The Future’s Not Ours to See

But . . .

today . . .

When we look into the eyes of our precious children, we’re looking deep into our future.

No, we don’t see what’s there, but,

our children hold within them the generations to come

as we did.

They’ll take our place as stewards of God’s Word and His world.

They hold the future within them

as did we.

Pray that they press into the safe, everlasting love of Jesus’ arms—

just as you do.

Teach them to trust Him, their Savior and Friend, as they walk in His presence on His earth—

just as you do. 

Our decades are time-markers only to us.

We were once the future. Our parents were. Our grandparents were.

They once held us and looked into our eyes. We were their children.

That “great cloud of witnesses,” the countless generations before us that we’ll join one day,

see us.

Their prayers rise to the Father for us, our children, and our grandchildren.

I sense hope and love and encouragement.

I sense excitement and joy when my decisions fit choices that make the angels rejoice—

when I’ve followed the Lord well in listening, then doing.

And most wondrous of all—I sense no disappointment when I fail,

only a lifting in sureness that next time I will do better, and one day will not fail.

We are still little children in the realm of eternity.

We reach, learn, trust, try, within so many choices.

Our little ones are fresh from God.

Cherish them, trust in their future . . .

Trust in God who holds their future and ours in His hands.

Jesus said we are to pattern our hearts after those trusting hearts of little children,

with the pure faith of a child, trusting in Him.

Have a heart as trusting as the heart of a little child.

One day some mothers brought their babies to him to touch and bless. But the disciples told them to go away. Then Jesus called the children over to him and said to the disciples, “Let the little children come to me! Never send them away! For the Kingdom of God belongs to men who have hearts as trusting as these little children’s. And anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get within the Kingdom’s gates.” Luke 18:15-17

Just praying, musing, and sharing ☺

Do you have any heart-thoughts to share in a comment?

Love,

Sally

 

 

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Grandpas are to Love

For as long as I can remember, I’ve experienced the gift of joy as I watch my father’s hands. They move effortlessly, beautifully, skimming over the ivory and onyx keys of his piano or an organ, or his keyboard. I listen to his soul-moving music, wondering how much longer I’ll hear it since he received the disheartening news.

He’s eighty-four, slender, and a little stooped now, yet he appears strong and healthy for his age.

My mind slips back to yesterday–except for a couple of God-given sunbeams–not a very happy day, yesterday.

So I’ll focus on the sunbeams.

It’s early afternoon. Dad and I sit together waiting to see the doctor, a specialist in hand surgery.

We’ll schedule needed surgery when we see him. Not a highlight of either of our lives.

Dad’s hands are healthy except for his right thumb. Cancer has staked its claim.

Today his hands are whole. In a week they won’t be whole any longer.

Several children are in the reception area as we wait to see the doctor.

Dad and I have big mushy hearts for children and the elderly.

Wherever I take my father, he attracts both. When I’m alone with him, our spirits mirror one another.  I have precious glimpses of his love for life and his joying in it.

He always gives others joy.

Especially children.

A tiny, chubby, cherub of a baby girl, maybe eighteen months old or so, walks all around, exploring the waiting room. She’s adorable with her light brown little face, big dancing brown eyes, and constant smile. She begins peeking at Dad, who watches her, sending her his own big smile.

I think she’s fascinated with his snow white beard.

It isn’t long before she pauses in front of him, gazes up at him.

She looks over at me, not quite seeming to know what he is or what to make of him.

I nod, and smile back at her sweet, inquisitive expression.

“That’s a Grandpa,” I tell her, “Grandpa’s are to love.”

She turns back to look at him, to study him for a few long seconds, then without a hesitant step, she toddles straight over to him.

Her little arms encircle his legs, and she lays her head-full of chocolate-colored curls right down on his knees in the dearest, gentlest hug I think I’ve ever seen.

Then, she raises her head to look up at him, and sends him another beautiful smile before she toddles off to her family.

Tears brim in my dad’s eyes.

Mine too.

What dear, precious, pure love! A hug for Dad—through her sweet little arms—from God’s own heart.

The stinging dread of what my father will have to go through—what he will miss—softens a little for me. I’m not sure what Dad thinks, but I’m praying.

On the way out, Dad stops to pass his good cheer to an elderly woman in a wheelchair. He pats her arm and gifts her with his words of encouragement.

I watch age-etched lines ease away with her smile.

The doctor is confident that he’ll go through this surgery just fine.

I am too.

God is with us, will strengthen and help us, and will uphold us.

We’re called to love–to love our heavenly Father with all our hearts, and others as ourselves.

With His help we can! ☺

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

Jesus answered the scribe, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Have you seen and experienced love personified recently?

Mini Epilogue

We had a lot to be thankful for. Dad did come through his surgery well, and he never stopped playing the piano. He’s with his beloved Lord Jesus now, after having lived four more years. I still miss him very much. Besides that precious baby girl, I think he was the best hugger ever.

Hug someone today!

Love,

 Sally  

What’s in Your Closet?

BOO~!

 

Most decent, self-respecting closets only harbor clothes and shoes and occasionally a few imaginary monsters that come out at night and scare the dickens out of little kids.

Not my closet!

 

 

 

Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is.

 

So, here goes!

 

 

Along with the clothes and shoes, I keep a coloring book in there!

And a big box of crayons.

(And Play Doh. Yes, for me. I like that messy fun stuff too.) Of course, I tell everyone that I have crayons and Play-Doh for when little ones come to visit.

Which is partially true.

And things were going well for my once-in-a-while secret, relaxing fun until  . . .

Eleanor came to visit . . .

and I decided to share

and the cameras came out.

So we’re all down on the floor, an adorable, almost-two-year-old great grandniece, my fun-loving daughter-in-law, Sarah, and me.

And there goes my secret.

But that’s not the end of the story!

 

 

Several weeks later, “You’ve got mail,” my better-half says, and hands me a package.

Two seconds later, I’m holding this! Coloring Book Secret Garden

My Bugs Bunny days have been challenged! Seems my wonderful younger brother, and sister-in-law heard all about my love of coloring and decided I needed an adult coloring book!

It’s gorgeous. A magical and fantastically cool gift! I may be 102 and coloring outside the lines by the time I finish it and probably won’t find all the “half-hidden creepy crawlies” lurking inside, but I’m already loving it—

How about you? Any little secret quirky things from childhood you still love to do?

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.”
Plato

“Children always challenge me to live in the present.
I marvel at their ability to be fully present to me.
Their uninhibited expression of affection and their
willingness to receive it pull me directly into the moment
and invite me to celebrate life where it is found.
Whereas in the past coming home meant time to study,
to write letters, and to prepare for classes,
it now first of all means time to play.”
Henri Nouwen

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them;
but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it,
He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me,
and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.'” Mark 10:13-14

Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child
will by no means enter it.” Luke 18:17
Love,

Sally

I have to tack on a P.S. here!

I wrote this blog post several days ago, planning to post it late tonight, Sunday. And this morning’s sermon just happened to be titled, “Play-Doh”! Each of us who attended received a block of the fun stuff to work with during a profound talk that did a lot of focusing on softening our hearts.

I came home and took this photo of my package of Play-Doh, along with the front of today’s church bulletin, and the little red blob of soft Play-Doh that spent an hour in my hand.

Kudos to Molly Peterson, our vibrant young Director of Student Ministries, who did a fantastic job of delivering the sermon since our pastors were away!

The Driver’s Day

The morning is bright and cool as the scent of fall wafts through the open sunroof. On her way to an early appointment, The Driver has her tunes playing and she’s loving the solitude.

. . . Until a sight on the side of the road goes against the grain of normal and makes her look twice.

The woman she just passed was—
Really? Trying to hitch a ride?

No. Can’t be. Not safe these days.

But a glance into the rear view mirror reflects the young woman, her thumb waving in the air, and she isn’t alone.

The double-take restarts The Driver’s day with head-shaking wonder over the nudge to do something.

You’re kidding, Lord! Turn around, go back, and pick up that young woman and her two children?

The Driver’s not in the habit of giving strangers rides. Besides, her car is too small. She’ll be late. And what if the woman needs more than a ride . . .
Her excuses pelt down like rain.

She glides past, the mind-poking irritation turning into curiosity and compassion that has her turning her small two-door coupe around a block and a half later.

Surely someone will have picked them up by the time she gets back there.

But, no. This is still hers to do.

Emergency blinkers and right hand signal clicking away, she pulls over to the curb. With a prayer, The Driver shakes her head again, plasters on a brave, like-I-do-this-everyday smile, and opens the car door, motioning for the woman and her two children to get in.

There’s hustle and bustle and back packs and the fresh scent of scrubbed clean, smiling little faces, as “mom” wedges her two children into the cramped back seat and sits in the passenger seat.

“How far are you going? Where?”

Ann introduces herself. The gutsy, determined, scrappy mother of three (there’s a baby at home) had been right out there on the edge of the busy road during morning rush hour—thumbing!

She was absolutely going to get all of them to school—her two children to the local Christian Academy and herself to the community college—one way or the other.

The Driver, whose chin is still on the floorboards at this mama-thumber, learns that Ann is a Christian and full of a diamond-in-the-rough faith. Ann shares that her husband, who is taking care of the baby, is fresh-out of a rehab for drug problems, has no job, and she may give him another chance.

She wants so much more for herself and her family that not even lack of transportation will stand in her way—and she openly thanks God and The Driver for today’s ride.

The Driver, not so openly, thanks God too, for His nudge to do this thing.

What a wonder to meet someone so determined to pull herself up and out of her current circumstances.

Ann will make it. She’s diamond, gold, and granite. A rock in the midst of the swirl and growth and change in her world.

Ann says she’ll walk from here, but The Driver will have none of that and waits while Ann walks her children to the school doors and returns for her ride to the last stop . . . the community college campus.

It’s been a long time since Ann and her children were passengers in The Driver’s little car. Once in a while, The Driver gets to find out what happened to those she’s encountered. Not this time. But it’s good to think about that heavenly urging and to pray that Ann and her little ones had a good life, maybe even the one Ann envisioned for them all that bright autumn morning.

 ♥

I recently read that we should be praying and watching and looking for the things God is doing and asking Him if and how we might join Him to help. A little different than coming up with our own ideas of serving/helping/volunteering, isn’t it?

Some time after thinking about The Driver’s encounter and writing this post, I came to another reading. In My Utmost for His Highest for February 28: “We are not told to walk in the light of conscience or of a sense of duty, but to walk in the light as God is in the light. When we do anything from a sense of duty, we can back it up by argument; when we do anything in obedience to the Lord, there is no argument possible . . .”

It’s good when our “arguments” quickly fall by the wayside.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:4-5 NKJV).

Are you paying attention to the nudges you have that you just know that you know are from God?

Love,

Sally

Little Things

Multitasking as a wife and mom, starting a new job, and keeping a household in some semblance of order was a challenge.

There were mornings when I’d end up on my hands and knees, maneuvering in a business suit, wiping up spills when my six-year-old tested the effects of gravity and let his nearly full cup of juice do the Jersey Bounce off the kitchen floor.

Then before I could breathe again, “Mommy, the dog got out!” from my frantic ten-year-old daughter—wearing exactly what I’d said she couldn’t only five minutes ago. You know—the times when you could just grab a pillow and scream into it.

There was always that choice—

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, there was always hope I’d find the dog, deal with the dressing disaster, get them to school on time, and make it to work without wearing some of the juice—

And prayer. There were times I’d be mopping up mess and praying  “And while I am down here, Lord . . .” and the prayers would spill like the juice had, with splashes of complaining, and pleas for help with patience, and wishes for more time and energy to cope.

It helped to come across little things like Klara’s poetic prayer and how Brother Lawrence turned work into worship.

And while I am down here . . .

Lord of all the pots and pans and things
Since I’ve not time to be
A saint by doing lovely things or
Watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the dawn light or
Storming Heaven’s gates
Make me a saint by getting meals and
Washing up the plates.

Although I must have Martha’s hands,
I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots and shoes,
Thy sandals, Lord, I find.
I think of how they trod the earth,
What times I scrub the floor.
Accept this meditation Lord,
I haven’t time for more.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love,
And light it with Thy peace,
Forgive me all my worrying and make
My grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food,
In room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do,
I do it unto Thee.

Poem by Klara Munkres

 

 

 

“We can do little things for God. I turn the cake that is frying on the pan, for love of him; and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king.”
Brother Lawrence, from The Practice of the Presence of God

When have you tugged on the Father’s robe with your most earnest prayers?

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13 NKJV).

“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand” (Psalm 73:23 NKJV).

“The LORD is a shelter right by your side”  (Psalm 121:5b  HCSB).

Popcorn Memories

I’m honored to have author, speaker, singer, Ann Cooper McCauley, posting on the blog today! I know you’ll love her warmth and humor as much as I do. Enjoy Ann’s . . .

POPCORN MEMORIES

One night, a few years ago now, my body as always longed for rest, but the alarm jolted me awake at midnight’s blue, when the kids would be fast asleep. What?!? Then I remembered. I slipped from beneath flannel sheets and electric blanket into the still cold of our ancient house, looking back with longing at my soft pillow. The century-old stairs creaked as I scaled them in cloak of darkness, a tight fist about a one-dollar bill. I tiptoed through the upstairs maze, my feet dodging dressers, cast-aside shoes, and prickly, little carpet tacks at every portal. As I shivered, I smiled to myself; my mission would soon be accomplished. A baby tooth awaited me in a snack-sized Ziploc tucked under my second-born’s pillow.

Carefully, carefully, I inched toward Jarred’s bunk. Five feet… Four feet… Three feet away from his wee, slumbering snore… Faint moonlight softened his little face into a deceiving sweetness. Two feet… I reached out… And the world plunged from its axis! My legs went sprawling in mid-air; the breath I’d been holding burst into a wild, squeal of terror. The room shifted, rocked, rolled, and I landed in a bruising heap among more than a thousand glass marbles.

Looking up at the ceiling, I knew with icy certainty— my favorite red-haired mischief-maker had booby-trapped the tooth fairy! Every scene from The Ransom of Red Chief went flying through my head, as I turned red with fury.

That night carried the real potential to send me over the proverbial edge, though I forgave my repentant son, toothless grin and all. The next day, black-and-blue and sleep deprived, I needed a vacation, but there was no money for such a luxury. I calculated the cost of a sitter for the day and decided I was worth it, but none were available. Randy will watch the kids this evening, and I can escape. But events conspired against me, and of course, he had to work late.

I was stuck. Stuck! Stuck! Stuck! And in the midst of my stomping about with no glamorous place to hide from this exasperating day, memories began skipping through my brain like popcorn. Pop! Pop! Pop!

POP! The time my creative toddlers destroyed their room. No, I really mean destroyed. As in every toy out, every stitch of clothing strewn. Have you ever stood at the door to that room? Well, I knew they couldn’t clean up their mess alone – but I simply took one look, turned and walked away, shaking my head like a lunatic and babbling, “Just – clean it up.” When I returned, they had cleaned it all right. Around the baseboards in perfect rows marched a baseball, a shoe, a Big Bird bank, a sock, a soldier, another shoe, baby lotion, a Fisher-Price tape player, another sock, and on, and on, all the way around the room. I sipped my iced tea and studied the two-man clean-up crew, now chasing their squealing younger sister.

POP! The morning my son, Joshua, decided to take down the chain link fence. I had never analyzed how a chain link fence is put together, much less taken down, but my son visualized a fort built from that section of fencing. Not only did he dismantle the section screw by screw, he also took the garden shears and cut an ingenious doorway through the middle of it. Would you think dull garden shears could cut through chain? I stared at the gaping hole, thinking, My head is actually going to explode this time.

I had two choices: I could have an aneurysm, or not. Making the obvious choice, I looked at my son and said – teeth clenched – voice low, “Put. It. Back.” By sunset that evening, the section was back in place, the center bound together with wire like a great incision.

I learned from each catastrophe. When did each shenanigan my children pulled, transition in my mind to an endearing memory? Finally, I sat wilting on the back stoop, watching my kids romping in the yard, and with memories came bubbles of laughter.

I sipped my iced tea and reflected on my life with children. Hadn’t God been good to me, after my first child was stillborn? Hadn’t He whispered to me that I would have children? Me. The mom of six blessings. My heart softened. Despite my annoyance, He refreshed me. From that night forward, the tooth fairy never again retrieved teeth from under children’s pillows—making the exchange instead at the downstairs’ bookcase.

But I learned that survival is about clinging to God’s merciful gift of humor, gracing me with the perspective to laugh at, and occasionally even with, my children’s hoodlum ways. Sometimes a restorative vacation is just a step backwards into a few blessed minutes of hysterical laughter.

So, pop back in time, and tell me your funny. When did humor help you survive?

Previously published on anncoopermccauley.com shared with permission.

Thank you, Ann for sharing your post with us!  Be sure and visit Ann’s blog and enjoy her delightful sense of humor as she shares her many stories. Here’s a little about Ann.

Ann McCauley married her sweetheart thirty-eight years ago. The McCauley’s have seven children, four internationally adopted. Ann’s first stories were published by Baker/Revell in the book, Loved by Choice—True Stories That Celebrate Adoption. She led a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national organization for grieving parents, and a grief counseling support group, Wellsprings. Ann, a songwriter for many years, has led praise and worship, shared her original music with churches, and performed in fundraising for Holt International Adoption Agency. Mrs. McCauley has shared her adoption and homeschooling experiences with churches, rotary clubs, women’s seminars, and homeschool support groups. She’s been a speaker and singer throughout Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ann’s motivational speaker service, The Power Behind the Story, can be found on her website. She is now taking bookings for engagements. Having written three historical novels, Ann hopes one will be picked up by a publisher soon. Her agent is Diana L. Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency.
Website and Blogs: anncoopermccauley.com

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7 NKJV).

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV).

Has humor helped you survive? We’d love to have you leave a comment!

 

Random Rainbows

Rainbows and Ripples

My idea worked great!” says he.
Me? I just grin at my son the “Wizard” and look around for the Yellow Brick Road!

 

Early evening pulls me into my open-windowed corner, my favorite place to #relax a moment after a full and busy day. The rain has stopped, but water still pools and drips from countless leaves. Birds call their final notes before settling for the night in some mysterious, secret place.

The white paper I’m writing on turns to gold in the reflected sunset. Joking, laughing men talk in the driveway of a neighbor’s home. Noise and chatter fade from the voices of children as they wring out the last bit of fun before the inevitable call to bath and bedtime.

Little Lisa and her brother, the youngest of several children in a family who are new to the neighborhood, ride their tricycles in the deserted road. Son, Jim, has dubbed them the Munchkins. Lisa calls to her older friend. “Zinda, Zinda, come and see, we found a rainbow!” An excited little brother jumps from his trike as Lisa gazes in pure delight at a puddle beside the road. And, of course, in the puddle, an oily skim reflects a rainbow in the evening light.

 

Ragamuffin Rainbows

Early this morning, his dad asked Jim to flatten some ground where we’d removed some large plants. Planning to add a new room, we’ve begun to clear that area.

Later, since Jim took his job assignment very seriously, when he spotted the mob of “Munchkins” playing outside, he had an idea. He’d save himself some time and trouble–and have some fun. He’d ask them all to come over and tramp the area down. They’d have a great time and he’d get the job done. So it was “Follow me. Do what I do!”

Well, I totally missed it, but what a sight that must have been. Six or seven little kids and a great big boy, marching around, trooping up and down, leveling the all that dirt!

“Worked great, Mom!” he says, looking all satisfied, with a “job-well-done,” expression on his face.

Me? I just grinned at the “Wizard” and looked around for the Yellow Brick Road!

It’s been a good day, Father. Thank You for every moment of it.

[Glimpses from my Notebook]

“Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord” (Psalm 96:12 NKJV).

“Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it’” (Luke 18:15-17 NKJV).

“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24 NKJV).

And within each day, there’ a story.

What are you rejoicing over and being glad for today?

PS: See that little cutie up there doing the puddle jumping? His dad titled the photo of him “Jack-in-the-puddle.”