Sunday Quiet

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9 (NKJV)

It is late Sunday afternoon. Our day has gone well, up and out of the house in time for worship practice for Dale and then church.

Church was wonderful and we left refreshed from the service. We grabbed some lunch and headed home.

This is usually what our Sundays look like. Sundays are a quiet day, no unnecessary activity, just what is needed. Naps are often part of the afternoons, and Dale slept in his chair today while I walked.

As I walked, I thought about how quickly this summer has passed by. I complain about summer, I dread it’s beginning, I dislike the heat and the humidity and I dread the season. This afternoon it occurred to me that it really doesn’t last long, my attitude towards it lasts longer.

Seasons pass by too soon. Days also. It’s nice to take time once a week to slow down. It is on Sundays that I spend much of my time thinking. Yes, I am blessed by church services, by prayer through the morning, and conversations that I have. Then, at home I think of all my should haves and could haves. My why haven’t I accomplished this, or when are you going to do this?

I blame the quiet. It gives me time to think, to ponder and to comprehend how I feel about friends and family. Sundays are the days I allow myself to think about those who are dear to me. To recognize those homesick feelings for people who live away from me.

Yes, I am thankful for quiet days. I love Sundays. I feel challenged, though, as to how to communicate with family how much I care and love them. How my heart longs to talk uninterrupted and for length. Times and seasons pass, I need to learn to put into action how to communicate and spend the time with those I love.

Memories of Maine

The other day my oldest daughter and I started to reminisce about Maine. We were stationed there in the early 80’s. Our oldest was five months old when we reported to our duty station in Winter Harbor. We left Maine when she was three.

Since that time, we have gone back just a few times. The last time we visited, our oldest was going into sixth grade. I was surprised at how many sights she remembered from Maine. I smiled to myself to hear her talk about Downeast Maine.

I mentioned a few more sights and with each mention, she got a bit more excited. After talking with her, I have not stopped thinking about our time there. It was a special place to live. The Navy community was small, and close knit. Friendships were formed that still last to this day. I often say I left a big part of my heart there.

This morning I woke up early. Usually when I awake that early I fall back to sleep easily. This morning was not so. I turned over and my eyes popped open and my brain was racing with clarity. In my mind, I walked through the little town where we lived. I could picture things that I am sure are no longer there. The Donut Hole, a building that looked like a fishing shack that overlooked the water. On the wall hung many mugs belonging to the regulars. There was always some group of fishermen, lobstermen, or locals sitting around tables, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Across the street was a grocery store, where you were greeted warmly whenever you went in.

I often walked into town with our daughter. We would visit the Five and Dime store and I would glance across the street to the drug store that had a soda counter in it. The town still calls to me. My heart still yearns to be back there.

The Navy has long since left the area. The housing for military personnel are now privately owned or rented out to tourists.

I can still hear the waves crashing onto the rocks and the shore. Having been a Navy family, we were always around a body of water, but the coast of Maine remains the most beautiful coast to me. The water is grey. The air is brisk. It churns with energy unlike the lapping water of many of the coasts I have been around. I can still feel the smell of the water, it filled your senses and made me feel alive. In winter it was especially angry, always turbulent, like it was trying not to freeze over in the frigid temperature. I love the coast of Downeast Maine.

Yes, a large piece of my heart is in Maine, as it became a part of me. The experience of living there, meeting the people there is woven into me. It has been forty years since we left, yet I can return there rapidly in my mind.

It’s easy to yearn for places you have been. To recall the sights, the sounds, the smells and long to return. It’s a known place to you.

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:2-4 (NKJV)

Jesus promised us a place with Him. The Master Carpenter is preparing a mansion for us. He is coming back for us.

Although I have never been there, have never lived there, there is a place deep within me that yearns for Heaven a little more than I yearn for Winter Harbor. My heart lies in Heaven, and it waits to be there with my Lord.

But Never Have to Say Good-bye

As we grow, we realize that at some point we will have to say good-bye to our folks. Dale and I lost our parents early. We were in our late thirties when we had lost all of our parents. So, the thought of saying good bye to parents was something we accepted.

We have remarked several times through the years that we were approaching, or had hit the age our parents were when they died. It is a strange feeling to be the age your folks were when they passed. You sort of do a victory jig when you pass the age they were.

Yes, this sounds very morbid. But, it was something that has rumbled around my brain today. Actually, these thoughts began when I started to think of my daughters. Both have families of their own and both are busy raising their children and working. I admire my daughters greatly. They seem to be far ahead of myself at their ages. They never cease to surprise me.

I have a friend who lost her daughter about a year ago, and another friend I have known since high school lost a daughter last week. I cannot begin to imagine how they are coping. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. It breaks my heart thinking of them.

This all reminds me that it is important to keep in touch with family. Texts, phone calls, visits when possible, these are imperative things to do. To keep that bond secure.

I never felt a panic or gave much thought to my mortality, I figured when it was time to move to heaven, I was ready. I had had a family, I saw my daughters grow, get married, have children and become settled in their lives. I felt a measure of success.

I am gifted in that my daughters do many things I did when they were little. This is a true blessing to Dale and I. It’s like we made a difference in their lives. No one could ask for more.

When our first grandchild was born, I spent time with our youngest to help her out in recovering from birth. As she napped one day, I held my grandson and began to sing to him. I started to sing the songs that I sang to his mother. A part of a song goes, “In His name I say good-night, but never have to say good-bye”. I got the first part out and my mortality hit me. I would have to say good-bye to this precious boy. I held onto him and cried.

A couple of years later, our Little Miss was born. I knew that song would get to me, and somehow I managed to squeak it out. I felt a twinge of victory. The thing is, though, she loves that song sung each time she goes down for the night. She will choose who is putting her to bed whenever we are together. Each time I put her down, that song is sung (well, a whole lot of songs are sung). Each time I come to that last part and choke up.

Each time I choke up, I remind myself to make more memories with my grands. I desire to give them memories for a life time. Memories that will follow them throughout their lives.

When Jesus was on earth, He watched His Father. “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19 (NKJV) Much of what I see my daughters doing, I recognize that I did similar things. Likewise I have caught myself doing what I saw my mother-in-law doing. Jesus gave us the example to follow the Father. I try to follow that example, but I cannot help but see how that example bleeds into every facet of our lives.

How did Mom know?

I have a memory of my Mom mentioning to me that someday you would have to check your appearance when you talked on the phone because you would be able to see the person you were talking to. I don’t know what precipitated the conversation or how it came about. I just remember her saying it. Someday you will see the person you are talking to.

At the time I thought it was a bizarre thought. Phones were on the wall (or table) and at the time you had to make certain the other party wasn’t talking on the party line. How in the world could you see a person on the phone?

My Mom died in 1966, and I often wonder what she would think of the technology of today. So much has changed and yes, now we can see the person we are talking to. Who would have thought?

Yesterday we had an impromptu conversation with our youngest daughter and our Little Man. It was delightful and made my day. We were able to see his new books he received for his birthday along with a new keyboard. He played us several songs and we all laughed and joked and talked. The time together did my heart good.

As we hung up I once more thought of the conversation with my Mom so many years ago. I smiled and said to myself, “Yes, Mom, we can see the people in a call. But, no, I didn’t change my clothes or even comb my hair. I was just me.”

Family loves you as you are and although technology can be frustrating and burdensome, yesterday it gave me a visit from my baby and her baby.

Echoes and Treasures

I always hesitate to clean up after my grandchildren visit. I will leave toys right where they left them and walk around them for days. I know when I put them away, the visit is over. I do the same with the beds my grands and kids have slept in. When I have that perfect guest room, it signals that family is indeed gone.

Today I look at the pile of toys and puzzles on my living room chair. There is a stuffed tiger that was hugged and kissed by our Little Miss so that we could hug tiger and actually be getting a hug and kiss from her.

I did put away her art things on the screen porch. Emptying the paint water and putting the watercolors away. I carefully piled the artwork and put it in my treasure drawer in my dresser.

The echoes of laughter and play resound in the home of grandparents. It is what keeps us going. It is a blessing of our lives.

Today Dale and I had lunch on our screen porch. There are ledges on each screen of the porch. Beside Dale were the treasures collected by our Little Man, a twisty grapevine that is hardening to become a walking stick. Many pieces of granite and broken concrete taken from our woods.

On the other side of the porch lay Little Miss’ treasures. A pine cone on a little limb. Some pyrite from the driveway, and other little rocks gathered from outside. A seashell from where the previous owners dumped their aquarium. All special and unique to her.

I don’t know when we decided to store their ‘treasures’, but it is now part of our decor. They are reminders of great adventures in the woods and yard. Adventures that are seen through the eyes of children.

I never knew my grandparents, they had all passed before I was old enough to remember. Grand-parenting is a privilege. I am honored to be called Grammy. I love the echoes and the treasures. They remind me of memories in the making. My grands may not remember a whole lot of us, but they will remember that they were allowed to keep their treasures in a certain place just for them.

As parents and grandparents, we store up in our heart memories of our children. They are dear to us. They bring us joy. I imagine our heavenly Father does the same. Looking at us and in us, He smiles and gently places our “treasures” in His heart.

Yearning

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

The past two weeks have been filled with much activity. In the middle of the weeks I had my final appointment with my orthopedist. My elbow is healing nicely and I can resume slowly getting back to normal. This is great news.

The only drawback is that I am weakened in my right arm. My wrist still hurts and my shoulder does also. I find I don’t have dexterity in my arm and that can be frustrating for me.

These minor frustrations lead me to the Lord in prayer. I know movement will return, as will strength. It will just take a few more weeks.

As I have thought about this, I realize that in the busy-ness of the past two weeks, I haven’t devoted as much time to prayer or reading my bible.

Today as I began my normal schedule the word “yearning” came to mind. According to Mirriam-Webster, yearning is defined as a tender or urgent longing.

I long to draw near to my God. It is an urgency within me. For the past two weeks, each morning, I had a seven year old grab a blanket from the back of the couch, wrap herself up in it and climb onto my lap. For the next few minutes there would be a cozy, intimate conversation between us. She would lay her head on my shoulder and tell me she loved me. This is what I yearn to do with my heavenly Father.

Little Miss #4

I have always said that the current age of my children and grandchildren are my favorite. When they were newborn I loved the new person smell. Sort of like the new car smell only much better. The little coos and sounds that only babies can make.

Toddlers make me smile. You never can predict the next moment. Each second is a new discovery for them or a new emotion.

Now my Little Man will be 10 tomorrow and Little Miss will turn 8 in October.

We had two weeks with our Little Miss. I waited to write this last piece for her until she left. I wanted it to speak of current things we did.

We had many activities, all different and all enjoyable. My heart is full of new memories and experiences with her.

What continues to run through all encounters with our Little Miss is a zest for life. Her wonder of things around her astonishes me. Her love of nature, her love of all things water, bugs, animals and ice cream. Each thing holds her attention and care.

Although this Grammy is tired, I am filled with an awe of the things I take for granted.

When I see things outside they are just trees, grass, weeds, flowers. With Little Miss here, it was like a curtain was drawn back and once more there was a newness in what I saw. Trees took on personalities. Grass was more than just green, it held and hid discoveries of ants and bugs. The weeds were as beautiful as a florist shop. Flowers were meant to be stopped by and smelled.

Our outdoor cat nipped her. I wanted to get rid of the cat for doing that. Little Miss drew a picture and wrote a note to the cat to say she understood that the cat didn’t mean to nip at her. She attached the picture to a string and let the cat play with the note. Each morning she picked a black-eyed Susan to place in the cat’s water because the cat needed to have a pretty meal.

These are just a few of the adventures this senior had the past couple of weeks. I once more realized I need to see the world through the eyes of a child. What beauty we miss when we don’t do that.

“But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”” Matthew 19:14 (NLT)

Little Miss #3

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

This scripture has been used in many writings and in prayers. Today I use it in regard for my Little Miss.

She has a heart after God. She is always ready to pray and go to church and even discuss with you what she believes. Which is an interesting thing for a seven year old.

She has never ceased to amaze me. Born early and so small, preemie clothes were big on her. She may have started out small, but nothing has challenged her. She meets challenges head on and smiles when she has passed them.

I know her future is going to be an incredible one. Unlike most little girls who want to be a princess when they grow, or a dancer or any of the little girl dreams, this one wants to be an entomologist. She loves bugs!

I didn’t even know what an entomologist was until I was an adult. Plus, the study of bugs? No, not me. Bugs need to be stomped on, smashed and thrown away. I often wonder why they were created, but I know they have a purpose.

Little Miss loves her bugs. She knows which are beneficial and which aren’t. She will retrieve bugs from the swimming pool, grabbing a net, pulling them out, talking to them and placing them where they will be okay.

She is saddened by those she hasn’t recovered. She intrigues me with her knowledge and love for all things.

Our God gave each of us an innate ability and gift. This child can be all girl, frills, and shoes and jewelry, what you think of with a little girl, but residing deep in her is a respect for God’s creatures. The little ones. The ones we step on without a thought.

I have often been scolded, “Oh, Grammy, you just killed a bug”. I think nothing of it and yet she is thinking of the bug’s family.

Lord, may she grow continually noticing what You have created. Keep her heart pure and open. Let her serve You with a power and might. Use her mightily for Your kingdom. Amen

Little Miss #2

“A garden of love grows in a grandmother’s heart.” ~Author unknown

Having raised two girls, seeing them married and mothers has given me insight that I never thought I would have.

My precious Little Miss is a mixture of both of my girls. She is a mini-me of her mom. The looks, the life she exudes, the go-getting of anything new is all like her mom. On the other side the impishness, the dare-devilness (a bit of her Dad), the impetuousness is all her aunt. I love that she is such a great mixture of my girls.

I often told Dale that I felt like I was an okay Mom, but I had a feeling that I was going to be much better as a grandma.

Our Little Miss wears her heart on her sleeve. She is so kind and gentle. She is compassionate and giving. She loves deeply. She teaches me how to be filled continually with compassion and care. Her love knows no ends.

She has a good word for everyone she meets. Her gentle ways produce smiles on many. In the car line waiting for school to begin, she will often ask for the windows to be down so that she can greet the teachers and staff as she sees them. Wishes for a good day, a great day, or just a good morning from her prompts laughter and smiles in return.

Little Miss sparks in me a desire to be like her. She encourages and gives freely. “Give as freely as you have received!” Matthew 10:8b (NLT)

Each of us has been given great things, we can pride ourselves with our gifts, but, do we give as freely as we have been given? I know a seven year old who can teach us all how to give.

Little Miss #1

(Reworked from an original post October 2019 from dearanonymousfriend)

Little girls come into your life and they nuzzle up and reach in and steal your heart.  They do this easily and quickly.

I always wanted to have five boys.  That was my dream when I was young.  I wanted enough boys to have a pick up basketball team.  I always thought I would have a household full of boys.  They would grow up and look down on me and be in my home to eat all my food and make me laugh.  Yes, if you would have asked me in my early twenties, that is what I would have told you.

Then, near my mid twenties, our first daughter was born.  Suddenly, little girls were my world.  Lots of pink and ruffles and sweet little smiles.   A few years later her sister was born.  Again, lots of ruffles, but, lavender this time.

Finally, years later, our Little Miss came to us.   This little girl, this little gift.  She came a bit early and was really small.  Her size did not deter her personality though, as it was full grown and ready to be presented to the world.

Granddaughters are so much different than daughters.  They melt your heart even sooner than my daughters did.  I saw my husband melt within the first few hours after her birth.  It was different than with Little Man.  With Little Man, he was proud.  I could see his chest popping out in pride.  This was his Grandson.   In a moment he was in the future with him, working on cars and going fishing and doing all the guy stuff he had experienced when he was young.

When Little Miss was born, this man of mine became jello.  He held her and melted.  I watched him do it.  He looked at her and his heart was now in her little fingers.  It has remained so to this day.

She is our Halloween pumpkin.  She is giggles and long stories.   She is a ballerina on her toes, leaping and in the next minute she is chasing her dogs and trying to hug them.   She is wanting to wear frilly dresses but not let her long locks be touched by a hairbrush.  She is a range of emotions like the range of the Appalachian mountains, it just goes on and on.

She is our precious little one.  The one who has her Mom take pictures of her in her church outfit so I can see how she looks.  She poses with one foot out, like a ballet position.  She is a true little girl, the sugar and spice, but also a measure of snips and snails and puppy dog tails…

It continues to amaze me how wonderful our Lord is. He gives us such abundant gifts in our families. He renews the wonder of new born lives. We get to relive the joys of childhood without the stress and strain of parenting. We see our children in these little lives. We remember the stress and tiredness of raising children. But, as grandparents it all seems like golden memories.

“We love each other because he loved us first.” I John 4:19 (NLT)