Monday, August 25, 2014

What an Honor

There are a great many things that come to mind when I think about my "Gramma." At the moment my thought is, "Wow, has she really been gone for two years?"  I think back over the past two years and can see so many occasions I wish I could have shared with her. 

For Gramma, it wasn't about the big things, but the small things to take joy in. She always wanted to know what was going on in my life-every little detail. "Where did you go? Did you have fun? Show me pictures! What did you buy? Aren't you going to try those clothes on for me? Are there any guys you like? Why hasn't he asked you out yet?" Quite honestly, that wasn't always the way I liked it, because Gramma didn't need to know EVERYTHING! However, now that she's gone, I find myself wishing she were here so I could tell her many such details.

The day Gramma moved into the nursing home, I was "on duty" to help her get ready.  We chatted as we got her dressed, and then she looked at me and said, "It was an honor to have you get me ready on my last day at home." I had no words. Later, however, the tears came. Her comment totally took me by surprise, but as my day went on, and as time goes on, I have realized what an honor it was FOR ME to have been the one to get her ready that day. Tears still flow freely at that thought.

I still remember my last visit with Gramma, it was the night before I left for Ecuador.  I almost didn't even go, she was barely conscious by this time, she wouldn't know that I was there anyway.  I would go see her when I came back.  For some reason, I went.  And I believe it was a "God thing."  When I arrived, my mom told her that I was there, she lifted her head and looked right at me-more acknowledgement than she had given all day.  I believe that somehow she knew. She knew this would be the last time she would see me, this side of Heaven.  Three days later, while I was in Ecuador, Gramma let go of her fight and went Home.  I am beyond thankful I was home for the services, and yet I wish I could have been there for my family in those first few days.  Instead, I stood bawling in the middle of the Miami airport trying to process it all as I talked to my mom on the phone. I am very thankful for my friends who were there to comfort me at that moment.

What I wouldn't give to be able to tell Gramma about my Ecuador trip and all my trips since, for that matter. What I wouldn't give to hear her sing "You are My Sunshine" one more time. What I wouldn't give to paint her nails once again. What I wouldn't give for one more Christmas to decorate her tree, beyond frustrated by her need to have every ornament in the perfect place-to the centimeter and in her line of vision. What I wouldn't give to hang that stupid golden tassel ornament from her ear just one more time. What I wouldn't give to hear her read us Christmas stories we are all too old for...

I know Gramma is much better off in Heaven.  I have no doubt she is praising with Jesus and riding her bike on the streets of gold.  Her faith was something she never hid and certainly shared with us all. She enriched our lives and will forever hold a special place in our hearts.  What an honor it is for me to share her name. What an honor it is to have had a grandma like my Gramma. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lord, Give Me a Song

I work in a very busy atmosphere: there are people talking, phones ringing, dogs barking, people scurrying to and fro. Even in all the madness of the office, I typically have some "quiet" time in the garage unpacking boxes and putting supplies in their proper places. This time can be quite peaceful even with multiple interruptions.

I have found that during this time, my mind typically wanders. I can think of seventy-eleven different things in the matter of 30 minutes. Sometimes, however, my mind gets stuck on a song. The song can come from anywhere: the radio in the office (typically country), something I had heard that morning getting ready, a song from our recent church service or worship practice, or even a small snippet I had heard on TV or in a movie. 

I have discovered that when hymns, worship music, or contemporary Christian songs get stuck in my head, my day seems a little bit brighter.  I have started looking forward to some of those peaceful moments, "in the middle of the crazy," (Mandisa) where I can just feel God through a song.

I have even started asking God to give me a song as I am walking to work. Usually the first thing that pops into my head is "You put a song in my soul and I wanna let it out. Your Spirit in my life, well it makes me wanna shout..." Of course, I have to laugh. You can't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humor. But usually, when that down time in the office comes, God gives me the song I need for the day.  It's a special way for me to keep Him in my thoughts and by my side throughout the day.  I want my life to be a reflection of Him. I am far from perfect, but I feel that the more God is in my head, the more I am able to shine His light.

Dear Lord, please give me a song today that will point me to You and keep Your word, Your light, and Your love on my mind and in my heart every moment of every day. Thank You for giving me Your peace and comfort in this special way. Amen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Great Unknown

I am one of those people who likes to be prepared.  If I'm traveling somewhere new, I review the map-multiple times. If I am packing for a trip, I pack for every possible scenario-rain, shine, heat, cold, snow, etc. If I'm going to an event, I check the itinerary and form a plan to see everything possible in the most efficient way possible. This said, it should be no surprise that I would want to form a "plan" for my life.  And yet, life doesn't quite work this way. Life is full of unknowns.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

One of my favorite verses and certainly a comfort, and yet I can't help but pray, "God, let me in on this plan, I just want to KNOW what is next for me.  If I only knew what was next I could...(fill in the blank)."  I find myself praying this far too often.  I know the bible says God has my life in His hand and that He has great things planned for me, yet my humanness gets in the way and I begin to worry. I worry about making the right choices.  I worry about heartaches and failures.  I worry about loss and illness.  I worry about being the person God has designed me to be. I worry about what is next: the great unknown. 

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds in the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you worry and add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27

I believe what the bible says is true, and I know there is no reason to worry about life or my future, and yet, I still want to know what is next.  I want to know the unknown. 

A song I heard on the radio by Moriah Peters caught my attention last week.  The words brought deep conviction: 

"I don't need to know what's next, You'll be with me every step. Through it all, through it all I can see You carry me." 

These words put a big dent in my "need" to know the unknown.  They are such a strong reminder of what God has been trying to tell me all along, "I've got this, you don't need to know the future. That is My job, not yours. Don't worry about what you don't know.  Just trust Me, and I will lead you where I want you to be, and it will be greater than you could ever imagine."

I can't even fathom God's amazing faithfulness or His wonderful plans for my life, but I do know He has never failed me.  He is always with me and gives me peace that I can't even begin to understand. Even in my struggles, I am thankful for all these reminders of God's faithfulness to me. 

God, thank You for all the times You have supported me, comforted me. Through the ups and downs You have ALWAYS been there.  I trust you with my future, and I don't need to know what is next because YOU are already there.  Forgive me for my impatience and, at times, lack of faith. Thank You, Father for NEVER failing me and for always loving me. Amen.

Monday, July 21, 2014

God, Don't Ever Let Me Forget...

Last night, I was sitting in the grand stands waiting for Francesca Battistelli to come out on stage.  I decided that rather than daydream, I would make better use of my time and pray for my Compassion children.  I got to child #3 when someone I knew came and sat beside me.  We ended up chatting until the concert began. (It was a FABULOUS concert BTW).

As I walked to my car in the fair parking lot-almost a mile if I guess right-I picked up my Compassion prayers with child #4: Aida.  As I prayed, I recalled some precious memories from our meeting almost two years ago.  Tears came to my eyes as I prayed, "Please, God, don't ever let me forget that giggle, that squeal of delight, those precious snuggles."

As I continue to my car, I am flooded my more memories from my Compassion trips.  "God, please, don't ever let me forget that hug, that smile."

"Please, God, don't ever let me for get that 'I love you'."

Closer to my car, I begin to think of non-Compassion moments. I remember special times with my Grandma. "God, please, don't let me forget Grandma singing 'You are my Sunshine' when I was little, or decorating the Christmas tree with her and our special game with the golden tassel ornament. Don't let me forget the day she went to the nursing home and the chore of getting her dressed became a privilege when she told me how honored she was to have me help her on her last day at home. God, PLEASE, don't ever let me forget the last time I visited Grandma and she looked right at me after being basically unresponsive all day." Even now, I have that silly golden tassel beside an old photograph of Grandma and me sitting on my dresser.

As I arrive at my car and proceed to drive home, I crank up the radio and many songs including, those I had just heard from Francesca, remind me of so many times that God has shown Himself to me in a special way. Sometimes in song lyrics, sometimes in quotes, sometimes through tears, and sometimes through the warmth of sunshine that reminds me of a hug from heaven.  

"God, don't ever let me forget the times I have felt your arms around me and the peace that you have shown me. Please, God, don't ever let me forget that YOU love ME."

"Please, God, don't ever let me forget..."

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Wildflowers & Pixie Dust

Here we go! 

I have been thinking about starting a new blog for a while now. A blog where I can think out loud about life and share some things God puts on my heart.  A blog open to everything under the sun. I will still have my blog for Compassion International, Love for the Least of These, where I will continue to share about my sponsored children and the amazing journey God has put me on through loving those children.

My biggest struggle with this new blog was the title...what do you name a blog about anything and everything? (besides: "A Blog About Anything and Everything")  So as I thought about various catchy names and witty sayings, I even asked on Facebook for ideas (I got zero, zilch, nada).  I decided to merge a couple of things that come into my mind frequently: Wildflowers and Pixie Dust. An odd combination, I know. 

Wildflowers come to mind in my love for God's creation, especially daisies ("Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?") and tiger lilies, but also through a song by Point of Grace called "Wildflower." I can relate to many aspects of this song. In recent years, it has come to be one of my all-time favorite songs.

Pixie Dust comes from, where else? Peter Pan! The quote goes "All you need is faith and trust and a little bit of Pixie Dust."  While I believe the focus of this saying should be on the faith and trust rather than the Pixie Dust, it does bring the notion of dreams and imagination into our everyday lives. With an active imagination myself, I can relate to the "pixie dust" of life, and, as this will be a blog for random musings, I felt the term was quite fitting.

So here we are, the beginning of something new and hopefully exciting :) Very random, but very "me." Full of wildflowers and pixie dust!