Miracles Abound

While many people think of events such as the parting of the Red Sea and manna falling from heaven as miracles, I can clearly state that miracles occur every single day. Most of the time, however, we simply take them for granted.

Has the day of miracles ceased? While many people think of events such as the parting of the Red Sea and manna falling from heaven as miracles, I can clearly state that miracles occur every single day. Most of the time, however, we simply take them for granted. The electronic advances we enjoy are awesome and to me, miraculous. So are the physical, cognitive, and social advances my grandchildren are making.

Skype, one of those modern electronic miracles, brings my children and grandchildren into my home. They’re scattered, and I mourn the loss of moments that I’m missing in their young lives. Skype allows me to see the changes that take place from week to week. Their parents see these precious little ones every day, and although they’re quite observant, I wonder if they note the small, barely discernable changes that take place from day to day.

Beginning with Olivia in Atlanta, here are some miracles that I saw Sunday evening:

  • Three and a half months old, Olivia stared at the computer screen as if actually watching and listening to her grandmother. When her father got up to turn on a lamp, she followed his movements, and when he left for a meeting, she watched as he got up and walked to the door. Growing stronger every day, she sat upright in her mother’s arms, and within a couple of months, she’ll be sitting without support. Since the picture above was snapped, she’s opened those big blue eyes and become a more active participant in life around her.
  • A little later, my computer screen showed an image of the Maseda crew in Rincon, GA.  Braden usually has an exciting story or two to tell me, but Sunday evening, he sat quiety in the background reading Endangered Animals, a book I gave him a few months ago. Since he’s only in second grade, I’m sure he didn’t know all of the words, but he was able to recognize many of them. Another “miracle” is that he could sit so quietly and entertain himself.
  • A kindergartner, Brooke showed me how she can now put her hair in ponytails by herself, and this is a big help to her mother.
  • 3-year-old Emma sang “Nephi’s Courage” and pronounced the word “courageous” as if she were saying “candy” or some other easy word. I was spellbound. This is a child who normally makes funny faces instead of talking to me, and yet last night she sang every word of a hymn she had memorized.
  • Colton, almost 19 months old, waved to me a lot and kept coming back to the computer to hug Emma and his mother. The dark brown hair he had at birth has been completely replaced with a headful of blond hair.

This isn’t the most thought provoking post I’ve ever written, and yet I thinking that maybe I’m not the only one who needs reminding that miracles abound. You just have to open your eyes and ears  and maybe even your heart.

Happy Birthday Braden!

See this little boy? That’s Mr. “Cool Man” dressed for an end-of-the-year school event. He loves ice cream, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, shrimp, and tacos. And did I mention that he LOVES ice cream? I’ve never seen a child so wild about it, especially vanilla. He also likes to play basketball, to dance, and to read. He also like to make things, and I think maybe one day he’ll be an engineer like his dad. He’s a big help to his mother, and she told me this morning that sometimes he helps the younger children choose their church clothes.

Today is Braden’s 7th birthday, and I’m remembering the day he was born and the events leading up to his arrival. We were in St. Mary’s, GA, and since the doctor had indicated that it might be a while before the baby was born, the three of us who were the “support team” split up for a while. Rich, the baby’s father, went to the cafeteria for a snack, Carrie’s father went to the waiting room to take a nap, and I went to Wal-Mart to buy some flowers for the soon-to-be-mommy.

Upon my arrival back at the hospital an hour later, things had changed drastically. The doctor had administered some Pitocin, and Carrie was in intense labor. In fact, her labor pains had begun in earnest almost as soon as her cheerleading squad left the room. I walked into the room to find her husband and father on the two sides of the bed, both talking to her and trying to soothe her. But where was the doctor??? Where was the anesthetist? Turns out they were both involved in another delivery, a C-section.

Suddenly, the door opened, and in rushed the doctor. He determined that it was too late to administer an epidural, and at that time, Carrie’s dad and I left the room. We stood in the hallway, too anxious to talk or even think straight.  During this time, a woman walked up and asked what was wrong, and when I told her, she hugged me and gently assured me that things would be fine, just fine. I was grateful for her kind gesture and encouraging words, and later I learned that she too was an obstetrician in the hospital.

What seemed like an eternity passed, and then we heard it…the BEST sound we’d heard in a long, long time: the sound of our grandson as he made his arrival in the world. He continued to cry, and then I heard another sound, my daughter’s joyous laughter. After a few more minutes, we were allowed to go into the room, and there he was…a perfect baby boy cradled in his mother’s loving arms.

Happy Birthday, Braden! I sure enjoyed sharing some ice cream with you Friday.

Last Day in NYC

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This is absolutely the last New York entry. Classes begin Monday, and I’ve got a lot to catch up with before then. Plus, by this time next week, I’ll be pretty much snowed under with limited time for blogging.

This picture was made at Tavern on the Green, a restaurant that had been “talked up” to us by other visitors to the city. What we basically thought (and I think I speak for all of us) was that the food was overpriced and “okay.” To be quite honest, even the atmosphere was just okay, a 7 on a scale of 10. I’m sure the okay factor is at least partially because of where we were seated, in a noisy area between two dining rooms, and two of us (including yours truly) had our backs to the snazziest dining area in the restaurant. I NEVER like to sit with my back to others, and I found it especially loathsome this particular night. If I couldn’t sit in the pretty area, I’d at least like to enjoy the view.  In retrospect, maybe we should have said something about it.

Here’s what we liked best about the evening. Meal complete, we began our journey (really) to the front of the restaurant to get our coats, and when we looked outside, we saw some gently falling snow. It was lovely. When we made it outside, we were enjoying the snow so much that at first we didn’t notice that there were no taxis anywhere. None. Nada. And there were a lot of people standing out in the falling snow in the same situation…no way back to the theatre district. A man standing beside a van approached us and offered to take us for $35, and someone (not sure who) said yes. We piled in, and by the time we’d turned out of the park area, we realized that there was a stranger amongst us, a petite curly haired woman who said she saw us getting in the van and figured she’d join us. Turns out that she was a urologist who’d eaten at the tavern with fellow doctors, and she regaled us with neat information all the way back to our hotel. When we told her that we had all just turned the big 6-0, she admitted that her big birthday was coming up in 2009.

Fast forward to Sunday morning. Our limo (Joan Ella arranged this) picked us up at 10:30 sharp, and the city seemed quiet and gray as we cruised over the bridge and towards the airport. We checked our bags and found our terminal without mishap, and as I sat down to wait for time to board, I looked outside and saw snowflakes. Even though they only lasted about three minutes, I just had to call DH and let him know, and for some reason, that memory seems special…something about connections and sharing, I guess.

The trip back to NC was uneventful, and after landing in Charlotte and retrieving our bags, we headed for SC. Ah, but first we had to stop at Cracker Barrel for a light dinner. It was SO GOOD! Truly, it was one of the best meals we’d had in days, but then we’re Southern born and bred, and we enjoy corn bread and other such vittles. Leaving Charlotte, we began the long, curvy (especially HWY 97) ride home, and as we parted company at Patty’s, we decided that a good time was had by all.

None of us got to do every single thing she wanted to do. For instance, I didn’t get to visit the New York Public Library or Ellis Island. Jeanita didn’t get to go to Tiffany’s, and I don’t think Patty saw any ice skaters at Rockefeller Center. STILL, since I’ve been home, I’ve had a dozen people  tell me how much they long to go to New York. Some want to see a real Broadway show, and others have told me that it’s always been a dream to see the “beautiful lady” in the harbor.

Why did I mention the above? For two reasons: (1) If traveling to New York City is truly on your list of places to visit, do it. Seriously.  Start planning and saving today. (2) I’ve realized that I need to be more grateful. I’m fortunate to have seen and heard all the sights and sounds of my recent trip and to have done so with such good friends. It’s kind of whiny to say, “Yes, but I didn’t get to….”  So what? I got to do a lot of other things. So did we all. Ain’t life grand?

Walking on Water

Maybe it’s because I just recently re-read the 14th chapter of Matthew. I’m not sure what it was. But this morning when Shawna showed the picture of Peter falling in the water as he walked towards Christ and I heard the usual “he lost his faith” comments from class members, something in me snapped. I just had to stand up for Peter because, after all, he’s the only one of the disciples who actually had the faith to get out of the ship. The rest were afraid, thinking that they’d seen a spirit walking towards them in the midst of a storm. I can well understand their trepidation. Still, give Peter a break unless you’re one of the ones who’s willing to step out and take a chance.

 

Let’s revisit the story briefly. Picture this. The disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea and were afraid until he called out, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” After Christ invites him to come towards Him, Peter gets out of the ship and begins walking towards Him…on water. All is well until Peter, noticing the boisterous sea, becomes afraid and begins to sink. We all know how the story ends; Christ extends his hand, catches Peter, and says, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

 

Ever since I was a child, I’ve heard teachers and commentators discuss Peter’s lack of faith. After all, Christ was right in front of him. How could he doubt? Lately I’ve been thinking more about how Peter actually got out of the boat when all of the others preferred the relative safely of the ship. Yes, there was a storm and boisterous winds, but at least the ship was familiar. But to walk on water? That was unheard of. How could they even consider such a thing? But Peter did. He stepped right out of the boat and started walking.

 

It takes courage and faith to get out of the ship and start walking. It’s easier to stay in a comfort zone and never take a chance. One of my brothers has been teasing me about my website lately. I’ll admit that it does take a lot of what my mother would call “unmitigated gall” to put your ideas and work out there for the WWW to see. But then, what should a person do if she (or he) has a product to sell, an idea to share, or a service to offer? Should a person hide his talent like the man in the New Testament?

 

I’m thinking of some people I know who’ve lately been getting their toes wet by stepping out of the ship. There’s Bryan who’s off for Florida to pursue a degree in film, Christy who’s developing an adorable clothing line for little girls, Mark who’s begun his own online pottery business, Martha who submitted her book in a contest, and Kametria who walked out of a successful business career to study nursing.

 

If we lose our faith and/or fall, there are those who are there to help. Although Christ himself might not appear and remind us to be of good cheer, there are other ways in which He will communicate this message to us. During this morning’s great lesson, Connie mentioned that whenever she felt down, overwhelmed, or anxious, invariably someone would just happen to call, drop by, or send a card. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think Connie is one of the ones who’s heeding the call to step out of the ship and walk towards her destiny.

 

Until the rest of you of you are ready to join us, please don’t tear down our dreams, make deriding comments, or criticize our lack of faith. At least we’re leaving the safety of the ship to test the waters. We wish you’d join us. The sea’s a big place, and that “comfortable” boat can get a littlecramped.  

Happy Birthday Braden!

My oldest grandchild is 5 years old today…almost to the minute. What joy he has brought into our family. On that warm spring day five years ago, I had left Carrie in the capable hands of her husband and father to scoot out to Wal-Mart for a few goodies, including some beautiful flowers for the soon-to-be little mother. Upon my return to the hospital, I stepped off the elevator to the sound of Carrie’s screams and the sure knowledge that her little boy had decided to make his entry before any of us were really prepared. That’s a post for another day. This post is for Braden.

His Grandfather Crolley and I stood outside of the hospital room listening to the cries of our daughter and the murmuring of the doctor and Rich. What was taking so long? How much longer could Carrie endure this? I was so uptight and anxious that I couldn’t even speak, a rare occurrence for me. AT LAST, we heard Braden cry, low and soft at first and then loud and vigorous. I cried right along with him, tears of joy, relief, and happiness. Finally, we were admitted into the room, and there they were: a family of three, Carrie holding her baby boy and Rich with his arms around them both. The rest of the day is a blur. I know that she (they) had several visitors and that I had to keep looking at Braden to make sure he was breathing and REALLY HERE.

Now he’s 5 and what a grown-up boy he is, a big brother to his little sisters, a recent preschool graduate, a future rock and roll star, and a blue-eyed hamburger lover who’s won all of our hearts. He likes to draw (quite the little artist), to read and write, to play games, and to run and swim and just in general to enjoy life to the max.

 

Bird Babies

A weird and wonderful thing has happened. The tiny blue speckled eggs that Mama Bird has been so devotedly sitting on have hatched.

 

We’ve become so accustomed to seeing her tiny head right in the middle of the eucalyptus wreath where she built her nest that I was a little surprised not to see it this morning. Had I scared her away just by opening the door that leads to the breezeway? I sort of slunk over to the nest not knowing what to expect, and when I peered over into the nest, well, I was astounded. There was fuzzy stuff, lots of it. I stepped back, smiling in disbelief at what I’d seen. After a few seconds, I looked again, and this time I saw movement and lots of pink that I presume were their little bodies. This little drama had just unfolded before my eyes…was in fact still unfolding.

 

When DH awoke and went to check out the miracle, the moving pink mass was even larger, and a few hours later, we saw their little mouths open and waiting for a juicy worm or two. The fuzz that I’d seen earlier was more detectable (drier?), and I knew I was looking at the beginnings of feathers.

 

It has taken weeks for the eggs to hatch, and their fine feathered mother has been faithful in making sure she did her part to bring them to life. Now she appears to be just as determined to sustain their lives by nurturing their tiny bodies. Moments ago, I saw her perched on the side of her nest, leaning over and apparently doing something to/for them.

 

I’m in awe. Life, bird or human, is miraculous, and I’m glad for this recent reminder. These little birds came from eggs, and so did we. I’m told that the human egg cell is about the size of a period at the end of one of these sentences. Just think about that! Our eye color, temperament, predisposition to certain disease, innate abilities, and so many other attributes are all determined by the unique combination of chromosomes and genes within a tiny fertilized egg. If that isn’t a miracle, what is?