Category Archives: Brayden

Lesson Learned from Bubba’s Coffee Bean Business

My grandson Brayden is amazing.
He’s affectionately called Bubba,
‘cuz ya’ know, every Redneck family,
even ones transplanted into a  metropolitan world,
hasta’ hava’  Bubba.
Bubba decided that since he lived in Seattle,
birthplace of coffee,
he needed to make some coffee.
His recipe was…..
unique…

Take Gwamma’s antique coffee grinder
off the shelf where it was displayed.
(How in the world did a two year old know what that contraption was for?)
Unscrew all the lids from her vintage shakers
and pour all the salt and pepper into the top.

Put the contraption back together and grind.

Keep grinding.

If it gets a little hard to turn the handle,
stick out your tongue.
It weally, weally, weally helps.

Open the little drawer and evaluate the grade of your coffee.

Make the lopsided pirate face if you are disappointed
salt and pepper didn’t grind into coffee.
Of course, we are all mature enough to know
that apart from a miracle,
no matter how much you grind,
salt and pepper cannot become coffee.
But, Bubba had an idea.
Bubba had ambition.
Bubba tried to make a dream come true.
Contrary to 1981 LHS senior class motto,
what he dreamed,
couldn’t be achieved.
No amount of
grinding and grimacing
could help the elements overcome their natural state.
I am a realist.
In sixth grade, I had a teacher who challenged me to
achieve a higher academic standard.
He asked me to read
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
and discuss the literary value with him.
As much as I wanted to please my teacher,
I coudn’t match his enthusiasm for the book.
I hated it.
It wasn’t real.
I knew a seagull couldn’t soar like an eagle,
no matter how hard he tried. 
Even as a child,
I was frustrated with the human reasoning
that the mind could overcome physical impossibilities.
Of course, we all need hope,
but I longed for a realistic hope.
Why waste time wishing for something that could never happen?
 
When I began reading the Bible,
the Lord gave me the perfect solution for those
aspirations to attain high and lofty goals.
 

Luke 1:37
For with God nothing shall be impossible.

 

Ah-ha!
Instead of just dreaming about impossibilities,
I learned to pray.
It would be the power of the Lord that would
teach me to fly like an eagle,
not my stubborn determination or my wild aspirations.
Right now, I am facing several tribulations;
 situations that seem impossible with human reasoning.

I am the salt and pepper in the grinder of the world.
With prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit,
all the grinding and grimacing
will overcome my natural state.

When the grinding is done,
and the little drawer is open,
we will see what the Lord has created
from the salt and pepper.

I am a realistic.

It really could turn out to be coffee.

Or at least gold.

…While We Were STILL Waiting…

So where were we?
Oh yea, that’s right.
In CA waiting for the birth of grandchild #3.
 While waiting for the baby,
we were reminded of the simple fact~
babies come out when they’re good and ready.
They don’t understand due dates.
They don’t understand schedules.
They don’t understand about which midwife is on call.
They don’t understand because they’re on the Lord’s schedule.
They are wise enough to wait for His perfect timing.
They just don’t have any way to encourage their mommies
during the waiting,
so they kick,
and squirm,
and punch,
and wiggle,
and push
and kick some more.
They like to make a grand entrance by making
their mommies totally miserable just prior to birth.
It’s the Lord’s way of making a woman actually
want
to go through labor.
It works, doesn’t it?
Pregnant women will go through
anything
 just to get that baby out of there.
But, meanwhile, Mommies need to pass time while they’re
waiting.
Target was a favorite destination
because Gwamma had to buy the kids presents, of course.
We had to buy little monkey outfits for baby, too.
This Gwamma loves monkeys.
This Gwamma is really sad nobody made baby clothes with
monkeys on them when she was having her monkeys.

Brookelyn entertained us by marching into the living room
 in this beautiful ensemble and announcing, “I’m Jana.”
Her actions inspired a full-fledged  fashion show,
with Rebekah and Brookelyn modeling and announcing.
While waiting,
we ate a lot of snacks.
Kids and preggo mommies love snacks.

Beka helped pass the time by setting up a library story hour.
Both of the listeners ended up being banished from the library
for being naughty.
They had to take an early nap.
The librarian read to herself.
We had to eat a lot of IN-N-OUT Burgers while
waiting.
They really took the misery out of waiting.
I think both Jana and I gained weight while
waiting.

Since food seems to be the favored way to pass time while
waiting,
we also had to go out for gelato.
While her Mommy was in the bathroom,
I tried taking a picture of Brookie with chocolate drips on her face.
She refused.
I won’t be outsmarted by a three year old.
I told her she could stand on the tall chair and pose for a picture.
There ya’ go.

At the street fair there were some gnarly lookin’ pirates.
Why do people think pirates are fun for kids?
Unbathed murderers?
EEWWWW.
No wonder the kids didn’t smile.

Speaking of eating while
waiting
-our first Funnel Cake!
It was so good.
We slopped powdered sugar all over our faces,
fingers and clothes, but the mess was worth it.

A little bit of running and jumping always occupies people
who are
waiting,
waiting,
waiting.
During one of our conversations,
Jana said that despite her discomfort and her anxiousness to have the baby,
she trusted the Lord for His timing.
“His timing has been perfect with Brookelyn and Brayden,
His timing will be perfect with this one.”
One night, because we were hungry and needed some female bonding,
Jana and I put the kids to bed and went out for a snack.
Believe it or not, there was yogurt underneath all this candy.
Nice, healthy, supposed-to-be-better-for-you-than-ice-cream yogurt.
But, by the time I ate all the candy,
I didn’t have room for the healthy yogurt.

With baby curling up on her tummy,
Jana knew she didn’t have a lot of room for yogurt,
so took a nice, polite helping.
You know how people claim the last thing they did
 before going into labor causes labor?
Then, it’s official.
Yogurt causes you to go into labor.
And, Jana was right.
The Lord’s timing was perfect.
(stay tuned…)

How To Wait for A Baby

In June,  my youngest daughter, Rebekah,
 and I hopped a plane to Orange County, CA
to visit my oldest daughter, Jana,
who was expecting her third child.
Because we had plenty of time at the airport,
we “rode” the sidewalk a few times.
For those of you who are used to the Fargo airport
with four terminals and about 32 stairs,
 the Seattle airport has
this cool sidewalk thingy that moves so you can get
to your destination more quickly.
I knew you’d be impressed.
To further enlighten my daughter,
I told tales of riding the only escalator in Montana
during a shopping trip to Great Falls.
It’s still one of my prized childhood memories.
Small things thrill people from small towns.
Beka wasn’t as thrilled with the retelling.

Jana looking beautiful with her baby bubble.
When the Lord described Mary as “heavy with child”
in the Scriptures, He once again validated in my mind
the accuracy and inerrancy of the Bible.
Little Brookie in her Pwincess finery helping with luggage.

This waiting for the baby business is a lot easier when
you are NOT the one who is pregnant.
It also goes better when you drink a lot of coffee
and a lot of lattes.
Luv me some coffee.
I loved drinkin’ coffee with my first baby who is ready to have her third baby.
We sat and sipped and talked and enjoyed our adult relationship.
But I also marveled at our lives.
Where did the years go?
How can she be old enough to be a Mommy?
How can I be old enough to be a Gwamma?
Don’t get me wrong, I love this stage of life,
 it’s just that my baby stage went by way too quickly.
One day I had a house full of toddlers,
the next day my child has a house full of toddlers.
Back to the waiting…

Daily splashing definately passes time. 
Just so ya’ know, this pool easily holds three kids
AND
one adult.

Tea parties in the backyard can eat up minutes.

Time is also wisely spent “fixing” things.
Little Bubba,
(doesn’t every Red Neck Minnesota family have a Bubba?)
fixed every broken thing he could find.

Sitting outside in the Cali sunshine makes
waiting just a little more pleasant,
as long as you aren’t the one with the beach ball sized bouncing baby
on your lap. 

Taking a lot of pictures is also a wise use of time.
A child who has grown up with digital photography,
Brayden kept looking at the back of the disposal camera asking,
“Where picture go?”

Enjoying friends is a wonderful way to pass those waiting moments.
Mark and Kirsti, dear friends of ours from Minnesota,
were in the area on vacation and joined us for a day.
When the heat is unbearable,
and people are starting to get cranky,
a trip to the play area at the mall always works.
 
Auntie Rebekah loves playing with the kids.

And if you’re still waiting for a baby,
a trip to the Bounce House can eat up almost a half a day.

This probably would be strenuous enough to make a pregnant
woman go into labor, but Jana stayed firmly on the ground.
And yet, after days of playing and splashing and
waiting…
the baby still hadn’t come.
Since my pregnancies were overdue,
I  remembered the feeling that
glaciers could melt,
mountains could be moved,
and I would
still
be pregnant.
I had to remind Jana a few times
that she would actually have the baby.
Nobody stays pregnant forever.
Although you know this factually,
it’s hard to live when you are
heavy with child,
waiting, waiting, waiting…
 
(stay tuned….I know you want to hear how this ends)

Flowers That Won’t Fade

Sometimes I’m a little slow in getting a blog post done.
I made these headbands over a year ago,
but you probably didn’t need to know that.
I started with silk flowers from the Dollar Store,
and a wide headband from the Dollar Store.
I like my flowers to be really full, so I began by taking the flowers apart,
and throwing away all the plastic pieces.
I know some of the craft bloggers would probably make
something really cool out of those pieces,
but I needed to get them in a garbage can before they ended up
my grandchildren’s noses.
Of course, my kids didn’t do strange things like that,
but my grandkids sure do. 
Don’t know where they get some of their habits. 🙂
Any hoo…
I prepared my supplies.

The layers of silk flowers were sewn together,
then sewn onto the headband.
I used a lot of stitches.
Kids can be rough on things.
 
Isn’t she loverly???
I love huge flowers on beautiful little girls.
Brookelyn, my first granddaughter.

Grandson Brayden, is also adorable, but yanked this off his head.
He doesn’t like fluffy stuff.
After all, his nickname is Bubba.
Doesn’t every family need a Bubba?

Done.
$2 each

He definately didn’t like the pink one.
Silly family.
Why would they put flowers on a little boy and take his picture when he cried?
I dunno.
Cuz’ he’s so stinkin’ adorable?
My daughter, Rebekah, (far left) is in a Keepers at Home
group with these girls and their moms.
The Lord brought us together in a wonderful way,
all four moms have older teenage kids,
and second grade daughters.
I’ve been teaching the girls handsewing,
so this was the perfect project to work on their skills.
Some of the girls chose to hot glue a large button
 in the middle of their flowers.
 
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
Flowers are a reminder for one of my favorite promises in the Bible,
I Peter 1:24-25
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the LORD
 endures forever.”

These girls are being raised with more than just helpful skills,
for their future lives.
They’re being raised with the enduring Word of God,
for their eternal lives.

Using Your Imagination

Little kids
view the world with eyes of excitement. 
Everything is
interesting,
fresh,
and full of wonder.
Who doesn’t get excited when a toddler
spots a plane in the air.
“Pane!  Pane!”
It’s as if we’ve never seen a plane before.
How about watching ants crawl around carrying crumbs?
How about touching a roly-poly and make it roll into an
armadillo tough shell, over and over again?
Kids are even thrilled by watching a fan rotate
or a cat twitch its tail.
Not only is everything worth watching,
everything is worth imitating.
Our oldest child, Jana, entertained us often
 by pretending a high heel was a phone.
She’d answer over and over,
and we would laugh over and over.
Then our friends would come visit and
we would make her perform all her tricks over and over.
Now Jana has her own comedy act to follow.
Her Little Munchkins provide her hours of laughter.
This is Brookelyn’s yo-yo.
Use your imagination.
Yea, we know it’s a skirt hanger on a string,
but to Brookelyn,
it’s a yo-yo.

This is her butterfly garden.
She tore up beautiful pieces of bright pink tissue paper
and put them in mommy’s pan.
The lid, of course, keeps them from flying away.
This was the genius of all geniuses.
Can ya’ guess what they were pretending?
Can ya’
Huh?
Huh?
Huh?
Wrong.
It’s a blizzard.
Brookie needed a snow storm,
so covered the ground with white stuff.
Snow is white.
Diapers are white.
Works for me!
Of course, I’m the Gramma, and I didn’t have to clean it up.
Jana’s Little Munchkins provide more than hours of entertainment.
They provide hours of restoration management for Mommy.

Mommy’s soon learn the mess is a necessary price to pay
in cultivating an imagination.

(stay tuned….tomorrow I will be blogging more about
cultivating an imagination in your children)

*****
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about?
It just makes me feel glad to be alive–
it’s such an interesting world.
It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it?
There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


When Cheerios are Comfort Food

Weeks after the grandkids visited in November,
I found a precious reminder Brayden left behind.

I opened the drawer to my vintage coffee table,
and there was a snack he was saving.
I left them there.
They reminded me of my sweet little man-cub, Bubba.
Wouldn’t ya’ know, when he came back months later,
he went looking for those Cheerios?
For a few days after the grandkids leave,
we find little reminders.
Little toys tucked into odd corners.
Things put in drawers randomly.
Pacifiers (deet-dees) hidden in places a child shouldn’t have been.
Sippy cups set down as if the kids will finish them any moment.
My Gramma heart doesn’t count it a mess,
she counts it a memory.
So, when I opened that little drawer and heard the Cheerios rattle around,
I was comforted.
I told myself as long as were  Cheerios in the drawer,
Brayden would come back to finish his snack.
Though I miss them, long to hold them,
 and wish I could be with them each moment,
I’m comforted knowing they’ll be coming back to visit again.
I won’t be separated from them forever.

The Lord Jesus knew when He left the earth,
He would need to provide comfort  for the believers,
until He could come back for them.
However, He didn’t leave a
snack,
He left a
seal.
He sealed the believers with the Holy Spirit,
As we read His Word,
pray to Him,
speak to one another about Him,
and listen to messages about Him,
our hearts should be burning with that same love and longing –
He’s coming back.
Sometimes, we want Him to return to deliver us from sickness.
I admit -I look forward to leaving behind a cancer-cursed body.
Sometimes, we want Him to return to deliver us from relationship problems.
I admit –  some relationships might only be healed
by being in Heaven together.
Sometimes, we want Him to return to deliver us from trials.
I admit – I look forward to Him wiping away my final tear.
I’m pretty sure He has cases of my tears bottled up.
Sometimes, we want Him to return because we long to be with Him.
We long to thank Him, face-to-face, for suffering for us.
We long to worship at His feet with a pure, sinless heart.
We long to sing praises with myriads of angels,
to the One who deserves all glory, honor and praise.
We  long for Him because we love Him.
Until then, we have this comfort sealed in our hearts,
He’s
coming
back.

We’ve Lost Our Touch

In my prime of parenting many small children,
rarely did a sight or sound escape me.
I could tell from the creak of a hinge,
even if my I was blow drying my hair,
which cupboard the kids were getting into.
I could tell from the shake of a box,
even if I was vaccuming the carpet,
if they were eating cereal or crackers.
I could tell by the crinkle of packaging,
even with my head stuck in the dryer,
what they were umwrapping to eat.
I could tell the difference between teasing slaps and fighting slaps.
I could tell the difference between a clean room,
and a “I shoved everything in the closet” room.
I could hide candy and presents so well,
I couldn’t find them even when I wanted to find them.
Together, Scott and I were an Army of Two.
The kids sat when we told them to sit,
they ate what we told them to eat,
they slept when we told them to sleep.
We were good.
In our day.
During the last visit with the grandkids,
we had to admit defeat.
We’ve Lost Our Touch.
I didn’t even know a chapstick was anywhere in sight.

I certainly didn’t know it was in Brookelyn’s sight.
I have failed as a Gramma.
I have a precious memory  of my Grandma Geneva
 teaching me how to put on lipstick.
She carefully edged my top lip with pink,
then taught me to smoosh my lips together to spread it to the lower lip.
I thought everyone did it that way.
Gramma was just saving money.
Most women apply lipstick to their top and bottom lips.
Brookelyn must know the Depression is over.
She used all the lipbalm she wanted,
without lessons from Gramma.

I didn’t know the fingernail polish was left at  the eye-level
of a 3 year old Do-It-Yourself Diva.

She came walking into the living room with her hands folded
in front of her, as if she was praying.
Grandpa thought he was smart enough to figure this one out.
“Whatcha’ got, Brookelyn?”
She shrugged with the practiced indifference of a teenager.
“Let Grandpa see.”
He was expecting to see something IN her hands,
not all OVER her hands.

We used to have this cool rule about playing with one toy,
then putting it away before you took out another.
See this same living room a few years ago.
I promise it has been clean a few times inbetween.
When Grandpa sat on a few toys, he thought about reviving that rule.

We never used to allow toys in any rooms but the family room
and the kids’ bedrooms.
Now, every room is a play room.

They dared to leave BOTH the kids with Grandpa and Gramma one night.
At bedtime, Grandpa got the bottles ready.
I said, “Um, Scott, the kids don’t drink out of bottles anymore.
They actually haven’t for a long time.”
His response, “They do when Grandpa babysits!”

Happy grandchildren getting bedtime milk.

We were trying to get both kids in their pj’s and sitting on the couch quietly.
We’d get one settled, then lose the other one.
We’d find the missing one, then lose the settled one.
Yea, we’ve really have lost our touch,
but found a crown.
Proverbs 17:6
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, “
We’ve been crowned and our hearts’ desire
is to cast these crowns at the feet of the Lord Jesus
when we stand before His Holy presence in Heaven.

They Grow Up So Fast

Written September 5, 1994.

“They grow up so fast!”

You cannot count how many times this phrase has been used.

It is offered as sage advice from older moms, who are are wistfully musing  moments slipped away and opportunities lost, and are encouraging younger moms to cherish the moments.

It can be a frustrated exclamation of a  new and stressful developmental crisis, a mommy facing a stage that had once seemed far in the future.

It shows a disbelief at the passage of time and the natural pace of maturity. With a longing tone, the mommy wishes to hold precious memories and feelings as near to heart as at the moment of occurrence.

As I watch my oldest daughter, I am continually reminded of the dark-haired, smiley, chubby infant she was. She was my firstborn joy and delight, the child who crowned me with motherhood.

Can this really be her…already?

She has the all-important air of being a second grader, complete with the toothless confident smile, and the oldest reigning over three siblings. As she bustles around caring for and chasing after the 13 month old toddling toddler, soothes frustrations of a  four year old sister, or patiently teaches the 5 year old brother to read, I am amazed.

How can she do that?

How does she know what to do?

They grow up so fast!

I imagine my friends must feel this same surprised amazement as they send their children to college, down the aisle for marriage or into the world for employment. Do they wonder how the time to say good-bye is  already here?

They grow up so fast!

As our own children fly through their lives on wings of independence, we find the inward musing turns to outward advice, as we try to prepare younger mothers for the unstoppable passage of time. We want to warn them, somehow, as older women tried to warn us.

So, when the simple sentence is uttered, it means many things.

Don’t let the days go by without many hugs, kisses and encouragements.

Don’t le the days go by without teaching, correcting, disciplining.

Don’t let the days go by without laughing, playing, sharing.

Don’t let the days go by with anger, regrets, unspoken apologies.

They grow up so fast!

Why do we never, never tire of this overwhelmingly simply spoken sentence?

Because, they grow up so fast.

*****
16 years later

Jana with Brookelyn Grace, 3, and Brayden Aaron, 1.
She blogs at The Roli Poli’s.

Can this really be her…already? She has the God-given importance of being a young mommy of two precious kids. As she bustles around caring for and chasing after the 1 year old toddling son and soothing frustrations of a precocious three year old daughter, I am amazed.

How can she do that?
How does she know what to do?

And now her heart beats with mine with the same agonizing eagerness to cling to the moments and cherish the memories, because –
They grow up so fast.