Love is the Key

This season of my life has been hard. I lost my best pup the beginning of November and then came to the close of semester as I wrapped up caring for our youngest grand daughter.

I was grieving. Big time. I had cared for our granddaughters for the most of the last five years of my life. I knew I wouldn’t do it forever but I had no idea how it would impact me.

I am relieved in many ways since I am a Grandma and not of childbearing age. But the loss was great to me. I actually fell onto a bit of depression and anxiety.

It would come and go and I would cry out to my God to take this from me.

Well, after a few days of intense cold and ice outside that caused us to stay indoors for the most part, I was a mess. Crying and sadness were overcoming me. I cried out to God again and the very day – yesterday – the sun (or shall I say Son ) shined bright in my heart.

We adopted a puppy. Whoever thinks animal therapy is nonsense is very wrong. It may not be for everyone but it is for me!

A friend of mine had an unexpected guest show up at her house in the fall. A pregnant dog who appeared to have had some abuse. Naturally she took her in and cared for her. The sweetest terrier mix with a great personality. She birthed the pups of many colors and I considered taking one when they were of the proper age.

Well, the sweet momma went and got ran over. So sad. She left about six or so pups orphaned but fortunately, they were eating puppy mash at that time.

Because of their orphan state I decided we would take one in a few weeks. I picked the one I wanted. I was still apprehensive until I received a text yesterday saying that there was concern about them being left alone all day in their ever energetic state of puppyhood. Can I take him now?

Of course! I jumped into action. Cleaned the crate and mopped the floors and sent the hubby to the store for puppy chow and replacement milk.

Funny thing is……… all my anxiety symptoms vanished. I came home yesterday evening with a sweet bundle of fur and puppy breath. He needed me.

But more than him needing me….. I needed him. My prayers were answered. Never underestimate the power of prayer. The answers come in many shapes and sizes. Mine came in a bundle of furry mutt that looks like he rolled in a few colors of paint.

I am so thankful. And now, without further adieu…… meet Teddy Roosevelt, the new brother of George Bailey……. Enjoy!

Cate B

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How Can I Love Those I Don’t Understand?

When I was a young mom and involved in a church my husband just happened to pastor, I thought I was really something.  I thought that our decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom was the ultimate call of God on Christian mothers everywhere.  I actually had the mindset that all moms should be doing this.

One day, after a church service, I saw a woman I hadn’t seen in a while.  I liked her a lot.  She had three lovely boys and they were awesome.  Like me, she was a stay-at-home mom.  Was.  I asked, ever so cheerfully, how she had been doing.  And this is when my perfect world crumbled……………

She began to tell me that a wonderful thing has happened.  An answer to her prayers that set her free.  I asked her to tell me.  Excitement was rising in her voice and in my anticipation………

This is when she told me that she had been praying for a job.   A what??  A job outside of the home.  I think my mouth did one of those fall open and drool and no one but me noticed things.  A job??  Yes, a job, she kept the excitement level up in her voice.

She went on about their need for more money and her desire to be outside the home and contribute.  So she went looking and lo and behold, she was offered a great job.  The whole family rejoiced.

I put on my Hollywood smile and hugged her and told her how happy I was for her (I think I missed my call on the stage).  She went home and I went home…….. downcast and confused.

Let me take a side road here for just a second.  One thing I am good at is taking my questions to the Lord.  He and I just have a good thing together about asking and listening and getting answers.  Trouble is, they may not always be the answers I was looking for.

Now, back on the main road……. I went home and asked him.  Well, actually, I remember it well.  I asked him before I even left the building.  Something like this:  “What were You thinking?  How could that be Your answer to her prayers????? Huh?????  Why did you let her take that job?????”

And right then the room faded away and I was there with the spot light on me – and Him –  and He kindly said, “I let her have the job because that is where she is at.  She asked me for a job.”

I remember saying, “What do you mean?”  And He continued gently to tell me that He loves each of us so much.  He let me stay at home with my kids because that is what I desired and what I wanted more than anything.  Others want a career or a simple job.

I began to see a bit more clearly that day.  I began to see a different perspective.  More of God’s perspective.  I didn’t know that woman very well.  I didn’t know her dreams or desires or even how she is put together.  Heck, I really don’t know how most people are built.  Some can handle an intense career far easier than 24/7 diapers, bottle, crying, spitting – well, you get the picture.  Some get total satisfaction from raising children.  It doesn’t mean these parents don’t love their children less or more.  It simply means God love each of us and He knows what is best for us at any given moment.

That half hour out of my life, years ago, changed me.  To the good.  I still think I’m really something, but I try really hard to see people as He does.  It’s not easy.  Especially when it’s turned around and others judge me and think they know who I am or how I’m bent.  BUT, that lesson is alive and well and still at work in this imperfect person.  It has helped me shake off any judgements that come at me  – still not easy – but with the help of the One who answers my questions…… the One who let’s me ask questions …….. the One who answers me in a still small voice in my heart – I can love those I don’t understand.

Enjoy!images54

cate b

Who Does He Take After???

I have mentioned before that I gave birth to four lovely children.  Motherhood is truly a blessing from God that is priceless.  It’s not always easy and it doesn’t come with an instruction booklet.  Ask my oldest son.  I still tell him to forgive us.  After all, he was the first-born and we were clueless.  He was like a guinea pig in some ways.  I am, however, thankful for those authors who published helpful books.

My first two, a son and then a daughter, were pretty by the book, so to speak.  Challenging, but great with their feeding and growth timings.  Even their behaviors were not too difficult as young babies and toddlers (teenage years will have to be another post).  Then along came the third born.  Another son.  Cute as a button.  I wanted a boy and told my husband.  I even had his name picked out before conception.  I just knew, therefore I had to have.  And there he came.  Things were going along quite nicely until he began to crawl and walk and then talk.  Crawling wasn’t good enough.  He had to climb before his first step.  Found him in the middle of the kitchen table standing there at seven months of age.

Then came the talking.  He had an amazing use of baby language.  It went something like this:

Son:  Ma!

Me:  What?

Son:  ldkfuosienro aisghos  pih anodi asj u dijg dfkg ifug o???

Me:  Yes, that’s right.

Son:  Ma!

Well, you get the idea.  This type of conversation went on the entire car ride length of the mountain valley we lived in.

When words made more sense to him he would ask for Mackaners for dinner.  Took me a while to realize he wanted a hamburger.  Mackaner being a cross between a big mac and a hamburger.  His Uncle Peter was Uncle Computer – cross between the other uncle that gave us our first computer and Peter.

As he grew my husband and I would look at each other from time to time and ask, “Who does he take after?”  We were clueless.  He looked a lot after my side of the family so we knew there was no switching at the hospital.

One day, I was home alone with him and his new baby brother, who was taking a nap.  I watched our number three son go around the kitchen opening all the lower cupboards hoping for an empty one he could crawl into and be alone.  I knew how he felt.  I was vacuuming and just talking to the Lord about this little guy he gave us.  I asked again, “Who does he take after?”  I believe God can talk to us in a deep place within in a still small voice, a strong whisper (bible reference I Kings 19:12).  I heard, “He takes after you”, as I continued to vacuum.  I said, “No, I don’t think so.  He is very confident and travels to his own beat.”  I heard again, “He takes after you.”  And then it hit me.  He is so much like me and I couldn’t see it until that moment.  I began to see my life unfold before me – as I continued to vacuum – when I was just three or four years old my parents faced a difficult time.  My dad became ill and suddenly he passed away when I was just four.  My mom found herself having to raise three children on her own, the youngest doesn’t even remember our dad.  From that point we, as young children, were put in a place where we had to grow up fast.  My older brother was told the old belief, “You’re the man now”….. what????  I was a middle child with great imagination and creativity that got forced into a left-brained world.  I was lost.  I became withdrawn and extremely shy.  No one knew what to do with me because I was so quiet.  I grew up with my mom constantly saying that the teachers think I need a psychiatrist.  That was the 1950s – that was the mindset.  Now a days we go to counselors or life coaches because, let’s face it, we can’t do it alone.  But the generation my mom came from were very strong and very proud folk.

So I knew at that moment while vacuuming that my son and I were two peas in a pod.  He was just being raised differently.  I knew my mom did the best she knew how but there were consequences that I had to walk through.  That day was such a day of freedom for me.  A day of healing.  I told my husband about it that night and told him to look out!  I now know who I am.

That is one of the most wonderful things about having children and raising them.  They are each a different individual.  Each one cannot be raised identical to the last one.  Your family will have a general way you want to raise your family, your beliefs, religion, moral standards.  But the carrying out of those things will be different for each child.  Time outs may not work for one as they did for the others.  And that is what I think is the hardest part of parenting.  Knowing and discovering each of your children as individuals and what makes them tick and what will be the best for each one is a lot of work!

Hats off to you parents of today!  And to you grandparents who play such a vital part in your children’s and children’s children’s lives!  Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy life with them.  They are a joy not a drudgery!

A classic for you: 

Enjoy!

cate b