Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Committment to Giving

I have a ton of shoes. Way too many shoes. Shoes I don't even wear, but save because someday they just might be the only pair of shoes that will go with the outfit I'm wearing that day. The only time I get rid of shoes is if they actually get worn out or something on them breaks or if I just can't fit another new pair into the closet. Then and only then do I get rid of a pair.

The last couple of Christmas' our church has participated in Operation Christmas Child. Headed by the organization Samaritan's Purse an organization whose primary focus is ministering to suffering children around the world. Operation Christmas Child, for those of you who have never heard of it, encourages people to fill shoe boxes with items for underprivileged children. The boxes are wrapped in Christmas wrapping. They suggest you fill your box with items such as hygiene items, small toys, school supplies etc. You can write a personal note to the child as well. Once the box leaves your church it goes to a distribution center where they will add a leaflet telling the child about the love of Jesus Christ in his/her own language. Some of these children have never been presented with the gospel of Jesus. Most of them have never received a gift.

I decided that since I love to buy shoes, have the means to freely buy them and usually discard the box to put the shoes into built-in-cubbies in my closet, that I am going to make the following rule: "If I buy a pair of shoes I must then take the shoe box and fill it for a child somewhere in the world." If God has blessed me with the ability to freely buy then I am going to in turn give to someone less fortunate. I'll just store the filled shoe boxes until it is time for this year's drive.

You are probably wondering why in the heck I am posting this, right? Well, I would like to challenge all of the other shoeaholics (I know there are a lot of you out there) to consider doing the same thing. The boxes can be filled for a reasonable price if you shop at places like the Dollar Store or Big Lots. If you want more information on Operation Christmas Child go to and check it out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Meet the Cutest Little Boy in the World

Many people say that if they had known how much fun grandchildren would be they would have had them first. Of course that is the silliest and most impossible statement in the world. Other people say that you will love your grandchildren more than your own children. This too is not true. What is true is that they will invade every fiber of your being within 15 minutes of meeting them. You won't love them more, but you will love them different. Gone are the financial responsibilities and the worries about new shoes and putting food on the table and paying the college tuition. The temper tantrums don't seem quite as embarrassing and the stubbornness is kind of funny. Instead, you are free to love them in a way that I can't even begin to describe.

Such is the case with our little grandson. He is now 19 months old. He was an answer to prayer. The miracle baby that no one thought would ever be and a testimony to God's timing. The announcement of my daughter's pregnancy coincided with my mom being diagnosed with Lung Cancer. He is what she lived for. She just recently lost her fight, but the joy that little boy brought to her was immeasurable. He brings that same joy to each member of our family and we can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for his life.

Watching our grandson is like looking back in time. Aside from the fact that he usually wears blue and she wore pink, oftentimes it is like looking at our daughter. He has her eyes and nose. His hair grows in much the same way and is a similar color. He is strong-willed one moment and sweet and cuddly the next. Sleeping in public is out of the question. After all, one might just miss something important. He is perpetual motion. If his eyes are open his legs are moving. He loves chicken nuggets, french fries, yogurt and macaroni and cheese. His best friends are his blanket, pacifier and his dog.

He loves to be outdoors. Garden hoses and rocks are intriguing. In fact, did you know that dirty rocks become muddy rocks when wet? Cars are great fun and they must be pushed while saying vroom-vroom. He loves music and dancing and twirling around in circles. When he doesn't want to eat something he shuts his eyes real tight. If he can't see it, it must be gone.

One of his favorite people in the world, is his grandpa. The two of them have an amazing bond. Watching them together melts my heartstrings. My daughter and her family recently moved to another state. I was worried that my grandson might not remember us from one visit to the next, but I was wrong. On a recent visit, my husband went to pick them up at the airport. My grandson saw his grandpa from across the airport and broke into a huge smile and couldn't get to his grandpa fast enough. When they are together, they are inseparable. Grandpa is probably the biggest kid around and tremendous fun is had by both. There is tent camping (in the den), cartoon watching, playing outside, swinging on the swings, shoulder riding, pancake eating and snuggling to be done. He loves to visit Grandpa's work when he is here. He knows exactly which office is his and acts like he owns the flight line. He loves to sit in the helicopters and ride in the maintenance carts. Some of the cutest pictures etched in my memory are of him and grandpa walking across the hangar. One man in a flight suit closely trailed by an eager little boy. Perhaps we have a budding pilot?

Between visits, we miss this little boy (and his parents) tremendously, but perhaps that makes it even more fun to spoil him when we do see him. There are huge changes in him each time. Just from December to January it seemed like a little boy came to visit when the visit before he was a baby. There were more words this trip and a need for more independence.

When I wrote about all of the other people in my life, I wrote of their journey thus far. I told you a little about how each one had grown and changed into the person they are today. I told you how blessed I was that they are each walking with the Lord. My grandson has just begun his journey and seeing him grow and change reminds me of Isaiah 64:8 "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Also, Psalm 140:16 says, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." With a little earthly help from his parents, and others who love him, the Lord will mold him into the godly man that he will become. Only God knows the mark he will leave on this world. Perhaps he will follow his daddy and other grandpa into ministry. Maybe he will follow this grandpa into public service and aviation. Chances are God will lead him down his own path to his own life long dreams. What a joy and a comfort to know that for as much as we love this little boy here on earth, our Heavenly Father loves him so much more. My prayer for his life journey would be that, whatever paths he chooses, he would always walk with Jesus.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Meet My Son's Princess

Sometimes when you don't want to do something and you do it anyway, God rewards you. That is exactly what happened a couple of summer's ago when my son was asked to be a counselor for a week long sleep-over camp at Sea World. He did not want to do it. It wasn't his job. He was a day camp counselor. He did NOT want to sleep at camp and he did NOT want to eat camp food for seven days, but he did it anyway, albeit, with a pretty rotten attitude. Well, in the end, he was glad he did because that is where he met his beautiful girlfriend.

My son's girlfriend, like my daughter's husband, is an answer to a lifetime of prayer. She was the little girl on the playground who was being raised in a Christian home by loving parents. The little girl who loved Jesus and her family. She was the teenager who made wise choices, living her life for Him on a daily basis. She is now the adult who will soon be making her mark on the world either by working with animals or teaching elementary school. Whichever direction life takes her, it will be with Jesus at the helm guiding her way. How we praise God for bringing her into our son's life!

Just as our daughter had her share of frogs and toads during her journey to find her prince, our son had his share of ugly step-sisters. (This is not to imply that any of these girls were ugly, rather that there were differences in life visions, beliefs and goals.) Our son's girlfriend is like Cinderella in that the glass slipper fits. They both want the same things out of life and both are striving to follow God's will for their lives.

When we first met her I remember that she seemed rather quiet. I was worried because, quite frankly, our family doesn't do quiet. It didn't take her long to fit right in with our wacky family. She holds her own when we have our highly competitive board game nights, she has joined us on many camping trips, spent 10 days on Maui with us, gave up part of her Christmas break to spend "after" Christmas visiting our daughter and her family and is the best "Auntie" in the world to our little grandson. She even agreed to be drug along on a backpacking trip with our son. She is beautiful inside and out. She has an infectious laugh and a smile that lights up a room.

She will be finishing up her undergrad this year and our son will finish grad school shortly thereafter. Both of them will be ready to start the rest of their lives. While nothing is official, it looks like those lives could be spent together. We hope and we pray that that is God's intention. She makes our son very happy and she completes our family. We love her as much as our son does and we would love to see her saddled with our horrific last name!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Meet My Daughter's Prince

When you are busy raising your children you find yourself wondering who your child will marry. Do you already know them? What are they doing at that exact moment? Are they playing on the playground? What sports do they enjoy? Do they know Jesus? What is their family like? So many questions and so many prayers that the Holy Spirit will get ahold of that little person and turn them into the man or woman deserving to spend the rest of their life with your precious son or daughter. We were no different when it came to envisioning who our daughter would spend the rest of her life with. How we prayed for a man of integrity, with a love for the Lord and a personality that would balance and compliment our daughter. That is exactly what we got when our daughter found her Prince.

This is not to say that the road to finding him was smooth by any means. There were the occasional frogs and toads along the way, but there were also nice young men with qualities she knew she wanted in her future husband. It was a matter of finding all of those qualities in one person. The story of how she met her Prince has been told on her blog. The stories about the frogs and toads are old news. Our story is unique in that, I am willing to bet, most parents can't say they were friends with their future son-in-law before their daughter ever met him. To make a long story short, we were in a bible study that he led. We thought he was a great guy. As my husband would say at their wedding reception, "When we were praying for our daughter's future husband, little did we know that when she started kindergarten, he was off to high school." If our, then 21 year old, daughter had told us she was dating a 31 year old man we would have been a little leary of the age difference. It is hard to stand in the way when you already know the character of a man.

Our son-in-law's personality compliments our daughter's in such a way that they make marriage look extremely easy. He is the man of integrity that we prayed for. He stands firm in his beliefs of right and wrong. She is over-dramatic. He is calm and go with the flow. She wants things done yesterday. He sees no need to hurry. She hates clutter and he has agreed to keep his clutter where she says it is "allowed" to be. She wants things planned and detailed well in advance and he is more open to change. She is always goofing off and he says he would love her "even if her face really looked like that." He, too, is far from serious and there is alot of laughter in their home. She wanted a Golden Retriever. He wanted a Mutt. They got a Golden Retriever.

He is a Pastor. A profession that will never make him rich this side of eternity, but he makes sacrifices (like driving the old old car) so that our daughter can stay at home with their son. He is a great dad. Patient and loving, but firm when needed. He waited a long time to have a wife and a child and he adores them both. His influence in our son's life has been immeasurable. Our son is the man he is today, in part, because of the examples his brother-in-law has set for him.

Our son-in-law always seeks to follow God's will and recently that meant taking a job in another state. It was hard to let them go, but he has been very generous about "sharing." They have been gone two months and we have already invaded their new home twice and our daughter and grandson have come back here once. We thank him for giving them up for a whole week. We also thank the Lord for bringing him into our daughter's life. He is a wonderful friend, husband, father, brother-in-law and son-in-law. We could not have prayed for someone more perfect for our daughter.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Who looks like Who?

Well, I'm not too sure how accurate other people will think this thing is because when my children were little I thought I was purely a warm place to hang out for nine months. The only thing I thought my children shared of me was that one had my eyes and the other had my skin tone. Other than that there was just some simple DNA. Lately I have seen some pictures of myself with both of them where I've actually thought, "hey...they kinda look like me....maybe just a tad." My daughter found a Look-a-like meter and you can look at the results below. Tell me what you think.

Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celeb - Collage - Morph

Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebs - Collage - Morph