My Next Fifty Years

Oh the joys of social media… Probably one of the main reasons I haven’t dumped Facebook and went back to a flip phone is the Birthday reminders. I am notorious for forgetting birthdays. Ask my husband. His is just two days after mine and I forgot it the first year we were married. Notorious… Anyway, the daily reminders of Birthdays of friends and family has been one of the little gems for my life that Facebook has given me. It also provides opportunity for me to mark my birthday each year. I’m not sure if that’s a little gem or not lol. Each year for as long as I can remember having Facebook, my status on my birthday has been “half way to…”. At 45 I was “Half way to 90”. At 47 I was “Half way to 94”. Well this year I have arrived. I will be “Half Way to 100”. This is probably the best year to stop that practice. My grandpa made it to just a few days shy of 101 and I’m pretty sure 100 years is about as far as I want to go.

Me almost 50 years ago. Lol
Just gotta be me.

All this reflecting on being “Halfway to 100” in a few weeks, has had me thinking about an old Tim McGraw song, “My Next 30 Years”. Here’s a little sample of the lyrics to refresh your memory:

“Oh, my next 30 years I’m gonna watch my weight
Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late
Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers, huh
Maybe, I’ll remember my next 30 years”

I’m not a beer drinker, but this song has been rolling around in my head for about a month. It’s a summary of all the things he would do different his next 30 years to get more out of his life. It’s got me thinking… “What would I want to do in my next 50 years?”

Where it all started in my first 20 years .

A majority of my first 50 years have been spent being married and raising a family. Married won’t change but raising a family already has. I’m down to one kid out of 4 that isn’t an adult yet and he’s just one year away from turning into one. So for my next 50 years life is going to be a lot more different than the first 50. My first 50 years I spent a lot of time preoccupied with things that just didn’t matter. Though I tried my hardest, I let the worries and cares around me squeeze out a lot of the daily joys. It’s funny how the little things like time spent playing at the park with my kids really did become the big things. Being busy with silly stuff made me miss some of the most important things during my first 50 years. My next 50 years I want to enjoy the gifts God has given me in my life: my husband, my kids, and my grandkid (grandkids to come). Being present, here and now each day with them… I want to soak up every ounce of joy God gives me with them for my next 50 years.

Somewhere in time during my first 30- 40 years.

It’s funny how my first 50 years I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to fix me. I think my next 50 I’ll try to just let it be and leave that to God. A good place to start is just accepting that I’m not perfect, but dearly loved by God, His grace really is Amazing and His forgiveness is Free. My next 50 years I am going to believe that when God calls me “Holy and Dearly Loved by Him” Colossians 3:12. He means it. It’s not just words on a page, and He wants me to know Him, not just work at crossing off another item from a religious “to do” list to make Him happy with me. Maybe a little less religiousness and a lot more relationship with Him my next 50 years.

For my next 50 years I want my theme song to be “This Little Light of Mine”. Instead of trying to figure out how to be God’s bullhorn, I want to shine. My daily interactions with family, friends, and acquaintances would be marked by this. Not some bold in your face intimidation, but a taste of God’s goodness just seeping off of my life. Get close enough and you’ll smell it, see it, taste it and want more of Him. I want to be a reflection of Him in everything I do for my next 50 years.

The more I think about it, the more I believe my next 50 years will be the best 50 of my life. Thanks to all the things I’ve learned the last 50. I guess they call that perspective, another Gift God has given to me. May I really take hold of it these Next 50 years.

The family. My “Opus Magnum” and The joyful gift God’s granted me my first 50 years

Homeschool Advice for the Newbies

Just a little word of encouragement for those of you who have young kids you’re schooling this year. I’ve been cleaning out my school room. I don’t need it any more. 3 of my 4 kids have graduated and my youngest is a Junior.
I found this note while cleaning. My daughter, who wrote this, now has an associates degree and works at a bank. She happened to get A’s in all her college English classes. I would have never guessed that to be possible when she gave me this note years ago.
Relax… Enjoy your kids. Homeschooling is so much more than academics. Make sure you major in the important stuff like: time together and teaching them about God. The academics will come.
I cried many a tear over that kid’s spelling and with God’s help and time to grow she’s ok.
Kindergartners Don’t have to read by the end of the year. Two of mine didn’t… 6th graders may not excel in multiplication and division. My oldest son didn’t. He’s married now, has a degree in what he’s good at, music and has a family and a job. So you may end up with a kid that struggles in an area. Don’t we all struggle in an area. 😉
In the end, it will be ok as you just keep going and trust God that He always has a plan.
Happy School Year to you all. Now back to cleaning out the school room. My new season came quicker than I thought it would.

“The Blessing”

“…And this is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each one with his own special farewell blessing. Then he instructed them: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite… Jacob finished instructing his sons, pulled his feet into bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭49:27-33‬ MSG

What a whirlwind this day has been! It started with a phone call from my mother in love regarding a need she had at the nursing home she is at. I quickly got around and headed there. Then it was a day of fielding calls, talking to hospice, nurses, and trying to alter her nightgowns to be more suitable for her needs. With my limited seamstress skills that was a feat. After lunch I sat at my table with my head in my hands and tears began to flow. Then it occurred to me. A trip to Hobby Lobby would help me feel better. It soothes the soul. So off I went, and I was right.

The facts of the matter is my mother in love is down to a few days. Knowing this has prompted family to come. Sisters, children, grandchildren, nieces, etc. They have come to spend some time with a woman who is very much loved. When I told her about people coming to see her, she told me weakly she was tired, and I told her I knew she was, but it’s tough being as popular as you are. The company did perk her up today. It was a good day for her.

Grandma Praying for each Grandkid individually

COVID 19 has made it hard for a family, and in this case a very large family, to spend their time with the one they love. Two by two they were allowed into her isolation room, with health screening , temperature check, escort to and from the room, and face mask the entire visit. She enjoyed her time with family in between naps and moments of being quiet. Although the restrictions have been hard on us all, I saw the most beautiful thing tonight that will mark my heart for the rest of my life, Grandma’s Blessing.

Two of my kids receiving “The Blessing”

One of the nursing home’s generous accommodations during this time of quarantine was to allow visitors to stand outside her window and talk to her through a screen. Some of her grandkids arrived for a visit there, and that is where “The Blessing” began. One by one they stuck their head in the cranked open crack and told their Grandma they loved her and bowed their head as she held a hand toward them and prayed. Grandkids ages 15-25 coming for their blessing from a woman who had sown seeds of God’s love into them from the day they were born. It was beautiful. It felt like I was watching the scene of Jacob blessing his sons, but with a southern Missouri woman’s style. Then the time came for her kids. As I stuck my head through the small crack to receive my blessing too, I thought of how blessed I have already been. Some 28 years ago our lives as mother and daughter in love began. I can only hope to be half the mother in love that this woman was to me for my son’s wives in the future. But may I, in my time raise my hand to my grandkids and proclaim, “May His favor be upon you to a thousand generations. To your children, and their children, and their children…” -(“The Blessing” Elevation worship). And may I leave an impact on my children and grandchildren, like she has on them that they would be willing to stand outside a window on a hot summer night, in order to receive “The Blessing” from the hand that held them close when they were babies many years before.

Grandma Evie with hand raised in prayer for the Generations to follow her. “The Blessing”

““ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’”
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:24-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Things I Need to Say

It’s been a long four year battle with multiple myeloma cancer for my Mother in Love. She’s faced many difficult decisions bravely and has fought with ever ounce of courage she could muster throughout all the difficult treatments: stem cell transplant, radiation, chemo etc. A position she couldn’t have ever conceived being in before she got sick. I’d say she’s one of the toughest women I’ve ever seen.

Road trip to Ashes to Beauty Women’s Encounter

Today I opened my Facebook. One of my memories from six years ago was a picture of us. As I looked at the photo, memories of the years we’ve known each other flooded my mind. Twenty- eight years ago we were introduced in the living room of her home. I’m not sure what she thought of a 21 year old college girl dating her 19 year old son. She has often retold our first encounter of me doing the “Kitty Rap” and her and my Father in love getting up out of bed to go and meet Richard’s girl friend. As she puts it, I am the one she had prayed with Rich about, when he asked her to pray one late night. He wanted for God to show him which girl he should pursue at the Christian Campus House I lived in. Eight months later we were married. So I’m glad God heard her prayers.

Memory from 6 years ago today.

The day of our wedding as I stood in the reception line, she gave me a hug and told me, “I’ve had him for 19 years. He’s yours now.” I kind of wondered what that meant. It was almost passing off the prized pet or something, but now I understand. She never interfered in our marriage. She just wanted to be my friend. In fact, from the beginning she made sure I knew I was another one of her kids.

That probably didn’t sink in to my head until my husband and I had been married for around 5 years, and we had to move back to his hometown for a job opportunity. He took a pay cut for a job that had insurance, permanence, and opportunities to grow. It also meant we would have to live with his parents for a few months. Something that I was less than thrilled about. I kind of liked my space… But it was in those three months, while my husband was off to work and it was me, my two year old son, and her around the house, that I realized that she was another mom to me, and just how blessed I was. Us Laying out together in her yard and getting sunburned while my toddler took a nap is one of the first memories just how crazy and fun loving she could be.

Biscuits and Gravy Christmas tradition

For years we did a lot together: Trips to the Mennonite and Amish communities to shop their bakeries and surplus stores, camping, shopping, going to the nursery to buy plants, vacations together, Christmas morning biscuits and gravy (she cooked) , etc. She even hopped in the “Tilt a Whirl” with me at the State fair one time about 10 years ago. She laughed and laughed as the ride jerked us around and she practically ended up in my lap. Then there’s the photo op with the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile. We’ve had lots of fun times through the years.

Watching a Great Grand pet a deer at a deer farm with me

My Mother in Love has tried hard to be a good grandma, and she has been to my kids. When my husband worked 12 hour shifts 6 days a week she would watch them for me so I could go grocery shopping on my own. She kept them for overnights so my husband and I could get away on our anniversary every year. She thoroughly enjoyed my kids telling her that she could peel apples better than me and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches better than me too, not sure how that is accomplished but my 25 year old son would still attest to her PB&J making expertise. She’s got 18 grandkids total and I’m sure if polled they would attest to what a wonderful Grandma she has been.

Great Grandma with my Grandson

Our trips and experiences lately, haven’t been as fun although we’ve tried to make the best out of them we could. When she was diagnosed with Cancer, she could barely walk. I took her to appointments at the oncologist and others. It was hard on me. I’m not one for doctors, needles, and such. Sitting in the waiting rooms watching the people go by. Some looking like they had recently been diagnosed with fear in their eyes. Others looking like a miracle would be all that could help them as they had lost weight, strength, etc. My mother in love however did her appointments with grace visiting with everyone in the waiting room and smiling all the while. She’s a fighter and she fought back. She ended up walking into the clinic by herself after driving to the city from our small town for treatment by herself. (something she probably never thought she could do) And she did so for a few years, until recently when the treatment options have run out.

My Mother in Love is a woman of faith. Ten seconds with her and you would figure that out. So her fight has been with God fighting for her. She still stands believing that God is not done though the doctor says he (the doctor) is. She believes for a miracle and trusts God when many would be tempted to give up.

I tend to be an “I want to know the details” kind of person. Hoping to understand what’s going on so I can know what to expect and make good choices. Sometimes this has ran up against her desire for me to “just believe and trust God for healing”. Throughout this whole ordeal I have often prayed and asked God to give her what we all desire, her healing. I know He is able and He is good.

Wednesday the doctor did not say the things we had hoped he would say at her appointment. Her condition has come to a place where it has to be God for her to be whole. I told her a week ago that I knew no matter what she was in a win/ win situation. For her to live here on earth is Christ, being able to show all those around her God’s love and faithfulness she has experienced in her own life. But for her to die is gain. I can’t think of anything more wonderful than leaving all the pain, sickness, and sadness we experience to be with Jesus. That is truly a gain. She told me she knew that was true, but she felt like she wasn’t done. So many more prayers to pray. So many more people to point to Jesus with her light.

This morning when our photo of us in front of the Wiener Mobile popped up on my Facebook page memories like I’ve just shared flooded my mind. The words I’ve written above overflowed in my heart and I began to think of all the things I need to say/ write. Things like, Thank you for being a wonderful mom to my husband and me. Thank you for being the best Grandma you could be. Thank you for modeling how to love your husband. Thank you for being there for me the past 28 years. Know that I’m asking God for more years and I know He has you in His hand. I love you! Just wanted you to know. These are the things I need to say.

God’s Promise for Moms- Philippians 1:6

This Mother’s Day will be my 25th as an official Mother. It’s kind of hard to believe for me.  Being a Mom was something I always wanted to be, but it was also the scariest of propositions for me.  From the day I found out I was pregnant with my first to today I’ve always had this awareness of what I lacked for being the Mom I should be.  I’m sure if I was able to take a poll of all the moms out there that is what they would tell you too.  It kind of comes with the territory.  There’s always someone more creative, with a cleaner house, more respectful kids, healthier meals, happier husband, taking all the “me time” they need, and so on- kind of mom.  For some reason “comparison” is the favorite game of moms all around. At least it was my game of choice for most of my childrearing years, and on occasion still is…

There’s nothing like having a little life to shape and mold as your primary responsibility, or maybe 2 lives, 3 lives, or in my case 4.  Needless to say I’ve spent a lot of time praying and telling God “I have no idea what to do with … (fill in the blank with a name).” In fact, that’s a prayer I still use frequently and three of my four are adults now.  I guess that may never stop.

Recently, I’ve been spending time in the book of Philippians in the Bible.  The first chapter has a verse that I’ve thought of often in my journey of motherhood.  Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  It’s a verse that I’ve often heard as an encouragement to an individual. The ol “don’t get discouraged, God isn’t finished with me yet.” kind of verse. But Paul was writing this to a group of friends, brothers/ sisters in Jesus, who he described as having them in his heart (Philippians 1:7) the ones he said he prayed for.  Some of the same things I as a mother of grown kids can relate to.  My adult children and my teen are in my heart.  They have been in my heart since I heard the first heart beat in the ob/gyn office, and I pray for them, on the regular.  I know that life, although full of joys and excitement, is very hard.  The struggles they had while under my roof may have changed, but I know they are there. I was 20 something once and I struggled too.  But I can say as Paul said about his spiritual family in Philippi, about my family, “God began a good work in them and He will finish it.”  I’ve told young mothers who’ve worried about how to deal with the various challenges of infancy and toddlerhood, “Remember as much as you love that little angel, God loves them the same and then some.”  Same applies at any age.  God loves them the same as I do and then some.  He doesn’t start a project to abandon it.  He simply is not finished yet.

It’s hard to let God have our kids at any age.  The reality of this hit me shortly after I brought my firstborn home from the hospital.  I was a fear filled mother and SIDS was on the forefront of my mind.  I would sit on the edge of my bed with a flashlight watching my son breathe in his bassinet.  I remember praying, “God, I can’t stay awake 24/7.  Sooner or later I will have to go to bed and trust Him to You for a few hours.”  Not really understanding the reality that God not only had him when I slept, He had him when I was awake too. It really wasn’t all on me to keep him alive, but it was on God.  Then the same kid turned 16, got a little blueish truck and hopped in it to drive to town.  Once again I found myself scared of what could happen to a teenage male driver who believed he was invincible.  I spent some time laying face first in my carpet asking God to bring him home safe, realizing it wasn’t about me at all, but totally about God.  The for instances in this paragraph could go on and on, especially since I have four kids that I have prayed for, cried over, and felt so helpless at times to help.  But thankfully by kid number four It’s getting a little easier to see just how much God has all these things even when I do not.  (cheers instead of tears when he drove away newly licensed a few months ago.)

I’ve not reached Jedi master in this whole, faith filled mom who never worries about her kids’ next step and direction thing, but I do intend on holding fast to those words Paul penned so many centuries ago.  Even though I am no longer able to call the shots, give the orders, put them in time out, or send them to bed. (Nor would I want to. I’m kind of enjoying the freedom. 🙂  )  I am able to bring them before God on the regular and I must trust that God will “carry on” His good work in them.  I had to trust them with God while I slept as they were infants, and I must trust them with God as they take their wings and fly away.

His Choice, His Desire, His Love

Right off the bat I want to put a personal plug in for “The Bible App” or “YouVersion”  It’s a game changer if your looking for a way to get into the Bible more and understand it better.  There are all kinds of nifty little details that it covers: making pictures with Bible verses on them, open your app daily for the daily verse streaks, devotions, and reading plans to mention a few.  My husband and I picked “The Bible Project: New Testament in One year” almost a year ago to do together.  We don’t really have a time we actually sit down and read the Bible together, but we are reading the same passage and on occasion we have struck up conversations on it.  It’s good to grow Spiritually together.  It’s been a joy.

As I mentioned, we’ve been at this for almost a year.  Which puts us in the book of Revelations.  Not really my favorite book of the Bible.  It has good stuff in it. They all do, but if there is one thing I’m not, an end times scholar is one of them.  So far we’ve made it to chapter 4 and so far so good.  In fact, what I read today is what’s been rolling around inside of me today.  Probably because I need it.  I would venture to say most people do.

Revelations 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” NIV

My first read of this verse it kind of stuck out to me.  I thought, “Oh yeah I think some worship song in the 80’s quoted that verse or something.”  But it kept sticking out to me. So to satisfy my curiosity, I figured I’d check it out in some other versions.  I’ve got my go to list of versions I like to compare verses to.  One of them is “The Message”.  Sometimes I read it and think, “That couldn’t possibly be what the Bible was trying to say.”  But most of the time I come away looking at things a little different.  This is one of those times.

Revelations 4:11 “Worthy, O Master! Yes, our God! Take the glory! the honor! the power! You created it all;  It was created because you wanted it.”

Shazaam!  That last little bit struck me.  God didn’t just willy nilly wake up one day and decide that just for funzies He was going to create everything.  No, He created everything “Because HE wanted it.”

It’s turkey season in our neck of the woods.  My husband and son have been hunting most mornings this week.  They get up, excited at 5 am, and go sit out in the woods/ field near our home for hours on end.  So far after 5 days of trying, no Turkey.  My husband put a selfie of himself and my son from the first morning, with the quote “Gotta love the outdoors” on Facebook. He has told me more than once how much he loves just going out and sitting in the outdoors and enjoying creation.  I get it.  I’m fond of an occasional nature hike, trout fishing, and camping.  I love the peace I feel when I look up at the sky at night and see the stars quietly shining in the sky and hear the frogs and crickets singing in the background.  It’s beautiful.  So in reading that verse, I told God, “I get it.  You wanted all that so you made it.  That’s really cool.” But then it hit me… He made me. He wanted me.”

When my kids we little and I held them on my lap, I wanted to convey to them how much they were worth to me and to God.  I would say, “Do you know who loves you?”

“Yeah Momma, you do.”

“That’s right who else?” “Daddy”

“Yep, who else?”  (The list could go on for awhile with Grandparents, cousins, friends.) But I always ended it with this statement. “That’s true, but Jesus loves you the most. More than any of us can or could.”  This usually wrapped around to the final statement I would say, “You know, God wanted a sun. So He made one.  God wanted our dog Jack so He made him. But more than anything, He wanted you, an Andy, so He made an Andy.”

That is all fine and good when you’re talking to your precious child, but it’s hard to apply when you turn the table and apply it to you.  Especially if you struggle with self esteem/ self worth issues. If God made me, and I am certain He did, that means He wanted me…

If God made you, and I am certain He did, that means He wanted you…  Let that sink in.  All the things that are right, all the things that are wrong.  He looks right at us and “wants us.”  Things I want I don’t throw away.  Things I want I take care of.  Things I want I look at with affection.  Things I want I would fight for.  Things I want I would pay the price to Get.   Hmmm… The picture comes in clearer and clearer.  I’m not a thing, but I am His creation, and everything He has made was made by His choice, His desire, and His love.

Maybe, like me, that makes your mind go “tilt” like an old pinball game.  But I’m sure if that truth is applied to my heart and mind enough, the crooked will be made straight, and my value will become clearer and clearer.  The same for you.

It’s probably time to break out the old conversation I used to have with my kids and just fill in the blanks.  “Who loves you?  Yeah yeah, but Who Really Loves YOU? Yes, Jesus.  He wanted a (your name goes here) so HE made one. That is why you are here.”

https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/

Seasons of Change

It’s a very distinct memory of mine. Around 15 years ago, standing on the right-hand side of the church we were going to talking to someone. At the time I had a 1 year old, 4-year-old, 6-year-old, and a 9-year-old. Then someone approached me and said, “I’ve been praying for you and I just feel like the Lord wants me to tell you, you are just in a season.” I’m sure they said more, but that is all I got out of that conversation. As I went home, I remember thinking to myself, “This is going to be the longest season I’ve ever been through. I just started and I have another 17 years before it’s over.” I didn’t think there would ever be the end of meal planning, dirty diapers, nursing, house cleaning, disciplining, etc. Everyday felt like another day in the movie “Groundhog’s Day”. Same thing over and over and over. What’s weird is how gradually it all changed. One significant milestone reached by one kid, then another, and another,… you get the point (some people just don’t know when to stop having kids, ha ha) It’s like this long spiral ladder of progress that feels like you’re going nowhere and then all of a sudden you look down and see how far you’ve really gone. Although internally I wanted to smack the sweet sister who told me “It’s just a season”, the truth is, it was. What seemed like forever was really a flash, and here I sit on the other side, pondering just how much things change, how quickly it does, and how I don’t even notice until I wake up on a whole new life time plane to figure out and maneuver within.

Today my husband and I went to church.  That’s been our mode of operation for the past 27 years. The difference was I didn’t have four little ones to try to wrangle through the worship service, and hope that they would stay in children’s church for an hour so I could get a break.  It was just me and him.  The oldest 3 are off doing their own thing in their own lives, and the youngest would prefer to sit by friends than us, not that I mind or anything.  I’ve hit another season… this one doesn’t seem like it holds as many challenges as the previous. But I’m fairly certain it does.  That’s kind of what seasons do.  In summer, the challenge is to keep cool, in winter, the challenge is to keep warm. In Spring, the challenge is to get everything planted in the garden.  In fall, the challenge is to get everything processed that you planted in the garden.  Life is kind of like that as well. I’ve awakened to a world where my husband and I are sitting in the same room alone quite a bit, the house is quiet, and the only ones I need to feed on the regular are me and him.  It’s quite a bit different than the world I just left where the only place I could get alone was in the master bathroom after I locked myself into my room and hid back in that corner of the house, or all I heard on the hourly if not more is “mom I’m hungry”, “mom what do you have to eat?” “Mom tell him to stop…” (you get the picture)

So, what’s a girl to do with this whole new gig? Especially since the past 8 months I’ve found myself with less and less outside commitments.   It’s pretty uncomfortable to not be “doing” when all you’ve known for quite awhile is “do”. 

I think every once and awhile God likes to get us here: At a place where “doing” isn’t what defines us, but “being” is. I know that I have a tendency to use a title to define myself, and like most, a title with a little umph behind it feels even better. But “who I am” is what means the most not so much what all I do, and maybe for a “season”, God wants me to rest in that.

It’s kind of like this sleepy Sunday afternoon with me and the husband in a quiet, practically empty two-story house. We finally have some time to just enjoy each other, sit next to each other and talk. Spiritually, God’s brought me here as well. I can enjoy God more, not the ministry, the busyness, one activity/ meeting to the next. Instead, spending time being His girl, listening to His heart, and letting Him prepare me for the next season whatever it may be like. Because where He leads is good especially since where He leads, He is.

Generations Blessed

I’ve often said the happiest times of my life were each of the days my kids were born and the day I married their Dad years before. Each of those days hold those “magic” moments: watching my groom sing the love songs to me at our wedding as he stared directly into my eyes and smiled, the moment I saw my first born son as he was lifted over the small curtain where the c section occurred, Rich searching all over the hospital for a bow for our first daughter’s hair, the doctor hardly catching our second daughter because she came so fast, and our youngest son not breathing as the doctor called the resuscitation team only to hear a faint whimper from him as the doctor worked and worked on him and knowing it was going to be ok. “Magic moments” that are probably better described as “miraculous”. It’s the kind of thing you wished would just freeze in time forever, but it can’t because time just goes on.

I find myself anticipating another such day very soon.  It’s kind of hard to believe, with my genuine youthful looks and all, that in a matter of a day or so I will be a Grandma, although I believe I’ve been a Grandma for the past 9 months.  Off and on today I’ve caught myself getting a little misty eyed at the thought.  From what I’m told, it sounds like I’m headed for another “magic” moment, another time I will probably wish will stand still and freeze so I can enjoy it forever.  But I know it will only last for a short while so I need to soak it in and absorb every second of its beauty.  

It’s been around 25 year since I caught baby fever the first time and wanted to try to have my grandson’s Daddy.   I can remember wanting a baby so bad that a Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo commercial would send me into tears.  It was just my heart’s desire.  I wanted to be a mom.  

When he was born, I would rock my son, I remember thinking, “You know I’m not really a fan of the old nursery rhyme songs. I think I’ll sing him worship songs about Jesus instead.  With exception of one song, Phil Collins “Groovy Kinda Love”.  I figured it was a good song for a mom to sing to her son. 

I spent a lot of time praying for each of my kids.  I kind of felt bad because we never formally “dedicated” any of them at a church service.  But I prayed to God often and told Him how even if we never celebrated a dedication in a service I wanted with all my heart to teach my kids to love Him, to know Him, and to walk close with Him because He was and is everything.  

Now I look at my kids.  I know they aren’t perfect, but I am grateful for the journey so far.  They walk with Jesus and many of the things I have prayed for through the years are growing in them.  

Galatians 6:9 is the verse of Motherhood. I would figure it is the verse of fatherhood also, but I’m writing as a mom. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I feel like in some small way my new Grandson is another fruit of that harvest. Looking back, my mom and dad sowed seeds of faith in me, their moms and dads sowed seed of faith into them and so on and the same on my husband’s side. My grandmas invested their time sharing Jesus with me as well as pie, cakes, and cookies. I know I’ll need to get that Grandma vibe going, and from what I understand, I have joined a long line of Notable “Grandma N’s” some of which will be pretty tough shoes to fill. But I’m pretty excited about getting my chance.

Psalm 112:1-2 says, “Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” 

Every workday morning, right after breakfast, my husband and I join hands and pray for our kids and each other. Something he started a few years ago when God placed it on his heart to be the Godly leader of our family He was called to be. When we pray here lately, we’ve added our anticipated little one and the others that will surely come. “Our generations will be blessed.” That’s our prayer. I’m not asking God to give them wealth, straight teeth, and knock out good looks. I’m asking for Him to bless them with a soft, responsive heart that hears the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit calling them when they are young. I’m asking God to carry on the fire that was there years ago in the generations before us and will carry on long after we are gone. I’m also asking that in the every day life that I find myself in the baby slobbers, the baby laughs, the first steps, and the Grandma stuff I do that I soak in the blessing God has given me in the generations God gives to us, and that my children and their children and so on and so on will be mighty in the land. I know God has blessed me and with His good gifts like the “magic/ miraculous” moments ahead are meant for me to soak in and enjoy. It will only be for a moment and then time will go on. I guess that’s what makes those moments so sweet.

The Joneses and Me- A Reflection on Storms

My husband got laid off the year I was pregnant with our firstborn.  Somehow, we were able to survive on my $4/hour job for 5 months.  It was the 90’s so things weren’t as expensive then, but still it was tight.  I can remember trying to find maternity clothes at the Goodwill and scraping by. My husband looked and looked for a job. We both believed it was God’s will for me to be able to stay home and take care of our baby after he was born.  We knew he needed to find one that made around $10/ hr.  (Our financial goals were survival at the time) The job placement service of his tech school was sending him out for much less.  

In the mean time I kept going to work and one of my coworkers would almost daily come in from the warehouse to the office where I was a secretary.  He would ask me how the job search for my husband was going and then would say, “When is that bum husband of yours going to go and get a job and take care of his pregnant wife?”  I would hop in my car at the end of the day and cry most of the way home.  Several times I would turn on the Christian radio station and hear a song by Big Tent Revival named “Two Sets of Jones”.  It told the story of two couples starting out their lives. One was well to do, but lacked a relationship with Jesus.  The other was more like us, poor monetarily, yet walking with God.  There was the phrase in the song that said, “Ruben and Sue, they had nothing but Jesus and at night they would pray that he would care for them each.” I would hear it and cry out a prayer to God, “God you KNOW we have nothing but Jesus.  Nothing but you.” Long story short, my husband started the job that allowed me to stay home with our son the day after we came home from the hospital, we never missed a bill, and some 25 years later, we walk in tremendous blessing.  

I’ve been contemplating the storms of life the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been thinking about what the Bible has to say about different storms.  There were storms He spoke after, Storms He spoke to, Storms He took naps during, Storms that blew His servant Paul off course and caused him to be shipwrecked on an island.  Then there was the reference Jesus made in His parable to the storms and the houses that they blew on.  One house withstood the storm.  One house did not.  The common denominator in that story was there most certainly was a storm.  Matthew 7:24-27 NIV tells the story.

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The comparison of the houses pointed to the foundation they were built on: One the Rock, one sand.   

I’d like to say that in our 20’s my husband got the job and our storms were over. That one was, but the nature of life on planet earth has provided many other storms for us to weather. I’ve often said that like the disciples on that stormy sea, the best place to be during a storm is in the boat with Jesus.  He alone has the power to calm it. He alone can see you through.  He alone gives purpose in the midst of it, and though it may take time, we always see He was there at work when nothing made sense during the intensity of it. 

I take quite a bit of comfort when I think of Jesus being the Prince of Peace.  The anxiety that roars from time to time is quieted at His word.  HE is the difference I have seen while raising my family, during the joyful times of sunshine or the uncertainty of storms and He is the difference today.

https://youtu.be/KQE5PNRLZ40

Enjoying the Abundance of Simplicity

Each time I went through the ins and outs of pregnancy, you know the stuff no woman really wants to deal with but does so they can hold the prize of a newborn child, I would think to myself, “Someday, I will have a talk with Eve in heaven and let her know what I think of her boneheaded decision.”  Now that I’m starting to leave behind the childrearing years, I think Eve and I may have quite a bit in common that we could sit around a heavenly mocha and talk like old friends.  I’m not so sure that I would have done much better having to face the decision of what appeared to be an ordinary life of garden tending with my husband, or the pizzazz of knowing it all, being able to stand out above the rest and experience things that tantalizingly weren’t meant for me, but sure seem to be more than what I’ve got going in the present.  

This may be a woman thing, but I have my hunch that it is more than that, it’s a human thing. Always looking for the something bigger that we’re supposed to be about, but missing the spectacular in our lives that is right under our nose.  The problem is, if I am the proverbial donkey chasing the carrot all my life, going places but never getting what satisfies, I will live my life unsatisfied. I’m pretty sure that that wasn’t what God was aiming for in us.  When Jesus talked about the abundant life He came to give us in John 10:10, He meant abundant.  Last I checked abundance and unsatisfied don’t abide together very well as roommates.  

I end up talking quite a bit to women who are around 10 years younger than me trying to encourage them in the area of motherhood.  A friend of mine reminded me that that’s what us “older women of the church” are supposed to do.  (I have arrived! LOL) I see them struggling with the same feelings I had back when I started out my life with all 4 of my kids: an eight-year-old, a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a baby.  The first trip to Walmart with them left me in my Suburban, in tears.  I told God, “I can’t do this.  I can’t do four kids. What was I thinking?”

Laundry, messes, runny noses, fights, stomach bugs, head lice… You name it, I struggled through it with them.  It wasn’t the glamorous life I thought was lying just feet ahead of me if I stretched my neck a little more and grabbed the golden carrot.  Had I only had my eyes on what I wasn’t, I would have missed so much of what I was:  I was the rabbi for my little band of four disciples.  I had a brief stretch of time to tell them what I knew of God and I tried so hard to make sure It was told.  I was able to soak in so many magic moments: First steps, First words, twinkling playful eyes underneath construction paper masks we would make, laughter from building the most outrageous playdough figures, watching them sleep after nursing them in my chair (I’m pretty sure that’s as close to an angelic look they could muster).  Moments that would have been lost to me had I been looking everywhere else for the magic to appear. 

We live in a performance-based society.  What you do, your title, is commonly a sought-after commodity.  Somehow the title “Mom” doesn’t appear to be as appealing as the many other money-making titles that can follow our name.  We want to be somebody, have our few moments in the spot light.  Maybe we’re all a little bit like Eve, reaching out for the forbidden fruit that would make her spectacular in her own eyes.  

We so quickly forget what it was like with the simplicity in the Garden.  I think God wants us to move back towards that simplicity we had before the fall.  It’s what Jesus died and rose again so we could have.  Before things got complicated with the fall, life for Eve was time walking closely with God, living simply with her husband, and enjoying the things that God had surrounded her with.  

That sounds like the recipe for a better life for each of us moms and wives: Walk closely to God.  Enjoy what God has made you to be.  Soak in the time you have with your children (it will fly by faster than you wanted it to).  Remember the gift your husband was intended to be to you, enjoy the love story you are writing. These are the big things. Don’t miss them chasing something tiny and unfulfilling that will vanish like a mist that you can never hold.