Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Last year I wrote about the “other side of mothers day”.  The fact that for many of us this is a day of struggle, remorse, and grief. 

If you didn’t read it, I suggest that you do.    Don’t read it for me.     Read it for your family, friends, and co-workers who need you to read this for them.   Click HERE 

This year I want to share something very UPBEAT.  Very POSITIVE. 

It is a collection of my memories from my years with my parents. 
It is just simply a list of ‘thank yous’.
This is taken from a booklet that I made them for Valentine's Day 1995

I've only included here what applies to my Mom. 

As you read these, I hope it will remind you of some things for which you can be thankful.  It's so easy to forget.

As I wrote, 
I laughed!
I cried!
I felt like my ‘heart grew 3 sizes that day’ with love for my parents. 

Even though this tends to be a sad day for me, this shows what a blessed life I’ve had.
What a wonderful mother I have.
How blessed I am that both my parents are still living and still blessing me and still upholding me in their prayers every day.   

Thank you Mom for :

·         Taking all those wonderful pictures of me in Berrytown, PA, so that I can still remember my first home.

·         planting pansies along the cellar door, making them one of my favorite flower to this very day.

·         not minding, when I was a baby, singing and humming myself to sleep – during church!

·         not holding it against me when I hid my shoes at age 3 and you couldn’t find them.  Ever.

·         going with Dad where God told you to go.  A Free Methodist orphanage and  “old people’s home”!    Exposing me to parentless and struggling children and the lonely elderly.  Helping to equip me for a career in nursing.  Helping to create in me a spirit of compassion.    

·         you and Aunt Mame teaching me how to shop for “just a few little things”.

·         helping me realize that ‘things’ are NOT important.

·         helping me realize that God and people ARE important. 

·         showing me how there is always room for 1 more (or 2 & sometimes more) at the dinner table at the last minute. 

·         always being concerned for others

·         caring,  praying, loving and taking a real interest in the ‘boys’ from the ‘Homes’ (orphanage). 

·         letting us ‘adopt’ Grandpa and Grandma Wilmart.

·         showing us how important it is to spend time with those who are alone by taking us to see them on a regular basis.  Mr. Harodine,  Miss Cheney,  Miss Schantz, the man up the bank on the Falconer-Kimball Stand Rd and others. 

·         My brother and sister, Marty and Mel

·         letting Grandpa Maynard live with us. 

·         being allowed to play checkers, chess, and Clue by the hour with my Grandpa Maynard.

·         not smacking me when you found out where the grit on the donuts really came from. 

·         for loving and caring for my Dad

·         being thankful for and proud of all the handiwork that Dad did around  house. 

·         loving me, even though I was and still am far from perfect. 

·         crocheting butterflies for my sweater.

·         crocheted butterflies and pineapples all over my house.

·         finding the funds to let me take piano lessons

·         letting us always have a dog and cat

·         praying for me.  Always.

·         living by the Bible

·         making me memorize scripture verses

·         teaching and showing us to treat everyone with respect; not to stare; and to never make fun of anyone. 

·         teaching me that life and people are often not fair -  but that didn’t give me a reason to be. 

·         not discussing or ridiculing other people

·         always being there

·         not aborting me

·         not abandoning me

·         never calling me names, never telling me I was stupid.  Never saying ‘shut up” or “Why don’t you just go jump in a lake”

·         not believing me when I was angry at you and said “I don’t like you anymore” or “I wish I’d never been born”.

·         my inability to really comprehend what a dysfunctional family would be like.

·         calmly answering or trying to answer all the ‘whys’, ‘how comes’,  ‘what fors’ and ‘WHY NOT!’

·         putting your arm around me on the back porch and telling me you were sorry that you had hurt my feelings.  Thus teaching me not to be afraid to say “I’m sorry”. 

·         acknowledging that even adults are wrong sometimes.

·         proving it by your disastrous decision to boil the maple sap into syrup right there in our very own kitchen!!  Thus causing the wallpaper to sag uncontrollably, and the paint to bubble & peel.

·         proving that Christians do not have to be sad, somber, sullen, and glum.

·         popcorn and fudge on Sunday evenings after church

·         drilling us on our ‘parts’ for the Christmas program – when we sitteth down, when we riseth up, and when we walketh along the way – until we had it perfect. 

·         climbing millions of stairs during my ‘elevator phobia’ stage.

·         being patient and non-condemning during my ‘irritable sarcastic’ stage.

·         putting up with me when I would kick you under the table, when I thought you were eating something you should NOT during my ‘know-it-all’ stage.

·         fixing refrigerator cookie dough for my birthdays.

·         eating my green applesauce, green mashed potatoes, and green cottage cheese on St Patrick’s Day.  Once!  When you left for awhile and I was in charge of lunch. 

·         letting me believe that mothers have eyes in the back of their heads and can see around corners.  It was very useful 20 years later.

·         having ears that could hear a bird three miles away, yet able to ignore your children’s squabbles so we could work it out ourselves. 

·         getting silly instead of grouchy when you are very tired. 

·         walks in the woods, watching the birds, collecting the wildflowers, wading in the creek and watching meteor shows.

·         letting me climb trees and run through the fields.

·         having faith that I would grow up to be a lady even though I much preferred fields, creeks, trees, woods, rocks, butterflies, birds, and stars. 

·         your gift of reading to us with all the appropriate and sometimes hilarious facial expressions,  sound effects, and hand motions. 

·         giving me a love for books, reading, and learning.  Always.

·         allowing us to leave our “fly beds” on the window sills

·         allowing us to have pollywogs on the window sills so we could watch their legs grow. 

·         Letting us bring worms into the house for the pollywogs after we had seen them eating worms in the stream behind the barn. 

·         agreeing that snow really does look like “spider legs’ when you are riding in the car after dark and the snow is coming straight at the car lights. 

·         apricot jam sandwiches in my lunch bag. 

·         honey-drop cookies with apricot jam filling.

·         trying to teach me to be very careful about the words I said, and reminding me that if not, I might have to go and ask forgiveness. 

·         lovingly calling me your ‘little pepper pot’, when I was upset and spouting off.

·         not being angry when I called you from Kansas and told you that we had just gotten married – without you.  I realize now that it must have hurt, but you have never said a word about it to this day.  And you have loved this farmer I married with all your heart. 

·         being understanding and patient when I would call home from Kansas and could only cry, because I was so homesick. 

·         coming to see us often.

·         not washing your full-length mirror for weeks – maybe even months – because Terry or Tammy had left their hand prints there.

·         cooking that approximately 2000# turkey that one Thanksgiving even though you don’t like turkey, but because your grandchildren had given him to you. 

·         spending all that quality time together in the middle of the night when that above said turkey pan started leaking.  Throwing salt into the oven and then over your shoulder.  When I asked why you did that, you said (in your tired silly voice), “I don’t know.  I heard it helps!  It can’t hurt!”. 

·         the life-changing experience of riding with you when we took off from a green-light, just to have our front seat sail backwards, jerking your foot off the accelerator, causing the car to dramatically slow down, causing our heads to careen backward then forward then backward, causing you to start laughing uncontrollably.    

·         being a fun grandma

·         interceding and praying for your family, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and those to come.  Continually

·          letting me quietly know one Thanksgiving (with tears in your eyes),  when the grandkids were all trying to recreate a childhood photo of all of them on the staircase, that the picture could NEVER be recreated because Terry was no longer here and it was NOT fair.  I so needed for someone to say it to me THAT day.  Sometimes it felt that people had forgotten that he had ever existed. 

·         spending hours and months researching and creating my “Terry” book.  Extracting everything and anything about Terry from every letter that I had send, that you had sent, from every source possible.  There were so many things that I had forgotten and so much that Tammy had not known.  A priceless gift.  The best gift I have ever received. 

My 89 (almost 90) year old Mom.  Sitting at her organ.  
·         giving me such wonderful memories that I could create this “Thank You” book for you. 

·         a happy childhood

·         being my cheering section

·         being my biggest fan

·         being MY mom!

I love you forever and forever. 
To the moon and back.
Happy Mother’s Day to the best Mom in the entire world.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

message from the bulletin board (1)

What does your office space look like?  
What does your office say about you?
What message does your office portray?  

What kind of impression would another person glean about you just by seeing your office space.  

My office space happens to be in a hospital.  
Just down the hall east from the Emergency Room, the ambulance entrance and the helicopter pad.  
Just a few steps in the opposite direction from the Medical-Surgical nurses station. 

 It can be a little noisy with all the traffic past my little office.  There are a lot of troubling sounds and cries that reach my office.  
I NEED reminders of God's love and presence

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Second chances

credit:  V. Gilbert and Arlisle F. Beers
"Don't be alarmed, the angel said. 
You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. 
He is risen! 
He is not here. 
See the place where they laid him. 

But go, tell his disciples . . and PETER

He is going ahead of you into Galilee. 
There you will see him, just as he told you. " 

Mark 16:6-7 

Did you catch those two words?
those 2 'hope-filled' words? 
. . . . "and PETER."  

Why were the women at the tomb told to "go tell his disciples . . AND PETER?"
He WAS one of the disciples, 
so . . .  why did the angel single-out Peter?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

He has risen!

"Don't be alarmed," the angel said. 
"You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. 


He is not here. 
See the place where they laid him. 

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 

'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. 
There you will see him, just as he told you.' " 

Mark 16:6-7

Saturday, March 31, 2012

the story

Have you ever gone to a funeral of a person you knew and learned large parts of their life 
that you NEVER knew?  

  I have - and over and over during the service I'd think,
" I didn't know she did that."  "Why didn't I know that?"  
Over and over.  
Why hadn't I taken the time to listen for the story?

Why hadn't they shared their story?
When I was Discharge Planning at our small rural hospital and as a nurse, 
it was my opportunity to visit with every patient.  
I found  if I sat down on the patient's level and just asked them about themselves,  I could hear their stories.  

One day I heard the horrific story about our patient struggling in the hills of Italy during WWII where most of his buddies died.  
I heard several stories from the South Pacific and Europe during WWII.   Or about the effects of Agent Orange during Vietnam and how no one would listen to their symptoms.  

I've listen to woman after woman tell me about their child - the one(s) who died, who left them so early.  
Every woman wanted to tell me about their child, that child's specific traits, their special laugh, - just wanted me to know that they had lived.

I happen to know that in their hearts they were really 
saying 'don't forget'.  
I know!
I also have the fear that everyone will forget my child
But I can't forget all those good and happy stories about raising children,  enjoying grandchildren,   

I've heard so many stories that I wish I'd written them down. 
Everyone has a story. 
We all have a story. 
We help people to heal by listening
Just listening. 

This cab driver in the story below allowed this dear lady to remember her story - her life. 
I hope that I've learned to slow down enough to listen.
To hear the stories that have changed and shaped lives. 

I pray that this story will touch your heart like it did mine.
May we all learn to just sit down
May we all learn to stay quiet and listen.
May we all learn to give 'moments of joy'

Janet Macy

the Last Cab Ride
 by Kent Nerbum (adapted from "Make Me an instrument of Your Peace")

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. 
After waiting a few minutes I honked again.
Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice.
I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had
lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils
on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said.
I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'  
'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave
me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'
'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..
'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft  voice..'
The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me
the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were
newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that
had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she'd ask me to slow  in front of a particular building or corner and
would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was
creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building,
like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to
the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were
solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to
the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.
'Nothing,' I said
'You have to make a living,' she answered.
'There are other passengers,' I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning
light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift.
I drove aimlessly lost in thought.
For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.
What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully
wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

"There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation."       James Nathan Miller

"If speaking is silver, then listening is gold."                 Turkish Proverb

Friday, December 23, 2011

the irony of the Christmas story - the wise men

He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, 
but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. 
The hands that first held him were unmanicured, calloused, and dirty.

No silk. No ivory. No hype. No party. No hoopla.

Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. 
And were it not for a group of stargazers, there would have been no gifts.
 Max Lucado 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the irony of the Christmas story ~ the shepherds

I want to share two (2) thoughts with you that I find rather ironic, surprising if you will,  about the shepherds and the Christmas story.  I love God’s sense of humor. 

Did you know that Bethlehem was right ‘under the nose’ of King Herod?   I didn’t, until a few years ago. 

The Herodian, the largest fortress-palace of the ancient world was built on the highest point of the Judean Desert.  It literally looked down on Bethlehem.  The Herodian could be seen from anywhere in Bethlehem.  It would have been a rather formidable symbol of King Herod’s power hanging over the city.  It has been said that the shadow of the Herodian moves across Bethlehem as the sun sets. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Let there be light

. . . and there was light.  God saw that the light was good"   (Genesis 1:3-4)

I put up the tree last evening and as I plugged in the lights, I said “Let there be light”!  

All the lights of the holidays 
  • the lights on the tree
  • the star on the top of the tree
  • the candles flickering
  • the twinkling beams radiating from the wreaths
  • the glow from the garlands
  • the radiance from the candles of the menorahs
remind me that it was our God who created LIGHT

Have you ever noticed how many times or ways that LIGHT is involved in the Christmas story?