Can you believe the word "Christmas" is beginning to pop up in our vocabulary these days? It seems that when school starts, then we begin to start the trek towards Christmas. One of our daughters was in town this past weekend and we hit Joann Fabrics for the Christmas fabrics. She has an Etsy shop and is making the most adorable tutus. Check out her Facebook page, Silver Lined Harts, for a Christmas tutu giveaway.
To our sweet little first granddaughter, Callie Grace,
You will be 5 earthly years old Friday. I wonder what heavenly time is, or if it even matters. I imagine it doesn't. Our hearts stood still the day we lost you. Time passes on but you are always remembered. This week, we celebrate you, our sweet little angel in Heaven. We counted on holding you in our arms here on earth, but now we look forward to the day we join you in Heaven. Love you, sweet one.
Remember the phrase, "cat got your tongue"? I don't know about the cat, but I sure have had a block in writing. Life is in such flux that when I do think of something to write, it is either sad or stressful. Who wants to read that? So I have just been MIA. When I do get going, you will wish I would stop!
Our family continues walking the awful road of Alzheimer's. To watch your loved one lose their dignity and their ability to thrive is painful. My mom is now nonverbal, nonmobile, and blind. She only drinks, not eating any more. There is little interaction between us. I talk, she listens, occasionally saying "yes" or "no". Her quality of life is gone...I pray daily for the Lord to come take her to be with Him. Yet even in this state, she continues to teach me about life. She perseveres. The staff love her because she is not demanding or loud, just quietly sitting in her chair. As she has most of her life, she has a low profile. Yet her life is loud and clear...one of devotion to her Lord in a quiet humble way.
Ps. 27:14 ESV
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Callie Grace Hart, born at 9:17 a.m. on June 29, 2007, 2 lbs 13 ounces. That is all we ever knew about Callie Grace. She was in her mommy's womb for 33 weeks, then entered this world without a breath and into the arms of Jesus. We don't understand the whys, but we have the assurance that she is with Jesus. I recently read the book, Heaven is a Real Place by Todd Burpo. His son has retold the story of what happened to him during surgery when he was in Heaven for a brief time. His details of heaven, told from his 4-year-old perspective, create for those of us who have lost loved ones a wonderful picture of Jesus and the joys of heaven. Such comfort and confirmation of what we have been promised by God. Happy Heavenly Birthday, sweet little Callie. Your Mimi and Poppy look forward to a real celebration some day with you. You are forever in our hearts and lives - never to be forgotten.
Have you ever been so sure that God is leading you through something? I mean, that you can feel Him guiding you through a conversation or decision so vividly? In my devotions, I'm reading, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Yesterday, she wrote: Approach each new day with desire to find Me. Before you get out of bed, I have already been working to prepare the path that will get you through this day. There are hidden treasures strategically placed along the way. Some of the treasures are trials designed to shake you free from earth-shackles. Others are blessings that reveal My Presence: sunshine, flowers, birds, friendships, answered prayer. I have not abandoned this sin-wracked world; I am still richly present in it. Search for deep treasure as you go through this day. You will find Me all along the way.
Wow. So now I'm on the lookout for God's treasures. Today while ordering lunch at a deli, a sweet woman and I chatted over the potato chip selection. Crazy detail to tell you about but it's true - and adds the realness to this whole story. We continued talking, me explaining to her where we're from and why we are here. She had parked next to us and I noticed a Christian fish on her car. So I unassumedly asked her where she goes to church. She timidly stammered around and said she didn't have a church, that she and her husband, well, she stopped and started the conversation over and over. Jeff had joined me by this time and we said that it was hard to find a place where you both felt at home. I guess we were trying to help her not feel so bad. Jeff invited her to visit the church he is working at, to which she promptly wrote down the address and information about it. With tears in her eyes, she told us that she owns a shop and had taken a day off today, which was rare. She had many things she should be doing, she said, but she knew that this meeting was God's plan for her today. My treasure today. God was there in our midst, leading, guiding, encouraging. We took down each other's phone numbers and I am sure we will be in contact.
Sometimes we read books, take classes, watch videos on how to - how to attract others to Christ, how to evangelize, how to... Maybe we work too hard at it. Maybe it is a God appointment and we need to be on the lookout and pray for God's appointment. I am in awe of His treasure in the midst of an ordinary lunch. Do it again, Lord!
I went to visit my mom in the memory care unit on Tuesday. She has been there a week and seems to be adapting well. Actually better than I anticipated. When I arrived, the residents were sitting in their chairs in the activity room, waiting for the chaplain to come. He came in and asked for favorite song requests. It was sweet to hear their quiet voices sing or hum along. Few could actually read the words from the songbooks. Then the chaplain led a prayer and led way to the Lord's Prayer. Again, they followed along in unison. He talked to them and quoted John 3:16, to which most joined in and recited with him. He led Psalm 23 and I was amazed at the amount of participation there was.
When on my way home, I marveled at how these sweet little folks who many would not be able to tell you what they had for breakfast, were quoting scriptures and singing songs that are etched on their hearts from long ago. How does the brain work that things you learn early in life can come back with such recall when the rest of your memory is gone? It makes me think on the importance of teaching our little ones about the Bible and teaching them truths that will stay with them forever. One day it will still be on their hearts and in their souls.
We moved my mom to a memory care facility this week. It is the best place for her as even the simple activities of daily living have become a challenge for her. Although it is hard to see her dignity gone, what a blessing to know that she is being cared for in ways that she could not be at home.
As we looked through her closet, we came across a large banker's box full of financial papers and documents. I brought it home with me to begin the shredding process. My mom was an administrative assistant to a CEO and her skills became very evident as I pulled out envelope after envelope of detailed, organized recordkeeping. It began in 1952 when she graduated from high school to 2004. Every appliance she has purchased had a sales receipt, along with an owners manual. Several accidents she has had were detailed in manilla envelopes, along with pictures of the car, accident history, medical receipts, etc. I learned things about my mom that I have never known. She started her career at IPL making $4700 in the early 1960s, raising me as a single mom without child support. When she retired in the 1990s, her income had risen to a wonderful salary for a single woman. The checkbooks detailed what ministries she supported each month and what generous gifts she gave to support the Lord's work. Although I knew she supported ministries, I had no idea what she was giving away each month.
As I finished the shredding today, I thought about her "life in a box." What that box told about her life. And I wondered what my daughters will find about my life one day as they go through "my box." One thing for sure, I have a long way to go to be as detailed and organized as my mom! But my hope is that they will be blessed in what they learn on the pages in that box. I sure have been blessed today recalling my mom's life and how she has lived it well.