Little Man…

It has been quite a while since I have written and even longer since I last wrote about Little Man.  Little Man is now seven.  Seems impossible, but he turned seven on Friday this past week.

Hubby and I traveled to see him and were able to spend time with him.  It was glorious!  I always come away with a lesson learned from him and this time was no exception.

Friday we spent a couple of hours with him in the pool.  It was a fun time with lots of laughter and splashing and rough-housing.  He showed us his jumps into the pool, his cannonball, his karate kick jump, and his vertical alligator jump.   All named appropriately, and each delivered with grace and style.  If they were to be judged by this Grammy, they would all be a 10.

We played cards, and Rock em, Sock em Robots.   It was a tie at the cards, but only because the game was interrupted by dinner and then forgotten for a bit.   I lost the battle of the robots, much to the glee of the seven year old.

The lesson I have learned this past weekend?  To live life with joy.  Embrace the fun that life holds.   Jump into the pool of life instead of gently lowering yourself into the tide and flow.  Most of all, hug, laugh and make funny noises when words fail you.

Happy Birthday Little Man, you will always have my heart as I learn from your example.

Thanks for stopping by today.   Cathi (DAF)

Advertisements

Middle of the Night Reminders…

Several years ago while living in San Diego, I had one of those horrible, no good, awful days.  You know the kind, where you carry your soap box around with you because everything sets you off and you want to voice your opinion on them.   I cannot remember what all set me off, some I do and since they are of a political nature, I will refrain from dredging them up.   Anyhow, my dear hubby came home from work, ate his dinner listening to my rants of the day and suggested an evening drive to the mountains.  Now, if it were me, I would make that suggestion to throw me off said mountain, but, fortunately, I am not him.  Instead, he drove me to the mountains, to ‘our’ spot that has a turn out and a beautiful view of the desert floor.

We drove the 40 minutes to the mountains, pulled into our spot and got out of the car.  I stood looking at the darkness surrounding me.  It was quiet there, no traffic noise.   Hubby wrapped his arms around me and just held me.  After the day I had, he knew that this is what I needed.  Quiet, peace and the sky.  I sighed and told him, “Someday I just want to be able to walk out my front door and see stars again.  Not have to drive almost an hour just to see a star in the sky.”

Stars are hard to see in big cities.  The light pollution fills the night sky and blank out the stars.  Yes, there are a few stars, but, they are not brilliant.

Last night I could not sleep.  Again.   As I lay in bed I started to watch the parade in my mind of every little thing that needed attention.  Granted, in the middle of the night, EVERYTHING you think of is in need of attention.  I finally got up and walked into our dining room.  I peeked out of the curtains and saw the front porch.  On it sat two chairs, small ones but they were there nonetheless.  They are just little things that I wanted this summer and there they were.  I told myself that this was a reminder, things get taken care of.

I next walked into our living room and walked over to a set of french doors.  Looking out I tried to see if any deer were sleeping in the yard, there were none that I could see.  I started to think of the flower garden that each year I attempt to get under control and each year I have failed.  I quickly walked away from the window.

Next, I was in our kitchen.  At the window I looked out and adjusted my eyes to the lights at the end of our driveway and our neighbors driveway lights.   They gave a gentle glow to the bare trees in our side yard.   Beautifully rising and casting shadows in the night sky.  It was an awesome sight, like a painting I have seen somewhere.  My eyes kept going up and there, spread across the sky as far as I could see were stars!  Bright stars that reminded me of little white Christmas lights blanketing the sky.

In that moment, I felt like I was being covered with a warm blanket.  Those stars were shining for me to see.  Those stars were right outside my door.  Stars for me to see and watch and marvel at.   Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”     Standing in my kitchen and looking out at the night sky, I realized I had so many of my heart’s desires.  Humbled, I turned to go back to bed. 

As I reached the doorway of my bedroom I remembered Psalm 46:10 a “Be still, and know that I am God;” 

It always amazes me when I actually stop long enough to be still.  To stop and listen instead of continually yapping to our Lord about things.  Middle of the night parades rob me of peace.  They rob me of sleep.  They rob me of listening when I need to hear things.  Sometimes I need to get up and just look at what surrounds me and remember that my God knows exactly what I need.  Today, I am thankful and grateful and hopefully I won’t move from this place for a while.

Thanks for stopping by today,  hope you have a good day.   Cathi (DAF)

 

Six years out…

Six years ago on the 28th of July, I wrote this blog post:

This will be short. I am busy watching my baby’s baby. He is absolutely gorgeous, all 8 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long.

He coos, he squeals, he cries, and he is the proud owner of my heart. It no longer belongs to me, it is his. His little fingers have wrapped their way around my heart and there they will stay.

That’s it for now, I am busy reveling in the glory of our God in giving our family such a gift.

Yes, it was a short post, and it seems like yesterday that I wrote it.  But, it’s not.  It was six years ago.

Tomorrow Little Man turns six.  Can you believe that?  I know I can’t!  So many little stories I have written about him and when I re-read each one, it seems like it just happened.

It has been a while since I wrote anything about this precious little guy.  My heart is still his, like my heart is also his cousin’s.  Those little ones grab your heart with that first look and they do not let go of it, nor, would I want them to.

Little Man is now heading into the first grade.  He is an avid reader, reading much more above his grade level.  He is into dinosaurs currently, he still loves his legos, and his taste in music is incredible.  He can rock out with the best of us.

He makes me smile just with a glance and when it has been a while since I last saw him, my arms ache for a hug.

So much of what I took for granted while raising my daughters, like birthdays and interests, loose teeth, and advancing in school, is now of great interest to me.  I love hearing him tell me of his adventures, those  big and small.  These little things are so important to him, and to me.   He continues to teach me things I have long forgotten.  The joy of discovering a new trick on a scooter, the fun of wriggling a loose tooth, the information on dinosaurs and how they looked or what they ate.   These are important lessons to focus on.

I am still amazed at this Little Man.  He makes my heart smile. IMG_1760Happy Birthday six-year-old!  Grammy loves you.

 

 

My Brother…

1 Corinthians 10:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

I never had a brother.  I always wanted one.  Growing up with my sisters was wonderful and I cherish them, but, I saw my cousins who were, or had brothers and I envied them.  There is just something about having a brother.  I actually wanted a big brother.  That was just not possible.

Not possible, until we went to Japan.  When we first went to Japan we moved into a small apartment on the “economy”, which meant we moved into a Japanese neighborhood and lived like they did.   We were put on a waiting list for government housing, which is an American style home.  (Well, American as what the Occupation housing was like).

Several months after arriving in Japan we were contacted that we had worked our way through the housing list.  We drove from our little place in Kikoba, Hayama to Yokohama, Japan.  There we met up with two other couples, one a little older than us and the other, a couple our age with their baby girl in a little carrier.   There were three couples and three homes.  There was a ranking order and so we knew that when the older couple said which house they wanted, it was theirs.   We ended up with the houses we all wanted, so there was no strife in the decisions.

We moved in and a few months later while I was grocery shopping I ran into the couple with the baby.  They invited hubby and I to dinner that night and thus began a life long friendship.

But, this post is not just about them, it is about my desire for a brother.  The Lord heard my cry for one and He provided a brother for me in this young man.  After we all left Japan, they moved to San Diego and eventually we were there also.

It was during our time in San Diego that Mike truly became my big brother.  With hubby deployed so often, Mike stepped in and did the heavy stuff around our home.  Without asking, he was there faithfully to mow our lawn, build fences, move dirt, anything I might need.    His family is our family, we love each other and they are Aunt and Uncle and cousins to my girls and we are that to their girls.

Michael is not just a brother in a sense of taking care of things for me, he is the one I can argue with and disagree with.  He will challenge me when I am wrong, he will correct me.  He has words that are encouraging and words that make me spit out drinks from my nose in laughter.  As they say now, he truly is my brother from another mother.  I cherish his presence in my life.

Michael has taught me many things.  His life reflects his determination to be available for others.  He looks for the good in others, he brings it out in people.  He strives to expose in people things they do not see themselves.  He has done this for me.  I have grudgingly listened to him and mentally fought what he has said to me, eventually realizing he was right all along, thus giving me a firmer foundation.

Sometimes the desires of our hearts are not what we thought they were.  As a child, I saw an older brother as a mere protector, someone to guard against bullies, or to wrestle with, or to just hang out with.  The brother I received could be all of that, but, he is a voice that will beckon me to better things.  He will show by example consistency in his family.  He can be annoying in disagreements, and he will just smile when I realize he was right.    But, even though I do not see him much now, I know that he is a phone call away and if it is possible he would be at our side as soon as humanly possible.

Our Lord places us in families, those we are born with and those that just ‘happen’ to come to us.  My family was blessed to be placed together with theirs.  I am grateful for my brother.

Lord, thank you for Michael.  Thank You for the lessons You have taught me through him.  Help me to follow his example of You.  Those examples of seeing people as You see them, being consistent in my life.  Let my life be a reflection of You this day.

Thank you for stopping by…  Cathi (DAF)

Implementing an Idea…

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write.  I have always loved the idea of putting thoughts together to somehow have an impact on another’s life.  I don’t know if I have ever succeeded in doing so, but, as you know, it has not stopped me.

As we were leaving Japan to return to living in the states, I had an idea for a book.  Obviously, that has not happened.    The book was to be a devotional of the lessons I had learned from the people in my life.  I have tried a few times to start it and each time, I reread what I had written and either tore it up (before computers) and threw it away, or, I have hit the delete button and it disappeared.

After my last post, I realized that lately I have had a theme in several of my posts that talk about people in my life and what they have meant to me.  I have suggested that you tell those you love, or who are in your life how important they are to you.    As I finished my last post, it occurred to me that this might be the time for me to at least blog about the lessons and truths I have learned along the way with those precious people who have been in my life.  So, I am going to begin sharing some things from people who have been placed in my life.  This will be my (hopefully) gift to those close to me.

So, my blog will be my observations, lessons, and love I have gathered along the way.  Life is fleeting, and I want to take the time to share my love.  That is, of course, unless something really exciting happens and I have to write about that!

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.  Cathi (DAF)

Grace and Mercy VS Control

One of the definitions of control is to have power over.  I once heard control described as a reasonable response to unreasonable pain.  I have lived with control before.  It is a hard life to live with, it brings out the very worst in me.  I react strongly when faced with control issues.

We each have issues with wanting to control areas of our lives.  I know I have controlled and have tried to be controlled.  When I am trying to control something the result is I am angry all the time over everything.  I try to recognize that quickly and ask forgiveness for it as soon as I can.  When I am trying to be controlled, I react strongly.  I stand my ground and I won’t budge.  I set my jaw and I look at the person who is trying to control me and I verbally resist.  It is not unlike a temper tantrum.

I have been pondering the subject of control.  I know it is something that has run its course in our family.  But, issues get dealt with and circumstances get resolved and life goes on.

The thing is, though, when control rears its ugly head, the only positive response is to act with grace and/or mercy.

Grace, as I have learned through years in church and in reading my Bible is unmerited favor from God.  Grace is new every morning, which is a wonderful gift that I am grateful for.    Another definition of grace is this, a temporary exception .

Hand in hand with grace is another concept, mercy.  Mercy is also mentioned often in the Bible and again, for God’s mercy, I am very grateful.  Mercy has this definition, a compassionate treatment of those in distress.

My thoughts today have had a ringside seat to the battle of grace and mercy versus control.  It has gone many rounds in my mind and I have seen so many views of this battle.  Arguments have been made for every side.  Reason can be made for each side.   But, personally, I think control should be ousted from the ring altogether.  Control can only bring harm and anger and disappointment.

It may not be easy to do, but, again, my opinion, is that we need to give grace and mercy a chance in our individual lives.  We need to show grace and mercy to everyone.  We need to give favor in little things, show grace in times that we want to control.

I have heard so much this past week that life is fleeting.  Things happen and life changes or you begin to see the end of your life as you know it.  How much more important is it to give reasons for joy in others.  To give someone a reason to smile, a reason to laugh, a reason to celebrate little things.    As I have grown older, I realize that too many of my memories are of the hard things.  The tears, the disappointments, the what could have been if only I had done things differently.

I now see that grace and mercy are the things I should always carry in my hands.  They are the things I need to reach out with.  They are the things I should lead with.  They are the foundation for wonderful memories.

These are my mind ramblings today.  It may be the result of a cloudy day, or a week with not as much sleep as needed, but here you have it.   I close with Proverbs 17:22 (Amplified Bible)  A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Cathi

Believe….

Each year hubby and I watch Christmas movies.  This is something we love to do together.  Tonight we watched The Polar Express, and once more, I cried through it.

I was first introduced to this story when our youngest was in the fifth grade.  Her teacher had read the story to the class and she wanted a copy for her Christmas gift.  We bought the book and I loved the illustrations and story.

When the movie came out we went together to see it.  That is when I started to cry through it.  We bought it as soon as it came out.  When our youngest left home, I made certain she had a copy also.

So, tonight, we sat and watched it once more.  There are subjects in the movie that move me deeply.  They talk about friendship, leadership, learning and believing.

Yes, they tie it all in to Santa and Christmas, but to me, it speaks to the truth of what Christmas is.  The themes resonate within me.  The need to learn new things in areas that we think we already know.  I realize often how much I discover in things that are familiar.  There is always a nuance that I have missed in things around me, be it a smell in the air or a color in the clouds or a deeper laugh coming from my hubby.  There are things to learn in our everyday world.

Friendship is an area that I love.  I have always been uncertain in friendship.  I tell myself it is because I am an introvert, but, truthfully, I am timid and so afraid I won’t be the friend that deserves a friend.  I try to make certain I cherish friendships and hold the people I call friends close.

Leadership is an area I respect.  I would love to be a leader.  I have tried that role occasionally, and sometimes I succeed, other times I have to remind myself that I can get people lost going to my bathroom.  I relate to the character of the girl who hesitates when someone asks, “Are you sure?” .   I know that character.

The theme that resonates through the movie is belief.  Hearing the bell ring clearly and beautifully is part of the belief.  I cry when he hears the bell ring.  I cry because it reminds me of when I told the Lord that I believe in Him.  It wasn’t that I didn’t before.  I did.  But, to make the firm statement, “I believe” is an act of will.  It is verbally saying it aloud and with conviction.  It is a recognition in my heart that my belief is real and true and strong.  It won’t waver, it won’t stop.

Like the character  says at the end of the movie, “Though I’ve grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”  So, it is with me, there is a chord in my heart that rings true and clear and through the years, it has not faded or grown dull.  It is my belief, my hope, my joy.  I think on it often during this season where we celebrate His birth.

Thanks for stopping by tonight, DAF