My favorite place to read and pray is this place on the front porch. My daughter spent a great deal of time cleaning up this area this past summer. Clearing out overgrown bushes, painting shutters, pressure washing the area. I sit in my favorite rocking chair and do my reading. The squirrels skitter around. The birds tweet and flutter. Recently I have spied a cute little chipmunk scurrying around the porch and the wooded area. At first I was frustrated with myself for being so distracted with all this nature activity. But I have come to realize that what I thought was distraction is actually, at least many times, God getting my attention because He wants to speak to me. After all, what I admire in this setting is His creation. I have come to cherish those ADD moments. My long-time goodest friend, Kerry Howard, taught me long ago how valuable it is to be able to listen, I mean really listen to people. Ironic that listening has become my passion and my profession. But I have not always been good at listening to the One whom I need to hear from the most. What a great lesson. We say 'stop and smell the roses'. I say stop and hear God through the distractions in our lives. Those things which throw us off course may be just the things that we need to set us on our right course. So little birdies, keep tweeting and little chipmunk, keep scurrying. And I will keep being distracted in a most excellent way.
By the way, these bushes or weeds or whatever are right inside the wood line and are beautiful. They are probably weeds overgrown but I cannot identify them. They have a white furry top like a dandelion and have grown about 6 feet tall. Anyone know what they are?
Today (September 25) is my oldest son's birthday. A big one. He is 40 years old!! Doesn't look a day over 29. Bradly Earl Coffman was the best baby in the world. Well, almost. He never complained about anything even when he had a fever. He always had a smile on his face. He has grown up and he knows there are many things in life not to smile about. But by and large, Brad is still looking at life with the glass half full. I am so proud of him. He has overcome some adversity in his life including some learning disabilities, three knee surgeries, and a bad first marriage. He has a great benefit from that bad first marriage though and that is his lovely daughter Alexis. I am proud to say he is the man God wants him to be. Brad has yielded his heart and his life to whatever it is the Lord wants of him. And his wife, Rhonda, is on the same page. Brad is the best daddy ever, just ask Alexis (13). He and Alexis bonded from the day she was born and that bond is still strong. And he works hard at his relationship with stepson Tyler since he came into Tyler's childhood late. Humor has always come to Brad rather naturally. He and sister-in-law Amy can converse in a language that is a combination of Cajun and I don't know what and have us all hysterical. And when I was pregnant with the twins, and Brad was about 7, he said to me one day----when he overheard me complaining that I was big as a house and ready for the babies to be born----Mom, the babies can't be born until their are "done". His big sister Julie actually was the first to talk to him about Jesus when Brad was about 4 or so. He came and told me that he had Jesus in his heart. A few minutes later, Julie went out to swing and Brad said he couldn't go. I asked why. He said he was afraid he would swing too high and Jesus would fall out of his heart. Oh how precious!! No, Brad, Jesus won't fall out. And how wonderful it is to know HE is still in there! Happy birthday, Son. I hope being 40 is not too painful.
I found myself watching The Big Valley today on a station (INSP) that I don't usually watch for some reason. I haven't seen The Big Valley in years and years. But I watched the whole way through. I began thinking about the old TV shows, the simple plots, where right was right and wrong was wrong. Where the villain either was killed, or dropped to his knees crying repentance. What happened to those TV shows? Holy cow, what happened to life PERIOD? The simple life. The simple plot in real life and real time. Where, if you steal, you got caught, were punished, you repented and made amends. Good versus evil, plain and simple. I don't think life has changed in reality, the same "sins" then are the same "sins" now. WE, the people, have made it so much more complicated and complex and convoluted. We, the people, have piled layers and layers of garbage on top by adding the "what ifs", "you don't understand", "maybe this" and "maybe that", etc. Wrong is wrong. Isn't it? If it isn't, all those years my mom and dad were teaching me, and spanking me even though that was rare (and I survived!), and washing my mouth out with soap for saying words like "darn", all that effort on their part was in vain. And my parents were the smartest people, the most faithful, the most honorable, geeeesh, just the best parents ever on the planet. Father Knows Best and Donna Reed put together. No, I choose to believe that they were correct and that right is right and wrong is wrong. The Bible tells us so. Not MY words but HIS words. You know, it's coming back around to the ways of the Wild West, and maybe that ain't so bad. We need to teach our children ourselves right from wrong. We need to know how to protect ourselves, provide for ourselves, and so forth without government assistance or interference. Let's dig down under the crap we have layered up and return to the simple. From what I remember of the 50's, it wasn't so bad.....
Today is my sister's (Eileen Funkhouser Rouch) birthday. She is 5 years younger than me. That is her standing between Dad and Mom. Little brother Gene is on Mom's lap. And process of elimination tells you that I am the one standing at my dad's knee. My sister and I are very different in some ways. We are different in politics. We have differing views in some aspects of "religion". Maybe even a tad different in raising children, and fashion and jewelry, and maybe some other things. But we are sisters. We came from the same two parents, share a heritage of faith, integrity, strong work ethic, humility, and many other great inherited traits.
Over the years I for one have come to understand that she is always there for me. I am sure there have been times she thought I had lost my mind, gone over the edge, over the top, or dropped through the floor. But she has been there when I needed her to be. She has been an encouragement when I needed to be encouraged. She held me together when I thought I was coming apart. And she has taught her two burly sons (Jim and Josh) to do the same so I know they are there if I need them.
I heard some good thoughts just today on the radio about family. Some that stuck out were that families stick together, we fight for each other, we hold hands against the elements, we close ranks if we need to protect each other, and we open the floodgate when we need to. We cry together, laugh together, remember together, push forward together, put the pieces back together for each other when we need to.
After all, it was my little sister who brushed my hair for me just before my first (blind) date at age 15 with the man who was to become my husband a few years later. It was my sister and her boys who took great care of our mom in her later years till her death in 2008. It is my sister who has made sure she was at every major event, mostly weddings, that my own family has had.
Thank you to my sister, Eileen. And a very happy birthday with many more to share.
Many years ago when I was in high school, I wrote short stories. These stories were full of fantasy, fun, and fancy. My imagination seemed to be very vivid and flighty. But as real life took over due to a marriage at age 18 and illnesses in the family, eventually deaths, financial struggles, hardships that we all face, my imagination pretty much became invisible. Reality set it and my ability to dream diminished. I believe it is good for us to dream, to have goals that may seem impossible. That just makes the accomplishment of those goals all the sweeter and in many cases, miracles that can be attributed only to God. HE gets all the glory. Have you lost your ability to dream because of all the hardships this temporary life throws at us? We cannot depend on this fragile world to fulfill our every need and want, that has to come from Someone beyond the universe. HE fulfills our dreams but I think HE wants us to dream. After all, HE created us and gave us that ability to dream and to press on toward that goal. Dream, sisters and brothers, dream and dream big. Reach for the brass ring. Don't be defeated with the failures of the world. With God in the Plan, your dreams are very attainable.
Got a birthday card from my 4 year old grandson---who happens to be autistic. Yes, I know his mom picked it out. Yes, I know he doesn't speak words quite yet but this is oh-so Noah!
"Grandma, as I get older, I realize that you've been right about SO MANY things....I AM adorable, for example. And talented, and quite possibly a GENIUS. You were so insightful to see that. Happy Birthday. Ps, Of course I get all my best qualities from YOU."
That is sooooooo Noah cause I hear his wheels turning in his brain! And yes, Grandma does think he is an absolute genius!!
When I read the card, it was just as if Noah was speaking to me because I could just hear him. If you have an autistic child in your life, you understand what I am talking about. Each child is different, though. Noah has excellent eye contact with people. He looks at me and understands what I say, and you can see the wheels turning.
He is an excellent problem solver and very seldom whines about things because he generally solves his own problems. Except....the TV. He does whine about that and wants the channel changed but sometimes it is not clear what he wants to watch. Sometimes, I think he doesn't even know what he wants to watch. But in most things, he figures out what he needs and gets it done.
My hope is that people outside the autism spectrum begin to understand and respect the plight of the autistic child. In public, things do not run as smoothly as at home. In public, an autistic child may seem unruly, fidgety, disrespectful, noisy, undisciplined....and many may wonder 'why don't those parents take that child out' or 'why doesn't that mom punish that child'. Punishment is NOT the appropriate thing to do, especially in a public setting. Those children are reacting to many things such as sensory overload. They see things, hear things, smell things, that you and I cannot and their brains are assaulted by too much.
If we don't take Noah out to restaurants, stores, ice cream shoppes, hair clipperies, and deal with his quirks, he will never learn how to assimilate into "normal" life, or what most people call normal. Noah has to learn how to behave in public, how to respond properly, how to sit still, and how will he learn unless he is introduced to those situations daily. He has to learn how to deal with his sensory issues in a public setting.
So "normal" people, I urge you, when you see a situation where you want to jump to conclusions, don't jump. That autistic child, those parents, need your support and understanding. Basically, smile and mind your own business!! Well, mostly anyway.