Pomp and Circumstance

It was just a year ago we were celebrating Callan’s pre-school graduation. Now we have another preschool graduate in the family: Addison Reid.

We had the best time honoring Addie last week and reveling in her accomplishments. As part of the presentation, each child was asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. Addie’s response? “A rock star!”

And to this Mimi, she already is.

This is just the first of many academic milestones to come into her life. And we will look forward to each one and join in the celebration of hard work and achievement.

To Addison:  We thank God for you, Addie. You bring great joy to your family and make our lives so full. You are precious in God’s sight and precious in ours as well.

Congratulations on your graduation. We know how very excited you are about entering Kindergarten. You really are a rock star!

We love you to Heaven and back!

Mimi

What? Me old? No way.

I saw the above sign recently and it really tickled me. In my mid-60s I’m reminded daily that my body is not as young as it once was. New aches and pains interfere with activities, age spots suddenly show up that weren’t there yesterday, and brain fog is constantly keeping me from finding my car keys.

Perhaps you can relate.

While I sometimes want to fight the inevitable, I also (most times) graciously accept help when offered. A discount on an attraction ticket? Sure, I’ll take it. A shorter distance to throw the disc in disc golf? Don’t mind if I do. And preference in sitting up front? Why certainly…if you insist.

That’s why the above sign hit my funny bone. Out walking for a bit of exercise, it appears that some places are letting you know ahead of time there’s an easier path reserved just for you.

But while life may offer accommodations, I don’t see that in God’s word. In fact, we are admonished to stay on course and finish well. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

So, let me encourage you today that you can make it. There’s no need to take the “old timers” trail. Keep on fighting, continue heading toward your finish line, and stay strong in your faith.

Mimi

Warm hospitality greeted us in Murphy, North Carolina.

There are lots of ways to spend Memorial Day weekend. Watching parades, honoring our Vets, doing nothing at all, catching up on your recorded television programs, making up for lost sleep, taking a short trip, etc. And taking a short trip is just what we did.

Traveling with friends, we drove to Murphy, North Carolina to see some other friends who live in the Bear  Paw lake community where it is secluded, wooded, quiet, and absolutely lovely. The photos here don’t do it justice.

While there we took a boat ride, did a little walking, went to several potluck suppers, met lots of friendly people, and partook in a few naps as well. There’s just something about sleeping with windows open and the birds singing that lulls you to sleep…even in the middle of the day.

What made this particular adventure so much fun was that we were all so completely taken care of by our hosts John and Marie. We were welcomed with open arms and we left rested up, with precious memories, and tears in our eyes.

There was not a thing we needed to do or bring to make our stay wonderful. All was provided down to packets containing toothbrushes and toothpaste in case we had forgotten ours. While we were invited to help ourselves in the kitchen, we were also soon to find out that John and Marie wanted us to enjoy a relaxing get-away so they took care of all the meals from food prep to cooking to cleaning up afterwards. And Marie is quite the cook. I think we all ate a little too much of her delicious meals!

It had been awhile since I was pampered to such an extent. And while my first instinct was to insist I wanted to help, I realized John and Marie were giving us a gift: of hospitality and relaxation. So, I graciously accepted everything they did for us and enjoyed a wonderful three days with people I love.

The Bible has much to say about hospitality and caring for others. John and Marie were shining examples.

  1. Love others. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also area to love one another” (John 13:34).
  2. Put others first. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
  3. Work tirelessly on behalf of others. “And let us not grow weary of doing good…as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

Our Beautiful Hosts

It’s easy to be on the receiving end of hospitality, yet the giving end, though often joy-filled, can also be exhausting. But let’s rise to the Scriptural challenge to extend hospitality as we look for opportunities to serve others, to warmly invite them into our lives, to be willing to work without ceasing to meet their needs. And to show them the amazing, astounding love of Christ.

Mimi

Happy 91st Dad

Ready to Go (Dad is on the right)

So…as you already know, since moving to Clermont nearly a year ago, my dad has enjoyed many adventures. River tubing and flying in a biplane to name two. Dad has recently added one more item to his Thrill List: he went zip lining! Oh yes he did.

On a visit to Gatorland, he and a few others decided to give the zip line a go. I guess being 91 has nothing to do with whether or not you try something new.

Look, up in the sky, it’s Dad!

Dad continues to set such a great example of living life to the fullest. He’s been a lifelong volunteer extraordinaire: singing in choirs and glee clubs, serving on the planning board and condo board, volunteering through AARP to do taxes (up until last year), working the polls for most elections. In his new residence, he helps lead the worship team and often is the stand-in leader for daily devotions.

Add to that his many adventures and trying new things—gee, he makes my life look dull!

In the midst of all this he celebrated his 91st birthday two weeks ago. And since he had two commemorative bricks in his honor in Juno Beach, we thought he deserved one in his new hometown.

At this point I have no idea what pictures I’ll be posting of my dad’s next birthday. At the rate he’s going it could be of him jumping out of an airplane! (Just kidding Dad.)

In any case, I’m proud to call this man my dad and delighted that after many years we now live so close together. Love you, Dad.

 

 

Mimi

Memorial Day: A day to remember…and give thanks.

Memorial Day is a day on which those who did in active military service are remembered.

This important holiday has evolved to include honoring all who have served, whether they have died or are still with us. I love when I see someone in uniform and then hear a voice thank them for their service. In all my years, this is something relatively recent and it’s beautiful. Our gratitude is well-placed when we realize their sacrifice keeps us safe.

But just the words Memorial Day brings up memories and thanks for many things. I think we would do well to maintain a spirit of gratitude daily.

The Bible speaks to this often. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1). “Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1). Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

I could go on and on. But you catch my drift.

There is something wonderful about giving thanks. It centers our thoughts on God foremost. As our provider we acknowledge Him and His perfection. It takes our thoughts off ourselves and our issues. Giving thanks acknowledges our trust in God to care for us. And it reminds us of all our blessings.

So today I share with you just a few things I’m so very thankful for.

  • For our precious Lord who chose me before the world began to be a part of his family.
  • For God’s wonderful care and provision throughout my life.
  • For the love of my life, Greg, who I met while attending Nyack College 44 years ago!
  • For the beautiful family I have been given. I’m grateful my dad is still with us at age 91 and that I live close to my kids and grands.
  • For provision (roof over my head, food in my tummy, clothes on my back, etc.).
  • For godly mentors and amazing friends who have had a part in enriching my life. You know who you are!!!

There is so much more to be grateful for but in just thinking about the above and the “more” my eyes are filled with tears. My heart is filled with gratitude. And my life is filled with joy.

Mimi

Dress A Girl Around the World

I’m very excited this week to talk about a wonderful organization. There is much to tell so the post is about twice as long as usual. My hope is that by the time you finish reading, you’ll start thinking about getting involved yourself.

When I moved to a new community last September I came across a wonderful group of ladies who make dresses for little girls around the world. Through donations of material, time, and money, these ladies sew and send out brand new children’s dresses because “We dream of a world in which every girl has at least one new dress. We want girls to know that they are worthy of respect and that they are loved by God.” (http://www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com/)

Dress A Girl Around the World was established as a non-denominational organization in 2009 with a goal to bring dignity to women around the world. Since its start, Dress A Girl has delivered well over 300,000 dresses to 81 countries.

The Heritage Hills (Clermont, FL) group is a subgroup of Dressed in Hope located in Lake Nona (Orlando), Florida. It started organizing in 2015 under the direction of Linda Smith who wanted to “pay it forward” and she did! It is currently 60 members strong.

Some  make the dresses. Some make the little dolls that are tucked inside each dress pocket. There is even a fellow sewer from southern Florida that brings her dresses to Linda to be included in the shipments.

The ladies sew in their own homes but they come together to share their experiences. Through laughter and stories, every sweet dress is displayed and talked about. This show and tell time provides inspiration to continue on with this project.

Each dress is based on a pattern provided but the similarity ends there. With different fabrics, patterns, pocket placement, dolls, and embellishments, every little girl has their own unique creation. Dress a Girl Around the World believes every girl deserves a new dress so please visit their website (CLICK HERE) to see more photos of some very happy girls from around the world proudly wearing what may be their first new dress ever!

Twice a year a Bag N Tag event is organized to prepare the dresses for shipment. The usual tally from Dressed in Hope is around 200 dresses, made possible by the generous Heritage Hills community through donations of cash, fabric, and sewing notions. These donations keep Dressed in Hope going and as Dee states “We cannot thank everyone enough for thinking of us in this way.”

How Dress a Girl Around the World makes a difference (from their website):

By providing a new dress you may well be changing a young girl’s destiny.  We all know that a new dress makes us feel good, so imagine never having had one! A new dress tells each precious girl that God loves them, that someone else loves them enough to have made this dress especially for them. That makes a difference in how she feels about herself and can definitely change her destiny.

In addition, village pastors tell us that a girl wearing new dress presents an appearance that she is well cared for and may discourage would-be predators. Since we attach our Dress a Girl label on the outside of each dress, it sends an additional message that each girl is under the care of an organization, giving her added protection from those who would harm her, predators or traffickers.

The Invitation

You, too, can make a difference and are invited to get involved in any way you can.

Local people should contact Linda Smith at 407.656.0266 or Dee Kafka at 407.347.5085 for more info. And those from other areas can simply visit their website (CLICK HERE) for more info and to find out if there’s a local chapter in your area.

It’s been my pleasure to talk about this wonderful organization this week.

Like me, you may not be able to sew but perhaps you have materials or notions in a drawer, maybe you want to shop for some for someone else to sew, maybe you want to work at a bag and tag event, or maybe you want to donate money. All donations would be appreciated by a local Dress A Girl chapter or if none in your area there are ways to donate through their website.

Another great way to be involved is simply to share this on social media. I just bet there are others out there like myself who will want to become involved after learning about Dress A Girl and with your help we can spread the word.

A big shout-out to Deanna Kafka, one of the many Heritage Hills ladies who sews, for providing much of the info contained in this week’s post.

Mimi

It’s Mother’s Day…Again

Boy that went fast. It seems like just a few months ago I was facing my first Mother’s Day without my sweet Mama. But I didn’t write anything about it at the time because she had just passed away a few weeks prior.

Mom had been very sick and my dad was in rehab trying to recover form a severe head injury. With Mother’s Day coming just a few weeks after she died, hubby and I were pretty much in a daze. It didn’t even cross my mind that this was the first Mother’s Day without her.

But this year is a little different. I’m more aware that it’s Mother’s Day and there’s nothing I can do for her. No gift to make or buy. No special card to find that perfectly expresses my heart. No surprise visit to spend the day with her.

As I walk around the stores with their Mother’s Day displays my heart yearns to pick up a little something for Mom, only to be reminded that she’s no longer here.

Sigh…

It’s really ok. Most of my sadness has been replaced with the precious memories of having had a wonderful mother for so many years.

And even though Mom isn’t here this year, I can still honor her. I’ll look at her picture, spend some time remembering her, and mostly I’ll just be grateful. She really was someone special! And I was so blessed.

Mimi