A Journey To Remember…

When our oldest son was small, about two or three years old, he used to sit in the cart, while I shopped, and he’d sing “Amazing Grace”.  He caught the attention of more than a few people, as you can imagine.  He’d also say, “I’m going to be a preacher.”

When he was seven, our son asked to be baptized.  At first, we weren’t sure he was old enough to fully understand the significance, but after talking with him, we decided he was, so Ed and I agreed to let him be baptized. He also memorized The Lord’s Prayer, on his own, and would sometimes pray it , when called on [to pray] during church services.

The years quickly passed quickly, and before we knew it, our son had grown into a somewhat rebellious young man. His years from age sixteen until twenty-one were simply awful for us, as parents.  Nothing we said or did seemed to matter.  Our son did what he wanted to do, no matter what the consequences.  He and I constantly fought, and, at one point, I told him he’d have to leave our house.  It was an all-time low point, and I felt as if I’d failed as a parent.  I certainly  didn’t see it at the time, but in looking back, God surely had His hand upon our son, even in those darkest of days.  If not, his life would have turned out very different.
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In 2002, Ed’s mom agreed to let our son come and live with her, following the death of Ed’s dad. By then, our son was already twenty, with no real sense of direction for what he wanted to do with his life. He’d dropped out of college, and wouldn’t keep a job. He stayed up nights, and slept his days away. In essence, he was driving me crazy!  Ed’s mom gave her grandson a roof over his head, food to eat, some gentle guidance, and a lot of encouragement.  In return, he gave her some companionship and someone to fuss over.

Things with our son didn’t change overnight, but they did eventually change, praise the Lord.  Our son finally decided he needed to do something with his life, and he did. He went back to school, and excelled at becoming a computer specialist.  God blessed him to have a caring teacher who saw something special in our son, and later helped him get a good job, after graduation.

God blessed our son, again, at his new job, when he met the woman who would eventually become his wife and the mother of his two sons.  Their marriage turned out to be a journey of its own.

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Sometimes, marriage can be hard, especially if both parties are not quite mature when they marry.  There was trouble from the beginning, and some things happened.  For a while, it looked like the marriage was going to end in divorce, but, once again, God intervened and caused a change of hearts.  With God’s help, over time, what seemed like the impossible eventually became very possible.  Not only possible–but a stronger and better than ever, marriage resulted.

Over the past several years, through the grace of God, our son has done a lot of maturing and changing.  We’ve watched him grow from a shy, immature, self-centered person into a loving husband, father, and provider, who is now a bold, mature, selfless young man, who is “on fire” for the Lord.  He will  gladly share the gospel with anyone who will listen.  His metamorphosis has really been something to see.

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Our son began his journey, to share the gospel, by giving out tracts in a local shopping center parking lot, one afternoon of each week, after he’d worked all day. He wrote and had the cards printed himself.  Oh, the stories he can tell about some experiences he’s had in that parking lot!  Some will bring tears to your eyes. He’s also walked in parades, giving out tracts.

Before long, our son began visiting a local assisted living home, to bring a gospel message to the residents, on Sunday afternoons.  The residents now look forward to each of his visits very much, and they, in turn, have been such a blessing to our son.

For a while, our son spent a great deal of time praying, researching, and visiting area churches, in an effort to find his rightful place to best serve God.  He found his new church, several months ago, and was welcomed with open arms, by a congregation of mostly elderly folks, who have taken him under their wings.

For a while, our son has been asking Ed and me to come and visit his new church. We left our previous church, a long while back, and haven’t attended church since.  Ed and I finally gave in and went to visit our son’s new church, this past Sunday.  I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing we received by doing so!  I’ve never met a more kind and welcoming group of folks, who seem to love our son as much as we do.

When we arrived at the church, as you can imagine, we were a bit hesitant about going in. As we walked up the sidewalk, we looked up to the porch of the church, and there stood our son, waiting to greet the people who were arriving.  What a welcome sight that was!  After many introductions, and hearing a lot of “We’re so glad you came”, Ed and I took a bulletin and sat down on a pew.

I can’t begin to tell you how overcome with emotion I became when I opened the bulletin and began to read.  There, on the bottom of the page of that bulletin, was our son’s name, listed to bring the Sunday evening message!  He’d never said a word to us about any of this.  Of course, neither hell nor high water was going to keep us from hearing our son deliver that evening message, so Ed and I went back for the evening service, too.

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Oh, what a blessing it was to my weary soul–to see how far our son has traveled in his journey, so far.  From the sweet little toddler, singing Amazing Grace…to the seven-year-old who knew he needed to be baptized…to the wayward young teenager who nearly drove his family crazy…to the young man who married, then came within a hair of becoming a divorced, single dad…to this man who was delivering the words of God from the pulpit of a church. And deliver a message, he did, from the bottom of his heart, for almost an hour, when it seemed like only ten minutes!

Only God knows where our son’s journey will continue to take him, or how his journey will end. I just know, so far, he’s already covered a lot of ground, and this mom is so proud and happy for him!  May God continue to bless and keep you, Brett.  Can I get an amen?

 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 5, 2016 at 7:57 am  Comments (4)  
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Memory Monday ~ My Children

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Once again, today’s subject is one of my favorites!  I’m proud of the people all of my children have grown up to be, and, next to Ed, there’s nobody I’d rather post about–well, except for maybe ‘the grands’…

My husband, Ed, had joined the army shortly before we met, and left for duty not long afterward.  Due to this, he and I had a limited courtship, between army assignments, but it still didn’t take us long to realize we were meant to be together.  Once Ed got out of the army, and I graduated from high school, we immediately got married.  I guess you could say Ed and I married, then had our courtship afterward!

For the first five years of our marriage, Ed and I went to the movies, to concerts, dancing, out to eat,  on vacations, rode our motorcycle, and enjoyed going out in our boat.  We had a great time doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.  Having babies was the farthest thing on our minds.  In fact, both sets of parents had already given up hope of us having any grandchildren for them, when we finally decided to have a baby!

I became pregnant, with our first child, about five and a half years after our wedding day.  After six positive pregnancy tests, and a family practitioner who couldn’t figure out if I was pregnant or not, I was referred to an OB/GYN, and had an uneventful pregnancy.  Unfortunately, the labor and delivery wasn’t uneventful, but, none-the-less, our daughter made her way into the world, kicking and screaming– or should I say she was dragged out, with forceps, kicking and screaming?  She weighed eight pounds, we named her Brandy, and I was scared to death of her!

9-3-2010 5;11;28 PM Brandy 5 wks

Brandy, age 5 weeks

I’d never had much experience with babies, and was afraid to even change her diapers, at first.  It didn’t take me long to get over my fears, but then poor Brandy came down with colic, so it was a long first three months for both of us!  A baby swing is the only thing that saved our sanity.  The gentle rocking motion seemed to quiet our screaming daughter, until she finally outgrew the colic.

I always knew I wanted more than one child, because one is a lonely number.  (My brother left home when I was just eight, and I’d grown up alone and lonely.)  My only stipulation was to get one child out of diapers before giving birth to another.  Ed and I found out we were expecting our second child shortly before our daughter’s third birthday, and we were thrilled.

Our first son, Brett, was born in the wee hours of the Monday morning, following Mother’s Day.  His was my easiest birth of all.  My total labor, from the first pain until delivery was only five hours.  Brett was a good baby and a delightful toddler, who loved to sing.

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Brett, age 6 months

With two children, a girl and a boy, many thought our family was complete, but I wasn’t so sure.  I had plans in the back of my mind for a third child, to be born after the first two started to school, but you know what they say about best laid plans…

I found out I was pregnant with child number three, when Brett was just over two years old.  Ed and I had recently changed our healthcare coverage, and were in the ‘waiting period’ before becoming eligible for maternity benefits.  Surprise!  But what a delightful surprise our third child turned out to be!

Our second son, Brad, was born two weeks after his due date, weighing ten pounds, nine ounces!  I delivered him naturally, and thought I was going to die!  Labor took 21 hours, and the birth?  Well, I hate to even think about how the baby got stuck, halfway out of the birth canal, but all’s well that ends well, right?  When I looked over and saw Brad, I simply couldn’t believe that much baby had been in my belly, and exited through such a small opening!  My body hasn’t been the same since.

9-3-2010 5;10;12 PM Brad

Brad, age 6 months

With the arrival of a third child, our family quickly discovered that two’s company, but three is often a crowd.  Oldest son, Brett, didn’t take the arrival of his new baby brother well, at first.  A day or two after we brought Brad home from the hospital, Brett cried all night long!  Brett cried so long and so hard, Ed took him to the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything wrong with him.  Although Brett loved his brother, the sunny personality Brett used to have, quickly disappeared, replaced by ‘middle child syndrome’, I suppose.  At our house, there was often an odd man out, during playtime, which usually became our daughter, once the boys got old enough to play together.

Daughter, Brandy, has always been a ‘mama’s girl’, while the boys tended to gravitate toward Ed.  Our boys always shared a bedroom, and became very close–even after Brett’s initial disturbing display of disapproval of the arrival of his new brother.  Brett quickly became the ring leader, with Brad happily playing whatever Brett chose to play.  Brandy would join in, whenever they would let her.

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Easter, 1988 (I think)

All of our children were good students, and did well all through school.  Both sons are gifted, and were honor graduates, without actually putting forth a whole lot of effort. Two of the three adolescents gave us little-to-no trouble as teenagers, but our oldest son often kept us on our toes!  Brett liked to bend the house rules–or claim he forgot them–and, therefore, caused us more than a few sleepless nights.  We’ll blame it on middle child syndrome.

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Brett’s 21st birthday

Of course, like most, all three children experienced different kinds of ‘growing pains’ as young adults.  Our daughter experienced a ton of heartbreak before finally finding ‘Mr. Right’ (including a broken engagement, amidst wedding preparations).  You could say, she went through a couple of toads before finally finding her prince.

Our oldest son, Brett, grew up among neighborhood friends, who later made unwise decisions and became bad influences on him. One particular boy chose the wrong path in life and, but for the grace of God, could have dragged Brett along with him.  It took Brett forever to realize that this boy was bad news!

Last, but not least, at different times, both sons went through this crazy transition period, when they dropped out of college, and didn’t want to do much of anything except hang around the house, eat, and sleep!  During these crazy transition periods, Ed’s mom gave both boys [at different times] a place to live until they got their lives back on track, ’cause this mama wasn’t having it!  Both sons eventually got back on track, earned college degrees, and found jobs!  Hallelujah!

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photo taken for Mother’s Day 2013

Our daughter, Brandy, briefly attended college, then worked in several business offices, before and after marriage.  At this time, Brandy is currently a stay-at-home wife, and home-schooling mom, no doubt the most important job she’ll ever have in life.  She has one daughter, Madison.

Oldest son, Brett, is a married father of two young sons, Caden and Chase, and currently works [with computers] at a large university.  Brett also spends much of his free time sharing the gospel with others, and continuing his education.

Our youngest, Brad, is married, lives in a nearby city (much to this mama’s dismay), and has a one-year-old son named Evan.  Brad earned a degree in accounting, but is currently working out of his field, installing and programing industrial heating/air conditioning controls.

Raising children wasn’t always easy, but I’m SO PROUD of (and thankful for) the up-standing, responsible adults our three children have grown up to become!  I’m thankful all have found loving, supportive spouses, and I’m especially thankful all have been blessed to experience the joys (and, sometimes, heartaches) of being parents themselves.  Praise the Lord!

***Linking this post up with others @ Retired-not-Tired for Judy’s Memory Monday meme.

Published in: on December 22, 2014 at 10:18 am  Comments (3)  
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It’s Been Quite A Journey…

Thirty-one years ago, God blessed our family with the birth of a second child, a son.  Appropriately enough, I went to the hospital on Mother’s Day, but didn’t actually give birth until 4:07 the next morning.

Brett was a good baby.  He was usually smiling and happy.  Brett was an active baby, and actually began rolling over at the age of six weeks old!  However, Brett didn’t walk until after he turned a year old.  None of my babies did.

Some of my fondest memories of Brett are from when he was a small child. When he was about three, he learned how to sing “Amazing Grace”.  Occasionally, he would sing this song while we were out shopping.  This always caught people’s attention.  When he was little, he loved wearing suits to church, and used to say that he was going to be a preacher when he grew up.

As a young child, Brett learned the books of the Bible, along with the Lord’s Prayer. I was his Sunday School teacher when he requested to be baptized at age seven.  I was afraid Brett didn’t understand the meaning of what he was asking to do, but after he was questioned at length by his dad, we both agreed that Brett understood.  Brett was baptized soon afterward.  Our pastor, Brother John, used to find great delight in calling on Brett to say the Lord’s Prayer in church!

Brett is a very smart person and always did well in school, with minimal effort.  He rarely brought home any books, much to my dismay, but was always able to maintain very good grades.  One of Brett’s teachers once commented, “If I’ve ever seen a gifted child, Brett is one.”  Brett made perfect scores in reading and math on the standardized tests that year.

Time passed quickly, and before we knew it, Brett became a teenager. He lived and breathed to play basketball! All of his hard work and determination paid off when he was voted “most improved” during his sophomore year, and became a starter the following year.  For reasons I still don’t understand, Brett chose not to play ball his senior year.

Oh, what turbulent years Brett’s late teen years turned out to be!  He graduated high school with honors, and even won a full tuition scholarship for that first year of college, but some difficult times lay ahead.

Some of Brett’s friends, since childhood, had chosen the wrong path of life. Brett seemed to want to follow along.  Brett dropped out of college after his first year.  He wouldn’t hold a job.  His life seemed to be spiraling downward.  Brett became a head-strong, and at times, very disrespectful young man.  At our lowest point, I asked Brett to move out of the house, and he did.  After a few weeks, Brett briefly moved back home, but eventually asked to move in with his grandmother, who’d recently become a widow.

Brett always seemed to walk a fine line, teetering and tottering but never completely falling into deep trouble, like some of his friends.  There were many sleepless nights at our house, until Brett made his way through that dark place, and into the light on the other side.  In retrospect, I know that God was always watching over Brett.

In time, Brett took control of his life, and got back on the right path.  He credits his grandmother, with helping him, by giving him a soft place to land, while he made the transition from a boy to a man.

Brett eventually enrolled in school again, and sailed through, this time, with flying colors!  Brett impressed his instructor so much, he helped Brett get a good job after Brett finished school! While working at this job, Brett  met a young woman, who was instrumental in helping him to become the man I always knew he could be.  Brett worked hard, and when an even better job became available, the former instructor helped Brett, once again.

The past ten years have been a time continued time of growing and changing for Brett.  The change has been slow, and steady, but it’s been remarkable! It’s evident that God has been working in Brett’s life, and continues to do so.

Brett treats the people in his life with love and respect, and he’s a joy to have around!  He’s a devoted husband, and a patient, loving father to his two adorable little boys.  Brett is also a dedicated, hard-working employee, who continues to further his education, when I’m sure he’d rather be doing something else!  He’s an active Christian, who constantly strives to teach others about Jesus.

Yes, these last thirty-one years of life have taken Brett on quite a journey. I can’t wait to see what the next thirty years will bring.  I’m blessed to have been chosen to be his mom…

Happy Birthday, Brett!

Published in: on May 10, 2013 at 8:08 am  Comments (7)  
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Every Picture Tells A Story…The Rocking Chair

This old photograph was taken during the Christmas of 1977. The rocking chair in the photo was my Christmas gift from Ed that year.  (I’ve always loved rocking chairs.)

Story In 1977,  Ed and I moved from the city back to our old hometown early in the year. After five years of being away, it was so nice to be home again. Ed’s parents had given us a small piece of land on their farm, and it was wonderful living in the country. Once we’d gotten settled, it wasn’t long before we began to talk about starting a family.

By the time Christmas rolled around Ed and I had been trying for a baby for about three months.  I was beginning to get a little bit anxious as the months rolled by with no luck.

Then Ed gave me that rocking chair for Christmas!  About five weeks later I discovered that I was pregnant!  We always laughed and said the rocking chair made the difference!

I loved my rocking chair, and I fed and rocked all three of our babies in it.  When Brandy was a baby I kept the rocking chair in the living room.

Later, when each of the boys was born, I moved the rocking chair to their nursery.  Both boys were breast-fed, and I spent many hours rocking and nursing them– in that chair.  I’d sit in that chair, half asleep, in the wee hours of the morning– rocking a baby in my arms.

I also sat in that rocking chair the day the tornado came through our backyard.  I was pregnant with our second child at the time.  I knew a storm was coming, so I went to the smallest room in our home–the nursery.  I sat in that rocking chair and prayed until the storm passed.  Fortunately, the only damage was a blown over tree in the back yard.

As time passed, and our family grew, the rocking chair eventually made way for other things in our house.  I kept my chair in our storage shed for several years.  When we decided to build our new home, we downsized.  As a result, we got rid of many things.  My rocking chair was among the things we got rid of.

In hindsight, I sort of  wish I’d kept the chair.  What a wonderful heirloom it would have been to pass along to the family.  Of course, these days, they would probably be like me and prefer a softer, padded rocking chair.  I’m a bit partial to the newer glider rockers, and have thoroughly enjoyed rocking the last two grand babies in mine.

In fact, I’m getting a bit excited at the thought of getting to use my glider rocker again in just a few more weeks!  I sure hope baby Chase likes to rock.

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 11:13 pm  Comments (6)  
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