Monday, June 26, 2017

Soaring Free From the Nest

Our youngest son, of 5, graduated from college this last December.  He has been home since then, job hunting and waiting.  Not an easy thing to do for a 22 year old or for the parents who have watched him grow and mature into this young man he has become.

This past week he got offered a job and accepted and all of a sudden he needed to prepare, pack up, and head north.  This job is in Michigan!!!!! and for this Mama from the south who lives in middle Alabama that is awfully far away. 

Having known for 4 1/2 years  that he would one day leave the nest for the last time is not any easier now that it has actually happened, even tho I kept preparing myself for the inevitable!   I watched him wave good bye and turn out of the driveway to make this first official journey into adulthood.  He has said for several years now that he still doesn't "feel" like an adult and figures it will be real when he steps into this first job/career and into his own life journey.  

Today it happened and this Momma admits she cried as he drove away.  Having left 4 others behind at schools and as I followed their dad to Germany, Oklahoma, and Alaska doesn't make it any easier to have this last one leave the nest and begin his journey into a new and fresh adventure. 

 I knew when I left the others behind that they had each other to depend on and lean on for support and for the last 22 years they have done just that.  They all live within about 30 minutes of eus and his brothersach other and all chose to do so.  They actually love and like each other.  A great accomplishment, one of mine and my husbands finest moments, if I do say so myself.  Don't get me wrong, I realize they are our finest accomplishments because of God.  His hand has been right there, involved in every step along the way and they would not be who they are without Him and His blessings and the struggles that have helped make them who they are.  I am blessed and truly thankful for His love and blessings.

I know in my heart that this final one, baby of the family tho he is, will do fine too.  He is well grounded in his walk with God, has a strong faith, counts his blessings and has a very tender heart.  He contemplates issues and calls us and his brothers for advice, and prays before making decisions.  What more could this Moma ask for.  God has him in His hands and He will lead him on this new journey and will place him where he needs to be.  I believe that with all my heart and soul and yet my emotions are raw this morning.  I do not apologize nor am I sorry for that.  It is as it is.  God gave me this emotional, tender heart and I am thankful for it. 

This youngest son, my final success as a mom has those same tender emotions.  I pray I have helped show him how to channel them and hold them in check when he needs to.  I believe they will help him be a good husband and father some day.

We had a pool party yesterday as a going away/see you later get together for him with half of his brothers, sisters(in law) and nieces and nephews, (or niblings as he calls them.)  Two brothers/families were out of town and unable to be there so it was quieter by half.   We all 13 splashed around in the pool, helped the little ones jump in and out, watched them show off their new found swimming skills, shared their acts of courage as they continue to become braver in the water.  

At one point our son got out and just sat on the side.  I swam over to him and asked  "are you ok budd?"  He replied, "I'm just watching."  I smiled as I watched him taking in those last precious sights and making memories, like Jesus' mother Mary, who watched and pondered all these things in her heart.  I know that he will put this away and at a time when he needs home, will pull them out and remember these "niblings" and what they mean to him.

I and his dad have helped him to be as "grown up" as we can in the job we have done and now it is time to have him step off the edge of the nest and we have to sit back and watch what happens as he soars and dips and maybe even has a few crash landings as he gets his feet steady under him and his wings strong as he flaps them as he keeps himself on this next journey/adventure called life.

Our prayers for him are and have always been to keep God in his heart, in his life, in his thoughts, first and fore most and always, always be able to know that he has us as parents and 4 brothers, 4 sisters and 12 niblings to forever be his cheering squad and prayer warriors anytime he needs us.  We will be there for him and each other and he can count on that no matter where life leads him.

Now let's see, this last son of mine, where this next adventure leads.  He with new beginnings as a young man and me with new beginnings as a mom of 44 years.  Wonder where we are headed now?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mrs. Evans

We moved to Virginia during the summer after I finished 1st grade.  Daddy was a bakery engineer and he took a job in Harrisonburg.  Harrisonburg was a small town in the Shenandoah Valley.  It was a sleepy little town back then as most small towns were.  I had 3 older sisters, and 2 younger sisters when we moved to Va.  We spent most of our time outside during that first summer, playing with each other and getting to know the neighbor kids.  We played tag, "Ain't No Bugger Bears Out Tonight", we put on shows on the front porch. (Our house was a huge victorian with a wrap around porch.)  We were kind of like the Waltons you see on tv.  We were a country family moved to the "city"!
I don't remember when we met Mrs. Evans. I just remember she was a big part of our lives while we lived there.  My memories of Harrisonburg include Mrs. Evans as an integral part of the three years we spent there in Harrisonburg.

Mrs. Evans was married and had no children.  She worked at a grocery store and she went to church.  The best thing she did that I remember was, she held a weekly Bible class for the neighborhood kids.  I think it was Thursday afternoons, but one day a week all the kids in the area would show up at her door and be ushered in and upstairs to the class room.  I don't know exactly how many kids there were each time but I know it was at least a dozen.  We would sit in the room and Mrs. Evans would tell us Bible stories.  We had plays and activities together.  I learned a lot of what I know about God and Jesus from Mrs. Evans.  She, for whatever reason had taken it as her mission to teach us kids about God and why He was important in our lives.

  Mrs. Evans and Mama became friends during these years we spent there.  I am sure one of the reasons was that Mama had a break each week for a couple of hours from us 4 older girls.  I know that they spent time together on other occasions also. I remember Mrs. Evans giving Mama a baby shower when she was pregnant with our little brother.  Mrs. Evans mother, Mrs. Foltz, lived with her for a time during our years there.  Mama bought Mrs. Foltz dining room suit after she passed away.  I never sat in our kitchen after that for many years without remembering these two ladies, because that dining room set went everywhere with us in the next several moves we made, and was still there in my Mama's house when she passed away in 2009.

Mrs. Evans asked Mama if we older girls could go to church with her at some point after we moved there.  I don't remember when we started, but I remember that it was a big part of our lives also during that time.  We walked the block up the street every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening, to ride with Mr. and Mrs. Evans to church.  We went to potlucks, VBS, gospel meetings and regular services for the 3 years we lived down the street from her.

I know that the foundation we learned started with our Mama, who read Bible stories to us when we were small, but the building blocks of our relationship with God came from Mrs. Evans and in his quiet way, Mr. Evans.  I don't remember this part but my sisters tell me that Mr. Evans would take us to those church services and classes even on the days that Mrs. Evans had to work.  Mrs. Evans husband was not a Christian during these years.  I don't remember where he worked, I do remember he was a quiet man who would do anything for Mrs. Evans.
 So the things Mrs. Evans did during our years in Harrisonburg were even more special because of Mr. Evans. Sometimes she would work on the weekends and at night.  I just remember him driving us all those years and her quietly teaching us in our "Bible Club" and as she herded us around coming, going, and during all those activities.

I have told this story many times to people in the different places I have lived and where I have worshipped.  Mrs. Evans has many jewels in her crown today as she visits with Mr. Evans and God and Jesus and many others who have gone on before her.  Oh yes, Mr. Evans became a Christian in his very old age, I believe he was in his 80's.  Such a great example of a Godly woman who lived her life in service to God and those around her and by doing so was the Christian wife and example for Mr. Evans, and at least 4 little girls from Georgia.  Without her I am not sure where we would be today, but with her, I have the confidence that we will see her again one day as we finish our race.  In the mean time I know that our Father greeted her with open arms and said to her as Paul states in
II Timothy 4:7
 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

"Well done thy good and faithful servant!" is what God greeted Louise Evans with yesterday when she passed on from this life to that great and glorious, next adventure.  
 She is now with her loved ones and more importantly she is settling in to that room in the mansion that Jesus promised to prepare for her.  
Even tho I had not seen her in years, my heart is sad that she had to go.  Somehow we like to have the memory and the knowing that even if the person is not in our lives anymore he/she is still there in our past, just waiting for us to go back and visit and climb those stairs and settle in for another time of Bible story, or play or activities so that we can be grown and filled some more with the precious goodness of what Mrs. Evans shared with us and we share with others as we live each day of our lives.
 One of my sisters and our families went back to visit Mrs. Evans years later and as we climbed those stairs and had all those memories come flooding back,(boy the room was sooo small)  we told her how much it meant to us to have her share her God with us and how we were now passing it on to our children as she had once done with us.

I pray that I may leave a legacy half so special as the one Mrs. Louise Evans left when she came down our street and introduced herself to our family and began that three year journey of changing our lives forever.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A young man who was in the teen group I helped lead back in the late 1970's posted this morning that someone told him he was "too religious".  It shocked me, even in today's society where religion is something that sometimes leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, I was still surprised to hear that someone felt a man "too religious"!  Especially somone like this man who always posts encouraging comments and things about his life to show how far he has come in his walk to find the abundant life he hopes for as he strives to make it to the goal set before us all as we live our lives with "eternal salvation" in mind.
I began to look in my Bible to see if I could find something that would help him feel better about the posts he makes concerning his religious attitude.  I came upon I Timothy 4 and posted verses 6-16 on his page.  I look especially to verses 8-10 which I would like to share with you today.
I Timothy 4:8-10
8:For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
9: It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.
10: For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

We as believers must speak the truth to ourselves and all we come in contact with, wherever that may be.  In these times that can be in person, by phone, and now on the internet by way of facebook, twitter, google, and even here on a blog we create.
I believe that God uses us in whatever way He wills if we truly put aside ourself and let Him guide our walk through this life. He tells us that we must tell all we meet of the way to salvation and eternal hope in our God and how His Son came to earth to give us that hope.
We must be thankful that we have the opportunity to do this without the struggles and persecution the apostles faced during the early days of the church, after Jesus left them with the responsibility to spread the Word to others, in spite of the persecution He knew they would face.
Acts 4 tells us of an example during the early days of the apostles lives after Jesus left them, and it shows their fire and spirit they had for sharing His Word with the rest of the world, in spite of what those in authority had to say to them.  Those, that some of them must have known personally in their lives "before Jesus", "before salvation", "before too religious", "before eternal salvation".  Their example shows us that we too must strive to meet that example and use our lives in whatever way God has blessed us with to spread His Word so others might have that abundant life.  His coming to earth in the form of man, gave to his Apostles and by their teachings and living examples, that abundant life; we too must share with all we meet in our everyday walk as we look ahead towards that goal where we can meet Him and have eternal life with Him.

Acts 4

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Peter and John Arrested

As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming [a]in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the [b]message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priestwas there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” Then Peter, [c]filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “[d]Rulers and elders of the people, if we are [e]on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, [f]as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that[g]by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—[h]by [i]this namethis man stands here before you in good health. 11 [j]He is the stone which was rejected by you, the buildersbut which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Threat and Release

13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them [k]as having been with Jesus. 14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15 But when they had ordered them to leave the[l]Council, they began to confer with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that anoteworthy [m]miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.17 But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” 18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all [n]in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22 for the man was more than forty years old on whom this [o]miracle of healing had been performed.
23 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O[p]Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,
Why did the [q]Gentiles rage,
And the peoples devise futile things?
26 The kings of the earth [r]took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His [s]Christ.’
27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy [t]servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the [u]Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29 And [v]now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and [w]signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy [x]servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Sharing among Believers

32 And the [y]congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them [z]claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the[aa]proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of[ab]Encouragement), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is the "day" everyone is supposed to show their "love" for their special someone.  My honey left a card, a box of chocolates, Hershey's kisses strewn all over the table and a new Keurig-K cup machine, in red no less.

For those that know me red is my all time favorite color!!!!!!!!  My kitchen is white with "RED" accents.  Meaning anytime I see something red for the kitchen I add it to my collection.  Jeff has known that now for many years and he lets me put as much red as accents as I like without complaining that you don't have room for one more red dish, red pot holder, red coffeepot, etc, etc.

You know what tho?  As much as these goodies make me smile on those "special days" when Jeff brings me presents, I like the "unspecial" days just as much or maybe even more.
Days where he writes on my mirror, shhhh, don't tell him, but even the days when he helps me remember a chore that I may forget.  I have learned so much from him on how to make the most normal, unusual, unimportant days be just as special as any holiday ever put on any calendar.  He has taught me that being there for me and me for him is the most special gift we can ever give each other.

His most favorite gift I can give him?  Homemade Spaghetti made from his grandmother's recipe.  Real sit down suppers on the table when it has grown dark and things have finally quieted down for the day.  Fresh clean smelling laundry folded and put on his dresser to put away.  (Sometimes he is the one that has washed, dried, and folded it.)  New Lego's to add to his collection.  Fun games with the grandkids.  Camping with all the gang.

Those quiet few minutes as you settle in to bed after you turn out the light, where it is quiet and dark and all you hear is your loved one's breath going in and out with maybe a yawn or too to break the silence.  Both of us at one time or another will sigh and say, "Best part of the day."  Even now with no kids at home and it much less noisy around here we both cherish the time of day when we finally put aside all other distractions and relax with our thoughts.  Maybe to share a prayer before falling asleep or maybe just lying close listening to each other breath.  Just being there together is another of my most cherished things.  He spent so much time away during his active duty years that it is nice to know he is lying there beside me almost every night now.

Don't get me wrong, there were times during those younger years that we were both ready for him to deploy, or go out of town, for you nonmilitary folks.  Sometimes we all need a break from each other to more appreciate what we have when we come back together.  But for the most part, we are settled in to our routine and both appreciate that small things are sometimes just as, if not, more important in a relationship than all the big presents can ever be.

When my boys were little and running around outside playing I remember those special moments when one would run in with a flower/weed and give it to me and say "this is for you mama" with a big proud smile and love in his eyes.  Sometimes one of them would bring home some little trinket from school or Bible class he had made for me to show he loved me.  The phone call from one of those boys turned men now can make my day brighter more than anything any of them have ever bought me.  Remember to smile and hug and praise your child/spouse for those little things that they feel the urge or need to express love for you and give it right back at them when you feel that need.

Sprinkle a few "kisses" around not only today, but everyday in your relationships and see how far the happiness will grow and come right back at you full force.

Take the time today and everyday in your marriage relationship as well as your relationships with anyone important in your life to make sure you remember the small things that make that other person happy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Holding On To My Anchor

My inlaws passed away last year.  They died 2 months apart.  They had been together 56 years.  She had a stroke in 2005 and was still able to get around but was never her former self again.  The love he showed for her in the next 7 years was remarkable to say the least.  He put aside his life and did his best to make hers as comfortable and secure as he possibly could.
Watching him as he cared for her and tried to make her life as normal as possible was truly inspiring.  He continued to do activities that he was already involved in but as the years passed you could tell he was slowing down too.  He never left her for more than a few hours at a time unless he had to be hospitalized himself.
He made her daily routine a ritual that she could repeat each morning and her days as enjoyable as he could. The daily routine of playing a Rummy game to 500 became the highlight of her day.  He came to hate rummy but he always agreed it was time when she asked if he would play a hand or two with her.  You see, she could no longer read and since she was a journalist in their small hometown newspaper,  she became sadder and sadder that she could no longer do her favorite things.  So he helped her replace those favorite things with her daily dose of rummy.
We spent more time with them in the last 7 years, trying to go visit twice a year and he so looked forward to someone else taking a turn at the daily rummy games.  But you could tell he was always right there to ease the way when she got confused or frustrated.
He was her anchor you see and she clung to him with both hands.  He kept things stable for her when she was inside the storm that was her confusion and fear.  He kept her safe and secure in the love he had for her and she never doubted him or his love.
Spending this last year with them and then her after he passed away in Dec. 2012 has been an eye opener for me in evaluating my life and my future and what I want from it.  It has been hard at times to sit and realize that I am on the last 3rd of my life and going into the "golden" years can be a scary thing.  I look ahead to what may come and wonder if I will be as content as they both were to live in the now. I spend each day doing what secures me to this live.  Making the most of each day has become something I am stewing with.  I am not doing such a good job of feeling like each day has accomplished as much as I should accomplish.  Then I remember that Paul tells us to be content.
Phil. 4:11  Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I am.
I have fibromyalgia and some days with my pain and fatigue, I do absolutely nothing.  The next day I allow myself to wallow in my guilt that I am so much slower than I used to be.  Then I remember where I have been and all I have gone through and especially, where I am going and I am renewed.  I know my future and what it holds.
Phil. 4:12-13
12:I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
So this too shall be overcome.  My pain, fatigue and guilt, my insecurities on how I live each day and what the future holds in my "golden" years it all will be ok.  I will take one day at a time and try to make a difference in just one person's life and in so doing make my life more content.  I will walk the path I have chosen and let God lead me in whatever task He needs me to accomplish.
For God is my anchor and I will cling to Him with both hands.  I will let Him lead me where I need to go and prayerfully I will be the kind of wife, the kind of mother, and the kind of grannie love that I need to be.  My daily prayer is that I will be the example I need to be and the anchor I can be for my husband, my children, and my grandchildren.  I know no better legacy to leave than the one that helps them all to be better in this life.  Better Christians, better spouses, better parents, better brothers, better sisters......... just Him.
.For all of us can do ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS US!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


After the normal frustration that comes with trying anything new, Jeff helped me create a blog!  I'm very excited to learn about blogging, and to see what I can discover about me through this shared introspection!