God Meets Me

It’s another Five Minute Friday.  Seems it’s the only time I can make it over to post something lately, even though I have a million ideas running around in my head.  I’m so grateful for Kate’s encouragement.  5 minutes is enough.  The rules are simple.  Set a timer for 5 minutes of free writing, no edits, no backtracking, just writing.  Stop when the timer dings.  Post it on her page and comment on the person before you…simple?  Yes.  Now WHERE is my timer…

Mother’s day all around me.  People posting sweet things about their mothers.  Commercials begging you to do something special for Mom on this day.  But not for me.  You see the relationship with my Mom and I has always been somewhat rocky.  I don’t have that sweet relationship that the commercials depict…  I could go into details, but I won’t, it’s not necessary, or honoring so I’ll leave it at that.

The relationship with my mother in law when I was first married was wonderful, amazing.   But over the years, they’ve discovered I’m human, yep. I have warts.  Never mind that we all have warts…  Again, there is no reason to go into details, there’s no honor there…I hope I just say enough…without saying too much.

So here’s the good.  God has met me!  God has blessed me with a more wonderful husband that I could have ever asked for or imagined, one that loves me and gives me grace when the warts rear their ugly heads.  God has blessed me with 4 amazing children who I adore and who love me in spite of my warts…so while I mourn the passing of having my own mohter: I rejoice that  I have 2 daughters.  Two daughters that I will meet.  That I will have relationship with as the years grow by.  Two daughters that I will not turn away, that I will not reject, but that I will love and adore and give grace to in the same way they give grace to me.  Human relationship, hurt and pain at times, but forgiveness and grace at times too.  So while the commercials and Facebook posts sometimes sting, I will look to the now.  To the family God has gifted me.  To the future relationship that I hope to have with my girls, and with my future daughter in laws (where ever they may be)…

and I will know that God has met me.

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One Word 365 2014 Evaluation and a New Word

Last year’s word, Serve.  I said I would do a better job serving my family at home.

And I have.

And I haven’t.

There are still moments of ugly.

And lazy.

I’m getting off the couch and helping more although there are still times when the couch grabs me and holds on TIGHT!  Ok, not really…some days I’m still lazy.

I’ve turned away from the computer and made intentional efforts to actively listen more often than huh? Oh. Really.

I’ve not complained as often about turning off the lights, picking up after others, etc.

I have served my family better, without complaining as often this past year.

And Shane says I have too.

But would like to improve even more.

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last few months, you know that there’s a change going on.

In a way, I’m finding me again.

So I’m going to keep on with the serve theme in the background.  I’m going to continue to make intentional decisions to serve my family better.  And one way I think I’ll be able to do that is by adding this year’s word.

Relax.

Yes.

I need to lighten up.  balloons

I need to be more free-spirited.

More spontaneous.

More FUN!

More ME!

Not so hung up on being “right” or my kids being “right” or having it all together.

To realize that sometimes they want to be lazy, and sometimes we NEED to be lazy together.

And some days we just NEED to have FUN!

So my word for 2015 is

RELAX!

Grandpa Ivan

Well this post is long overdue, but life these last couple of months has been extremely busy, so busy that it’s almost a blur. This blog has been pretty silent recently, up until a few days ago and now it seems that I can’t shut up.    Please bear with me…

Shane’s grandad Ivan Dennis departed this life for his eternal home November 7th, 2014.  Yes, about 6 weeks ago.

Tabitha photobombs Grandma and Grandpa pciThis picture was taken in July.

I was actually driving to Tennessee for my Jubilee, the day he went to his eternal heavenly home.  He had been told a few years ago that he had either leukemia or lymphoma; he decided not to find out which one, because he wasn’t going to do anything about it. And everyone was o.k. with that.

Isaac and I had gone to the hospital that Monday, everyone else had gone Tuesday.  He hardly acted sick, but he was in I.C.U.  and they let Tabby (8) go…they don’t let youn’un’s in ICU unless…

As Isaac and I left, I leaned over to give him a hug and kissed him on the forehead, he said “you may not want to get to close, I don’t know what I’ve got”  Always thinking about everyone else.  That was Ivan.

So, I was beginning my Jubilee.  It had been a hard start already, with Hannah’s accident 2 days before.  But I was looking forward to spending the evening/overnight and next morning with my Aunt and Uncle in Nashville, as we had planned.

But that trip brought lots of change of plans…

I was about 2 hours from home, Shane called and said they had started morphine. It was just a tiny amount, just to make Grandpa comfortable.  We knew it was the beginning of the end.  But we really thought I’d have time to make my 2 1/2 week visit and return home before he left this life.

We were wrong.

Shane called a few hours later and said

Grandpa’s gone.

He ate a steak dinner for lunch. Sang Jesus Loves Me (one of his favorites, if not his most favorite).  Asked the family to sing hymns, sat back closed his eyes and breathed his last.

I don’t think anyone expected it so soon.

When Shane called, I was having a hard time being sad.  I mean I wish EVERY believer could go home that way.

I thought about flying home for the funeral, but all the driving Shane would have to do to get me just didn’t make sense.  It would have been a minimum of 6 hours plus the driving for the funeral 1 1/2 hours away and the burial in Iowa.  So I mourned in Tennessee and they mourned here.

Until Shane came into my life, I hadn’t had a Grandpa.  Grandma’s yes, but both of my Grandpa’s were gone.  Grandpa S died when my Daddy was little and Grandpa R hadn’t been part of our lives since my Mom was younger.  Both of Shane’s Grandpa’s were special to me, but because of proximity, we spent more time with Grandpa Ivan.

He was a very special man.  He was one of, if not the most loving, patient, tender-hearted men I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.  (It’s where Shane gets his wonderful qualities).  He loved everyone and was a humble man that went about his life without much fanfare.  He had a sweet, gentle spirit.  Always the gentleman.  He could figure out how to make anything work.  And he always worked smarter, rather than harder.  Every summer, he’d pull out this contraption he had made to carry the large window air conditioner that belonged in the living room for the season.  It took him and one other to use it, but no one’s back was ever strained in the moving of that big air conditioner.

Many years ago, he built a closet for us in the little apartment we had when we first moved to Missouri.  It took him all day, but it was a masterpiece when he was done.

Yes, a closet masterpiece.

He always had time to listen.  To play dominoes, or to get down in the floor with the kids and sit cross legged to play with them.

ivan and isaac 002 When we first moved to Independence, we went to church with the family.  Many days, I’d hear a knock at the door.  It’d be Grandma and Grandpa.  Or we’d go to their house for lunch. Or we’d go over and hang out…sometimes Ivan hung out with the kids

Ivan and kids in the tree 001

Then we moved.  And they’d come out for the day.  Maybe this was one 4th of July, or maybe a birthday.  It was in the our first few years out here because that hammock has been long gone.  A couple years ago they came down for Thanksgiving.  Shane’s dad had brought one of his pistols and Shane got out a couple of our guns and they went out to shoot, Grandpa went with them.  I stayed in the house but Shane says that even after not shooting for many years he could still hit the mark. He would have been about 83 or 84 then!  And probably hadn’t picked up a gun in many years.

ivan in the hammock 001Grandma Nadine and Grandpa Ivan helped me with apples the first couple of years we lived out here because my kiddos were too small to help much, and there were A LOT of apples.  We made lots of applesauce that day.

Then Grandma started forgetting things.  Grandpa was here caregiver.  Almost 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Loving her tenderly until he could no longer do it.

Grandpa didn’t cook.

So for the past several years, we’d make extra and freeze it. It was their Christmas gift.

A “Meal of the Month Club” we called it.  Really, it was way more than 1 meal a month.  Usually it was delivered to Shane’s mom, and she took it to them.  Every time I’d fix a meal, I’d ask myself.  Is there enough for Grandma and Grandpa?  I loved doing it, and would pray for them many times as I scooped their meal into a container for the freezer.  One time I sent a package of noodles, I got a phone call asking how to cook them.  So from then on, I cooked them so he’d only have to heat them up.

One afternoon about 2 years ago we were visiting Knoxville, we were at Goodwill, Shane and Hannah on one side of the store, and me on the other.  My cell phone rang. It was Grandpa thanking me for the “good food” I sent.  But I had forgotten to label something that I had sent so he described what it looked like and I tried to tell him what it was.  Finally, I am almost yelling the letters to spell B R O C C O L I into the phone (WHAT is it with Broccoli and our relatives????)  It was a turkey, broccoli, and rice casserole.  I look up to see Shane and Hannah trying to stifle laughs and  acting like they had no idea who I was!   So now, just for fun one of us will start… B R O and we’ll all laugh.

Grandpa never had a computer, didn’t want a cordless phone or caller i.d. He did have a cell phone at one time but I’m not sure he used it very much.  He was slow and methodical about everything he did.

He was a precious blessing to all who knew him.

I’m so thankful that Grandpa didn’t suffer.  I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a sweet Grandfather for 20 years of my life.

He is missed greatly! But I know we will reunite with Him someday…

The Path to Perfect

We started out as on of “those” homeschool families. The ones that dressed alike, read Michael and Debbie Pearl, “never” raised our voices to our children, in other words,

We did everything perfectly.

You know, like on the cover of all the homeschool magazines?

Picture perfect.

The life happened.

And now-well, we’re not picture perfect.

We didn’t do everything right.

In fact, we did and still do many things wrong.

It’s taken me many years to realize that EVERY family does many things wrong.

Even those on the covers of homeschool magazines.

While I am thankful for the direction these families and others like them give, it’s much more comforting to me to hear about Todd Wilson leaving his wife in the r.v. with puking kids while he speaks about imperfect parenting.

It makes it real.

Truth be told, I still struggle with comparisons and if only’s.

If only I hadn’t gotten sick.

If only Malachi hadn’t come to us so messed up.

If only I hadn’t gotten sidetracked with life in the real world.

If only I had continued to parent a certain way.

Where my voice was never raised and each child respectfully answered each time I called to them in my best Donna Reed syrupy sweet manner.

If only I had kids like “them.” The picture perfect ones- that never talked back, always obeyed “the first time,” had spotlessly clean rooms, etc.

We’d have the perfect family.

But the truth is, we don’t.

And neither do those picture perfect families.

Instead we have the family much like everyone else’s family.

With children that bicker on Christmas day (or any other day.)

Whose kid sometimes forgets deodorant, or doesn’t comb their hair.

Who has to be told “100 times” to put away something.

Children (and parents) that sometimes use ugly words or have bad attitudes.

The truth is that no matter how picture perfect a family is- it just aint so.

There’s no such thing as perfect family.

Not the Pearls, Campbells, or those we see in our perfect homeschool circles. Not Donna Reed (ANY family can be perfect with a script) or that family on the cover of the latest issue of “Perfect Homeschool Family” magazine.

Those are only snippets we see in those families that appear perfect to us because we only see what they want to show us.

But they can’t be perfect.

Because none of us are without sin. No one is perfect. So no perfect families.

Only short picture perfect moments in time.

And God’s grace.

Each of our families is perfectly the way God knew they were going to be.

Perfect with personality. Aka, imperfect.

That perfect imperfection has made our family what it is. Has made each member the way they are. For what purpose? I don’t know. I may never know. But I know whatever their purpose, God will be glorified. And I am content in not knowing, in seeing how life unfolds in our future.

Does that mean I give up trying to shape and mold my children in God’s image.

Certainly NOT!

It means that I realize I’m going to fail.

But I get back up again. Brush off the dirt, grime and muck that our detour left behind and continue the journey.

Loving. Forgiving. Graciously molding and re-molding the lives God has entrusted to me within the opportunities that God allows.
And then I give the rest to Him.

He continues the job on His potter’s wheel. Throughout the rest of our lives we are molded for the work He has for us.

Until our work on earth is done and we rest with Him in Glory.

Thanks be to God!

Chip Young’s Legendary Legacy

Yesterday we buried my precious Uncle.

uncle chip painted

It was a bittersweet day fill with lots of laughter and tears.

Over the years I read news articles after news articles, I had seen the livestream of the Nashville Cat series when they interviewed him.  I had seen the NAAM interview,  I knew he had been inducted into the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame.  I had heard about Elvis kicking a gun through one of Uncle Chip’s guitars and it being on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame, I had seen the gold records hanging in the mudroom (yes, the mudroom) of his antebellum home shortly after he received them.

but it had never occurred to me that Chip Young was LEGENDARY!  To me, he was just Uncle Chip.  He never talked about what he did or who he did it with.  He was a very humble man.

But the truth is, he was FRIENDS with the likes of Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Joe South, Larry, Rudy and Steve Gatlin, Billy Swan, Felton Jarvis, and many, many others.  He had close professional ties to the likes of Elvis, Dolly, etc.  Here is a list of SOME of his earthly accomplishments

The service was a wonderful tribute to my Uncle’s life, loves (family, friends and the Lord, not necessarily in that order) and some of his “few” accomplishments in his 50 year career in Nashville.

Honestly, he would probably say his biggest “accomplishment” had nothing to do with his musical talent and everything to do with his love for the Lord, his wife, daughter, grandkids and family and friends.

Larry told the story of the “ching” in the hit “All the Gold in California” that came from 2 wrenches in the toolbox.  And then him and Rudy, and Steve played beautiful harmony with Vince Gill accompanying them, for us.  No, they didn’t sing their hit, but they sang some beautiful gospel.

Near the end of the service, Vince got up and picked up a guitar, walked to the mic and started telling a story.

It goes something like this:

I was recording an album at a small studio a few years ago and the owner had many guitars hanging on the wall.  He told me I could play any of them I’d like and I was drawn to this one.  I just knew it was special.  It had the magic, it had the mojo…

“I found out it had been Chips”.  Chip had played it back in the 60’s and 70’s

(My sidenote: which meant it had THE mojo!  Elvis, Billy Swan’s “I Can Help” probably Dolly’s “Jolene”)

For months, every time VInce went into the studio, he picked up Chip’s guitar.

Several years later, Amy (Grant, Vince’s wife) had a Christmas gift wrapped in a blanket for me.

I put my hands on it, and before I unwrapped it, I said, that’s Chip’s guitar.

and it was…

He said Megan had asked him to play and he proceeded to play and sing a beautiful song, and he did it “Chip style”  with his thumb.

(Hope I got that close enough to right Vince).

When he started playing, I melted.

vince gill playing uncle chips guitar

He sung beautifully, as I watched him thumb pick, I could imagine Uncle Chip’s fingers (and thumb) playing.  All I could think was “he’s playing Uncle Chip’s guitar.”  I had probably seen that guitar many times as a child and never realized the significance of it.

This is what he sang

As we were walking out, I told dad, “I sure would like to hold that guitar”

So after everyone had walked out, Daddy said, “you want to go talk to Vince”

YES!

I marched right up to Vince Gill and thanked him for playing a beautiful song and then I asked to see “my Uncle’s” guitar.

He was SO gracious to a grief stricken neice

he got the guitar out of the case.

And  I asked to hold it.

anticipating uncle chips guitar

And I did.

holding the guitar

And Isaac did. And I lost the picture 😦

visiting with vince

And we visited about my Uncle while we held his guitar.

And it was a sweet time.

And for the record, I don’t know many people that would tell Grammy award winner,

VINCE GILL,

“You played a nice song, but can I see my Uncle’s guitar?”

If you happen to read this Vince, please forgive me.

I hope I wasn’t too rude to seem disinterested in meeting you.

It REALLY was nice to meet you.

But my Uncle has always and will always hold a VERY special place in my heart (You’ll read about that in another post).

I THANK YOU from the VERY BOTTOM of my heart for the precious gift of letting me hold

my Uncle’s guitar.

A Time to be Disappointed

Okay folks time to be real.  I’m having a hard time today.  I started writing this post from the perspective of not being thankful. but that ‘s not it.  I AM thankful!  There are many things to be thankful and I AM thankful for many things. Too many to recount, but here are a few.  I’m thankful for my Savior who loves me even when I am mucked over with nastiness, I’m thankful for my family, I’m thankful for my sweet daughters wonderful doctors report, and that she wasn’t more severely injured in the accident she was in a few weeks ago.  For the new to us car, for my Uncle’s continually improving health after the by-pass surgery that was the “only option” for him because of his other many health problems.  I’m thankful for the wonderful memories that were made this year!  I’m thankful for the godly young men and ladies my children are becoming.  I’m VERY thankful for 20 years with my darling Shane…

pilgrim-children

I’m not talking about those things, and I don’t even know if I can explain it, but I have to try because I WANT to get out of this funk I’m in…before everyone else gets up.

Maybe it’s more disappointment than being ungrateful…

disappointed at circumstances.

Our home will only boast of 3 extras at our dinner table today.  Usually, our house if FULL.  11 even feels a little empty.  And that’s about the minimum we’ve ever had at our place for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of those times of years where we LOVE a full house!

The excitement builds. Everyone is involved.  Sweet potato casserole is assembled, pies are baked, cranberry sauce is made.  A turkey is covered with bacon and smoked overnight. Memories are made. (and we did those things this year).

The next morning, we anxiously await the arrival of cars in our driveway.

Today, it will be different.

One car will arrive in our driveway. Shane’s Aunt and Uncle, one other guest will be at our table.

Don’t get me wrong, for those 3 we are grateful.

But the full house will be missed.

There seems to be a good reason.

Grandma is NOT able to travel.  She’s declining rapidly since Grandpa left this world for his eternal home a few weeks ago.

We’ll get together tomorrow.

What’s different? Today?  Tomorrow?

Except that tomorrow it will be different.

It won’t be Thanksgiving.

It won’t be the day where we’ve gathered together for I don’t know how many years, just like most families all over the country.

It will be the day after the day that everyone gathers together to gather around turkey and fixins.

I’m reading on Facebook about people traveling hours to be with family today…yet we live ONE hour away and there will be no gathering.  Hmmmmm…maybe that’s it!  It’s the one hour thing that is the kicker to me.  It’s not like we’re miles and miles apart.  We don’t have to cross state lines, heck, we only have to cross one county line.

We’re ALL disappointed! In fact yesterdays preparations did NOT go well.

I’m trying to put on my brave face, but honestly, I’m not doing very well. And neither is anyone else.

I’m not used to this.

Even in my own whacked out family growing up, we always came together (mostly) genuinely happy to see each other. We gathered at Grandma’s on Thanksgiving, (Dad’s meal was at noon and Grandma’s was at 5ish-talk about turkey overload…), and my Aunt and Uncles at Christmas (usually Christmas Eve with them and Christmas day with Dad).

There wouldn’t be that many of us at Grandma’s, 8 if I’m counting everyone; but we were all always there.

We’d put our best faces forward.  Put up with the grumpy Uncle (on my mother’s side).

There would be no snarky comments.  No nasty put downs.  No stress or tension that I could feel.

Those things would be put aside for the day.

There would be pleasant conversation…well, except for the grumpy Uncle, but even he could find a smile that day.

Or maybe everyone was just good at pretending. But forgive me if I continue in my own little fantasy land.

We enjoyed.  We laughed.  We were family.

Same with my Daddy’s family.  Love covers a multitude of sins and when we’re together, we put aside our differences.  We enjoy! We love.  And we genuinely have a wonderful time together…at least I always did/do

side note:  Malachi made the pecan pie with honey this year, a new recipe, and I’m not sure it turned out right.

 

***  Malachi’s pecan pie was different but very good.  We’ve had a great day.  Uncle Ralph had a GREAT praise to share.  And the kids have had a BLAST playing games, cards, throwing the football, jumping on the trampoline

 

Kansas City–We’re ALL Friends Tonight!

31 days blog button 4

Game 6! Home field advantage…and WHAT an advantage it was!

In case you haven’t heard, and the only way you could have missed it is if you were hiding under a rock somewhere, disconnected from the world deep in the woods with no cell phone, and no indoor plumbing.

The underdog RULED the stadium last night.  TEN to ZIP! ZERO!  NADA!  NOTHING!   The Giants might have Madison Bumgarnder, but we have Ventura! And we have some AMAZING fielders; Dyson.and Aoki, and some amazing batters: Butler and Cain. (ok, I can’t name EVERYONE, can I?)

Kansas City played like a well oiled machine last night!

Does a shut out EVER happen that crazy in World Series Play?????

Even the announcers that have appeared to be Giant biased during the previous 5 games couldn’t find any bad.

It was all BLUE in game 6.

And they’re going to WIN Game 7!  Ok, wishful thinking, but really, can you blame me?

To me it would be amazing if they didn’t win.

And they WANT it!

ALL of Kansas City WANTS it!

Even non baseball fans are baseball fans today.  Kansas City is covered in BLUE!   The electricity is EVERY WHERE!

Some folks have waited since before they were born to see this game.

In fact, our phone rang this morning and it was Shane’s Wednesday night co-leader.  She sheepishly said,”I’ve waited all my life…”  I stopped her and said YES!  I think we should cancel Kids for Truth tonight.  Last night, Shane was torn.  He did NOT want to miss the game, but he wouldn’t have made the call to cancel.  I almost called her asking to cancel on his behalf.

I’m so glad we’ll get to watch together.

Some folks were raised in football country (Go VOLS!)  But are wearing the blue tonight.

Some of us are Yanks fans, but if you live in Kansas City, how can you NOT be excited for the Team?

And in case you missed it, the Kansas City Symphony played an amazing National Anthem before game 6.

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article3416022.html

If you’re wondering where I stand:

KC Symphony > Santana

KC BBQ > Rice a Roni

ROYALS > Giants

It was mentioned last night that Michael Jordon played his ROOKIE year the last time the Royals were in this position.

That’s a long time folks…

#Game7

#TakeTheCrown

#GOROYALS!

Can ya hashtag in a blog?

Do I look as if I care?

Have a WINNING day, Y’all!

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And for a sweet Billy Butler story, click here.