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We had the opportunity to visit with our daughter at our house this past weekend, who will soon be having a daughter of her very own. While she was here we happened to come across an old box with some of her papers from when she was younger that had something I had written about her when she was only about 3 or 4 years old. Here is the original paper I had hand written those so many years ago.
“She came into our lives as a blessing from above. So tiny, so beautiful. GOD blessed us with our little bundle of love. At first she barely crawled, and now look at her run. At first she could hardly talk. Now look at her; she hardly stops talking! Each day we grow to love her more. Thank you LORD for our little blessing. Thank you LORD for Valerie. Brown eyes, brown hair, and that special warm caring smile.
Each time I look at her, I hear GOD whispering in my ear. Be good to her, and raise her to learn of me. Teach her love, patience, kindness, goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and train her in the way she should go. Teach her right from wrong. Teach her to love others, to give unto others. Look at her now how big she is growing, changing every day. Thank you LORD for our gift from heaven above. May we love her and show her your ways each day. Thank you LORD for our Valerie.”
The picture above is of our daughter Valerie and her own grandfather, my wife’s dad. His name was “Papa” I can’t wait to have a photo taken with my own granddaughter. I know people say it often, but it does seem like only yesterday when our daughter was this age. As a matter of fact, it still seems like only yesterday that I was carrying her to her first bed to lay in after being born in the hospital. As the days pass, I pray that I will be able to be the grandfather that my granddaughter deserves me to be. I pray that I will be able to show her the right road to take too, and that we will have many good years together. If we are together, they can’t help but be good!
I promise again LORD that I will teach her just like I taught her own mother. I will teach her the road to take, right from wrong, to love others, and to give unto others….. and I promise you I will love her every single day!
Christmas is a time for being with family, good food, giving gifts, and celebrating the birth of Christ. Let us not forget though, that some of the most meaningful gifts we can give come from our heart and need not cost anything at all. Here are a few of those …..
– Shovel snow off your neighbors sidewalk and driveway.
– Rather than give advice to someone, ask for some.
– Open the door for someone else.
– Read stories in your local library to children or seniors who can’t.
– Help in your local nursing home by just visiting and talking with some of the residents there who never have anyone to come and visit them.
– Let someone go on ahead of you while in line at the store.
– Give away some of your secret and most favorite recipes to your friends.
– Visit the Humane Society and adopt an animal if you can.
– Smile whenever you can at others. You never know how much you may change their day or outlook on life.
– Save up some fabric scraps and give them away to someone who quilts.
– Write a letter to the editor agreeing with his views on something.
– Volunteer to be a bell-ringer at your local Salvation Army.
– Write a letter to your friends you haven’t talked to in a long time and see how much it means to them.
– Say please and thank you whenever you are given the opportunity.
– Pick up after yourself around the house, and give others who usually do it a break.
– Say you’re sorry when you need to and forgive others when they do the same and are sincere.
– Call your family members on the phone just to tell them you love them.
– Tell someone you are proud of them.
– Be a mentor to a young person and show them the way to go.
– Take a cancer or dialysis patient to their treatments if they have no one who can help out.
– Volunteer to babysit for parents with a newborn baby to give them a night out once in a while.
– Pray for those who need prayer.
– Bake a cake or pie and take it to the new neighbors on the block.
– Don’t hold a grudge more than 12 hours and try to reconcile differences before the sun goes down each day. It will give both of you a good nights rest!
– Give yourself a gift by not worrying. It ends up getting you nowhere in the long run. Most of the stuff we worry about never comes to pass anyway. Worrying is just a changeless proposition.
Have you ever heard people say that the family who sits down to eat a meal together around the table sticks together through thick and thin? Too often we are so busy being busy with work, running to soccer practice, or dance, or baseball, or football, or another meeting, or shopping, or playing on the computer, or talking on the phone, or texting, or combing our hair, putting on makeup, or whatever, that we don’t take the time to sit down at the dinner table and reconnect with each other. There are many who never sit down together and break bread due to overwhelming schedules of life. It’s a pretty sad shame too, since there are many benefits to eating together as a family if you can fit it in your schedule. Now I’m not talking about sitting around the television in the living room with a television tray full of food. I am talking about honest to goodness “Pass me the potatoes please, and how was your day”? conversation.
There are so many benefits that result from being able to eat together and look one another in the eye and actually hear each other breathe. There was a study done by John Sandberg and Sandra Hofferth entitled “How American Children Spend Their Time,” which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family which found that having family time meals on a regular basis results in fewer behavioral problems. According to an article published in 2006 in “New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development”, family time dinners are even more important from a vocabulary standpoint than being read to. It was found that young children learn 1000 rare words at the dinner table in comparison to only about 145 words from parents who read books out loud to them. It only makes sense that there is more focus at the dinner table and obviously more comprehension. No television, no phones, no computers, no noisy noise for a few minutes…. Sounds too good to be true……..but something you might get used to… right?
Being able to sit down and eat together as a family gives you a sense of belonging, and reminds you that you don’t have to face this old world on your own. It’s important especially for young children to give them that sense of security as often as we can. So if you want to do something good for your family that will last and last, encourage everyone to try to sit down at the table at least for a few minutes, at least once or twice a week if you don’t already. It will make all the difference in the world. Children will remember those times for years to come, as they try to instill the same values, and quiet times in their own families that they were taught and can recall made a difference in their own lives and upbringing. Bind the family together and wrap them with the minutes of together moments forever. “So that’s what breathing sounds like?” Honest to goodness!
“I know that one day soon you will have children and a family of your own. I keep praying for that and I know GOD does have a great plan for your future. I hope I have instilled in you a sense of what matters most in life. When I am gone from this earth I hope you will reflect upon the life we have lived together. I hope I will have left something you can hold onto that will last and that you can in some way transfer on to your own children. I hope that you will be able to smile when you think about the times we had together. Never forget that I love you my sweet, sweet daughter. I know I have made some mistakes in my life. I hope most of all that I have made a difference in your life. I know you have made a difference in mine. I love you forever my baby girl!”
This is a part of a letter I wrote a few years ago before my daughter was married; and now she is going to have a baby girl of her own to raise and care for. GOD is good and he does answer our prayers in his perfect timing and in his perfect way! And now, she has a chance to make a difference in the life of her own daughter.
My wife Denise and I just found out we are going to be grandparents this summer. This has been the best Thanksgiving gift we could have ever received. GOD is great and we can’t wait to see the new little blessing that is on the way.
This is our first one on both sides of the family so I am sure the little one will get an avalanche of spoiling. I am not quite sure I can wait until summertime though! There are so many things running through my mind about what I want to tell, teach, and do with our new grand baby.
Whether it’s a girl, or whether it’s a boy it makes no difference to me. We are supposed to have some sort of a reveal party where that information, I guess is revealed? Something about blue or pink balloons popping out of a box. I know GOD has great things planned for this little one!
Someone asked me what I want to be called? I don’t know, but I have a few months to think about that one. I suppose I’ll be called whatever the grand baby ends up calling me. They say the grand babies end up calling the grand parents whatever the first one starts calling them. That’s what happened with our daughter too. Whatever happens, is fine with me.
We are looking forward to this new adventure in our lives. I am sure it will be a great ride!
“Step in as close as you can so that I can see you! Now you know I can’t really see you with that mask on. You’re going to have to take your mask off so that I can see who you really, really are.”
We all want others to love us and accept us for who we truly are yet we don’t live a life of transparency. The person we are on the inside is not the image we portray on the outside. Aren’t we all guilty of wearing masks to protect our true identity; to protect who we really are? We are afraid of being emotionally uncovered, and so we hide and crouch behind our masks that cover our deepest hurts and darkest thoughts that go rambling through our minds.
I suppose the mask has its proper place in our lives for a time. But I believe also that great day we learn to live without a mask is the day we really live for the very first time. It is in the removing of our masks that we find freedom. We become free and are liberated by learning to love and accept ourselves by honoring who we truly are.
Sometimes people act the way they do because of what is anchored deep behind the mask. We tend to look at the resulting action rather than what or who created the action.
I have received mercy, forgiveness, and kindness along my own life journey, none of which I deserved – but I am so very thankful. Showing love and compassion beyond the borders of the mask is how we can really make a difference in this world, for what we often see on the outside is only a reflection of the mask.
May we all learn in time to remove our masks and to be thankful for others who have extended to us forgiveness, mercy, kindness, and compassion.
This Thanksgiving may we all be able to work on removing our own masks, to truly see those who wear them, and of course to be thankful for others who have helped us to become better along the way.
It’s so good to have someone
to listen to my dreams
to make me laugh
to let me cry whenever I need to
someone who really cares about
what I want to be and do.
Everybody needs to have that one special, comfortable place
where you can go just to be yourself
anytime you want.
Everybody needs that one special person
who will love you just for you
without wanting to change a thing.
Everybody needs to feel
that anything you dream is possible,
and that you can accomplish
whatever you set your heart on.
That place… is with you.
That person is you.
Those dreams are happening
because you believed in me….
you’ve dreamed along with me.
You’ll never know
how much you mean to me.
Larry S. Chengges
Remember when …………
Keyholes were really keyholes.
People went to drive-in move theaters outside and it only cost $2 a carload. The speakers went on the side windows. I can’t tell you the number of times my dad started to drive off with speaker still on the window.
Kids would play outside all day instead of playing all day with video games and on the computer.
The only dishwasher was the one with two hands.
The only frozen foods were the ones from leftovers.
There were no microwaves and you actually had to wait to eat your food.
Heroes were really heroes.
Man first landed on the moon. There were some people who refused to believe it was true and still do.
The Vietnam war was finally over and Walter Cronkite stopped giving the body count on the evening news.
McDonald’s only had a hamburger, cheeseburger, fries, coke, and a milkshake on their menu. Seems like it tasted better back then too…
Amtrak had the only search engine.
John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. were shot down. Seems like the world changed in those moments…
You passed out Valentine’s Day cards to all your friends at school.
You just couldn’t wait to grow up.
Michael Jackson sang with the Jackson Five on American Bandstand.
The “Twist” was a dance and not something you did with your fingers to open a bottle of coke.
Sally Fields was “The Flying Nun” and then married Burt Reynolds after being chased by “Smokey”.
We first met a robot in “Lost in Space”. “That does not compute Will Robinson”.
Everyone wore bell bottom jeans and tie dye shirts.
The slinky and silly putty were our favorite toys.
Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev to tear down the wall.
Michael Jordan flew high with Chicago and then tried his hand at baseball. That’s no bull.
Tom Landry coached “The Boys” and wore that funny hat.
Rubik’s cube became an impossibility.
Donald Trump wrote a book on negotiating.
The Miami Dolphins never lost a football game.
All you had to worry about was what color you were going to use and if you wanted chocolate milk or white milk and when it was time for a nap in Kindergarten.
Clara Peller first said “Where’s the Beef?” in a Wendy’s commercial.
The “Frito Bandito” would sing on and on about the bag of “Fritos” and how much he loved “Fritos” corn chips!
They banned cigarette ads from television.
The only television was a black and white and you had to actually turn a knob or two to get the channel and volume to change.
You wanted to slap “Nurse Ratchet” for being so mean to the patients in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.
“Dominoes” became more than just a game you played with dots and became something you ate.
“Big Bird” got really big and “The Bird” was a professional baseball player that patted and picked the pitcher’s mound.
“Roller Derby” was popular.
“Cabbage Patch Dolls” and “Beanie Babies” became popular.
“Halloween” became a movie.
Garth Brooks sang his first song.
Horses could talk – “Mr. Ed” and “Frances the Talking Mule”.
Sinclair was a gas company with a green dinosaur.
Marilyn Monroe died of a drug overdose.
The Beetles were first seen on the Ed Sullivan show with their long, mop-top haircuts.
Johnny Carson went off the air.
There were only VHS and Beta recorders for movies.
Polaroid cameras were cool with the instant photographs that could be developed.
You could get a comic book for 15 cents.
Walmart didn’t exist.
You went to your senior prom.
You got your first car.
Kelly Clarkston won the first “American Idol” contest.
“Windows” became more than something you raised for fresh air.
The internet first became popular. I think Vice President Al Gore invented it didn’t he?
Punch cards were used for programming a computer.
Studying for a spelling test and memorizing the multiplication tables was the hardest thing you had to do in life.
You would play “Hide and Seek”, “Freeze Tag”, and “Marco Polo” with your friends.
Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans, and Mr. Rogers always made you smile and Dudley Dooright was always doing something wrong.
Life was so much simpler with the likes of Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Tweety Bird, Road Runner, and Foghorn and Leghorn.
You could always count on something good happening in Roy Rogers, Superman, The Lone Ranger, Rawhide, The Rifleman, and Bonanza.
Children actually started their day with a prayer on the loudspeaker in public schools and then the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
It was okay to say “Merry Christmas” and “GOD” in public.
You first found out that Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny were just made up storybook characters.
People used to go on picnics and spend time together as a family with a blanket and real food.
Ross Perot ran for President and then ran for the hills. Should have stuck with EDS Ross.
You could only drive 55 mph on the highway. Must have had something to do with peanut oil.
Atari and Intellivision were the only video games around and the Vic 20 was a computer that you could afford.
There was no Facebook.
Truman was put on the silver dollar.
Amazon was just a big river.
Alfred Hitchcock’s movie – “The Birds” made us all afraid of birds.
Leave it to Beaver, My Three Sons, and Green Acres made us laugh.