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Posts Tagged ‘family’

sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Thanksgiving Day is generally synonymous with two words: “food” and “family.”

I like both, but this post is about family. We all have one … of some sort. People these days seem to throw around the word “dysfunctional” rather freely in regards to their families, but let’s be honest, all of us have unique families.

Like the colorful array of a Thanksgiving dinner, each family has a variety of members. And each one offers something individual. Something unique. Something special.

A little nutty, yet surprisingly sweet … like the sweet potato dish mixed with nuts and garnished with marshmallows.

I am thankful for my family. My immediate family and my extended family, every member. No matter how rarely I see them, they’re still family. No matter how far they may be, they hold a special place in my memories and thoughts.

I’m thankful for the love and concern I have felt from my family members throughout the years. It’s no stretch to say I would not be where I am today without my family.

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It’s the first of February, 2011. Time for some resolutions!having fun with son in leaves

 

Whatever happened to January first, and New Years resolutions? Well, it went something like this.

 

It was December 31st, so I sat with my two older kids. We talked about all the things that had happened in the past year, outlining highlights or bigger things that we had done. They told me the things they were most thankful for and I wrote them down. We then discussed the year ahead, and any goals and hopes they had in relation to it. They each chose some things they would like to do or learn or accomplish in the New Year. They each thought of and chose their own verse that they would like to claim as they ask God for help in the upcoming year.

 

That evening, New Years Eve, we met together—mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpa and the three children. It was then that I realized I had not really thought of and decided on my own goals and prayer for the New Year. I was busy helping the kids get theirs together that I didn’t take time to stop and think about my own.

 

In pondering it, I realize there are a thousand-and-one things I would like to do; some of them I am even working towards already. As an idea person with an overactive mind, I often have to balance a bit of practicality in there; otherwise I would be constantly rushing from one idea to the next, without having enough time for any of them. I would probably avoid prioritizing and end up wasting a good amount of time. Don’t get me wrong; it’s all good stuff. No offense to those who enjoy such things, but I couldn’t imagine spending even five minutes on Farmville or an instant in Mafia Wars; video games make me feel like my brain cells are oozing out even faster than they do on a normal day; I relax in front of a movie maybe every couple of weeks, if that. Yes, the things I would love to have time for are good things, like finally getting around to writing those books that I have in my mind (at least half a dozen at the present time); there are a couple of languages I would like to learn; I would love to study more on a bunch of topics. So if it’s good stuff, then what’s the problem? Well, there’s that good old quote that always makes us feel there’s more to reach for:

 

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better, best.”

 

The thing is, I know what my best is. At the end of the year, if I don’t learn a single new phrase in another language, or even write a word toward my new book (one of them), or study any of the topics on my mind…if there’s one thing I would like to be able to say that I accomplished, it is this:

 

I was a mother, a parent, a wife. I took time for my family and put them first, before any other favored projects or to-do’s. I took time to play with the children and have fun. I noticed the times that were opportunities to teach them, not only reading and writing and mathematics, but also important values such as sharing, positive thinking, and true friendship. I helped them take a few more steps towards eventual independence, but I’m still holding their hands until they are ready to let go. I pointed them towards Someone who will always be able to hold their hands and lead them no matter where they go or what they do as they grow older. I was a mother, a parent…the most important job there could be, and I enjoyed helping to build a family.

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Family and friends = a blend of colors, frosted with love

I always wanted a real good Christmas story to tell; but I was thinking, maybe Thanksgiving is almost as good…

I think one blessed thing given to youth is a spirit of adventure, excitement and discovery. Thinking and planning years in advance just doesn’t come into the picture. There’s too much to experience and enjoy. When I was a teen, I took life as it came, one day at a time.

When I felt the call to travel to India as a volunteer, I went; I just knew somehow it was the right thing for me (and I ended up calling it home for nearly twelve years, so I’m not about to change my mind).

When I met the man who is now my husband, I just knew somehow he was the right one for me (and I ended up calling him hubby for over seven years, and no, not about to change my mind).

Then there are those things that crop up that I didn’t really see in advance, one main thing being the issues that invariably arise in being married to someone from not only a different country, but all the way across the world. Where do you call home? And how easy is it to reposition that place you call home?

We have proven—over the past six months of paperwork, planning, packing, preparing, traveling, and the last couple of months of being apart and waiting–it’s not that easy.

It probably was easier for me than my husband, who was alone halfway across the world, just waiting, hoping and praying that he would be able to join me and the kids soon.  

There was the morning we were chatting over skype and our four-year-old son had it in his mind that daddy was coming tomorrow. When I tried to explain to him that daddy had not yet gotten his visa, he fell to pieces, in tears, and it took most of the day for him to recover. It was probably nearly as difficult for my husband to take as it was for Allen.

At the same time, it wasn’t always a breeze for me.

There were the numerous times that the moment I was out of sight of our youngest, he would start to cry and shout “mama” because he was afraid I would disappear too. I had to strategically plan things like showers either when Aiden was napping or watching his favorite video. Even then, there were times I had to rush out, soapy and wet, to comfort a crying half-awake toddler…at times like that, I thanked God for bathrobes.

Then there was today, when I told Aiden we were going to pick up daddy at the train station and he ran to the door, saying “daddy, daddy”, and waited there until we were all ready to go. Allen drew a great picture of a colorful airplane and we took it to the station with us. It might have been colder weather than my husband and kids had ever experienced, but there was a certain warmth pervading when he hugged Allen tightly, when Aiden looked closely just to make sure it really was daddy there (and then broke into a huge smile and didn’t stop saying “daddy” again and again until we were in the car driving home together), when Jessica came home from school and was surprised to find her daddy already home, waiting for her.

Today is thanksgiving, and I am truly blessed.

I give thanks for my wonderful, close family—the family that I grew up with, and the family that I have gained.

I give thanks that we will all be together on Thanksgiving—a prayer that seemed almost out of reach, but which was granted by Someone Who cares for us all.

I give thanks for wonderful friends, those whom I have known for years, those whom I have just met, and those whom I have not even met but still have come to love and admire.

I give thanks for love—that amazing bond between family, between friends and most of all, the love of Christ which has carried me across the world and back again, carried me through difficulties and tears, carried me through times of questions or fears, and which has never failed me once.

Love…the greatest force in the universe and the greatest reason to give thanks!

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