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My Christmas gift to you…a bit of laughter

I suppose I should write a heartwarming story about the birth of our wonderful Savior, express thanksgiving for His coming into the world and into my life, or share a family story with you. But no. I’m going a different route.

This year I’m giving you the gift of laughter by sharing with you some recent events.

A little background before I tell you what happened. It concerns technology, something I’m fairly good at. Oh, I have my limits, but I love using an I-pad and touch technology; I can touch and swipe with the best of them.

Fast forward to last week. It was a baking day and while a delicious sour cream coffee cake (a family favorite) was in the oven, I put my feet up and began reading a print catalog. Fairly soon I saw an item that interested me, and deciding I wanted to know a bit more and to see the photo a bit larger, I simply touched the picture so it would load additional info with a larger picture.

Nothing happened. So, I touched it a few more times until I realized DUH! It’s not going to load anything else. It can’t load. It’s not digital…it’s print!

I kid you not. I’m so used to reading on my I-pad that without thinking about it I treated a printed advertisement as if it was digital and then couldn’t understand why my finger taps weren’t doing anything. Let the laughter begin!

But the story isn’t quite finished. I had no sooner stopped shaking my head at myself over trying to touch printed material to “load” it, when I walked back to the kitchen and noticed something. A softened stick of butter was sitting on the counter. (In hindsight, I believe it was actually mocking me.)

Why was it mocking me? Well, this wonderful family coffee cake recipe is delicious because of the butter…TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. And I had only used one. After it finished baking, I sampled it and while it tasted good, the texture was off and it was definitely missing the decadent buttery yumminess. Needless to say, I ended up baking another one.

Both incidents really made me laugh. And during a time when we can get stressed and overwhelmed, I realized maybe you could use a giggle, too. But most importantly, I believe they happened because I have a dear, dear friend who needed to laugh. So, with great joy, I called her and told her my story. And laugh she did. And it was music to my ears.

My gift to you this year was the laughter that came with some funny stories. I know you have gifts to give as well…gifts you can share with others. Some of you can bake a great cake (that actually includes all the butter!). So, bake and share that cake with some neighbors.

Some are great with words, so share those words with others. Write a note or pick up the cell phone and make a call.

Others do crafting or crocheting or knitting. I bet the hospital NICU could use some knitted baby caps for preemies or the grumpy neighbor could use a homemade anything to bring cheer.

Still others can run an errand for someone, buy a gift card, say a prayer.

Gift giving began with our Lord. He gave us Jesus…the very best gift of all. He set a beautiful example that we can all use to help us carry on the tradition in 2018.

Merry Christmas to all.

Mimi

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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

Fixing the broken pieces of our lives.

img_5881Getting mail in December is a lot of fun. But getting a thick envelope or package is an extra delight.

I recently received a thick envelope from our Ohio family. Eagerly tearing the paper, anticipating what I would find inside, my face lit up with a big smile when I saw the Lenox angel ornament. But within seconds I also noticed the angel had broken in transit.

No worries. A little hot glue and voila! The angel is good to go and now hanging on my tree. And the ornament now serves as a beautiful reminder that God heals the brokenhearted and bandages up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

We all endure wounds that often leave scars. Scars of hurt, scars of betrayal, scars of loss. Yet those scars tell the story of our lives and the glories of the One who intervenes and heals. “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT).

Interestingly, if you look at the angel on the left (you may need to zoom in), you can barely see the scars of hot glue while on the right they are clearly visible. Another reminder that while scars may remain, they often fade and become less noticeable over time. There is indeed hope that our own scars will eventually be less painful, too.

Bearing scars dear friend? Be encouraged and don’t be ashamed for they are producing a glory in you that points to God and His redemptive love and healing.

Mimi

Missing Mom

Lee Turner (my mom) celebrates her 88th birthday, March 2016.

Lee Turner (my mom) celebrates her 88th birthday, March 2016.

So while taking a walk the other day and as I often do while walking, I pulled out my phone and prepared to ask Siri to call someone. It’s a great time to chat. No distractions, just plenty of time to talk with a loved one. Only this time I was unable to make the call. You see, when I started speaking to Siri I realized I was asking her to call my mom.

What? My mother passed away on April 27 and since that time I’ve thought about her a lot. Often times with sweet memories; other times with sadness. But never once have I thought to call her until the other day.

And right on the heels of calling Mom came the realization that I could never do that again. And that, my friends, led to the waterworks being turned on. Instead of walking and talking to Mom, I walked and remembered her. I talked with God about her. And I realized how very much I miss her as I cried my way through my neighborhood.

After arriving home, I called my sister-in-law to share the experience as I knew she would completely understand. Because she had lost her father earlier in 2016, too. Since both our parents had lived enjoyable and long lives, and because both are in Heaven with the Lord right now, most of the times we experience the joy of knowing we’ll be reunited with them again one day. Yet, sometimes, the sorrow of missing them rushes in and sticks around awhile, before once again retreating. I knew Linda would understand. She did. And she provided that human touch I needed at the moment.

This will be my first Christmas without my mom. For just about all my 63 years we’ve been together each December 25, a tradition that began on Christmas 1953…when I was born.

12-13-2016-mothers-quoteThis year there will be no homemade coconut cream birthday pie lovingly made by Mom. There will be no reminders that when she gave birth to me on Christmas that meant she wasn’t home with her 16-month-old daughter, my sister.  There will be no memories of how long it used to take to open all the presents because we insisted on watching each person open every single gift one at a time. Indeed, one very special someone will be missing from the festivities. And this daughter will no doubt experience her loss all over again.

I know for many Christmas can be a reminder of what isn’t rather than a celebration of what is. So I will allow the sorrow to wash its waves over me but I will also smile and be ever so grateful that God gave me a precious, wonderful mother to raise me and point me to Jesus.

Mimi

So Very Thankful

thanksgiving2016craftsJust look at those pictures. Continuing on with our after Thanksgiving tradition, the family gathered in Clermont to enjoy some pre-Christmas fun. Decorating the house, crafting for young and old alike, baking cookies, eating some good food, and mostly just being family. We had a great, great day.

One of our projects was to come up with a decoration for Dad’s apartment door. You’ll remember he won a prize for Most Festive for his decked out fall-theme so we have high hopes for his Christmas door as well.

The result, as you can see, is a large Christmas tree made up of the handprints of each family member who could be here with us in Florida. But whether or not all family members were here, we included them on the tree ornaments so Dad’s Christmas door tree will contain reminders of all his loved ones.

At this time of year, families gather to spend time together, to love one another, and to build lasting memories. This time of year also reminds us of God’s family and His deep love for us. He sent his son to be born on earth, live as our example, and provide the way to eternal relationship with the Father.

So like many of you, I’m very thankful for my wonderful family, near and far. And I’m truly eternally thankful to God for providing a way to Him through His precious son Jesus.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)

Mimi

The rainbow comes…but only after it rains.

 

Hubby and I decided to get away for a few days. After tossing around several ideas, we settled on exploring a bit about this state we’ve lived in for 16 years. So we ventured to the Crystal River area on the west coast, then headed over to Gainesville to see the sites there.

We began by kayaking in Crystal River where we hoped to see some of the manatees who “winter” there in the warmer waters. We would have missed the one right next to us if a fellow kayaker hadn’t pointed it out to us!

Then we headed to two state parks to enjoy some hiking and an absolutely beautiful afternoon.

The next day we were off to Gainesville to visit the Devils Millhopper Sinkhole, the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, and Paynes Prairie Preserve.

SinkholeClimbThe Sinkhole was accessed by climbing down a boardwalk of stairs. It took our breath away when it was time to climb back up. But you should have seen the people who were doing it multiple times for exercise!!!

In the gardens we experienced a bamboo forest, meandering pathways leading through flower beds, and all sorts of metal sculptures along the way.

On the way to Paynes Prairie Preserve the sky threatened rain and though both of my weather apps assured us no rain was  expected, by the time we got off the highway there was a light mist. We decided to visit anyway and with umbrellas in hand parked our car and headed off to the observation tower hoping to see some of the wild horses or bison that roamed the land. Yes, I said bison.

ObservationTowerThe nagging mist dampened my mood a bit (pun intended) and yes, several grumbles came from my spirit right through my mouth. But we climbed the observation deck anyway. And were rewarded with six horses is the distance. No bison that day but the horses were thrilling enough. And though the misty rain continued, my mood brightened and I was able to enjoy the experience.

And that’s when it happened. A rainbow began growing. At first it seemed like all we would see was a partial arc. It began to our right and then grew longer and brighter right in front of us until before our eyes was a complete rainbow in all its glory. I couldn’t take enough pictures and though they don’t do it justice, you can see a bit of what we saw that day.

RainbowThen it hit me. Here I was complaining about a little rain when it was that very rain that provided the opportunity to view the spectacular rainbow. If we had had the sunny day I was hoping for, we might have seen the horses but we certainly wouldn’t have seen the rainbow.

And so, dear readers, I was reminded that the rainbow comes only after the rain. So, too, in life. Some of our greatest joys come after our darkest despairs. And while none of us wishes for those dark times we can take hope in knowing that as we pass through the waters of despair, God is there. He is with us. And He IS our hope. (Isaiah 43:2)

With love, Mimi