About Nana

About Nana

We met Karen in our old neighborhood and weren’t instant friends, but the kids were drawn to her and wouldn’t give up the pursuit. She let us love her, and loves us in return.

Karen quickly became the kind of friend whose door was always open, and the coffee pot was always on. She came to our house for noise and excitement. At her home,  Jelly Belly jelly beans and water were always present.  She is a woman who is retired from the army after 22 years. A little rough around the edges, but life has dealt her some harsh blows.  I think in many ways, we are all rough around the edges aren’t we?   I want to be a friend like her. One who always opens the door to her neighbors and their wild, full of life children. One who gardens in the heat of the day, to get rid of those awful weeds.   One who accepts a glass of lemonade on a hot Texas day, from grubby little toddler hands, and drinks every drop and is thankful. One who seeks to know what our favorite things are and pops in with surprise groceries, when we didn’t know how we were going to make it that month.  The friend who always listens, asks the right questions, and seeks to make sure we know how loved we are. She has been the break from reality, when Sammy was coaching 96 hours a week.  She comes for birthdays.  Truth be told, she has brought the birthday many times! The kids found chocolate chip cookie cakes with maraschino cherries, whipped cream , icing, sprinkles and whatever toppings they chose to be undeniably delicious!  I think she has made cookie cakes for the last 8 years!

She was there for the activities of the kids, a supporter of odd requests and purchaser of random last-minute birthday gifts that we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) purchase.  She has a son and daughter in law, but grandchildren haven’t arrived.  She has wall plaques, and picture frames that have Nana phrases. She has our hearts.  So, as she suffers from her third form of cancer in 3 years, we cry out to the Lord with sorrow and gratitude. With sorrow, because it hurts us to see her suffer.  With gratitude, that she has been led to the Maker of Heaven and Earth and we know eternity is in her heart. Selfishly, we want her forever here.  Not for her to be in suffering, but in selfishness we want her here, with us.  She became Nana.  You see, she is adopted into our family and as much of our family as any Grandmother or Grandfather would be. We wormed our way into her heart, and she planted the gift of love in ours.

So this is where the wish comes in. I wish we were all healthy at the same time so visits could be more frequent. Will you pray that we can be healthy to visit as often as possible?  According to the Dr, we have a month give or take.  A month of quiet kisses and I love you.  A month to take as many pictures as we can take. A month to get in as many cuddles as her pained body can bear. A month to share laughter and love over a meal. One last Christmas, birthday and Thanksgiving. One last…

Every day is a gift.  Every day matters.

I want to be like Nana. Full of love, patience and humor.  Generous to a fault.  Ready for adventure!

We love you Nana.

Keepin’ the fire burnin’

Our family has undergone a lot of change in the last year and half.  We adopted. Our car died along the road last Christmas and we had to purchase another vehicle. God gave us the money to pay it off.  We put our house on the market. (with false expectations on my part that it would sell in one week! It took less than 80) My husband was offered a job. Quit his job. Took a huge pay cut.  We sold our house. Packed our house. Moved our family across town to live with my parents for an undetermined amount of time. We put a bid on some property only to find out it had a well that belongs to someone else for 99 years and about 4 acres of the 10 has easements!

So, date night? Pffft!  We had one in June as we celebrated our 16 year anniversary. 🙂

That is good considering but you know it isn’t what it should be.

Sammy asked my mom to watch the girls and we had our first date the other night when we went out for one of our favorite foods! Indian! We had a wonderful time together and we talked about life in Africa where we lived and learned to cook and love Indian food. We talked about life now as we are walking an a path entirely dependent upon the Lord which is where we should always be!

Just like the fire in the picture, we need to keep the fire going with our friendships, our mates and especially God. Without Him we are nothing.

Relationships take time.

It took forever to get this fire going this morning!  Kindling, paper, more kindling! It didn’t just start right up. Building a good fire takes time and patience. (Not gasoline people!)

Take the time today to rekindle your old flame with your spouse. Make a phone call to someone who is on your heart. Cry out to the Maker of Heaven and Earth and ask Him to restart the flame in your heart.  Live in the warmth His love brings!  Stay warm my friends!

I thought of you today

I thought about you today as I went upon my busy way.

You are there and I am here I wish it were not far but near.

Your sorrow grief and tears do fly to her away now in the sky.

With Jesus and His Father too, which means she is not here with you.

An empty place a hole so large. It doesn’t seem like He’s in charge.

But on this earth you were blessed with her life. Losing her cuts like a carving knife. Taking a part of your heart with her, waking and sleeping you do concur.

Are more than many each day to bear. Why oh why it doesn’t seem fair.

The answers I wish were easy and true. This I do know He is with you.

On this broken path you walk. Now more jagged and painful you balk.

He has not forgotten your crew He is walking right there with you.

Her smile her face her life was a joy. And one day will be reunited OH BOY!

Your sweet lass, has found her way. I wish there was more that I could say.

Though I knew her not, your family has been a light burning hot.

My life because of you intertwined. I grieve with you, as you are refined.

In the fire that burns so deep. In His arms He will safely keep.

Your daughter dear has flown above. She is remembered each day with love.

My Shield

You there are times you just aren’t in the “in group”. It does hurt but you know what? I am in the “in group” because I am a child of the Lord. Life happens, friendships change, but one thing that does not change is God.

Hebrews 13:8 says,  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” No matter what, I will always be a child of God. I will be able to hold my head high.

Psalm 3:3 reads,  “But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.” I will be able to bloom wherever I am and God will take care of my heart.

Don’t let stuff that doesn’t really matter in eternity, make you sad here on earth 🙂 It just isn’t worth it. There is too much joy and fun out there to let a few events change the joy that God gives.

The tower.

My 3-year-old was building with some little tykes blocks and was very frustrated because they would not stand up and stay put where she placed them.  Frustration turned to anger until finally she just gave a huge “ARRRG” and started throwing them back in the box muttering unintelligible 3-year-old ramblings.  I tried helping her strengthen the base so they wouldn’t fall so quickly. I showed her some different ways to make it work.  She tore down each attempt of mine to do her own and she forcefully told me “NO! I will do it myself!” I allowed her to do just that. There were many attempts and toppled towers but in the end, she had to make a choice based on my help or her own. She finally came to lay it down on the floor and attach them all instead of trying to make them all stand up.

Aren’t we that way with God?  We hear our friends sharing their life wisdom with us, but do we really listen?  Do we listen as they share about their past mistakes? Do we try to learn from their mistakes so we don’t have to suffer unnecessarily?  Do we grab our lives back and say we won’t listen to their advice.

  God sends godly people into our lives to help us. God also speaks to us through His word.  He is trying to help us!  We can choose to follow God and build the sort of “tower” He wants us to or we can try, and fail in our own strength to build a tower that won’t stand up under any pressure.  Are you letting God build your tower?  Am I?  Yield your life to Him and He will create something beautiful in you and through you. Let God show you His wisdom and give Him back the blue prints of your tower.

Proverbs 24:3-6 (MSG)

 3-4 It takes wisdom to build a house, and understanding to set it on a firm foundation;
It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.

 5-6 It’s better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day.
Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel.

In Your way.

Friendship thought solid, masks pulled away, yet they apparently judged what they saw.

 Feelings are trampled, trust is broken, and how do we walk this jagged road?

 Not even goodbye not sure we were leaving, yet the emptiness still overwhelms my heart.

 Emotions billowing, sorrows they’re reeling. Why can’t I shake these feelings God?

 Anger, frustration tides rolling in what’s the source of my restlessness?

 Change has come Lord it’s hard to process. What is your plan for us now we ask?

 Knowing the answers will make it better right? Why did it happen this way dear God?

 Yes God we know it was not meant for us and all things work together for your good.

 Seeking, searching, following hard after you is what we are assiduously trying to do.

 Trying to be authentic trying to be strong, why does this feel so heartrending and wrong?

 Trying to rest in your promise Father. Your love over flows let me seize it today.

 My cup is before You, fill it dear Father. Help me to relax in Your will this day.

 My broken heart, I acquiesce to you now God, I’m your servant help me to march in Your way.

Be a servant

Be a Servant

Mark 9:33-35

By:  Tara Young

 “What were you discussing on the way?”

 Jesus to His disciples did say.

 Silence was the disciples’ reply,

Boy if it were me, I would want to lie.

 If you want to be first guys here’s what to do.

Put others above selfish old you.

 The first shall be last and the last shall be first

After me alone should you hunger and thirst.

 Be a servant this is true,

Put others first in all that you do.

Burnt cheese pizza.

I am so blessed to be able to be a stay-at-home mother and wife.  My husband works very hard providing all that we need. We are so fortunate to never go without.  On payday I purchased 3 frozen pizzas with a coupon and the kids were sooooooo excited!  We do get treats like that every now and then, but because it is not an every day thing, they look forward to them tremendously. 

 As I placed the cheese pizza in the oven, I remembered that one of the children needed help with school. Then the little one had a diaper change and the load of laundry needed to be switched. Yes, I am sure you know where I am heading with this. The cheese on pizza burned because I forgot to turn on the timer on.  I thought, “Man, I can’t believe this!” So I did what every creative mother does. I covered the burnt cheese with shredded cheese! 🙂  My eldest and my youngest ate the pizza with gusto, while the middle one spoke saying, “Mom this cheese tastes burnt.”  Well I told her that it was and she decided not to eat it. 

There were no leftovers but she was a little disappointed.  The moral to my story will come I promise. 🙂  Putting shredded cheese over the top of burnt pizza does not change the fact that the cheese underneath is still burnt.  I thought I could hide it and they could just eat it. Even though it didn’t taste too burnt, it was still burnt. 

What things am I hiding under the “Shredded Cheese”? What earthly things am I trying to use to cover the unattractive things on my outer appearance to protect me from being seen by others? Am I wearing a mask?  What am I trying to hide from God? God loves us with all our imperfections and flaws and He cares deeply about the pain under the surface. 

In 1 Samuel God wanted Samuel to choose a King for Israel. So obviously all people want someone who is good looking and tall. Handsome and intelligent.  I Samuel 16:7 (NIV) But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance,but the Lord looks at the heart.” http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+16%3A7&version=NIV. God had other plans. He wanted the shepherd boy. We are are all worthwhile!  Today in society, appearance is so flaunted and worshipped that those with any flaw feel worthless.  That is not so!  We are created in God’s image and He loves us no matter what we look like. We are beautiful in His eyes.  So today know one thing. You are fearfully and wonderfully created as Psalm 139:14 reads. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%20139:14&version=NIV.   We are to love Him fully and be devoted to Him, following His Word and doing the best that we can with His help! So don’t be afraid to let people see past the “burnt cheese”!

On this day.

On this day, a few bleary eyed mothers will receive a breakfast in bed her offspring prepared with loving, but unsteady hands.  A few mothers, now grandmothers will meet their tired children and exuberant grandchildren for lunch at a restaurant after waiting in long lines.  Then there are a few women who may be mourning that fact that they were never able to carry a child to term or even had the opportunity to try to have a baby. There may be a mother who gave her child up for adoption and is unable to hold her child any longer and her heart is breaking. There are so many opportunities today to show love. Not just to women who are obviously mothers, but to women in general.  In some ways we are all mothers because we care for people.  We have a neighbor who is not yet a grandmother, but my kids latched on to her like they have known her and loved her forever. She knows what each of them love to eat and drink, she remembers things that even I forget, and she always has her arms open wide for a hug from “Nana”.  Though she has no grandchildren, she has taken the time to love my children and be kind to them and to us. She selflessly shares her porch, her candy, her coffee (with me:)) her table, and her unselfish love.  Are there people in your life that you can touch today by calling, writing a note to or just hugging to say “Happy Mother’s Day”. “Thank you for loving me”?  If you see a woman today her head hanging down, wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Or simply smile and say, “I hope your day is blessed”.

In the midst of darkness.

Are you in the midst of darkness right now? Do you feel overwhelmed by hardships or trials? Are you walking in a dark forest trying to see the light?

I have a wonderful friend named Nicole who has an amusing way of making her own lyrics for songs when she does not know the words. It is quite funny!  In one of her recent “creations”, she was singing a song called “Go Light Your World” by Kathy Troccoli.  ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjUD21AJgBg)

 The lyrics of the chorus are: “Carry your candle, run to the darkness. Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn. Hold out your candle for all to see it. Take your candle, go light your world. Take your candle, go light your world.” Nicole’s version of course is classic in its own way. 🙂 “Carry your candle, run to the forest.” Then she caught her self realizing those weren’t the lyrics at all! In her humorous moment she called me to tell me because she knows laughter is great for our souls. To which I added my own corny lyric “Take your candle and go light your woods. Take your candle and go light your woods.”

Even though this is a silly story of two goofy ladies, the truth is present. God sees us in our darkest hours and cares about each trial. There is a verse in Romans chapter 8 verse 28 that says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A28&version=NIV

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Sometimes in the midst of our darkness we begin to see the light breaking out of the trees. God is always nearby. God has never left you behind. God will always love you! If you have run away from God into the “dark forest” of life, turn around and run back to Him. He is there with arms open wide ready to receive your precious life. Don’t give up! You are loved. Come out of the darkness into His light.

Today God, may we run to You for comfort, for love, for acceptance, and for security. You are where it’s at! We love you Lord. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen!