Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Climbing into the tree

Friday, May 4th, 2012

I had fallen out of my family’s tree.

I didn’t know any extended family growing up – just heard some stories from my mother. And I seem to have been disowned by some of my family – I’m not sure why. I got into genealogy to try to understand those whys of my family.

I have found some answers but, I’ve been more surprised to find that there are people who have gotten into my heart.

There’s the guy taken by pirates who ended up taking the ship and bringing the pirates to justice. But there’s also the mother who killed herself when her baby was about a year old – they didn’t know about postpartum depression in colonial times. I hurt for her.

I recently got a message from a cousin I didn’t know. He had information on our grandmother. She died of Multiple Sclerosis. She went into a state facility in the 1930’s and was there for 20 years. I looked up the treatment she would have received and I’ve been in tears for her. It’s one of those times when I wish I could go back in time and do … something.

So, I am slowly climbing back into the tree and I’ve found that it isn’t just about solving puzzles, filling in dates or finding cemetery stones. It’s getting to know people. It’s sharing their lives long after they thought anyone would.

“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way”

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

They say Whitney Houston was a Christian. She began singing in church. People say she was sweet. She was kind. She was loving. Then she fell for the wrong guy. And with him came the 15 years of abuse and drugs.

Why do our girls do that? I’ve been a pastor’s wife for a long time and I’ve seen it over and over.

Other people can look at him and say “he’s a loser” or “he’s dangerous” – they see it. The signs are there to see, but our girls don’t. And they pay a heavy price for the blindness. Bullying. Abuse. Hurt. Even drugs and alcohol.

We try so hard to protect them as they grow, but our girls need a realistic view of the world, too. We have to help them. We have to train them to look. To see the signs. And not just see them, but see them for what they are. It goes beyond the “sex talk” moms have with their girls.  They need to know fake loving from real loving. They need to be innocent as doves and shrewd as serpents – to know the danger signals and not brush them aside.

Sometimes their very lives depend on it.

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier …
(Greatest Love of All – Whitney Houston)

Marriage is like ice puddles

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Glenn likes ice. I can be shivering, holding my cup of hot tea, and he will have a glass full of ice cubes surrounded by a little soda.

One time I went to get a tissue from a box and they were wet. I looked around to see if we had a leak in the roof. Turns out Glenn brought more ice cubes upstairs and laid them in the tissue box while he did something else. He assumed that it would dry before anyone needed a tissue!

And every now and then pieces of ice cubes will break off and fall on the kitchen floor. If it’s small he figures it will evaporate.

I usually find it when I walk into the kitchen and step in a puddle of ice water.

Marriage is like ice puddles. They’re surprising. They require patience. And a sense of humor.

And it helps to marry your best friend!

Watch and learn

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.
(Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery)

I like to watch people. You can learn alot from things they do. And how they respond. The way a husband responds to something can tell about how he was raised. Or what he thinks.

The same is true of cats.

Muffy was a fearful little thing. Well, not so little. She weighed in a 20 lbs. But she hid from most of life. And even had nightmares. She would wake up screaming for me and had to be petted until she calmed down. We got her when she was 8 weeks old and our home life is really boring by most standards. So, I assume that something happened to her during her first 8 homeless weeks that colored her view of the world.

Lilly was 7 mos. old when she joined our family. I assume she was with a breeder who gave her to the SPCA. Why do I think that?

She’s beautiful and exotic looking.
She wasn’t spayed.
She had a heart murmur (ethically she shouldn’t be having kittens)
She wasn’t used to hands – it has taken awhile for her to get used to petting. And she’s still figuring out how to take treats from my hand.

Anyway, she’s learning. And we’re learning. She’s more comfortable with us. And we’re understanding more about this wonder of a creature the Lord gave us.

I often picture God smiling as he looks at his creatures  – they’re personalities are so unique. So worth knowing.

Family and open doors #2

Monday, October 6th, 2008

On talking about problems:

“No one finds it easy. But it’s a cold world if no one tries.”

Molly McDonald
Monarch of the Glen

Family and open doors

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

My father was never very talkative. My mother was the one who called and wanted to talk. After she died there wasn’t much.

Even so, I was in shock when my father was dying and refused to see me. I had been disowned and no one had bothered to even communicate that much. He was angry about something and would not even tell me what it was.

It was about that same time that Glenn and I had our own a hard time in our family. I found myself unable to talk to the person. That person wasn’t talking about the problem and I couldn’t bring myself to talk around the “elephant” between us. Glenn kept in touch – I just couldn’t – I didn’t have anything to say.

Then I saw it. It really wouldn’t be that hard for communication to stop. I saw years going by with nothing. Findng that I had disowned someone, too.  It scared me.

I made myself talk. I made myself leave the elephant alone – to look around the trunk – to look between the legs. Anything. Just to keep the talking going.

It’s so important not to close the door. Not to leave a loved one on the outside. Even if you hurt – don’t close the door completely. It’s too easy to do. And it’s too easy to let years go by and the separation get too big to cross.

The Lord will bless your open door. He has mine.

More Pilgrim Thots …

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

I think about those Mayflower folks and I’m in awe. What they took on was huge. These weren’t farm people – they were city people.

They were living in England when their beliefs caused persecution, jail and death. They moved to Holland where they prospered – but worried about the influences on their children. They chose to go to a place where they would be the only influence. A good thought but …

That choice took them out of everything they knew.  Even their pastor had to stay behind in Holland.  After a sea voyage that put their lives in danger they landed in the wrong place (they were headed for Virginia). Not only were there no cities – there were no houses. No shops. Nothing. Half of them died that first winter.

I wonder if they were so busy just surviving that they neglected to pass their faith on the way they wanted to. Maybe they just didn’t have time for all the “whys” that little people ask.

I know children learn from example. They learn things from our example that we wish they didn’t! But, especially with faith, it takes more than watching actions. They need to understand the reasoning, too.

It’s important to talk about it – about why you do a thing. Thinking your thoughts out loud. Letting them hear you discuss decisions as you make them.

That’s the best way for children to understand how to do it themselves. It’s a living example of faith and truth applied to life.

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Pilgrims and Their Children

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

I was reading Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick recently. We hear a lot about the Pilgrims’ faith and courage that led them first to Holland and then, because they feared the influences on their children, to America.

But the next generation was very different.

By 1660 church membership was so low that ” … as Governor Bradford had complained, the spiritual life of Plymouth had declined to the point that God must one day show his displeasure. … Instead of the afterlife, it was the matierial rewards of this life that increasingly became the focus of the Pilgrims’ children and grandchildren.” (Mayflower, p.198)

The Pilgrims didn’t really understand the Indians, but they tried. They tried to treat them with respect and worked to live together in peace. Edward Winslow even saved an Indian chief’s life. His son, Josiah, did just the opposite. Among other things, he perverted English law in order to steal land from the Indians. Some innocent Indians were sentenced to death. Indian chiefs were killed. When they had had enough and King Phillip’s War broke out thousands of Indians died. Those who survived the war were sold as slaves to Jamaica – where most of them died.

This terrible part of the story isn’t told very often.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I think we assume that our children will come to faith and have the same values we do.

But it doesn’t just happen. Those Pilgrims were good people who cared about their children. It wasn’t enough. Their example wasn’t enough. Just sitting under the teaching in church wasn’t enough.

It takes a lot of work to prepare a child to go out on their own. We think about helping them learn to cook, balance a checkbook, any number of things like that. It seems to me that we need to do the same thing with faith.

They need to understand that faith is important.
They need to know that they can’t get by on our faith – they have to have their own.
They need to know the truth and then how to use that truth.
They need to learn to make godly decisions.
They need to  know the Bible so well that verses come to mind when they are tempted (like Jesus in the wilderness).

Lord, bless our parenting and touch the hearts of the next generations!