The ease with which she laughed. The way she loved playing in the snow. Her constant encouragement and faith. The way she loved everybody, no exceptions. The sparkle in her eyes. The way she utterly and completely enjoyed life. These are just a few of the things I am thankful for about my mom. Yesterday as I was peeling apples, memories of her came flooding over me. That seems to happen particularly on baking days. I suppose it’s because we did a lot of baking together, and those were always happy, laughter-filled days.
Now baking days are still happy and laughter-filled. I am so thankful for my sweet daughter, Amy, and her little girls. Yesterday we baked three apple pies and three pumpkin pies together, using my mom’s recipes. In other words, we made more happy memories together. What a treat to see the joy in my granddaughters’ eyes as we mixed the pie crust dough together. How funny to watch them sneakily pop some apple slices into their mouths. I’m already looking forward to cookie baking day!
I have very much to be thankful for
each day. One tradition my family has is hanging a sheet of paper on our refrigerator
each November 1st with “I’m thankful for…” written across the top.
It isn’t long before it’s filled with little and big things written down by
everyone. I highly recommend it, because it’s a great way to cultivate a grateful
heart. As Thanksgiving approaches, what are you thankful for? Please feel free
“Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Clear away all the weeds, brush, and
My husband, Mike, was cleaning up the
area just behind the fence in our backyard. This was not an easy feat. It
required walking through tall weeds to get to there, then maintaining balance
on about a 1 ½ foot wide space on top of a retaining wall, while using an ax
and a saw to destroy thorny bushes and weeds that were invading our yard
through our back fence.
I love how he prioritizes things. He
has a clear perspective on what is important and what is most important. He
also has good balance, literally and figuratively. He has always been the one
to get me to take breaks and make time for fun stuff. He adds life to life! He
knows what it means to live for what lasts. Do you? When was the last time that
you took time to have a catch with a football or dance in your kitchen or stop
and watch the sunset or…well, you get the idea!
Thankfully, Mike achieved all three
of his goals. Now we can play tag in our backyard with our granddaughters
without running into branches filled with thorns, which is exactly what we plan
“So we fix our eyes not on what is
seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen
is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
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
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
Your name doesn’t define you as much as you define your name.