Kindergarten Here I Come

Just look at this sweet patoot. Turning 6 in September, Addie is going to be entering Kindergarten this year. And by the look of her expression, she’s as excited as can be.

For this Mimi, it is hard indeed to believe how quickly time has passed since her birth. Our elders are always telling us to appreciate each day because time flies by…but they say it because that’s exactly what happens!

I remember holding that sweet, tiny one dressed head-to-toe in pink. She was a delicate gift of promise and possibility; a blessing from God.

What kind of personality would she have? Who would she look like? Would she be tall? Would she be a dancer? Would she play sports? Would she be a Daddy’s girl? Would she be fiercely independent?

You find yourself asking endless questions as you look at that bundle of love in your arms, not having any idea of what is to come.

And then she grows and you begin to see hints of just who this little one is going to be. Each day becomes a joy and adventure as you watch this precious young girl learn about the world and develop her individual personality. And since I don’t get to see her often enough, it seems as if each time I do see my eldest granddaughter, there’s something new to discover about her.

Addie is not only a beautiful little girl she is smart, sensitive, deliberate, and thoughtful.

As big sister to Zoe, Addie gladly shares all she knows about the world such as the correct way to do things, or at least the Addison-way to do things. (wink-wink) She loves Zoe deeply and can be so tender with her it can bring a tear to this Mimi’s eye.

Addie also feels things deeply which is such a wonderful trait. She was nearly 5 when her Gigi (great grandmother) passed away last year and it made her very sad for a period of time. It hurt us to know how sad she was but we also knew that it was a clear demonstration of just how much she had loved my mom. As she experiences life, Addie will no doubt encounter more sadness and disappointment but her joys…oh they will be exquisite! She will love well, experience great delight, and truly and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate life all the more.

I mentioned that Addie is smart but even more important than that is that she enjoys learning and the thrill of discovery. And those traits will open the world to her. That excites me tremendously.

So I look at this picture of her and see pride that she’s such a big girl, big enough to go to Kindergarten; I see joy as she’s about to embark on a new journey. But most of all, I see the face of someone I love so very much that it makes me cry out in thanksgiving to my heavenly Father that He is so good and so kind to have brought Addie into our lives.

Mimi

May I have a salad please? The one with bacon.

The salad I was supposed to have.

Since moving to Clermont in September, hubby and I rarely eat fast food. They’re just too far away. But last week, loaded we ventured to McDonald’s to order a quarter-pounder meal for Greg and the salad with bacon for me. There are only two salads on the menu so even without knowing the name, the cashier was able to easily ring me up.

It was an early supper so the place was practically deserted when we walked in. Despite that, it seemed to take forever for our food to arrive. When it did, I discovered my salad was covered with corn and tortilla chips instead of it being a tossed salad with bacon. Hmm, I think they got it wrong.

So I debated for a few minutes and finally decided to take it back and explained to the cashier that I ordered the salad with bacon and got this one instead. He shook his head as if to say “That silly kitchen…” After reiterating I wanted salad with bacon he took it back to be corrected.

More waiting and the salad was eventually delivered to the table with apologies. I popped off that top once again and uh oh, there was bacon alright…but they had simply put the bacon on the southwestern salad I had taken back.

Again I made the familiar trek to the cashier and explained that I still didn’t get the correct salad and asked them to please correct the order. The third salad finally arrived and was indeed correct. Greg was done with his meal by this time so we brought it home with us and I enjoyed it the next day.

While a little perturbing, in the scheme of things, this McDonald’s dinner incident was no big deal. In fact by Salad #3, it was downright funny. And I was able to laugh it off.

However, that’s not always how I respond to inconveniences. Sometimes something so minor will really tick me off. I will feel irritated and frustrated. Even worse, is when I lay blame on someone else or just overall share my discontent with them.

Really Cindi? What’s the big deal? Every single one of us makes mistakes and every one of us is on the receiving end of someone else’s mistakes. It’s life and it happens.

This week I was an overcomer. No frustration on my end, no blame put on someone else, and no bad attitude shared with the hubster. But my hope is that I’ll “remember the salad” in coming days when I may once again be faced with an opportunity to extend grace and mercy to others.

How about you? Ever find yourself overreacting to a very minor incident? Here’s a good verse to help us all remember what to do:

Be merciful (responsive, compassionate, tender) just as your [heavenly] Father is merciful.

(Luke 6:36 AMP)

Mimi

Happy Birthday Mom

I’m writing this post on March 14, my mom’s birthday. It’s the first one since she passed away last April. And I have mixed feelings.

There is still some sadness and a bit of melancholy. But sweet Hubby remembered her birthday this morning and asked if I was ok. Then my brother texted about it and my girls also sent along some remembrances.

I miss my mom every single day. Those who knew her, also knew her feisty personality. Her enthusiasm for life. Her way of speaking (sometimes without a filter). They experienced her deep love and her giving spirit.

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

She was an important part of my life for 62 years and she meant the world to me. Like many mothers and daughters, we butted heads as we openly shared our strong opinions with each other. But there’s no one in this world who loved me more than my mom.

Throughout my life I depended on her. And she always, always no matter what, loved me hard.

As an adult I truly felt blessed to have had her for all these years. She was a wonderful mom and grandma. And the best great grandma to her four littlest ones. I’m so grateful all four of them got to know their Gigi.

Fond memories? There are many. But in recent years one thing that remained consistent was how she greeted Greg and me after not seeing us for a while. Her face would light up as she grabbed me in a hug while brushing aside my hair and whispering “You have such a pretty face; we could see it better if you cut your bangs.” And no matter how bedraggled my hubby might look after riding in the car for hours to see her, she would hug him fiercely and state “You look so good. I don’t know what it is. Is that a new shirt?” Every single time.

After a lifetime of caring for others, at the end of her life, others were now taking care of her. She wanted to be at home and my dad did an amazing job for many months. Hospice was also wonderful. And when we realized her days on earth were coming to an end, the family began making trips to see her.

And boy did she perk up during each visit. We were able to celebrate her 88th birthday and she surprised us all by playing the piano and singing, something she hadn’t done in years. That day was special: joy-filled and sad at the same time.

Just a few weeks later she was gone.

Mom, Kate, Cindi

And though I still want to talk with her and share life, though I want to show her pictures of the great-grands and talk about their adventures, and though it can make me sad at times that she’s no longer with us, for the most part I’m just happy. Happy she was my mom. Happy she so willingly shared her life with others. And also happy that she is now with the Lord.

Mom’s influence will remain with me all the days of my life. And for that I’m very grateful.

And in her honor, I’m signing off today with her own personal sign-off she stated each time we talked by phone or in person:

I love you all the way to heaven…and back!

Mimi

 

There’s a duck swimming in our pool.

Yes indeed, that’s a duck swimming in our community pool. Aside from the fact that a duck or any animal can contaminate the water we’re swimming in, it really was cute to see it enjoy a 15 minute stay. And why not? Hubby and I were cooling off on a hot afternoon, why not the duck, too.

But it did seem strange to see that duck there. It was totally unexpected and very much out of place.

That’s a challenge in life, too. We’ve all experienced those unexpected situations that appear and interrupt our lives with heartache, inconvenience, disappointment, etc. And it’s difficult to keep our eyes on the Lord during those times because that challenging situation just sort of takes up residence. Like the duck swimming among us in no great hurry to leave, the situation may linger much longer than we think appropriate.

What to do?

Depend on the Lord. It’s the best thing and at times the hardest. But as a friend so sweetly reminded me today, the Lord knows what He’s doing; His plans are good and His timing is perfect.

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:7)

So I’m resting (or at least trying to)…how about you?

Mimi

Beauty for Ashes

03-06-17-gardena 03-06-17-gardenbAs many of you know, we made a move in September from south Orlando where we had lived since 1999 to hilly, beautiful Clermont, about 40 minutes northwest.

Despite all my concerns about moving to a new area after our rather tumultuous 2016 and leaving behind the comfort of nearby friends, family, and familiar shopping and restaurants, it was the right thing to do and we love living here.

We ended up purchasing a new house in an active adult community where lots of building was still going on. In this community you don’t really have to do any outside yard work. Shrubs are planted when the house is built and those shrubs and lawn are taken care of by the association. Sounds good, right? Except for one thing: it’s very sterile.

While a few houses have some azalea’s installed during the building process, most just have boring, green shrubs. And if you decide to change it up, the gardens then become your responsibility. The desire to have a beautiful environment won out and hubby has gotten to work.

But it’s not just the fun of choosing plants and enjoying the gorgeous results, all the prep work must be done: removing sod, digging up gardens, redesigning the irrigation system, laying heavy landscape bricks, toting plants from the nursery, digging holes, lugging mulch, laying mulch, then the daily care of watering and fertilizing until everything takes root, as well as the ongoing care since all this meant you were giving up having the association provide future care. But the results are so worth it. And for our gardens, I have my wonderful husband to thank.

He has prepped three garden areas in the back and just this week we got one planted. So two to go, then mulch over everything but it looks so nice and he’s worked so hard I just wanted to publically share what he’s done to date and to say a big THANK YOU to my sweetheart.

Our lives so often reflect gardens. Sometimes they are in disarray where weeds of worry, troubled times, and sin have overtaken. Even if some hidden gem is still there, it can’t be seen because life has gotten rough and crowded out the prior beauty.

The answer? Restoration is possible and the beauty of your life will once again be displayed.

If sin is the culprit, then Jesus has done the hardest work of all and paid the price for that sin and our job becomes to confess and repent. “Now repent of your sings and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19).

If it’s worry, then we trust in God’s promises and do what I Peter 5:7 instructs: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

And when life is just plain hard, we remember Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.”

So let us not be despair of the work that may be required to allow the beauty to shine once again. Just as my yard went from stark to splendid, as the beauty in our lives is uncovered, it all reflects back on God and allows Him to be glorified in us (Isaiah 61:3).

Beauty for Ashes by Robert Whitney Manzano

He gave me beauty for ashes
The oil of joy for mourning
The garment of praise
For the spirit of heaviness
That we might be trees of righteousness
The planting of the Lord
That He might be glorified

Love you. Mimi

Expectations or Promises?

02-27-17-promises-promisesI saw the Promises Promises image recently and it got me thinking about the word expectations. Sometimes we mix up the definitions of those words and instead end up turning an expectation into a promise that we hold onto.

Expectation means to have a strong belief that something will happen and that is quite different from the word promise which means an assurance that something will happen.

It’s with joyous expectation that we anticipate a healthy pregnancy and birth or look forward to a holiday or birthday celebration. New marriages, changing career paths, moves to a new location—all full of anticipation and excitement over the expectations about to be fulfilled…hopefully.

But if we treat those expectations as if they are guaranteed promises and instead are confronted with a sick child, being passed over for that promotion, not getting the gift we hoped for, etc. then we are faced with a new choice: how to react, how to adapt to what has actually happened.

It becomes imperative that we adjust to the unexpected situation and even learn to find joy. If we do not, we risk becoming filled with bitterness, frozen in disappointment, and possibly unable to ever hope for something again. At the very time when we should be leaning on the Lord, we may find ourselves withdrawing and unable to reach out for help.

You are not alone, dear ones. Every one of us has had an expectation or two (or more) that we foolishly turned into a promise and when the result was not what we anticipated, in shock and despair we had to regroup and figure out how to move on.

That’s why at those times and better yet at all times we need to follow the clear guidance in Proverbs 3:5 to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not depend on our own understanding. Trusting in God doesn’t necessarily take away the pain or challenge of a situation but it will put our hearts at rest so God’s peace can descend.

Then, even if we never discover the “why” behind what happened, we know we can depend on God to see us through.

What expectations have you turned into promises that may have disappointed? Perhaps it’s time to heed the advice from Proverbs 3:5 and take what you believe to be broken promises before the Lord and allow Him to fill you with His peace as you confess your reliance and trust is in Him.

Mimi

The fat lady never sang.

fat-ladyYou know how the saying goes “It ain’t over til the fat lady sings” meaning the opera continues until the final song by the final diva (apparently, often a rather rotund lady). In other words, don’t presume you know the outcome of something until the event actually ends.

Well, I’m one of those who missed the incredible win by the New England Patriots. Dad came over for dinner and stayed through the halftime show. When Greg took him home, we turned off the TV only to discover the amazing win after Greg checked in to see the final score and saw the game was in overtime.

At halftime, it seemed there was no way for New England to take the win. No way would they muster the passion and drive necessary. But they did. Good lesson for us all. Never give up.

Some of us have been holding on to dreams for years. Some have pleaded with the Lord for seemingly impossible situations to be changed. Did the New England team feel that way? Possibly. But they didn’t act on how they felt. They stayed in the game and it paid off.

What might we experience in our lives if we kept our passions and dreams alive, refusing to give in to defeat? What if we refused to grow weary but kept those dreams and hopes alive?

The Bible is full of glorious promises about not giving up (verses from New Living Translation):

  • So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)
  • Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
  • But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:7)

Today’s reminder: don’t give up; all things are possible with God; and while we may grow weary, God does not!

Mimi