Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Kids, Good Medicine!

I'm hanging out with a 10 year old G-I-R-L for a few days. This is more fun than a person ought to be allowed to have! My little companion is best described as enthusiastic. We went to the zoo on Tuesday and every single animal was either adorable, awesome, hilarious, or soooooooooo cute. According to her it was the best zoo ever. The animals were amazing and you could get closer to them than any other zoo -- at least any zoo she's been to. Her favorite animals were the polar bears, the otters, the minature horse, the donkeys, the cheetah, leopard, jaguar, gorilla, orangutans, black swans, giraffes, rhinos... You getting this? Every animal was on her favorite list except -- the cockroaches. Nope, she didn't like the cockroaches one little bit.

Then on Wednesday we went to the Tractor Store. Why? Because they have an unbelievable assortment of model horses there. A child could spend hours deciding which two she will take home. Sorting the options, narrowing the choices -- when we got down to four horses I was so attached to the little plastic statues that I said, "Let's get all four!" (I had to buy a new mailbox. And since the Tractor Store had just the mailbox I wanted, $12 less than the last one I bought, I figured I owed the kid a finders fee. Right?) Yes indeed, it was exhilarating. And my little friend and I were equally exhausted and famished. We absolutely had to go out to eat before heading home. Over lunch we reveled in our good purchases and made our plan for the rest of the day. We planned out a full day!

She's off to bed too tired to be homesick (which was my plan all along). And for good measure, our dog Phoebe is keeping her company right up on the big bed with her. It worked last night, and I'll go to sleep praying it works again tonight.

We've got a play date lined up for tomorrow. I'll have two ten year old girls to play with. I can hardly wait! Now off to bed, I've got a busy day ahead.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Life is Hard, but...

A song refrain goes..."Life is hard, but God is good." Therein lies my confidence while I wade through deep waters. I'm relying on my repertoire of tunes, thoughts, Bible verses, and prayers to sustain me day by day. And except for the Lord, I can not endure.

Our pastor mentioned during a Bible study session that people often misquote a Bible verse (I Cor. 10:13) saying God will never give you more than you can bear. False. That verse is refering to temptation -- "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with temptation will provide the way of escape." As for trials and hardships in life...oh yeah, God allows those. Right now life is throwing more at me than I can bear, and God isn't stopping it. It's not because He likes watching me squirm and cry, but He wants to help me grow up and rely on Him. (You know the fate of the butterfly who is helped out of his cocoon with a few little snips. That act of kindess is the creature's demise. Caterpillars need to struggle out or they're done for. That's just the way it is.) Likewise, I'm struggling. And when my abilities and capabilities fail and my strength is gone, God's strength is perfectly sufficient.

He is my all in all, my refuge and safe place. He is my shelter from storm, stronghold in times of trouble, everpresent help. He is compassionate and He lavishes love and grace on me. How could I not fall in love and stay in love with the Lord God Almighty? He is strong enough to lift me up and take me through deep water.

So, I will endure this growing season, this ordeal, by drawing close to God and letting Him carry me. Turns out I'm not trapped in this trial. I can run and throw myself into the arms of my heavenly father. He'll catch me. He'll care for me. He'll get me through.

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Birthdays!

Last month I celebrated two of my boys by blogging about them on their birthdays. This month is a huge birthday month -- our second son, his wife, my sister, our nephew, a third or fourth cousin from Scotland, who happens to share this birthday with the little girl I watch a couple of days a week...Happy Two to Charlotte in Scotland and Audrey right here in the U.S. of A. Here's a pic of the latter. It was a happy birthday for her (and a fun day for me) with lots of playing outdoors f-winging and f-widing.

But it's a bittersweet day too. My brother Rob would have been 45 today. It's a day of remembering his zest for life. We have so many happy memories to focus on, but they bring a sadness. He is sorely missed by all of his family and friends. He enriched our lives in his living as well as in his passing. I miss him.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Need Some Good News?

I read good news today over at Toddler Planet. Click and go read for yourself -- oh heck, in case you're not the clicking around type, here, I'll copy and paste the most important part.

Guess what, everybody? I heard the magic words when I went for my 3 month followup at the oncologist’s office today:

No Evidence of Disease.

There it is in "Whymommy's" own words! But you go on ahead and click my sidebar Toddler Planet to get to know this astounding woman better. She journals her battle with Inflamatory Breast Cancer to inform all people and encourage fellow victims of this horrible disease. All this while being a good mommy to two little boys. She's blessed with family and a huge blog-o-sphere of friends who cheer her on even as she does the same for them. In sharing her experiences and her emotions she bares her soul. Her courage, her stamina, her heart and soul are absolutely remarkable.

If you are a praying person, please lift Susan up asking that these will be the words she'll hear year after year -- No Evidence of Disease.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Too Young to be Fifty

My mom and dad are home scratching their heads. How in the world could they have five children in the AARP age range? Joan just joined the fifty something club. Congrats, Joan and welcome aboard.

If you think her husband looks like he's not yet fifty it's because he isn't. But man, he did a great job of making Joan's birthday special. He (and the kids) got her a Macbook. Does she look happy?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Baby on Board

My friend Deenie and I made a trip to the East Coast to babysit her very adorable one year old grandson. The two of us have been toting the little guy back and forth to the beach to stroll the boardwalk -- twice a day. We had unseasonable 70 degree weather on Thursday. We were among people walking, talking, smiling, enjoying the beautiful sunshine, watching the waves rolling and crashing, watching surfers out there in full body suits. Those suits must do some kind of a job. I mean, really, it's not that warm!

So we're strolling the baby in his BOB stroller and wondering what BOB means. I decided that it's baby on board. So we had a baby on board on the boardwalk, and it couldn't have been more fun.

The salt spray carried on the warmish wind blew away all the troubles of the world. At once refreshing, renewing, regenerating.

Now, excuse me, I've got to get back to babysitting. Turns out it takes two adults to watch one busy little baby when you're over fifty! Is that why God made the child bearing years to be those ones that come early on in life?

Monday, April 7, 2008

No April Fool

Last Tuesday was April Fool's Day. I didn't pull any pranks on anyone. No one pulled any pranks on me. It kind of made me sad when I realized that at the end of the day. I hate to think we're not fun people, me and Tom rattling around in this big old house with no kids left in it. I can get all melancholy about that, but then again, Tom and I have this big old house to rattle around in and we don't have to share it with any kids. How fun is that? Okay, I'm over it.

Spring seems to be here in earnest. Shhhh, don't say that too loud, we don't want to scare it away. We've waited too long. Lilac bushes are budding up. Crocuses(croci?) are bright and beautiful, perfect little purple and yellow bunches of them. The daffodils are getting ready to burst open, and my red and yellow tulips will show themselves just as the daffodil heads droop. With spring coming so late we've had time to rake off all the flower beds. Not so last year -- see, last year's daffodils had to elbow their way through old dead leaves.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I never was good at writing book reports, so I won't even try. But here's a recommendation. This book, Ten Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini is worth the read. It's not for the faint of heart. It's pretty intense, but in my opinion, not as disturbing as The Kite Runner -- which was also excellent. I have to wonder though, was this second book by the same author less disturbing to me because the first book desensitized me. I don't know. But the history, the insights into people's thoughts and religious beliefs, stretched my thinking emotionally, spiritually and academically. The story centers around Muslims living in Afghanistan during the war torn 1970's, 80's, 90's...up until a few years ago. It describes the plight of women, exposing the harsh realities common to sexist cultures.

As with all "religious" people, some admirably live out a relationship with their God, who sustains them in time of need and is with them in joy and sorrow. But then there are the religious egotists who abuse the faith through heavy handed, cruel, unjust leadership or by blatant hypocrisy. Those are the ones who leave a bad taste in the mouth of would-be believers all over the world. Too bad. To focus on those who abuse in the name of God (hypocrites one and all) is to credit the father of lies. It's a crying shame because for some it leads to an eternity separated from God. We only get this one lifetime to build a relationship with our creator. Don't let the nay-sayers, hypocrites, nor godless ones keep you from knowing God Almighty. He could be the best friend you ever had. If you want.