all over 400 died in the storm that hit in the night on Labor Day weekend. Tourists as well as residents were swept away in the wind and surge as buildings and landscape around them were torn apart. It must have been really frightening.

The railway was gone. The track and much of its supporting facilities were damaged so badly that there was no way Flagler could afford to repair it all.

The town of Tavenier was completely destroyed. Islamorada devastated.

But the Keys are strong. Over the years they came back. Thankfully as years went on hurricane predictions became more accurate and evacuation procedures in place have saved lives.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Keys Post Irma

A foot of sea grass carpeted the floor of the Snappers dining room
after Irma destroyed the windows and let the water in.
The hurricane season of 2017 devastated many. Texas. Florida. Puerto Rico. Several Caribbean islands. While we had heard reports of the damage in the keys, we didn't know quite what to expect when we arrived in early January. It was three months post Irma. How much would be recovered? How much lost?

Beginning restoration of the Turtle Club at Snappers.
While Key Largo where we rent a condo was touched by Irma, it was not as devastating as the swipe Irma took through Islamorada and Marathon to the south of us. The condo complex where we stay had not been severely damaged. The condo buildings were intact. The only structure sustaining damage was one of the boat storage units that lost its metal roof. A lot of the landscape had changed though. There were obvious spots where trees were missing and leaves were stripped from other trees and bushes.

Along the Overseas Highway there were still large piles of debris, mostly of large tree bottoms with huge roots but also couches, tires, pieces of wooden structures, etc. Some of which we would learn was being carted to the area from other places and dumped.

Snappers' temporary kitchen.
The saddest things we learned were of the hotels and restaurants that were still closed and needing repair. Along with the "No Dumping" signs were signs warning of the illegality of unlicensed contractors. We would also hear of the shortage of contractors and crews. They were stretched thin which made progress slow.

Our favorite restaurant, Snappers, was featured in a CNN story just before and after the hurricane hit. According to reports the restaurant was flooded with four feet of surge and battered by waves as high as ten feet. It sits right on the ocean side where the category 4 hurricane came ashore. The outdoor bar area known as the Turtle Club was completely wiped away.

An aerial shot of Snappers before Irma.
The restaurant was one of the first to begin serving the area again but did so by cooking on outdoor grills at what they could restore quickly of the bar just outside the main building. The restaurant itself  was a mess and its kitchen destroyed. The owner said he was mainly trying to provide a place of respite for the few who were just returning to their homes.

Eventually Snappers put their cook in a food truck and began serving from an "Irmageddon" menu. There is no dishwasher so everything is served on disposable wear. Tables are still set up on the outdoor boardwalk area and patrons are supporting the owners efforts. Still it is difficult as they cannot serve as many as before so staff has been reduced.

Carmelitano used to play from a floating platform dockside.
That is the case with many of the jobs in the area. The reduction in hotel space because of closings reduces the number of people coming to the keys which of course leads to a reduction in staff.

If there is one thing the Keys are though it's resilient and things will begin to take shape and hopefully be even better than before. Meanwhile, we will eat our Sunday brunch and Snappers and enjoy the music of Frank Carmelitano and the weather and the food that is still amazingly good despite the small portable kitchen it comes from.






Monday, February 12, 2018

A Dose Of Disney - Animal Kingdom

If you read my blog often you know how much I love zoos. Animal Kingdom is like a big zoo but the main attraction now seems to be the Avatar ride. It's new and its reputation has grown. Early on we began trying to figure out how to fit it into our day but as Touring.com indicated there was never a wait time less than two hours. And Fastpasses--gobbled up long ago.

Still my husband and son would not be denied. So when we got through the gate as the park opened the two hustled off to the Avatar ride. By the time they got there the line wait was already two and a half hours. The rest of us set off for the safari ride which used to be the big ride in AK.

The kids were duly impressed with the safari ride although it was a lot bumpier than I remember. Some of the animals came up really close to the jeep we were in. This ride is very much like the real safari we were on except that the more dangerous animals are in exhibits that have a large "moat" to keep them away from the jeeps full of people although from the jeep you can't tell that anything separates you from those lions sunning themselves.

We enjoyed It's Tough To Be A Bug on a Fastpass. The 3-D is fun as are all the other effects that are tossed in. I think even our 12 y/o was impressed.

Throughout the morning the guys kept us updated on their progress in line. As they got nearer, there was a lot to see of the Pandora landscape--none of which Bob would recognize since he hadn't seen the movie.

I ended up at the petting zoo with two of the kids while the older ones went on the Primeval Whirl. When we were done petting goats (the sheep couldn't be coaxed out into the petting area) we explored the nature center there and got to meet Rafiki.

It was nearing noon and there was a nice quiet area near the Petting Zoo with tables and benches. Since the two Avatar guys were just off the ride, I suggested we all meet there for lunch. It took a while to gather together but it was a nice lunch and everyone really enjoyed the Subways.

We mostly explored Dinoland, played in the playground area, dug for bones, and rode the Primeval Whirl once or twice again as well as the Triceratop Spin (a lot like the Dumbo ride). We had a Fastpass for the Dinosaur ride and four people got to ride twice since Bob had gotten the eight passes and not everyone could go.

Dinner was at the Rainforest Restaurant which is really not in the park but just outside it. You have to be sure you have your passes with you to reenter although there is no security to go through a second time. I think we all enjoyed our meals. I know I enjoyed my fish and chips. The kids loved seeing it storm inside a few times and watched the animals come alive.

After dinner Bob had Fastpasses for Expedition Everest. During dinner our 12 y/o grandson explained in detail, twice,  every twist and turn and backwards movement. He'd experienced the whole ride over and over on YouTube. He still didn't convince me. The ones who didn't ride a second time came with me and we found seats for the Rivers of Light show.

It was a little difficult for them to find us but they did and we were all together as the program started. I think we all enjoyed it as much as we had the Epcot fireworks even though there were no fireworks. Fountains of colorful water danced from large floating lotus flowers and several lighted floats that were animals weaved between them. The music was soothing and beautiful and the tower of flames toward the end added a little more excitement.

Pandora
As we filed out, Bob was reminded that he'd promised ice cream bars since we didn't want to fill up on desserts before the roller coaster ride on Everest. We got the bars and began a leisurely walk toward the entrance of the park and our car. Mom and Dad decided to take the kids into one of the souvenir shops and let them pick out a souvenir. They were ecstatic! It was a big decision and took a while but Bob and I sat outside and enjoyed the night, the gentle breeze and reminisced about the day.

Oh, the Avatar ride? He said he wouldn't wait three hours again to ride it but it was interesting.





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