Archive for May, 2010

Slow Down

Like many of you, May was full for me! I’ve attended graduation ceremonies, hosted end of the year parties, clapped at award’s days, bought new ferns to freshen up the porch, dug out the supply of sun screen to check the expiration dates, and the list goes on and on, doesn’t it? But, today is Memorial Day and the somewhat official beginning of summer.

      On a business trip to Washington D.C. one spring, I was surprised to see that the street lights have a countdown feature to let you know how much time you have to walk across the street. So, if you come upon a green walking light, you can judge whether or not you can make it across before it turns red. Here is the phenomenon we discovered about ourselves. No matter how much time we had on the countdown clock, we would try to beat it and get across the street. Whether we had 4 seconds or 40 seconds, we were determined to get across the street. Do you feel like your life is like that? Do you feel like you’ve got seconds to cross every street in your life?

     When I was a teenager, I loved Simon and Garfunkel. They sang those cool songs with cool words that made you think about life. One of those songs had these words, “Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” You may not be as old as I am and have never heard this song, but you still get the message. It would probably benefit us all to have that song on our iPod to remind us that we’re trying too hard to beat the clock to cross the street.

Here’s what I love about summer– we do get to slow down even if it’s just a little. If you have kids in school, the homework hassles and nightly rituals of school preparation are over for a while. If you’re a grandma, you may get to schedule more time talking to your grandkids and less time watching them at an extracurricular activity. The longer days and warm temperatures give us such a great environment for slowing down and just enjoying life. Here’s another famous quote you might remember, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” That’s from someone else very popular, Jesus.

     As a former teacher, I still relate to life in semesters and school years. Summer will always be more significant than New Year’s in terms of renewal and new beginnings for me. This past school year, I mean the months from August to May, may have been a struggle for you. For those of you with kids, perhaps grades didn’t work out like you wanted or there’s a bully you can’t get away from or the teacher didn’t like your child. For those of us without kids in school, perhaps you are just having a hard time at work or you’ve had some illness or a parent who is struggling. Whatever you faced during this past school year, summer will allow you some time to rest from it, even if it’s just for a week or even if it’s just one night as you sit outside and look at the stars.  So, relax, slow down, and give your burdens to God. Just let the seconds tick away and don’t rush to cross the street. Trust me; the other side will still be there no matter how long you wait. 

I hope you have a relaxing Memorial Day. Remember our troops serving today and keep them in your prayers.

Continue to relax and enjoy the summer.

 Hugs,

 Chrys

 Here’s a bonus: The words to the song. Yes, it really does say groovy. Enjoy!

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feeling groovy

Hello lamppost, what’cha knowing
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
Doo-it in doo doo, feeling groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feeling groovy

I got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life I love you, all is groovy
 

Life is a Bubble

Sunday was a blessed day that included worship and, then, company for lunch. I hosted a group of summer camp counselors. We sat around the table, laughing and talking about our experiences at camp. I asked them to tell me about a counselor that made an impact on their life. As each one shared, we were able to point out qualities that made those counselors stand out for them. I wanted each of them to realize that camp would be as meaningful to the campers this summer as it had been for them and they would have an impact on the campers in a big way.

After everyone left, it was time to wash the dishes. First things first so I picked up the bottle of detergent and made my initial squeeze. As the green liquid flowed right unto the pan one tiny bubble broke free from the stream of soap and began floating to the ceiling. What a treat to be given this gift. I know you’re saying, How is a tiny bubble a gift? I think it was God’s way of reminding me of how fragile life is.

This past month I have attended five funerals and a wedding. That’s right—it sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? But, it’s true. Five funerals and a wedding define the month of May for me. I was so honored to attend each funeral as I was to attend the wedding, each in a different way. The wedding is like that tiny bubble in that it represents a fresh, new beginning. Dreams have yet to be realized as the happy couple said vows that bound them together for a lifetime. But, the sad reality of attending the wedding is those dreams may or may not happen, so it’s with some reluctance that we watch their bubble float away.

The funerals, though, are a different story. When we journey to heaven, our dreams and reality have already collided. Words that are spoken at a funeral depict an actual life. The words spoken at a wedding hold possibility instead of actuality. With modern technology, funerals now include photos and each precious life is shared though words, stories, and Bible verses. There were many good deeds recounted, many relationships affected, many happy times shared, but their bubble already is now gone, except for the memories. Life passes by very quickly.

Someone once said that our children never see the beginning of our life, only the end. As your children get older, they will be storing away the memories they will tell at your funeral one day. It’s true, they won’t remember the hundreds of peanut butter sandwiches you made or the thousands of loads of laundry you washed, but they will know if you loved God and loved them with all their heart. Like the camp counselors I had lunch with, your life as a mom will make an impact on your children for now and eternity.

You serve an awesome God who values your life and has plans to protect it as if it’s a fragile bubble. Don’t try to blow it higher yourself or it might end up in a direction you don’t want it to go and don’t try to hold it in your hand, it will not survive. Let God be in control and you will float through every trial with ease and confidence and when you do reach the top—you’ll float right into the hands of a loving Father.

Have a super great week.

Hugs, Chrys

Expect the Unexpected

Last week was one of those “topper” weeks. You know the kind—just when you think life can’t get busier; you have a week that tops all the previous busy weeks. My oldest daughter was out of town, so once again, I stepped out of my full-time grandma mode and into full-time mom mode. I hosted the second grade party for Will and got him to two baseball games, watched and cheered for Sadie’s first pep rally and two softball games, cheered again for John Luke at his spring football game, took pictures at Bella’s end of the year chapel, looked at and signed all papers, passed out lots of dollars, helped with homework questions, braided hair, encouraged teeth brushing and baths, took lots of pictures, drove to and from ball practices, school, birthday parties and church and tried to keep something fairly nutritious in them. Of course, I couldn’t neglect my grandma role to the other kids, so I also hosted a swimming party for Asa and Aevin, attended their ball games, and had all three over to spend the night. Whew! What a week.

When John Luke, my oldest grandchild was seven years old, I had taken him to the grocery story with me. I always love it when I have the rare opportunity to be in the car with any of my grandchildren. There’s something about the car that brings out conversation. That day, John Luke surprised me when we said that he had learned three things about life. Since I’ve learned some things about life as well, I knew when a seven year old says something this profound, one should pay attention. “What have you learned?” I quickly asked. “Well,” he said, “I’ve learned you have to work hard, play hard, and expect the unexpected.”

Now sit back and let that part sink in. John Luke went on to explain how the hardest one was expecting the unexpected. My mind went to Abraham and Sarah and then to Hannah and then to David and Goliath. The Bible is full of God’s people who were blessed by the unexpected events in their life. As a busy mom, your days are partly planned out in your calendar book or your iPhone. Your life could not function if this were not true. But, there’s that other part that never gets written down, the daily surprises. Like all good moms, when my daughter left town, she had my week carefully planned out, but she couldn’t know what she didn’t know. Those are life’s surprises.

Guess who is not surprised? God, your heavenly father. In fact, scripture lets us know that God rejoices in delivering surprises such as when He blessed Sarah with a baby boy in her old age. But, God is also there to help us through the surprises in life that are not directed by him, but are just the result of our fallen world such as job losses, sickness, and death.

John Luke, at the tender age of seven, was right. Expecting the unexpected is the hardest part of life. But, if we look at each day as a brightly colored package with the hidden contents —no matter what is in there—a gift from God, then our days will be more about Him and less about us.

Have a blessed day of surprises,

Chrys

A Mother Job: Priceless


 
 

      We have a new baby in our family. On May 6, my sweet nephew and his precious wife welcomed an 8 pound, 12 ounce bundle of boy-joy into the world. On May 8, as they walked through the doors of their little home, their lives would never be the same. How was the first night, was the question of the day on Mother’s Day, May 9, as our family gathered for lunch. The new parents, who live many miles from us, had wanted no help on their first night. As all of us “older” moms suspected, the night was a little challenging—a huge departure from the previous nights they had spent as a married couple with no children. Dirty diapers, feeding, crying, walking, rocking and dirty diapers, feeding, crying, walking, and rocking seemed to rule the night. But, as a mom you’re not surprised by that at all. Even if you haven’t had a baby in your home for thirty years, you can remember this scenario like it was yesterday. Your brain may even be going a step further and thinking, “They have no idea.”

     It’s true, a new dad and mom have no idea what lies before them. That’s probably a good thing. Sometimes ignorance is bliss! As I look back over my “mom” career, I see so many things I did right and so many things I did wrong. Many have said this, but I’ll say it again, babies don’t come with instructions. While we can learn from other mothers and read books by famous authors, each new day with a child is like opening a new deck of cards—slippery, hard to manage, and quickly gets out of order.

     So, Mother’s Day is for all the moms who have spent the night crowded in a twin bed while they comforted a sick child; for every mom who skipped Bible study group because a child suddenly remembered they were to bring brownies to school the next day; for those moms who anxiously stayed up until their teen came home from that important first date; moms who have never even seen a soccer ball, but volunteered to coach eleven first graders down a soccer field; for the moms who have worked two jobs to keep food on the table; and for the moms who haven’t had a good night’s sleep since their blissful college days many years ago.

I want to say thank you to all you moms who put your “mom” job as number one! That doesn’t mean you don’t divide your time a hundred ways, it just means you know what’s really important. You know that at the end of the day raising healthy, happy children who love the Lord and want to make a difference in this world is the most important job you do. 

     There have been calculations done to put a price on a mother’s job, but being a mom isn’t dependent on the money you make, it’s dependent on the love you give and receive. My mother used to use the expression “It’s a labor of love” when she would volunteer her time to help someone in need. That’s what being a mother is all about—it’s a labor of love. From the time we truly “labor” to deliver our babies, we “labor” in love to feed, clothe, and nurture our children.

Moms, keep up the great work. Know that your children will grow up to reflect what you have instilled in them. They won’t be perfect, but neither are you and neither am I. I’m just a mom who did the very best I could do and so are you!

      Happy Mother’s Day to a group of outstanding moms! Thank you for the example you are to me and each other.  

Hugs, Chrys

Listen Up!

Mollie was use to repeating almost everything she said. Three years of speech therapy hadn’t taken away the impediment the seven-year-old struggled to correct. Still she was a confident little girl and talking to strangers never bothered her. It was as if she felt it was their problem for not understanding her. One day she was out walking in her neighborhood with her mother when they came to a house where the owner was working in her garden. “It’s a beautiful day for a walk,” the woman commented as Mollie walked by. That was all the encouragement the little girl needed to stop and visit for a minute.

Soon, the woman ended the conversation with another comment about what a great day it was for a walk. Mollie’s eyes brightened as she said, “Do you want to go with us?” “Thank you for asking,” the woman replied, “but I have to keep working. Please, ask me again.” To that, Mollie responded with, “Do you want to go with us?” Again the woman said, “I can’t today, but please ask me again.” Very politely and a little slower and a lot louder Mollie said once again, “Do you want to go with us?” Smiling, Mollie’s mother jumped in this time so the exchange between the woman and the little girl could end. “Sweetheart,” she said, “She doesn’t mean to ask her now, but to ask her on another day and she might be able go with us.”

I love this story told to me by a good friend about her precious daughter. It’s a beautiful story of childish innocence and the value of really listening. Our lives are so busy; it seems we don’t take the time to really listen to the people who really matter to us. More times than I want to admit, I have to ask someone (usually a grandchild) to repeat something, not because I couldn’t understand them, but because I didn’t listen the first time. Proverbs warns us in chapter 18 verse 13 that anyone who answers without listening is foolish and insulting. I can see some of you raising your eyebrows at this. Who wants to appear foolish and insulting? None of us. But, many times I’ve given the “uh-huh” to my husband or kids without really knowing what I was saying “uh-huh” to.

Let’s all concentrate this week on being better listeners to our husbands, children, co-workers, and friends. And while we’re at it, let’s REALLY listen to God. We don’t want to be guilty of answering His questions without really knowing what He’s asking of us, do we? After all, you can be sure God always listens to you and never needs you to repeat it. He gets it the first time.

Have a great week of “listening.”

Hugs, Chrys