Grandfather Guru

It’s been 28 years since my grandfather passed away. This man meant the world to me. He was the grumpiest old man on the outside, but inside, you knew he was a big cozy teddy bear just waiting for his hug and kiss, so he could pretend he didn’t want it. He had such an impact on my life, and I can’t explain in words how much I loved this man.

I was very fortunate to live across the road from my grandparents growing up, and this man was my walking, talking play toy since I was born. He loved children, and I loved spending time with him. I remember when he passed thinking that I got robbed…how could I lose the love of my life in grade 9? But, that was my teenage brain feeling sorry for itself. I now cherish all the great memories of this man, and love reflecting on memories…he still makes me laugh!

I can still picture the scene in my head. It feels like yesterday, even though I was only in grade 9. It’s one of those childhood memories, you want to forget but just can’t. The phone rang, and my father rushed out of the house, explaining that he was going across the road to see his parents. Of course we wanted to go too, we jumped at every chance to spend time with our grandparents, but this time, there was no response from my father, and the door slammed in our faces.

We went down to the basement, where we watched my father sprint across the road. Although, dad pretended he was just running over for a quick visit, we could tell with the short responses, the slamming door and his hurried steps that something was wrong.
Of course, we tormented my mother with questions…What’s up? Why didn’t dad answer us? Why did he run across the road? She tried to answer us to the best of her ability without raising any flags, but children can read when their parents are hurting.
We could feel her voice vibrating with every answer as she tried to keep us calm. It was that familiar shake in her voice and we knew that it meant she was fighting back tears. My brother and I knew it was best to leave my mother alone, and so together we went down stairs to peer out the window to see if we could see anything through the light in my grandparents’ home in the dark of the night.

Then the nightmare began…sirens…loud screeching sirens of the ambulance. The workers rushed in with a stretcher being carried between the two of them…now we could see lots. Probably more than we should have, but the darkness of the night allowed the houselights to put the spotlight on the entire situation.

It’s an image I can never erase…his limp body being carried out on the stretcher and the sirens raring off into the darkness of the night…now, we wanted answers, but were too scared to know the truth.

Today, I saw an ambulance parked at a house and the two ambulance attendance, rushing in a house with the stretcher…instant tears. My son looked over at me, knowing that he was going to see pain in my eyes, and tears streaming down my face. It happens every time I see this scene. It triggers a memory I just can’t shake. Twenty eight years have went by, and the pain is still there. Even though, I know he is in a magnificent place in this universe.

John 11:25-26 assures me…“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

I totally do! So, why do I get so affected by the sight of this scene every time? I have no idea why…maybe it’s grief that I haven’t dealt with? Or is it self-pity? Could it be that I just miss my grandfather? Or maybe I feel the pain that the people in that situation are going through? I have no idea…I can’t explain the lump in my chest, but it happens every time.

Our mind is a powerful weapon, and we are what we believe we are. We have a huge power to change things. Sadly, we can’t bring people back, but our thoughts are the building blocks of our life. We can change the way we deal with the grief of losing someone in our lives. My mother-in-law lost her mother when she was very young, and says she still thinks about her mother every day.

The pain never goes away when we lose a loved one, but we have to realize that we are wired the way we process our difficulties like this. Who you are is in line with our thoughts, so let’s realign ourselves with God, and let him help fix these sorrows so that we have divine love in our lives, even when our loved ones are in heaven…waiting for us.

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Little Life Lessons

Have you ever coached a sport? Or taught children of any age anything? I love coaching and teaching! They are very rewarding and children are such blessings. I haven’t met one yet, that just didn’t aim to please!

I coach my 11 year old daughter in gymnastics, and we spend about 18 hours a week in the gym together, plus private lessons in our home, when she asks me to help her out with something she was picking away at in her bedroom or our living room. I love helping her out, but I have to admit, it is hard by times.

Why? You might ask.

Believe it or not…sometimes, she doesn’t like to listen to me. I give her corrections and more often than not, she does try to fix herself and make the corrections, but sometimes, she thinks she is right…or chooses to ignore me. I’m not a hundred percent sure which is the answer. I like to give her the benefit of the doubt, because I know that children love to please, but after telling her something multiple times, and she doesn’t fix it, I have to admit, I do get frustrated.

One time, we were at a competition and she performed a great beam routine…only to find out that her start value wasn’t out of a ten. When I asked the judges what they didn’t give her in her routine, they were quick to answer that she didn’t hold a certain skill long enough.

This news honestly tickled me deep inside! I was excited for her loss. Sounds cruel, but she has to learn to listen to corrections, whether from myself or someone else. I have told her that correction hundreds of times. I actually asked the judges to tell her this for me, explaining that I was her mother, and she had a tendency not to listen to me.

How many times, have I been guilty of the exact same thing? How many times did I not listened to my father in heaven? How many times have I sinned? Countless! We are all guilty of it, and just like my daughter, who had to learn from her mistakes, we have to learn from ours as well.

Just as I did with my daughter, God will do for us. Will we like it? Probably not, but we still should listen and learn. In Psalm 32:8 the Bible says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Whether we listen to that instruction is in our hands.

Since my daughter made this mistake, and the judges explained why she lost her marks, she now holds this skill more than a sufficient amount of time, but she never wants to lose for such a simple thing ever again. She learned her lesson for sure, and I couldn’t be happier.

God is also very happy when we learn the lessons that he is trying to teach us and when we pass his tests. The best thing is, with God, he hands out the most incredible rewards. Blessings that are beyond imaginable. We just have to learn to pass the tests and to learn the lessons and then we will be rewarded. I know myself, it is well worth the testing process, and punishment, if necessary. Are you going to choose the right answers to your test? Are you going to make the corrections necessary in your life? Trust me…it is worth listening to!

Jewelry Box

Have you ever heard of Regal Gifts? It is a catalogue order with many different cool gift ideas in it. When I was younger, I used to love Regal. I was from a remote country area, that was a 15 minute drive to the nearest town, and the town wasn’t that big either. Our choices of shopping were very, very limited!

One Christmas, I wanted a jewelry box from this catalogue, and it was on the top of my wish list for my grandmother. The question was will I get it?

My grandmother was amazing! She lived through the Great Depression and helped raise her brothers and sisters along with then having her own family. She was the Proverbs 31 Woman to the tea. Now, that I’m older and reflect back on her, and all that she did, she amazes me even more!

This lady knew how to “waste-not-want-not”! It was incredible the great lengths that she went through to make sure she was making the most out of what she was given. She would sit at night by a dim light and patiently take the string out of garments that she wasn’t wearing anymore, before they became rags…just in case she would ever need that color string again. She washed out her milk bags to reuse them. Buttons…this lady had millions of buttons. Hole in your sock…no fret…gram was on the mending detail, and voila, just like new…besides the big clumpy part that she mended that laid under the ball of your big toe…did she have any idea how uncomfortable this was?

Christmas slowly approached and I was just hoping and praying that she would splurge and purchase me this jewelry box. What was so special about it? It was the coolest thing on the market. When you opened the lid of the jewelry box, in the center was a mirrored square and you put the ballerina on the mirror, wind up the jewelry box and she would dance around on the mirror. Obviously magnet propelled, pulling her around on her point shoes. I just thought it was magnificent.

My grandmother was the best a keeping secrets and I was bursting with anticipation, pestering her every day, when I went for my daily jaunt across the road to visit her and have a homemade treat. Nobody could cook like my gram either…delicious is all I have to say!

Finally, the day came and I got to open the gift and before my eyes was the jewelry box that looked exactly like the picture in the Regal catalogue. I was so thrilled. I wound that box in amazement every day. Stared at the beautiful ballerina for hours on end. Eventually the novelty of her wore off and I would play with her about once a week when my mother made me dust my room. I would still be in awe of her marvel.

Months passed by, and summer came, no time for playing with this jewelry box now. I would still dust my room, but I was in a hurry to get back in our pool, so it was dust and run. Then I hit my university years, and I left my jewelry box behind in my bedroom in my homestead. I only got to see the box now every six months or so. After university, it was hit the real world, and I moved out of my parents home to live with my husband and start my own life with him.

This jewelry box adventure is very similar to that with my walk with God. When I was younger, I was in awe with him, loved to hear bible stories and learn about him. Then like when the summer hit, my teenage life, I would spend time with him when it was appropriate for me. My university years…geeze, I totally deserted him, just like the jewelry box. Then when I got married, I left God with my mom and dad, knowing that if I ever wanted that jewelry box it was there to go and retrieve. I’m just glad that I had my seed of life planted when I was younger by my grandmother and my mother!

In Mark 4:14-15, Jesus explains about his seed parable… “The farmer is like a person who plants God’s message in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the road.”
Sadly, I fell off the road. Thank goodness he isn’t as delicate like my jewelry box, and he forgave me when I came running back to his loving arms. Neglected for years, but now, he is using me in ways I never dreamed he would. I’m obsessed with him! Have you fallen on the road and your seed isn’t taking root? Trust me, let the wind blow you in the right direction and your life in God will take root, and then you will be blessed like you’ve never been blessed before!

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Splintered Spirit

Have you ever gotten a splinter? I grew up with an above ground pool with a wooden deck and had my share of these piercing little slivers of pain. The worst was when I was too wimpy to get a needle and pick the splinter out. It would get all infected, or sometimes it would blister, even work its way further into the skin and make it more painful. They were my nemesis growing up.

Eventually I would finally give in and take a needle and dig out the little piece of wood. It was always so painful. The worst was when my mother or father would try to help me get it out, or if it was in a place that I couldn’t reach easily myself. I prefer to inflict the pain myself with the needle than have someone else digging at my skin with this pointy little object.

It’s much similar to a relationship or friendship gone bad. We let little things get to us, and let them grind on our brains and eventually these splinters kill our spirit and our friendships, sometimes even marriages. We let our egos get in the way, and we can’t smother that smoldering anger that boils deep inside.

When you are ready to finally attack the splinter situation, sometimes, the splinter is so deep that it’s easier to ignore it than dig at it but it always plays in your mind. Sometimes you may have a gut feeling that you need to mend the fence but it’s been so long you just don’t know how? We all have people in our lives that we might owe an apology to, or maybe we’ve ignored the splinter that has been festering.

Colossions 3:13 explains, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” How can we expect to be forgive by the great one for our big sins if we can’t see the big picture and learn to forgive people who have sinned against us?

Did you ever have this nagging voice in your head telling you to apologize to someone, but you really don’t want to go there. You really didn’t even feel that this person deserves an apology, but for some reason it is haunting you? I know myself, it is an internal struggle some days, but when you hear that nagging voice trust me…listen! I had the craziest experience myself. I had a person in my life that was bring me such anxiety and problems, and finally I just told this person that I was done with them, and wouldn’t have anything to do with this person.

I still had to see this person on a weekly basis, and it was always that uncomfortable awkwardness that filled the air. In hopes for personal betterment and spiritual fulfillment, I decided that I had to listen to this voice, but I did take the cowardly way out…and email. I thought this way, I cover my basis, get my apology in, without facing the person. The email bounced back and couldn’t be delivered. I thought to myself, that the attempt was there and I tried. Little did I know, that wasn’t good enough for this voice.

A few days passed and I was at the same hotel as this person, and found myself alone in an elevator with them. The words just came pouring out of me. I explained that I email them, but it got bounced back and explained what I said in the email. The person calmly accepted my apology, and actually thanked me for it, but on the way out of the elevator, she did say, that she couldn’t forgive me.

As the doors closed, I was bouncing with excitement! My splinter was removed! My spirit was filled! The part of their forgiveness was now up to them…and the big guy! I earnestly obeyed the voice in my head, and the fulfillment was unbelievable. So unbelievable I had to share it!  With you, my blogging friends.

The bible promises rewards when we obey God’s word…the rewards are so great. Intrinsic rewards are always the best, and this feeling inside of me was worth celebrating! Please, trust and forgive and watch the magic happen, when the splinter is finally removed! It’s such a relief!

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Public Embarrassment

If you have children, I am sure that at one point or another you have enjoyed the act of embarrassing them in public…intentionally. I know the adults in this family do! Maybe we are cruel, but it does bring a few minutes of great entertainment, and then many laughs later when we reminisce about how silly we were, what their reactions were…but have you ever had the experience of unintentional public embarrassment? Have you ever felt the heart staking pain the first time that you find out that your child is embarrassed to be with you in public just for being you? Without an intentional plan to make their face turn red…Well, if you are a parent of a teen-ager, I am sure you have…if your children aren’t that old yet…Just. You. Wait…that first time it happens you will experience a piercing feeling in the chest that you will never forget.

My first experience of this wrenching feeling was with my 13 year old son… OH!…THE!!…PAIN!!!…Do I really want to relive one of the most horrible days of this parenting extravaganza I’ve been on by writing this event on paper?

It was a beautiful fall day, and the leaves were just changing to the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows that they do every year, but this is one beautiful fall day that is chiseled into my memory forever…it was a Friday night and I was driving my son to basketball practice. I was born in the 70s, and those people that were also born around this time frame knows what great music we listened to in the 80s! It was the best era of music of all time. Of course I was cranking the tunes from the 80s, bopping my head to the beat of the music, singing the familiar tune of Tiffany’s “I Think Were Alone Now”, with my sunroof open enjoying the crisp fall evening air, when all of a sudden, Tiffany was replaced with some rap guy’s poor English screeches…my son had popped the button on the XM radio to his favorite music station.

Oh my ears! This stuff is horrible! I turned down the volume and reminded him that when he starts paying the XM radio bill he is more than welcomed to run the radio, but for this month, I paid the bill so that gives me DJ rights! The sweet sound of Tiffany’s voice returned, along with my head bopping and seat dancing. This is when it all unfolded! “Mom, could you just wait to crank your stupid music after you drop me off? You are so embarrassing!”…Oh my heart!!!!

I did a double take and thought, this has to be just a bad dream…I looked over at him and he looked back at me with those big brown eyes, and I could see the embarrassment in them…it was no dream! I wasn’t trying to embarrass him this time, I was just in my happy place, and POP, that bubble was quickly burst!

I pulled up by the door to the gym to let him off and turned to get the, Thank-you-mom-I-love-you kiss and BAM! Nothing! Just another look of embarrassment as if to say, ‘are you freaking kidding me?’

As he got out and slammed the door, he slammed the door on my heart! Where did my sweet “Buzzy Bear” go? Is this what I get for 13 years of cleaning up his messes, sleepless nights being his nurse when he had whooping cough, playing taxi for his athletic career since he was five…really, is this my repayment? It was a very eye-opening moment in my parenting career!

As I drove home, heartbroken and fighting back the tears, it hit me…this must be the way that God feels, when we are embarrassed to talk about him in public. We snuggle with him in the darkness of our rooms as we say our good night prayers, but when it comes to our day-to-day life, we hide our love for him. We are all children of God, but as Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 10:33 “But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven”.

Should we hide our Christianity? Should we make our creator feel that horrible pain that I felt when my son was publicly embarrassed by me? If you have experience what I did that day, maybe you can connect. Hopefully, when my son grows up and becomes an adult I will no longer embarrass him…he might even appreciate the great tunes of the 80s and bop along with me! I am hoping that like my son, we all might finally grow up in our Christianity and realize how hurtful we have been to our savior and knowing our creator, he will forgive us, just like I forgave my son. That is what parents do!

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Pillow Talk

Have you ever made an impulse buy? You saw something that you were drawn to, and didn’t need it but something told you that you have to have it? You are going to think I’m crazy, but one day, in early spring of 2015, I bought a throw pillow that was $50…that’s how impulsive I am! Was it gold lined? No, it was a plain white pillow about 12”x15”. Yes! That small!

It was the design on the front that grabbed me. It was an infinity sign embroidered in sequence with the word ‘love’ as part of the infinity sign. For some crazy reason, I had to have this pillow. It didn’t match my bedroom, or any other room in my house. I had no real idea what I was going to do with this pillow but I had to have it.

The pillow sat in my bedroom closet for months. I’d see it in its “Bed Bath and Beyond” bag, and think, what should I do with this pillow? Then, I thought maybe I would re-do my bedroom. Give it a makeover and finally be able to use this pillow. But, the pillow is white with silver sequence…did I really want to go with this motif? I have two children…a white pillow has ‘disaster-waiting-to-happen’ written all over it! I have to be honest with myself and fair to my kids.

What are my other options? Can I take the little piece of fluff back months later? Will I ever hunt down the receipt? Then I got mad at myself. I could have bought myself a nice sweater for that price. Why would I waste money on this crazy, dwarf sized pillow? Why? Have I no self-control what-so-ever?

More months pass, and as they do, I stogged the pillow up on the top shelf of my closet organizer so that it is out of sight and out of mind. I was getting upset every time I saw the silly little thing. It was a constant reminder of my horrible shopping habits and the lack of self-discipline that I have. How could I be so impulsive? What am I ever going to do with this dumb pillow now?

In November of 2015, we decide to build a bedroom in the basement for my son, and when he moved into his new room, we had an empty room on the main floor of our house. Nothing very big, but I decided that I was going to make a prayer room out of it, and use his old closet as a big storage closet. I love to organize so I hit the department store for some more binge shopping…I’m thinking I might honestly have a problem! All joking aside, I buy many plastic drawer containers, big baskets and some sealable containers and hit my house in quest to de-clutter and organize the rest of my home.

To my surprise, guess what comes back to haunt me? Yes…this crazy pillow, that one day had talked me into buying it! This time it talked to me AGAIN! “Hello, Dumb-Dumb! Put me in the chair in your prayer room. What is more symbolic than an infinity sign with love written through it than God’s love for us?”

Oh! My! Goodness! You know what? This pillow is smarter than me! It obviously knew that I was going to make myself a prayer room and wanted it for its home. Sometimes, we do things and have no reason for doing it. From buying a pillow, to maybe accepting a new job, or going out on a date with someone you never imagined yourself with, only to end up marrying this person. The decisions we make all have a purpose. You might not understand at the first why it happened. Maybe you get mad at yourself and think it was such a wrong choice, only to discover, months, or years later what its purpose really was for. Just like my adorable pillow that I love in my prayer room! It had a purpose, I just had to be patient and wait for the making of my prayer room.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 explains it as clear as day, “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses” (GNT)…don’t beat yourself up about it, like I did with the pillow. Be patient and wait, and some day, you will understand. You might even realize that you don’t have a shopping problem at all…well…maybe I’m stretching it a little, but be patient and your pillow might end up talking to you too!

Pimple Finger

Have you ever burst a pussy pimple on your face or back? Did you ever see the pressure that is at the end of the pimple right before it pops open? I’m sure I’m not the only person who has witnessed this phenomenon. I had the exact same experience with my finger…thus the name, “Pimple Finger”.

Many years ago, when my children were toddlers, I had a women’s exercise class. I loved this class! I was in my element when I was there. It was an hour of my day that I could go and socialize with adults, woman of all ages, and my regulars all became very important people in my life…and still are!

One night, as I was setting up stations for the ladies, I dropped a 25 pound weight just on the tip of my ring finger on my dominant, right hand. It was like watching a pimple burst…Instantly blood was gushing out, and I could feel my heart beat at the tip of my finger. I have to admit, it was a tad more painful than the burst pimple on my face that I had previously experienced.

A crafty mother of two, quickly ran to my rescue, and dug an unused diaper out of her purse and wrapped it around my hand and it was a unanimous decision that I definitely should go to the ER and was probably in need of stitches.

With my “MacGuiver-ed” diaper bandage, I ran myself over to the local emergency room where it was determined that I definitely was going to be in need of a few stitches. Sweet! Just my luck. If you know me at all, I am an accident waiting to happen. This wasn’t my maiden voyage to the ER…nor to getting stitches, but I don’t think you ever grow to love the feeling of a needle piercing through your skin, while they drag thread through and pull your skin back together.

This incident happened over 8 years ago. Just twice in the last two weeks as I was grabbing my cup of tea, a terrifying heat surged through my finger. The end of this finger is much more sensitive than any of my other fingers. It is sensitive to many different situations; if I accidentally hit it on a hard surface, cold bothers it, and heat…well…youch! It is like the nerves are right at the end of my finger with no protection to the outside elements.

Which lead me to think…this “pimple finger” of mine is very similar to life. Things happen in our world that make us more sensitive to certain areas or issues that we face. It is all to do with our experiences, our history, and our journeys on this earth. Even though I have this one sensitive finger, does that mean I don’t use my hand? Absolutely not! I still have four other wonderful, amazing fingers that support and help that finger survive on my hand.

Just because pimples burst in our world, or sometimes the ends of fingers in my case, this doesn’t mean we don’t clean up the pimple and move forward. Yes! Sometimes it is difficult to push through these sensitivities, push through the pain…these little suckers throb for quite some time, often they leave scars too, which is a constant reminder of the pain. We have to realize that there are other means of support available to us. The biggest of those being our savior, Jesus Christ. If only we would make him our first means of first-aid. Maybe, we could have even prevented the pimple from forming. It is never too late to let the support of our savior into our lives, and he is always waiting for us with his loving arms wide open…we just have to seek him out, and he will be there waiting, to help us work through the pain, to help take the sting out of our pimples…our lives.

It might sound too good to be true, but years later, like my scarred, sensitive finger, things might come up that reminds you that one time in our lives something happened to hurt us deeply, but it is also a reminder of how he supported us to continue through our journey and make it all work out. As it is written in Matthew 7:7 “”Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock.””

Please, take the time to knock and see what great things await on the other side of YOUR burst pimple!

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