Saturday, November 13, 2010


Just the other day, I listened to some of the old Christmas carols I grew up with. I was playing the vinyl albums on my turntable, which was connected to my computer, so that I would have my favorite Christmas music available on my iPod, my computer, and on cd. These particular songs evoked such a strong sense of nostalgia, I could almost smell the pine needles from the freshly-cut Christmas tree and taste my favorite Christmas dessert - fudgie-scotch squares. I could almost see the hand-made Shrinky Dink ornaments and the real old-fashioned Christmas lights (the big ones that get really hot) on our tree. I was completely immersed in my happy childhood, all my senses reliving the memories of Christmases past.
Music can be such a powerful medium. It can calm you, it can excite you, it can create an ambience, it can alter your mood, and it can take you back in time. Just a few bars from one particular song, and I was a child again, hanging ornaments on the branches of the dark green, pungeant, prickly evergreen tree we had cut from our own property, looking forward to the special baking that Mom did only at Christmas. As I listened to carol after carol (it's a three album collection), I was anticipating each place our old records used to skip - I still remember each one! - and was surprised and almost a little disappointed when the music continued uninterrupted. I bought this collection off of ebay several years ago, absolutely thrilled to find a set identical to the one I grew up with, minus the scratches. (As it turns out, my parents still have their set!).
Having experienced such a powerful nostalgic trip just by listening to the first lines of one of these songs got me thinking about the legacy I am leaving to my children. No, it won't involve money, since I don't have any. The memories I have of my childhood are far more valuable than any amount of money. As a child, I felt loved and secure. Although economic stress and political turmoil swirled around me, I was oblivious. My parents created a happy home for their children, even though things were difficult at times. Am I doing that for my children, or do I burden them with my insecurities and doubts? I am afraid the latter is true in my case.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Let me tell you a little about my family.
I have seven children, and nine grandchildren. They are the light and joy of my life! My firstborn, Johnny, is now twenty-seven and is married to Daphne, and they have two children - Lucien (seven) and Lily (almost two). My eldest daughter, Julie, is married to Phil, and to them have been born five children - Philip (seven), Lucie (five), Eden (three), Ella (two), and Silas (six months). My third child is a daughter, Joy, and she is married to Charles. They have two children, who are miniatures of their parents! - Isaac (two) and Addison (one). Next is Joshua, who turned twenty-one in April and is not married yet. Joanna, my fifth child, is eighteen, and still single. The only two still living at home with me are Joseph, who is fourteen, and Jennifer, who just turned twelve.
I daily praise God for the children he has blessed me with, and for the families that are springing up through them! My strongest hope and most fervent desire for each of them - children, spouses, grandchildren - is that they will each know their Creator, and love Him. I would love to see them happy, successful, surrounded by family and friends, and never knowing hardship.... but none of that compares to fellowship with their Father. If they have Christ, they have all they need. My earnest prayer is for God to draw them to Him, dwell in their hearts, and fill them with His Spirit. May we, as mothers, never cease to pray for our children, and may He grant us the desire of our hearts!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It seems there is a direct correlation between how much time I spend in communion with my Saviour and the amount of hope, peace, and contentment I have in my life. (Ya think?) And to answer a question I posed in an earlier blog (May 27, 2010 - "Why ... am I not dead?"), certainly the answer is because of God's extreme grace. Grace, as you know, implies that this is something I don't deserve. But, because of His grace, I have been given time to repent of my flagrant unbelief, idolatry, and lack of gratitude. It is true that "In Christ I can do all things," and that apart from Him I can do nothing. My life, of late, has been a bleak existence - because I have wandered away from my Shepherd. I have been a ghost of the Mom and Grandma I should have been. What an ungrateful slap-in-the-face, both to my Father who has given me so much more than I deserve, and to those very precious ones in my life that He's given me. My kids have been so patient, so loving, and so supportive through all of this, and what do I give in return? Complaining, whining, moping, feeling sorry for myself... But with what rich blessings I have been blessed! Children, grandchildren, and even more, salvation, adoption into fellowship with Christ.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Going To Hell In A Handbasket

Yup, that's me. Might as well make it complete and kill somebody. I can think of several good candidates....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Waiting on Joseph to do Taekwondo, so I don't have to make two trips over here.....
List of reasons to be thankful: My kids, my grandkids, I have a home, I have enough food and clothing, I have a working vehicle, I have air-conditioning.
Reasons to be angry/bitter/something other than thankful: My husband left me, my son is in jail, my daughter is estranged from me for who knows how long, ...
I hate the whole world. Screw everybody who has a real life. I hate them.
Ok - angry wins. My head and chest hurt all the time. Why the hell am I not dead?

Monday, May 17, 2010

I never told anyone about this dream. Who could I tell? It was before my husband left, during the bitter autumn when our marriage was dying, and I was desperately clinging to it. In my dream, he walked through a door into a room, coming towards me, and a smile lit up my face (as usual, whenever I saw him). But he didn't return the smile. And as I realized that he didn't love me anymore, I fell; slowly, backwards. And he let me fall. I woke up sobbing. I think there have only been two other similar dreams, since then, that left me crying aloud as I awoke - and I am so thankful that there were no children with me at any of those times to witness my anguish. It was difficult enough for them, without adding my distress to their pain.
I still dream about him. In my dreams we are together - sometimes, never having parted; sometimes, together again after our separation. But together. Life feels real again. I'm not alone anymore. I have someone to share everything with. But inevitably, I wake up. And it's all gone again. I remember my aunt relating a dream that she frequently had after her husband died of cancer. She dreamed that he was alive - it was all a mistake, he wasn't dead after all! It was so real, and she was so happy - overjoyed that she hadn't lost him. And then, she woke up. What agonizing pain, in that waking realization - it was only a dream. In real life, he was gone. I sometimes wonder, which is more difficult? Death, or divorce? At least my aunt can remember my uncle with love and honor - she can cherish each memory of him. But me? Every memory of my past life is now tarnished. His memory is bitter. Pictures of family, for more than twenty-five years, are tainted with sorrow and bitterness, because of him. What do I do with those memories, those pictures, those old home movies, that should be precious? They should bring joy, but now the joy is mingled with pain. It's like looking back at a past life. Not mine anymore.
Sometimes, I really don't think I'm going to make it through this.....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I have recently begun to realize that my default expression/attitude is one of dejection. This is so wrong. Throughout my life, I have been accustomed to such remarks as, "You're always smiling," or "When you smile, your whole face lights up." Now it seems that smiling is the (relatively) rare exception. I usually have either a worried frown, or a vacant hopelessness on my face these days. Except when I'm angry. And then you don't want to get in my way. Because I can kill with my eyes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here is a quote to remember, and live by, from "The Hidden Jewel", by Dave and Neta Jackson: "(She) lives as if Jesus Christ were right here in (India), and she were one of His disciples." If only this could be said of each of us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 11:55 AM

Freedom! I am beginning to experience freedom from an addiction. Over the past year and a half or so, I have become addicted to living in the past, wanting to go back. I have been dwelling in my past life, mourning over what I've lost, rather than being thankful for what I have gained - a closer walk with God, and a deeper appreciation for His blessings. Some of us are particularly hard-headed (and hard-hearted) and don't learn our lessons well the first time, and so we necessitate more difficult and painful chastisement. God knows exactly what we need in order to live fruitful, Christ-like lives; He knows far better what's good for us than we do (contrary to our natural inclination). He sees the big picture - we only see our present suffering. We can't see the future, and we too easily forget the past. (One of our church fathers) once said, "Thy hand is heavy upon me, Lord, but I rejoice that it is Thy hand, and not another." What a jewel of truth! I praise my all-wise and beneficent Father that His hand is upon me, rather than leaving me alone. "For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:12 "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently." Proverbs 13:24 Thank you, Father, for loving me in spite of my failures, and for not leaving me alone.
When I read in Exodus about the children of Israel grumbling against Moses (and against God!), even after so many miraculous manifestations of God's providence, and again in the Chronicles and Kings about God's people turning away from him, again and again, to go back to their idolatry, I wonder how they can so quickly and easily fall away. How could they so easily forget? How could they do it over and over again? What foolishness! But then I look at myself - I fall over and over again in only a matter of months or weeks (sometimes days!). Israel's backsliding was over the span of decades. In the wilderness, the children of Israel wanted to go back - back into captivity! - because they didn't have faith to believe that God would take care of them. I wanted to go back too - back to the "security" of what I had known, because I didn't know anything about life being single. Why would I want to go back? Back to being unloved, back to idolatry, back to not knowing God? Lord, please deliver me from wanting to go back. Forgive my unbelief!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010 2:11 PM

I am sitting outside on my little porch I enjoy so much, and while it isn't warm, it is - with socks, my jacket, and a hot cup of coffee - pleasant. It's not exactly a sunny day, but the clouds are thin, and I can see patches of bright, promising turquoise through the holes. I can enjoy the patterns of sun and shadow as they move across the view of my hometown that this perch affords me - on the third (and top) floor of the tallest apartment building situated on the highest hill is this complex. I enjoy this view. I love the wide expanse of sky, where I can watch the wonder of God's majesty unfold around me in every weather pattern that moves through this part of North Georgia, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. From this vantage point, I can watch the sunrise in all its glory of color and warmth. Although I can't see the sunset in the evening, I am blessed with the flood of color, the richest the day affords, that highlights every tree and rooftop and cloud in my line of sight. I can hear life going on all around me - children playing and shouting, cars, a small prop plane crossing the sky. Birds are singing today, one of my favorite of all God's gifts - a token of the coming spring, a promise of the certainty of life again after the chill grip of winter. I enjoy the breezes that caress me and bring to life music from my windchimes (and sometimes send my papers flying off the table and me scrambling after them). I appreciate the brightness and serenity of this day all the more after the dark, churning tumult of the last few days (or weeks, or months...?). Much of the gloomy and weighty uncertainty has been lifted from me - not so many "when"s and "how long"s and "why"s to frighten me and steal hours from my sleep and years from my life. Well, I do still deal with some "why"s. But my Father - the great Creator of all the beauty around me - is sovereign. Not only is He sovereign, but He is good. I know that the trials and the storms He sends us are for a purpose, and I can rest content in the knowledge that His purpose is for our good. If every day were sunny and warm, I might grow weary of them, or at the very least, cease to appreciate them. The dark days give contrast to the bright ones, and make us prize them all the more. The times in my life when all has been easy, I too quickly grow callous to God's goodness. I become complacent - fat and lazy. Then is when I need the storms to drive me to the refuge of His sheltering arms. For a season, He allows the waves to toss me, to batter me against the shore, to drag me under and threaten to engulf me. Then in the tempest He directs me to the Rock, and I cling to that Rock for my very life. There is no strength left in my fingers for clinging, but He holds me there. His presence brings warmth and life back to my failing spirit, and He revives me. With His help I can breathe again. And eventually, to my joy and delight, I can appreciate the exquisite beauty of the calm after the storm. Have you ever seen a storm spend itself and give way to the unquenchable sun? The glory of that sun shines even brighter as it is reflected on every glistening, freshly-washed surface. The sunset is not as beautiful on a clear evening as it is when there are breaking clouds in the sky. Then those clouds reflect an astonishing and miraculous array of colors as the sun sets. God's goodness and faithfulness are revealed anew to us, and we rejoice in His majesty. I praise God for the sun and the rain, and that He knows exactly when to send each of them into our lives.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Oh well, so much for living....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh Lord, please teach me to depend on You as completely in plenty as I do in want. I cannot live apart from You; when I foolishly turn away from You, and follow after some idolatrous fancy, the sun is gone from my life. All is darkness and cold. These idols may be worthy endeavors, but if I pursue them on my own, for my own glory or benefit, they become idols. If I wait for You, and make it my goal to know You and obey You, all of these things (if they are indeed worthy endeavors) will be added to me. I know You have instructed me to cast my burdens on my Saviour - He is able; I am not. My Father, I thank You and praise You that You are faithful and full of mercy. Please forgive my unfaithfulness, my idolatry, and strengthen my feeble faith. You have showered me with rich blessings, the greatest of which is Your love. My lips should never cease to sing Thy praises!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010 1:00 AM

Fear is debilitating. I am afraid. If, for one moment, I take my eyes off my Father and try to muddle through on my own, I fall. And when I fall, I lay there for a good while, wallowing in self-pity and paralyzing fear. It's these long, cold winter nights that I feel it the most - alone, unloved, unprotected, incompetent. My biggest fear is that I must go on living, and that nothing is going to get any better than it is now; the best is over - gone. There are too many ways in which I am incapable of living a productive, happy life. If I had found myself in this unenviable position - being divorced - a decade earlier, I might have had a fighting chance. But I'm only days away from my forty-fifth birthday (for crying out loud, that's halfway to ninety!), and I am tired. I can't even honestly say that I'm tired of trying, because I haven't tried. I'm just tired - tired of pain, tired of sorrow, tired of betrayal and lies, tired of life.
...But that's when I take my eyes off of my Father. Of course I am incapable, incompetent, and incomplete on my own! I must be united with Christ, my true Bridegroom, to be whole, and to be able to do anything. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. On my own I can do nothing; I am nothing. He is my strength, my joy, my love, my life. Why should I expect to have any of these things - strength, joy, love, or life - without Him? Perhaps that is part of the reason He, in His infinite love and wisdom, took things away from me - things that were idols to me. I was basing my love, strength, and joy on something other than Him. Instead of praising God for the rich blessings in my life and loving Him even more for them, I saw only the gifts, and dropped my eyes from the Giver. What unfaithfulness! What idolatry! Father, please forgive my unfaithfulness! Thank You for being faithful to me, despite my failures. Thank You and praise You for being eternal and unchangeable. And thank You for Your great mercy toward me!