Monday, July 27, 2009

Baby T

Well, in the last month i have had 2 friends from College Station call and talk and not realize that Alison was pregnant. I think it has been so a part of our lives the last 8 months that i forget who i have told and who I haven't. She, Justin and Cailyn have 3 more weeks before they get to meet Baby T. Justin will hopefully get to be the one to tell us all what the sex is when the baby is born. He got to do that with Cailyn and it was so exciting.

One of the things that i have prayed for as i pack for my trip are "flat things" for cailyn. Oh, yes, I leave on Aug. 7th from Houston and will get to stay for 5 weeks. There is so much a grandma wants to purchase but not all of that will fit into my suitcase but "flat things" will. So below are some of the "flat things" God has provided. It has been fun to shop for what is best to take.

Christopher Churchmouse was a character we read about with the girls when they were little. The church library had the whole set with cassette tapes to go with each one. Recently Cailyn has been talking about how tall her Baby Lima (her favorite baby doll) is and so i thought it would be fun to put up a measuring chart and measure her. The sequence book about the snowman is really neat it has all kinds of sets of three pictures that tell the story of something making changes as in a sequence. (plants, egg to chick, a tub empty, half-full and then overflowing...)

Shapes, of course and stickers of all kinds of things. A neat little magnetic board that is a baby and you dress it up with magnetic pieces and of course a felt barn set. Oh, won't this be fun and they are all flat and can fit into my suitcase!!

All of you grandmas out there know what i'm going thru, so much excitement and thinking of memories we will make. I can't wait for the 7th to come. What fun. I feel so blessed to have the funds to go visit, husband that can be without me for several weeks (although daniel and i don't like it when we are a part) and a job that allows me to pick up and leave when i want. I am very blessed. I pray my heart always stays as thankful as i feel now.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Memories of Mom

When I woke up this morning, my ankle automatically stretched forward and a memory of mom doing that in bed in the morning came. Wow, where did that come from? I guess as Baby T arrives (Aug. 19th is the due date) I think of mom. I laid in bed and tried to remember the first memory I have of my mom. Those memories involve my grandmother, Catherine Verde Strickland, who housed all of the babies in Harris County (Houston) that were picked up from abusive situations in their home. She had a seven bedroom house that my dad added many of the rooms on for her. The authorities would pick the children up, and if they were under school age they came to my grandmother's house. They all wore one piece, striped jumpers. My mom got a pair for my brother and I. I still have my pair. Mom wanted me to feel like one of the kids. Mine had my name on the back unlike all the rest. My mom would go each day to help with all that had to be done with the children - like a daycare, but it was 24/7. So my first memories of my mom involve serving, giving, being a part of children's lives. Wow, that is a powerful legacy. As I think of all of this, it is a bit painful and then there is powerful surge of love. I guess it is like that for many of us who have such great memories and are left on earth without their physical closeness. I know I could write for hours and not cover my memories. The thoughts are a bit overwhelming.

When I was born I was two months premature. So when I was about 5 yrs old, my mom put me in twirling lessons to help my coordination. That lead to many events in my life, but one of my first memories was the Christmas Day Parade. In Houston, it was always held downtown, cold, cold mornings. Because I was so young, mom would walk the whole parade on the sidelines so that she was always there. That seems like a little thing, but that could be the picture of how life with mom was. She was so good at encouraging me and walking along side. Our generation calls that mentoring. It has been instilled in me for all of my life.

When my grandmother died, I was 5 yrs. old. I actually missed three months of my kindergarten year b/c my grandmother died. That was not a big deal back then. They would pass you on to the next grade and so they did. Mom didn't handle losing her mom so well, and we were actually taken care of by one of the ladies that had helped my grandmother with all of those babies. She would come to our house each day and help mom. This was a painful time for my mom, but it was healthy for me to reflect on later b/c it was important that I also see my mom's humanness. As wonderful as she was she had limits like we all do. She passed on fear of darkness to me and of being alone when my dad would leave on his trips. He was a truck driver, out of town a lot. Those are things I have had to work thru with God's help all of my married life. I don't think of those being problems for me now, although I don't like for Daniel to be away from home.

My mom was the type who encouraged strong, loyal friendship in my life. It has paid off because I love friendship and see 99.9 percent of my life as working on relationships, enjoying them and learning about myself and God in these relationships. I think of God being very relational, so this was a big concept my mom instilled in my about who God is. She allowed for many "fun" activities - wrapping houses, playing jokes, going out of town on short trips, slumber parties,and lots of football games (remember, I was a twirler). She taught me about open communication that talks a subject out until there is understanding. She talked about taking people to Heaven with you, not enjoying God's blessings alone. She would point out our blessings and how we were to share with others. I felt very supported as a teen and as a college-aged daughter.

When I was a young mom, my mom would challenge me to parent intentionally and to laugh a lot with the girls. Discipline was very important, but relationship was always the trump card. I remember wishing she could give the ABCs of parenting when Alison was born. Most of our girls' young lives mom had cancer - 14 yrs. Alison was 3 yrs. old when it began. We talked a lot about dying and made lots of memories intentionally all of those years. Mom died in Dec. 2000. She got to know Justin just a bit and she was always copying pictures of Alison and Justin. I'm so glad for all of the days of my life spent with my mom. Thank you, Lord Jesus. To all of the moms out there - your relationship with your children teaches them so much about who God is and what relationship is all about. Pass on the love of Christ!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Incense to God

Prayers are needed at all hours of each day but I would like to request a few from the mission field. satan is at work all of the time to destroy the faith of those bringing the love of Christ and the path to Him for others.

The Zambia Medical Mission Team has left and are on their way to the adventures of 2009. Notice there are Audio Reports on the site. They are really neat to experience as they begin to record from Zambia, you will hear noises or silence from that culture. As you go to the site you will notice one of the youth who has participated in past years recently passed away and his mom died also after that post was written. This family needs our prayers. One of our own at Hope has gone on his first flight ever as he wants to serve in Zambia. Ryan Maxwell. We first met Ryan as part of the youth group that Justin and Alison had the opportunity to work with. We pray a mighty work will continue to grow in Ryan's heart. He will be a freshman at ACU in the fall. Please pray for the Prathers family, for Ryan's first Zambia trip and for the whole process. They will post stories of the 2009 trip. Book mark this and follow along with prayers.

Another team that I want to bring to your attention is the Cochabamba Mission Team. Laura Wallace Bull is on that team and we knew Laura's family many, many years ago in College Station. Her parents live in Grapevine at this point and we have stayed in touch with them. This family is 10 steps in front of us as far as having children overseas and they have helped and encouraged us in many ways they don't even know about. While Laura and her husband, Gary and boys were visiting in the states the youth group in Cochabamba had a bus accident and 3 youth were killed. This team and these families are in much need of prayer. Please pray for them each day as they heal both physically and emotionally. The Bulls are cutting their furlough short and are suppose to leave in less than 24 hours and the passports are missing. Please pray for the Bulls as they transition into Bolivia and begin to minister as God will lead them to do.

Another of the Lima Team will be leaving the states this week also. Mark Clany. He will arrive late on Tues. and will stay with Alison and Justin as he gets settled. We pray sweet blessings on Mark also. He will be a wonderful addition to the Lima Team that is actually in Lima!! John Mark and Tara and the kids will return from the states in the coming weeks also. Keep the Lima Team in your prayers. There was a story that Justin told at the Hope church of Christ while visiting. A man in a bus asked Mark and Justin about his life as it pertained to God's will and there was a conversation. It was one of those situations where God speaks to you and say, "Stop, and talk to someone for Me!!" I continue to ask for "a man in a bus" to come along not only to the Lima Team but to each of us as we walk as God's people.

Look out there and see who God wants you to talk with and serve today!! Expect that the Spirit will speak to YOU TODAY!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dallas Adventure

I know I'm so behind in posting that I'm on a roll and you will just have to read a couple at a time!!

Daniel and I met Hannah and Jason for some play time in Dallas last weekend. How can it be that an entire week has gone by. We enjoyed a picnic at Fountain Place, a tour of the Holocaust Museum and a really neat rest at Thanksgiving Square. Fountain Place is in downtown Dallas and is a beautiful eating area in the middle of lots of business buildings. Very shady and the water fountains are calm and inviting as you can tell from our pictures.

When we arrived at the Thanksgiving Square, we didn't imagine the sight of the ceiling of the chapel. There was an ascending ramp that took you from ground level to the top of the bldg. that housed the chapel. It was a small room with about 10 chairs in it with a table that had a clear bowl for people to put their Thanksgiving prayers in. We all sat enjoying the air condition and were in awe of the stain glass ceiling. The picture was taken by Daniel as he layed on the floor. Daniel started a few songs that we all sang and enjoyed and then ended our time with a Thanksgiving prayer. This was a very special time of refreshment. Go check it out.

On Sunday morning we attended a worship time at Richland Hills church of Christ and ran into several friends even though the bldg. is so huge. We grabbed lunch with Hannah and Jason and off we went to our separate places. Them back to Ok. and us to meetings (Sunday - Wednesday) in downtown Dallas. Daniel is a board member of the Southern Association for Colleges and Employers and the board gathered to plan a conference in Nashville that we will attend in mid Dec. I enjoyed the restful, reading time in the hotel.