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5 posts from June 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Where I Find Inspiration


Lately it seems, the Lord is all around me.  I keep getting messages from Him.  It is like He is speaking to me through my family, my friends, and people I meet and places I go  - even on the internet.  I've never really spoken of my faith here, openly, and I believe it is time.  Let's just say I've been inspired.

CMAChurch I grew up in the Methodist church.  Well, mostly.  When I was a small child, my neighbor, MeeMee and her granddaughter, Karen, (whom I am still dear friends with) would take me to church with them on Sunday.  My family did not attend church, and although they were believers of Jesus Christ and we were a Christian family, the early learning I received was from those Sundays I would join MeeMee and Karen.  I was only 5 years old when I started going to church with them.  I'd get all dressed up in my best dress with my mother's help and I'd run next door feeling oh so pretty.  I'd ring the doorbell and Karen would come running.  She loved visiting her grandmother on the weekends and over the summer because that meant we could play and spend time together.  Karen was the best friend ever!

MeeMee and Karen attended the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Washington, DC.  We'd drive up and I can remember always getting this pit of fear in my stomach that I'd get lost, but once I was inside with Karen and we were in our Sunday School class, everything was fine.

I learned a lot about the Lord in those early years from 1964 - 1971.  In 1971, however, we moved farther away.  I asked my parents to take me to church and my father took me from time to time to the United Methodist Church near our home and I enjoyed that very much.  Still, I felt like I was missing my church family.  My mother never wanted to attend church since she was 11 years old and her mother died.  She has told me that church makes her sad.


As I got older I attended different churches with friends and then in my late 20s I found my church home at the Oakdale Emory United Methodist Church in Olney, Maryland.  There, I was married in 1993.  I had my children, Sarah and Matthew, christened there.  I even made a quilt for my church family and it still hangs proudly in the sanctuary after all these years.  Kathleen was christened at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church soon after she was born, and Kimberly was christened at Walter Reed Hospital where she was spending most of her time in those first months of her life.

It has always been important to me that my children know the Lord and grow with Him.  However, I have always known that I could do more.  I have fallen into a spiritual slump you might say.  We don't attend church every Sunday.  Oh, you'll find us there on holidays, but we sleep in on Sunday and I feel bad about that.  Something inside me always tells me to pull myself together, help the children find what they need to get dressed, and we should go.  Even the children want to go to church.  Maybe it is part a little bit of depression waning me to stay home, but prayer and surrounding myself with my Christian family I know would surely help.  I always feel better after I have started my week with church.


Well, my daughter Kimberly, and I, have been talking about her faith.  Since she married Zak in 2007, so much of her life is about her relationship with the Lord, and her walk with the Lord.  In the year and a half that she dated Zak, she knew he was Mormon, but she never felt any pressure from him about it.  He let her take her time to get to know the church, the church family, and his faith.

After much research and attending church with Zak on occasion, Kimberly became a member of the Mormon church.  She was baptized - by Zak - and the tears flowed plentiful that day.  I had not asked Kim about her faith until this past week, and the floodgates opened.  I wonder if Kim has any idea how her faith is helping me right now? 

She shared with me the talk she wrote for Sacrament meeting to her new church family on August 10, 2008.  This is just a bit of what Kim wrote: 

"Testimony.  It’s just one word, but it’s one word that has deep meaning...A testimony is something I didn’t have in my life a few years ago. ...this was the first Church that I had ever attended where I actually felt comfortable."

"Not only had all Church members been welcoming and friendly (no matter where the Church was located), but I also loved how I felt when I went to Church.  I loved listening to personal testimonies of Church members.  I loved how I felt when I began learning about the gospel, even during those times when I might have gotten confused and maybe even frustrated. ...nothing helped more than actually reading the scriptures.  I learned to love studying the scriptures with Zak.  We both learned from each other.  He was wonderful at explaining things that might be confusing to me, and for that, I’m very, very thankful."

"...I loved knowing that there was a living prophet who will never lead us astray.  I loved knowing that gospel principles do not change.  It’s so comforting to know that whatever happens in this crazy world of ours, we know we can always turn to the gospel, the Church, and Heavenly Father to know what is right and what is true."

"I loved that every aspect of the Church fits together like a completed puzzle.  It made sense, and I loved that.  I didn’t realize it then, but I now know that I was slowly building a testimony by studying the scriptures, meeting with the missionaries, and praying in “specifics" ."

On December 1, 2007, my daughter, Kimberly, was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - a decision that has changed her life and the quality of her life for the better.  I am so proud of her for opening her heart and mind to the Lord and committing to His word. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about my own walk with the Lord.  I have a very personal relationship with Him.  I pray daily.  I talk to Him daily and sometimes multiple times a day.  I know He walks with me and beside me and carries me when I need the grace of His arms and spirit surrounding me.  It is this personal walk with the Lord that has kept me grounded for many years and carries me through these difficult times that our family now faces with Bob being out of work.  I have faith. 

It is my faith that strengthens me.  It is my faith that reminds me that it is my choice how I wake up in the morning - weary, worried, or happy and grateful!  I prefer the latter.  It isn't always easy, but I do try to put my best self forward each day.  I thank the Lord daily for my blessings.  I have so many. Still, I know there is more that I can do.

Well, Kimberly sent me a video and said that it was one that she wanted to share - one that made her cry.  It was important to her.  A split second after I clicked "play" my heart sank.  I knew that voice.  I knew that story.  I knew the young woman in the video - Stephanie Nielson of NieNie Dialogues.  She is a blogging friend and someone that I admire greatly.

Stephanie's story is a sad one.  She and her husband, Christian, live in Utah, and are the parents of 4 active little ones.  One summer day in August, 2008, they were involved in a plane crash.  The blogsphere went nuts and we all came together to help this couple that so many of us had come to love over the years through Stephanie's blog.  We sent cards and letters and during that time, Stephanie's sisters and husband, who had also been injured, but not as seriously as Steph, kept her blog going.  They wrote posts that let us know how she was doing and how the recovery was going.

It was a long time before Stephanie came back online, but when she did, there was a celebration of sorts from everyone.  You see, Steph has a voice, but it isn't just any voice, she has a heart of gold and a tender, loving, thoughtful voice that resonates in every one of her posts.  She is a special soul and I am proud to call her my blogging friend.

Kimberly sent me this video, not knowing that I already knew of Stephanie and her plight ... miracles happen every day ...

I do believe the Lord is speaking to me somehow, through my daughter, my friends, my family, and I'm listening.  It is the message that is the most important.  We need to listen to those messages when they come our way.  We need to pray about them and reflect on them. 

No matter what happens in this life, I have faith that it will all turn out well.  I hope you do too.




Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Guys and a Girl


There is no question about it, as my son, Matthew, says on a regular basis - "Sarah sure is rakin' them in."  Of course, Sarah denies this observation from her brother. 


But I have to tell ya, having been a 16 year old girl once myself, I don't recall having quite this much fun, or being surrounded by testosterone on a regular basis.


Sarah has a boyfriend.  As in "he's mine, not yours - boyfriend."  His name is Walker.  He's the one in the red shirt.  Sarah also has a best friend.  As in "he's my friend and only a friend and we like to hang out buddy style kind of friend."  His name is Ryan.  He is in the white shirt.


We've tried to tell Sarah that this creates an awkward situation.  Sarah doesn't buy it.  


We tell her that if she is in a relationship with a guy, that hanging out and going out with other guys, even if they are just "friends" is probably a "no-no."  She still doesn't buy it.


Of course, she is only 16, so who cares, right? - Maybe Ryan.



Sarah has never had her heart broken.  Neither has Walker.  And from what I gather, Ryan has never been in a relationship where his heart was anywhere, so he's safe - for the moment.  I think.  


Unless, of course, he likes Sarah more than just a "friend" and then we have issues.  But they're still just kids.  Kids with heart.  Kids with Soul.  Fun Kids.  Good Kids.


Sarah doesn't buy it.


So, the other day, Sarah had Walker and Ryan over at the same time.  Awkward.  But very interesting.


And fun.


They played the Wii and Guitar Hero, and then watched a movie and hung out - together.



They let me take a lot of pictures of them being silly - together.


Walker made it perfectly clear -  "she's mine, not yours, and don't you forget it ... Ryan."


Of course, Ryan just kept smilin' and making faces and giving me the thumbs up.  I don't think Walker was buyin' it.


Go get 'em Ryan!  


They had dinner with us too.  Big Bear made a chicken and shrimp alfredo thing with a salad and blackberry cobbler and it was delicious.  Growing boys they are and everyone but Sarah woofed it down. Ryan had seconds.


The thing about this funny scenerio is this - I really like Walker and I really like Ryan.  We're talking 2 great guys here.  I am proud of them both.  They get good grades and care about their future. 


And it is obvious to us that they both care about Sarah too.  Such a dilemma for a 16 year old girl.


Walker wants to be a Neuro-surgeon.


Ryan hasn't decided yet, but he is big into Baseball and he plays a mean Saxophone.


Sarah wants to be a cellular biologist.  As in "cells" in the body, not cellular phones.  ha ha.


I don't know where this bunch is going, but I know for sure they are going up, and I do believe that they will be lifelong friends.  I just have a gut feeling.  And since we've drilled it into our children's heads that they have to be choosy about the friends they keep, as for Sarah, I do believe that these 2 are keepers.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sarah's Creative Energy

My daughter, Sarah, has a lot of creative energy - sorta like her Mom, but I am so impressed with the little things she does.  For a couple of years now, she has been making these "Picture Poems" as I call them, in Picnik and I wanted to share them with all of you! 

















Stay Cool!



Monday, June 14, 2010

Reagan's First Words in Monotone


Reagan's talking now.  She does not yet say Mama or Dada, although she is trying, she can, however, say "I can't do that."  Yes, you heard me right.  You see, her mother, my daughter, Kimberly, was filming Reagan playing and asked her to do that "head" thing again and Reagan apparently didn't want to do it again, so she said "I can't do that ... and I woooooon ..t" at which time she rolled over.  Imagine Kim's amazement when she answered Reagan with "Yes you can" only to take a double-take and no doubt think "did I just answer my 9 month old daughter?"  "Did Reagan just tell me that she can't do that?"  Of course, Kim, Zak, and all of us went a little nuts because you see - Reagan is only 9 months old!   So, Kiddo, what's the deal with that anyway?  

Don't believe me?  Listen for yourself ...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

She Has My Heart


I think my granddaughter, Reagan, may just be the cutest baby girl on the face of the earth.  But, of course, I'm partial.  Then again, maybe she is - at least through my eyes.  I mean, she has the biggest sky blue eyes on the planet, and this strawberry blonde hair to die for.  She smiles so big it melts your heart and everywhere she goes she gets a lot of attention due to the "cuteness" factor she has goin' on.



And of course, she is already reading.  She has a few of her favorite hardcover books that she reads on a daily basis - with the help of Elmo too.



And that perfect little button nose that is a little orange is proof positive that our little sweetie is eating her carrots.



Among other things.



She is easily entertained as you can see here (and check out those 2 perfect pearls that popped out of her bottom gums.



There is no description that could possibly accurately describe the love I feel for this child, and I have not yet met her.



But she has my heart all tied up in knots and filled with joy.  



That face.  That perfect face ...



And those priceless expressions ...



Are enough to make me want to drop everything and drive 12 hours to see her.  To hold her in my arms and kiss her cheeks and hug her till we both have trouble breathing.



And of course, there'd be plenty of hugs and misses, love and kisses to go around because you see, I have the most beautiful daughters, and this beautiful daughter, Kimberly, is now a mother, and I can't think of anything that looks more wonderful on her than motherhood.  

Love, Grandma Susan

Now sit back, turn on your speakers, and make a new friend ...

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