Wednesday, January 1, 2014

WELCOME 2014

Everyone has their own way of welcoming the new year. Some dress up and party like crazy. Some in our neighborhood shot off 100's of dollars of fireworks until WAY after midnight. David and I usually spend it at home glued to one football game after another.

This year we have been very low key. The last couple of months of 2013 brought an illness of some sort my way. I spent most of November and December laying low and trying to breathe. I am not usually a "low key" "be still" kind of girl so it has been a challenge.

 I do love to spend New Year's Eve reflecting back on the previous year by going through my prayer journal. It does my faith good to remember my Savior's faithfulness. It gives me great hope to go forward into 2014 knowing my God is absolutely able! Matt Redman wrote a wonderful song that minister to me every time I hear it. It's a perfect message for each of us for the new year that is upon us. I encourage you this year to embrace your mountaintops and endure your battle grounds. You will be more beautiful with those scars etched on your heart reminding you of lessons learned and ground gained. God will surely be faithful to be with you and to teach you great and might things.
        "Never Once"

Standing on this mountaintop Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
          You are faithful, God, You are faithful

         Carried by Your constant grace Held within Your perfect peace

         Never once, no, we never walk alone Never once did we ever walk alone

         Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful

         Every step we are breathing in Your grace

         Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise

         You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

AN AMAZING WOMAN

This morning a truly amazing woman entered heaven. She was 100 years old and she lived her life investing in other people. One of those people was me. Aunt Mildred (not really my Aunt) was the Mom of my first best friend. I met Linda when I was in the 1st grade. I don’t know what made us friends. Maybe at that age, it was because we both liked the same color or maybe she sat at my table and we thought that meant you had to be friends. At any rate, God planted a forever friendship in our life that still exists today.

I grew up in a difficult home. Linda’s house was very different. She was an only child born when her Mom was almost 45 and when her Dad was in his 50’s. Aunt Mildred, always wanted Linda’s friends to be around. She cooked for us, took us places, hugged us, encouraged us. Linda’s Dad died when we were in Junior High. Now as I look back, it is really amazing to me that Aunt Mildred did all she did with us and for us. She was 50-something widow and it would have been easier to just invest in her own daughter. But she didn’t. She took us to Charm School (might have been a waste of money there!) She let us cook elaborate dinners for our friends and never fussed about the messes we surely made. She took us to concerts and youth camps. As we got older, she had fancy dinner parties for us with china and crystal. She even let us throw a couple parties of our own! She listened to us as we cried over one boy or another and always told us we were too good for that boy anyway. As I grew up, it was Linda and Aunt Mildred who threw my wedding and baby showers. Linda was my first best friend. Linda’s Mom taught me how to be a wife and Mom. I had the opportunity in July to go to Corpus to Aunt Mildred’s 100 birthday party, I had the privilege to kneel at her feet and say thank you. I also was able to say thank you to Linda for sharing her Mom with all of us girls. Though we were all grown up, most of us with grandchildren, as we gathered around this wonderful women, she saw us once again as little girls she had invested in. We were all there that night celebrating with her, but she ended up celebrating all God had done in each of our lives.

She lived her life with such grace and dignity. She died in the same manner. I am a different person and my children had a better Mom, because of the way Aunt Mildred invested in my young life. I am forever grateful.

Is there a someone special from your childhood that you are thankful for?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

MY FATHER IN LAW



Unless God intervenes, David's Dad will soon experience heaven first hand. His gain will leave us all with a huge gaping hole in our hearts. In every way, he has been the undisputed Patriarch of us all. Jack Haines served our country valiantly during WW II. He worked hard all of his life, supporting his wife and five children. He was an expert at gas measurement during the boom years of the oil industry. He worked 42 years, his entire career with one company. Almost 30 years ago, he had the opportunity to retire early, and to all of our surprise, he did. Mr. and Mrs. Haines spent those years traveling, cheering on their grandchildren and bouncing some great grandchildren on their knee. He has greatly loved his family.

One of my favorite things about him, is his voice. He has this incredible booming base voice. He spoke with it; sang with it and could correct an errant grandchild by just calling their name. I never heard him raise that voice and I never heard him say an unkind thing about anyone. He was kind and gracious to everyone.

He turned 89 last year. He and my mother-in-law celebrated 70 years of marriage about the same time. It was a quiet celebration because my mother-in-law has been robbed of her memories and most days cannot recall his name or those of her children. Yet, not a day passes without him telling her how much he loves her. I have learned so much about love and commitment watching him care for her. Neither of them is complete without the other.

I know he is going to love heaven. I know there will be great reward for him, for how he has served his Savior during his life. He will be healthy, whole and complete. I'm grateful for his life and legacy. I just don't know what we will do without him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

THE MIRACLE OF LIFE

Next Wednesday (if not sooner) David and I will welcome our sixth grandchild. It's a boy and his name will be Landen Young Haines. We are so excited and we are making our plans to be there for this joyous occasion. Unless God has other plans, this will be the last grandchild born in our family. I was thinking about our coming blessing when I first opened my eyes this morning. We have loved every single grandchild when we first heard they were on their way. We spend 40 weeks anticipating what they will be like, who they will favor and what their personality will be. From the minute our children tell us they are expecting, we begin praying for this little life. Thus far, the other five are very different and hold their own special place in the family. I have no doubt God has woven Landen together perfectly to take his place among his brothers and cousins.

One morning last week, I spoke with my very pregnant daughter-in-love trying to encourage her during these last difficult days. She is like me, in that she doesn't love the whole "pregnant" thing, but dearly loves the babies! I shared with her that she has just a few more days to feel this miracle of life within her own body.

When you consider all the years we "mother" the 40 weeks inside the womb are really not very long. We spend so much more time feeding, bathing, picking up after and car-pooling our babies. (And that's just the first 8 years!) There was a time when I thought we just parented 18 or 19 years and then they were grown. I am beyond blessed to still be praying over and loving on my boys even though I gave birth to our oldest nearly 33 years ago! In spite of all the years, there are times when I see a young expectant woman and I remember what it felt like to have a little foot push against my hand on my tummy. Who can forget those first tiny movements when it felt like a bushel of butterflies were flying around inside of you?

The miracle of carrying a life within should never be taken for granted. I know so many women who would have given everything to experience this first hand. God is so creative in the ways he gives us children who need a Mom. Whether you begin your mothering weeks before you ever lay eyes on the baby, or you began when you reached out to a rebellious teen, never lose sight of the miracle of life that comes straight from the Giver of life.

We can hardly wait, precious Landen!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

MY LOVE LANGUAGE

David and I have been married a long time. Of course, compared to others perhaps not so long. This past October my in-laws were married 70 years! In comparison, at just 36 years, I guess David and I are almost newlyweds.

David and I love to travel. We enjoy movies and dinners out with friends. We love antiques and estate sales. We love our church and our jobs. And oh my goodness, we do love our children and grandchildren. We have always carved out time to be together. When are children were at the awkward age of "too old for sitters, but not responsible enough to be left alone at night," we started a habit of having breakfast out together. It worked great for our family. Normally we were home before our boys even woke up on Saturday mornings. An added benefit was breakfast tends to be the least expensive meal to eat out. Time together on a budget! We went to many different places for our weekly date. Sometimes just a bagel, sometimes a full breakfast with all the extras. If one of the "extras" on David's plate happened to be grits, he always gave them to me, because he knew I loved them. I never in all these years saw him eat a single tiny grit.

WELL... during these past Christmas holidays, we ate breakfast at a local cafe on our way to the mall to finish up our shopping. They just happened to serve grits. Normally, I would order a smaller breakfast meal and just have David's grits. But, on this busy December morning, I told David I was extra hungry and I would be ordering the same thing he normally did. Our identical meals arrived at our table and imagine my shock when I watched my husband EAT HIS GRITS! I was shocked. I shared with him that I was so surprised to see him eating this southern delicacy since he didn't like them. Then, my Man, who I have known for over 40 years says to me... "I like grits. I always give them to you because I know you love them."

I was so surprised by this, I could hardly get my fingers around my credit card to finish my shopping the rest of the day. This gently, quiet man of mine, never said a word to me, he just gave me something that he liked because he knew I liked them too. He never asked for a pat on the back or a reciprocating action from me.

I swear to you, I fell more deeply in love with him at that moment. I had always thought my love language was acts of kindness or service. In addition, I dearly love a small, gift wrapped package with something shiny on the inside! But, this Christmas, I learned my husband could show his love to me in a very small way that no one but me would even notice. It didn't cost a dime, but it was priceless to me.

I wonder if any of you might be missing a token of your loved ones devotion? Look for them or you will miss them. Even better, look for opportunities this year to show your love to others in small ways that really have HUGE benefits.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A NEW BIBLE


I have a new Bible and I love it. It's pink, because in just a few years when my grand daughter can read, I'm going to give it to her. The pages are all still stuck together and I can't find a single familiar marking in it. Every page is waiting for me to discover old treasures in a fresh new way. I keep my favorite pen and highlighter handy to mark my new favorite Scriptures! I'm always thinking of that sweet blonde angel who will follow behind me. I pray I will be around to open the treasures up for her, but if not, I intend to leave a trail she can follow.

I'm extremely aware of the responsibility of leaving a godly legacy for my own family. But too often I forget about those who might be following along behind me and I'm completely unaware of my influence. Any day I miss out on an opportunity to tell someone about my Jesus, either in word or deed, is a day wasted. This week in Bible Study, we talked about our "circle of influence." We all have one. God has purposed a mission field for everyone of us.

How are you using the influence God has given you?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

HAPPY FALL, FINALLY


I'm not much on Halloween. But I dearly love pumpkins. Fresh pumpkin pies, pumpkin muffins, bread and Starbuck's pumpkin spice latte all point to the fact that it's finally below 90 degrees in Houston. Of all the ways I love that fabulous fall fruit, I think I've discovered my favorite! Let me introduce Mr. Josiah Haines! He is Jeremy and Jessica's baby boy and he is such a delight. He's a snuggle bug for whoever holds him. He adores his brother and sister. There is always the biggest smile on his little face. He just turned 1 and we cannot imagine our life without him.

This baby of our family is secure of his place never doubting the love of his family. He's a bit of a flirt, watching for the opportunity to catch your eye and give you the biggest grin. He is content to play on his own, but if you are in need of some cuddling, he's happy to oblige. He's our 5th grandchild but we just call him our baby boy!