SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Milestone Senior

I don't think of children as markers, or numbers--or, at least I try not to. When Joey got married someone said to me, "One down, ten to go." But I don't think like that. In my thinking, each child is their own, "One down, all done, in their own station of life." Even so, it is not lost on me that Troy is our true middle child--5 older siblings, 5 younger siblings; 2 older and 1 younger sister, 3 older and 4 younger brothers. When he turns 18 and graduates from high school this year,it will mark the point in our family when we have more adult graduates than dependent minors. There is definitely a milestone "marker" feeling about it.

Troy had his senior pictures taken by our friend and now "personal-family-photographer" Bob Mainhart and we're in the process of picking favorites. Chime in with your opinions. I'll pick my favorite to join the Senior-Picture-8X10-Club on my shelf but I want a variety of wallet sizes. The following pictures are in Troy's order of top ten favorites. My favorite is near the bottom, of course. These pictures could still have some adjustments made yet (which I like to keep to a minimum)--cropping, oreintation, highlights, touch-ups, etc.











Saturday, October 16, 2010

Summer Connections 2

30th High School Reunion--I met with this group of women (all of whom I was friends with by the age of 12) for a pre-reunion reunion. We had a great afternoon and evening. Can you believe that two of us (Leanne and I) wore almost identical outfits! We've only even seen one another once since graduation (a chance encounter at the airport) and live almost 300 miles apart.

Thanks Paula, Denise, Leanne, Annette, Kim, and Cathy for the opportunity to relive some wonderful memories and reconnect with such a likeable group of people!

It always takes a photograph for me to remember how insanely huge I am compared to the normal population.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Summer Connections

This scene holds the memories of decades for me. I took the picture this summer from my cousin Steve's front yard, across from the entrance to the Freeborn County Fair. We made almost annual trips to the fair when I was growing up. Back then, the parking lot was right by my Uncle Richard and Aunt Rhoda's house. I would stay with them every other summer to be with their daughter, Judy, who was my age.

Technically, Richard and Rhoda are not my aunt and uncle. They are my second cousins once removed or something like that. Richard is my mom's cousin but since there were only 7 cousins in their family and everyone lived pretty close to the homestead, their traditions of Sundays at grandma's grew into all-inclusive family get-togethers long after grandpa and grandma were gone.

Parking cars at the fair was an exciting annual event. I thought my relatives were very important because they ran that lot directly across from the fair entrance. I would go into the fair with my head held a little higher because I belonged with those people. I was surprised, this year, to learn that the empty lot is still there (surrounded now by a neighborhood of houses) and it's still run by the family. My cousin Steve is now in charge of the business.

As was common when I was a kid, family members showed up to help or just sit and visit. I couldn't resist reliving my younger days when I saw this group circled up in the shade of the garage. I walked around the circle shaking hands and saying, "I'm Cindy, I'm Jean's daughter". It was our typical introduction to the great aunts and uncles gathered at the family reunions who couldn't keep the names and faces straight in the family's fourth generation (the first being 'grandpa and grandma' the Norweigan immigrants Hans and Julia--my great-grandparents).

Joining us at Steve's were his parents, my Uncle Roger and Aunt Shirley (complete with her money apron), my cousins Karen and Mark, and their respective families. Roger and Shirley really are my aunt and uncle, Shirley being my mom's sister. Shirley told me that she remembered working the fair lot when she was under ten. That would mean the family parking tradition stretches back at least 60 years!

Part of the parking tradition includes the kids who were always in someone's back yard playing (if they weren't over on the fairgrounds). This year was no exception. My kids joined second cousins and got a game of 500 going with a football. It wasn't lost on me that one of the two games of choice from my childhood was 500--only with a baseball (the other was kick-the-can).

As much as I enjoyed seeing my children enter into this family tradition (the significance of which is completely lost on them at this time), becoming at least the fourth generation of Quisley-Descended-Freeborn-County-Fair-Car-Parkers (they would be the fifth if Hans and Julia had ever been involved which I'm guessing they hadn't) I was more touched by this scene.

Aunt Shirley spent some of her time between parking cars throwing a football with Gabe. I grew up thinking of my mom and her sister as being, and looking, very different, almost polar opposites. Mom was very soft spoken, Shirley could call in the kids and the cows with one holler. Mom loved the big city, Shirley lived on a farm. Mom married a man she met in the city after only knowing him for eleven weeks and then moved to the ends of the earth(California) while Shirley married a local farm boy and settled down in her hometown. Mom had dark brown wavy hair, Shirley had light brown straight hair. Mom was pencil thin, Shirley had a sturdy build. About the only thing they had in common was being the mother of four (but even with that Shirley's were 4 years apart, Mom's were spread out over 12 years).

But now, when I see my aunt I am taken aback by how much she reminds me of Mom. I can see in her face, as plain as day, that she's my mom's sister. I hear the similarities in her voice and can even sense the same quiet, reserve in her strong personality. I've often been told I look like my mom, but I think in many ways I'm probably an awful lot more like my aunt. So, watching Aunt Shirley play with Gabe--the grandchild my mom never met, the grandchild she would have loved, adored, and championed for with all her heart--made a family connection for me that was stronger and deeper than even the handshakes and generations of County Fair Parking.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Plain Communication

At least I don't have to wonder what my children think of their daily jobs.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Out on a limb

High school, some of the most peer-pressure-filled years of your life. Many of us survived those years rather than lived them. Fitting in, figuring it out, and getting through are common goals. Troy's high school talent show performance, singing Chris August's "Starry Night", last weekend didn't exactly fit those goals.

Two years ago Dana laboringly convinced her sophomore brother, Troy, to get on stage with her and do the Ryan and Sharpay High School Musical song and dance routine to "What I've Been Looking For". He must have REALLY looked up to his senior sister to agree to the possible humiliation in his inaugural weeks at the high school. It was quite a limb to step out on--microphone in hand, singing in front of the entire student body, and dancing. They placed second.

Last year Troy took the microphone again and sang a solo, "By Your Side" by Tenth Avenue North. It's a song about God's love for his children but you have to listen to the words to apply the meaning and know Who it's talking about. He placed first.

This year, Troy went out on a higher limb. His desire was to share his faith in a bolder way, and he did. He didn't show a hint of disappointment at not placing. Rather, he radiated with joy.

Finding a public niche to express faith is not an easy thing, but especially not for a teen who is still working out personal relationships and communication skills and One of the greatest joys of parenthood is to see your child work out their relationship with Christ in a tangible way, overcoming sin and self and,by faith, going out on the limbs that God challenges them with and sets before them. It is also a joy to see the time come when my job as the mom is to just step aside in wonder and watch Him work.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Invasion of the Vacuum People

Bryce was not ashamed to admit that he nearly fell over from fright when he walked into the our dark basement the other night, turned the corner, and saw this (minus creator Lisa). One more reason to fear the "scary basement".