Monday, January 15, 2007

Family Blessings Again....

Yesterday early evening, daughter & son-in-law & baby girl showed up to surprise their dad - a most welcomed birthday hello.

Granddaughter has the most expressive eyes we (dear husband & I) have ever seen. She's all of 15 months old now...and each time we see her, those eyes take in every detail...more so each time. It's amazing. She uses sign language - some one's innovative way to teach babies sign language caught hold with our daughter and so she taught the baby sign language. It is amazing to see this wonderful young lady use her hands to express words. I am picking up words slowly (very slowly) and plan on finding a sign language book soon. I took a 6 week course many years ago while working at a VA hospital. That was far too many years ago to remember much of anything. And I am betting that the sign language book I bought for the class has long since disappeared.

Granddaughter warmed up to us in record time - small wonder it takes awhile since we don't spend a lot of time together. I hope that will change in 2007 - and it will require more effort on our part.

It was a beautiful couple of hours to see all three of them - but mostly granddaughter. She is a delight - and for me, the icing on the cake for this weekend since I spent a couple of hours with grandson on Saturday.

I do have memories of our children growing up - but not the age they were when I recall that memory. Memories of tantrums - both daughter & son - and the horrified looks on peoples' faces when I turned away and walked a few steps away. Of course, I was well within seeing & running range should the tantrum put anyone in harm's way. Calmness on my part cut the tantrums quickly - and the ability to experience no embarrassment when observers had the audacity to address my reaction to the tantrum . While "dancing" with granddaughter, I remembered dancing with daughter - perhaps the same age - where daughter threw up after being twirling in circles and then laughed and said MORE - granddaughter just giggled heartily. Where did we lose that joy in simple things as twirling in circles and enjoying that loss of equilibrium?

I hope for so many more family blessings this year - and know that sometimes those blessings come when they can but a little planning on our part can't hurt.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Family Trust and Faith

Yesterday afternoon I babysat our grandson for a couple of hours. This was a good thing. Even though I'm family, faith & trust was placed in me that all would be well while the parents took time for themselves to enjoy a movie.

I learned four truths while looking after this wonderful young man of 2 years plus.

First, we all start out with an incredible energy level. Sadly, we seem to lose this energy level as time goes on. I know the body isn't capable of doing things when it's 80 years old as it did when it was 15 years old ... but I believe now that we let the world dictate what's proper and what's not. Two year old kids can constantly revolve their bodies in circles for a couple of minutes and laugh when they fall down. Thirty year old people wouldn't even think of spinning in circles. Okay, maybe alone but not in public. I taught grandson the penquin walk which he picked up immediately. Mom was cool - she mimicked son immediately. Dad - well, he's a little more reserved. Dads are like that sometimes.

Second, never take a two year olds' words for gospel. If they say they like a certain food, don't believe it for a second. If it involves cooking something - think twice. The cheesey eggs story will be one I'll be telling for years. This two year old is bright. No, make that brilliant. He immediately linked not eating lunch meant taking a nap. For twenty minutes we went from "I like cheesey eggs" to "I no like cheesey eggs". He ate part of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and then took a nap (no cookies and apple juice though).

Third, never underestimate the power of a hug. This child gives the best hugs in the world - okay, next to my husband's hugs. It's unreserved, accompanied by a smile and a kiss. It doesn't matter what sort of mishappenings occured during the day - the hug, smile and kiss takes it all away.

Fourth, family. I have learned the hard way that family will always be there no matter what. For a couple of years, we lost touch with one of our family members. I still believe God had His hands on us during that time. It taught us a couple of things. Patience, love and family comes before anything else. My husband drove 150 miles the day before his father's birthday, spent the night with his sister & her family and the next morning surprised his dad and mom for dad's birthday. My husband spent one of his vacation days to do this - and it meant catching up on work when he returned. Yet, it was important to do this. Family will be there no matter what. While I didn't really grasp this while looking after the grandson - I had a sense of this for awhile and it became a truth yesterday afternoon.

Our son has a blog. Every so often he comes up with a thought that stuns me - and then fills me with pride. He has discovered family. He wrote about accountability - and not turning off his cell phone. I tied that all into the concept of family - being available if needed. He's the dad of this magnificant 2 year old I mentioned earlier. And he's so blessed with a wife who can learn the penquin walk and laugh about it. I count my blessings to include the fact they live close to us.

Can't wait for the next episode of watching grandson. I bet I'll learn there's a fifth truth.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Power of Words

The other day I spent some time talking and listening to a member of the family. She's had some rough times in the past year all of which can be classified as 'marital problems'. After 15 years of marriage, she called us - she didn't know what to do anymore and she wanted to move out. Long story short, she now lives in our apartment building. It's been over a year since the big move and sadly, no vast improvement on the part of her estranged husband.

After listening to her laments, I realized that we all possess a very valuable weapon: the power of words. I heard over and over 'he never follows through'. Words can encourage, bring smiles, bring tears, plant seeds of doubt and if we're good enough with words & the listener is receptive - change the course of a life.

We all have free will and we choose so many courses of action - all part of God's plan. No sense in blaming others for choices we make in life. The power of words can destroy - if we choose to let them. However, we also have a responsibility to spread God's word - and the commandment to love is above all His commandments. That includes the words of encouragement, love and faith.

My only words of advice were: no more "you never follow through' - start with 'I knew you could do it'. Who knows what the power of those six words can do. Maybe it will make a difference - may it won't.
But said enough times, I believe those words will at least plant a seed in the heart of the speaker. Who knows what it can do to the listener.

I know I can do this ....


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Movies Making an Impact

Yesterday evening, dear husband & I ventured out to a movie. The choices are pretty slim if you set certain standards for a movie: must have no blantant sex in it (okay if the married couple disappear off the screen and it's obvious what's going to happen - emphasis on the MARRIED part), no excessive swearing (nix the movies that think four letter words are adjectives), and no body parts flying all over the screen (nix the bloody horror films). That kind of narrows it down.

For last night's movie venture, I chose Will Smith's latest movie "The Pursuit of Happyness". Based on a true story (which I intend to research sometime this week), it's an inspiring movie. Despite everything, this man achieved his dream - and never once thought of leaving his son behind. I've read numerous reviews of this movie - and not one review really captured the essence of it. You just have to see it for yourself.