Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Family’

The Mouse In The Corner

Yesterday I drove with Greg on one of his many road trips.  He does weddings and funerals for a living and has numerous meetings throughout the week for these weddings and funerals.  It was raining the whole way there.  He dropped me off at a local Starbucks – then went on to his meeting.  It was a day much like any other.  We have done this hundreds of times before.

 

 

 

But yesterday was different.  Fall is in the air.  And, so it seems – tempers and grumbling – at least where I was.  I had chosen a table in the middle of the coffee shop and noticed 3 little girls sitting in the back next to what appeared to be their mother and grandmother with a baby in a car seat on the floor beside them.  It is a little unusual to see children in a Starbucks, so I was curious and smiled at them as I sat down.  My back was to them and I was very quiet – at my own little table with my iPad – reading and playing games, trying to mind my own business.  However as I sat there I became increasingly aware of two very different conversations going on around me.  The children’s “mother” was agitated the whole time.  They were there a good 1/2 hour after I sat down – there’s no telling how long they were there before I came in.  Ahead of me were 2 young females in their early 20’s.  One had her back to me and I couldn’t hear what she was saying – if in fact she was saying anything at all.  The one facing me seemed to be doing all the talking.  It was really quite humorous and hard to concentrate on what I was reading.  The young girl – though not unattractive, was certainly drawing attention to herself by talking in a raised voice – so that everyone there heard her rants about a “stupid guy that would not call her back” – her disgust and hatred of children – (she called them “kids”) and how amazed she was that she couldn’t get anyone interested in her!  I smiled while looking down at my iPad.  I felt like raising my hand and saying, “I know – pick me” but somehow I don’t think my comment or any remarks would be welcomed.

Roller Girl yelling

Roller Girl yelling (Photo credit: San Diego Shooter)

Behind me the woman with the baby and 3 little girls kept yelling in an attempt to keep order.  I felt sorry for these girls.  How could they be expected to just sit there for so long?  When one had to go to the bathroom – I thought the woman was going to have a stroke!  Such language and rude comments!  I couldn’t hear if the older woman with her was giving her any good advice – or even talking at all – because the  mom dominated the conversation the entire time.  I couldn’t even imagine what it would have been like for the young woman in front of me doing all the talking, to try to have a conversation with the young mom behind me!  Who would listen?

 

 

English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek.

English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have witnessed rudeness in restaurants in much the same way.  Someone doing all of the talking at a nearby table and talking louder than normal to draw attention.  I have witnessed young moms in grocery stores who are out of control and I genuinely feel sorry for the baby or young child throwing a fit or crying incessantly. I know that the mom is to blame.  There is always a way to diffuse a volatile situation with children.   Yelling and being cruel – embarrassing them or finding a way to humiliate them in public is not the way.

 

 

 

As I sat there and heard the sniffling from these little girls – I felt so bad for them.  They are trapped.  Trapped with a mother who is overworked, tired and fed up.  I’m sure that her temper and exhaustion is taken out on them.  And too often, those little ones grow up to be exactly the same way.

 

 

 

I wondered if that young girl ahead of me doing all the “trash talking” was one of those.  She had not had good classy role models in her life and would never attract the right kind of man.  Was she doomed to a mediocre life where everyone else is to blame and there is not empathy or humanity?  Where simply being courteous would never occur to them?

 

 

 

What a crazy world we live in.  It’s hard to even wrap my brain around it some days.  And yet I always try to see the best in everyone.  It rarely changes anything – but still I try to never lose hope.  And I always wish there was something I could do.

 

 

 

As this young family walked out of the door in front of me I stole a glance at the  mom’s face.  “Why – she was really young!” ,   I said to myself.  She looked about 25 or so – funny.  She had sounded so much older in her anger.  I think she used to be very pretty.  But now she was just tired and angry.  The “grandmother” looked the same way.  No hope there.  No help for her.  Her life was probably over.  I whispered a little prayer for her little family.  That God somehow would be able to make a difference, shine hope in a dark place and that they would be able to call upon Him.

 

 

 

Can simple kindness, compassion and love really make a difference?  Jesus thought so.  That is why He chose to come to our crazy mixed up world.  To give simple hope to the hopeless and show compassion to the lost and hurting.  Help me Lord.  Help me be in a place where I can really make a difference and help others that are struggling – not just overhear a conversation or two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Bless

 

 

 

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Triple Anniversary September 5th

 

 

My Parents married 1955

My Parents married 1955

Greg and me married 1981

Greg and me married 1981

Our daughter Ashlee and her husband Drew married 2009

Our daughter Ashlee and her husband Drew married 2009

32 Things I’ve Learned

This Thursday marks 32 years of marriage for Greg and me.  Many don’t know this – but we were 20 and 21 when we got married – still in College and had no job, prospects or money.  We just went for it!  And it kinda worked out  😉  And although I don’t recommend or even advocate people getting married as young as we were – there is something to be said for growing up together.  We were too poor and stupid to know any better – so we just plodded along and most of the time it worked out okay.  This is not to say that our marriage did not have any bumps and bruises along the way.  I think it’s a given just from living that long with another person!  If someone says their marriage doesn’t ever have any friction or difference of opinion – they are lying – or someone is stuffing their personality and opinions down deep.  This can happen sometimes to save conflict, or to keep up appearances – but is not very real or truthful.

Besides sharing the same faith, belief system and values – there are some other things I’ve learned about our relationship through the years and what has made it work.  We are far from perfect and sometimes I think I am hopelessly flawed.  But somehow it has worked out anyway.  For those of you interested in what makes a long-term marriage work  – Here is my list…

 

1.  A sense of humor is a must

2. Money doesn’t bring happiness – but it sure can help

3. You don’t marry the other person’s family – despite what others will tell you.  You marry the man.

4. No one knows you as well as someone you sleep with.

5. Your partner cannot fill you up.  That’s God’s job.

6. Friendships come and go – your spouse is your only reliable best friend.

7. Always be kind

8. Learn to look beyond the flaws

9. Keep forgiveness in your back pocket

10. Always stick up for each other

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously

12. Appreciate the little things

13. Have children – the only real expression of your love in human form.

14. Appreciate your differences

15. Don’t be needy

16. Don’t be jealous

17. Enjoy music

18. Take a walk everyday

19. Adopt a puppy or two

20. Be happy and content in your own company

21. Love your neighbors

22. Make a difference

23. Learn to communicate and dream together

24. Laugh a lot

25. Walk away from unhealthy people

26. Be totally honest

27. Love those who marry into your family like your own

28. Be friends with your grownup children

29. Leave a ministry job if it is affecting your marriage

30. Be ready to reinvent yourself

31. Talk about everything everyday

and last but not least…

32. Be the person he would fall in love with all over again.

 

wedding picture

The Circle Of Life

Our niece gave birth to a baby girl today, giving us a GRAND niece!  We also have a GRAND nephew and another GRAND niece on the way from our other niece.  These occasions are always happy times.  And we rejoice along with them as we should.

A baby.  There’s nothing like it.  The sounds, smells, laughs, cries and wonderful sweetness of them.

oliva

But I have also noticed something else.  When a baby is born – it seems like someone we know…dies.  I don’t have any explanation for this – but every time there has been a new baby in our family or someone we know – we hear about a death.  It’s strangely eery.  It’s the circle of life. 

In Ecclesiastes 3 we read:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

It is called life.  Some things are easy to accept – like that newborn baby.   However the Muslims believe we should cry when a baby is born and rejoice when someone dies.  I wonder if there is something to this – since death brings a new life, and one away from sin, hurt, disease, pain, crying and separation.  A a new baby is just beginning the process…

But for now – I will enjoy the newborn baby and all the babies to come.  And I will try to rejoice and not feel such sadness and sorrow from those that go before me in death.

Enjoy the song, “Turn, turn, turn” and

God Bless

25 Years Ago Today

25 years ago today we were blessed with a baby girl, 7lbs 10oz – and we called her Ashlee Renee.

We have been so blessed by this little bundle of energy – and although 25 years ago we were living in a completely different place and were much younger things have not really changed that much.  We are still the same people we always were – except that this little baby changed our lives – forever.

We thought we were prepared for a baby.  No one is prepared – even with the planning and waiting (we waited 6 years), the financial security (or lack of it) and the books on babies and parenthood.  A baby simply changes your life.

We dressed her up – put pretty bows on her once bald head and tried to make every moment count.

But along with the joy of having a little doll to dress up – what most people don’t plan for is sickness, long nights and days with no sleep, a fussy eater, a baby who won’t sleep anywhere except her own bed and trips to the ER for croup.  At 10 months old Ashlee had complications from the flu with a high fever reaching 105 and had to be in the hospital.  These were the tough times of having a baby.

Still she has been a light and joy in our lives. Stealing away any sense of privacy and sanity – babies are the best things in life.

Here’s to you Ashlee – you’re not a baby anymore – but I still remember you as one. One of my favorite memories of you as a little girl was when you were a flower girl at age 3.

Now you are a grown woman with a wonderful husband and home of your own. And you still continue to bless us.

You are loved and always in our prayers.

A Good Father

Tomorrow we celebrate another Father’s Day.  I am fortunate to still have my father – he is pushing 80 and that is very hard to believe!  Some of my friends younger than me have already lost their father.  Some do not have pleasant memories of their biological father.  Some have emotionally disconnected because of that.  Some never knew their father.  Some of those relationships were complicated.  And like there are so many different individuals and personality types – so there is father and child.

What does it mean to be a good father?  If you were lucky like my sister and me – who had a good father – one who was steady and hard-working, who loved the Lord and his wife – then you were blessed.

So many do not have a legacy like this one.  My own father does not.  With a biological father who fled when he was a baby and a biological mother who abandoned him at a young age – he had absolutely no idea and no role models to show him how to be a good father.   The family that raised him taught him how to work hard.  And he was determined to be a better person and example than that of his parents.  In recent years he has written of his experiences growing up with this family on a farm in northern Canada.  He chooses to remember the good and to take all things taught him, to be generous in nature and finances and God has truly blessed him.

My father was a young father – just 22 years old when my sister was born – he was mature for his age because of his life experiences.  But my mother and father were very poor and going to school was difficult for them and they had to work hard for my father to have any education and succeed.  As a little girl I remember spending the summers in Missoula, Montana for him to work little by little on his master’s degree in music.  The summers were hot and sticky and we spent much of our childhood in little plastic swimming pools with the neighbor kids.  My father was a high school teacher in Calgary, Alberta – our home until I was 8 years old.

In 1969 we moved to Seattle, Washington so my father could pursue his doctorate at the University of Washington.  Times were hard.  There was very little money – but as a kid I don’t remember being poor like my parents do.  It took about 3 years for my father to earn his Ph.D all the while teaching part-time at Northwest University in Kirkland (formally known as Northwest College).  His special distinction is that he was the youngest and the first man to receive his doctorate at the College – and still a Canadian.

I remember during those years it was important for us to be quiet in the evenings so my father could study.  He was always studying for another exam and another level that would earn him the ultimate goal of that doctorate.  But once a week – he would put away his studies and we would have a family night where we would watch our favorite TV programs and eat cake.

The father/daughter relationship is not too difficult to understand – it is simple and straightforward, uncomplicated.  I have seen this same understanding in our own daughter and her father.   The adoration of father/daughter goes both ways without effort.  But I have seen Greg relate to each of our children in different ways.  With a son it is much more difficult over time – especially as that son grows up and becomes a man.  The son tries his whole life to gain the approval of his father – while the daughter does not have to prove anything – she just is.

I believe that Greg has had his own issues to come to grips with concerning his own father.  It is in the things spoken or written that are sometimes hurtful, though well-intentioned – but also in the things that are not spoken.  Being and staying a good father is like walking a tight-rope as your children are not small anymore – but have their own lives and families.  And it is much harder for a father of a daughter to accept a son-in-law as another man now enters the picture and takes over where he has always been king.

We are both lucky in that we have wonderful memories of our father.  It seems incredible that we are as old as we are – and that our own fathers are as old as they are too!  But what we’ve learned over the years is this:  some things are timeless and unspoken between a father and his children.  Hopes, dreams, plans and happiness are always there in a silent prayer as you watch your legacy continue through your own children and grandchildren.  And if you are lucky enough to have a Christian praying father then you are indeed blessed.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dads out there!  May your children have fond memories and speak well of you when you are old.

God Bless

Here is a great song of dedication for all you Dads out there!

Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile

If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for awhile

There’s a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sometimes when you’re doing simple things
around the house
Maybe you’ll think of me and smile

You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on
your blouse
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver’s headed north to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for awhile

These wheels keep turning but they’re running out
of steam
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-li-li-lo
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Keep me in your heart for awhile

Home

1992

The other day I got a “blast from the past” as my daughter and son-in-law on a recent road trip to California sent pictures back to me from a life of ours 20 years ago when we lived in Fortuna. Greg was the pastor of a small church for 3 1/2 years, our daughter was 14 months old when we moved there – and our son was born there 3 years later. Consequently, we have many good memories of our time in that place. I think everyone would agree with me – the best times of your life are when your children are small – and it is no different for us, however the humble beginnings and places we’ve lived while raising them.

After visiting that town that Ashlee hardly remembers because she was only 4 years old when we moved away – she called me that night and said, “Mom – how did you live there?  There’s nothing there!”  So true – and yet – we were happy.  We did not have cell phones, computers or any way of social networking.  I went to the park with Ashlee and worked on crafts during the day.  A stress break for me back then was baking.  Life was incredibly simple as we lived in the parsonage right next to the church – so we hardly ever needed the car except to go to the store and on occasion to the mall in a nearby larger town.  Fortuna was small – with one or two grocery stores – but they did have a Papa Murphy’s pizza which was called “Murphy’s” back then.  And you should see the one story hospital where Shawn was born!  The town and circumstances did not dictate to us if we would be content and full of joy in our “job” – we simply were.  Home is and always has been where our heart is.  How fortunate for us in our many moves throughout our ministry life – that we have always rested and relied on that fact.  It doesn’t matter that our children are now grown-up and live away from our home – we established our family home many years ago with them – and they still remember and forever keep it in their hearts.

This song from the recent winner of American Idol, Phillip Phillips – says it all.  I wanted to share it with you today.

Enjoy and God Bless!

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