Monthly Archives: March 2011

The New Improved Me

Early in parenting,
I had a hard time discerning when my kids were “naughty”
and when they were “just being  kids.”
To me, it all seemed naughty.
Smearing Vaseline all over my bathroom?
Shaking a whole container of baby powder around the green shag carpeting?
Biting baby brother’s toes and leaving a dental imprint?
Writing all over my Bible with a green permanent marker?
Gluing the pages of Job together in Daddy’s Bible?
Some older, wiser friends lived in a beautiful older home with their four kids.
Their four year old son had taken a permanent black marker
and carefully drawn  X’s and O’s
all over the brick fireplace in the master bedroom.
Apparently, he’d been watching older siblings play Tic-Tac-Toe.
Appalled, I asked the Mom, “Did you spank him?”
Equally as appalled she answered, “No, he didn’t know any better.”
She went on to explain that it wasn’t naughty
because he had never been told “No.”
It was the first time he had written on something
and he did it out of curiosity and new-found skill, not rebellion.
At that point, he needed correction. 
He needed to be taught the correct behavior.
Once a child was aware that the behavior was wrong and they repeated it,
then they deserved to be corrected AND disciplined.
I was always thankful she took the time to explain that to me,
although to this day she probably thinks I am a horrible mother.
She would be happy to know I am a very understanding Gramma.
Brookie had found a small hole in my couch,
and decided it needed to be big enough to fit her arm in it.
Sounds like a plan to me!
I was so busy watching her dig, I didn’t look down.
When I looked down, I was a little surprised.
How did she ever think up a stunt like that?
Her conscience must have been nagging,
because she quickly began stuffing the fluffy white stuff back into the couch.
At this point I just had to raise my voice,
just a little.
“Stop, Brookie! 
Don’t put it all back!
Gramma needs to go get her camera!”
She politely waited, then allowed me to take these pics.
Then, she restuffed my couch and I quietly explained to her
it probably wasn’t a good idea to unstuff Gramma’s couch.
A few days later, Rebekah proudly walked me to the couch.
She had taken a darning needle and thread,
and sewed up the hole for me.
Rebekah fixed the couch,
but we haven’t quite conquered the bedroom yet.
But, that’s OK.
The Mom in me would have stayed up until midnight cleaning.
The Gramma in me knows how to make a path to the bed,
and keep the door to the room shut so I don’t have to see the mess.
The Gramma in me knows we’ll eventually get to it.
The Gramma in me
is the New Improved Me.
The model is slightly older,
slightly run down,
but definitely wiser.

We’ve Lost Our Touch

In my prime of parenting many small children,
rarely did a sight or sound escape me.
I could tell from the creak of a hinge,
even if my I was blow drying my hair,
which cupboard the kids were getting into.
I could tell from the shake of a box,
even if I was vaccuming the carpet,
if they were eating cereal or crackers.
I could tell by the crinkle of packaging,
even with my head stuck in the dryer,
what they were umwrapping to eat.
I could tell the difference between teasing slaps and fighting slaps.
I could tell the difference between a clean room,
and a “I shoved everything in the closet” room.
I could hide candy and presents so well,
I couldn’t find them even when I wanted to find them.
Together, Scott and I were an Army of Two.
The kids sat when we told them to sit,
they ate what we told them to eat,
they slept when we told them to sleep.
We were good.
In our day.
During the last visit with the grandkids,
we had to admit defeat.
We’ve Lost Our Touch.
I didn’t even know a chapstick was anywhere in sight.

I certainly didn’t know it was in Brookelyn’s sight.
I have failed as a Gramma.
I have a precious memory  of my Grandma Geneva
 teaching me how to put on lipstick.
She carefully edged my top lip with pink,
then taught me to smoosh my lips together to spread it to the lower lip.
I thought everyone did it that way.
Gramma was just saving money.
Most women apply lipstick to their top and bottom lips.
Brookelyn must know the Depression is over.
She used all the lipbalm she wanted,
without lessons from Gramma.

I didn’t know the fingernail polish was left at  the eye-level
of a 3 year old Do-It-Yourself Diva.

She came walking into the living room with her hands folded
in front of her, as if she was praying.
Grandpa thought he was smart enough to figure this one out.
“Whatcha’ got, Brookelyn?”
She shrugged with the practiced indifference of a teenager.
“Let Grandpa see.”
He was expecting to see something IN her hands,
not all OVER her hands.

We used to have this cool rule about playing with one toy,
then putting it away before you took out another.
See this same living room a few years ago.
I promise it has been clean a few times inbetween.
When Grandpa sat on a few toys, he thought about reviving that rule.

We never used to allow toys in any rooms but the family room
and the kids’ bedrooms.
Now, every room is a play room.

They dared to leave BOTH the kids with Grandpa and Gramma one night.
At bedtime, Grandpa got the bottles ready.
I said, “Um, Scott, the kids don’t drink out of bottles anymore.
They actually haven’t for a long time.”
His response, “They do when Grandpa babysits!”

Happy grandchildren getting bedtime milk.

We were trying to get both kids in their pj’s and sitting on the couch quietly.
We’d get one settled, then lose the other one.
We’d find the missing one, then lose the settled one.
Yea, we’ve really have lost our touch,
but found a crown.
Proverbs 17:6
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, “
We’ve been crowned and our hearts’ desire
is to cast these crowns at the feet of the Lord Jesus
when we stand before His Holy presence in Heaven.

Twenty Five Years of Blessing

When my kids were young,
my days and nights were filled with their needs.
I put food in one end, and wiped the other end,
and often wore it if it came up in the middle of the journey.
I dressed and re-dressed them as accidents occurred.
One day could easily equal several loads of laundry,
especially if you have bed wetters.
One day with little ones could easily produce several catastrophes.
One pair of scissors can cut your favorite afghan,
precious curls from a little girl’s head,
a hole in vintage curtains,
a check that needed to be cashed.
For years, it seemed like I didn’t sleep through the night
or eat an entire meal – warm.
I had little ones clinging to my hands, my legs and my skirts.
If I wedged myself away for a few minutes,
to do something extravagant like use the restroom by myself,
they might sit outside the door and wail as if I’d never be back.
But with love and joy,
I pressed on.
I was often tired, but always loved what I was doing.
I kept wiping, changing, comforting, holding, rocking,
giving everything to the career of my choice – Motherhood.
Somewhere in the daze, I started sleeping and eating
and their hands started serving.
After 25 years of marriage,
and 24 years of parenting,
they’re really giving back.
Now their hands hold me,
comfort me,
feed me,
pray for me,
do my laundry,
 and serve me daily.
Our 25th Wedding Anniversary was a celebration prepared
with the hearts and hands of our children.

The kids made delicious hors d’oerves so we could nibble and
stretch out the evening.

They cleaned and decorated the living room and dining room.

They purchased and arranged fresh flowers,
and had battery tea lights flickering atmosphere everywhere.

The banners were the heart of the celebration.
They cut out 25 hearts out of scrapbook paper
and instructed Scott and I to write down
25 blessings from
25 years of marriage.
I was given strict instructions to not think about our current trial,
and celebrate the blessings of our life.
Later we enjoyed a wonderful brisket meal with all the fixings.
Our desert was a marvelous chocolate cake with fudge
dripping out of the middle, topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

And all those years of pouring into our kids?
They’re pouring right back.
We do have much to celebrate…
and although writing down 25 memories was great,
it reminded me that we have much,
much more
than 25 things to be thankful for.
But on the top of that list,
were our six children.
Psalm 127: 3-5
 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

A Way of Escape

God’s promises are sure.
Even when circumstances seem out of our plans,
they are not out of His care.
Throughout the past weeks of fiery trials,
we’ve counted on His promises and clung to His Word.
A familiar verse has given us endurance.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also make the way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it.
Even though the trial seems unbearable,
we know it’s bearable,
 because it was allowed by the Lord.
Friday afternoon I was still in my pajamas. 
I hadn’t showered.
I hadn’t cleaned the house. 
I hadn’t even thought about meals or groceries.
I was in Beka’s bedroom with her,
trying to find the floor of her room.
My creative daughter uses her imagination to
 create stores, bakeries, restaurants and mansions
in her living quarters.
To my surprise,
 my three year old granddaughter,  Brookelyn,
walked in and stood on the only clean spot in the room.
California is far away
I knew she hadn’t walked to Gramma’s.
She was followed by her Mommy, Jana, my oldest daughter,
holding her son, Brayden.
My kids love to surprise me.
I hugged my granddaughter and wept so loudly I startled her.
The Lord had provided a way of escape.
For nearly a week, we’ve enjoyed giggles and hugs,
kisses and games.
Jana has shared Scripture and prayed for me and with me.
Brayden, 20 months old, taught Grandpa how to use the Ipad.
Brookelyn and I had some amazing conversations.
Brookie was sitting on my bed, playing with my special  Barbies. All of a sudden she shouted in her little girl voice, “Oh Crap!” Thinking she broke one of my little pieces or was having a hard time putting the baby doll in the high chair I turned to see the source of her frustration.
Brookie– “Gwamma. My Mommies’ ears grew weally, weally big when I was a little baby.”
Gramma- “Oh, really. Who told you that? “

Gramma- “Maybe my Daddy.”

A few minutes later.

“Gwamma. I don’t have any Barbies at my home. I don’t have two Barbies. Or a mommy Barbie.”

A few minutes later.

Brookie-“I bwing toys to share wif Beka.”
Gramma – “You did, what did you bring?”
Brookie – “Wemmme fink. I have Woody. I have Jessie and Buzz.”

Later, Brookelyn and I had to both go poddy. She went first then told me it was my turn. As she walked away she said with authority, “Don’t fall in your poddy, K Gwamma?”

I used to think the way of escape was an OUT to the problem.
As I look more closely, it’s not talking about
ending the trial,
but enduring the trial.
Until He reveals His ending to this trial,
we know He will continue to provide
ways of escape.
His Word promises,
and my Father always keeps His Word.

The Refining Silver Anniversary

It’s appropriate the anniversary 
Scott and I celebrate today is the
Silver Anniversary,
because silver is a precious metal refined by fire,
and we’re in the flames.
Silver is the metal of redemption,
the reminder of our purchase by the blood of Christ.
I find it ironic, now, that our wedding was filled with tears of joy.
Instead of traditional vows,
we read marriage prayers written by a godly older man
who still disciples my husband.
Our hearts were so filled with gratitude to the Lord we wept.
Our ceremony was simple, but filled with faith and love.
Were those tears foreshadowing of the type of marriage we would have?
We’re still best friends.
We’re still so in love our children pretend to shudder in horror
frequently yelling things like,
“We’re scarred for life!”
when they catch us stealing a kiss in the kitchen.
But, we’ve had our share of sorrows. 
I can’t say more than our share,
because we trust the Lord has written our love story.
Everything is part of his plan.
In the early years of marriage there was no money to celebrate anniversaries.
Once, we went to McDonald’s
and were thrilled to EACH order a meal,
NOT share our fries,
AND order desert.
As the kids multiplied there wasn’t money to buy a meal
AND pay a babysitter.
Since we didn’t want to do either/or,
we usually did neither.
For our fifth anniversary, we were determined to celebrate.
The kids came down with chicken pox.
For our tenth anniversary, we were determined to celebrate.
Our kids had a horrible flu and rash.
For our fifteenth anniversary, we were determined to celebrate.
I can’t remember what thwarted our plans.
For our twentieth anniversary, we were determined to celebrate.
In the throes of  my cancer, we managed one night away.
For our twenty-fifth anniversary, we were determined to celebrate.
For a year we dreamed of cruises and trips.
A month ago, we were still undecided.
Not just undecided, we didn’t feel peace.
We didn’t feel right about going to Hawaii.
We didn’t feel right about going to DC.
Nothing felt right, and we had no peace,
and we didn’t understand why.
We trusted the unction and didn’t book flights or hotels.
On Valentine’s Day, we discovered why the Lord kept us home.
We thank Him for keeping us from making plans
we wouldn’t have kept.
We have no desire to do anything, but fight for an Innocent Man.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace,
but found themselves in the presence of the Son of God,
Like these men, we’re in a purifying fiery trial,
but strongly feel the presence of the Lord.
Today, Scott and I are celebrating the SILVER of our marriage,
knowing the fire will burn off dross and reflect
 the beautiful image of the Savior in the perfected surface.
Someday, when the Lord gives relief,
we’ll celebrate the ANNIVERSARY of our marriage.