I was raised in a Baptist church and the Fourth of July was a big part of my faith. It was a time to celebrate the lives of those who died to buy our freedom and the ultimate sacrifice; God's death on Calvary that would redeem not just a country but the world. I loved singing the patriotic songs and as I got older I began to claim The Battle Hymn Of the Republic as my favorite.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I was raised in a Baptist church and the Fourth of July was a big part of my faith. It was a time to celebrate the lives of those who died to buy our freedom and the ultimate sacrifice; God's death on Calvary that would redeem not just a country but the world. I loved singing the patriotic songs and as I got older I began to claim The Battle Hymn Of the Republic as my favorite.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
How will you be remembered when it is time for someone to deliver your eulogy or write up your obituary? Will there be enough goodness in your life that people will be able to speak highly of you or will people be at a loss for words? Will you find favor in the sight of the Lord when you stand before Him?
Every morning on the way to work I say a little prayer. I remember all my friends and family that are going thru difficult times, bad health, financial woes, etc. I seek the Lord's forgiveness for sins I may have committed, people I may have offended, and I ask the Lord to bring someone into my life that I might witness to. I ask God to fill my words with love and kindness and to give me more love and compassion to those who need it. I am usually a friend to the outcast or the underdog because everyone needs someone.
I am a very educated person and most introduce me as that smart girl. But I tell people that is not what I want my legacy to be. I want people to know how much I loved the Lord and how I tried to further the kingdom. I want people to know how I have cried a river of tears because I felt helpless to do anything else. I want them to know how much I loved music and how it was a part of me thru singing and dancing. I want them to remember the many cards and letters I sent out with the hopes of encouraging others. Or how I allowed a life filled with adversity to bring glory to the Lord because I knew that in the end it would be worth it all.
How will you be remembered? Are you going to be remembered by the local tavern owner who knew you came in every night and got wasted? Are you going to be remembered by family who knew how badly you beat them, mistreated them, and caused them to suffer? Will you be remembered as a dishonest business person, a person who acquired social status, money or fame at the expense of others? What will people have to say about you when you're gone?
Will you be remembered for your acts of charity? Will you be remembered as the one who took in the poor and broken-hearted? Will you be remembered as the person who made a difference in someone's life when they had no reason to live?
I hope that friends and family remember me for the fun and laughter I brought to most occasions. I hope they remember me for my love of singing. Music seemed to be in every fiber of my being and I shared that music with them. I want to be remembered as the girl who had every reason to quit but didn't because she still knew the Lord had a purpose for her.
When I die I would love to have the words of Erma Bombeck written on my epitaph:
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me."So, if you can't take it with you when you go what will be your legacy when you leave this world? What will you leave behind?
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
You haven't been blessed until you've spent an evening with Bill and Gloria Gaither and their homecoming friends or take a journey back in time and listen to some old Chuckwagon Gang, Imperials and Cathedrals. I guess southern gospel has its roots in country or bluegrass. I'm not sure where it originated from but praise God, I'm so glad I found it!
Today I have been listening to a new CD produced by the Gaither Gospel Series (GGS), a tribute to Howard and Vestal Goodman. I miss the saints of old. I cried when Rex Nelon, Glen Payne, George Yonce, and the Goodmans died but I know that they are now singing in the heavenly choir and there's a seat reserved for me too! When Rex Nelon passed away I felt like I lost my grandfather. I can't wait to see all these people when I get to Heaven. We will be singing with the saints!!
Music can be very therapeutic. I have seen it reach the lost, the desperate, the grieving, and the lonely. Music has no respect of persons. It can transcend race, nationality, religious creed, socioeconomic status, etc. It reaches to the uttermost parts of the world. Music can resound from the lofty courts of Heaven or erupt from the flaming pits of Hell.
What does music do for you? Does your music encourage you to tell others about the Savior? Does your music encourage you to reach out and help your fellow brethren? Does it encourage you to forgive, do right, etc.? Or does your music encourage you to follow the ways of the world and succomb to the things that will destroy you? Ephesians 5:19: "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (KJV)
I hope that when people are around me they can tell I love the Lord. I hope they can witness it in my actions, in my words and even in the lyrics of my music. It is my prayer that I can honor I Corinthians 10:31: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. " (KJV).
A little bit about myself: My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July and my favorite song is the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I am listening to a CD right now that I made in 2007 with a collection of my favorite patriotic songs. My favorite hymns are: Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art and my favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night and I think Martina McBride has the best version I have ever heard.
When I die I want the congregation or vocalists to perform the following at my funeral: Another Soldier's Coming Home (Janet Paschal), Look For Me (Tanya Goodman Sykes), Now That You Know (Karen Peck and New River), Celebrate Me Home (The Perrys) and Christians Never Say Goodbye (The Nelons) and I want the congregation to sing What a Day That Will Be (traditional hymn) and My Saviour First Of All (traditional hymn). Friends and family, please remember this or I may come back and haunt you!! I told my preacher's wife that they will need to play a cd with all of my favorite "going home" songs in the church 30 minutes before my funeral because I want people to hear the music that encouraged me while I was living and I want them to know that "there's no place like home when you are sheltered in the arms of your loving Heavenly Father."
When the Lord puts a song in your heart don't leave it there. Share it with others so that they too can receive a blessing. If you can't sing praise the Lord anyway. After all, He just ask that you make a joyful noise, right. I guess noise is the keyword here.
As long as there is time and one breath left in me. There will always be one more song for you. As long as there is room for one more voice in praise and a need for a word of love and truth to help my brother thru. There'll be one more song for you.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Can you rejoice in times of sadness, sorrow, illness, and financial loss? Yes, you can if you trust in the God of the impossible. God hasn’t promised us a bed of roses or sunshine without rain. God never promised us that hearts wouldn’t be broken, that children wouldn’t rebel, that fathers wouldn’t leave, marriages wouldn’t end or success wouldn’t turn to failure. God only promised to be there no matter what. God promised that He would never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5&6).
Last Friday I found out that my best friend’s brother had passed away. We knew this was coming because he had been sick for some time and hospice was called in right before Easter. But did that make it any easier to say good-bye? No. What made it easier was the peace of God and knowing that Hugh was now in the presence of our Lord.
I immediately went to my friend’s side when I heard of her loss. I spent much time with her family before finally meeting up with her. Debbie asked me if I would stay the weekend with her and the family to help get her through all the coming events and I was more than willing to be there.
Our Memorial Day weekend wasn’t what we thought it was going to be but it was more than we expected. Hugh passed away on my Daddy’s birthday so I will remember that each year and he was buried on “Cousin” Lee’s birthday so we will remember that too.
My role this weekend was to comfort the grieving. How did I do that? Well, I was there for Debbie as much as I could be. I allowed her to cry on my shoulder as we reminisced about the many beautiful memories she had of her brother. I sat up with her every evening as we contemplated what the next day would behold for her and the family. I took pictures, shared stories, entertained children and reminded them all that Hugh was where we all wanted to be.
When we get a glimpse of Heaven we long to go there. Would you dare ask the Lord to send that special person back when you know how beautiful Heaven must be? I would not.
I love knowing that Hugh is now in a more peaceful place. He is no longer suffering because the Lord has made him whole. He is no longer in pain because the Lord has given him a glorified body that can walk the streets of gold, sit beside the crystal waters and envision of a picture of loveliness. Yes, Hugh is now living a reality that our mind can only dream of. And he is beholding the face of our Savior and all things have become new to him.
Don’t be angry with God when He calls another loved one home. He loans His precious children to those on Earth and has a plan for each and every one of them. Someday you will take that final journey and you will cross over Jordan. You shall be reunited with all your friends and loved ones and you shall behold the face of God and you will look into His nail-scarred hands as He welcomes you with open arms. And in that final embrace you shall hear him say, “Welcome home my child. The journey was long and sometimes weary. You can now lay down your sword and shield and you can rest in me for all eternity.”
When you are sad and lonely and the tears begin to fall just remember that Jesus does care. Tears are a language God understands. He can comfort you in a way that no mortal man can. Take it to the Lord in prayer and know that He is working things out for the best for you.
Remember the words from the Crabb Family in I Sure Miss You.
If life could only bring again, the days I took for granted when
To hear your voice was just a call away
Oh what I'd give for just some time, to say the things that slipped my mind
There's so much now I'd really like to say
But I can never go back when we did the things we did back then
I'll store those precious memories in my mind
I'll take what you've instilled in me;
I'll try to be all I can be
And walk the path that you have left behind
I sure miss you; my life will never be the same with you not here
Each passing day has brought much pain
But with God's grace my strength remains
I sure miss you, but heaven's sweeter with you there
The little things that seemed so small, like gold in a memory vault
I cherish every one I have of you
Now I can see and recognize the part you played to shape my life
I often see you in the things I do
In God's design and master plan He saw the hurting hearts of man
As we would say goodbye to those so dear
So with our family and friends we'll be together once again
We'll view all Heaven's splendor hand in hand
In preparation for the funeral the family was asked to write down some memories of their son and brother. While I was speaking with Debbie we began to reminisce about one really fond memory I had of her brother. I'm guessing that no one ever knew this story except for Debbie.
Her parents were going on a vacation and asked her to pick the vegetables from the garden. She invited me to spend the week with her to help her out. I didn't hesitate to say yes because she is my best friend and that just meant another opportunity for me to visit with her. Well, one day we were in the garden and Hugh came down to help. We began working in the field and at some point I realized that Debbie wanted to have a private talk with her brother so I wandered off on my own little adventure. It's a big deal for a city girl to be in the country so I was exploring every plant, bug, etc.
Well, it was then I noticed it. A blade of grass was moving about but it wasn't the wind blowing it. There were two grasshoppers on top of each other! Yes, they were making out and I'm not sure why but this really got the best of me. I pulled the grass out of the ground and these grasshoppers just kept doing the deed. I took it to Debbie and Hugh and they both burst out laughing when they realized "why" I was showing them these two grasshoppers. Hugh was beside himself in tears and wanted me to keep the grasshoppers. So he went into Papa's storage building and got me an empty mason jar. We put the grasshoppers with some extra grass into the jar and Hugh sealed it and poked holes in the lid. We resumed working in the field and every once in a while we would go back to the jar to check on the grasshoppers. They were still going at it and I'll never forget Hugh saying, "They are either having fun or they are stuck!" We laughed until we were crying.
The other night Debbie and I were reminiscing and we both remembered that day. To anyone else it may not have been that significant but to us it became a precious memory.
Thank you to all my friends and loved ones who prayed for Debbie and her family. I know there will be many more difficult days ahead but they will not be alone. God will be with them every step of the way and after the rain the sunshine will peak thru the clouds and we will know there are brighter days ahead. God is and has always been in control!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I am one of the millions that stand today and are counted for. I am one that can stand and say, “I am an incest survivor. I was a victim of physical, sexual and verbal abuse.” But that’s not what I choose to do. I don’t put my story out there that often because my story is history. It’s something in my past but that I do deal with on a regular basis.
I developed anorexia nervosa as a way of dealing with the abuse. My goal wasn’t to become thin because everyone knew I was already a small person. My goal was to disappear into oblivion so that my abusers couldn’t hurt me anymore. Would they really find sexual gratification in a body that looked like a child? Would they want to hurt someone who was as innocent as a newborn baby? The answer was yes to both of those questions but it didn’t keep me from trying to protect myself.
Once I disclosed the incest I began receiving help. I went through eight years of intense therapy. I was hospitalized for the anorexia on four different occasions and each time I survived my visit to death’s door I kept realizing there was a greater purpose for me. So, was it good that I was a victim of incest or abuse? No, but it gave me a greater awareness about the issue at hand. I now have a greater compassion for people who have been abused. I am sensitive to the needs of others who are victims and I pray for them and yes, I pray that perpetrators might get help and stop the abuse.
Why am I writing today? I saw an article about Seal and he was talking about his scars and why he is glad to have them. Scars are a reminder of a battle you may have been in but they also serve to remind people that you survived. They say physical wounds can heal in time but the emotional ones linger. I don’t have any physical scars from the abuse that I endured for 18 years. They are all mental scars that remain in my memory. But when you see my lack of faith in people you see the repercussions of a girl who was abused by people who professed to love me.
I have been a friend with Marilyn VanDerbur Atler. She was crowned Miss America in 1958 and went public in the 90s about having been a victim of incest by a father who was a millionaire; possibly the wealthiest man in Colorado at that time. She is now a child abuse advocate and has opened many child advocacy centers across the U.S. as well as published her story Miss America By Day. Mrs. Atler says not to keep abuse a secret. By keeping it a secret you only serve to protect the abuser. Your cloak of silence only harms you daily as you struggle with something greater than you. You can read about her and her work at http://www.missamericabyday.com/
Take the time to reach out to someone who has been hurting. You may not know what to say but sometimes they just need a safe haven and someone who will listen to them. You might be the shoulder someone needs to cry on. You might be the one who wipes away their tears, gets them professional help or gets them out of an abusive home or relationship if they are still in it. Pay attention and don’t ignore the signs. Many abused people; especially children die at the hands of their abusers because everyone believes that if you ignore it it will go away. You just may be that person’s beacon of hope in a dark world. You may be the one that makes a difference in their life. I am here today because my youth directors believed me when I disclosed the abuse and they did everything they could to get me help and keep me safe.
In 1988 a little 9-year-old girl went public with a song about child abuse after she heard that a little girl had been killed. Sharon Batts decided to write a letter to the president to ask him to help her stop child abuse but she then realized that this problem was greater than anything the president would be able to handle so she penned her letter to the greatest authority known to man. She wrote her song to God. You can visit the following site to listen to the song, Dear Mr. Jesus, and see a video http://tinyurl.com/c4m6sc . This song transcended all genres. It was being played on the pop and country stations as well as the gospel ones. Sharon Batts released some CDs with a group called PowerSource. I have those cassettes and my family knew the significance of that song in my life.
Martina McBride also did a song called Concrete Angel and Jason Michael Carroll also did a song called Alissa Lies. All are heartwrenching songs about children who lost their lives at the hand of an abuser. It is my prayer that we can put a stop to this unspeakable crime against our children. Don’t allow another grave marker to be a reminder of a life we could have saved.
I am an advocate for child abuse awareness, prevention and intervention. I stay abreast of the issue thru professional books, periodicals and websites. My favorite site is http://www.childhelpusa.org/ and the following is a blurb from their site:
Four children die every day in the United States from child abuse; the equivalent of a Boeing 727 filled with kids, crashing each month; or a school bus full of children crashing every 18 days. Fortunately, for almost fifty years, Childhelp®, a leading national nonprofit, has been leading the charge against child abuse. Childhelp® is dedicated to meeting the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children and was instrumental in designating April as National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.
The founders of this organization are also the subjects of a Lifetime movie For the Love Of A Child. To get more information on ChildHelp you can go to their site or call 1-800-4-A-Child.
“A little speck of hope never goes down to zero no matter how many times it is divided in half.” ~Author Unknown
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I began wondering what might be inside the walls. Was there a mouse in the house and if so, was it doing some major damage inside the walls? The more I thought about it the more worked up I got. Then last Sunday as I was stepping out of the tub I heard movement again but this time it sounded as if it was coming from above. I looked up just in time to see what I thought was a wing come thru the air vent. Thus, began the bird in the air vent saga. Was I relieved? No! Because now I began pondering how that thing got in the air vent and how it was going to get out. Okay, if it got stuck then it would probably die in the vent and then stink up my house as it was decomposing. Was I thinking too deeply now?
I got to work on Monday and began talking about what I thought was causing all my grief. My coworkers weren’t helping as they gave their personal opinions of what might be up there. Some said a small bird, a raccoon, and a squirrel and with each new suggestion I got more and more worried. Tuesday evening I noticed that the critter seemed to come to life when I would turn the lights on. I also noticed what I thought was tiny wings on the floor. I put them in a little pill-size Ziploc bag and brought them to work with me. I approached a male colleague who likes to hunt and asked him if he would mind coming out to check things out and he said yes.
I planned the whole rescue. I would shut all the doors so that if it were a bird it would be contained in my bedroom. I would remove the screen from one window and we would shoo it to the great outdoors. I even had an empty box so that if there was a nest it could fall from the air vent into the box and we would relocate the nest to a tree.
Brad got up to the air vent and turned on a light and told me that there was a huge spider in the vent. What! He turned a light on and showed me what appeared to be fangs. Well, you may have well have gotten the smelling salt ready because I was ready to pass out. Then the critter started moving again and he said, “Nope, it’s not a spider it’s a big bumble bee and he showed me the head.” That would explain where the tiny wings came from. I got a knife and Brad cut the head off. He tried to remove the vent cap but it was very secure and we worried that he might break it in removing it. I sprayed bug spray up toward the air vent and turned the vent on. We were pretty confident that there wasn’t a nest because while the vent was running Brad held a piece of toilet paper up to it and the air sucked it up. Thus, there were no airways being blocked.
Brad suggested the following as to “how” the bee may have gotten in. He said they come out in warm weather and get disoriented with cold weather. Our weather has been going to extremes so the bee probably thought it was springtime but then when the sunset it was very cold. Brad believes the bee may have flown into the air vent and got disoriented. Then I turned the blower on and the blades probably chopped some the wings off. The thumping noise was probably the bee trying to fly but it was hovering between the air vent and the blower blades. Once I turned the vent on and left it running for about 45 minutes I opened the flap and IF the bee could get above the blades it could get out the vent.
I am glad to say that I haven’t heard any more strange noises coming from the air vent and I haven’t discovered any more wings. I’m also glad that it wasn’t a spider or bird. Thanks to all my friends at Viewpoints and Twitter who kept me sane during this ordeal. This story, however, only has a happy ending for me because there is one less bee in the world today. They say every story has an ending and every ending is a beginning.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Like so many around the world I was in shock when I heard about the accident. She was on a bunny slope. She fell down a slope that millions of children have probably fallen down. Was she being stupid or foolish? No! Was it lack of common sense that she didn't have a helmet on? I don't think so--I have never seen anyone wearing a helmet at a ski resort. I fell down a beginner slope and got separated from my youth group for several hours and vowed I would never ski again. It was just a sad and unfortunate event.
I had a gut wrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach that she wasn't going to make it. I cried when I read Liz Smith's column Tuesday that she was brain dead and I cried again last night when I heard Joan Rivers declare on CNN that she was only kept on life support so that her boys could see her alive to bid their farewells.
I probably never really knew who Natasha Richardson was until I watched the 1998 remake of Parent Trap. I loved her personality--she was young and vibrant. She was beautiful and her role as Lindsay Lohan's mother just came natural to her. I think she would have played the role perfectly even if there wasn't a script. I think it could have been given to her hands down without an audition. Richardson was someone who loved people and life. I loved watching her act and she will be greatly missed.
The media has declared this a freak accident. The autopsy revealed it was an accident sustained by serious injury to the brain upon impact. But what the world calls an accident the Lord declares to be part of His plan. With God there are no mistakes. It wasn't a mistake that she got on that bunny slope and fell. It wasn't a mistake that she sustained an injury. It was part of a bigger plan. I know many are asking, "why?" Why now? Why her? Why did it have to end this way?
As a Christian I have learned that there are many questions that I will never know the answers to. That is, until I meet the Lord. I can't always understand God's ways--His ways supercede my greatest expectations. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to the trials and tragedies that mankind experiences but be patient and wait upon the Lord. He makes all things beautiful in His time.
To the family I would say cherish the memories you have of a fun, multi-talented and loving daughter (Vanessa Redgrave), sister (Joely Richardson), niece (Lynn Redgrave), wife (Liam) and mother (Michael and Daniel). To the boys just remember this: You lived under her heart for 9 months and now she shall forever live within yours. Gone but not forgotten--she shall be remembered. YOU, the family may be her greatest legacy.
Don't begrudge the Lord for welcoming another angel home. Don't try to live in the past because you can't revisit it and don't be angry about a future that never happened. Enjoy today. You have this moment to make a difference, to dance in the rain, to blow bubbles in the wind, to make snow angels, to throw caution to the wind and have the adventure of a lifetime. I believe that is how Natasha Richardson would want it.
Weep for her today because you miss her and are grieving but as the tears fall and the nights get cold and lonely turn your face toward Heaven. Natasha was a star here on earth--she reigned in Hollywood and Broadway. Now she is a star in the greatest story ever known to man. An Eskimo legend declares this:
Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.Let the Lord comfort you in a way no mortal man can. He cares for you. Tears are a language God understands and when answers aren't enough there is Jesus.
In closing I would like to share a poem that I heard on an episode of Little House On the Prairie:
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and I know I will shed more tears in the days to come but my refuge is in the Lord--praise God the Comforter has come! To the Lord we just say thanks for sharing this special person with us for 45 years.
Remember me with smiles and laughter. For that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears. Then don't remember me at all.
To my family, friends and fellow bloggers. Don't let a day go by without telling someone how much you love and appreciate them. It might be the last opportunity. Tomorrow may never come. Take care and God bless.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I have precious memories of my childhood when I would play with dolls with my younger sister and friends. There were times when I was playing with matchbox cars or having great adventures in the forests behind my home with my brothers and other children in the neighborhood. As I got older it seeemd I had to put away the childish things but childhood keeps calling.
If you will slow down and take time to enjoy life you will have a moment to release the inner child. I do not have children of my own although I hope and pray that it is in God's plan for me to be a mother some day. But until then I will be thankful that He has given me beautiful niece and nephews and friends with beautiful children as well. A day with any of them will take you into another world and you will forget about all the burdens that weigh you down.
Recently I have been spending a lot of time at my best friend's house. She has children who are my age and between her two daughters she has four grandchildren ranging from 9 months to 10 years. She has three grandsons and one granddaughter. Halie and Gavin are in the picture with me. Halie is five and my little Miss Lovebug. When I am around Halie it is as if the world has stopped turning and you are in a playroom and don't have any cares to beset you. Gavin will be three on St. Patrick's Day and he is my "Mister Blue eyes."
The other weekend Halie wanted to stay at her Nana's so that she could have a sleepover with "Aunt Gigi." This sleepover literally meant sleeping with me on the sleeper sofa. So, how do you have a sleepover with a child? Easy--you follow the child's cues and you play along with her and in the end you have both made precious memories.
I have been babysitting Halie and her older brother Hunter since she was born. I have played with them so much through the years that sometimes I don't think they realize I am an adult. I think they see me as a playmate.
I taught Hunter how to play Candyland and Chutes and Ladders so I thought it fitting to teach Halie. So, I took the games to her Nana's and we set out to play games that would enhance her counting skills and color recognition. At this time, Gavin (3) has joined us so I am diligently teaching him how to recognize colors in Candyland. Later we were in the playroom playing with dolls and in the kitchen. We were serving up pizza and cake, making funny egg sandwiches and spilling tea and coffee everywhere. We were watching The Wizard Of Oz and later we watched Space Buddies.
We leave the playroom and it's off to the foyer to build a fort. Nana gives us sheets for the roof and we take them from a sofa in the entry room to the dining room table. Then we use a large comforter so that we can have "carpet." We crawl into the fort; which by then can accommodate about four or five people comfortably and I begin reading The True Story Of the Three Little Pigs. Halie and Gavin love this story and want me to read it again and again. We pretend like there are ants in the house and we must get rid of them. We pretend like we are being invaded by aliens and we must protect our fort and then we pretend like the fort has turned into a castle and we are princesses waiting to be rescued by Prince Charming. Our adventures just take many twists and turns throughout the evening. The other adults leave us to our playtime because it gives them a chance to visit and they know that the children are having fun and so is "Aunt Gigi."
Later into the evening it is time to give the children their baths. When at Nana's they insist on taking baths there and if I am there they usually insist that I bathe them. Okay, let's go gather up the bathtime toys and get some bubbles going. Halie and Gavin have the time of their life and then the hugs and kisses and goodnights are said and everyone but Halie leaves. She knows she is having a sleepover with Nana and "Aunt Gigi."
We pull out the sleeper sofa and get our selection of movies together. Halie wants to watch Mamma Mia and then Celtic Thunder. Into the last 20 minutes of the final movie Halie falls asleep on my chest. She is snoring loudly and I think to myself: "This was the end of a beautiful day and she will know that another sweet memory was made."
Don't let being a grown-up rob you of having fun. If you have children get out there and play with them. Establish family game nights, interact with your little girl as she plays dress up, plays with Barbies and/or dolls, or in the kitchen. Engage in your son's activities as he plays with soldiers and trucks. Get outside and play ball with your children. Go bike riding with them or get the waterguns out and play until everyone is soaked. Pull the coloring books and crayons out and sit at the dining room table for a while. Put a favorite movie in and pop some popcorn and spend some time with your children. They aren't going to stay little forever!
This is dedicated to my niece and nephews (Jonathan, Marcus, Katherine and Elijah) who are still having fun. This is also dedicated to all the other children in my life who give me an opportunity to have fun and to laugh until my stomach hurts. And this is dedicated to all the parents out there who entrust their children to me.
At the end of the day you have that great sense of having made a difference in a child's life. There is no greater joy than to have a child jump into your arms and hug and kiss you and want to know if you want to play with them. Don't put it off until tomorrow because for many, tomorrow may never come.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
As a child I didn't have the privilege of taking many bubble baths because my mother had the concern about little girls getting vaginal infections from the scented bubbles. However, a first grade teacher gave me a bubble bath package and I was allowed to enjoy them occasionally. As I got older I really began to pamper myself.
This is posted to all of my girlfriends who also love the fancy-schmancy bath stuff. Kaylen, Meri, and my little buddies Lizzie and Halie. For a young lady the experience of a bubble bath can still be just as pleasant and enjoyable as when you were a child. The only difference: Our products may be more lavish and expensive. Okay, so they don't come in cute cartoon character bottles with removable heads but the bubble bath is all the same--a very relaxing experience.
I get the bath water running while I am running around doing other things. I have a garden tub in my master bath so it takes a while to fill up. I pour not one but two capfuls of bubbles into my water and I swish it around some to make sure the bubbles are rising. If they don't look ample enough then I add another capful. I get a CD and program the songs that I want to hear into the stereo and put the selections on repeat mode. Yes, I plan on being in the tub for a while!
I step into a tub full of very warm water and I slide effortlessly from back to front. Remember as a child you slid all the way under the water and you came up with bubbles from head to toes? Well, I go all the way down until my hair touches the water. I sit and take it all in. A bubble bath is an exhilarating experience. If you use the right products it will awaken your senses. You take in the wonderful aromas and you feel as if something is breathing new life into you. I just sit and take it all in. Sometimes I will prop myself up on one those tub pillows and I will read a book. I wiggle my toes to the beat of the music and I begin to ponder the rest of my day. But nothing will rob me of this moment--this time of peace and tranquility. This is my time to relax and reflect.
Back to my bubbles...I cannot afford to go to a spa and let someone pamper me. And even if I could I wouldn't because other than letting someone play with my hair I cannot stand for people to touch me; especially strangers. I love to soak in bubbles and wash my hair and shave my legs and just do it at a snail's pace. I use the more extravagant bubble baths from Bath and Body Works--love the Twilight Woods and I will get the fancier products from department stores. But every once in a while the lady in me taps into the child within and you got it--that inner child wants to take a stroll down memory lane. So, I pull out the Mr. Bubbles or the Barbie bubbles that smell so delicious. I have those items in my linen closet for the younger guests but hey, when the child within wants Mr. Bubbles, she gets Mr. Bubbles!
It's not what you use or how much time you take. The fact is that you are allowing yourself some time alone. A chance to regroup from a hectic week. A time to prepare for a very busy day or weekend. If you don't take that time then who is going to give it to you?
"We don't quit playing because we grow old. We grow old because we quit playing."
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The Anchor holds, though the ship is battered.
Monday, February 2, 2009
My Sweet Adonai
(August 25, 1969 to January 24, 1989)
It’s been four days since that fateful night and yet I still remember it like it was yesterday. I guess to me it always will be.
Tears poured down as if they desperately needed to rid themselves of all moisture. If I could release them all then the memory might not linger. If the dark clouds of sadness could disappear then maybe my despair would too. Maybe I could disappear into oblivion too. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I have no desire to be with people. I want to be with John.
Tonight like that night I pray my world will end or at least the guilt will go away and then I can live and laugh again. To me that “end” seemed to come anyway. I lost the ability to love and to be loved. I lost the ability to trust in humanity as it was ripped away from me and no one could restore the broken pieces.
She didn’t see the stop sign and he (the other driver) didn’t see us. Our car was spinning out of control but there was no time to react. In a moment life as we knew it had ended. He never had a chance to grow up and we never had another chance to say, “I love you.”
My sweet Adonai, gone at 19. My cheers for a soccer champ were silenced and replaced with tears, heavy and wet. Do they have soccer fields in Heaven? Maybe you kicked that final ball through Heaven’s portals. I shall lay my pompoms down at your grave and think they are more beautiful than a bouquet of roses. You will know I am with you when you look down and see them. A pompom that’s not waving is like a heart that’s not beating.
We were too young to experience life on our own. A marriage we dreamed of was only that—a dream. Now I was in a nightmare and he had been called into eternity. How can he be rejoicing around God’s throne when my heart is aching so badly?
We wanted to be together one last time. Just a quick trip to Burger King. They’ll never know we left the campus together. Now the whole world knows because death cannot be kept a secret.
“Ma’am you need to let go of his hand—we need to get him to an ambulance.”
“No, I can’t leave him! He needs me! Please!”
“She’s bleeding. Where is she bleeding from?”
“I’m not hurt—I’m just shaken up. Where is this blood coming from?”
Riding in a police car on the way to the hospital. You run down the corridors frantically searching, hoping and praying. “Adonai, I’m coming for you. You’re going to be okay.”
“Ma’am, we’re sorry. Your friend—he didn’t make it.”
“No! You don’t know what you are talking about! He just kissed me and told me he loved me. We were only going for a ride. This isn’t supposed to happen to me, to us! We’re only teenagers.”
My world came to a halting stop and yet the room still managed to continue to spin. “God, please take me with him. Let me spend eternity with him. How will I go on without him, my precious Adonai?”
Full of disbelief I acted as if I never heard the words. They don’t know what they are talking about. It’s not his time to die. They’re lying to me. Don’t they know what this is doing to me?
“In His Presence,” that is the song we sang at his memorial. John was with the Lord and I was left behind to grieve. I’m too young to grieve. I don’t know how to say good-bye. I don’t know how to tell people I’m hurting. I cannot reach out to anyone. I wish I could die too. Let the tears flow again and again. Yes, that is how I am coping—I just keep crying.
Gayla and I are at the funeral home. She tells me, “You need to see him one last time. You need closure. You need to tell him good-bye.” From a distance I can see him lying there. No movement, although I swear at any moment he is just going to rise up and bring peace to a room full of grief but he doesn’t—he can’t. The room begins to spin and I begin a downward spiral. I am fainting—maybe I too am dying. Perhaps I am falling into my sweet Adonai’s arms. John catch me! Leave me there near my sweet Adonai and let me stay with him forever, please! If this is a terrible dream then don’t wake me.
“God, we were just teenagers. How could a life so young, be stolen so quickly?” No reply! “Why did YOU have to take my best friend from me?” Still no reply!
“God, can you hear me? Where are you? Why are you letting this happen to me? How much more pain can I endure?”
Tomorrow they will lower my sweet Adonai’s body into the cold earth. His soul is already in Heaven and as the rain falls I think he is crying for me. My tears begin to fall AGAIN. They run down my cheeks like raindrops from Heaven. They don’t comfort me. They taste like salt, yuck! But then a peace comes over me and it’s as if the raindrops reassure me that Someone in Heaven does care and understands.
I think too much and now I begin to ask God, “Why didn’t my Adonai get to fulfill the perfect plan that we are all promised? He wanted to go to the mission field. He wanted to be a soul winner. He wanted…but that wasn’t what you wanted, right?”
Then in the silence of the rain and my tears I hear a soft reply, “My child, my plan was perfected through the life he lived and is now complete. I welcomed another child home and he is rejoicing around the throne. But you, child, still have more living to do. In time you will understand and there will be meaning to your tears.”
God’s plan was perfected and complete and my sweet Adonai’ death was a lesson to all that he left behind—life is fragile. There is no way that we can control who lives and dies nor at what point we take our final breath. I survived that terrible car crash but John didn’t. There is a time appointed for all men to die and January 24th was John’s appointed time. All we can do is have faith that we will get through it.
Good and bad are obvious and sometimes not so obvious. Right and wrong choices can determine life or death. So it’s time for us to wake up! Mourn no more, for God in time will heal our broken hearts. I know this to be true but someone needs to tell that to my heart because it’s breaking into a million pieces.
And one day, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week or next year but someday there will be no more tears to cry. But today, I will cry and I will remember the love of my life and the life he loved. And I will be carried to Heaven on the wings of a prayer and rest safely in the arms of my Savior but only after I cry.
I love you Adonai. I will always love you and you will always have a special place in my heart. God, take care of him until we can be together again.
Gone but not forgotten—forever in my heart you shall stay!
Love always and forever,
Your one and only Gigi girl
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Diary Of An Unborn Child
Today my life began. My parents do not know it yet, but it is I already. And I am to be a girl. I shall have blond hair and blue eyes. Just about everything is settled though, even the fact that I shall love flowers.
Some say that I am not a real person yet, that only my mother exists. But I am a real person, just as a small crumb of bread is yet truly bread. My mother is. And I am.
My mouth is just beginning to open now. Just think, in a year or so I shall be laughing and later talking. I know what my first word will be: MAMA.
My heart began to beat today all by itself. From now on it shall gently beat for the rest of my life without ever stopping to rest! And after many years it will tire. It will stop, and then I shall die.
I am growing a bit every day. My arms and legs are beginning to take shape. But I have to wait a long time yet before those little legs will raise me to my mother's arms, before those little arms will be able to gather flowers and embrace my father.
Tiny fingers are beginning to form on my hands. Funny how small they are! I'll be able to stroke my mother's hair with them.
It wasn't until today that the doctor told mom that I am living here under her heart. Oh, how happy she must be! Are you happy, mom?
My mom and dad are probably thinking about a name for me. But they don't even know that I am a little girl. I want to be called Kathy. I am getting so big already.
My hair is growing. It is smooth and bright and shiny. I wonder what kind of hair mom has?
I am just about able to see. It is dark around me. When mom brings me into the World it will be full of sunshine and flowers. But what I want more than anything is to see my mom. How do you look, mom!
I wonder if mom hears the whispering of my heart? Some children come into the World a little sick. But my heart is strong and healthy. It beats so evenly: tup-tup, tup-tup. You'll have a healthy little daughter, mom!
Today my mother killed me.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Okay, for those of you who don't know me. I am clinically diagnosed OCD and I am a neat freak to the umpteenth degree so I am scratching my head and wondering: How in the world did these ants get into my house. And then I stepped on it--yes, the clue was stuck to my foot!
The other day I spilled a glass of tea. Well, I didn't really spill it--it went from here to eternity. My hand hit the refrigerator door and tea splattered everywhere. It was on the fridge, on the dining room table, all over the floor. It continued to the counter that separates the kitchen from the entry way. It splattered all over the living room carpet and hit the tile in the entry way. Now, the whole time I am observing all the wet spots I am asking myself: "How in the world did a cup holding between 8-10 ozs. do this much damage?" While pondering this I go and get some papertowels to soak up the puddles. Yes, there were puddles. Then I go and get the mop and that was probably my first mistake.
I was in a hurry to get somewhere so instead of taking the time to make a bucket of soapy water I simply wet the mop and then proceeded to mop up the spill. Well, we should have called in the Coast Guard to clean up--it was that much, but it was only 8-10 ozs.!! Well, I "thought" I did a pretty good job cleaning it up. Obviously I didn't because the ants were marching along the sticky trail of sweet tea that had dried.
Well, after I watch the ants marching in formation. I wonder: "What exactly do they think they are going to get off of these floors?" Shoot, I barely eat anything so it's not like they are going to get crumbs or food droppings. Do they really want to soak up some sweet tea? They must be true southern ants because we love our sweet tea here in the south. After much contemplation the day of reckoning draws nigh. I go to the laundry room and get the broom. Yep, I sweep all the floors and send those ants airborn, out the back door. When they land in their final destination they will believe that they have taken a trip around the world!
Next, I call the office and tell them of my problem and that I am going to take time off to get my house in order. I spray the baseboards and let them dry. Then, I retreat back to the laundry room--this time I am going to make a bucket of warm sudsy water and mop the floor. I love to clean house but oh, I can't stand to mop and dust. Well, the powers that be must know that this is a pain for me because guess what? I do not have any Pine Sol. Now I could go to the store and buy some more but it is raining out side so I inspect the floors and see that there are no more ants moving around. I will get a wet cleaning rag and I will clean the floors that way.
Then the thought occurs to me. I probably put the ants on a Biblical journey. See, I sent them airborn--since it was raining outside it's as if they were on the Ark and they have landed. I don't think they landed on Mt. Ararat but they are somewhere and in their opinion, they are far from the likes of Gigi's place.
Moral of the story: If you make a mess clean it up!