Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Grumbling about our blessings

I started this post a couple weeks ago.
I knew I needed to write about it,
but it felt flat.
I couldn't put words to what I was feeling.

Today it came to me!

A couple weeks ago in Sunday School,
my Lanny Love,
who was teaching on the fifth chapter of James,
made the comment:

"We should be counting our blessings
rather than grumbling about them!"

Now, can I be honest here?
I can't remember in what context
he made the observation
as it relates to James.
But I remember the way it affected me -
and that phrase has stuck with me!!!


Now, I'm not a generally grumbly kind of gal.
Mostly I see silver linings and the positive side of things.
But now and again,
just like all of us,
I'm grumpy.

Today is one of those days.

I'd like to share a text conversation
I had with my closest female friend, Chris,
this afternoon.
(Young at Hearts, please forgive me!)

Me: I forgot we have stupid young at heart tonight so no feet. 
(insert grumpy emoji here)
(She is also my reflexologist)
 As you can tell, I am thrilled about going and my attitude is peachy... 
(nose growing emoji)

Chris:  LOL!!! Yeah, I can tell.
And I'm sorry too.

Me: I'm feeling very sorry for myself and very put upon today. 
Because, you know, my life's so bad... 
(that was sarcasm - I have a GREAT life!!!)
Can't seem to shake the grumpies...

Chris: I'm sorry. And it's all relative. 
(My friend is very generous!)

Me: I haven't had a good pity party in a long time! 
I think I'll just decide I'm due one and embrace it. 
Until 6pm when I must transform into sweet Gina.

(Pause as I work up some pitiable problems.......)

Me: You know, it's pretty hard to have a full blown pity party 
when the best I can come up with to feel sorry for myself about 
is that I have to go to a potluck/domino party tonight 
with a bunch of people who love me 
and whom I love 
and I'd rather stay home and pout...
but I'm going to work on it! 

Chris: Oooh, snap! Yeah, not much there I'm afraid...

Me: Zach is coming and bringing 2 more dogs to pee on the floor - 
surely that's justifiable!

(I have spent the last two days cleaning carpet
because of naughty doggies.
I thought about waiting until 
after the granddogs leave,
but one is still a puppy in training
and that would be an invitation
and make it harder for Zach and Jamie
to continue his training!)

Chris: Oh yeah, that'll do it.....
hang on to the shampooer....
(Borrowed shampooer
and I will!)

Me: And I have to cook dinner 
for a whole bunch of nice people Saturday night 
and I can't fall back on easy but noteworthy spaghetti! 
Now we're rollin'........ 
(tongue sticking out, winking emoji)

Chris: Lol!!!!!

Me: And they can't fix the dryer until Friday 
and it's really, really loud and annoying! 
Yeah baby!
(Oh my goodness!!!
SO loud and annoying!!!)
Okay, better now! Thanks!

Chris: Now the blessings.........

Me: (yellow heart emoji)
Soooooooooooo many! 
And, funny thing, 
many are the same as the grumbles!

And it hit me!!!
I am grumbling about my blessings!!!

I get to go to Young at Heart tonight
because I am part of 
a loving, accepting, giving church community!

I get to clean the carpet 
because I have carpet to clean in my lovely home;
because I have a sweet little doggie 
who is having some issues right now;
because I get to see my bonus son and daughter-in-love
and their sweet little babies;
because I have a dear friend who loaned me her cleaner!

I get to entertain Saturday night -
and can I be straight up honest here? -
I LOVE entertaining!

I get to listen to a noisy dryer
because I have a dryer!
And I get to have it repaired
rather than living with the noise
until it dies and I no longer have a dryer!

I'm not sure why I was grumpy this morning.
But I'm sure why I'm grateful that
God has so richly blessed me!

Lord, forgive my grumbling!
Thank You for Your generosity!

My whole being praise the Lord
and do not forget all His kindnesses!
                                                   ~~ Psalm 103:2


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

This was the week...

Five years ago today,
my grandsons and I left for
a five-day adventure
in Red River, NM.
I had been widowed
for six months,
four days.
During that week,
I began to live again.

The journey ahead of me
was to be very, very long
and extremely strenuous.
There would be times
I would think I would not,
could not,
survive.

But I did.

I not only survived,
I began to thrive.

But I had to make choices.
Existence versus living.
Joy.
Letting the grief flow,
and letting it ebb.
Fighting the urge to quit.
Choices and consequences.
Either way you go.

Some of my choices were foolish,
painful,
costly.
But I would make them again
if it meant coming to today -
which, of course, it would.
Most of my choices were
adventurous!
Or at least it felt like that to me!

I chose to try something new
in the way of a career.
I chose to look at the possibility
of dating and remarriage.
I chose to pursue that.
I chose to do the things,
go the places,
I wanted to go -
even if it meant doing so by myself.
I chose new friends.
I chose to forgive the old ones
by whom I felt abandoned.
I chose to accept where God had placed me -
and to allow Him to move me forward.
I chose to feel the grief,
but feed the growth.

I miss him still.
Sometimes painfully so!
But life is good!
Joy-filled!
I am happy!
Content!
Five years ago today,
it began.
A new adventure.
Something I'd never done before.
I chose to allow God to teach me something new.
I chose to learn to live without him.

I'm glad I did!

 

I look up to the mountains -
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, 
who made the heavens and the earth!

He will not let you stumble and fall;
the one who watches over you will not sleep.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never tires and never sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not hurt you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all evil
and preserves your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.

~~ Psalm 121 NLT


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Anniversaries

42 Years.

I was a brand new bride,
five hours to be exact,
at the moment of this writing.
After nearly five years of being his girl,
I was finally his missus!
I was so excited!
And happy!

How I loved that man!!!
And how he loved me!!!

Over the next nearly 37 years,
love grew and bloomed
into a flowering plant of rare beauty.

7 years.

I did not know.
It would be the last anniversary we would celebrate together.
The next year,
he would be gone.
Celebrating would have ended.
Observing would have begun.
And grief such as I had never known
engulfed me.

Over the next two years,
I learned.
I learned to be single.
I learned to be Gina rather than AlGina.
I learned that he had given me a great gift
in his conversation encouraging me to remarry.
I learned that while I could live alone,
I didn't want to live alone.
He had been right!
I needed to be married,
should be married.
And I learned to be a better wife during those years
while I was NOT a wife!

God had commanded a period of quiet,
stillness,
waiting,
listening.
During that time,
He showed me many things.
I grew tremendously.
As a woman of God.
As a woman of the world.
As a wife.
I listened and learned.

3 years.

It was the observance of my 39th wedding anniversary.
I had been seeing someone for several weeks.
Someone very special.
Someone who would tell me that night
for the first time
that he loved me.
Someone to whom I would
for the first time
express my love.
I was excited.
I was happy.
I was sad.
I was confused.

May I confess?
I did expect to remarry at that point.
I did not expect to ever deeply love again.
And when it happened,
I felt disloyal.
And some others felt I was disloyal.

Over the next nine months
God taught me a lot more about love!
He taught me it is possible to deeply and completely
love more than one man at the same time.
He taught me that doing so was not disloyal.
To either of them.
And in the ensuing months and years,
love has grown and bloomed
into a flowering plant of rare beauty!

My vase is full!
Two blooms!
Each exotic and special.
Each unique, one-of-a-kind.
Each admired and envied by others.
One a cut bloom,
no longer growing and thriving,
but preserved and cherished.
One a lovely, flowering, rooted plant,
thriving and growing and lovely!

Thirty-six years, ten months, eight days
of love and marriage.
Three years of me and God,
changing, evolving.
And now, three years of growing love,
two years, three months, 16 days
of love and marriage.

God has been so good to me!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dad

Eight years ago today,
just ten days after his sweet wife, Jackie,
my dad died of a broken heart.
Oh, he had health issues aplenty!
But a broken heart is what he died of.

They had not been married many years.
They were not first spouses to one another.
But they were the love of each other's lives,
each living beyond their life expectancy
for the sake of the other.

My dad was a brilliant man.
A literal genius.
He was musically gifted
playing many instruments
including his voice -
the deepest bass I ever heard.
He was also a gifted artist, writer, poet, and so much more.

He loved playing games,
particularly pinochle.
And he loved words and tongue twisters.
I have an extensive vocabulary largely because of him.

My dad was different.
He wasn't your average American male.
He was a star-gazer and spent hours upon hours
looking at the night sky.
He invented things.
He was a great cook.
He loved debate.

Our relationship was different,
not your average daddy/daughter relationship.
It was difficult from the get-go and never became 
what either of us wished and hoped
I grieve over that.
A lot.
But I loved him.

I was 52 when he died.
Still, I felt like an orphan.

Dad and Jackie both opted to donate their bodies
to the University of Vermont for education and research purposes.
I don't know what was learned from their generosity,
but I like to think that there may be diabetics, heart patients,
and others who have already benefited from their gifts. 

Rest in peace, Dad.



Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be prolonged
in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 
                                                                    ~~  Exodus 20:12

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Remembering


I have struggled with this post.
I have written and deleted.
Written some more.
Deleted some more.
Nothing seems right.

Today is five years.
Five.
Long.
Years.
1826 days.
Days of sorrow such as I have never known.
Days of the most drastic changes I've ever experienced.
Days that lasted for years ~
and flew by in the blink of an eye.

What does one say about a man who is gone ~
before he was ready to go ~
before we were ready to let him go?

Do I say he loved and served God every single day?
He did!
Do I say he loved me with all his heart?
He did!
Do I say he loved his little girls wholly and completely?
He did!
Do I say he loved his grandsons and granddaughter
and delighted in them?
He absolutely did!
Do I say he was the very finest kind of husband,
daddy,
papa,
son,
brother,
friend?
He was the very finest!
Do I say he was brilliant?
He was!
Do I say he was a hard worker?
The hardest!
Do I say he was passionate about all he believed?
 Extremely!
Do I tell you of his tenderness?
His generosity?
His sense of humor?
His wit?
His friendliness?
Do I tell you of his desire to and gift of preaching?
Teaching?
Do I tell you of his magnificent baritone?
Do I show you pictures of him playing in the floor with his little girls?
Do I share the stories of him playing catch with Kim 
and one resulting ER trip?
Do I tell you about the time he caught Chrys up on the run 
and flipped her over in the store?
Or her hand wrapped around his finger as a pre-teen
because his hands were too big to hold the whole thing.
Do I tell you about the middle of the night shopping trips 
for a specific brand of pacifier?
Do I tell you about the Saturday morning breakfasts, 
just he and Kim?
Do I tell you about the ways he romanced me, 
made me feel special and cherished?
Do I tell you about the 15 1/2 year old boy who asked me to go steady at 14,
the only boy I ever dated,
and the five years of our courtship?
Or do I tell you about the man he became 
who married me and cared for me every day for the next nearly 37 years?
Do I tell you of the man who worked through the hard times
and reveled in the good times?
Do I tell you about the man who sat me down just a couple weeks before his death
and gave me his instructions and expectations for my life after Al,
for living and loving and remarriage?
Do I tell you about him shooting BB guns and bows and arrows with his grandsons
and letting his granddaughter put bows in his hair?
Do I tell you about the man who loved and respected his sons-in-law?
Do I tell you about the son who served his parents?
The brother who loved his siblings?
Do I tell you about the man
who only wanted the very best for all those he loved
and to be needed and loved by them?

How can I sufficiently honor such a man on this anniversary of his death in this life
and birth into eternal life?
What can I say about him? 

Those of you who knew and loved him,
already know anything I could say.
For those who didn't,
no words I can say will give an accurate portrayal
of the kind of man who walked this earth
for 57 years, one month, 20 days and,
five years ago today,
left behind a gaping, open wound,
a hole in the hearts and lives of those who loved him best.

This then, is what I will say.
This man ~
~ this husband ~
~ daddy ~
~ papa ~
~ son ~
~ brother ~
~ friend ~
 ~ this man,
this great man,
is loved more than he knew,
missed more than he would have thought possible,
and thought of daily.
I cherish the years,
nearly 42 of them all told,
that we were a couple
and I am profoundly grateful
that he was mine.

Five years.
I remember............ 


He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, 
because all the old ways are gone.
                                                                      ~~ Revelation 21:4

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 9

I am a step-mom.
Times three.
Bonus children are different than children.
Don't get me wrong,
I adore my bonus children!
Love them passionately and deeply and wholly!
No matter what!
But it wasn't always that way.

If you read my day four post,
you know that I loved my children instantly!
I grew to like them,
but I loved them instantly.
That is not the case with bonus children.
With bonus children,
you like them immediately -
or maybe you don't -
but you grow to love them.

When I met the first one,
my Lanny Love and I
had only been dating a little while.
I thought I was falling in love with him
and he with me.
But we had not said those three little words yet.
I was sure they were coming soon,
(Five days later, as it turned out)
but there was still no commitment
or likelihood of one.

It so happened that
Aleisha and her boyfriend, Blu,
went to the same performance of a play
that we did one evening.
And so, we met.
We sized one another up -
as women do -
and I liked her and her Blu,
immediately.
But I did not love her.

As my Lanny Love and I grew in our love,
I began to love his children because he loved them.
By the time I met Zach,
I loved Aleisha because I loved her.
We had developed a friendship,
had enjoyed lunch together a few times.
She had become my cherished new friend and
I had begun to look at her as a daughter.

It took longer with Zach.
While I liked him
and his sweet wife, Jamie,
immediately,
and I loved him as my Lanny Love's
and knew that it was likely
he would become my bonus child,
He did not live here
and he was a boy!
We didn't lunch, or text.
But the more I knew him through his dad,
and the more often he came to visit in the ensuing months,
the more I loved him.
And, can I be honest here?
He was extra special to me because he was a boy.
The son I craved!

My third bonus child,
my sweet Tiffany,
I did not meet until the night of our wedding.
I liked her immediately
and she very quickly became my friend.
But can I tell you that
I also loved her immediately?
Like my children,
she was mine the moment I laid eyes on her!

You see, the night Lanny and I married,
we became one in the eyes of God.
My children and grandchildren had just become his.
His children and grandchild had just become mine.
And something magic happened.
I loved them as mine!
No matter what.
No matter what they might have done,
or said,
or how they might have acted,
just as with the flesh of my flesh,
blood of my blood children,
none of it would have mattered!
They were mine!
Just like my own are mine,
that night, they became mine as well!
And I loved them all!!!
The Bible says little about stepchildren. Most of what it says is about half siblings, brothers or sisters that share one parent. The only thing that it specifically says about stepchildren is that a man may not have sex with a stepdaughter for that would be incest, even though she is not of his own blood. The passages are Leviticus 18:17, Leviticus 20:17, and Ezekiel 22:11. 

Beyond that, it seems to be understood that a parent's responsibilities are the same whether a natural parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent. No distinction is made, anyway, between the three. When you consider what God has done for us, saving us from our sins, and that the scriptures say those who are saved are adopted by God (Romans 8; Galatians 4; Ephesians 1:5), then it is clear that God treats the adopted children (and one would presume stepchildren if it were possible) the same as the natural son. If God treats us that way, then we ought to treat children who are not our birth-children the same as if they were.
How amazing that God granted me
that love for my bonus children
the moment He joined me to their daddy!

Bonus families are not always easy.
Especially with adults.
Blending children who are grieving loss,
who were raised in different households,
with different styles,
adult children with differing personalities
and lifestyles,
is challenging.
Sometimes I laugh -  a lot.
Sometimes I cry - a lot.

But it and they are always worth the time and effort!
It has recently occurred to me
that Jesus was a step-child
and Joseph a step-parent.
We are in good company!

In my list of people for whom I am grateful,
my bonus children are a great blessing!
Thank you, Lord!
Thank you for
my Tiffany,


 
my Aleisha and Blu,



my Zach and Jamie!


You are a good, good, God!



30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 7

I am playing catch up.
With one exception,
I have posted on the "special days"
but our schedule has kept me from my computer
the other days.
So, catch up.

As I said in my first day post,
I am doing these in the order they came to mind
with the exception of the special days.
Today is day seven.

I am grateful for my widow's group.
Let me tell you about them.

We are a group of christian women whose husbands have died.
We "meet" on Facebook in a private group
through a wonderful website,
run by author,
Ferree Hardy.

There are three levels of groups.
  1. Lifeboat - Stage one grief. Drowning in grief! New anguish. Confusion. How do I live? WHY should I live? How do I change the oil? Who do I call for repairs? Where are my friends? Are your kids....? Am I going crazy? It's the place where we empathize with one another in the new, never-wanted-this, normal. You can stay in this boat for as long as you like. Some have been widowed just a few days, some many years. Everyone grieves at a different rate, but all grief has some commonality and all grievers need to feel they are not alone!
  2. Going Ashore - Stage two grief. Reality has set in. We have begun to move forward. We have relearned how to breath automatically rather than having to remind ourselves to do so. We have begun to comb our hair. We have begun to want to heal. The new "normal" has become more familiar. The fog has begun to lift. We are no longer drowning, we see the shore, some have touched it, some are walking on it. Again, we are at different time periods and all can stay as long as they want.
  3. Love Boat - Stage three grief. We are thinking about dating, have begun trying to date, are dating, are engaged, or have remarried. This is the group of which I am currently a member. 
Within these groups,
we bare our souls.
We share things,
say things,
that we do not share or say anywhere else.
Because unless you've been there,
you don't understand.
And, in the case of those further along,
even fellow widows who have not yet
reached your stage,
may not understand.
In fact, unless you've been there,
it is very likely you would misunderstand
were we to say some of the things we say.
My widow's groups have been,
and are,
very important to me.
I love my widows!

Most of us have never met.
But we are close friends!
Some of us have been privileged to meet.
I have been very blessed to meet four of my friends!

Today, I am grateful to God
for my "boats" and the ladies in them
and to Ferree Hardy for her obedience to God
in launching a "lifeboat"!

And so encourage one another and help one another, 
just as you are now doing.
                                     ~~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ~~

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 14

November is a difficult month in our little love nest.
Judy's birthday,
the day Al was released to hospice care,
Al's birthday,
my mom's birthday,
and now, this year,
we have added the the homegoing
of my Lanny Love's dear mother-in-love.
All within the first two weeks of November.
While we rejoice in the reward 
these precious ones now experience,
we cannot help but feel their loss
in our hearts and lives
especially on special dates.

Today is one of those special days.
My precious mommy would have been 81 today.
She only celebrated 44birthdays
before her homegoing nearly 37 years ago.
I no longer actively miss her every single day.
But there are moments,
periods of time when I do.
Still.
Today, and for the last several days,
I have actively missed her.

Today, on her birthday,
I want to give thanks to God for my precious mother!

My mom's life was not easy.
She was a child of divorce
in an era where that was a shameful thing.
She was a child of the depression and all the ramifications that held.
She was extremely shy and insecure.
Her marriage was difficult.
She had cancer.
Her life was not easy.

But she never quit!
She was a woman of great strength and determination!
She taught me about perseverance -
even in impossible circumstances!
She went to school with four children
while working a full-time job
and became a nurse -
and taught me that determination can take you really far!
She taught me that God loves us deeply -
because she showed us his transforming love in her own life!
She taught me that sometimes we are unloveable -
and God loves us anyway,
and she demonstrated that in her love for a sassy teenager!
She taught me that God carries us through those hard times -
because she let us see Him carry her!
She taught me that God loves us as we are,
not as we should be -
because we watched as God transformed her
into an increasingly godly woman over the years!
She taught me about forgiveness -
because she came to forgive,
deeply love,
and fervently pray for,
people who had deeply wounded her.
And my mama taught me that
death does not stop love -
because nearly 37 years after her death,
I still love her deeply!

My beautiful mama was smart and funny and loving!
She had a temper and a mouth
(The mouth! How I understand her struggle -
and she understood mine
and helped me learn,
is still helping me learn,
to bite my tongue,
to think about my words before using them!)
My mama had a wicked sense of humor
and delighted in pulling off practical jokes -
and she did it often and well!
She had great strength of character!
She was a wonderful mother,
and my best friend!

I miss my mommy today.
I am thinking of her hugs,
her love of her children,
her delight in her grandchild,
her excitement at knowing that her second was expected.
I am thinking of her sorrow at knowing
she would not get to finish raising her youngest child.
Her care for us in planning her own funeral.
So I am wearing White Shoulders,
her perfume,
and her pearls given to her by Karen,
and remembering my mama,
and thanking my God
for the great gift He gave me in her!

Happy birthday, Mama!
I love you!

Her children rise up and call her blessed...
~~  Proverbs 21:28 ~~ 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 8

Today....
November 8...
A day of joy and celebration once.
A day of memories now.

Today, is my Al's earthly birthday.
Today my heart squeezes in pain
At the loss of him
And in joy at the life of him!

Today, I remember.
I remember the sweet young boy
With whom I fell in love.
I remember his 16th birthday,
The first of our courtship.
I remember his 21st,
The first of our marriage.
I remember his 23rd,
The first of our parenthood.
I remember his 57th,
The last on this earth.

I remember our first kiss,
First I love you -
I remember our last.
So many memories in between.

His godliness.
His brilliance.
His gentleness.
His kindness.
His compassion.
His protectiveness.
His sense of humor.

I remember.
And I am grateful to God
That He gave me such a man!

Happy birthday, Alfie!


Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy[a] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.[b]

Many waters cannot quench love;

    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it[c] would be utterly scorned.

                               ~~Song of Songs 8:6-7~~

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 6

I purely love being a grandmother!
Wholly and completely!
As the saying goes,
"If I'd know how great they were,
I'd have had grandchildren first!"

If you read my day 3 post,
My feelings for my grandchildren
Grew just as suddenly
As my love for my children.
The moment I laid eyes on them,
They were mine and I adored them!

I have often said that
Grandchildren are all the fun
And none of the responsibility
Of children.
I don't have to feed them -
Except candy and ice cream and pizza.
I don't have to clothe them -
Except princess dresses, cowboy hats, and fun t-shirts.
When they are ill,
I only cluck sympathetically.
I don't have to take them to the doctor for a shot.
I don't have to discipline,
Insist that homework comes before play,
Or that a clean room is a necessity.
Unlike a mom,
A grammie gets to be purely fun!

I am blessed with four grandchildren.

My sweet Hayden,
Nearly 19, an adult now,
My first.
How I adored that wee one!
Soccer, band concerts, football games.
Hundreds of spent nights,
Games, bedtime prayers.
Now an adult,
College, responsibilities.
We talk to one another -
Sometimes frankly.
We respect each other.
We like each other.
We have fun together.

My sweet Ashton,
18 next week, also an adult.
A surprise,
He came into the world with challenges,
Spending several weeks in NICU.
How I adored that tiny little baby
With all his tubes.
How I prayed for him!
Track, more football,
Hundreds of spent nights, stories, "Sorry" and "Jenga".
Early graduation, college.
My compassionate protector when Papa no longer could.
We talk.
Pray together.
Repect each other.
Like each other.
Have fun together.

My sweet Kylie.
Another surprise.
The only girl.
Eight years old and full of
Life, curiosity, energy, love for Grammie.
Tea parties, horses, Disney princesses,
"Take my picture" and "make a movie"
By the dozens.
Spent nights, stories, prayers.
Grammie's little princess!
We like each other.

My sweet Xander.
Also a surprise.
Not the youngest at 10,
But the newest,
He grew differently in my heart,
But into my heart he did grow!
He was seven when first we met.
I was his dad's fiancee's dad's friend.
He was the first.
The first to want me to be family,
Asking even before Lanny and I were officially engaged,
If he could call me grandma.
Now, I am Geema.
He is full of energy, curiosity, leadership,
More football.
More spent nights and games and bedtime prayers.
We like each other!

And we all love each other deeply, completely, without reservation!

Yes, I purely love being a grandmother!
On the sixth day of thanks,
I am exceedingly grateful to God
For the great gift of my grandchildren!

Grandchildren 
are the crowning glory of the aged.
                                 ~~Proverbs 17:6~~

Sunday, November 5, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 5

I am a mother-in-law.
I don't think I am traditional.
Or maybe my sons-in-love are not traditional.

I love them,
And they love me!
But much more out of the ordinary,
I like them,
And they like me!
Sometimes we disagree,
Debate,
Argue.
Sometimes we agree,
Take up for each other.
Sometimes we make each other angry.
But we get over it!

They stop by.
They call occasionally.
They are protective of me.
They would, and have,
Bent over backwards,
Inconvenienced themselves,
To assist me.
They are supportive.
They treat me more like a mom
Than a mother-in-law.
And they are,
After all is said and done,
My sons.

Tonight I am thankful for these fine men
Who love my daughters,
Care for them, support them, protect them,
Spoil them, play with them, romance them,
Work hard for them, sacrifice for them,
Respect them, honor them.
I am thankful for these wonderful daddies
Who have moved heaven and earth to ensure
That my grandchildren have a good life.
They love and play and discipline.
They like their children!

God has, once again,
Blessed me richly with children, sons!
My heart is full!
Thank You, Lord!


"[I] give thanks to God always for you all, 
making mention of you in [my] prayers" 
                                                            ~~I Thessalonians 1:2 ~~


Saturday, November 4, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 4

Have you ever fallen
instantly
madly
passionately
in love?
A love that almost crushes you in its intensity
and sudden onset?
An all consuming,
anything for you,
world rocking,
life changing,
pure love?

I have!
Twice!

I had known love before,
I have known it since.
But never with the suddenness of those two times.
The very first time I held these two in my arms,
I knew.
Nothing would ever be the same!

My little girls have grown up now.
Sometimes they have made me cry in joy -
and anger and frustration.
Sometimes they have made me laugh -
and scowl.
Sometimes they have made me so proud I could burst -
and so disappointed I wanted to shrivel up and die.
But one thing never changed.
In every moment 
of every minute 
of every hour 
of every day 
of every week 
of every month 
of every year 
of their lives
I have loved them with a passion unique to them. 

For a short period of time recently,
they became the parents.
Carrying me when I could not walk.
Feeding me when I could not eat.
Asking me if I was dressed.
Who my friends were.
Where I was going.
What I was doing.
If I had enough money.

And I needed them.
Just like a baby.

But the joy of being their mom,
and in adulthood,
their friend,
soon overtook the need to be their child.

When God gave me these two miracles,
He granted my fondest wish -
motherhood.
And how good it is to be their mom! 

Playing during my "being their child" days.


Friday, November 3, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 3

The first couple of weeks of November
have a lot of hard days in our home.
Today is one of those days.

Not all of our people
are people we know personally.
One of those people for me
is my Lanny Love's Judy.
Today is her birthday.

I have come to know Judy
through the memories and stories
of those who knew her well.
And she has profoundly affected me!

You see,
who my Lanny Love is,
who my bonus children are,
who our now shared bonus child is,
how I am viewed by our now shared in-laws,
our now shared friends,
our now shared family,
all of that is profoundly affected by who she is.
No, I did not know her,
but I know her now.
And she is a vitally important person in my life.
One to whom God introduced me
long before we ever shared anything but one friend
who asked me to pray for her
and her family when she first became ill.

In some ways,
who I am is because of Judy.
I learned some things about praying from her.
I learned some things about being my Lanny Love's wife from her.
I learned some things about being a bonus-mom from her.
I learned some things about being a daughter and sister-in-law from her.
I learned some things about being a friend from her.
In ways many and varied, she has helped to form the woman I am now.

Not a day goes by that I do not think of her.
In our combined household,
I sit on some of her furniture,
eat and cook with some of her dishes,
see her pictures.
Days like today,
I am deeply touched by the grief and loss
that some of my other people experience.

I have been profoundly blessed by Judy's people!
I have been profoundly blessed by Judy!

On this day that celebrates earthly life,
I grieve for the loss that is evident all around me,
I grieve that I did not know this woman personally,
and I rejoice that she has received her reward ~
the reward she lived her life achieving!

Today, I am grateful to God
for giving my Lanny Love
"...a woman worth more than rubies..."
and my Bonus Children
a good and loving mother.
And I am grateful that Judy crossed my path!

"[I] give thanks to God always for you all, 
making mention of you in [my] prayers" 
                                                            ~~I Thessalonians 1:2 ~~

Thursday, November 2, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 2

Today, I want to thank my God
for my Lanny Love.
It is not surprising that he appeared
first on my list.
He is not simply a part of my life,
he is my life!

Three years ago,
I was completing my second year of widowhood.
I was heartbroken.
Grieving.
Lonely beyond belief.
Three months later,
God spoke.
Twice.
Once to me.
Once to my Lanny Love.
And our lives changed!

Our courtship began slowly,
in writing and pictures.
And research...
Then a first meeting,
texts and phone calls,
a second meeting.

He was godly.
Smart.
Kind.
Compassionate.
Gentlemanly.
Warm.
Patient.
A good man.
And more than a bit handsome.

Time went on.
The loneliness began to dissipate.
My heart began to heal.
Love began to grow.

I did not think it could happen to me!
I thought for a time I could be satisfied
with simple companionship.
But learned I could not.
Then friendship.
Love.
Need.
For both of us.

He rescued me!
And I rescued him!
God rescued us both!
With one another!
And our love has grown and bloomed 
into a thing of great beauty and strength!

My Lanny Love is my blessing from God!
My dearest companion!
My best friend!
My true love!
My life!

There will never be enough words
to express my gratitude
to the Great Redeemer
for the restoration He has brought
to this broken woman
through my Lanny Love!


"[I] give thanks to God always for you all, 
making mention of you in [my] prayers" 
                                                            ~~I Thessalonians 1:2 ~~

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 1

I posted this yesterday on my FB page and repost here as "explanation" for the blogs over the next 29 days.

Today begins my annual "30 days of thanks". While I am thankful for so much all the time, I enjoy this focused time of praising God for the many ways He has so richly blessed me! But this year, I am going to do something different.

This year, I am going to focus on the people in my life. We take our precious folks for granted so often and think they know how we love and appreciate them so we don't often say it, but words are important and everyone likes to hear that they are loved and cherished. So, today, I am just going to say how very much I appreciate and love all the many friends and family I have! My life is very full and satisfying - and the people in it are why! You laugh with me, cry with me, make me smile when I am down - or just because, and allow me into your lives to do the same for you! Thank you all for being in my tribe! I love you each and every one!

There are, of course, those folks who are extra special. Starting tomorrow, I will share the wonder of some of my extra special people!

Thanks to all of you as well, my readers, for being part of my "tribe"! You are important to me - even if we've never met!

I have debated how to go about expressing my gratitude for my extra special people. Do I do them in order of importance? I'd have to list them all at once for they are all important! I thought about listing them in order of their longevity in my life. Or how often they are part of my life: daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Or are they presently part of my life or an important figure from the past? Living or dead? Perhaps the "why" of their significance? I finally decided to simply make a list, and with only three exceptions, which will make sense as time goes on, I will simply be talking about them as they appeared on my list.

Come on along as I tell you about my extra special people - and maybe think about the precious people in your lives, even the prickly ones!

"[I] give thanks to God always for you all, 
making mention of you in [my] prayers" 
                                                            ~~I Thessalonians 1:2 ~~

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My name is Gina, and I am a perfectionist......

Yes.
It is true.
I am a perfectionist.

There are a lot of misconceptions
about perfectionists
the main one being
that they do everything well.
That is not true.
In fact,
most perfectionists spend so much time
on minute details
that they don't complete tasks
or if they do,
they complete late,
exhausted,
and feeling as if they've failed miserably.

You see,
a perfectionist is not perfect!
No, they simply expect perfection of themselves -
and, unfortunately, sometimes others.
When they do not achieve perfection -
which, of course, they cannot -
they cannot let it go,
berate themselves,
and are very likely not to attempt again
the failed project.

It has taken me a lot of years,
a great deal of effort,
and no small amount of prayer
to begin to give myself a break.
But now and again......

About a year ago,
I undertook a project.
Something I expected I would love!
But I can't seem to get it right!
For nearly a year,
I have tried and failed.
Over
and over
and over again.
It leaves me feeling incompetent.
Stupid.
Frustrated.
But I am determined not to quit
out of fear of not ever getting it right!!!
It -
and I -
have potential!!!
And I'm getting closer to getting it right
with every single attempt!
I'm learning much about the project,
my mentor in the project,
and myself! 
Quitting is not an option!!!

I have realized that following Christ
is very similar!
We want to do it right.
Perfectly.
And when we fail -
and we will fail -
we are tempted to give up,
quit.
But God is an infinitely patient and gentle mentor!
And as we struggle to get it right,
we learn more about being a believer, a follower,
more about our Father, Saviour, and Comforter,
and more about ourselves.

My project will never be perfect.
But it will get better and better each time.
And we will never reach Christian perfection
this side of Heaven.
But we will grow and thrive,
and become closer and closer to our Creator, Saviour, Friend. 

I read something recently.

Tonight, I am resting from my project.
And when my soul becomes weary of 
the struggle for Christian perfection,
I rest in my Comforter.
I do not quit!

Are you weary of the struggle to get it right?
Rest.
Don't quit!