Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dancin' Week & Thinking Praises

This has been a very busy week in our house ... our sweet dancin'-machine Lucy has been here this week for her dance camp -- ahumm -- Musical Theater Dance Camp.

From 9am to 4pm... this girl is on-the-move!
So watch out Dancing With The Stars -- right here in our household is the next dancing star!
We've all been so proud of her this week ... this is the first time ever that Lucy has been away from either me or her momma for an entire day -- let alone doing this for 5 full days!!!  And yes, Granny had some serious teary eyes when I dropped her off Monday morning!

And so now, here we are at Thursday already! I still haven't gotten much of my household chores completed, but I have been keeping busy during the day while the house is quiet.  And I've been looking back at some pictures from this past weekend.  Dan & I met Jacqueline and the kids at our kind of half-way point on Sunday ... Father's Day was pretty hectic with change of schedules & plans for Lucy's week with us, but God always has His perfect plans laid out no matter how many times we set our schedules "in stone".

and these are the priceless moments that we wouldn't trade for anything.  Schedules will certainly be rearranged a thousand times in a week, but
 God is ALWAYS good and He is ALWAYS faithful. 
And this brings this Granny to today ... with so many household chores awaiting and so many thoughts running through this mind of mine... you know, there's always other things that we can set our minds on and be consumed with ... but I choose to focus on the positive. Paul reminds us in Philippians what we are to think about ...
... whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
It's so easy to get caught up in the here-and-now ...
but God sees our whole book.
He knows our next page. 
He is the Author of our role in His creation.
And so it's my endeavor to
enjoy the little things ...
enrich those around you ...
embrace the now as we have it ...
God Bless, my friends!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Finding That "Something" ...

Over these past several months, I've caught myself saying what a hectic schedule we've had in our household.  And as true as that may be, it has occurred to me that I've been allowing something to creep in on me. Now, I'm not talking about something "creepy" ... but this thing can happen to any of us at any given time under any circumstances.  So, as I was traveling back from taking Lucy back to her house this morning, these are the thoughts that I have prayed about and actually wrestled with today ...
I will preface this post by saying this -- I am no expert.  God has given me this one life to live and quite honestly, there've been times when I have decided to ignore Him and His promises ... that I could "figure it all out myself" ... that I could "do it all on my own" ...

but ... I'm older now and hopefully a bit wiser as well. 
 I've learned over the years that no matter the circumstances I'm going through at the time, there's
"something" that's always there if I just open my door and allow it in
"something" that I cannot buy nor earn
"something" that can only be taken away from if I allow it
I will admit that it's easy to say that certain situations are warranted without this "something".  However, in my opinion as a 50 year old Granny, we do not get to "pick & choose" when we accept this "something".  Here's a passage that I know some people will say that I am taking out of context ...
and I agree. I am. 
But, it opened my eyes this morning ...
I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
(Psalm 30)
JOY ... JOY ... JOY
is at my front door ... waiting ... for me ... to open ... and let it come in!
In the midst of trials ... in the midst of enemies ... in the midst of warfare ...
The enemy does his best to steal our joy ... he distracts us from what truly is The Truth in our situations ...
And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep." For the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy your Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, "Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved." And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.
(Nehemiah 8)
I know that sometimes it's simply "easier said than done" ... but I have a choice to make on a daily basis.  Either I accept ... or I reject.
That's it ... my choice
And that's a legacy that I want to leave my future generations ...
I want them to be able to say that "Granny chose joy" ...
and hopefully they will too.
Then Jesus said to them again, Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10
Whatever we go through ...
whatever lies ahead ...
whatever is in the present ...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Of Course We Miss Them!

I just got back home from spending a couple of days hanging out with my grands.  Our daughter sent me a text on Monday asking me if I could stay a couple of days when I took Lucy back from her summer dance class on Monday. 
And of course ... I could not refuse time with the little ones. These two have my heart and I love spending time with them.
Grandparents may see it even more than parents, but these little ones are growing up fast! It seems like we blink ... and then they're climbing trees and doing cartwheels.  And then we blink again ... and the time on the clock keeps ticking.

And so, Dan & I have been asked many times if we miss our grands not living with us (because they had lived with us until last summer when they got their housing straightened out on the military post).
And, our answer is
of course we miss them!
It's been just as much of an adjustment on us as it has been for the four of them.  All of them have always lived with us due to military assignments, so this is the first year that Dan & I have even been "semi" empty-nesters.  However, there's several aspects that we all hold on to that is fitting and works for all of us.  Granted, not everyone has our family circumstances, so I'm just writing this post from mine & Dan's perspective.
And perhaps the #1 aspect we keep in mind is this:
the four of them really need to experience the "military life" on post during this period of Michael's medical treatments & ultimate medical retirement.  I'm only going to touch on the "if he hadn't been wounded" very briefly ... their family would have been moving throughout the next 15 years or more (pre-explosion).  The military life would have taken them to various assignments and different parts of the world. So, for the time they spend just a couple of hours away from us and still coming to our house for visits & activities ...
 we know their family needs their own home.

My verses that I cling onto for ALL of "our kids" ...

 Jeremiah 29:11 --
"For I know the plans that I have for you" declares the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future"

Romans 8:28 --
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose

We miss all of our kids ...
but they are being molded and shaped by the One who knows what His plans are for each of them.  And each day brings them further into His plan and His will.
And as I write this post, they are all in the Emergency Room with Michael.  He has had shrapnel surfacing and is being treated for an infection in his leg.  Apparently he had some complications after I left today, and now is at the ER.

Yesterday evening the USO hosted a BBQ on post.  Lucy & Tag got to meet
Miss District of Columbia!  She told them that she was an "Army brat" too (using the term "brat" very respectfully) ... I think all 3 of them felt the connection!

... and of course, there was cake!

One thing for sure ...
whether we see these little ones every day or every week --
that second hand on the clock just keeps ticking away



Friday, June 5, 2015

The First Week of ... June???

I simply cannot believe the calendar says "June"!  This week has been cool and rainy for our little corner of the Mid-Atlantic... okay, maybe more like COLD and rainy (when the temperature says 50s in June -- it's cold!)   And more outdoor projects on hold.
This little triangle was "supposed" to have been leveled, terraced, mulched and planted by now... hopefully by NEXT weekend now! We have some pretty awesome plans for our yard and we have completed some mulching along our driveway (waiting to transplant some of the above along our rock walls).

Dan has his plans all diagramed so that we will know what plant will be transplanted where, so hopefully we can get a bit of work done this weekend.  I think it will really brighten our landscape up when we're all done. 
We had originally intended on putting our house for sale this spring, but I just could not get rooms painted and the outside landscaped. As we get deeper into cleaning and maintenance, we see more and more potential here. So, we will continue to do our projects and maintenance and then see what God has for us... either staying here for a while longer or bringing us the perfect family who will make their home here. But, we are fine no matter which way we are led.
We are gearing up for a very busy summer (that's one of the reasons we've been working so hard on household projects)... Monday begins Lucy's summer dance classes, so she will be coming down here to stay with us a few days a week just like she did this past year. Then she has a summer dance camp for a week... which is the same week as Mega Camp at church (like Vacation Bible School) that she & Tag will be down here for... as well as regular church activities and events/activities they will have on the military base. There's so many awesome organizations that provide some stress relief to all of our wounded warrior families.
She brings joy to everyone
 Jacqueline had the kids at the base pool last weekend and Tag scraped his foot getting out of the pool... upon seeing a little bit of his blood, he passed out.  He checked out good, but it was very stressful and scary for the girls. Michael had stayed at their house because his leg was bothering him -- a lot. 
I melt in his smile
 By Tuesday evening Jacqueline & the kids had Michael in the ER... there is an infection in his leg that took the direct hit from the rocket over 3 years ago. They took him back to get the wound redressed yesterday and now he is under the care of a wound specialist. She told them that the abscess has been growing for "quite some time" so they will closely monitor it. They're trying to get rid of the infection by medication... and praying for no more surgeries (he had numerous surgeries on that leg within 2 weeks of his injuries). He can barely walk on it, but is determined to help Jacqueline give the little ones a good summer on the base. This is (hopefully) their last summer there before he is medically retired.  And they have weekend events today & tomorrow... and we will bring Lucy down with us Sunday - Tuesday.
So ... a busy summer indeed ... but a good kind of busy!
I am so very thankful that God sees what we cannot ...
that He knows His plans for each of us ...
that He loves us.

Wishing you a blessed weekend, my friends ...
and until my next post
{whenever that may be}
may God continue to be your Light
and your Direction

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thoughts Behind the 'Tiller

Dan & I have been doing quite a bit of yard-work over the past couple of weeks.  And when I've finished for the day, I am completely worn out! And that's good. My Granny always said that hard work never hurt anybody ... and she worked hard all of her life. 
One of the areas we're working on is a little triangular piece between our front sidewalk and house.  Up until the other day, it was a pesky little piece of grass to mow and keep weeded ... until this ol' Granny pulled out her rototiller ...

Have you ever used a rototiller?  Or been anywhere within hearing distance of it?  Let me say this -- they are loud ... LOUD!!!!  When I use the 'tiller (yes, me... for some reason I would rather use it & let Dan work on something else... so, when the 'tiller is needed - Granny works it) I cannot hear anything but the 'tiller.  I cannot hear anything at all.  This morning I thought about the 'tiller and this picture that hangs in our sunroom for us to see as we enter our house and as we leave our house. It's our reminder...
Make time for the quiet moments
as God whispers and the world is loud.

And so I envisioned my rototiller as "the world" ... the world is just as loud as the 'tiller.  The world can drown out any message that God whispers to us...
When the world shouts that's not fair!
Do you hear the psalmist whisper
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want
When the world shouts they don't deserve your forgiveness!
Do you hear Jesus praying
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
When the world shouts you're not good enough!
Do you hear God whisper
I began a good work in you and I will complete it
When the world shouts but you're entitled to more!
Do you hear God promise
your every need is already supplied
When you hear the world shout you'll never be good enough!
Do you hear Paul's encouragement
I am not perfect but I press on for Jesus
When the world shouts give up!
Do you hear Jesus quietly welcoming you
Come unto me and I will give you rest
When the world shouts you're a nobody!
Do you hear God reflecting
I know the plans I have for you
There's so many "things" the world shouts at us.  And just like my rototiller, the world can drown out any and all other sounds around us.  But ...
there's always HOPE in the promises of
God Almighty
And just like the many different household projects that Dan & I have going on around our place, we are all a work in progress.  We take one step at a time to move forward into the direction that God leads us. 
 I like the way Lysa TerKeurst phrases it as we all are making "imperfect progress" ...
we may fall into listening to the shouts of the world from time to time -- but the very next decision we make will be the most important...
listening to the quiet voice of God as He whispers to each of us.
God bless you all, my friends!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Snuggles ... Recitals ... Anniversary

This weekend was a busy one in our household.  One of snuggles, recitals & an anniversary ...
Jacqueline & the little ones came down on the train Thursday evening.  There wasn't much time before bedtime so we played and got beds ready and we said our bedtime prayers. When Dan & I were ready to leave their room so that "Mommy" could get them to sleep,
Tag said "I wanna snuggle with Nanny" ...
and so I was more than willing to snuggle between these two grands.  The 3 of us chatted about Disney, sang lullabies and had lots of squeals & snuggles. And then Tag said ... "Nanny, you're the sweetest grandmother" ...
and I was completely lost in them.

Michael drove down on Friday after his appointments.  Traffic was horrendous as usual for the start of the weekend. But ... with only 2 major road systems --- we do what we have to do.
Saturday was a very busy day ... hectic but so worth every moment.  Lucy's first dance recital performance was at 10am!  My parents drove an hour & a half to get to the school where it's held every year. They are so supportive of their grandchildren & great-grandchildren...
 and Lucy & Tag absolutely LOVE their great-grands!
Lucy danced her heart out Saturday and Sunday! Dancing is definitely her "thing" ... she travels back & forth between our homes during the week -- she's homeschooled online -- she & Tag go to some appointments & meetings with their parents during the week...
so dancing is just "her". (Tag will be getting into his activities soon in preschool -- not sure yet what "his thing" will be, but his time is coming too!)

And Tag was so supportive of his big sister!  He went to both performances -- Saturday AND Sunday... he endured the pictures (although he really did not want in any of them)... and then during Sunday's performance ...
he fell asleep sitting on my lap. 

He is a trooper!
And in the midst of the busy family weekend ...
Dan and I celebrated 31 years of our married life together.  I know I bore everyone with our story ... but here it goes again.
He was the new kid in high school ... 2 years older than me. We knew who each other were but never said a word to each other. He graduated from high school with 3 of my cousins (and he didn't know they were my family).  We started dating September 1983 ... then the morning of May 16, 1984 ... we decided that we would elope.  And we did.
A whole lot of life has happened in the past 31 years.  We've been on the mountain peaks and we've been in the deepest valleys ... but this weekend we celebrated every moment that brought us to our celebration of 31 years and the family that God gave us.  Even when we were so close to ending "us", God told us to hold on tight to Him because our road to redemption was about to get very rocky ...
but He promised that it all would be worth it.
And it was worth it ...
and it still is worth it ...
and it will be worth it for generations to come.
And so, just a little word of unsolicited advice from a Granny whose "been there" ...
keep God as your Center and hold on tight to Him
 because it'll all be worth it sooner than you think.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Upcoming 31 ...

Last year I wrote several posts that revolved around mine & Dan's 30th wedding anniversary.  My posts included The ABCs of 30 ...
 Once Upon a Time ...
 When Our Fairytale Met Real Life ...
 Celebrating 30 Hawaiian Style

Well, our 31st is approaching this Saturday, May 16th.  It's amazing how the clock has kept ticking the seconds away over this past year.
It's been our year for several changes and our biggest has been becoming semi-empty nesters for the first time. We've spent time doing some much needed projects around our house ... future planning ... just hanging out with each other.  Seems like the more we do around the house -- the more we want to do!
{{and just so happened that we now are the proud owners of 10 cubic yards of mulch,
new Leyland Cyprus trees, Japanese maple, Hydrangeas...
waiting to be shoveled and planted!}}

Thirty-one years ago we were kids ... Dan had just turned 22 & I was 19.  Honestly, we did not have a clue.  We were blindly in love and really had no idea what lie ahead of us.
We had talked about getting married ...
he asked my parents for their permission to marry me ...
we picked out my engagement ring on Monday May 14th ...
and then we eloped Wednesday May 16th.
{you can read "more of the story" from the above links}

We know that eventually our "semi" empty nesting will evolve into empty-nesting,  but for now ... we enjoy our time with each other and our time with all of our kids.
Every moment of the past 31 years has brought us to where we are today. 

 We've risen to the mountain tops ... we've forged through the valleys ...
we've been blessed

When I think about those kids 31 years ago ... and where those 2 kids are now ...

God is so much more than "good" ---

when we didn't know our way ... God was our Light
when we gave up ... God was our Redeemer
when we choose each other every day ... God is our Center

On Wednesday May 16, 1984 --- Dan & I traveled the road to elope and began our married life as one
On Saturday May 16, 2015 --- Dan & I will travel the road (with our kids & grands & my parents) to see our granddaughter dance in her recital

You see, we didn't have a clue as to what our life would be 31 years later, but ...

... Life is beautiful ...