Friday, December 2, 2011

Favorite Christmas Memory

One of the blogs in my google reader account showed us some wonderful toys from the Land of Nod (see They are giving away a $75 gift card which I would love to use for toys for our grandsons. To win, we have to leave a comment about a favorite childhood gift. Got me thinking:
Ummm, the very best childhood gift? I really can’t think of one in particular. What I do remember vividly is that my Mother always left one gift for each of us unwrapped under the Christmas tree. When we came down the stairs in the morning there was no hesitation over whose gift was whose. Even if we hadn’t specifically asked for what what there, each of us four kids KNEW the gift intended for us. Kind of like God’s gifts…each one chosen especially for us…because he KNOWS us.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

36 years ago...

I was eagerly waiting the arrival of our first child...and yes, with some fear and trepidation...mostly fear of the unknown. I was so excited that I would finally be a mother even though I was only 19 years old. My life's dream was to marry and have childen and that dream was soon to be realized.
Since I was all of three days overdue, Don and I went for a long walk...nothing happened. I then scrubbed the kitchen floor on my hand and knees (old wive's tale?) and started cramping. I had no idea I was in labor because all the more experienced women I had talked with breezily said, "oh, you will KNOW when you are in labor." HA! I thought that I was constipated so ended up eating several prunes over the next few hours. By the next morning, I still didn't know what was happening so told Don to go on to class because there was no consistency to the cramps. An experienced mother came over to stay with me and advised me to call the hospital. The nurse there told me that I probably was in early labor but should come in to be checked out. All of the married men knew why Don was being called out of class so that is a fun memory. When we arrived at the hospital (a half hour away) and I was checked, the doctor said I probably wouldn't deliver until early afternoon. It was about 9 am by then. Since I was dilated 5 cm. but my contractions weren't regular, the doctor ordered pitocin...a small sublingual pill! Well, that did it! My beautiful pink baby girl arrived at 10:16 am! I had become a mother and my dreams had come true! As I write this, Don is sitting here going through the 1975/76 photo album looking at those first pictures of our sweet girl. If they were digital, I would post the one of her and her daddy when he brought flowers to her when she was just 6 months old. I wonder if Sarah remembers the jumping kangaroo that she received her first Christmas. Dad just shared his memory with details I had not heard before.
We love you Sarah Elizabeth White!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eeyore or Pooh

This blog entry from (in)courage spurred this remembrance: For 19 years, we lived in a transient community near Baptist Bible College in NE, PA. I hated it. I would make good friends getting closer and closer during their time at the college (through our local church) and then they would be ministry, back home, wherever God wanted them to go. Then one fall seven years later, I found myself remarking to another woman in the church, "I wonder who God is going to bring to us this year." Know how your own words can shock you when you hear them coming from your mouth? Where had the change come from? From hating the separations and feeling that God was taking from me, to eagerly looking to see who He would bring next. Ah....God had done a sweet silent work in my heart. What a special blessing when the God of the Universe touches us. Perspective is so important.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Loneliness (part 1)

From my journal today...I googled "lonely" and "loneliness" and was surprised to find so much discussion:blogs, books, even studies.I keep trying to identify this feeling. I want it to go away. It's uncomfortable. I feel empty. I thought it was anxiety--this feeling of tears behind my eyeballs for no apparent reason, this search for peace and rest. I've been told that emotions are trecherous advisors and since I have a history of being an emotional thinker (moody), I am quick to think that the emotion itself is wrong. I think I'm just lonely. I walk into church (a normal social place for me) and say hi and struggle with small talk but what I am really looking for is connnection. I search people's faces hoping for a glimpse of...what? "I see you, you are of value to me, I have room for you in my life." I have potential friend radar up but yet I am very afraid of being too needy and I am terribly afraid of rejection (or perceived rejection). Somehow I view this as a problem--something is WRONG with me, if only I was plugged into God correctly, I would be full. I hear "God is enough" and I desperately want Him to be. But then I know also that He made us to be relational.
So, would you dialogue with me about this? I'm sure now that I am not the only one who feels this way. Just writing this makes me feel better (a diagnosis helps). Will I really press "publish" or be safe and keep it hidden in my journal? I did spend time this morning doing a study of "lonely" and "alone" in the Bible...that may be in part 2.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bananas or Lemons?

Recently, while talking with three different friends about what is happening in their lives, they shared stories about the trials of trying to care for their mothers. Because of health issues and natural aging issues, they have been put in the position of having to take charge to see that their mothers are cared for. All three of these mothers are making it very difficult on their daughters...being unkind and actually abusive to those people who love them the most. Each of these daughters have grounds to withdraw and let natural consequences happen. But instead, each of these daughters is choosing to honor their difficult parent and hang in there and try to make the best decisions they know how to make for the longterm good of their parent.

My mother has said that when she needs care, she will gladly move to Ohio to live with one of us and we will then share in her care. Mother has always been outgoing and friendly so during her stay in the nursing home she naturally went from room to room visiting those who were not as mobile and finding partners to play games with. She is "given to hospitality" so takes that with her wherever she goes. If you are driving through central West Virginia and need a place to stay, she will take you in even if she has never met you and make you feel at home.

The lesson is that as we age, we grow stronger in whatever we have already are. I have often wondered if I would sweeten like a banana, or be sour and bitter like a lemon. I truly want to be a sweet old lady...actually, I want to be a sweet middle-ager. It is my prayer that I will yield to God's hands and become sweeter and sweeter. I do not want to resist any work that He wants to do in me.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy

Our ladies at Calvary have just started a new study using the Wiersbe Bible study series book on Philippians. The alternate title is Even When things go Wrong, You Can Have Joy. I hope to do several posts on things that God teaches me though this book. This post should really have come before the previous post, but I was so excited that I have done them out of order.

We almost didn't do a study this spring since Aimee has a new baby and has returned to work full time and I had surgery. But our hearts are hungry for the Word and for women to share with. The Holy Spirit put this study before Aimee and she obeyed. I have already been blessed and centered and given focus during a turbulent time in my life.

More to come.

Are all struggles gifts?

Read at least Philippians 1:29. The question in my Bible study book reads: "Are all struggles gifts?" My mind immediately started quoting James 1:2-4, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (Thanks to Sunday School and WOL and AWANA.) So my answer is "yes, all struggles are gifts." In our struggles, even those of our own making, we find God to be more than we knew He was or could be. Since I believe this to be true, why do I resist struggles/trials? Why don't I embrace them as proof first, that I need God? and second, that this is an opportunity for growth--to be drawn closer to the heart of God (like the sign in our foyer says)? Dan recently changed the wording to "Let every tension (instead of inconvenience) be an invitation into the heart of God.

Do I want to be close to the heart of God? or do I want to be comfortable, free from pain, happy making this world my home? Sounds like a hard choice...but my heart longs to be close to His heart. Because of the lengths God and His Son went through for me, I am bought...heart, soul, and mind. Sometimes I think that I want to be left alone to prosper here and be carefree, but my heart shows that I am not my own and hungers for a closer relationship with Him. And that relationship means that I will be stretched and feel suffering.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Lesson From My Mother

Recently, while going over a familiar refrain about Marilyn, Mother remarked that maybe I hear this woman with a biased ear (my words)...maybe she is right.

I have noticed that my Mother seldom complains about anything any more. She never cried about falling and breaking her hip last fall...only chastising herself for missinbg the step and lamenting that she wouldn't be at the funeral to support Aunt Mary. The closest she came to complaining was to tell me how much it hurt to be weighed in the sling contraption (getting in and out was excruciating) and how she would refuse to repeat the process. She came up with an alternative that worked much better. Just a few weeks ago, she said that her 20 days spent at Glenville Care wasn't so bad and she could go there again if need be. I'm sure she could have complained about any number of things along the way--it was a pretty traumatic event from our view as her family.

Is this something that comes with age? Either one turns into a cranky old bear or developes contentment with a positive outlook. Some days I want my Mother to commiserate with me and am disappointed that she doesn't add her two-cents worth. Now in my 50's as I listen to young people spouting off or worrying about something, I sometimes find myself wondering "what is the big deal?"

My mother is considering the alternative, I'll choose to be content with my Mother's contentment.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just Cranky or Fighting a Spiritual Battle?

I've been having a great struggle today and remembered my son's blog post from a few days ago. (If you want to read it go to, Reflection.) Here is my response to his post.
"Came back to this post because I have been very critical today, wanting to lash out and complain about a lot of things...all the time asking myself why I'm so "cranky" today. The message this morning was fantastic so why didn't that soothe my heart? so kept asking...I think that it is because something very hurtful is happening and I have absolutely no control over it. For application this morning, Pastor asked where we find peace...and pointed us to God's Sovereignty, His Providence, His Infallibility, and His Love. So will I find peace in God or continue to fight? I'm working on surrender, joyous surrender."

Just a few days ago, I was cold to this particular situation, today I'm torn up. The emotional part of the trial has caught up with me again and I am directing my sorrow at other things. The truth is that I am unhappy that the situation is not getting better. And ultimately that means that I am not resting in the truth of God's character. This is the human condition. This is a spiritual battle.

So when you find yourself being "cranky"...angry that a church service was cancelled even though you didn't want to go in the first place, irritable because the store is crowded and you can't find what you want, sulking because your spouse didn't answer your question or when he did answer, his tone wasn't "nice," and I could go on and on... stop and ask yourself what is really going on. Maybe go through the questions Dan posted on his blog.

You are probably in a battle of surrender and nothing short of giving in to the will (agreeing with truth) of God, which is always good and always for your best and the best of those you love, will bring peace. By the way, He is in the battle with us and understands we are dust. He shines in our weakness.