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Fun in Safety Harbor along with a “Happy Birthday” to Linda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow is a very special day. Two of my precious loved ones share a birthday: daughter Kate and sister-in-law Linda.

In celebration of Linda’s birthday, the hubster and I drove to St. Pete this past weekend where she and her hubby (Greg’s brother) have a winter residence. And part of our fun time together was spent in beautiful Safety Harbor.

This sweet little community sits right on the water. It hosts a giant oak tree estimated to be 300-500 years old as well as a very beautiful water feature. If you zoom in, you’ll see several large Florida water birds made of metal. It’s really something in person!

Walking past the fountain, we encountered a fishing pier where we watched a cormorant (snake fish) wrangling a fish for an afternoon snack.

And it got even better…

…because after our walking tour of charming Safety Harbor, we found a nearby Dairy Queen and enjoyed some of their yummy blizzards!

And this was one of those times where I didn’t think at all about carbs, sugar, calories, or the fact that it was close to supper time. Instead, I just went with it and thoroughly enjoyed my DQ visit.

Family is everything.

The older I get, the more I appreciate family time. Jim and Linda live most of the year in Ohio, so while they are here in Florida, we plan on taking full advantage of spending as much time with them as possible.

Even though Safety Harbor and Dairy Queen were great fun, it really isn’t about what we do as a family; instead it’s about who we do it with. Time with Jim and Linda is a joy. It’s a God-gift of love to us both. And it’s always a reminder of how blessed we are to be able to see each other as often as we do.

So, happy birthday sweet Sis. We sure do love you.

Mimi

p.s. As an added bonus (and surprise to Greg and me) Uncle Jim called up our Kate and invited her and the family to meet in Tampa for a fun-filled Fossil Fest. So that’s the whole gang in the photo above.

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God’s perspective is something to celebrate.

See him? Do you see my sweet grandson way, way up in the tree? Look again. He’s there. And boy, is he up there!!!

When I watch him scamper up the tree in person, I hold my breath and pray for his safety. Without a care in the world, he’s up in the top branches in no time. And the word that comes to my mind is FEARLESS. While perhaps the word that comes to his mind is “FUN.”

As a grandma, it’s difficult to watch an almost 8-year-old climb so high. I fight the urge to yell “Be careful, look out, take your time…” Even if his physical ears can hear me, his “listening” ears are totally tuned out at the moment. So, I keep quiet, watch, and try to enjoy seeing him have a blast.

When I was his age, I was climbing trees all over the neighborhood. It never dawned on me that it could be dangerous. It was just so much fun to reach a perch above the neighboring roof lines and get to enjoy the view and perspective only attainable by being so high above the ground.

On the ground and looking up, I have no way to really assess how Callan is doing. I can’t possibly know if he is as secure as he thinks he is.  I can’t judge if this is a good idea or not. I can’t predict if a limb will snap, falling to the ground along with him. And that’s because I just don’t know.

From experience, I can have a rough idea…

…remembering how I felt when I used to climb trees. I can use math to try to calculate weight and mass. I can make an assessment based on his athleticism. And I can even project my own insecurities and make him come down. The fact is, my perspective is too limited to make proper assessments.

But I have a Father in Heaven who has full perspective, the right point of view, because He is over all and He sees all. He created us and the world and knows exactly how it all fits together. Because He can see the big picture.

God knows the beginning from the end and all the in between goings on in our lives. He knows when we’re in dangerous territory, and He knows when we’re safe. He knows when we can stretch our wings safely on a new adventure, and He knows when we need to stay on the ground.

God can ensure all aspects of our lives fit together for good.

He can take a bad situation and turn it into something beautiful. He can pick up the broken pieces and create a masterpiece.

As our Master Designer, God has created a great plan for each of us. So, when He watches from a distance, He is completely aware of everything. Nothing is left to chance. We are His and He is ours. Our lives are in His hands and we can trust Him with everything.

We can be assured that God has a plan for us that will be fulfilled, and that the plan is a good one.

From the beginning I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago I told you things that have not yet happened. When I plan something, it happens. What I want to do, I will do. (Isaiah 46:10 NCV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Experiencing some things right now that don’t seem to make sense?

Praying that even if your own perspective is off, you’ll still be able to rest in the Lord, trusting Him with every aspect of your life.

Mimi

Happy 40th to my first born.

This week I’m writing my story on Sunday because today is my son’s 40th birthday. We got to spend a wonderful weekend with him and my heart is overflowing with thankfulness to God for this precious gift to Greg and I. So, I thought I’d share a little about him with you.

Tim made me a mom.

Tim came along when I was 25. I thought I remembered how I felt during his pregnancy and birth, but after finding my handwritten journal notes from that time, I realize my memory had faded quite a bit.

Tim was our first. My only childcare experience came from having a much younger brother and doing a little babysitting as a teenager. So, I guess I felt ready and prepared. After all, back in those days, you took classes in “prepared childbirth.” Since I took the classes, I must have been ready. But it turns out I wasn’t at all prepared.

One journal entry a month before his birth mentions we had a crib and one or two onesies but that was it. There hadn’t yet been a baby shower and I hadn’t bought anything else including diapers. My notes mention wanting to meet this little one (didn’t know if the baby was a boy or girl in those days until out they came!), but they also mentioned we weren’t exactly set up for the new arrival.

And once he did arrive, the notes talk about being depressed and feeling inadequate. My heart aches for the 1979 me. I can’t remember how it was, but it must have been lonely. I know I was thoroughly in love with my new baby, but I also read about how much of a failure I felt.

Thankfully, the depression lifted and Greg and I fell into our new parental roles with great, great joy.

About Tim

Timmy, as we called him, was adventurous, fun-loving, a sweet friend and protector to his little sister, and a delight. He had his own sense of style and on any given day his over the knee sox were either pulled completely up or rolled perfectly down to his ankles.

As a man, he takes amazing care of his family, loves them fiercely, continues to enjoy a great sense of style (though his knee sox gave way to black no-see-um ones), thrives on workouts at the gym, probably knows the songs to every Disney movie as his own little princesses watch them over and over again, and all in all makes this mama very proud.

Don’t blink.

Really, don’t blink. The growing up years are so hard at times. You want to do everything right but often do it all wrong. As a mom, you lament your mistakes and hope and pray your kids will forgive you and turn out ok. Sometimes you wish ahead, wondering what they will be like in their teens or 20s. You imagine them finding a special someone to love, having a great job they like, and then having children of their own. But if you do too much of that, you can miss the special every day moments that are precious gifts from God.

So, to other young parents, be careful about wishing time away. Treasure “the now” each day. Love hard on your kids. Forgive yourself, knowing your kids have a great capacity to forgive, too. Enjoy their sticky hands and artwork…even on the walls. Be understanding and sympathetic. Enjoy silly times with them dancing like no one’s watching, telling stories in bed at night or making shadow shapes on the ceiling.

Go to their ball games and listen to them make music, even when they choose drums and play loudly! Smile at first dates and give plenty of limits when they learn to drive. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and have high expectations. But don’t let those expectations keep you from enjoying the smaller successes along the way.

There are no do-overs.

This mother, at times, wishes she could have raised her kids with the knowledge and experience she now possesses. But there are no do-overs…until you have grandkids. Then you have that opportunity to shower all your “I-love-you-no-matter-what” kind of love on them and on your adult kids as they navigate parenting.

Tim is one of my great joys in life and I’m cherishing the opportunity to spend his 40th birthday weekend with him. To hear about one of my other great joys, stay tuned…because my No. 2 turns 40 next year!

Love to all,

Mimi

Appearances can be deceiving.

We recently received a text from our daughter showing a picture of a shark her hubby had caught near New Smyrna Beach. To me, it was rather impressive.

Then I thought…hmm, wait a minute. That can’t be a real shark; it must be fake. I haven’t heard of anyone catching a shark with a surf rod and line. So, I texted my thoughts back and was assured it was definitely a live shark. And apparently, it put up quite a fight, too.

Of course, it needed to be returned to the sea. So, they opted for the safer method of cutting the line rather than trying to fight the creature to remove the hook from its mouth. (Smart move!)

Then came the next picture…

…and boy did I laugh. In the pic above, it looks like it could have been a 3- or 4-foot shark. I was imagining the strength it took to land the thing. But without anything else in the photo, my perspective was obviously skewed as you can tell with a quick look at the happy fisherman holding his catch!

Without anything else to add information to what I thought I was seeing, my perspective was off. Way off.

It’s just what happens in our everyday lives.

We may blow something out of proportion (like I did with the shark’s size) or we may not pay enough attention to something important. In my personal experience, I see this most often with my initial impressions or reactions. So, I’ve learned I need time to investigate, research, contemplate, etc. And I need time to look to God’s word and talk to Him to get His perspective rather than relying on my own.

This becomes imperative because often I don’t have the whole picture. But God does. If I remain close to Him, if we’re communicating with each other, there’s a better chance my eyes and understanding will see and know what He sees and knows. And that, is a good thing indeed.

Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Both pictures remind me about the importance of having the proper perspective. And today’s Bible verse reminds me that above all, God’s perspective is what really matters most.

Mimi

Is your perspective skewed?

I walk once or twice a day as it’s the only way to get in 4 miles of total walking distance. That’s because walking more than 2 or 2-1/2 miles at one time seems to be more than my body can manage at this point due to those pesky aches and pains.

I try to be productive with the time by listening to a podcast, my Bible Study Fellowship notes, or a medical mystery. Sometimes I pray my way through my walk, and sometimes I just look around and enjoy the beauty of where I live.

What I didn’t realize was that I often walk with my head down. I believe it’s because of the sun’s glare. Despite the protection of my visor, the only really effective way for me to avoid the sun’s harsh rays is to tilt my head toward my chest. And that creates an issue.

As you can see…

When walking with your head down, all you see is the road immediately in front of you (Pic 1). That’s okay for ensuring my feet are on level, unobstructed ground. But this position hinders me from seeing what’s ahead down the road and from preparing for a possible deviation in my path, should one become necessary.

Of course, to compensate, I peek down the road every few minutes to get the view ahead (Pic 2). Sometimes, I even see enough to anticipate a possible issue such as the truck parked in the third picture (Pic 3).

But the other day, despite the occasional glimpses that kept me informed of what was ahead, I still missed it. With my head down, I pumped my arms and forged ahead only to go “BUMP” and head straight into…this truck (Pic 4).

How did THAT get there?

The truck had every right to be there. And with my prior glances, I should have been prepared to avoid it. And I assume part of my brain must have registered it was in my path. But without constantly keeping my eyes focused on that all-important object, and with my head mostly aimed at the ground, I missed its nearness until it was too late.

This happens way too often.

With the resounding bump bringing me to an abrupt halt also came a resounding revelation that this happens way too often in our everyday lives.

Minding our own business, not keeping our eyes on the prize (our Lord), or in the busyness of life, we miss warning signs and plow right into trouble.

And that is not something I want to do!

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:12)

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live…(Deuteronomy 4:9)

Here’s to all of us becoming more vigilant in our daily lives. Purposeful in putting God first. Careful in where and how we walk out our Christian experience. And mindful of all God has done for us so that we do not forget His goodness and mercy.

Love to all.

Mimi

Labor Day: A reminder of my hubby’s continual labor of love for me.

My hubby is a hardworking man. No matter what the task, he puts his all into it.

I laughingly tell others I don’t even know where the off/on switch is for the vacuum. He’s been doing the floors for decades…and the laundry…and the yardwork…and all maintenance both inside and outside, and so on.

Greg shows his love.

Greg likes to keep busy and shows his love by how he cares for me and our stuff.

While I was running errands the other day in my air-conditioned car, running into and out of air-conditioned stores, Greg was hard at work on an outside project in the intense Florida

After finishing up, he left his wet, sweaty clothes on a chair in the garage so they could dry out before he threw them in the laundry basket.

But as I pulled the car into the garage and saw Greg’s sweat-soaked tee shirt draped over a chair, my own heart melted at how much love he shows me every day.

Hopefully, you are able to see why as you look at the picture on Greg’s tee-shirt…the one formed by his own toil, his own sweat…a big heart.

You betcha I took a picture.

Because as soon as I saw it, I also saw the love behind it. The love that had him working in the yard enduring yet another 95-degree day. This love he has for me!

Greg’s demonstration of love is experienced daily. But there’s another love, an even more important revelation of love available to us.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What a powerful, truth-filled statement. Overflowing with amazing love for us, God provided a way to himself through the sacrifice of Christ.

Prayer

My prayer for each of us today is that we will cherish the loving sacrifice that came from the One whose heart of love for each of us is so much bigger than we can even imagine.

Mimi

Sweet love shown as we care for others.

Isn’t this the cutest picture? Recently, we had three of our four grands for a sleepover. I came across them combing each other’s hair and it just really tickled me.

We all desire to be loved and cared for.

Looking at the three of them, it would appear Callan had the best deal. He just sat there while Konnor combed his hair. He was totally immersed in being cared for.

Konnor also got to enjoy the sensation of having someone else comb his hair but he had to attend to Callan. Hmm, does that mean his experience was any less satisfying? Or does it mean he was blessed as he was blessing someone else?

And then we have Addie who combed Konnor’s hair without anyone to comb her own. Well, that doesn’t seem fair. Or perhaps she had the best opportunity to give selflessly to someone else.

It’s all about perspective.

I actually think all three shared similar experiences: the enjoyment of being cared for and in caring for others.

Often in life we are in a giving time. You see this as parents are raising children or when you provide care to someone without any expectation of getting something in return.

At other times, as we give or do for others, we are indeed are on the receiving end of a blessing. Perhaps it’s when your teenager acknowledges and appreciates all you do for them. Or as you take care of a neighbor, someone pitches in to help or provides you with a meal for your own family.

And sometimes, we are in a position to just simply receive…receive God’s blessing directly or indirectly through someone else. This may be one of the most difficult positions to find ourselves in because we’re so programmed to give that we often don’t know how to receive a blessing when it comes our way.

Wherever you find yourself today, know that you are blessed. And whatever your hands find to do, do it willingly, with love for others, and with a cheerful heart.

Remember this: The person who plants a little will have a small harvest, but the person who plants a lot will have a big harvest. Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Prayer

Father, may we give wholeheartedly to others, fully, completely, and cheerfully.

Mimi