Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I find myself cringing when I hear parents say, "All we want for our children is for them to be happy. What more could a parent want?" As one of my former mentors would say, "That is a lie from the pit of hell!" Nothing is more ephemeral than happiness when we go chasing after it, as if with a butterfly net. How, then, do we live before our children to model the correct pursuits?
What does God say we should give to and desire for our children?

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor.

My son, keep your father's commands
and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life...

Proverbs 3:1-6, 4:5-9, 6:20-23

© 2006

Scriptures are in New International Version.

Monday, June 12, 2006


10. Hearing the tone of pride as my husband speaks, yet without actually bragging, of our young adult children to others

9. Playing backyard baseball with my husband, father- and mother-in-law and our kids

8. My granddaddy--Grangie--making life fun with a Tarzan swing in the backyard or a trip to the airport to watch planes land and take off

7. Listening to my dad or father-in-law give me good advice, and, more recently, listening to my husband's wise advice to our children

6. Any time my dad, father-in-law, our granddads, or my husband made their children or grandchildren laugh or smile

5. My dad walking me down the aisle at my wedding

4. Standing at the back of the church with my dad before my wedding began

2. & 3. Meeting our son for the first time, then two years later, our daughter

1. My husband telling me that the adoption agency had called announcing the arrival of our first child, a son!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Viewing the montage of pictures, I am struck by how her beauty has grown over the years. Catherine and Bill made an attractive young couple, but they appear even handsomer in their 70's. There is a radiance and a sweetness in those photos, Catherine's countenance softened even more by her silver-white hair. I see them sharing their 50th wedding anniversary with their family and friends. The warm smile Catherine flashes sitting on a waverunner, arms clasped about her granddaughter's waist says it all: "Life is a gift of God, it's meant for sharing, and I'm all about that." Yep, that is Catherine, all right.
I think back several years. Our family had recently joined the church. A friend invited me to join the choir. Catherine sat in the alto section, where I decided to bolster numbers, though I've sung soprano most of my life. She welcomed me--as she has always welcomed everyone she meets--offering cameraderie during our rehearsals and Sunday morning warmup. She organized meals for those choir members who were sick or bereaved. Music ministry was second only to her family, as Catherine also formerly directed the children's choir.
No accomplishment brings Catherine more pride than her family. Three daughters, nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren delight her and Bill, as they alternate visiting and hosting family.
Then the unthinkable happens--God allows Catherine into the hallowed hall of suffering. She contracts cancer, and the prognosis is grim. Inoperable, the stubborn evil cells do not disappear. We see Catherine in church, but she no longer has the strength to rehearse and sing with us. I give her a hug, telling her how I miss her being with me in the choir. Soon, she no longer makes it to church.
Her husband, Bill, keeps us posted on Catherine's ups and downs. One day I ask about her, as usual, and he says, "She's just getting weaker." I can only send my love and prayers, because I can't give him false hope. You can tell from the break in his voice and the way he has always looked at her and treated her that she is the light and love of his life. But he keeps trusting in the Lord, and I know that she is trusting Him also.
Hospice is called in. We all know the time is short. I fear she is going to die while I'm on vacation. But the Lord spares her, and on May 29, the day after we return, she goes to meet the One she serves so faithfully. Her obituary quotes Psalms 116:15: "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Catherine is precious to us, for we were blessed to know her, to sing with her, to laugh with her, to have her for our sister and friend. I will see her later, this I know.