Monday, June 30, 2008

Granddaughters in the mountains

The mountain air is cool and fresh with the smells of a recent rain and the sounds of a rapidly flowing creek as well as the joy of giggling young girls. It is 2:30, we have been here for about 14 hours and every moment, except for our 7 hours of sleep, have been filled with wonderful activities. The girls are finishing their drawings on canvases, then we are then going to take a hike to Mrs. Oliver's before starting to paint them... If I could get a little nap, all would be perfect. ;)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Giving half of all you have

Happy occasion that it was, I cried all the way home from the nursing home today. Let me explain...

My Great Aunt, Lillie Turney, lives at Brian Center Nursing Home in Austell, GA. Since most of her family lives far away, I try to visit her every two or three weeks. I have done this for several years now and it seems that each time I go I get acquainted with more of the other residents. It is getting harder and harder to leave as those residents recognize my face and each expects a visit before I go. My heart is pulled from person to person, feeling their loneliness and the need of each one for a personal touch. I sense that they have lived out their lives, yet somehow they have some life left over, so they wait, not remembering the past, not knowing what to do with the present and frightened of the future. Every time I go, it gets sadder for me. I know them by name, especially; Betty, James, Bobby, Katherine, Claire, Susan, Edna, Ethel- May and mostly I've gotten really close to Aunt Lillie. She tries to be happy when I come, she never complains, but I see the sadness in her eyes that she tries to cover up with a, "I sure do appreciate all you do for me.", whether I do anything or not.

Today I went to celebrate her 92nd birthday with her. I came in, just before lunch was served, singing Happy Birthday, with cake, gifts and camera in hand. Look at the above video... Did she know it was her birthday? Did she even know who I was?... I don't know, and I guess it doesn't much matter; what matters is that someone knew it was her birthday and thought it was worth celebrating.

Aunt Lillie acted pleased. We put the candles on the cake together, while others around us waited for their lunch and looked on with envy. She opened up the necklaces I brought her and put all three around her neck at the same time...then the whole point of this blog happened...

I pulled up a chair to the table with Lillie and her table partner, Katherine (Katherine sort of reminds me of Maude, from the TV show). I suggested that they start their lunch and said I would just get a cup of coffee and sit with them, and then we could cut and pass out the cake (I had brought paper plates and plastic forks enough to serve others). A gentleman (who looked very much like Billy Graham) was at the coffee container, so I sat down, waiting for him to finish, before going to get a cup of the luke warm brew. A good five minutes later, he wheeled himself over to our table and offered me a cup of coffee with sugar, sweetener and creamer wadded up in the palm of one hand. I was so touched that I hardly knew what to say, except what a nice thing for him to do for me. He said he had heard that I wanted some coffee and that was the least he could do. Then I asked him his name. When he told me it was Leonard, I couldn't help the tears that popped into my eyes. I told him that was my father's name, I was touched, it was an honor to meet him and my name was Merry. He said he had a daughter named Mary...Well, that wasn't all I found out about Leonard. He was a missionary for many years and later in life became a Baptist preacher. When his lunch came, he slowly went over to his table and brought his plate back to ours. Quietly he sat, while I talked to the ladies and paid some attention to Aunt Lillie. The next thing I knew, Leonard put half of his lunch on a small bread plate and placed it in front of me. Half of his piece of cold baked chicken, half of his half of a baked sweet potato, half of his salt-free green beans, half of his dinner roll and half of his peanutbutter cookie. It was like the widow's mite, the Olivers' generosity, the angels saying, "well done, Merry". It was the sweetest offering of friendship I think I have ever had. That man who seemed to have no future left, touched my life and I will never forget him. It was so befitting that his name is Leonard.

Aunt Lillie wasn't having such a good day. She was having some pretty serious tummy problems. She excused herself and after a few minutes I went to check on her. She didn't feel like coming back to the lunch room, so I told her I would go and serve her cake to anyone that was left and would then bring it back to serve her and her neighbors.

Leonard was gone, so I took him a piece of cake to his room, where I found him reading. He smiled with delight and asked for a hug. It was a hug in Christ.

I will visit this gentle man again and I will pass on what he taught me today. You can make a difference, no matter what your circumstances. Lillie has taught me how to laugh when it's all there is left to do...and Leonard taught me to give half of all I have.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Isabelle is blogging!

This morning I went to church with Mimi and Grandad. And after that we went home and ate lunch. And after that Grandad got his motorcycle and took off to watch Ford play some baseball. It was fun to watch him ride away.

I also made cookies, wrote Joey a letter and wrote on Mimi's blog while she cleaned up the kitchen.

So have a nice day, from Issy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Happenings

Note from Kristin...

(Kristin and the boys have moved! Hopefully Beth will be moving in with them to share the expenses. I will forward their new address as soon as I get it.)

"The boys and I were packing yesterday afternoon, going through the piles of school papers and projects they have been carting home the past few days (today is their last day of school) and Keegan showed me his in-class journal. He picked out his favorite writings and read them to me. This is what he read:

As the sun sets, the light stops dancing across the crystal blue water. The trees form a long bridge to the night sky, with stars moving like fireflies on a summer's night. As a blanket of darkness falls across the land, the growing sound of rain fills the lakes and rivers that have been dry for so long. And as the stars fill the sky with a gleaming light, the rain slows and the animals start to come out. The woodpecker pecks and the squirrels climb tall trees for nuts and small raccoons try to find a home. The fawns learn to jump and the frogs lay down on a lily pad and watch. But now they all must go and the light of day comes back.


I am a cardinal sitting on a branch in the middle of a cold white winter.
I am a lizard sitting on a rock heated by the summer sun. I am the rain patting on the ground like a man would knock on a door.
I am the color white of the coldest winters.
I am the color green of the newborn plants in the Spring.
I am the quiet plop of a leaf falling to the ground.
I am a newborn maple tree crawling out of the ground.
I am a long ocean of a thousand waves.
I am the light of the sun himself.


Blue is the shape of the sapphire.
Blue is the sound of the bird chirping in the light of the sun.
Blue smells like the sweet nectar being sucked from the newborn flowers.
Blue feels as soft as silk being brushed across your face.
Blue is as calm as a sleeping cat.
Blue is the song of the falling snow.
Blue tastes like a small snowflake touching your tongue.
Blue is the box of quiet and calm.

(Mom's commentary - I can't resist - "so interesting to me that a boy as energetic and vivacious as Keegan is, has as his favorite color blue, which he sees as quiet and calm, soft and sweet.")

The final excerpt I wanted to share is one from a list of "records," such as the smallest thing he saw was an aphid on a blade of grass and the slowest thing he saw was a slug crawling across the ground. He included this sentence in his list as well: "The quietest thing was a pause in between my Mom's words."

Now an Aidan story:

Teacher's end of the year comment to Kristin..."I know we are not supposed to have favorites, or at least not say that we do, but I have to tell you, Aidan is my favorite. He is so smart and kind, such a wonderful person. He brings me my favorite candy whenever he can." (Aside -- she's right. On the rare occasion we buy candy, he always gets M&Ms for Deborah and peanut-butter flavored anything for his teacher, Ms. T.L.) Then Deborah said, "I have to tell you a story. Aidan said to me the other day, 'Deborah, what is it like to be an adult? Is it fun?' I said, 'Well, sometimes it's fun, and sometimes it's not so fun. What's it like to be a kid?' Clearly this answer didn't satisfy him. He rolled his eyes and said with great drama, 'Deborah. You were a kid once. You KNOW what it is like to be a kid. I have not been an adult. That's why I asked you what it's like!'"

Both boys have just finished up their baseball season. Keegan loves the game and like Ford and Joe has enjoyed much success. To Aidan, it's just a game he could take or leave. he does fine without obsessing. :) He would rather play with his special friend, Katie.

News of other summer activities from the gang.

Joe and Issy are in football and cheerleading camps this week. Joe heads off to his first spend-the-night camp this coming Sunday. His address is: Joe Regas - Athens Y Camp for Boys - PO Box 8 - 1000 Y Camp Road - Tallulah Falls, GA 30573, if anyone has time to drop him a card.

The Regas family will be off to Bluffton for the 4th.

Vacation Bible School will be ending today for Andrew, Emily and William (and Tom! He and the rest of the church actors performed daily shows for the assembly. Andrew joined him from time in several of the performances). They have also been doing swim team and in Andrew's spare time he has been earning his way to New York "one cake at a time." Let me explain...Andrew is the first of all the nieces and nephews to make solo visits to Kate and Jeremy in the Big Apple (get on the schedule!). Andrew has to earn part of his plane ticket and spending money. So, he has been making our family recipe pound cake (all by himself) and selling them for $15.00 each to people in his neighborhood. He found cake carriers at the Dollar Store, made labels on the computer and took around samples so people would know what they were getting. I have put in my order for a cake to take my Aunt Lillie for her birthday next weekend.

I understand that Andrew has about 7 orders so far, so let's see, 7 x 15.00 = WOW! Good work!

Ford has pretty much been all about baseball so far this summer. He is playing with the best players, now, and it has been a challenging season. His team goes to Cooperstown N.Y. for a huge tournament at the end of July. I think he deserves a little time to read books and relax. He has been working so hard with practice and games and his GPA is well over a 4.0! I think I heard that he and Morgan are going on a cruise with his other grandparents... Bon voyage you two! Hope you have a great time.

Morgan starts rock climbing camp next week and I hope to see what she has learned from art lessons when the three granddaughters go with me to the mountains, for several days, at the end of the month. I have started work on a painting of Morgan. I am painting it from a picture of her that I took in the limo when we went to see the Lion King. I am hoping the girls and I will have some painting time together so that I can get back to work on it. I have a long way to go.

I have such interesting grandchildren. I just love hearing about the things they are doing and I love telling others - everything from William's awesome talent at puzzles and making up songs to the many activities the big kids are excelling in. Keep giving me the info and don't leave out a single detail. You all make me so happy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Father's Day 2008

Oh, how I honor you on Father's Day!
(and Brian)
You are sons who have honored your parents-
and Fathers your sons and daughters should emulate.
The world needs more fathers like you...
and I know all about good fathers.

Enjoy getting back all you have given.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My Day

On June 9th, I got the most precious gifts of all for my birthday. I got the gift of love, and it was just what I wanted.

I know all I have to do is ask, and all my children or grandchildren would try and do whatever they could for me, as I would for them, but we are in a busy season of football and swim teams (baseball in CA) and many more summer activities, so getting together for a birthday dinner, 30 to 45 minutes north of town, in rush-hour traffic on Monday night, was just impossible for most of my Atlanta family. You can't let your teams down, and I approve of that! Anyway, the Sabonis-Chafees teamed together and pulled off the most elegant dinner, with gifts and sweet memories for my 61st birthday, so they need to be bragged about.

I was greeted by happy children and a half-dozen elaborately decorated signs that read things like: "Welcome", "Happy Birthday", "You're the BEST!", "We Love You", "MIMI", all made by Emily. While she was at work on the signs, Andrew was cleaning and making my birthday cake! It was our family recipe pound cake and never have I seen it made better. (I found out, soon after arriving, that William helped with that cake too!) William entertained me with song and tumbling before dinner while Grandad, Mike (who came to represent the Regas family while Mary took the kids to their swim meet) and I sat outside chatting and eating delicious appetizers as the finishing touches were put on the meal. (We also got a tour of the new basement rooms,which are stunning by the way!)

Kim had set a beautiful table with memories (blue hydrangeas as her center piece) from last year's 60/80 birthday party with my Mother. She had gifts, cards and balloons at my place at the table and to the right and left of me sat my handsome sons, Mike and Tom. What a treat!

Okay, that was nice and all, but you should have been there to taste that great meal! Wonderfully planned and executed by Kim, while Tom got home just in time to grill the pork. I plan on stealing all of her recipes for this mmm mmm delicious meal!!

...and then there was cake and gifts! Now, I really no longer need gifts for my birthday, cards and sweet notes are my favorite things now. But when Andrew presented me with a CD of his top 20 favorite songs and Emily painted a picture of a frog for me, and Joe and Issy gave me a cross and William posed for a picture and wrote his name on his card all by himself...I must say I was touched. They gave me what they thought I would like and by doing so, I realized that they know me.

I got many gifts that day that included loving phone conversations (some came with a song of "Happy Birthday") and sweet cards from those dear to me (and even a couple from our longtime insurance man and stock broker). They knew me too, and gave me the gift of themselves. It made my day perfect!

Terrence secretly placed cards and a gift at my breakfast table that morning and while in Amelia Island, a couple of days before, bought me the most beautiful sea shell, which I had looked at to buy for my Mother (it's our shell, Mom). The ever-faithful man in my life is still steadfast and devoted. I accept his gift of love every day of my life.

I got what I wanted for my day and I was most grateful, mainly because I've had it all along.

So, Happy Birthday to me! And on the 13th of this month, Happy Birthday to my dear Mother. I hope you feel about your family as I do mine. I can't be with you on your Birthday, but I'm there, loving you, every day. Here's to you...

Mother and Daughter turn 81 and 61 in 2008. Grateful for another year together, I say, "Happy Birthday to us!"

Monday, June 02, 2008

Summer on Granger Ct.

Grandad and I made a quick trip to visit with the Regas family on Sunday. Lucky for us Emily came for a play date with Issy, so we got to see her too! After chatting with Joe for a while, he and Grandad went on a short shopping trip while Mary took me to find the girls. We found them at a neighbor's house...swinging with the greatest of ease...

(Except for the size and gender of Isabelle this could be Mike and Kim some 30 years ago!) To this grandmother's eye it was a beautiful story of family. Isn't summer grand.

P.S. It wasn't as cool back at the house while Mary put Mike through a strenuous "boot camp" of exercises. She was trying the program out on him before taking it to a workout class for women, at her club. They were both working pretty hard.

I'm going to be blogging soon about Mary's personal training business. She has a great work-out room in their basement and has clients that come to her house. I want to catch her in action!