Wack-o mom

I am a wack-o mom. Just ask my kids. They’ll wholeheartedly agree.

Part of my crazy momness was what I least enjoyed—saying no. I said no to my kids about: outings, participating in sports teams, reading a few of the available books, “real” card games (like Poker), and a few movies. Do I regret it? Not one bit. I would’ve said no to cell phones, but we had flip phones back then. I still have one. See? I told you I was wacky.

I also kept track of their movements—usually traveling with them and driving the car. If they were terribly embarrassed that Mama was with them, they never showed it.

We homeschooled. That fact, all by itself, is reason to dub me wacky. But, believe me, homeschooling didn’t give me one of my gray hairs. It was the ride into church on Wednesday nights, during rush hour.

I always have fun. My jollies come from people, walks in the woods, visiting new and different places, eating ice cream, pondering architecture, music, photography, and a myriad of other delights. I enjoy life big time, laughing a lot, and sometimes even dancing all by myself in the kitchen.

Wack-o. I know it.

No one enjoys life more than I do. They don’t see the beauty, smell the roses, and rejoice in the way trees sway like I do.

But, my deep, abiding joy is the Lord.

He’s the why of my happiness. He’s also the reason I notice the little things others may miss. I look for beauty.

Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b). That abundant life begins with salvation in Jesus. I truly believe it increases the quality of life. Paul admonished Timothy, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

Because of salvation we can have deep joy. The psalmist said and Luke quotes, Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance (Acts 2:26, 28).

Being a Christian has never meant joyless, prunish, always sad-faced “piety.” Instead, it means a life of joy and praise.

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness (Psalm 150:1-2).

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).

C. S. Lewis once said, “When the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.”

Maybe that’s me.

So, call me a wack-o mom. I don’t care.

Are you wack-o, too? Feel free to share your wacky joys.

The ironies of life

When I was a teen, I wanted to be different. I shouldn’t have worried; each person is unique. It took me a long time to figure that out.

I went to college at age seventeen, and when I chose a major, I went over my favorite subjects, crossing out a few, and ending up with my number one interest: art. To be different, I chose “straight art” and not “art education.” I’ll explain.

Everyone in my whole family is a teacher. College chemistry, middle school math, physical education, first grade, kindergarten, grade school and middle school. Every one of them is or has taught.

So, I wouldn’t.

That’s what I thought.

No one had “art” as a profession, so I went with that one. Practical, right? How ignorant I was.

It was a fitting major for me. I minored in psychology and then changed to English—so I could graduate on time and marry my fiancé. By the way, both of those were great decisions, .

My first job after college didn’t last long. It was physically draining, and I needed something different. I found a job in art and then another, and I taught—don’t laugh—calligraphy at a local community college.

Then, my husband and I started deputation for missions in Spain.

I left my full-time job several months into deputation, when our circles around our home got too big to be back on Monday mornings.

We had a child before we moved to Spain and one after we got here, and soon, I became a homeschooling mom. You may laugh, now.

Sixteen years later and having learned grade school and high school all over again—twice—I decided that the empty nest was a great opportunity to catch up on all the things I hadn’t done while schooling the children. My life quickly filled, and then, all of a sudden, I was left with lots of free time on my hands.

I saw an ad for teaching Spanish online, talked to my husband, and applied. After an interview, I was hired, and for the last four years, I’ve been teaching homeschooling high schoolers in a virtual classroom and loving every minute.

The old saying, “what goes around comes around” is true. The girl who didn’t want to teach—ha ha—ended up teaching for twenty-three years and enjoying it.

That’s not all.

I wrote my first book, a handbook for women—the result of about fifteen years of Bible study—and published it in 2012. It’s titled His Ways, Your Walk and is available through me.

My first blog post ever was published in January 2012. (You may access and browse “In the Way” here.) I bought a personal domain, starting this new blog in January 2019.

My first novel is a work in progress. It’s been written and revised many times—and totally being rewritten at the moment. Oh, to learn today’s style and forget the old ways! But I digress.

My father was a teacher like everyone else, but almost of his life, he’s been a writer.

As it turns out, the two things I never thought I’d be are what I am.

And, I am richer for them.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

Live joyfully … for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might (Ecclesiastes 9:9-10a).

Has your life turned out differently than you imagined?  How? Please feel free to share your story.

Our Love Story

Just recently, I read a sappy romance, breaking away from my usual preferences. Oh my! It only reminded me how unrealistic they are and why I almost always steer clear. (If you enjoy the chills and thrills, that’s your choice. I am only stating my opinion. As I confessed, I actually read that one.)

My own story of romance should probably told in capital letters, but I’ll spare you.

I always had boyfriends. They were all Christians and gentlemen. From twelve years old on, I had friends who were boys. I began dating solo on my fifteenth birthday. My date was nice, but quickly I realized he wasn’t for me. Following him were a series of young men from my church. And then, I went to college.

I attended a Christian university, which only allowed very closely chaperoned dates. We could attend lunch, church, and some concerts and functions with young men. It was fun.

At the beginning of my second year of college, I was attending a soccer game with a married couple from my home church. I happened to notice a nice-looking guy in the pep band, who sometimes turned around and seemed to be looking at me. I asked the couple who he was, but they didn’t know his name.

A week later, my husband and I met in the weirdest of circumstances—and walked off into the sunset. Literally.

This happened almost forty-five years ago. We’ve been married more than forty-one of those, and our life has been an adventure. After we were married:

  • He earned a master’s degree.
  • We were on deputation for two years.
  • Our home has been in Spain for 35 years and counting.
  • We have two beautiful children, now grown and married to terrific spouses.
  • Four cute grandchildren were born.
  • We lived in three houses in the USA before coming to Spain, where we’ve lived in five different homes.
  • We’ve traveled in several European countries and seen the airports—doubtful privilege—of a few more.

As a couple, we’ve experienced many joys, devastating sorrows, and have done lots of growing and changing. In some ways, forty-plus years of marriage has caused us to switch places. Our personalities have mellowed and morphed. Now, we just enjoy each day the Lord gives us and appreciate His blessings.

On this Valentine’s Day, fourty-four years from the one when my cute date first mentioned love to me, I am extra thankful for our unique and wonderful story.

Blogaversary Musings

A year ago, I launched out into the deep and began “Walking in the Way.” I’m not sure it has completely met my expectations or yours, but I’m experimenting and learning, and that counts for something, at least. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” So, I began, and I’m happy with completing this first year.

I also decided on a key phrase for last year. Truthfully, it has helped to ground my thinking through the year. 2019’s phrase was “Trusting God through the labyrinth.” At the time I decided on it, I had no idea how convoluted a path we would travel. 2019 was a good year, but we were faced with some unanticipated turns and changes in our lives, some real challenges, and different jobs. We also had many blessings. Indeed, God proved Himself faithful every single day.

This New Year 2020, I am thinking about a new theme for the year. It’s one word:

Worship.

I need to keep first things first—spending more time, energy, and prioritizing worship—praising, adoring, and keeping a correct perspective. My focus needs tweaking: more Bible, more getting to know my Lord, and definitely more true worship.

How about yours? I’m guessing we can all use a spiritual retuning in some area.

My husband and I are in one of the most uncertain phases of our lives: an overseas transition. We’ve had our house in Spain on the market since July, and exactly one person has come to see it. So, we have no idea when our house will sell and when we will be making our move. It might be in 2020—and maybe not. God knows, and we will rest in His best plan for us.

Also, we’ve faced some health challenges we didn’t expect. (Who does?) No one knows what the future holds. Thankfully, the Lord is sovereign, and He allows what He wills in our lives.

In the Bible, we read about invitations to worship Christ.* At Jesus’ birth, angels, shepherds, and wise men were called to worship Jesus. Simeon and Anna worshiped Him.

True believers are called to worship Jesus. Sinners are called to repentance and worship. Every nation will be gathered before the King of kings—and every knee will bow before Him.

Jesus said, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

I want to worship in spirit and truth.

Do you have a theme word or phrase for 2020? Please consider sharing.

Being a Child of the World

When people ask me where I’m from, I usually have to think three things:

1. Where I am at the moment

2. In which language the question is asked

3. What should I say?

The first part of my life story is similar to many. I was born in one place, moved to a few others, moved to a new state, moved to another state, moved back to my second state, got married and moved to yet another state, living in several different houses….

And that’s where the story changes completely. My husband, baby, and I moved to another country and became “foreigners.” We couldn’t even say “hi” when we arrived. In some senses, we went back to first grade—learning the alphabet, how to say simple phrases, the use of verbs, learning to count. We began the process of being strangers in a strange land.

Where am I from?

Birth—West Virginia

Growing up—Virginia, New Jersey, and Virginia

Married life—South Carolina and Spain

I’ve lived in Spain most of my life—eight years longer than in America.

So, where am I from?

Our children have it easy. They grew up in Spain.

My husband and I grew up in Spain, too—in a different sense. We’ve learned so much since we came: a new language, culture, lifestyle, and lots of history. We love it. What a fantastic place in which to live, work, and bring up our family.

So, we’ve lived in Spain more, yet our passport is from America, and our roots and families are across the ocean. We’ve been away so long that when we visit the States, we feel like foreigners, which we aren’t. We don’t here—but we are.

Where am I from?

I can’t tell you. The words don’t come.

Ask me, rather, about my life experiences, how God has proved Himself good through every day.

Ask me what I’ve learned.

Ask me how I think being an MK (missionary kid) profited our children.

Ask me hard questions.

I’m just a human being, a child of the world, a redeemed person with the calling to share my Redeemer with the rest of the world.

Yet, I’m not of this world. I am a pilgrim on this earth. And, I have the wonderful assurance that the world ahead of me is so much better than this one that I can’t even compare the two.

These (people named before) all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:13-16, emphasis mine).

Where are you from?

More importantly, where are you going?