Friday, March 15, 2013

MOM  (in the above photo she's the little cutie on the far left)

My mom begins her 10th decade of life today as she turns 90. There are no words for trying to explain her impact on me as a result of the depth of her love. I am attempting to merely scratch the surface of giving her the honor that she is due on this milestone birthday.

Greta (Drenth) Vail is the eight child of ten, born to Jacob and Bessie Drenth on March 15, 1923. In her years she has experienced much pain and sadness as she has outlived her parents, her siblings, her husband, a daughter-in-law and a grand child. Despite these losses, she lives her life in joy, thankful for the many blessings that God has, indeed, sent her way. She has continues to model a “Christ like” life even as she has so gracefully aged.

How can we quantify the impact that her life has had on this world? The totality of this impact is known only by her heavenly Father. For a humble woman who rarely left the general area of her home, her impact on the world is/will continue to be amazing. My sisters and I are lucky enough to be her offspring, but her life has impacted so many more lives and will for generations to come. She remains a genuine model of faithfulness to her Lord, her husband, her children, her grandchildren, nieces, nephews and her friends. Everyday she continues to teach those of us who know her lessons of love, faith, humility, servant hood, charity, humor, hope, family, devotion, gentleness, conviction, optimism, wholesomeness, kindness and so much more. These lessons, as she has taught them, will continue for generations. It is said that ones “reputation” in life becomes your “legacy” in death. I believe my mothers “legacy” will be one that is impossible to live up to but held as an example to strive for.

Following are a few “random memories” that I have from my life time with Mom:
• How easily she faints
• Cherry picking
• Ordering school clothes from the Spiegel catalog
• Bare butt spankings when I was especially naughty
• Getting us all up during thunderstorms
• Playing caroms + rook + yahtzee + dominoes + . . .
• All her other somewhat strange games
• Home made ice cream
• Home made pajamas for Christmas
• Hamburgers or barb-b-ques every Saturday night
• Her support of me playing basketball
• Cleaning the Hawley’s and Saultenstall’s houses
• Volunteering at church and Christian school activities all the time
• Loving and helping with Julie when she was so small and weak
• Helping us do homework
• Canning veggies and fruit
• Driving to Atwood in “low” gear in our first car with an automatic tranny
• Admitting to me, after I had admitted to her that I snuck out to a movie, that she had done that also in her youth.
• Her devotion to Marcie while she was in the hospital with a broken neck
• Her being such a great grandmother to our children
• Her being there for me to cry on and with when Carol died
• Her screaming nightmares
• Her intentional hospitality
• Knit hangers
• Importance of family
• Having garage sales
• Trying to get us out of bed on school mornings
• Making doughnuts on Saturday afternoons
• Staining and varnishing her new cabinets when Carol was “newly” pregnant with Amy
• A car accident or two
• On and on and on . . .

Thank you Mom, for being there for me so completely all my years!

following is a poem i found . . .

Her Hands

© Maggie Pittman
Her hands held me gently from the day I took my first breath.
Her hands helped to guide me as I took my first step.
Her hands held me close when the tears would start to fall.
Her hands were quick to show me that she would take care of it all.

Her hands were there to brush my hair, or straighten a wayward bow.
Her hands were often there to comfort the hurts that didn't always show.
Her hands helped hold the stars in place, and encouraged me to reach.
Her hands would clap and cheer and praise when I captured them at length.

Her hands would also push me, though not down or in harms way.
Her hands would punctuate the words, just do what I say.
Her hands sometimes had to discipline, to help bend this young tree.
Her hands would shape and mold me into all she knew I could be.

Her hands are now twisting with age and years of work,
Her hand now needs my gentle touch to rub away the hurt.
Her hands are more beautiful than anything can be.
Her hands are the reason I am me.

Source: Her Hands, Mother Poem

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Does God's Positive Voice Say About You?
It seems that in this life put downs come easily. Whether intended or not, we are often made to feel small by those around us, even our “loved ones”. Most often this occurs unintentionally, I’m sure, but many times it is done with a hurtful intent.

"It's a dog eat dog world, Woody and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear”, as this quote from Norm Peterson in the TV show “Cheers” puts it, people seem to be out to make our lives more difficult. Others, for the most part, really don’t care that much about us or our feelings. Some seem to have evil intent but some, I suppose, are merely too tied up in their own problems to consider the effects on others. Many days it seems like the only one we can count on for support and encouragement is ourselves. Unfortunately, after existing like that for awhile the ability to lift ourselves out of the pits becomes less and less effective. Depression, self esteem issues, hopelessness, etc are the result. This is not a pleasant picture, I know.

Some time ago, I came across this particular grouping of scripture texts under the heading of:

“What Does God's Positive Voice Say About You?”

• You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

• You are a child of God (John 1:12)

• You are part of the true vine, a channel of Christ's
love (John 15:1,5)

• You are Christ's friend (John 15:15)

• You are reconciled to God and a minister of his
reconciliation (2Corinthians 5:18-19)

• You are a saint (1Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1;
Philippians 1:1)

• You are chosen of God, holy and dearly loved
(Colossians 3:12; 1Thessalonians 1:4)

These words are such a joy to me. These words are like receiving life giving water in middle of a journey through Death Valley. I keep them at my finger tips and refer back to them time and time again for reassurance. This is what God, the creator and sustainer of this world, thinks about me - I am His child; I am valued by the only one who really knows the true value of everything. I cannot be loved any more or any less by God based on what others think of me or think that I am. God knows me and has chosen me. I love that about my God, sure He admonishes me, but he is a God of Love, of encouragement, of reconciliation, of glory. His is the only opinion that matters, and His voice, in scripture, says I’m chosen. Grace!

My prayer is that you know this God of grace and that you can believe with me that what these texts say is what is said of you.

“You are . . . .”