Can’t We Just All Get Along

These last few months have been very trying for me. I have had to adjust to my daughter and granddaughter moving out. This alone could have sent me over the edge a few years ago but now I can honestly say I roll with most of the punches that life swings at me. I have felt blessed to live this life God has given me and am so thankful for my many blessings. I try not to sweat the small stuff. That is unless it concerns my sisters or my mother. I can be overly protective and sometimes very judgmental. I remember being afraid and always working. I expect more from all of us because we have so much knowledge of what can go wrong with life. We know about divorce and poverty. We have experienced child abuse and ridicule. I believe every one of us walk around with something from our past that has a tendency to affect our future and I would like to see that cycle end. When my mom married my last stepdad Ward my life changed. Here he is with Beth on her Bethany and Grandpaconfirmation day. For the first time in my life I was never worried about safety and my mothers love or her judgment. He gave me courage and the will to look at things from the outside. To this day if someone says one word about him not being perfect it makes me sad. I know that quiet man had faults,we all do but because of him and his willingness to change our life is so much better. My mom complains about his transgressions sometimes and I feel like she is angry with him. I could do the same thing about my past but what sense does that make. It is what it is. I try to remember the good times. Granted they were far and few at times but they were there. Linda and I having our babies Linette and Loretta. Seeing Lori when Daddy snuck us up to the hospital after one of her many surgeries and the miracle of baby Lana that we would run off the bus to be the first one to hold her. I hold everyone of those memories so close. They are precious to me. I don’t want those girls to ever be hurt. I don’t want my mom to have bad feelings about any of us and I want us to realize how lucky we are to have each other still walking and breathing when there are so many families that are broken by death way to soon.There is a rift in this family right now and the longer it goes on the easier it is to continue. My mom was only seventeen when she started having kids so a lot of times it is like she is a sister instead of a mother. Then there is the fact we are all women and you know how feelings are with the female species. I can get my feelings hurt with The Work Horse and the poor guy doesn’t even know it.

Al 001Here he is in his Sonny Bono days. The love of my life and sometimes the pain in my neck but always my hero. God help him for putting up with me. Sometimes it isn’t about who is right sometimes it is about who can swallow their pride and remember their blessings.That is what I want for my mom and my sisters. I am not the perfect sister or wife or mother. I have made many mistakes but for quite a few years it has gotten easier and easier to let go of bad feelings. It is exhausting to be hurt and mad. When I leave this earth I want my family to remember me with a smile and know whatever I said was because I loved them and wanted what was best for them never to judge. I don’t care who is the favorite or who does the most. All I want is peace and harmony for a family that so deserves it after everything they have been through. The thing about a disagreement that carries on for too long is people tend to forget about the content and just remember the hurt. How stupid is that when you miss the person and your pride won’t let you move forward. I know as a mom I have been mad at my kids and sometimes haven’t talked to them. I can tell you it is the worst feeling in the world for me and for them. We talk about it now and I am so thankful they accept that I made a mistake. Parents should never close a door on their kids. Siblings should never not use the closeness of their past to render the richness of their future. I want to learn from my mistakes and be a blessing to my family even when I insert my foot in my mouth instead of having someone put theirs in my behind.

Last week Bethany and I had a conversation that left an impact on me. She is in the Navy and married a guy without telling us. After we finally met him her dad and I knew he was not going to work as her husband. He quit his job. He stayed home and played video games and thought of ways to spend her money.She made excuses for him every time we talked to her. We were angry. One night in bed The Work Horse told me we were done worrying and she would come to her senses in her own time. He was right and now they are divorced. It took her a long time to right the wrong but she did it. I hope she learned a hard lesson and is never fooled again. I want her to know that we will always be there for her and will listen when she calls for our help. We might not like what she says but the door of communication will always be open. I need to love that girl with everything in me. She is far away in distance but as close as a heartbeat in my mind. I love her no matter what. That is what I want for all of my sisters and my mom.

Getting along is not easy but it is so worth it. Wouldn’t it be terrible if someone died and you never had the chance to mend a broken fence post. That fence is no good to anyone with a post broke.It lets everything out no matter how strong the other posts are. I don’t want to be the broken post that let all the richness of our hard labor of love out. Do you? Common sense is easy if you let it. I hope my grandkids get the chance to see all of our family at one more gathering before it is too late. When I was little my cousins and my aunts were my saving grace. I want my grandkids to know their nana’s family. I don’t want them to meet at funerals. I want them to play at parties. It can be a reality if we just remember our blessings instead of someone’s faults. There was only one perfect person born on this earth and fortunately He is part of this family and forgives us everyday no matter what we do to Him. He answers the phone when we call and opens the door when we stop in. I hope all of us remember that. Our kids and grandkids are watching and learning from us. We are their compass and they need all of us. I don’t want my little Peyton to think that someone is dying because she hasn’t seen them in church. She told me that is what happened when Grandpa Perkie died (Ward). He got sick and couldn’t come to church and then he died. That is her reality. I don’t want to explain adult things to this smart little girl so don’t make me. Give her peace of mind that her family is ok. Let’s make her fence strong and with boundaries of forgiveness and happiness. This family is a bounty of blessings and I hope all of us know it. Blessings everyone and hope to see you soon. Liz

The Dude He Is A Changing

IMG_0981Collin is growing up. This was him last summer being just an innocent that didn’t have much of a conscience. A little boy that was four in a house full of girls.He was at my house quite a bit because the girls needed a rest from him in the summer time hotness and I was home recovering from another knee replacement. He was my little knight in shining armor and I was his damsel in distress. We were a match of rocking chairs creaking and story books of diggers and tractors. He still chose to sleep in Grandma Jahr’s old metal crib after his body would betray him into limpness while cuddled in my lap. This little guy was my promise from God that life could be simple. A kiss could cure his booboos and a smile was all he needed for encouragement. Although each one of his siblings mean so much to me he in his uniqueness lets me know that we are all wonderfully made and boys are boys even in a house full of girls.

IMG_1135This summer he learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. It was the first thing he ever accomplished before his twin sister. Who knew that hand me down Dora bike would hold so much significance in his little existence. I laughed so hard when he told me it was just a practice bike and his bike was in the garage with the trainers still on it. It wasn’t long and he was doing wheelies and riding like he was a race car driver with the checkered flag in sight. He ran his mother over and she went flying in the air that brought a flash back of her doing the same thing to her brother the year she learned. That bike gave him confidence and freedom.

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This year he became a protector of his cousins feelings. They still fight but when she is sad he is sad. I saw him give her one of his beloved tractors to take home when she was crying something unheard of before she was a part of his wheel house. She is his Kinz as he calls her and he loves her just like a sister. He knows how to comfort because of her. I know she will be special to him for all of his life.

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He learned how to wink. The first time he showed me his little eyes were going light a corner caution light because he couldn’t get the one to stay closed but now he has it down. His mom was so proud that she posted it to his dad and Aunt Aimee with the caption—Watch out ladies. This is going to come in handy because on the first day of school he came home and announced he had a girlfriend.He didn’t know her name but he liked her because she gave him a pencil and a color. After much prodding from his mother we found out Adeline was the recipient of his affections. Sweet Adeline you are a lucky girl.

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Gone is that baby and now emerging is this delightful little boy that I so adore. His baby magic smell is now replaced with soap and a smidgen of his dads cologne if he is ever clean and that is rare. He will always be my Little Dude no matter what age. I ache for that little guy sometimes. I miss it. It goes by so fast I just want time to stand still for a few minutes but that is not to be so I must revel in his newness of life everyday and thank God he is healthy and hope he doesn’t blow something up or flood the basement. Whatever he does I hope he knows that I will always love him even when he destroys the garage in five minutes or leaves the hose on outside for two hours. His vices are safe with me. He needs me and I need him. We are a heavenly match on earthly soil and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

She’s Hot

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I got a phone call from Brooke the other day. She is my oldest daughter and the mother to the bulk of my grandchildren.She had the kids at the park because Alexis had ball practice. I think she was a little taken back as her kids were playing when she over heard a couple of boys make a statement as they looked at Peyton. Two simple words. SHE’S HOT

She is only eight years old and the boys weren’t much more than that I guess. Brooke is a teacher of kindergarten so she pretty much hears everything but this was about Peyton who thank goodness never heard the statement. She needs no more self confidence. She oozes it like water from a crack in a Michigan basement and it drives her big sister Alexis crazy.

I know what that is like. In my eyes my little sisters were always way cuter than me and it took it’s toll on my idea of how I was perceived to other people. Thank God Alexis has two wonderful parents that keep the nobody is better system in place. There are no big heads at their house. They are what my dream family would have been when I was little.

We laughed as we were talking about those wonderful kids and I kept thinking that my love for Brooke just gets stronger and stronger. How is that possible when she has always meant so much to me. She is the mother I always wanted to be. Peyton is kind and loving because of the way Mike and Brooke taught her. She is one lucky little girl and her and all of the kids are fun to be around because of that. Like I said everybody has their heads the right proportion for their age.

I just wish I would have been the one to over hear little boys say something so stupid. I would have replied— Yes,  she always sweats like that.

The Wedding’s Off And I Love My Family

IMG_1012Two weekends ago I had about all of my favorite men at my house. They were working on the foundation of our old farm home so that it doesn’t leak anymore. It was a weekend project that made Hungarian Work Horse miss church and everything. My favorite Little Dude was right in the mix of things. He loves all things machinery and Uncle Greg brought his digger and here Little Dude and his Daddy are digging. I love these two with all my heart. Little Dude was so happy and I was glad the big guys let him help until he ran in the house and I asked him for a quick smooch.

“Nana, I don’t have time right now. I got work to do and I can’t marry you.”

I got kicked to the curb for machinery.

IMG_1009They dug all around the foundation of our house and tarred and put a drain system in it. This is my favorite brother-in-law of the day working. He is the one that my sister Linda dresses up so they can sing like Sonny and Cher every Sunday in church. The Sounds Of Sunday will tell you all about it . That Linda is so lucky to have him with all of his machinery and his kindness. He brought all that equipment and my nephew Josh just to help us.

IMG_1007That’s my other Dude Josh. I love him like my own son. He is the one holding the bottle on my header up there. Yes, he’s come along way from those olden days. It just came to me while I was writing this that he may have gotten his love for starting fires when he was little because he spent so much time at our house. Hungarian Work Horse loves him some fire and Josh probably picked up the trait from him. I am so grateful that he took time away from his family to help his uncle. Read Supper at the Stings on this blog to get to know them better.

IMG_0432Little Dude was filthy all day. I kept my eye on him at all times because I didn’t want him to get hurt. He was going from coffee cup to coffee cup outside sneaking drinks. I just laughed. I finally did get a kiss after a couple of hours when he came in and wanted a sample of the watermelon I was cutting up for the guys lunch. His dad came in a while later and I told him about the coffee caper he was pulling. Mike said he wasn’t stealing any because he gave him a travel mug filled with water so he could pretend that he was drinking coffee like the big guys. I begged to differ because his breath smelled suspiciously Columbian after his kiss.

My heart is full today remembering how my family helped us. A lesson for my grandkids is in here and it isn’t hard to see. They say you can pick your friends but not your family but I say I couldn’t have a better family no matter how I got them. Greg is more than my brother-in-law. He is my friend and he took my Josh under his wing when he married my sister and is better than any dad could ever  be. He is kind and forgiving. Josh has always treated me like a second mother and I love him more than words can express. I am so blessed to have a nephew that still kisses me when he sees me and lets me take his picture when I know he doesn’t want to. If I called him right now he would come and that means something to me. And my son-in-law Mike. He is a son to me in my heart. He is such a good dad to my most prized possession of all, my grandkids. Little Dude has a lot of Mike in him and that is a good thing. I am so glad Brooke married him.

As I sit typing this it makes me realize that men are good. I need to remember these guys and not jerks from my past. I grew up thinking my Hungarian Work Horse was the only man that mattered and that is not true. My sisters and I have many men to be thankful for in our lives. The Little Hahn girls may have had a rough start but we are in good guy heaven now. I love the men in my life. It feels so good to be able to say that. I know we have more good guy plantings coming in the future and I can’t wait. My sister Linette will see to that. My Little Dude has some good examples from men on how to treat his woman some day. He will be loving and kind. He will be a good dad and someday Papa. He will work and he will be a family man because that is where he came from. I just hope the woman he marries likes skidders and diggers because I have a feeling they will be part of his employment. He may be a little stingy with the smooches but if she has a cut up watermelon and a cup of coffee she’ll be all right. One thing I know for sure is that he will love her because he has lots of practice in that department and I plan on giving him many more lessons.

This day I want my grandkids to remember to be a good family member. Don’t grow absent from your aunts and uncles. They are part of who you are and they love you no matter what because you are mine. God put us in this family for a reason and the older I get the clearer it becomes. We are very blessed to have each other and I know if I died today my sisters and their family will keep you all close. You are loved by many and especially me. Today I am thankful for family. Blessings everyone.

What Makes Our Man

IMG_0336This is my Hungarian Work Horse in all of his wonderfulness. Here is a few things you might not know about him.

The dance The Egg Beater originated from his two left feet and lack of rhythm in the seventies but it soon lost it’s popularity when people converted to the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. My sisters try to bring it back when they ask him to dance at weddings.

He drives a red Ford pick up like every person in our area but people know when they pass him on the road because he leans on his door when he drives. I think it comes from all those years I sat so close to him when we were dating.

He had to repeat kindergarten because he could not speak English. He still has trouble with aluminum and linoleum so I try to get those words in our conversations on a weekly basis for our little granddaughter Landyn. I want her to feel good when she is in speech therapy.

He loves fire and is constantly burning something. It is a help to me when I am giving directions to our house. I just tell people to follow the smoke.

  He loves fireworks. Too bad he doesn’t have the patience for the people on the road after we leave. I refuse to go with him after he actually drove through Bay City in the turning lane one Fourth of July evening because the traffic was bad.

He loves to go out to eat but doesn’t like to wait in restaurants. The children probably remember every restaurant we ever went to because of their father. His patience ran thin at Chi Chi’s one time when we watched tables get served before us even though they came in much after us. He had other people in our seating area backing him as he sent us out to the car so he could talk to the manager alone. I guess it was OK because we were full from the complimentary salsa and chips anyway. Another time we were at Ponderosa and the waiter was really cocky. Hungarian Work Horse didn’t like how he was talking to other customers in front of our kids and again remarked to people in our seating area. The kicker for that one was when the guy started to clear off the tables piling food and dirty dishes on his tray and dropped a chicken bone in my purse. It wasn’t pretty.

jami&al 001He thinks pregnant women are the most beautiful things in all the world. Females from all over come to our house when they start feeling ugly in their pregnancy. He will do any thing for a pregnant woman. I had to put my foot down when he was asked if he made house calls.

When he was about eight years old he built a wooden sled and hooked up the neighbors dog to it. Every day an old man would drive by and that dog would chase the car so he thought he could get the dog to pull him while chasing the car. Unfortunately he must has been too light and the sled jerked out from under him when the dog took off running and a nail that he didn’t have pounded down gouged his butt cheek. He had to declare that scar as an identifying mark when he registered for the draft.

He has Ricky Nelson lips and Davy Jones good looks but that is where the comparison ends. He can’t sing a lick. When our Brooke was a baby she didn’t care because she thought he was making character noises and who wouldn’t. Here is a sample-

                                              She kicked out my windshield

                                              She hit me over the head

                                               She cussed and cried

                                               And said I lied

                                               And wished that I was dead.                    

I made him quit that one because I didn’t want her thinking the song was about me.

His eyes are not his greatest asset because no matter what he is looking for he can’t find it. Last night he went to the fridge for the ketchup and he said there wasn’t any. I opened the door and it was right where we always keep it, on the side shelf.

He is legendary in our family for some of his ways but his greatest attributes are this. He loves his family. He makes us laugh and he makes us feel safe. He leads us by example spiritually,emotionally, and physically. He’s not perfect but close to it. His grandkids will read this some day and know that he was something special. They will remember that off key singing guy that hugged them to his chest in church and held them while they mowed the lawn, his kisses and his I love you that was always whispered in their ear in parting and how he held their nana’s hand when ever he could. What makes him so special is something you cannot see but something you feel. We have much to be thankful for in having him even when he melts the siding on the house trying to kill off weeds with a blow torch. We’ll keep him and all of his ways and love every minute of it. Blessings Everyone.

The Sisterhood And The Monkee

youngal 001This is what Hungarian Work Horse looked like when I met him. Little does he know but he was the reason my sister Linda and I had one of the biggest fights in our life.

As you know girls can be territorial when it comes to things and my sisters and I were no different. Linda and I made a pact when we were teens that we would never date someone the other one had. I really don’t know why now but I guess at the time we must have thought it was important. She was probably worried that they might tell me she picked her nose or something and I already had enough stuff on her that she could have been sent to prison for years. We never had a problem until this guy came along. At the time I was in love or so I thought with this Mexican boy and she had her sights set on my Hungarian Work Horse(even though he wasn’t mine at the time).The Mexican boy and Work Horse were friends when Linda and I liked them and they would walk about ten miles to our house to see us. We would be so scared we were going to get in trouble because Mom wasn’t home we would send them packing. I remember one time in the winter they weren’t even there for five minutes. I can’t believe they even came back once but they did.

As time went on both of us got over the boys and went on with our life. Then one night I was at a party and the next thing I knew I was sitting on a picnic bench with this Davy Jones look a like from my sisters past. He had grown his hair out and it was longer than mine. He was so cute and so very shy. I am sure if he hadn’t had a few toddies he would have never had the courage to even talk to me. I think because he was a little more relaxed than usual his shyness wasn’t a problem. He asked if I remembered when he walked to my house to see Linda and of course I did. He told me that he just wanted to see me not Linda and I was shocked. My sister Linda was and still is one of the prettiest girls in our family. I never thought I was much to look at so it was so surprising to me that he would want to see me and not her. He asked me out and I said yes. It was like he wanted the ugly stepsister and not Cinderella. It goes to show you that love can be blind. You might say I took the last train to Clarksville that night and never looked back.

It was a few weeks later that Linda and I were in our bedroom and I pleaded my case about going out with Davy,I mean Hungarian Work Horse. I had been sneaking around with him and my nerves couldn’t take it anymore. She was furious with me and we started hollering. The name calling was at an all time high. We might have even threw a fist or two. A flash back of red marks on someone’s neck just flew in. Good gravy were we CHOKING each other? I couldn’t understand how she could be mad because she didn’t even like him anymore and hadn’t for a long time and she was dating someone else. That’s the way it was with us. We loved each other hard and when we were mad we were mad at each other hard. I know now that she wasn’t mad at me because I liked this guy, she was mad because I broke a promise to her and that was something we just didn’t do. The sisterhood was our sanctuary and I had put a dent in it.

It seems like forever ago that day happened and now I laugh about it but it shows the true character of my sister Linda. She might blow when something happens but she truly is the most forgiving person I have ever met in my life. I get mad when people hurt her and hold on to it longer than she does. She is the best sister anyone could ask for and I still learn from her forgiveness. I love her with all of my heart and always will. When God made her He broke the mold. She loved me even when a Monkee wrench got thrown in. I guess it didn’t hurt that she got the best brother-in-law in the world either. Blessings everyone.

Teaching Sunday School

Footsteps

Bethy 3My daughter Bethany is in Korea right now and today I got an email from her. How I loved it while I was reading her words that so sounded like my girl. Her Grandma Perkie baked her some cookies and they finally arrived. Some of the things that I have been sending her was also in the mail drop and she was so grateful. Sometimes I complain about this computer but today I am so thankful for it. It is a lifeline to my daughter so many miles away and technology is something that I take for granted but won’t after today. On Mothers Day at two o’clock in the morning I and her dad heard her sweet voice. She apologized for calling so late and for a while I thought I was dreaming. She sounded like she was here in the States. I couldn’t sleep for hours after we talked those few minutes.I cried and cried like I do when my kids are involved and my heart was full of so many emotions.It was such a gift for me on Mothers Day and I needed that because sometimes I don’t know if I am a very good mother.Sometimes I wonder if I make good choices when it comes to my kids but that phone call made me feel so appreciated at that moment. It was truly a gift for a worn out mama.

My Beth is a woman of the utmost in family and I am so proud of her. Smiling comes easy as I think of how different her dad and my conversations were with her. I was asking about how people treated her,about the food,and how she was feeling and she was asking about her nieces and nephews and her grandma and how she is sending them gifts from Korea. I told her about how my Dad was a paratrooper in the Korean War and was on Pork Chop Hill.

Her dad on the other hand was wanting to know exactly where she was and where she would be going.She couldn’t tell him a lot but that she would let us know as she could. He was popping out questions like the grandkids before a party. The love in his voice was so thick that it was hard for me to listen to. He is a man that loves hard when it comes to his kids and I wondered what that was like because my dad was taken from my sisters and me when we were little and never knew him as adult women. Would Daddy be proud of us and how we turned out? How different would our lives have been if he wasn’t taken away from us? Some day I will ask why he made it home from war just to be killed in a car accident leaving five little girls and a wife not out of her twenties all alone.

daddyservice 001My dad was one of the paratroopers that landed on Pork Chop Hill.That is him on the left.I think he is so handsome in this picture. I googled it and spent half the morning reading about it. So many soldiers were lost and I felt so sad. I don’t know much about war I admit but seeing some of the things my dad was a part of was an emotional roller coaster for me. A young man like my Beth is a young woman so far from home. I wonder if their footsteps felt any of the same path. To think that my daughter and my dad were in this place in the military is something I have never thought about. I hope he knows about Beth because he would love her. She is like him even though she has never met him. Like my dad Beth loves her family intensely. She loves to laugh like he did. They both rode a ship to Korea though their jobs were very different.He told my grandma all he did on that ship was peel potatoes. Beth on the other hand tells me she works twelve hours a day and is very busy. Both soldiers,yet one a man and one a woman both connected by a family that loves them so even though they never met. I get reassuring words from Beth about how safe she is just like my Grandma Hahn did from Dad. His letters to her were always upbeat and Beth is too.

I told her on the phone that night how Dad fell in love with a Korean girl but her parents wouldn’t let her come home to the states with him. It’s probably for the best because he fell in love with my mom the first time he laid eyes on her after he got home. My mom jokes about how different we girls would look if that Korean woman would have been our mother. I can’t even imagine. I guess it’s funny how things work out sometimes and maybe he was heart broken when he left without her but I believe God knew that her life would have been so hard after he was killed here with all her family in Korea. I hope she is a happily married woman and that her life is good. If I could give her a message I would tell her thank you for caring about my dad and that we loved him so.

As always I would like to leave my grandkids with this. Footsteps are something we make on this walk of life. They sometimes take us far away from home but you never know when God will connect them from something in the past and your family can be entwined in ways you can’t even fathom.The future is a wonderful thing but sometimes looking at those footsteps from the past can bring you joy. I know it did me today. I feel that my dad and my daughter,two of the most wonderful people that you could ever meet,are part of these footsteps.Like my friend JoAnn said to Bethy in her message I salute you.

Carry on soldier and God’s blessings.