Mom, I miss you. I needed you this week. I needed your listening ear. I got scared, too scared to trust for little while. I let the world bother me to the point I was doubting who I was. I am still your daughter. Even if you are not here with me, reminders like the female cardinal bird at the feeder last evening that seemed to peer through the window pane at me. This is my first Mother’s Day in my 60 years without you, Mom. If you were here you would be telling me “God gave you the strength and brains to get through this tough patch in life.” You’d also say, “count your blessings, be thankful.” You were always so strong. Well, maybe not always, but most times. Tougher than me for sure. I remember tears from your eyes just a few times. But mostly you plugged through things, complained when you had enough of Dad or one or all of us kids. Social injustices fired you up. No angel, a tough cookie that was very independent in most aspects, and gave that same tough love to me and those around you.
I sought God this week. He answered my cry, and sent other people in my path to pray for me. Mother Mary, other heavenly saints, and probably you and Dad, too prayed for me. My cries turned to gratitude. I am thankful for my husband. I am thankful for my children. I am thankful for my whole family, Dean’s, too. I am thankful for my jobs, and my retirement around the corner. I am thankful for the physicians caring for me and our girls, Rachel and Elisabeth. I am thankful there are medicines to keep our health. Rachel found a new doctor, a better one. She made it to California with her family, and are on the way back now. Praying for the traveling angels to guide them along the way. Those grandbabies got to put their toes in the ocean for the first time while in Malibu! I am thankful for where God has me right now. He has much more for me to do but also to rest and relax more. “Flex your gratitude muscle to fight off fear,” author Ann Voskamp encourages me. And it works. Stronger to fight off doubts and let God’s love win. Happy Mother’s Day in heaven! We left flowers for you!
I was a guest panelist for the St. Louis American Heart Association’s Workplace Wellness Solutions Forum this week. What a wonderful experience to share the budget strategies I have incorporated in the wellness program at my workplace with other human resources and wellness professionals. Our keynote speaker, Aaron Hunnel brought his message of perspective, positivity, passion, and purpose. This humble young man has accomplished much in his young years. An American veteran who served two tours overseas, overcame addiction, has literally climbed several huge mountains, ran an Ironman Marathon with a disabled young woman as his partner, author of the book Upwards, and a successful business owner. His keynote message “There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” moved many to tears. I sobbed. His authentic message reached home in my heart.
You see I know this woman who has a beautiful soul. She seeks the good in everyone she meets. She loves unceasingly, full of “thank yous”, and affectionate hugs. “See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see,” Kirk Weisler is quoted, and this is what this woman lives. And the courage she possesses is like no other I know. This woman has not one but multiple disabling medical conditions. This woman is Rachel, my oldest daughter. I am so proud of the character she has and is. An “all abilities” woman. The battles she has fought and continues to fight are extreme pain with advanced degenerative disc disease and arachnoiditis. Depression, self-pity, “why me”s, “why now”, purposelessness, faithlessness, hopelessness Rachel has fought against too. And this woman warrior has won! Her faith in God has saved her time and time again, and will continue to sustain her. Rachel gives love to family, friends, and strangers because she knows she was created for such as this. Love is sacred, love shared, no holding back.
I awoke this Saturday morn early like most days. Weekday, weekend, it no matter. I am an early bird. And you know the saying “the early bird gets the worm”, but I am sure worms are not on my menu. But time with God is. Yes, I can talk to God (and you can, too) at any time of day under any circumstances. But there is something fresh about the dawn of a new day, quietness and stillness in the house and just outside the house on my front porch. I sit on the porch bench watching the day wake up around me. I am surrounded by shade trees, pots of perennials, the tweeting birds, and garden art. The breeze subtly chills my skin, and rustles the green canopy of leaves. Forgiveness I ask for my shortcomings, and His Grace accepted. Petitions are expressed, asking God for complete healing for my daughters, Elisabeth and Rachel as well as my aging mother. Strength for this woman warrior and my day. With a thankful heart …
Onward to begin the Saturday chores … I sweep the front porch of the twigs, mulch, dog hairs, and dirt blown in with the summer winds. It is an attempt to keep my home tidy. I want to feel welcomed when I come home. Rather be greeted by the warm cinnamon front door, than dirt and grime. I am sure the rest of the family and our guests do as well. Is that not what praying to God is about? Sweeping the wrong motives, ill words, and bad attitudes away while being received in His warm embrace. An Open Door. So happy I chose a comforting color for the front door. Cinnamon. Warm. This morn it invites me into the house to prepare a pancake breakfast and finish those other Saturday chores, and pray all the while.