Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy 2013


And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

It’s that time of year for Resolutions.  I really don’t make  resolutions any more.  It’s kind of useless for me.  I generally break them by the end of January.  I’ve resolved to lose weight and exercise more years than I can count.  That process just doesn’t seem to work for me, unfortunately.

What I do in the new year is take a good hard look at my life.  I look to the past and count my blessings.  I find that although there seem to be many trials and tough times during the year, when I look back at the year as a whole, the things that I remember quickest and most easily are the blessings.  I remember good times with family, new babies, visits with those that I love, small thoughtful moments with friends, new friendships and relationships...  Those are the important things.  It’s funny how the troubles that seem so important at the time aren’t the things we remember in the end.

 While counting my blessings is a great focus, I do take a serious look each new year at the areas that weren’t so great to see where I can grow.  Who’s life did I touch?  What  more could I have done?  Who did I hurt?  Where can I improve?  Where could I have lived my faith more effectively?  That’s the best part—that’s where I grow.  I learn so much more from my mistakes than I ever gain from my successes.  If I don’t realize that something is broken, I don’t know to fix it.

I will never resolve to be perfect.  I just am not.  As a matter of fact, I don’t even think that I want to be perfect.  What fun is perfect?  However, I am so far off from being perfect, that I feel very comfortable growing and improving without ever worrying about reaching “perfect” status.  And while I don’t want to be perfect, I do want to do better.

So, this year, as in past, I won’t make any New Year’s Resolutions.  I will, however, take a long hard look at the year and thank God for my many, many blessings.  And I will ask him to be with me every day to keep my ears, eyes, and heart open to see where I can grow in His light.  And believe me, there is very much room for growth.  And that is a good thing!  I wouldn’t want to get bored this year by sitting around just being perfect! 

Blessings to each of you and those you love in 2013! 

Lou

 Lord, you are always with me... even when I don't think I need you.  Open my ears, my eyes, my heart to You, Lord.  Show me the way to serve you better every day - all year long.  I love you, Lord.  Forgive me when I forget to count my blessings.  Forgive me when I forget how much You love me.  Forgive me when I am thoughtless of the price you paid for my life. Forgive me, Lord, that I forget to thank you every minute of every day for all of the joy that you provide in my life.  And Lord, tomorrow, help me to be better than I am today.     Amen.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The White Rose

When I was growing up, my family wore roses to church on Mother's Day.  I wore a red rose to honor my mother.  My brothers and my parents wore white roses.  My brothers were always- MY brothers - but their mothers had died before I was born.  My mother adopted them when she married their father.  I was born after that marriage and adoption.

On Mother's Day, my parents always made sure that my brothers had white roses to wear in memory of the one who gave them life.

I loved my red rose but was always a little confused about my brothers wearing white roses.  My mother explained the purpose to me every year when I was young.  I finally understood and while I was very thankful that my brothers had my mother who loved them as their own, I was a little sad about what their white roses represented.  I never wanted to think about wearing a white rose.

That day has come, though.  My rose is no longer red, it is white.  My mother is no longer here to "snitch" a red rose for me from the neighbor's red rose bush.  My mother is no longer here.  And I am sad.

I wish that I had one more day - even one more hour to honor my mother.  She was the best person I have ever known.  I wish I had paid more attention, learned more from her, expressed my love to her more, listened to what she said and why she said it.  I wish I had just a little more time.

Many of you who are wearing white roses today know what I mean.  If you are lucky enough to still be wearing a red rose, take that minute to be with your mother... not just be with your mother but to BE WITH your mother and to let her know how happy you are that you are wearing a red rose today in her honor.  White roses hold many wonderful memories, but red roses hold the opportunity for a shared future.

I love you, Gangy.  I still miss you every day.  You taught me so much about what it means to care and love those around me.  You taught me about what it is to have a strong faith - a faith that has taken me through many difficult times.  I thank God that He placed me in your arms when I came to this earth.  And I thank God for the faith to know that those beautiful arms of yours will be waiting for me when I join you in heaven one day and put on an eternal red rose.

Lord, I thank you for the memories, the lessons, and the love that you gave me through my mother.  Hold her close until I can hold her myself again.  And, Lord, give her a little kiss on the cheek today and tell her that her baby girl sure loves her and misses her.  Amen

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Family of Fourteen

And the Grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which are in Christ.
1 Timothy 1:14

Four years ago, I had a huge family of both family and friends, but my immediate family - well there were four of us.  Tripp, Holly, Jenna, and me.  My three children were always a huge source of pride for me - even when they tried me in my young age as a mother, They were always my pride.  In the past four years we have grown.  We are now a family of fourteen.  From 4 to 14 in less than 4 years! 

In October 2008, Tripp married Nikki and we grew in love from 4 to 5.  Nikki is the answer to the prayer that I had that my son find his perfect bride.  If I had chosen her myself, there would be no better. 

In May of 2009, Holly married Andrew and we grew to 6.  Andrew is the tall guy in our family.  He is a wonderful husband to my daughter and a loving father to my grandsons (who you will hear about later in this post).

About the time that Holly brought Andrew into the family, my Lamar came into my life.  Lamar took my heart by surprise. I wasn't looking to fall in love, but I just couldn't help myself. He is a good man and came into my life at just the right time. I adore him!

In November of 2009, Lamar introduced me to his son, Brad and Brad's bride Marian.  What a joy those two have been in my life.  At the same time, their three beautiful little girls captured my heart.  And in short time, my family grew from 6 to 12.  And my heart grew to hold all of the love that come with them. 

Marea, Kieran, and Leah are the pride of their Paw Paw Lamar and of me.  Marea loves animals and bugs and lizards and thinks I should too.  She also is quite a little artist - I choose to share that interest rather than the bugs and lizards.  Kieran likes paper money and fancy clothes.  (Don't tell me she is not my granddaughter.)  She will also climb on my lap and sit while Paw Paw reads her a story or we watch a movie.  Leah is the baby - and she keeps up with her big sisters without missing a beat.  Little Miss Independent will be 3 years old in April and doesn't let us forget that her birthday is next.  Paw Paw and I will take her shopping for birthday toys in 2 weeks.  And then we'll celebrate with her for her big 3 year old birthday.

March of 2011, little baby Levi was born.  (Baby e-bi to the girls).  And we grew to 13.  Levi is 1 year old now and he is Grammy-Lou's little man.  His favorite game is pee pie, followed by chase and pat a cake.  He and I have our special time together when I rock him to sleep and sing him special lullabies with his name in them.  He is my buddy-boy.

And this March, Levi's baby brother, Liam came into my heart and my family grew to 14.  He is a sweet little bundle of cuddly joy.  He stares at me like I'm from Mars when I talk to him, although I have gotten a smile or two out of him.  He loves to stare at my white hair - I have convinced him that it is not hair it is a halo - and at 2 weeks old, he doesn't argue with me. 

Family comes to us in many different ways.  Lamar came to me through God's plan - we are both convinced of that.  Chance had nothing to do with it - it was God's plan.  I had 3 children who I have loved since I carried them just under my heart.  And I have 4 that I got through love.  It's funny how my heart expands to love each one.  And I have 5 beautiful grandchildren - 3 girls and 2 boys.  Each one has a very special place in my heart.  And I love each one the very, very best.  Lamar, Tripp, Nikki, Brad, Marian, Holly, Andrew, Jenna, Marea, Kieran, Leah, Levi, and Liam - each one of you is a very special blessing in my life - and I thank God for each of you every single day.

PS... you are named by age and by couple - so don't try to tell me that I listed by favorite - you are all - each and every one my favorite!!!!!

Lord, what in the world have I done to deserve such love?  What have I done to deserve such blessings?  Thank you for family and friends who surround me.  Lord help me to be the best I can be every day and never forget to let my loved ones know how I feel about them.  Thank you for my growing family - and, by the way, Lord - Lamar and I will take all that you give us.  Our hearts are good at expanding!  Amen.

Welcome to My Heart, Liam Paul

Meet my new grandson - Liam Paul.  He came into the world on March 16th - 2 days after his big brother, Levi, turned 1.  And he came fully into my heart on March 23rd when I held him in my arms and saw his precious face for the first time.  I say he came fully into my heart because, frankly, he was already there - had been since I found out he was coming into the world.  But, oh, that little face and that sweet bundle in my arms - that tied my love for him up with a sweet little blue bow. 


My blessings just grow and grow... 



Lord, everyday I thank you.  Today, as I look at my little boys and think of my girls, I thank you even more.  You have bestowed blessings on me - far greater than I ever imagined.  Thank you for your grace, Lord... because I know that I did nothing to deserve the blessings you give me everyday.

Friday, December 30, 2011

In Memory of Paul and Thelma



This time of year always makes me miss my parents even more than usual.  The last time I saw my Daddy was on Thanksgiving day in 1992.  He was teasing a little lady at the nursing home.  He laughed like a 12 year old boy when she glared at him.  He stood at the door to mother's room and then directed the nurse to make sure she was resting OK.  And he didn't move until the nurse went to check.  He had the concern of a man for his wife.   He died the next week. 

The day of Daddy's funeral, my mother developed pneumonia.  We couldn't wake her the next morning.  We spent the night after Daddy's funeral at the hospital where they told us that Mother would most likely not live through the night.  I knew she would.  I knew that she knew that I couldn't take losing both of my parents in a week.  She lived for 5 weeks.  She lived until I understood that she would never come back to the person that she was and I was able to let her go.  Mothers are like that - always thinking about their children...  I thank God for that. 

Mother was probably my very best friend in the world.  No one could read me or understand me like she did.  She knew when I was naughty - and when I was nice... she knew what I was thinking before I did.

I remember praying that year in 1992 that God would let us keep her on this earth for Christmas... He did.  I opened her gifts for her at the hospital on Christmas afternoon.  She never wore the clothes that I had wrapped for her.

I prayed that God would let me keep her until after my birthday...  He did.  Her mind was clear for a moment and we talked about when we were both younger for a short time at the hospital that day.  That was nice.

I prayed that God would let her stay until after the New Year... He did. 

Some days she seemed better than others.  And I hoped that she was going to get well.  Until she had a seizure one day and I realized that she was on this earth on borrowed time.  I realized that I had to let her go to her heavenly home - to my Daddy, who she loved - to our Heavenly Father, who she always put her faith in.

Mother died the second week of January in 1993.  And I still miss her and Daddy every single day.  I still want to talk to Mama when I am proud of an accomplishment, or upset at a failure, or glad, or mad, or sad, or confused, or hurt or full of joy.  She always had a way to set the path straight for me and help me to see the right way.   I miss her most when something happens with my children.  The first call I made was to mother.  I still reach for the phone unconsciously after all these years. 
  • Like when Tripp found Nikki.  I cried at their wedding because I knew how proud Gangy would have been to see Tripp wait to walk his bride down the aisle.  She would have cried, too... seeing what an honorable and handsome man he was and what an absolutely perfect bride he chose.
  • Like when Holly and Andrew married and beautiful Holly walked down the aisle with a huge smile at their beautiful lakeside wedding.  Gangy would have been astounded when Holly gave her Uncle BB a high five as she walked down the aisle - but she would have laughed through tears of joy.
  • Like when Jenna wore Gangy's hat at her 30th birthday party.  Gangy would have smiled that smile of hers and nodded at how beautiful Jenna is.  And she would have been so proud of the little southern belle that Jenna turned out to be - in spite of spending a few years in Philadelphia.
  • Like when Levi was born.  How I wanted to call my mother to tell her that I finally knew how she felt when her grand babies were born.  How I wanted to share the joy of holding that little boy for the first time - although I would have probably had to let her hold him for a minute, too.
I want to tell her how great it is to be in love / how lucky I am to have Lamar in my life / how wonderful his family is / how his son and daughter in law are mine and his granddaughters - well, they are mine, too.  Mother would have absolutely loved those little girls - especially when Kieran and Leah say "fooooaaaahhh" instead of four.  (I'm sure my mother somehow taught them how to talk like that.)

I want to tell her how happy I was to get a perfect job this year and how much I hope that I will have it next year after another acquisition.  I want to hear her and her brothers and sisters laugh while my cousins and I play together after all these years.  I want to tell her how I wish I had the wisdom that I have now when I was younger and just thought I was smart!  There are so many things I want to talk to her about.

And I don't look out my back door on my deck without thinking how much mother would have loved to sit out there by the marsh and listen to the sounds of nature. 

I miss Mama and Daddy.  I wish I had them back just for a week - or a day - or an hour.  I have a lot of questions to ask and a lot of things to share.  I want to know how they think I've handled my life - if they are proud of me.  I want to tell them how thankful I am that they instilled a strong faith in me - even when I fought them about it.  I want to thank them for giving me life. 

And I want to apologize to them for not letting them know how much I loved them when they were here.  I took care of my parents when they needed me to... I just wish I had done it with more joy.  I wish that I had slowed down when I emptied their trash, or did their grocery shopping, or chauffeured them to the doctor, or sat with them at the hospital, or done all the other little chores/  I wish I had done those things with joy in my heart instead of thinking where I needed to be next.  Because, now... they are gone.  And now... I can't call redo and start over. 

But, thanks to the faith that they instilled in me, I know that they know what's important.  Maybe I can't hear their voices or see their faces, but I know that they know.  They just have a different view - a better view - of what's going on down here.  Oh, I do miss them... yet I know that they are here with me... along with my brother and other loved ones who are with them in heaven.  Wow!  What a party that must be!  Y'all don't talk about anything interesting until I get there, you hear!??!!

Lord, how do I thank you for my very life.  Of all the miracles of this world, life is definitely the most astounding.  There are so many "what ifs" in this miracle.  Lord, I thank you for many things in life - most of all I thank you for my parents, who - with you - gave me life.  And for the guidance and love that they provided.  Help me to use what they provided to go into the world and be the very best that I can be.  Hold those I love close, Lord.  And save me a spot because I'm coming.   PS Lord, I'm not in a great big hurry, but I sure hope you will save me a spot when I get there.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BAG Ladies Make It a Banner Year Retreat - January 27 - 29, 2012


It's that time again!  The BAG Ladies will gather in January to Make It a Banner Year!  Registration begins today.  Discounted rate for early registration!  Contact me for Registration Form and Information.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Martha


I come to the garden alone    While the dew is still on the roses
           And the voice I hear falling on my ear
                 The Son of God discloses.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
      Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
             And the melody that He gave to me
                     Within my heart is ringing.

I'd stay in the garden with Him
       Though the night around me be falling,
             But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
                      His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
     And He tells me I am His own;
            And the joy we share as we tarry there,
                   None other has ever known.

Jim and Martha Bailey - 2011

She was the quiet one.  But she was the best communicator of us all.  Martha listened.  We gabbed and gabbed and gabbed.  She added her 2 cents worth now and then, and when she spoke we learned that it was well worth listening to.  But mostly, she listened.

She didn’t just listen, she heard.  She took our problems into her heart and carried them with her.  And she lived our celebrations with us.  She was a true friend.  She cried with us and she laughed with us and she celebrated with us… quietly, because that was just her way.

Yesterday, we celebrated Martha’s life.  We sang and laughed and cried tears that were meant for joy for her – but oh… oh, the heartbreak and sadness for all of us.  How could it be?  Martha was gone… suddenly gone at the young age of 66.  We didn’t get to tell us goodbye… no one did.  She died as she was walking through the hallway of her home.  They said it was very sudden – no pain – no fear – no regrets.  A massive coronary and she was gone from us and the angels were carrying her to sit with her Father.

I couldn’t be happier for Martha.  She was well prepared to meet her Father.   She lived her life everyday as if this might be the day she left us and join Him.  I know where she is and I know that she is laughing and singing with Jesus right now… but, Oh the sorrow for us.  Oh how we will all miss her on this earth until we are able to join her in heaven.  One more hour... one more day... I have so much to say to you about how you changed my life.

This has been a few weeks.  These have been weeks of difficult goodbyes for me.  It’s also been a great summer.  Many, many wonderful things have happened in my life.  The thing that makes the sorrow bearable is that those that have left this earth this summer and moved to their new homes with Christ had faith that was stronger than our sorrow.  As I mourn for Martha and Aunt Jenny and others who left this earth years ago, I know that I will see them again.  And that comfort is stronger than any pain.

I’ll miss Martha. I will miss her especially when we Southern Fried Chicks gather for lunch and a few moments together.  She will always be with us, because she became such a part of us. 

Martha was from New England.  We laughed about naming our little group of gals the “Southern” Fried Chicks.  She loved it, even though she was about as southern as Cream of Wheat.  We had this unique language barrier.  I spoke Gaston County / she spoke New Hampshire (or New Hampshia as she pronounced it).  She had no idea what a hosepipe was and I learned very quickly that in Martha-ese, an “r” at the end of a word was pronounced as an “a”.  And obviously, an “a” was pronounced as an “r”.    So, Martha became Mah-ther / Lamar became Lama / Lynda was Lynder.   I teased her at one time to just pretend that Lamar’s name was spelled Lama.   “Oh”, she said.  “Lamar”.  You got it, Mah-ther!!!!!

Martha was raised on a farm.  Guess that's why she did the work and said so little.  She knew about hard work and was so very talented in so many areas… cooking, sewing, gardening.  She had been in her garden hours before she died on August 1st… spending time doing what she loved.  She also worked with the homeless and hungry at church – or wherever she was needed.   If there was a need, Martha filled it.  So giving… so, so giving.

A few years ago, Martha and Jim lost their only granddaughter.  Brittany was celebrating with some friends at one of their homes just before they all went off to college.  They decided to make brownie or cookies or something and headed off to the store to gather ingredients.  They didn’t make it back home.  Several young recent high school grads from that small town were killed that night.  The town was devastated at the loss.  Martha and Jim grieved and grieved for Brittany, but never let their grief become who they were.  They continued to serve others and to honor their granddaughter by living their lives in the way that they taught her to live. 

Well, today, Martha, I have no doubt that you were met at the gates of heaven on the afternoon of August 1st, 2011 (our time) by your granddaughter.  When she left, it was much like when you left… you didn’t get to say goodbye.  Well, I guess you two have caught up a bit this week.  And you two have shared a few laughs and a few heavenly tears (if there are tears there).  And you are with us in a different way now, but you are with us for sure. 

So, enjoy it 'til we get there, Martha.  Work in your garden and keep the rocking chairs ready.  We’ll have a lot of catching up to do in a bit.  God just needed you there a little sooner than he needed the rest of us.  So, save me a rocking chair… and in the meantime, give Brittany a hug!  I can’t wait to meet her!!!!  I love you, my dear friend!

Lord, I thank you for the people you have put in my life.  I thank you for the hope of the future and a live everlasting with you.  Keep those I love close to you and please, Lord, stay close to me.  I know that the best is yet to come.  Lord, show me the way to you until you call me home.  Amen.

Dance Away, Aunt Jenny

This is Holy time,
            we're gathered together
                            to worship You

                                        To love one another
And as we pray,

           And as we sing
                           And as we dance,

                                           And as we dream
Oh Lord I beg of you Just this one thing...

Won't You dance with me?

              Throughout the Heavens
                             And below the sea.
                                           Up on the mountaintops
Flow with the breeze,

             Come cary me,
                              Lord won't you dance..........
                                            with me?
I’m spending this week-end with my two best friends since elementary school.  We are having a “mini” reunion.  We do this a few times every year.  Next     week-end, I will gather with loved ones for my mother’s family’s reunion.  Another wonderful time of celebration.  I recently attended Lamar’s family reunion and, with that gathering, my family grew. 

Reunion is a wonderful word that represents a time for celebration, joy, catching up, and sharing with those that we care about.  I have always enjoyed time with my reunion group and look forward to our time of  celebration!

Last week, Lamar’s Aunt Jenny died.  She was one beautiful lady.  I had just begun getting to know Aunt Jenny when she died and I mourn the fact that I didn’t get to know her better.  I loved her the first time that I met her and felt her love right back at me.  Though we are all mourning, I can’t help but smile as I envision her at the greatest reunion of all—her reunion with loved ones passed before her and with her Heavenly Father.  What a celebration of joy that must be!  Give everyone a hug for us—and—Dance away, Aunt Jenny! 

Lord, you provide.... you provide for those of us who join our hearts in reunion.  You provide as we celebrate - and you provide as we mourn.  Thank you, Lord for hope - thank you for the hope of grand reunion where the laughter, joy, celebration, and dancing is more than we can even imagine.   Thank you for Aunt Jenny, and for all those whose lives crossed our paths and forever changed who we are.  Amen.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

This Must Be What Love Looks Like!

Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8

Or in The Message:
No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up.  Love cares more for others than for self.  Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.  Love doesn’t strut,  Doesn’t have a swelled head,  Doesn’t force itself on others.  Isn’t always “me first”, Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts, God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.  Love never dies.


So, this is what love looks like!  Sometimes I just sit back and ask, “How in the world did this happen?”  Here we are, two old rusty gears – no longer new and shiny… but somehow you put these two misfitted gears together and the cogs match up and it works just perfectly.  This is what happens when the absolutely wrong guy becomes so right! 

We grew up a couple of years apart.  He was our paper boy, but I was sleeping while he delivered our paper.  He went to school with my brother.  He was a real estate agent while I worked with a mortgage loan broker.  He was a wild one in school – I was so timid I didn’t have much fun in school.  My mother, I am sure, would have pointed straight at him and said, “Stay away from that one!”  She always tried to protect me from the boys that had too much fun, if you know what I mean.  And although I’m sure we were introduced and saw each other back in our hometown, we didn’t meet until years later after we had both moved to different towns and lived lives that calmed him down a bit and perked me up a bit.

Some would say it happened by chance.  We don’t think it was chance.  We think that our mothers nudged God a little bit and that He thought – “What the heck?” - and gave us a shot.  It’s not by chance that we found each other.   It was meant to be.  It was God’s Hand.  He wasn’t my type – and I wasn’t his, but here we are… perfect together! 

God has a real sense of humor, you know it?  Sometimes we just laugh at how different we are.  I play by the rules, he thinks rules are only made to be broken.  I don’t like a lot of “stuff” around, he does.  I’m very picky about what I’ll eat, he loves to try new foods.  I love being home, he loves going to new places.  I love movies that are romantic comedies, he likes action and sci fi.  I design and deliver training (which he knows nothing about), he rebuilds cars (which I know nothing about).   He says he is a hopeless romantic, I say he’s clueless.  When I get angry, I can carry that anger forever, he forgets about “whatever” in the next breath.  I want to hash things out, he says, It’s done, let’s move on”.  Oh yeah, God has a sense of humor all right!

But then, we are alike in many, many ways.  We both love our kids.  We both love our grandkids.  We love each other.  We both love spending time together.  We respect each other.  I love his family and he loves mine.  We share a deep faith.  We just plain ole enjoy each other… we love our differences and we love the ways that we are alike.

And here’s the thing that I know.  He is absolutely one of the best men I have ever known.  He treats people kindly.  I think the day I knew I was in love with him was when he noticed an elderly man in distress outside a store.  The man had a bike and he seemed to be ill.  We couldn’t get the bike in the car, but he wouldn’t leave until he had gotten the store manager to check on the man and was ensured that he had a ride home.  I hadn’t even noticed the man, but he did.  And then there was the elderly woman that misdialed and got his cell phone the other day.  He told the lady that she had the wrong number.  She didn’t understand.  Before she hung up, my sweetheart asked if she was all right.  He wanted to know if she needed help.  Wrong number, but he wanted to make sure that she was not in need of help before he released the call.  He cares about people. 

I know that every day for the rest of my life, he will make me laugh.  And he’ll laugh with me.  And he has a great laugh!!!! 

And I know that I will learn things every day.  I now know where a quarter panel is on a car.  I know what clear coat is and what it looks like when paint dies.  I know that you can’t ignore rust… there’s always more than what you see and it spreads like wildfire.

Some folks say that my eyes light up when I talk about Lamar.  I’m sure they do.  Who would have thought that at my age, I would fall in love with the absolutely right guy!  I know another thing, too.  My mother, today, would point right at him and say, “Oh yeah, that’s a good guy right there!”.  And she would be very, very right!

Lord, Thank you for all that you give me.  For my family, for my friends, and for all that love has brought me over the years.  Thank you for gears that work well together – and for the aging and wear and rust that makes us appreciate what it took to get here.  Thank you for the love that surrounds me - and, Lord, thank you for Lamar.  Amen.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

This Must Be What Heaven Looks Like


 


                 



This must be what heaven looks like.  I must say that I love my children.  The ones I gave birth to and the ones that I got through love. 

I started out with Tripp.  I didn’t think I could ever love anyone or anything as much as I loved that little boy.  Then, Holly came into my life and I found out that a mother’s heart just expands.  I never loved Tripp less – but I found that I loved Holly just as much.  When I was blessed with Jenna, my heart expanded more and the love grew for that child, too.  Then Tripp married sweet Nikki and I found that my heart grew through the love of my son.  Holly found Andrew and our family grew in love through him. 

A couple of years ago, I fell in love (that’s another story in itself).  For now, just let me say that with that love came another son and daughter who I love as my very own.  I loved Brad and Marian from the first time I met them and am so thankful that they have accepted me into their family.

I am very blessed to say that in the past 2 ½ years my heart has expanded from the love of a mother for 3 children to the pure love of 7 children.  Not a day passes that I don’t thank God for each one of them.   

I always heard folks say that there is nothing like grandchildren.  I always smiled and thought that I couldn’t possibly love anyone as much as I love my children.  (Sound familiar?  I think I had thought that about 40 years ago.)

Well, with Brad and Marian came three beautiful, wonderful, precious, adorable, priceless, loving (get the point?) little girls that I consider my granddaughters.  In March, Holly gave birth to a beautiful, wonderful, precious, adorable, priceless, loving…little boy who is my first grandson.  And guess what I have found out?  THERE IS NOTHING LIKE GRANDCHILDREN!!!!!

I think that grandchildren are God’s reward to us for the years of worry and stress that came with the growing pains of watching our children grow independent.  This is our reward for years of caring for sick babies, trying to juggle the schedules of work and parenting at the same time, sleepless nights, comforting children through heartaches and heartbreaks, growing pains,  buying clothes for children who grew faster than our paychecks, helping with homework, carpooling, dance lessons, ball practice, worries about safety… on and on and on!!!!  Well, I found the reward that God provides – it is indeed, Grandchildren!

There’s nothing like having little faces that break out in huge smiles when you walk to the door… nothing like little girls jumping up and down when they see you because they can’t hold their excitement that you are (finally) there… nothing like a running leap into your arms… nothing like a hug that doesn’t let go… nothing like a little one climbing up on your lap to hear a story or cuddle before a nap… nothing like playing “pretend”… nothing like being the “Honey”…

There’s nothing like your child placing his or her child in your arms for the first time and watching your face for your reaction to your grandchild… nothing like sharing memories of your child when he or she was a baby… nothing like seeing a part of your babies – and of yourself in your grandchild… nothing like sharing tips that your mother shared with you when your child was born…

Well, there’s just nothing like being a grandparent!  I don’t know what else to say!  There’s nothing like watching your future... nothing like having all the fun and letting mommy and daddy take care of the other stuff.  Oh yes, this must, indeed, be what heaven looks like!!!!!

Lord, sometimes there is just nothing more to say than Thank You.  And to wonder how anyone can look into the face of a child and not see you.  Thank you, Lord, for the smiles and hugs and laughter of each child.  Hold these beautiful children in your loving arms every day.  And hold their parents tight, too, Lord... until they get through parenthood and find the joys of grandparenting.  Amen.