Tag Archives: Grands

NEVER ALONE

It is Grands’ night. Hot tub – mac n’ cheese Papa style – Wii – 2 bowls of popcorn (half of it on the bed) – 1 bottle of Grandma water (a piece) – 3 peep Oreos each – 1 movie – drawing the last picture of the night in their little notebooks – a little Jim Brickman lullaby in the background – 1 Koayah puppy squished in the middle of them – and they are asleep. (and yes – Mama – they brushed their teeth extra good because I threatened never to spoil them again. Although – I don’t think they really believed me. They kept laughing.)

I don’t know who enjoys these nights more. We talk. We catch up on their ball practices and school. We talk about coloring duck eggs with their neighborhood besties tomorrow and laugh over a stubbed toe. There is nothing more precious than getting to spend a night with the Grands. I only wish I could have retired about 13 years earlier so I could have moved to MI to be with my older Grands…well…that is probably stretching it a bit since a MI winter is definitely not on my to-do-over-list.

It is not how I usually spend my evenings on Maundy Thursday. Growing up, we would go to church. Later in college and beyond, our family would go to church. Full of familiar rituals, age-old hymns, prayers, solemnity. In the past few years, this night has been more an internal day and today was an eye opener.

The Grands and I were on the bed, watching Prince of Egypt in honor of Passover when it dawned on me. This was probably a closer way to spend this Holy Day than anything I have everdone. The Grands and I shared a meal. We laughed and told stories. We remembered the Moshe and the first deliverence of the Jewish people. We sang a song – it wasn’t Psalm 118 which is the Psalm sung at the Passover Seder – but in my heart it was singing.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.”~Psalm 118:1

And now – in the quiet of the night – my prayers circling to the darkened, star-lit skies – Grands stretched out all over the large bed – dog snuggled in their own bed while Hubby snores softly in his – I find my cornerstone of this night. The stone rejected steadies my balance and holds me upright. Even has a yawn stretches up through my rib cage and my eyes grow heavy, I struggle to stay awake and pray with Him.

“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”~Mk 14:32–34

This is the part of the night that hits Rabbi Yeshua’s humanness – hits my humanness. I don’t do well with sacrifice. I like to think I do, but I don’t. I know my eyes – like the loved ones who shared the meal with their beloved rabbi – mine will also close before long, and my prayers will rise into the darkness above me.
 
Alone. He. Prayed.
Alone. He. Cried.
Alone…but not really.
 
The perfect lamb alone in a garden…waiting to become the rejected stone…waiting to sacrifice himself for the world that rejected him…waiting for you…waiting for me, straining to listen for His Father’s voice. No words came. No sign. Just the quite of the night. But that is where Yeshua’s humanness and mine are miles apart because even though he did not “feel” His Father or “hear” His Father or “see” a sign from His Father. He “knew beyond knowing” that His Father was very much present. Listening. Seeing. Loving. Eternally. 
 
The solemnity of the night has wrapped itself around me once again. I wish I always “knew beyond knowing” like my Savior. It is something I still a striving to find. Another yawn brings tears to the surface of my eyes, and I know it is time to check on the Grands once last time before I give in and close my eyes for the night.
 
Mothering habits don’t really ever go away, and I will probably wake up before daybreak and check on them once again. Tonight, I will remember that Rabbi Yeshua was still awake praying. Praying as he waited. Talking to His Father. Trusting His Father. Waiting. But not alone. Never alone.
 
Tonight that is what I remember when I think of Maundy Thursday. Never alone. Ever. Not once.

 

“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
This is the day the LORD has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps 118:22-24

ADVENT LOVE #5: Blessed Memories

“Its here, in the season of lights,…I want our kids to be able to stand on the front walk with us in the days leading up to Christmas…to drink in the long, crisp winter dusk. I want them to see their tree, in their house shining through their windows. I want them to know the kind of warmth I remember coming home to as a child, the thought of Christmas, with all those lights strung around windows and doors, we might be safe in a greater sort of way. Hopeful, even….”~Drew Perry “Home for the Holidays” p28 Our State Magazine

Step by step – each day – we build a bank of memories. Some are immediately discarded into the back files of non-importance. Others stored in closer files for handy reference. And some – marked with a heart or a star or with a golden highlighter so that it can be pulled up at anytime – in any place – to be reviewed and treasured all over again.

Tonight as I tucked the Grands into sleep, I decided this was one of those memories that would be highlighted with that golden highlighter. After watching Miracle on 34th Street (original) and 2 large bowls of popcorn, we talked about the Christmas Count-down Bell that my daughter decided to continue with her children.

“Each night before Christmas,
After prayers have been said,
Take off a loop and hop into bed.
When Christmas will come,
It’s easy to tell,
For that is the night,
You come to the bell.”

We would write the poem in the bell and decorate it – sometimes wildly. Then a colorful construction paper chain finished the bell and allowed us to remember how many days we had to wait for Christmas. And somehow – the poem became ingrained in my important memory files forever.

Tonight the conversation took on a life of its own. Oldest Grand said, “I sing my prayers to God in my sleep.” Younger Grand said, “Yeah, at night, God and I talk a lot.” I said – “I don’t know if I sing, but I talk to God a lot as well. He doesn’t care when you talk to Him; He just wants to hear your voice because He LOVES you. Sometimes, I yak at Him in my dreams, but more often, I just talk to Him in the morning and at night and when some crazy person pulls in front of me because they wanted the parking space that I was getting ready to use.” The Grands laughed…I did too, but not so much when the crazy person cut me off.

“And let us pay attention to one another in the encouragement of LOVE and of good works.”~Heb 10:24

I alternately prayed for that crazy person and stomped my feet all the way into the grocery store . Then I saw one of the cashiers that I always look for when I get in line. She is bent over in so many ways that it hurts to watch. Yet, probably because we are close to being the same age and I understand pain in the joints, we always talk as she checks me out. She leans heavily on the counter as she picks things up from the cart and over the scanner. When she moves, she uses a cart just to move from the cash register to the office. Somehow, her work ethic drove that crazy person and all the other stupidness of this world completely into the discard memory pile. I pray for her tonight just as I pray from the Grands, my family – here or far away – and all the names on my war room wall – which seems to be growing at warp speed.

“You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the LORD always,
for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.”~Is 26:3-4

Christmas memories can be warm and fuzzy – my first bike – my first Barbie – – – they can be scary and sad – a father having a 2nd heart attack on Christmas – a Christmas break 4 years later when I kissed him goodbye for the last time – – – holy and sacred – communion in a small upper room on Christmas Eve – learning to sing the mother’s role in Amahl and the Night Visitors just in case I was needed – Candle light service in my childhood church with my mother on one side and my children and Hubby on the other…

Blessed with peace-filled LOVE. Blessed with memories. [google image]

Memorial Day 2015

memorial day aToday, I finally finished my own memorial to my parents and hubby’s parents. Plants.  Plaques given at their funerals by loved ones.  Bricks.  I can now sit in my garden, study the WORD, listen to the windchimes or God’s creations, and remember those who gave me the best of themselves.

Graveyards are fine. They serve the community as a rallying point to honor those who have sacrificed for our country. It is a place to erect monuments to those who have gone before. A place for speeches, parades and memories. Humans tend to need those things. Communities tend to need those things. I just seem to need something a little closer to home. A place surrounded – not by other monuments – but by God, and the garden where He placed me.

“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.” — Exodus 23:16

memorial day fThe more I learn about Jewish holidays and traditions, the more I fall in love with the beginnings of my faith. This is not only Memorial Day, it is also the end of Shavuot and also Pentecost. The more I read Jewish traditions and history, the more I believe that nothing is coincidence in God’s timing. Invisible lines intersect over and over in an unending circle of love. Giving us endless clues to His fascinating character.

Shavuot had its beginning as a “first fruits” harvest – the offering of the first perfect,memorial day h unblemished fruits of the harvest being given back to the Father. Later it became the date that Moshe recieved the Torah – the first, perfect unblemished written fruit – from the Father to His children. (Interesting thought always arises in the back of my mind that perhaps this was Rabbi Yeshua’s true birthdate. God seems to like patterns, and I just have to wonder.) Pentecost – the perfect, unblemished gift of the Holy Spirit – from the Father to His children. Memorial Day (although not celebrated anymore on its original date) – a day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – past and present – to return home to Our Father.

May 24 aYesterday, the Grands and family came over for brunch. We laid on the chaise lounge that my father made long ago and identified the shapes of clouds as they drifted overhead – a pig, a dragon, an eagle… Their barefeet walked the path of the cross made of old, imperfect bricks from a long ago Loudonville street. They carefully moved the little elves from place to place in front of the stain glass window that my big brother gave to me also long ago.

Holy-days are special. It is one reason, hubby and I decided long ago to always have our pigroasts on the Sunday before Memorial Day. A day for family. A day to remember. A day to honor sacrifices made long before we were born and those still being made today by those far away. Hope you have a blessed holy-day and remember to honor the first fruits just as He remembers to honor you.grain_offering

LINKS

hand of God“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” ~Psalm 90:12

It is holy week. 7 days from Saturday to Golgotha. 24 hours times 7. Approximately, 10,000 minutes to gain wisdom.

I started numbering my days last night. Shabbat a time with familly, friends, food, grandma mickey treasuresand Our Father started at sundown. Grands watched TWO Ice Age movies (sssshhhh…it’s a secret from mama and daddy) and giggled and laughed and jabbered. On this first day, it became a Grandma Mickey day. A day to dig into the “dress-up” chest – full of fancy hats, long gloves, jewelry and the softest coat imaginable. The coat that used to wrap around me much in the same way it wrapped around the Grands today. A comfort in strange bedrooms, in cold churches during long choir rehearsals and in the backseat of a car as we traveled home from family outings. I rubbed my face into the fur (much as I did when I was tiny) before I carried it into the next room to wrap it around the granddaughter….who proceded to bury her face in the softness. I could almost smell her perfume in the folds.

“Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,” Prov 8:10

While Grandson played with one set of beads, long enough to create a sash of power on his tiny body and a power crystal ring that vanquished the “evil” Koayiyah from attacking us, the other one decorated Papa with rings, neckaces, pins and even a “Peter Pan Snood” that Grandma Mickey made for dressy occasions like singing with a band or dancing with Grandpa Mike (btw – I still have the 1940 pattern). Passing on our heritage…creating new memories for a future generation…a small link in a long chain.

“…for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.” ~Prov 8:10-11

Today, the special jewels were on a compact that Grandma Mickey had carried for special occasions. The smell of the 1940 Elign American powder slightly lingers in thin powder puff. Granddaughter rubbed it everywhere on herself and on Papa’s feet. What I didn’t tell her is that I had rubbed that same puff under my nose just before I gave it to her. Just before the parents arrived, the Grands pulled out the old IQ game that I had spent hours playing with my parents and by myself. Another link in the chain.

So many years later the links are still strongly joined to the chain. The material things are merely a physical touchstone of the essence of the knowledge and wisdom passed on from one generation to another. A myriad of stories woven together with threads of facts and faith.

“Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~Matt 28:20

Rabbi Yeshua numbered His days during this holy week. I0,000 minutes to share as much as he could squeeze into these last 7 days on earth. He told stories. He pushed. He prodded. He provided links to help those He loved so that they could hold on to the wisdom He had sought to share. Those links still exists – on the earth – in the heavens – linking us – disciple to disciple – one to another – His family – from generation to generation.

(google images)

Attitude of Gratitude #24

grandma's apronGratitude #24: Grandma Mac’s Apron. It has been one of those days where I had lots to do and little time to accomplish it. Holiday weeks always seem to be like that. Pick up the Grands from school. Come home to eat a little something before rushing back out the door for my tutoring job. Needless to say, didn’t want to drip left-over chicken gravy on my work clothes, so I reached for the best cover-up I know – Grandma Mac’s apron. As I slip it over my head, I smile because I know exactly what I am thankful for today – an old apron.

me grandma 1954That apron has covered me many times and in many ways over the years. When I was little, I buried my face in it while she held me in her lap – usually with some kind of cookie or treat clutched tightly in my fist. She used it to dry my tears when there was a ruckus between me and my cousins. I even remember Grandma’s apron wiping my face after a family meal. Most of all, I remember this apron in her garden, as she taught me to know the difference between a weed and a veggie, birds and bees, spiders and insects, good dirt and bad dirt.

Grandma’s apron is like me. It is no longer the pristine creation it started out being. Stains and a few burned areas have added texture to the red and pink floral img827pattern. The edges are frayed and faded, and there is a hole or two where the almost translucent fabric has finally worn through. Following Grandma’s footsteps, I have worn it while cooking, carrying bounty in from the garden, rocking my babies to sleep, or wiping up messes on tiny faces (can you see it in this old picture?).  It is a touchstone to my past and a legacy that I hope to pass on when the time is right.

“God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and APRONS that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” Acts 19:12 NIV (emphasis is mine)

When I touch Grandma Mac’s apron, a miracle does happens. I hear her laugh  me in the middle and Grandma Macagain. I see her smile. This Thursday, I will wear it as I cook our Thanksgiving turkey, and I will remember – once again –  being enfolded in her arms. Today, as I thought back to the Grands crowding onto my lap as we read their “sticker” books or dancing in front of the Christmas tree as I played Christmas hymns on the piano, I smile again. I realized Many things can be a legacy…a prayer shawl, a handkerchief, an apron… Grandma Mac’s apron and a few of her kitchen tools are her tangible legacy to me, but it is the miracle of her life and love that covers me when I wear that old apron that is her real legacy to me. And – oh my –  I am – oh – so very thankful.

Grandma Mac