Search for the Supermoon

We turned onto our street, and there it was, bigger than life, the supermoon. Wow! It was huge, mostly orange, hanging just above the trees. Instead of turning into our driveway, we decided to head toward the moon and maybe get an even better view of it.

Since our house was on our right and the moon almost directly in front of it, at the end of the block, we turned left. Where did it go? We seemed to be on the top of a hill where it would be most visible, but no moon. We kept driving. The road seemed straight. The moon should be right in front of us, but it wasn’t. Then we saw it again, out the driver’s side window. We turned left at the next stop. Again, no moon. Then we saw it outside the passenger side window. How does it keep moving? We stopped the car, and I clambered up an embankment to get a picture, through the trees. It looked much smaller now and farther away. It was hard to get a good shot.

I returned to the car, and we drove home. Up and down a few hills, constantly on the look out for the supermoon. Nothing, until we turned onto our road again. Déjà vu. I think I could have watched the super moon rise best from my front porch.

The week before this astronomical event was Christmas. I had been reading the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2. I decided to keep reading in Luke and came across Luke 3:4-6 around the time of the supermoon.

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

A lot of people saw the supermoon. Most of them got better pictures of it than I did. These verses made me think of our search for the supermoon. We thought we were headed straight for it, but the road we took was more crooked that it looked. We would crest a hill in anticipation of a moon on the horizon, but we were still in a valley, hiding the moon.

I’ve heard these verses from Luke and Isaiah taught as metaphors. The valleys being lowly and humble people, while the mountains are the proud. But my search for the moon made me think, maybe when Jesus returns these verses will be fulfilled in a physical way. Not everyone could see the supermoon. But everyone will see Jesus because every obstacle will be removed, whether that is a mountain or their own pride. However it works, I know I won’t have to search for Jesus. The valleys will be filled, the mountains made low, the crooked ways made straight, and everyone will see him.

There will be another supermoon at the end of the month, and maybe I’ll get to see it. Jesus will come again at a time that we don’t know, but I know I won’t miss him. Whether he changes the terrain or the hearts of people, no one will be able to miss him. For now I look forward to his coming and live as if it could be today.

A Grandmother’s Love

This was one of the best and most unusual weeks of my life. On Wednesday I flew to Florida to meet some of my birth family, including my grandmother. Excitement and nervousness jockeyed for position in my mind. How would this go? Would they accept me? It’s one thing to talk on the phone and exchange emails, yet another to meet face to face.

After checking in to our hotel and getting some lunch, it was time for meeting #1, my aunt and uncle. As soon as we pulled into their driveway, my uncle appeared on the porch with a big smile on his face. As I approached him, he welcomed me and opened the door. My aunt stood just inside. With tears in her eyes, she gave me a big hug. I heard my uncle saying that as I got out of the car, it could have been Jeannie (my birth mother).

We had a delightful time looking at pictures and telling stories. Laughter punctuated the conversation. It was a great start to our visit. After supper, we went to the assisted living facility where my grandmother lives. She was excited to meet me. As she turned in her chair to see me, she shook her head and said, “Oh my.” For a few seconds she just stared at me. Then she took my hands in hers and said, “It’s my Jeannie.” She looked so happy. We hugged and then talked about her life and stories of Jeannie growing up. It was great.

The next day, we all went to visit my great aunt, who is 99. She stared at me for a few seconds, too, before saying to my grandmother, “That’s your Jeannie.” We had an amazing time with the two of them. More stories, more laughter. So many times when I laughed or did something, they would say, “that’s Jeannie.” It was amazing.

As I said goodbye to my grandmother that night, she hugged me tight and said, “I love you.” At first I wondered how she could love me–she doesn’t really know me. But in an instant I understood why she could say that. I’m her granddaughter. Just like I love my grandchildren, even though I don’t know yet who they will be. From the moment I first saw them, I loved them. Really from the moment I knew about them, before they were born, I loved them. This visit was the meeting most of us have at the hospital, peering into the nursery, figuring out whose nose she has. My grandmother didn’t have that, but she often wondered about me and my life, and she loved me. It was easy for her say “I love you” because she has for 53 years.

The nerves have been replaced with a sense of overwhelming blessing. What a gift to have more people in my life who love me.

Heart Trouble

I am wired today. No, I’m not wound up or hyper. I’m actually wired, connected to a heart monitor. Why? My irregular heartbeat is more irregular than usual. So for 24 hours, I am sporting a very fashionable group of wires, attached to my chest with pretty red, green, brown, and black snaps–almost Christmasy.

Prior to placement of this lovely monitor, I underwent an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart. The technician, Tim, is a very nice young man. He did my last echocardiogram four years ago. He hasn’t changed a bit, wish I could say the same for me. Tim should play poker. He is an expert at not reacting to what he sees or hears on his equipment. I don’t know what he thought about it, but I can tell you, it didn’t sound anything like a heartbeat. No distinct thump, thump. No gentle swishing heard on baby ultrasounds. Nope. My heart sounded like an alien conversation from a Star Wars bar scene. I think it was insulting some other alien and was about to be vaporized.

After leaving the cardiology office, I needed to stop at the post office. My red snap and wire were clearly visible. I hoped the postal employee didn’t think I had a bomb strapped to my chest. I just wanted to send a Christmas present to my granddaughter and get out without a SWAT team surrounding the building. The postal employee may also play poker. If he noticed my wiring, he didn’t react to it, unless there’s an under-the-counter alert button. But I left before SWAT arrived.

Along with the monitor, I was given a chart to track the time and symptoms if I feel chest pain or shortness of breath. They will compare my chart with the monitor, which will help them diagnose what’s happening. This got me thinking (while checking my rearview mirror for the SWAT team). Wouldn’t it be great if I had another heart monitor, a monitor that would alert me when my spiritual heart is not right.

It could beep if my motives are questionable. Maybe it would give me a little jolt when my attitude is bad. When my sarcasm is not funny, but hurtful, the little line would jump. I’m pretty good at justifying my motives, attitudes, and quirky personality. (See, I just did it.) But if I got a print out of what my heart was doing during the day, would I be shocked to learn how bad off it is?

But God has already supplied a monitor to test our hearts. Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” So it seems to me the best way to monitor my heart is to study God’s Word daily and talk to him about what changes need to be made to correct my heart problems. I am confident at least one of my hearts can be correctly diagnosed and treated. And a healthy heart is a happy heart, which I hear is good medicine, so there is hope for both hearts after all.

 

Raising Boys (or Fights, Football, and Stinky Feet)

In the past few months, a few parents of young boys have asked me the secret to raising boys without losing your mind. I’m not sure I achieved that, but my boys have grown into really wonderful men–that, I think, is what they are really asking about.

It’s hard to believe that one day these boys, who at the moment are half killing each other, could possibly turn out OK. Most of us aren’t trying to raise the next president of the United States. We just want them to stop fighting, stop calling their brother names, and stop making such a mess. These parents just need a little encouragement that this, too, shall pass.

Talking with these parents has caused me to remember the days of having three young boys in the house. There were days (most of them) that it was total chaos. Since we homeschooled, they were with me all day, every day. There were always books and papers and toys everywhere. Buzz Lightyear broke the glass on a museum-hung, signed artist print as he was “falling with style.” They used whatever they could find to sled down the stairs. And, in case you didn’t know, boys’ laundry smells bad–really, really, bad.

One of the things I remember them doing happened when I thought the older two were mature enough to stay at home alone for a short time. But when I returned home, I saw the glass in the bird feeder was shattered all over the ground. What could have happened? I asked the boys about it.

“How did the bird feeder glass get broken?”

“Jason shot it with the bb gun.”

“Why were you shooting at the bird feeder? You know you are not allowed to do any shooting when I’m not home, and definitely not from the kitchen window toward the neighbor’s house.”

“I wasn’t shooting at the bird feeder. I was shooting the onion off the top of it and missed.”

“Why was there an onion on the bird feeder?”

“Because we didn’t have any apples.”

“Why were you going to shoot an apple off the bird feeder?”

“Because that was safer than shooting it off Tim’s head.”

Can’t really argue with that. As a creative homeschool mom, the thought went through my mind that this could count as music and history. No, no, I need to use this teachable moment to let them know what they did was very wrong.

“Don’t tell your father. Someday this will be a funny story. Today is not that day.”

And that’s how we survived boys, not taking anything too seriously, and always having each other’s back. Sometimes that meant not telling the other parent everything that happened in a day. It worked for us. We were always on the same page with discipline and direction for our family. So, it was OK if sometimes I didn’t know things they did and sometimes Dad didn’t know–we were on a “need to know” basis. I don’t even like it now when they tell me things they did that I wasn’t aware of at the time.

That’s how we kept our sanity. Well, that, and a lot of prayer. We prayed individually, as a couple, and as a family. We didn’t do everything right, but we loved each other. I see their cherubic faces when I read in Proverbs that love covers a multitude of sins. I think we had a good balance of overlooking inconsequential wrongs, disciplining when necessary, forgiving quickly, and laughing whenever possible.

So, I guess that will be my advice to these frazzled parents. And one more thing, hold the things of this world lightly because they are probably going to get broken.

Before you know it, the boys will be grown and dealing with their own little ones while you relax in the quiet of your empty nest and melt at the faces of your perfect grandchildren, who are driving their parents crazy.

Meet My Friend, Laughter

Laughter and I are best friends. Of course, I share her liberally with my other best friends. We recently took her with us on a road trip. The seven of us squeezed into a mini van and took off on an adventure. Our first stop was The Crazy Lady antique store, of course it was. Laughter insisted on coming into the overly-crowded converted house and almost caused a calamity, as she bent us over or threw our heads back. She can be trouble sometimes.

We continued on our trip with Laughter leading the way. She was loud all day long. Every now and then, she brought tears to our eyes. Even when we were completely worn out, laughter just wouldn’t stop. As we said our goodbyes, Laughter quieted down but never stopped completely. In fact, she kept me awake longer than I expected as we reminisced about our day together.

Laughter has always lived with me. She was close to my boys growing up. Even if she hadn’t been around all day, she showed up at meal time. Perhaps her favorite activity was our family vacations. It was hard to get Laughter to go to bed, and she often woke us up in the wee hours of the night. Even as I told the boys to go to sleep, I would hear Laughter quietly egging them on. Yes, she can be a troublemaker, but I just can’t stay mad at her.

Now Laughter has been introduced to my grandchildren. I love the smiles she puts on their faces. And I love when she joins in my conversations with these precious little ones. My best efforts to keep Laughter quiet when the parents of my grandchildren are not amused by their antics is almost impossible. She just bubbles up and can’t always be controlled. Sometimes I have to take her out of the room so the parents can make their point without her interrupting them.

Laughter was introduced to me by my mom. The three of us spent long hours together. Even during trials. The day after I had been in a car accident, which was also the day before my wedding, I was having trouble moving. I couldn’t bend, so I laid down on the floor to get my shoes out from under the bed. But then I couldn’t get up. I called for my mom to help me. But she and Laughter just joined me on the floor, none of us able to get up until Laughter finally settled down.

Recently, I found out that Laughter was a good friend of my birth mother as well. Not only did they spend a lot of time together, she shared Laughter with her family, too. What’s really strange is my friend, Laughter, sounds exactly the same as her friend, Laughter. Life is funny, which is why Laughter is such a good friend to have along for the ride.

Perhaps the best thing about Laughter is she introduced me to her friend, Joy. Joy hangs around long after Laughter is gone. She’s there no matter what, even when Laughter fails to show up. Joy is a true friend I can count on in any circumstance. But even she is more fun when Laughter joins us. I’m so thankful God has brought both of them into my life!

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by what you have done, I will sing for joy at the works of your hands.” (Psalm 92:4 NASB)

Another Thanksgiving Week That Changed My Life

Thanksgiving week changed the course of my life twice. The first time, I was four months old. November 25, 1964, the day before Thanksgiving, I was adopted. Leaving Williamsport that day, I became a member of a new family in Lansdale, one that had a mom, dad, big sister, and Chihuahua. The next day was my first Thanksgiving dinner, where I was passed around among my new family members. Of course, I don’t remember it, but I do remember later Thanksgiving dinners with my extended family. They were always happy and loud, and I’m sure that first one was no exception.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving week, 1981. The night before Thanksgiving, November 25, 1981, Doug and I had a DTR conversation (Determine The Relationship). That night we came to the conclusion we wanted to begin a new relationship. Our friendship had grown into more, and it was time to make it official. Our first date was two days later, November 27, 1981. It was a good decision. We are still dating.

Then this Thanksgiving came along. When the month started, it seemed like it would be just like any other November leading up to the raucous family dinner on Thanksgiving Day. I was hosting this year, so there was turkey to order, plans to make, menus to prepare, and silver to polish. Lots to do, so I nearly forgot that I had sent away for my original birth certificate. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania offered adoptees their original birth certificates for a fee of $20. So, I filled out the application and sent the check to the state in June. When I balanced the checkbook last month, that check still hadn’t been cashed. I noted it so my checkbook would balance (I still do that) and promptly forgot about it.

Sorting through the mail on November 13, I saw something official-looking from the state. That’s when I remembered the birth certificate. I just stared at it for a few seconds, telling myself not to be disappointed if it didn’t have my birth parents names on it–there was every chance it didn’t. I opened the envelope and unfolded the single piece of paper. My eyes read my birth name, which I already knew, and then fell to my mother’s name. It was there. No father’s name, but for the first time in 53 years, I knew my birth mother’s name. I grabbed my phone to call my cousin, who was the one working on my family tree. She was at least as excited as I was. But the question remained, would it lead anywhere?

A week went by with Thanksgiving closing in and no news from my cousin. I was so busy, I put the birth certificate out of my mind. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I picked up the turkey, got my hair cut, ran around doing last minute errands, and got a call from my cousin. She had news and would stop by later in the day.

She sat at my dining room table with papers and pictures. There were names and faces–faces that looked like mine. She found my birth family. Not only had she found them, but she had spoken to one of them. That one wanted to talk to me. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe this was happening.

The next day, the day before Thanksgiving, I got a call. It was surreal. I was speaking to someone who was there when I was born. The day after Thanksgiving, another call from another family member. How could this be happening? I haven’t stopped smiling since, but I have stopped sleeping, with so many thoughts and questions and plans swirling around in my head. I am thoroughly enjoying the twist this year’s Thanksgiving week has brought into my life.

I have always believed that God put me in the family he designed me to be in, even though my younger years were not all puppies and smiles. It was all part of his plan, as was bringing Doug into my life. And now he’s brought along people I wondered about but never thought I would know, and I am so thankful for all he has done and eager to see what else is in store for me.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB)

(Disclaimer: some of you know my birth name. Please do not refer to it if you comment on this blog post. Most of my birth family does not know about me, which is why I didn’t use any names or my relationship to them in my story. I want to respect their privacy–y’all know I am an acquired taste, give them time to get used to me. Thanks!)

Thankful? Let Me Think About It

The last year and a half has been a difficult time. Our family walked through the end stages of Parkinson’s Disease and cancer and experienced great loss. So, when I thought about writing about the things I am thankful for, my initial reaction was not a good one. “There wasn’t much good happening in the last year.” Besides the loss of my in-laws, I went through the worst physical pain of my life, and I am no stranger to pain. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there didn’t have to be good things happening to be thankful.

I remembered four generations of our family gathered around my mother-in-law, singing hymns as she was ushered into glory. My son led us in prayer as we thanked God for the life we shared with this precious woman. Over the next few days, we shared stories, laughter, and memories as we planned her funeral. Though a sad time, it was a blessed time. I was thankful for all that we shared together.

Although we all suspected my father-in-law’s rapid weight loss was an indicator of a serious health issue, we set our suspicions aside during mom’s decline. Even so, I wasn’t prepared for the phone call from his doctor just three months later. “The tests confirm your father has lung cancer.” A few more tests, and the news only got worse. “The cancer has metastasized to his liver and is in his bones.”

“Which bones?”

“All of them. With chemo, he may live up to a year, but the chemo will be difficult and will make him very sick. You need to consider his quality of life.”

“And without chemo?”

“Maybe six months. But right now he’s not feeling sick and has no pain. Consider his quality of life.”

I was not becoming a fan of the term “quality of life.” I didn’t like choosing between quality and quantity. It changed my life. I left my job, a career I loved. We moved to a new home that could accommodate a first-floor bedroom and living space for Dad.

As I reflected on that time, I remembered how having Dad living with us changed our lives for the better. Our lives slowed down, which was a welcome change. We didn’t have plans every night. We stayed at home together, watching the Cubs get into the World Series, listening to stories of his youth, seeing him light up when our granddaughter visited, and even talking about what heaven will be like. Each day was a gift for which I am very thankful.

Even the pain I have endured has its up side. Last Thanksgiving, I asked Doug, “Can pain kill you?” I was sure that was the direction we were heading. I didn’t see how my body could possibly survive any more pain. But just as I hit my lowest point, I crossed paths with someone who offered suggestions that proved to help. I am so thankful that God put that person in the right place at the right time.

While my condition is considered extremely rare (fluoroquinolone toxicity), I have discovered it is actually pretty common. But it is ignored or misdiagnosed by doctors. I have been able to help several people just in my circle of friends with the advice I received. For that, I am thankful. Without having gone through it, I never would have known how to help others.

Finally, all the time spent recovering, not working, and not caretaking, as been spent writing. My book is currently with an editor, and I look forward to having it published in the new year. I am praying that others will be helped and blessed by my story. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

So, yeah, the past year (maybe two) haven’t been the best circumstances, but God has been faithful and gracious to me. Because of the love and grace he has lavished on me, I can approach Thanksgiving week with a truly thankful heart.

20 Years of Puppy Love

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This week, as Seeing Eye puppy #22 tripped me on the stairs, twice, I thought, “You will not make a good guide dog.” That thought was quickly followed by, “I should be a better puppy raiser by now.” That’s when I realized we just passed our 20-year anniversary of raising Seeing Eye puppies!

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When we started, I never thought we would still be doing it 20 years later. It was just something fun for the boys, to teach them character. Then it turned into a 16-year career, another surprise. We started when our youngest son was 3 years old. He just received his first Seeing Eye puppy as a married man, exactly 20 years after our first puppy arrived.

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There are a lot of lessons to be learned when raising puppies over and over again. Here are few:

Puppies chew things you don’t think they would.

Children give things to puppies to chew you don’t think they would.

Puppy breath smells like coffee to me. Maybe that’s why I don’t like coffee.

What goes in must come out.

Puppies can turn big, burly men to mush.

Puppies will love you unconditionally. They never hold a grudge. They are always happy to see you.

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We are currently raising #22 and also have #16 who is a retired guide. He worked in NYC. Shortly into their partnership, his blind master called The Seeing Eye asking for help because #16 didn’t seem to know where their home was located. He would walk down their street of row homes and consistently arrive at the wrong house. They sent an instructor out to observe. What he saw was a dog with a sense of humor. The instructor explained to the dog’s master that he knew exactly which house was his. As they got closer, he would start to wag his tail and get excited before walking her up to the wrong front door. She would figure out it wasn’t her house, and scold him. His tail wagged even more, he would turn her around and bounce down the walk and right to her door. He was doing it on purpose to get a laugh. That’s who he was, the class clown. We seem to specialize in class clowns, which has made this endeavor tons of fun.

I could go on and on, but why bother when I have all these cute pictures. Thank you, Seeing Eye, for allowing us to be a part of your wonderful puppy program and share in your mission.

“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” Proverbs 20:12

 

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You Got Your Wish–Christians Are Dead

A few weeks ago, my Facebook newsfeed had some disturbing stories and comments scattered through it. The primary target was Steve Scalise, the Republican senator who was shot several months ago. He had recovered from his serious injuries and returned to work. The problem was he accepted an invitation to speak at a gathering sponsored by a Christian organization. Makes sense, the senator claims to be a Christian and fights for Christian values.

Clearly, there are people who will disagree with his political positions. But what I was seeing made my heart grow faint. Friends of mine, not just Facebook friends that I have no other relationship with, but actual friends of mine, were wishing Senator Scalise had died in the shooting. Because he opposes gay marriage, one of my gay friends wrote, “He (Scalise) is despicable and was not worth saving. She (gay police officer) should have let him die.” Another comment on the same post said, “I wish Scalise and all Christians would be shot and none survive.”

Another post lumped Christians in with white supremacists and insisted they “spew hate.” In my 50 years of church attendance and associations with para-church organizations, I must know thousands of Christians. I can’t think of one who hates anyone, and I’ve never heard one spew hate at someone else and certainly not wish someone dead. I know there are some knuckleheads who claim to be Christians who might do that, but none of the Christians I personally know would do that. I wanted to ask these friends to think of the Christians in their lives. Do they really know Christians who hate people? Do they really want those Christians dead? If they do, then that would include me.

Around the same time the posts occurred, our neighborhood was inundated with hate mail. It was personalized by what the sender had observed at each house–Proud American (flag on porch), Cat Woman (sign with a cat in front yard), Penn State Fan, etc., not things you would know from looking at Google maps. Someone walked around our neighborhood to create personal hate mail. The notes had drawings depicting hate of Jews and Muslims. This expression of hate hit a little too close to home. Fortunately, our neighborhood banded together and committed to watch out for each other and do all we can to build strong relationships within our community.

But, really, the hate mail didn’t bother me as much as the Facebook posts. The mail came from a white supremacist group in NY. The Facebook posts came from just regular, ordinary people–people I know. My biggest fear is that ordinary people don’t value life anymore. Authorities can’t find a reason for the Las Vegas shooting. He simply didn’t care about the lives of other people. These same ordinary people condemn those who disagree with them, and in doing so, spew the very hate speech they rail against. They cry out for tolerance and diversity but only if those diverse people have a different skin color. If their political views are any different, or their religious views are in opposition to their lifestyle, then they are haters and should be dead. Where’s the tolerance and diversity?

I had thought about writing this post a few weeks ago, when we first received the hate mail but changed my mind. But yesterday a shooter killed at least 26 people at a little Baptist Church in a little town in Texas. There you go, you got your wish. I opened Facebook and looked for the outrage over this shooting. It had been full of outrage at the Las Vegas shooting and the Pulse night club shooting. But my newsfeed is eerily silent. I had to wonder, are they happy about this? Christians are dead. Children are dead. Innocent people gathered for worship are dead. Do they care?

Yes, there will be calls for more gun control laws. But where is the outrage that 26 people, ages 5-72 were murdered in their church? Where are the well wishes for the families affected? There are none. None. Then I wondered, what if it had been my little church in my little town? What if it was my family, including my Pastor son and his children? Would these “friends” grieve? Would they come to my funeral and maybe shed a tear? Would they say we deserved to die because of our political views? Would they offer our family words of sympathy? I wonder.

I attended a funeral last week of a dear lady. She was a gentle soul with a contagious smile, full of joy and always looking for the next adventure. People spoke of her investment in her community, volunteering and leading numerous organizations. She was instrumental in rescuing a Cambodian family in the 1970’s from Pol Pot’s genocide. The church purchased a home for them and helped them find jobs and adjust to their new life. They came to our town and our church, and they came to her funeral. She was a positive influence on countless people. This is a person my “friends” would want dead. Do they understand who they wish dead?

Do they realize Christians are just ordinary people, too? They are teachers, nurses, letter carriers, UPS drivers, reporters, athletes, mechanics, Little League coaches–just ordinary people we all interact with everyday. The difference is Christians are called to love others, regardless of how they are treated by them. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” (Matthew 5:43,44,46)

The church in America has not experienced persecution as it has in other parts of the world. But it is coming. The good news is that when the church is persecuted, it grows and strengthens. The really good news is the Gospel of Christ, that he gave his life while we were his enemies to give us peace with God and eternal life. Do Christians wish their enemies were dead? No, on the contrary, we wish they would find life and peace. If my death would cause that to happen, so be it. But while I am still here, I will continue to follow Christ’s example and love those who hate me and pray for those who persecute me.

Mom-mom, That’s Me!

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life:  Little Sister, Cici, cousin, Aunt, Mrs. Radcliff, Mom, Sisterchick, M’am, and some things that I won’t print. But my favorite title, hand’s down, is Mom-mom. When I hear that from one of my little cherubs, my heart melts, especially when it’s accompanied by a hug and “I love you.”

I have spent the last two weeks in California, meeting our newest grandchild and celebrating her sister’s second birthday. The two-year-old usually adds an additional “mom” to my title, making me Mom-mom-mom. But sometimes, she just shortens it to “MA!” That’s usually when she wants me to play. Playing with grandchildren is what Mom-moms do best. Playing and baking, which can be considered playing, depending on how messy it gets.

No one told me that grandparenting is way better than parenting. It’s basically parenting without the stress. Grandparents can swoop in, play, laugh, give them candy, read some books, and wave goodbye, blowing kisses as we drive off. We can do that because our time with the grandkids is just that–time with the grandkids. We don’t have to figure out work, laundry, dishes, dusting, library story time, and getting the child to eat their veggies. We’ve been there, but now we’re in a new season.

This is an awesome season of life. I highly recommend it. If you’re headed toward Grandparent Season, don’t worry about it. Embrace it. Grandparenting is the best thing ever. I think that’s why people don’t tell you–they don’t want you to know that they are having the time of their lives. I mean, grandparents are old and frail, right? Wrong. Grandchildren do wear us out sometimes, but it’s a good kind of worn out, like the feeling of finishing my first 5K, exhausted but thrilled and looking forward to the next one.

“To everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) It would be great if we could relax and enjoy every season of life. But most seasons don’t give us the chance. By the time we realize how great that season was, it’s over. So, I am enjoying every minute, every trip to the park, every pony ride, every chance to jump waves and build sand castles, every walk collecting treasures, every Dr. Suess book on my shelf, and even every chorus of “Let It Go” with these precious little ones. Like the Autumn leaves, this season will fade all too quickly, so I will thank God every day that I get to be Mom-mom.