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Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

… a moment …

I told you about that facebook chat didn’t I?

  It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories. 

I shared that a little slice of time was so precious … and that God loves our little slices of time with Him.

But, as I re-read the post, I know I didn’t tell you.

It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories.

There are moments that shine in our lives; moments that exhilarate; moments that suffocate; moments that feel like hours; moments that sweep us off our feet.

The moment I saw Titus’ message was a moment that took my breath away.

           It’s one of those moments.  It is here, lighting my memories.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take
but by the moments that take our breath away.

~ Hilary Cooper

That was a moment … that is what life feels like.

 

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nine’s

I was looking through some of my jotted down memories from the busiest days of mothering. . . a four year old, three year old, and an infant.  Even at a young age we were trying to train up these children in the way they should go, so we were  working on memory verses.

My three year old son had his own version of James 4:8:

“Draw nine to God and He will draw nine to you.”

Nine is a pretty good number, don’t you think…I sure hope I explained the verse to him after I wrote the quote down for infamy.  And we were using an older version for this memory verse — Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.  Nigh is a very old vocabulary word for “near.”

As I think about this, I am very thankful for the promise found there.  When  I’ve pulled away, or allowed myself to be pulled away by the things of this world, I can make a correction in my course.  There is no required set of classes to take; no formula to incorporate … just draw near.

Draw near.  Stop what I’m doing and allow myself time to come near to Him.

And, guess what?  No guessing needed.  The Bible says that He will draw near to me.  He’s waiting patiently for me to recognize my busyness and my need.  I just need to run to Him; He opens His arms to bring me near.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Remember … NINE’s!

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the wonder of it all

I have been blessed to have several “moments of wonder” in my childhood.  I don’t know if other children have them or recognize them, but for me they were significant.

Fall is normally my favorite season of the year.  The golden aura of the days sometimes finds its way right into my very soul.  I can feel myself stepping through the golden sunlight, swishing golden leaves, crossing the portal into a golden heaven.  It is an amazing affinity.

But I have an appreciation for other seasons as well.  I’ve been known to appreciate the beauty of an ice storm as the world lies in silent white wonder. 

The summer panorama of lush green hills from the plateaus around our town or the pockets of wildflowers waving happily in the wetlands.

Or the day when I had overslept for school.  Just another regular school day.  There was nothing special going on in my heart or in the schedule.  This morning of hustle and bustle in our trailer was about as plain as any you could imagine.  Having gotten up late, I was rushing around trying to get ready for school.  I had not yet realized the value of planning your wardrrobe ahead, so I was even being slowed down by the simple process of choosing clothes for the day!

What a mess..hurry, hurry, hurry!  Gather those books and papers!  The bus just passed the house on the far corner of this country block…is there anything to take to eat on the way?

Where the bus is right now, gives me just enough time to power walk the lane and be at the stop when the bus is…Uhg–my coat!  Where’s my coat?  Can you believe this?  I might just make it!  Swoosh, the door flies open–slam shut and I’m running—

Whoa!

My perceptions are faster than my sight and as I look up and all around me, I stop.  Completely.  Still in my actions and in my being; finding myself brought almost instantly to tears as joy erupts within.  I have absolutely no thought of the big yellow bus.

I am enveloped in sweet, comforting green.  The buds on the trees have popped just enough to raise their green sprouts in praise; the mist of the morning reflects the hues of the grass.  Glorious streams of sunlight poke through the haze here and there.  The calmness of the world invades my heart as I notice a lone bird singing.  As I attempt to grasp all of this into myself to store away to experience again internally, the grandness is nearly overwhelming.

This is God, the glory of God, God’s handiwork in fullness speaking directly to my heart. 

And the bus driver honks the horn.

I remember nothing else about that day or even that Spring.  I often remember, no re-live, that truly awesome morning.  I remember and revel in the thirty seconds of worship that felt like eternity on earth.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Now I’ve shared this moment of wonder with you, please take a moment in the comment box to share yours with me!

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preparing for yesterday

I have to start someplace besides yesterday. Yesterday overshadows everything right now, so I will step back further.

We’re fortunate when we know that something big is about to happen. That allows us time to prepare for the moment. It matters not if the moment is going to be great or awful, the prelude sets the stage. Our prelude was an attempt at creating memories to carry us when the moment became overwhelming.

Several weeks ago, we decided to go tag a tree. Normally early in December, we cut down our Christmas tree, decorate it accompanied by the requisite Christmas music, and savor the experience over a chili supper. But this year isn’t normal, or maybe it’s a new normal. We certainly couldn’t bring a live tree home in October, but we could preserve some of the tradition.

So on that chilly Friday, we bundled up our family plus one, grabbed our doggies and headed out to the farm. At this time of year, the farm is a pumpkin patch offering assorted decorations for fall. The mammoth barn contains a snack area, a huge apple crate full of Jonagold apples for sale individually or by the bushel, and a tricycle track. Numerous bikes, wagons, and big wheels sit in anticipation of the weekend rush of pumpkin pickers to descend on the farm. There is also an amazing “sand” pit where playful children can shovel, bulldoze, and pile dried corn–autumn’s sand.

Our outing skipped right over Halloween and Thanksgiving to Christmas. We got a map, found the Frasier furs and headed out, armed with our red name tags and a long piece of neon orange marking tape. Spirits high, knee-deep wet grass, we plunged into the field in search of “the tree.” While the experience lacked in the mood of Christmas, the autumn scenery was beautiful. It wasn’t long before our doggies made it known that this excursion was not their idea of fun. They were soon scooped up and zipped into Bud’s and Alethia’s coats, where their shivering subsided.

Dampness began to settle in as I listened to the shouts of “What about this one?” and “That looks like Bullwinkle!” No one really seemed willing to choose a tree and end the experience. I would choose a tree and invariably it would be declared a dud. Traipsing along, I noticed that my jeans were wet almost to my knees and Karissa was starting to shiver. It was obvious that we needed to make a decision.

I pointed to a tree asking “What about this one?” One by one the kids walked around the tree deliberating as they went. “Not too fat, not too short, not too tall, straight trunk, nice top for the angel to rest on, plenty of greenery at the bottom….yeah.” And upon Titus’ declaration, we found our tree. We broke the orange ribbon into pieces and tied them onto the tree and added the name tags. Success!

Back at home, each one enjoying hot pizza and anticipating the fresh baked brownies, we were all content. Our tradition was preserved in a new way and our need to fortify ourselves for the coming moment was fulfilled.

Titus’ departure could have been overwhelming, but the memory of this pleasant prelude now outshines the dreariness that was yesterday.

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This entry, preparing for yesterday, by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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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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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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