Tired of Trying to Fit In? Why It’s Time to Start Acting Like a Child

When my grandson, Arthur, was born, and because his older brother’s name is Henry, one of my very good friends when she heard the news, exclaimed, “How precious! Now you have two kings in your family, King Arthur and King Henry.” I hadn’t thought of that, but because I love the C.S. Lewis series, The Chronicles of Narnia, my brain went immediately to the first book where the most lovely and sweet proclamation was heralded over the main characters of the story as they were crowned kings and queens. “Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.” Thinking of my two grandsons, and my granddaughter, Lucy—also the name of the youngest girl in the story who becomes royalty—I asked my friend who made vinyl imprints items for fun if she could make t-shirts and a little dress with that quote from the book written on them.

When my daughter, the mother of Lucy, and my daughter-in-law, Henry and Arthur’s mom, got together recently, they did a photoshoot with their kiddos wearing their new duds. The results, so sweet—two pictures to be hung proudly on any wall—but it’s those other twenty-three proofs, those failed attempts to get all three looking at the camera at the same time, that are most dear to me. For it’s in these shots, the personalities of my grands are truly seen. And they are hilarious!

Tired of Trying to Fit In? Why It's Time to Start Acting Like a Child

Lucy, Arthur, Henry

As I sat chuckling, actually downright laughing over the antics of Lucy, Henry, and Arthur, it hit me how their craziness, goofiness, and silliness made them all the more endearing. How they were just themselves, nothing held back (as you can see from the pics). How they felt free—they didn’t know how to act any different—to be who God created them to be.

Truth be told, we all start that way. Somewhere along the line though, living in this upside-down fallen world, we become less and less our true selves, often imprisoned by the self-inflicted need to be accepted. Trying to please the world, we let go of innocence doing what we know we shouldn’t do, betraying the child within. No longer trusting we are loved for who we are, we try on different faces, hoping that one will be the one that wins approval. Continue reading

Why It’s So Hard to Let People Love Us

Why It's So Hard to Let People Love Us

My dear husband does not like to get gifts. Not birthdays or holidays. Not even Christmas or Easter. Not anytime or anywhere. Nope. Nada. Nyet. The other day—mind you, it’s only June—when I surprised him with the complete DVD series of Hogan’s Heroes, which he truly loves, while thanking me, he quickly deemed it his early birthday and Christmas present adding that there was absolutely no need to get him anything else. I just have to shake my head and smile because my kids and I love to give gifts. And we especially love birthdays. It’s a celebration of life.

Giving and receiving. It’s not so hard to do. Or is it? For some, giving is a way of life. Making someone smile. Bringing that ray of sunshine into a cloudy day. Loving. Ministering. Caring. But flip the switch and be the one given to, and whoa, hold the phone. It’s been said, “It’s better to give than to receive,” but I would submit it’s a whole lot easier to be the one bestowing than it is to be the one accepting. In a world where according to The Beatles, all we need is love, why then is it so hard to be loved on? Continue reading

What to do When We Don’t Want to Let Go

What to do When We Don't Want to Let Go

My daughter, Laura, husband Andy, and their sweet daughter, Lucy Drew have found their new home and will be moving from ours in just a few short weeks. While this is good for everyone, it has already left Jerry and me with an ache in our hearts knowing that this precious time of the happy back-and-forth, face-to face bantering with Laura, hearing of Andy’s day-to-day and the challenges he faces, and being greeted by Lucy Drew’s smile and delightful babblings in the morning, is about to end. Continue reading

Finding True Love this Valentine’s Day

Finding True Love this Valentine's Day

One of my favorite days of the year is here. Valentine’s Day!  Now, most may not think of it as a particular day to look forward to, much less celebrate, but I do. For on that day, I think about the expressions of affection that are given, delivered, or spoken and the delight they will bring. Flowers and cards from someone who cares—especially the crunchy sweetheart candies tucked inside an envelope delivered by a child—brings smiles to the toughest of hearts. To know you are thought of, appreciated, cherished, even loved, there is hardly anything more delicious in life.

But for many the day is only a reminder of aloneness. Whether it’s in the confines of not yet finding the one meant for you, or the loss of a relationship—no matter the cause—being without, is an ache that no one wants to live with. Continue reading

Why We Must Not Dwell on the Negative

Why We Must Not Dwell on the Negative

When I was a little girl, my mama would tuck me in at bedtime with kisses to hold in my hand through the night, to keep me safe. Hand-kisses. Like a knight-of-the-round-table’s shield, when bad dreams would awaken me or the eerie whistle of a distant train would sound making me feel small and alone in the dark, those sweet gifts clutched tight in my little fists were promises that I was not by myself. Promises, that if I needed her, my mama would be right there. Continue reading

How to Love What Truly Matters in this Life

Another move is upon us. After ten months in Alabama, Laura, Andy, and Lucy are returning to their roots… well Andy’s roots anyway; Laura, who claims Boston as home, would scoff at the insinuation. Regardless, there I found myself wrapping mug after mug, dish after dish, appliance after appliance in the red-themed kitchen Laura saved just for me. And as strange as it seems, she claims it’s the easiest room in the house to pack because it involves little to no thought; all you have to do is wrap and pack. Hmmm…

how-to-love-what-truly-matters-in-this-life

Lucy and Molly, the dog, helped pack, too.

After putting Lucy down for a nap, she joined me in the aforesaid easiest room and after what couldn’t have been more than five minutes, threw her arms up in exasperation proclaiming, “That’s IT. I am getting rid of everything! I am sick of having all this stuff and then having to pack and move it.” And capping off her small tirade, mental fist raised in resolve, declared, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
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How to Love Your Husband… Even if He is From a Different Planet

Jerry and I love to walk. Well, me more than him, but he’s catching on. Moving as briskly as possible we generally try to walk five days a week, about 40 minutes at a time. Beside the benefits of losing some pesky pounds while getting in shape, we often get to see beautiful sunrises. One morning this past week, the sky was extraordinary.

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Peppered with hundreds of cotton ball-like clouds it was beautiful almost beyond description. I was about to exclaim its loveliness to Jerry when he beat me to the punch saying, “Hey! Look at those clouds. They remind me of the ones on The Simpsons.” In a split instant, I went from marveling at the wonderful picture God had painted across the sky to envisioning the images of Marge, Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie—their theme song then playing in my head.

The Simpsons

Men. So very different from women. Some, like feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem, have denied that could be true and have railed against those studying to see if indeed women are from Venus and men are from Mars. But in the end, with all the data from psychological and scientific studies, the findings are, that we are truly distinctive from one another.

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Why We Really Need to Fight Distraction

Emerald Isle, NC

One of the things my family enjoys the most is vacationing every summer at Emerald Isle, NC. Sitting at the southern tip of the Outer Banks, it is a hidden treasure of beautiful beaches, only a few restaurants and shops, and hardly any rip currents. So riding the waves, even at my half century and beyond mark, is a beautiful thing. You can literally arrive at your oceanfront cottage, duplex, or home; plant your umbrella and beach towel in the sand and along with friends, family, and a good book; and be content and happy for your entire stay. To me, it’s about as close to heaven on earth as I can get.

Imagine my surprise when talking with my pastor in Massachusetts, he informed me that he thought we all would be working in heaven. His take—before Adam and Eve ate the apple opening the door for sin to enter, Adam was quite happily tilling the soil in the garden. It was work without the curse of sin. Hmmm…an interesting thought, and I do agree with him. But sitting on heaven’s beach surely could be good, too.

For me, writing, whether it’s a children’s book or a blog, is my work. And even though it gives me great pleasure and is also what I’m supposed to be doing at this juncture in my life, sometimes it’s the very last thing I want to do. Not only are the “what-I want to do’s” and the “need-to-do’s” daily calling, but when the gorgeous, less humid days of early autumn, of God’s beautiful creation, beckon me to come out and play, the tug-of-war inside is almost too much. Almost. Because as enticing as it all is—especially with those “what-I-want-to-do” tendencies pulling me—like a kid in a candy store, to indulge first here and then there, at the end of the day the sugar rush of satisfying my whims often leaves me wanting and even anxious. Continue reading

All Along

When I saw her post on Facebook, it made me smile. Showing love, respect, and a closeness filled with admiration, it was one of the sweetest Father’s Day tributes I had ever read. Along with a photo of her dad grinning at her and she at him, were these words, “…I love that we have the same laugh wrinkles and I promise to never Botox them away.”*

Lingering in my mind and my heart ever since, I’ve often thought on these words, because, while I loved my dad and knew he loved me—we would often laugh and joke with each other over a late night bowl of Cheerios—he had a hard time showing any type of affection, of telling me he cared. Maybe it was because he never learned from his dad—a sharecropper during the Great Depression, spent with the burden of caring for a family of eight—how to show outward signs of tenderness. Or maybe, as a 5-foot, 5-inch short Master Sergeant in the Air Force, he put on a forced gruffness in commanding his men, that he often forgot to take off when he came home. Perhaps though, he was just worn out from running two separate businesses so that he could, “put a roof over our heads and food in our mouths”—what I thought was his true love language, at least, until recently.

Dad-and-Me

My dad and me

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