Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Between Christmas and New Year's

The week between Christmas and New Year's is not only a time for looking forward but for looking back.  Since Christmas Day, I've had some time to sit down and knit and try to progress on a couple of projects.  I began reflecting on my early days of knitting, a time when someone special took the time to teach me.  It was my sister-in-law, Ann.  Ann was married to my older brother, and they had between them seven children.  Ann was busy . . . every day she was busy.  Somehow she found the time to spend with an 18-year old girl to teach her how to knit.

I remember watching Ann knit and carry on conversations, watch TV, do a
lot of mental multi-tasking, and she never dropped a stitch that I recall.  I was absolutely amazed at her ability to do this.  I wanted to be like Ann in so many ways, but most of all to be filled with the same kind of spirit that filled her -- God's spirit, the Holy Spirit, Jesus love. 

As I've been knitting lately, I've reflected on Ann's life and the end of her life quite a few years ago.  Ann was diagnosed at age 56 with Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, and eventually the disease took her ability to do so much with her hands . . . not only knitting, but play the piano, the organ, cook, clean, her accounting work.  And the disease took the use of every part of her except her mind.  It was a horrid disease, and early on Ann would say she could tell which muscle was dying.

The one thing the disease couldn't and didn't take from Ann was that spirit of living in God's spirit, sharing Jesus' amazing love, and showing the Holy Spirit shining through her with an incredibly dazzling smile.  I knit now and know that I was left not only with a skill that I love to use to share God's love by knitting charity caps for school-aged children in our area, but with the memory of Ann, all of her, shared with me because she was filled with that special gift of spirit.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that
you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Then Why Do You Do It?

Ever notice how something you're doing today can trigger memories of some years ago.  This happened to me as I made our Sunday dinner few weeks ago.  My husband has a fondness for pies, and I was preparing one of his favorites -- gooseberry!   Suddenly, it was as if it was yesterday but some 20 plus years ago.

It was Christmas, and my stepchildren were visiting for the holidays. We had done all the usual kid things -- baking cookies and decorating them, making fudge, shopping for their daddy and each other, and settled our share of disagreements, especially my stepdaughter and me.

* * * *
To read the rest, visit me today at (in)courage, where I’m the daily guest.  Click here to continue reading…

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fourth Sunday in Advent

"She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph,
will name him Jesus—'God saves'—because he will save his people
from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term:

   'Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
   They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for "God is with us").'"
(Matthew 1:21-23) 

As I patiently wait for Christmas to arrive, I can hardly imagine the daunting emotions surrounding Mary and Joseph as they wait to see what unfolds for them as a result of God's master plan.  It is hard to even think of being in even similar circumstances.

When I was a child, the anticipation of Christmas filled me with excitement, I became a fidgety kid, and it seemed the days would never pass.  Christmas Eve was the hardest because I couldn't go to sleep for wondering about what Santa would bring, what the presents held under the tree, and what the next day would be like.  All unknowns to a child waiting patiently, or impatiently, for everything to be revealed to her.

Now that child has grown up and she is a great-grandmother.  Other children wait and become overly excited.  My waiting now has a different flavor, if you will -- it is filled with sweetness, joy and the knowledge of that very special gift God sent to us, Immanuel (God with us), Jesus (God saves).  Patient expectation allows me to savor every word, thought and musical sound that leads up to the night that the star shone down on a tiny stable in Bethlemen.  I can almost taste it . . . it is getting closer . . . patiently I'm waiting.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Third Sunday in Advent

In our worship service today, the third candle was lit.  The pink candle has always been somewhat of a mystery to me standing erect and tall but not purple like the other three.  The pink candle assumes its place with grace and dignity, and thanks to my pastor this year I now know the reason for the different color.  Her explanation was that in the midst of our expectation and patient waiting a little joy should be infused.  Oh, yes, the joy candle!  And it's pink color designates a change from the waiting and expectation of the Christ Child's birth.

Following our worship time, the sanctuary of our church was definitely filled with so much joy that the joy candle may have felt for the first time in a long time inclusion in a big way during Advent.  You see today was the day that our children, youth and some adults presented for our entertainment and joy a Christmas musical entitled "The Mystery of Simon Shepherd."  As the performers moved through their paces, it became apparent that we were indeed hearing the Christmas story with a little different interpretation.  Today's focus was on the innkeeper. 
It seems he was the last to see Simon Shepherd the night that the innkeeper gave shelter to Mary and Joseph in his stable.  Simon too was looking for a place for the night and he was given shelter in the same stable.

Next morning when Simon left he took a wrong turn in trying to get back home and to his sheep.  He finally found his way and arrived just in time to vouch for the innkeeper and keep him from going to jail!

Ever lost your way?  Ever stopped listening for God's direction?  Ever just tune out God's Word?  Ever think attendance on Sunday mornings isn't all that important?  I think we can safely say like Simon these are all examples of losing our way.  Not all inclusive but fair examples.  However, God waits patiently, as we are asked to wait during Advent, for us to find our way again.  And when we do, He rejoices and there is joy throughout the land just as there was on the night the Christ Child was born.

I truly hope that during this Advent season much joy and light will be a part of your expectation and patient waiting. 

There will be a highway called the Holy Road.  No one rude or rebellious
   is permitted on this road.  It's for God's people exclusively—impossible to get lost on

this road.    Not even fools can get lost on it.  No lions on this road, no dangerous
wild animals—nothing and no one dangerous or threatening.
Only the redeemed will walk on it.  The people God has ransomed will come back
on this road.  They'll sing as they make their way home to Zion,
unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, welcomed home with
gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.
Isaiah 35:8-10 (The Message)

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Second Sunday in Advent

Yesterday was the second Sunday in Advent. I, along with another, somewhat younger woman, were teaching the 4th/5th graders. The Scripture for our story was taken from Luke 1:28 centering around the angels appearing to Mary and Joseph with the unbelievable news that Mary would be bringing a baby boy into the world who would be called Jesus. Most amazing in this story is first Mary's acceptance of the angel's message, and Joseph's willingness to go forward with marrying Mary despite her pregnancy and all based on the angel's assurances everything would be OK.

This young woman teaching the story is an unbelievable storyteller, and she brought to the 4th/5th graders' attention that Mary was likely 13 years old and Joseph perhaps 4-5 years older. Their eyes became wide and their mouths formed "O's" with surprise. Then our storyteller asked some questions of the students. The one she asked that I thought would keep them quiet for maybe a minute or longer was, "What would your answer have been if you were Mary or Joseph?" A 10-year old girl responded with, "I guess I would have said OK because if I didn't I would be letting a lot of people down and they would be disappointed because they were patiently waiting for the Messiah."

Needless to say, we were both blown away by the maturity and thoughtfulness of this answer that came to us right out of the blue. Granted this young girl is an amazing child in her own right, intelligent, thoughtful and gifted with wonderful parents. However, the words that came forth were a surprise to both of us.

As I have pondered these words in relation to Advent, yes, we are all patiently waiting for the Messiah. And yes, I would have really been disappointed if either Mary or Joseph had refused the angel's directions. Think of life on earth without Jesus by your side, walking along with you each and every day. And yet . . . . .

There are areas in my life where patience is a difficult element to hold onto. Why is that? Is it because I love sight of Jesus walking with me, protecting me, watching over me? I've decided that in addition to working on my lack of patience with certain things, I'll also be working on keeping Jesus in focus as He and I walk through this life He's given me, this life that He died for, and this life that is so precious to Him that He takes the time to hear my fears, my concerns, and my failures.

Nothing will be impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Has Begun

Sunday marked the beginning of Advent, a time of patiently waiting for the magic of Christmas.  During this time, may we all reflect on the light and promise that is to come.  The following prayer was used in the order of worship at our home church on Sunday.  I thought it worth sharing with you.

Almighty God, we ask that you awaken us as this Advent season begins.  Help us  to notice the holy longings in our hearts.  We ask to be touched by the and the hope which come from you.  Deliver us from being people of hurry, impatience and jadedness.  Teach us to recognize the tempation to turn this Christmas into just another Christmas.  In candle and each Christmas light, help us to sense your grace-filled presence.  Soften us when we become invovled in this season only with our wallets, but not with our hearts.  We pray to become bearers as well as receivers of comfort and hope.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude and Thanksgiving

As we approach the day of feasts, football and thanksgiving, gratitude for many things is uppermost in my mind.  I suppose part of that is being grateful for having finally come through a respiratory infection with only a cough remaining.  It was a long battle and hopefully one that is over.  Yes, I'm thankful for returning and good health.

I'm sure there are many things that we are all grateful for -- family, home, jobs, health, freedom of religion to mention just a few.  However, gratitude and thanksgiving has a lot to do with circumstances.  Many years ago when I was teaching a Sunday School class of kindergartners we were fast approaching Thanksgiving.  In fact, it was the Sunday just prior to the big day.  As part of my teaching, I had decided to ask the children to each one tell me something they were going to give thanks for on Thanksgiving.  I had many hands waving in the air, and some voices asking to be picked first.  Responses included many thanks being given for mommy and daddy, family, the dog or the cat, toys, books, cartoons -- they ran the gamut of things that come to the mind of a 4- or 5-year old.  However, I came to the 5-year old daughter of close friends.  I asked Nicole what she was most thankful for, and she replied in her sweet, tiny voice, "I'm thankful for 'restorants'!"  It was all I could do not to laugh, but Nicole likely was thankful for places to go for a meal.  You see Nicole's mommy didn't like to cook and often didn't.  Nicole spent many mealtimes in a "restorant" eating food which filled her tummy and kept her healthy.  Her circumstances definitely dictated her gratitude that day!

In Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are told to "[r]ejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."  The homeless are most likely thankful for a Thanksgiving dinner and a place to lay their head that night provided by a shelter.  There may be those who have a home but no money to buy food, and so they are thankful for a meal of any kind.  The mother with a sick child is probably not focused on preparing a meal, but on getting that child medical help and is therefore thankful for the nurses and doctors in an urgent care center or emergency room.  The lonely senior citizens of our country are thankful to see a smiling face at their door bringing a meal from Meals on Wheels.  Perhaps a lonely neighbor would be grateful for your call to see if he or she is staying warm or just to say hello.  Or perhaps a lovely piece of pumpkin pie delivered by you or members of your family would be the thing that person says thanks for that night.  Our military and their families will be happy to be able to speak to each other and through today's technology maybe see each other.

The iconic painting by Norman Rockwell, Thanksgiving, is what we are all most familiar with when it comes to Thanksgiving memories and celebrations.  Not all of us have experienced that kind of Thanksgiving celebration.  Those of us who have indeed have something to be grateful for and we should be lifting our hearts and voices to God with an abundance of joy and in thanksgiving.

As you gather around your table, pause not only to say thanks for the meal laid before you, but to give thanks for all those things you take for granted each day.  Think of the people struggling through circumstances you perhaps have never even thought about and realize that their circumstances create their level and kind of gratitude.  Gratitude in all things means expressing thanks for whatever comes our way.

To each of you reading this, may your Thanksgiving be filled with family, food and creation of memories for the generations coming up behind you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So Long, Dear Friend

Julia is gone.  Our dear friend lived into her mid 80s, defying diabetes diagnosed at age 18.  Her doctor often told her she should write a book about all the advances she had witnessed in her lifetime with this disease.  Julia laughed and often said that she thought it was too late to start a writing career.

Late yesterday afternoon I found an email from Julia's nephew in my inbox asking me to call right away.  It seems neighbors had noticed a lack of activity -- newspapers not picked up, no sign of Julia walking to her mailbox.  They called the authorities, and a young officer with the sheriff's department who regularly checked on our friend came and entered finding Julia had passed on to meet her Heavenly Father.

At her age and with her physical limitations, this wasn't really surprising.  The part that I struggle with the most is that she died somewhat alone.  Estranged from her only son since her husband died in 2006, Julia had no other family in the area.  However, she had a multitude of caring friends from church and from churches her pastor husband had served.  I will admit though that Julia had a stubborn streak which prevented most of us from giving her much aid and assistance.  She willingly helped others, but she was not going to let it be said that she couldn't take care of herself!

Then I come to the verse of Scripture in Matthew 28:20 that tells me "I am with you always, even to the very end of the age."  So, why do I say she died alone?  Julia was not alone, no more than I am at this very moment sitting at home with my husband in another room.  God was with her in those last few hours and minutes, and as her last breath came, He was there holding her hand.  Of that I am sure.

Never fear, when times seem tough and trouble seems to abound, these words are yours too -- "I am with you always, even to the very end of the age."

Goodbye, dear friend, Julia -- I'll see you again I'm certain.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A New Look

If things look a bit different, it's because I'm still getting settled into this blog home I'm building for myself and for God.  Until I feel comfortable, you may find appearances and decor changing from time to time but the location of things remains  the same.

I fully believe that if I'm to minister and do what the Lord leads me to do, it must be done in a place that I feel honors Him and brings glory to His name and the written message left here.  So, forgive my penchant for perfection -- you'll find it all completed one day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Staying Focused Isn't Easy, Is It?

There's an old hymn I remember from my childhood. The refrain goes:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Sounds easy when written on paper, or cyberpaper, doesn't it? In reality, it isn't always. Similarly, other goals in our lives require us to stay focused. Like weight loss. If we're not focused on our goals and the steps to get there, we lose control and stop losing weight.

I've learned this lesson in recent days. Just when I was injury-free and feeling whole again, one of our children called with the distressing news that his second marriage seemed to be on the brink of failure. Because we are his go to people in times of trouble, as parents should be, he calls us to "listen." Honestly, he mostly calls his mom, ME! I do alright until I stop "just listening" and start trying to help. The call to arms then is "S-T-R-E-S-S."

We each one knows what stress does to us. For me, it sends my feet straight to the kitchen, my hands straight to sweets and junk, and then I direct the crap over my tongue and into my tummy. Stress also sends me into mild depression. I want to sleep. Sleep doesn't equate to exercise in any form.

Take this formula: Stress + Food + Sleep - Exercise = Weight Gain. And that's where I've been the last few weeks.

It suddenly occurred to me yesterday, and I know this already, that there is nothing I can do for this adult child and his problematic marriage. It is for him and his wife to work out, and I hope and pray that they do. I have struggles of my own, one of which is losing weight and getting healthy. If they are to accomplish their goal, they need to focus on better communication and a good relationship. If I am to lose weight and get healthy, I need to eat healthy and exercise. We neither one can solve the other's problem.

So, as the old hymn goes, I've got to keep my eyes upon Jesus in all things, and even in my desire to lose weight by keeping my eyes on the goals, it will be all that much easier.

Blessings to each of you as you strive to reach your goals in life, whatever they may be.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reliance and Rest

Today I'm relying on my theme verse from Jeremiah.  Our son and his wife are going through some troubling times, and details aren't needed here.  However, quite often as parents our children's troubles become our troubles -- we need to pray for them, we need to hold them in our thoughts more, we need to encourage them, we need to be there for them.  So, those troubles come to visit us in our relationship and in our home.

When I read Jeremiah 29:11, I find great comfort for is the Lord upon whom I rely but more so now.  Troubling times tend to cause us to seek Him more than usual.  Why is that?  Is it that we forget He is there waiting for us to call on Him?  Is it because we really don't need Him unless something is wrong?  This can't be the case and shouldn't be.  For He is in control and knows the plans He has made for each one of us.  The Lord our God also promises to follow through, and on that we can rely.  Have you ever known Him to fail you?  Maybe He doesn't provide the answer you or I seek but He carries through on His promise to reveal His plans for us.  We can rely on Him to do just that.

Knowing we can rely on Him means that we can now rest.  We can rest in His loving arms finding comfort and peace.  But only if we have gone to Him and said I need You, not just today but always.  Not just when there are troubles afoot but always.  I want to see the plans You have for me.  I want to stay close to You.

Then there is the reliance and rest we so long for in times of need and trouble, but also receive on those days when all seems to be going well.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV 1984)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Experiencing Change and Constancy Together

Have you noticed?  Change is happening.  I can smell it, see it, hear it, feel it, with all my senses.  First, change in nature.  Autumn just smells different than other seasons -- the smell of that first fall rain, the last blossoms of summer flowers, the hint of burning leaves, new aromas float from the kitchen as we cook more soups and stews and less of summer fare.  I often close my eyes in autumn so that when I open them I'm startled at the cacophony of colors surrounding me -- greens still hanging on, slightly turning into golds, oranges, browns, and the crisp blue of the sky overhead and the sun blazing its golden rays.  Such beauty, such an artful palette of colors only He can create and bring together in such boldness.

And then come my ears saying, "Hear that?"  Can you hear it?  Sounds are different as the seasons change.  In autumn, the train that runs nearby has seems a little farther away as its whistle blows.  There are the sounds of children walking or running on fallen leaves to their bus stops in the morning.  The of yard cleanup readying hearth and home for winter also filter through the crisp, fall air.  And the squirrels and birds begin their chatter of winter preparation -- packing away foods and building nests to protect their young.  Such a story is hidden in the sounds of autumn and every other season that only God could have written it so that all the pieces fall into such elegant place to turn, turn, turn when it’s time.

Experiencing the change of autumn -- whatever do you mean you may ask.  For me, experiential is a feeling that grows from within me as the elements of my world move around me.  So, experiencing autumn is the culmination of everything God has put in place to allow me to worship during another season in this wonderful chapel we call earth and our home.  It's the feeling of a grand plan created by and executed by our Heavenly Father for each of us to enjoy from the smallest to the largest, the youngest to the oldest, the poorest to the richest. 

Other changes I perceive in autumn are the ones that I'm going through.  I'm almost at the end of my 64th year, and I know that life is changing.  My joints aren't as supple as they once were.  Gray hair near my temples reminds me of my father's hairline as he aged.  I'm told by others I have hardly any wrinkles at all; they must need glasses for I can see them.  Most displeasing of all is the fact that I cannot accomplish in one day what I could when I was 30!  In God's plan, yes, I'm changing too.

During all this change, I move to the comfort of words that remind me God is not changing, but constant in everything and for everyone. In Romans 15:3, we are told that "'[He] took on the troubles of the troubled," is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us . . . '."  (The Message).

So, won’t you open your eyes and ears not only to the changes going on around you in nature, in your life, in our world, but also to the constancy and dependability of our God?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Catching Up, Reunions and Remembrances

It's been awhile since my last post here so I'm going to play some catch up and post some news. 

First things first -- the knee surgery from back in July appears to have been very successful. My surgeon prescribed 12 physical therapy visits, but my PT says it usually doesn't take that many and I've been for 6, so maybe one or two more. And dreams do come true!  Went in for my appointment this past Monday, and at the end my PT announced me "graduated."  I left there almost  leaping for joy! 

Now, for the exciting times -- my husband's 55th high school reunion was last a couple of weekends ago. Disclaimer: I did not graduate in 1955; Bob is 9 years older than me. His reunions give me the best feeling by being the youngest one there!  This year's committee outdid the last few. Although they graduated from Sunnyside High in Sunnyside, WA, the group rented a B&B on the banks of the Yakima River in Prosser, WA, a nearby town. The setting was absolutely lovely, and by having the grounds of the B&B all weekend, it was most relaxing and allowed us lots of time to visit and get reacquainted with old friends.


This is looking down river from the back of the B&B. The next photo is a look through the trees to the hills  off to the west near sunset.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Sycamore Tree

I can see it as if it were yesterday -- the big old sycamore tree in our front yard.  I was only 5 or 6 years old and this tree seemed enormous.  It was a favorite place of mine in the center of the front yard.  I loved to lie on the ground on summer days and look up through its branches at the glimpses of blue sky and white, fluffy clouds.  And that's where I dreamed imagining the clouds were moving along with me to places of fantasy, strange places and transporting me to another time and place. 

That's what dreams are about at any age, aren't they?  Another place, another time, another country, another whatever.  Dreams can take us away from the every day drudgery that becomes so common place that it bores us to tears.  And then dreams can fall apart and disappoint us.  Sometimes they become so real to us that their inability to come to fruition is sensed as failure.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Un-birthday Celebrations and Simple Joys

Life goes on and the beat just gets better every day. And this past weekend was like the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.

Our grandddaughter Alyssa and her husband Aaron were in town from Camp Pendleton as Aaron had almost 3 weeks leave from the Marines. With them was the ever-popular almost 2-year old Kylie, our great-granddaughter. Son Craig and his wife Gigi decided that since Kylie's first birthday happened in CA as will her second.
And since none of us can get down there to celebrate with her in October, an "un-birthday" party was held at our son's home nearby. It didn't matter to Kylie that we called it an "un-birthday" affair -- presents, ice cream and cupcakes work any day of the year when you're not yet 2!

Being the proud mom, grandma, and great-grandma, I can't resist sharing pictures with you:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Downsizing -- Exactly What Does It Mean?

The word "downsizing" kept popping into my mind today.  I couldn't get it to stay away.  While it was popping in and out, I was sorting through the mountain of books that we have collected over the years.  Not quite the height of Mt. Everest but seemingly close when you compare the relative space we have for storing them and the number of books we have. 

Downsizing over the last decades has meant quietly removing employees from top spots in an effort to cut overhead.  Downsizing could relate to weight loss in some circles.  Downsizing has definitely come to mean to the baby boomers what we want to do before somebody has to help us do it because we've already helped someone else do it and it isn't any fun.  Maybe we've helped grandparents, parents, siblings tote out years of accumulation of household goods and memories as life requires a move to a smaller space.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Memories in Transition

Some 27 years ago our family moved from Tennessee to Oregon.  I'd never lived anywhere other than Nashville, and moving over 2,000 miles away from all I'd ever know was somewhat daunting yet exciting.  We had everything packed into a Ryder truck which towed our pickup, and I followed behind with a 12-year old son, two dogs, houseplants and food.  Oh, yes, the cat was in the Ryder truck with dad.  It was an adventure in the making.

We made the decision to drive so our son could experience our country from Tennessee to Oregon.  It was also a first for me because I'd never traveled farther west than parts of Texas.  A book I'm reading, Time Is a River by Mary Alice Monroe, reminded me today of my first feelings as we drew nearer to Portland where we'd put down our roots. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Painful News

Not all news is good.  We all have learned that.  Somehow though we forget and suddenly we're caught offguard much like we were this week.  A dear friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer, so agressive a double mastectomy is recommended.  Another friend is said to be undergoing cancer surgery soon.  Yet another friend is near the end of his battle with a tumor similar to that which took the life Sen. Edward (Ted) Kennedy.

The latter we knew was coming sooner or later, and yet the news that things were "nearing the end of the road" came as shocking.  The other two bits of news came at us right out of left field, so to speak.  Painful news no matter how we sorted it out.  And what do we do with such news?  How do we help those who must be suffering the agonies of coping with staggering diagnoses and the loss of one's mate of 43 years?

In my world, there is only one way.  Turn to the Master of all.  Lay my prayers at His feet and petition His grace, comfort, and perhaps healing in some instances.  "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  ~~ Matthew 28:20.  Such comfort to know that He is always there, even to the last breath we take.  This is all I can offer right now -- my prayers, my faith, my hope, and this Scripture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Little Ones

We were out today, husband and I, doing some errands here and there.  One place we stopped to do some shopping was replete with young moms with their kiddos of varying ages.  Some were toddlers, some were school age, and some were those always cute babies.  I commented several times, "Oh, look at that cutie!"  Or perhaps I'd smile and say hello to one of them.  Eventually, my husband commented that he bet I'd never seen an ugly infant or toddler before in my life.  I said I hadn't.

Well, this got me to thinking about babies in general.  How could something God created be anything but sweet, cute and cuddly when created in this amazingly tiny human form?  Granted some infants in the animal kingdom aren't all that cute.  But let's remember that we're talking our babies, the ones we women carry around for nine months and breath life into, and then swaddle, bathe, and change diaper, after diaper, after diaper!  OK, so they're not always cute, sweet and cuddly.  I'll admit that.

I was remembering the only child I had, a son now 38.  I'll never forget looking into those sky blue eyes the first time with that shock of black hair going in all directons.  I knew instantly I'd never seen and would never see again a more beatiful baby.  Did this child really come from me?  Could he be so perfect when I'm not?  And then I remembered that everything touched by God during creation is perfect at that moment.  It's the human part of us that takes it from perfect to imperfect in a variety of ways. 

For today let's think on the perfection of infants, their sweetness, their cuteness and their cuddlieness (is that a word?).  Enjoy your memories!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Several times today the word "blessings" came to mind.  My husband thanked God for the many blessings given us each day.  It came to mind later in the morning as I pondered the 29 years of marriage we've enjoyed filled with many blessings -- our children, grandchildren, a great-grandchild -- to mention just a few of our favorite blessings.  And then this afternoon as I looked beyond the walls of home to the beautiful summer day filled with sunlight, blue skies, the colors of flowers, the hint of ripening tomatoes.

Then I listened to the evening news filled once again with a suicide bombing in Iraq as our troops pack up and leave for home.  Once again, I thought about blessings.  They are innumerable, past my ability to count.  In our country of freedom and liberty, we are blessed every moment that we live out our dreams, plan our futures, help our children to grow and learn, watch our grandchildren being born, thinking of what the future holds for them.

We can shop at will, where we want to and spend hard-earned money.  If we want to eat out, we can without fear of reprisal or danger.  If we want to send our daughters to school along with our sons, we can.  No one tells us what to read, what news station to watch, what borders we can or cannot cross.  We are blessed with so, and we take so much for granted. 

Pause to think what blessings have come your way today . . . then pause to say thanks and to remember those whose day wasn't blessed at all.