Happy Father’s Day 2014

Dad army photoHappy Father's Dayimg098dad smiling

Happy Father’s Day 2014!

As a writing teacher, I teach my students that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. I also teach that we can learn from all of our stories, so we should save them all- but we can always write new stories or change the ending if we don’t like how one of our stories has turned out.

My dad didn’t have a good childhood; as a child during the war in France, he saw things that no child should have to see.  He was sent away to boarding school when he was twelve, and his parents divorced during a time when it was considered scandalous, but my dad persevered and got an excellent education.

My dad began a new story when he came to the United States at the age of 19. After his mother remarried, my dad followed in his stepfather’s footsteps, serving in the U.S. Army.  The Frenchman who came to America and drove a U.S. Army tank before he drove a car of his own went on to become an American citizen, a family man, a loving dad and grandfather, and a success by the world’s standards. And while I wish the end of his story hadn’t come so soon, I am so grateful for the time we did have. I choose to remember the happy times, many of which were in the middle of the story, rather than the end- which came too soon.

Today I pray for all the fathers and grandfathers out there.  We never know when the end will come, so all we can do is make the middle of our story the best it can be.  And whenever necessary, begin again. God bless.

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25 Years… and a day.

His AMAZING Love

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 25 years since I lost my mom.  I hardly feel old enough to have been without her for so long; I’m only 43 years old, and it seems like 17 was a whole other lifetime ago.  Actually, it was, because when I turned 34, I reached the age at which I had lived as long WITHOUT her as I had lived WITH her.  God willing, in a little over 5 years I’ll reach 49, the age when she died.  From that point, on I’ll always be older than my mom ever got to be.

I guess I’ll always measure my life in terms of before- and after- I lost my mom.  I miss her every day, and time hasn’t done anything to take away the sting of losing her because each new milestone for me is a milestone I can’t share with her.  She’s missed telling us about motherhood and holding her grandchildren, she’s missed proms and graduations, she’s missed joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats.

She’s missed watching us grow up, and we’ve missed having adult relationships with her, the kind where all the pieces fall into place and you finally get to thank her for all the times she encouraged you, or prevented you from doing something you’d later regret.  The times where you tell her how RIGHT she was about this, or how WRONG she was about that, the times where you laugh until you cry, or you cry until there are no more tears left.

There have been many times over the years when I’ve thought about what she would say or do in a certain situation, and her wisdom has continued to guide me.  I’ve marveled at how I’ve continued figuring her out, and how she’s still influenced me after all these years.  And I’ve been amazed at how getting older and walking through some of the things she walked through has given me the perspective to understand her life and come to terms with losing her so suddenly.

And while I know it may never get any easier to bear than it is right now, because nothing will bring her back, at least I feel like it has already been as bad as it’s ever going to be.  While this pain will never go away because I will never stop missing her, I take tremendous comfort in knowing she has gone to be with the Lord, and she’s safe in His arms.  And while I’m here and she’s there, that’s one comforting thing we’ll always have in common.  God bless.

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Prayers for Peace in 2013

 

This has been a difficult holiday season for many, including myself.  When I last saw my beloved grandmother Meme, who celebrated her 99th birthday this year, we talked quite a lot about life, family, and Heaven.  We shed tears together as she told me that she had had a good life, but having already lost her husband, her only son, and so many friends, she was ready to move on.  It was hard to hear but she had peace about it, and she often said the waiting was the hardest part.  This year, Meme got her Christmas wish a little bit early, and she was laid to rest in Pennsylvania with my grandfather, the final chapter in a love story that started during WWII in France.

Just a few days after losing my grandmother, I was shocked to hear about the unthinkable tragedy in Newtown, CT, when countless lives were touched directly and indirectly in a senseless act of unspeakable violence.  As a mother, a teacher, and a child of God, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary will haunt me forever.  Ever since hearing about this tragedy, I have been praying for the victims, their family and loved ones, the survivors, the first responders, the community, and the world whose heart breaks for everyone affected by this tragedy.

I know that God hears our prayers, even our most anguished prayers, even when we don’t know what to pray for and even when we can’t even form words.  There are no words for what happened, and as my heart has broken for everyone affected by this tragedy, as I’ve cried for them and offered my own anguished, wordless prayers, I know that He has cried right along with us.  And we will keep on praying.  God bless.

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Thanksgiving Prayer

This Thanksgiving, as the Northeast still reels from Hurricane Sandy, as friends face difficult diagnoses, as families break apart, and as I face my own struggles, I am especially thankful to live so close to God after being away from Him for a long time.  I offer this prayer with humble thanks to all my friends and family for being there when I needed you most.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!  God bless.

 

 

 

 

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Happy Father’s Day: Precious Memories

This picture must have been taken sometime in late 1973 or early 1974, because my little sister was REALLY little… I can still remember marveling that she could grip my hand so tightly with such tiny little fingers.

Memories are so precious, even more precious than photos because of our memories’ endless storage capacity and the ability to store the little details that make all the difference.  When I close my eyes I can still picture the cabin we vacationed in every summer.  When I remember the creaky front screen door, and the long splintery wooden table we sat at for dinner, I can go back to that place where there were no phones, no appointments, no agendas.  We had mom and dad’s undivided attention, and it was on these trips that we really got to spend quality time together.  Dad taught us how to fish in the stream, jump from rock to rock to reach the other side, and toast a marshmallow after having found the perfect toasting stick…

And how awesome that the two little girls pictured above can now make memories with our own kids, in little cabins of our own.  Thanks, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.  God bless. 🙂

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Thank You, Veterans! Happy Memorial Day

This Memorial Day I pray that our Veterans, our Servicemen and Servicewomen, and their families know how much we truly appreciate their service and sacrifice.  As I re-read the full lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner, and remember that the lyrics come from a poem that was inspired by war, I am grateful to the strong men and women who have fought to preserve our freedom. And I pray that God will wrap his arms around those who are away from their loved ones, or in harm’s way for our sake, so that we may all sleep well at night.  God has blessed America, with you!

 

The Star Spangled Banner Lyrics
By Francis Scott Key 1814

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

 

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Smiling Through the Tears: Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was a wonderful day for me because I was with my two beautiful daughters, but it is always bittersweet because my mom wasn’t here to share it with us.  It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 25 years since I’ve been able to wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day.  I still miss her as much as ever, and while I know my mom is smiling down on us all from Heaven, I wish she could have been able to meet her two beautiful granddaughters and her grandson, and that she could have shared that experience with HER mom.

I was devastated when I lost my mom when I was 17.  I always told myself it would be easier if only I’d had more time to say goodbye.  But it was no easier when my dad died five years ago after a long battle with cancer.  I was 37 years old, and for the first time in my life I felt truly alone, feelings which were intensified because I had just gone through my divorce with no family nearby.  In addition to grieving for my dad, I felt a very real shock having lost both of my parents.  A friend who was consoling me pointed out that I was so young to have lost both parents, and she referred to me as an orphan, which really made me think…  if I felt that lost and alone at 37, I could only imagine how orphaned children must feel!

Immediately after having that thought, I felt some of my mom’s and my grandmother’s imparted wisdom and God’s comforting presence kick in, reminding me that while I might feel like an orphan without my parents, as a Child of God, I’m never alone.  I prayed that my fellow orphans would be comforted by knowing that even if their earthly parents aren’t with them, their Heavenly Father will always be there for them.

This Mother’s Day, I pray for orphans, for those who have lost loved ones, and especially for those who have lost children, because holidays are especially tough for those who are struggling with loss.  And I know my mom was smiling through the tears, because even though she only had a short time here on earth, she still managed to give me enough of her wisdom to allow me to seek God for myself.  And I bet that she and Nana had a beautiful view of the festivities.  Thanks, Mom and Nana.  Happy Mother’s Day.  XOXO

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Hope For Joran Bowling Fundraiser a Success!

It was so wonderful to see Joran and her family surrounded by friends at AMF Boynton Beach Lanes on Sunday!  I know God has a special place in his heart for caregiving parents, here’s wishing Joran and her family a very happy Mother’s Day weekend!

 

 

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Hope For Joran Bowling Fundraiser

A miracle is happening right here in Boynton Beach.  Joran is making amazing strides in her recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury.  She has come a long way, and she still has a long way to go…  Please come out and support Joran and her amazing family next Sunday at AMF Boynton Beach Lanes!!  Read her inspiring story at www.HopeForJoran.org

We will be selling tickets and accepting donations this Sunday at Faith United Methodist Church, after the first and second services.
** SPONSORS WELCOME**
**STILL ACCEPTING DONATIONS OF GIFT BASKETS AND RAFFLE ITEMS**

Thank you and God bless.

 

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Relinquishing the Fantasy

Relinquish the Fantasy of an Uncluttered World

Today’s Jesus Calling devotion advises us to learn to ” live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle, so that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.”

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Prayer Journal entry:

I am worse than most when it comes to clutter.

My clutter is extensive:  I have always had more than my share of physical clutter and I also have a ton  of mental and emotional clutter.  How liberating to know I am not alone!!!!!

I often feel overwhelmed by mail, papers, laundry and kids toys. Yes I am a mom but I can’t blame the girls. I come from a long line of pack rats.
I used to think it ran in the family and that It skips a generation, and skips two  occasionally.  My grandmother recycled every piece of gift wrap or  tissue paper and every bag or box she received. But I am like my mom in that while  it skipped a generation in her work life, home is more than fair game.

I realize now that it’s a sign that I am in touch with the reality of this world.  It’s  God’s way of showing me the need to slow down, breathe, relax, tell Him my troubles, and wait for His answers which will come, but in His time. He wants us to live in today, cluttered as it is,…  So clearing up yesterday’s clutter helps me have discipline to avoid creating more clutter. And with my degree of clutter it will take some time to dig out, so I thank God for the clutter because it’s such a great thorn in the side, i.e., motivator. How’s that for Him using my weaknesses to prosper me?

As I turn to the task of clearing ALL of my clutter, all I can do is Praise God. And take it one day at a time. 🙂

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