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.