Sunday, January 20, 2008

Makeup lessons

This is an excerpt from an early morning conversation yesterday as we readied ourselves for the trip to see Grandma:

Sarah: "Momma, what do you do with this?"
Me: "That's a lip liner pencil, honey."
Sarah: "But what do you do with it?"
Me: "Well, you outline your lips with it before you put on your lipstick." (I'm realizing as I type this that what I SHOULD have said was ,"I outline MY lips before I put on MY lipstick ... mmmmm, what is it they say about hindsight??)
Sarah: "Oh."

Three minutes later:

Sweet mercy. I can picture her even now behind the wheel of a pink Mary Kay Cadillac.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rays of sunshine on a cold afternoon

Caffeine from Sonic: $1.97
Lunch: $17.97
1/2 tank of gas: $20.00
Bringing smiles to 87 nursing home residents: Priceless

My 95-year-old maternal grandmother lives in a nursing home about two hours away. I try to get down to see her as often as I can, but that isn't nearly as often as I'd like. When my mother was still living, Grandma's place was a convenient rendezvous point for us, and we met there every other month or so, sometimes to spend a weekend (when Grandma still had her own place) and then after she moved to Legacy Lodge we spent many happy Saturdays at the home. Sometimes I would bring my Cairn terrier Bagel, and Aunt Mary (my mother's oldest sister) would bring her schnauzer Lady. Oh, the stir it caused when we walked those two puppies down the halls. We could attract a following quicker than the Pied Piper.

After mom and Aunt Mary died, I'm afraid I haven't been as faithful about visiting, a fact that makes me terribly un-proud of myself.

Today was forecasted to be bright and sunny (albeit COLD!), and so the two little princesses and I decided earlier in the week that today might be a nice day to visit Grandma Gerry. The moment we stepped in the front doors, I remembered why I love spending time there. The mere sight of children brings smiles to faces that look as if they haven't smiled in months, if not longer. It is clear by their desire to touch us that many haven't been hugged in a very long time.

Some of the sights, smells, and sounds of elderly hovering somewhere between life and death are disturbing, but to my children's credit, they seem undaunted. My grandmother moved into her facility just two months after my first child was born, so these sights and sounds are nothing new to them. They neither stare nor look uncomfortably the other way.

And so we walk down the hallways and touch as many hands as we can. I have told my kids not to be afraid when the sweet residents want to stroke their hair or hold their hands. Sometimes a resident simply wants to look into the eyes of one of my babies. When this happens, and I see the smile and nostalgia pass across his or her face, I wonder if they are remembering their own childhood. Or perhaps their own children as youngsters.

I'm so thankful that the girls don't see these visits as long, arduous afternoons to be endured. They love the attention they get and enjoy being beams of sunshine in an otherwise dark and sad place.

If the Lord grants me many years on this earth and the final chapter of my life is spent in a nursing facility, I do hope that there are many kind children (and puppies!) who won't mind if I run my fingers through their hair from time to time.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I love the internet

With a husband in law enforcement, I hear stories frequently about the dangers of the internet. Predators by the thousands are lurking in cyberspace watching and waiting for the opportunity to lure innocent kids into a web of deception.

I know this, and as a mom of three I am deeply disturbed by such happenings.

But this morning, I want to think about the good of the internet, about the incredible power that results when thousands of people of faith mobilize in prayer when a story grips their hearts.

I ran across such a story several months ago, and it has captivated me.

When I first "met" Nathan and Tricia at Confessions of a CF Husband, he was blogging about his sweet wife who was born with cystic fibrosis and her workup for a double-lung transplant.

Everything changed when they discovered on September 1 that she was about 5 weeks pregnant. This past Tuesday, a short four months and one week later, Tricia gave birth to Gwyneth Rose, weighing just 1 pound, 6 ounces.

There are no words to describe how this story has gripped me (and apparently a multitude of other folks around the world) without sounding like a crazy stalker. In the days leading up to Gwyneth's delivery when Tricia's lungs were failing, I awakened several times in the middle of night, rushing to my computer to check for updates and praying for the safety of both mother and baby. Thoughts of them occupied my mind throughout the day, and when I couldn't be near my computer, I felt antsy and anxious for news from Tricia's hospital room at Duke University.

We live thousands of miles from this precious family, yet as I was checking my email on Wednesday, I found an urgent prayer request from our church for Tricia and Gwyneth. Turns out there are people here in Northwest Arkansas who are personal friends of Nate and Tricia. Small world, huh?

It's now been four days since baby Gwyneth's birth, and both she and her mother remain on ventilators in critical care units. Things could go either way at this point, yet Nathan's faith in God remains steady. He posted these words this morning:

"Sad is the furthest emotion from my heart these past few days and weeks. I have never experienced so much joy packed into such a short period of time in my entire life.

Pain? Yes!
Frustration? You bet!
Helplessness? Duh!

But, no sadness here.

I've seen members of my own family return to God, heard from couples who have considered their marriage more deeply, read of mothers who have hugged their kids more tightly, seen Duke staff by Tricia's bedside in prayer, witnessed the increased faith in a real and tangible God of so many strangers and friends, and been told of people coming to know my God for the very first time...all because He has chosen to use Tricia, and now Gwyneth in an eternal way.

This is a story of Hope in the future, Joy for the present and Blessings for the past. It is a story of a God Who takes a left turn just as you are moving right, Who shows you the mountain top while others see the valley, Who never leaves nor forsakes you, and Who is bringing you to a destination that is unfathomably beyond anything you could have desired for yourself."

If you have a few minutes to stop by their blog and leave them some words of encouragement, I know the family would appreciate it. And then pray for God's healing hand to be upon these two ladies. There have been many miracles prayed into reality for Tricia and Gwyneth, but many more are needed.

Have I mentioned that I love the power of the internet?

Friday, January 11, 2008

This kills me ...

So who actually has time to come up with this stuff? Obviously someone with just as much free time as I have to surf around and find it on the net.

The Recipe For Sheryl

3 parts Class
2 parts Nonconformity
1 part Mischief

Splash of Delight

Finish off with an olive