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Archive for October, 2009

amazed by the moment

from earlier in my childhood than this post -- but even then skinnyI have this memory, elusive, yet alive.  I don’t know if I can capture the thrill of it or if I even should try.  Will I lose the magic if I try to imprint the moment into mere words?

Thinking back to my childhood is harder now.  Not because of painful events, but simply because of time.  I remember being a skinny, scrawny girl, pixie-ish.  In fact, my mother used to call me… will I regret this?… “skinny minny fish-tale.”  I know it sounds odd to you, but to me it was an endearment.  The speaking of it was always accompanied with or quickly followed by a hug.

And those were sometimes scarce.  My dear mom was a busy woman.  She had four children, a factory job, and a husband who was by any standards an alcoholic–usually a difficult one.  I know that were he to read this today, he would agree with the statement.

I perceive our economic status as “living paycheck to paycheck” and hoping nothing broke during the week.  I’m not sure how they managed, memories of frayed cuffs and old coats hint that it was difficult.  It seems that they were two people in this relationship called marriage not knowing a thing about how to go about it; and maybe not even sure how they landed there.

But I loved them.  That’s the amazing thing about kids.  They don’t see all the baggage that mom and dad have accumulated.  They simply see mom and dad; and for them, that’s enough. 

Thanksgiving was usually spent at a grandparent’s house.  Either in Southern Ohio or closer to home, but I don’t remember a single Thanksgiving just at home in our house.  I remember going to Southern Ohio one year, all of us together.  But coming home without dad.  Being a child and rightfully protected from  the details, I only knew that my daddy was in jail.  Now I understand that he chose to drink and drive and found himself at the mercy of a judge who decided he would have to spend sixty days in jail.

I have no memory about how we got back home.  I am aware that my mother felt a great deal of shame and hurt as it had been the celebration at her parent’s house that was ruined by this event.  On the one hand she was thankful to get back home, but on the other, her situation suddenly became more bleak.

She was hours from her own family, had four children to care for, had a factory job that exhausted her but did not even begin to meet the financial void created by the loss of my dad’s income.  But she met the problem head on and took each day as she could.  I remember assitance coming in various ways.

A teacher from the school providing some clothes for me; a civic organization bringing us a care basket; help from a family member to pay the utilities.  The days, in my memory, were oppressively dreary.  And I missed my dad.  Most of the time I didn’t think about it, because there was school.  But after school, when mom came home from work alone, only emptiness accompanied her.  It would not be filled with childish chit-chat at the dinner table nor with Gilligan’s latest antics on the island. 

It was really kind of ironic as I ponder our family.  There really wasn’t much interaction with my dad on a daily basis, so the void shouldn’t have seemed so large.  But with the longing of a child for her father, the waiting for his return seemed to stretch into eternity. 

And then the sinking realization that dad would not be home for Christmas.  Thanksgiving weekend plus sixty days was too late.  Never had this happened before.  Somehow, Mom was able to hold on to a tradition or two.  From somewhere we got a Christmas tree.  And there were a few packages beneath it.  But we had schooled our expectations to be even less this year.  The burdening thought to me was not that our celebration would be sparse, but that it would be lonely.

Days passed, school let out for the holidays.  I remember those as long, forlorn days spent watching whatever was on television, waiting for mom to get home from work.  And when she did arrive having a simple meal and returning to watch more tv because she was very tired. 

Christmas Eve arrived.  And I prayed.  I prayed that my daddy would get out of jail and come home for Christmas day.  Then I went to bed.

I do not remember ever praying before that time.  I probably did, because the concept obviously was not foreign to me.  As I look back through the ever-thickening glass, I am still amazed by the moment.

The moment I went to the window and saw my daddy’s truck in the driveway!  Then yelling “Daddy’s home!”

The joy!  The splendor of the moment!  Christmas Day and Daddy’s home!  Oh, God must really love me!  He brought Daddy TODAY!

I posted this and then decided I had to P.S. it —

The judge, having reviewed his cases, decided that my dad had been there long enough and keeping him from his family on Christmas would more likely hurt us.  Upon dad’s release, he went to my grandparent’s, who had compiled a whole truck load (it seemed) of groceries, household supplies, and Christmas gifts to send with him.  There was a great bounty that Christmas Day of gifts and of love.  It was one of those breath-taking moments that still lives in this child-heart of mine.

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Havenlife by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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I stole this off of glassroadpr.com — so when you see spelling errors on my blog, remember this!

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by itslef but the wrod as a wlohe.

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But God

I think I may have an addictive personality.  I have found this blogging place and I’ve got it all set up.  And I mostly just want to plant myself right down in my chair and write and write and write … it’s almost shameful how much I think about writing …

So, I’m working very hard at rationing myself.  I’m not sure from a “blogger’s” standpoint if that is very good…when I don’t post things, people don’t visit the site, and when they don’t visit the site, they forget about the site.  But in the interest of moderation in my life, I am sure that I have to include other activities.

So, today I cleaned the stove.  I swept the kitchen,  packed up some gift boxes for missionary ladies, taught a Bible lesson having made “pigs in a blanket” as the snack to go with the story about the possessed man of Gadarenes…  Just what you wanted to run to Linda’s blog and read about, right?  Hmmm.  Let’s see if I can do a little better than that.

More than twenty-two years ago, I had my first child,  Caleb Lincoln Baker.   I went to work on a Monday morning, left shortly afterward for a doctor’s visit, and had Caleb about lunch time via c-section.  The delivery of our baby that day was not planned, but became urgent upon learning about his breach presentation during the exam.  And my body was already progressing in the delivery process, though I did not realize what I was feeling.

So Caleb was born.  I spent the next weeks recovering from that surgery, learning about being a mom, learning about this precious little guy that was our very own blessing from God.  We enjoyed so many tender moments and, like most new parents, toughed it through the difficult night time summons.  It was all part of the joy of parenting.  Never would we have chosen anything different.

But God. . .you know, that might be a good Bible study, searching through the scriptures where we see the phrase “but God”.  There is a world of meaning in two little words.  In some cases, an eternity of meaning in those words.

In our case, it was an eternity.  Never would we have chosen anything different, but God had other plans.  We nurtured Caleb for a full six weeks before God decided it was time for Caleb to leave us.  That time in my life was surreal.  And that time holds memories of the greatest manifestation of God and His grace for me.

I am thinking about the day my son left for eternity for obvious reasons.  My second son is leaving soon.  Not, as I am aware, for eternity but for his initial foray into the world as an adult.  The Air Force will occupy the next four years of his professional life, and it all begins on November 2.

I have spent years learning how to be a mother to this very special blessing from God.  We all know there are hard times, but there are very special times as well. 

The time that he saw a turtle in the parking lot–that turned out to be a rock. 

The time he worked in the garage making me a coffee table.  He was only eight and the legs of the table are only sawed-off two by fours, but he made it and I still have it. 

The times loading up on the sleigh and sledding down the hill trying to pass the mailbox.

The time he cried because of the unfairness of the hard things in our lives.

The time he prayed to ask Jesus to be his Savior.

The time I found a whole collection of … well, I guess I should keep some secrets.

I’m paging through all of these moments and am thankful for each of them.  Every parent says it…no one ever believes it will happen to them.  But the time slipped away so quickly, where did it go?

And here he stands, this young man with a sensitive heart, a grand sense of justice, and a unique sense of humor, on the threshold of the next thing.

With the leaving of my first son, I had no choice and I have no concerns about him.

With the leaving of my second son, I have no choice.  And my concerns?  I choose to cast all my anxieties on the Lord.  I know that in the days ahead, God will manifest His amazing grace as He helps Titus on his way, and helps me to adjust.October 09 026

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Havenlife by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Snagging Treasure

We did something Monday that we’ve never done before — apple picking !  Bud found the Apple Barrel near Penn Yan.  So we exerted parental pressure and managed to get ALL four kids along.  We had missed blueberry picking with all four…the younger girls admittedly missed Titus and Erinnae as much as we did.  So on this, Day of Columbus 2009, we loaded up our crew and drove over to snag some treasure.

It was a wonderful day … punctuated by reminders of Titus’ upcoming entrance to the Air Force.  The day was cool and, though not sunny, still pleasant.  The kids were working and playing together to accomplish the goal…and disappointed that the actual work went so fast.  But underlying the entire event I sensed a bonding for the future; the creation of a memory to hold us over.  Our family, it is a-changin’ — and we’re feeling it.  I know, you thought the apples were the treasure that we were seeking to snag.  The real treasure was the moment.October 09 047

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Havenlife by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Desperate

This is the air I breathe;
This is the air I breathe;
Your holy presence living in me.

This is my daily bread;
this is my daily bread;
your very word spoken to me.

And I’m, I’m desperate for you.
And I’m, I’m lost without you.

And I’m desperate for you.
And I’m, I’m lost without you.

(Michael W. Smith)

This is truly a beautiful song.  Beautiful arrangement, lyrics…beautiful.

And it’s a song that I don’t like singing in a church setting.  No doubt, I agree with the theology expressed.  He is our Life and our Bread of Life and yes we are lost without Him.  It’s that “desperate” part.  Did you notice that word … “desperate”?

Have you every really been “desperate” for God?  Or even “desperate” for God to do something in your life, in your situation?  At what point have you hit that wall that painfully tells you that you absolutely are nothing, can do nothing, without Him?

I have a few situations in my life that fit into the heartbreaking and soul-searching tenor of this song.  These lyrics demand that one step back and decide…am I really desperate for God?  Most of the time, honestly, I am too self-conscious to allow myself to be forced to make this kind of an examination of my life during public worship.  Most people will sing the words, some people will even understand what’s being asked of them, few of us will actually push ourselves to be so transparent in a congregational forum.

But as the last strains of the music float to the heavens, each one of us will have to answer the questions … Is He my life?  Is He my sustanance?  Am I inconsolable without Him?  Am I lost without Him?

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Havenlife by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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I just received a reminder that the National Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is coming upon us….November 8, 2009.

Falling shortly after Halloween and before Thanksgiving … a day to remember to pray for our sisters and brothers who pay the price.  It doesn’t seem sufficient for me, this year, to just wait until that day to speak — but to start now to put out a plea to remember them.

There are websites that can provide you with the facts and figures, building the irrefutable case that Christians suffer greatly for the cause of Christ.  I don’t need to establish that information for you. 

When one thinks about the sufferings of Christ for the cause of the salvation of man, the images and implications are phenomenal.  You may or may not believe or accept the work of Christ.  Given the resources available to someone who is truly seeking, I will not debate that issue.  I accept it as true and I believe without a doubt in the amazing sacrifice of Jesus for me.  I believe also the amazing sacrifice of the Father for me. 

And faithful Christians the world over, nearly, pay a price for choosing to believe.  The hardships, suffering, and even persecutions they endure are unimaginable to me, to us.  Yet they persevere … they will obtain a crown of life! 

And then, here I am.  Here you are.  We live the American Dream while they endure the quasi-nightmare of the Kingdom.  The real nightmare would be for us to abandon them–to fail to pray, to fail to send aid, to fail to make change where it can be made.

So, after you’ve tolerated our nation’s celebration of Halloween and before you humbly give thanks for all you have — remember those in the middle .. in the middle of pain, hardship, trial..in the middle of spiritual conflict…in the middle of heaven and earth.  Pray, help, advocate…but don’t abandon them.

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Havenlife by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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Dream tucked away …

Research … it seems to be a vital part of my life.

I’ve researched homeschool curriculum, vaccination information, SBA loans, boomerang children, contemporary Christian music, formaldehyde, medicaid laws, how septic tanks work, the Federal Register …

And now, I’m researching the feasibility of taking journalism classes to pick up on a dream tucked away to make time for living.  I’ve started down this path and I can’t see where it will take me, but the first curve seems to be that people serious about their desire to write utilize the “blogging” outlet.  I’m not sure the pro’s and con’s of this medium as yet, but the adventure begins!

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Havenlife by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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