Friday, December 3, 2010

An Uncluttererd Christmas

Hello!

Instead of rewriting, let me direct you to my site at www.marilynnutter.com and read the December thoughts about An Uncluttered Christmas. I hope that as you think about the changes you may experience this Christmas --whether it is children and grandchildren who can't come "home", or a change in financial status that alters your gift-giving, my December devotional, that comes from a not so Christmasy passage, will help you adapt your thinking and give you joy!

Blessings as you celebrate the season of the One who loves us with an everlasting love!

With joy,
Marilyn

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shake the Love Around

Our daughter Susan and two grandchildren recently spent a long weekend at our home. Since they live nine hours away, it was a real treat to have Addy, 2½ and Levi 4 1/2 with us. We had a great time together, bowling with our Wii, visiting Discovery Place, having a fire in our backyard pit (and discovering that the children preferred unroasted marshmallows), playing at our neighborhood playground, ice cream from their auntie, reading stories, eating treats and just enjoying being in the same place with each other. We packed a lot in our 4 days and have 156 photos to prove it!

Susan told me that Levi’s love languages were time and touch. He confirmed it with invitations to bowl with him, holding hands on walks and tons of hugs and kisses. I asked if he would still hold my hand when he was 16 and I was 76. (I might need it then.) “Oh yes, Nonni,” he said. “You are the best Nonni in the whole world.” Can you spell “melt”?

Our custom is to hold hands when we pray at meals. Our granddaughter Addy always finishes by shaking our hands and saying, “Shake the love around.” We laugh and are so thankful for the gifts of family and food. It’s a treasure to hear them pray and enjoy our family times.

What about you? Have you thought about your children’s and grandchildren’s love languages? How do you/they express and receive love? Knowing if love languages are gifts, time, meaningful touch, words and/or acts of service can enrich relationships, avoid miscommunication and even spare hurt feelings.

Think about it. Where do you see them derive the greatest appreciation and joy? What about you? Is it time to shake your love around?

With love,
Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shells and Classrooms

My daughter Kate has a new position at a start-up school. When she entered the building last Tuesday, her classroom was a shell. The walls were bare and there was no furniture. So this past week I had the privilege of helping my daughter set up her first grade classroom. Several teachers—even veteran ones-- had their parents and spouses helping. Kate had ideas, a theme, a plan, creativity and lots of enthusiasm. There were moments when an idea didn’t quite work out and despite using a level to hang fabric for bulletin boards, the outcome was crooked and we started all over again. We experimented with furniture placement and tried to find the best structure and flow.We started early and worked until past 8 pm without air conditioning. It was a very hot North Carolina day and when we got home, we could wring out our clothes.

I noticed several things while I was at the school.

All the teachers worked long hours to set up their rooms. They worked hard! I wonder how many really appreciate their dedication or recognize that they work far more than a school calendar. They assume a lot of personal expense which is also a surprise to most people.

The teachers didn’t go it alone. They wanted and accepted help.

As we walked down the hall, we could see that the individual personalities of the teachers emerged in their theme and the way they set up their room. When teachers stopped in each other’s rooms and looked, they shared ideas, gave encouragement, offered helpful suggestions to each other, and asked and answered questions.

All the time and hard work has been worth it! After three days, the room moved from a shell to a beautiful classroom complete with furniture, a theme, and lots of color. It’s just waiting for a group of six year olds!

Not all of us are teachers, but we work hard, and often long hours. We “rearrange” plans and schedules, some to our liking and some with resistance. Life isn’t always “level”. The colors of our day may be bold, pastel and gray. We "sweat" through experiences. We wonder about our theme and where we are headed. We may not feel appreciated or recognized. We may try to do it all alone or we accept help. We give and receive encouragement and even criticism. Many of us have had to start over. Often we sacrifice at great personal expense, If we look back on our life we see that our “shell”—where we started--has gone through transformation and though still a work in progress, a unique “classroom” has emerged.

Tell us! What is something in your life that has contributed to your becoming a unique classroom? What does it look like? How did it change from a shell to beauty?

Still changing,

Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, July 26, 2010

Doughnuts and Other Sweets

As you can see from my updated photo, I recently had the awesome privilege of having all four of my grandchildren with me. For nine days (yes, I counted) all of my children, sons-in-law and grandchildren were under my roof. Considering that they live on opposite sides of the country, it was remarkable. Day and night we had lots of noise, laughter, food and fun. We had an “unbirthday” party to celebrate the grandchildren’s birthdays with cupcakes and Dollar store gifts, took family photos, had a popcorn and movie night while the adult children went out for an evening and had an overnight to the beach. My three year old grandson Quinn painted a picture for me to hang with the other two who did the same at three. Next year, to keep the tradition, Addy will paint hers and I will have four framed on my wall.

When Kate and Heather made a trip to the supermarket, I received a text saying that they were heading to another store to buy iced angel doughnuts to continue our tradition. Chocolate iced doughnuts filled with white cream (not Bavarian) are one of the foods we ate on special occasions when the girls were growing up. Now, we enjoy the special treat when we are together and carry on the tradition with grandchildren, who by the way, think it is fantastic to eat doughnuts for breakfast.

Some experiences were planned, some were spontaneous. We were together and made memories. It was sweet.

We often think of traditions at holiday or birthday time but James Dobson speaks of the value of traditions:

“The great value of traditions comes as they give a family a sense of identity, belongingness. All of us desperately need to feel that we’re not just a cluster of people living together in a house, but we’re a family that’s conscious of its uniqueness, its personality, character and heritage, and that our special relationships of love and companionship make us a unit with identity and personality.”

As a long distance grandmother, I constantly look for ways to connect and develop a sense of belonging to each other while respecting individual families and despite distance. My doughnuts and paintings are two ways I do that. What about you? What are some of the challenges and successes you have found in developing traditions in your new boomer grandmother season? Is distance a challenge? Is proximity also a challenge? Won’t you share some of your sweet traditions with us?

On a very hot North Carolina day,

Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summertime Fun vs. Your Concerns

Hopefully, you are enjoying summertime fun and the lazy days of summer, at least occasionally. Marilyn and I chuckle and sometimes grimace, (her from the East Coast, and me from the West Coast) as we try to connect between our hectic schedules.

It's good we're busy, but some of the things we are dealing aren't necessarily pleasant. So, my question for boomer women today is, please tell us what concerns you. What topic would you like us to address in this forum?

Right off the top, my concerns are:

How do we manage our own lives when we need to help out because of restricting chronic health issues with our daughters, the mother of our grandchildren?

With our aging parents, how do we know when to "take charge" and when to "let go?" It is a fine line to walk.

Both questions may have a similar response in how to best deal with these challenging realities.

Those are examples, but let us hear what concerns you, and we'll brainstorm solutions on this site.

Here's to sunshine!
Judy

http://www.judydippel.com

Monday, June 28, 2010

42 Years Older—and Proud of it!

I encourage you to go to your class reunion, but just here did the time go?

We may not look the same, but let's all agree, we're "better than ever!" Inwardly we're stronger, wiser, more confident...with bits of wisdom evident from the gray hairs on our head.

My invitation came in its' bold red and black colors. The Medford 'Black Tornado' Class of 1968 invites you to the 40th Class Reunion.

“This is unbelievable; forty years?” The words came rushing out of my mouth, and inwardly I squirmed at the very thought of that many years slipping by so fast. Frowning, my questions and furrowed brows revealed my stunned reaction to my husband. "Tell me we aren’t this old, because I'm just not feeling it!"
I rolled my eyes and stressed. "I'll have to lose twenty pounds.” Yet the minute the words escaped, thoughts of self-acceptance flitted through my head. Quit whining and choose to lose it, hide it…or lighten up and choose to accept myself the way I am. I relaxed as my mind quickly justified the extra pounds that in midlife seem to persistently and comfortably taken up residency in my midsection—after all, I am a grandma and proud of it!

A Bit of Wisdom: Self-acceptance allows us to enjoy life’s “reunions,” and have gratitude for our less-than-perfect selves.

Summer is here -- enjoy!
Judy

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Orange Plaid Chair

While my two year old daughter Heather was napping, I took the opportunity to read for a few minutes in my favorite orange, gold and brown plaid chair. (Yes, it was the 70’s, right up there with avocado.) An article piqued my interest.

The writer discussed praying for our children. “Of course,” she said, “We pray for them to develop a heart for God, their friends, the right teacher, safety, etc, but start praying for your child’s future mate the day they are born.” As a fairly new Christian, that prayer request had never crossed my mind, but that day, my prayers began for a little boy, unknown to me, who would eventually become Heather’s husband. I prayed for all facets of his life-- his faith, schooling, friends, decisions, influences, his parents to lead him in the right direction and that he would come into Heather’s life at the right time.

When Paul appeared on the scene 22 years later, I looked at an answer to prayer.

Last weekend, we had the privilege of watching Paul cross the stage to receive his Doctorate of Ministry. What an amazing moment! I immediately thought of Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” From a few minutes spent in my orange plaid chair, to thirty-three years later, God graciously continues to reveal His great and mighty things.

I continue to pray for my adult children, but now I also have the privilege and responsibility to pray for my four grandchildren.
Yes, all the usual prayers for them too, but also their future mates. Somewhere, there are four children probably between one and five who may eventually enter our family. I only know at this point, that my job is to “call”. When we finally meet them, I have no doubt that I will see how God has molded their lives, but I also know that more is yet to come.

Blessings as you pray,

Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Grandma Test

My husband is a super “Papa” so the episode below doesn’t apply, but I received this email (and I'm sorry that I don't have an author's name to give credit), but I couldn’t resist sharing with you. Hope that you smile too.


THE GRANDMA TEST

I was out walking with my four-year-old granddaughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and asked her not to do that.
"Why?" my Granddaughter asked.
"Because it's been on the ground; you don't know where it's been, it's dirty, and probably has germs," I replied. At this point, my granddaughter looked at me with total admiration and asked, "Grandma, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart."
I had to think quickly. "All Grandmas know this stuff. It's on the Grandma Test. You have to know this stuff or they don't let you be a Grandma."

We walked along in silence for two or three minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information. "Oh .......I get it!" she beamed. "So if you don't pass the test, you have to be the Grandpa."

"Exactly," I replied, with a big smile on my face.


If you were writing a “Grandma Test”, what is one question you’d ask? And…what’s the answer?


With a smile,
Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lessons from Facebook

Facebook has it pluses and minuses. It can be very time consuming but Facebook can be an encouragement too. Since I have moved around a lot and have friends all over the US, FB has served as a way to reunite and connect.

As I read notifications and "wall", friends will often give prayer requests and answers, a quote, Bible verse, share exciting happenings and family updates and be just plain fun. Sometimes people will ask for advice: “Any ideas for a cheap family vacation?”

Well last week, a young mom asked for advice. She wrote: “I re-instituted quiet hour after lunch (when and why did I ever stop doing that?) and now I’m faced with a dilemma: use the time to do some much needed house cleaning or cuddle up with a good book and possibly nap. Oh, the difficult decisions of life?!? :)”

In the comments section, friends answered her question:

I'd clean for 15 minutes and read for 45. :)
We all need that time to get recharged!!

That's easy...take a nap! :)

There will ALWAYS be something in need of cleaning. Read a book, maybe it will have the same effect on you as me, helps you fall asleep, (if you let it :).

Easy…self care: a book, nap, soft music, a cup of tea, any or all of the above.

The final post revealed her choice:
Okay, hold on to your socks! I actually opted for the book and a short rest. It was wonderful and gave me that extra boost I needed to get the cleaning done afterward. YAY!

It was followed by an affirmation from a friend:
Good choice!! :)

I’m glad that Ann opted for self-care and has learned this lesson early. I admit that it took me a long time before I realized that self-care wasn’t self-ish but necessary if I wanted to be all I should and be all I could to the people in my life.

After all, don’t the flight attendants tell us that if we are traveling with children, to put our oxygen mask on first so that we are in good shape to then put one on your child?

Have you learned that lesson? How do you live out self-care? If not, is today the day to start?

Monday, April 26, 2010

TREASURED CELEBRATIONS for Mother-Daughters & Grandmother-Granddaughters

If you have young women in your family, both mothers and grandmothers will find this interesting info. A book and journal written with teen girls in mind, though in my opinion it is valuable for younger pre-teen girls, too.

For those of us who appreciate inspiring materials to guide us in influencing our daughters and granddaughters to live life knowing they have purpose, value and strength, I highly recommend this book and the accompanying journal:

Raising a Modern-Day Princess (for adult) and the Journal, Becoming a Modern-Day Princess (for young girl), Becoming a Modern-Day Princess. (Chapters focus on personality types; family trees, history and family stories; wealth of wisdom; true friends; hopes and dreams for the future; looking and acting in healthy, positive ways; portrait of a prince/traits of good men;feelings, contentment and forgiveness, "Dancing with the King," and relationship with God).

These are written by an author friend many of you already know. Pam Farrel, and co-written by Doreen Hanna. It was recently published by Focus on the Family/Tyndale House.

Pam and Doreen have allowed me to use these materials for an upcoming Mother-Daughter retreat I'm speaking for at Camp Berachah in Auburn, near Seattle, Washington. May 7-9. http://www.campberachah.org/ (Please check it out and consider coming to the retreat if you live near there. You can register online at the Camp Berachah website I've included).

I feel these materials provide us, as mothers or grandmothers, a unique opportunity to influence our daughters and granddaughters in a unique and very meaningful way--plus it's all prepared for us!

To learn more about Pam or Doreen, please visit their websites:
http://www.farrelcommunications.com/ and Doreen Hanna, the President and Founder of Treasured Celebrations. www.moderndayprincess.net/

I can't wait to share this with the moms and grand-moms who attend this retreat! Feel free to contact me directly with questions about it.

Judy Dippel
http://www.judydippel.com

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Math or Not Listening?

My daughter Kate is a teacher and couldn’t resist sharing a copy of this exercise from a student.

"Wanda had a special talent with art. Write about a special talent that you have and draw a picture showing that talent."

The student's response: "I have a talent in math. If I did not choose math, I would choose not listening."

We both had a good laugh with that answer, but this little seven year-old is on to something. How many times do we choose to not listen?

Did our mothers give us advice and we chose to “not listen”? Was it costly?

We offered our thoughts to our kids, and they chose to “not listen”. How did it matter?

We hear a “still small voice” but choose to “not listen”. Is life different because of our choice?

We were told that some days in motherhood may seem interminable but the years go by in the blink of an eye, and we choose to “not listen”.

The media tells us that we need to look a certain way and we buy into it. We choose not to listen to who God says we are. Can we remind ourselves of scriptures that speak to our value?

What about “not listening”? Did you discover that your special talent wasn’t math and you chose “not listening”? Can you share your lesson with us?

OR…do you have an example of how you listened and the outcome was extraordinary? Encourage us with your story!


Let’s hear from you. I’m listening!

Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Sunday, April 11, 2010

TOP 10...IF Your Child..."DON'T WORRY" Advice from a Grand-Mom

If your child eats glue, don't worry, there has to be one in every class...and they won't do it forever.
If your child won't share, don't worry, there has to be one in every class and they won't do it forever.
If your child screams when you leave them, don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever.
If your child bites things, be it animate or inanimate, when they are angry, don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever.
If your childs best friend isn't real, or is a stuffed animal, don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever.
If your child speaks at a volume louder than "Dora the Explorer," don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever.
If your child didn't learn E=MC2 (squared) from watching Baby Einstein, don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever.
If your child is asked by the teacher why she is so tired, and answered (hypothetically) that her parents are afraid of Jesus return, so they are forcing her to dig a hole under the house...don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever.
If your child's hair is styled with jam, peanut butter, and a little snot, don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever.
If your child plucked the "pretty flower" to give to the teacher, from the teacher's very own potted plant on her desk, don't worry, there has to be one in every class and it won't last forever!

The moral of the story is ONE: Don't worry. TWO:Your child/granchild is individual and beautiful, on their very own road, so don't compare , but if you do compare, just laugh and remember...IT WON'T LAST FOREVER!

Judy...a mother and grandmother...and I've survived!
http://www.judydippel.com/

Monday, April 5, 2010

Scars and Casts

“I’m glad to see you without your cast,” I told a friend in the church foyer yesterday. She told me how good it was to be vertical and not dependent on her scooter to get around. “See my scar,” she pointed, “but that’s nothing compared to the ones on my knees from knee replacement.” I thought that our conversation was fitting given Jesus’ nail scared hands that paid the price for my sin on Good Friday.

As I entered the auditorium, that words of our conversation lingered. Scars. As we began singing, “My Redeemer Lives!” I thought, No more scars for us!

But wait…how many of us still wear scars? Do we continue to wear the scars of hurts, broken relationships, guilt, lack of self-acceptance and a host of other life issues? Perhaps to hide our scars, we keep a cast on that hinders navigating through life with grace, strength and transparency?

The message of Resurrection Sunday is that our scars are gone. There is no need to wear a cast to cover up. (Adam and Eve tried that with fig leaves.) The same power that caused Jesus’ resurrection is available to us for daily living. He wants to remove our cast and take our scars away.

Today's thought on my flip calendar read: "By the power that raised Jesus Christ from that sealed and guarded tomb we may be delievered from whatever seals us off from life. Jesus came to give us life, nothing less than life, abundant life." (Elisabeth Elliott)

Will you live in that life today--free from scars and casts?

Because of the resurrection!
Marilyn

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Christian walk isn't easy!

With Easter approaching, I have to once again say it out loud. I'm in awe of God's love and grace towards me! It is amazing! The cross says it all. Yet as women, we're just human and to follow Christ requires trust and hope in things for our lives that are yet unseen. The words are easy, but sincerely "walking the walk" is much harder...at every age and stage, right?

As moms (and grand-moms)we sometimes feel we must be super-human and all-wise, but that alone requires dependence on who God is, a willingness to surrender to his guidance, and faith for tangible outcomes on this earth. The Christian walk takes a deliverate daily choice to participate in all that God has for us, which includes patience and persistence, and for me and probably you, a willingness to give up my selfish desires, my pride and willfulness. hmmm...what I know for sure...I will never arrive and have it all together. And I also know that as I continually gravitate towards Christ, and strive to discard the old, replaced by the strength of an all-knowing God, I receive a peace and perspective well beyond what I could ever imagine. In realizing my limitations, I'm in awe of the expanse of God's faithfulness.

I guess the bottom line, faith in the Christ isn't just for me and other people. He died for you, too! Christianity may not be an easy walk, but it is the most rewarding, miraculous and adventurous walk you'll ever take. Nothing dull about it! Don't mean to sound "preachy," but sometimes I can't restrain myself. Enjoy the Easter eggs and rely on HIM as you "walk the walk!"
God Bless YOU!
Judy
http://www.judydippel.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ever "In Limbo?"

I need to write something thought provoking and encouraging today, but I feel in limbo--a result of numerous stresses that have gotten to me. What may be the most encouraging is to tell you..."sometimes life gets to us and temporarily gets the best of us, even when we have strong faith, and even when we've lived through enough life to have great answers and quick fixes!"

I'm not alone and neither are you.
But what do we do when we might feel frozen in place, worried, stressed out, depressed, or frozen in place? A few habits that may help you.

First, acknowledge why you are feeling this way. Acceptance is a huge step in the right direction, and remember nothing stays the same. This "in limbo" feeling will pass!

Today, do something you can control and enjoy, and try to let go of what you can't control...and always remember you can't do it all!

Talk to God, pray, seek guidance and comfort in his word.

Talk to a trusted friend, or seek out a therapist if you feel it's needed.

Love yourself enought to practice healthy self-care: regular amounts of sleep, exercise, healthy diet. Get outside, enjoy a change of scene...and KNOW it's okay to say NO to take care of you...boundaries are good!

I'd love to hear from you.
Judy
http://www.judydippel.com/

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seasons of Solace

Last August I had the privilege of attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference and I was randomly assigned a roommate. Though we were a generation apart, Janelle Hertzler and I enjoyed each other's company at meals and in classes. She blessed me in an amazing way--one of which was through her testimony and hearing about her book. Seasons of Solace: A Story of Healing through Photos and Poems represents Janelle's journey as she deals with the unthinkable.

While Janelle and her husband served as missionaries in Thailand, her husband was killed by a drunk driver. Coming home to the US with a toddler, Janelle attempted to navigate through her pain and make sense of a senseless act. Writing poetry, reading the Psalms, and taking inspiring photos are some of the tools she used to express grief, honestly convey her thoughts, and work through her healing process. Hertzler's path is captured tearfully and beautifully in print and photography in Seasons of Solace. Her honesty reminds us that pain is real. Her words tell us that there is no magic timetable for grief. Her transparency is courageous. Seasons of Solace is an excellent gift book that presents timeless truths and images for those grieving the loss of a loved one or life disappointments of any magnitude.

To learn more about Janelle and read a few sample poems, or get information about obtaining Seasons of Solace, please visit www.journey-through-grief.com/seasons-of-solace.html

Peace,
Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life Comes at You Fast

“It shouldn’t be happening to you this young.” That’s what a 30 something gal told me last week as I shared that my husband and I lost a life-long friend suddenly. “I know,” I answered. “We are shocked by it. When friendship is deep, loss is deeper. We hurt.” With no warning, the words, “He’s gone,” pierced our hearts.

Boomers’ bios show that we change jobs, retire, relocate, make new friends, lose friends and family. We watch our children graduate from college, relocate, start a career, marry, and grandchildren arrive. In a blink of an eye, life happens. Sure, we have lots of fun stuff, but what hit me squarely in the face last week is loss. Like my young friend said, “It shouldn’t be happening to you this young…or this soon.” Right; to our parents, but not to us…yet.

I know that there will be a sweet reunion someday. I know that in comparison to “stuff” on earth, heaven is perfect and glorious and I don’t wish my friend back. I know that separation will be short and eternity forever! Yet the reality is that as boomers age, the news I heard will be replayed. We will have loss.

The TV commercial says, “Life comes at you fast.” Scripture tells us life is a vapor. So true. So we’re in the fast lane. Let’s make every day count for what matters. What are you going to do today that matters?

Blessings in your discoveries,
Marilyn

Monday, March 1, 2010

LEARNING LIFE AGAIN

There's is nothing like seeing life through our grandchildren's eyes to remind us what we DO know and what we DON'T! (Like Marilyn's previous post...I'd never before thought of toilet paper as a priceless treasure...though in reality it probably is to each and every one of us. But even more valuable with grandma's lipstick kiss on it, according to Marilyn's grandchildren.) Love it, especially when it makes me see t-paper in a fresh and new way!

It is awesome to be "Learning Life Again" with grandchildren. Seeing through a child's lens teaches us something new, reminds us to appreciate the simple things, and opens us up to the world we live in.

For example:

Have you ever felt a "naked mole rat" is the most beautiful animal in the zoo? Probably not, in fact if you are like me, you don't even know what a naked mole rat is. Well, 5 year-old Ella educated me...and now I see the beauty of their claws and brown, naked little mouse-like bodies! :-)

I'd never noticed the fuzzy, hair-like pods that are on the ground...year after year, just before my magnolia tree blooms. They're beautiful, fuzzy, soft...like a little animals ears...just as both Eli and Ella explained to me this morning. And now, we have two freezer bags full on the counter! I will never miss them on the ground next year.

And as Olivia said when she was about three. Grandma, where does God live? I said he is large and lives way up there...probably beyond the sky. She said, "But he comes really close, and gets really small to live in my heart!" I was speechless.

Amen, and let's pay close attention to the wisdom of our grandchildren. In this stage, I'm ready to keep learning new things about life...from them!

What have your grandchildren taught you lately?
Judy

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lipstick Kisses

Like you, I receive several email “forwards” throughout the week. I discard some and read one or two. When “grandmother humor” appeared in my inbox, I opened it without a second thought. Several episodes and exchanges between grandmothers and grandchildren were recounted, but this one caught my eye:

“She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, ‘But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!’ I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....”

I don’t kiss the toilet paper after applying lipstick but I do kiss a “Kleenex” tissue when I say goodbye to my grandchildren. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a long-distance grandmother. On the last morning of my visit I leave a lipstick kiss and write the date on the tissue for them. Sometimes due to a flight schedule, I leave before they wake up. The tissue is left on the kitchen table for them. It’s one of my rituals.

What grandmother rituals do you have? We all have special touches and rituals whether we are long distance or live next door. We’d love to hear your point of view and share with us.


Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

THE SIMPLE THINGS

Memories from growing up years remind me to enjoy just "hangin' out" doing the SIMPLE things with my grandkids when they visit. It's also a great chance to teach them things they may not always do in their busy days.

Here's a few SIMPLE and fun things I've enjoyed lately with my grandchildren(9,6 &4)

A TEA PARTY! Instead of breakfast on the island in the kitchen, my grandkids set up their little tea set on the dining room table. I turned on some relaxing music and lit candles. We cut toast, fruit, cheese into small tea-sized portions, and along with the mint tea and honey, guess what? My oldest granddaughter, Olivia, insisted we enjoy polite conversation and our best manners! I loved it, and the relaxing way we started our day! (A great gift for me and a fun way to practice good manners for them)

HAVE FUN WITH BUTTONS (buy a sack of them at any craft store) My granddaughters decorated some big ol' t-shirts of mine with buttons.(to make night shirts for themselves). They sewed them on, but buttons are fun to glue on plastic, wood, old jewelry, etc. A great way to teach some basics about needles and thread. I don't sew but I CAN do that! They have a new nightshirt...and they think of grandma!

RECYCLE CELL PHONES ...give them to your grandchildren to play with when they visit. I was surprised to find out that they still take pictures when they are deactivated...My granddaughters spent hours being amateur photographers, then showed and explained each one in their "gallery."

FLY KITES, MAKE WISHES on DANDELIONS, PAINT WITH WATER on CEMENT, PLAY HOPSKOTCH, PICK FLOWERS (and let them arrange them in a vase), let them make their own ROOTBEER FLOATS, MAKE DESIGNS with a FLASHLIGHT, in a DARK ROOM, SING TOGETHER, BRAID HAIR, WASH the CAR, MAKE MUD PIES (away from the car), FOLD CLOTHES and TELL STORIES (that go with the clothes.)

...most of all enjoy the SIMPLE things! I guarantee that is what we all remember most!

I'm going to turn off the TV right now!
Judy

Monday, February 1, 2010

Boomer Memories

My Dad had a Studebaker.
I grew up with a party line.
My mother had a wringer washer and hung her clothes on a clothesline to dry. She shook water from a bottle with holes on the lid on to clothes before she ironed them.
We only had three TV channels—major networks. Actually, we were among the last families to even get a TV.
TV programming ended at midnight with the Star Spangled Banner.
The ice cream truck passed through our neighborhood and we could buy popsicles for 10 cents.
I loved the smell of paper that was fresh off the ditto machine.

How many of these do you remember? Can you recall others from our growing up days and post? Let’s rewind and reminisce. We’d all love a smile and maybe a laugh.

Have you ever shared any of these with your children or grandchildren? How did they react? Were they surprised? Did they even remotely understand? How can you turn any of these memories into “teachable moments”? Think about it.

Warmly,
Marilyn

www.marilynnutter.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Changes…Choices…Challenges

I thought I’d update my photos with and of my grandchildren. Wow! Have they changed in a year! It was a challenge to find the best one and I was forced to make a choice. Speaking of which, during the past week I’ve heard the following comments in one form or another:

"My husband has no outside interests. I’d like to do things, but I feel guilty when I leave him all the time.We should be out there enjoying ourselves."

“We’ve relocated. My husband doesn’t have the interest I do in making new friends. He’s happy to watch TV, work in the yard and take me to dinner. I need women friends. I’d even like ‘couple friends’.”

“My daughter asked me to watch my grandchildren for a long weekend. I’ve been running in circles with my job and some volunteer commitments that were on the calendar months ago. I had to say “no” and I feel guilty.”

“I don’t know what’s happened. My dear friend and I have drifted apart. I thought we had been through significant life experiences together that would weather the changes of my leaving the place where we both worked, but she seems to have moved on.”

Changes, choices, and challenges. Which have you encountered lately? Any advice or solutions to offer?

We’d love to hear your “point of view”.

Marilyn
www.marilynnutter.com

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Post Christmas Reflections

Two days before Christmas, I read a posting from one of my Facebook friends who’s a young mom: “Anyone have any ideas for Christmas traditions? "We’re away from family.” I thought that two days before Christmas was a bit late to begin to think about establishing traditions for the current season, but I posted a few of ours and I noticed that three or four others offered some suggestions too.

On the other end of the spectrum, I received an email from a boomer friend who retired and relocated to a warmer climate. She and her husband also spent Christmas away from family. It read, “Our Christmas was good but it was very different.”

Me? For the first time in forty years, I didn’t celebrate Christmas morning in my own home but was 2,000 miles away. I watched with delight as my daughter prepared our traditional Christmas breakfast and I enjoyed the sparkle in my grandchildren’s eyes as they opened presents. I connected with my two other daughters via webcam. Our matching pajamas tied us together. It was lovely, but different. Later, we flew to the other side of the country and we changed New Year’s into a delayed “live” Christmas with my other daughters and grandchildren.

Yes, the seasons of life bring change. Relationships change, holidays are different.

How were your holidays? Different, lovely, stressful, hectic, lonely, a change from previous years? Now that Christmas is behind us but still fresh in our minds, I’m inviting you to comment and help all of us manage and be proactive for Christmas 2010. Whether you are a boomer woman or grandmother, or the adult daughter or daughter-in-love of one, what suggestions can you offer that we can file away for next Christmas? Do you have an in-town or long distance tradition to recommend, a holiday schedule to suggest, stress relievers to offer, a way to manage being away from family or if relationships are tense, managing being with family, or a way to manage expectations?

My thoughts are twofold: it’s January and we can prepare to think about the traditions we want to establish for next year (if we like your idea and it suits our family structure) and in the cases where Christmas may have been different, we can benefit from your experiences and advice.

The seasons of life bring change. Let’s talk!

Marilyn

www.marilynnutter.com