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Archive for July, 2008

Jesus, thank You for life and all the things that are part of life. Often when something goes wrong and we don’t know how else to react, we often say, “That’s life”. But life is so much more than that, so much more than the little things that don’t turn out the way that we want or that disappoint us.

 

Waking up each morning with eyes that see and ears that hear; that’s life.

 

Taking a walk with a child and seeing the wonder of creation through their eyes; that’s life.

 

Looking out the window in the middle of a hectic work day, and seeing a bird soaring or a butterfly flitting amongst the flowers; that’s life.

 

Reclining in my rocking chair, putting my feet up and sipping a hot drink at the end of a long day; that’s life.

 

Chatting with a loved one whom I haven’t seen in a while and remembering just how special friendship is; that’s life.

 

Receiving a kind note from someone I didn’t expect to hear from; that’s life.

 

Holding a newborn baby and catching his first smile or happy chuckle; that’s life.

 

Walking on an empty beach, feeling the refreshing breeze and being rejuvenated by the ocean’s untamed freedom; that’s life.

 

Lying down to sleep at night and thanking God for all the blessings and beauties that each day brings; that’s life.

 

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Ode to an Angel

As silent sentries stand they there

Guarding the world of man

Handsome, sober, pure and fair

Around us all they stand

Watching, praying evermore

For our faith, belief and trust

They fly over and they go before

Never failing any one of us

 

“Will I have wings to fly like those?
Can I rise and be free as you?”

 

“Your time will come, like the fading rose

And you will know freedom as I do”

 

“Do you get weary of watching me

Thus, my whole life long?”

 

“This is what I am meant to be

That in your weakness I may stand strong.”

 

“Do you feel love as mortals do?

How, when you don’t fear rejection or pain?”

 

“When you come, you’ll feel love sweet, pure and true

Heaven’s love: white as a lamb, no stain.”

 

“Will I see you ‘ere this life is done?

Or only on “the other side”?”

 

“I think you would know that’s half the fun

Meeting at last, when falls even tide”

 

“Thank you Guardian Angel of mine

For flying with me, and taking much care”

 

“Oh, dear little child, the pleasure is mine

I’m just very glad you believe I am there.

 

I joy to watch over one who longs to stay true

To our Lord and King, our closest Friend.

The day will soon come when I will know you

As a real ‘soul mate’ and that day will not end.”

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Thanks for the Popcorn

Anyone who knows me knows I love popcorn. My husband is no exception. If we are watching a movie, or having a get together with friends, or just hanging out with our kids, for me an evening isn’t complete unless there’s popcorn. It stems from an upbringing where popcorn was the main “treat” we had, as it was easy to buy and make for a big family. We even used to have it for breakfast occasionally. We called it popcorn cereal and ate it with milk and honey. We also had it with caramel from time to time. But my all time favorite was the salt-n-butter variety. I could eat bowls of it every night.

 

So now, when my husband and I are planning an evening, at least every couple of weeks I’ll ask “So what’s for snack?”

 

He always knows what I’m talking about and will roll his eyes or say “I know what you’re thinking.”

 

I’ll smile and say “Of course, what else.”

 

Then I’ll get busy with something and not long later hear the unmistakable popping of a pot of popcorn. Maybe my husband will be busy, maybe he’ll be tired, or maybe he’ll just want to sit and relax too. But he will bring me a bowl of popcorn, and then sit down and enjoy it with me. Why? I guess that’s what love is about, knowing what makes someone else happy, and doing something special for them because you love them. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and fancy, sometimes it only takes a few minutes, but the recipient feels special because they know they are loved. Well, Hon, I just wanted to say, thanks for the popcorn!

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Now don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to be a mother of another new baby. Allen was one of those happy, mellow little guys. I would put him in his bouncer and he would be happy to sit there, rocked by one of my feet, while I sat in my chair and worked. I worked part time at a home desk job and was happy for the opportunity to continue my work, even with such a young baby in tow. He would sit there, while asleep or awake, while I checked my mail, answered messages and did a variety of projects. I prided myself in the ability to multitask so well, and everyone commented on it, that I could keep up with my job and such a young baby at the same time.

 

Allen grew bigger, and chubbier, and was awake for longer spells, but still loved his bouncer. Then one day, it seemed to rest closer to the ground. I thought my toddler might have tried sitting in it and I attempted to reshape it. However, it would not comply, and Allen’s little bottom would hit the floor when I tried rocking him. I asked my husband to look at it and his consensus was that it would need to be welded to get back in shape. “Don’t bother.” I replied and decided it would be easier to just retire the bouncer. Then came Allen’s nap time. I was accustomed to bouncing him to sleep as I continued my work. This time I had to carry him around and then rock with him in the rocking chair until he fell asleep. I was afraid to put him in his crib in case he woke up, so I sat there, feeling very useless and unaccomplished. I thought of everything I needed to do and was getting more and more frustrated.

 

Then a thought came to my mind: “Pray”. I remembered reading a book once titled “Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something”. I got a rephrased version: don’t just rock there, pray something. I prayed, for my baby, for my husband’s work, for my young daughter, for the different responsibilities I had, for friends and family members. By the time the baby woke up, I felt surprisingly good. I felt accomplished. I actually felt as if I had accomplished more than if I had been sitting at my computer typing away. And who knows, maybe I did. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Okay, so I’m not even close to that level of intercession, but maybe if I spend my son’s nap times upholding others in prayer, I might work in that direction. I discovered once again that “all things work together for good” and through this interruption in my accomplishment driven mindset, the Lord was able to punch through with a concept of much more lasting value: the power of prayer.

 

Allen, three months, happy in his bouncer (before that fateful day)

Allen, three months, happy in his bouncer (before that fateful day)

 

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A Mother’s Lesson

We were late again, and I was rushing to get out the door. It was five minutes to my daughter’s first dental appointment and we hadn’t even left the house. I decided there wasn’t enough time to expect a three year old to put on her own shoes, so bent down to help her. “Hold my shoulder.” I told her, so she could keep balance. Instead Jessica held the top of my head and started pulling strands of hair across my face. I pulled away and started on the next shoe. She started playing with my hair again. I was already edgy that we were late and impatiently asked her, “Why do you keep messing up my hair?” She was calm in spite of my intensity and answered, “Because I love you.”

That simple line and her sweet smile stopped me in my tracks. I kneeled down and gave her a hug, saying, “I love you too.”

Sure enough, we arrived late at the dentist’s, and ended up having to wait. I started to think about all the important and timely things I had to do rather than just waiting, but caught myself this time. Jessica climbed into my lap and asked me to read with her. We went through her new reader, taking turns reading pages. Then we had fun coloring a picture together, pretending to argue over who got to color what section.  

            When we were called into the dentist’s room, Jessica tried to be brave, but asked me in a trembling voice if she could sit on my lap. The dentist conceded and I sang to her softly while her teeth were being cleaned. She held my hand and made the most concerted effort of a three-year old to sit still. During the drive home in the heat, we rewarded Jessica with a fresh coconut, and sipped the cool coconut milk through straws.

            We arrived home later than I had bargained for and I was already beginning to mentally plan my afternoon and how to make it in time for a meeting with some co-workers when Jessica smiled at me and said, “Thank you for the fun outing.” I never deemed a visit to the dentist to be a fun outing. I realized then that it wasn’t the appointment, or the punctuality, or the long drive that mattered. What Jessica looked at was a special time with her mom; reading, coloring, singing and just being together. As many times as I’ve read it or heard it from other more experienced mothers, it’s difficult to remember to focus on things that last, rather than trying to get one more thing knocked of the unending list of to-do’s. Sometimes it takes a little lesson, even if it comes from a three-year old, to keep in mind the real priorities in life: laughing, loving, and giving the best of our time to these little ones whose love makes it worth it all.

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The Love that Changed my Mind

“Who would want to be a parent?”

Although it’s embarrassing to admit it now, that was my frame of mind before actually becoming one. I figured that all the hype about parenthood “enriching your life” and being a mother “is its own reward” was just what parents said to make themselves feel better about the fact that their lives were no longer their own, to console themselves during sleepless nights and through endless dirty diapers. I admired parents yes, as well as their resolve that “it is worth it”; but actually becoming one was another story.

Then the inevitable happened. I got married and soon afterward was expecting. As I got closer to “D-day”, and my tummy got rounder, friends would often ask me, “Won’t you be so glad when it’s finally out? You must be so tired of being pregnant!”

“No.” I would reply. “It’s perfectly safe inside.” It’s not that I didn’t want to have a smaller tummy again, but I just was not sure how I would do at actually being a mommy. Would I be able to cope with the sleepless nights that all new parents talk about? Would I get used to changing a baby I-don’t-know-how-many times a day? Would I have enough love for the new baby to deal with the loss of my freedom and “my life”?

I didn’t have to wait long before I discovered the answer. Our baby girl was born and although I might sound corny, it was “love at first sight”. That first night that she was born, I just lay awake, looking at her. Every feature was so perfect, from her tiny rosebud lips, to her ears that were shaped just like her daddy’s. She was lovely, and I was hooked.

Yes, there were some of those nights where I did not get to sleep before two or three in the morning. There were times that I wondered if I would ever be able to go out again. But there were also times that filled my heart with joy and wonder that I had never experienced. Like the time that she first “talked” to me with her little baby gurgles, smiling at me as if I was the greatest person in the world. As she grew, I beheld a new wonder as I saw the world through her eyes, as if experiencing simple joys again for the first time. Recently, I felt the pride that only a parent could feel, as she read her first book. And just this evening, as we went for a drive, she slipped her little hand in mine and said “You’re my friend, mommy? I love you!”

I will gladly admit, with capital letters, I was wrong about parenting. For the record, becoming a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The treasure of a child’s pure love is the greatest reward of parenthood, and yes, it is more than worth it. The feeling in my heart is living proof.

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