Friday, June 27, 2014

Iona's Tribute


Not much pulls at my heart-strings than seeing the relationships between the younger generations and the older generations. 
It is almost as though for a bit of time...two very different worlds meet and the ones who are blessed enough to have each other for any amount of time...be it years or minutes...seem to glean treasures untold!!

Over the years, I have been touched by my Twinsie who has such a tender heart toward the elderly.  She has taught me more than she will ever know...especially when it came to her dear friend, Iona.

I must admit there were times I caught myself rolling my eyes as she would describe the plans she had for Iona for the day.  There were certainly times I felt like she should just stay home and take a nap while her baby napped as opposed to having tea with her friend. There were moments when I thought that maybe she was giving too much and needed to slow down in the "taking care of department".  BUT, was I ever wrong. 

The friendship grew and became a blessing neither would be willing to give up on...not for a second.  What an incredible gift they shared as Iona so willingly shared her life with that of a young momma and her baby.

Iona is now celebrating LIFE in heaven as my sweet sissy misses her daily.

I say, if you are needing a new friend...pray about it.  Maybe a lonely, gramma lady is praying for a new friend who will include her in the life of her younger family.  What a lovely thought for them to be sought after and needed.  After all...friendships that are unexpected are the ones I believe are gifts sent from GOD.  Do you know how I know?  They are tenderly gift wrapped by the hands of the maker of the universe.  A very unique gift indeed! 

This is her reflection:

"As Landen and I sit down to write this letter to you, we are awed at the deep imprint of friendship you have left on our lives.

I'll never forget the day we first met. We had just moved out to Scappoose and were your new neighbors at the duplex. I was eight months pregnant with Landen, and feeling overwhelmed with life. You immediately took me under your wing, and endeared yourself to me.
We started out with daily early morning walks around the block that by the end of summer had turned into two hour “walk-a-thons”. 
We laughed, shared stories, talked about childhoods, exchanged recipes, and you never failed in helping me prepare for the arrival of Landen.

We always enjoyed you retelling the story of your first glimpse of Landen. He was on his blanket, and as soon as he heard your voice, he moved his head to look at you, and your eyes met. That was all it took. From that moment on, you two shared a bond! We still took our daily walks, no matter the weather. You reassured me that it really was okay to take Landen out into the cold and rain. Oh, what a a sight we must have been as we walked the streets in our  mix-matched sweatshirts, coats, sweatpants, and a baby in the stroller with garbage bags over the bottom part of his blankets to keep him from getting soaked!!

As Landen grew, you would come get him and take him next door to your house so I could nap, and then you would feed him most evenings while I was getting dinner ready. You spoiled us!

At the age of 18 months, I started in the care giving of my grandma, and that was another adventure which you shared in. You became a friend to grandma, and were always available to help in any way you could. She too loved you!!

One day when Landen was talking about how many grandmas he had, I was trying to explain that you weren't his “ real” grandma.  After hearing my explanation, Landen looked up at me and emphatically proclaimed  “ But Mommy, Nona is my real grandma! ”. That was the end... in his mind and heart, you were his grandma. End of discussion. Never again was it a matter of question... you were his!!

At the very essence of this letter, it is our desire to express the gratitude our family has towards you, and the legacy with which you graced us in the sixteen years we knew you.  In everything you did and said, it was in the true gift of time and unconditional friendship that you gifted us.

Never were you too busy to encourage, listen, and invest in our lives. We each felt that when we were with you, time stopped, and we were given your undivided attention.


We love you Nona, and are thankful for you and the time God granted to us to be a part of your life."

Laura Stroh

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Count Your Many Blessings


Hymns.  They reach down to the deepest part of your soul.  No matter how many years it has been since you have listened to them, it seems a mere impossibility to forget the strong words of Truth and Faith.
I think every hymn is my favorite...but there are those that are my favorite.favorite!

How very easy it is to feel lost in this world...keeping track of wrongs, having lack of purpose and direction, busyness and a sense that the good days are forever gone and have regretfully been replaced with the bad days.  This is so far from the what God has for us!



When upon life's billows
You are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged,
Thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done.

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your blessings,
See what God has done
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

Are you ever burdened
With a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy
You are called to bear?
Count your many blessings,
Ev'ry doubt will fly
And you will be singing
As the days go by.

When you look at others
With their lands and gold
Think that Christ has promised
You His wealth untold
Count your many blessings,
Money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven,
Nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict,
Whether great or small
Do not be discouraged,
God is over all
Count your many blessings,
Angels will attend
Help and comfort give you
To your journey's end.

Words by:  Johnson Oatman, Jr.

I hope this encourages you today!!
If it is hard for you to list your blessings...maybe you can take a short walk around the block and talk to Jesus and ask Him to bring blessings to your mind as you hum a hymn of old.

This picture is a hint as to what is going on in our little family.  There is much more to come.

Photo Credit:  Jessica Lyons Photography