Friday, June 22, 2012

Cousins

It's been over a year since we have wanted to do a cute picture of all 7 of the grandkids. This week we finally got the opportunity.  After celebrating my oldest daughter Crystal's birthday, we headed to the park.  Looking back now it might have been a better idea to wait and have the cake and ice cream after the photo shoot.  Fully loaded with sugar from the sweets we set out in 3 separate cars.  (It takes a lot of carseats to get all those kids everywhere.)  We arrived at our destination with smiles on our faces and thankful for overcast skies and a nice cool breeze.  This was going to be great!  


My photographer daughter Lauren gets everyone set with the help of her sister Crystal and the camera starts it's rapid fire of clicks trying to catch that just right moment.  I amused myself by taking pictures of my own of all the action.  That's right, I was of little help with the actual true photos.  When you are the grandmommy you get to do the fun stuff and leave all the fussing to the parents.


First pose baby Lauchlan decides to grab Annalee's hair.  Anna happens to be our most sensitive headed child but no tears since it was baby Lauchlan who dealt the injury.
We didn't last long here before it was time to move on.  Once released from the pose they all took off in separate
directions and immediately thought the photo session was over and it was time to play.  


After a few choice threats by the photographer, they regrouped and moved on to the next pose area.  Mckinlee whines because she has sand in her sandals but I quickly brushed it out and that crisis was over.  It took some compromise on who would hold the baby and who got to sit in the chair or on the ladder but we were still all smiling.  Yippee!


Deuce had a little trouble holding up his letter in this pose.  He likes to play and he loves his cousin Mikey.  It didn't take long for everyone to start complaining in this area.  Seemed that all that sugar made them very sweet and therefore extremely tasty to some bugs.  We are a little itchy at this point but we are still somewhat happy.  I think we might can get in a few more shots before the sun sets if everyone cooperates.  We gather up and head to a less buggy area.







All moved and reset and Miss McKinlee has had about all this picture taking stuff she wants.  Nothing will do, she is just not going to smile.  Mikey clasps his head in disbelief that we have to wait for someone to smile.  













Grandmommy decides maybe it's time for us  to make a silly face picture.  This gives us a little time to cheer up and possibly smile for just a few more shots.  Tanner is too cool to make a face for us of course and Kambri is just trying to hold a pose and a baby.










Looks as though one of those bugs flew up Deuce's nose and when Lauren counts heads she notices someone is missing in this pose.  Uncle Mike is having a good time playing with the baby.  Lauchlan is delivered and the photo taking proceeds.  












                                                          Crystal and Lauren think maybe we can get a quick shot of Grandmommy and all the kids so I hand off my camera to Mike and have a seat.  The wind kicks up a bit and by this time control is soon to be a thing of the past.  Check out Deuce in the bottom left corner of this picture.  The final blow is being dealt to Mikey's tummy as baby Lauchlan looks on!  Smiles turn to tears and it's unanimous, THAT'S A WRAP!  








So at the end of the day, Lauren did manage to get some good shots and we made a fun memory.  Now it looks like maybe we should go and work on our spelling!




Friday, June 8, 2012

Is it Really Enough?

Do you always engage when you are singing praise songs?  Do you really listen to the words and take them to heart every time you are singing them?  Do you really mean those words?  I would like to think that I do, but the truth is, I don't always.  Sometimes I sing along just because I like the tune or I've sung it a hundred times and I simply like singing it.  Honestly, sometimes I'm not truly worshipping when I'm singing at church.  Yes, I'm letting the cat out of the bag.  Sometimes  I am just a clanging gong in the Lord's ear and it has little to do with my aging vocal ability.  My mind often wonders and I don't always take to heart the words that I'm proclaiming at the top of my lungs.  


Another confession...I like to raise my hands when I'm praising.  Label me charismatic if that's not your thing.  It's fine by me.  Yes, I'm one of "THOSE people".  There were times when you couldn't have pried my hands from the back of the pew in front of me let alone get me to lift them in praise.  I've matured a bit since then and learned that we all praise differently.  I can't see me playing the tambourine anytime soon but I did do a great deal of dancing in Africa and Guatemala when I went to church there.  Maybe it was just a bit of the old saying, "When in Rome".  Truth be told though, I kinda liked it!  I've decided there is nothing wrong with being exuberant when we praise.   


Last month I was struck by a phrase in a praise song.   This particular time I was truly engaged in the words of the songs I was singing.  The overwhelming theme of two of the songs was God's love for us.  I'm singing along to a song I know I've sung at least 100 times and fully agreeing with every word out of my mouth when all the sudden, I felt a deep sense of sadness.  I'm joyfully proclaiming that the riches of Your love will always be enough, when I become painfully aware that not everyone can sing those words and mean them.  I'm also aware that there have been many times in my own life when those words were not true for me either.  


Is it really enough?  We sing about God's love being all we need but do we live our lives every day as though we truly believe what our lips are professing?  What about when we are alone or lonely?  What about when we have been cast out or abandoned?  What about when we feel utter desperation or fear?  What about when we feel defeated or cheated?  What about when we feel wronged?  What about when we get a diagnosis that shakes us to the core?  Do we believe with all our heart in those moments that God's love is enough?


We may not always believe it but it is true.  God's love is enough!  It can break through any barrier and through the blackest night.  It can cover over a multitude of sins.  It gives us hope when we have none.  In God's love we find our freedom.  We find courage to believe.  In God's love we even find the courage to believe that His love is enough.  


The bible says love never fails.  This means, it never stops, it is never insufficient, it never disappoints, it is never undependable, and it never falls short.  That sounds like it's enough for me!  


Gosh, I'm in the mood now to go do some praising.  If only I had a tambourine!  Hmm....














  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pick Me

Crystal 
When my oldest daughter Crystal was 6 years old she was selected to have the lead role in the annual dance recital at a studio where she took dance.  There was no audition for the part.  She happened to be the proper age, cute as a bug and a good little dancer.  She was always in class on time, with proper attire and worked hard to learn new steps.  As a mommy I can tell you that I was very excited for this opportunity for her to shine.  Or was it really about her at all?

As a parent don't we always want our children to shine?  We want them to be the star.   To be the best at whatever sport they choose.  To be picked first on the red rover team.  Somehow this seems to make us look much cooler as their parent.  It is much the same as being picked ourselves.  We cheer loudly from the stands when they score the point or make the block or spell the word correctly.  We want everyone to know they belong to us.  "Yes, they are great because of the genes I contributed!" silently rolls around in our heads.

From the time we are young we have this inborn desire to not be left out. We want to be picked.  We want to be chosen to be on the team.  We want to be the one who scores the winning point.  We want the lead role.  We want to be the star.  Evidence of this desire seems to explains the YouTube explosion, the popularity of American Idol and also the hundreds of reality TV shows.  Don't we all secretly want to be a star, if only for a moment?

Do you ever wish that God would pick you to do something amazing like the saints from the bible?  Do you ever wish you were like Moses or Paul?  Or how about being chosen to be the mother of the Christ?  I must confess that sometimes when I'm reading the bible I wish I was picked to do something great.  Now my thoughts are of course based on my own selfish desire to "just be picked".  When I really stop to consider what that means I'm not so sure I'm quite as willing to raise my hand.

Those picked for what we consider the "big jobs", suffered!  They suffered in ways that my mind can not even begin to comprehend.  Moses was picked.  He wondered around in the desert for 40 years kicking sand with a group of ungrateful comrades.  Mary was picked but had to watch her son suffer being brutally beaten and then executed.  Or how about John the Baptist who was picked before birth and was later beheaded.  Then there were all the apostles who were picked but were also, drug by horses, stoned, clubbed, thrown off buildings, shot with arrows, boiled in oil, thrown into prisons, exiled and numerous other forms of torture and execution.  Being picked by God isn't quiet as glamourous as being picked to be the next American Idol.  Sometimes being picked means being worthy of suffering.

"All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering."  2 Thessalonians 1:5


Like 6 year old Crystal, they did not audition for the part.  They were simply picked by God and were faithful to fulfill the role that He prepared for them even though it brought them hardship.  In reality we all have been picked by God.  We were born to serve God and to do good works.  No role is too small in His kingdom.  Whether we are the most notable saint is of little importance to God as long as we are faithful in the role He has chosen for us.

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  Ephesians 2:10


So although I may never be remembered for what I consider the "big jobs",  may I be found faithful and courageous in fulfilling the works that God has picked me for and may I remember that in God's eyes I am great!

"Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist;  yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."  Matthew 11:11











Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's With Men

This really is not a thought provoking post but simply me observing men and their behavior.  I've been surrounded by girls for years and now that I'm spending more time with son-in-laws and boyfriends I find myself a bit baffled.

This past weekend we attended a wedding in Ft. Worth.  Lauren Elizabeth was doing wedding stuff with the wedding party so Thomas, her boyfriend, was hanging out with Gary and I.  We were going to meet our youngest 2 girls and a friend for lunch and as usual they were running a bit late so we headed on over to the restaurant and waited for them to arrive.  The guys were sitting there talking about sports and spouting out facts from numerous games, players and seasons.  Now these facts were not confined to just one sport.  They seemed to know a little bit of what I deem as useless knowledge about golf, basketball, baseball and football.  I sat there wishing the girls would hurry so we could discuss something more interesting and I wouldn't be so bored.  Then I started thinking about all the times Gary has patiently sat and listened to us chatter about things he could care less about and was just happy to spend time with us.  So I told myself to just sit there quietly and be happy for him to have a guy around for a change.

What is it about men that allows their brains to retain these facts from the time they are young boys.  Why do they care who has the all time record for batting?  And why is it that they all seem to know it?  Just when I think one of them will be stumped, I'm amazed.  If one of them doesn't know or remember the year something happened, they start collaborating and somehow, through the process of elimination, they figure it all out and then can even tell you what field they played on and what time of day it was!  As if that isn't enough, Gary can tell you every club he hit on every hole and where it landed after a round of golf.  I can't even keep track of how many strokes I had per hole.  How do they do this?

I hang out with Gary and his guy friends a lot.  I'm attaching a video I made after one of our trips to my mom's place in Cloudcroft, New Mexico where they were doing a bit of maintenance work for her.  After the mishap you will see in the video Gary's only concern was as to whether or not he needed stitches because we needed to leave immediately if he did so we would not be late for our tee time.  Who thinks like that?  Men are just odd!

So maybe I don't really want to know the answer to my queries.  I am not sure my courage is to that level yet.  So I will just watch and listen and stay amazed by these odd but wonderful guys in my life.

video


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten

Dust Devil


On March 27, 2009 I posted the blog which I have added below.  I was just beginning to experiment with blogging.   The site isn't available anymore but I am able to access my old blogs.  The day I wrote this my emotions were swirling like a plastic grocery bag caught up in a West Texas dust devil.  (For those of you on the other side of the globe, the photo on the right is to help clarify "dust devil")  Thanks to some wonderful counseling from my sweet friend Jay I made it through a really tough few weeks.  The words below are all still true but they don't sting nearly as much today as they did then.





My Daddy died last Sunday.  The memories are bitter sweet.  As a little girl I couldn’t have loved my daddy more. As a teenager there was disappointment.  As a young woman a glimmer of hope which was shadowed again with more disappointment.  Now I’m 50 and I loved my daddy and I will miss him but I’m left with feelings that I don’t know what to do with.  He loved BIG.  He was human and he failed at much just like the rest of us.  He loved the Lord and for that I am grateful.  I know I will see him in heaven.  In death as in life he left me wanting just a little more of him for me.  I miss my daddy but then I have missed him for most of my life.  Unanswered questions but God knows and I trust in His healing power which I carry within me. 


The healing power of God is a mighty thing.  Yes time helps to ease the pain of loss but God is the "Great Physician" and he alone can heal all our hurts.  I carried around hurt for a long time and locked it away so carefully that even I had forgotten where I had placed it.  When my daddy was gone the box opened and the hurt and anger came spilling out.  God took all of that away and now all that remains is love.  Love for a man who tried his best.  Love for the man that God chose to be my daddy.   Love for a God who ALWAYS gets it right.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scarred for Life

I have a new scar.  I had two skin cancers removed from my face and now I have a one and a quarter inch scar next to my nose.  From tiny puncture wounds, chicken pox marks, and stitched up eyebrows, to the classic split chin, some scars are visible for all to see even though they fade a bit with time.  Maybe you have emotional scars which are very real but more easily disguised.  Seen and unseen they are the remnant reminders of wounds from our past.  Do you have a favorite scar?  Like the characters from the movie "Jaws", we roll up our sleeves and pant legs to display them and tell the often gruesome details of how we acquired them.  We wear some of our visible ones like a badge of honor and the not so visible ones we often conceal with guilt and shame.  The question, "How did you get that scar?", opens the door for us to share a moment of our history which has left us with a constant reminder.

My first scar of memory is on my right knee.  I acquired it at a rodeo when I fell on a nail sticking up out of a wooden step.  I can not remember the actual occurrence very well, but I do remember the sterile emergency room and the septic smells.  I remember the can they put under my knee to catch the soapy water they used to wash the gash.  Oh, and lots of tears!  That scar is still very visible today.  I also have a scar on my forehead from a biking incident where my brother was giving me a ride and I fell off.  I have no memory of this at all but I've been told my brother carried me unconscious into the beauty shop where my mom was getting her weekly hairdo and she took me to the emergency room in curlers and cape.  A small star shaped scar on my upper lip was the result of a pillow fight with my other brother.  He swung a bit too high and knocked the shade off the ceiling light which hit the wall and showered me with glass.  Many more scars have left their mark on my body through the years including several surgical scars.  Some are hidden by hair or clothing but each one is a reminder that I survived a small or large crisis when they were formed.

What about the scars that you can't see at all?  These scars are often left by abuse, neglect, betrayal, abandonment, or deception.  It could be as simple as an unkind remark or a word of discouragement that is never forgotten to being abused by someone we trusted.  Maybe divorce shattered our life as a child or as an adult.  Maybe someone we loved betrayed us.  The pain is sometimes worse and longer lasting when these scars are formed.  They may happen in an instant or over days, weeks, months and years.  They may be of our own making or inflicted upon us by another.  Regardless of how the wound was made it left a scar that is just as real although not visible.

Scarred for life!  We've all heard those words at some point in time.  They often carry with them a negative connotation.  For me they are simply a reminder that I'm alive and I have survived.  I survived the swing set falling on my head.  I survived accidents.  I survived abuse.  I survived divorce as a child and as an adult.  I survived cancer.  I survived surgeries.  I survived losses.  I survived betrayals.  I bear the scars but I survived.

It takes strength and courage to survive all the wounds that life inflicts.  My survival is not a source of pride or a badge of honor, for my survival was not accomplished alone.  Alone I am weak.  My strength comes from the one who was truly "Scarred for Life."  Jesus was scarred for my life.  His wounds are the wounds that truly heal and give eternal life to us all.  Those life giving scars give us all hope. "Hope for tomorrow and strength for today", as the old hymn goes.

As I fret over this newest scar on my face hoping it will continue to fade,  I pray that I will allow it to be a constant reminder to me that the maker of the universe loves me enough to be scarred for my life!


"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;  the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."         Isaiah 53:5