Pass the kid

gracievaca4
Bob is smitten.

Sitting in in the cool morning air of a quiet Pacific Northwest morning, I hear a light tapping on the inside sliding glass door and turn to see our 6-month old granddaughter peering out to say good morning.  That is to say, I think it’s my sleepy, blurry-eyed daughter tapping on the door hoping grandma is up for a morning snuggle session so mommy can go back for a brief morning nap.

Well, DUH.  Pass the kid this way, puh-LEZE.

My daughter’s typical comment is, “Mom, I’m sorry to interrupt your quiet morning moment, but…”

Or then there are the times in the car, “Mom, I’m sorry for all the crying and screaming…”

Or, “Mom, sorry if you have to clean out the car seat, (or your jeans, or your shirt…etc.)”

Or…. Continue reading “Pass the kid”

Call your folks

wood 2There’s a story in the book of Joshua where God holds back the sun so the Hebrews could have more time to fight on and subdue their enemies. 

More time.  Man, I wish.  Of course, most of us would just blow it.  But somewhere in our collective psyche where “deep calls unto deep” is that gnawing feeling that time is something we can’t grasp or control.  A cursory glimpse at even modern entertainment is informative—sci-fi time travel flicks abound, even the humor of “Ground Hog’s Day” maybe-I-can-get-it-right-this-time wistful thinking is not far below the surface for most of us. 

So somewhere thousands of feet over Midwest farmlands, I was in a jet heading home from seeing my parents for a few days at their retirement village.  Dad was recovering from a knee problem across the street from where mom was preparing for their new digs in the apartment complex. 

After sharing my dad’s breakfast table with a 93-year-old WW2 veteran, after hearing of one of their friends who skipped her chemo so she could go hiking in Colorado (“just give me a little extra medicine this time, will ya?”), and after meeting some of the other indomitable souls in their neighborhood, it kind of makes me think twice before complaining about…anything. 

We went to church together that Pentecost Sunday morning huddled around his computer at the foot of his hospital bed watching the live-stream from their Methodist Church with mom and one of their neighbors (a retired world-traveled physician who can now only see peripherally due to a degenerative eye problem—but walks everywhere anyway.)  I’m kicking myself for not providing some grape juice and flat bread for communion.  (“The good Lord knows our hearts, honey.”)

One of my parents’ good friends from W-A-Y back, (meaning my teenage years, okay, no wise-cracks necessary), is now in his 90’s and just returned home to the same complex from visiting family from the west coast.  I am informed he is of the polar-opposite political party than my father, which in this day and age could mean, well, we all know the vitriol that implies.  Evidently, they are both “old school”, which means that they can discuss politics without interference in their relationship. 

Would that we had such maturity these days.

Dad’s the one who taught me to “ask for the moon” but won’t ask for a bag of ice when he bumps his bad ankle on the wheelchair.  When I mention a plan to call for something, it’s “oh, no, don’t bother them…”  So I have dubbed myself “the wicked witch of the West” and I can imagine the nurses in report saying, “she called again.” (One of my main consolations is all the heavy lifting my local siblings do when it needs to be done.  This long distance thing STINKS.)

Dad says that as the light streams through his window in the morning, he gives thanks to the Lord for another day of life.  My folks have a perspective that my culture has largely lost, or missed altogether—gratitude.  Fortitude.  Resilience. 

Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is gained by living a godly life.

Now, let’s see, who shall the witch bother today?  

(Call your folks!)

Proverbs 16:31 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What a Mother’s Day gift!!!

If at first…

garden lastI’m writing this in the early weeks of autumn as the leaves are beginning to succumb to gravity and the thermometer is gratefully beginning its slow decline from the ravages of an early hot, dry summer.  I’ve cleaned out my garden plots, pruning back a tomato tree; I’ve never seen one get that big and bushy and likewise produce so little fruit (there’s another analogy there, I suppose), and the zinnias basically cut off the sun from the struggling lavender.  Evidently, I was not aware of the potential within the plants, the effect of such good dirt, and the needs of the individual varieties.  So I’ll try it all again when this old planet limps back around the sun once more this Spring. 

I’ve decided that gardening is not only a science, but an art.  Unfortunately, I’m not much of either, except like Edison, in that if it doesn’t work the first 999 times, persistence might make the 1000th be the winner.  

I am, at the very least, persistent. 

Relationships, I’ve decided, are also both a science and an art as well.  We have three children.  We had them early in our marriage, and I was young.  I didn’t really even know myself very well, and here I was mothering three little girls, all with different personalities, talents, and destinies!  Are you kidding me??

As they were approaching that wonderful American invention called “adolescence”, Bob and I did a Gary Smalley personality survey on ourselves and our kiddos. 

Our eldest is a Golden Retriever—let’s take care of everybody and make them feel loved.

Our middle is more of a Beaver, organizing, accomplishing, business-minded. 

Our youngest (sigh) is a full scale Lion….the kind with teeth and claws.  This is not a bad thing, and I sigh only in part because her mother is an Otter.  An a fun-loving, fly-the-seat-of-your-pants Otter.  An Otter raising a Lion. 

Yet another proof that God has a sense of humor.

I love this passage from Isaiah and leave it here for an encouragement to young mothers:

“The farmer knows just what to do,
    for God has given him understanding.
A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin;
    rather, it is beaten with a light stick.
A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin;
    instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail.
Grain for bread is easily crushed,
    so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.
He threshes it under the wheels of a cart,
    but he doesn’t pulverize it.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher,
    and he gives the farmer great wisdom.”

And just as there is no cookie-cutter approach to child-raising, God does not use the same approaches with us, His children, either.  How boring would that be??  What He is, is persistent.

So Edison and I are good company.

Isaiah 28:26-29  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Blessing of blooming late!

garden last

Whee!! It’s cooling off!  Of course, I’m writing this in early October, so by the time it gets posted, we might be in the middle of a blizzard.  But for now, I walk out to my patio with my pot of steaming hot tea in the morning to find leaves on my table, and fewer and fewer mosquitoes. 

I love my Midwest autumn.

The flip side is that my gardens are getting less abundant (which, this year, is a relative term, unfortunately), and the flowers are getting ready to bed down for the winter.  But look what I found!!~~

flower

Now that’s a late-bloomer if ever there was one!   What untimely but welcomed color!  Elegance in the midst of common, new in the midst Continue reading “Blessing of blooming late!”

Little Girls, Little Churls, I mean Curls

IMG_20150103_172451138When the kids were younger, I enjoyed having Christmas caroling parties for them.  We’d make tree ornaments, strung popcorn, went out caroling in the neighborhood, and generally made a fun mess in preparation for the holiday.  (Sometimes, the mess persisted well beyond the holiday, you know, kind of like the pine needles…)

One such party left an ache in this mom’s heart.  Our youngest had become the brunt of “girl drama” and had for some reason been “shunned” by the friends she had invited, save one (bless her awesome heart).  You may imagine my Continue reading “Little Girls, Little Churls, I mean Curls”

By Anonymous (he must be famous by now)

quillThis sweet poem about practical love comes with an even more precious story that can be found at Judy Journeys’ site, Another Perfect Daughter.  It appears to have been penned at least prior to the Great Depression of 1929.  A child’s poem, but more importantly, one with a great lesson for all!

Which Loved Best (by Anonymous)

“I love you, mother,” said little John;
Then left his work, and his cap went on;
Then to the garden, high in the swing,
Left her the water and wood to bring.

“I love you, mother,” said rosy Nell,
“I love you more than my tongue can tell;”
Then she went pouting full half the day,
Mother was glad when she’d gone to play.

“I love you, mother,” said little Fan,
“To-day I’ll help you as best I can;
How glad am I that school doesn’t keep,”
She rocked the baby till it fell asleep.

Then stepping softly, bringing the broom,
Swept up the floor and then cleansed the room;
Busy and happy all day was she,
Helpful and happy as a child could be.

“I love you, mother,” that night they said;
Three little children were gone to bed;
How are you thinking that mother guessed
Which of her children really loved her best.

As usual, here’s my disclaimer, but take the time to check out Another Perfect Daughter and the reflections/insights she has there!  Well worth your time.

I Don’t Want This

quillThis is such a cool poem.  Right, I know that doesn’t sound very sophisticated, but since I’m not a poet, I’m satisfied with that assessment.  Here’s why I like it: The author, Rose at http://seekingyoufirst.com/, has it tagged under “motherhood”, which intrigues me.  I’m thinking (Rose, I’m willing to stand corrected) that the author came up against some crazy arguments about how staying home to raise your children is somehow a waste of potential skill and talent.  

Like raising children doesn’t take skill, talent, and several more virtues besides?  (Okay, now I’m just getting revved up.  Best not go there.)  Here’s from Rose, a poignant statement:

I Don’t Want This 

What If I told you I don’t want this?

What if I told you I wanted to trade in for less…

Would you see me as weak?

Would I cease to be a pillar of strength?

Would I somehow become less intelligent?

I know this is what I’ve worked for,

But this is not what I want.

I’m not her, I am not that woman!

I don’t want this and I don’t want that.

I need more of…

What if I told you I want, no need, to trade in for less.

How could I, with so much

Settle for such less?

 

Ahh… but it’s   so      much      more.

 

I don’t want this!

Check out Rose’s site!

Flush, and other Rules for Life

mommyrobin2This photo hot off the press, just in time for Mothers’ Day!  Working in the yard, I found out why a robin was so frequently flying away from my hanging plant when I came home from work.  I discovered this as I took it down to put the ailing flowers in an improved hanger, and VOILA!  Needless to say I was V-E-R-Y careful in getting it fixed and back up to mama. mommyrobin And talk about persistent!  She may get startled and bolt a few yards away, but back she comes every time!  Here she is sitting like a queen on her throne.  (You have to look closely as she is fairly well hidden!)

Persistent.  Now if that’s not the word of the hour for Mothers’ Day.  Or its twin, Relentless.  Who else but mom knows better than anyone that you can’t tell a pre-teen to wash behind his ears once and expect them to keep doing it?  Or the importance of saying please and thank you? (My daughter taught her daughter those words in sign language before the kid could even talk!)  Who else makes you eat your vegetables before your ice cream? (Another one of my daughters hid a carrot stick under her seat…)

Here’s a list one of my middle school students gave to me.  Go figure where she may have learned it:

rules for life

I know that not everyone has had the wonder and heritage of a good mother. Seemingly fewer and fewer, in fact.  I am one of those blessed few, and so I dedicate this post to my mom, who took me on as her own when I was the ripe old age of 13 (along with my brother, who was 15, to add to her own two, who were 14 and 17!!!)  And has stuck by us, lo these 40-plus years.  

Thanks, Mom.  I truly love you.