Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Milk, Anyone?

"MEEEELK!"


Tate owns our daughter Bethany and son-in-law Kurt  . . . he apparently thought the milk was good to the last drop!  Featured in my upcoming book I AM DACHSHUND, Tate and Shadow have quite an adventure together. 


Find out more by clicking on the I AM DACHSHUND Excerpt link on the sidebar.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dachshunds Excel in Resting!


Here is our doxie Duke "resting" with my hubby Clark.  Don't know how much rest Clark actually got, but Duke certainly seems comfortable :).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Ol' Summertime

Ah, the glories of childhood summers!  The beach, the pool, even running under the backyard sprinkler on a hot day:  sunshine + water = pure joy for youngsters.  


In this photo, my granddaughters are enjoying the surf at Wilmington, NC. 



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Tribute to My Hubby!

My own father, Robert Duke, has been with the Lord for nearly ten years.  Our family still misses his wide grin, robust laugh, and storytelling--and we always will, on this side of heaven.  But today, I want to honor my husband extraordinaire Clark, who is a blessing as my husband, a wonderful father to our two girls, and a loving "Papa" to our three grandchildren.

He is the most honest man I know; he does not ever try to draw attention to himself; instead, he shuns it (diametrically opposite from me!).  He does what is right because it is right, not for any other reason (isn't that enough?)  He is also quiet and unassuming.  "Puttering around the house," as he calls it, is something he truly enjoys, and his "puttering" has renovated our old fireplace into a thing of beauty, turned our back porch into a sun room, our front walk into a welcoming pathway.  He can fix just about anything, much to the amazement of other family members who aren't quite as handy.  I once asked him how he learned to repair so many different things, such as cars or appliances--he just shrugged, like it was no big deal.  But it is to us!  Those repairs are his way of showing he cares, and we all know it . . . that is why we appreciate him so much :). 

He is always thinking about others and doing things for them.  For instance, he prepared lunch for all of us today, on Father's Day!  Even if he is tired, he'll still take time to play with the grandchildren, fix something broken in the house, or simply bring me a cup of coffee. 

The kind and loving things in life add such abundance to it.  He is "the" valuable jewel in my multi-faceted adventure of life!

Monday, June 14, 2010

On Aging . . .

I'll begin by sharing a recent conversation with my four-year-old granddaughter Alexa, as I was getting my coffee one morning:
Alexa:  "Grandma, your legs have designs on them."
Me:  "Those aren't designs--they're veins!"
Alexa:  "Oh . . . ."  Her voice trailed off.  She stopped, taking a more studied look at my "designs." 

You have to laugh at such things.  But when my daughter put that conversation as her Facebook status . . . well, we all got another laugh, and so did friends.

Young children believe they will never get old and decrepit like Grandma.  I was the same, running barefoot with abandon through the grass as a young child, riding my bike with nary a care (because my legs simply did not protest back then), or jumping off the high diving board without fear because I was bulletproof.

What is my attitude toward aging?  First and foremost, I am grateful for the multitude of blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me:  my wonderful hubby extraordinaire, our two beautiful married daughters and sons-in-law (whom we look upon like sons), and our three lovely grandchildren.  I am also grateful to have my mom still with us, although with major health issues. She is now in a skilled nursing facility--but only a mile from our house. 

At 82, her mind is clear, and if she did not have advanced COPD (among other health problems), she would still work circles around me!  We have fabulous conversations about whatever we want when I pop in to see her.  She loves to read, and we often discuss the latest book she's involved in.  Christian fiction is her favorite genre; devouring a bagful of library books every couple of weeks, Mom whiles away many an hour reading inspirational stories.

I am 62.  I AM 62.  I . . .  AM . . . 62.  It is gauche these days to mention one's age, especially if beyond 40, but I am thankful for the decades I've lived through.  Just the other day, I was thinking about all those decades.  Our granddaughters, ages four and six, like to count my age by tens:  "Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, TWO."  Well, when put that way, I am pretty decrepit!  I was born in 1947, not "19-mumble-mumble."  However, running around spouting off how much I currently weigh is a different matter altogether!  Torture would not even force me to reveal THAT magic number :).

Do I have wrinkles?  Yes, a few--but staying out of the sun for most of these years, I've managed to dodge the prune designation just yet.  Do my joints all work flawlessly?  Nope--knees and ankles do argue with me at times.  Is my hair gray?  Not if I can do something about it--and I do.  Do I look like I did when I was 20?  Of course not! 

All of this begs the question:  would I want to go back to being that girl of 20 now?  My answer is a resounding NO.  I have traveled all kinds of roads to arrive at this "mature" age of 62.  I have learned to say no gracefully when I don't want to do something that someone else has planned for me, like heading a committee.  I have learned how to keep my mouth shut at the right times, but I also speak up when it is important to me, not concerned so much with what others might think.  One's Christian testimony is something to cherish, but pleasing Him is the major point, after all.

The Lord has protected me from myself.  I have not had a life of perfection, certainly, because many troubles were actually the consequences of my own poor choices (taking a job that was totally wrong for me).  Some were beyond my control (my two miscarriages)--but through them all, the one constant has been like the poem "Footprints," where the Lord carried me when things were so tough I could not carry on by myself.

Aging is just a state of mind, I'm told.  I tend to believe that.  No matter how old and frail this house of clay becomes, I have so much more to look forward to, both in this life and in the next.  My faith in Christ sustains me. 

This boot camp we call life is supposed to be our preparation for the eternal one, so my aging is inevitable--even welcomed--designs and all.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Duke, You're Quite A Dawg


Duke has been, and still is, a wonderful companion to our family.  We got him from a reputable breeder out in the country where our daughter and son-in-law found Shadow.   When Shadow and family moved out of state, we realized that we needed our own doxie to love, so voila!  We searched and found this precocious, comical, and loving "hot dog." 

 Duke as a puppy

Duke will be three this month, and I cannot imagine how we made it without a doxie in the house.  He's a bed hog, a toy lover (although he MUST kill all stuffed toys), and doggie kiss dispenser.  And did I mention how loudly he barks??  That's a normal trait for dachshunds--they think they are large dogs, anyway.

With a huge heart for people, Duke is always ready to play with our little grandchildren (unless he's napping, of course).  He's also a ready-made lap warmer in the evenings.  Featured in the as-yet-unpublished I AM DACHSHUND, he and Shadow have quite a few shenanigans going. 

You are quite a dawg, Duke!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm a Grammar Nazi, Part Two

As I stated in an earlier post, unnecessary grammatical errors drive me nuts.  When our youngest daughter was married, one of the newspapers where we ran her wedding article had so many typos that we were embarrassed to even send copies to friends and family!  Apparently, that small-town paper saved money on hiring copy editors or skipped the proofreading step altogether (not even bothering to use spell check). 

A few years later, I taught high school journalism, and one of my classroom exercises was to bring in copies of newspapers to give students the opportunity of proofreading some of the articles (good experience to encourage them to proofread their own articles).  I included that wedding article, and my students were amazed to find so many errors.  This exercise drove home to them the necessity of proofreading essays, reports, and yes--even newspaper articles--before turning them over for grading or publication.

Below are more of my "favorite" grammar pet peeves:
  • failing to capitalize "English" (or another language) - C'mon, people!  We all know this one, so let's capitalize language names:  French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc.  Former students write to me:  "You were my favorite english teacher."  Obviously, I didn't teach them much, did I?
  • Using an apostrophe with plurals - "I enjoy reading magazine's."  The apostrophe indicates possessive, not plural, with nouns.  Correct:  "I enjoy reading magazines."  Our oldest daughter used to live in rural TN, and a flea market had this hand-lettered sign out front beside the road:  "We sell doll,s, gun,s, and lot,s of other things."  Using a comma for plurals is even worse than an apostrophe!  NOTE:  Another quirk in English grammar is that an apostrope is NOT used with possessive pronouns:  hers, his, theirs, ours, etc.  NEVER write her's, their's, our's.
  • Your/you're, and your's - These first two, your/you're, are not supposed to be used interchangeably.  "Your" is a possessive:  That is your book.  "You're" is a contraction of "you are":  I believe you're the person who won the contest.  As for your's, please see the previous entry.
I will post more from time to time.  I invite readers to send their grammar pet peeves by commenting below.  I'd be greatly interested in them. 
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Admit It . . . I'm a Grammar Nazi, Part One

As I stated in an earlier post, unnecessary grammatical errors drive me nuts.  When our youngest daughter was married, one of the newspapers where we ran her wedding article had so many typos that we were embarrassed to even send copies to friends and family!  Apparently, that small-town paper saved money on hiring copy editors or skipped the proofreading step altogether (not even bothering to use spell check). 

A few years later, I taught high school journalism, and one of my classroom exercises was to bring in copies of newspapers to give students the opportunity of proofreading some of the articles (good experience to encourage them to proofread their own articles).  I included that wedding article, and my students were amazed to find so many errors.  This exercise drove home to them the necessity of proofreading essays, reports, and yes--even newspaper articles--before turning them over for grading or publication.

Below are more of my "favorite" grammar pet peeves:
  • failing to capitalize "English" (or another language) - C'mon, people!  We all know this one, so let's capitalize language names:  French, German, Italian, Spanish, etc.  Former students write to me:  "You were my favorite english teacher."  Obviously, I didn't teach them much, did I?
  • Using an apostrophe with plurals - "I enjoy reading magazine's."  The apostrophe indicates possessive, not plural, with nouns.  Correct:  "I enjoy reading magazines."  Our oldest daughter used to live in rural TN, and a flea market had this hand-lettered sign out front beside the road:  "We sell doll,s, gun,s, and lot,s of other things."  Using a comma for plurals is even worse than an apostrophe!  NOTE:  Another quirk in English grammar is that an apostrope is NOT used with possessive pronouns:  hers, his, theirs, ours, etc.  NEVER write her's, their's, our's.
  • Your/you're, and your's - These first two, your/you're, are not supposed to be used interchangeably.  "Your" is a possessive:  That is your book.  "You're" is a contraction of "you are":  I believe you're the person who won the contest.  As for your's, please see the previous entry.
I will post more from time to time.  I invite readers to send their grammar pet peeves by commenting below.  I'd be greatly interested in them. 
MySpace Codes

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