Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some Lessons From My Precious Grandchildren!

I remember well when my Dad got a license plate holder that had a saying on it. He had a Cadillac and was a no frills guy, so some car decor was a surprise.

The license plate holder simply said, "I am a proud Grandpa!"

Jessi and Amy literally melted his heart. He adored them. He turned into mush when they were around. They had him wrapped around their little fingers. This big, huge mountain-of-a-man was literally smitten with those two darling daughters of mine. He used to say, "I am learning about life all over again through their eyes."

Well Dad, first of all, I miss you every day. Second of all, now I get exactly what you meant. Me too! I am smitten. MY grandbabies have melted my heart. I am learning some of life's most precious "lessons" through their eyes!

Side Note: So no one feels left out, this post will only cover several of my precious grandbabies and I'll cover some of the others in future posts. :)

Let's start with...a drum roll please:


Ah, Emma! Last night Bert and I were downtown for dinner and a movie. We chose to eat at the Nordstrom Cafe. As we entered Nordstoms I began to chuckle. Bert asked me what was so funny. I recounted a recent shopping trip Emma and I took downtown and our walk through Nordstoms where she wore the most amazing fedora-like hat with a black sequined band. She had on a neck scarf, skinny jeans, and a grin from here to Alaska. THAT GIRL HAS HER OWN UNIQUE STYLE! She could have been right out of a fashion magazine!

I can't tell you how many Nordstrom salespeople stopped Emma and said, with some reverence, "Wow, niiiiiccceee Hat! I LOVE it! You look great!" Emma would just grin, say "thanks" (as she has impeccable manners), and she literally swaggered through the store with such fun and self-confidence that she left a trail of grins in her path. I giggle every time I re-live that memory!

Emma and I did a MAJOR shopping trip together at Christmas time where she picked out presents for her parents and Boppa. Every present she picked out had her own unique sense of taste, fashion sense, and color. Emma likes to refer to me as "My best shopping girl!" and I stand in amazement at her sense of style. After all, though it's hard to remember, SHE IS SIX AND A HALF YEARS OLD. YIKES!

Yet Emma is more than just someone with style. She lives life "all out" and pushes the envelope in everything she does. As I watch her swim or run, go to some of her kids triathlons, and hear about her snow skiing adventures, I am in awe of her guts, determination and love for life! Thanks for the great reminders, Emma, about really loving life and living it to the fullest! You are MY best shopping girl too! I love you to the moon and back!

Be a "go-getter" in everything you do! Give it all (shopping, swimming, running...) 110% effort! And while you are at it, for heavens sake, have your OWN style, a style that makes you happy to look in the mirror, makes you whistle while you walk, gives a little bounce to your step! Live life and be all you can be!

Drum roll please...


Ah, Jacob! It is so hard to believe that you are eight years old. Where has the time gone? You hold such a special place in my heart, and in your Boppa's too. I remember so well having you at the dinner table, years ago, and we were talking about God and someone who didn't believe in Him. Very dramatically you fell to the floor, legs up, and declared dramatically, "WHO couldn't believe in GOD!!??"..rolled your eyes, and pretended to be dead!

From the time you were little you have reminded me that God loves me. You have reminded me to pray at meals. You have reminded me that kindness to others trumps every other human act. Just recently, when you were over at our house, you knew that Jenna would like to play the harmonica. You looked all over, found the harmonica, and without blowing it once yourself (with the kindest look on your face) you gave the harmonica directly to her. But what all of us who watched this act of kindness knew was...YOU love to play that harmonica. But you set that aside to be selfless with your sister! Your Mama also told us the story of when you were at one of Papa's basketball games, and he was sweating and asked for a towel, and you took the t-shirt off your back and gave it to Papa to use since no towel was around. All I can say is "WOW!"

Your heart-of-gold and feelings on your sleeve approach to life, your loyalty to those you love and sense of protection for your Mama...well, you inspire me! Thanks for the important reminders sweetie! I love you to the moon and back!

Remember to be grateful to God for everything! Remember that He created you. Live your life with the Lord in the center.
Cherish those you love that you call your family! See the best in them as they might be gone tomorrow. Forgive them, stick up for them! And be kind and unselfish. Don't be afraid to be humble. Give away the things you love most and you will be truly blessed.

Drum roll please...


Ah, Jenna! Just thinking of you makes me grin from ear to ear. You are such a hoot! Your crazy hair, love for life, super grin, love for "My skool!" all just cracks me up! You are the miracle baby, the baby God gave to your Mama and Papa. You are the sweet daughter your Mama had longed for. Yup, you are an answer to a thousand prayers.

Yet little did I know that God also sent you to our family to help heal my heart! Time with you has been a balm and healer to my soul. Your hugs and unconditional love have brought back my smile. Every time you put a hand on your hip and announced, "You stay, I go!" I broke into giggles. Seeing you drag around your Dora "back pack" filled with your treasures, watching Dora with you, seeing you color pictures, hearing you clap and yell for Emma as you watched her at a all makes me smile. You are so loyal and possessive of those you love... your love for YOUR family, YOUR Momma, YOUR Daddy, YOUR Pooky, YOUR Boppy, YOUR Sissy, YOUR Zacky claim us all with such zigor and assurance!

Thanks sweetie for reminding me that I am dearly loved and claimed by you as YOUR Nana! I love you to the moon and back!

Just be yourself! Have fun! Remember to laugh! Give great hugs and snuggles to those who are sad. Be dramatic, it won't kill you or those around you. Make them laugh by being silly. And most of all...claim those you love! They are YOUR sweeties, YOUR loved ones. Let them know it too!

In short, I am so blessed to have these precious grandbabies in my life! My Dad was soooo right! I am learning about life all over again through their eyes!

God Bless!
Love Linda

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Look Back on 2009..Some Tough Questions and Some New Resolve.

*Disclaimer- A Word of Warning: This post is not easy to write and perhaps not easy to read. Only proceed ahead if you have the courage to know more about me.

Recently Bert and I sat down to review 2009. I love how, in some cultures, they name a year..."The Year of the Boar", or "The Year of the Pig."

2009 was the year I had dubbed as "The Year of the Flood." I used that term, not so affectionately, since 2009 started with a major flood from our third floor deck that took from January 2009 until late September 2009 to remedy.

Yet "the flood", in my mind, was both literal and figurative. 2009 felt like a year that required a HUGE, HUGE effort on almost every front. While I could pull out some wonderful moments in my memory for '09, and each of those is a blessing I hold dear, the overwhelming sense of "struggle" that was 2009 left me feeling drained and sad. I must have said a thousand times, "God won't give me more than I can handle", but by the end of 2009 my words seemed somewhat hollow.

A good friend asked me a question during all of this. A question of sorts, but more of a statement. She said, "I look at you Christians and kind of laugh. Aren't you caught between a rock and a hard spot? If you screw up and are human, we see you as hypocrites (not living up to your faith), but if things go really well and as you say "prayers are answered", we also are skeptical.
Some of you (and she was kind enough to qualify not me) think you are so perfect. Life is easy for you since you can give God the glory or just say this wasn't in His plans. Which is it?"

Now to some folks, this kind of a question might seem disrespectful to my Faith, yet with my best friends, those I am most comfortable with, we can put huge differences out on the table. We can ask the hard questions and talk about them respectfully.

I answered this complex inquiry in this way:
* Life is NOT easy being a Christian. In fact, the Bible tells me that my life will be harder.
* I am trying, with God's help, to do what He would have me do in situations. I am ANYTHING but perfect. But what I know is that God forgives me, even if some people can't. He holds a high standard for my life and He is ultimately the One I have to be accountable to for all that I do.

I talked to God alot during 2009. Like Ann Lamot says. "He can take whatever questions or rantings you need to give Him."
When my heart felt broken in 2009, broken like it would never come back together again, I turned to Him.
I asked Him how I could have tried so hard to do the right thing and ended up in this place?

Bert has walked with me through all of the hills and valleys of this challenging year. He has listened endlessly as I have cried, sobbed, and questioned. He has been my Hero!

And as we sat down and reviewed this chaotic year, the "Year of the Flood", he said this to me, in his own wise, wonderful and quiet fashion...

"It's really a choice," he said. "You did the best you could, every day. You tried to be loving and honest, and you tackled some huge and very tough challenges, turning to God with every decision."

And then he said "the clincher", the words that helped put 2009 into perspective for me...

"This year made you STRONGER. Easy years don't, but tough years build your character!. I'm proud of you, Honey, that you hung in there to do what you thought was right"


So, TAKE THAT... 2009! I built more character, because of you! I am stronger, because of you! I am closer to God, because of you! I know who my true friends are, because of you! I look forward to 2010, taking all the lessons you taught me!

I AM STILL STANDING, in spite of you! And for that...I praise God!

No matter what happens in 2010...easy or hard, challenged or bombarded...I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

And she found her soul saying a hearty "AMEN, to that sister!"

God Bless!
Love Linda

**PS. When I finished reading this blog entry to Bert, and turned around in our living room to look out the window, we saw a HUGE, triple rainbow...bright and shining, a full rainbow... or as Bert said, "A big ass rainbow!"
Looks to me like God heard me and He's smiling... :)

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