The party guest I invited

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Some of the decorations outside

Over 100 people came to my middle OS’s college send-off party.

It was a beautiful celebration and I just revelled in God’s goodness as I looked at the crowd.

I recall my high school graduation party and it was nothing like this one.

Mine had a keg of beer, Michael Jackson music and I remember my tube top falling down unexpectedly. Someone had yanked on it and whoops, there it fell right by the kitchen door leading out to the backyard.

I nearly died of embarrassment but shrugged it off because bursting into tears is just plain gauche for a burgeoning French major.

Possibly one of the sweetest sights at Aaron’s party is this one. People pausing to pray for my son. Such a tender moment, thank you precious family and friends.

Aaron’s bash was nothing of the sort…No booze, (none necessary) folk music, Christian fellowship and everyone remained fully clothed to my knowledge. 😉

Among the treasured guests were our current church family, close personal friends, extended family, pastors, friends from our old churches, some of Aaron’s former teachers and classmates that were in choir and drama together.

Our pastor spoke a beautiful prayer just before dinner which was a gift in itself.

We ate Chicago style hot dogs from Sonic, Chicago style pizza from Rosati’s and filled in with healthy food like cranberry quinoa salad, lentils and jasmine rice, marinated mozzarella, watermelon juleps and other lovely treats.

All the hard work paid off seeing the faces of people who obviously loved my olive shoot and felt cared for by him as well. Afterward, I told Aaron it was like a wedding but no wife and no sex. He wasn’t sure how to respond but appreciated the sentiment and just chalked it up to another one of Mom’s awkward sayings of which he has quite a collection.

Oh yes, knit Chicago style hot dogs and knit Chicago style pizza slices!

But in the back of my mind throughout the preparations and during the actual party, when I allowed myself to think,

I remembered that a year ago on this same day marked my grandma’s last full day on earth.

That is a very hard thing to process when one is getting ready for a party, I assure you. Myriad emotions wafted in and out.

I loved her so much, she was so dear to me.

She profoundly loved my babies.

How had I even survived this year without her?

Step right up and get your picture taken with Aaron in front of the Sears Tower!

It was a Chicago theme celebration since our ministry-minded OS is going to Moody Bible Institute in the heart of the Windy City. As many of you who have been reading my blog have noticed, I built a Sears Tower (I refuse to call it Willis Tower) in my family room.

Each guest got a picture with Aaron in front of our own homemade indoor skyscraper and I chuckled to see small lines of families getting ready for their turn in front of the impressive structure.

And in my own way, unbeknownst to most people, I secretly invited my grandma to the party.

She had to be a part of the night and oh how Grandma loved to party. The poor woman couldn’t cook worth a darn but she was an enthusiastic and memorable party guest. Young and old alike loved it when Grace was coming over. She had a way of getting a party started as many will attest.

My orange hair freckle face OS and his great grandma. She made everyone smile.

And that’s what I did.

I took her to the party.

It was hard to do but I wore her Chicago Cubs shirt to my OS’s celebration.

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t especially flattering or that it slightly clashed with my skirt, I wanted my grandma there with me.

I also wore her high school necklace which rarely leaves me. And I ate some hot dogs. Grandma ate like a bird but loved hot dogs.

Grandma joined the celebration last night. She would have had a blast even if she had some Alzheimer’s, rarely wore her hearing aids and needed a cane. Heaven is the only thing that stopped her from making an appearance and if my grandma is with Jesus, I completely understand her not wanting to leave the ultimate celebration.

All of us, Nate is even in the picture. And I’m wearing my grandma’s Chicago Cubs t-shirt

As the night drew to a close and August 5th soon approached, more tears fell from my tired eyes.

The one year anniversary of my grandma’s passing had now arrived.

I saw my family’s facebook statuses change and their profile pictures show photos of them with Grandma.

I was not alone in missing her.

And those tears mingled with the tears of joy I experienced toward my treasured OS. I can scarcely take it all in today but all is well.

I miss her.

I love her.

I will miss my boy.

How many people can say they have done the YMCA at their grandma’s 80th birthday party? And how many can say that later on in the night, they danced a conga line through their aunt’s house with that same grandma? I did both and will treasure those times forever!

I love him.

I praise the Lord for all the tears, all the people, all the kindness, all the sadness, all the memories, all the love, truly I am blessed on this most notable day.

These two people were crazy about each other.

PS. In honor of my grandma who loved to party, remember to enter my give-away for a fun party gift! I’ll draw a winner tomorrow! Leave a comment on this page if you want to be entered in.

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Wednesday remix – lizard licking good

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In a box of old pictures, I found one that hearkened back to a sweet memory…


You can’t be in a bad mood when you eat ice cream. It’s impossible to stay grumpy with a mouthful of frozen deliciousness. Probably when people go to heaven, they are given a complimentary pint of their favorite kind as a welcome home present. Maybe God created ice cream to compensate for the ticks He made. Just another one of my deep thoughts, free of charge. 😉

One hot mess that I can’t live without

It was during a trip with my OS to Florida, however; I was given an ice cream memory for my heart.


My OS had accomplished the superhuman feat of peacefully sharing one fishing pole between the three of them. Out on Bradenton Beach Pier, Grandma and I watched the guys catch five fish and we left the pier salty, wind-blown and proud. 


Good thing Grandma was getting her hair set the next day. It had been partly cloudy and drizzle had sprinkled our heads and flattened our coifs. We were a frightful sight but the OS were thrilled. Each one had his own fish story to tell.


After lunch Grams recommended we go out for ice cream. We entered The Orange Dipper and glanced at the 50 flavors of gourmet ice cream pondering which one to choose. The answer was easy for Aaron and Ike. One flavor beckoned them. Every dimension of the ice cream screamed to be picked. The name of that ice cream…Lizard Lips. Perfect. Neon green ice cream was scooped into their waffle cones. 

Yep, that’s right, we’re eating Lizard Lips!

As we licked away at our individual ice cream selected, I observed that all of us ate with personality. Aaron and Ike grinned as bright green covered their mouths. Ike looked like a tiny salamander as his tongue slithered out to grab a bite. Aaron’s t-shirt bespoke volumes about his day. Smeared fish goo, ketchup and mustard from his burger heartily welcomed new plops of Lizard Lips.


Cerebral Nate, as my oldest OS, he chomped away at his Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough the same way he does books! He devours them! As we chatted about the day’s highlights, suddenly in the midst of all the confabulation a little dot of ice cream appeared directly on Nate’s nose. I grabbed the camera and clicked. (I wish I could find that picture now!)

Three generations scooped every last drop of flavor from that day. Lizard Lips and ice cream dips were the perfect topping to our time together…

Here’s Grandma back in the day
seriously working that one-piece. You go, girl!


It is a blessed thing to have a great-grandma

So, after reading this post, do you have an ice cream memory you’d care to share?