Sunday, March 27, 2011

Grandma

"The legacy of a hero is a memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example"



When you are a child, your vision of a hero usually includes a masked man racing around to save the world, get the bad guy, and save the maiden all before the last stroke of the clock. As adults, our perspective about heroes changes. We see heroes saving the world all around us. Like the father who wakes up with a 3:45 alarm clock and climbs into his cold truck for his hour commute all to provide for his family. The firemen rushing into the blazes to save. The teacher working endlessly to design some task that will reach this child and give him the belief that he can do it. The mother who stays up all night rocking her little one sick with the flu. Heroic acts of service and love.


A legacy is what we leave behind. Make no mistake. Whether you are a prince or a pauper you will leave many somethings and someones behind. And perhaps I have found that of all of the heroic acts, to live your life for a higher purpose, a calling of faith, and then day by day instill this into you family is by far the most heroic act of all.


I lived with grandma for 2 years while I was in college. I loved spending time with her in the kitchen. Always one with a quick comeback. I loved to pull up a chair and eat cookies and chips and laugh. I always went to bed first and could hear grandma downstairs. One night I went down and found her scrubbing the floor at 1 am. When I asked her what in the world she was doing she shrugged and said well it needed to be done. I loved being there. I loved finding her cold and forgotten coffee in the microwave and joking with her about her finding something more important to be doing.


I laugh as I remember arguing with her about whether we should save everything. Like the time she found a jar of pickles in the basement from 1986. She wouldn't listen to me about throwing it out. "It could still be good!" We had to call poison control where they said "it could still be good but I would throw it out."


I loved listening to her tell stories. She would talk about about family and babies. People getting married. All happy stories. Sometimes we would talk in her room while I laid across her bed as she "piddled" at her dresser. Her dresser was always covered with pictures of family, rosary beads, jewelry given to her, and cards. Grandma never threw anything out.


Grandma and Grandpa had 10 children. Each married. That is 20 children. They have 38 grandchildren and 14 have married which brings the running total to 52. Soon to be 55 after this summer. There are 32 great grandchildren. If you do the math, that is 104 people. All because two people fell in love.... That does not include all of the others that are a part of our family. No wonder we have to rent out a hall for birthday parties. Although that itself is quite the legacy, it doesn't come close to what really stands out about grandma.


If I had to tell of grandma's legacy, I could state it in one word- faith. Everyday, twice a day, I would find grandma praying the rosary for her family. She would tell me that she had prayed for each and every member of the family her whole life. I have never hear her speak a negative word about anyone. She would talk of Jesus as if he was a close friend. She trusted Him. She trusted Him with her family. His family. She always celebrated life. Every birth or marriage was a reason to rejoice. She took her children to church. She taught them how to pray. And most importantly, they witnessed her "walking the talk." She gave without thought and honored without ceasing.


And it stuck. It worked. Or to sound more spiritual "she was rewarded." Not with jewels or rubies that Grandma wouldn't have had a use for anyhow. She was rewarded with goodness that surrounds her in the lateness of her years. No family is without flaws. But we gather together. We laugh at all the little ones and talk over struggles and joys. We pray together. Still celebrating every marriage and birth. Phone chains go on to ask for prayer or give the name, weight, and height of the newest addition. We know that next to our free gift of salvation, family is one of the greatest gifts.


To my grandma who celebrated her 89th birthday this year- I couldn't have asked for a greater example. A woman dedicated to the caretaking of her family. A woman filled with deep convictions that she instilled in her own little ones who then in turn taught their little ones to trust and to believe. As I pray with my own, I do not forget or take for granted where it began. She is a woman of joy and laughter that radiates to her whole family. She is grace in a storm and sunshine in the calm. She is a hero among the commoners.


I love you grandma. Happy Birthday.

Friday, March 11, 2011

When things don't go as planned

Sometimes things don't go as planned. For example, who would have thought that after hours of looking for my sons reading book, I would find it in my pajamas drawer.

Who would have thought that I would have come home from my night class in sweats and high heels. Yesterday I decided to wear a dress, pantyhose, and heels to work. But I also had my night class. I decided to pack up sweats and socks to change into once I reached the night class. Except I realized after I got there that I forgot to pack my sneakers. I spent the evening in my socks and then wore my heels (and sweats) out to the car and home. Things don't always go as planned.

For Lent I decided to do a blessing book. It is a project I have done before. At the end of the day I make a list of all I am thankful for and write it in the book. I had a great idea to involve the kids. We could gather together and each talk about how we are thankful for family and friends. Say our night prayers and then they will all go to sleep like the sweet little angels they are. Things don't always go as planned.

My husband is sick. Very sick. So one night one of the blessings book, daddy was passed out in the bedroom next door with a raging fever. The baby was sleeping so I gathered 1, 2 and 3 and tried to explain to them about the blessings book and that Easter is coming. My boys were way more interested in tackling each other and putting each other in a head lock. My daughter was pretty interested in trying to do her Barbie's hair.

I asked what they were all thankful for. "My eyebrows" That would be my daughter. She then began to name every body part she has. I also have been tired and sick so I yanked the blanket off the boys and told them to "knock it off and think of something to Thank Jesus for." nice.

Finally we got through the blessings book. I planned to write my own notes on the back. However, I laid down with the kids and woke up at 2:30 in the morning. I had not done my own devotionals and had not done my own blessings list. As I drove to work the next day, I thought about in my head it had looked so perfect and how imperfect it had turned out.

The next night I came home from my night class. Tired and ready for bed, I went to get the blessings book and it wasn't where I had left it. I was tempted to skip it. But the kids brought it up and asked if we were doing it. We went on a blessings book hunt. Found it in Luke's toy box. We all gathered in Will and Rachel's bed. Luke snuggled up on Daddy's lap and the others stayed by me. I asked them what they were thankful for. Rachel said her eyelids and blood. Luke said games. Will asked if we could ask Jesus to help make Daddy feel better. Our list was longer than it was last night. We prayed.

I went to my room. I wrote my blessings. Sometimes things don't always go as planned. Kids thank God for lips and boys arm wrestle under the covers. At least I am teaching them to be thankful. To remember everything that they have been blessed with. I wrote how thankful I am each eyebrow. Each little voice. I am so blessed that we can go to bed with full bellies and under warm covers. It can be overwhelming when you start to look at all you are given.

Each night we have been doing our blessings book. Each night the kids remind me of things I never thought of to mention. Good thing things don't always go as planned.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What 7 looks like

I made a chocolate cake today and covered it in fudge icing. I decorated it with rainbow sprinkles and then put a big waxed "7" on it.

The one who made me a mother turns 7 today. My William Alan. In a way, 7 seems like too many years. That was just last week where I was up all night with him. Wasn't he just sitting in a high chair smearing spaghetti everywhere? He was just dancing to the Wiggles in his diaper while I snapped pictures like crazy. In other ways, how could he have only been a part of my life for a mere seven years. Was there a life before him? Certainly there are bits and pieces. But the brightest and the best memories almost always have him there.

What does 7 look like? Years of rocking, holding, praying to sleep. Cutting off crusts of bread and mixing pink milk. Reading silly stories and listening to the best jokes told in a little voice with a missing front tooth. Big blue eyes filled with fear before kindergarten shots and the same blue eyes smiling as he gets off the bus after his first day.

Seven years of prayers, of taming down cowlicks, and scrubbing marker off bellies. Washing sand out of hair and dancing in ocean waves. Years of mixing brownies and chasing through walmart. Batman costumes and scoring a goal heard round the world. Throwing sticks in campfires and swing high but not too high.

Years filled with more joy and laughter than I thought possible. More fear of failure and screaming at the scary place the world is becoming for him. Years of filling him with the knowledge that he always will have a safe place to land and a home to come to. That he has a family who loves him to the moon and back and a heavenly Father who loves him enough to go to the cross for him.

What does 7 look like? The best 7 years of my life. I love you baby. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

guess what I did?

I planned my SECOND week of meal. woot! and went through the ads again. And we didn't eat out once all week!!

It was really nice to have everything all lined up. Barely had to think! It did get a little hairy the morning I was suppose to load the crock pot and I had forgotten. I missed my coffee that day as I was running round getting everything ready.

But I think I did a good job. On to week two!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

swing sets and unicorns

On the way to Grammy's this morning we were driving past the Carrolltown graveyard....
Rachel- Why can't we go look at the stones?
Me- We can. Those are the stones that people put up to remember people who went to heaven.
Rachel- I want to remember Pappy.
Me- Yes, but Grammy doesn't like the stones. She wants us to remember Pappy in our hearts.
Rachel- Where is he?
Me- In Heaven with Jesus. In heaven where no one is ever sick or sad. Everything is wonderful.
After a few moments...
Rachel- Do you think there are swing sets in heaven?
Me- I think so.
Rachel- What about unicorns? Will Jesus have a unicorn?
Me- Maybe Rachel.
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I used to never really think about heaven. Because heaven I associated with good-byes more than hellos. I knew what the Bible said about it. Really though, no one I was ever super close to had passed away. It is sorta like giving birth, if you will. People can tell you what it is like but not until you experience it can you truly know what it is like. You will never know what losing a parent is like until you do.

From time to time, I look into the sky and smile. I think more about heaven now. Wonder what it will be like and who we will see. What we will do. Will we play on swing sets or play with unicorns. Maybe because now I think that heaven will be more about hellos than goodbye.