Sunday, August 31, 2008

this and that

It's the Sabbath. It's a quiet morning here, and I am awake and enjoying my first cup of coffee freshly brewed. Right now it's 52 degrees in Butler.. and will likely reach 85 degrees with a 0 chance of precipitation. I wish it would rain.. everything is so dry.
When the weather is like this, I don't even consider burning papers outside in the burn barrel. I still have vivid memories of my birthday a couple years ago when I set the woods behind our house ablaze. (see April 18, 2006)
I never want to have that happen again.

Tomorrow I will have to do laundry. I've been putting it off since just before Gramma Camp and with JJ taking a load with her that week for me, I just have been too lax.
That, and the fact that allergies keep me wheezing and coughing without a lot of exertion this past week. No wonder I'm lax.

Wendell hasn't been feeling well this week either. He's been more than slow moving, but at least he's moving a little. I really don't know how to get him going.. walking. I'd walk with him if he would.

I'm noticing that I'm about the last person in my family who is still regularly blogging. Wonder why that is? I really try to keep up to date with it with anything going on in the family.
Speaking of which, I will ask you for prayer today for Wendell's cousin Danie who has been very recently diagnosed with metastatic cancer and who is now in the hospital getting pain control. That's all that can be done now unless the Great Physician chooses to remove the cancer from his body. I have no doubt that He can do so, but we have to accept His will for us no matter. The family asks for prayer for his comfort spiritually and physically and for his wife and his family too.

It is the Sabbath. I plan to be in church today if it is God's will for me. I look forward to it. Pray for Vince as he delivers the message from God's word today. Remember to pray for YOUR pastor too.. it's important. And thank the Lord today that you can attend a worship service without fear of harm for doing so. Who knows how long this will last?

I'm off to the shower.. have a beautiful peaceful day, bloggers

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thomas Uckert and Thai

Thanks to grandpa Dieter, we have pictures of little
Thomas Uckert and their dog Thai..
Thomas turns 1 yr old this month

the garden..

It's so very dry here in Butler.. we did have some rain last night
as I noted a puddle in the driveway.. but not much more..
Even so the flowers in the garden are spectacular.. and I got
a quick shot of a tiger swallowtail butterfly on one of the zinnias.

Melons and pumpkins.. mostly melons are all over..and tomatoes
are rotting on the vines with the lack of water.. there's a lot of
them out there however. Gotta get canning!

August 30,2008

We played outside with balloons and bikes.. and then we girls took a nice
walk in the garden:

Growing older brings a lot of aches, pains and things undreamed of... but it also brings the joy of grandchildren..!! I love when they come to visit and we do have fun..
Here's an example of how to entertain a child for a long long time.. give the girl a box..

The original 6 of us
Mandy, Paul, Jennifer,Wendy
Wendell, and Me

Friday, August 29, 2008

more August Birthdays..

I don't want to miss any of the August birthdays...
so Happy Birthday
Ken Leah .. August 3rd
Dieter Uckert August 2nd
Dave Leah August 20th
Matthew Uckert August 17th
Thomas Uckert.. one year old !!

Did I miss anyone?


In the midst of Gramma Camp and Nicki's illness, I missed blogging the August Birthdays.. So here goes..
Happy Birthday Cory.. August 3rd

Happy Birthday John .. August 17th
Happy Birthday Amanda.. August 16th

Happy Birthday J.J. .. August 17th

and last but not least...
Happy Birthday Wendell.. August 13th

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Memory of Nicolle..

Nicolle Pata

5 February, 1942 - 17 August, 2008
Resident of Danville, California

Nicolle passed away at San Ramon Regional Hospital after a long battle with Breast Cancer. While she had a BA in Home Economics and worked for several years at the San Ramon Valley Times, her greatest passion was her family, friends and serving the Lord.

She is survived by Robert Pata, her husband of 40 years, son Nathan Pata, daughter Annsley Hiles and two grandsons, Brendon and Timothy. She is remembered by many family members and friends, both in California and in Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised. Her life left a heart print on everyone she met.

Instead of flowers Nicolle asked that donations be made in her name to one of her favorite ministries.
HealthQuarters Ministries
3620 West Colorado Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

As a memorial to Nicki, her friend Marilyn from Denver read a moving poem by Linda Ellis called The Dash. Because of copyright laws, I can't print it here, but you can click on the hyperlink and read.. it's beautiful.

I wanted to do something special for Nicki.
I started looking for pictures and I'll share my find here.

Nicki and her family moved to California before I knew her well. It wasn't till after her mom died that she drove across the country in her little VW by herself that we became reacquainted as cousins and then friends, and that friendship and love grew over the years.
My mom became her second mom... or so it seemed.

From the very first, I thought Nicki was the most beautiful woman..both inside and out.. she really was.
More pictures brought back a flood of memories of the many times she came to visit us. She wasn't afraid to fly.. I was terrified at the thought. She seemed to take it all in stride..
She came to my children's weddings and to meet my grandchildren, and I told her one day I'd fly when one of her children got married. She called one day and announced Annsley would be married the following April. I remember feeling frozen when she said I needed to "figure out how to get on a plane and fly" by the next year. I was determined to do so as I am a woman of my word. It was good for me. I asked my boss if he knew any good psychiatrists to help me with my various phobias, and he directed me to Anna, a psychiatric social worker who worked with me along with my pastor Vince for a full year and prepared me to get on that plane. I was ready.. tears in my eyes as I stepped over the threshold onto the plane...and then decided I could do this.. earned my 'wings'.. met the pilot who congratulated me for my courage.. and I did it!! I can climb high places now and no fear on bridges.. all because Nicolle made me promise to fly when one of her children got married. I owed her a lifetime of thanks for helping me face my phobias head on.

My mom loved her very much. She would always welcome her with open arms when she came to visit. For my Mom's 80th birthday, she was there and helped celebrate and helped plan the celebration too...she was our sister.

Nicki and I both had a love of genealogy. We worked together and shared a ton of information over the years.. and pictures too. We have together compiled a huge depository of Best family history. When she discovered she had cancer and went to Denmark, she called me just to tell me I could use her password on while she was out of the country.. I did. I was so awed that she thought of ME when she was facing cancer~ I'm sure it would have been the last thing on MY mind..but not Nicki.. she was generous to a fault.

Her generosity was bigger than the state of Alaska! Y2K had us wondering if we would be able to afford the things we would need when/if the power went out for who knew how long.. and she sent me a check to help me buy toilet paper.. something we laughed about was so funny.. I didn't buy tp for the next year!
I could never repay her and she knew it. She just had love and a generous spirit no matter what she did. I want to be like that. She was so special to me.

She always understood when I failed. There was one year I sent the Christmas box in JULY! I didn't even remember what was in it and later hoped it wasn't something that had gotten rotten or stale..oh.. ugh.. all I knew was I HAD to get that box out and couldn't seem to get it to the post office. I'm slow at lots of things and always have been. It didn't mean I didn't care or love my California was just that I was slower than most people. Sometimes I did accomplish things believe it or not!
She always understood and never held it against me.

I treasure the little craft book she sent me about a month ago. It had a note attached that said it was for Gramma Camp. How I wish she had been able to have her own Gramma Camp for her grandchildren. I know she would have been so much better than I. I am thankful that God let her have Brendon and Timothy too. She would be a fabulous grandmother for them.

I really needed more time. My health hasn't been the greatest, and when I should have gone to see her, there were fires in her area and I have asthma. A few weeks later she had a birthday celebration for her son Nathan, and after that seemed to go down hill faster. It was at about that time that she asked me not to come yet. She said she'd only be able to visit for about 2 minutes and that would be it.. that she was needing rest and sleep. We agreed that talking on the phone was probably better.. we had each other's undivided attention. I cherish those calls. They always lifted ME up, even as sick as she was then.

She told me that she had watched the movie The Bucket List. I asked her if she had a list and she told me she wanted to go up in a hot air balloon but couldn't because of her oxygen which she had on all the time. I told her I'd made a list too, and a ride in a hot air balloon was one of my first items on the list. I was going to try to do it and videotape it and take pictures to send to her of my experience. I just wish I could have done that for her before she left us.

I, like so many others, have been blessed by just knowing her. She made a huge impact on my life.. and I am so glad God put us together as cousins...friends... sisters.
I'm sad that she's gone from this world, but I know I'll join her one day and it'll be a glorious reunion!!!


Good morning bloggers! We finally got rain last night. Wonderful and glorious rain.. we needed it badly. Our grass was brown instead of green.
It's Thursday and that means a trip to the office today. Pray for us.. patients who will do well with their infusions and for me that my accuracy would be the best.

Yesterday was our first real day without the grandkids.. it was one of those days when we expected them to walk around the corner of the house or in the door.. except they didn't.. A day of anticipation, but no kids ran in.. or asked for a popsicle.. and the bikes were still all day. Sigh...

Reality has arrived.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


At least I think this was Sunday..could have been Saturday

David and I played with Clones

Elijah found strawberries in the refrigerator


Hmmm.. there's water in this thing.. I'll just step in and get myself wet..
Besides, my bean bag fell in there...

Aw, ma.... you came at the wrong time!

It was chilly Monday.. Gayle and I wrapped up in this comforter

Tuesday evening

We had a sick groundhog..the kids said it wouldn't move
and thought it was sleeping while the others scampered around.
I walked to within 6' of it and realized it was acting peculiar.
I went to see Charlie and he put it out of it's misery.

Isaac was showing me a trick.. He put one foot up on the
mid bar on the bike while he rode. He's getting so much better on
the bicycle

Tuesday evening

Charlie brought the girls a pumpkin.. Gayle asked if I
could make her a pumpkin pie right then.
Here's Esther posing with the pumpkin

Esther and the broken watermelon

Gayle didn't care for the seeds

Bringing in the pumpkin

Tuesday evening

Elijah found a belt and entertained himself with it

He picked a tomato out of the box, I wiped it clean on my
shirt and he took a bite.. shivered, squinted his eyes,
and put it back in the box..he took a big bite.

Charlie brought watermelons over tonite.. Gayle made it to the
house and dropped it. It split wide open and the girls dove in..they are
warm from the sun, but they ate some anyway. Eli took his share too.

"Take my picture with a balloon, Gramma"
It's officially over as of tonite.. Gramma Camp, that is. Our dear little Valentines left for home around 8pm amidst a long river of tears and sobbing.. I think they liked camp with Gramma. They are all dear children.
The girls ran over to tell Uncle Charlie good-bye too. It was their own idea and they were distressed that they might miss him.
I can scarcely believe the week went so fast.. but I knew it would when we were having such a great time together. The Blair kids left bikes for their cousins to ride till they got their van back and were able to go home. That was the most wonderful gift of kindness. I think Isaac appreciated it most of all. He rode till his dad said it was time to get in the car. Esther fell riding last evening and I don't believe she got on again.. she skinned her elbow and then her leg too.. nothing bad.
I had to work today and got home after 4pm.. so I made them all pancakes, eggs, and bacon. They ate it right up.. Gayle and I put whipped cream on ours.

So... it's quiet here.. too quiet. I'll blog some Sunday-Monday-and tonite's pictures..

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Here is David with a bat we used for our pinata we made earlier in the week...a pink piggy.
My camera batteries died for the 3rd time this week.. so I'll have to rely on others for pictures..
After the pinata we bobbed for apples.. I have to say, Esther was the best.. though everyone got their apple, Essie put her face down into the water completely and came up with an apple in her teeth! Atta girl Essie!!!

Gramma and Happy Campers

Each camper got a gold medal for something special this week.. and then they surprised ME with a gold medal that read #1 Grandma.