Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thanks for the Memories!

Don and I were privileged to go back to Bethel in East Alton this morning. They had asked the High Road Pickers to come entertain at Old Friends' Day, which began with a yummy (Sue Carter style) breakfast at 9 and an outdoor service at 10:30. The service began with Tisha leading a worship song, which caused my mind to go back. Several of the young people that various churches are now reaping the talents of have roots in my little group of kids in Children's Church at Bethel Pentecostal Church in East Alton. Some are active in music ministry, several in children's ministry, teaching and encouraging. I will admit to feeling a bit of parental pride when I hear of their accomplishments. We had an awesome kids' choir back then. Twenty-five to thirty-five voices strong, with three part harmony. Amazing! I worked hard at planting the Word in their hearts and hope I helped them find the joy of sharing that Word, either through story-telling or singing.

A little walk down memory lane. Makes me very thankful for all the wonderful friends and family God has placed along that path.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Balance of Grace and Truth

We're studying "7 Secrets of Successful Families" by Jimmy Evans in our young married class. This second chapter has been rich. It's titled,"A Balance of Grace and Truth." I wish I had read this book years ago, when my own family was young. John 1:14 says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Further, in John 1:17, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Jesus was the perfect balance of grace and truth - the setting of boundaries and the use of loving guidance when the boundaries were violated. Jimmy Evans puts it this way, "A successful family is a playground with a fence around it. A family of truth without grace is like a fence without a playground. A family of grace without truth is like a playground without a fence." He added these equations: Rules + Relationship = Righteousness
Rules - Relationship = Rebellion
Relationship - Rules = Destruction
I don't believe we have to set aside discipline or correction to exhibit love to/for our children. On the other hand, when we set rules and forget the "grace" factor, we tend to be overly stern and rigid. Unfortunately, I think that's where I fit. There's certainly a balance of the two, but it takes a strong, determined, Christ-centered parent to find it and make it a consistent part of family living.

Looking back, I'm thankful that God makes our children so amazingly resilient. While I feel we did many things very, very right as parents, we also failed miserably in some areas. As I watch our son parent his children, I see him continuing some of the things he learned from us. Thankfully, I also see him carving out new paths, being brave enough to set aside the things he thinks weren't effective and incorporating new methods. There's hope!

An imbalance of truth and grace can create disastrous results. I've seen it happen. But we are ever growing and learning - even at 61 years of age. As we become more like Christ, the perfect balance of grace and truth will become more evident in our life and in our relationships with our family.

I recommend the book.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's Just a Hiccup

We've been waiting six weeks for the delivery of Don's power chair. It will make life so much easier for him, because it's a lot more stable than the scooter he's now using. He's tipped over a couple times on the current scooter and has had several close calls. However, we were told today that we were rejected for the chair. Don isn't bad enough, they say. He can still feed himself, dress himself, and bathe himself. I told the rep that I can now better understand why so many have told us, "Our chair is like brand new. We got it the week before (our loved one) died." They want to wait until you're past going before they commit to help you.

There are some positives, though. Since they don't consider him "bad enough" to qualify, we're thanking God. He IS still able to feed himself. I can remember when those days passed for Dad, and I'm not ready to see Don at that place. He CAN still dress himself. It's a chore, and I have to give him occasional assistance. But thank you, God, for Don's tenacity. As long as he's able at all, he WILL be taking care of himself (and me, too, as much as he's able). Bathing is a bit more complicated. He takes his rollator (the walker with four wheels and a seat) into the bathroom, then transfers himself to the shower seat, doing the same thing in reverse when he's done. He's exhausted by the end of his shower, but he DOES bathe himself. So, keep your power chair, Medicare, if it means my sweet, hard-working honey has to lose more of his independence and pride to get one. We'll do just fine with this scooter, thank you very much!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Piper's Gone

We had to have our little Piper put to sleep today. He was gravely ill with little to no hope for recovery. We're very sad, but he was a bright little light in our hearts and home for about a year and a half. We certainly gave him a better life than he had had living in a crate for those many years before. If there are animals in Heaven, I know Piper's there. He was the best!

Sick as a Dog

Our little dog, Piper, is very sick - possibly sick unto death. It makes us so sad to see him suffering the way he is. It all started on Sunday. Without going into the yukky details, I'll just tell you that I had a bloody mess to clean up in his crate, and he didn't eat a single bite all day. Monday, I coaxed him into eating a few bites of softened (in water) Cheerios and a piece of one of his treats. Tuesday, about the same. Yesterday, he didn't eat a single bite again. The poor thing is nothing but a bag of bones. This morning, he wouldn't even come out of his crate. I bodily picked him up (which he used to hate. Loved being petted, but not picked up) and carried him outside. He did nothing. He's been such a good little dog, if I overlook his poopie accidents, which he has never totally overcome. Don's been praying for him. I'm taking him to the vet at 11 today. More to come.

Monday, August 3, 2009

For Better, For Worse . . .

I'm wondering, just who was it that gave young couples the belief that it was okay to throw up their hands and quit when they come to a bump in the road of marriage? What part of "for better, for worse" do they not understand?

As you know, my honey of 43 years has been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). It has changed our lives tremendously, but there's one thing that hasn't changed - unless it has increased - and that's our love for and commitment to each other. Sure, there have been numerous times when we could have thrown up our hands in surrender to the status quo. Lots of instances when it would have been easier to give in to defeat than to fight for what we had committed to. But we chose to take the high road (the harder road, sometimes), because we had pledged before God, our family and friends to take each other "for better, for worse." I know. The "worse" part stinks. But the "better" part is well worth fighting for.

I'm convinced, if we could step back and see the big picture, we would all work more diligently at making our marriage relationships as secure and safe as we possibly could. In the "worse", the "better" is what carries you through!