Mimi and Poppy Camp

Mimi and Poppy Camp

This past week was Mimi and Poppy camp at our house,  which means it is a week my husband and I get all of our grandchildren (which I affectionately call grands) to ourselves. Jeff and I picked our 3 grands up, on Sunday, at the halfway point between where they live and we live because they live 5 hours away from us. 

 

As our son and his wife dropped them off, I could tell he was nervous and as usual began giving us all the directions of what the kids needed and what not to do with them or let them do. Which the whole point of Mimi and Poppy camp is they don’t have to have any rules, because it’s for spoiling!  

 

For a minute I thought to myself “Doesn’t he know I raised 3 children already,  I got this!” but I let him continue to ramble and share his concerns after all they are his children. But the truth is they are our grands and I am pretty sure, if there was a gage to measure the love we both have for these kids, it would be a very close tie, and maybe even Poppy and Mimi’s gage would surpass mom and dad’s. 

 

The best part for me of the whole conversation was as my son hugged me goodbye, he told me. “But seriously mom they have been so excited about this, I think they about wet their pants” 

 

This is not the first time we have had Mimi and Poppy Camp. But probably the first one our youngest grandchild who is 3 years old can remember. My daughter in law texted me earlier this week and told me, they couldn’t find him around the house for a few minutes and when they went searching for him. They finally found him in his closet packing a suitcase because he said he wanted to get ready to go to Mimi and Poppy’s house for camp. 

 

All this got me thinking… are we as excited to spend time with our Heavenly Father? Do we look forward to reading His word. Do we make it a priority everyday to talk to Him in prayer and then listen to what He has to say? Do we get so excited we about pee our pants thinking of getting to go to church and worshiping Him with other believers? 

 

You may be asking yourself, what exactly is Mimi and Poppy Camp. Well, I am sure it is different for every grandparent but at our house. We spend 3 days of doing nothing but what the grands want to do. We eat nothing but what the grands want to eat. We have even been known to allow them to eat ice cream for breakfast and breakfast for supper just to switch it up. 

 

We do arts and crafts, go swimming, go fishing,the grands get to drive the golf cart around town. We do a lot of just hanging out and watching movies, while we pile up snuggling on the couch and eating popcorn. 

 

But probably the thing our house is most famous for, is our indoor water gun fights. That’s right I said indoor water gun fights! Now don’t get me wrong. We are not using super-soakers in the house. We have those little handheld water guns that our grands love to fill up and as we run all over the house the giggles and laughter erupt. Just who doesn’t have fun when a pair of water guns come out? (okay maybe 6 or 7 guns)  

 

But after talking to my grands this week, I have found the thing the like best about coming to Mimi and Poppy camp is they can just hang out and not have to go anywhere or do anything if they don’t want to. 

 

You see 6 years ago our lives were changed when our son married this wonderful young lady who had 2 little girls. We weren’t exactly ready to be grandparents, but since that day when our life changed, we have totally embraced those kids as ours. The thing is, their dad is still in the picture and every other day they get to hang out with him and his new family. Then their parents trade out every other weekend. So needless to say the girls are on the road a lot. They have a lot to deal with from school to changing houses every other day. 

 

So for them, just hanging out and not having somewhere they have to be is their favorite thing to do and it just so happens that Mimi likes that too. So there are some days we just sit around each reading or listening to something, all doing our own thing but still in the same room, just hanging out together being quite. 

 

That made me wonder, how much do we like just hanging out with our Heavenly Father. I am always with my grands during camp but we may not be interacting with each other. As I said, sometimes the one kids may be playing a game, another watching cartoon while the other is sitting at the table drawing a picture, and I may be typing on my computer writing a story for the newspaper. We are all in the same room all doing our own thing, but at the same time I may pause a moment and ask them a question or tell them a story about something, I might even give them advice. We are together but separate. 

 

You know the bible says to “Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:16-18 

 

That line there about praying without ceasing could be kind of confusing if you didn’t think about it, with the image of me and my grands in the same room. I am always aware they are there, as they are aware that I am with them as well. We are in constant communication when we are together because I can hear their sighs, I can see their body language, I pay attention to their facial expressions. They just know Mimi is here, and when they call you can bet I answer. Just like God who is always with us and is always watching over us taking care of us. 

 

There is something else we do at Mimi and Poppy Camp. We have nightly devotions with object lessons and games to reinforce the scripture that we are talking about. Last night was 1 Cor  10:13 that talks about there is no temptation that is given to man that God won’t provide a way out. To illustrate this verse we sat each child, one at a time in from of my curtains that has hundreds of blocks in the pattern on them. They then had to sit there and start counting the blocks. At the same time Poppy had a prize on the end of a fishing pole that he dropped in front of their face distracting them and tempting them. They would lose count of the blocks when they saw the prize and had to start all over again. 

 

We talked to them about,  that is how it is in life, satan will distract us with something that we want or think is good, just to get us to not follow God’s plan for our life. We warned the kids that even if that happens, as soon as they realized they messed up they can just start over again. Just like that started counting again. 

 

I don’t know what is distracting you, or what has taken your focus away from what God has for you, but I am here to tell you, you can start again. Because God is there, He has never left you. You can call on Him anytime and He is there, like I am with my grands, He is just waiting to help you. So just start over again with what you know to do. Read your bible, pray, attend church and I promise you, that is your way out of whatever has taken your focus away from the God that loves you even more than I love my grands. 

 

 

Divine Command

Divine Command

“Deut 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.

 

This scripture give us as parents a divine command to teach our children in the way they should live. In a world where parents are more concerned with being their kids friends and often spend more time at work or away from our kids. We are failing at this whole parenting thing.

 

This past weekend was Mother’s Day and my children held their traditional Mother’s Day card competition. Where they try to pick the most sentimental card that will make me cry. They find great pleasure in being the first one to make me cry. My oldest gave me a card that as I pulled it out of the envelope and began to read the first line, I totally choked and couldn’t get the words out loud. It said “I know times have been hard…” As I read the that line my mind flashed to all the hard times we have had in our life that he has lived through, many we tried to hide from him or we prayed he was just too little to remember. Our Homelessness, Joblessness, Lost of Loved Ones, Mean church Members. Through each one I pray our son has seen God’s love through us in all our mess.

 

Satan has one purpose and that is to destroy this nation, and if he can destroy the family he can destroy the church if can destroy the church, then he can destroy this nation.

 

I heard someone say this past week  “Christianity is just one generation from extinction”.  The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Will we be that generation?” Will we be the generation that fails to teach our children what God has done for us? Will it be on our watch,  that the next generation will lose the understanding and knowledge of God’s love?

 

As parents we have to realize we have a real responsibility greater than clothing and feeding our children, but it is our responsibility to bring them to the understanding of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. If we fail to live that life everyday, if we fail to take them to church so they will know we weren’t made to do life, by ourselves. We are failing them.

 

We need to talk about God’s love, when we drive down the road in our car, we need to talk about the goodness of God at the mealtime with our kids, We need to not be scared to let are kids know, we are going through a tough time, and at the same time, show/tell them how much we are trusting in God to get us through. Then when he comes through, we need to rejoice in that as well with them.

 

The problem is we aren’t spending a lot of time with our kids, we have bought the lie that says, Quality is more important than Quantity. We must be intentional about spending time with our kids and living a life that is pleasing before God. So what if you have made mistakes don’t be afraid to tell them you did and don’t buy into the lie that says “ I can’t tell my kid they can’t do (fill in the blank) because I did it when I was their age and you know what, that is probably why you are partly missed up today. So you are the perfect one to tell you kids not to do that, especially if you have experience with it.

 

God may of had you walk that path because to protect your kid from walking through it but if you are too concerned with being a hypocrite instead of being concern your kid could die and go to hell.

 

With graduation weekend, many parents are taking a deep breath and thinking “Okay, we got them raised, Now we can move on with our lives.” But are we worried whether or not our kids are going to heaven or hell?


The bottom line is we have our priorities messed up, we are more concerned with our kids being on the track team or the volleyball team. Than in Sunday School on Sundays. Our kids can’t hide God’s word in their heart, if they aren’t being taught it. Psalms 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

 

Let’s make this summer a time when we prioritizes our children and their relationship with God. Maybe as a parent or grandparent we need to re-prioritize our relationship with God ourselves so we can lead the children God has placed in our lives according with what His word says.

The Not So Perfect Couple!

Recently, Jeff and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. On Facebook, I posted a video I had asked our daughter to put together a couple years ago which reflected so much of our past. But, as I watched it this year, it seemed incomplete to me. Oh, sure, there were the pictures of Jeff and me from our teen years; pictures of us dressed up so much we could have gone to a prom. (We never did though; that’s a long story for later.) Pictures of our honeymoon; pictures of Jeff, headed to the airport to leave me for nine long months to go to the Philippines with the USAF, after being married for just three weeks; pictures of our babies, from birth till now. And, all that caused a plethora of memories to rush in.  

But honestly, it all looked a little fake to me – or maybe I should say, the premise of it all made us appear to be something that we aren’t.  We aren’t “Perfect”! What you didn’t see in that video is the tears that have been cried over loved ones dying, infertility, the extended childhood illness we went through with our son, the learning disabilities,  the financial infidelity,  the rejection of our extended family, emotional infidelity, homelessness, joblessness, the harsh words said to each other, and the tender moments when forgiveness came. You didn’t see the 13 moves we made – in three states and two countries – and the 18-plus jobs Jeff had to support us.
The “perfect pictures” you see on the video aren’t what makes our life perfect. What does make our life perfect for me, is knowing that Jeffrey Miller knows the worst of me and still chooses to find the best in me. It is knowing that, no matter how aggravating I am to that man, I know he would give His life for me! It is the times we have stood together through the trials and prayed together. It is the times that we couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other, but God’s grace brought us together once again.
See, the video, which makes our life appear perfect, is just a perception. If anyone had been a fly on the walls of our lives for the last 36 years, they would never say, “This is a ‘Perfect Couple!’” No, they would be scratching their heads, asking, “How did this young couple, who met at the ages of 13 and 16, even make it down the aisle, let alone still stand together 32 years later?”
But i am here to proclaim, it is simply by the grace of God! There is nothing good within either of us that deserves the grace that God has given us, let alone the grace we have received from each other. God’s faithfulness has completed us and, without that grace, we would not have had the stamina it has taken to stick out this life-long commitment we made some 32 years ago.
Were their times we wanted to quit? You bet! The odds were stacked against us, yet we still prevailed; not in ourselves, but in the strength of God. There were days when we could not have taken another step in this relationship if it wasn’t for the grace of God, carrying us through. But God directed our steps and saw us through. He is the One who gave us the strength to try it one more day.
In this day and age, when the sanctity of marriage is being attacked all around us, we must remember that the only way we can make it another 32 years is not in the strength that we have within ourselves, but it is only through the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.
In our first 32 years of marriage, we have learned that love is not a feeling, but a choice; an action; a verb. It isn’t about what we feel, but it is about what we know and then, what we do!
Yes, love is a choice, and I am so glad that through it all, we made that choice! Even when it was a tough one! So don’t let the pretty pictures on Facebook deceive you. There isn’t a couple that has been married for very long that won’t tell you that they have all had their struggles and their trials. The only difference in the outcome is the choices they made.
So I encourage you: whatever issue you are having right now with the person you love, remember, “Love is a choice.” I will also give you some amazing advice that a good friend of mind gave me – after she had almost lost her marriage – when I was in the hardest part of our marriage, and was ready to walk out the door. She told me, “All I can tell you, Alesa, is this: If you will hang in there and not quit, it will be worth it – I promise!”  She was right. It was those words that God used through her that encouraged me to stay one more day and is why we are where we are today.
So hang in there, don’t quit! I promise, “it will be worth it!!”

My Wild and Crazy Side

303684_10151780519840487_356408458_n (1)It was the summer of 2013 and I did it! I went wild and crazy maybe it was the fact my daughter had just graduated from High School or my youngest son was about to turn 16 and would start driving on his own soon or maybe it was that my oldest son was about to get married and I was also going to be an instant grandma on the same day, but no I think it was just the fact that I wanted to look my best for the wedding and be as cool as possible since the wedding was outside on a hot summer June day in Oklahoma, But whatever the reason I did it! “Yes, I went and got a spray tan!! I know it was wild for me! (don’t judge) LOL!!

If you have been around me at all, you have probably noticed the numerous scars all over my arms that glow like beaming lights. I have a natural-olive completion, but after a severe case of chickenpox as a child. I was left with light colored scars all over my arms. I usually wear at least three-quarter length sleeves, if not long sleeves year round because if it.

But as I stepped out of the tent and looked into the mirror,  after I had been sprayed. My blemishes were all gone! My completion on my arms was perfect!! I almost cried, it was unreal the feeling of an unknown weight I had been carrying on my shoulders was suddenly lifted an overwhelming sense of joy filled me and I was flooded with unexpected emotions. I asked Amy to quickly hand me my glasses so I could assure that they were all gone. As I put my glasses on , just as quickly as they were gone, the blemishes returned. the view through my glasses revealed the truth that they had only been darken a little but it was clear they were still there, and just as quickly as the joy came and the weight was lifted it returned, perhaps even heavier than before. But never the less I will never forget the feeling of that weight being lifted off me, I had not realized how much it bother me until, suddenly I thought I would never have to cover up my scars again.

As my mom celebrated her first birthday in Heaven yesterday, I know she must be feeling that same freedom, from the weight of her sickness and disease as I felt those few seconds in the tanning booth. As she celebrated her birthday with my dad and her mom and many other friends who had went to heaven before her and then even some who have followed her in the short 7 months she has been gone. See, I don’t think it is by accident that I had that experience less than 30 days before my momma took her last breath here on this earth. I believe God wanted me to feel just a bit of the freedom and peace that she feels everyday since being in heaven.

So this one thing I am certain of, there is no way I would want her to come back and carry the weight of her sickness and disease, she no longer feels the shame of being handicapped she is truly, truly free!

Does it make me miss her any less, no but it brings me comfort to know she is ok. In fact she is more than ok, she is perfect! Does it mean I don’t cry, no but as I do, I focus not on my loss but on her gain. I rejoice in the fact I have the assurance that if I continue to follow Christ, I will see her again and I trust that not only I will see her again, but I will be bringing the generations yet to come in our family, to heaven with me. They will follow me there one day, because I too will tell them, like my parents taught me about the love and grace of Jesus and like my parents I will do my best to show them how to follow Christ by not just my words but my actions too. One day there will be a great family reunion in heaven, all because one couple chose one little girl who had nothing to give them and yet they gave her the greatest gift- Jesus

Happy Birthday Momma!