Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I just couldn't help thinking about you this weekend Mom while we got together as a family. Everyone couldn't make it but for the ones who could, we had a blast. I know it has been two years since you went to heaven but we still remember you often and the impact you made on each of us. So...I want to give you a little report on how we are doing.

Our family is growing steadily now. There are lots of new little ones to enjoy and I have been busy making them each a quilt. I know that if you were here, you would be right in the middle of the action with that mischievous twinkle you always had in your eye. Always plotting, always planning and always enjoying life in the moment.

We are continuing to teach each other about Jesus and how He loves us, protects us and provides for us daily. We know how important prayer has been to this family over the years so now we want to show the little ones how to start their prayer life too.

We all piled in cars and went to the zoo Saturday morning. What fun we had showing your great-grand children nature and the life around them. David and Landon enjoyed feeding all kinds of animals. Landon was disappointed that he was not quite tall enough to ride the pony but we told him he was growing all the time and maybe next time he would pass the height chart.


David and Landon sure have grown since you left. They are both becoming fine young men.

                                                                                             Jeff and his son are so much alike. It was great to see that he is such a hands-on Dad.
Phil spent a lot of time with Sophia. He walked around in circles pushing the stroller so Sophia could be entertained too. You would be proud of his grandfathering skills. 

After the temperature rose by noon, the zoo was not that much fun. Phil mentioned his pool and we all jumped at the idea.  

Summer and her family were able to come over by then so there were even more kids and fun. Lots of squirting each other, jumping off the diving board, and sharing our about lives. We are definitely more kid centered now.

Look how Brandon has grown. He has a good heart and a sweet smile.

Later, we grilled out hamburgers and hotdogs. You know how our family loves to eat. And as always...there was more then enough to go around. We don't have so many sweets around any more because we don't need those tempting calories or children being fueled for hyperactivity.

... and Mom...There was a man cooking in the kitchen! We know how you didn't allow men in the kitchen because you thought that was women's work...but mom....Jeff offered and we accepted. It was great!

So Mom...We just wanted you to know that we are doing fine. We are still together and growing strong all the time. We miss you, we love you, and we are still remembering you in a big way. Thanks for all the fun and memories you blessed us with.

Love Always,

Your Family

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Now Hiring For The Position Of Dad

This is a piece I wrote a few years back. It is longer then normal. However, I hope is that you will find some helpful wisdom for your situation today.

Men who have the desire to apply for the position of Dad need tenacity and dedication. The most qualified and successful are those capable of developing a wise teachable heart. When interviewed, a prospective candidate must be willing to discuss what their vision and long range plans. Some of the regular responsibilities will include teaching and being an example at every given moment as well as providing protection and financial security for whatever circumstance may be presented. In return, the family, wife included, will graciously consent to do any on the job training without the prospective reviewing of our company’s official instruction manual. This pert, for most applicants, seems to be the final incentive to finish the application process. When the fully qualified Dad is placed, it will be advantageous for his to begin by soliciting help and support from his new family. The following is my side of the story about the Dad who was placed in our family.

In the beginning, when our new Dad arrived with the baby, everything was fine. I settled in to becoming the typical wife and mother that my friends and family had instructed me to be. You may recognize the drill. Whenever the Dad made what I considered a questionable decision about anything, I immediately went to the sulky but subtle begging routine. Afterwards, when increased whining became ineffective, I continue on with a full-blown nagging mode. After all, it was the Dad that was being too hardheaded to see that I knew the best way to do most everything.  At first, the Dad wanted to make a good impression so he was cordial but that gracious resolve quickly withered. I had a hard time understanding the necessity for the Dad having this new and growing negative demeanor. After all, I was doing the same thing I had always done. Nevertheless, my Dad on longer wanted to cooperate with my continual lack of trust in his abilities to handle his job.

After many cold-hearted but heated consultations, I decided this Dad was ill-suited for our particular family and went to file for a replacement at the local office. The branch manager reassured me the Dad and I could eventually work out the kinks through cooperation and communication. Ultimately, the manager would not take no for an answer and suggest I contact their corporate office for any further advice. Feeling defeated, I went home and wrote the most righteously profound sounding letter to the corporate office that I could construct. After I mailed it, a sense of renewed strength and hope sprang forth. I just knew my problems with this obviously delinquent Dad would be solved.

Within days, I received their reply. I excitedly tried to discern their letter until it plainly accused me of being a major part of the problem. Hence, I felt justified in disregarding the rest of that despicable letter. What?! Me the problem?! There must be some mistake! Growing more indignant, I contacted the corporate headquarters personally and informed them of the horrible mix up. No mix-ups here was their gracious but confident reply. When my frantic plea for an easier way was voiced, they reassured me of their extensive experience in dealing with situations just like mine. In the end, the recommendations remained the same. Go back to their original letter, study it, and practice what I learned from its contents. At the first natural conclusion, I didn’t hear a “click” but I sure thought I felt one.

Now, in desperation, I resigned myself to reading the entire corporate letter and studying its contents. Eventually, I naturally demonstrated the suggestion of respecting the Dad position and the authority, which had been given to him by the corporate office when he was first assigned. To my surprise, the whole family began to experience greater productivity. I realized the Dad needed to be the CEO of our family operation while I needed to develop my position as the heart. The attitudes of the heart were a vital determiner of the family’s overall success as well as the possibilities for future expansions.

I soon discovered valuable productive secrets. Remember the overlooked official instruction manual? The secrets in that book started to unfold when I read and studied the section called I Peter 3:1-2. I learned in dealing with a Dad, I needed one of the Biblical zippers designed and promoted by the corporate office. After mine was installed and began functioning properly, I became amazed at how it helped my mind to reorganize and dispose of any questionable hidden motives or agendas, any unclean thoughts in the storage areas, and finally any unnecessary or hurtful words I used for emphasizing in our family meetings. As my strategy continued to change, the positive creativity for genuinely wise solutions in our unique situation increased steadily. And yes, if you have to know, I do admit to some manipulation of my Biblical zipper on occasion but I always got the same downward-spiraling as a result. The normally sooth running zipper stuck forcing me to go back to square one and begin again.

Along with the fully functional zipper, I also concentrated on how to deal with the Dad’s questionable decisions. Before, when a questionable choice was made, I would lose sight of the overall family’s goal of unity. I became impatient and discouraged with the progress the family was making. I thought myself wise when I would decide to handle situations on my own without consulting the corporate office first. Now, I have realized those at the corporate office have plenty of time and patience to handle any thing I send their way for discussion and approval. My family no longer has to plummet into needless disasters and costly delays.

In essences, what did I learn through my own experience with a Dad? First and foremost, I can never be the Dad’s Holy Spirit. My position as a wife was never designed for that kind of stress. My ability to change others brings only temporal results at best while God’s changes are eternal. Next, when I insisted on my wisdom, I ran the risk of dissolving my family permanently. When I had a problem or question about God’s plan or procedures, I learned to honestly communicate and cooperate with God to know how, when, and where to communicate with the Dad. Next, I learned that a commitment to prayer and study of the scriptures were never optional. Searching for wisdom and learning humility were just a part of the process. If there was an easier way, I assure you, I would have found it. However, the good news for those who remain faithful to the search, find solutions to the problems they face in dealing with the position of Dad.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Simple Smile

Lay witness weekend traveling with my two clowning friends was an adventure. Over the course of a three-day weekend, Dottie and Jewels, their clown names, cheered the hearts of children and adults alike. They told silly jokes, preformed silly skits, and shared the love of Jesus to all they came in contact with.

When it was time to go home Sunday afternoon, Dottie and Jewels continued to wear their makeup. They enjoyed seeing what kind of reaction people had along the way. As travelers noticed Dottie and Jewels driving down the rode, it was amazing to see how goofy people could react. All three of us had some great laughs.

After traveling awhile, we decided to stop at a convenient rest area to stretch our legs. Dottie and Jewels walked around and talked to people as if their appearance was normal. The reaction of others was far from normal.  When people spotted my friends, huge smiles began to sweep over their faces. A spirit of pleasure and joy seemed to fill the atmosphere.  Some walked up and told jokes; others want to ask why my friends were dressed up that way and several wanted their pictures made with a clown. Then, a few others just gave a shy little waved from a distance. In all of this, my friends continued to witness about the love of Christ.

Later, I began to ponder…how could I uplift others like Dottie and Jewels in my everyday life? There has got to be other simple ways of brightening another person’s day besides wearing clown garb. Then it dawned on me. I could put on a simple caring smile.  Smiling takes no makeup preparation and certainly no talent but the effects of a smile can change someone’s day completely.  A smile can put others at ease, bring freedom, and build confidence. For a moment in time, other person may be able to forget the problems they are facing and focus on a pleasure in the present.
Try it and see. Walk around one of your local shopping areas with a sincere smile and make momentary direct eye contact with someone. See if you don’t get a smile back. Sometimes you might even get a chance to witness openly to someone because they want to know why you have that smile on your face. A “God Moment” may ensue and a chance to make a difference by glorifying Him.

Whatever we do to witness to the world about our Savior will take effort, courage and some time to carry out. We do not have to have extravagant tools or tons of education. God has gifted each of us with simple abilities to accomplish His redemptive purposes. Remember…sometimes, witnessing can even be as ease as forming a simple caring smile to show our inward hope in Christ.