Last weekend we all went camping. It was so pretty. The night sky was incredible. We turned all the lights out and stared at the stars for a long time. There were so many stars. It makes you realize how small you are in this universe and all that God created. How amazing is He? Thre is so much beauty in the natural world, but we spend so much time with all the stuff. You kids had a fabulous time and it was actually your first camping trip. You are 6 yrs old. You looked so mousey most of the trip. You had on a long t shirt that had Bugs Bunny holding a fish on it. You love that shirt because of the catfish you caught not to long ago. You were wearing long shorts and you had black shoes with no socks. You were explaining to everyone you only wear your old shoes because there might be some mud. HAHAHA. Of course, you fished, the whole time. Sometimes alone. You just sit there content and fishing. Whne we left one of our friends said goodbye to the great fisherman. You loved that. Your brothers spent most of their time shooting guns. It was a good trip. K
Becos, Pop’s mother, I only met a few times. She lived in a house in Downtown Dallas in an area of town they called “The Barrio”. The first time I met her, your father took me to her house as he was going to mow her lawn. When I walked in her house, she had lots and lots of plants. When I saw her plants I commented on them, and she asked me to touch them. She was very superstitious. . Becos loved to crochet and quilt. She was crocheting you a little blanket when she passed. You had not yet been born, but were just a few months off. She did not speak much english, but could understand it. She was fairly petite and small. Becos loved to cook for her family. Everything she made was completely from scratch, and the best mexican food (aside from nan’s), I ever had. The two things I remember most were the tortillas, and buenuelos. The buenuelos were large and so thin you could almost see through them. I have never had any others like them again. I don’t know much about her. I know she and her husband moved to the states from Mexico. She had 9 children, and at times they lived in a tent. She had a strong faith in the Lord. She made due with very little, and she raised one of the best men I ever knew. Pop.
You wrote a book in school this week. You are 7 years old. In your book, you wrote All About the Author. It says when you were born and where you grew up. Then you say you wish to be an athlete or sing. You have played soccer and is playing basketball. You practice singing and different sports. When you are not singing or practicing sports, you like to play video games, watch movies, or ride bikes outside. The drawings in your book are very interesting as several of them have this little logo type thing you put on a lot of stuff. There is a peace sign, a heart, a sun, and a smiley face. You draw this logo, for lack of a better word, on a lot of things. The peace sign is always first. It usually has a blue background. the heart is next, and is generally colored a dark pink or light red. You swap the sun and the smiley face in and out. Somewhere on your pictures, if there is a person drawn, they are almost always saying “love”. These symbols are so true to your personality. You are a loving, happy person. I hope you never lose that. X
I’m sure just by saying shoes and haircuts, everyone knows exactly who I am referring to. Yes, that would be nan. Nan had a definite thing about making sure you kids always had new shoes and haircuts. Every months she would gather all her grandchildren and take them out shoe shopping. She was never really into the cute stuff until you became older. She always looked for the shoes which were the most functional. Generally, they were tennis shoes, or running shoes as she would call them. She would tell you kids they would make you run faster and jump higher. She was so right. You would get your new shoes, run and jump until you were exhausted, and show everyone how much your shoes had improved your athletisism. A tript to the shoe shop would almost certainly mean later that evening there would also be racing. Whether in the back yard, or around the pecan tree in her front, it was filled with calls of look at me! Look at me! The hair cuts came about every 3 weeks. It was a rare occassion that she would let you go a full month without a proper haircut. Nan would tell you you were “muy guapo”. Looking good was always important to nan. My guess is you kids think about nan sometimes when you are getting all dressed up, and can hear her telling you how handsome you are.
There are many difficult things about being a mom. One of them is when you come to the understanding your child doesn’t know how beautiful and amazing they really are. This world is so good at telling us we are not good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough. Fill in the blank. Not enough of whatever it is we think we need to be enough of. I wish I had the words to help you understand it’s all a lie. When your eyes light up, you are enough to fill a room with happiness. When you laugh, fill a room with cheer. When you are excited about the lizard you found, the A on your paper or the new invention you figured out, it’s enough to make me feel energized by your passion. When I see you help someone who needs help, and you do it so effortlessly, without thinking, just because that is the heart you have, it is enough to make me believe the world has so much good in it, and through your love so many people will receive a love not many people give. When you lay next to me and I play with your hair, it is enough to satisfy me the world has such beauty in it. When you work hard at something, whether you learn it or not, it is enough to show me the bigger picture which is that you will be ok because you are not afraid to try, and although your goals may readjust along the way, you will reach them. When I see you play with younger kids, it is enough to show me a gentleness inside of you that tells me you are going to be a great father filled with love and compassion for your children. When you talk to me about different things going on, it is enough to show me you really care about the people in your life, and you are thinking seriously about where you life will go from here. When I see joy in you, it is enough to remind me life is good. When I see you express your talent, it is enough to make me thankful you have something you enjoy which comes straight from you. When I geta hug from you, it is enough to remind me there is a deep love that binds us. When I see you work hard, it is enough to show me you have a drive in you which will help you in so many different ways to make it through life. When I see you struggle and not give up, it is enough to show me you know it is worth it and keep fighting for the things you want. When you crack your silly jokes, it enough to remind me of how goofy you can be. When you show love, it is enough to show me you are tender hearted. When you are hurt, it is enough to show me how much you care. When your little face looks at me, it is enough to make my heart melt because you have such beautiful eyes, nose, mouth, face, body, hands, legs. You truly are beautiful to see. You are loving, caring, sweet, tender, passionate, smart, serious, driven, funny, beautiful, and those are only the top 10. There is so much in you which is absolutely amazing. You have experiences and knowledge which is uniquely yours. You are truly beautiful in your heart and your mind. Don’t be afraid to show who you are. Don’t let anyone or anything take from you all the beauty and amazing traits you have. Don’t think you have to do or be something you are not. Be true to yourself and all those wonderful things I have seen, and know are in you. Trust all the amazing things aobut you will be seen and appreciated by the people who really love you. Never forget, even when you feel your lowest, you are worth more than diamonds or gold, more precious than anything a person could desire. You have everything you need to be exactly who you are supposed to be. You are a strong young man, special son and great brother. You have everything you need to be a loving husband and an awesome dad. When the world tells you, you are not enough, remind the world you might have some work to do to strengthen your skills, but you are more than enough. You are more than it can offer. You were wonderfully made. Son, you are absolutely beautiful and you have an amazing personality and heart.
This was a Bible Study I have been working on this week. Wanted to share. There are times you will make mistakes. It is often said in business it is not that you made the mistake, it is how you recovered from it. However, this is a truth that applies not just in business, but life generally. Or as I would say, Life Lesson 359.
When I Feel Like I don’t Measure Up. How often do we feel like that? As I think about it, I immediately have 20 or 30 things that come to mind where I feel like I do not measure up. If you have the book, please read Chapter 3. It is so awesome! She tells such a perfect story of making 100 individually wrapped brownies for her kids school. Once she goes through the stress of making these brownies, she realizes, when she is out of time, the brownies have nuts in them, and the school has a no nut policy. She had overlooked this when she went to make the brownies. have you ever had an everyday experience where something generally small made you feel like a complete failure? Lysa mentions she felt like God somehow let her down by not reminding her of this item. WOW!!!!!!!! I very recently felt just like that. Why didn’t God help me do this or that better? Didn’t he know I was making a mistake? Maybe I didn’t intentionally put the “nuts in the brownies”, but none the less, it is what it is. Lysa asks a question at this point. Looking back, how could you make the choice to see Jesus in the midst of the mess? Lysa states Satan delights in our feelings of inadequacy. He wants us to stay there. What do you think about that statement? Easy for us to stay there. Lysa states because she fails at things doesn’t mean she is a failure. She is still a loving mom, giving person. She still takes her responsibilities seriously. She unwittingly made a mistake. She says she separates her circumstance from her identity. I like that. She recognizes she will make mistakes, whether she means to or not. In those moments, she needs to recognize they are her circumstances. They do not define her. She knows who she is. She reflects on Proverbs 24:16 “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” What is the one word used her to describe the man in this verse? What does the word righteous mean? What happens to this man? The word fell in this verse is “naphal” in the Hebrew language which gives us the message he didn’t mean to fall, but he did. From the verse, what is the man’s reaction to his fall? How can this verse be an inspiration to us?
One of the lessons which took me the longest to learn is also one of the simplest. You can’t save everyone. You may want to, your heart may be in the right place, and you may even be equipped with the proper tools. However, as in all things, life is a matter of choice for both you and the people you may want to help.
Some people don’t want to be saved, in fact, some people don’t even want to be helped. Maybe they are comfortable where they are, afraid of change, or just not ready. Sometimes there are misconceptions, misunderstandings, differences of opinion, and so it goes.
Stay true to the discernment the Spirit gives. Listen and be obedient to God’s direction. Often times you are taken down a road you did not expect, but when you are open, those new roads can be more amazing than anything you could have dreamed for yourself.
Remember, we are not responsible for the choices of others. We are only responsible to do what we know is right and true. We are called to obedience. We can’t force choices and decisions on another. We can be there for them, love them, and be willing to stand beside them as they walk through their trials.
More good news? God is good. If you have the heart to help others, God gives you tremendous love and grace to do what you need to do. If you have been blessed with the gift of mercy, God gives you the strength and patience you will need. If you have been given the gift of hospitatlity, God will supply you with the appropriate resources. Whatever God has gifted you with, He will also give you the tools to use.
A few years ago one of my very good friends gave me a very thoughtful, amazing gift. It is a gift I will enjoy for years to come, makes me smile, brings me joy, and often reminds me of how giving and kind my friend is. This friend and I have known each other for over 30 years. She is a generally quiet person, but her love speaks loudly. She is someone who quietly goes about ministering, praying, and loving people. If you are not watching you might miss the little but very significant things she does to show how much she truly cares for you.
One of the things she really enjoys personally is gardening. She loves flowers, nature, and being out in God’s world. She also has a gift for planting, growing, and designing gardens. Now I had known this for a few years, and am well aware that although I love flowers and trees, I was not given the gift of working with them. Sigh.
In fact, every year I used to plant many flowers of all sorts and colors. Our yard would look great, sometimes for a month, sometimes for the entire season, but in the end, everything would die. Seriously, there is only one thing I ever planted which actually took hold. They were some purple Marigolds. Ok, I realize purple and the name Marigold don’t mix, but I actually Googled it to make sure I was saying the right kind of flower. Anyway, these Marigold’s really took off and I had one little garden area that was just filled with them. it was so beautiful. At this point, you must be asking yourself why I say “was”. So the deal is, after the winter months I was having my garden areas turned, because everything always dies on me. The young man who always helps me saw the Marigolds and thought they were dead, so he pulled them up. Seriously, over 100 of them. He didn’t know they needed to be pruned, and would come back in the spring. SOOOO SAD!
Ok, back to the real story, one year I decided to ask this friend of mine if she would help me plant some flowers in my front yard. I was thinking something very small that outlined the front porch. Nothing major, but something to give color to the yard, and make it more beautiful.
She told me she would and shortly thereafter came to me with her plans. I must admit, at first I was taken by the plans. It was not at all what I had anticipated. It was a huge job, and it intimidated me! I wish I could show you a picture, but since this is written I will do my best to describe her plans. First, we live on a corner. So she was going to have the entire side where there was grass ripped out. She then designed this very elaborate area which would outline our front patio with shrubs, trees and flowers. She also had a flower bed which would go down the sidewalk, with various flowers in it, and then at the end of the sidewalk a more open area for additional flowers and a plant. Take my word for it when I say this was a BIG job. She assured me she wanted to work on this, and truth be told, I really had no idea what this would entail until we got further into the project.
My friend then spent the remainder of the summer, nearly every day, all day pulling up the grass, preparing the ground, laying dirt, leveling some areas of the yard, planting trees, shrubs, flowers. She always had a smile, kind words, and I knew this was a gift of love. She chose many different types and colors of plants. When she was done it was absolutely beautiful. She took into consideration we do not have the same gifting, and put in plants which were harty and native to Texas so they would thrive.
It is now three years later. Ever year the plants grow more, fill in a little more and show an amazing display of color and beauty. The thing is I went to my friend to help me with a small project, and she the opportunity to show me a great love. Something truly from the heart, which she knew I would enjoy.
I walk out of the house in the mornings and often just seeing the different colors playing together makes me smile and starts my day off on a positive note. There is a peace I find when I see God’s handiwork, particularly in flowers. I sometimes think flowers are one of those little things He created for me because He just knew I would love them. My friend gave me the chance to enjoy God’s gift everytime the flowers are in bloom, be reminded of her love for me.
Yesterday you asked me why I hadn’t “been around?”. It broke my heart. I could tell when I had come in the house you were upset with me. You usually run to me with your little arms up in the air calling Nana Nana. Tonight I could tell you were upset. You’re daddy and mommy have bought their first new home, and it is not close to where we live. This is a very exciting time for your family. Buying your first home is one of those steps in life which is a major milestone to feeling accomplished as a family. It is more than a house, it is the beginning of the home and the place you and your family will play in, be together in, feel safe in, and share many wonderful times together in. I have not been able to see you as much as I would like, and I miss you very much. I held you tonight and told you how much I love you, I hope some day you will understand how truly precious you are to me. We have a very special bond, and you will always hold a very special place in my heart. I think about you and I can see your bright eyes light up. I see that wonderful big smile of yours which actually does light up a room. I think of how you tell me you love me and want to go to my house. Often times you would say, “Go nana’s house, OK?” As we packed your house today, you randomly walked past me several times and would say Nana, I love you. I don’t know if you knew something was going on (moving) or if you just felt like telling me or what was on your mind. Even though we will be separated by some distance, I pray God will never let your little heart think I don’t want to see your precious little face, or hold you close. I think about, and pray for you ever day. I ask God to protect you, give you all that you need and bless your life. Know always Nana loves you deeply and can’t wait until the next time she sees you.
Sleeping at the ranch is always the best sleep I get. There is something about lying my head on the pillow there which puts me into some deep transe. I know I am close enough to home, that if I need to I can get there in a few hours, yet, far enough away I can’t do any errands. The family is usually together, and that is always makes me happy and content. It is truly a time just to relax. Sometimes when we are driving to the ranch I feel my mind relaxing and slowing down as we get closer and closer. We usually stay up late hanging out or watching movies. By the time we go to sleep, I am exhausted and my body /mind are ready to give in to the peace out there. It’s odd, when I am there I have the most vivid dreams. In the morning I usually wake up late, to dad making a large breakfast. There is no better rest, or way to awake for that matter.