Today would be a great day if…

Remember this? Just give it a listen…

Do you have an ear worm now?

Well…that is how this day has been. It just has gone on and on and on…

Even now, it’s still dragging on. This will be one of those nights when I will ask if it’s late enough for me to go to bed. (And there will be a unanimous “Yes” from my family…)

Some days are like that…

Kids that just won’t cooperate…

A calendar that is just too full of “stuff”…

And a whole lot of “holiday cheer”… that really isn’t so cheery…

It is one of those days that a career change comes to mind…RETIREMENT in a seniors only community! Or living off the grid in an RV…

But then I think about it…do I really want to understand shuffleboard? Am I ready for my husband to wear white leather walking shoes? Do I want blue hair? (Actually, my son-in-law has a blue mohawk, so maybe blue hair isn’t so bad???)

But in all honesty, some days are just a huge reminder of the glorious future awaiting me in the presence of my King and Redeemer…far away from the trivial and irritating things that sneak into my day and try to steal my hope for the future and joy for THIS day.

I am hoping that I can correct my course now and try to end the day well…kind of the way I would like to see my life’s course at its end…ending well. Achieving that “well done, good and faithful servant”…

How do YOU handle those not-so-great days?

 

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Dancing Eyes, Prepare to Meet Your Maker…

Remember that blog post about finally finishing my first crochet project? The one that took about 8 years to complete?

Remember how I stated I was already beginning my next project, that it was for an as yet unborn baby? And that it would be completed WITHOUT FAIL before the baby’s due date?

I bought the most beautiful, silky yarn. Probably too silky for my level of expertise (or lack thereof)…but it was so pretty and soft, and seemed just perfect for a newborn.

Isn’t it so pretty and silky?

I jumped in right away…I wanted to get it finished before Thanksgiving so I could start some other projects, and I didn’t want it to be sitting around wondering its ultimate fate. You know, like the 8 year afghan…

The problem I discovered with this yarn was how slippery it was to crochet…stitch after stitch, and it never looked like I was making any progress. I was 4 skeins into the project yesterday. That’s roughly three weeks of work…with me steadily working each day. I had to buy more yarn because I could tell it would never be enough to cover a baby.

Pretty, but doesn’t look very big, does it?

So yesterday I sat on the couch…crocheting away. Dancing Eyes was cutting paper. How he manages to scale cabinets is truly amazing…all in search of scissors. I looked up to see him cutting paper in front of me. I took the scissors and put them in my basket and continued with my project.

About five minutes later, I had to turn it around for the next row…GASP!!!

There was a HOLE about 4 inches in diameter…loops laying on the floor. Apparently Dancing Eyes had managed to snip the loops while cutting his paper and neither one of us knew it had happened.

I was ready to send the little guy up to meet his Heavenly Father right on the spot. The hole was such that it would be no easy repair, even for someone who is experienced. Trust me when I say that I do NOT have the requisite skills for undertaking that repair. I considered that justifiable homicide might be in order.

Yes, I do still love him 🙂

My Facebook friends offered their condolences and suggestions. Some were a little concerned for the fate of the perp…Not to worry…

After dinner, I was researching methods of repairing holes in crochet…and I decided that even if I couldn’t make a neat patch, I would just finish it off, practice stitches on it and use it here for the little babies I watch every day.

Not a very pretty repair, is it?

While I was working on the hole, Dancing Eyes came over and watched me.

“I’m sorry I made the hole in the blanket,” he said in his little happy but somber voice.

“I forgive you,” I replied.

“I forgive you too, Nana.”

Now I was a little confused about this, so I asked, “You forgive me for what?”

“I forgive you for being sad about the blanket,” was his very honest reply.

Hmmmm, that was interesting to think about. Me being sad was hard for him and probably made him feel even worse.

I was thinking about the attribute of mercy. There were so many references regarding God’s mercy toward us on Sunday morning, and here it was Monday evening and I was in a situation that was requiring mercy. Instead of judgment, there was mercy and forgiveness for my little buddy.

Extending that mercy didn’t mean that I “forgot” about the hole and all that work down the drain. It also didn’t mean that the hole never happened. What it meant is that my little Dancing Eyes did not have to bear the penalty of making that hole. I did not punish him or “send him to meet his Maker.”

In a more perfect example, God didn’t and doesn’t hold me in judgment for my sins but extends His mercy to me. How hard could it be for me to share that same mercy with my little guy?

But God goes so much further in His mercy…He says that my sins have been cast into the depths of the sea. That He no longer remembers my sin, nor holds it against me. His mercy is COMPLETE. Full. And FREE to me. It was at great price for His Son, Jesus. A sacrifice that cannot be measured in human terms.

Buried in the deepest sea,
Yes that’s good enough for me!

He has extended to us all that magnificent gift of mercy…not giving what is deserved. He has also blessed us even further with His gifts of grace and love. Undeserved blessings, so freely given to all who would believe. Forgiveness. Life. Peace. All these flow outward from His original sacrificial gift of mercy.

That baby quilt will mean an awful lot more to me now with its patched hole than a perfectly crocheted blanket ever could. Like the scars that my Savior still carries in His body, that patch will be a reminder of mercy, love and grace.

Have YOU experienced that peace that results from God’s gift of mercy for you?

Ephesians 2:4-9

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our transgressions, 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 in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Yes…He Thinks He Can Fly

(Please note: I decided to tweak the original post and re-blog it. 🙂

After over 32 years of marriage, I think I know my husband better than anybody else. But, like most married people, we find that the longer we are together, the more intimately we know each other. That can lead to some VERY interesting learning experiences.

My husband is 6’4″–I am 5’4″. He is thin, I am not. He played basketball, and you must totally believe me when I tell you I did not.

There are those similarities–we both wear glasses, we both have hardware holding the bones together in our left feet. (I know, what are the odds? So did his father…freaky!) We love music.

Even our professions are the same–we “teach”–he teaches high school Spanish and I teach potty training, drinking from a cup, how to share, blah blah blah. We both love what we do.

Where we truly differ is in the gravitational pull and how it affects our sleep.

A few years ago, I was awakened by heavy breathing. Most married people may not find that particularly curious…but I had just been clunked on the head. Nathan was thrashing around–totally asleep.

I started to worry, thinking he was ill or having a seizure or something, so like any good wife, I woke him up. It took some doing, but he finally came around only to tell me that I had interrupted his lay up shot.

Excuse me? Yes, he was making the game winning lay up in a basketball game. It must have been a championship game, because he had never played so well.

After assuring me that he was all right, I tried to get back to sleep, but his dream had made me a bit introspective. I couldn’t remember the last time I even remembered a dream.

As a child, I recall having vivid dreams. I could never sleep with my arm hanging over the side of the bed (still can’t) because I would dream ‘awful snake’ dreams.

I had a recurring funny dream about germs running all over the bathroom and attacking my toothbrush. Those germs looked like really crazy, transparent stick figures with several appendages. Apparently germs made a significant impact on my psyche.

But recently, I had not had any dreams that I could even recall. Hmmmm…what could that mean?

My husband has developed some health issues in the last few years, so I pay closer attention to his sleep patterns now.

He had another one of those “active” episodes the other night. As I tried to analyze his sleeping behavior, many thoughts were tripping all over themselves, trying to get to the front of the line.

I thought…it must be his heart…or maybe that neurological problem is acting up…

So I watched him in the darkness. I listened to his breathing and even took his pulse…of course, his pulse was racing. And he was muttering something I could not make out. I had to waken him.

I shook his shoulder…then I tried nudging him with my elbow…finally I rubbed his chest a little and he woke up.

“I can fly. Let me get back to sleep. I am flying and teaching and it is really cool,” he said, breathlessly. And I sincerely mean, he was out of breath.

“Are you sure you are all right?” I asked him.

“Yes. I just need to get back to this dream.” So he went to sleep, continued his “flight” and I just stayed wide awake.

He thinks he’s superman. My husband actually thinks he can fly.

Now, I do agree that he is a very talented and special man, but this flying was taking us to a whole new level, even for him. And I am not trying to play with my words, either!

I didn’t know if he would remember the dream in the morning. But he remembered his dream very vividly.

FYI–In real life, he teaches pre-school Sunday School. He explained that in this dream he was teaching his Sunday School class, but for some reason was unable to get their full attention, so he began to fly upward, heavenward. The higher he flew, the more the children listened.

(Honestly, wouldn’t you listen if your teacher started to fly?) He must have taught the lesson of his life while flying above those children. I couldn’t begin to tell you the lesson content…I was just trying to reconcile the concept of flying…

I have thought about his dream at length and it has caused me to think a little bit more deeply than just the humorous side of this story.

My husband has had a motto for his life since before we even met–a personal code of sorts. It was as if he carried a balance around in his pocket and whatever the “thing” was, it was put on one side of the balance. The other side of the balance always was the same: Will this count for eternity?

That personal code was what drew me to him when we first met–he had an eternal purpose for his life and he lived (and still lives) every single day with the same question: Will this count for eternity?

I find it comforting and reassuring somehow that even in his subconscious state, he continues living by his code.

I’ll Fly Away

Some glad morning when this life is over,
I’ll fly away.
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away.

I’ll fly away, O Glory,
I’ll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I’ll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have flown,
I’ll fly away.
Like a bird thrown, driven by the storm,
I’ll fly away.

I’ll fly away, O Glory,
I’ll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I’ll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then,
I’ll fly away.
To a land where joy shall never end,
I’ll fly away.

I’ll fly away, O Glory,
I’ll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I’ll fly away.

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.

 

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?

The Promise

As I sit out on the deck today, I am being reminded of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises.

It’s not as though I deny that life can be excruciatingly difficult and tragic. I have seen and lived through enough heartaches and sorrows to have a basis on which I might question God…

But, I also have lived through the heartaches and sorrows only to know that as I walked through those dark and agonizing valleys, I was never alone. Even when I was physically alone, even feeling abandoned, I really wasn’t.

When my husband and I began the process of adopting two of our children, we had to go through an abandonment procedure, whereby our two children were officially “abandoned” by their biological parents. There is no easy way to deal with the emotions of this process…the laws of the country through which we were adopting required the publication of our children’s “datos” and “fotografĂ­as” in the major newspapers over a three week period.

That was a scary time for us, as we already had custody of our children, and we knew that there was the possibility of having someone step forward and claim them legally, even if they couldn’t prove their biological claims to our children.

For my happy-go-lucky husband, he lost that aspect during the entire adoption process. It was excruciating to have custody of these children for two years, knowing that they could still be taken away.

I remember asking anyone who would listen to please pray for us. Please pray for our adoptions to go through. Every time the government suspended international adoptions, we felt a sense of panic try to overtake our confidence in the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness to us.

Eventually, we received approved adoption decrees for our children. Children who had been placed for adoption for different reasons. Children who would never be able to know their biological roots. That is hardcore abandonment, people. And there is no easy way to explain that away, no matter how heart-wrenching their biological parents’ situations happened to be.

Adoptees handle their feelings about adoption uniquely. Some truly struggle with the idea that they were somehow unwanted. Others are filled with grief for the circumstances that made it impossible for them to remain in their biological family. There are obviously commonalities that many experience, but just like everyone else, the situations are as individual as the kids.

But one thing is consistently true for each one of us…when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you will never, ever be abandoned. He has promised to never leave or forsake His children. No matter how awful life can get, if you are His child you will not go through your sorrows alone. He promised.