Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Story

Warning: if you are inclined towards being a vegetarian you might want to skip reading this blog. Of course, if you do, you’ll miss my grandmother’s classic Thanksgiving story.

As I was getting the turkey ready for Thanksgiving, I suddenly had a flashback to when I was a little girl. We spent most every Thanksgiving with my Grandparents Gall, as they lived just a few miles from us. We either went to their house or they came to ours. And nearly every Thanksgiving, since I was old enough to hear such a story, my grandma would tell of one particular Thanksgiving from her childhood.

My grandma grew up on a farm in Missouri. Well, now that I think of it, I’m not exactly sure it was a farm, but I do know that her family raised turkeys. As you’d expect back in the early 1900’s, these birds were not pets, but family food. (Come to think of it, I've never heard of someone having a pet turkey, but nothing is out of the realm of possiblity, I suppose.) The problem started, I think, when my grandmother named the turkeys. Thanksgiving rolled around and my great grandmother spent the day preparing the meal. I would venture to guess that a big Thanksgiving meal in those days, while probably much simpler than what we have, was still a major undertaking.

What came next probably sent my grandmother to her room for a week. With the bird fully dressed and sitting beautifully browned in the middle of the table, the family bowed their heads to give thanks for their meal. As soon as grace was over my grandmother breathed a huge sigh and said, “Well, we’re having Daisy for dinner tonight.” As my grandmother tells the story, no one ate that night.

My grandma died over 20 years ago but this story still cracks me up. As you may have guessed, I heard it more than a few times. I’d love to hear it again. So do me a favor this Thanksgiving; if you are fortunate enough to still have a grandma that tells you her favorite stories time and again, please listen and give your grandma a hug. Most of all, have a fabulous Thanksgiving. We have much for which to be thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Baaaaby!

I can’t believe it! My baby boy is 21 years old today! How did this happen? He was just born! As with all of my kids, I can still relive the entire birth story for you, but I won’t. Scott’s birth, however, was the most adventuresome. Suffice it to say that he was born as John was parking the car in the hospital parking lot.

Our little Scott, though never really little, is now six feet tall and cracks us up nearly every day, not always on purpose. He’ll be spending his 21st birthday in Portland where he attends college. We miss him like crazy and can’t wait to see him at Christmas!

Scott, being the youngest by five and a half years, spent many hours watching his big brothers’ athletic or musical events. And, he spent a lot of time in the car as I ran the other kids to and from said activities. He always managed to stay entertained, generally not with the actual game or concert taking place. And, if he was ever too bored, he would just goes to sleep. That trait has actually served him well through his entire 21 years.

We are grateful to have him in our lives, and even more grateful that he knows Jesus and his serving Him well. Happy Birthday, Scott!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How Do I Pray?

My heart is heavy tonight. You see, as I write this, a dear, sweet, young woman from our church is fighting for her life. Lacey has been battling cancer for over two years now. She received the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma the week after I first met her. Tonight, she is battling a lung infection and quite honestly, things don’t look good. Her family has asked everyone to pray for a miracle, so I am praying. But, I’ve got to be honest. I don’t really know how to pray when things look so bleak. What I have learned though, is that when I ask God the tough questions of life, He doesn’t ignore me, but He answers me. So, tonight I asked Him, how do I pray for a miracle for Lacey when things look so bleak? And, to be honest, I’m guessing that God could tell I was a bit miffed about the situation. But, I know He is big enough to deal with my somewhat angry question.

God showed me that most importantly I have to trust Him. He loves Lacey even more than I do, and more than her own family. He reminded me that He is holding her in His arms and walking with her through this hard night. And, he encouraged me to never, ever quit asking him for a miracle, even when they seem impossible. Thus, I will pray. I found a verse in Psalm 61:2 that I’m modifying a bit to use as a prayer for Lacey. “O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer for Lacey! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead Lacey to the towering rock of safety.”

If you are so inclined, please join me in praying for a miracle for my friend, Lacey. I am trusting for God’s very best for her!

Monday, November 17, 2008

In Need of a Dream Interpreter

Do you ever wake up after having a dream and it seems so real that it scares you? I had that happen to me today. I don’t put much stock in dreams but I have to admit, the one I had early this morning was just so upsetting. It must have been the Nachos Nuevos I had at Applebee’s last night. Of course, once you start trying to explain a dream to someone you realize that they never really make any sense.

I haven’t posted much lately and yesterday a friend commented on that fact, so today, you are stuck with my dream life. And, after nearly a whole day to ponder my dream, I have determined, that the panic I was in this morning really just adds to the hilarity of the dream itself. You see, in my dream, I was engaged to a man, yet apparently married to my husband, John, at the same time. (Please don’t judge me. I was asleep when all of this was going on, remember?) Apparently, in preparation for my marriage to this guy, I was attempting to make some beautiful new curtains and placemats for my house. His family kept trying to help me. Only problem was that everything they helped with turned out looking horrific. Additionally, though they were nice people, they were just very, very odd. And, there were kids everywhere – they weren’t mine. Probably the worst part of the dream was the engagement ring. It was a hideous looking lacey flower that stood about two inches tall and wide with some little diamonds in the middle. I guess I should give this guy credit for not forgetting the diamonds! I didn’t want to hurt his feelings but I simply had to break up with him. I mean, I did after all, already have a beautiful wedding band and a great husband.

Maybe that’s what the dream was all about. Just a little reminder from God that I’ve got a good thing going here and I should never take it for granted. It’s either that, or a suggestion to skip the Nachos Nuevos at 9:30 p.m.!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Know Thyself

Yesterday, I took an online test to find out a little bit more about myself. Earlier this year I took the Strengths Finder survey (which was quite helpful) and the most recent test I took is called the Life Languages Evaluation, put out by the Life Languages Institute. I always find these tests interesting and look forward to what they are going to tell me about myself. An added benefit to these surveys is they explain how to best work with people who, shall we say, have opposite personalities. Where, I want to know, were these surveys when I first got married? Let’s just say, I’ve learned a lot about working with opposite personalities, through trial and error, right here in my own home.

So, here is what I learned yesterday. I am very verbal! Who knew? If you are raising your hand right now, you may put it down. Yes, it’s true, I am verbal. When my husband is asked what kind of degree I attained in college he tells people I majored in talking. I try explaining to him that my degree is in communication but he seems to think that is the same thing.

Of course, with every positive about a person’s traits, there are negatives. So, just for the record, even the non-verbal types have negatives. For instance, they can be challenging to carry on a conversation with at times! But, I actually found one of the negative traits about me quite humorous. My test results say that “when excited, fatigued, or stressed, you may find yourself prone to exaggeration.” NO WAY! I NEVER exaggerate. The very idea of this stresses me out!

O.K., so I didn’t really learn a LOT about myself from this test. No wait, I did. What I learned is that I do know myself pretty well. I guess after 53 years of living with me, I’ve learned a little something. Now I just have to trust what I know and, as they say, accentuate the positive.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Breathtaking Moment

Let me start this post by first saying that I'm not a big fan of winter in Minnesota. I'm not all that fond of summer either but I do love the fall and the spring. So basically, that gives me about three months of happiness with the weather each year. Mind you, I'm happy most of the time, but the weather doesn't really contribute to my state of happiness.

If you live in Minnesota, you most likely woke up this morning to find a little of the white stuff covering your lawn and maybe a bit in the trees. It's a sign of things to come and even though I'm not a fan of winter, I still do enjoy the first snowfall.

There is a quote that says "Life isn't about the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away." This morning, I had one such moment. In the midst of a normal morning, I was on my way to the workout center and I drove to the bottom of my street and turned towards downtown Cannon Falls. (Downtown Cannon Falls, by the way, is approximately three blocks long and is about a half block away after I turn my corner.) As I turned the corner and looked out at the hillside to my north I literally gasped at the beauty of the evergreens perfectly flocked in a delicate layer of snow. I don't think I've ever even noticed the trees being there before. It was simply stunning, at least for me in that moment.

I love those breathtaking moments, especially when I am able to see them amidst the ordinariness of my everyday life. God is so amazing in the ways He blesses my days. I love that!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Live the Dream

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time to blog, but I didn’t want to leave you thinking that toilet seat covers and fleur de lis were all I learned about on my trip last weekend. The conference I attended was called “Live the Dream.” There were some great speakers, and they all had something to say about living our dreams.

April Simons reminded us that God is our biggest cheerleader and wants us to see our dreams fulfilled. Who doesn’t need a cheerleader? She also reminded us that if God calls us to do something, even though it may seem impossible to us, He will equip us to do whatever it is He’s asking us to do.

DeLynn Rizzo encouraged us to protect our dream by giving it to God. If the enemy can destroy your dream, he can destroy your destiny. I really appreciated this advice. I’m currently working on my own God dream and while what I’m doing excites me, I have to rely on God EVERY day to keep me from getting discouraged.

Christine Caine told us to be prepared. Though we all have dreams of what we’d like to do, our main purpose is to be ready to do whatever God calls us to. I may have big dreams but I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that first of all, it’ll take God to pull them off, and secondly, if I don’t end up where I think I’m going, I’ll end up somewhere way better because ultimately God is in control.

Probably my favorite speaker of the weekend was Dino Rizzo, pastor of Healing Place Church (where the conference was held.) Dino talked about how women fill a role in God’s creation that nothing else fills. He reminded us that what is important is not our station in life, size, hair color, age, etc. but that God has a plan for each of us. I have spent a lot of time thinking I can’t do something because I’m too old, too heavy, not pretty enough or I don’t have the right connections to get something done. Well, no more. I am moving forward in what God has planned for me and I know that whatever that is will be way more than I could possibly imagine.

I am grateful that God not only allows me to dream but provides the path for me to follow to pursue the dreams He has put in my heart.