Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Daddy and the "Big Picture"

My dear, sweet daddy turned 90 on November 2nd. We celebrated it with lots of cake, love and family. He loved it. Then, on November 8th, he woke up in the morning, saying he didn't feel "Quite up to par", took a deep breath, and joined his Savior and my mom in heaven. It was unexpected, but he went quietly and peacefully, just as he lived his life. I will miss him dearly. I was a "Daddy's girl" all of my life. 

So on Monday, we again celebrated my dad. Old friends and loved ones came to remember the life of this quiet, loving man. How blessed we were to have him as the leader of our family for so many years. Here's a photo of some of our family. (That's Jordan, btw, standing in front of my husband, 4th from the left, in the turquoise plaid. Some might remember praying for him after he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan almost 5 years ago. He's doing well!)

"I will think of him as I always knew him; kind, loving thoughtful of everyone but himself, a blessing wherever he went and a strength and comfort to all with whom he came in contact. A constant example of all that a husband, father, and Christian should be." 
(This quote was about the missionary Hudson Taylor, but it fits my dad perfectly).

So I want to tell a little story. Some might call this irony, but stay with me for just a minute. This Fall, for the first time in many years, I signed up to help with junior high girls at my church. It's a very large church, and they paired up leaders. I was thankful that they paired me up with a young woman who had experience, because I felt out of my element. We bonded quickly, though we had only met a few times before. After my dad passed away last week, I called her, and her gentle compassion meant so much.

We couldn't know that 4 days later, her own father would pass away and she would be calling me. This pairing seemed so God ordained, and we marveled that He saw the big picture far in advance of us. However the other night she shared with me that our lives had even more in common than I knew. You see, she told me that she was born on the very day my husband and I were married. Some may think one has nothing to do with the other, and this is just coincidence. I don't see it that way. I am realizing more and more that God sees the "big picture" in ways we can never understand. He doesn't see backward or forward, He just sees aerially, and He says that is enough, that He's got "this", whatever "this" may be. He knew on the day she was born and I was married, that we would someday lose our dads the same week. He knew that we would become friends, though she is young enough to be my daughter. He keeps teaching me that He knows what the future holds and my job is simply to trust. 

As we prepared for both of our dads memorial services this week, I am reminded that ours is a "big picture" God, and I'm so thankful for that, and for a friend named Tammy, who has helped me see that He is so much bigger than my mind can possibly fathom.

 If anyone remembers the post about my mom's passing in August of 2014, they will notice that when I was preparing for her service, I found a very important letter from my grandmother, written to my mom, on the day before my grandmother died, which also "happened" to be my anniversary date, although that time, 30 years earlier. As I am writing this tonight, I am reminded that nothing in our lives is by chance, that God has all of the details worked out, and sometimes He gives a glimpse of just how much attention He pays to even the smallest of details, just to reassure us that His word is true, and heaven is real.

“Life is but a Weaving”
“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.” 
― Corrie ten Boom

I love you Daddy. I know I will see you again!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Tandem Ride With God

A Tandem Ride With God 

I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn't really know Him.

But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn't know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. 

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break-through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I was worried and anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared", He'd lean back and touch my hand. 

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord's and mine. And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light. 

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus. 

And when I'm sure I just can't do any more, He just smiles and says... "Pedal." 
(Author unknown) 

photo via google search

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach, California...
I'd love to say I was here right now,
but I'm not. This is a photo I took about 3 years ago,
and I uploaded it to Pinterest.
It's also on my Instagram page,
and it's my Google + profile photo.
Yeah, I love this place!
(I found out today that someone else had 
claimed it on their website,
so I thought I'd put it on here and reclaim it) :)

There's nothing special about the photo,
other than the meaning for me and my husband
of an anniversary visit back to the place we met.
If you ever get a chance to visit
Manhattan Beach, you're gonna love it!!
Have a beautiful day :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Simple Homemade Gifts

 This is a repost...because baby love is in full bloom around here :)
I have made so many of these in the last couple of years!

I love homemade gifts and I also love *Simple*...
 so when I discovered these sweet gift ideas, I wanted to try them.

 I'm not one to take on anything too complicated at this point in my life;
the busyness of a large family means I might not complete it,
but these were very quick and easy.

 You've probably seen different versions of this diaper burp cloth in blog land,
but there is a wonderful tutorial over at Chickpea Sewing Studio, (thanks so much!).
 You can visit the link and get the complete tutorial there.

The stitching is just a simple zig-zag.

She also has a free download for a cute little reversible bib pattern
that takes just minutes to sew up.

I've made several sets of these over the last few months...
it seems a few of my friends are becoming grandmothers :-)

I like to use flannel, but you could use a pretty cotton fabric too.
If you know of anyone having a new baby, these make great little gifts.

*Have a wonderful weekend my friends*

(I've been doing a little blog cleaning, so bear with me as I redo photos to
some old posts, and do some editing too)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tips for New Moms of Multiples...

I've been thinking of the best advice I could've received when my twins were babies,
and here are 14 tips I came up with. Hope they help.

1. Nothing can prepare you for the 24 "hourness" of a new baby. 
Let me say that again. Nothing can prepare you for the the 24 hourness
of TWO babies!! Nothing! (Oh yeah, I changed it up a bit).
Prepare to be unprepared!! (I could almost end this post right here).

2. No one else has it together either, not even moms of singles, though it
may look like they do. (I know, I was one of those 4 times
before our twins came along...never once did I have it all together).
Just remember, this is your family.
You and your husband decide. Seeking advice is good, but you know your
babies better than anyone.

3. Never turn down an offer for help, because it might be your only chance
to take a short nap :)

4. Never turn down an offer for someone to watch your older children for you.
They need to get out too :)

5. Pray. This should really be number one on this list.
Pray about everything. Pray without ceasing. Pray for your children. Pray
for your husband. Pray, pray, pray, pray, pray. Prayer is best advice for just about
any parenting question :)

6. If someone wants to give you a really special gift, don't ask for a new double
stroller, you can pick a good one up at a yard sale or on Craigslist. 
Ditto on the extra crib.
Ask for a weekly PROFESSIONAL CLEANING SERVICE for the first 6 months. 

7. Important!! When one baby wakes up at night to be fed, wake the other one up 
right after you've fed the first. I do believe "the feeding schedule" was created
by a mom of twins. (You'll thank me for this in about 3 weeks).
It's the best way to guarantee some solid sleep...
for you :)

8. If you have older children, your are blessed. 
You have instant entertainment for the babies
so you can cook a quick dinner, or throw in a load of clothes, 
or change out of the pajamas you've been wearing for 3 days :)

9. If you've always done the grocery shopping, this might be a good time for your 
hubby to learn. However, it was a huge break for me to get out of the house.
Since my twins are the youngest of six,
I would take one or two of the older kids with me,
and leave the rest with daddy. I think my twins were 4 before they saw the inside of
a grocery store. They were filled with wonder and was like 
Disneyland for them! "Oh, this is where we get all this magical stuff we call FOOD!"

10. When you do venture out with the twins, be prepared to be stopped by everyone!
However, if they mention that they too are parents of 
multiples, feel free to pick their brains for all the tips they can offer.
It's okay, because they stopped you, after all.

11. Strangers will ask to hold your babies. Perhaps with your first child, you would 
have been shocked at this thought. However, if something possessed you and your
husband to go to a buffet type restaurant with 6 children, and a 
kind grandmotherly type lady sitting at the table next to you asks you if you'd
like her to hold one of your crying babies so that you can hold the other crying 
baby while your husband takes the other kids for refills...
Your husband is going to get the kids dessert anyway, and since you'll be going
home with 4 sugar high children,
take her help now, because you can't take her home with you!
(Haha, don't ask me how I know this).

12. If you have identical twins, mark all of your photos!!  You'll be glad you did this.
We dressed our boys in different colors almost from the start, but we had so many
gifts of "lookalike" clothes, that this wasn't always the case.
We got creative and sometimes put their pacifiers in the photo next to them,
because those were different. When they were about a year old, we got ID bracelets,
and placed them on opposite arms.
This is the only means of identification in some
of our photos.
We do think they are both going by the same name
they came home from the hospital with :)
(However, there was that one time when our older son switched things up, so,,,.)
Just sayin :)

13. We forget.
What I mean is, when we pass one stage of life with multiples, we forget
the details of that stage. Of course there are things that stand out (as #11 proves),
things we will never forget, but the day to day details have changed enough
in our own lives that we truly forget how difficult those first few months/years can be.
You WILL get through it, and before you know it....

14. PUBERTY hits...
and you find out all over again how different being the mother 
of multiples can be...
um, can you say "TWINAGERS!"
(btw, getting them to pose together for photos at this age is almost impossible!!)

Never forget that they are two VERY different and unique people,
and of course, always remember...

Good luck!!