Thursday, October 29, 2015

My parents were there for me!

I was watching a commercial where a dad was at Disney World with his son. 

I don't know why it didn't hit me like this before. But I suddenly saw my 7 year old son's toothless grin while my dad carried him on his shoulders around Disney world in the rain.

Then I saw my dad planning and then facilitating an "ushering into manhood" ceremony for my son when all of our family went to Myrtle Beach for my dad's birthday. He was adamant we do something like this for Sam since he never had one. It was 2004 so he was 18. That ceremony usually happens when a boy is 13 in many cultures and religions.

Then I remembered how Sam spent 2 weeks every summer with his Grampa and Gramma Judy. He always did something interesting, like going to NY, planting a tree to watch it grow as he grew, crabbing at the shore, and on and on.

Those were father and son times....and I felt an overwhelming swelling of emotion and love when I realized that my dad had stepped up and been the best father he could to my son who didn't have a father anymore.

It all kept coming, picture after picture of our lives.

And then there was my mom.  My mom had done the very same thing, stepped in over and over and over as my son's other parent.  I remember her saying to him "who's your best friend"?  "You are Gramma"!  She always took his side in our arguments, she always was there when he needed a ride to karate class or home from a party if I was working.  She was there for the fun times, the hard times, the painful times, the victorious times.


She was close by and as I look back it seems she sacrificed an enormous amount of time because that boy needed a father.  She was the other parent for me.  I was angry with her often and we fought a lot because "he could do no wrong".  That's ok in a grandparent role.  But her role was much more and I was worried she was too much of a buffer and he'd be spoiled to the point of not listening to me as a young boy growing into a young man. 

Boy was I wrong!  He had just the right amount of discipline and buffer.  He has turned out so perfectly.
He is respectful of his elders.
He adores women and treats them with gentleness and kindness.
He is wise beyond years.
And he has persevered and succeeded.

My son was fatherless at 3 years old and both my parents tirelessly and with great enormous love took that boy and made him theirs and I couldn't be more grateful. 

There are no words as my heart swells so big it feels it will burst and my eyes fill with tears.

And my mind fills with picture after picture of their involvement in his life, year after year, event after event, milestone after milestone, supporting him in everything he tried and did, fighting for him when I didn't or couldn't, cheering him on every step of the way, getting on their knees and covering him with prayer, loving him the exact way only a parent can love, unconditionally and with a knowing that either one would die for that boy.

He is the luckiest boy I know. He was Covered with love and protection and God used my parents to give him everything his father and I didn't or couldn't. They were his father.  

They are his father along with God. God knew I needed that for him and all along it had been provided and I look back over 26 years and see all they did for him, all the times they were there for him, all they shared with him and I am speechless.

We were just living life but it was a gift he was given, I was given. I have the best parents a girl who became a single mom could have and I really didn't know it until now.

Not the expanse of it anyway.

I know I needed them and I took it all for granted. Of course they helped. No big deal.

Well, yes Big deal! Huge deal.

We all are and as we all read this we cried knowing what it took to get here.  We are so proud and happy and letting out big sighs and brushing the sweat from our brows that was from worry that he would be alone and sad and snap at some point.  His story could have gone so differently if they hadn't stepped into the role of "father" for my son.

I wrote a letter to all of them not knowing what was coming in the next couple of months.  And I am so glad I did.  I lost my dad.  He lost his grandfather.  To Alzheimers.  It was rather sudden.  We thought we had more time but over Christmas 2015 he died.  He was a doctor and one of the best diagnosticians in the country.  The town came to see him on the day of his funeral.  We all stood in a receiving line for 3 hours.  Each person had a story of how he had touched their lives and helped or saved their loved ones.  I knew he had a good heart but didn't know all the things he did for the community.  I did know what he did for me and I want to honor him and my mom in this story.

They all did an amazing thing and without wanting anything in return. It was just who they were and I'm proud to call them my parents.  Thank you dad and Judy.  Thank you mom.

October 2015

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Season of my Soul

The weather is unseasonably cool and refreshing for mid July in Georgia. My mind feels clear and focused. I can breathe with ease, turn my head without feeling dizzy.  I wonder what caused this sudden blessing of clarity and freedom from the bondage of constant inner turmoil and pain.  I think the weather is different.  I am different today. Can this be the end of a time of struggle?

With hope in my heart I listen to the night sounds of Katydids, crickets and tree frogs singing their nightly songs on a cool breeze through the open window and feel contentment cover me like a soft blanket and I thank God.

Overcome with gratitude I get on my knees and pray a prayer of thanks and praise to the one who showed me what it was to need him and I promised I will always need him.

On this day that felt so different I was given a gift. God speaks to me through books that I stumble upon at a garage sale or thrift store.  He speaks to me through His word and through others I happen to bump into.

Today He spoke to me through a poem in a book I found at the thrift store.

Helen Steiner Rice is one of Gods greatest poets. I've been collecting her books. Last night I got an email advertising a sale going on at a website for used books that I like. I popped over and found one of her books, "Blessings".  I ended up not buying it and while searching the book section at the thrift store I found it.  I always know it's God when something like that happens.  So I had to get it to find out what God wanted to tell me.

The very first poem I turned to was "The Seasons of the Soul".  It is about the soul having seasons just like the year.  I read it over and over focusing the most on the last two lines.

We too must pass through the seasons God sends.
Content in the knowledge that everything ends.

I suffer from panic disorder and recently when I had a panic attack that was one of the worst I had in years my son was with me.  He said the words that I needed to hear at that moment.  It will end.

He also said something that touched my heart and I felt the presence of God in him.  I was crying that I must be so weak to not be able to beat this thing that tortures me. He said he thought I was one of the strongest people he knows.

He said, to live with what I live with and still live life, work, take care of my elderly mother and aunt, take care of him all his life as a single mother with panic disorder;  to bare all the stress of daily life while battling panic daily and not fall completely to pieces makes me the strongest person he knows.

He knows I run to God every day but He also knows in the heat of the moment of a severe panic attack I can't think to even remember to call out God's name until I come down a little.  So he knows what it takes to live in my skin and in my head.  I looked at him with awe and relief and gratitude that someone understood. God gave him that understanding and those words to say to me at that moment.

God gave me a confirmation during devotion time with him.  
A poem.  
It will end.  
It is a season.  
A very long season but still a season.  20 years long.  But maybe it it finally coming to an end. Or maybe the season of sadness that dealing with panic disorder brings is going to end.  I may still have the panic but it may be that I will have less panic and sadness and have more joy and happiness.  I don't know for sure yet since I have felt like this for only one day.  Actually 2 days with a short bout of panic this morning.  The rest of the time I felt a lightness.  A clarity.  A balance.

I feel blessed and loved.  Content.

Ultimately I turn my thoughts to what my God did for me, how he suffered and died on the cross for me, how he rose again and sent the Holy Spirit to comfort me and help me.
How he said he will never forsake me.

And I feel blessed and loved.  Content.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When Calls the Heart. Sharing good TV!

Picture from When Calls the Heart Facebook Page

I am here to express my joy after watching a TV series that is on Hallmark channel called "When Calls the Heart" .  My faith in humanity has been restored!  There have been 3 episodes so far and while I was watching I couldn't help but say thank you to whomever had the courage to take a chance and put something back on TV that wasn't offensive to me and people like me.  It is what I would call a "wholesome, family" show.

Every time I put on the TV I found myself covering my eyes or changing the channel and thinking how our kids are watching this stuff 24/7.   It is shaping their lives.  They don't know anything else.  They are desensitized.

And for those of us who couldn't home school and who didn't have the ability to always be there to supervise what their child was doing while they were at work it was much harder to keep our kids occupied with all the right influences and activities.  We had to put food on the table and a roof over their heads by working multiple jobs.  This was first and foremost. We didn't have 2 incomes coming in.  We had to pray our kids would make the right choices based on what we said and not on what their peers said.

The show is based on a Canadian West book series by Jannette Oke and produced by Michael Landon, Jr.,   - Son of late television producer Michael Landon who produced Little House on the Prairie all those years ago.  Isn't that interesting?

It is a story about a young girl venturing out of the comforts of the city and her wealthy upbringing to find her way in the wild, untamed mountains of a far away land in the early frontier days. She goes to a mining town called Coaltown where the majority of the people are miners and miner's families.  They are fairly poor but Salt of the Earth.  They needed a schoolteacher but have no school.  What the main character, Elizabeth, notices is the strong sense of community where everyone helps each other, supports each other in times of need and hardship. It is not every man for himself.  It is every person dropping whatever they are doing to help their neighbor.

After watching 3 episodes I sighed a sigh of relief and could feel a calmness and I will say;
It was a breath of fresh air!

It was so nice to see a people who are generally good, believe in being of service to others, go to church with the entire family, love their neighbor.
The people of this town show immense courage and faith in times of adversity.  There is no emphasis on wickedness.
It is about struggle and tragedy and perseverance and hope for a better future.
It is about hard work and about sacrifice.

I saw a theme which is mentioned in one of the episodes.  It is a very strong emphasis on the realization that Most Good Things Come with a Price.

I relate to the women on this show.  The characters are pioneers. Some are single mothers who do anything to keep a roof over their children's heads.  But they do it with grace.  I admire them greatly.

Picture from When Calls the Heart Facebook Page

I may not have been born of that time and have much more comforts than they had but I had to endure much struggle, tragedy and personal hardship.  I worked tirelessly trying to keep our home and my child safe.  I wish I could say I did it with much grace.  But that would be a lie.  I felt sorry for myself.  I cried a lot but I persevered.  I worked 3 jobs.  I sacrificed.  I sometimes didn't eat so my boy could.  That is what we do.  It makes us strong and it draws us closer to God.  Without Him I could not have done all that I did.

I am so happy and overflowing with joy to see a movie that lifts up people like me without having to put into the show things that they think will raise ratings like sex, foul language, everything goes.  I know it seems that is what is happening to the majority of our world.  So I just wanted to give kudos to Hallmark for their integrity.                                          
 I give this show an A+++

PS  I am not affiliated with any of the links I have posted.  I wanted to give you a small tour of the show and where you can get the author's books