Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day

I don't even stop and look at the Father's Day cards at Walmart anymore. When Don was alive I would take my time reading several before making up my mind. Most of the time they were humorous cards, but once in a while I'd pick out a heartfelt card. If I had the chance here's the letter I would write to him on Father's Day.

Dear Sweetheart,

Happy Father's Day! I don't know if I ever told you what a terrific Dad you were. I didn't tell you enough what it meant to have a husband who not only loved me, but loved his kids unconditionally. No wonder they went to you first about everything! Remember that tatoo that Carrie got and didn't want me to know about it? I found out after the fact, when you already knew. Remember how you and Shannon would talk college football for hours and how you always called her on the phone after Auburn played? That's something she won't forget. Nor will she forget the time you and Jeff drove to Auburn late at night to pick her up because her grandmother was in the hospital and we didn't expect her to make it through the night. You didn't want her to drive home alone during such an emotional time.

And Carrie won't forget the times you took off from work to be a chaperone on a boring band trip to Birmingham or that time you checked her out of school to watch your beloved Kentucky Wildcats play basketball at Tuscaloosa. Or going to Nashville to see the Tennessee Titans play. You knew that I was not a big sports fan, but your daughters never let you down.

And neither one of them will forget the countless Friday nights you took off from work so you could attend the football games and watch them play in the marching band. As a father, you were definitely hands-on and always put your family first.

I remember when we lived in Germany, right after Shannon was born. We lived in a one-bedroom basement apartment in Nierstein, that little German village within walking distance of the Rhine River. With only one car, it meant I spent long days home alone with a newborn baby while you went to work. I was anxious for you to come home because I was nervous about being a new Mom. We had no washer or dryer. During the week I would wash diapers in the bathtub, but on the weekends you took the dirty laundry to the laundromat on post and brought the clean clothes home, all neatly folded.

While growing up the girls always knew they could come to you. I guess I was the disciplinarian and you were the laid-back parent. I don't recall you ever spanking the kids.

I know that you would be proud of the girls now. I know you loved your son-in-law. Your youngest daughter married a good man. I know that your heart would break for Shannon, for what she's been through the past year, but you would stand there and protect her every step of the way. And you would just fall in love with your grandchildren. "Teka" was just learning how to crawl when you left us and you wouldn't believe that she is going on five and starting Kindergarten! She is the spitting image of her mother. You would just love "little Allie" and get such a kick out of her. She has one unique personality and has practically potty-trained herself. Talk about a strong will! And then there's Lucas, your grandson. He is so easy-going and what gorgeous eyes and a beautiful smile he has. I could see you now on the living room floor playing with all of them, just like the girls used to climb all over you when they were little.

Don, it hasn't been easy on the girls since you've gone, but God's comfort and peace have helped. Thoughts of you are always on their minds and in their hearts. They miss you so!

With Love,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Jesus-God Book

Okay, I try not to be one of those grandmothers that are constantly whipping out the brag book, or nowadays, the cell phone or digital camera that seems to be readily available. Yes, I have on occasion dug the digital camera out of my purse to show a recent picture, one picture, that I thought deserved a little recognition and a Ooh and an Aww from my co-workers. For the most part, I am not that kind of a grandmother, sometimes even being accused of being negligent by not having a recent photograph on hand.

Thank God for Facebook! Now I can post photos of my grandchildren to my heart's delight without being rude or obnoxious.
And it's not just pictures that I am proud to show off, but the cute and silly things they say that make you smile or laugh out loud. Like my daughter, Carrie, says, kids are cheap entertainment.

A few weeks ago I was baby-sitting the kids, all three of them, while Carrie and Shannon went shopping.Lucas has a picture book Bible in his room, and little (almost 2 years old) Allie Marie was getting into everything, like always, and naturally gravitated to the baby's room to see what damage she could do. She found the picture book Bible and was playing with it when big sister Erika ran into the living room to tattle on her little sister, probably realizing that little Allie was up to no good."Nemaw, Allie's playing with the Jesus-God book," she tells me."What book is she playing with?" I asked, teasing her."The Jesus-God book in Lucas' room," she repeated in her 4-year old voice. She still has trouble pronouncing some of her words and letters, but I understood her plain as day this time. She led me into Lucas' room and pointed to Allie playing with the children's Bible.So from here on out it's not the children's Bible, but the Jesus-God book.

Recently Carrie took Allie to the ER when she needed stitches. She had jumped off the couch and her cheek was split open when it hit her sippy cup, of all things. She required 5 stitches. Carrie said that she was awesome and didn't even cry when the nurses wrapped her up like a papoose, so she couldn't move. On the trip to the hospital Erika recalled her trip to the ER last year, when she slipped and fell and needed stitches on her chin. She remembered seeing the "Chin doctor" when she went to the emergency room.

Needless to say, some of the things she says leaves me in "stitches."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

God is Faithful

The phone rang early this morning and Shannon heard the words she's been waiting to hear, "We want to offer you a teaching position at our school."

In today's economy, with a fresh batch of eager college graduates polishing their resumes, and laid off teachers anxiously updating their's, it's been a nerve-wrecking job hunt these past few months. She had three interviews in two days, for a total of five inteviews and two job fairs. One principal told her that there were more than 200 applications received for a handful of teaching positions.

The past year has definitely been a test in faith. "Have faith" has been my motto. "Ask, and you shall receive". Sure, God knows what we need before we do, and he knows without us having to ask him, but I think he wants to make sure we are on the same page by keeping those lines of communication open. I prayed, but already knew in my heart, that God had a job for her. It just had to be in his perfect timing and that time was today.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me faith.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Lord is My Shepherd

I've been thinking of starting a blog for some time and I had the title picked out almost immediately. My faith has been continuously tested this past year, and it was only when I rested in God's Word, that I felt a calming and peaceful feeling.
"Beside the still waters",
from the 23rd Psalm has been my refuge.

I believe that we are all on a spiritual journey, but we ignore the 'caution' signs along the way. We take the forbidden detours and then crawl back to God, dragging our broken spirits/bodies/dreams behind us, begging for forgiveness and a second chance.

But God will wipe away our tears and listen to our heartaches. And he'll want us to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them.

Wishing you a safe journey.