Monday, March 28, 2011

"When an Old Man Dies, a Library Burns Down."

I have frequently heard my husband quote the African proverb that goes, "When an old man dies, a library burns down." I always poke fun at the cheesiness of the quote but secretly wonder where he learned it from since my man is clearly not from Africa.

On Saturday, my husband, in-laws, and I trekked to San Diego to celebrate my grandfather-in-law's 90th birthday. 90. Wow! After lunch at a Chinese restaurant, we brought Grandpa back home. As we were milling around the house chatting and doing who knows what else, my eyes were drawn to a small, cork bulletin board on the wall where a tiny, inconspicuous newspaper clipping bore the words, "'When an old man dies, a library burns down.' -African proverb" Ah ha! I had pinpointed the source of the quote.

For the rest of our visit, we sat around a table eating cake and hearing Grandpa's stories. I'd like to lie and say that we were an eager little family begging him to give us little pages from his library of experience, but we were in fact just trying to win a game. My father-in-law had typed up many questions about Grandpa's life. We each in turn took a stab at the answer and then Grandpa would tell us whether we were right or wrong.

BIG 90? or BIG go? Who knows!

Through this game, we learned many tidbits including that he took Grandma to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon, that the honking huge Cadillac of his youth was fueled by gas that cost only a few cents per gallon, that his favorite book of the Bible is Romans, and that the best thing before sliced bread was the ice truck that came around selling ice blocks for their pre-electric fridges. The driver would often chip off a little chunk of ice for the kids to eat. After bread became sliced, the price per loaf rose from 5 cents to 7 cents. Talk about tough times. I love the stories of old people, and it was so special to be able to sit around listening to him and laughing with him.

On Tuesday, Grandpa passed away.

That night, as we reflected on his death, Michael and I were so grateful that we carved out the time last Saturday to blow the dust off of some of Grandpa's old volumes to take a peak at a few pages of his life. Since I've only had a few short years to begin getting to know Grandpa from a visit here and a visit there, it is truly a gift from God to have spent one of his last days celebrating his life. And for that, I am very grateful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Superstar Sister

Allow me to take a moment to brag on my biglittle sister. ("Big" because she's got half a foot on me. "Little" because I've got three years on her.)

Andrea graduated from high school as one of the top basketball players in Colorado. Everyone anticipated a great college career as she signed to play D-I basketball at the University of the Pacific. But, just a few games in, she suffered a season-ending ankle injury and things were never the same after that.

Andrea has spent a lot of the last four years on the bench due to injury or simply not being played. For someone as athletic as her and as passionate about her sport as her, this is crushing. But, she somehow managed to stay positive through it all. 

My husband and I have attended many of her games in Southern California. We have really enjoyed watching her play whatever precious few minutes she got. But, the thing that we constantly remarked on was her attitude. Despite all the setbacks, she rarely complained. While on the bench she was constantly clapping, cheering, and encouraging her teammates. She was always the first person to stand up to cheer on her teammates as they came back to the bench to get subbed out.

The past couple of weeks, I have watched as her final basketball season quickly came to a close. Looking back, it would have been great if the injuries and bench warming had never been the dominating reality of her college basketball career, but it was sure amazing to see her underlying joy and peace come to the forefront in the face of so much discouragement.

Good job, Andrea. I'm so proud of you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Things for a Busy Girl

My posting has been slow recently because this girl has been plain, old busy. But, in my hustle and bustle I have been enjoying these little things.

Chinese Magnolias. These tiny, delicate trees have been blooming purple, teacup-sized flowers for weeks. If I ever own property in Southern California or another similar climate, I will plant a Chinese Magnolia.

Espresso and dark chocolate. If you ever experience a 3pm slump on a Monday, brew an espresso and eat some dark chocolate. It solves all your problems. Only, in my case, it kept me up until 2am that night. I am way too sensitive to caffeine.

Sprouting plants. I got a little package of wildflower seeds at an event that I attended. I recently threw some mulch in a pot (I didn't even have dirt) and sprinkled the seeds on. It's been fun to monitor their growth.
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