Three weeks ago today, my grandmother, Mildred Eugenia Dake, passed away.  She was 95 years, 7 months, and 3 days old.  She was grand.

There is so much to be said about this woman.  She left a legacy of faith, of musical ability, of hard working self determination, of resourcefulness, the list goes on and on.

But I'd like to share some of the things I remember most.

I remember Grandmother coming to see me in Florida.  All the way from Arkansas.  I remember her staying a long time and taking care of me when I was little.

I remember staying with Grandmother in the summers, for about 4-5 years in a row, from 6th to 10th grade.  She would make me breakfast every day.  I would wake up to the sound of the smoke alarm beeping, the smell of bacon, and the sights of Phil Donahue and Sally Jesse Raphael.

I remember Grandmother talking a lot.  She seemed to tell you whatever came into her head.  Lots and lots of stories about her formative years.  Stories you had heard many times before, that you knew by heart, but you listened to politely because you knew how much she enjoyed telling it.

I remember Grandmother adding lots of accessories to her outfits.  And many times attaching beads or jewels to the clothing itself.  She did what she liked and she didn't care what anyone else thought.

I remember playing with her Avon bottles in the bathtub.  She used to sell Avon products.

I remember going to her church, First Baptist Midland, and watching her sing in the choir and then sit right in front to hear the preacher.

I remember Grandmothers love for quilting.  (And that she was not afraid to stick a bumper sticker to her living room wall.)

I remember in college Grandmother sent me a note on which she had pasted multiple
pictures of herself.

I remember that Grandmother loved all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. (And one great-great grandchild!)

When I found out she was in her final days, I knew I wanted to journey to Grandmothers house one last time and be there with my family for her memorial.  It was going to be cold.  My mom texted me and said I could wear one of Grandmothers winter coats.  This made me feel warm inside.  I looked forward to that most of all.

I took some photographs in her house, of things I remember.  She lived there for over 70 years.  I wish it could stay the same forever.  These old photographs were lying around.  I propped this up and realized I had made her look like a unicorn, with the glass candlestick coming out of the top of her head.  But I like it there.  It's cool.  And she totally could have pulled it off.  (Or maybe my kids just watch too much My Little Pony.)

I gathered all her Avon bottles to bring home, which I chose when she asked me at age 13 what I wanted to have when she died.

I enjoyed seeing extended family and witnessing such gracious and kind people who all came from Grandmothers family tree.

Grandmother is in heaven now.  She is praising God and I praise God for her.


Confessions of a Home School Library Patron

Earlier this week the whole family went to our local library.  I am a huge fan of the library.  Have been going there regularly since I was a child.  I love it there.  I have a  crush on the library.  (Well, in high school I had a crush on a guy who worked at the library, but close enough.)

But sometimes I can take it for granted.  Sometimes I lose books.  Well, the children lose books.  Or our house eats them.  Or they get left outside and it rains.  Sometimes I keep them too long.  I have overdue fines.  Sometimes I have to pay for the aforementioned damages.  Let's be honest.  Not sometimes.  Lately it's all the time.

I allow my children to get a library card when they are in Kindergarten.  They have to be willing to write their own name on the back of their card and sign the paper.  It is an exciting milestone for us all.  This year Penelope got hers.

I have learned how to work the system.  Once a librarian who liked me leaned forward over the desk and told me in a whisper that they have a one-day grace period.  They don't advertise this, but you won't get late fees until the second day late.  So I use this.  Regularly.

Also I know that I can turn things in late Monday night, and our branch will count them as if they are turned in Saturday, since they are closed Sunday and Monday.  I use this too.  Regularly.  (Actually, I have been known to wake up early and drive to the library to turn them in Tuesday morning before they open.  Pathetic, I know.)

I am pretty good to check online to help me keep track of the high volume of check-outs.  I make lists of what we have due and we go hunting all over the house until we have crossed them all off.  The children pass the blame of who was last seen with a book we can't find.  They tell me there are no more in their room and I go unearth three from under the bed.

I get emails telling me when things are nearly due or overdue.  Sometimes I glance at them.  Usually I pretend they're not there.  It stresses me out.

This week I didn't have time to look online and make lists and search high and low.  I just did my best and hoped for the best.  Did we get it all?  Surely not.  I know how this goes.

When it was time to check out I opened my wallet.  I didn't want to have to pay any fines.  It can be embarrassing.  I want to give large home school families a good name.  I flipped through my library cards.  Mine.  Jackson.  Libby.  Cash.  Penelope.  Which one has fines?  Which one has a lost book?  Which one should I hand to the librarian??  I had to pick quick.

It was like I was a shopaholic flipping through my maxed out credit cards.

I chose Penelope.  Hers is new.  Surely we haven't tainted it yet...

The librarian paused and looked at her screen.  Something is amiss...

I only owed a dollar!  Exhale.

But each card can only check out 50 items.  If I went over 50, I'd have to go into my wallet for another card.  And surely I wouldn't be as lucky.

As I placed the items on the counter, I counted them.  I wasn't sure, I couldn't tell...I had already given her some things before I started counting.  But I thought I had 49.  Would she ask me for another card?  The suspense...

No.  I made it out.  We all lived to see another day at the library.

It's all worth it to be entertained by things that don't light up or make noises.

Check out a book.  Read!

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Meet the newest member of The J Train.

We got a dog for Christmas.  The children are thrilled.  She is doing well.

Libby has been asking and praying for a long time.  And here is Jovie.

She was a little shaggy.  Had lots of matted hair.  Since I cut the hair of all the people in our family, I hope to learn to cut the dog's hair as well.  However, for this first grooming I needed a professional.  She was pretty weighed down, as you can see from the before and after.  Yes, this is all the same dog.

Since it's been pretty cold, I bought her a clearance Christmas sweater today for $3.50.  She lost quite a bit of natural sweater.  They had to cut super short to rid her fur off all the yuck.

Welcome to the family, Jovie.  If you know how to beg for food, go to bed when you're told, and sit still for an occasional hair cut, you should fit right in with the other kids around here.