Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Aunt Cecelia

 I had the privilege today of transporting my mother and father in law to visit their ailing sister/sister-in-law. She was diagnosed three years ago with a rare blood disease and is in hospice now, so we were there most likely to say goodbye. While it was sad to possibly be saying goodbye to a much loved aunt of my husband and myself, best anyone could ask for, I found a precious beauty in our visit. There was something so beautiful watching Eric's mom, Mickey, 82 and her sister, Cecelia, 74 reminisce while holding hands about the wonderful lives they shared and express their love for each other. There was more tenderness and appreciation than I've ever seen. It was a beautiful picture of the strong bonds of their relationship and the power of their love for each other. Their parents would have been so pleased to see their daughters live their lives loving each other as much as they did. I know I would be. These sisters incidentally couldn't be more different (Aunt Cecelia, the adventurer loving traveler, and my mother in law, the homebody, dog loving, piano teacher) and they couldn't love each other more.

I married into the family an unbelievable 33 years ago, (I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm indeed getting old myself). In fact, Aunt Cecelia is the very first person I met even before Eric's parents. I was super nervous to make a good impression, but she has a wonderful natural ability to put people at ease and welcomed me with open arms. It's a God given gift and she shares it with everyone she meets. She's one of those people everyone wants to be best friends with and thinks they are! She and Bob her husband have three daughters who are now grown and married with children. Each one of them, just as gracious as their mother. Of course, they had the very best example in their mom. It warms my heart to see them lovingly step in and care for all the logistics of arranging meals, home health care, and even emailing to update the family on their mom's status. I was touched by the capable care of her sweet daughters today, Ashley and Jennifer and Hayley who are each setting aside their own busy lives just like their own mom did for her mother to care for their parents. We were even served one of Hayley's famous bundt cakes when we arrived. We are in the south!

As we drove into the long driveway to their farmhouse, memories came flooding back to so many visits to their house. Each visit they tirelessly saddled up their horses for any and all of us who were visiting/ feeding the chickens. I remember hiding my terror fairly well as I cantered on one of their horses for the first time ever! Cecelia loved teaching all our children and grandchildren about riding and taking care of horses and chickens and they loved learning from her.

We couldn't visit very long but we did visit long enough to share sweet memories and appreciation for her and pray with her. Even as she found it hard to speak, she couldn't help asking about how we were doing, always caring so much about our lives. Uncomfortable as she is to be on the receiving end, she is giving to us still the chance to love her and pray with her and be with her which is the best gift of all.




Friday, July 15, 2016

Brigadiers Will Live In My Heart

The more time I spend on this earth the more dear friendships are to me, especially life long friends I've had since childhood, friends I shared a small day bed that she had growing up and even shared boyfriends with! We live states away and go years between visits but our friendship remains strong. Must be the long hours spent on the hot hot Brigadier practice field, bonds you for life. Or maybe that terrible performance we did with those mini raincoats to the song, Rain on my Parade. It's becoming clearer to me why the Brigadiers are no more!

Spent a short but sweet time with two of these friends on our tour of Texas this week. They graciously hosted the five of us at their beautiful mountain home. And by gracious I mean Allen bringing out a back hoe so my son Lucas could dig a hole because he thought Lucas would enjoy that. He did. And Diane serving amazing barbecue shrimp and German chocolate cake on a table setting worthy of Southern Living Magazine.

We talked of how in the world is it that we are grandparents now. In our minds we are still the same super cool teenagers we were in high school (ok, Allen was cool and still is while Diane and I were at best the Baytown version of Laverne and Shirley) just slightly more weathered. We talked of our now grown children and exceptional grandchildren and our new responsibilities of taking care of our aging parents that is weighing heavily. I got to visit with their sweet Sherry and her family as she and her husband are raising their four precious boys. What a treat our time was!

Until we meet again dear friends. Let's make it longer and sooner next time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pretend Food and Soft Baby Feet

I just returned from spending five days with my first born, Laura after the birth of her third born, Josiah. The experience was a mixture of deja vu, joyful gratitude to God and a reality show, Lifestyles of the Exhausted. I have to admit, I also found myself barely able to keep my eyes open at 9:00 PM! Not really sure why. The same thing happened to Summer who was visiting when Laura went into labor and she's only twelve years old!



 As I was braiding Lucy's hair every morning to get her ready for Vacation Bible School, I was transported to when I would brush Laura's hair as she stood on a step stool. Lucy has beautiful hair just like her mommy and she loves for me to braid it. She also volunteered that her mommy forgot how to braid.  Then I brushed her face with a little sparkly blush. Lucy is a girly girl and loves make up of any kind! I  also brushed her little sister Bridget's blond curls into a spout on top of her head with a bright yellow bow as she lovingly held her precious panda bear. I Fixed Panda's "hair" while I was at it! Such an ordinary thing to brush their hair but not ordinary at all. God is so kind to me to give me these precious moments with my little granddaughters, to see His faithfulness in the life of my daughter and her precious family. I even found Bridget's dinner time melt downs and Lucy's after dinner time hysterics, entertaining. I'm confident that God has equipped Laura and Jason with everything they need to train them up in the way they should go, but I would recommend large regular doses of caffeine.


Somehow cleaning is more fun at Laura's house than my own. I couldn't get over how super organized Laura's house is. I spent my days cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping (going to Starbucks) eating pretend food that Bridget served me, reading books to both of them, watching Lucy and Bridget make tents and watching Bridget create and run through Toddler American Ninja Warrior. We also ventured out to Target and made it into the store after a 12 step process just getting out of the car. Not sure how Laura is going to swing that alone but I'm confident she will try. How happy I am that they can spend each day with Laura who loves and cares for them and a daddy who comes home every day, plays with them and reads them a Bible Story every evening before bedtime.

I tried my best to keep Laura from doing too much but I wasn't nearly fast enough. I found her once cleaning the floor under the kitchen table on her hands and knees and blowing up the splash pad on the deck for the girls! She never has understood the concept of taking it easy. She was working on a website while in early labor!


We all couldn't get enough of  tiny, perfect Josiah and I held him as much I could, knowing how different he would be already before I saw him again. I loved holding his warm little body, marveling at his perfect pink lips, and I watched him stretch and make sweet newborn sounds. This surely must be what heaven is like.

My grandmother used to say that newborn babies remind us that God has not given up on us yet. Josiah would be her great, great grandson. She was so right and she would have loved our newest miracle, baby Josiah.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Beautiful

Sometimes God stops me dead in the tracks of my busy life and opens my eyes to see a glimpse of his love. I felt just like Moses on Mt. Sinai recently. Although I didn't ask to see his glory like his servant Moses did, God lovingly showed me a beautiful picture.

This particular time, He sat me down in a chair at a prayer service at our church. For 1 1/2 peaceful  hours, two gifted young people played quiet worship music as bible verses were displayed randomly on the screen for me to meditate on.  Oh and prayer ministers would come behind me to pray over me. It sounds like heaven already. Doesn't it? As they were praying for me I felt compelled to focus on praying for something but the prayers that kept coming to my mind were oddly not prayers of petition which I have many but instead prayers of thanksgiving and gratefulness kept flooding my heart. 

This was because what I saw with my own eyes completely overwhelmed me. I saw on stage before me my brave talented daughter painting a beautiful picture of Jesus while the worship team played and people meditated and prayed. Watching this precious child who God brought into my life 8 1/2 yrs ago paint with joy in her heart for Jesus was more than beautiful to me. To see how God is using her life in such a beautiful way showed me just how tender his love is.The worship team was even playing the song, "Beautiful Things" if you know the song. 

All this pain
I wonder if I'll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all

You make beautiful things, 
you make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things, 
you make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in you

You make me new, you are making me new
You make me new, you are making me new


The picture she painted was beautiful, yes, but the smile on her face after she was done was what I loved the most.  It was a beautiful picture of God's love and faithfulness to both of us for me to see. Beautiful.


Monday, November 30, 2015

A Different Thanksgiving

For several years now, we've hosted Thanksgiving at our house so I began the gathering of Thanksgiving food and began to plan the day. But at the last minute, Ben and Kristen decided that they would host Thanksgiving this year. Oh Happy Day! While I don't mind hosting Thanksgiving, it is   a ton of work to host the largest meal of the year. Of course I contributed food to the meal, but did I mention that hosting Thanksgiving is a ton of work.

This was the most relaxing Thanksgiving I can remember except when I was a child and I was clueless and didn't appreciate anything. I started the day with a run, after my devotion of course, in the cool crisp morning and except for feeling some guilt knowing that Kristen was stressing over hosting instead of me, I enjoyed it immensely. I called my mom and had a nice long conversation as I  prepared my side dishes. I even had time to put up some Christmas decorations.

It was definitely a challenge to safely navigate Papa's walker around Wyatt's dump truck and Chloe and Molly, Ben and Kristen's two small dogs, but we made it. I even had time to sit and visit with them more which was so nice as I'm usually the one running around getting butter and drinks, cleaning up spills, etc. I was so glad to have both of them healthy and able to be with us this year as they spent their 58th Thanksgiving together. You have to admire a couple who has spent 58 Thanksgivings together!

The turkey was delicious and I was so proud of Ben and Kristen as they worked together to host their large extended family. I loved so many moments of the day. I loved how happy Ben was to have his dad there. I loved how much joy it gave Nana to hold Panda, Kristen's tiny new puppy. I loved how Eric showed Ben how to carve a turkey and how the kids never tire of making Oreo turkeys. I love Eric and Summer making yeast rolls together. It won't be long before she will be making Thanksgiving dinner for us!

It was a day to be thankful for sure for all of our many blessings.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17




Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Change in Plans

Thank you God for the rest these past few days. Rest, I didn't know I needed, but you knew I did. Your love for me and knowledge of what I need is unexpected and humbling.

You have searched me Lord and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with with all of my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, Lord you know it completely. You hem me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain. Psalms 139:1-5

We had mede this trip before with our good friends and it was filled with long beautiful hikes in the Colorado Rockies. But this was not to be. Instead of beautiful warm fall weather, rain and snow began to fall as we made our way up the mountain. The snow came and the power went out on our first day. Our hike was fading from view.

Instead of hiking, we observed the slower pace of small mountain towns when we drove in looking for warmth a restroom and entertainment. We marveled at the beauty of new fallen snow on the majestic mountains all around us. I also marveled at how they could survive without a target! The power (boy did we miss you!) came back on and we sat by the fire, worked a jigsaw puzzle and played hearts (I'm not good at that game). We discovered all kinds of snow toys in the cabin like snowshoes (interesting and fun) and cross country skies (long and slippery). So we strapped them on and went out the door to explore in the snow. I  even drank my first cup of real coffee, coffee from a fancy machine that is ( I think I want one!) And we rested.

On our last day in the mountains, the sun finally broke through and we hiked the hike we had come for. It was a different hike than what we planned, but beautiful all the same. We braved it together through ice and deep snow and real apprehension. Should we try? We couldn't even see the trail! A sweet much younger couple came by and encouraged us to keep going. We persevered and found  snowy Limber Grove at the top we were looking for. After that we rested some more.

Thankful for friends we could be quiet with, rest with and hike a little with. Thankful for the snow. Thank you God for the change in plans. Your plans were better.





Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Scorekeeping

It pays to volunteer to be the scorekeeper for your daughter's volleyball game, which incidentally is not easy. The only more difficult scoring I had to keep was Bible Quiz and I never got the right score!

Firstly, you can sit at the buzzer table with the big wigs and give thumbs up to the ref when there are substitutions. Secondly, you can witness your daughter score an awesome point for her team and watch her jump up and down with glee afterward. She is not of the"cool" variety of middle schoolers yet. Thirdly, you find out from a mom that her daughter and my son have a little romance going? What! And I thought he was coming to the game to support his sister! Not so. It's a younger woman on Summer's volleyball team who has her eyes on him and he more than ok with this. I'm hoping that at the very least this tryst translates to longer showers. More studying? Unlikely. Could it be the stinky hair gel that he started applying liberally?

Thankfully I have the Meghan Kelley of Eastside, The Summer Files, I call it. She is a wealth of information. Apparently, her friend has liked him from the first time she saw him! Is she using Summer merely to get to Lucas? I can't even go there. What happened to American Girl and Barbies?

I don't know if I'm ready to witness a boy go through puberty. No, I definitely am not ready to witness this. But you can bet I'll be keeping score again tomorrow at the volleyball game!