Little Ozzie

The Ozzie Smith Flip

Baseball is an American past-time…and if you live in St. Louis, you had better be a CARDINALS fan or you run the risk of incurring grave bodily harm.  And just in case your memory has failed you, the Cardinals were World Series Champs in 2011. (Go Redbirds!) We take our baseball pretty seriously here so it should come as no surprise that our resident little people are learning to love the sport.

As Sean nears the end of his kindergarten year, he is now officially playing baseball–on the Redbirds team. On Saturday, we went to see his very first little league baseball game. The day was something in between storms and almost storms and there were real doubts that the game would be played, but in the end the two teams of little boys hit the field for the first game some of them would ever play.

We all showed up for this event…’event’ is our new word around here, it seems. Papa, Dancing Eyes, Vida, Mommy, and Nana. And I had my camera along to document the momentous occasion.

Papa and Dancing Eyes

Adoring Little Sister

Cheerios and Sippy Cups

Irresistible Little Love

Mommy watching through the fence

But the star for us at that game was Little Ozzie–apparently Sean has already garnered a nickname. If you know anything about baseball, then you certainly know who Ozzie is–Ozzie Smith, Hall of Fame shortstop, awesome Cardinals player, now retired. There have been a lot of baseball heroes in St. Louis through the years, but everyone knows there’s something pretty special about The Wizard.

I have written previously about the busy-ness quotient that is inherent in my grandchildren. Baseball does not always lend itself to the busy little boy we know and love. But never fear…the boy can make the game busy in his own special way.

Waiting waiting waiting for a ball to come to him--doing little foot moves

Practicing slides while waiting on the batter to hit the ball

Ooops...stones in the shoes

On the bench waiting his turn to bat

His first at bat

He managed to slide into each base...totally unnecessarily, of course

Sliding into third base--note the third basemen...lol

And here it is...handsprings at third base...

It was about this point, in the photo above, that I heard one of Sean’s coaches refer to him as “Little Ozzie”…yep, that is definitely my Sean! And just to show how unconcerned he was…check out his dash for home plate:

Getting ready to score

This is just the beginning of what appears to be a very enjoyable season…Sean will enjoy playing baseball, getting his uniform covered in dirt and as many grass stains as he can…the parents and grandparents will enjoy Sean’s side show as he awaits a little action in the field. And I will endeavor to document all the high lights, and get the stains out of his uniform each week.

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Studs

I find it an almost daily occurrence to be humbled by the little people who either live with me or visit me on a daily basis. Sometimes, you expect that awesome sense of humiliation at the hands of a miniature human…other times, well, they pretty much attack you from behind.

My afternoons are spent hoping for a little quiet time while the nappers nap. Dancing Eyes no longer naps–we just couldn’t get the child to wind down at night and go to bed, soooooo–we did away with the naps. That, of course, meant that I needed to find something “quiet” for him to do during “quiet time” each day. Some days I am more successful than others, and a lot of it depends on the weather. We have had a remarkably lovely Spring, so we have enjoyed many days together out on the deck watching our feathered friends or weeding the garden (I do the weeding, Dancing Eyes usually hops around and looks for sticks and bugs).

For some reason we were sitting on the couch yesterday and I felt something hard on my head and then heard a “beep” noise.

“Look, Nana!”

I looked–Dancing Eyes was holding his Papa’s stud finder. My head had just triggered the sensor. Sigh…I started thinking about the studs. You know, there are many different kinds of studs…there is the Papa Superman Husband…there are the jewelry kind…there are also the construction variety…there are also breeding studs…

I could go on, but let’s just say that what really came to mind was the reality that I now had been provided with proof that I had a very hard head. And I really had hoped that maybe by now, at my age, I would be mellowed and NOT such a hard head. I was feeling bummed.

You know, the verses that came to mind also made me question whether my dream home is really a log home.

Luke 6:39-45

He also told them a parable: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck in your brother’s eye. 

“A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.”

You know, we don’t like to think about carrying around a 2 x 4 or a log in our eye, but when confronted with the proof of it, what is the response? I know the stud sensor didn’t really identify any studs residing in my cranium, but the illustration is filled with merit, isn’t it?

How often do I think I have the answer to your problem? How often do I think I could just point out what’s wrong with your life, while my own is a mess? Suffice it to say, there are times when I would be right, but many times that I would be wrong. When God brings along a dose of humiliation, it doesn’t feel too great and yet His methods and His motives are truly pure. I like to THINK mine are pure, but I think I give myself far more benefit of the doubt than I give to other people.

I don’t want to be the kind of person who thinks she knows what someone’s heart is saying; what motivations a person may or may not have. I would like to be the person who consistently recognizes that there is a LOT that I just don’t know, and that there is a Righteous Judge who will weigh the hearts of men and mete out justice that is consistent with His attributes of holiness, grace, mercy, righteousness, justice and love. Honestly, I think it would be best left up to the Expert, don’t you?

Flores y Flowers; Vestidos y Clothing

Mateo 6:25-30

Nueva Traducción Viviente (NTV)

»Por eso les digo que no se preocupen por la vida diaria, si tendrán suficiente alimento y bebida, o suficiente ropa para vestirse. ¿Acaso no es la vida más que la comida y el cuerpo más que la ropa? Miren los pájaros. No plantan ni cosechan ni guardan comida en graneros, porque el Padre celestial los alimenta. ¿Y no son ustedes para él mucho más valiosos que ellos? ¿Acaso con todas sus preocupaciones pueden añadir un solo momento a su vida?

 »¿Y por qué preocuparse por la ropa? Miren cómo crecen los lirios del campo. No trabajan ni cosen su ropa; sin embargo, ni Salomón con toda su gloria se vistió tan hermoso como ellos. Si Dios cuida de manera tan maravillosa a las flores silvestres que hoy están y mañana se echan al fuego, tengan por seguro que cuidará de ustedes. ¿Por qué tienen tan poca fe?

Matthew 6:25-30

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

 “That is why I say to you, don’t worry about living—wondering what you are going to eat or drink, or what you are going to wear. Surely life is more important than food, and the body more important than the clothes you wear. Look at the birds in the sky. They never sow nor reap nor store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you much more valuable to him than they are? Can any of you, however much he worries, make himself an inch taller? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the wild flowers grow. They neither work nor weave, but I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was never arrayed like one of these! Now if God so clothes the flowers of the field, which are alive today and burnt in the stove tomorrow, is he not much more likely to clothe you, you ‘little-faiths’?

lovely moth--how God does basic black and white

purple iris, one fully clothed and the other ready to burst open

lovely in its tender details

striking contrasts

tender-hearted

the beauty of potential beauty

gentle beauty

withered and faded, now providing shelter for a spider

These lovely evidences of God do not worry about their colors, their surroundings, their food…and still they burst forth in due season…even in the death of the blooms, the plant provides shelter and nourishment for other little beings. The beauty continues, just is a different way.

Simply Lovely

A surprise bloomed today–in the middle of my garden, one lone yellow iris. It wasn’t there last year, no one planted it, but lo and behold, it showed up in shades of glorious yellow.

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i had no idea what color this would be...

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Tomorrow, another iris in the back surprise garden will be opening…looks like it will be purple…and I am reminded as I enjoy the beauty of this blossom, of the reality–how quickly it will fade, wither and fall off the stem.

I Peter 1:13-25

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, 
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. 
THE GRASS WITHERS, 
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, 
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”

And this is the word which was preached to you.

No matter how short the life-span of my flowers, the reality is that the Hope that I have is eternal, unfading and enduring. As lovely as my yellow iris, it cannot begin to compare to the life that I have in and through my Savior, Jesus Christ. Enjoy the beauty of His creation and ponder the beauty of life that He offers.

My Redeemer

Today I am pleased and honored to welcome a guest writer, Grace Scruggs. Grace insists she is not a blogger, but she is a wonderful Bible teacher and godly woman. She also happens to be my older sister. Please welcome her to my blog page. This is her first attempt at writing–I know you will be as gracious and encouraging to her as you have all been to me. She welcomes your feedback.

Redeemed

How does one find redemption?
“There is none righteous, not even one; all have turned aside;
there is no fear of God before their eyes…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
As Paul said in Romans chapter 3, “Being justified as a gift by His grace
through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
This is the account of one woman who found release from her bondage to sin
through the blood of Her Kinsman Redeemer.


My Redeemer

I am the LORD, and I will bring you out From under your burdens [of sin], and I will deliver you from their bondage.
I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm. Exodus 6:6

How My Jesus Set Me Free

Destitute. Filling my stomach with the hulls of pig feed, I began scrambling for help…any help to keep me from starving to death. Oh, I had enough bread and meat to satisfy my body, but it was my soul that was starving.  Every day I would look to some person to fill my emptiness. Could it be that my family would be the ones to complete me? What about the people I called friends? Could they save me from myself? Who was there in the middle of the night to assuage the pain I felt when I considered the meaninglessness of my life?

What about my accomplishments? I have an education, a good job and I care about the people around me. I don’t go out of my way to inflict harm on anyone…or do I? Again, those nagging questions hunting me down, haunting me with accusing tone.

Where could I go for release from the burdens I carry? Who might I share them with to see them rolled off my weary shoulders?

If only there were a person who cared so much about me that they could sit still and listen to my list of offenses and still love me, still want to be with me, see some good in me. But everywhere I looked there were shadows, long and dark, with no friendly face to warm and light my path. I tried to run from them, from my own memories, but they were hard on my heels, accusing me, rejecting me, condemning me.

Who would want to spend time with a loser, a sinner? No one. Not one person would step up and accept me. No one could see past their own pain, their own chains, long enough to try to deliver me from mine.

The day of utter desperation finally came. I had carried the load of my sin for so long I could not take one more step. I fell to the ground dirty, torn and ragged. My skin was rubbed raw from the chains which clung to me. I had no strength left in me. What was I to do? I collapsed in a heap of rubbish. A wretch. Sobbing, alone and dying.

“Who will deliver me from this body of death?”  I barely breathed this cry for help, knowing there was no one to hear.

But I was wrong! The Man-God they call Jesus was made like me. On a dark, cruel day He walked the hill called Calvary. He fell along the same road where I lay huddled. As He stood up, He cut the cords binding me to my weight of sin and tied them to His back. He stretched out His arms on the cross as He hung there…alone…for me.

He looked into my eyes with love and spoke the words of redemption my soul had longed to hear, “Child, you are free! I have come to deliver you from the power of death and to break the bonds of slavery that sin has chained to you.”

“But,” I called out to Him, “what of my accusers?”

“In Me you have redemption, the forgiveness of your sins, through My blood shed for you…it is My grace to you, My gift of love. There is NO CONDEMNATION to those in Me.” (Eph 1, Rom 8)

When I realized the load was gone, lifted from my shoulders, I leaped for joy! Free at last! His last look to me was joy, despite the blood dripping from His head, His hands, His feet.  For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross for me.

As I ran free into this new life, I called out to Him, “What can I do to thank You for this redemption of my soul?”

He said, “There are many more just like you, carrying that load, stumbling with no hope of salvation. You must go out and publish this redemption story! Send it out far and wide to all the corners of the earth.”

“But what will strengthen me and guide me to fulfill Your desire for me?”

“My Father has planned it all for you already. ‘Now the God of peace who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in [you] that which pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.’”

Today I am here to pass on this so great salvation. This good news is for you. YES! I mean you. You now know what Jesus has done for you. You know who you are, what you have done. You know that you are without hope unless someone intervenes in your life and redeems you from the pit of despair. Jesus is your Redeemer, just as He redeemed me. Come to Him, believe in Him, rejoice that He has carried your sins to the cross and you can be made free.

These words were written by Moses long ago, yet they are still true today.“I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under your burdens [of sin], and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm.” (Exodus 6:6)

Romans 5 says that it was “while we were still helpless, while sinners, while we were enemies of God, that we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son.” God demonstrated His love toward us by allowing His Son, Jesus Christ to die for us.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, salvation from our enemies, rescuing us that we might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” (Luke 1)

“Blessed be the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today.” (Ruth 4:14)


Love, Lace and Dancing Eyes

Dancing Eyes

Today, my sweet little buddy turns four. I know I refer to him as Dancing Eyes, but his name is Cadance Micah. From the day he was born, he burrowed deep inside my heart and added the second row of lace.

Lace, you ask? Well, many years ago, my mother said she couldn’t understand all the fuss people made over grandchildren, because her children had filled up any gaps in her heart. BUT, when my first child came into the world, she learned first-hand the lesson about grandchildren.

One day she said to me, “I never thought there was any room left in my heart for anyone else, but now I know. I learned that grandchildren are the lace around the heart.” And she is right. She has nine rows of lace plus four strands of pearls.

So I currently have four rows of lace decorating my heart. I am not really a lacy kind of person, it is a little too frou-frou for me unless we are speaking of my heart–there is room for A LOT of lace. But I digress a bit…

Cadance–aka Dancing Eyes–aka Rump Roast–is the second born child to my middle child. I am the middle daughter of three sisters. Let’s just say I have a very special place in my heart for those poor kids who are forever stuck in the middle. Some parents may not agree with me, but it is kind of the pits to be the middle child. So when I held that precious bundle for the first time, it was like falling in love all over, in a very special way. I didn’t know he would be the middle child, but I knew he was the second son. Latinos have a name for the second born son–ever hear someone called “Segundo?”  English-speakers have been known to use “Junior.” Don’t those names just make you want to name your child that way? Isn’t everyone’s dream to be second? Not on your life!

those beautiful dancing eyes

Cadance has this undeniable energy–actually all three of my daughter’s children are “blessed” with extraordinarily HIGH ENERGY LEVELS. They have each made me reconsider my belief in the importance of naps–I really don’t want them to refuel. I find that the energy they have in the morning is more than most people have in a week, so the idea of having them replenish that mid-day, well…let’s just say I am at this very moment cringing.

My husband and I laugh, though, because Cadance bounces through life, just like Tigger. If we are in the basement, we can tell which child is moving about upstairs just by the sounds–Sean has a heavy and deliberate step, Vida just plain runs everywhere at breakneck speed, and Cadance–well… he bounces, jumps and hops.

fearless and determined explorer

This child is essentially fearless. While his big brother is more cautious, Cadance is the risk-taker. Unafraid, ready to throw caution to the wind and try whatever it is that he is too small to try. The ocean? Unafraid. Bugs? Loves them. Worms? Awesome! Climbing anything that can be climbed or attempted? Absolutely. But mingled evenly with his fearlessness is a balancing tenderness that just makes me melt. He used to have a special place with me when we sat out on the deck…

Dancing Eyes with Nana

He is too big to sit with me like that now, but I will never forget those times when we sat together, like a mama kangaroo and her little one, all snuggled in the pouch. These days, we hear precious little requests…

“Papa, can I get on your back?” when my husband gets home from work.

“Nana, will you lay down with me for a few minutes?” while he gets ready to fall asleep.

“Nana, will you read me a story?”

“Papa, can I help you dig?”

“Nana, can I sit with you for a minute?”

“Nana, can I help you cook?” as he drags a chair into the kitchen.

“Nana, can I hold the baby?”

Dancing Eyes holds his baby cousin Isaiah

When I look into those big brown eyes, it is very difficult not to say “yes” no matter how busy I may be at the moment. You know, there are some people who just generate a “no” response without really thinking about it, but not this little guy. Tough to say “no” to him. I do when it’s necessary, but boy, not easy for me.

These days, Cadance is the big helper around the house during the day. He loves the little babies and the toddlers, most of the time. He enjoys holding them and helping them. He also really enjoys working on his preschool program through abcmouse.com. He has some “virtual” hamsters that he cares for and earns tickets to buy them “stuff”. Playing with them is more fun than the activities, but even those hamsters are teaching him things that he needs to know.

And the name “Rump Roast”–well, his mommy seems to squeeze that little rump rather often and decided to name him Rump Roast. We threaten to cook that rump roast every now and then, but it’s never quite ready. And the last time we discussed it, he informed me that monsters like to eat the rump roast, so I guess he’s going to hang onto it for a while longer yet.

I am going to savor this time with my little guy and remind myself that these days will soon be changing and he will be the “big” boy and not my little buddy, so for this period of time, I am grateful for those bright, dancing eyes and sweet little smile. Happy Birthday, Cadance!

Please pray for Jack and his family. For physical strength and healing and for spiritual encouragement during this tremendous time of testing.

Revelations In Writing

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

When we present our requests to God, He hears our cry and is faithful to answer.  If we look for Him, we will find Him; for He is as near as our next heartbeat.  As we seek Him, He not only welcomes us into His sweet presence, but His arms are extended, waiting to embrace each of us.

This morning, my heart is heavy on behalf of another.  A dear friend of mine, one whom I have known nearly my entire life, who despite suffering an incurable ailment since birth, has the kindest heart and the most infectious smile; is overwhelmed with sorrow by the news of a sizeable brain tumor discovered yesterday in her sweet five-year-old nephew, Jack.  Her family has been a second…

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