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Missing Mom This Mother’s Day

14 May

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Are you missing your Mom this Mother’s Day?  

If your Mom is still here with you, are you savoring the moments?  Are you spending time with her today?  If not, have you called and told her you love her?

This time of the year brings back so many memories of my Mom because this is also her birthday week – the 12th.  I was so glad on Friday that I was at school subbing to keep my mind off it, but tonight she’s been in my thoughts and yes I want to selfishly cry, but I’ve held back the tears so far.  I know she is with my Dad, but how I miss them both.  Wish they could have had one glimpse of our five grandchildren.
I remember the first year Mom died.  It was Valentine’s week 2013. That first Mother’s Day service at church was hard.  I had to force myself to go. I only did so because I felt ashamed not going.  I grabbed kleenex.   I was ready to let the tears roll.  A few tears spilled out  during the music, but then we had a guest speaker.   He was so, so funny that I laughed and laughed, and laughed.  I was so thankful that I had gone.  I love how our church takes care of everyone and honors even those that are going through infertility, those that have no children, those that have lost children, some adopted folks, etc..
I miss so many things about Mom.  Just seeing everything on television -the ads for flowers, and Facebook feeds are enough to make you dwell on the fact you never really knew your Mom like you wished you had.  So many unanswered questions I wished I had asked, but I am thankful I did on some days when I was visiting and she was feeling well.  I learned a lot sitting with Mom at the nursing home after she lost her leg from a horrible infection she got during a surgery.  Before that we were honored to have her staying with us three girls.
I am choosing to honor Mom this year as I have in the past with blessed memories.  Here are some special things I remember about my Mom:
  • How she would dress us girls up.  She would dress my middle sister and me alike in the cutest little dresses for Easter and Christmas.  See those little pearl necklaces.  I still have mine on a decorative pillow my mom and my middle sister below made one Christmas and they added our necklaces. Hope my kids don’t throw away that pillow when I’m gone.PicMonkey Image-100.jpg
  • How she curled our hair or put it in a pony tail.  She was so good at it.  I never have been.  Look at those curls in our hair.
  • Her chocolate pies. Yes, I have her recipe.
  • Her roasts on Sunday evenings.
  • Her enchiladas back in the day when there were not Mexican food restaurants around.  We would have lots of company over and Mom would have pans of enchiladas.
  • Her giving spirit.  She would give her last dollar to help someone.
  • Her unending love for my Dad even up to the time she died.  She died Valentine’s week, and I remember my husband saying as we sit there waiting for the funeral home to come that Mom would be spending Valentine’s Day with Daddy.
  • She was strict which caused me to be the person I am.
  • The way she celebrated Christmas and Easter and how family was so important.  I used to think she was selfish sometimes for demanding our presence as we ran around two places with kids and worn out.  Now I know why it was so important to her.  It’s important to me, but I don’t demand it.
When Mom died I wrote a poem in her honor.  My Dad was always writing poems for holidays and family.  I wrote this one and wanted to share here in memory of Mom.
Missing You Mom
by Debbie Williams
This for us has been an unimaginable day
Mom we are missing you more than words can say.
This week we have had so many fears
And we have shed thousands upon thousands of tears.
So many sleepless nights and a heavy load
So many stories we’ll miss that were never told.
On this the last day to celebrate you
You would be so proud mom those who are here honoring you!
You’ve been so sick and so strong for so so long
And even missed hearing Leslie’s beautiful song.
Your poor body has been through so much
Sometimes you hurt so bad we could not even touch.
So sick for so long, fighting battle upon battle and always winning the fight
We didn’t think we would get a call so soon that night.
Oh Mom we missed holding your hand and saying goodbye
It seems so unfair we weren’t by your side.
But we know God was there alongside.
We are giving our Father thanks and glory today
That He chose to call you home for Valentine’s Day
Oh we know there will be moments of great grief
Sadness, and missing you – right now it’s unbelief.
Thank you Mom for your pride and great joy and for
 loving on all your girls and boys.
We will have moments when we are wishing you were by our side
But we will pause and ponder on those memories of you with pride.
With thanks we give God today for His gift of you
Thank You Jesus this life is all about YOU!
With Love – Debbie, Delores, Danna, Sandra and your Precious Son-in-Laws and Grandchildren
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.  Exodus 20:12 (KJV)
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Moving Past Things I Cannot Change – Moving On

4 May

 

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr

Moving into different seasons of life is similar to changing seasons.  One thing we have to remember is God is in control.  Seasons change, but God never does.

Moving past what we cannot change sometimes can be hard. Sometimes we have to be still, and know He is in control.  I have learned that I can move beyond what I cannot change.  It can be difficult, but we have to trust in the One who is in control, and remember His plan is perfect.

Here are some things I have learned in my different seasons of life:

MARRIAGE

We marry.  Things change.  We have to adjust to different toothpaste, different ways of cleaning, being messy, being neat, introvert/extrovert and on and on.  We have to learn to love all the good things and get past the bad.  We have to learn to sit down and talk about our differences, what is bothering us, what we need.  We forget we married each other because we loved each other just as we were.  Why is it that we want to change that very person we fell in love with?  Why are we trying to change them?  Sometimes we  just need to stop and accept that person for who she/he is and how our Father made them, accept them where they are at, love them anyway, pray for them, and let God move in their lives.  Sometimes we have to forgive betrayals, and at times it is only by trusting in our Lord that we can put it in the past and move on.  We all sin every day and fall short of the glory of our Lord.  Why is it we can not forgive as our Father in Heaven has forgiven us?

CHILDREN

Psalm 127:3 (KJV) “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

We have children, but we walked through a season of not being able to have them because of miscarriages.  You can read about that here.  Being a mom is tough and I wrote a very long post about that here. During this season we were suffering through  staying up late, ear aches, changing diapers, excited watching them learn to crawl, walk, talk and then go to school, and grades, and sports, and off to college and then there is another adjustment.

Even today being a Mom is tough watching our children suffer the loss of babies and our first grandchild being born with a horrible disease.  We have cried, prayed and always put it in the Lord’s hands and watched as He as worked miracle after miracle on our grandson and our kids.  Today we are blessed with five grandchildren after storming the gates of Heaven and trusting that He would answer our prayers in His perfect timing.  He did BIG!  We have moved past what we could not change and thank Him every single day for all He has done today.

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

It has been years now since our nest became empty, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  I remember the day our daughter pulled out of the driveway to go to college, and I bawled.  Really!  She was only about thirty minutes away and would be coming home most weekends and our son was still here and going to the same college, but I bawled.

She finished college, moved back home and got married just three months later, and our son was still here and working and we hardly ever saw him between work and hunting and dating, but soon he married and left.  I didn’t bawl, but I sure missed him driving up each afternoon from work or worrying about him at night not being able to fall asleep until I heard his pick-up pull up in the driveway.

We adjusted easily.  I suppose many have feelings of grief, loneliness, anger, but for us it was a time of excitement.  Both left and married and we gained another son and another daughter.  They married Christians.  What a blessing!

We had each other and that’s how we began – in love and helping each other.  Sure I missed them running up the stairs.  I missed their help.  I missed them talking to me, but they were just down the road a bit.  But GOOD GRIEF there was less washing, less ironing, less cooking and it was like we were first married again.  We would lay on the sofa, or I would lay and put my head in his lap, and watch television.  We went out to eat more. And well, it has been a wonderful season.  We still DO!!

There are times I still miss them if I don’t see them for a few days, but that’s not often now that we have grandchildren.  I watch the babies and toddlers often.  Three of our grand babies were born this March so they are two months old and then there are toddlers ages two and three.  Life is full of happiness.

The empty nest is what we make of it.  Rekindle that marriage.   Build a new relationship with your kids and their spouses.  Let me tell you though that being a Mom can still be tough watching your kids suffer through miscarriages, infertility, and for some even worse – divorce and loss of a child.

TAKING CARE OF AGING PARENTS

As tragic as it was to lose my Dad at 68 with a heart attack, I can count my blessings that he didn’t have to suffer, and he didn’t have to watch Mom suffer.

After Dad died we watched Mom go through so much depression.  She could never get back to her self.  Until the day she died she was ready to be with him.  She came to live with us girls after he died and we maintained her home and her yard miles away because she wouldn’t let us sell it.

People if you are living with your kids sell that house so they don’t have to walk through that pain when you are gone.

Mom fell one day, broke her leg, and while they were replacing the femur in her leg she got a horrible bacterial that ate thru her leg.  She went septic and spent months in the hospital, and then they had to amputate and she was in a nursing home.  It was a hard time, but it was a blessed time and I focus on that.  I focus on all the activities I attended with her.  I only missed one – her last Fall party because we were out of town.  I spent days up there taking her meals, and reading to her.  You can read a little about walking through that loss here.

This was a difficult season, and I dread our kids having to walk through this one with us, but I know it will be, and they will get through it.  Today, I cling to all the sweet moments and the precious little trinkets I have laying around that Mom gave me like her little tea cups.  I think of her every day through those reminders and I thank my Lord for her and my Daddy as I look at his old radio, pipe holder, and desk.

We can get stuck like Mom did losing a spouse.  I know it will be difficult if my spouse goes first, but I do know the only way I can walk through that season is to walk through it with my Lord clinging to all the good times we are having today, and staying active and volunteering and being with family.

RETIREMENT

I’m retired.  My husband is not, but he’s talking about it. because this March we had three new grand babies.  Three.  Can you believe that?  You can read more about that here and here and twins here and another one here.  We are excited.  We had all five grandchildren here this week together for our kids birthday’s.  What fun, what joy!

Retirement for me has been bliss, but it’s also been a little hard because well I have filled up my days.  I’ve heard of people retiring, sitting down or quitting, and they don’t live long.  Shortly after I retired, I began spending more time with my Mom.  I became a volunteer for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies.  I began to substitute teach.  Now I help with the five grandchildren.  I am never bored.

For me every season of life is what we make of it.  Moving on with God because without Him some of them I would never have gotten through – seasons of not being able to have children, seasons of losing our parents – too hard to do alone, seasons of watching our children suffer through infertility and miscarriages.  I’m overwhelmed by His love for me through all my seasons.

Joining my friends Susie and Crystal today.

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Listen, Love, Repeat – Week 1 – Chapters 1 and 2 – My Bible Study Notes

21 Apr

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CHAPTER 1 – LIVING ALERT – How To Hear A Heart Drop

What is a heart drop?  Have you ever heard that phrase?  I had not until Karen Ehman introduced it to us in her book, Listen, Love, Repeat.  She is introducing this girl to a whole lot of stuff in ways I have failed to see in the past.  A small group leader shared that phrase with Karen and her husband.

A heart drop is “when a person either directly, or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or hers heart.  It may be through actual words, or you may pick up on a feeling, perhaps sadness or loneliness.”

Karen began Chapter 1 telling us about how she had listened to a heart drop of a friend.   Karen picked up during a conversation about a time in her friend’s life when she had felt significant and safe.  Her friend had a reading disability.  When she was at her grandmother’s house there was a book she could read well cover to cover.  Karen listened and was excited for her friend’s birthday.  She went on to E-Bay and bid on that antique book and got it for her friend.  That’s a heart drop.  It is an art Karen tells us in listening and loving others.

Karen never had a slumber party.  Her mother was single, working and she never had a friend spend the night.  Her hubby told her to get ready to go out and her hubby had invited her 3 best friends. They kidnapped her and her husband had pulled off a party for 30 friends.  He had heard that heart drop.

Have you noticed how obsessed our culture is with me, me, me?  Karen Ehman reminded us this week that we have forgotten the joy that comes when we put others before ourselves.  Do you find yourself doing that whether it be on-line, in your to-do list, in your phone conversations, at work, at home with your loved ones, with your neighbors (do you even know them) and even at church and other areas of your life?  Shouldn’t it be more about Him, less of me?  Shouldn’t it be more of Jesus, then others, then me?  

Think about this one.  Karen says we are seduced by “selfie-centered living”.  It’s all about pictures we post on-line, what we are doing, what we are wearing, what we are eating, where we are going, and on and on and on.   She says “at every turn we seem to care about only one thing:  “What’s in it for me.”

We were reminded how many “old-fashioned virtues” have disappeared.  I was reminded what a sweet man I am married to who always opens the door not only for me but others too.  I don’t take for granted how he opens the car door for me, and how he opens doors wherever we go.  It used to bother me seeing him stand and let a dozen people in behind me while I stand waiting.  Now he opens, I go in and if there are two doors I let those folks go ahead.  Do you “give a helping hand”?  Do you “look out for others?”  Do you say thank you?  We do.

What would Jesus do (WWJD)?  “Jesus was never too busy to notice.  He lived alert.  He could be among a crowd of thousands and yet focus in on one weary soul who needed a look, a word, or a touch from him.”  “Jesus wasn’t about doing big things.  He was about doing the right thing.  And often for him, the right thing was noticing one simple soul.”  Have you, my friend, stopped to notice one simple soul today?  Do you live alert?

Karen shared with us her “magnetic kitchen island” and how when they were looking for a house that was her desire.  Her island is a magnet for others and pulls so many duties during celebrations and holidays.  She reminded us to open our lives so that we can sacrificially celebrate holidays, holy days, and the everyday because it gives us opportunities to serve.

Jesus noticed.  He took time to heal a common woman who had been bleeding.  Just a simple touch from her and immediately it stopped.  Jesus took the time to meet her need even in a big crowd.

As Karen talked about “ordinary holiness”, I not only reflected on my savior, but my husband.  Karen talked about a friend “who loved his friends, his community, his family, and his God.  A man who knew how to hear a heart drop.  And not just hear it, but respond.”  Also, “but he gave quietly” , and “quietly serving the person standing in front of him.  With an audience of only One.”   That’s my man.

We are here to have a relationship with our Father who created us, and we should take every opportunity to point others to Him.  Everything we do should point others to Him, not me, me, me.

Five ways that Karen reminds us to live alert:

  1.  Pray each day
  2. Take notes: mental ones and sticky ones.  Keep a small notebook in your purse, notes app on your phone, sticky notes, etc..  When you hear someone talk about an interest, write it down – birthday, favorite childhood toy, sports team they root for, a deceased’s birthday.  Plan to do something for them when the days rolls around.
  3. Pay attention to special dates.  Surgery, sports tryouts, offer on a new house.  Pray for those situations.
  4. Start stalking.  Check out their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Look for patterns – likes and obsessions and find ways to encourage and surprise them.
  5. Be a smart shopper.  Stock an arsenal of affection, stock-piling items that will be useful as you share love with others.

CHAPTER 2 – FIND YOUR WHY

Karen started this chapter with a new term for me – summum bonum.  It’s meaning is the highest good.  She was writing a paper in college and decided that she would write about relationships.  She decided that nothing was more important in life than people.  How about you?  Is it really people or are things more important to you than people?  One thing I’ve learned myself the older I get is it truly is people.  Things will rot, things will be blown away by tornadoes, things will burn, things end – memories with people do not.

Her mentor, Pat led her to the Lord  and shared the two  reasons why we are on earth – have a relationship with our creator who offers us a place in heaven and to tell other people about Him so they can go to Heaven.  Relationships with our family members, friends, co-workers even those we meet only a few moments and even relationships our enemies.

Jesus performed miracles – He healed the bleeding woman, He healed a demon possessed man.  Immediately the bleeding stopped.  He healed, He was alert, and as Karen said, “he didn’t Instagram it.”  Even when peopled crowded around He noticed, and we are reminded that when people and projects bid our attention that we Jesus is calling us to stop and notice and give a special touch to that one person who might need some cheering up.

Often it seems like Jesus was going to be these big grand things, but for Jesus  ministry usually  was the person standing right in front of Him.Not the big thing he was going to do but the person standing right in front of them

Who is in front of you longing for you to notice them.  We have to start making relationships our big why.  We value possessions over people or maybe it’s a position or popularity among our circle of friends.  About a year ago she spent 3 weeks in a hospice with her SIL after a battle with breast cancer and bone cancer.  She never talked about the things they accumulated, the big house, the cars.  Her sister-in-law asked her to tell her about the time we were kids and the boat turned over, her son in a Christian rock band.  It was about people, not things.

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Matthew 5:14-16 you are the light of the world.

“If you want to find your big why you have to lose it.  In order to bring joy to yourself first you need to be concerned with bringing joy to others.  The reason God brought us to earth in the first place was to have a relationship with him so we will enjoy him forever in heaven and take other people with us.  We want to be a mirror that lets his light shine so that he gets all the glory.”

Karen shared with us when she got away to write in the quiet at a friend’s home without distractions, and how a neighbor working in the yard kept coming over and interrupting.   She reminded us that “often interruptions,  especially of the people sort,  are God’s agenda for our day.  Sometimes we get caught up in what we think is big ministry like writing a Bible study but most often for Jesus true ministry was the person standing right in front of him.”

Is someone standing in front of you today?  Would you even notice if they were?

Our Bible verse this week reminded us why we should let our lights shine.  I’ve done it using the KJV.

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Heart Drop photo designed using Pixelscrapper and Canva.

Max Lucado quote photo used free Canva photo.

Matthew 5:16 – Personal photo taken at Billy Graham Rooms

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I’m Going To Give You A Bear Hug – Giveaway and Book Review

20 Apr

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I’m Going to Give You a Bear Hug  is a wonderful book written by best-selling author, Caroline B. Cooney

This book is based off of a verse Caroline wrote for her now grown children many years ago.  It’s a beautiful book to read for a bedtime story, and so beautifully illustrated.

A Mommy transforms into different animals to give hugs.

Here are a couple of lines out of the book:

“I’m going to give you a dog hug.
A knock over chairs,
Chase up the stairs,
And sleep like a log hug.”  

“I’m going to give you a duck hug.
A webbed feet,
Feathered seat,
Waddle through the muck hug.”

Aren’t they cute?  You can have a really playful interaction with your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew or just a friend’s child.

So many kinds of hugs,  From the Inside Cover:  “Whether it’s a big bear, gasp for air, knock over a chair hug or a wet and drippy, slimy fish hug—children will giggle their way through all the imaginative examples of how to hug. Cooney’s engaging rhymes encourage playful interaction between parent and child and ultimately help them wind down before they snuggle into bed and drift off to sleep. ”

Pop open this giggly, charming book and enjoy!

I’m giving away a copy of this book.  All you have to do is comment below by Monday, April 23.  U.S. participants only.

I received this book from the Blythe Daniel Agency for an honest review.

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Bible Basics, A Baby Believer – Counting Primer – Giveaway and Review

19 Apr

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I just finished enjoying and reading the Bible Basics Book – A Baby Believer – Counting Primer  by Danielle Hitchen.  This is a board book designed for babies and toddlers, but as I looked over it I see it could even be for any new believers no matter what age.

It’s so easy to read and understand.  It begins with God – I AM, explains the natures of Jesus, the trinity, gospels, Pentateuch, the days of creation, the I Ams of Jesus, the beatitudes, fruits of the Spirit, and the ten commandments.   I am not sure a toddler could understand all of this – but a small child just becoming a believer probably could, and it is a book that can grow with a toddler, and probably many adults reading this to them.

It’s a simple, beautiful book.   I loved the illustrations.  Loved the sturdiness of the book.  Love how it grows with a child from the simple things like numbers beginning with the number 1 and God and then it advances from there.

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You will enjoy how the babies in your life will learn to count and also Bible basics at the same time.  You’ll love how it includes scriptures,  words from hymns, and even some writings from the early church.

I can’t wait to read this book to my toddler grandsons, and new grand babies that were born this month.

I have one to giveaway.  Just comment below who in your life you would love to sit down with and read this book.  Giveaway is for U.S. only, and closes on Monday, April 23.

I received this book to give an honest review by the Blythe Daniel Agency.

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