Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is hanging on by my toes

Considering some of my friends need some humor this holiday season, I'd like to contribute a story from my daddy's red-necked past.


My daddy's mom was the meekest person I have ever known on the face of the planet. Had I not known grandma I would not know what meek meant. How she remained meek while raising 3 knot-headed, red-necked, trouble-making boys, I'll never know. My grandma was vertically challenged and portly, maybe even fluffy, but she was always so neat and clean. Daddy was a skinny, gangly runt with his dark hair slicked back.

Now when my daddy was in high school his daddy gave him an old, Nash Rambler. Nothing like the one pictured here. Because by old, I mean a rust-bucket that would back-fire. As a matter of fact, the brakes had to be pumped over and over, and he had to pray they would stop in time. It was old when daddy got it, but it didn't get any better. In order to open the door to this jewel, daddy had to put his foot on the car to yank open the door. When the person was seated, he would have to rare back and slam it shut, but that didn't mean it stayed shut. (Must not have had duct tape back then.)
 One day when daddy was a junior or senior in high school, he went to pick up grandma from her sister's house. He yanked the door open, got grandma settled and slammed the door. Once in the driver's position, he told grandma whatever she did "DON'T LEAN ON THE DOOR." With that being said, he backed out of the driveway and began driving home. He made a right turn off the street which was perfectly fine because his elbow was hooked on the arm rest, so it wouldn't fly open. Then he made a left turn. After completing the turn, he looked over at grandma and SHE WAS GONE! Her feet were hooked under the dash and her torso was hanging out of the car. He pulled over and laughing he helped her up reminding her not to lean on the door. Her rolled hair and make-up nicely applied was a mere memory for the brief spin had sense waves of wind through her freshly curled hair. She did not see the humor in any of it whatsoever, but of course, daddy did. To hear him tell it you would have tears running down your face.

I don't know about you, but this season, I've been holding on by my toes. I didn't plan anything extra. I turned things down, and yet life still about ran me over. The unpredictable happens. The predictable happens. Life happens. I challenge you to find the humor. Sometimes it's harder than others, but search for those pearls. Maybe you need to make a phone call to a friend you haven't seen in a long time and start telling about the funny things you did in your youth or maybe it's calling a storyteller who you know will get you to laughing in no time. I find when I laugh it relieves the weight on my shoulders even if it is momentary.
 Grandma is in heaven this Christmas. If she doesn't get sainthood (and we aren't Catholic), then I don't know who qualifies!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mary was a Momma

My son is 5 years old, and during this holiday season, I wonder when Mary was raising Jesus and she would look into His face, what did she wonder? What did she think? She didn't know what He was there to do. She didn't know the kind of end He would come to. She just knew that He was her baby boy. When He went into gales of laughter, she didn't see His purpose in life. She saw her baby boy. When He had nightmares or skinned His knee, she didn't see a Savior. She saw her boy. When she had to discipline Him, did she keep in mind He was God's son or did she just know He had to be brought into line…or did she have to discipline Him at all? The children she had after Him – would she compare them to Him? Mary was his momma.
Mary was a mom. If you are a mom, you know what that means. You know what it's like to hold that baby, to kiss those sweet cheeks. She was a momma responsible for raising a Savior. We think we have a daunting job raising God-loving kids today? Think about raising the Son of God. Ya'll, she was a young mom loving her baby not knowing she was raising a sacrifice, our sacrifice. I'm sorry, ya'll, but if I thought for one minute I would have to sacrifice my son or my daughter I would go on the run. You would see a side of me that you would consider dangerous. But God was gracious to Mary. He gave her what she needed when she needed it. The Bible said she pondered things in her heart. That was that momma's intuition. God was giving her glimpses to prepare her. He gives us what we need when we need it. He is gracious to us as we raise our children. He gives us glimpses and that momma's intuition to prepare us when we need it.

God knows what we can handle when we can handle it. He knew what Mary could manage and what would be too much. God is gracious that way. I don't know what my son or my daughter will go through in their lives. I don't know the struggles or difficulties they will have. I don't know who they will marry or if they will marry. If I knew what was around the corner, I would do my best to protect them and prevent them from ever being harmed or hurt, I would move heaven and earth to keep them safe. I am fierce about my kids. But by knowing what is ahead and protecting them from it, I would prevent them from growing and would limit their depth. Sometimes we have to place our children safely into the hands of the Almighty knowing that He loves them more and wants only the best for them. I feared putting my firstborn Erin into God's hand for fear that He would take her home to be with Him. But then I realized He would do whatever He needed to do, and I couldn't stop Him. By choosing to put her into God's hands, I chose to trust Him, and I acknowledge that He could take care of her better than I could. He could love her better than I could. Not only does He want the best, but He knows what is best even if it means that we or our children have to go through the hard and difficult times.

Just like we can't see what is going to happen in our own lives or the lives of our children, we have to choose to savor every minute we have with those we love. Mary just had to love and cherish the baby she held. She kissed those sweet cheeks and held Him to her. She held the Savior of the world in her arms and in her heart which is where we need to carry Him every day. It is so easy to love a sweet baby. Remember this season, that our salvation, the road to our redemption began with the birth of a baby to a momma named Mary. Put yourself in her shoes. Look at your children through her eyes the way she looked at her baby boy. Then remember the sacrifice her baby boy grew up to accomplish. My guess is Mary may have thought she couldn't handle seeing her baby boy now grown man hanging on a cross. The grief, the overwhelming grief she must have experienced, but God did not abandon that momma. He was with her every step of the way. There are some mommas who are grieving this season for a child who is lost, for a child who has died. My heart goes out to you. May the God of peace comfort you.

I know this seems as if I'm rambling, but I'm just writing down what comes to my heart and mind. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart – not then and not now. Cherish every day. Ponder things in your heart. Seek Christ first. Trust God with your loves. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Shopping for Christmas presents, picking up the children from school, going to events after school, and then there are the parties for school, church and work. To top it all off, I've received a new computer program that does some link analysis that I'll be doing for my whole unit; I'm working my desk and a coworker's desk; plus I've been handed a project that is going on three decades involving three different families that are now converging into one. I have practiced using the word "no." AND I didn't schedule a lot of parties. As a matter of fact, I backed out of some, but it doesn't seem to matter – more things are getting dumped in my lap at the end of this year. How does that happen?

The good thing is my time is in God's hands. My footsteps have been ordained if I will just walk in them. My focus remains clear. I just need to stay focused. It is okay if some things don't get done. People won't die. My friends won't disown me. Mass hysteria will not ensue. Riots will not take over on every front. Life will go on, and I will live to face another shopping season. BUT what impression have I left on people for this season. Have I shown them I know who is important that I know whose I am? Have I used gracious speech and exercise loving kindness? When someone assists me, did I acknowledge them and looked them in the face? Was I patient realizing the person behind the counter was another one of God's children? Because when all is said and done, what happens to me in this temporal moment doesn't compare to how I have treated others especially during this season when I should be reflecting my Father's disposition the most.

I encourage you to limit your coming and goings as much as possible. It's okay to say "No, thank you. We can't." I encourage you to breathe in through your nose and out with your mouth in big, deep breaths and see, acknowledge those around you. I encourage you to remember this is temporary -- the stress and fatigue you are feeling, but your witness may be what affects someone's life the most.

Keep your chin up. Keep your tiara in its place remembering your represent your Father.