Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Daughter's Prayer Request

An update on my post from last Tuesday regarding my Mother's surgery:
My Mother's surgery went close to 2 hours longer than expected last Tuesday.  The doctors found the cancer had invaded a little bit into the muscle tissue, so they decided to remove some lymph nodes for testing.  
This afternoon (Saturday) Mother called to let us know her pathology report came back with NO CANCER in her lymph nodes! Yes, praising God with every breath we breathe!  God is good all the time.  
Please keep my Mother in your prayers as she continues to recover over the next several weeks.   

Post from Tuesday morning, June 21:
Granddad & I are leaving mid-morning to travel to a hospital 2 hours away from us.  This afternoon my Mother (Lucy's G-G) is having surgery.  Although it's a "routine" surgery (I went through it in March), this time it's different ... 

The doctor told my Mother a couple of weeks ago that cancer cells were found in the biopsy.  He's very confident that it is contained to a specific area and will know more once the surgery is underway & the pathology has been run.  

Our prayer is for my Mother's peace during this time -- today, tomorrow & the days to follow.  My Daddy's strength as he takes care of Mother after the surgery (my sister & I will be helping as well).  And for today -- for the surgeon's hands to be precise & steady ... for the nurses to be compassionate, knowledgeable & attentive ... for our family to be resting in the comfort that God is in control & He has His plans for each of us.  And for tomorrow -- for my Mother to get the rest that she needs & not to over-do herself as she comes out from the anesthesia ... for my Daddy to be rested & be ready to take Mother home to begin recovery ... for the medical team who will be running tests on the cells to be knowledgeable & thorough in their findings ... for the results to come back that the cancer cells either have disappeared (God's miracle) or that all cancer cells have been removed successfully.

Thanking & praising God that He is Holy, He is able and He is the Great Physician ...

Can you tell who has who wrapped around her finger?
Pumpkin Patch '10 -- picking out gourds
Easter '11 -- Lucy loves G-G's earrings

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lucy ... Baking ... Cinnamon

It's no secret in our house that Lucy and her Granny LOVE to bake!  Whether it's cinnamon muffins, homemade cookies, cakes or breads ...
We Love to Bake!

Well, it just "so happens" that Lucy and her Granny also LOVE cinnamon.  When I was a little older than Lucy, my parents would bring home frozen cinnamon donuts that we would bake & then have with ice cold milk ... ahhhh, I have drooled so much over those during these past 40-something years. If only I could find those donuts again & introduce my granddaughter to them.  Well I digress. 

Back to cinnamon muffins & Lucy ... 

We have one favorite muffin mix above all the rest.  It's easy ... two extra ingredients to stir in ... it's quick ... 

Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Just add water & egg
(for which we use liquid egg product)

Then, we just have fun with it!

Lucy gets her own special bowl of mix that is only added with water
(no raw egg).
She stirs ... whisks ... samples ... then ...........

She spoons into her special baking pan.

(she's using her special Easter pan for this batch of muffins)

Notice the precise measurements she uses for each muffin ...

Yes, she is a baker indeed!

After all of the muffin batter has been spooned into the pan ... 

... it's time for a special treat while the muffins are baking!!!

"Yellow Oreo Cookies" are another favorite of Lucy's and are a good snack after being such a wonderful baker.

 The finished cinnamon muffins ... 

There's something about baking ... cinnamon ... and toddlers ...  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Character and Integrity

Two words that come to my mind when I think about my Daddy:  character and integrity.  Since I was a child, I've watched my Daddy live out these characteristics -- and is still living them.  Throughout the years, his actions have shown his character of being a hard worker and sticking to it.  For several early years of my life, he and my Mother worked two jobs each to provide and support our family.  No matter what they had to do, they never took "the easy" way out.  

A little illustration of my Daddy being Daddy:  When I was a senior in high school, I wanted to get a job.  Being in the retail business, Daddy got me an application at a grocery store about 25 miles away from home.  It was really no problem driving the two-lane country road back and forth after school and weekends to work.  I had even been able to request "no midnight" shifts since I lived so far away ... except for one night.  I was scheduled to get off work at midnight.  And Daddy insisted on coming in and following me home.  I told him it was not necessary & I would make it home just fine.  Right before my shift ended, I saw my Daddy come in the store.  I will admit, I was a bit miffed at him at the time.  But wouldn't you know, within a few blocks of the store I got a flat tire!  Where would I have gone to if my Daddy hadn't been right behind me?  After he changed my tire, we made it home after 1am, then he was back up by 6am to get ready to start his day at work.  Didn't "sleep-in" or complain -- but was just thankful he was there for me.  And I was thankful too (and still am).

To this day, my Daddy works hard.  He is "semi" retired (whatever that means!), yet he is doing the line of physical work that he did back in his 20s & 30s.  I'm not sure just when he will actually retire, but I do know that I still learn from him. 

I pray that younger Daddy's of today's world will look to these older Daddy's and see just what they are made of: 
Character, integrity, hard-work, steadfastness, dependability, honor ...  
These aren't "old-fashion" values -- they're values of respect for any and all time. 
Here is a poem one of our pastor's read on a Father's Day almost 25 years ago.  No matter what day & age ... no matter how society advances ... no matter what kind of Daddy ... the little ones are always watching and following.
"Walk a little slower daddy,"
said a child so small.
"I'm following in your footsteps
and I don't want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they're hard to see;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday when I'm all grown up,
You're what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who'll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you."
author unknown

Happy Father's Day, Daddy ~~~
I love you! 

Lucy with her Great-Grands Oct '10

First time Grandpa saw his great-granddaughter late Sept '08

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Three Things ... Today

I had read an article back in April from the WebMD medical site titled "Accentuating the Positive".  The article challenged the reader to look for three positive things that happened during the day.  And, here are my three positive things from today ... 

~~ Finding Lucy's favorite cinnamon muffin mix.  It really doesn't sound very much like a positive, but if you're a grandparent you know that we will travel across town and back to find that favorite "thing" for our grandkids.  Well, this "thing" just so happens to be cinnamon muffin mix.  And every store that I have visited over the past few days has been either out of this particular mix or just doesn't carry it anymore.  So, this was definitely a positive for Granny today!

~~ Evening walk with Granddad.  Although he got home after Lucy went to bed, Granddad & I took a walk after our dinner. God provided a very pleasant evening -- nice temperature with little humidity.  As we made our circle to come back home, we saw our next door neighbors & chatted.  Then we met a couple from a neighboring street and chatted for 30 minutes.  It's nice to make new friends and catch up with older ones.

~~ Hearing Lucy sing.  This afternoon Lucy was on the couch with her Mommy singing the ABC Song.  She doesn't just sing with her voice, but rather with her whole heart & soul.  I love it!  This little angelic voice melts my heart.

Yes, it's a good thing at the end the day to reflect on the positive ...

God is good.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Finding my S.T.O.R.Y.

I first read Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life last year.  I was at a point in my life where I have really never been before – not working, not volunteering, not going back to school – I was truly a stay at home wife.  I stumbled across this book by God’s design in the bargain bin at one of my favorite book stores.  “For $4.97 plus some tax, why not” I thought.   And wouldn’t you know, this is probably one of the most beneficial books I have ever read in my life (save God’s Word of course).  My basic question was “what has God designed me to do/be with my life?”  So, I began reading …

            Sweet spot … A zone, a region, a life precinct in which you were made to dwell.  He tailored the curves of your life to fit an empty space in His jigsaw puzzle.  And life makes sweet sense when you find your spot.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25), each servant was given the portion according to their own unique ability.  You & I have also been given our own unique abilities from God.  But, how do we know those abilities?  How do we know what God has equipped us to do and be in life?  In order to answer these questions, here’s a couple of other questions to soak in “what do I like to do” and “what do I do well”?

Now there are some people who know without a shadow of a doubt what God created them to do in life.  Granddad is such this person.  When he transferred to a different high school when his parents moved to another state, he took one class that made the difference in his life.  He knew right then and there what his “sweet spot” was (albeit not referring to this as his “sweet spot”).  God had the master plan for my future husband’s life.  God knew how this young boy would be molded and shaped to become the man of God that he is today. 

            God endows us with gifts to make Him known … When you magnify your Maker with your strengths, when your contribution enriches God’s reputation, your days grow suddenly sweet.  And to really dulcify your world, use your uniqueness to make a big deal about God … every day of your life.

So, how do I find my “sweet spot”?  Lucado proposes five questions to help in finding my way to my unique spot … it’s my S.T.O.R.Y.:

            What are my strengths? (What do I do successfully?)
            What is my topic? (What do I like to do?)
            What are my optimal conditions?  (What motivates me?)
            What about relationships? (How do I relate to others during my successes?)
            Yes! (Simply accepting God made me to be me.)

When God made me, He broke the mold.  When God made you, He broke the mold.  On every single one of us, He broke the mold.  No one else in His entire universe can be me.  And no one else can be you either.  I believe we can encourage one another to be the best “me” or the best “you”, but we should not pressure someone to be whom we think they should be.  

 Lucado uses the example of a young boy whose father was a dairy farmer.  Now farming really wasn’t this boy’s “sweet spot”, so after he finished his chores he would dart off to read or study or draw.  He was full of energy, but just didn’t take to the family business.  Instead, he followed his heart and became one of the most respected evangelists of all time … Billy Graham knew his sweet spot and followed God’s design for his life. 

Cure for the Common Life is one book that I highly recommend to anyone from teens to retirees … anyone who is indecisive on what career path to follow … anyone who is searching to live their life in the center of what God created them to be.  I just scratched the surface in this post, but this little bargain-bin book has been a treasure.  I’m still working on my S.T.O.R.Y. but right now I’m being where God needs me most.