And speaking of personality – my husband’s personality came through loud and clear, as well! I got so tickled with his antics during the shoot, and in the end we bought extra pictures because I just couldn’t resist the photos that so exhibited the fun side of him that I cherish. At one point, the photographer wanted him to put his fist under his chin. No way! That was too girly, he proclaimed. Instead he crossed his arms across his chest and stood sideways (kind of like Mr. Clean) in a “manly” pose. I laughed – but he was right. It’s my favorite photo of him – ever. Then while the photographer was getting us set up to take a picture of us as a couple, he spontaneously turned his head to kiss me on the cheek and she just happened to catch it. He was acting silly and so like himself!
Of course, I hate the way I look in the photos, but what else is new? I always hate the way I look. Most women do, I suppose – but the camera doesn’t lie. *Sigh.* It could be worse, I guess…
Precious blessings from the Lord – a husband who still makes me laugh after almost forty years of marriage, a beloved son who will always be one of God’s greatest gifts to us, and now perfect pictures to remember these precious times. God has been so gracious and loving to us, and blessed us so completely. Psalm 111:4 says, “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.” I don’t really need pictures to help me remember that. My heart is filled with thanksgiving and praise to Him.
Pumpkin, the Perfect Pooch – A few days before David was to leave for Iraq Julie had an inspiration. She was praying that the Lord would show them some way to make it easier for the kids to handle Daddy’s upcoming departure. Already their eyes would fill with tears when they thought of it, and she hated to think of them coming home to a house without him when they finally took him to the airport, and in the days and weeks to follow.
Suddenly, as if a voice whispered in her ear, the answer came. Get a dog. Julie was shocked. For years the kids had been begging for a dog. David, she knew, would love to have one, too, but since their last dog had died almost ten years before, they had agreed that they couldn’t go through again all the trouble, expense and eventual heartbreak when their pet died. She had resisted the very idea of it for so long, that she couldn’t believe it when she heard that little whisper in her ear.
Neither could David. He was surprised, to say the least, when Julie suggested it to him. A few months before, when they were still in their house in the country, a little beagle had shown up at their door and hung around for several days. The family had fallen in love with the stray, fed her and petted her, but still Julie had held out saying No Dog. She was about to cave that Sunday morning, though, and had said if the dog was still there when they got home from church, they would take her in. The kids were devastated when they got home and discovered the little dog was gone. They even went as far as checking the pounds for her, but she had disappeared, never to be seen again. Once again they went into their No Dog mode and that was that.
Now, here she was, suggesting that maybe this would help the kids during the difficult days ahead. A new dog would certainly be a diversion, and although it could never be a substitute for Daddy, it would a little being upon which to shower love, and which would give love back. Instead of walking into a house that suddenly seemed empty and lonely, there would be a faithful little companion welcoming them home.
They decided not to say anything to the kids, but checked online at the closest animal shelter. After their experience with the little stray beagle almost six months before, they really wanted a female beagle – not a puppy, but still young. What were the chances that the small country pound would have exactly what they wanted, but there she was – a pretty little one year old female beagle. They dropped the kids off at a friend’s house and went to investigate.
She was quiet. The rest of the dogs were jumping and barking, but the little beagle looked up at them silently with those big puppy-dog eyes and their hearts melted. They knew right away she was meant for them. They didn’t want a hyper, yappy dog and she seemed to be the perfect fit. They quickly adopted her and took her home to surprise the kids.
That little whisper in Julie’s ear had been right. The days leading up to David’s departure were filled with getting adjusted to the new member of the family and meeting her needs, rather on dwelling on their upcoming separation. The morning they took him to the airport was tearful, and the ride home was hard, but when they walked in the door and Pumpkin (her new name) was there to greet them with overwhelming joy they all rallied and got on with the day in peace.
Julie has told me every day since they got her what a perfect dog, she is, and what a perfect decision it was to get her. She didn’t bark for days, until finally one day the neighbor’s dogs came out and Pumpkin gave a quick, deep woof-woof, just to let them know this was her yard and not to think of coming over that fence! She treed a cat and then chased it out of the yard, caught a squirrel (but let it go when the kids yelled) and seems to regard the yard as her territory. Added benefit – security alarm if someone comes nosing around while David is gone.
Julie has told me day after day, what a good little dog she is and how happy they are they decided to get her. She says Pumpkin is a mama’s girl, and barrels through the kids to get to Mama when they come home, adoring her in the way only dogs can do. Truth be told, I think Julie’s pretty smitten with the pup herself. I’m sure she is companionship in the evenings after the kids go to bed and the house is lonely without David there.
Isn’t it nice when the Lord sends little blessings our way – unlooked for, even undreamed of, but just what we need? I know that this sounds fanciful, and maybe even a little crazy, but the thought occurred to me the other day that maybe the little stray beagle back in Hope Hull last fall was an “angel unaware.” Without her visit they would never have looked for a young female beagle or maybe even thought of getting a dog at all. Julie says Pumpkin is a godsend, and the perfect pet for them. Did the Lord send an angel to them to point the way for what He knew would be a blessing to them just when they needed it? Okay, so call me crazy – but the Bible says “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2) I’m just sayin’ – unlooked for, undreamed of, angels unawares…
The Perfect Place – Laurie and Fernando and family are moving into their new house this weekend. I am so happy for them! They will have room to spread out a bit. They will get a good night’s sleep in a quiet neighborhood. They will have a little more security when the kids are outside or at home alone when Laurie and Fernando have to leave them. They’ll have so much more room for Bible studies, fellowship gatherings or overnight guests.
They spent eight months looking for a place. Many times the search was discouraging, although they tried not to let it get to them. With their needs, their tight budget and the lack of available places it seemed almost impossible at times. When the right house was finally available, though, the Lord led them to it.
Our timetable is not always God’s timetable. It is hard sometimes to be patient and simply wait without becoming anxious or discouraged. It is difficult not to take the situation into our own hands and force the issue or run ahead of God. How easy it is to step out of His will when we become impatient! It was a trial going through the long house-hunt but His Word tells us, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.” (Romans 5:3, 4) and also, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:3, 4)
We could all use more patience! That is where faith comes in – trusting that God will do things for our best in His way and His time. Our faith is deepened and strengthened when we wait patiently on Him – and then see what great things He hath wrought!
(Not-So-Perfect) Pipsqueak on the Phone – I called Laurie the other day and the phone rang and rang. I was just about to hang up, thinking no one was at home, when suddenly someone picked it up. There was silence, though, and after a few seconds I finally said, “Hello? Hello?” A few more seconds of silence. “Matthew, is that you?” I ventured to guess.
“Yes!” a little voice piped up.
“Well, hi, Matthew! This is Grandma!”
“Hi, Grandma!” And off he went on a long spiel telling me all about the video he was watching and who knows what else. I could only figure out half of what he was saying, but he sounded so excited and happy to be talking to Grandma that I didn’t care. Just the sound of his little voice was enough for me!
At last I heard Laurie coming up behind him and a moment later she took the phone away from him. She had been in the bathroom and no one else had picked up the telephone, she explained She had thought of calling to Matthew to pick up the phone, but had decided she didn’t want him to get any big ideas and start something. Well, Matthew didn’t need her to give him any big ideas – he had them on his own, obviously.
What a little pistol he is! We have said since the day they heard they were having a boy after all those girls that he would either be spoiled rotten or henpecked. Truth be told, I don’t think he is either. He’s sure not henpecked. The girls may try to boss him around, but he is his own little character and stands up to them. If anything, he tries to boss them around! On the other hand, I don’t think he’s spoiled rotten, either. Well, okay, maybe a little tiny bit spoiled, but as the youngest of five kids and the only boy, it’s almost unavoidable. But he is a charmer, with adorable dimples and a smile that would knock you out, and as cute as cute could possibly be, so although Laurie and Fernando do a good job of disciplining, it is hard to resist his charms.
Although they all adore him, Matthew has been the typical pesty little brother since the moment he could walk, to all four of the girls. He is frequently into mischief and should wear a t-shirt that says “Here Comes Trouble!” Actually, Katie has a t-shirt that has a monkey on it and says “It’s All My Brother’s Fault!” – and usually it is. Put a toy sword in his hand and he is after his sisters – and if a toy sword isn’t handy, he’s been know to chase them with a real knife! Yikes!
Matthew’s birthday was two days ago. He turned three (although he keeps telling everyone he is four.) He is the last of our grandbabies for now and it is hard to believe he is already three. We called him to sing “Happy Birthday” to him, and he was the perfect little gentleman thanking us for each of the gifts we sent him. Hearing that little voice on the phone made me want to cry. I wish we could have been there for his birthday.
Proverbs 17:6 tells us that “Children’s children are the crown of old men” [and old women.] The previous chapter also says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory…” (Proverbs 16:31) Do you think there might be some correlation, there? I guess I can’t blame any of my gray hairs on Matthew since I am not around him enough, but Laurie tells me she is finding more and more gray hairs!
Grandchildren – a gift from God and His reward for getting old! They may not be perfect, but they are a perfect blessing!