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Monday, August 29, 2011

Tiny table redo

 I bought this old little table from a yard sale for $3.
 It was a little rickety so I tightened the screws on the legs, primed it, painted it and distressed it very slightly. I needed a little something for under these frames my husband made for me and though the table is a bit small for the space, it will substitute nicely until I can find something a little bigger to replace it! This blue is my new favorite color and I'm finding fun ways to incorporate it into my home!

Thanks for stopping by! More to come! (Family photos courtesy of Victoria Lewis, fall 2010 at our home.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


On Thursday, August 11th, just before 6:30 pm, surrounded by several of his family members, Crue "Sarge" Russell took his last breaths on this earth. My grandfather. My Opa.
He was such a strong man. You'd have to be to marry a beautiful German woman and to raise 3 girls and move them all over the world and country while serving in the US Army. But he was more than that. He was more than an officer serving our country. He was truly patriotic. Truly proud. Boy, was he proud! Anyone who met my Opa would be forced to hear about how amazing his 9 grand-children and 10 great-grandchildren are! I truly believe he was my #1 fan! He was always telling me (and anyone who would listen) how beautiful I sing and would fuss at me when he would come to church and I wasn't leading a song by myself. I often teased him that the songs weren't for him that we sing at church on Sundays, but I'm pretty sure he secretly believed that when I sang one of his favorites "I Stand Amazed" that I had specifically sang it that day just because he liked it. He would tell everyone (much to my embarrassment) that I could sing better than Faith Hill and that he would be the first one to buy my album when I recorded one. I wish I had recorded one just for him. I wish that I had come over every day and sang to him but whenever I visited him, I just didn't think to sing to him. I hope he can still hear me when I sing.
Opa always held my Oma's hand. He loved her so much! When Oma and Opa took my cousin Davy and I (the oldest grandson and oldest granddaughter and don't the rest of you forget it!) to Germany, I was in awe of how they'd pick at each other for a minute and then go right back to normal, holding hands. They truly were a match!
They showed us around Germany as if we were their prized possessions. I remember I used a burnt matchstick to draw a sketch of a horse on a napkin at one restaurant and the owner (a friend of my grandparent's) insisted on keeping it and pinning it to the wall in the bar. When Opa saw this, he of course was proud but then made sure I made another one just for him to have. He acted like it was a work of art! I was 13 so of course this made my confidence soar. He boosted my confidence often.
Opa was so generous. Not just with Oma, though he loved showering her with beautiful things, but with everyone! He was always giving. He would always offer us a "stick of chewing gum" from his shirt pocket and to this day when I smell Wrigleys Doublemint gum, it takes me back to riding in his big blue pick up truck. I have scores of memories of my Opa. We grew up knowing him, being with him, they were always around and even the past several years, not a week went by where we didn't see Opa--even if it was just at Mom's house on Sundays for lunch after church.
Opa sure loved Stone. He was always talking about his smile and how he could close his eyes and as clear as a picture was Stone's big huge grin! I am so thankful that my children all got a chance to meet and spend time with their great-grandfather. I will make sure they know who he was and remember the man that I remember.
We all know that part of life is death. We all know that cancer is a deadly thief that can steal away those we love. But my Opa was a fighter. He was strong. And I believe that he is better now. As a friend put it: "whole". I have hope that he gave his life to the Lord and is now bragging to all the saints about how awesome his family is! I'm thankful that this earth is not our home and that I will reunite with Opa one day!
He was a great patriarch. He loved his family. He passed down a stubborness that many of us inherited. He passed down the ability to be opinionated to ALL of us. But he also left us a legacy.
Do I wish I went and visited him more? Of course. There are always regrets. But even as I sit here, the memories I do have are almost overwhelming: summers at "The Lake" as we called it, before it became their lakehouse home, yearly trips to the circus where we would watch Opa in his Al Chymia Shrine maroon velveteen hat with the tassel, his curly hair then his crew cut hair and finally his mohawk hair, the days he used to smell like cigarettes and chewing gum combined, but then he kicked the habit and it was just the gum, the way he would sit back in his recliner and let us always sit with him and watch his soaps or watch HeeHaw, how all you had to do was mention something to him once and he'd never forget it, invite him to something and he'd make sure he was there, how everything had to be even, so.much.more...I could go on.
My word, I have enough memories of my sweet Opa to make a book and I bet I know who would buy the first copy if he were still here... :)