Today, I am happy to share a blog written by Dr. Jeralyn B Major. She is a writer and author (with a contagious smile) who is "willing to risk, that she may accomplish." May her words bless, inspire and encourage you. ~Mia
I traveled to South Africa for an immersion and mission experience with approximately 70 members from my church. I went with a heavy heart and a concerned/worried spirit, not about where I was going, but about several things on the home front. One of which had to do with my sister's children. Since my sister's death in December 2015, I have been worried and concerned about my one niece and three nephews and feeling inadequately able to help and support them.
I've been worried more about the baby girl (who is a mother herself) a little more than the boys - but concerned about them all. While I was in South Africa she called and asked what I was doing, and I responded that I was in Africa. Her response was "When were you going to tell me you were going to Africa?" I laughed and apologized and said "I thought I told you."
If she called for a specific reason she immediately shifted her focus to what I was doing and said okay, enjoy yourself and that she would talk to me later. Even though I had limited computer access I did manage to see that she posted about having a job interview that could determine her future. Then I saw a posting after the interview "blessings after blessing, Got the job!"
In this day and age we talk about young people turning away from the church - sometimes, I think, more than we talk about young people turning away from God. It is wonderful when young people acknowledge that what is happening in their lives is a result of God blessing them - I am happy, glad, excited and overjoyed.
After my sister died I attended a women's conference and as an ice breaker we were asked if we could talk to anyone who was no longer with us, who would it be and what would we say. My response was my sister and I would ask her what did she tell her children. I wanted to know what seeds were planted, what foundation was laid and what was said to help them live in this world.
And this morning as I reflect and thank God for blessing my niece, I would like to be able to ask the same question to anyone reading this blog. "What seeds were planted, what stories were shared and what allows you to hold onto to hope?"
And then I would ask "What seeds are you planting, what stories are you sharing, what guiding principles are you instilling in the lives of those you are responsible for?"
There are moments in our lives when we are prompted towards reflection, but sometimes in the busyness of life we don't reflect. So it is during those times that God sends a Breath of Fresh Air to encourage us on the journey. Like a niece whose actions and comments lets you know that she not only heard what her mother taught but also some of what you taught. Or God presents a Breath f Fresh Air that allows you to travel to another county and be a blessing to others.
We need those Breaths of Fresh Air to remind us of the presence of a loving God that is concerned about the details of our lives.
Note to Self -
Seeds Properly Planted Result in
Great and Lasting Harvest!
Dr. JerAlyn B. Major
Fool may be a little harsh for what I am, but... "if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck..it's a duck!"
My middle child, Aaron, has better labeled the phenomenon in our home as "Constant Ridiculousness" and he simply doesn't want any part of it.
"Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarreling"
Our constant "quarrels" aka ridiculousness come from two insanely competitive people (my husband and me) that draw their son into the middle of these "discussions" to help prove and win our own points.
Now, it would be one thing if it was a debate over something life changing or worthwhile, but ours tend to be over topics like "Which athlete best transcends their sport and is bigger than baseball?" The correct answer (of course) is simply, "any athlete that I have heard of because I don't follow sports, so even if no one else has heard of "said athlete" they must be bigger than the sport itself... this solid reasoning (in my own mind) stands firm, but not so much for my husband.
Hence, the call for Aaron to come in and settle the debates that we find ourselves in, tends to be pretty constant.
I could go on with examples... but suffice to say, these conversations and this "passionate ridiculousness" occurs on a daily basis. And at the end of the day, it truly does keeps us laughing.
But still, Aaron chooses to take the high ground and not even put his gloves in the ring. He chooses honor, while my husband and I choose to act a fool.
Either way, it is a choice.
Is our ridiculousness hurting anyone? No, but suppose it was about things that actually mattered.
What if it was a daily barrage of fights, nitpicking, complaints and quarrels? Those are the acts that become habitual, deliberate and detrimental to relationships, especially in a marriage.
The same way my son chooses to not be drawn into the crazy, we choose to be the crazy. We all have the ability to choose.
We have the ability to choose joy, to choose praise, to choose to encourage, to choose to listen instead of complain. We have the ability to avoid fights and quarrels and to set ourselves in a place marked for honor.
Next time you feel the urge to be drawn into the fight, remember, and remember quickly, to avoid it, to remove yourself and communicate in love from a place of honor that honors and respects those you care about... (and even those people that you don't much care for..yes, even them!)
Let's choose to NOT insist on quarraling. It does a body good! It does friendship good! It does a marriage good!
Love you in the Lord!
PS. Aaron Koehne is still one of THE most competitive AND silly people I know. Go figure!
There is a good chance that these wrestling matches with his older brother, Chris, started over the debate of who had a better haircut, cleaner room or bigger muscles. (True fact) LOL!
It's here!! My Birthday!! I actually like to celebrate the entire month with Birthday hikes, Birthday dates, Birthday coffee...any excuse to celebrate, I'll take it. When the big day actually arrives, I'm pretty fatigued from all of the celebrating and most of the world is confused as to when my birthday really is....because of all the excessive celebrating!
So, just to calcify again. IT'S TODAY!!
This year, I celebrate my birth a few hundred miles away from home doing a women's event in San Diego and watching a Padres baseball game... so it's not all bad! Such is the life when your ministry takes you on the road.
Birthdays are a mixed bag of emotions for me as an adopted child. I don't have those conversations with my Mom about the night I was born, how long she was in labor, what did I look like when I came into the world. I don't have those conversations with my Mom, because my mom wasn't there.
In fact, the day I was born, she had no clue that I even existed. I'm sure she was going about her usual day, taking care of the six other children she had, probably not imagining that a seventh would soon invade her life and more importantly her heart.
It wouldn't be until six weeks after my birth that my Mom and Dad would get an emergency phone call to take in a little baby girl that had not left the hospital yet, a little baby that didn't have the consistent love of a care-giver, but was looked after by nurses on rotation.
What was originally supposed to be a short-term foster care situation turned into 12 years of foster care. After those years passed, I stood before a judge and said "I want Paul and Joan Grotelueschen to be my parents" and I was officially adopted.
So on this April 22, my birthday, I sit and reflect on the fact that I may not be able to say "Hey, Mom, remember the day I was born?" but I have so much more, like remembering the fact that unbeknownst to my parents on this day, the Lord was stirring, preparing, and orchestrating the greatest gift and birthday present I could have ever asked for.... a Mom, a Dad, and six amazing siblings that would love me forever.
Happy Birthday to me!
This week, I am thrilled to introduce to you, my son and guest blogger, Chris Koehne. This post originally appeared in a school newsletter, then his own blog site (which never went live) and now here, where you get to read it. As he jumps into the world of writing (a son after my own heart) I hope that his words, his insights and his humor , although it can be a bit strange at times (again just like his Mama) can brighten your day. ENJOY!
SNAPCHAT! A photo app that allows users to send a picture to a friend that supposedly disappears after a predetermined amount of time. Pish posh! All of those pictures are saved and anything can be screenshotted! And what’s the point of sending a picture for 5 seconds anyways?
A picture should be a work of art. I don’t go to the Phoenix Museum of Art to look at pictures for a few seconds, that would be silly and a waste of $17.99! (sidebar: I don’t go to the Phoenix Museum of Art. Honestly, I don’t even know if it’s called the Phoenix Museum of Art, it could be called the Phoenix Art Museum or even the Phoenix Art House for all I know. But if it is called the Phoenix Art House it’s probably run by a bunch of hipsters who say things like “you can’t define art” or “High School Musical 3 was actually pretty good.” Either way, they shouldn’t be trusted.)
But nowadays I see boys walking around after school taking selfies and giggling when they send it to somebody. What’s up with that!? As a matter of fact, on Tuesday, I saw Hugo standing by himself in the middle of a basketball court taking a selfie while making a duck face! What has this world come to!?
Back in my day guys didn’t take selfies! If you wanted to send a picture of your face to somebody, you didn’t! But if for some odd reason you wanted to, that would have required you to take a picture with an actual camera. Then after that you would have to take that camera to your local Walgreens and pay $13.99 just so you could wait 24 hours for your photos to develop by some guy who is going to look at all of your pictures and laugh at you when you come back in to pick them up. Then once you have the picture you would have to wait in line at the post office behind somebody’s grandma who can’t figure out which state her grandson lives in. (sidebar: don’t be mean to grandmas, my grandma loves going to the post office and mailing me letters. Let your grandma know you love her.) So then, days later, once your friend finally receives the picture in the mail they are confused about why they are receiving a picture of your face. (sidebar: They are also kinda creeped out that you know their address and they probably don’t want to be friends anymore… (sidebar from the sidebar: it’s an awkward way for a friendship to end, don’t mail people a picture of your face))
Instead of guys taking selfies and deciding which filter makes our ugly mugs look the best, we would actually talk to each other and play games like Yahtzee or try and figure out the rules to Clue. But we definitely didn’t stand by ourselves and take selfies like Hugo, and that’s just how it was, back in my day. - Chris Koehne
The last thing I wanted to hear when I was chasing a 13 month old who was constantly climbing tables, and had been since he started walking at 9 months, while I had my other baby latched onto my breast dangling mid air, while my 4 year old was in the kitchen "trying" to make breakfast (not to mention the fact that I was doing in home daycare for multiple other children at the same time) was "Treasure this time, it goes so fast."
Treasure that time? ...the crazy, the weariness, the loneliness in the midst of chaos, the longing for my husband to come home and rescue me, the dirty diapers, the fatigue, the feeling of being a milking station, the sleepless nights (shall I go on)...treasure that? You have got to be kidding me!!
Yet , here I am...Apparently, I survived..... my bra size a bit smaller, my stomach a bit flabbier, my stretch marks a testimony to my labor, my wrinkles (3 of them) a badge of the times I spent laughing my way to borderline sanity and my babies....grown.
Those voices now ring in my head, the voices telling me to treasure it up, because they grow so fast and my response of not wanting to, I just wanted to survive the day without a major catastrophe. I just wanted them to hurry up. Well my wish came true.
Time hurried up, time did not wait, my babies......,my babies......my babies grew up. My babies now look out for me. My babies have their own opinions, their own ideas, their own relationships. My babies don't poop or pee in their pants anymore, my babies don't need me to cut their nails or wipe their nose. My babies.....what happened to my babies? What happened to the time?
Sometimes I look at myself and wonder, because I know it was just yesterday that they needed me, I know it was just yesterday that they would fall and want me to kiss their owie and make it better. I am sure that it was just the other day when they wouldn't go to bed unless I tucked them in. My babies grew up.
I try my hardest to not be that person...you know, the one who is on the other side passing down those words "Treasure this time, it goes so fast" to the younger moms, but the reality is wether you treasure it up, take it for granted, hold your breath or wish it away, time marches on. Babies grow up and move out and then all you have are the memories of the precious chaos of days gone by.
So, to my Moms that are in the thick of it, It is true, the time with your young children goes fast so, embrace the crazy that is before you.... don't run from it, jump in it and dance in it...out crazy the crazy, turn the world upside down. Seek God hard in the loneliness, learn to trust him more in your weariness. Change the poop with pride, don the stretch mark as your banner, the wrinkles and bags under your eyes as a testimony to the fact that you are not defeated. You have lived to take on another day! And my friends, that truly is a gift!
You see, one day, you will be like me, standing where I am, wondering how it all happened and where the time went and it will take all your will power to not sound like THAT PERSON! Yet, here I stand with my grown-up babes and one day, Lord willing, you will too.
Now someone go get me some grand-babies!!! Let's do this!!
Love you in the Lord, Mia
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.