Moose on the Loose

Or maybe it’s not so much the moose that are on the loose as my coworkers!

Earlier this year I posted about how my lost moose sock inspired hope.  From that a dear friend found the exact socks on line and purchased them for me.  Well, my lovely coworkers (and they are lovely!) seem to have made it their goal to make sure I never miss a moose of any type again.

Moose CrossingJPG

 

It seemed to begin innocently enough (though I didn’t realize we were beginning anything!) with a sign on my door.

 

Missed Moose

I must have been out for a couple of days when I came back to find this new friend hanging on my window.

 

 

Moose Towel

 

Then there was the moose and his buddies collage that seems to have a new addition each day on the restroom towel dispenser.

 

Spruce Moose

After that came the Spruce Moose – he appeared on my wall shortly after we spent a day at Spruce Lake.

 

 

I was just feeling like maybe we had come to the end of the run of moose, when this appeared! Seriously?  Who makes a moose cutting board?

Moose board
So, I am learning that this may just go on for awhile.  And that’s ok.

And I do have the best coworkers around.  I love laughing, working, playing and praying with these blessings in my life!

 

99 Beautiful Places

99 Beautiful Places is a puzzle that I received as a Christmas gift this year (thanks again C).  I started it a little over a week ago.  I put some time into it on my own.  The next day “our girls” (daughters of our heart*; you can read an early part of that story here) came for a visit. After dinner we gathered in the den and B and I worked on the puzzle while A and Jerry watched and chatted.  We made good progress on the puzzle, but even more we made good progress in continuing to grow our family ties.

As always happens with any kind of a visit, the time came for the girls to leave.  I spent a little more time on the puzzle, but it’s just not as fun working on it alone.  As the week progressed I was telling God how I would love to see our dear DooH*again soon.  That very evening B texted and said they’d like to come back again to visit and work on the puzzle together.  Wo hoo!

This past weekend we enjoyed other afternoon together.  With B, A and I all focusing on it we were able to complete the puzzle.  The title of the puzzle fits -there are indeed 99 beautiful places from around the world highlighted on it.  Twenty two of those places I have already visited, another twenty six are on my travel wish list.

As lovely as all those places are, or seem to be, I can tell you they missed at least one!  To me the most beautiful place is with those I love.  Whether that’s at Christmas with my nieces and nephews, sharing dinner with my sister and her husband, playing a game with Jerry or doing a puzzle or coloring with B and A; that’s true beauty!

Hope Realized

A few weeks ago I shared an anecdote about my missing pink and brown moose sock.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I brought in our mail and saw a small packet from a store that sounded “Alaskan” to me.  How fun to open it up and find these – a new pair of New Moose Socksthe EXACT sock I had lost!  Even more fun was to see who sent them to me, someone with whom I am developing a new friendship.

When I thanked my friend, she shared that she thought it would be a fun way to share a blessing with me. She was right!

No longer do I hope to find the errant moose sock.  My hope has been realized.  But now I have a new hope – about how God will work in our lives as my friend and I get to know one another more and seek God together.

Hope and a Pink Moose Sock

A few years ago Jerry took me on an Alaskan cruise.  I think he hoped it would satisfy my desire to see Alaska and we could move on.  I certainly did enjoy the trip and the amazing beauty we saw. The trip actually whet my appetite to go back inland to see more of this gorgeous creation.

The one animal I really wanted to see was a moose.  I saw a number of
other animals, but no moose.  So instead I bought a pair of pink and moose sockbrown socks that had moose on them.  Yes, a purchase that had absolutely nothing to do with the “real” Alaska, but they were a fun memory for me.

Once I got home I wore them a couple times.  The last time I wore them (in 2013) only one sock came out of the laundry.  I was disappointed, but certain that the errant sock would show up soon attached via static cling to a sheet, towel or one of Jerry’s t shirts.

But it never did.  So I tucked the one sock away in a basket of socks, still believing that one day it’s mate would return.  When our dryer needed to be replaced in 2014 I asked the delivery guy to please check carefully to make sure no socks were stuck in it before he carried it away . . .he did and there weren’t any.

Fast forward to early December 2015 when I had foot surgery.  Finally I was able to wear my one pink moose sock since my other foot was adorned in bandages and a surgical shoe.  Such a fun perk.

Valerie

Over Christmas I shared that story with some of my family.  One of my niece’s (Valerie to be exact, who said if I shared this I had to credit her – so this one’s for you kid!) said, “Wow, that’s hope!”My family snickered, especially when I said I was going to blog about that. But she’s right!

Recently one our pastors spoke about hope and pointed out that Hope is never about the past or the present.  Hope is ALWAYS about the future – I think now I’ll really hang on to that pink moose sock.  It is a great example of hope and a reminder that “Hope is a good thing.  Maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.  So you better get busy living or get busy dying.”  (Credit to Andy D in The Shawshank Redemption)

Time to get back to being busy living –  who knows, maybe when the washer needs replacing I’ll find the other pink moose there!

 

Today I am Thankful that I Have No Style

Yes today is Thanksgiving, and that heightens my sense of my many blessings.  After putting the turkey in the oven I sat down with my coffee and yogurt in our den.  Spending time in quiet reflection I thought, today I am thankful that I am not one who gets caught up in style!  Maybe some who see me often wish I did, but that’s another story.

Sometimes when I am asked what style our home is decorated in I reply “early Goodwill.”  That’s not exactly true, but here is what I observed as I sipped my coffee in our den:

  • I was sitting in “Mom’s chair.”  I am probably more thankful for my mom now than I ever was when she was alive.  How I wish I let her know that more.  This is also the chair that Jerry’s attendants often sit in when waiting to help him.
  • Across the room is “Dad’s recliner.”  Such fun memories of seeing him in it in his living room playing “Yankee Doodle” with the grandkids.  Later this week that chair will take up a new residence in the home of B & A, the daughters of our heart.
  • A pillow on the chair was given my by niece from her time in Germany.
  • The walls are filled with pictures of family on both sides who are not with us today, such sweet memories.
  • Another  wall art was given to me by my BFF Susan; oh the stories we could tell.  Another painting came from the friends we owe so much of our ministry foundation to, the Coopers.
  • There is a puzzle that I assembled, glued and hung up that was given to me by my neighbors as a thank you for watching their home and pets.
  • My exercise bike is in the corner, that a Facebook friend Amy gave me after seeing I was looking for one.
  • My guitar is under the counter, a “hand me down” from my cousin Skipper who died way too young.
  • My sewing machine sits in another corner, a reminder of Nancy S a roommate who gave it to me.  Next to it is a sewing box given to me by dear Anne after I helped her make a bridesmaid dress.
  • Next to the sewing machine is our toy shelves – some of those toys from my mom and uncles.  To think of the many, many children of so many generations who played with those.
  • I see a carving of a kissing couple, one of the many unique gifts I received at my first bridal shower, at a restaurant in Accra, Ghana!
  • The window valance was made by my sister when we first built this room on and it was the Disability Ministry Associates/Joni and Friends office.  Wow – to even try to think of all that happened in this room.
  • Then there is the piano, talk about generations! My great Uncle Bill (who died when I was about 9?) bought this as a surprise for his sister, my Grandmother Guyer.  She lived next door to us.  I can still remember the excitement when the delivery truck came (and her really old upright piano came to our house next door).  This piano is not the finest tuned, but it’s a sweet memory of my family, and I can almost still hear Mom sitting at it each Sunday morning playing hymns before she left for church.

And that is just one room (and probably not all in it!).  So very, very thankful for each person these memories bring to mind.

But now I must go, the doorbell just rang and two beautiful nieces and a darling great niece just arrived – time to make some new memories!

Before I go, I think I’ll change the title of this post – perhaps I do have a style after all – love, memories and gratitude!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

 

Pondering Puzzling

Puzzle Day 1

We must be in the later part of autumn moving into winter.  How do I know?  Well yes, the calendar and the weather both point that out, but for me the definitive clue is I broke out a puzzle today.  For me puzzling is my fall and winter Sunday afternoon activity.

When Jerry and I took a walk today he asked me why I like to work puzzles (he clearly does not!).  Is it that puzzles add another “p” word to my vocabulary – like my much loved word pondering?  I think it goes deeper than that.

Take the puzzle I started today; my sister in law gave it to me last Christmas.  It’s a reproduction of an Italian painting and it’s a tough one.  I was tempted to put it aside, but that would be admitting defeat without even trying. I am a bit too competitive to do that.

I like the challenge of taking something that seems impossible and breaking it down to “can do” steps. I truly thought at the end of the day today I may not have anything other than the border done, but I am pleasantly surprised! Persistence paid off.

Puzzles sharpen my problem solving skills. They help me

  • see that details matter.  Paying attention to the shading differences, or subtleties of a piece are sometimes the only way to make a match
  • things aren’t always how they look – how often have I searched over and over for a particular piece, then when I finally find it I am surprised to see it was that piece.
  • realize that everything doesn’t have to be done at once; sometimes a break from puzzling allows me to come back to it with a fresh perspective and I can tackle an area that had stymied me before.
  • the end result doesn’t come overnight (unless one of Jerry’s attendants finishes it for me, but that’s never happened!). Often it takes a lot of hard work and every piece is necessary to make a beautiful completed picture.

I don’t usually consciously ponder these points while puzzling, but I do see how they have been influential in developing the way I tackle projects or problems in my personal life and in my work life.

So here’s to a new week that I enter refreshed and rested with the knowledge that the goal that seems so far away can be broken down and be within my reach.
Need that reminder too? Feel free to stop by and puzzle with me. You’ll find one in process for the next several months.