Monday, June 19, 2017

Looking Back on Real Life Role Models

I cannot believe 2017 is half over already.  It's been a while since I've posted on my blog, so I revisited my
"mission statement" as well as my "six-word-memoir".
I began this blog when Lucy was a baby ... it was my intent to write her (and now including Tag along with future generations) some history & values from me.  I grew up in a rural community in West Virginia surrounded my family.  My Granny was the center of family life and I was blessed to have my aunts, uncles & cousins in our little corner of the world.
Several family not pictured at the time... and several are now Home in Heaven
My Granny was never a person who wanted or thrived for attention.  She went about her daily activities -- taking care of her family, gardening, housekeeping, caring for people in our community -- and never expected anything in return.
Granny was simply being where God needed her most.
My Granny ... love her always & miss her daily
Along with my Granny, my parents set the role model standard for hard work.  Before my sister came along (when I was almost 9 years old), my parents each worked 2 jobs in the nearest city (about 30 miles from home).  Nothing was taken for granted. And they never complained.
My Daddy taught me that when you make a commitment to something, you simply see it through... even when it was hard.  You never quit. And even when he was so tired from working so hard, he still found the energy to play with me & my cousins. Because kids grow up fast and only have one childhood.
My Mother taught me to that it is perfectly okay to stand up for what I believe in... not to be swayed by "the crowd".  You never make fun of anyone, but instead you stand up for the underdog... because you could possibly be the only voice they have.
My parents with granddaughters & greats
I will post later on what each of my aunts & uncles taught me just through them living their everyday lives.  Because that's how we learn, isn't it?  We can sit & listen to lecture after lecture of How to Live Life 101... but let's face it -- we live in real life. 
We observe real life.  We experience real life.  We model real life to our future generations.
So I'm asking myself this question ...
What will my future generations have to say about how I impacted their lives
 when they are my age?
Did I have a positive influence on them?
Did I show them through my actions how to love others & treat others as God has instructed?
Whether we admit it or not...
whether we like it or not...
whether we ever see it or not...
We are the role models for all the future generations coming after us.  We are either positive or negative role models -- but we are one or the other.
The choice is up to each of us.
My Granny never had to think about helping someone... whether family or friend or a stranger.  She simply did it.  My Granny never had to think about working in her garden or being there for a family member or friend who needed her.  She simply did it.  My Granny never held a grudge against anyone nor talked about anyone. And she was most likely the one who was such a positive role model to everyone who ever met her.
I have seen both my parents go out of their way to be positive role models to everyone around them.  They've put family needs before their own desires... they've worked hard to provide for their family... and they have shown unconditional love to all of us.
These 3 people in my life have been so much more than "blessings"...
they are the very foundation of who I am
and who I hope to be

How can we go about our daily lives knowing that we have a choice on what kind of role model we are to our future generations?

Monday, April 17, 2017

15 Seconds at Easter

Jacqueline & our grands came down on Saturday for Easter ... we did the Easter bunny pictures at Bass Pro Shop and then to our house for the Easter egg hunt.  And yes ... Lucy dove in to her Momma's hair for the "traditional" egg-in-the-hair-do (my Mother & aunts did the same thing when I was growing up and then with our daughter -- so the tradition continues!)

Then Sunday morning came ... Easter morning ... Resurrection Day was here! Jacqueline was fixing Lucy's hair upstairs for church while Dan & Tag worked on a Lego set at the kitchen counter.
And then... "Lucy breathe! Lucy breathe!!!"
All in a matter of 15 seconds, Lucy had passed out and stopped breathing. Dan ran upstairs while Tag wanted me to hold him. By the time Dan made it up to the girls, Lucy was sitting up. She had heard her Momma terrified & begging her to breathe. The on-call emergency doctor told Jacqueline that it sounded like Lucy had a spike in blood sugar earlier in the morning (afterall, we do have Easter candy & this has never happened before now)
and then a sudden plummet. So today will be calls her to regular pediatrician for more testing.

That 15 seconds (possibly even less than that) seemed like an eternity...
but God was already there -- in those moments.
He was Lucy's breath when she couldn't breathe
He was Jacqueline's strength when she had to act fast
He was our sustainer when we all felt helpless
Lucy was very sad that we did not get to church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus ...
but I truly believe that we saw a miracle from God Almighty in those
15 seconds

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Journey to Sunday

I saw this on the Facebook page of Women Living Well this afternoon.  If you don't already subscribe to it, I highly recommend it.
Courtney captions this photo...
Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday, on Saturday - things looked hopeless. But Sunday morning he rose from the dead - just as He said.
Maybe there is something in your life that looks dead - give God time! There is always hope with Jesus <3 span=""> !

I've often thought about this over the years during "Easter weekend"...
sometimes we just want to skip Good Friday and skip Saturday to jump straight to
Resurrection Sunday.
And while we certainly do look forward to the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
we simply cannot overlook Friday...
the day He died a criminal's death on the cross
the day God Almighty turned His back on His one & only Son
the day Jesus cried out to His Father why have you forsaken me
We cannot overlook Mary & the followers of Jesus who must have cried out to God Almighty to save their loved one. We simply cannot overlook Saturday...
the day of hopelessness for Mary & the followers of Jesus
the day of crying & reliving seeing Him cry out on the cross
the day of mourning & weeping
 We have to go through Good Friday through His death on the cross
and we have to go through our own "Saturdays"...
in order to get to Sunday.
So many of us are experiencing our own "Saturday"...
we weep and we cry out to the God of mercy...
and then one day, our weeping will indeed turn into joy once again.
And our own "Sunday" will always come through our risen Savior.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Going "Back Home"

I've been away from my hometown for over 30 years.  After Dan & I got married in May 1984, our moving adventure began.  Our first "out-of-town" move was about a couple of hours away to another small town (albeit bigger than my hometown)... then our next move brought us to a much larger city out-of-state & about 7 hours away from my hometown.

It seems like it was easier to make the visits back home when our daughter was younger. We'd make a few visits yearly to continue cultivating our family relationships.  Our "home base" was with Dan's parents who lived about 45 minutes from my family (my parents had moved away as well, so "family" is aunts, uncles, cousins).

As time passed by, visits have become fewer. We normally stay at a local hotel when we go "back home" mainly for funerals. It hasn't been intentional, but sometimes life just happens that way.  Our daughter & her family are about 2 hours north of us... my parents are less than 2 hours west of us as well as my sister & her family.

And yet, 
"back home" will always be "back home"

Dan & I met up with my parents "back home" last week for my Aunt Karen's funeral. My sister & her family came in as well.  Most of our family were there to remember & to lean on each other.  Aunt Karen was the youngest of Granny's kids and her "kids" were her nieces & nephews... her greats... and her great-greats... as well as every student she ever taught in school -- young people in her ministries -- family members of her friends -- and the list could go on.  Last week Aunt Karen brought some long-time friends who I haven't seen in over 30 years... neighbors, school & church friends, former teachers...

Aunt Karen's ministry was simply people.
If she knew of someone's need, she would either try to meet it herself... or she would rally her troops to meet the need together.  No matter if it was a food, shelter or clothing need... or an encouraging phone call, note, card, etc... or if she had an inkling that utilities needed to be paid, back-up provisions, etc...
or if she knew someone just simply needed a hug or a smile or a kind word.

Aunt Karen continued her ministry even after her strokes of 10 months ago.  At first it was through limited communication... and then no communication at all. But, I believe even at that point, she knew that God still needed her to continue her ministry to those around her.
Oh that I may be like Aunt Karen to minister to others around me.

Going "back home" these days for me may simply be logging on to Facebook to see what my hometown family & friends are up to...
it may be through private messages, texts, emails or phone calls...
however it may be... it reminds me that
"back home" will always be "back home"


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

on being the Parent

Most men will proclaim his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?
The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.
Proverbs 20:6-7

Last week we celebrated this man's birthday. Jacqueline & our grands had come down to our house for the kids' weekend activities.  Lucy had finished her evening dance classes and we were settling in for the celebration --
with a box full of donuts & their presents to "Daddy" & "Grandad".
Dan is parent ... and grandparent to these three kids.

Isn't it so mind-boggling how God can weave our own real-life situations to teach us something that perhaps we've overlooked... until now?

How do I begin my prayers?     Dear Heavenly Father...
If God is my Father, that makes me...?     A child of God
So, if God is the Father & I am His child...    God is my Parent

I know this is a basic principal... but I just "got it"

the thought of God as my PARENT

And God as parent is (should be... supposed to be) MY standard -- MY role model

afterall... we were made by Him & in His image

By no means do I measure up or compare myself to God Almighty. I am just a speck of dust...
but He is I AM

Here's a very short list of the characteristics I've focused on this week as God as my Parent...
He loves unconditionally... He is just...
He comforts... He listens... He is always with me

Did I mention that
He loves me (and you) unconditionally

God as Parent has never given up on His children
God as Parent always desires a relationship with His children
God as Parent shows His love for His children

I John 3:1
Behold what manner of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God!

I can never imagine God as my Parent turning His back on me.  There is nothing that I can do that would cause God to love me any less. But, I admit that I can sadden God my Parent. And in those times...
even in those times
God has never turned His back on me.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth,
nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.

I am so thankful that God gave to me the gift of my husband's birth--day.
I consider Dan as my most valuable gift of all-time.
He is well-respected & walks in his integrity...
and our future generations will certainly be blessed because of him.

Have a blessed week, my friends!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Backstory... The Living Years

This song... wow.  The message it sends to every single one of us.  Have you heard this song? It was released in December 1988 by Mike + The Mechanics (Mike Rutherford was formally a member of the music group Genesis).

This song has been on my radar for years. And I've been trying to find the words for a blog post about this song for a long time. So, please take a listen to this song as you read through my post.
Over the years I've seen & heard people comment on The Living Years as the message of
"we need to tell our parents how much we love them because one day it will be too late."
And that is so true. We have no idea how long we will have our parents -- or maybe some have already said their good-byes to their parents.
And I completely understand this aspect.
But I think there's another aspect of The Living Years that has not been focused on. So, here's a little backstory of this song written by Mike Rutherford. It's an excerpt from the summary on Amazon of his book titled
The Living Years ...

"Now Michael, you're the son of a naval officer, you must behave like a naval officer at all times..." What Captain William Rutherford told his seven-year-old son Michael was to stay with him all his life. Born in 1950, Michael was truly his father's son, even serving in the naval section of the student cadet corps at one of England's top public schools, Charterhouse. Mike's future lay in the civil service: it was a subject that he discussed with his father at Captain Crawford's gentlemen's club. But then something happened. Mike discovered rock music. As one of the founder members of Genesis, Mike was to tour the world and achieve international fame....
 Mike would go on to crisscross the globe with bandmates Peter Gabriel and, later, Phil Collins, playing to packed-out stadiums and achieving record sales of over 150 million... 
But, in the background - and sometimes in the audience -
there was also the loyal Captain Rutherford, earplugs at the ready, Melody Maker in hand.
 A proud father still. 
 ... But this is not just another rock'n'roll memoir. This is also a book about
two men whose lives and complex relationship reflect the seismic social and cultural shifts that took place during the twentieth century. A book for every father and son.

There's an aspect of this song that I've never really seen anyone address...

Captain William Francis Henry Crawford Rutherford
(Mike's father)
I still don't understand why he decided to support me after all he'd spent on my education, but he did – he even put up some more money so we could buy equipment and then persuaded Pete and Tony's fathers to do the same. And when Phil Collins joined the band as our drummer in 1970 my parents let us stay at their house in Farnham while we rehearsed.

Did you read it... did you catch it... did you see it?
That one aspect that is overlooked...
I don't understand why he decided to support me... but he did.

and if you don't give up
and don't give in
you may just be okay

Yes, this song was written by a man who didn't tell his father (before he died) that he loved him... but I kind of get the impression that his father knew that his son loved him.
This song can speak as much truth and life into parents as it does into their adult children.
You see, my question is this...
what would have happened to the father-son relationship if Captain Rutherford had written his son off when Mike followed his own career path?
But he didn't.
Instead, Captain Rutherford supported his son and his choice of career.

And that's what relationships are all about.

Captain Rutherford had a choice --
to either support his son in the career path that his son chose for himself
to instill tension in the relationship with his son because of his son's career choice

So maybe the next time you hear this song...
just listen to it.
We may not see eye to eye with someone...
but maybe we can simply listen

(we all) can listen as well as (we) hear

I want my future generations to see me as a listener. 
 If I'm a listener, then I'm a learner. 
If I'm a learner, then I have listened well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Honor of Veterans Day

I am quite late in my posting for Veterans Day 2016 ...
a day set aside those who serve our wonderful country in our great military.

I personally love reading of President Woodrow Wilson (in 1919) who set aside
November 11 as Armistice Day as our country was healing from The Great War
(later referred to as World War I)...
and then in 1954 (as our great country was again healing from World War II),
President Dwight Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation to honor those who not only served our country in The Great War, but also those who served to protect our Constitution in World War II.

 What a blessing and honor and privilege it is to live in our wonderful country...
never to be taken for granted.
Veterans Day 2016 was an honor for our daughter's family...
they were invited to sit on the platform at Arlington National Cemetery for the
Veterans Day Ceremony.
What an honor! So (like any proud Momma would do), I recorded C-SPAN as I watched to see if I could catch a glimpse of our kids (I know, such a long-shot)...

but I did ...

Our daughter with her "Jackie-O" style dress and sunglasses...
hand over her heart as she sets the example of her respect for our great country.
Words cannot describe how proud I was to see her at that moment --
tears flowed rapidly down my face.

And if you look closely in the right-hand corner behind the C-SPAN logo ... that's our Tag! And the dark shadow close to Tag's head ... that's our son-in-law Michael.
Lucy was actually sitting on the other side of their friend in the tan coat. 
(As an aside, their friend is on staff with a non-profit that does amazing work for wounded warrior families!)

I'll share another amazing God-filled Veterans Day story with you later ...
but suffice it to say ...

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you ...

Romans 8:28
And we know all things work for the good of those who love God and
are called to His purpose

Life changes with every second that goes by ...
2017 is Granny's year to live my moments


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 ... Intentional

I've been looking back on 2016 with some self-admitted guilt.  You know, the guilt of not...
not losing the weight that I had promised myself
not writing more on my blog
not completing my house painting
not tapping into my creativity
not cutting down on my caffeine (consumed solely in soft-drink)
not ________________
not _____________
not ____
well, you get the picture... don't you???

So now we've closed the year of 2016 and I look ahead to this new year of 2017.  I've really never been a person to make a resolution for a new year...
I've broken tons more than I've kept ... and have simply forgotten more within the first few weeks of any new year than I could ever remember for the entire year.
So now I'm looking ahead at 2017 not with a resolution but rather with a focus.  Sometimes it's so easy to move through the motions of each day. We all can get so caught up in our daily routines, that sometimes we (I actually refer to myself) allow the days to slip by us.  I am so very much guilty of this!
 Hence my endeavor to live daily in being


To those who already live everyday life by being intentional, I applaud you -- you are truly my heroes! 
I am learning.
I know that being intentional will take diligence --  discipline -- determination

But --- (through God's grace)
I'm up for the challenge!

Dan & I have had some eye-opening conversations over the past few weeks as to how we as a couple will be intentional together in this new year.

We will be intentional on what we feed our bodies as well as feeding our minds. 
We will be intentional on how we spend the finances that God has trusted to us.
We will be intentional on what we do with our time (relationships, work, recreation).
We will be intentional with how we spend our time together.

I'm looking forward to see what God has in store for me (Dan & our family) in 2017.
I will post some personal updates on our family in the next day or so ... it's been a very busy time in our household since I last posted!

Until I post again ...

~~ May God continue to shine His light on each of you and your family ~~

(The photos on this post are ones I have found online.  Ann Voskamp & inCourage are 2 of my favorite women's ministry connections)