Friday, November 5, 2010

And..... we're back!

I'm shocked. I love to write more than anything, but I took a longer break than I ever expected. But 18 months later, I'm back.

Now we have another little boy in the family. He'll be one on Nov. 9 and has changed our lives in such a beautiful way. He never stops smiling. He has joy and he brings joy!

In other news, I took a fulltime job with MUST Ministries and love it there. Bob took a fulltime job at Devereux Psychiatric Treatment Facility and is grateful to have a teaching position. My toddler grandson turned 3 and Ellen got a house in Tuscaloosa. She and Will are still together and enjoying their lives in Alabama. Brent and Ann live with us - and their two boys - so we have a busy household. They've been here 14 months, so we've been blessed to watch the baby grow and develop since Day 1 of his precious life. They now own a video and photography studio - ZOOMA STUDIOS - and are trusting God to grow their business.

In just a few short sentences, that's our life update in the past 18 months. Obviously, that's the broad brushstroke. Lots of other things have happened, but let's move forward. I'll post again soon and enjoy capturing my thoughts in a blog again.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A True Mother's Day

I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary. Our family was going to church, then meeting for lunch to celebrate Mother's Day. I was looking forward to being with my mom and kids - and my precious toddler grandson who lights up my life.

After opening some cards and gifts, my oldest daughter handed out special, hand-made cards. My youngest got hers open first, making a remark that she isn't a mom and didn't know why SHE got a card. Then she burst into tears. I mean real tears of genuine emotion. Mom and I immediately teared up in sympathy with her tears, but we didn't understand what was happening. We looked at our cards and saw a beautiful picture of my grandson, wearing a t-shirt that said, "I'm the Big Brother." Then it hit me.

Another addition to the Clan is on the way! I felt overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation. Then I learned that the due date is Nov. 19 - not so far away! My daughter had kept the news a secret to share on Mother's Day and she was already entering her second trimester. All I could think of was the holidays - what will Thanksgiving and Christmas be like this year? Wow!

Most of all, I felt blessed. Being a mother and grandmother are at the very core of who I am. It's funny because when I was younger, I was such a career and goal-oriented person that I wasn't sure I'd be focused on motherhood. I certainly had no idea that God called me to motherhood as surely as He called me to be Bob's wife.

And the only thing more amazing than being a mother? Being a grandmother. My little "Bear" calls me "Kiki". I've decided that name is right up there with "Mom".

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Entertaining Strangers

The Bible tells us to be hospitable to strangers, but in this day and time, few people are willing to risk taking that command literally. I know I hesitate to put myself or my family in harm's way and I am married to someone who anticipates every possible negative thing that could happen. He is "Mr. Safety" - according to my children - and I tend to agree!

But something happened recently to move us outside our comfort zone. We were at the beach and had walked a long way to see a public pavilion with an unusual architecture. Bob decided to step away for a minute and I stood in the main area, watching as some college guys sat studying. I commented that they must not be on spring break if they had to study, but they assured me they were - making a tour on their vacation from Indiana University. I noticed they had Bibles, journals and Christian books when they pointed out my UGA shirt and asked what sites they should see when the visited their next stop, Atlanta. Bob walked back up. I asked where they would be staying so I could recommend some convenient sites and they hesitated a bit, looking at each other as if to say, "Should we tell her?"

"We're sleeping in our car," one of them offered. "Not in Atlanta, you're not," I shot back. I can't help it. I am everyone's mother. They had mentioned visiting the aquarium and I explained that the downtown area is not a safe place to sleep in your car. They assured me they'd be fine, but Bob and I made eye contact. We had to help these guys.

"Would you like to stay at our house?" I asked. "That would be great!" they said immediately. And with that, we had 4 college guys set to follow us back to Atlanta that night and stay in our home for a couple of nights.

Oddly enough, Bob and I didn't feel frightened. We felt excited. We were going to get to use our gift of hospitality and get to know new people in the family of God. We felt like the Lord had sent us way down the beach to find these guys. And I had on my UGA shirt, which I seldom wear, so they knew where we were from and could ask about Atlanta.

The next few days turned out to be wonderful. We had in-depth conversations into the wee morning hours and shared some great times. We even made S'mores over a fire and sang songs. We became fast friends with these terrific boys and had such a peace that God brought us all together.

It was a blessing to have college students in our home again. We miss our own college daughter and her friends hanging out here all the time - but God gave us an opportunity to fill that longing for those relationships. It was a rare experience of extending hospitality to strangers, yet it became more of a blessing to us than to them. And those strangers became friends.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Cussing Prayer

Among my Christian friends, it's not uncommon for someone to speak up in agreement when someone else is praying aloud. Sometimes, someone will say, "Yes, Lord!" or "Come, Lord Jesus" for instance. In all of my years of praying, I've never been interrupted with any comment too surprising.... until now.

Bob and I were on our way to the beach for our 35th anniversary and we were literally driving on fumes, frantically searching south Alabama for an exit with a gas station. We practically coasted into a station, pumped the gas and both went inside to pay, just to stretch our legs a bit. While we were standing at the counter, a young man (19) staggered up to us and said, "Call 911. I'm having a heart attack!" and he dropped to the floor. He was trembling, pale, sweating and his heart was racing.

While the attendant went to the phone, Bob and I hovered over the patient, asking him some basic health questions (remember, Bob is a health teacher, CPR instructor and first aid instructor). Then Bob said, "Do you mind if we pray for you?" and the guy (we now knew his name was Chris) said, "No, go ahead."

Bob and I started praying and as we did, Chris started interjecting. But this time, it was different.
"Lord, we ask you to come now and heal Chris."
"Oh Sh**!"
"We ask you, Lord, to bring him a peace and a calm."
"Come as the Great Physician and bring your healing touch right now."
"Sh**! Sh**!"
"And let him know he is in your care. You're here. You sent us here to help. You're in control."
"Oh God!"
(at least he was getting closer...)

As I stood there, I mused, "If I thought I was dying, would I be screaming out profanities through a prayer?" Seemed like an odd way to meet Jesus.

But the reality is, Chris had no clue. He didn't understand spiritual things, so he didn't even understand how damning his situation was. Why should I be surprised when an "unregenerated soul" acts like one?

We finally got through to him that Bob was a CPR instructor and was right there to help if he needed it before the ambulance arrived. We told him that God sent us to that spot at that time to help him. He said that WAS a coincidence! And we said, "No, that was God sending us to you." The light went on. He agreed with us and felt somewhat relieved he was in capable hands until "real" help arrived. Believe me, when the volunteer rescue team from Fort Deposit, Alabama arrived, I realized Chris had been in better hands with my husband! The medic put the blood pressure cuff around Chris' elbow. Yeah.... scary.

Anyway, it was an experience to remember. It really made us think. We just hope it made Chris think too. A lot.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Coral Anniversary

Did you know that the theme for a 35th wedding anniversary is CORAL? Yeah.... me either. My smart husband knew, however, and he came home last night with lovely coral-colored flowers and a singing card. The card plays "I only have eyes for you...." a song you would only know if you've been married as long as we have. But it was sweet because the picture on the card showed a couple on the beach, and Bob's taking me to the beach next week. He also suggested we find (or buy) a piece of coral to bring home and keep to commemorate our 35 years.

All of that is to say that the thoughtfulness of finding out the right theme, matching the flowers to the theme, writing a sweet love note in the card, finding a card of the beach and so on shows effort. And that's all most women want. We want to know someone thought of us. A lot. We want to know someone made an effort on our behalf. It's not about extravagance.

Sometimes feeling loved is just about getting the right color flowers.

Friday, February 6, 2009

35 Valentine's

Today, my husband pointed out that we are about to celebrate our 35th Valentine's Day. I immediately searched my memory for the traditional 35th Valentine's Day gift and I believe it's diamonds. At least that's what I've heard....

But besides the diamonds, it really is a significant number of celebrations. It made me realize how blessed I am to have had the same man love me unconditionally for so long. He has been thoughtful and humble. He has been concerned about me and helpful. He has been consistently in love with me - and vice versa.

What I don't know is where the years went. Some of them I don't even remember. Fewer and fewer details are clear. I don't remember specific dates of some events and I have to stop and think about what years we lives in what house.

What I DO know is that Bob has always loved me, since the day we met in college. And I know that's rare and precious. I am also certain it is God's gift to me. We have never had a major fight. We have seldom disagreed. We have always been best friends. And we always will be.

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie. I look forward to many more.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

How to Face 2009

Last year was a trying time - the loss of my fulltime job, my husband's retirement, my daughter going off to college, my other daughter learning motherhood, and more. This year, very little has changed in my situation. I feel like I'm drifting a bit and I am wondering why? It's time to press in and find out...

Prov. 2 says He will give you guidance IF you do certain things:
v. 1 - accept my words
store up my commands
v.2 - listen to wisdom
apply your heart to understanding
v.3 - call out for insight
cry aloud for understanding
v. 4 - look for understanding
search for it like hidden treasure

Promise in v. 5: THEN you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Wow. Wouldn't that be something! I WANT divine understanding and knowledge!

I haven't understood a lot lately. I haven't seen the big picture. But now I get it. I haven't done the "Ifs" to get the "THEN". I have to do verse 1-4 to get to verse 5. What I've done has been too superficial. Searching for it like hidden treasure takes a deeper level of pursuit.

God wants the IF to mold me and give me the character to find the "then" - the promise. I want the "THEN" without the "IF".

Maybe you're there too? Let's put the "IF" in 2009. The "THEN" is worth it.