Thursday, November 27, 2014

Who am I?

It came to my attention the other night as I was praying at church, that I carry a lot of titles. You might wonder how did that thought occur to me in prayer?  I was praying that the Lord would help me in all the areas of my life and I started to list those off and I was amazed at all the different titles I carry. So, I decided to write this post on that subject, to take a look at each of those titles and how important each one is.

1. I am a Christian: The word Christian means, "to be Christ like".  I know that I will never be perfect as Christ was, but I am to live my life in a way that would be pleasing in his eyes.  I should not strive to please the people of this world, but should do all that I can to please my Lord in Heaven. 

2. I am a wife: I love being a wife. I enjoy the companionship that my husband and I share. We look after one another and he takes very good care of me. I try to make sure that I fit the biblical view of wife by being a submissive one. That in no way means I am a door mat, as so many "liberated" women of today think. It simply means that we are together in our marriage and that I show him the respect due him. He is good to me, so in return I am good to him. Marriage is not 50/50 as I have been told all my life, but 100/100. You both have to give all of yourselves to make it work.

3. I am a mother: The most rewarding title I bear is that of mother.  I feel so blessed to be the mother of 5 precious children.  I have only gotten the chance to hold and love two of them, the other three passed away during pregnancy, but each of them is precious to me and loved tremendously. Am I always perfect at this job, no way, but I do try my best. I think I might have learned a few things over the last almost 15 years of being a mother, but I still have many things to experience. Motherhood is very difficult, but the rewards are amazing.

4. I am a daughter: I guess being the baby of my family and the only girl kind of makes me special. I am normally the one my parents turn to if they need something. I love helping them out, but sometimes it can be extremely difficult.  I am learning lots of new things as they get older, like Medicare enrollment for one thing. I mean why does it have to be so stinking difficult to sign up for government insurance? I think the answer to that question is in the question. (Government)  I am glad that I get to be there to help them when they need me. I remember telling them once that they had better be nice to me, I was going to be picking their nursing home. (HaHaHa!)

5. I am a sister: I most likely have two of the meanest brothers this side of the Atlantic Ocean. They used to torture me and just be flat out evil when I was a little girl. They are eight and six years older than me and I was an unwelcome addition to their family.  We get along really well now and I am thankful that I get to be their sister, even if they do drive me batty at times. I do wish that I would have been able to have a sister growing up, but that just was not meant to be. Thankfully God gave me two wonderful sister-in-laws to fill that empty space that I had.

6.I am a Daughter-in-law: I know that everyone reading this with in-laws knows that sometimes it is not so easy to get along with them. They can be very judgmental and give you a really hard time. Sometimes the things they say can be hurtful and you just have to walk away.  I know that feeling, but still you do have times when you get along and everything is well. Enjoy those times, they can be few and far between. 

7. I am a friend: I try to always be there when my friends need me. It may be just a simple text with something on their minds or a long phone call.  The Bible says in  Proverbs 18:24a (KJV), "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:....".  I try to be friendly to everyone. There are days that I just don't feel it and let's be honest, there are some people you just have a hard time being friendly to. I still try to make the effort even if they do not, the bad will be on them not me. 

8. I am Tink: This is a title I carry that means so much to me. I have this little girl that came into my life a little of two years ago. She stays with me while her mommy works and has been since she was about 10 weeks old. She calls me Tink. She says I am her Tink and she loves me. I would never have thought it possible to love a child that was not mine as much as my own, but I do. She is a constant source of laughter and always keeps me on my toes. I do not know what I would do without her.

9. I am an American: This title is one that I love. Oh how thankful I am that my ancestors decided so many years ago to come to this new land.  I think of them often and the long voyage across the ocean. I wonder how difficult it must have been and how they felt leaving their homelands behind.  I am also extremely grateful that when they arrived here they went south instead of north. I like my warm weather and am not cut out for winter.   Last month we had the opportunity to travel to the Normandy part of France. It was so amazing to see that part of the world. It was even more amazing to know that I have ancestors who left there and went to England many centuries ago. My sister-in-law traveled to London and was able to bring me back a small sample of English soil. I almost cried, I had a piece of my mother land. It made me feel very even more connected to my ancestry. I am glad to know where I came from, but even more glad to live in America. She may not always do what is right, but she is home and always will be.

10. I am Me: All these things combine together to make me the unique, wonderful and special person that I am today. Each person involved in these titles of me have helped to shape who I am.  I pray each day that I am the best at each of these I can be and that I don't allow my failures to dictate who I am.

There is a title that I no longer carry, but miss terribly and that is grand daughter.  All of my grandparents have passed away and I miss each of them something awful.  I miss their encouragement and advice. I miss all the stories they used to tell.  I miss just being around them and learning from them.  I miss kisses on the jaw and hugs that were always squeezy. I miss times of talking and of just sitting in the quiet. Cherish every moment you have with those you love because one day it will just be memories that you have.

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The woman I will never be (again)

I am sure y'all are wondering what I mean by the woman I will never be (again). I will just go ahead and tell you she is who I once was, but will never be "again".  She is the woman who as a child always thought everything would be right with the world. She is the woman who as a teenager made her list of mistakes, dated way too many frogs, but still felt that all would work out for her.  Let me go ahead and confess to you that girl was a fool as so many of us are during our early years.

As I look back over my past mistakes and failures I wonder how in the world I ever made it this far. Of course, the answer to that question is obvious, it was God. The Lord looked after me even when I was doing stupid things and keep me safe to bring me to this point.  It is not just the mistakes I have made that have changed me, but also the circumstances of life.  I do not understand it all and I most likely never will.  It is unreasonable to believe that a person could go through so many tragic events in life and not be changed. 

Each morning as I look in the mirror I see a woman who of course is not the young girl she used to be. Time has changed my appearance as it does to all of us. I realize that each little crinkle around my eyes, each little laugh line represents a time in my life when I was smiling and laughing. Those are good memories for me and I am trying to learn to embrace that. Trust me, getting older is not easy.

It is not just my physical appearance in the mirror that has changed, when I look into my own eyes I see the difference inside. I would like to say that life has made me a more gentle person, but that is not always true. The world has made me cynical to others. I often wonder if they are truthful about their lives or are they just looking for a quick hand out.  Maybe it is just that the world itselfs has gotten so much worse, I am not sure, but I would say that life has made me "hard". 

The old saying of "when life hands you lemons make lemonade", sounds good, but is often an unreasonable request. I prefer the, "Life dealt me a hand and now I have to play it." saying.  I know that there have been more good times than bad, but the bad just sticks out more. It is most likely just because their bad that causes this.

There are still times that life surprises me.  A quick message, call or text from a friend to say they are thinking of me. A card or package in the mail to show that someone cares. These are the times that remind me that I still have a capacity to be compassionate. That when I feel the nudging from the Lord to send someone a text or card, that means they are in need. I know that if I pray and seek his will, God will help me to be a little more like my old self each day.  I know I will never be that cockeyed optimist I once was, "life" has made certain of that,  but I can still live each day trying to find the beauty and love around me and looking for ways to show God's love to others in this world.

                                              "That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our Make-A-Wish Journey

Most of you know that last August our oldest daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that attacks the lymphatic system of the body, including the spleen and bone marrow. Her cancer was stage 3s when they found it, the "s" meaning it was in her spleen, only slightly.  Her prognosis was very good and she started her first round of chemo that same month.  I also gave her name to the Make-A-Wish foundation not knowing if she would even get approved. Well, she did and last October they came out to our house to discuss the process and her wish.  My daughter ask me what should I wish for and I told her the one thing she wanted most in the world. So, she wished for a trip to Paris. Yes, you read that right, Paris. As in Paris France, all the way across the ocean on another continent Paris. I figured that it would never happen and that she would get her back up wish. That one was to go to Hawaii and take surfing lessons with Bethany Hamilton (my girls both just love her). Anyway, Make-A-Wish explained to us that it could take up to 18 months to get the final confirmation for the trip and to actually get to go.

In March of this year they called us to confirm that the trip had been granted and they were working out the details. Two weeks later we had the money to take care of our passports and got our part of the details started. Our passports arrived in July and we got the final notice that we were heading to Paris in October. Exactly one year after their first visit to our home we were off and running to Paris. When they called to tell us they were as surprised by how quickly it all came together as we were. In fact the volunteer we spoke to, told us it hardly ever happens that fast and we had some one much higher working for us. Yes, we did!

I must admit I was  a little nervous traveling internationally. It was not the flight or anything that made me feel that way, it was the state of the world itself. I mean we are dealing with terrorist threats, ISIS be-headings and Ebola.  I just had to put my worry aside and depend on the Lord to look after us.  I was driving to pick up my kids from school one day right before the trip and I was praying about the whole situation. I really needed the Lord to give me some peace and right in the middle of my prayer it was as if God had spoken right out loud to me. I heard him say, "Did you ever stop to think I may be sending you now because it is going to get so much worse later on and I want you to be able to do this?".  To hear the still small voice of God speaking to me made me stop and look at it all different and it gave me such peace about our trip.

Anyway, the trip was awesome and I am so glad we had this amazing opportunity. I hate the circumstances we got it through. No parent would ever want to get something like this because of your child being sick, but I am thankful to Make-A-Wish and other organizations like them that do all they can to make a child's ultimate wish come true.

I would ask you right now if you have thought about donating to them and haven't or have never thought about it at all, please reconsider.  My daughter is doing great and goes back for her year check-up this month, but this trip meant the world to her.  There are so many other children that a wish would mean everything to them and their families.  You can call any Make-A-Wish organization around the world, you can not only donate money, but also your time to help other wish families like ours.

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"