Friday, March 29, 2013

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 ... 


Friday, March 22, 2013

Always Taking Time ... No Matter the Season

This year is mine & Grandad's 29th "busy season" together.  If you haven't put the pieces together of my posts, my husband is a CPA ... and we are up to our eyeballs in tax season!  Tax season tends to begin earlier & earlier in our house.  Hours "gently" increase between Thanksgiving and Christmas with various work projects ... then the week between Christmas and New Year's is practically as busy as the federal deadline itself.  Right now our weeks consist of 15+ hours most days with a couple of days during the week which Grandad actually comes home "early" to spend time with Lucy & Tag.  

Tax season schedules like this are nothing new to us.  When our daughter was growing up, there were many tax season weeks where she would see her Daddy just on the weekends (Saturday evenings at best, then always on Sundays when he would try his very best not to work).  Last tax season (when G I Joe was injured) and this tax season have something in common --- they are very unusual (for various reasons this year) and so he works on Sundays. (I know some people would have a lot to say about this but God knows my husband's heart better than anyone else does). 

But I'm saying all of this to preface a point:

No matter how busy his work gets, my husband has always taken time to be with his family. 

Back when our daughter was younger, they may have only seen each other on weekends during tax season, but they made the most of their time together.  He took her on Sunday "afternoon dates" after church -- out to eat, the movies, to the park (when the weather was nice) ... anything she wanted to do, her Daddy made sure they did it.  And then after tax season (we call this period ATS), he was always a chaperone on her class spring field trips. One tradition they had ATS, he would be the one to read her a bedtime story, say prayers with her & tuck her in for the night. 
 A busy Daddy ... yet a very hands-on Daddy.

And the tax season schedule continues with these two little grands in our house.  Lucy is at the age where she "misses Grandad" (with the saddest voice she can make), while Tag runs around the house looking for "Gan-dad, Gan-dad, Gan-dad" either in our family room (where Grandad has his make-shift "home office") or our bedroom.  So when Grandad comes through the garage door on his "early" days, our house erupts in laughter, squeals & cheers for  
"Grandad's home!!! Grandad's home!!! Grandad's home!!!"  
(And I must add that when I refer to "early days", I mean he's only been at work for about 12 hours that day, then he will bring work home to do after the two little munchkins have gone to bed ... 
so he still puts in about 14 hours of work)

Looking back on our past 29 tax seasons, I certainly cannot think of better "character witnesses" to my husband than these three people ... the three who have experienced (and currently experiencing) tax season as a child.  He has never complained about tax season hours ... he has always met deadlines (which there are actually numerous ones) ... he has lived by his motto "I'll take care of it" and he always does.

He & I normally are found in the mornings having a quick breakfast together at a fast food place -- whether we take our protein bars or get a sandwich (I know, not the healthiest but ...) We chat about various things for about 20 minutes then he is off to work.  We've been talking a lot lately about some of our childhood memories.  I love reminiscing & also hearing about the mischievous little boy that he was growing up.  He's talked many times throughout the years of how his Dad was his role model of how Daddies should be with their children.  And one of the things that he has carried with him is how his Dad would "get down in the floor with us (him & his brother) and just play".  And he has modeled what his Dad taught him through his actions -- my husband has been a "hands-on" Daddy who would always take time for his daughter ... and now he is a "hands-on" Grandad who always takes time for his grandchildren.  

My daughter's "Daddy" ... my grandchildren's "Grandad" ... my husband ...

This man has shown his daughter & grandchildren how valuable they are to him.  No matter how hectic and stressful work may get --- his priorities have always been on his family.  And this man has shown his wife (that's me :) not only how valuable his family is, but also how valuable I am to him.  It's not only a testament to his walk with his Savior, but he learned the importance of putting his family as priority from his Dad -- 
so it's a family thing.

Below is a poem that I first heard read by our pastor many years ago when our daughter was just a toddler.  It describes how children look to their Daddies for guidance & how they will follow in their Daddies' footsteps one day.  Every time I read it, I think of how my Granny influenced me along with my Mother & Daddy too ... and I think of how both my husband & I influence our daughter & my grandchildren ... and they will influence our future generations.  We all have someone who is watching & following in our footsteps.  And I am beyond thankful and so overwhelmingly blessed by my husband who has always (even during his busy seasons) taken time for his family.  

"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

It's my endeavor to walk a little slower ...
generations that I will never meet are yet to follow me.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I Didn't Shut Down My Facebook Page

A few weeks ago, I updated my Facebook "status" that I was closing my page down.  I had closed my Twitter account several months ago, so (it seemed) Facebook was up next.  Some responses to my announcement actually surprised me -- friends who did not want me to shut down my page.  And there were various reasons -- keeping up with my grandkids, just getting back in touch with each other & just simply missing our contact with each other. 

These responses actually lead me to really contemplate "why" I'm on Facebook to begin with ...
how do I use my account ...
what do I post ...
who do I reach out to with my posts ...

And I came up with a few answers ...
  •  I love sharing about my family --- God has blessed me beyond any stretch of the imagination that I deserve with my family ... I have the most awesome husband, wonderful daughter & son-in-law, and of course my adorable grandchildren ... some situations come with prayer requests ... some with cute stories ... but I just love my family (and not just those living under our same roof, but I include ALL of my family).
  • I love to read comments --- my reaction is "WOW somebody actually read (or at least glanced at) what I posted!!!"
  • I also love looking at pictures --- some people I haven't seen for many many years, so it's good to see their families of today (some of us are grandparents now, so the pics of grandchildren are always nice to see -- while some still have younger children & it's good to keep up with them as well) ... and of course I LOVE looking at pictures posted by my family of our childhood days.
  • I love reconnecting with friends who I grew up with & haven't seen in a long time --- with friends of today as we go through each of our days with busy agendas & commitments and sometimes just do not see each other face to face very often --- with friends I have yet to meet in person but have developed a close friendship with in our online communities.
  • And I love just being able to stay in touch --- whatever the circumstance ... whatever the occasion ... whatever is happening in our lives at the time --- Facebook has provided a means of simply staying in touch.
Now, there's many reasons why others are on Facebook --- 
keeping in touch ... highlighting prayer needs ... promoting various aspects (people, businesses, products, etc) -- which I do too.   My homepage is filled with friends' sharing pictures/updates on their families, sharing inspirational pictures & verses/quotes, cute little quips that may or may not have a moral message, recipes, games (which I could do without, but I simply do not play them), some tributes to loved ones who have passed this life on earth.  

A wide array of everyday life is found on my Facebook homepage.  But there's one aspect of Facebook that this Granny always ("tries to" anyway) keeps in mind {this is a lesson that my Granny instilled in her children & her grandchildren} --- 

whatever you say, make sure you can put it in writing & sign your name to it

Once I make a post (status, comment, "like", etc) ... it is forever documented for the world to see & read.  I've heard some people refute this by saying:

I really don't care what people think of me, this is just how I feel
No one else can see it except for them & their friends
Well, I just send private messages so no one else will see what I write

However "valid" these reasonings may be, social media has provided an electronic signature that will keep words written forever.  Once we push that "send" button, it's documented & those words cannot be retracted.  'Well, but if I hit the "delete" button it will go away' ... That may be true ... but only to a certain extent.  I am still responsible to a Higher Authority than any Facebook notifications, administrations or privacy settings.
I believe that one day I will stand accountable in front of God for everything I posted on any social media site. I can "justify" ... I can "reason" ... I can simply make up any excuse I want ---
but I am still responsible
There's many aspects of Facebook that I can simply do without.  But I enjoy connecting & reconnecting ... remembering & sharing ... I simply enjoy seeing my Facebook family & friends.  And I try to remember my Granny's words of wisdom of signing my name.  However in our world of social media & Internet technology, we really don't have to literally "sign our name" ... it's already been done for us.

Facebook & other social media can actually be a positive aspect in each of our lives ... 

it's just simply all in how we use it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cultivating Relationships

On Tuesday, March 5th, my dear Uncle Larry left his earthly home and entered in to the Gates of Heaven to meet his Lord & Savior. His breathing had changed in the middle of the night, and just a few short hours later ... his faith became sight.  

Grandad & I left home at 5:30 Thursday evening to make the drive to my hometown about 7 hours away. We checked-in to the hotel around 11:30pm and then up Friday morning by 5:30am.  We met up with my parents & my sister at the funeral home and had a few moments to ourselves & my uncle. My aunt said there were over 545 family & friends who signed the registry from the visitation & funeral to pay their respects -- that was a wonderful testimony of my uncle's life throughout our community.  

The chapel was filled by the time his life celebration began on Friday morning.  A DVD was played of my aunt & uncle's 50th wedding anniversary celebration a few years ago ... they were married 53 years! What a testimony that is -- especially in today's society.  Special singing, special words and a special message followed.  After the graveside service, the family congregated at our home church for a wonderful luncheon provided by our awesome hometown friends.  We spent quite a bit of time chatting, eating and remembering.

Then, Grandad & I started our journey home as did my parents & sister.  On the 7 hour journey home, Grandad & I talked of memories of both our childhoods & memories of our families ... we talked of moving away & our own family growing ... we talked of our legacy that we will someday leave to our daughter & grandchildren as well as our family & friends:  

How are we developing our relationships now so that they will carry on 
throughout the future generations?  

Normally I do not like to talk about our time ending here on earth (yes, to be blunt -- death).  But one thing I certainly know is this --- my relationships (whether family, friends, acquaintances) will make a difference either for good or not. I was brought up in a family that valued our relationship with each other.  We didn't know what the terms "immediate family" and "extended family" meant ... matter of fact, I don't even remember hearing those phrases until Grandad & I moved away.  I always considered "my family" as everyone who lived in our little "holler" -- my parents & sister, my Granny, aunts, uncles, cousins.  

And they will always simply be "my family".

In an age where so many people look for instant gratification, I think they also think of relationships in terms of the instant gratification as well.  We cannot expect to have a close relationship with others if we are not willing to put our time & efforts into others.  That's the main reason that (when we moved so far away from home) we spent countless hours driving back & forth several times a year for several years to "go back home" to visit our families.  We would stay at Grandad's parents' house & then make trips from there to visit my family & more of his family.  We always had a "base" where we would stay, then branch out for family visits.  We cultivated our relationships.  For the past several years our traveling has slowed down tremendously, but we are still reaping the harvest of our cultivation.  

We can look at relationships like this ... we have a flower garden to plant.  So, we till the soil, dig the holes & plant the flower seeds. We cover the seeds & begin to water the soil ... the sun comes out & gives them warmth to help them grow ... we water some more ... the sun shines down brightly on our seeds.  We continue this process until we see the flowers blooming.  Some people may want to stop right here ... they don't continue the watering process ... they don't weed the flowers of unwanted weeds that start growing in the flowers.  They may say -- 

I'm too busy to keep watering & weeding while waiting on the sun to do its part in the growing process -- 
Why won't these flowers just do what I want them to do -- 
or simply ... 

I give up. 

What they're missing is this ... just like with any other gardening process, relationships take time to grow.  The cultivating process must be done many many times in order to see the harvest.  Flowers & vegetables don't grow from seedlings to blooms overnight ... and neither do relationships.  We can't expect a bouquet of flowers or a dinner table of fresh vegetables if we haven't sown the seeds & cultivated our plants to harvest ... so what makes us think we can bypass the cultivation process with our relationships?

On Saturday morning, February 23rd, when I received a text message from one of my cousins that our Uncle Larry had a massive stroke ... I cried.  The following days brought many phone calls & text messages throughout our family for updates on Uncle Larry ... sometimes good updates, sometimes not.  And although we were hours away, we were still there ... 

we had sown the seeds (or rather, the "family" seeds had already been sown for us), 
we spent time cultivating our relationships throughout the years 
and we were so thankful that we were able to make the 7 hour journey home to say our earthly goodbyes to Uncle Larry. 

And just like with many family members who have left this earth before us, we have so many good memories that we will carry through the days ahead til we meet up with him again one day. 

And our relationships will go with us throughout eternity ... 

From the late '70s

I always enjoyed having our family pictures made at holidays ... 

memories made for a lifetime


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

51 Reasons ...

March 9th is one of my all-time favorite days of the year.  
It became one of my favorites even before I came into this world.  
Because on March 9, 1962 ... 
my future husband made his grand entrance into the world.  

So, in honor of his birthday, here are 51 reasons why he is my heart-keeper ...
no certain order to the reasons ...
so, here goes ...

He is a man who loves God with all his heart

He loves me

He is a wonderful husband, Daddy, Grandad and father-in-law

He has always been a "hands-on" Daddy  & Grandad

He is dependable

He is a man of integrity

He is kind & compassionate to everyone

He is my calm in any & every storm

He has allowed God to shape him from the boy I married into the man he is today

He has a sense of humor & uses it quite often

He studies God Word & applies it to his life

He chose me to walk beside him in life

 He is a hard worker & provides for his family

He is a bottom-line guy -- what's the end result

He is ever so patient -- not only with me but with others who know him
(his employees tell me how patient he is even during his busy season)

He doesn't let little things get to him

He reminds me everyday that I'm beautiful in his eyes

He opens doors for me

He laughs & cries

He is hero to our grandchildren

He puts God first in his life

He has a smile that still melts my heart

He smiles with his eyes

He is trustworthy

He adjusts his work schedule to make time to be at home for our grandchildren

He asks me for my opinion

He is generous to God and to others

He encouraged me & supported me in going back to college after being out for 11 years

He tells me & shows me everyday that he loves me

Even if it's my mess-up, he always says that it's "our" mess up because 
"we're in this together"

He hugs & kisses me everyday

He is never too busy when I need to talk to him during the day

He never complains

He reminds me to play "The Glad Game" when I feel down

He is well-respected in our family, church, community, business community

His definition of "vacation" is taking our family to Disney World & going non-stop

He is reasonable ... doesn't think that it's his way or no way ... he listens to suggestions

He is WYSIWYG ... what you see is what you get ... he is the most non-pretentious person I've ever known

He still remembers our date-iversary ... Sept 24, 1983

He remembers our anniversary ... May 16, 1984 ... the date he eloped with me

He still makes me feel like a 19 yr old

He always consults me when we have decisions to make ... whether financial, home, business, or anything

He wants to spend time with me

He enjoys spending time & playing with our grandchildren

He is my hero

He writes songs for me

He has laugh-lines

He still holds my hand

He asked me out for a second date 
He comforts me when I'm down ... texts me throughout the day, calls me, emails me ... and holding me

He has called me "Sweetheart" for 29 years

These are ONLY 51 reasons why I love my husband & wish him a 
wonderfully Happy Birthday.  
I have been honored to share our past 29 birthdays with him ... 
and I look forward to sharing our upcoming 29 birthdays with him, too.

From the little boy to the man ...

I'm over-the-moon that he chose me to walk through life with ...
as his wife ...
as his girl ...
as his Sweetheart.



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Again, It's All About Relationships

I know I sound like a broken record (yeah, I'm showing my age) ... but this week I've been reminded just how important relationships are in our lives.  My Granny lived each day of her life (80 years) being the role model to everybody who knew her or knew of her.  One attribute of hers was how much she valued relationships.  She was one of the most well-respected people in our community ... she never was a stranger to anybody ... she loved people. 

I've written in the past on how my husband and I were determined to grow our family relationships even after we moved long distance from "home" with our little baby girl.  It was important to us that she knew her family even though we lived 7 hours away from them.  And these relationships have grown throughout the generations.  

This week has been a challenging week for all of our family.  My uncle (my Mother's only brother) had a massive stroke last Saturday morning (February 24th).  It's been touch & go with several other of his health problems.  My cousins & I have called each other & sent text messages multiple times a day ... they are keeping me along with my Mother & my sister informed of any changes for the good or bad.  Our hearts are with our family during this time ... especially my uncle. 

I've thought so much about family & relationships this week.  "Family" doesn't mean that everyone sees eye to eye all the time ... or that everyone is always soft-spoken to each other ... or that we keep track of whose turn it is to call or text or write ... "Family" doesn't keep score.  When I think of "family", I think of dependability -- knowing that in whatever situation I may be in, my family will be there for me ... no matter what.  I think of acceptance -- they may not always agree with my decisions or how I do things, but they can speak their mind to me and accept me for me.  I think of home -- although I may live several hours away from most of my family, they are always in my heart and always considered "home" to me.

I'm so thankful to God Almighty for giving me my family.  I know I've said it so much, but I really do believe I had a privileged childhood -- growing up with my Granny, aunts, uncles & cousins all around me.  We grew up with a different concept of what "immediate family" means.  I can't speak for everyone in my family, but to me "immediate family" means not only my husband, my daughter & her family, my parents, my sister & her family ... BUT ALSO my aunts, uncles & cousins.  And I'm so very thankful to still have the closeness with them although we are hours apart.  

Please keep my uncle in your prayers.  And my aunt and cousins as they process every doctors' assessment and all of their upcoming decisions concerning my uncle.  We followers of Jesus Christ know that Almighty God is always in control ... He is The Great Physician & our Comforter ... He is our Hope & Peace.

I truly love my family & the relationships we've nurtured throughout our years.  When it gets down to it, 
life isn't about "keeping score" ... 

it's all about relationships.

This picture was taken probably Christmas 1988 ... my parents (last 2 on right) and my aunts & uncles.   My Mother is standing in between her brother and my Daddy. My Mother's second oldest sister & husband are not in this picture. 

Relationships ... 

the thing life is made of.