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Mimi, you’re beautiful!

This past Friday we received an early morning call that Callan was sick. Both parents needed to be at work that day so the request was made for us to come hang with the little guy. We thought about it for all of two seconds and enthusiastically said YES! Who wouldn’t want to spend the day with this sweet kid!

Though he wasn’t feeling well when we arrived, within about two hours there was a noticeable improvement. Then the fun began. Hiding a little pumpkin somewhere in the house so the other two could go look for it. Teaching him Sudoku on the iPad and watching his joy as this math whiz had an “ah-ha” moment when he realized it was really just a math game. He loved it and learned really fast.

Of course, we also enjoyed lots of conversations such as the one where Callan described me and Greg. For me he said I was full of fun and liked to play with him. (And I do.) For Greg, he said his PopPop liked to sleep. (And he does!) Just check out this picture which shows what Greg was doing at the exact moment Callan and I were chatting.

A little while later, completely out of nowhere, Callan matter-of-factly stated, “Mimi, you’re beautiful!” Greg was awake at that moment and heard it, too. And my heart melted. Just melted.

What a sweet thing for him to say…so sincere, so full of love. (Shhh, don’t tell the others, but for that moment, he was my favorite!)

A few words spoken from the heart can mean so much.

Callan’s spontaneous outburst changed everything for me in that moment. It filled me with joy as I was reminded that I was loved. That he thought I was beautiful. And that it was important enough to him that he took the time to express himself.

Can you imagine if we all did that? We often have wonderful thoughts about others but don’t always share them. We may appreciate an effort on their part. We may notice something about them we admire. We just may genuinely enjoy someone’s presence. But I’m  not sure we actually tell that to others on a regular basis.

Callan didn’t wait for the right words or the right time. He just blurted out something that was on his heart. And it really touched me. Not only that he thinks I’m beautiful, but mostly because he took the time to tell me.

I want to be more like Callan.

I don’t want to just think nice things about others. I want to take the extra moment to let them know. It would be so meaningful to them to actually hear our words of praise, appreciation, or love.

The right word, at the right time, is like precious gold set in silver. (Proverbs 25:11)

Callan, you taught Mimi a beautiful lesson this week. And I’m sharing it with now others. Maybe one day, we’ll all be a little more like you and take the time to let others know how much they mean to us.

Mimi

Living Until You Die

Last week I shared a story of being in Hobby Lobby, kind of in a hurry, and racing someone (without looking like I was racing them) to the only available cashier.

Today I share with you the reason I was in Hobby Lobby to begin with: my uncle. My Uncle Jack had received a totally unexpected terminal cancer diagnosis just a month ago and time was drawing close. My rush that day was to purchase the right card ahead of time so I would be prepared to send it to my cousin (Jack’s daughter) when that fateful day came.

The unexpected diagnosis.

While in Ohio visiting Greg’s brother in late September, we received the news about my uncle. Because he was given anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, we immediately began preparing for a trip to Nebraska so we could visit with him. Just two days after arriving home from the Ohio trip, we were on a plane with my dad to spend four days with Jack, my dad’s brother, and his family.

At first, Uncle Jack seemed much the same–a younger version of my dad.  And with a twinkle in his eye he greeted us. But it soon became clear that the liver failure was taking its toll. Yellowing of the skin and eyes, weakness in body, and a growing liver that caused great indigestion. He was very sick indeed. But while his body was wasting away, Jack was still busy living.

Each day with him, we went to Panera for breakfast, one of his favorite things to do. The second night there, about 50 people came to a celebration of life party. I didn’t know most of them but it became obvious how much these people adored my uncle. And I thoroughly enjoyed watching him interact with so many who adored him.

Lots of talking.

Conversations centered on his life, his accomplishments (of which there were many) and were filled with memories. My dad and he would sit for hours talking about old times. Though Dad was 12 years older, there was still plenty to reminisce about and my first cousin and I would smile just watching the two of them remember things in such detail. It was astounding!

Other conversations were about his unexpected diagnosis and about funeral planning. Music is a major love in my family. My uncle, with his beautiful baritone voice, was still enjoying singing into his 80s. Therefore, it had to be a major component of his memorial service.

It was interesting to watch all this—the open talk of death and dying, the funeral planning, time spent going over finances and other concerns, the remembrances. Often, I would just peek in on my uncle visiting with my dad or a work colleague or friend. It made me so very happy to see how joy-filled he was at the moment.

Part of the Clan

He lived until he died.

It became obvious that my uncle had chosen to live until he died. Yes, his body was dying, but he wasn’t. Every night, with greater effort, he climbed the stairs to his second-floor bedroom so he could sleep in his own bed. And each morning, he used that same effort to shower, get ready for the day, descend those stairs, and make it to Panera for breakfast.

He ate supper at the dining room table as long as possible. A few times he succumbed to the sofa for a much-needed nap. But most times he could be found in his recliner where he was not only more comfortable but could live life on his terms…visiting with others, talking or texting on the phone. Occasionally, he would venture outside to the front steps to enjoy the lovely fall weather.

Our trip drew to a close and the time came for our goodbyes. Our final goodbyes. I had never before experienced this kind of sadness…knowing we would never see him again this side of eternity. That was hard. And tears wouldn’t stop flowing. But the joy that permeated his life this past month has been so beautiful, it’s hard to be sad for too long. And boy, did Jack defy the original prognosis…by two weeks!

And so last night the expected call came. At 6pm my uncle took his last breath and passed away. Both his wife and daughter were with him and the end was peaceful.

Angie and her dad

The last month was a gift. A wonderful gift.

The gift of time came along with Jack’s last days. Time to visit. Time to prepare. Time to plan. Time to talk. Time to express love. Time to be loved. Time to share memories. Time to show affection. Time to enjoy loved ones. Time to care for others. Time to be cared for. Time to appreciate life’s blessings. Time to be thankful.

This gift of time isn’t always available. So we grabbed it, knowing it truly was a precious gift. Despite the deep sorrow I experienced when leaving Nebraska several weeks ago, at the same time I experienced great joy because that four-day visit with family was one of the best ones we’ve ever shared.

It wasn’t about a grand vacation trip, or a thoughtful present given. It wasn’t about dinners out or exciting experiences. It was simply about being together, about loving each other, about enjoying our precious family.

And I am ever so grateful. For my family. For the lessons learned this past month about how to honor and cherish each member. For the opportunities ahead to show that love to each one.

And for the glorious hope I have in Him, knowing that when He calls me home, I will be ready, my family will be okay, and my eternity will be spent with the One who gave up everything to prove his love for me.

NOTE: A few hours before receiving the call about Jack’s death, I was in my car listening to Chris Tomlin’s song I Will Rise. I knew at that moment that God was letting me know that Jack’s death was imminent but I also knew that God was reminding me of the glorious new life promised and reserved for those who call Him Lord. Read these lyrics and see if you agree.

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There’s an anchor for my soul
I can say “It is well”

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles’ wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

Mimi

A little fun to start off your week along with food for thought.

It’s been very busy lately around here so no time to put pen to paper. Instead, I share with you a few collages. First up is one containing some funny things I’ve been saving for awhile. And the second contains two images that are great reminders for us as we walk with God.

 

Hope your week is wonder-filled. That you are able to see God at work. And that gratefulness will permeate your soul.

Much love,

Mimi

How a small cup of yogurt reminds us that God is in control.

Today, in Florida, we’re dealing with the uncertainty of Hurricane Dorian. For a week, we’ve been tracking the storm, watching it build, turn this way and that, wondering when and where it will strike our state.

Days ago, the Governor declared a state of emergency for every county in Florida. We are surely to be impacted and possibly devastated by what could be the biggest storm in 30 years.

So, with fair warning, we top off the gas tanks in our cars, remove all the outside decorations, furniture, etc. Ensure we have water and ice, fill up our bathtubs with water, help the neighbors do the same…then wait. And wait.

Dorian’s path continues to change.

From faster moving to slower. From a direct hit near Daytona Beach with a sharp west turn, to hitting down by West Palm Beach, then further up the coast.

As with all hurricanes, they are completely unpredictable. So, we prepare as best we can, pay attention to the updates, then wait.

Oh, and one more thing…we trust God. For He is in control. He is ALWAYS in control.

The yogurt cup that reinforced a great lesson in trust.

I hope you will use this LINK to read a story from my friend Janet about her family’s experience with Hurricane Frances that hit Orlando in September 2004. Her recount of the event is thrilling, frightening, and faith-filled.

Whether you are facing a physical hurricane like Florida is, or a hurricane of job loss, illness, etc., God is in control. And He’s got you. Read on HERE and see if you agree. All it took for this family was a plastic cup of yogurt and the faith of a tiny woman to remind everyone of this important lesson.

Love you,

Mimi

Going with the flow.

Going with the flow…a phrase you don’t often hear me say. And until 20 or so years ago, it was a totally foreign concept to me.

Going with the flow evokes a kind of spontaneity I’m totally unfamiliar with because I’m more of an orderly, scheduled person. The idea of flying by the seat of my pants, without a plan is both mystifying and at times uncomfortable to me.

But a few decades ago, it was lovingly brought to my attention that though being orderly and scheduled can be very good qualities, they can also be confining. They can stop the creative flow. And they can definitely get in the way of a spontaneous adventure.

Change has come.

I haven’t changed overnight, but I certainly have changed over the years and have come to embrace a bit of spur-of-the-moment fun. It doesn’t always come naturally or easily, but I find myself more and more willing to go with the flow of whatever is happening and enjoy the moment.

And just to prove how much I’ve transformed, I’m going to share something with you. Take a look at the two pics below. I’m not sure if you can figure out what’s going on but here’s the back story.

Last week, Greg and I spent the day with Kate. Greg’s plan was to paint Callan’s bedroom and mine was just to hang with our daughter. Knowing we would arrive at her house before she did, I came prepared to take a walk by bringing my exercise clothes: shorts, lightweight tee shirt, sports bra, and unders.

There was just one problem.

While changing into those exercise clothes, I discovered I had brought two unders and no sports bra. What a predicament. I really wanted to get my walk in and no matter how many times I looked through my bag, the sports bra was not to be found.

But since I’m much more able to go with the flow at this point in my life, I got inventive. And if you look again at the two pics, you’ll notice what I did: I turned one of the unders into a makeshift bra!

Once I felt fully covered and prepared, off I went, not at all self-conscious at all and actually feeling pretty good about myself and my great invention.

There’s nothing to worry about.

Really, don’t worry. I’m not going to let this become a regular thing or part of my walking routine. And it’s definitely not a new fashion trend I will be embracing. It was simply me being quick-minded and carefree enough to be able to take my walk.

And to that end, I’m claiming this verse from Exodus 35:35:

The Lord has given them (me) special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers.

I think the verse really fits, too. After all…my unders were blue, somewhat woven, and I designed a new use for them!

I’m just having fun with all this.

It was just a silly situation that I made the best of. I was actually proud of myself for not giving up. I easily could have stayed inside Kate’s nice, cool house playing games on my iPad. But I was willing to think outside of the box, perhaps look a little unusual, and go with the flow to accomplish my goal.

How about you? Do you have any go with the flow stories you want to share?

Love you all, Mimi

Does God want our kids mowing the lawn? A guest post from Jason Wright.

A friend recently shared this story with me and it’s a good one. Of course, I’m now sharing it with you. Please use this LINK, then skip over the FoxNews flash headlines and get right into the article that follows.

The author, Jason Wright, is a New York Times bestselling author, columnist, and speaker. He’s written lots of books and is a popular speaker. Some of his topics include inspiration, faith, and the lost art of letter writing. Want to know more? Just click HERE.

Let me know what you think about today’s post. I bet you’ll agree with me that this story reminds us some very important truths.

Mimi

I’m proud to be an American!

In just a few days the nation will be celebrating the anniversary of our independence. I thought it fitting that I share Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA. It’s just one of those songs that brings you to your feet in joyous acclamation for the freedoms we enjoy every day in this great land. Feel free to turn up the volume and sing along!