Saturday, April 25, 2015

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last Friday this Granny went to her first MLB game! Now, I will admit that I'm really not a baseball fan ... well, not until about 3 years ago.  When our son-in-law was recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he was given the opportunity to go see the
 Washington Nationals on a few occasions.  Normally he's been able to get tickets for all 4 of them and the little ones always love the games! While at WRNMMC, he got 2 tickets and took Dan to a game on Father's Day 2012.
So, I was the only one in the family who had not been to a Nationals game ... until last Friday!  Dan & I had been to an out of state funeral and then went straight to the kids' house ... and on to see the Washington Nationals!

Lucy is a big fan ....

This girl may be petite, but she knows her Nationals ...
and Tag YUVS his Nationals!!!
(that's "loves" to you & me)

The 3rd inning was the military recognition ...
a special salute and recognition to our wounded warriors.  They gave each of us W ball caps and we waved them during the salute ...
this Granny really wasn't prepared to see our family along with the other wounded warrior families on the jumbotron. I wanted so much to take pictures, but I decided to stand with our wounded warrior family.

Oh yeah, and since it was my first ballgame, I had ask "a few" questions
 (I wink as I type that sentence) ...
Are you sure that we can go in and out of the Presidential Club anytime?
And all the food is completely free?
Is baseball really a big deal?
Am I dressed okay?
What will this  ball cap do to my hairspray?
Are you sure our seats behind home-plate are good?
*** Yes, Granny was at her best game that night***
(more winks)
Washington sports teams do honor our wounded warriors.  They provide a much needed outlet that gives warriors, caregivers & their children a special touch of being appreciated and a much needed reprieve from their new everyday "normal" (which is anything but normal). 
Last Friday morning the 'Joe's family schedule ...
Jacqueline was supposed to be in a caregiver meeting all day (8am to 4pm) and 'Joe had a couple of medical appointments starting early that morning. Dan & I were going to be at their house early to hang out with the grands all day.
However ... last minute change -- Jacqueline had to leave her meeting early, take 'Joe to Walter Reed for an appointment (before we could possibly get to their house) ... so they had to take the little ones with them.  Jacqueline got back for a little more of her meeting and we were able to spend some time with Lucy & Tag before we all left for the game in late afternoon.
So .... yes, we are so grateful to these sports teams who honor our wounded warriors & their caregivers and their children ...
because they deserve every moment of a little time away from their
 life-altered schedules.
Even Dan & I don't understand it all, but
when we see relief and smiles ...
when we hear the squeals and the cheers ...
well .....
we are proud to stand beside our kids.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Faithful Friday

I had intended on writing on a different topic this morning, but God just did not give the peace and the words.  One day I may get back to that topic if God allows.  But this morning is all about His faithfulness.

in the midst of praises ... in the midst of prayers ... in the midst of people ...
God is faithful
in the midst of losses ... in the midst of struggles ... in the midst of tears ...
God is faithful
in the midst of triumphs ... in the midst of mountain peaks ... in the midst of successes ...
God is faithful

No matter the situation nor the crisis nor the circumstance ...

God is always faithful

A few ways God has shown His faithfulness to me over the past couple of weeks ...
(aside from the obvious of waking us up every morning & allowing us to awake the following days)

** Tag's foot healing properly & no current signs of a fracture
 (he jumped off their bed one morning and ended up in a splint)

** Lucy was practicing her cartwheels before dance class & landed in a perfect half-split
(totally unexpected and could have injured her foot as well)
{{cannot post the video until after her recital in fear that her Momma will freak-out}}
** we've logged a lot of miles on busy roads lately and although we've had a few close calls with non-attentive drivers, we have stayed safe
 ** health ... home ... food ... finances

God is always faithful

even if we are going through a season of struggle ...
God is faithful
even if we are going through a season of grief ...
God is faithful
even if we are going through a season of unknown ...
God is faithful

I simply cannot comprehend all the ways that God is faithful to me ...
But I know He is.

Have a blessed weekend, dear friends ...
and keep your heart focused on the faithfulness of our God


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Another "Thinking Tuesday" ... Legacy

Posting my "Thinking Tuesday" on Wednesday ...

We have been in a whirlwind -- but it does seem like that's the way our weeks go lately.  In a whirlwind.  Last week ... I spent a night with the kids & grands to help out while 'Joe had a new procedure ... tax season #31 came to an end for us ... Dan & I traveled to an out of state funeral for a close friend of his family ... from there we went straight back to the kids' house & to a MLB game that night ... then back to our house with Miss Lucy & her activities ... then she & I met her Momma & Tag Tuesday morning ... then another drive back home alone for me ...
yes ... whirlwind
{I'll post more on our time with our kids later}
As I was focused once again on traffic on my way home (my "thinking Tuesday") I had one main thought ...

What is the legacy that I will leave behind when God calls me Home? 
 I know, I know ... not really the warm & fuzzy topic that anyone would expect. But that was my thinking process as I kept a close eye on the fast moving traffic of the busy interstate.
So ... my thoughts ...

 Dan & I attended a funeral last week of a close family friend who was like Dan's second dad to Dan as a young boy.  Last Wednesday I had gotten home from spending the night at the kids' house ... Dan had just gotten home from their office end-of-tax-season-luncheon ... and we started traveling several hours on the road. Tired, but we both knew that he needed to be there for this funeral.  However ... it truly was not a funeral.  It was a celebration of the life of a dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, friend who had been called Home by his Creator. (Matter of fact, Dan commented as we started back on our journey that night "THAT is how I want my funeral")

Dan was able to see friends whom he hasn't seen in ages! 
And that was good.

He saw his first boss who had taken a chance on him over 30 years ago and gave Dan his first accounting job. They hadn't seen each other in about 27 years or so. This man is also the brother of the family friend celebrated that night.
And that was good.
 He was reunited with his close childhood friend who grew up as close as a brother. And Dan stood alongside of him as many musicians gathered to sing a closing song in honor of his friend's dad.
And that was good.

Several hometown friends came up to Dan & re-introduced themselves since they hadn't seen each other in many years. I was honored when he introduced me to them.  More than 30 years and I still melt when I hear him say "this is my wife".

It's easy to step back and look at the legacy of someone who has passed their earthly presence and who have gone to their heavenly home.  But what about the legacy that we have in our control to create for our future generations to remember?
What if we were intentional on creating that very legacy?
What if we were intentional in our everyday living while it is within our control?

I admit that I am far from the role model for this. I don't always make time to catch up with family & friends ... I certainly make mistakes ...
and I know that I cannot live up to most people's expectations of me.
However, I do believe that right now ... for this moment in time ...
I am simply

being where God needs me most

And so ... my point to my "thinking Tuesday" was this ...

live life in the center of God's will
and be where He needs me
{and you, my friend}
the most

And that will always be good



Friday, April 10, 2015

On Being "Glad in it" ...

My oh my .... how busy life gets!  Not enough time to get "stuff" done ... yet too much time to simply procrastinate and "do it all later." 
I think one of the things that has been my downfall lately is simply ...

It is "supposedly" springtime here in the mid-Atlantic.  Yet ... this is what it looks like more often than not from my front porch.  I know ...
I know ... and yes I am reminded of Psalm 118:24 too ...
This is the day that the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
There is always a beauty in each day that God has made -- created -- designed... for us.  It's always up to each of us to discover how to
"be glad in it."
And one of the days that God gave us to be glad in was this past Sunday ... Easter Sunday. My family during my childhood years had always been "traditional" on Easter Sundays. But with my parents as well as my sister & her family living over an hour west of us ... and our daughter & her family living 2 hours north of us --- well, we have simply adopted the "tradition of change" ... we simply "go with the flow" and see what the different schedules can pull together.
So, Easter 2015 for our family ...
Dan was working at his office (kind of blasphemy for some people, but when Easter falls in the hectic days of tax season... )
Jacqueline & Michael and the little ones went to church with me (then Michael had to get on the road to head back to the military post...)
Dan came home just after EB (you know, the Easter bunny from the movie Hop) had left Lucy & Tag's baskets ... just between us -- EB likes to leave his basket surprises when there's absolutely no humans lurking about... Jacqueline & Grandad must have given him a scare because EB left a trail of carrot-crumbs!

You know, we really do have so much to "be glad" in each and every day that God makes for us. Sometimes we simply have to "look" ... and then we realize that the "glad" has been right in front of us all along.

Looking at this same picture ... I see a tree full of buds ... and pretty soon all of those buds will bloom into some of the prettiest leaves and covering for our birds. I hear the birds singing at this very moment even through the dampness and the fog of the morning.
And our cherry tree in our front yard on one of our sunny days ...
And the hope of all that ...
 after winter, there's always spring!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Story of "The Jesus Eggs" {It Still Gets to Me}

{{The following is a post I made on March 29, 2013 ...
it still gets to me ... she was 4 1/2 years old at the time she told me ...
The Story of the Jesus Eggs ...}}

The Story of "The Jesus Eggs"
This has been a very short week for Lucy's preschool.  Monday was a snow day and there is no school today for Good Friday.  Preschool has been so good for Lucy and it's a bonus to have her in preschool at our home church.  She & her classmates get to hear about Jesus and other Bible teachings everyday at school and in their activities. 

On Tuesday Lucy brought home an egg carton filled with 12 plastic eggs.  She was so eager to tell me "the story", so she took me in my bedroom, climbed upon the bed, and began telling me the story of  "The Jesus Eggs":

 EGG #1 ... "This is the palm branch, Granny.  People waved this when Jesus came into town riding a donkey."

EGG #2 ... "These are the coins that one of Jesus' friends gave to the men. I think his name was ..."  Was it Judas?  "Yes, yes.  His name was Judas."

EGG #3 ... "Granny, this was the bread that Jesus gave his friends to eat. And He even washed their feet!"

EGG #4 ... "These hands mean they prayed. And Jesus prayed too."


EGG #5 ... (Her whole little body flinched and she buried her little face in her hands) "Oh Granny, this is the whip they beat Jesus with. Oh they hurt Him so much!"

EGG #6 ... (Flinching again with tears in her eyes) "Oh Granny.  I was afraid this was the crown of thorns. They shoved it on His head and made His head bleed. They hurt Him really bad, Granny."      

EGG #7 ... (Clasping her little hands together)  "I was afraid this was the nails, Granny.  They pounded nails into His hands & feet on the cross. Why did they want to hurt Him so much?"

Throughout the process of Lucy telling me the story, I would rub her back or pat her leg to encourage her.  
"Lucy remember -- this has a happy ending, right?"
"Yes, Granny. You're right, it does. But it's just so sad now." 

EGG #8 ... "I really don't understand the dice, Granny." 
Well Lucy, they rolled the dice to see who would get Jesus' clothes.
"Why would they do that to Jesus?" 

EGG #9 ... "Oh Granny. I was so afraid it was this -- the sword. They jabbed it in Him and made Him bleed even more."


EGG #10 ... "It's the cloth! They wanted to wrap Him in it after He -- He died, Granny.  Jesus really died. They hurt Him so bad that He died."

EGG #11 ... "Granny, this is the tomb that they put His body in after He died."

EGG #12 ... "The angel came to tell them  
'Do not be afraid for He is not here.'
Granny, Granny --  
And He's with His Daddy in Heaven!!!" 

And I can honestly say that in all of my 48 years here on earth, I have never ever heard the Easter story of Jesus told with as much emotion as I heard from my 4 1/2 year old
Lucy Michaela.

And all of Heaven rejoices at the sound of the little ones ... 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

One Little Girl and Her Palm Branch

Today is Palm Sunday.
One week before Easter
 ... when Jesus rode into Jerusalem
 ... the people cheered
... and waved their palm branches.
 Lucy's Sunday School class waved their palm branches and
paraded around the halls today at church.
They were the crowd of people who welcomed Jesus into their community. 
He was their Teacher ... their Healer ... their Leader.
Dan & I took Jacqueline and the kids out to lunch... fast food since Jacqueline and Tag needed to get on the road to head back to the military base. The young boy who took our order was gracious and understanding as we have quite a crew between the ages of 3 and 53! After we ate, Dan was getting Tag all settled into his Momma's car while Lucy & I were finishing cleaning our table and putting on her coat. Lucy had taken in her palm branch because
"I need to tell everybody that it's Palm Sunday!"
{The heart of a 6 year old}
The boy noticed it on the table and picked it up. Lucy said "oh, that's mine." I said that she had gotten it in her Sunday School class since it's Palm Sunday.  He looked confused and asked "what?" I explained to him about Jesus riding into Jerusalem 'the week before Easter' and the people cheered and waved their palm branches to Him.
The boy sheepishly said that he must have forgotten about it.  He hasn't been to church in many years. As a young teen he'd let his hair grow out to below his shoulders ... the church leaders told his parents that the boy needed to cut his hair because he didn't
 "fit into the church image." So, he left the church and never returned.
As Lucy and I were waiting on Dan to come back in, I began to tell this young boy ...
"I don't know of anyone that Jesus turned away."
He nodded and agreed.
I told him the name of our church and that "we meet over here at the movie theater just across the shopping center."
"Oh yeah! I know where you're talking about," he replied.
"You're more than welcome to come over any time... we're just normal people who live normal lives... and we all have a past."
He smiled and sighed with relief.
"Thank you. I may just do that sometime."
On the drive back to church ..... mmmmmm, movie theater .... to get Dan's truck, Lucy was telling her Grandad about the boy in the fast food restaurant ... that the young boy hadn't been to church for many years.  Lucy told her Grandad...
 "I can't imagine not being in church for so long! I sure hope we see him at our church -- because Jesus loves ALL people!"
Disclaimer ...
I know some people who are skeptical of others' experiences with "the church". I've heard some people simply say "well, I think people just look for an excuse to stay away from church! They're always welcomed and they just simply don't want to go to church!!"
And ... that could be true ... or not.
For whatever reason, there's people in our communities who have given up on churches.
Isn't it our responsibility to reach out to them?
To my knowledge, Jesus didn't pick and choose whom He would reach out to ...
so why should we?
 Sometimes an outstretched hand is simply
a child
with a palm branch ...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thinking Tuesday ... On Being Tired

Today I am physically tired.  Lucy & I had a very early wake-up at 5:15am (my normal wake-up but with only a couple hours sleep last night).  We were on the road at 6am to go to their house 2 hours away. The 2 hour journey actually took us 3 hours ... and considering we were in rush hour, we were very fortunate that it took us only 3 hours (no stops along the way either).  Our daughter & son-in-law had a 9am meeting that was explaining their med-board process, so I was staying with Lucy & Tag for the couple of hours
 (which turned into 3 hours --- and we 3 had a blast!).
But ... Granny is tired.
But, it seems that all the adults in our household are all simply tired ...
This is a long tax season and Dan is wiped out.  He works at least 12 hours at the office and another 4 hours here at his home office.  It's now to the "stage of tax season" that he works 7 days a week.  We know it's only for a "season" ...
but Dan is simply tired.
Our kids are tired.  They've been on their wounded warrior journey for over 3 years now.  'Joe still hasn't gotten all the treatments that he's really needed.  They have been told several differing processes from several different departments and still cannot get any clear-cut answers.  They have been in an uphill battle (so to speak) for over 36 months ... they have 2 young children ... they need a vision of what their future is going to look like ... yet they keep getting conflicting information. 
They are flat worn out tired.
If ever we as a family household were tired ... it is now.  Or, as my Mother would say ...
we are worn to a frazzle
I'm not exactly certain what a "frazzle" is ...
but that's what we are ...
my household is that worn frazzle.
And so ... on my "Thinking Tuesday" ...
as I was driving back home by myself, I started pondering what it means "to be tired".  Now, I truly was focused on the traffic ... watching my speed ... praying for safety & protection amongst the fast-moving motorists who needed to get to their destinations the same as I did.
But I was thinking what God's Word tells me of my tiredness and how He can use it for His good.  Romans 8:28 promises that God will use all things to work for His good ... ALL things ... and I do believe that includes being tired.

Here are some verses that God brought to my memory as I came home today:
Matthew 11:28-30 ...
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Romans 8:25-26 ...
But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us ... 
Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
... and so many times, Granny gets this whole concept of 
my "tiredness" all wrong ... as hard as I try to do it all myself ... Paul reminds me
   II Corinthians 12:9-11 ...
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
My Thinking Tuesday in a nutshell today ...
it's not me
it's not my strength
it's not for me to do alone ...
It's His strength working through my tiredness -- my weakness ... for Him.
You see, we never know who draws from our weakness or our strength. 
 Our future generations are looking to each of us as to how we handle situations ...
how we act -- react ... and WHO we draw our strength from.
And just as Joshua proclaimed whom he and his household would serve and draw their strength from ... so we do in our household as well:
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord ...
we draw our strength from Him
we rest in His arms when we grow tired
we proclaim Him always
I hope you all have a blessed week.