The Creek

Last Friday, Little Miss wanted to go on a nature walk. I went with her. As we walked out the door, she headed up the driveway and I said, “Let’s go through the woods.”

She gladly obliged, and talked and talked and talked and talked. It was glorious! Halfway down the hill, I asked if she could see the creek. She excitedly looked up at me and said, “You have a creek?” I had thought she would have remembered.

I then realized that I hadn’t been down to the creek in a couple of years, and she was carried on her Mom’s back the last time she was down.

The dull nature walk turned into an adventure for her. She was so excited to know her grandparents owned a place that had a creek running through the property. She was fascinated by the little water falls and the bigger ones that had been carved by the water running down through the woods. It opened a whole new door for her.

The next day she took down a ‘man’ she had made from twigs so that she could send him down the little water falls and off into the great creek unknown. Her Dad accompanied us, which I was thrilled about. He was able to really play in the creek with her, as I know I would have ended up in the water or slipping on a rock, landing face first looking at the creek rushing by me.

Once more I re-learned the lesson of seeing the world through a child’s eye. The world is an exciting place to be when we stop to remember and to look. My son in law and I began to reminisce about our creek adventures when we were kids. Standing at the edge of the water, talking , two different generations and watching the third generation experience similar times as we had.

Children are indeed a blessing. I remember watching the kids in my class in Japan. It was such a novelty to me to be in a foreign classroom, teaching my native tongue. In front of me were children. They would have the same antics I had seen and participated in as a student. They drew a picture of their sensei on the board, it was not flattering. They played football (or most likely soccer) with folded pieces of paper. They played the game with string, cat’s cradle, wrapping them around their fingers into different shapes, hoping to stump their game partner.

I was amazed that kids were kids all around the world. I once more saw that in my Little Miss as she played like her dad did, her mom did and her grandparents did.

Children teach in their lives. I have learned so much from the children in my life. I am grateful for the refresher I had this past week.

13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19: 13-14 (NKJV)

Good, good Father

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;” Psalm 68:5-6a (NLT)

Shortly after my Dad died, I saw this scripture and it ministered to me. My Dad was a good Dad. He had his faults, but, so do we all. I know that he did the best he could raising three daughters in an era that raising children was usually the Mom’s job. I often reflect on how he must have felt and what he faced mentally when he landed into the single parent household. But, my sisters and I not only survived, we flourished.

What this scripture spoke to me was that although my earthly father had passed away, I had a heavenly Father who was my father. He was there to talk with, to lean on, to rely on. His wisdom is unmatchable. His peace and comfort is limitless. He is God the Father and He is my Father.

Yesterday at church we sang Chris Tomlin’s song, Good,Good Father (click on the title for a listen). As I sang the words I was reminded of the above scripture. I thought of my Dad. Then I heard, “You saw an example of a good father this week.”

I did see an example of a good father this week. Little Miss was here and I watched daily the interaction between her and her Dad. My son-in-law loves his daughter(s) with an enduring love. He is strong when they need it. He is playful. He is stern when it is needed. He corrects at the right time also. Yes, he is not perfect, but none of us are.

What I saw was a man who is fully invested in Little Miss’ future. He is working out plans for her, allowing her to grow and experience things, sometimes the hard way, some times a bit easier. But he is consistent, steady and available.

When you think of it, he is showing an example of what our Heavenly Father is like. (Besides the imperfection part).

The Lord is a good, good Father. It is who He is. He is perfect in all ways. He has a plan for us. He has a future for us. He will never leave us, nor turn His back on us. His hands reach out to us for comfort, security, wisdom and yes, correction.

Most importantly, He loves us. He knows our name. He knows the number of hairs on our head, even those in the sink and in our hairbrushes. He is my good, good Father.

Veteran’s Day

“Praise the Lord, who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.” Psalm 144:1 (NLT)

When I was in high school I would participate in selling poppies on Veteran’s Day. They weren’t real poppies, but little red flowers that were poppies.

I would stand in front of a store downtown, with poppies in one hand and a can in the other. People passing by would stop, give a donation and take a poppy. Older men would stop, and devoutly take a flower and lovingly put the flower in their lapel.

At the time, I thought it was a weird thing to do, but as I was in a community serving group, we would do this for the local VFW. Some years it was pleasant, and some years the bitter November air would rush down Seneca Street chilling you to the bone.

I knew my Dad and my uncles were all veterans. They all served in the war. They each had stories, that were talked about briefly to each other. There were also hushed tones when they remembered their brother who passed from war wounds.

They were referred to as the greatest generation. To me, as one in high school, I did not realize or understand the depth of what they experienced or endured.

I neglected to ask questions as I didn’t think it was important. I have my Dad’s papers from his time in the service. An uncle who was in the Navy gave me some memorabilia from his time in Subic Bay. As a Navy wife at the time, he felt I would enjoy them. I do.

Veterans write a check with their lives at some point. They serve, they give and they sacrifice. I was broken in easily when I married my sailor. We were together, with no deployments for the first few years of our marriage. We explored the places we went.

We explored Japan, we had our time together to see places my uncles fought against. We lived in occupation era housing along with the bugs and rats and brick bathtubs. We relished each day we were together. I began to understand the military.

It wasn’t until the early 80’s that I began to truly realize what sacrifice and deployment meant.

This photo taken the day Dale returned after eight and a half months, sealed forever what sacrifice is. Not just for the veteran, but, for the families. His expression at seeing his daughter after such a long time brings tears to my eyes still. I was standing out of view with our youngest in my arms. It was his first meeting his baby girl who was five months old.

In case I might have forgotten the meaning of what a veteran is, our daughter, pictured above became a Navy wife. She endured several deployments with a baby, like her Mom. He is now a Veteran. Having served honorably and sacrificed much, he is celebrating his second Veteran’s Day.

We owe a debt to these brave men and women. They have accomplished things that we will never hear about. They will talk to brothers in arms with the same hushed tones that my uncles did.

Today and for the next couple of days I will remember my Dad, my uncles, knowing what they accomplished on the fields in World War II. I will once more look at Dale and see that young man who swept me off on a life of adventure, and I will pray for my son in law as he continues to adjust to civilian life.

Warriors sign a blank check. The world and powers write what is owed. Our Savior understands what these men and women accomplished, as He too, came down to earth to pay the ultimate price that we may be saved. Today, look around you and truly see what is surrounding you. Freedom comes at a very high price.