New Beginnings:)

It’s December 1st, and the month promises to be an amazing one. God has made it clear that He has new beginnings in store for me. Yesterday, I went to see the home I will share with my son’s sweet family beginning on January 1st:) For a decade, I’ve lived alone as my journey involved a new beginning on September 1st, 2002 when I left my marriage of twenty-nine years. I’ve done a lot of hiding during the past decade, but I’m ready for the open spaces God has in mind for me.

As I toured the beautiful house, my heart felt right at home. I’m ready for company, and I can’t think of anyone with whom I’d rather share a home than my son and his family. Lillyann was so excited that Gigi was going to be living with her, and little Mylah gave me a smile that took me back to when her daddy was her age. Living together is what God has in mind for His children, and my grandmother lived with us for six months out of the year until she died.

Grandmother Banning was a big part of my life. I loved sharing meals with her, and I used to sit in wonder as she braided her long hair each morning and twisted it into a bun. She would unwind her bun and take out the braid each evening before going to bed. I can still hear her humming and singing as she sewed. She loved to sew, and mama had to tear the hems out of pillow cases and clothing to keep her busy.

During my mini-skirt phase in the sixties, grandmother would pull at my shirt as I walked by and ask if there was a hem that could be let out:) Lilly Belle Banning was a quiet presence who sewed and helped with household chores. I don’t recall playing with her, but I know we interacted. I pray that I will be a loving presence in the lives of Lillyann and Mylah and plan to play and enjoy the precious time I have with them. I know God will continue teaching me through them. I may be in for some graduate studies:)

Three years ago, my heart made some serious changes as I learned I could love and walk in God’s kingdom before I got to heaven. The journey took a turn that challenged my heart but taught it the importance of honest communion when it comes to loving and living as God desires. Love is not as complicated as we humans tend to make it. God is love, and He wants me to love Him and those in my path. It isn’t rocket science, but it does require a level of honesty that would have made me shrink away three years ago.

The lessons in love prepared my heart to open up and give God the space He desires. I had to smile when I saw the windows in the house. Natural light flooded the rooms, and breath-taking views of beautiful mountains were at every turn. I could not only see God as I looked in and out of those windows, I could feel His love pouring into my heart like the sunlight pouring into the rooms. Arthur Brisbane said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll use one rather than try to describe the scene.

Heavenly Light:)
Heavenly Light:)

God not only opened doors, He placed some amazing windows in my path yesterday. I love it when He wows me, and He definitely wowed me yesterday. I may just stand and stare out the windows and pray that I never take Him or His beautiful handiwork for granted. The open floor plan, the windows, and the beautiful pool overwhelmed me, but the look on Lillyann’s face when she squealed, “I’m so excited!” and Mylah’s sweet grin were the best features of the home.

I love a new day, a new month, a new year, and a new song! God’s timing is always perfect, and His plan is so much better than my own.  Jeremiah 33 and Psalm 96 have reminded me  this week that God is a god of new beginnings, and He has a special one in mind for me. That makes me want to squeal like Lillyann:)

Be Tending:)

I’m looking forward to being with Mylah and Lillyann today. I don’t know what we will get into,  but I do know we will “be tending.” That’s what Lilly calls pretending, and she loves it! She interjects as we play that we are just “be tending,” and sometimes adds, “aren’t we?” if she needs clarification. I was thinking this morning that be tending with kids is as good as it gets. Adults are not as adept at be tending as are children, so I’m glad to have a wonderful mentor in Lillyann.

Adults prefer drama to be tending, and that is no fun at all. Be tending is all about playing, and drama is all about attention. It belongs on the stage, screen, and between the pages of great novels. Everyone loves a great leading lady, but no one likes a great drama queen.

There are a number of theories when it comes to what goes into the making of a drama queen. I agree with the ones that point to a narcissistic or substance abusing parent who pays little attention and requires a behavior to get to a crisis level before they even respond. Children learn that drama is the only way to get attention, and that can carry over into adult life. It’s like the little boy who cried wolf or an annoying car alarm; no one pays attention to either. We can turn off the TV, leave the theater, or close the book; but it isn’t that simple when drama enters everyday life.

Be tending is healthy, and I encourage Lillyann to be tend:) It is a safe way to explore the world and exercise the imagination. It is also a good opportunity to explain right and wrong. I have always had an overactive imagination. It offered escape as a child because I didn’t want any more attention. My sister once told me that I got all the attention in the house. I realize that was true. Mama smothered me and daddy took out his frustration on me, so I was looking for an escape.

I still have to make sure I don’t hide, run away, or let circumstances turn into drama. I have learned to ask God to redirect my thoughts when they get out of control. God will use my imagination and circumstances for good; Satan will abuse them and point to the nearest exit. The choice is mine, and that’s a powerful lesson.  The process requires lots of prayer and effort. When I find myself thinking the worst and playing out a tragedy in my head, I ask God to take over. The sooner I do that, the sooner I find peace.

God uses my vivid imagination to be tend with the girls and with what my dear friend describes as sacred imagination. That’s when I give my thoughts to God, and He uses them to teach me sweet lessons in love. It allows me to play with God in a beautiful way that isn’t “be tending” but walking in His kingdom now and eagerly anticipating His return. God can use all things for the good if I hand them over to Him. Satan would like for me to stay in tragedy mode, but God has makes it clear that life is a comedy. That doesn’t mean mean funny or without hurt in the world of theater or in life; it simply means all ends well. God promises a beautiful ending with Him in heaven, and He also promises to be with me always. Knowing that allows me to find the peace, joy, hope, and love God provides for the journey:)

Sisterly Love:)

Mylah and Lillyann were so precious yesterday as they loved one another. I’m helping them find ways to play together since there is only one me and because it is what God desires. Jesus taught us to love and live together, so technically I’m teaching them to walk in His kingdom. The lessons in sisterly love work sometimes. May God say the same about me! Lillyann loves to feed Mylah, so I let her help feed her this evening as I got dinner ready. It was so cute to watch them delight in each bite. It was the highlight of my week for sure:)

There are always challenges in loving one another, but yesterday filled me with hope. The mind of a three-year-old is pretty self-centered, but so is the mind of a thirty-year-old, a sixty-year-old, and an every-year-old for that matter:) Lessons in love this week were also about perspective, and I had to remind myself not to expect too much too quickly. Everything is relative, and relatively speaking, I feel great about the lessons in sisterly love. As always, God had lessons for me in that department this week:)

Having an agenda is not always a good idea, but it was today. After the difficult evening on Tuesday, I decided to focus upon getting their attention and teaching a little at the same time. We cut out paper dolls, and the girls just squealed when they saw the little people connected in rows. Lillyann wanted puppies, elephants, and giraffes too. We took the idea and made fencing for our play farm. Having plans made a big difference in the day and was fun for all of us. The teacher in me had to grin and think duh! I love it when God teaches me the obvious gently, and I need to remember that with all in my path:)

As we all learn to love, we must let each other be who we are. That and being honest are the most important lessons when it comes to love. I know I’ll make many more mistakes, but I also know I’ll learn from those mistakes if I’m willing to admit to them first. It is at the core of all learning, especially when it comes to God’s love.  I thank God for my sweet little mentors and believe they would make wonderful teachers one day if that’s what they decide to be. It really doesn’t matter what they do as long as they do it with love. The same is true for all of us:)

Fighting Fires:)

I have the utmost respect for firefighters and cannot imagine what being one must entail. I don’t claim to know anything about that difficult calling, but I could relate as I tried, in vain, to put out a lot of little fires while keeping the girls last night:) I say that figuratively and with a smile because they reminded me of how a little spark can ignite a new fire just when I think I have things under control. If I take the please and appease approach to life, I better be prepared to fight fires!

I imagine a very important lesson in real firefighting must be to never assume all the sparks are out:) The girls had a very tough evening last night, and I did a terrible job of keeping them satisfied. I got one problem solved and another suddenly popped up. I realize today that trying to appease was my problem. It’s impossible in the best of situations and should never be my goal. As a mom, I know that; Gigi, however, is sorely tempted to please and appease. I am just learning that lesson in love, and God reminded me this morning that those lessons apply to grandbabies, as well. Ouch!

I know from experience that being a pleaser or appeaser isn’t even good for the moment, and I also know it will come back to bite me on the behind if not careful. My behind was sore on the drive home last night, and my pride was wadded up and whimpering on the floor. I felt like a complete failure when Tyler came in from a very long day to find a crying baby and a contrite big sister. I explained the problems and confessed my confusion in knowing any causes. I smiled as I said it must be me, but there was an element of truth in the statement that left me humbled.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty, so I have a much clearer view this morning. I was a lot of the problem as I juggled two little girls’ wishes and wants and tried to make both happy. Mylah is going through the weaning process, so I literally couldn’t satisfy her wants. I just held her and offered love. Lillyann was still excited about a wonderful afternoon with her little friend, and she just couldn’t get her feet back on the ground. I wasn’t able to help either find satisfaction.

I love the way God uses all to teach and did a little whining and crying myself when I got home. I can relate to the sweet girls and to mommy and daddy who were tired and needed a little love themselves. As I watched them take one girl each and love on them, I thanked God for the sweet little family who fill my heart and teach me wonderful lessons in love. I know today will be a better day as I remember that pleasing and appeasing only offer temporary fixes. I plan to play, be present, and not start any fires myself:)

This Little Piggy:)

When I put Lillyann to bed last night, I was whipped and thankful to lay down beside her and relax for a moment. She wanted a story, but I told her that Gigi was just too tired to read a book. She said, “Read a story without a book.” Of course, I couldn’t resist that sweet little request. I love children and envy the way they express themselves:)

I wasn’t thinking of Odysseus when I started to spin a tale about two little piggies, but I thought of him as I drove home. He searched the world for decades only to find that all he sought was waiting for him at home. As the story began, Lillyann relaxed because she loves piggies, and she loves being the main character. Here’s the story of those two little piggies who found happiness in each other as they shared the journey and made their way home.

Two little piggies named Gigi and Lilly set off to see the world. They crawled out of the mud, climbed over the fence, and decided to see what was beyond the farm. They snacked on vegetables from the garden, tiptoed past the farmhouse so as not to wake the farmer and his wife, and made their way to the road.

They wondered about the strange surface on the road but decided to take a chance and see where it led. They walked and talked along the way and were so excited to be going on an adventure. They started to get a little bit scared; but they were together, so they just talked and walked a little faster. Houses got closer together, and the vegetable gardens disappeared. “What will we eat?” worried Gigi, but Lillyann told her not to worry. They would find something. They sang to take their mind off their tummies.

One night, they noticed lights ahead. “I wonder what that means!” said Lilly.  Gigi wondered the same thing and was worried about those lights, but she didn’t say anything to Lilly. They were very tired and hungry when they walked into the city, but there was food everywhere! People petted them and made sweet sounds as they walked by. One lady tried to take Gigi, but Lilly stepped on her toe and saved her.

They were very careful when it started to get dark and stayed close together. They made their way through the crowds and found all sorts of sweet treats. Candy corn and chocolate were their favorites, and they ate like little piggies always do:) When they snuggled up to go to sleep that night, they started to cry because their tummies hurt, and they missed mommy, daddy, and Mylah. 

In the morning, they decided the city was not for them. They found the road that brought them there and started back home. The trip home was fun because they talked about their adventures as they walked, and they knew where they were going this time. They were not scared any more, and squealed together when the vegetable gardens started to pop up. Carrots and cabbages were just what they wanted! Their tummies settled down, and they started to skip. Before too long, they recognized their farm and began to run.

Mylah, the tiny baby pig, was the first to see them, and see started to squeal and clap her little feet together. Mommy and daddy came to see what was going on, and they jumped up and down and hugged Gigi and Lilly!  It was time for all piggies to be in bed, so they jumped over the fence and got into a big piggy pile in the soft, warm mud. Lilly was happy to be home. She listened to the piggy snores, smiled, and drifted off to sleep.

The End:)

Fountain of Youth:)

Spending the day with Lillyann and Mylah yesterday was a dip in the fountain of youth. The reason for the revival was staying in the present moment. When I’m with them, we play, eat, love, nap, play and eat some more. That may not be a catchy title for a novel, but it’s a great plan if you want to live life as a kid:) I needed the girls yesterday, and I’m thankful to be with them today and tomorrow. Sometimes, I just know I am where I am meant to be, and yesterday was a perfect example of that feeling. I love it when God does that, especially after a tough lesson.

Lillyann likes to pretend she’s a puppy, so Mylah and I got into the game and walked her, fed her, and patted her on the head. It was so funny to watch them playing. Mylah shrugs her little shoulders and just beams when she gets into the pretending and understands what’s going on. She looks so much like mama when she does that, and it blesses me to see the connection. Tyler snuck in on us as we were playing last night, and the girls just went wild. It’s nice to be somebody’s rock star:) I love watching my son play and love his girls; there is no greater joy for my heart.

I may have been dipped in the fountain of youth yesterday, but I was ready for bed by 8:30:) That may be why kids have more energy than we adults. They sleep ten to twelve hours each night! I think I’ll start following their example and see what happens. Kids stay in the present until adults start giving them reasons to dwell in the past or worry about the future. The fountain of youth is possible when I spend time in the present and stop letting tomorrow and yesterday creep in and steal my peace. Focusing upon the simple things and remembering to play and pray keeps life what God created it to be, a time to love and connect to one another. I am so very thankful to have the time and opportunity to do just that with my sweet little grand daughters. God uses them very effectively to teach beautiful lessons. Thank you God:)