10 Years

My Beautiful Mom

Our prompt was to look back ten years to see where we were and write about it. In 2011 I was only a year away from publishing my first book. My goal had always been to finish it before my Mom died. When I started in 2000 she was 78. Time was on my side, at least I didn’t let myself think otherwise.

As the years passed, my confidence was shaken, i.g. who am I to think I can write a book? I went years without any progress. I was discouraged.

My prayer was often, “God, please don’t let my Mom die before I finish.” She had helped me with all the research, and it was her idea for me to do this. I couldn’t let her down, or that would be one.more.regret!

In 2011 I had finished my manuscript. It was in need of the hard edit that to be honest is very difficult. You have to let go of some of your favorite parts because you realize it isn’t necessary to the over all story arc. I did what I could, but I needed help.

A few years prior we had invited a young fiancé of a friend to live with us until their wedding day. We didn’t know each other, but God had this planned all along. She was an editor. I had even helped her find a job at a local publisher’s office. It was her job to polish books with the final edit to make them ready to go to print.

When she discovered my need she offered to do the hard edit for me. I couldn’t believe it! She said it was the least she could do since we had done so much for her.

I gave her my manuscript in January of 2012. It took her five months to finish, but once she did it was ready to publish. I didn’t have time to pursue traditional publishing because my Mom had just turned 90. Time no longer felt on my side.

My husband was willing to pay the money necessary to use a vanity press publishing company. This is where you keep all creative rights to your work. They help you design the cover (which I loved), and then you pay a large fee to have it printed. Our first print bought us 250 copies.

In September of 2012, my book was published. When I held that first copy in my hand, I knew what I had to do. I wrote inside, “We did it, Mom. I love you”, and gave her the first printed copy.

It was a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. My Mom died three months later after a short illness. Before she died she wrote inside my book’s cover, “I love you, Mom” and gave the first copy back to me.

I was filled with gratefulness to God for making sure I didn’t have regrets in this regard. My Mom loved my book, and I loved her for all she did to help me.

In my next post I’ll share about what I see looking forward 10 years.

This is my 8th post in The Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Fall In Florida Favorites

Photo by Shaine Tsou on Unsplash

I was born and raised in Central Florida. My dad was a pharmacist back when this profession garnered great respect in the local community. It was no different for our family. He was lovingly referred to as “Doc” due to the fact that he was always willing to give health advice to his customers anytime of day or night. He used his knowledge for the good of all who knew him with patience and kindness.

My maternal grandparents wanted my dad to succeed, so they purchased two lots in an up and coming community to the west of Orlando called Pine Hills. It was a “bedroom town” for the newly built, Martin Marietta plant.

“Martin Marietta began Orlando operations on Dec. 4, 1957, with 2,700 workers on about $200 million in orders for missiles and antiaircraft guidance systems for the Marines, Air Force, Army and Navy.”

Source: Washington Post

My Dad’s store, Silver Star Pharmacy, opened in 1960 to serve the many families moving to the area. It would become a hub of the community, it even had a soda fountain for friends to gather for the blue plate lunch special. I can still hear the sizzle of hand-pressed burgers on the grill.

The road in front of the store was a two-lane dirt road called Silver Star Road, and it was located at the intersection of Pine Hills Road. This was the main intersection in Pine Hills; A perfect place for a budding business to have the best shot at success.

Grand-opening day arrived. My parents hired a horse-drawn carriage to draw families to the celebration with their children. Free rides were given to the eager kids, and a tree was given to the first 100 potential customers. A great gift to a brand-new community.

These trees are the focus of my Fall in Florida favorites. Golden Rain Trees provide the only Fall colors in our state during the months of September through November. We get Fall colors, but not usually until January. A sad fact for me, since Fall is my absolute favorite time of year.

These trees are the kind that propagate so it’s no surprise that the 100 trees planted in 1960 have become hundreds, if not thousands of trees in Central Florida.

This is one just around the corner from our home

Quick Fact: I didn’t see Fall happen until 2012 when my husband took me away for the month of October just so I could experience it for myself.

My Mom and Dad are gone now. But their legacy remains. Not the pharmacy–it closed in the 1990’s due to the change in medical care–that’s another story. What remains are these beautiful trees that put on a display of bright yellow first, then turn to a rust red. Our Florida trees of Fall color bring me joy each and every year. And I always whisper a prayer of thanks for my parents who made it happen.

This is the 4th post in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post everyday in November.

Cherishing Us, A Legacy of Marriage

Marriage has always been important in my family. In fact I can’t think of a single divorce on either side. That is quite unusual this day and age, and something for which I am grateful.

On my parent’s 50th anniversary I remember being amazed at how many years of marriage were represented in the room. The total was in the hundreds, and it caused me to pause and thank God that I had been given such an example to follow.

My husband’s parents were divorced on his 18th birthday. Divorce is never easy on the kids no matter how old they are. Something he didn’t want to happen, happened, and it was sad for all involved. As a result, my husband was determined to make our marriage a priority through the years, and by God’s grace we have.

This past February we published our first book to help marriages continue to grow. It’s titled, Cherishing Us – 365 Marriage Tips to Help Your Marriage Grow. This week we are offering the Kindle edition in a Countdown Sale. Beginning at 8a today, the price is only .99 cents for 24 hours. On Wednesday the price goes up to $1.99 and on Thursday the price is $2.99.

If you are married and want to learn more of what it looks like to cherish your spouse, we hope you’ll make this small investment for a huge benefit to your relationship and for the children who are impacted by the quality of the love your share.

I am grateful my grandparents and parents both shared 57 years of marriage before death parted them.

My sister and her husband just celebrated 45 years. And my brother and his wife, as well as Tom and I will celebrate 40 years in a few months.

God has been good to help us to stay the course and keep our marriage vows alive. We pray our book will help you say the same in the years to come.

Celebrating Her 125th Birthday

Graphic Credit: www.sfu.ca

Graphic Credit: http://www.sfu.ca

It’s hard to believe that my grandmother, Grace Stella Kirwin Oswalt, would have been 125 if she were still alive today. That’s what happens when your mom is the youngest, and you’re the youngest. My grandmother was old enough to be my great-grandmother. But as God ordained it, I was her youngest grandchild.

I missed out on so much.

When I think of my own grandchildren, that I’m 54 years old and enjoying my soon-to-be seven grandchildren. It’s hard to believe how old my grandmother was when I was born. Actually she was 70. She live until 90, but I was not even 20 yet before she was buried and gone.

How I wish I had had more time to get to know her as an adult. But I didn’t.

This causes me to embrace the role of “Nana” even more seriously. Today my newest grandson, Vito Price Walter, was dedicated at our church. Tom and I were privileged to stand with him and our son and daughter-in-love. as our pastors prayed for him and for them, to be faithful and godly in their instruction, to commit to be the best they can be for God’s glory and Vito’s benefit.

Vito 2

It was a day God chose to bless not only my grandson, but also to honor my grandmother’s prayers. Vito is her great-great-grandson. One whom she never met, but one for whom she prayed. He is her descendant, and he will continue her legacy. How amazing it was on her birthday that we dedicated him back to the God who created him.

I love connecting the dots of God’s faithfulness.

He never fails to answer prayers, even when we aren’t alive to see the answers come. The Bible is full of such examples. Today God answered Grace’s prayers–he gave her another descendent to carry on her legacy. This is why I wore her ring–the one my grandfather gave her on their 50th wedding anniversary. As I laid my hands on him in dedication, I could help but think how pleased Big Mama would have been with this token of my love for her.

Vito

Sorry it’s blurry, but I was a bit emotional while taking this photo. 🙂

Who are you praying for today? Do you pray for those who are yet to be born?

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. – Psalm 102:18

Where Were You 10 Years Ago?

Lake Dora

It’s a question many of us never consider–looking back ten years to see how much has changed. For some it can be an encouraging endeavor, for others a sad one filled with regret.

Ten years ago my Dad died. But that isn’t the end of his story. It’s just the last part for me in this life. I miss him still, and I guess that’s the highest compliment I can give him. How sad it would be for no one to notice when you’re gone. My grandmother has been gone for nearly 35 years, and I miss her too. But it’s my Mom’s passing that has been the hardest. Maybe it’s because we were so close, and she depended on me for so much during her final years. Maybe it’s because it’s only been a year since we said goodbye. Maybe it’s because she was my Mom–no one cared for me for as long as she did, and I’m so grateful for her love, wisdom and friendship.

In just one year my Mom has missed the births of three more great-grandchildren bringing the total from 10 to 13. Her oldest greats miss her still and talk of her often. In fact, Bristol, my 6 1/2 year old granddaughter was in her first Christmas production this year. Right before it began I went backstage to hug her and tell her how proud I was of her when she said,

“Nana, guess what I’m wearing?”

I had no idea, so I said, “What?”

“The necklace that G.G. gave me.”

My eyes filled with tears as I quickly hugged her and walked away. I didn’t want her to think she had made me sad. It was quite the opposite. What a joy to see the effect my Mom’s life had made on her short life.

photo-257

We must never underestimate the influence we have on the coming generations. They are watching and listening and loving us despite our limitations.

Who are the little people growing up behind you? Do you take time to enter into their world? I encourage you to not waste such an opportunity. You never know when you’ll breathe your last and depart this life. Make what they remember about you something they’ll miss and recall fondly as the years pass.