Friday, July 17, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about this subject lately. I'm honestly not sure what got me started. It began before Father's Day. I suppose it's presence on the horizon was the trigger. Not really sure.
My father was in Virginia over Father's Day, so I didn't see him. That's OK, though, because that means he was with his granddaughter. I'm pretty sure her presence is more preferable to my parents than me right now:) I'm just fine with that. She is pretty sweet. More than that. Just darling, but then again, I'm prejudiced.

On Father's Day one of our elders at church shared a lot about fatherhood, more importantly, being a Christ-like father. That's a tall task. Many don't come anywhere close to measuring up. Others do quite well. It is NOT an easy job. I know that he's passionate about men and their relationship with their Heavenly Father. In turn, their relationships with their families are improved. I have a lot of respect for that because I feel the same desire to see women grow closer to their Maker and each other, mostly through their time in the Word.
After the sermon there was a response time. Father's were encouraged to ask for prayer, pray with their familes, pray by themselves, whatever they felt led to do. There was one particular guy that got up to go speak to his son who was sitting with the youth group. I don't know what was said. All I saw was a man walking toward his son with an "I'm on a mission" look on his face. He leaned over, spoke into his son's ear for just a bit, then hugged him and walked back to his seat. Obviously I'm not privy to what was said, but the message of love was still evident in the body language. It was also evident in the fact that after Dad sat down again, I looked toward the son to see him unashamedly wiping tears off his cheeks. His buddies were sitting near him, and there was not a hint of embarassment about the fact that he was crying because his Dad loves him. It was really beautiful. I wonder if anyone else got to notice it.

I've been reading a book with other women from our Bible study. I honestly can't say that I've been much of a reader lately, but there is one line in it that has stuck with me. It says, "...Jesus Himself pursued relationship with us so we could come to know and trust Him." We have been given free will. It is our choice to choose to become a disciple of Christ or not. He cannot make us. He can, however, doggedly pursue us. I realize that Jesus is not the portion of the trinity considered "The Father", but the point is still there. Discussing the theology is not important here. We were created with His desire being that we would choose to accept the gift of being adopted into His family with all the privileges and blessings included in the family trust. We have to make the choice and He pursues us relentlessly, doing everything in His might to draw us to Him, into a place of eternal security and earthly peace. That's an even more beautiful picture of the love of a Father, that he does not give up.

The final picture of fatherhood that is the most recent to present itself to me is this.
This is Lars. I know him as Alek, only because it's easier to say. He and his wife, Hanna, are from Sweden. We all worked together as nurses on the Africa Mercy. They are both lovely people. I thoroughly enjoyed their humor, kindess, and desire to show Christ's love to the patients and crew alike. Yay!!!!! They just had a son, Alek, Jr. I'm very happy for them, and I'm also happy for him to be born to the parents he's been blessed with.
Look at it again.....a little bigger. Take in the details.

Little Alek is bundled securely near his Daddy's heart. It's obviously a peaceful place to be. Notice he's sleeping without a care in the world. In the meantime Lars is protecting his son while proudly letting the whole world know that his son has arrived! The title of this photo on FB was titled "Fanfare for Alek Jr, our firstborn!" I just love it! I'm amazed that Alek is sleeping so soundly while that trumpet is blaring. That makes one think he must have heard it a time or two while he was in the womb as well. It's a song only for him, the shouts of the trumpet joined with the steady beating of Lars' heart.

When I asked Lars' permission to use this photo, he shared with me that Alek's arrival helped him understand just a bit more the love our Father feels for us. Since I'm not a parent, I can only imagine. The pride in this photo, though, is more than obvious. Just think. If he feels just a taste of what God feels for His children, how much more must our Father love us and feel pride in us. That says nothing of his desire to hold us close to His heart. Take some time to soak that up.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

How to spend a lazy summer afternoon

Yesterday was perfectly delightful. It all started with an email from my Aunt Phyll a few weeks ago. She was wondering what my plans were for the 4th of July weekend, and did they include time at the lake? She knew most would have a 3-day weekend, and wanted to spend some time at Grandma's house. Before I go further, let me say that our family has been spoiled for a long time. My grandparent's built their house on Perrin Lake about 50 years ago. Since then innumerable people have enjoyed time at their house. The house is nice, but the yard and the water are really where the party's at. Literally. There have been quiet afternoons with only 1 or 2 present, summer days spent swimming to the point of being waterlogged, family reunions, holiday parties, baseball end-of-season parties, youth group initiations (now there's another blog or two:), nights spent sleeping on the pontoon in the middle of the lake, and many other long-forgotten excuses to enjoy the company and the surroundings. Few places, if any, rank higher on my list of favorite locations to while away the day.

Yesterday included my Grandma, my Mom and I, Mom's sisters ~Phyll, Chris, and Becky ~ Phyll's son James, several of Becky's kids, and random others that showed up here and there throughout the day. The only planning that really happened was preparing for lunch, which was delicious ~ a few salads, deli-style sandwiches, and lots of fresh fruit. Mostly the plan was to spend time in the sun and with each other. The plan came off without a hitch!

For any that have read The Five Love Languages, quality time is at the top of my list. Activities are great, but I just dearly cherish spending time with those I love the most. Grandma's yard is a great place to do that. It sort of has an upper and a lower portion. The lower part of the yard is by far bigger. That leads to the lake, has a picnic table, a fire ring, and much more space. The upper portion has the porch swing and smaller grassy area. When we got there a few were already sitting on the swing. Rather than move down to the larger area, we just brought the lawn chairs up and sat there. Other than when a few swam out to the middle of the lake and when we ate lunch, we never really moved. We were too busy talking. I've spent countless hours lying in the sun at Grandma's house. I don't think I've ever done it in the yard right beside the garage, but that's what we did yesterday. We were simply too busy talking and soaking up the sun to be bothered moving down to the area where we usually sit.

Life is too busy. We don't often enough just spend time with each other, as families, as women, and generations. When I was a child I remember my Mom and I semi-regularly getting together with the women in my Dad's extended family. I thought it had a name, but I don't remember it now. That group consisted of some Amish women and some who were not. They usually quilted while the kids played. There was always a mouth-wateringly delicious lunch, then we'd all head home late in the afternoon. I don't remember a single one of those quilts. I have no idea who they were for. What I remember we kids having a ton of fun, and the women talking and laughing, buzzing like a bunch of bees. It was time to catch up, share stories, ideas, and much more.

Every time I spend time with women, be it at church, Bible study, a sewing bee, or near the swing at Grandma's house, the concensus seems to be that it is a refreshing time that should happen more often. There's a reason families are designed the way they are, generationally. Really we had 4 generations present yesterday. Grandma, her daughters, my generation, and then the little girls. The little girls are my cousins now (yay for adoptions:), but Zoe is 5 and Ellie nearly 3. (Soon the ages of my Grandma's grandchildren will range from 3-40) Since I'm, well, much older than 5 (not the one almost 40, though:), it's almost like they're nieces, not cousins. There is so much joy and insight to be gleaned from all of those generations. We're all at different places in life, but still had so much in common. Even James, who was the only male a good bit of the day, seemed to thoroughly enjoy lazing the day away with us. I can't say the conversation was particularly profound. At points it consisted of intestinal issues, physical changes, eye infections, and funky toes:) It wasn't really the conversation, though, that was important. It was the time together, and lots of laughter.

My time yesterday only solidified my interest in continuing to make time with my family important. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend the rest of the day with my Mom and Dad.