Politics and My Mom

My mom is a very funny lady. I don’t mean a comic…she tells jokes, but sometimes forgets part of the joke…and that is pretty funny all by itself.

My mom used to be addicted to politics. She knew everyone, good and bad, including which reporters could be trusted and which ones were hacks. I think televisions with the picture in a picture were invented for her…C-Span 1 on one channel with C-Span 2 in the little box…

Back when she was a political junkie, she had the radio playing a political program, the tv had something else on, and if I am not mistaken, she also had a transistor radio playing another program…that was back when politics were a little more humorous than they have been in recent years. She has since been rehabilitated and has been released from the “half-way” house for recovering political addiction.

We had dinner together tonight. Just my parents and me. It was great. No little people to talk over, no sports discussions (except the physics behind certain putts  that my dad was describing…scientists…). Just a daughter with her mom and dad.

The conversation was random. We discussed family, Hurricane Sandy and all its devastation, our favorite little people and their silly sayings, and of course the clothes we will be sporting at my nephew’s wedding in about a month.

As I was leaving, we somehow started discussing those annoying political phone polls. I commented that I had not received a SINGLE CALL…apparently if you get your number via a hot spot mobile number you don’t get called???

Anyway, my mother began sharing about a recent polling telephone call that she had answered. It wasn’t with one of those machine robot modern scary mechanisms that somehow know you have answered the phone and orders you to push different buttons to answer.

THIS time it was a L I V E  P E R S O N!!! She was very polite to the man on the other end of the conversation. Knowing my mother, I would expect nothing less. Once she had successfully answered all of his questions, she said she had her own question for him. (Oh I wish I could have videotaped the guy on the other end…)

My mother asked, “If you were to die tonight and stand before God, what reason would you give Him for letting you into Heaven?”

Silence. Followed by more silence. And then he said, “I honestly don’t have an answer for that.”

My mother proceeded to explain to the man that Jesus had died on the cross in full payment for all sin. That the man’s ticket was his for the taking, so to speak, if he believed in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as the only satisfactory payment for sin. No works. No being good enough. Only through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus for sin.

The call came to a close. I have no idea what decision the man made. I can almost assure you, however, that the man has been thinking about “that lady” with her question. And I really pray that he considers his own answer very carefully.

Whoever wins this election will have an opportunity to do things. Important things that impact lives. But none of those decisions, regardless of who the victor is, will be as important as the answer that the man will make regarding his eternal destiny.

No one can make that decision for anyone but himself.

Romans 5:8

 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:15-18

That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes in Him is not condemned; but He that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Ephesians 2:1-9

 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…following the course of this world…carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that…he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

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Never Ask Your Husband This…

I have been watching my weight for a few years…going in the wrong direction.

It started with the beginnings of the “change”… you know, that non-pregnant “pause”…

Following the “pause” came the torn ligament or tendon in my foot that occurred when I started a swimming for exercise regimen. Bummer.

So I took up bike riding. My first day out on the bike led to a fall that led to a torn labrum that resulted in shoulder surgery. Surgery followed by months of rehab.

I realized that maybe I should just take it easy, so I took up walking. About two days later I thought it would be a good idea to clean the cabinets thoroughly. Unfortunately, I hyper-extended both feet somehow and tore the plantar fascia in both feet. Uh huh…months of rehab for the feet.

I got amazing relief for my feet through an awesome physical therapist named “Matt”. Who also worked out the shoulder rehab, the low back issues and the torn whatever in my foot.

I got a new job. It was so cool. Commercial real estate and helping cool new companies launch. It required an overhaul of the filing system and all 150 four-drawer file cabinets. I was surprised at how quickly I developed a frozen shoulder in my GOOD arm. Of course, I got to go back and spend some quality time with “Matt.”

and THEN…

I fell. I fell off my front step (singular) while cleaning the window. I did not need the x-ray to tell me my left foot was broken. In four pieces. It was a very bad break. I was in casts and a boot for about 3 months.

I graduated to walking. The first day, I walked up the street three houses and back. Woo hoo! No problem. No pain.

I then walked around the house more on day two. I tripped over my grandson. Broke the same foot. I got to get hardware this time. A nice screw with imported stainless steel, hand-turned into my foot. Three more months non-weight bearing. Three more months of subsequent physical therapy. This time with “Bryan” because I still couldn’t get all the way out to see “Matt”…sigh…

I have not been the same since I broke the foot and got the screw, although this year has been the least painful since 2008.

And THAT is big news. Because now I can DANCE…every morning we (my little charges) dance to the Madagascar sound track and the Latino Party CD…I must say that I am so surprised that my daughter has not videotaped my efforts in an attempt to blackmail me for money…

I thought that all this dancing and gardening was beginning to help with the weight…my jeans were a little looser and my old, tight stuff was close to being wearable. So I got on the scale…

I had lost twelve pounds! I was so excited!!! (I have since lost more, but anyway…) I didn’t say anything for awhile. Just kept double checking on the scale…

So, I decided to go out on a limb and ask my husband if he could tell I had lost some weight…

He looked at me, head to toe, and said, “Maybe in your face…?”

TWELVE POUNDS FROM MY FACE??? REALLY??? I am still choking over that.

Never, ever, under any circumstances, ask your husband if you look like you lost weight…

(I am still trying to figure out how anyone COULD lose twelve pounds from the face…somebody, a little help?)

Finally!

My daughter taught me to crochet about eight years ago. At the time, we lived in a condo, with a really pretty cottage-country bedroom. The quilt on the bed was very nice, one of those mass produced supposed to look handmade patchwork quilts.

It actually was quilted, pieced and all, just not that unique, but I really liked it. So I decided what we really needed to add the finishing touch to a really sweet room was an afghan laying at the foot of the bed.

So my NellyBelle taught me how to single crochet. If you read my last blog post you will remember my past as a perfectionist. When I began the afghan, I didn’t understand that the tighter the stitches, the harder it would be, the longer it would take and the more yarn it would need to fit my queen-sized bed.

And the first several rows of stitches have no spaces between them. NO AIR and NO LIGHT. Perfect if you live in Antarctica. I do not. I live in the swanky, humid, confused weather-patterned Midwest.

See those lovely, perfectionist stitches?
Clearly PRE-grandchildren…;)

We moved out of the condo. The lovely quilt became the guest room quilt and eventually fell apart. I experimented with many new color schemes, and eventually found the afghan in all its unfinished mess. I did a few rows and eased up on the stitches. It went a little faster, but I just couldn’t quite get the hang of the whole turning part. Or how to knot the skeins together when one ran out.

Starting to loosen up a little by this point…

I realized at some point that I really didn’t have time to finish it, so it got buried in a closet somewhere. Life has a funny way of forcing the readjusting of priorities and projects. No more of that Urgent-Important, Urgent-Unimportant, Not Urgent-Important or Not Urgent-Not Important quadrant stuff for making good use of time. Not in Nana Land, anyway.

NellyBelle has since married, finished her residency, had a baby, bought a house and made her own toys for her little guy. My afghan was still a sorry mess.

Meanwhile, Superman and I decided to dedicate a room to my sewing and crafting and dreaming and writing. While emptying out the entire room and closet, Superman found the incomplete afghan project. I decided it was way past due on finishing this thing. I had too much time invested in the crazy thing to just throw it away, and I wanted to at least finish it and be done. I attacked that afghan with gusto.

I loosened up on the stitches, and it actually made the afghan “feel” better–not so hot or heavy. I considered turning it into a dress, but realized I would be one long lasting hot flash, and the world is just not ready for that. Talk about global warming! (Now that I think about it, I think that global warming could almost certainly be attributed to how much longer women are living and how many hot flashes we are all contributing to the atmosphere. Maybe the scientists could come up with a healthy solution for that??? Like, TODAY?!?!?!)

Digressing…anyway, in the last three weeks, I have tackled the turning problems and the loose stitches, and how to join the yarn AND made up a finishing edge that doesn’t look bad. All things considered. I don’t know if it is even a legitimate stitch, but if it wasn’t before, it is NOW!

Don’t you just love the way I tripled the stitches to edge the thing?

So now I have an orange/brown/blue/cream bedroom. My living room is grey/green/blue/cream and the afghan is lavender/periwinkle/green/dk green/cream. Hmmmmm…

I think I am ready to start a SMALLER project now…

Don’t tell her, but I am giving it to my mom. She thought it was so pretty when she saw me working on it, and it will be just perfect for her when she gets a little chilly. I even made sure the loosened stitches wouldn’t let the toes sneak through. And my dad? Well, he can’t appreciate the colors but I would imagine she will share it with him too…

Contrasting the old on the right with the new on the left…sigh…so glad it is finally finished!

Cleaning Out the Closet…

Since my sweet husband has been away, I decided to use the time wisely by organizing his drawers and closet. You see, when he is HERE, he has this problem when the purging begins…

So I started with the easy part…the closet.

Let me just start off by saying in my defense that in my past, I was a confirmed perfectionist with very particular ways of folding, hanging, sorting, washing, line drying, organizing…You know, my way is the right way and there is no other way…

My husband is not color blind. He can see all colors.  My FATHER is color blind. He cannot see red, green, brown…or mixtures of these colors. So my FATHER has a legitimate reason if something is mismatched. My mother found socks with snaps so they don’t get separated in the drawer. Brown and tan in one drawer, blue and black in another drawer. You know, I learned my organizational skills from HER.

Nathan believes that if something is blue it always goes with anything else that is blue. All greens can be worn together. And he believes that since the rainbow doesn’t clash, neither do his clothes.

When he comes home at the end of the day and I realize that he went to work with mismatched clothes, he is always so surprised if I don’t think the combination worked. I ask him, “Have I ever put that combination together?”

And his response is always the same, “I thought I would try something new…”

That is now forbidden.

I asked him if he would like his shirts matched up with pants to help figure out what works…He wasn’t sure he could manage that. Really??? (I should note that when we first got married, he only wore navy or brown pants, no patterns, textures or variations. You wouldn’t believe how hard I had to work to get tan and gray added…)

So…back to the closet. I put all of his button shirts by color from white to black, left to right. Then his cold weather casual shirts and his light weight shirts. All following the same color pattern. His pants separate the current season of shirts from the warm season shirts. After all, we have been known to have sudden warm ups in the middle of Winter.

I like the order of the colors as they transition from light to dark. I like knowing that with the second button fastened I won’t have to worry about wrinkled shirts lying on the floor…I like knowing that with a quick glance it will be easy to put clean clothing away because it is so organized.

RIGHT. After all these years, I am still the only one who cares about the clothes being in any sort of order, the only one who actually thinks about where the clothes SHOULD be hung…the only one that recognizes that there actually IS a pattern…

And I also continue to be that slow learner that refuses to just give up and admit it’s hopeless…

And tomorrow, I will tell you all about the lessons learned from the sock drawers…

 

 

 

 

My mother-in-law rallied for several months after I originally blogged this post. Nathan was able to return to Alaska over the summer and spent a wonderful week with his dear mom. This morning, she awoke in the presence of the Lord Jesus, her Savior, whom she served so very faithfully throughout her lifetime, touching so many with her kindness and love. We do not grieve as those who are without hope. She is with her Creator and Savior, and we are thankful for the hope that we have in Him.

momtoldmetowriteabook

My husband is on his way to Alaska to be with his mother and family. It is apparently time for her to be with Jesus in the heavenlies. My mother-in-law has been a tremendous light to so many people during her lifetime, and I know that while there will be earthly sorrow when she dies, there will also be great rejoicing over a life that has been well-spent.

My husband was born and raised in Nome, Alaska. His parents were missionaries to the Eskimos for many, many years, faithfully serving the Lord Jesus in a place that so few would dare to call home. Among the many ministries in which this couple served in Nome was the Cocoa House. The Cocoa House was an after-school program filled with love, Bible stories, games…and hot cocoa. Mrs. B was always there with a smile and encouraging word for the children who visited…

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We Are the Champions (at least in our division…)

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! (ESPN Sports Center photograph)

For all you baseball fans in the world, you have to be stunned at the Cardinals upset over the Nationals last night to send the St. Louis Cardinals to the National League Championship series with the San Francisco Giants.

The Cardinals seem to have that special ability to take a hopeless situation, in which there appears to be NO CHANCE of winning, and turn it into something really special. And last night, our Cardinals did it again! And the hunt for a St. Louis red October is continuing to surge.

I confess I do NOT like “nail biting, cliff hanging, could go either way” situations. I much prefer a sound and solid win, determined early on in the game, followed by an amazing series great defensive plays to assure the win.

Yes, I admit that I am one of those “faint of heart” fans that gets so emotionally engaged that I can’t stand that back and forth dizziness that makes fans go crazy.

Personally, I believe I achieve my sense of craziness without adding “do or die” sporting results into the mix!

But once my victor is determined, I celebrate wholly–loudly, jumping up and down like a wild maniac. And we will decide right now NOT to discuss my reactions to those tough losses. It isn’t pretty.

So last night at midnight, my house was noisy. The neighborhood was noisy. Fireworks were going off all around the city. And this was an Away Game win. I could not wind down to go to sleep. I was struggling to find a great way to alleviate that emotional energy. If I had been AT the game, I would have had a more naturally crazy outlet for self-expression. But, we were not AT the game. And this morning, I am still shaking my head.

Initially, when I sat down just to write it was going to be about the stunning upset of the Washington Nationals, the team with the best baseball record in the regular season of ALL TEAMS, both American and National Leagues. But my thoughts were scattered (normal for me) and my mind was firing on a few extra cylinders. Random images and thoughts were racing through my head.

Out of nowhere came a mental picture, more like a video clip, straight out of Revelation–thousands and thousands of angels and people gathered around the throne of God, cheering and singing because Jesus was crowned the Victor over sin and death.

Revelation 5

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Scroll and the Lamb

…I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll … And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”  And no one … was able to open the scroll … because no one was found worthy… And one of the elders said, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered…”

And … I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain … And he took the scroll … and the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb … And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God …”

I looked, and I heard around the throne … the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Can you picture a scene like that? It would be like the Cardinals winning the World Series, with all of heaven in attendance and all of creation cheering. In my mind, that is what Heaven will be like…a HUGE Game winning celebration that lasts forever because the final game was won, and the victory is eternal.

The Cardinals have survived the Wild Card playoff game. They have now survived the divisional series. But there are more games to be played. More victories are required for them to be the Champions of Baseball. And even then, that title only lasts until the next season begins. Yes, it is really exciting. But it really pales by comparison when putting it in a balance with Jesus, Victorious Lamb on an Eternal throne.

Another of the random thoughts that whizzed through my head was an old song from the 1980s by Carman. (Where is he now, anyway?) It is a long piece, but it is like the emotional game won last night. All seemed lost for the Cards…the other side was celebrating. And THEN, the Cards surged back to life…spine tingling excitement for one side. Horror and dismay for the other side. Check out The Champion.

I am grateful to be on the side of the Champion…are you?

Changes

The season is changing here in the midwest. And I am very thankful, let me tell you! After the Winter that wasn’t, we had such an awesome Spring that changed into half of a great Summer. Unfortunately, Summer turned into the Drought/Heat Wave of 2012.

But NOW, the air is brisk. Leaves are changing color and beginning to fall off the branches. Acorns and black walnuts are falling off the trees. Squirrels are scurrying. I have enjoyed seeing several large flocks of migrating birds visiting my bird feeders here and there. It also means that the hummingbirds and butterflies have journeyed to their Winter homes down South.

I continue to coax a bit of life out of the garden…hoping for some color for a few more weeks. And am still awaiting the opening of the mums.

Yesterday…FROST on the windshields! It was so wonderful!

There is something about this season that I find absolutely INVIGORATING! Coffee is especially great on those cold mornings. Snuggling under the blankets (and not suffering from heat flashes) and actually having a fire in the fireplace. I love this weather.

It isn’t just the weather that is changing.

Froglegs has learned to READ! It is a special experience now at bedtime to hear him reading to his brother and sister. There are times that childhood changes are mixed with sadness at the loss of that baby sweetness, but I must say hearing a child learning to put letters and words together is something very, very special for this Nana.

I remember when my oldest child learned to read. Shopping for groceries suddenly took A LOT LONGER because she wanted to read every. single. sign. On each and every aisle, every time we went into the store. You could see the smiles on other parents’ faces…they knew exactly what was happening. Such pride in those first successes at reading.

And pretty soon we were struggling to keep up with her. She read every book she could lay her hands on. She sacrificed recess to work on her school work. It had to be PERFECT in her mind. You know how those perfectionists are, don’t you?

Eventually, all three of my children were reading. Some enjoyed it, others tolerated it. Even my oldest one eventually began to HATE it because reading changed from something almost magical into the whole “read a book, write a report” scenario, and the joy of reading was temporarily lost. For about 15 years…

But now, she is a mommy and reads to her own baby…continuing to see those developmental changes for herself. They live so far away, but it was so much fun to get to hear her when they visited us over Labor Day.

And every day, I now get to enjoy listening to Froglegs reading his stories to me, and trying to sound out the words. And even better, trying to read his original stories that he writes out on his fabulous drawings.

I guess, for me, this season of Fall/Autumn has always meant “school”…memories of learning and playing with friends and reading contests at school and gold stars on worksheets… The awesome changes that came from LEARNING new things…

And…since it is Fall, I am reminded that I continue to learn…just how awesome God is, how very blessed I am, and how thankful I should be…

I hope I never get tired of learning. Are you still learning?