His Garden of Grace
So we recently saw the movie 'The Help' and I just loved it. I know there was some language, but honestly, I think it was appropriate for the situation, and very true to life. My favorite line from the movie was the encouragement that the main character gave to the children: You is KIND, You is SMART, You is important. I want my kids to know that.I love this statement that I saw on one of my favorite blogs today: (I blog-lifted it from Lain Ehmann at www.layoutaday.com ) Thanks, Lain
And that just about sums it up. But the most important thing is for them to be kind. To everyone. All the time. Especially their brothers or sisters. It is easy to be kind to strangers. You only see them for a few minutes. And unless they cut you off in traffic or are rude to you is some way, most people at least tolerate others. And even open the door for you or let you go in front of you in line if you only have one item. But how do we respond to the 'rude' or 'difficult' people? Especially when they'll never know. How do we react when someone cuts us off in traffic or takes that parking spot we have been patiently waiting for?? Or that person on their cell phone who isn't paying attention to the traffic signal? Sometimes I have an easier time with this than at other times. But I try thinking about what they could be dealing with. Maybe they just got bad news. Or maybe they need to get home because their kid has been hurt. I try to offer them the same kindness and courtesy that I want someone to offer me when I do something stupid. Which I do. Regularly. Perhaps that is why I can offer them kindness. I have come to realize that I am so flawed and I think of only myself and how things that other people do affect me way too much. I fail to realize that I am not the center of the universe, and contrary to my thinking, the person did not deliberately try to make me angry or upset. They just did whatever they did without thinking about how that might affect others. Like me. Like I do so much of the time. So I try to offer them the same grace and mercy that I would want them to offer me. Cause next time, it will probably be me doing that aggravating thing that ticks him off and gets on his last nerve. Or maybe I will be ahead of you in the left lane driving 5 miles below the speed limit, talking on my cell phone. And before you get all upset, try to imagine what news I might have just gotten. Maybe none. Maybe I'm just oblivious and obnoxious. But regardless, I need grace and mercy from you. And the other drivers. And when you get zoom around me and cut me off, I will try to do the same. But why??? Why be kind??? Because it is the right thing to do?? Well, yes. But its more than that. The Bible says, "we love because he first loved us." If we know how much he gave up for us, how he lived and died for us, and that he did it all because of his great love for us, what other response can we have? It is not a matter of what we should do, but what we are constrained to do because the love of our Savior. It is the LEAST we can do. Still standing Amazed, Leslie
Wow! I can't believe I have not blogged in such a long time! It seems impossible that 5 months have passed (well, technically, not 5 months yet, but close) since I last wrote something on here. What a bad blogger I am! But I haven't been without excuse. Here are the top reasons I have been silent: 1. My oldest daughter, now 28 decided it was time to go back to school and finish her degree that she started 10 years ago. She moved to Savannah in early September to go to the Art school there, and that was a huge adjustment as well as a busy time for the rest of us. And seems like she was home for the weekend for more time than she was at school!! (no school on Fridays made it easy!!)2. Homeschooling happened. Even though we did not blog about it, we did it. And did guitar and piano lessons, and history, math, reading, spelling, and more. We took pictures. But they are still on my computer. I will share them soon. 3.Thanksgiving. Need I say more??? But I will. #1 daughter finished her first semester Nov. 17 and was home until Jan. 2. Wish I had that long of a break from hard stuff!! But that meant more things to do to add to the list. And food to cook. And laundry to do. Good, but busy time.4. More travel. We went to Disney with my niece and her family from Ohio. Right after Thanksgiving. So much fun but busy. Pictures to follow....sometime.5. Injury. Right after we got back from Disney on December 4, I was using the mandoline to slice some potatoes (you know where this is going, don't you??) and sliced a hunk of my middle finger off, as well as slicing my index finger and my thumb on my RIGHT hand. And I am right handed. It took 3 weeks to fully heal. I really lost some serious time there, because I couldn't type at all for 2 weeks. It is all better now, except it feels really funny....like the nerves are exposed or something. You can't tell by looking at it though. And every day it feels a little better. 6. Christmas parties. Several to host. MOPS here at my house December 12. And our annual Christmas breakfast for our neighbors on Christmas day. That was fun and huge. Thankfully my fingers were healed by then. 7. New Years and Alicia going back to school. She wanted us to accompany her back to Savannah, but we just couldn't. We didn't have the time that week, so....8. More travel. We went to Savannah for MLK holiday. Left last Thursday. Back on Tuesday, late. So here I am, finally, without excuse anymore. Except, the real excuse, the real reason is LIFE. It is just so daily. And this blog just seems to go by the wayside. So What I've decided to do is:Join my friend Lain for her LOAD challenge. This is for scrapbooking, but I am going to use it for blogging my scrapbook pages. I hope that will help me with consistency and with digging into my memories because if I don't share them, who will? One thing I learned while teaching literature to my kids is that one reason for reading good books is that the author is the only one with his perspective on the story he is telling. He is truly the only one who can tell that story in his way. And the same thing is true for me. And God has been showing me how he perfectly directed my life to lead me to where I am today. Sure, I've had hard things happen to me. But my perspective in hind sight is so much more than what it was when I was in the throws of the event. So I am the only one who can share that with my family, friends and with you. So I hope you'll keep reading. I promise I will be a better blogger. It is my commitment to you, and to my family. And to my God. His story is worth telling. And reading. If you want to join me for the Lay Out A Day challenge (LOAD), I would love it so much. Just click on the link.Still standing Amazed,Leslie
We are now in Ohio, but I thought I would share some of what we did while we were visiting our northern neighbors. If you've never been north of the border, you should go. Canada is beautiful, although I must confess that it does look an awful lot like the northern part of our country. Of course, to judge all of the beautiful land that is Canada by the postage stamp sized portion that we saw would not be right. But we did enjoy our visit, and recon that if the rest of Canada is anything like the part that we saw, we could happily live there. It is said that 90% of the population of Canada live within 100 miles of the border. I think that must be true, since the Niagara area employs many people due to the tourism of the area. It was a good thing many Canadians call that area home and work there, because there were plenty of tourists there to keep them busy. We really enjoyed meeting and interacting with so many kind, helpful people, and would like to say a huge "thank you" to everyone who helped make our time up north such fun. We had 4 great days there, and here are some of the highlights. Day 1 started out with a great bike ride from our campground, the beautiful Windmill Point, to the Peace Bridge. Windmill Point was not the closest campground to Niagara, but it was so beautiful, that we were very happy to be there. It was an easy 7 mile ride, and then we turned around and did the 7 miles back. Most of that is right up next to the Niagara River, and it is a gorgeous ride. No commercial buildings, just lovely private homes with a trail practically in their back yards. The trail was paved and mostly flat, going through several parks and a beach area as well as a cute neighborhood that was on road (no trail) but we didn't see any cars so I think it must be very lightly traveled. I didn't take any photos, and I am really sad about that, but I have my memories, and they are most important to me anyway, so there you go. Then we went to the lake at the campground and dinked around there for the rest of the day and enjoyed a campfire that evening. A perfect day. Day 2 we went to Fort Erie.
It was a short distance from the campground, and it was so cool. This location was a pivotal point in the War of 1812, and they have rebuilt the fort much as it would have been then. They had costumed guides as docents, and they told us the history and background of the importance of the Fort in Canadian as well as American history. It was the perfect homeschool field trip: we all learned so much that it made us want to learn more, AND we had fun at the same time. Who could ask for anything more? We ate dinner at a local diner, called "Greenacres". The food wasn't great, but it was an adventure, and it wasn't bad either. We found our way back to the campground and turned in early so we could rest up for the next day. Tomorrow (or whenever I get around to it), I will tell you about the rest of our time in the great country to our north: the great country of C-eh?-N-eh?-D-eh? Did you get that? C-A-N-A-D-A!
We have been on the road in our motorhome, affectionately named T.J. now for 10 days.We named it TJ because my nephew Brad, upon seeing it for the first time proclaimed that it was the Taj Mahal, and it was nicer than his house! It isn't the Taj Mahal, but it is nice. And it has air conditioning, and I am camping, but not sleeping on the ground. After all, I am a city girl with a country heart. I don't do sleeping on the ground and this is my idea of "roughing it". Navy Showers in T.J. or showers in a public restroom are about as close to a wilderness experience as I will ever come. Not to say that I don't enjoy the great outdoors. I love to bike, hike and enjoy nature. Just not from a tent. Or a pop-up camper. Been there, done that. And I did love it at the time. But at this stage in my life, this is the only way I want to go. Unless we are going to a lovely Bed and Breakfast. Without the kids. Then I will go by car and enjoy the ride since my hubby doesn't say anything unless spoken to, or he needs me to read him the directions. It's usually a nice ride with me chatting away and him occasionally nodding or commenting politely just so I know he is still listening.But I digress. This post is supposed to be about our last 10 days. So here goes.We left our steamy south Florida home on July 6, headed for Savannah, Ga. to tour SCAD with our oldest daughter, Alicia who is going to school there in the fall. It is a beautiful campus, and we are so excited for her to begin her new life there. However, we did not get to enjoy Savannah, because Little Faith had been eaten alive by mosquitoes at a July 4th fireworks party and ended up with an allergic reaction so bad she looked like she had chicken pox and hives all over her arms, and she couldn't be in the heat or it would break out worse and itch like crazy. And if you've ever been to Savannah in July, you know that there is one thing they have no absence of: Heat. So she and her brothers ended up staying in T.J. while Hubby and I toured SCAD with Alicia. I didn't worry, though 'cause the campground had wi-fi and they all have technology tools, so it was all good. Or so I thought. I texted my sons in the afternoon to find out how Faith was doing, only to get a message back saying she was fine, but the internet was down. All day. I smiled to myself, thinking that they needed to "unplug" anyway, and when we arrived back at the park, I spoke to the manager about the situation. Indeed, they had been having trouble with it, but didn't know the extent reached our area and she would call Comcast, but that they had been out fixing the transponder in the front area earlier that day, and gee, she wished she had known 'cause she would have had him check our area when he was here and it would be a week or so before they would be out again. So No Internet. I really didn't mind, but they did! I assured them that the next campground would have it. I mean, what are the chances? We left there on July 9 to our next destination.In NC, a lovely campground for 1 night. No internet.In southern PA, an interesting campground for 1 night, and "no honey, we don't have cable or internet here. They won't let us. Only for the long-termers". No internet.So, we checked with Windmill Point Campground in Niagara, Canada, our next destination for 4 nights. Internet was important, because we would not have phone service internationally, so in case someone needed to reach us, email was a good option. And usually we use one of our cell phones as our rolling wi-fi hotspot. Not the fastest internet, but internet none the less but since we would have no cell service, that was not an option. Yes, they assured me they have internet.But I failed to ask the all important question: DOES IT WORK? When we arrived, we had trouble logging on. So I went to the office, asking if you need a password or something. I got an interesting story. Apparently they had a storm about a month ago in which their wireless antenna was struck by lightning. For some reason, that affected the wi-fi. No kidding. So now they have limited wi-fi at best, none at worst. Honestly, what are the chances?!? I told the kids that I think Somebody is trying to tell them something. It has become a huge joke. Now they are wondering if the internet is working at my sister's house in Ohio, which will be our home for the next few weeks. I told them that their Uncle Bill couldn't live without the internet. I hope I wasn't lying. It would be funny..... Not really. I think they would string me up by my toes if that happened. Actually, if it did, Dad and Uncle Bill would fix it. Cause they are the ones that can't do without it for very long. So a funny thing happened on the way to Canada....we have decided that it must be us. We are just jinxing all the internets everywhere. So watch out when you read this. Yours might be next! I really don't believe in all that, just fun to say. I was going to write about Canada, and the beauty that is here, but I think I will save that for the next post. And I promise you no more internet glitches.....he he he he......
Most people know that I am the mother of 5 wonderful children. And that their ages range from 28 to 10. And that there are 3 girls and 2 boys, and the boys are in the middle, flanked by 2 older sisters and 1 younger, thank God. Cause if they were at the beginning, there would be no girls. And that the reason the girl at the end is a girl is because God loves me and knew that we needed more estrogen, not testosterone in this household. And that I don't think I could have lived through another boy. Especially since the pregnancy was a total shock. I tell everybody that 'she was the best surprise I ever got.' My 50th birthday party was a close 2nd, but that is another story. Today's post is about birthdays. And children. And the wonder of it all.Alicia, my first born turned 28 today. She is a joy, and such a wonderful young woman, and is leaving me in September to pursue a degree in art at SCAD. I am both excited and depressed, so filled with mixed emotions for her. I don't know what I am going to do without her, yet I so can't wait to see her blossom. It has been a long road for her, but she is ready and I am so excited for her to shine and use the talents God has given her.This is our 4th family birthday this year: Sarah is April, Josiah in May, Sam in June and now Alicia in July. My hubby is August, and then the summer of birthdays is over! Whew! Anyway, since Alicia is going to school at SCAD, she has been pining away for an iMac. So the boys and Faith and I went together and got her a gift card for the Apple store. She was so excited, and wanted to go right to the store and get it. I tried to talk her out of it, since we will be leaving for vacation soon, so she could wait till we get back, but she really wanted to go. So we all got in the car and went.When we got to the store, the guy who sold me the gift card happened to be working, so he was helping us. My hubby asked me which one I had been looking at, and told the guy to get that one out too!!! I had been pining for the MacBook pro, but really didn't plan to buy it for several reasons.1. because of the expense. I could get a PC for way less money, and it would do everything I need, and more.2. because my hubby is a PC man. And I feel like I am abandoning him, since he and Faith are now the only one without Macs. And Faith wants one so bad she can hardly stand it.3. I just hate to spend that much money on myself, on something I really don't need. Even though every time I turned my computer on, after 10 minutes it would just shut off. I mean, off. No warning, No beep, just off. In the middle of something. ARGGGG!So I needed to do something, even though I wasn't sure what. So the kids were pulling for a Mac, trying to convince me that it was so much easier, and that I could do it, but I was scared. Could I learn to use something new? What would I do if I messed something up? So I was just going to wait and see what God brought. And look what happened. God showed up and honestly, I think I am going to do fine. I am on it now, and I do think I am going to fall in love with it. In fact, I think I already am.As for Alicia, she was excited to get her new 21" iMac. But I think she was more excited for me than she was for herself!!Thats just the kind of girl she is. I can't take any credit. Its just the way she is. And I am so thankful for her and who she is becoming. She is amazing. And I love her so much.Thank you, Alicia for the incredible woman you have become. I am so proud of you. And thank you God, for all you have done and are doing in her. You are showing me so much of who you are as I learn to love and care for your blessings I call my children. I am so blessed. Today was an amazing reminder of that. And I am so thankful.