Monday, June 28, 2010

I wonder...

I wonder if...Callie Grace is playing at the feet of Jesus...if she looks like we remember...if she knows she has a baby brother named Corban and a little sister named Ellie...if she knows how we wish she were here to claim her rightful spot among the grandchildren as the first granddaughter...if she knows how loved and missed she is.

What I don't wonder about is where she is or Whose she is.  This precious little babe opened her eyes and was in the presence of the Lord.  Our faith in Jesus is the anchor that holds us steady. 

Happy birthday tomorrow, sweet little one.  We celebrate your life and honor your memory.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On hold

I don't know about you and what is going on in your house, in your life, in your family, in your church right now.  In our house, we are "on hold".  Being on hold isn't something many of us like too much.  Nothing is more annoying than the louder-than-it-needs-to-be music you listen to while waiting on hold for your caller to pick up!  Right now, it seems to me like that louder-than- it-needs-to-be music is accompanying my daily routine.  We are waiting on so many answers to prayer - and they are life-changing answers - jobs, health issues, aging parent issues - I feel like I'm being squeezed about as hard as I can be.  Does anyone know what I'm talking about?  Remember a time in your own life when you were in the vise grip?  I know I've been here before - it seems kind of familiar!  I am asking the Lord for big answers - and I assume He wants me to pray when I am awakened at 3 a.m. and can't get back to sleep.  I've always prayed, "Lord, wake me up and get my attention when I need to pray.  I don't want to miss anything."  According to scripture, my name is engraved on the palm of His hand.  He knows how many hairs are on my head.  His ear is attentive to my cry.  And that's just the beginning.  How could I even think that this same God doesn't know or care what is going on in my life?  He is ever so faithful - so I will just sit and wait a little longer, trusting Him and His perfect timing. 

Thanks for letting me "whine" - it is so much nicer to do in print than in person!  Bless your day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Celebrating 60 years of marriage

Today would have been the 60th wedding anniverary of Ray and Shirley Cluxton, my in-laws.  Mom was 18, Dad was 21 when they got married.  Rather unexpectedly, Dad passed away on April 12.  Plans were in the works for the celebration of their 60th.  It seems fitting to talk about their love today.  Mom recently showed us a note he had written her on March 19, their first date anniversary.  He was a romantic - even at 60 years!  He told her of his love for her and talked about that first date.  At 81, he was still pampering Mom and treating her like a princess.  I have talked about this before on the blog, but on Valentine's Day this year, Mom spelled "I Love You" in his Cheerios for breakfast.  We hardly ever heard a cross word between them - not that they were perfect, just didn't let things get to them.  Their love and respect for one another was evident to all - and we all are better for having their example of marriage to model. 

Today as I think of Mom and Dad's anniversary, it makes me want to try harder to think of my mate and his needs - to go the extra mile to let him know how special he is - and to not take him for granted.  Wouldn't marriages across the country be better for that example?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My darlings

Mimi and Poppy are home from a weeklong vacation with our daughters, sons-in-law, and 5 grandchildren. Boy, are we tired! But what great fun we had. There is nothing like waking up in the morning to your own fan club yelling, "Mimi! Poppy!", and all you did was get out of bed!

Mimi and Poppy went to Savannah for a day trip mid week.  I always marvel at how much I missed seeing on the last trip!  Savannah is a charm-filled, romantic city filled with history, architectural delights, gorgeous beds of flowers - oh, and good food!  We ate lunch at Mrs. Wilke's Boading House.  We pulled up to see a line had already begun an hour before lunch was to start being served.  As Poppy held our place in line, I went to sit on a concrete bench and wait.  The next 45 minutes passed so quickly - my bench partner turned out to be a blogger and we soon discovered we followed some of the same blogs.  As it turns out, I had followed her blog through another blogger.  Small world!  I gained a new friend in the blogging world and in person during that Savannah trip!  Kim is a talented decorator, photographer, and blogger.  Here is a link to her pictures of Savannah - they are breathtaking and could easily be used in a Chamber of Commerce pamphlet to entice visitors to Savannah!  Hope you enjoy her site!    Daisy Cottage

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Date night with my honey

My sweet man of 34 years and I had a date night tonight. It was a belated Valentine's Day/celebration of the first full paycheck in two years dinner! Cork and Cleaver restaurant is one of our favorite spots for a celebration meal - the food is wonderful, the atmosphere quiet and cozy. When we got in the car, a single rose and card awaited me. My eyes filled with tears at these sweet gestures from my partner, my best friend, the one whom I journey through life with, for better or worse. We have seen more "worse" than "better" in the past several years. Hence one reason for celebration as we are trending towards "better" days.

My hubby has learned well from the marriage of his parents. They have the kind of marriage that people admire. On Valentine's Day, my mother-in-law spelled "I love you" in her hubby's Cheerios that morning. They will soon celebrate 60 years of marriage. They have demonstrated much to me and others around them about the institution of marriage and serving one another.

It is my prayer that this demonstration of love for one another will be a blessing passed on to our children, their children and grandchildren, throughout the generations.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ellie Kate Hart!

She emerged into our lives today in literally a minute. Her surgery was at 07:30 and at 07:31, she was born. If only the rest of her life she can be this timely, she will be doing great! Ellie Kate has captured our hearts as we have waited on her for so long. One of the great mysteries of life is how we can so deeply love a little one whom we haven't met yet. But there she was, I took one look and loved her with all of my being. I am hopelessly smitten by all of my grandchildren. And they know it! One of the joys of grandparenting. The greatest gift I can give them is praying for them (and their parents) daily.

I'd love to hear about your relationship with your grandchildren and what special things you to with them, or what your grandparents did with you that is a special memory.

NOTE: I wasn't blogging when my other grandchildren were born, but undoubtedly I would have said the same things about them! All are so precious to me!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"I know the plans I have for you..."

This week, I traveled to be with my mom and her husband during her eye surgery. The doctor's office is located in the medical center at the university in their town. We logged in a lot of waiting time during the two days of surgery and followup doctor's visit the next day. While walking down the hallway to get a drink of water, I looked up to glance outside the window and catch the city's skyline, which is quite impressive. Suddenly, the logo on one of the tallest buildings grabbed my attention. It is the building which houses a large insurance company that we felt sure was where the Lord was calling my husband to be employed at. Several years ago because of the economic downturn, my husband closed his business to re-enter the work force. He interviewed with this company and initial contacts were very encouraging. It is a well-respected company and working there would enable us to get back to the city we love and be among family, friends, and church again. It just seemed like the answer from the Lord. During the ensuing weeks, more emails were exchanged, another interview but still no definite answer. Many months later, word came out in the news of layoffs at this same company - as he would have been a new hire, we felt certain that he might have been one of the first to get booted out. We felt such protection from the Lord although disappointed to not get back to the place we wanted to live. We ultimately continued on in the job search.

Now months later with my husband in the job that he absolutely loves and is fluorishing in, I am reminded again that the Lord knows best what we need and has the best plan for us. To see that logo was God sending a visual reminder to me of His presence in our lives, of His beautiful plan for us, and though we question why things happen the way they do, we ultimately need to let Him chart the course. He understands when we are disappointed, but He persists in leading us to the place He wants to take us. Praise Him for His plan - may I always be willing to let go and let Him guide.

Jeremiah 29:11, The Message:

"I know what I am doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for."

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tribute to my daughters

I have been thinking a lot lately about motherhood. My friend, Diann, has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We had a conversation about how she should talk about it with her daughter, who was taking the news very hard. They have a special relationship. They enjoy their relationship as mom and daughter, but they are friends as well. It has made me think about my daughters and our relationship.

As in most families, our two daughters are alike in some ways and very different in others. Both girls are beautiful, inside and out. Both are kind and compassionate. Both are smart and funny.

Emily, our firstborn, has always been the social butterfly of the family. She can make friends riding on the elevator in a department store. That same charisma and care of other human beings is one of the beautiful qualities about her. She is a friend to young and old and has a deep love and compassion for those less fortunate.

Mindy, our younger daughter, also fits the stereotypical secondborn. Unlike her older sister, friendships aren't formed on elevators or in mall playgrounds. She is very discerning and more tenative until a proven track record is established. Yet she is the most loyal friend you will ever have once that trust is established. Mindy has always added the magic of laughter to our family. Some of the best family times are spent recalling funny stories and humorous moments from Mindy's perspective.

It is a joy to see the girls as wives and moms. It is no surprise to me that they have become wonderful women. They delight my heart to see their love for the Lord, for their husbands, and their children. I cherish them as my daughters and as friends. I loved being their mom as they were growing up, and I now love being their friend as well. There isn't a better feeling!

No matter our age, our relationship with our moms is important. My mom has early dementia. Because of her memory loss or altered mental state, we don't have the quality of conversations we have had in the past. I long for the conversations that we will probably never have again. I am thankful for the cherished memories of special times we shared. It makes me also aware that I need to make the most of my time for we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Life can change in an instant - live and love without regrets.

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future. ~Author Unknown

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pink Boaville!

As I start writing this blog, my mind is so busy and full of excitement still from the Siesta Scripture Memory Team weekend, I can hardly slow my brain down! It was truly a highlight of my spiritual walk. Honestly. To meet so many beautiful, Godly women who share a love of God's word was amazing. As women, most of us have gone to retreats or conferences, so being in a large gathering of women wasn't a new experience. But women who love God so much that they commit to memorizing 24 scriptures for a year! Everywhere I looked, there were women hugging, greeting one another in fellowship, sharing their travel stories, and just making new friends. Most of us went either alone or with someone we hooked up through the blog to travel with. And I would venture to say that for most of us, that was a new experience. My roomate was a sweet-spirited woman whose love for God was infectious. We shared stories about our families and our church - our nervousness about saying our scriptures right - and we bonded on a level that some women who sit in church pews for years never get to. Isn't that amazing? It is God at work. Two women who love Him who are willing to go to the depths to get to know Him better and His word - and He in turn blesses us with new friendships and experiences. When I signed up in January, I signed up for me - for my heart to store His word. It was my time for a challenge. But the LPM staff blessed us for our obedience by throwing us the biggest celebration imaginable - and what a time we had. The teaching from Psalm 119 touched my heart in so many ways. The worship with Travis and 507 voices was incredible. I could go on and on. The pink boas were spotted everywhere, in airports, in hotels, in restaurants - I would say we did a good job of "spreading everywhere the fragrance (and feathers) of the knowledge of Him." There will probably be pink boa feathers in Houston for months to come! My daughters were so shocked at how out of my comfort zone I went to attend. They even were worried about me connecting with a woman I met on the blog to travel with (who is truly a beautiful new friend). They nicknamed her my BMBFF (Beth Moore best friend forever)!

How much I would have missed if I let my fear of flying or the many areas out of my comfort zone that there were, hold me back from attending. And I wondered today - how many other times have I missed God's greatest blessing by stopping short of allowing Him to carry me through to get to Him? I hope I always have pink boa moments to carry me on this journey!

And although I'm a midwesterner, I have to begin saying "y'all" - I think it is contagious after spending the time in Houston with all of those southern Siestas!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Slow learner!

I never thought I was a slow learner! If you asked me, I would tell you I learn new things pretty quickly and can usually adapt to something new easily. However, today the Lord smacked me with something I have known forever but lately have ignored! There is a relationship I am and have been praying about for a long time. You know how the prayer goes - Lord, so-and-so needs your touch, he needs you to change him...Lord, you know how he is...Can you just make him easier for me to deal with, Lord...

The Lord reminded me that I am the one who needs the change. My prayer changed today, Lord, please change me. I am unable to love him like you do. Please help me to see him through your eyes and be able to have a relationship with him. I know my relationship with him isn't pleasing to you, Lord. I need you to help me, Lord, to love him.

Amazing thing - progress was made today. I am not foolish enough to think that I won't take some steps backward. My way is the easy way out, for the Lord to zap him and change him. But that isn't necessarily how He works. The Lord has a lot of work to do in ME and MY HEART. I am humbled to know that He has much change for me, yet I am open and ready for Him to make me the person He has in mind. I long to be that person in step with Him so my heart can be undivided and wholly His! Praise His name!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Never forgotten

Baby loss is something most are uncomfortable talking about. Whether it is lack of experience or a sense of uncomfortableness, it is like the "elephant in the room." My husband and I suffered 3 miscarriages as we were young and growing our family. They were all early in the pregnancy so there was obviously no visible sign of pregnancy. Those who were close enough to know shared the grief but it was pretty much "normal" in those days to get a grip and go on with things. We handled the grief as most did in those days, quietly and privately, pretty much get on with life and forget about it.

This week, our younger daughter, Mindy, is in her 33rd week of pregnancy, her third pregnancy. This 33rd week mark is an emotional one for us all. You see, in her first pregnancy 3 years ago, little Callie Grace was stillborn at 33 weeks. She had felt lack of movement so an emergent visit to the doctor's office with her confirmed the worst news I have ever experienced. As a mother, I have always felt that I am the one who fixes things, makes things all better, and protects my child from pain. Hearing her cries of desperation, watching the the doctor and nurse turn off the ultrasound machine and all of that finality was more than this mother's heart could bear. I placed a call to her husband, my husband, and my older daughter, all in disbelief. And the ensuing three days, waiting around the hospital for Mindy to deliver Callie Grace were some of the darkest days I have known. The theory from the medical profession is that natural childbirth is better psychologically because the scar/incision from a C-section would be a physical reminder of the loss. I'm not sure I agree with that theory, because nothing will let a mother forget the loss of her baby. It may be a physical reminder but again, the medical profession is almost all about "getting on with life" as if this was just a blip on the screen. Anyway it was from Tuesday afternoon until Friday when Callie was able to be delivered. The family gathered around, able to hold her lifeless little body, spend some moments sharing our grief, their pastor dedicated her and prayed over her, and we said goodbye almost as quickly as we said hello. Little Callie was buried in a part of the cemetery called Babyland. Have you ever visited the baby section of the cemetery? There are far too many little ones represented by those markers. I never knew there was a special section for wee ones and it broke my heart there would be so many there.

What my heart wants to say here is that though it has been 3 years, Callie Grace holds a place in our hearts and always will. That is hard to explain, a little life we were robbed of ever knowing, a little person who is missing in the lineup of grandchildren on the hearth in the Christmas photo. When asked how many grandchildren we have, we always stumble over the number, maybe we always will. Some don't know how to handle the information if we do share, and at other times I feel protective, perhaps I don't want to share the beauty of this little life with someone who maybe won't understand or care. It is something for sure that there aren't textbooks on, no "dummy" books to follow the protocol on, not many whose path you come across who have shared the same experience.

If you or someone you know has experienced such a loss, ask them to tell you about the one they lost. Share in their story. Give them the permission to tell you about their loved one and how much they loved them. There is no better way to validate someone's grief than to take an interest and care about their hurt. Celebrate with them the life of the person they have lost.

Today, I celebrate Callie Grace, so beautiful, sweet little pink-tinted lips, one who is missed and who will always hold the place as our first granddaughter. Her eyes first opened to see Jesus - for that we cannot wish anything different. She is in His arms and we rejoice knowing that some day we will be joining her around His throne.