My Room

The yell came from upstairs. I raced up the stairs to find my husband, Mike, flat on his back with green paint splattered everywhere. He was fine, but he had fallen off the little 3-legged stool he was standing on to paint the walls. He couldn’t move without creating more of a mess, so he had yelled for my help. After my laughter died down, I grabbed some wet rags and helped him clean up. I still smile just thinking about that scene. We were getting a room ready for our granddaughter, Senna.

Since that time, we gained another granddaughter, Adina. When we moved to a new home a few years ago, I remember how excited we were about making a special bedroom for our granddaughters’ visits. We carefully chose a paint color for the walls and special forest friends decorations. This time there weren’t even any mishaps, probably because Mike now uses a ladder for his painting. We had so much fun getting everything set up to surprise them and even more fun watching their excitement when they saw it.  

All this made me think of how Jesus promises that he is preparing a place for us. If Mike and I had so much joy in preparing a place for Senna and Adina, I can’t even imagine God’s joy at making a place for us. I also cannot imagine how amazing it will be! Just think of God’s creation – the colors, the variety, the beauty, the wonder. God made us for forever. You and I are invited to have a forever home with God by accepting his invitation. It is for whoever believes in him. I am excited to see what my room is like!

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2

God made us for forever.

Keep Moving*

It kept circling, soaring high above our heads, then swooping down closer. This continued for several minutes. We were about 3.5 miles into a 4.2-mile walk, and it seemed like the buzzard anticipated us dropping over. We were cracking up laughing! Our walking pace was definitely slowing down. Well, at least mine was. We joked together that we had better keep walking.

This made me think of my dad. He is in his late 80’s, and sometimes he gets discouraged about the things he isn’t able to do anymore, like bowling. I try to encourage him to focus on the things he can do. I’ve jokingly told him that if you’re not dead yet; you’re not done yet. We all get discouraged at times, but we need to keep moving.

We did keep moving and finished our walk, leaving the buzzard to go soaring elsewhere to find dinner. Later that day Mike was looking out the window. When I asked what he was looking at, he replied that he was just checking to make sure that buzzard was gone. Mike always makes me laugh! The buzzard was gone, because we kept moving. How will you keep moving today?

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Keep moving! If you’re not dead yet, you’re not done yet.

*This one was Mike’s idea. 😊

Chaos in the Pasture

The horses were gathered over in the corner, looking almost as if they were huddling together. Dogs were barking wildly and loudly. All this because of a deer. Apparently, it leaped over the fence to get into the pasture but was having a very difficult time getting back out. It was stuck.

As I watched, the poor animal ran up to the high fence and seemed to doubt its ability to leap back over to get out. It would pull up and stop at the last moment. Next it raced around and around inside the enclosure with its white tail up like a distress signal. Then it attempted to charge headfirst through the fence several times, to no avail.

Do you ever get stuck? We all do at times. Sometimes it’s our own fault, and sometimes it isn’t. The question is what to do when we are stuck? I think that sometimes you don’t know what it is until you know what it isn’t, like the way the deer figured out it was penned in, but that ramming through the fence was not a good exit strategy. If you are stuck, know that you do not have to stay that way. You can look to God. He cares for you and about you.

That deer knew it wasn’t meant to live in the fenced pasture. Eventually it made its escape by going underneath the fence. The horses ambled out of the corner and went back to grazing; the dogs quieted down. The chaos turned to calm.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 142:8

Sometimes you don’t know what it is until you know what it isn’t.

The Day Uncle Larry Became a Hero

All of a sudden, my two sisters and my brother were yelling wildly! I had no idea why. We were exploring the woods behind our house with Uncle Larry. He was only a little older than us, actually, but we all looked up to him. Whenever he came to visit, he told the most exciting, funny stories, and he was always ready for an adventure.

On this particular day, Mom had agreed to let us go on a hike with Uncle Larry leading the way. I was about 7 years old at the time. We had been traveling through the woods for a while, when suddenly we came upon a fallen tree blocking our path. There was no way around it. Uncle Larry easily scrambled over; then one by one, we followed his example. It was my turn, and I was only partly over when the others started yelling.

I looked all around to find out why, and then I saw it. It was a snake, and it was slithering right next to me! Before I knew what was happening, Uncle Larry grabbed that snake by the tail, whirled it around his head like a lasso, and threw it far away! I stared in amazement. We all did. He had rescued us all! We continued on our hike, afraid of nothing, because Uncle Larry, our hero, was with us.

Thinking back on this happy memory makes me glad that more memories are ahead, just waiting to be made. This past weekend, Mike and I had a bunch of adventures with our granddaughters. We went bear hunting, were chased by lions, and built a whole town with an ice cream store in it, all right in our house. What adventure will you have today? What memories will you make? As the message from Australia goes: Life. Be in it.

“Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds – His name is the Lord – rejoice before Him.” Psalm 68:4

More memories are ahead, just waiting to be made.

Don’t Forget Your Please

The command came from the backseat, and it came in a rather whiny, demanding tone. “I don’t WANT music!”, exclaimed my 2 ½ year old granddaughter, Adina. We were driving to my house for a play day, and I had the radio on. I explained to her that we talk to each other in a nice way, because we love each other. “Don’t forget your please” is something that I remind both my granddaughters (and myself) at times.

This made me think of an extremely demanding patient I once cared for. Did I mention that I’m a nurse? Anyway, this particular patient kept requesting things in a brusque, rude manner. It seemed each time I entered the room, I was met with commands. I was thankful that his condition was improving, but honestly, this was getting tiresome. At one point after he made yet another demand, I automatically responded, “Don’t forget your please”. After laughing, I explained that I often babysit my granddaughters and that is what I say to remind them that good manners matter. After a moment of silence, my patient actually apologized. The rest of my shift that day became much more pleasant.

As for Adina, later that day I was humming when I heard her nicely ask me to “please turn the music off”. How she makes me laugh! The reason I share this is because we all have the opportunity every day to show kindness, even in the way we speak to each other. Even God exercises kindness! Kindness counts and really does make a difference.

“’…I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24

  Kindness counts.

What is a Bebes?

Since you are reading this, I figured you might like to know who is writing it. If things had gone according to Grandad’s plan, I would be Jim. That didn’t happen. Jim (my little brother) did come along about 1 ½ years later, though. My mom was very pregnant with me, about 9 months’ worth, when Grandad said to her, “Well, I guess Jim will be here tomorrow.” Perhaps he thought that after two baby girls it was certain that this next baby would be a boy. Instead of Jim, they got me. Sarah Eileen Willis. That was my first name.  My next official name was and still is Sarah Eileen Riddle. I gained that by meeting and marrying the love of my life, Mike Riddle.

I’ve collected many more unofficial names along the way, as we all do. My latest name is Bebes (pronounced Beebees). This is the name given to me by my two sweet granddaughters. My older granddaughter, Senna, used to call me G-mom. Then Adina, her little sister came along. Somehow Adina pronounced G-mom as Bebes, and so that is me. Senna is the one who came up with the spelling. I love being their Bebes!

Each name we have carries its own significance. Each name characterizes a special part of our life – mom, daughter, friend, employee, co-worker, and on and on. I think that your name does not define you as much as you define your name. What are your names associated with? What do they make people think of? You determine that, and you can change it! As for me, I aim to be the best Bebes possible, making happy memories every chance I get.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

Sweet Senna and Dear Adina, the joys I get to babysit.

Your name doesn’t define you as much as you define your name.