Category Archives: blessings

Lottie

Before I begin with my post, I want to let all my friends and readers know that my bracelets and flower pins and clips will now be on display to sell at Fretta’s here in Elkhart, booth 79. This is the annual Tri Kappa antique show here and all the antique malls are getting ready for the out-of-town shoppers that just might wander into our local booths. Please pray that I will soon become a regular with my designs around town…

Now onto the story of Grandma Lottie.

grandma

I don’t know about you but I love to look at old pictures. It never ceases to amaze me how God puts His fingerprint onto each of our lives in a unique yet recognizable way.

If you look at pictures of your grandparents or parents when they were children or young adults, you almost certainly can recognize them even though you didn’t know them then. I also enjoy thinking back in my childhood remembering times that make me feel good, times that warm my heart. Hugs from Grandma, piggy-back rides from Grandpa and my Dad sitting my sister and I on his lap to read the Sunday comics; these all make me smile.

My Dad’s mother was named Charlotte, Lottie for short. She was an outspoken woman, she used phrases like “clean your grub-hooks before dinner”, “wipe off your mud-hooks before walking on my clean floors” and “he was such a physic-face!”. She would go home after supper to wash her ‘wool’ and if it was raining she wore her ‘babushka’. Grandma’s outspokenness often embarrassed Dad and his brother, I know this from the stories that he would tell.

Grandma had a way of looking at life as if she was looking through the carnival mirrors, you know the ones that distort you in funny ways, the ones we used to laugh at when the circus would come to town. Her stories were always so colorful and so alive that you couldn’t just walk away.

When Grandma started telling one of her stories you were hauled in on a line and you were at the mercy of the story, you were glued to Grandma’s yarn. To other people those memories in her stories would be just a memory, nothing more. More than that Grandma made them all seem so much more alive. When she told her stories we didn’t need television or games or anything else, we just sat around and listened and laughed.

Grandma’s life was not all fun though, she had some hard times in her life. Her younger brother died when he accidently shot himself running across a hunting ground to greet his Dad’s train—Great Grandpa was a conductor. She spoke of that often.

She had a six-year-old brother who loved school and one day he was too ill to go to school. She recounted how he said he was sad to miss school that day. Later in the day he passed away as his father rocked him in his arms. They were waiting for the doctor.

Grandma’s first child died soon after birth. All these things colored her outlook, but never darkened her ways. She was a resilient woman.

Grandma had to help support the family. She married Grandpa who was a wounded WWI veteran, back then you didn’t get benefits for being wounded. Grandpa almost died in France, half of his shoulder was gone and he was disabled after the war.

Grandpa worked, but Grandma would do laundry for some of the wealthier citizens in town, she would sew wedding gowns, prom dresses and curtains.

She made homemade soap for her laundry in the basement and had the cleanest clothes in town. She quit doing laundry for money after she was told by one of her clients that she could no longer come to the front door with the clothes.  She figured if she was good enough to do their laundry, she was good enough to use the front door, lol, and that was the end of her laundry career!

That was my Grandma, Lottie. She loved life, loved her family and loved the Lord. God was good to me when he placed me in her family.

I pray that each one of you has pictures in your minds that you can go to, that can warm your hearts on cold days. I thank God for my heritage and all the Godly people who played a part in my life. Blessings to you this week as you make your own memories.fish

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Not Just Girlfriends—Godly friends

girlfriendsIs there anything better in this world than girlfriends? The true meaning of the word ‘girlfriend’ to me means a true friend who knows me and still answers the phone when she sees my number in her caller ID, lol. Okay there are much better definitions of friends and we find those in God and who He is.

God has blessed me with many wonderful, Godly friends and I today I want to pay tribute to them for putting up with me and reminding me of who God is as I see His reflection in they’re lives.

Yesterday one of my friends mentioned to me that she’s noticed I’ve lost weight. I was surprised since I’d only been dieting for four days! I DO like Judy a lot though for many reasons, only one of those reasons is that she tends to flatter me, who doesn’t like to hear that?! Judy is cheerful, welcoming and has a very sweet personality. She reminds me of God. He knows all my faults but sees me as sinless because of His redeeming love. He doesn’t care that I over eat or that I hate exercising. He doesn’t care that I sometimes forget about all the blessings he sends my way or that I don’t always hear what he wants me to do. He looks beyond those things and sees my heart which is clean and white as snow (1 John 1:7-9) because of what He’s done for us.

Another friend I have is Jana, she is a friend who can make me laugh. She is also cheerful and is always looking for ways she can help. When I saw Jana yesterday, she noticed I hadn’t put my new tag on my car’s license plate. Not wanting me to get into trouble, she asked where it was so she could put it on my plate. Jana relates to me how God puts His mark on us, (Ephesians 4:30) so that we will be seen as His on the day of His coming. Jana always believes the best in everyone. She refuses to believe that everyone does not have at least one good quality and she will always find that one good quality in me (and everyone else).

My last friend I will tell you about is Pat. She is a friend who will always have good things to say about you, even if you’re not there in person, lol. She has integrity and will always do what is right. Pat shows me that God is faithful and true. He doesn’t say one thing and do another, He is believable (Deuteronomy 7:9)If Pat promises to do something she will do that one thing no matter what. She is a great friend to have.

As I mentioned earlier, I have started a diet (yes again!). My birthday is coming up soon and Pat wanted to bring over a dinner to celebrate. She and Jana who is assisting with this meal, are cheerfully accommodating my dietary needs. Now that is a good friend__ eating what YOU eat while on YOUR diet!

Each of my friends has special abilities that I enjoy within our relationships. One helps me see the humor in life, another helps me see the need for evaluating my direction in life, they all accept me for who I am and who’s I am. There is nothing better than this.  As I end my blog today I pray that God will be reflected to each of you in a meaningful way this week. Blessings.fish

 

 

Build a Heart

IMG_20140111_104256This weekend Brody and I traveled to “Build a Bear”,  in case you’re not familiar with the store, you can choose a character, stuff it, put sounds inside it, even get a beating heart for it. After all that,  you stuff it and clothe it and ‘gear it up’. This was a Christmas gift to him and he announced to me on the way over__as if I didn’t already know this that he was “excited” to be going.  Of course one of the people giving him this gift was going along and she is one of his very favorite people.

As we entered the store I was relating it to how God has molded and made each of us.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

He was there in the beginning, putting our bodies and spirits together, knowing who we were before we were known to ANYONE else. How miraculous is that?! He paired my attached 5th and 21st chromosomes to Brody’s chromosomes to give him that extra 21st chromosome. He knew how precious he would be, how endearing he would become to so many people. He is an amazing child and God has given him equally amazing people to fill in the emptiness of no longer having a father.  We are truly blessed.

The first moment Brody saw ‘Moose’  he grabbed and hugged him even without his stuffing, just I’m sure as God does with us without our ‘stuffing’. I watched him place the heart in his dog “Moose”, added the stuffing__deciding just how much would be the best for hugs. I remembered how his tiny beating heart attached around mine as I carried him, not knowing the whole story. I watched him bath ‘Moose’ and brush him as a mother would a child.

It amazed me once again at how much detail God puts into our lives, every detail is thought of.  Brody’s extra chromosome was planned out from even before my birth when the mutation occurred that would cause his trans-location. Wow! What a wonderful, thoughtful and loving God we have. Brody’s anticipation of his companion reminded me of God’s anticipation of our hearts longing for Him and finally coming home to His open arms as we make our decision to follow Him. I pray my awe of God’s wonderful details will never get lost in my life. I will leave you with some pics of Brody’s event this weekend. Blessings to each of you, may you each feel the awesomeness of God’s details in your lives yourselves this week.fish

 IMG_20140111_103825

Brushing his hair after the shower

Brushing his hair after the shower

 

Those aren't wings, they're just our coats resting on his chair. Doesn't he look happy?

Those aren’t wings, they’re just our coats resting on his chair. Doesn’t he look happy?

 

 

Pressed Down and Shaken Together

christmas-stockings

Image via: Stylish Eve

Our lives seemed to be flying right before our eyes and the days before Christmas just seemed to all blur together.  I had projects started for gifts but realized I was very short of time and energy to get them all finished.  Usually my gifts are all purchased and/or made by Thanksgiving at the latest. Not this year. It wasn’t really that I was putting the projects off or that I didn’t have the materials either, but by the week before Christmas I had already ascertained that it was not humanly possible to finish everything on my list.

Part of my failure was the fact that we had soooo many Christmas celebrations with family and friends before the holidays, but mostly it was the health crisis that hit our household quickly and with a fury. After Brody just was not getting over his bout of bronchitis, his doctor ordered a set of x-rays. Within hours his office had the results and ordered another round of antibiotics along with another x-ray of his right arm. The radiologist saw a ‘lesion’ near his right shoulder. We soon found out it was a tumor inside his bone.

After many tests we were told we needed to travel to Indianapolis IU Med Center for a visit with an orthopedic oncologist, the words vibrated in my mind. I felt my head explode along with my heart. No parent wants to ever hear those words. My mind went to the handicap Brody already had, was God going to allow another one, maybe one he would never recover from? As we walked through the doors of the oncology unit I wondered if this was going to be our lives from now on…

Well God answered so many prayers that were offered on Brody’s behalf and I heard the doctor saying it was a benign tumor and he would not need any more tests or follow-ups. His arm would be as strong as his other one with no significant difference…and life was once again good!

It’s funny how we can go through life feeling like things are going the usual way and then suddenly we are thrown into an abyss. Our bodies and minds go round and round until we lose track of what is right-side-up. In this abyss we are faced with the possibility of loss so great it shakes our foundation. We realize just how much we’ve actually taken for granted. It is in that moment that God is foremost in our minds and we cry out in pain and surprise that He would actually allow this, not realizing how many opportunities we have lost by actually being bored in our lives.

Yes I said it! BORED. I was to the point of boredom in my life and now because I’d let many opportunities pass by, I become angry at God or at the very least ‘surprised’ that He would allow something this bad to happen.

The moment I heard the doctor’s words I lowered my head and tears came. I was so ashamed that this wonderful child He had brought into our lives was pushed aside for my own needs and yes, even wants. I was remorseful and asked for forgiveness, promising to make good on my bargaining with God while in the abyss. I don’t know how or when I started taking our lives for granted, maybe it was when I was working so many over-time hours or maybe when I was going through my divorce. Maybe it just crept into my soul because I gave so many opportunities away when I could have spent time with my son.

Does every parent go through this remorsefulness during their lifetime or is it just the way I am created? Or have I just become so warped that this is the consequence of my shallow life? I’d like to think that God had blessed me with so much and that I was so busy doing His will that I just never used the time in what seemed like routines. The truth is I wasn’t too busy doing God’s work, I was busy enjoying all my blessings instead of passing them on and teaching my son to do so, to show him how important it is to tell others of His goodness and mercy. Instead I was acting like a spoiled child expecting those blessings to just keep coming because of who I thought I was instead of where I was with God.

I won’t be as despicable as to say this was God’s punishment for me, but I do believe it was my ‘wake-up call’. It was as if He said to me “Susan, I want you to stop allowing all these opportunities to pass you by. If you don’t start seeing the opportunities I send you, you will miss the blessings they reveal.” Wow! I had never thought of it that way. By basking in all my blessings I was missing so many more. No wonder I was bored, this was not the life God intended me to live. It was not the life I wanted to live either.

38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”  Luke 6:38

English Standard Version (ESV)

When I read this scripture it reminds me of what I lost in my life. I was not ‘pressing down’ my blessings to make room for more, nor was I ‘shaking it together’ or mingling with others to pass on His blessings and in the manner receiving more blessings in my life.  May you be blessed this week with so much from God that you will keep busy passing them on.fish

 

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