I'm back from Texas and wanted to let all my friends know about my WONDERFUL trip!  So sorry I didn't have a chance to keep up with everyone like I thought I would.  It turns out that my time with Ben's family went by too fast and I wanted to soak up every minute.  

Granny turned 91 on the day we arrived in Texas.  I am SO VERY THANKFUL each and every time we pull up and she's still around.  She's the kind of woman where you just FEEL God's presence.  Have you ever been around a person who claims to be a Christian and before they ever say anything about it, you've already figured it out by the way they act?  That's GG.  She teaches a Sunday School class for the seniors at her church but even the young people want to be in her class because they love her so much.  I almost get jealous that all these people are taking MY time away from Granny!  lol  Not really but she really IS the kind of woman who you feel love and warmth from.  I know that's why she keeps living in relatively good health.  God knows that the world isn't ready to stop feeling that love.

When I'm in Texas, I do most of the cooking and cleaning.  I do this because that's the way I was raised.  My mother taught me that if I visit someones home and they are gracious enough to take my family in for a period of time, I need to do what I can to minimize the burden that I'm creating.  I've always been this way.  I don't want Granny or Ben's Mom to do a thing, if I can help it.  It's the respect that I owe them for being the matriarchs of the family.  Now, I never stopped to think about how this made them feel.  I guess I thought that everyone was raised this way and they understood.  I found out that Mom (Katherine) wanted to take care of US sometimes.  Never occurred to me because she still works as a school teacher and has severe artheritis.  ALSO, although Granny is crippled and gets SO tired (as I'd imagine most 91 year olds would), the only thing she had to live for was the little bit of time where she could feel productive and do dishes or help cook or clean.  She also quilts but she takes her quilting rack down while we're there because it takes up too much room.  She actually begged me one night to let her do something!  I'm such a jerk.  Before, I'd always say, "Granny, I can never take care of you so when I'm down here, I want to do it".  It never occurred to me that she felt useless when I wouldn't let her help.  She finally told me that if she sat around all day long, she might as well lay down and die!  I'm ashamed.  From that point on, I involved her in everything that I could or that she wanted to be involved in.  It wasn't easy because she's so slow and I had to wait on some things which threw things way behind but it was worth it to see that Granny felt needed.

This is the most wonderful woman in the world doing dishes....  Granny Helen.  I hate to leave her the most when it's time to come back home.  I'm always afraid she won't be there when we can come back.  I'm happy for the time I DO get with her though.

This is me and my NEW favorite and beautiful niece... Sela (sounds like saela).  This little girl has more personality than a 3 y/o should!  lol  If I don't let HER help.... she'll just push her little chair to the counter and climb up and do it on her own!  She was SO proud that she got to pour the sauce on the pasta con broccoli.  She also got to spread the buttered crumb topping on.  She's getting started even earlier than my own girls did with the cooking.  She actually didn't make a mess or get in my way....  well, not too bad, anyway!  lol


This is my nephew Sackett and his sister Sela (again).  She doesn't much like wearing a shirt!  lol  These 2 are so funny!  She's the only girl in a family of 4 kids but she's the boss!  She'll tear Sackett up if he tries to push her around.  I'd lay money on Sela, anyday, in a fight!  lol  Sackett is 7 and has the BEST heart in the world.  Not so much for Sela!  lol  When it was time to say goodbye to them, Sackett cried and Sela said "Aunt Michelle....  You NEED to make us some more hot chocolate when you come back".  Apparently, they wouldn't let anyone else make them their hot chocolate when I was there!  lol  I put some extra sugar and vanilla and marshmellows though:-)  Always good to con the kiddos!  lol


I HAD to share this...  Sela told me as SOON as we got there that she wanted some new zipper boots for Christmas.  She was VERY specific too... they had to have a zipper and be pretty and maybe she'd like black, brown, blue or pink.  It had to have sparkles too.  SOOOO.... she told me this every day until I went out and found her these from Southpole!  lol  Funny to see her wear her little city girl boots with no shirt and her Levis!  lol  You can't see it but it really does have some gold sparkles where South Pole (the brand name) is spelled out in the back!  lol  She wouldn't take them off the rest of the week!  So, she has part of her Christmas present early but it was so worth it for me to see how excited she was!!!  Isn't it funny that she didn't ask for toys and she's only 3?  lol  She's SUCH a tom boy but she loves her bling and her fashion!  Her Daddy would have liked for these to be cowboy boots.  LMBO  He's a cop in a small Oklahoma western town.... pretty set in his cowboy ways!  lol


Now THIS touched my heart and I'll tell you why.  Josh is 19 and he's had so many problems with the usual pressures and temptations of a teenager in a small town.  He's been part of the reason I don't talk to my middle daughter anymore.  This is not my choice but.... it's a long story.  They got themselves in to a lot of trouble when we were there last Thanksgiving.  I didn't think he'd even talk to me but he came over one night and said "Aunt Michelle... I'm so sorry...."   and that's all he needed to say.  He told me about his life and how he wants to make something of himself.  He thinks he's a good artist and a good writer and a good philosopher.  I will have to agree 100%!  I listened as this brilliant teenager told me about his beliefs.  He just doesn't have money or opportunity in that small Texas town.  Jobs are SO hard to come by.  What he really wants to do is to go to school to do something with art.  I asked him to give me a picture that he's drawn and maybe we'd see if anyone was interested in buying his art on the internet.  He was afraid of the rejection and it seems that his fear of rejection made him not want to TRY anything.  I expected not to see Josh after that night.  The very next night, I came home from shopping for Sela's new boots and I found Josh at the kitchen table drawing me a picture.... There he sat until he was almost finished.  I never got the picture because he felt like it wasn't good enough for me.  I was speechless.  Do any of you know who Escher is?  He's an artist... anyway, Josh's work reminds me of that.  Before I left Texas, Josh and I went shopping to get him some sketch pads and pencils and other art supplies.  I really feel like he's got a future in art if he'd just stop being afraid to try.

Sorry for such a long post.... you all know I can't do anything in short version!  My stories never seem to end, I know.  There's just so much to say!  lol  I had a wonderful time with Ben's family, once again.  I even got to spend the week with Savannah, Ben's daughter.  Apparently she got fired from another job in Springfield IL so that she could go with us for a change.  I wonder if she didn't do it on purpose but whatever the reason... It was good to spend time with her.  Our kids grow up and we don't get much time with them.  Any reason is good enough for me when it means getting to spend time:-)

Hope all your Thanksgivings were as happy as mine!  God Bless!

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