Friday, July 1, 2011


I downloaded a new country album yesterday and listened to it on the way back from the grocery store. The titles of some of the songs intrigued me -Toothbrush, Camouflage and some others so I got the whole album. Towards the end of the album was Life's Railway to Heaven. The title was different than I remembered so I wasn't expecting that when it came on I would suddenly in the kitchen of my childhood home and Mom was singing "Life is like a mountain railway, with an engineer that's brave...." It was one of those memories from the past that blindsides you, you can feel the tears forming. Mom was blessed with an unshakable love for God, but not with a voice that would have been considered good enough for church choirs. Yet I remember she sang hymns while she did dishes or cleaned, mostly when she thought no one was around. I stop and think what an example it was that she focused on God even doing trivial tasks.

I feel like I tend to focus on God for the "big" things, my husband's eye surgery, the kids safety, the couple at church struggling with health, finances and an autistic child, all of the things that seem big enough to bother God with. Yet to truly walk with God I need to focus on him all the time treating Him like a friend sharing the good and not just the bad. To be walking so close that I praise Him even while doing dishes. Focused on God so that like the song says we "never faultier, never fail".

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Children In Church

Anyone with children has been there, sitting with a bored child in church. A recipe for a long service.

David always wanted to draw, you just had to watch that it was not in the hymnal or the pew Bible. Angie liked to kick those hard soled white toddler shoes against the wooden pew just to see how loud she could do it. If you held her the shoes were kicking against your shins and you would have bruises after church. They did their share of picking on each other during church and got the lectures on the way home about how they were expected to act in church.

I love listening to stories of my grandchildren in church. I smile knowing they are making my son pay for his raising.

Ellie age 2, Aunt Egg had given her the Sesame street book "The Monster at the End of this Book" They beg you through the book not to turn pages, the next page always had something that was there to stop you from turning the page a door that was boarded shut, that type of thing. About the middle of the book was a brick wall that when you turn the page the wall has collapsed. Ellie would get to that page and ask what happened? Nothing we told her satisfied her. Sitting in church the next Sunday Ellie was sitting with the other Grandparents and during a quiet time you heard this little voice from way in the back ask "what happened?" several times because she always asked more than once.

Jenna about age 2 or 3, I handed her a dollar to put in the offering plate, the day before we had been at a game arcade that gave you tickets to play the games with, Jenna looks at the dollar and says loudly "Gammy I need another ticket" Silly Gammy should have known that you need one for each hand.

Ellie about 5 or 6 just learning to read. The pulpit committee took the family out to eat after church to continue the interview process of hiring a minister and get to know the whole family. Ellie looks at menu, sounds out spaghetti and when asked what she wanted to drink, looks at the menu and declares I'll have a beer.

Jenna about age 5 - I handed her a dollar to put in the offering plate, she refused to put it in, her mom leans over and whispers that it is Jesus' dollar and she needs to put it in. Jenna says no it's not, Gammy gave it to me not Jesus. I have a picture of her after church still holding the dollar.

Dave walks into church one morning before service starts and the four girls are dancing in a row down the center aisle singing "Shake it, don't break it, took your Momma 9 month's to make it" Dave turns and walks back out pretending not to know them.

During revival one night Ellie has a ballgame, Mandy is assistant coach so Dave has the 3 youngest for church that night. He has to lead singing so he has them sitting on the front row where he can keep his eye on them. He made Jenna sit in the middle to separate the two littlest ones. After the first song it starts, nudging back and forth, subtle at first. Dave is trying to give them the father's evil eye in hopes of settling them down. The pianist can see Dave on stage and the girls in mirrored wall behind the piano. The evil eye is not working. There is an elbow jab delivered that almost brings tears to Savannah's eyes, then the hurt changes to anger and the jabbing starts again. The pianist gets tickled and starts missing notes in the song, soon the whole church has figured out what is going on and is giggling at the bobbing heads on the front row. Dave at the end of the song announces that there will be an auction after church - 3 girls cheap.

After church one Sunday Savannah asks Dave if God has hair. He says no. Charley listening to this heavy theology exchanges asks loudly "Jesus is bald??"

Love watching Children in church misbehave as long as they are not mine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amazing Grace

I am so amazed by my kids. I sit and read their blogs, watch as they strive to walk down the path that God is leading them and am in awe.

They both follow, serve and share their faith in ways I could have never imagined when they were in the back seat of the car arguing over who would get to ride in the front seat after we dropped Dad off at work.

I've been asked by friends over the years how do you raise Godly children? I honestly cannot give an answer. It is by God's Amazing Grace that they turned out the way they did. We exposed them to Church, Contemporary Christian Music, but I think the thing that may have influenced them the most was we spent time talking with them. A 20 minute ride to town allows you insights without distractions because lets face it they are trapped. This was before cells phones and Ipods, so they talked sometimes to each other, sometimes to us and we listened.

Every parent prays for their child to turn out "right". Prays for their well being, self-esteem, that they make good choices and are happy in their life. I doubt that I asked for anything different than most parents, there is no magic pill, no special verse to repeat that gives you children you are proud of.

I continue to pray for their success as they serve, their happiness in the lives they have chosen to lead and thank God for his amazing grace that gave me children that despite all my faults in raising them still chose to serve Him in ways that amaze me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September phone calls

A few weeks ago a friend of ours daughter started college. The first week she posts that she is in a relationship the next week she changed her facebook photo to one of her with her new love interest.

It all brought back the September phone calls.

The first was David's freshman year at college. The call came to inform us that he was now official engaged. Not to worry they were not planning on getting married right away, they would wait until June. I know when you are young and in love 9 months is not anytime soon.

The second call was during David's senior year to announce that we were going to be Grandparents. We were able to go down when the Baby was born and a few days later attend Ellie's parents graduation. What timing.

The third September phone call was from Angie during her Junior year of college to inform us she had totaled the car. Fortunately she and the others in the car were fine, but it does make your heart stop. Then Tiny went down the next day to check her out and the car the next day it was clear God had saved them.

So during the month of September when the phone rings we may hesitate a little when answering, as September brings surprises via the phone line.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Life with Charley

Friday night Savannah (age 6) finally convinced Mandy to let her have her hair cut short.

Charlotte (age 4 and nicknamed Charley) wanted hers cut also. Mandy told her they had just trimmed her hair maybe next time they would see about cutting it short.

Saturday morning, the only day Dave & Mandy get to sleep in, they are awakened by screaming and crying at 7:30. Savannah rushes into their room and says something about Charley being cut.

They bolt out of bed and race to Charley who is still crying, looking her over intently they do not see any blood, Charley is crying too hard to tell them where she is cut and Mandy finally notices on the left side that Charley has some hair cut off.

They calm her down so she can answer the question “ who cut your hair?”, she finally looks up and says to Mandy (Charley is holding the scissors in her hand during this whole ordeal) – “Don’t you b’member you did it last night?”

Friday, August 27, 2010

Things I've learned from kids...

Thing's I've learned or heard through the years from kids.

There should be a sign in the cereal aisle requiring one adult per child. Otherwise it can get ugly - arguing over which cereal we should get this week. Mostly based on TV commercials not taste. Who's turn it is to pick, who gets the toy inside etc.

When Grocery shopping with a teenager you are better off giving him $5 and leaving him at the stores cafe.

Angie then age 4 informed me as I was clipping coupons out of the newspaper that she knew what Stayfree Maxi pads were for. Hesitantly, I replied really? What are they for? Angie's reply was you wrap them around your tennis racket handle for a better grip. I've watched some tennis matches over the years and have yet to see that particular grip enhancement used.

When teaching a teenager to drive (at the time it was David) the most important thing to remember is to phrase each instruction with "when I tell you to...." I can still remember David asking how do you see when you back he put the car in gear and hit the gas and we went backwards across the yard. Good thing we have 3 acres.

Logic of the youngest child can't be argued with. Angie and David came home from school and found a pan of brownies that had not been cut.....

Angie: cut the brownies Mom won't care
Dave: you sure?
Angie: sure we can have one.

Mom when she comes home- who said you could have brownies.

Dave - Angie did
Angie - but you cut them
Dave - but you said Mom wouldn't care
Angie - but you cut them

It did not matter what Dave said - Angie's comeback was always you cut them.

Ellie 11 to Savannah - Shut up
Savannah 5 - watch your mouth
Charley -4 = that's not fair Ellie can't see her mouth

Savannah 5 - asks Tiny how old he is on his birthday he tells her 56 - her reply - WOW I didn't know people could get that old.

Savannah's birthday was on a Tuesday this year so we went down the Sat/Sun before to celebrate. She reminded us several times that she was not 6 yet. Asked if we were coming back on Tuesday for her real birthday. I said no we had to work. Tuesday evening I call to wish her a happy birthday - first thing she asks is - Are you at work? when I reply - NO - She wants to know if we are on our way for cake.

Ellie then about age 5 - announces out of the blue - my Daddy sleeps naked. This is in front of her Mom, Grandfather, grandmother and Great Grandmother.

Ellie then age 5 as we are traveling in the car - announces my Mommy and Daddy go into the store and leave us in the car. Grandpa is starting to sputter what!! I asked do they both go in? to which Ellie replies - no one of them stays in the car with us but the other one goes in and leaves us.

Sunday Morning getting ready for church at Dave's. Angie sends the four girls in to brush their teeth. Angie fusses at one and tells them to put that brush back it is hers. then starts the we can't find our toothbrushes, Angie asks when do you have them last? Reply was - when we went to KY - maybe they are still in the suitcase (that was at least 6 weeks before) about this time the father figure comes down the hall, working on straightening his tie and getting ready to leave to go over his sermon one more time before church - and he quizzes them. It turns out only Ellie the oldest knows where her brush is and the other 3 have apparently been using hers after she left for school. Think of it.....and their other Grandpa is a Dentist.

The girls talk Dave into keeping a stray puppy. They name him Max. After a month or so as it grows, puts on weight they discover Max is really a girl. Dave explains to the girls that sometimes when they are little you can't tell but then when the get older you can and that Max is really a girl. Charley (short for Charlotte) later at supper asks - so does that mean when I get older I will be a boy?

I now know that the handle on the passenger side of the car/van inside is called the Oh dear bar - it is to hold onto when Momma turns, or stops suddenly - that is according to Jenna who says her Daddy grabs it and says Oh Dear.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pray for You

Much to my children's shock I've started listening to country music. My favorite are what I call silly country songs. The latest fav is one called Pray for You. It starts out talking about how this guy has started going back to church after his life has fallen apart. He listens to the preacher tell him what to do about not hating those who have done you wrong, you have to let the good Lord do His job and you just pray for them. Then the silly part takes over as he lists what he is praying for, That brakes go out running down a hill, that a flower pot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I would like to etc. and just know wherever you are I pray for you. You just keep messing up and I'll pray for you.

I can't help it, I crack up every time I hear the song. Knowing that we should pray for those who have somehow wronged us and actually doing it are two different things. The human part of me liked the prayers listed in this song. How many times do we pray and really hope that we can just then sit back and watch God take care of someone that has hurt us. What if God's way of taking care of the situation is for us to make the first move. After all sometimes the person who hurt us does not even realize it. So how can they ask for forgiveness when they don't realize they crossed some line.

The song just contrasts to me God's forgiveness and man's - God has to look at things we do and want to nudge that flower pot off the window sill when we walk by to get out attention. Instead He loves us, offers us complete forgiveness and then miracles of miracles He forgets the sin. He is not there just waiting for us to mess up again so he can zap us, He is walking with us to help us truly change our lives if we rely on Him.

Yes I will still smile when someone says I'll pray for you, but I hope they are praying through God's vision and not man's.