Faith, family, Uncategorized

Our Unexpected Detour

We had just departed from my older brother’s home in Oregon, after spending a few days visiting him and his wife. It had been a great time, as usual, but we were ready to head for home, and we were only a few hours from our destination.

 
We had borrowed my Mother-in-law’s motor home, an older, open-designed model, with a nice, comfy couch located directly behind the driver’s seat. This is where I sat as we made our way down the highway.

 

 

I brought along some journals, one of which I had been writing in periodically since the beginning of our marriage. As it often goes, there were more entries from the earlier years of our lives than the more recent ones. Included were details about our first-born daughter, Melinda. Memories of her infancy, toddler-hood, and many of her first words and such.

 
I had also started journals for my other children, Michael, who was about 11 at that time, and 1 & 1/2 year old Marty. I thought the long drive would give me a chance to jot down more cherished memories.

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We left LaPine before noon, stopping in a neighboring town to top-off the large gas tank before resuming the long drive home.

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Andy drove, of course, with Marty seated next to him, buckled into his car seat in the front passenger seat. Melinda and Michael were enjoying the ride in the bedroom, which was located at the very rear of the motor home.

 

 
Less than 10 miles from where we had stopped for fuel, as we rounded a curve in the highway, the front tire of the driver’s side blew without warning.

 
I’m thankful for the good driving skills of my husband, for he was able to keep control of the motor home, as he carefully pulled the vehicle onto the shoulder.

 
As we came to a stop, smoke was billowing up from under the driver’s seat, and into the interior of the motor home, quickly becoming thicker and darker. Andy said, “Get out!”

 
I dropped everything, yelled to Melinda and Michael to come on and grabbed my baby out of his car seat while trying to stay calm. Andy struggled for a few seconds to get the latch on the old door to come free, and Melinda said, “Open it, Dad!”

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By the time we all got out the door and began walking away from the motor home, the driver’s side was engulfed in flames. By the time we were a good safe distance away, looking back at the peril from which we had escaped, the entire motor home was an inferno.

 
The thick, black smoke smothered both lanes of the highway, with the fire so intense it literally melted the asphalt beneath it, and ignited the dry brush along the roadway.

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Kind witnesses of our distress stopped to see if we were okay, as the kids and I stood crying and in shock, watching the motor home be reduced to nothing more than the frame it was built on. The only thing that survived the blaze was a pair of cast-iron wall hooks which I had purchased at an antique store. One good Samaritan literally gave Melinda the shoes off her feet.

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We left the motor home with absolutely nothing. The irreplaceable journals, my purse, phones, baby supplies, identification. Nothing. I had packed some of our best blankets on the motor home, including the wedding-ring quilt which I had pieced, crafted, and hand-quilted myself….. It was all gone.

 

After the fire was out and all the legalities were taken care of, a local man who had extinguished the brush fire took us to his home, where he and his wife extended open arms and warm hospitality at what we had just endured. We quickly came to realize that they were fellow Christians, and he was a singing cowboy for Jesus, no less! God-sent is how we would describe them.

 

 
They drove us to a quaint, near-by town, where we waited for friends to come take us home.

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Even though we were all okay and extremely thankful to have come out of the ordeal unscathed, the effort to process what had happened, and the numbness we felt from the traumatic events, was still with us well into the evening. In fact, all the children slept in our bedroom that night. We just needed to be together.

 

 
Sometimes, my mind plays out the other possible outcome. The more I think about it, the more frightened I get, but I remind myself that we were not alone that day.
There was one more passenger with us…Jesus.

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family, Living Life, Uncategorized

Once Upon A Time….

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Our love story began long before we ever said “I do” .

 

Once upon a time, there was a 17-year-old young man, handsome, charming, already entering his adulthood. Already full of life experiences, living life to the full, sowing his wild oats, the good and the bad.

 

He and his family were acquaintances and friends with a nice family in the community, a young mother raising her 8 children. His siblings would hang out with the kids of this family, going to school together, going to church together.

 

This young man also knew the family, from the oldest to the youngest, a little, brown-eyed baby girl.

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He grew into a strong, hard-working man, becoming highly skilled in his trade over the course of the next several years, becoming a husband and a dad, and growing grounded in his relationship with Christ.

 

 

In the mean time, that little baby girl was growing up into a young woman in a loving family, with happy childhood days, learning what life was all about, making some mistakes along the way, and growing to love the Lord.

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As a young teenager, she prayed to the Lord about the kind of man she wanted to marry someday. He should be tall, handsome, hard-working, and most importantly, a Christian man.  He would treat her good, and be kind.

 

 
Ironically, or perhaps revelatory of the future, they both happened to attend a Halloween party when she was about 16. It just so happened that she arrived dressed as a man, and he wore a full, womanly costume, complete with a long, blue dress (generously stuffed!), dark wig, and heels. He was quite attractive, actually!

 

One of the party games was The Newlywed Game. Don’t ask me how this fit with a Halloween party, but at that time, it was quite popular and well-known.

 

Guess who was paired up as a couple? And guess who won the whole game? Yep!

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Fast forward a couple more years……

 

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She was now 18, mature, getting ready to graduate from high school, and full of anticipation and dreams about life.

 

 

 

 

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He was now 35 and single.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While in town visiting his family in the early 80’s, he went to church with them one Sunday, and she, being a member of the congregation, was also there. Through their friendly conversation, she shared about some minor struggles in her life. He offered a listening ear and a friendship blossomed.

 

A drive to get a soda… good conversation… a friendly game of bowling… soon, their mutual feelings of affection grew undeniably.

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The difference in their years was a clear consideration for both of them. One evening after church, he said to her, “I sure wish you were ten years older.”, to which she replied, “I sure wish you were ten years younger.”

 

Somehow, the vast span of their ages became less significant, as their love changed the perception of time.

 

In the end, they couldn’t deny their love for one another, and as the old cliché goes, “it was meant to be”. A few months later, they were married in that same small church, surrounded by their loving families.

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This love story is my own, and that handsome young man, my husband. No one could have predicted that one day, that young man and that little girl would fall in love and merge their very different lives into one.

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Yet, now, an unbelievable 34 years later, we continue our paths together, the good times and the hard times, going through life’s changes while holding onto each other.

 

As we celebrate our 34th anniversary, I dedicate this post to my wonderful husband, my friend, the one I love.

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family, Home Life, Uncategorized

Ode to the Good Ole’ Days

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This story is a continuation to my previous posts about my childhood days on the farm. You can find those posts in my archives.
Even though these stories may seem simple and somewhat ordinary, they are still share-worthy because the memories which I hold dear from that simple, country life are important times, not only in my own history, but for that era in which people and communities lived and grew. Some of these small communities and rural areas are now almost unrecognizable. As housing, industry and commercialized agriculture expands, the small farm livelihood and purpose shrinks.
So, if you too experienced childhood on the farm, or even if you didn’t, I hope my stories will bring a smile to your heart as you recall your own yesterdays.

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I was about 5 years old when my Mother remarried and we moved to the outskirts of a tiny town called Buena. It was a nice little rural community in those days. It was small, but had a little convenience store, post office, a tiny public library, beauty shop, and a small elementary school within walking distance from our home.
I have always loved the house we lived in. It was less than a mile from town, and sat on about an acre or so of land. The red, 2-story home resembled a barn, with a white, covered porch expanding across the front of the house. To a small child like I was, it felt like a mansion!
I shared a large, upstairs bedroom with some of my sisters, but outside was where we had most of our fun! It was a fantastic place to play! Oh, there were so many things to do!

 

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Farm life suited us just fine. We had quite an array of animal life as well.

 

 

Mom had a beautiful, golden-brown Jersey milk cow, and we also had horses, chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigs, goats, dogs and cats! My favorite cat was a huge, yellow-tabby tomcat, which I would pet and talk to on the back porch for hours!

 

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My Mother, being the hard-working, ambitious woman she was, put the farm to work producing an abundance of food and produce for her family. I don’t know when she ever slept, as she worked from sun up til sun down, and then some!
But I truly believe she loved every bit of it. Seeing the bounty being canned, frozen, and stored away to meet the needs of her big family must have given her peace of mind, knowing her children would be fed well.
One year, she built 2 very large, framed screens, and set them up in the front yard. After lining them with plastic wrap, she spread a thin layer of pureed fruit over them which dried into home-made fruit leather (today they are called fruit roll-ups). She also used the screens to sun-dry sliced apples and other fruit in the fresh, natural sunshine.
Frozen cherries were one of our favorite summer time snacks, as well as sweetened, frozen sliced peaches. There was also plenty of home-canned cherries, peaches and pears.
At that time, there were 7 or 8 kids still living at home, which included my stepfather’s 2 school aged children. The youngest, a girl, was only 2 months younger than me, and my Mom would often sew matching outfits for us. (See picture below)

 

One winter, the older children built a real ice igloo!

 

You can’t spend all those hours out on the farm, and not have a few battle scars.

 

For instance, my hand bears scars from the day I ran out the back door to play. The front door was open, causing the back door to firmly slam shut, quickly taking the tip of my finger off. All I remember is screaming at the sight of the blood, and my mother wrapping my hand in a towel and holding me while I was taken to the hospital, where skin was grafted from my hand in order to repair my finger.

 


It wasn’t all fun and playing, as there were plenty of chores to be done. Pulling weeds in the garden wasn’t much fun, whereas collecting the eggs and giving the pigs their stinky, mushy food was definitely more interesting to me.

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One particular evening, it was my turn to wash the dishes. I was probably about 8 or 9 years old. But that night, my older sister was having a slumber party and I didn’t want to wash dishes, I wanted to hang out with my sister’s friends!

 

So I carried on to my Mother about it, whining, and fussing and complaining, and I mean, I just kept on and on in my misery!
Mom finally had enough, and she firmly said, “Oh, just go on then! I’ll do them myself!”

 

Woo-hoo! I was free! I got to go have fun, right?
No! Because then, I felt so terrible and guilty, that I started crying and crying and begging my Mom to “please let me do the dishes!”, but she wouldn’t!!

 

My poor Mother! Whatever a wit’s end is, I’m sure I drove her to it that night!

 

Of course, it wasn’t a perfect time of life, and we had our share of difficulties, tragedy and loss, but because of our foundation of love… we endured.

family, Living Life, Uncategorized

Baby-Sister Forever

Baby-Sister Forever
Growing up in a large family was wonderful. Being the baby of the family was even better.

 

 

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I know there are stigmas that go along with that. That we are spoiled, self-centered, and get away with everything. That may be so for others, but I think my family was exceptional, so I feel like I escaped some of the negativity that plagues my position in the birth order.

 

According to my personal experience, I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to being the ‘baby sister’.

 

First the not-so-fun parts:  For instance, big sisters sometimes take on the ‘mom’ role. I had 5 big sisters but I’m proud to say, they were not forceful in this aspect.

 

However, one particular memory is forever etched in my mind! We visited a small church one Sunday. I was probably about 2-3 years old, simply because if I was any older, I don’t think I would have fit in the ‘torture chamber’ my siblings put me in.

 

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They took me to the nursery and put me in the crib. This was not an ordinary crib. It was more like a wall unit, which had a double stack of smaller, enclosed cribs, and each one had wooden bars which were pulled down to keep a baby or small child safely inside without the danger of falling out.

 

To my recollection, it was more like a cage, and I did not like it one bit! Obviously, as I still remember it! Oh, it’s very comical now and we’ve laughed about it many times.

 

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Debbie would try and try to get this extremely shy little girl to sing, either on a tape recorder or in front of people. “Sing, Robin, sing!”, she would say. I suppose I should thank her, since now I can’t stop!

 

Being called “baby sister” can be good or bad, depending on your point of view.

 

If you’re a teenager who is trying to be more ‘mature’, you don’t want to be called that. But when you reach the age of forty or above, being called baby anything is ok! I don’t mind it at all!

 

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As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m finding it difficult to recollect other examples of  ‘baby sis’ disadvantages. Other than the normal sibling teasing, and fighting with one of my sisters over her clothes (she knows who she is!), it was actually pretty nice!

 

 

 

There was the time that Gwen was pushing me on the swing at the city park. I fell off and gashed my forehead. She carried me all the way home, while I bled all over her.

 

And after jumping on the bed one day, I fell off and knocked the wind out of myself. My brother Kevin came to my rescue and pounded me on the back til I caught my breath again. It was very scary and I’ve always credited him with saving my life.

 

Of course, it’s easy to remember more of the positives! My brothers and sisters loved me! And I loved them! They were my playmates, my protectors, my examples. I celebrated their successes, shared their heartaches, and learned from their mistakes.

 

 

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After they grew up and moved out of the house, I spent a lot of time with my sisters and my oldest brother in their homes.

 

 

 

They loved having me there, and I loved it, too. They always made me feel special and loved.

 

And they still do.

 

Come to think of it, maybe I am that spoiled baby sister. But in the best way possible:


 I am spoiled on love.

 

 

 

 

family, Home Life, Uncategorized

Setting Priorities

I am finding so much fulfillment in writing/blogging. It feels like this is what I am supposed to be doing at this point in my existence. It makes my simple, obscure life seem like there is purpose after all.

I am so thankful to the Lord that He directed me to this. And I truly mean, it was Him who did so and as long as He fills me with a message, or insight, memories worth sharing, and lessons to be learned, I will continue with expectation and gratitude.

So, if that is the case, I am going to have to commit to prioritizing some things. I would love nothing more than to sit at this screen all day and write, to read the stories of my new blogging community, and develop this into whatever its potential is.

But it doesn’t make for a productive household, meals for the family, or physical wellness. Therefore, I will commit to learning to balance this new-found passion with this life God has blessed me with.

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Inspired via Daily Prompt: Commit

(Photo credit-Robin Abrams, A Song In My Heart)

family, Home Life

Uncle Bob

When I was a little girl, there was a very special man in my life.img_2366
My Uncle Bob.

Oh, he was a tall, handsome, funny, and loving man. He always made me feel so special, even when I became an adult. I think he made all of my siblings feel special, too.

He was a secure male role-model for us, the father-figure we all needed at that time.
He never yelled at us, always loved it when my Mother would take us to their little house for a visit. They never made us feel like we were a bother and we were always welcomed.
In fact, he and his family helped my Mom many times, as she single-handedly worked to raise her children with little income, sometimes bringing groceries or big boxes of apples or oranges at Christmas time.
Whenever we went over and I had a splinter, he would give me a whole quarter so that I would let him take it out. A quarter doesn’t sound like much, but at that time, you could load up on the penny candy at the store!

My sister Shelby recently confessed that when she knew we were going to Uncle Bob’s house, she would run her fingers over the wooden porch rails, trying to get a sliver. Sometimes it would work!

 

He would engage my sister Gwen in a game of checkers, using quarters as the game pieces, and somehow she always ‘won’.

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And every now and then he would bring out the favorite toy. It was a wind-up Mickey Mouse that would play the xylophone, turning side to side, bending up and down, while arms alternated in motion. The most interesting and mechanical toy I had ever seen!

 

 

 

 

But what I loved most about going to his house were the music jams.

He would get on the old organ or piano, Aunt Mary would sit at the drums, and whoever else played an instrument would join in. The children were always encouraged to be part of the music. We gathered around, sitting on the floor, and played maracas, the triangle, the tambourine, and other percussion instruments.

The songs ranged from old traditional hymns, to fun old-time ones like “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea”. If you’ve never heard it, here’s a link. Be forewarned, it will probably be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, but it’s a fun song!

There were big band favorites like ‘In the Mood’. Uncle Bob loved playing that one and would just let it go on the organ or piano. And my cousin Marilyn was always requested to sing “Teddy Bear”.

It wasn’t just the music that we loved, it was the special time of gathering together with family and finding joy even when times were hard.

When I asked some of my family to reminisce about the days at Uncle Bob’s house, there was one thing that stood out the most to all of us.

We felt loved.

Faith, family

A Place In My Journey

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Sometimes life’s path takes us to the most beautiful places. They leave memories of great joy! But the journey also takes us to some dark and lonely places. When we are passing through, it seems like it will never end. But the Lord tells us that He is with us and will never forsake us.

In 2002, my husband and I decided to have another child. We had every reason to believe that having our fourth child would be as easy and uneventful as it was when we had our other three children. I had no idea that one of the darkest times in my life was ahead of me.

When I became pregnant, it seemed to be progressing normally, as far as I could tell.

But at 9 weeks along, I had an ultrasound done at the doctor’s office and she could not detect a heartbeat. Though I believe the doctor already knew that the baby had died, she said she would check again in two weeks.

So at 11 weeks along, another ultrasound revealed that there was no change. The baby had died at about seven weeks gestation. A medical procedure was necessary, as my body had not rejected the miscarried fetus.  I felt like I handled the whole thing pretty well. I was certainly sad about losing the baby, but I was also very optimistic about trying again.

A few months later, I was pregnant again. I was excited and hopeful. But early into it, I began to miscarry. A trip to the doctor confirmed it.

I was devastated! How could this happen again? Was I too old? I was 38. So many questions crowded my mind. Questions about whether I had done something to cause this, and questions to God of why He had allowed it. 

I was sad and upset, very confused, in addition to going through the physical effects of hormone fluctuations and depression.

And then, I just got angry. Yes, it was an early miscarriage, but it mattered! That little person, however early in its existence it was, mattered.

I just couldn’t believe God would allow this to happen again. Didn’t He hear my prayers? Was He being cruel or was He even there? I felt so alone.

I was so angry at God, and I let Him know it, too. I couldn’t find my faith! I told my husband that he could do the praying because I just didn’t feel like I had enough faith to ask for myself. I really didn’t think God was listening to me at all. I was in such a dark place.

I think sometimes we are afraid to tell God how we feel, but He already knows and He wants us to cry out to Him!

I remember telling God, very angrily, about how people who go through difficult things always seem to say later on that they were glad it happened because of something good that came out of it. “Well”, I said, “I will NEVER think that. Nothing good can come from this.” I also remembered a saying I had once heard, “tragedy doesn’t build character, it reveals it“. Well, I saw a very bitter side of me being revealed, and as much as I didn’t like it, I felt it was not in my control to change it. 

When you are in the midst of that dark place, it’s really difficult to see the positive side or that there is a way out. You are trapped in it and in your own strength, it seems impossible to bear. I just wanted to isolate myself from people. I was dealing with this all alone.

However, I had been in contact with someone through email, she is a wonderful Christian woman with a lot of wisdom, and I was able to share with her all those things that were replaying over and over inside my mind. All of the ugly, angry words being used against me in this unspoken battle. She gave me good counsel, she had been there, she understood.    It helped so much just to give a voice to my thoughts.

But you see, time really does help to heal us. I know the Lord was there for me. Deep down in my heart, I knew that, even though my emotions at the time were telling me He wasn’t.

It wasn’t long before my healing came,  when I finally felt free of the darkness which had engulfed me. And the Lord was there.

Psalm 139:8-12 says “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, though art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me’; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”

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The Lord knows our pain. He knows that we get angry when we hurt and we don’t understand what He is doing in our lives. He says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

We all go through difficult times of life. But my Lord said He would be there with me, to strengthen me, to guide me, to teach me to lean on Him, and to bring glory to Him. You see, He had a plan for me & my family. He had a gift for me and it would soon be on its way!

My heart’s desire was for a baby girl. I had prayed many times that God would give us the child that He planned for us, but that if it were His will, I would love to have a baby girl.

In January 2003, I became pregnant again and I wanted to be excited, but was understandably reserved. We waited until about eight weeks into the pregnancy before going to the doctor.

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An ultrasound revealed a tiny, beautifully formed little person, with a strong heart. On September 26, 2003, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. She was absolutely perfect. We named her Megan.

I didn’t want to go through that dark place in my life journey. But when I look at my daughter, I know that I would go through it again, knowing that she was the prize at the end.

The book of Esther in the Bible tells the story of a young woman who walked through a very difficult place, yet she did so, trusting that God would be with her. And He was! Because of her obedience and sacrifice, God used her life to accomplish a mighty thing!

“….. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭NIV

Have you entered a dark place in your journey? Do not despair! God is there! This time will pass. And when you reach your destination, you will look back and see where the hand of God guided and directed your steps.

Just hold on and keep moving forward!

 

(Photo credit-Robin Abrams)

family, Home Life, Uncategorized

Digging To China

I don’t think there is anything more primal than kids and dirt. You place a kid in front of a dirt pile, and they know exactly what to do. No prompting needed. I love how instinctual it is. They grab handfuls of it and soak in that earthy feeling of satisfaction, like it’s becoming a part of them. 
I remember all the hours and hours I spent playing in the dirt mounds at my childhood home. Mud pies by the dozens! In fact, I think most of my early childhood days were spent outdoors. I don’t remember my Mother ever telling us to not get dirty or getting angry at us for tracking dirt in the house. If she did, it wasn’t harsh enough that it made a lasting memory. We were outside playing, doing what kids were supposed to be doing…and we were happy. 
So as we are planning out and landscaping our little backyard, it is important to me that it be a place not just for my husband and I to enjoy, but also an atmosphere where my grandchildren can store away lasting memories of all the fun they had at Grandma’s house.

There is a small corner of the yard we reserved for them, filled with dirt and sand, because little boys and even little girls love to dig and they need to have the experience of getting dirty and burying the trucks and plastic men in the dirt and making roads. Their little faces, greyed with a nice coating of earth, looking up at me and proudly saying, “Look what I made Grandma!”

A couple of times, two of my grandchildren grew very excited at the prospect that they just might dig all the way to China! Future archeologists! 

And yes some of that dirt from China is going to end up in my house, on the rug, on the couch, and I’m going to spend quite a bit of time sweeping the floors.

I expect that a few of the flowers might not survive my little grandsons, but flowers are replaceable, aren’t they? Floors are easily swept and mopped, right?

When they walk in the door and would rather go outside and play than sit and play a video game or get on their device, that’s a win. 

But they won’t always want to dig in the dirt or play outside. These times are to treasure. 

Let them dig….let them get a little dirty….let them be children.

(Photo credit-Robin Abrams)

family, Uncategorized

The Most Beautiful Mother

Let me tell you about my Mother. She would say, “Oh, there’s nothing about me anyone would want to read about.” She doesn’t know how special she is.

But she is so wrong. You see, there is so much you need to know about this woman! That she lived her life humbly, kindly, with generosity and sacrifice, in spite of the fact that life was not always kind back and that she did not always receive the kind of love which she gave. A woman of high integrity, always holding firmly to what she felt was the right thing.

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There are many things I probably do not even know about her life growing up, maybe some things she does not want us to know, and I realize that my time for hearing her stories is getting shorter. At 86 years of age, these days now are precious.

Her beginnings were meager, her family poor, and her life simple. There is an old black and white photograph of her as a small child, standing in front of a very tiny, little cabin.

Of course, she learned important home crafting skills that were so much a part of life then. Taking the flour sacks and bleaching them until they were white as snow, embroidering them with lovely, intricate patterns, finished edges of lace or crochet. Tucking each precious piece of handiwork away, as she dreamed of a future home in which to use them, and of the family she hoped to have one day.

My Mama was the hardest working woman I ever knew. As I have mentioned before, she knew how to provide for her family, even when money was scarce. She worked all day at home, from early morning til after we went to bed. On occasion, she would work at a local produce processing warehouse, or would pick fruit in the orchard for extra income. An excellent seamstress, she would tailor custom clothing and do alterations. She even once sewed all the cheerleader uniforms for our school district.

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But before beginning her tasks in the morning, she would get up around 4 am, sit in the quiet house and enjoy her morning coffee. In fact, at 86 years of age now, she still does this. I’ve often wished I was a morning person, as I would have liked that special time in the morning. But my body clock didn’t seem to be programmed for that!

Her mothering instincts began early, as she would fashion a baby doll out of just about anything.

I am the youngest of her 8 children. When I was a young teenager, she fulfilled her life long desire to give a home to children in need. She and my step-dad became foster parents.

I’ll never forget the day the first foster child arrived. I walked in the front door after school, when she sneakily told me to go do something in my bedroom.

When I entered the room, there lying in my bed all snuggled up, was the prettiest little Mexican baby girl, with thick, black, curly hair, long eyelashes, and full, chubby cheeks. Just beautiful! I asked my Mom, “Do we get to keep her?!”

From that day, hundreds of children have come through her home, and have called her ‘Mom’. She loved them when their own family couldn’t… or wouldn’t. She gave them the stability they never knew in their own little world. She listened when they needed to talk, helped them find joy and happiness in just being little kids, gave them a mother’s nurturing and comfort when they needed a Band-aid, and shed tears when it was time for them to leave.

I’ve seen her laugh with them, and I once saw her run after a misbehaving little boy who couldn’t believe that ‘old lady’ could catch him!

It wasn’t always easy sharing my Mom with so many, but I knew this was her heart. I feel proud that some of them still adoringly and sincerely call her Mom. That she is so special, that she has imprinted on their heart in that unique space reserved only for our Mothers.

She is a wonderful example of a mother to me! If my children love me the way I love her, I will be truly blessed.

“Her children arise and call her blessed” Proverbs 31:28

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(Photo credits- Robin Abrams, Gwen Lawson)

 

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The Day I Became a Grandma

My journey to Grandma-hood was filled with three unforgettable experiences:

  • When I found out my daughter was pregnant
  • Watching her grow into a mommy
  • And the day I saw my granddaughter for the first time

My daughter and I shared a close relationship. As my daughter grew into a young woman, the idea of becoming a grandma someday brought a smile to my heart. So when she came home from church one day and announced she had just met the man she was going to marry, I knew that day was not too far into the future.

My husband and I thought it would nice for our daughter and her fiancé to wait at least a couple of years before having children, to enjoy their time as a couple, having the freedom to be spontaneous in whatever they chose to do, because we had really enjoyed that in our first years together. However, they were both anxious to begin their new family and we supported that as well.

I was sitting in church a few months after the wedding, listening to the sermon, when my daughter quietly came in and sat next to me. She scribbled something onto a piece of paper and handed it to me.

It said, “I’m pregnant“!

It caught me completely off guard, but my excitement could hardly be contained! I hugged her and motioned for her to follow me into the back hallway of the church. There, I jumped up and down and squealed, no longer able to contain my joy!

I could not deny that I was completely ready to be a grandma. Now all I had to do was wait those long months to see my grand baby!

I, myself, always enjoyed being pregnant. Going through the physical changes, the preparations, and anticipating the births of my babies brought me a lot of joy. So I lived my daughter’s pregnancy vicariously. Every month I took a ‘belly picture’. How fun it was to see her tummy grow and grow! I proudly posted the pictures on MySpace for all to see?

Wait….did I just say MySpace? Oh my, this was a long time ago!

It seemed that the pregnancy would go on and on and by the 8th month, my daughter was certainly ready to be done! The due date came and went with no sign of impending labor. I had been mentally prepared for the last month, just waiting for that phone call in the middle of the night saying ‘it’s time!’ But no….

Almost 2 weeks later, she was finally admitted into the hospital to have this baby. I was excited and honored to be able to witness my granddaughter’s arrival. Because I know that childbirth can be unpredictable, I was also a little apprehensive. No mother wants to see her child suffer, and I knew there was nothing I could do to prevent the travail my daughter would experience that day.

When labor intensified during the last phase, there were a few scary moments that made my heart sink. When the baby’s heart rate dropped, I sat down and called out to my Lord Jesus in prayer. Even the doctor stood close by to monitor the progress so I knew it could quickly become an emergency situation, and I braced myself for whatever was ahead.

At the same time, I watched with pride as my daughter pressed on through the labor. She had doubted whether she would be able to manage it, but she was amazing, and though she was ready to give up towards the end, she found the courage she needed. And I know she felt very proud of herself in the end. I too, had a new admiration for her that day.

Thankfully, the baby’s heart rate did improve, and finally, the time came for her to be born. I positioned myself at Melinda’s side, equipped with two digital cameras and a camcorder. It was my job to capture this moment in pictures. I gave words of encouragement and had to keep reminding myself to JUST BREATHE!

As the baby’s little head emerged, excitement filled my heart. Within moments, it was over and my beautiful granddaughter was here! Tears! Lots and lots of tears!

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I suddenly remembered, I was supposed to be taking pictures! But my eyes were so filled with tears, and through my sobs and in my overwhelming joy, I couldn’t seem to figure out how to operate the camera! When I finally pulled myself together, I couldn’t take my eyes off little Kasaya.

Her eyes never left her mommy’s face, imprinting it in her heart. She carefully examined the face of the one she knew had loved her and nurtured her to life. It was an incredibly intimate moment to be able to share with them.

Witnessing the birth of my first grandchild was one of the most profound experiences of my life. Since her arrival 9 years ago, I’ve had the privilege of welcoming 3 happy, energetic grandsons as they made their grand entrance into our lives.

I can’t imagine any greater moment than kissing a new grand baby on the head for the first time.