Life Long Love

Ah, Motherhood. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? To quote Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. You may think that an odd comparison, unless you are a mother. If you are a mother, it resonates deep in your soul.

Two of the best days of my life were when I held my daughters in my arms for the first time; miniature versions of me. I carried them and had eventful deliveries with both of them, but it is true that any pain melts away as your heart melts in a way it never has before. I encountered a love like none I had ever known.

Over the years, I experienced many “best days”; their first smile, their first steps, many “I love you’s”, the proud moments at school and church, baptisms, graduations, weddings and one of the VERY best, when I was handed each of my two granddaughters.

There were also the bad days. To put it simply, when they hurt, I hurt. Whether it was a bully at school, an illness or injury they suffered with, a break-up that left them broken or just general feelings of insecurity or pain. If you are a mom worthy of the title, I guarantee you, you would rather feel the pain yourself. Every. Single. Time. Other than Jesus, you are their greatest advocate, their biggest fan and you FEEL deep where they are concerned.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that somehow when they turn 18, when their teen years have possibly left your head spinning, that your job is done, that any percentage of the head and heart stuff will cease. Truly, you may no longer operate a charity-based uber service, your laundry loads will decrease, your kitchen won’t feel like grand central station and your nights won’t be filled with games and homework (but oh, how you will miss all this!). Physically though, you will finally have rest. You can sleep in. You can have uninterrupted coffee and many other things.

But, if you think for one moment that this somehow equates with mental rest……if you think that your mind somehow blissfully morphs into a peaceful state that has no cause for fear or concern; that you won’t still feel their pain, wonder about their future, cringe at some of their choices and stay up praying some nights, you have it all wrong.

This thing they call Motherhood, it’s for life. It’s not an easy calling and it certainly isn’t for the faint at heart. You will wring out every drop of yourself to make their lives better and there will be times they don’t seem to appreciate it. (Okay, I know some of you have perfect children, but most of us don’t). I am still a middle aged mom, so I don’t know it all yet, but in speaking with older mom’s, I am assured nothing ever changes. Your desire to hold them, help them and protect them will never be diminished.

Ultimately, you have to let go. You will not have as much say in their choices or the roads they chose to take. This will bother you and if you are smart, you will learn when to offer advice or opinion and when to simply smile and swallow it. They may parent differently than you did, and in some ways this might be a good thing.

There are days when I see myself in them, maybe only a glimpse but it is somehow comforting. This grown creature really is mine and there are still similarities. I hope when they see me in them, it brings them comfort too.

I lost my mom when I was 30 years old and I continue to feel that loss. Mostly, I miss her unconditional love, her undying support, her love-filled advice and being able to share everything with her. Thankfully, over the years, I’ve had friends, aunts and a mother-in-law who have helped tremendously in filling the gaping hole that her death left in my heart. I know how much my mother loved me and that gives me comfort.

There is NOTHING my girls could do that would take away my love for them. We may disagree, but I love them through everything, the good and the bad. They know this without a shadow of a doubt. That my friends, is one of the most important roles of a mother.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the Lord, my God for my beautiful girls and for His constant love and strength, continually helping me to be the best mother I can be. I have failed and will continue to, but He forgives me and helps me to forgive myself and learn from my mistakes.

There is no perfect mother, although mine was awfully close. If we do the best we can with what we know, and strive to know more and do better, we will have done well.

Blessings and Peace,

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Killing Orchids

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My thumb is not a nice dark green.  I suppose it’s more of a seafoam or chartreuse color.  What I am trying to say is that I seem to have about a 60/40 chance of growing beautiful things.  Many of my plants do indeed thrive.  They have deep, robust color and if a bloomer, they have plentiful and hearty offerings.

Then there are those that start off with a bang, bring me viewing pleasure for months and then die a slow and pitiful death right before my eyes.  Others limp along, making little progress only to become diseased.

In the past I attempted to grow orchids.  My sister does a great job with them and hers always look beautiful.  My friend, Rudy has several that thrive.  She shows pictures of them on Facebook and I gaze in wonder at their beauty.   One of my uncles used to have many different varieties and he also seemed to believe they were not hard to grow successfully.

I have brought several of them home with high hopes and visions of grandeur, imagining an entire shelf popping with several blooms in every shade of color in various heights.  I have cringed as I watched one after another succumb to my inefficient treatment (and they aren’t cheap!).   Much to my dismay, I’ve never seen one last for more than a month or so.  Yes, I have read about the lighting, fertilization and watering and I have also solicited advice from the above mentioned orchid hall of famers.  All to no avail I might add.

Then, I read something the other day.  It was about how when the bloom falls off; you can cut the stem a little below the bloom and wait.  Often, although it can take a long time, your orchid will bloom again.  No one told me this.  I always thought that once that flower was gone, it was as good as dead.  Now I learn that as long as my leaves still have some life to them, it is very possible that my orchid will rise again to its former splendor.  I just needed to wait!  Isn’t the waiting always the hardest part?  I’m sure some of you are laughing at my ignorance right now and I can’t say that I blame you.

So, I considered my hydrangea which is my favorite flower ever and not the easiest to grow this far south (at least not for me).  All the leaves had fallen off.  I could barely remember the last flower.  But, I haven’t had much time for yard work lately so I hadn’t dug it up yet.  I went out and took a peek and lo and behold, there are several green leaves gracing that once barren little collection of sticks.  Therefore, I will wait.

In life, one of the things we have the hardest time with is waiting.  We wait for the phone to ring, we wait for the water to boil, and we wait in line.  We wait for the answer to that prayer.  We hear, “good things come to those who wait”, extolling the virtue of patience.  And in our exasperation, we throw out the orchid, we dig up the hydrangea and we avoid the plant aisle for fear of another failure.

I have learned today in my mediation on this topic and my prayer is that you have too.  We will have to wait for the fruition of good things.  We might have to look at an ugly barren stem for a while before we realize the beauty.  May we be more patient with things, but more importantly with people.  Let’s set our sights on the coming growth and glorious blooms instead of the dead branches of the now.  I want to see what God see’s when He looks at me; His plan and the possibilities.

The Anything But Ordinary Day

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Today started out like most ordinary Fridays, with me peering through half closed eyes at the clock to check the time, then realizing its almost seven and feeling like I’m wasting the day away.  I stumbled to the bathroom and on to the kitchen for coffee.  Thursday is my Friday, so today I allowed myself to sleep late (for me) and take my time getting the day started.

Most Friday’s I do errands and this day would be no exception.  As I journeyed to town, I took the time to thank God for the beauty all around me and to ask for His mercy throughout the day.  I thanked Him for loving me and loved on Him as I enjoyed the view and the drive.  I felt such peace and such a spirit of gratitude enveloped me.  I determined in my heart that nothing would take that perfect peace away today.

I thought of a quote I had read this morning that said something about how we could be standing right next to someone who is completely broken and never even know it.  I would approach others with this thought in mind and show love.

As I drove on, I didn’t sense any agitation over other drivers or traffic.  I had a busy day ahead and many things to do, but I turned up “The Message”, sung along and resolved to do each errand without rushing and with patience and kindness.

Part of my list today included picking up some of my granddaughter’s medications.  This can be a test in and of itself because often they aren’t ready, doctor hasn’t approved yet, they require a specialty pharmacy or a compound pharmacy (all things I would have never known about until Cali).   I called the farthest pharmacy away (the compound pharmacy) and although that one wasn’t ready yet, they said they would text me when it was.  My first actual stop was another pharmacy.  The prescriptions weren’t quite ready here either, but they told me to come in and by the time I got to the counter, they would have them.  They weren’t all covered by insurance, but the cashier offered to find a coupon that saved me $20.

One of these meds needed to be refrigerated, so I bought an inexpensive cooler and ice and was on my way to grab lunch.  My hubby’s business needs required my next two stops and I found what I needed without delay and readied myself to kill time waiting on the other prescription.  But, I got a text hours earlier than anticipated and proceeded to the other place, where everything was ready.

I went on about my day and every single conversation and experience was a pleasure.  Traffic seemed to be waiting to give me the best spot in line; everyone was kind and helpful and returned my smiles.  At my last stop, I talked to lady who was busily stocking shelves and she gave me a much appreciated compliment and then at the checkout I got to hear a story about a man who is helping build homes in earthquake devastated countries.

I left there with a grin on my face and the realization that today had been an extraordinarily good day; a day filled with peace and laughter.    Many days are filled with impatience and agitation.  Some “errand Fridays” I complain about traffic, rude people, long lines and anything else I can think of.  Today, I didn’t!

Yes, I know that all days aren’t amazing and bad things happen, and we are faced with trials and troubles.   However, I also know that how you approach your day makes a big difference in the outcome.  Oh, the problems are going to show up.    It’s how we deal with them that matters.

If I mediate on and implement the scriptures that say “love is patient and kind and long suffering” and the ones that say “think on good things” and “say things that edify others and build them up”, I know without a shadow of a doubt my day is going to go better than if I gripe, grumble and complain and look for the bad.  If I meet others with a long face or a scowl, guess what I will probably get in return?  If I greet the day with a grateful heart, thankful that I am saved by grace and given this precious gift that comes with such amazing peace I am much more likely to stay on the positive side of things.

As I sit here, errands done and the day winding down to a close I am thanking God again for His many blessings and for this anything but ordinary day.

Enjoying God’s gifts

 

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Saturday sunset

I woke up to the realization that perhaps, if the weatherman’s forecast hit the mark, I could finally open the windows and enjoy some late arriving fall weather. When I was firing up my Keurig around 5:45, I decided to take a walk outside and see if it really was cooler. Those of us in SW FL have been hoping for a little cool down and we’ve just been getting let down. Well I guess I should say some are hoping for a cool down. Personally, I would love a snow miracle, or at least a good freeze to kill off all of the bugs. Walking around in the dark, the stars were still brilliant. They were set against a dark canvas, seemingly within arm’s reach.

I had to stand there for a few moments, in awe once again of the beauty of God’s creation. In the midst of turmoil and chaos, those stars still shine, the sun will still rise and it will still set. I reflected on my thankfulness for the un-changing things. The things that remain predictable, even in times of great uncertainty.

I love to recognize and reflect upon the gifts God gave us that we sometimes take for granted. There are those gifts that are obscured from our vision if we fail to take the time to really look. We take so much for granted because we don’t take the time to slow down and let things sink in. We tend to rush through things and only let our minds light on a topic for a moment, before we flutter away in our impatient quest to find another one.

If I may give thanks this morning for the firm realization that I must be alone sometimes, I must take time to tarry, that it is more than okay if I slow down and bask in the sunlight of moments and memories. In recent years, this realization has afforded me much happiness.

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content
Philippians 4:11

Mitch Teemley

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