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Some Miracles Take Time

I was thoroughly disappointed and mad. The date was September 7, 2012. I remember it well because it was the anniversary date of putting our beloved house up for sale ten years prior. Ten. Years. On and off the market, through three different realtors and there it sat. We had even moved out and allowed two different families to rent until their loans could go through. Not wise. Plus I had given God a deadline and He failed me. Besides that, our youngest daughter and her sweet husband had prayed for a child for eight long years. Apparently God had ignored our prayers in that department too. They’d been on the adoption waiting list so long that a new home study was required.

And I was mad.

Did I say that already? Mad hardly covers it. Hurt, disappointed, sad, and royally ticked barely scratched the surface. I began to question the God I claim to love and serve.

Exactly one week later they got a call from the agency. “There’s a baby boy ready for adoption. How about next Friday, September 21st as placement day?”

What?!! It seems the Lord had been working on this little miracle behind the scenes for a while. As the family gathered to meet our new grandson for the first time, our hearts nearly burst with joy as he was tenderly placed in the arms of his new parents. We passed him around and snuggled his sweet cheeks and wondered at the goodness of God. His sky blue eyes opened for a sneak peek into his future and the crazy people who couldn’t quit laughing and crying over his birth.

A few hours later as we celebrated more fully over chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel, he slept soundly amidst the noise. Little did he know his day would get even more eventful.

Do you ever get the impression that the Lord likes to show off His great love? This would be one of those times. A birth mother from another area had been praying about the future of her child and knew our daughter and son-in-law would be great parents. Her sweet baby had been born the night before. Would our daughter and son-in-law pray about receiving a little girl?

I’d heard that the Lord’s ways are higher and greater than we can imagine. Now I know it to be true firsthand. Twins! Born three weeks apart but realized and received in our hearts on the same day. Oh God You really are amazing!

Even though our beloved house was eventually lost and God didn’t do things according to my demands or schedule, I think I learned some very powerful lessons. When I grow weary in well doing and wonder where God is and begin to get a little miffed at His apparent lack of care, instantly I’m reminded of our two sweet miracle babies. Long before the blessings were received, He was working on our behalf. Just because I can’t see what’s going on behind the scenes doesn’t mean He doesn’t care.

In fact, the most wonderful blessings take a little time to unfold.

basingers

 

PS: To read the story as it unfolded two years ago click here .

A Little Off Kilter

Knowing my love of home decor he took me to a favorite shop one anniversary. He turned me loose with a fistful of dollars and these instructions. “You have to spend it all here before we leave.”  What a man! That’s like going to the doctor and leaving with a prescription for chocolate covered bacon. It doesn’t make sense but who am I to question such wisdom?

Being a cheapskate generally prevents me from pulling the trigger on any purchase, much less frivolity. My inner Crafty Chick whispers, “You could totally make that.” By the time ol’ Crafty has examined an item thoroughly, she always puts it back. Often she repents once she’s home and it is eternally too late. But not this time! She shall obey the husband of her youth and spend all the money leaving Crafty Chick and her cheapskate ways at the Dollar Tree.

It was hard not to skip through the store with delight but I refrained. There was a beautiful seascape with a little boat dancing on the wind. In another area a heavy clock promised to match the plaster cracks in our own castle. Across the way a coat rack with metal leaves beckoned. I guess Crafty Chick was not completely ignored. She imagined bathrobes or towels hanging from the numerous hooks which were interesting and unusually shaped. I made my way to the checkout with an armload of treasure.

At home the clock looked great on the mantel, the picture gave life to the dark blue guest room and the metal rack fit perfectly in the bathroom where beadboard covered an old chimney. It served the same great purpose after we moved into our current house too. Pajamas hang ready for non-action there.

One day, the husband of my youth said in passing, as though it mattered not at all, “You know that’s a plate rack don’t you?”

With wisdom and insight I replied, “Huh?”

“See? If you turn it upside down, it’s a plate rack. Actually it IS upside down, but all these years we’ve hung it like that.”

“NO WAY!” I replied still not believing.

This not being his first rodeo, the husband of my youth advised, “Well honey just look at it.”

Turning my head sideways in order to get the correct perspective, I realized he was correct.

“Have you always known? Why did you not communicate this information to me sooner? All this time I thought I was being creative having a coat rack in the bathroom when actually it’s not a coat rack at all!” He too turned his head sideways but looked at me instead. His expression said, “Sooo… what’s the big deal.” Wisely the man who knows me well, kept his thoughts to himself.

He walked away leaving me with my head tipped sideways peering at the robe hook turned plate rack. After a few moments of prayerful consideration I decided I like it exactly as it is. In fact, it sums up our lives quite well:

Upside down and a little off kilter.

photo (20)

September Peaches

It was his birthday. So two of our daughters and I crashed his office with three toddlers and a truckload of blessings. Surprise! It’s Extreme Office Makeover, the Family Edition! With some of his books and pictures, a new bulletin board, and all kinds of cool stuff to improve his workspace we threw down! My plan included a metal tree we bought years ago in Mexico. A friend of a daughter would use her Cricut to cut out the letters for his favorite verse. We left a place on the wall for it by the tree behind his desk. Perfect!

Except that before the letters were cut, he lost his job due to a shortfall in church finances. Ouch! Didn’t see that coming! Oh well. At least we didn’t have to scrape these letters off the wall.

“…like a tree planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” –Psalm 1:3

I was reminded of that day months later as I read a passage in Jeremiah 17. “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves are green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Long months of drought…peaches

Our current “drought” has lasted quite a while now. At times it’s felt unbearably long. And yet…

Maybe part of our drought is in discovering Who we are trusting. It’s pretty easy to speak of faith when everything is chipper.  But is He really our hope and confidence or would we rather have a steady pay check? Could it be the Lord cares less about what we are doing, and more about Who we’re trusting?

This summer we visited Huffman’s Peach grove where they grow several varieties. We asked about the different types. The very helpful young lady explained how each had a unique taste and purpose. She showed us some toward the back which should be “worked up that day” as they were plenty ripe. She invited us to return through the month of September as others would just be coming on. Wow! Fresh peaches in September?

Folks tell us that someday we’ll look back on all this and laugh. Currently it’s not cause for chuckles. But I do expect that down the road somewhere we’ll look back and it will make a lot more sense. For if a farmer has enough wisdom to plant an orchard to bear fruit for a lengthy season, surely the God of all the earth has plans for our fruit bearing too.

I love this wisdom from Philip Yancey, “What is faith in God after all, but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse?” Seasons come and go. Droughts happen. Thankfully the Source of all that is good never changes. When our roots reach deep into His Truth, wonderful fruit will result, way past September. May we never stop bearing fruit.

The Big Splurge

I am happy to announce that we are the proud owners of new toaster! After quite a few years of sticking a coffee spoon into the side to push the lever down in lieu of a broken handle, we finally made the big splurge. One of our daughters wisely commented that with our luck, the placing of a metal object in the toaster was not our wisest move. Let’s just say that the odds are not ever in our favor.

Our new toaster is handsome with strong springs. Bread leaps forth with a flourish. I’ve begun walking away, busying myself with other breakfast duties, rather than peering over the top waiting on the poppage. Like a kid watching a jack-in-the box, though I know what is scheduled to happen, for some reason I am always startled. So much so that I fear one day having the toaster listed in some portion of my obituary. That would be ironic considering all the near misses survived with the old “just use a spoon handle but don’t stick it in too far” toaster.

Yep. He’s a beauty. He even has a bagel button. I pushed it one day just to see what would happen. Of course I walked away. In the back of my head there is still a creepy clown down there just waiting to burst forth and scare the life out of me. So tra-la-la-la-la… I’m not looking… I’m frying an egg… BAM!

Oh good grief. Now I need to change pajamas.

I really hate surprises. We used to buy those very convenient canned biscuits. I baked all kinds of goodness with them, like fried apple pies that Grandma Pittman used to make. Or monkey bread with the cinnamon and sugar yumminess.

But no more… sigh. For canned biscuits cannot be trusted.

Apparently whacking the can on the side of a kitchen counter was deemed too physically taxing. So now they’re conveniently designed so that when one pulls the silver tab the biscuits pop out of there like a man out of a cake! No wait… where did that image come from?

What I meant was, like a balloon bursting at a kid’s birthday party. That’s right. Like a balloon bursting… at a kid party.

Scary.

I always drop the biscuits on the floor. So no more canned biscuits.

But that’s okay. I have a new toaster. And he’s handsome.

A little scary…

muwahahahah! See? Even the cow is frightened.

But handsome!

Boldly Go

The woman looked awful. A sudden migraine drop kicked her into that terrible place where she thought she might die and wished she’d hurry up. She wobbled to my office window and requested a sub. First grade teachers cannot leave all willy-nilly just because they’re dying. Everyone knows death for a teacher requires at least a two week notice.

“Yes!” I assured her. “I’ll find someone to fill in for you until a substitute can get here.” About that time, my sweet husband happened by to see me. He had walked over from the middle school during his planning period. “Hey Huuuuunnnney… could you please watch her class for a few minutes?”

When the longest forty-five minutes of his life were finally over, again he stopped by my office. “How’d it go?” I asked sympathetically. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop he responded, “They were HORRIBLE. They pat you with their sticky little hands. Why do they do that?”

It seems my sweetheart was not designed to meet the needs of tiny people. Gladly he’d endure the purgatory called middle school. But never again would he willingly subject himself to the abyss known as elementary.

With another school year starting, I’d like to extend my great appreciation and a backpack full of “Bless your hearts” to the educators. I must say, you remind me of Jesus… except that He didn’t have to do bulletin boards.

People pulled and tugged and confronted and accused and begged of Him continuously. So. Many. Needs. I bet the children even patted him with their fishy little hands. Yet He kept opening His weary arms to accept the least of these.

I find it interesting that while “vast crowds came to hear Him preach and be healed of their diseases,” Luke 5:16 gives us a little insight into Jesus’ strategy for coping. He “often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”

Don’t worry. This is not where you’re guilted into adding one more thing to your very long list. Take this as an observation from an old chick who served amongst the good, the bad and the ugly for five years in one school and twenty in another.

Prayer changes everything.

No, you probably won’t have time to withdraw to some hidey hole where thou shalt kneel for a quiet “sweet hour of prayer.” But a mindset of bringing a child or family before the Lord as you’re dealing with them really helps. If your prayer sounds like, “Lord help little Pookie Bear lest I shake him til his teeth rattle.” God knows his need… and yours. I promise. I’ve seen it firsthand. Prayer changes everything. Mostly it changed me. Besides I figure since Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God prayed often, we might benefit from a cry for help too.

So thank you dear Teachers.

Lord help you dear Assistants.

Bless you dear Office Personnel.

God love you dear Principal.

What a wonderful calling you have! To bring out the best in so many lives! Like Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise, may you boldly take others where they have never been before!

And like Jesus, may God give you strength to open weary arms to the very least of these.

Teachers Rock!

Teachers Rock!

“What’s the real name for smot berries?” I texted our very knowledgeable daughter Hannah. My phone changed the word snot. I had to wonder why Verizon deemed smot a better word. Turns out SMOT stands for the “Singing Men of Texas.” Interesting.

Her reply was, “Mulberry, as in ‘all around the.’”

The tree out by our creek bank drops tons of small blackberry-like fruit. David was push mowing that part of the yard one day when he slipped and took a nasty fall. As he told me what happened he said they must be “snot berries” as in slick as. Hence we have referred to the berries as such. Hannah enlightened us that they are mulberries and are good for making jam. One must harvest them by placing a sheet under the tree and allowing the fruit to fall as it ripens. We may have to call the berry by the correct name since snot-berry jam won’t be as enticing.jam

Our son-in-law Shane sent a text one day after church. His phone autocorrected his words so his exciting news got changed to “We had three starvations!” I’ve attended some churches where I thought I might starve. Guess I should’ve packed some…. mulberries.

In the wonderful world of texting, have you ever had a mishap? Or even worse, have you ever said something on Facebook that went bad?

C’mon. Let us have a laugh at your expense.

By the way… lol does not mean “lots of love” and is inappropriate on a sympathy card.

Words are a powerful thing. I wish my tongue had an auto-correct. How nice it would be if only that which is beneficial would spill forth. Or at least funny.

Funny is beneficial, right? OK… nice, funny, beneficial.

And clean. It takes a lot of effort to be clean funny… and nice… and beneficial.

I don’t anticipate a lot of comments today.

Our very large family is full of “interesting” people. Here’s my nephew-in-law’s take on the Mulberry situation. His humor is also beneficial.

http://88caprice.blogspot.com/2014/08/picking-mulberries-how-did-guide.html

I met my friend Ann the first time as we waited to pick up our kids from school. Like me she had two in elementary and one in the car. We hit it off immediately, mostly because we shared the same warped since of humor. By summertime we piled the kids in the car and headed to Morrow Mountain for swimming lessons and pbj’s several times a week. We were at best a six ring circus on wheels. Make that eight counting the clowns in the front seat. Angels flew low surrounding her station wagon on all those trips up and down the mountain. Not one mishap! We won’t speak of the twenty-five mile per hour zone and the park ranger with nothing else to do. I’m sure he’s gone to Glory by now and is happily handing out tickets to all those flying past his little cabin doing thirty two.

One day I spotted Ann’s car in a parking lot. This was BW [before Walmart] so maybe it was Roses’ at the Rowan Mall or Sky City at the Towne Mall. The particulars are fuzzy. But I do remember seeing a nasty disposable diaper in the space where she had parked. Just for fun, I scribbled a note and placed it on her windshield.

“Hey Lady- Is that your dirty diaper? Don’t be a litter bug!”

Since we were rather new friends, she had no idea that it was my handwriting and was quite insulted. All manner of unpleasantries rattled around in her head. It took a while before I confessed my mischief. It’s a wonder she ever accepted me back into the beloved.

Our children are grown and now we share a different bond. We’re both Grammys. Oh the joy! However, piling the kids in the car and heading to the park takes a lot more energy. Not because we’re about a hundred years older, but now we have to deal with all those pesky car seats. Back in the day we just stacked the six kids in like loaf bread with halfhearted instructions not to kill each other.

Recently as I cleaned out my desk, I came to grips with the fact that I cannot keep everything. Sadly, stacks of cards from kind people over the years needed to be tossed. However, all of Ann’s notes made the cut. Often she has written just a small word of encouragement at exactly the right time. How does she know? Around the same time she was also going through some stuff and found my windshield note from yesteryear. She sent me a picture of it saying, “The things we choose to keep.”note

Through the years we’ve endured a lot of life. Together we’ve learned the power of friendship, encouragement, and humor. While I tend toward mischief, she leans more to the kinder side. I’m just glad I made the cut. Maybe because we are still just a couple clowns joined at the heart.

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