Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Would Have Never Dreamed...............

The Lord's my ShepherdImage by Lawrence OP via Flickr

If someone had told me a year ago at this time that my Mom would pass away and my Dad would remarry in the next year, I simply would have wanted to go and bury my head in the sand. It would have been more than I could possibly have imagined. And, that is exactly why, as christians, we must depend on Him everyday for the strength to face another day. We do not know what each new day will bring and the Lord knew that was the only way for it to be. If we knew what the future held, we would not need to depend on Him. Well, one thing for sure, I've had a great lesson in that the past year and I can truthfully and honestly say that He has once again, proven Himself faithful to me. Just as the 23rd Psalm says, He has led me beside still waters, and He has restored my soul and He hasn't just done it once, He has done it continously.

Grief is so strange and having never felt the kind of grief that I have felt since Mom's death, I had no idea what to expect. But, I do know that I would not have imagined it taking so long to get through it. Now, I do not sit around and cry continously or go and sit at her grave. Yes, I have cried many a tear and I have certainly visited her grave a few times. Not a day has passed that I have not thought of her and I just never know when something is going to spark a memory of her. I have definitely experienced healing, but still have more to do and I will not be concerned with how long it may take. There are no set time tables, it varies from individual to individual.

My Dad has been keeping the company of a wonderful woman in recent weeks and this week he proposed to her and they will be married at some point in the near future. I knew from the very beginning that there was something very special between them and knew that marriage was a real possiblity. But, knowing something with your head and accepting it with your heart is so different. This week, when Daddy shared with me that they would be married, my heart hurt so badly I thought I couldn't stand it. I didn't understand that at first and felt very badly feeling that way. Why would my heart hurt, I am so happy for the two of them and I could not have "hand picked" anyone for my Dad any better. She is such a lovely lady, and I know that she and I are going to share a very special relationship. And, she is not a replacement for my Mother, she is someone for my Dad to enjoy the rest of his life with. Yes, it has been a very emotional time and I have come to the conclusion that what I feel is very normal. And, that makes me feel better.

Dawn at Taritari (Nueva Esparta, Venezuela)Image via Wikipedia

Something I read this week stated that we cannot put grief in a time frame. I thankful that I do have to because HE continues to support and comfort me as I lean on Him.
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Eagle or a Duck

Bridget has been sharing with me about her upcoming year with her new class of 5th graders. She spends the first couple of days of the new school year to line out the year. That includes such things the class schedule, the class rules, etc. Bridget loves her job as a teacher and feels very "called" to the profession. She tries to make a real difference in each student's life and that can be a real challenge at times. But, she says she wouldn't trade her profession for any other. That makes me very happy because I am a firm believer that one should be happy with and in their work.

One of the "truths" Bridget shared with her students last week was that of "The Eagle and the Duck." She told them that she wanted all of them to soar like an Eagle this year and that would involve doing their best work and having a positive attitude.

American Bald Eagle..Image by law_keven via Flickr

Happy Duck....Image by law_keven via Flickr

She contrasted the Eagle to a duck. A duck putters along, and makes little progress along the way and will serve as their example of a negative spirit this year. She ended by saying, "which do you want to be this year, an Eagle or a Duck." Of course, they all responded, "Eagle!"

I've thought a lot about this since she shared it with me. I had to ask myself, do I soar with the Eagles or putter with the ducks most of the time? I believe as a Child of the King that He would have me soar with the Eagles. In fact, He instructs us to "mount up with wings as Eagles" in the scriptures. I'm always grateful for opportunities to grow and this simple illustration spoke volumns to me and I'm committing to spend my time "soaring" rather than "puttering." I invite you to join me!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Clancy Time

Just had to share a few pictures with you of our time with our favorite Grandson, Clancy. We arrived yesterday and kept Clancy last night, today and then will keep him again tonight and tomorrow. It is Bridget's first days of school beginning and this is a way we can help her and enjoy some time with Clancy. We may even keep him again tomorrow night and give them a Saturday morning to "sleep in."

Clancy is such a happy little boy and will sit and play with his toys for quite a while. He eats well, sleeps well and is really a good baby. I told Bridget that they need to remember the recipe for their "next one." They have been blessed for sure!

It is hard to believe that on Oct. 2 Clancy will be 1 year old. I hate to sound trite, but "where does the time go." Seems just yesterday we were helping put the baby bed together and making all the other necessary plans for his arrival and how he's 10 1/2 months old.

Just had to include this last photo of Clancy and his Poppa. Wouldn't you love to know what Clancy's thinking as he looks up at his Poppa. These are memories that are priceless and we are thrilled to be making them. God has blessed us and we are thankful!

Monday, August 17, 2009

This is the day.........

Don't let the sun go down on your grievancesImage by kevindooley via Flickr

Yes, in Psalm 118:24, the Word tells us that "this is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."

We will never pass this way again. Once each day is gone, it is gone, never to return. What we have done and what we have said, is gone. Since my Mom's death, almost 9 months ago, I've thought so much about each and every day. Each day has become more important to me. I always thought I knew that life was fragile and uncertain, but I really didn't. Her sudden death brought a stark realization to me and I now really do know that life is fragile and uncertain.

I am not promised tomorrow, and I should live each and every day as though it could be my last. That is hard to do. But, when I do think that way and try to live my life that way, I feel much happier. Why? Most likely because I've done something unexpected for someone , made a memory, loved my family just a little bit more and allowed the Lord to use me as He sees fit.

My prayer is that I will live each day as though it could be my last, not as though there is no hope, but as though my hope lies in Him who gives us each day. Yes, each day is a day that the Lord has made and we are to rejoice and be glad in it. I look forward to tomorrow!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Long Distance Families

I think about family alot and the fact that so much of our family lives away. In fact, they all live a long way aways! (*frown) Whatever happened to the days when families always lived nearby? I'm not sure, but somewhere along the way, miles began to seperate families. Often it is work related and I'm not so sure a whole lot can be done about that. Sometimes it is just a desire for a child that grows up to move off. Whatever the reason, it often makes me very sad that all of our siblings and our daughter live a long ways off.

This is my oldest brother, Brian, now I'm the oldest child, but he's the oldest boy and 3 years younger than me. He and his family live in Culpeper, Virginia. Brian is employed as the Executive Director of the Rappahannock-Rapidan Agency. This is a state agency that deals with Aging, Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse and several other entities. His wife, Linda, is an accomplished artist and well known throughout the area surrounding them. Their daughters, Heather and Elizabeth live nearby.

Above is my "baby" brother, Joel and his family. Joel is the CEO of Merit Resources (an employee leasing company) in Des Moines, Iowa. His wife, Suzy, is a full time homemaker. Ashley is 18 and about to begin her Freshman year at Northern Iowa University. Warren, 13 will be an 8th grader this year.

This is Tommy's oldest sister, Susan and her husband Steve. They are both retired from management with State Farm Insurance. They live in Flowery Branch, Georgia. They have found retirement to be most fulfilling and are enjoying many aspects of life that they have never had time to enjoy before.

This is Tommy's youngest sister, Sara, and her husband Gary. They live in Tacoma, Washington. Gary is in management with Weyerhauser. Sara is a full time homemaker and stays busy with activities surrounding their church and community.

And, last, but certainly NOT least in our daughter, Bridget and her husband Clint and our precious grandson, Clancy. I guess we should have had some kind of "formal" agreement with Clint that, when he married our daughter, he could not take her any further than 4 hours away. (*smile) But, we have managed to see each other quite often, in spite of the distance. Being 8 hours away does make a week-end trip almost impossible and we wish that were not the case. But, we do not dwell on it, because they could be even further away.

I've often thought that perhaps there should be some kind of law prohibiting families from living more than 100-200 miles apart. (*smile) As you can tell, we do have family literally spread all over the US.

Perhaps I will live long enough to see the tides change and families will gravitate closer together in the coming years. It will certainly make dealing with aging parents and all that can sometimes come along with that, much easier. It would also allow Grandparents to share more in the lives of their Grandchildren. And, most of all, it would make for a whole lot more "family time," something I thoroughly enjoy!

The Lord has blessed us with a wonderful family and we are thankful each time we share time with them. We just wish that it were a whole lot more often.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Typical Day

alarm clock, bought from IKEAImage via Wikipedia

I'm not sure why I am writing this particular blog, but perhaps I'm thinking of my children reading it one day. (*smile*) I don't know that anyone is interested in what a typical day consists of in anyone's life except their own. But, here goes! And, for all my many followers (*another smile*) you don't have to read any further if you do not care too. Now that I've gotten your attention, I bet you all will read with "baited breathe."

I have always been a "morning person" and a believer in "the early bird gets the worm." So, you say, who wants "the worm?" Well, guess I do! Before I had children I would get up just in time to get ready for work and be out the door. Not long after Brandon was born I soon figured out that if I were ever to enjoy some "me time" then it was likely going to have to be in the early morning hours. And, the Lord had really convicted me of my lack of time with Him and the Word. I always had good intentions of fitting a "quiet time" in but most days it just did not happen. And, I knew if I was to be the Mom that the Lord would have me be, then I HAD to have my time with Him. At that time I began sitting my alarm clock for about an hour earlier than I thought Tommy or Brandon's day would start. It proved to be a good decision for me and the benefits far outweighed any extra sleep that I might have gotten.

brush drawing on blue primed paperImage via Wikipedia

Now, do know that I have certainly missed
my quiet time many times since making that decision some 32 years ago. But, when I miss, I feel very "out of touch" the entire day and it reminds me of how important that time is to me each day.

When the kids began school, it meant I needed to get up even earlier, so I set my clock for 5:00 AM during those years. I keep that as my "wake up call" until about a year ago and I decided that I no longer had to get up quite so early. Of course, my body had to readjust itself, but it did and now my clock goes off at 5:40AM. I know, that's an odd time, but I want to be out of bed at 5:45, so that gives me 5 minutes to lay there and think about it. :)

Tommy is usually up about an hour later, so that gives me an hour to enjoy that first cup of coffee and converse with the Lord and read His Word in total quietness. The thing that I have to be careful of, is the routine. Often, routines loose their significance and it just becomes something we do without a lot of thought or meaning. I have to be mindful of that daily! I have "my time" upstairs in a big overstuffed chair, covered with an afgan and a dimly lite lamp burning.

{{Potd/2006-08-30 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

After "my time" I'm ready to begin my day. I usually head straight to the shower and may put a load of clothes on to wash as I breeze by the coffee pot for that second cup. Then it's on to the necessary job of makeup and hair. Have never been able to skip that, not even if I'm just going to "hang out" at the house all day. I know, it's crazy, but it sure helps my feelings if I happen to look at the mirror during the day. :)
I have always been a person that likes to get any errands that I may have to do, done in the morning. Guess I don't like to have to think about doing them all day long. So, I generally do whatever running around I have to do early. I may not have but a couple of things to do outside the house, so that likely means that I will be home by mid to late morning and may or may not leave again that day. I use my afternoons for various things, going for coffee with Dad, visiting a friend, catching up on the ironing, playing on the computer, organizing a closet or drawer or doing "bulk cooking," and stashing some of it away in the freezer. And, from time to time there are other things that need to be done during that time. My afternoons are not nearly as scheduled as my mornings.

Tommy and I have always eaten between 5:30 and 6:00 and I would be lying if I told you that I cook every night. Not hardly! But, I take "spurts" and we eat at home a lot and then it seems some weeks we eat out more times than not. We've decided that we do it more for having something to do than just eating out. We enjoy the "social aspect" of eating out. That may sound crazy to many of you. We really feel that way when the days are short and it's dark by 5:15. I do enjoy cooking and especially when there is not a lot going on and I enjoy entertaining folks in our home too.

After cleaning up from dinner we usually find ourselves in our recliners, settled in for the evening. Again, this is really true in the winter. In the spring and summer we may not settle in until later. We enjoy that time each night. We may talk, we may not. We may watch TV, we may not. Sometimes I'm on my laptop and Tommy is reading. But, whatever we are doing, we enjoy it. We are not late night folks and by 10:30, we are usually snug in our bed.

On the week-end my schedule changes. If I do not have anything planned for a Sat. I do not set my clock, I just wake up (usually around 7:00) and I'm ashamed to admit, but I generally do not go upstairs for my quiet time. Why? I have no excuse. It's certainly not because I don't think I need it on the week-end. There's not a day that I don't need it. I've been saying I was going to change that habit, but I'm still working on it. I certainly talk to Him throughout each and every day and that never changes, but there's nothing quite like a special time with Him that is uninterrupted.

Of course, Sundays are different too. The clock is set for 6:30 and I begin my routine of getting ready for church. Sunday afternoons are generally very laid back and something that I look forward too.

I'm sure that I have shared way too much and as I said, don't know that a soul is one bit interested in this area of my life. But, perhaps my children will find it interesting one day. I'm sure they will read it and with a smile, say, "that was our Momma, but we loved her anyway." :)
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Thursday, August 6, 2009


I am convinced that women without a sister need good girlfriends more than those women with a sister. I say that because I never had a sister. I loved my two brothers and my brother that is 3 years younger than me did share my "secrets" when we were growing up. But, there is just nothing like a sister or a good girlfriend to "share your heart" with, to laugh with, to cry with, to shop with, to share recipes with and all that other "girly stuff."

The Lord has blessed me with some very special friends along the way and I am so grateful for them. Each of them bring something different into my life and that is what makes each of them special.

I think men often wonder about women and their friendships. They don't quite understand what it is all about because men and their friendships are very different. Men don't pile
up and go places together, they don't talk on the phone, they don't go out to eat and to a movie together, they don't travel together (except for hunting trips). Yes, men, I think, are really missing out when it comes to friendships. But, the Lord made us that way for a purpose. I'm not sure what it is, but I sure am glad that I am a woman and I'm so grateful for all the wonderful girlfriends He has given me.

And, when you find a friend that "sticketh closer than a brother" then you have found yourself a real friend.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

An Emotional Week............

Espera EsperanzaImage by julkastro via Flickr

I've felt all week that lump growing in my throat and knew that at some point I was going to have one of those "ugly cries" that I have to have ever so often. I call them "threaputic" becuase I always feel so much better afterwards and I can then pick up and go on. So, you ask, why was this week so emotional.

My Dad preached at our church, First Baptist, this morning and it was his first time to preach there since Mom died. He has preached two other times since her death, but they were at two other local churches. I knew that it would probably be an emotional time for him, because any other time he has preached at First Baptist, Mom was sitting right there in prayerful support of him. She did not always go with him when he supplied at other churches, so I didn't think the other times would be as difficult as today might be. And, it was my first time to hear him preach since Mom's death.

As he stepped up to the pulpit, I felt as though my heart might break in two. The tears began to flow and and while I knew I would pull myself back together, I struggled. Tommy put his arm around me and my sweet daughter in law took me by the hand. Those two acts let me know that I would be okay and I then begin to wrap my head and heart around the message from Romans 13:11-14. What a timely message and how convicting it was to me and my lack of "real" commitment to my Lord and Savior. Reason enough for more tears.

Earlier this week it occurred to me that this year marks the 50th year of Dad's surrender to the ministry. I would love to know in numbers the lives that he has touched through his ministry, not just in message, but in counsel and day to day life.

My prayer is that when Dad has gone on to be with the Lord that I can somehow carry the torch that he is passing on to me with the same conviction that he has carried it all these years.

Yes, it has been an emotional week, but, it's all a part of the healing that is taking place in my life from the void left by the death of one of the greatest women who ever lived, my Mom.

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