A Baby Changes Everything……….

So here’s what I’m thinking…………

Teenage girl, much too young

unprepared for what’s to come

a baby changes everything…”

Indeed……

A mother’s heart is a special place.  It holds many things close, some terrifying, some full of worry, some full of questions……but more than those…..moments of complete, unexplainable joy and love, moments so miraculous that words cannot be used……..

Not a ring on her hand

all her dreams and all her plans

A baby changes everything

A baby changes everything….”

As a mother, I’ve experiences some of both.  The unbelievable joy of carrying two beautiful children, after I was told I would probably not have any after two – one very extensive, and very painful – surgeries.  But God had other plans.  My children were waiting for me and God had graciously allowed me to be their earthly mother – or mama, as I’m known….And some of the inevitable moments all mothers experience – angst, worry, many nights of lost sleep, and unending prayers storming heaven for their babes…..

Most people in the town I grew up in assumed I would go on to be a music teacher or performer somewhere, as I had spent my entire school years preparing, and competing for just that.  But that was not the desire of my heart.  To be a mother was.  I have no doubt that’s what God had created me specifically for, and if I never had or will have another claim to fame – then I am perfectly content and happy.   I have had the blessing of birthing and raising two amazing, smart, funny, happy, kind, loving, followers of God as my children and I could not be more blessed……..

“The man she loves she’s never touched

How will she keep his trust?

A baby changes everything

A baby changes everything…

And she cries!

Ooh, she cries….”

Except…..that I have been even more blessed – How is that possible????!!!!!

“She has to leave, go far away

Heaven knows she can’t stay

A baby changes everything…”

One word.  Grandchildren.  You know what I’m talking about.  The moment when you realize that yes, you CAN love someone as much as you love your children – THEIR CHILDREN!!!

“She can feel it’s coming soon

There’s no place, there’s no room

A baby changes everything

A baby changes everything….”

How is it possible to find even more love in your heart than what you thought you had given totally and completely from your mother’s heart to your own children?????

“And she cries!

And she cries!

Oh, she cries!….”

Then they cry……and indeed, more love than you even knew you had comes washing over you as you gaze upon this most perfect of children and realize you have a second chance to do even more, and even more right, than you did the first time!!!  Grace abounding!!!!

“Shepherds all gather ’round

Up above the star shines down

A baby changes everything….”

Yet another chance to fall in love with those precious eyes, hands, feet, mouth……to cuddle and smell that unmistakable sweet baby smell that is found no where else in the universe…another chance to take a small hand and help lead it in HIS direction…….To share daily, as I do with my daughter’s son, all of those precious, precious moments once again……and to meet for the very first time in a few short weeks, my beautiful second grandson, born to my son and daughter of my heart…..

To share in the growing up and the bringing up of two precious, sweet souls that God has entrusted to our family….

“Choir of angels sing

Glory to the newborn King

A baby changes everything

A baby changes everything…”

THANK YOU GOD!!!!!

“Hallelujah

Hallelujah

Hallelujah

Hallelujah!!!!!”

And you just pray daily that you are up to the task,  that God will give you the grace, the mercy, the knowledge and the focus to do your part in His will for the life of this child……

“My whole life has turned around

I was lost but now I’m found

A baby changes everything

A baby changes everything….”

Another chance to hold my loved ones close and never let go…..and to be forever eternally grateful for The Baby that was born to give us life everlasting…………

“A baby changes everything……”

Indeed………

 

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Are we there yet?????

So this is what I’m thinking………

Who, pray tell, hasn’t heard, or spoken those words?

It’s Thanksgiving week. Less than one week from now, people all over will be traveling to the homes of their families to enjoy a day of thanksgiving.

When I was a child, we usually traveled to my Aunt and Uncle’s house, about 3 or so hours away. They had a really fancy house (at least I thought so!!) and I felt so special to be there!! In later years, my mom hosted, and boy was my mom the hostess with the mostest!!! She did everything up right!! She loved, loved, loved entertaining….and I guess that is where I get the same gift from, as my sister says I do it up right just like mama did! Now, with the addition of my daughter’s family, we go to her house where we spend the day and cook together!! I haven’t had a holiday, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas, or in fact birthdays either, for a number of years with our entire family since my son and his wife are stationed in Alaska with the Army… I miss them at holidays……in fact, every day….

I’ve started a new tradition with my little grandson, that every Thanksgiving we will build a gingerbread house together for them to display and enjoy during the Christmas season. Of course, last year, he wasn’t particularly interested, so his mama and I did it…..but this year…..I’m hoping he will be willing to at least place a few pieces of candy on the roof!!! And I’m hoping someday he remembers that his grandmama spent the time with him….

Traditions are important. They mark the continuance of family. And when those of us who have lost loved ones look back on our traditions, it brings happy memories to mind……so hopefully we continue some of those, or even begin some of our own. Like my mama’s dressings, which is included in every holiday dinner……like a family game after dinner, like the traditional Thanksgiving evening movie….Like Christmas decorating. It is scheduled to begin promptly this next weekend in our home, as has been our long-standing tradition. Can’t wait…..but first, there’s turkey to be cooked, potatoes to be mashed, pies to bake, and thankfulness and love to share….

By happenstance, as I was entering Barnes and Noble this morning, a young man passed my car and spoke out “Airborne Ma”am!!” (he recognized the insignia I have on my car!!) I turned and saw a tall, lean, young man with the telling no-hair haircut and asked if he too was airborne?? “Yes Ma’mm”!! I shouted back a word of encouragement, as I wrangled my little guy out of his carseat to go into reading time….Inside, I looked for him, started a conversation, and offered to buy him a cup of coffee, which he ever so politely refused. He was here on leave, on his way out East to another post. We visited a while, I shared with him about our military family, thanked him for his service, and wished him a Merry Christmas……I’m really mad at myself for not asking if he was here visiting family and if he had somewhere to go for Thanksgiving dinner…….

There are thousands like him all across this country, and thousands upon thousands who will spend their Thanksgiving away from anything familiar…..fighting in a war that has gone on way too long, and lost way too many lives……

My heart aches for them. I’ve been on the mama side of that equation and it is no picnic. I sympathize with their families as they gather with that one empty seat, missing and worrying about their loved one….aren’t they home yet???? This time of year there is brutal – especially in the mountain regions, where my son served. Desolate, freezing cold, rugged, just plain hard. Marching, marching…..are we there yet….?????

I’m a blessed mama. My son came home safe and sound, though he surely had angels surrounding him more than once when he had some close calls. I am eternally grateful every single day… My heart aches for those whose sons or daughters, husbands or wives, brothers or sisters….will never share this time with them again……

This year, when our families gather, let us all pause for a moment of remembrance for those who are serving, for their families, and for those who have given their all for this country. We owe them, and the generations before them who did the same, more than we can ever repay. They deserve our respect and our gratitude. And if you stumble upon a soldier this holiday season who is away from home, buy him or her a cup of coffee or a meal…. but most of all, offer your sincere, heart-felt words of thanks……

And most of all, if you are blessed enough to be surrounded by the ones you love, cherish every single moment…. and hold your loved ones close and never let go………..

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Time well spent……..

So here’s what I’m thinking……

There is nothing that will bring life’s priorities into focus quicker than spending your days with a 2 year old. A busy 2 year old with energy. Lots of it. Put all that energy into a room with a 60 year old grandmama and you get quite the mix.

This particular 2 year old, genius that he is, is taking his time speaking the english language, although he is quite fluent in babble, with a few discernible words and phrases thrown in periodically for good measure. I have discovered that I too, apparently speak two languages, as I find myself understanding his language of babble quite often….we do ok at any rate….

It takes quite a bit of energy to keep up with a 2 year old, as anyone who has one or cares for one knows. In fact, I did my own private, albeit unscientific study on this. Here’s what I found. The stamina and energy required by a 60 year old grandmama to keep up with an active 2 year old boy is roughly equivalent to bicycling across the country on a 3 speed bike, barefoot, with two flat tires, pulling a trailer filled with 50 pounds of rocks. Yup. Sounds about right. After all, there is much to do……..

Hair combing, teeth brushing, face washing, toy playing, book reading, “mowing (or sometimes substituted for vacuuming) the house – with his toy lawnmower which he pushes surely 10 miles per day, all the while laughing with glee as the “motor” roars loudly – you could actually compare it to a blender full of ice in fact – breakfast eating, snack eating, and the most fun of all – playing with his best bud – our dog Esther. Esther is a golden retriever, and she surely will have multiple rewards in doggie heaven, as she is most certainly the most lovable, kind, patient dog to walk the face of the earth. My 2 year old grandson uses her for a multitude of fun loving activities including – but not limited to – ear checking, mouth checking, hair pulling, tail pulling, riding, teasing, ball playing, stick chasing, and of course their favorite, just relaxing together with grandson resting on top of Esther, as if she were his personal pillow. Oh the fun they have!!! And this is all just before morning nap time…..NAP TIME!!!!! Time for grandmama to……do the laundry, check the email, make phone calls, make the beds, clean the kitchen, plan for lunch and dinner, do her crafts, and of course clear a path for round 2….and maybe, just maybe, a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea??????? ……never mind!!! We are up and at it again – round 2 here we come!!!!!

Of course, any grandmama worth her salt also realizes these chaotic days are also filled with: squeals of delight at some new discovery, cuddle time while reading, smiles that could melt the polar caps, eyes that glow with a life and mischief all their own, and of course, the best, those hugs and kisses. Who can possibly get enough of those?? Not me….Those are what makes this grandmama’s heart turn to pure mush…To have a child crawl up on your lap and wrap those little arms around you and hold on tight is surely a glimpse of heaven……

If I could have told my younger self anything, it would be to chill. The house doesn’t have to be spic and span all the time, dinners don’t have to be gourmet, who cares if there is laundry to do. There are much more important things to pour yourself and your time into. Like your babies…or now, your grand babies..

God certainly saved the best for our later years if we are blessed to be grandparents. There is nothing like it. I treasure every second of it, no matter how bone weary I may get. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Period. And oh how lucky am I that I have another grandson on the way – who will be making his appearance in just a few short weeks!! I am ecstatic!!!!! I think I better double up on the vitamins…..there’s much yet to be done…….lucky, lucky me……..

Don’t forget……hold your loved ones close and never let go……

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Your American Duty…..

So here’s what I’m thinking……

Tomorrow is a big day. A really big day. This country will choose between going “forward” with socialist ideas/doctrines that will forever change this country….like wealth redistribution, government run healthcare, banks, you name it…….or it will turn back to it’s roots, a nation founded on Godly principles, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness for all who are blessed to live here….

We all have our priorities that dictate to us how we choose to vote for people in office. For some, it’s strictly ideologic; for some economics; for some race; for some social agendas; for some moral issues. If you are voting for a strictly an ideological, party ticket, I would be curious why. Aren’t American’s prided on being free thinkers? Thinkers who can assimilate information and come to their own conclusion? If we are “told” by a party, an ideological leader, a rock star, a political party, how to think, act, and vote – is that truly freedom?? Are we so shallow that we forfeit our right to think for ourselves to determine what is right or wrong? What is moral or just? What is for the good of the country?

We go round and round in circles…..first voting in one political party, then another, hoping and praying all the while for leaders and government workers, who truly do have the interest of the country at heart…….

I believe there are some of those out there. I pray there are some of those out there. We live in what I believe to be, one of the most amazing countries in the world. We have been blessed beyond measure here in this country for many years. It came at a cost. The cost of those who risked life, liberty and family to set out for a new world free from tyranny – where men could be free to pursue their lives and livelihood as they saw fit, with whatever effort they choose to put into it. Some were successful, some were lazy. They each reaped the benefit of their efforts.

It came at a cost of two world wars, when that tyranny and moral injustices reared it’s ugly head again……and the men and women of this country rose up and fought again against it…..

It came at a cost of a number of other wars, where our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, have put their lives on the line – and indeed continue to do so this very day – to continue to keep this country safe and free.

Let us not squander this gift. Let us be mindful, prayerful, and reverent, as we do our American Duty to vote to preserve this Country.

I join with many of my friends today, as we pray for this Nation, and the people of this Nation, as we head to the polls tomorrow……

And as always, hold your loved ones close and never let go……..

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” –Samuel Adams

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So here’s what I’m thinking……..

A couple of weeks ago I hit the BIG 60……wow, how in the world did I get here?????

Don’t you remember when we were kids and we thought our parents were surely ancient???? And they were probably 30-40 years old!!! Anyone in their 60’s, we thought with our vast wisdom, surely had one foot in the grave already!!!! — well the joke’s on us isn’t it???!!

Of course, I think that my generation has stayed quite a bit more active than our parents. For instance, my husband and I regularly take walks, ride bicycles, swim, – and that all time workout – run after our 2 year old grandson!! I do not ever remember my parents, either one of them even ON a bicycle!! I don’t think they ever even had one!!

Of course, diet wise, this country as a whole, is not particularly healthy, due to our want for food that has been processed into oblivion and unrecognizable. I am hoping this “trend” is heading where it belongs – to the trash bin. Anyone who isn’t looking for and purchasing unprocessed, farm raised food these days just isn’t trying very hard. (McDonalds will be glad you’re a hold out.) I personally long for the days when people grew most everything and what they didn’t grow themselves, they bartered with their neighbors for…….perhaps I am just romanticizing it, because it was for sure, lots and lots of work, no doubt. But wasn’t life just simpler then??? When everyone in the family worked together, and then gathered together at the end of the day on the porch visiting with a tall glass of iced tea? – Instead of our busy, out of control lives now? Where we grab dinner on the run on our way to the next meeting, the next appointment, the next whatever??? We have truly lost something.

Back to the 60 thing….

I don’t know what happened……I don’t feel 60…….well at least not most of the time anyway! Sure, I have those days when I feel more like 80 – when the old muscles won’t cooperate or the hands can’t open a jar. But for the most part, I can scarcely believe that is my age!!! I remember my childhood like it was yesterday, it was pretty much idyllic……then on to school, my first job, and of course, the highlight of my life, the birth of my two beautiful children.

I’ve for sure had my times of bad decisions, stupid actions and just bad luck. But overall, the good FAR outweighs the bad……any day of the week and twice on Sunday!!!

Age is just a number, that is true. It is also true, that even though we may always choose to eat the right foods, exercise, rest, and be stress-free, that these bodies will age, will change, will wear out at some point.

I’m enjoying my time. I’m trying to make the most of every single day that I’m blessed to be on this earth, sharing it with my family and friends. There is still so much to see, so much to do, so much to learn. Our time here is but the blink of an eye…

So whatever age you find yourself today….embrace it…..enjoy it…….cherish it…..hold your loved ones close and never let go……

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Sick Days……

So this is what I’m thinking……….

Nobody wants to be sick, or wants their loved ones to be sick…….

My little guy and I shared a couple of “sick” days last week – he was feeling a little under the weather………

Truly, is there anything more amazing that cuddling with your little one???? I don’t think so. Under any circumstances, whether it’s reading a book, sharing some before bed snuggles, or cuddling up when he’s not feeling up to par – it’s all still amazing to cuddle with a child…..the absolute best in the world…….

Life gets in the way, but guess what?? Those dirty clothes will still be there tomorrow to be washed; the cookies you planned on making today can wait as well…….NOTHING is more important to your child, or to each other for that matter, – no gift greater – than that of your time….

Next week, I turn 60. Wow. I can hardly believe that. I don’t feel any different than I did years ago, well except when I look down at my own hands and wonder who those old hands belong to!! Oh sure, I have a few more aches and pains, can’t move as quickly as I once did, and certainly don’t have the stamina that I once enjoyed. But I don’t mind. This season is a gift as well. My days are spent with a little one that I cherish, love and adore – how wonderful is that? I get the every day opportunity to relive some moments from my children’s youth, which by the way, seems like just yesterday.

I’ve spent many a sick day with a number of folks in my life. Some were my own – and I still crave tapioca, soda crackers, and 7-Up – my mom’s remedy’s – to this day when I’m down!

I spent sick days with my mama when she had a stroke and died 5 weeks later. I spent sick days with my daddy when he went through cancer, not once, but twice, before it took him. I spent sick days with my mother-in-law, when she passed with brain cancer. I spent sick days with my sister-in-law, who also died of cancer. And I’m reminded, that close to a year ago, those words struck our family again when my daughter was diagnosed with melanoma. Praise God, hers was caught early and she is doing well now. I remember when she was a baby and I spent sick days with her in another hospital as she battled pneumonia as a newborn…..Or the “sick” to her stomach feeling that every mama shares as her child goes to war, the knot in your stomach that never subsides until you see them again…….

But what was the common theme of all of this???? Time. Time spent with all of these precious people. Time was all I could give. I was not a doctor, I couldn’t treat their condition. But I could give them me – in the form of my time. Sometimes we just sat together. Sometimes we talked and shared stories in the middle of the night while everyone else was asleep. Sometimes I sang – I sang to my daddy, his favorite song, the day before he died….. It is a memory I will cherish forever as he looked at me with his eyes full of tears, as you see, he could not move or talk at that point in time – but I knew what he was saying. Time holding my mama’s hands and rubbing her face with her favorite facial cream – tho she too, was unable to communicate, I know she heard me and appreciated the tenderness.

There is nothing that takes the place of spend time with those you care about, and in fact, even a stranger – because only the angels know who you are entertaining………….

You see time is our most precious commodity. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we all choose how we are going to use it…..As for me, I’m going to hold my loved ones close and never let go……

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Intolerance is alive and well……

So here’s what I’m thinking……….

I remember the day it happened. I was in middle school……the teachers rounded us all up and told us what had happened. My mother came and picked my sister and I up from school……we drove home in a hushed silence……President John F. Kennedy had been murdered…..on a perfectly, normal school day…..how could this be????? I was just young enough to not fully understand the nuances of political games, but old enough to realize the gravity of what had happened. The entire country was in mourning and shock. Our small town in middle Kansas was hushed with sadness… I remember sitting in our living room, in front of our black and white tv, watching the funeral with the sound turned very, very low. You see, my father was a WW 2 veteran – and the sound of taps being played was something he could not tolerate – and so in our house, they were muted…..Thus began my lifetime fascination with politics……..

How is it that seemingly good, decent people get elected, then seem to turn into someone else entirely?? How is that a country full of mostly decent, tolerant people, turn into screaming, hate mongering fools, as soon as someone says/does something they don’t agree/approve of?? I just don’t get it. There are numerous illustrations on either side, to be sure. But this year, more than any other, seems to bother me the most. The total and complete intolerance of differing viewpoints has reached a fever pitch…with people being called liars, stupid, dumb black women, etc, all because they support a conservative point of view…….Where is the so-called “tolerance” on the left? – the party supposedly for the common man? Where is the tolerance for a fully formed, viable child in the womb, who can be torn into pieces in the womb and murdered one day – all viewed as a “right” of the woman” and perfectly ok; yet can be birthed, and “murdered” – against the law – the next? Does this really make sense to anyone? And why can’t black man, or yellow or white or brown man for that matter, have the freedom to choose who they want to support, and feel free to express that, without being called names by ANYONE? And why, if a person so chooses, cannot they belong to a conservative church/religion without being called “uneducated”, “illiterate”, “stupid”, or “unenlightened”????? If one side thinks they have the market on enlightenment – they are most assuredly wrong. Sadly, the list goes on and on……

Yes, politics fascinate me. We live in the most amazing country in the world. A country that people left their oppressive homeland to start, where they shed blood to secure. Where men, and the women who stood beside them, worked to construct a constitution that would be fair and equal to all men……where all had the opportunity to fulfill their dreams, where hard work, honesty, fairness – could take them as far as they wanted to go.

That country is still here…tho now it is buried underneath the weight of a government out of control, run by people who have lost sight of what it is they were elected to do – regardless of party.

We, who are fortunate enough to call this great land home, have a duty, a right, and a moral obligation to do our part. Many have fought and died. Many have fought and been maimed for life. Many have missed births, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., while they served this country and her people. Do not squander your rights. The very least you can do is to educate yourself, and then prayerfully consider the path you desire for your country – we CAN take it back, it can be the light to a world full of darkness…..if we will go back to our roots and remember WHO and What this country was founded on….

In the meantime, hold your loved ones close and never let go…….

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