Archive | May 2013

Persistence pays off

At what point do you give up?  I guess that would depend on how bad you wanted something or how important it was to you.  After my car was junked and we had to find a cheap replacement quickly, we acquired a vehicle that  was mechanically sound enough to get me to work and back.  My husband had taken it for a test drive and came home with my “new” car.  As my son and I took it out for a spin I climbed in only to plant my feet on a sopping wet mat.  My husband deduced that the previous owner must have left a window open.  We aired out the rugs and started fresh.

Enter the first day of rain.  Floor mats are once again soaked.  At the first opportunity we spent several hours with Protected Carbuckets of water and then a hose trying to see where the water was coming in from.  It was impossible to find the source so we covered the car with a tarp the next few times it rained.  Once again, my husband spent several hours with a friend trying to find the source.  No luck.  Each time we came up with a different idea…was it the windshield, the door, underneath the car, was rubber rotted on a seal, the hole where the antenna came out of, etc?

Finally another friend helped my husband and they discovered that one of the tubes for a drain from my sunroof had become disconnected and the water was running down inside the frame.  It was a simple fix but had taken hours to figure out.  What if we hadn’t been persistent?  It would have been easy to give up.  It would have been very aggravating every time it rained if the source had never been found.

Now that we found the source of the interior leak, there is still one more to find.  I kept hearing a “sloshing” sound.  After investigation I realized that after a heavy rain my rear passenger door fills up with water!  Fortunately it does not leak INTO my car and I have to remember to drain it after a rainfall.  I guess with some more persistence we will be able to solve it.

It reminds me of a very persistent widow in Luke 18.  Jesus told a story about her to encourage his disciples to pray consistently and to not give up or lose hope.   How easily we can give up after praying ONCE about something.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 can be translated as “pray without ceasing,” “never stop praying,”  and “pray constantly.”  And what is prayer?  Simply talking to God, pouring out your heart to Him.  It’s not difficult to keep up a conversation.  He’s always listening and ready to hear what is on your heart.  I love the way The Message translates  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”  It’s an attitude of gratitude that flows from your heart despite your circumstances.  If you are a thankful person it’s much easier to continually be communing with God or talking to Him.  It’s natural to want to spend time with Him and persistently be in His presence.

I am rejoicing.  My mechanically sound car got me to Pittsburgh over Memorial Day weekend to visit with my daughter, son-in-law and other relatives.  It rained on the way out and the way back and we were safe and dry!

Together with some of my family in Pittsburgh

Together with some of my family in Pittsburgh

Becoming your Mother?

My mother and I

My mother and I

As Mother’s day nears it got me thinking about how the older I get, the more I find myself becoming my mother.  I think it first starts when you have children of your own.  You start to hear yourself say some of the same things that she said to you when you were a kid.

Me with my mother's hair

Me with my mother’s hair

As you continue to age you not only find yourself sounding like her but you start to look like her too!  Now for me this was the real kicker because I always looked more like my dad…skin tone, facial features, hair, eyes, etc.  Both my mom and my mother’s mother, Nana, had the kinkiest curliest hair you ever saw.  My hair always had body and some wave but I would never have even used the adjective “curly”.  I was thankful that I never had their hair.  All my hair fell out with chemo treatments and when it grew back in this year, it was curly!  I now have my mother’s hair!

Is becoming your mother a bad thing?  I guess that would all depend upon who your mother is.  In my case, it is truly a compliment if I have indeed become my mother.  You see, my mother is giving, compassionate, and humble. She loves the Lord and is a prayer warrior.  She would do anything for anyone.  Right now she is recovering from some physical problems and has been sidelined.  It is killing her to have my dad and other people do things for her and to be on the receiving end of things.  She is in her element when she can be helping someone else.  From the time I was little to the present  there is hardly a holiday that I can remember where we didn’t have at least one non-relative guest sitting at the table with us.  In her 70’s now she is still bringing a group to a nursing home monthly to visit with the patients.

My mother with her curly hair

My mother with her curly hair

The strange thing is Nana was all of these things.  She was such a pillar that when my mother became a grandmother to my daughter, she didn’t want to be called “Nana” because there was only one “Nana” and I think she didn’t feel like she could live up to that.   Nana always saw the good in everyone and rarely spoke negatively about anything or anyone.  Now I see that my mother became her mother!

I see this as a legacy being transferred from one generation to another. Timothy had this legacy. “That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you!” (2 Timothy 1:5 MSG) I hope and pray that I can leave as valuable a legacy to my children even if they don’t end up with curly hair!  Nichole Nordeman sings a song called “Legacy.”  You can listen to it here 

The chorus says:

” I want to leave a legacy                                                                                        

myself, Nana with her wild hair, my father and older brother at Ellis Island

myself, Nana with her wild hair, my father and older brother at Ellis Island

How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy ” 

I feel blessed that God chose to give me my earthly mother.  I can think of no higher compliment than “becoming my mother” although my husband may disagree…ha ha.  Happy Mother’s Day Mom!  I love you!

“Blooming” trials

This week I heard the word “blooming” used in a way I wasn’t familiar with.    I had always thought of blooming only in the sense of flowering or blossoming.  The word “blooming” can be used as an adjective or an adverb, rhyming with crewman or human,  is chiefly British and was probably a euphemism for “bloody” as in a bloody fool.  It is used as a generalized intensive.

Photo credit: Joshua Siniscal

Photo credit: Joshua Siniscal

This happens to be one of my favorite times of the year.  I love to see all the trees budding and flowers blooming, the grass turning green and lawns getting cut, flower beds being cleaned up, and gardens started.  Unfortunately for so many with seasonal allergies this is not a favorite time of year but one of dread.  Green dust covers our cars and the pollen count climbs higher.  I see many with puffy itchy eyes and congestion.  It makes me wonder how something so beautiful can cause so much heartache and discomfort?  The pollen’s got some blooming nerve!

At the same time, there are horrible things like cancer or many other trials and tribulations that are not beautiful in and of themselves but can bring forth beauty.  It’s like a bulb or seed in the ground…ugly, dead, lifeless, hidden.  After a period of time and nurturing in the soil, with some warmth from the sun, and some water, a new life pokes out of the ground and blooms for all to see!

My lilac tree

Patience, the lilac tree

This is the same in our lives.  A bad report, some unwelcome news, a loss, or a heartache happens.  Our heavenly Father holds us in His bosom, comforts us, cradles us, gives us hope, warms us in the Son, refreshes our spirit with His Word, and once again we are ready to bloom in a new place where He has planted us for yet another season in life.

My oldest daughter loves lilacs and when we moved to our current house I planted a lilac tree that was only about 18″ high.  It took several years before we even had one bloom on the tree and while we waited she aptly named the tree “Patience.”  It is now tall and full of lovely blossoms but they didn’t come overnight.  It took a lot of love and nurturing, some very cold winters, and a time of waiting before others could enjoy the beauty and fragrance that it gives off.

“I will put beautiful crowns on their heads in place of ashes.  I will anoint them with oil to give them gladness instead of sorrow.  I will give them a spirit of praise in place of a spirit of sadness. They will be like oak trees that are strong and straightThe Lord himself will plant them in the land.  That will show how glorious he is.” (Isaiah 61:3 NIRV)

Blooming where you are planted (amidst your trials) is a bloomin’ good place to be!