My Aunt Lou was the winner. She would always win all of the games at any family baby shower. She NEVER crossed her legs (clothes pin game), never said the word “baby” (another clothes pin game), knew all of everything about every thing baby and always won the prizes! If Aunt Lou was sick or for some reason - usually church related - couldn’t make it to the baby shower you had a chance at winning a prize. Even if she won one prize she would play the next game and win again saying “yes, it’s fair I won both prizes”. Actually, she was a jewel and I loved her dearly. She was a loving Christian woman who loved the Lord with all her heart and soul. She was the remnant in the Stephens family. I know she prayed for me. That being said I have kind of taken up the mantle of Aunt Lou winning prizes at baby showers. Yep, Aunt Terrie is the new Aunt Lou but if I win a prize I don’t play the next game (or at least for a prize). I went to a baby shower today for a dear friend’s daughter. I won a prize! They gave you a piece of paper with the letters A through Z on it and you had 1 minute to write a word starting with that letter that had to do with a baby. I got them all including X and Q. Well, Q was easy - quilt and X - well every baby at some time or other has an X-ray. Z - easy - Zoo! The shower was so much fun. There is something to be said about having long time friends even if you don’t see them every day. I was the preschool teacher for this mother-to-be. I have known her mom since 1978 when we became friends working at my first preschool job. I have been Tina’s preschool aide, teacher colleague, boss, job finder and substitute. More than that we are friends. She has been through a lot in her life right now dealing with a serious illness. It is always so good to keep in touch. Keeping in touch takes time even if it is looking at Facebook to see what is happening in her life. As I left the shower I found a penny in her driveway. I looked down and there it was! She and her family just moved in to this beautiful house in the “Christmas light” district of El Cajon. They have been wanting a house like this for years and years and God has truly blessed them! It was good to find the penny. I have trusted and do trust God for my dear friend’s health, her welfare, her new grandchild on the way, her employment and her family. It was so great to see former teachers I tought with through the years. Great to connect and TRUST GOD for all of them. Warm and fuzzy feeling today. So sweet. So precious where God has lead all of us. I am blessed. Keep in touch with those “old friends”. Work at it. It is worth it.
We call him the Donald Duck man. He sounds just like Donald Duck and has delighted children for years with his wit and his voice! His name is Jake and he is the “man at the church” who does it all. He fixes plumbing, heating, sweeps, pulls weeds, visits those who can’t come to church weekly, makes sure everything is locked and makes sure you don’t bring your Big Gulp into the sanctuary. I have to confess I have done that in the past, quite clandestinely I might add. Even though I am older than scolding age, when Jake looks at you and says “you aren’t supposed to have that in here” it is scolding and I immediately turn in to an 8 year old girl who just got caught in the cookie jar! Jake has been a member at FBCLG for over 50 years and is a fixture. He plays the harmonica like no body’s business and tells the funniest corny jokes. That being said I have to tell this story. Every Sunday I sing in the choir or on the Worship team. Church starts at 10:20 pretty much on the dot give or take. I get busy talking to people (duh!) and loose track of time. The clock says 10:19 and my 3 cups of coffee have just kicked in. I have to go to the bathroom in the worst way. What can I do? Since I stand in the back row of the choir perhaps I can run downstairs and use the little bathroom by the church kitchen without anyone noticing then sneak in the back row. A cry from my bladder wins and I decide to go for it. The shoes I am wearing slip up and down on my feet. I put those Dr. Scholl’s thingys on inside the heel to keep them from slipping but the shoe on the left is still flopping. They get kicked off at the top of the stairs and I am barefoot. I run down the flight of stairs to the bathroom. As I am sitting there I suddenly catch my breath “I ran down a flight of stairs”! I could not believe that I ran down the stairs. It has been 6 months since my knee replacement surgery and I actually ran down the stairs. Running down the stairs was a task I have not been able to do for years because of these old knees. Then another thought crossed my mind….”oh no, Jake. He will find my shoes, pick them up and wonder what on earth they are doing there at the top of the stairs!”. If that happens I will truly be a barefoot baptist! Finishing up quickly I ran back UP the stairs and was relieved to see the shoes still there. I slipped them back on and made my way into the choir loft. The time was 10:22. Pastor Mike was just starting the music and I was on time albeit out of breath. Laughing to myself I had the other sopranos wondering what I had been up to. Secretly in my heart I was thanking God for my ability to run up and down the stairs, a feat I surely would share with Dr. Allsing at my 6 month check up the next day. Monday at 3:45 I got to his office parking my car with ease. Usually I am looking down at the ground for pennies and as usual that is what I was doing. No pennies this time. Walking with a skip in my step I could not wait to share the news with the good doctor. He laughed when I told him the story stating he had never known a patient like me! He meant it kindly, I know it. He said he would see me in 6 months which would be the 1 year mark and the last time he needed to see me for this particular surgery. I reflected on how merciful God had been and is to me. When I first had the knee replaced I was misrable because it was taking too long to heal. Patience is definitely a virtue in the healing of an artificual joint and normally I am bereft of patience. In the fruit of the spirit department patience must have been last on the list when it was given to me. Walking in to his office at the 6 week mark I said I would NEVER have that done again. Going in at the 6 month mark I would gladly have the other knee done (which is a given at some future time). Smiling, I walked out of the office back to the car. On the ground were 3 pennies right by my car. They had not been there when I got out. 3 pennies! I smiled, actually laughed and shook my head. Looking up in the brilliant blue sky I smiled and said “thank you God for so many things and in you I trust”. It reminded me of that nursery rhyme 1 for the money, 2 for the show, 3 to get ready and 4 to go! 3 pennies to get ready. Getting ready to live this next 6 months and the marvel of living in God’s provision for me. In God I Trust
This morning I was standing in my kitchen stirring Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice creamer in to my Pumpkin spice Trader Joe’s coffee reflecting on how very blessed I am. Did I mention I love pumpkin? I went to Trader Joe’s on Friday and purchased everything pumpkin from pumpkin ravioli to pumpkin pop-tarts and everything in between. This time of year brings out the pumpkin in me. God has blessed me beyond belief with this life. I get to live in San Diego, live in my own home, sleep in my own bed, drive my own car, read and study the Bible, go to church, have friends and a wonderful family all by the generous mercy and grace of a loving God. Then there is this fabulous man who calls me “the love of his life”. One year for my birthday he gave me a card (he usually does) anyway it says “For your birthday, didn’t know whether you wanted a Caddy (shows picture of Cadillac), a Beemer (shows picture of a BMW), a T-Bird (Thunderbird picture), or a Jag (a Jaguar), so here’s a shiny new Lincoln!” and it shows a picture of a penny. He wrote “OK I didn’t laugh out loud(I have a rule that I buy the first card that makes me laugh out loud), but I knew you’d like this card. They even got the “In God We Trust” right! I found this “penny” looking for your birthday card, so I’m thankful to God for putting you in my life”. Needless to say I cried. He knows what is close to my heart. He knows I trust God for him and for our family. One year I decided that enough was enough and I decided to reach out to my dad. Through the years we had not had a very close relationship. He lived his life and when he wanted he would call or not call but not very often. I wrote him a 6 page letter (after much prayer) to tell him all about me, my likes, my dislikes, what I did for fun, for a job, etc. A few days later I get a phone call. “Hello” I say. The person on the other end says “blue”. I say “excuse me?” He says “blue, my favorite color is blue”. It was my dad answering one of the questions I had asked him. I wanted to know his favorite color as well as other things I did not know about him. Through the course of our conversation he said something to me that I never forgot. As I was telling him about my life, being a Christian School Administrator, going to First Baptist Lemon Grove for so many years, leading ladies bible study, leading prayer groups, loving my church he said “that’s a good way to live”. He then said “I belive it is too late for me.” I assured him it was not too late for him and that God had a plan for him and has all his life. “That’s a good way to live” indeed. I think about those words so much and they resonate in my heart. Using the gifts God has given to me in the local church body, building those relationships that never die, loving a precious family oh so much. My life has been blessed beyond belief and each time I think as something as simple as being able to have flavored creamer in my flavored coffee I think God for my life. In God I Trust.
Friends. I have always had people in my life that I considered friends. Friends for coffee, friends for shopping, friends to cry to, friends to laugh with, friends who know your deepest darkest secrets and will take it to the grave, friends who pray with you, bring you home made chicken soup, love you more than their luggage (a nod to Steele Magnolias) but in all my life I have never had friends like I do now. These ladies and I have raised our children together, buried our parents, been through hard times with our kids, husbands and families, rejoiced over grandchildren, endured surgeries, health issues, (bad movies), wayward children, put on weddings, showers, parties, studied God’s Word, held hands with bad news and good and laughed so hard we - well, lets just say sometimes we didn’t make it to the bathroom! There is something to say for longevity in friendship. You grow together as each decade passes and the friendship gets sweeter with age. Nice to have friends that will wrinkle with you, grow slower with you, get broader with you and grow deeper in love with Christ with you. Some of these ladies have moved away but they never move away from my heart and when we are together it is like we just saw each other yesterday. That connection that we made is still going strong. It never fades. I prayed for friends - I actually asked God when I was in my 20’s to give me a group of good Christian friends and He did with abundance! Jesus said “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” I think that verse could possibly have something to do with that prayer I prayed all those years ago for friends. Recently some of these girlfriends and I went away to a beach condo for a “girlfriend” weekend. We had a sweet time even though some of us hit the hay about 9! We did what we girlfriends do best - eat and talk. Walking and talking seemed to be the order for the weekend. One day as I came out of the condo there on the ground in front of me was 15 cents. A beautiful new shiny dime and nickel. I stood there - everyone had already gone to the cars - my eyes filled with tears because just minutes before that money was not there. God reminded me of the abundance of His good gift of friendship. He could have allowed me to find a penny but instead He gave to me in abundance once again. If you are blessed with even 1 friend you are rich. If you feel you do not have any friends pray and ask God to bring them to you then watch God work. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Pray for your friends. It is worth it to invest your love. LYMTMLV
“You only get one shot” she said. That sentence has resonated with me ever since. Today I substitute taught at a small school and saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a few years. She introduced me to her 2nd grader who is just adorable. It was so good to see her - we hugged and talked. She asked me what I was doing there and I told her I was subbing. I asked her what she was doing these days and she said “raising this little pumpkin, you only get one shot you know. My husband and I have cut our expences, do lots of free stuff, this is important.” That hit me right between the eyes. I only get one shot at this time in my grandchildren’s lives, in the life of my husband and of our marriage. God has blessed us so much and we are making it on my husband’s income with me substitute teaching on the side. What a step of faith in today’s society - to have a one income family when everything around you is screaming at you to “do more, have more, get more, more, more, more”. She said the pressure was large to return to work but she won’t. Raising that lovely child is the most important job she will ever do. Producing honest, God fearing, hard working, decent adults is a tall order and a huge job. Many moms raise wonderful kids while holding down a job but I’ll bet if you asked them a very large percentage would say that in their heart of hearts they would like to stay home and not work. I know there are many stories out there pro and con yes and no for and against. I worked the entire time my kids grew up. I always told moms at my school that if they possibly could stay home and raise their children then they should do it. Some did, most didn’t. I found a penny after I left. Trusting God for whatever He brings in my life. So grateful that I can have an opinion on this matter and to have my friend remind me “you only get one shot”. Titus 2 Older women teach the younger women “to be workers at home.”