Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekly Reader

I was reading in church this morning, waiting for the meeting to start (miracle of miracles, we were ten minutes early!) and came across this counsel from Brigham Young: ‘Render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations….’ Who, in all of your world, does that remind you of? Gary ~Dad ~Poppy came right to my mind and I imagined the angels visiting Hickory Hill farm in the form of all of you from Jim the eldest to Amelia Grace, the youngest!

We were lucky to have some of those angels visit a couple of weeks ago: Jordan, Amanda and Jonah the King, even though right now he is just a very handsome prince.

We enjoyed every minute of the long weekend they were in GA and I promised myself that we had to make this happen more often. They only live in the neighboring state of Florida and not some faraway place like Dallas, Albuquerque, Denver, or California. They enjoyed time on the trampoline, canoe, and tire swing, and if they had arrived a couple of weeks later they could have done an azalea walk through Gary’s gardens which are just waiting to burst forth: quite a contrast from his life in sandy, dusty, dry Saudi.

I know he is missing his yard and getting it in perfect shape for spring, but it will be beautiful nonetheless. He is missing his family even more, and will head straight to Albuquerque without even a layover in ATL on his way back from Saudi Arabia this Wednesday – anxious to meet the latest member of the Jewkes clan, Amelia Grace, #23. I was lucky enough to arrive at the Bell home in the knick of time exactly one week ago since Amelia decided to come early depriving Rebecca and I of a day together to get prepped before her scheduled C-section. I arrived late on Sunday night, Rebecca and Christian left for the hospital a couple of hours later when her water broke, so when Oliver first saw me the next morning, I was sure he would start crying at the ‘stranger’ in his house. As he peeked around the corner from his bedroom, I saw him and said, ‘Oliver, it’s grandma Becky!’ To that, he ran right to me and gave me a big hug. The perfect way to melt a grandma’s heart. We’ve been bonded every since, taking long 2-3 hour walks in the mornings interspersed with stops at playparks along the way. So far, we have found six parks within walking distance of his home! The afternoons have been consumed with trips to the hospital to see mom and baby sister until Ollie would become too rowdy, and then it was ‘home again, home again, jiggety jig.’ He is such a delightful, entertaining little boy and happy 95% of the time, obedient 96% of the time. Rebecca came home Thursday which gives us more ‘baby time’ until Oliver wants something, and then it is, ‘Put your baby down right now and come here!’

I love the beautiful, sunny days and cool, desert nights of ABQ, and I love the temple that is just a hop, jump, and skip away. I was able to do a session last week and look forward to a session or two this week with Gary. For the weekend, we all plan to visit Taos and Santa Fe, and have a ‘spend the nighter’ in the latter. It’s such fun to be with the Bells – lots of good conversation, delightful company, clear play movies, and time to just be lazy….and hang out at play parks!

We had my angel sister, Launa, visit us at Hickory Hill Farm, too – squeezed inbetween the FL Jewkes and the ABQ Bells timewise. What a fun time we had together visiting, playing games, watching movies, going to the temple, eating good food, and just re-connecting. I love and honor her for the wonderful woman/sister/friend person she is. She often jokes that if trials make one wise then she should be among the wisest of the wise!

I’ve discovered (more truthfully, was led to the discovery by Emily and Claire) the perfect place to take visiting angels/grandkids when they come to Hickory Hill: Noah’s Ark ~ a home for animal rehabilitation right in our very own Spalding County. I was along with Lincoln and Ella when they saw tigers, lions, bears and ostriches; pot belly pigs, leopards, llamas, and goats.

I’m looking forward to a Fia ‘overniter’ and we are for sure going to Noah’s Ark. But before then, the Fia’s (Sofia and Lilian) are going to Holland for two weeks with their mom and brother, and maybe their dad if he can figure a way to get out of work. It will be Jasper’s first trip abroad and he’ll get to meet his great grandma who is celebrating her 80th birthday. Safe travels to that family. And safe travels to the Tasker family who are enroute to Sundance today for a week of snow and sledding, skiing and sleeping. Jim will ski – Jenn will sleep. She is worn out from taking care of sick kids non-stop for about six weeks running so she deserves uninterrupted sleep if that is what her heart/body demand. Jake Jr. is joining them on his birthday this Tuesday, March 24 (to watch the kids while Jenn sleeps maybe???), and will spend the rest of the week in UT before heading to ABQ for a new job (well, his ‘old job back’ might be more correct) and a transfer to University of New Mexico for school. Jake’s motto will be ‘Work by Day, Study by Night….never, never, never give up!’ Oliver is so excited that Uncle Jake is going to be rooming next to him once again. Jake is definitely the guy the kids all love. Happy Birthday to my beloved youngest son who is officially turning 21 even though he’s been acting it for a while now! And late birthday wishes to Jim – the patriarch of the Hickory Hill Farm angels.

Julie is traveling back to UT today after a week with the Sedgwicks in California. Dare I say she was suspended from school for a week? I’m glad she’s an adult and gets to take complete responsibility for her life. She’s had a good time and thinks suspension is the way to go. Lucy kept her busy playing games over and over and over, until Jessica came to the rescue and they all went to the beach! That’s the thing about California – you can always use the beach for a distraction!

Rachel and Brian enjoyed a week at Sundance recently, too – so now Dad is thinking that his (I’m not taking credit for the idea by using ‘our’) kids should buy the cabin so we can get ready for a mission. Maybe you’d all like to buy a beach house, too, as well as a 53 acre farm, and a few other things, too!

Jeremiah told us he dropped the ‘L’ bomb, if you know what that is. If you don’t, just give him a call and get informed. He is making plans for a summer in Washington DC interning for Price/Waterhouse/Coopers, even though he doesn’t see accounting in his career future. Julie was hoping for some volunteer service in India at the Rising Star orphanage this summer until she found out that volunteering cost big bucks so it probably won’t happen. She is considering a very attractive option in Southern California as a part-time game partner for Lucy and full time worker for money which at this stage in her life could be vital to her survival.

I am missing all of the little angels back in GA and some big angels, too. Emily is quite amazing to watch in action – she has definitely mastered multi-tasking. She is also in the process of becoming ‘less’ – does anyone every want to become less of something? Claire is helping making the year 2009 an expansion success by announcing grandbaby #24 due in November. Lauren in January, Amelia in March, baby Allred in Nov. I’m thinking that could be it for 2009, but I would like to be proved wrong. Could one grandma ever be surrounded by too many angels?....not a chance!

And now for a million-dollar ending to this post: name the Three Musketeers below!