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Joy in the Journey

February 20, 2013

by Linda Beerman
Valentine's Day was last Thursday. Did you celebrate with someone special? Did you feel joy on "happy hearts" day? I sure hope you did! There are many ways to enjoy this special time of year, and even if we have to decide to do something extra special for someone else, that alone will bring you a joyous feeling that is felt deep inside.

My valentine celebrating began last week when my mom was in the hospital in Omaha. My sister and I encouraged my dad to get flowers for our mom FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME EVER, AFTER SIXTY-SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS OF MARRIAGE. He even gave her a stuffed raccoon along with the flowers, with a little red scarf that said, "secret admirer". They really brightened up her hospital room. I think he took her off guard when he came in the room holding them out to her. By the time she came "home" to my sister's house, the flowers found a special spot in the middle of the kitchen. Spring just flowed in right along with the sunshine from outside! There just has to be healing powers in a bouquet of flowers, don't you think?

I arrived home late Tuesday evening for about thirty-six hours. But enough time to have lunch out with my favorite valentine and receive a beautiful red Cyclamen plant to cheer up our dining room too. I think it found its way to the house from the secret holdings of the pick-up! I bought him candy which I know he enjoys, but is it a coincidence that they are chocolate caramels which are also my favorite? Probably not! Anyway, someone else cooking was great, and it was relaxing to have some talk time without any interruptions from the phone or jobs needing to be done.

On Valentine's Day afternoon I packed the car once again to travel to my son, Mark's, home. This time heading to eastern Minnesota, near Lewiston. They live about forty miles on the other side of Rochester. Almost a month ago they had asked me to come for a few days over February 14th. Mark and his wife, Heather, have six daughters from the ages of one to twelve. I arrived in time for them to go on a much needed "date night". It was funny though when they arrived home with a pick-up full of lumber and other necessary parts to work in their remodeling of their basement! After they saw the puzzled look on my face, they assured me they DID have dinner out, but then continued the evening with a "run" to Menards. Shopping ALONE probably did equal a date!

The first night I slept with Jordana, age four. Now I have slept with many children in my years, and most of the time it is not the most comfortable place to sleep with their moving around and kicking you in the side, etc...but she must not have moved all night! Or else I was too tired to notice. I had a great rest, and that was good because the next three days were packed with lots of activity.

Friday found us doing laundry, dishes, playing games, taking hikes across the grass to the neighbors (their cousins), playing with the dog, and then more dishes! Lots of them with a family of eight. That evening the adults of their church had a Sweetheart Banquet, so once again I "babysat" with seven girls this time. Another cousin joined us, and she is also one year old. We had a spaghetti supper first, then after we all helped clean up, we enjoyed the movie, Mr. Popper's Penguins. Crawling between all of the beanbags, blankets, and bodies were Estella and Cassia, both of the one year olds. It made for a unique and spiced up movie adventure! Add some popcorn and a lots of girl giggles; it turned out to be a fun night.

The home that this young family lives in used to belong to my daughter-in-law’s grandparents. They bought the acreage a couple years back, and are in the process of slowly making it their own by updating several parts of the house. Thus the basement remodeling. Saturday found us tearing up flooring, cutting off old pipes, cleaning out areas that need painting and putting up new insulation in preparation for a few new rooms and another bathroom. Can you have enough of those when you have six daughters? Of course there were more meals and dishes, but my stay also meant more hugs, kisses, and smiles too! As you can imagine, there is never a dull moment in this household.

Saturday afternoon was not all work. Three of us managed to sneak away for a couple hours and shop at an Amish market which is near their home. I've been there before, but it's always surprising what treasures you can find there. Just enjoying the ups and downs of the hills and bluffs in the distance is great for me. Meeting a buggy or two with the horses is a sight to see. Forty-five years ago when I went to college in Winona, I never dreamed I would get to come back for visits to the beautiful area that I fell in love with.

My son works full time for Winona State University in maintenance, but is also a pastor for a small, growing congregation on the outskirts of Winona. Part of my enjoyment of this visit was being able to attend worship with them Sunday morning. Listening to my son preach and teach gives me an inner joy that also makes me so proud of him. Thanks, Fulda Schools, for teaching him well.

I love "doing life" with my children and grandchildren in short doses, to be able to see them in their every day setting of growth and activities. This year, this was part of my "happy hearts" gift, to spend time with Mark and Heather, along with their six lovely little ladies: Shekinah, Ellyanna, Sophia, Natalia, Jordana and Estella. That was just a little blessing with lots "n" lots of love!

"In Him our hearts rejoice." Psalms 33:21

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