Saturday, March 21, 2009

Special Day number 3

Ok, here's the last of my special days for least the known special days. Of course Papa gives me special days each day I wake up and see the world around me. But these are special calendar days. Today was our anniversary. Yes, this means that Dodi does all his shopping in one week each year. We start the week with Little Critter's birthday (see special Day number 1), then three days later is my birthday (see special day number 2) and then three days later we have our anniversary. Folks laughingly ask how we managed to arrange things this way, but I assure you it was a G-d thing! Even the anniversary was set by Him. Dodi wanted a December wedding, I wanted a June wedding......the only time we could get the church to be married in was in March. So we married in March. And it just so happens, our anniversary always falls during Spring Break, so we don't have to worry about work the next day for Dodi. (I often have to work the next day since it always falls during tax season, but my boss is great so it's never a problem.) This year, our 17th anniversary, Boss gave me both Friday and Saturday off. And since the office is closed on Sundays, I got a three day holiday from work!! Too cool during tax season!!!
Since our anniversary also fell on Shabbot, we enjoyed a very relaxed and enjoyable day. We started the day with a treat for breakfast....we had cinnamon rolls. We usually don't eat them (although we all love them) due to Dodi being diabetic. But we ate them this morning. Then after watching some Christian cartoons with Little Critter, we went to the local feed store and got the last of the seedlings/seeds for the garden, and spent some time out in Papa's gloriously beautiful sunshine planting same. Now I realize the Torah says we're to do no work on the Shabbot. But we don't consider gardening's fun and relaxing for us. We enjoy it. We get to spend time together as a family, we each have our sections of the garden we're responsible for and often compete to see who's able to keep the weeds out of their section the best. (Yes, even Little Critter has his own couple rows he has to weed...and he really does a pretty good job for a 9 yo squirrly boy!) After we'd planted, we watered the whole garden (here in Texas we're still in the midst of a several year drought.) Then we ate some lunch, took a rest, and spent the afternoon playing in our own ways. Little Critter of course was outside making an incredible amount of noise and running all over the place. Dodi rearranged his wood shop and played with some of his woods and tools. I was a lazy bum and watched a Christian movie for a bit, then read a little bit. Later, we took the cabbage from Shabbot dinner over to Pawpaw and visited with Nana and Pawpaw before going to dinner. All in all, it wasn't romantic, exciting, or even expensive as anniversaries go. But it was relaxing, refreshing and family oriented. Dodi told me he felt that as long as we were together, doing things as a team, and enjoying ourselves, it was a wonderful anniversary. I agree with him. Candle-light dinners at expensive restaurants in fancy clothing and extreme bills are nice.....but really not that necessary. Instead, while gardening, we dreamed of the things we'd like to do to our home, our garden, things we'd like to do after tax season, after school ends, sometime this year, this lifetime....what we'd like to see in Little Critter's life, his character....we talked, and we talked and we enjoyed each other. I think we had a better anniversary than if we'd spent lots of money on an evening out. Besides, tomorrow, we're to have lunch with friends. How could we ask for more? Papa reminded me today thru my beloved Dodi, that I'm loved for who I am, not for how I look ,(and trust me after 20 minutes in the garden in the sun...I don't look too good!!!!) , that His/his love for me isn't predicated on what I have, but on what I am, and that His/his love for me is lasting....even unto the end of time. It was a blessed day and I am grateful to have experienced it. I pray each of my readers gets to experience this kind of love. And that you'll find the love letters from Papa in your lifes. Shalom, Joie

Special days number 2

Well, it's been a busy week....hence the delay in posting all week. My last post I got to explain how Little Critter had a wonderful and fun birthday. Well, Wednesday, the 18th, was my birthday. And no, I won't devulge my age!! And Noah didn't graduate in my class!!!! (I think he was 2 years ahead of me.......hehehehehe) But moving on.....
I had to work at the tax office. But it was fun. I started the morning with getting up quietly to let Dodi and Little Critter sleep. (Dodi is on spring break from school and getting to share the joy of homeschooling Little Critter this week. It's been an education for him.....poor darling.) As I get ready to leave the house, suddenly I have Little Critter wrapped around my waist, a cat around my foot and both of them crying "No, Mommy, don't go!" As I peeled them both off my body, explaining I had to go into work and would be back later, the clock rang the time...I was now late. Rats! After some good hearted ribbing at work, the day went uneventfully. The boss took me out for lunch which was quite pleasant (not to mention unexpected!) and complemented me on the job I've done for him. Then I got to leave early so was home a little after 2:00pm. (usually work until 6:00 or later!) So I took a bubble bath and soaked until my toes turned pruney!!!! It was SO decadent for me. Deep sigh of contentment. Later the boys took me to dinner and we went to church where they sang Happy Birthday to me. But the best part was the cards I got from my boys. Dodi's was really nice, even saying I was the best of the fine women in the world! I told him he didn't have to go overboard!!!! But Little Critter's card really surprised and startled me! He's been picking his own cards for years now....he carefully reads each card and chooses on his own what card he's going to sign for someone else to receive. The card he chose starts out with " Mother, (something he NEVER calls me) You're loved and appreciated"....then it goes on to explain how children don't realize the difficulties of being a parent, the special things done for the child, the worry and concern for their welfare, the love demonstrated in a gazillion little ways. And he signed it "Mommy, you're the best Mom....Love Little Critter". It was such an adult type card, I even questioned him later as to whether or not he understood what it said. He informed me " Mom, (his new name for me....seldom calls me Mommy anymore....sniff, sniff) I know what the card means you do lots of stuff for me that I don't really realize and that you do it all because you love me. And one day I'll do the same for my kids and they won't realize either till they grow up." OK, pick me up off the floor!!!!! I plan to frame and mount this card, folks. Such wonderful, blessing words from a newly 9 year old! Boy does Papa love me. He spoke directly thru this precious child to let me know my attempts to show His love had been seen, understood and appreciated. Wooo. I am SO blessed. Then later after the boys were in bed, I found I had a bazillion birthday ecards from friends and family out of town. I went to bed with tears in my eyes and my heart full of the love showered on me....Papa blessed me with a great family, an awesome Little Critter, and more friends than should be legal....and His Own love. I pray you each find His love letters to you each day my friends. They'll blow your socks off you! Shalom, Joie

Friday, March 20, 2009

Special days number 1

Well, last Sunday it Little Critter had his 9th birthday. He's no longer Mommy's Little Critter. Sniff, sniff. He's now becoming Mommy's Young Man Critter. Yuck, I don't even like to say that!!!! Although I'm hit with the reality of it everyday now.....he's almost 5 ft tall and he's just turned 9! To keep this in perspective, I stand 5 ft 3 inches if I stand really straight!!!! Surely it was only last week we brought him home from the hospital....gracious, how quickly the time flies! (and yes, we are having least most of the time! ;-)
He was a bit cranky when we started the day with a simple Happy Birthday Little Critter. And then told him to stop dawdling and get ready for church. He got more excited when he got a card and money from one of the men at church. Then he asked if we were going out to eat lunch afterwards and we said no, we'd just go home and eat leftovers from Shabbot the night before. Deep and heavy sigh from Little Critter. We could almost see the bubble above his head reading "It's my birthday!!!! Aren't we going to do ANYTHING out of the ordinary?!?! Where's my cards, and gifts and lavous attention?!?!?!?!" Poor Dodi and I were having a hard time maintaining ourselves. We managed to keep it together till we got home. While we'd been at church, Dear Cousin had been quite busy on our behalf. When Little Critter went in to change his clothes after church, he was met by a new grown up type desk, a computer of his own, and a raspberry chocolate crumble cake! It was wonderful seeing his joy and surprise. Now, before one thinks we went on a serious shopping spree.....I mean after all we are a single income family! The desk is the desk MY father (Pawpaw) built for me when I turned 10. (Yes, Gayle, that makes it an antique! LOL!) And the 'new' computer is really built by Dear Cousin out of various and assundry was a 10 year old computer Dear Cousin gutted and rebuilt with new parts. Pawpaw donated the computer and monitor for the celebration. Dodi cleaned up and did some minor repair work on the desk, and I made the cake. All in all, Little Critter (who later got more money from family and friends) felt the day was a wonderful birthday. We also gave him an extra of thanks for the blessing he's been to us. Then we snuggled on the couch and watched movies for the was cold, wet and yucky outside. So we made precious memories inside instead. What a joy. For those of you who have 'littles'....enjoy them. I know it's hard when they're little. You have no time to/for yourself. But trust me, that time passes SO quickly. Treasure the time you have with your littles while you can, it's over in a heartbeat. So my love letter today (the 15th) came in the form of a little boy quickly turning into a young man and the bitter sweet tug at my heart. As much as I love Little Critter, Papa loves him more. What an amazing thing. That I can feel some of what Papa feels when He sees Little Critter. Wow! Yes, the job of mother is amazing. Be blessed my friends. Shalom, joie

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Purim 2009

Well, my little group of kids from children's church did a presentation for the adults at church tonight. They read a children's version of the story of Esther for the adults and then passed out baskets for tzedacka (offering for the poor) and little paper plate baskets of goodies that Little Critter and I baked for the adults to enjoy. It was HYSTERICAL!!!! The youngest child, a 5 yr old, stood there thru the entire thing mumbling to himself...."I don't want to do this. mumble, mumble, I can't read this.....mumble, mumble,...I don't want to party....mumble, mumble...." He was SO funny! The girls didn't show up, so one of the other teachers played Esther for us, while I was Queen Vasti. Unfortunately, I got killed in the first 3 minutes.....boohoo! LOL! I'm hoping I can get the picture to show up here....Wohoo! I did it!!! The child bending over is Little Critter. The littlest one is the 5 yr old who mumbled all thru it, the boy with his back to us is Mordicai and the woman kneeling down is Esther. (Little Critter was Hamon. He was worried that it would hurt the other kids feelings to have everyone booing them all the time.I was SO proud of him!) The kids made the masks last week and we talked about how we'd do this presentation. But when it came time to actually do it, only the three boys showed up. And one of them is a visitor! Now, he comes regularly to visit his Grandma, but isn't there all the time. Only 5-6 times a year. He did a great job hamming it up as Mordicai. He was a hoot! Little Critter did most of the reading (until the King has him killed) because reading is hard for Mordicai and King Xerses can't read yet. When Hamon (Little Critter) got killed, Esther read the last paragraph or so. The boys were SO proud of themselves and the congregation clapped and laughed and booed Hamon like pros. It was great. My littles are beginning to understand that they're all Esthers...placed by Papa in the places they're placed for such a time as this. Just as we all are. Do you realize that, dear friends? We're all Esthers, placed where we are to fulfill the plan Papa made for us before the beginning of the world. There's something you do that no one else can do as well as you. There's a person waiting for you to share the love of Papa with them, or a widow waiting for you to visit them, or a poor person that needs the help that only you can give them. I pray that as we celebrate Purim for real the next couple days, that you will realize how important you are to Papa and to His plan for this world. You've been placed here, for just such a time as this! Rejoice in your place and fulfill His plan for you with all the love in your heart. Then you can bless Papa! How cool is that!?!?! Well, it's probably time for me to go....Pesach (Passover) comes up soon and I have lots of work to do before then. Be blessed, and Happy Purim! Joie

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Shabbot Shalom

Shabbot Shalom, my friends. For those who don't celebrate Shabbot....I'm sorry. I'm sitting here listening to some awesome Messianic music (Praise Adonai at the moment) and feeling so peaceful! I had planned to fix baked salmon for Shabbot dinner tonight, but last night as I was checking to see what was on hand, I discovered I didn't have any salmon steaks to fix!!!! After a momentary panic, I decided to allow Papa to tell me what to fix. When the temps reached almost 80 today, I chose a cold plate dinner. So we had smoked salmon (which we all love and I try to always have on hand), deli roast beef (sliced paper thin!) and a hearty beef sausage that Dodi loves. Then we added a veggie tray with yellow bell pepper, broccoli from the garden, grape tomatoes (for Dodi), green onions, cucumber (for Little Critter) and baby carrots (for me!).. We also had a fresh lettuce/spinach salad with dried fruits, walnuts, eggs and cheese in it, olives, fresh basil, horseradish, and a fruit tray with grapefruit slices, cantelope, watermelon, green grapes and fresh blueberries. When you add in some crackers, 4 kinds of cheese and fresh (like still warm from the oven) challah, it was a feast!! And for dessert, I made some little mini tarts with store bought philo cups filled with a cream cheese/yogurt mix and fresh fruit. We prayed for each other, our guests, those that couldn't be here tonight (yes, Ben....that means you Sweetie), and our leaders. Then we had a blast just telling stories of growing up in our respective families. Even Little Critter joined in the discussion and told stories about his growing up years....all 8 of them. (It was so funny, we all had trouble not laughing as he talked as though he was ancient! Smiley face) I'm now sitting here relaxing, enjoying the cool of the evening, and listening to the music. What a blessing Shabbot is! Sunday, the week will begin again, and no doubt will be full of events that will try to wipe out this feeling of peace, joy and rest. But that's OK. I know that next Friday, we'll have preparation day and at sundown, Shabbot will begin again. When the week's trials try to drag me down, I just turn on my music, and relax in my Papa's lap. I wish you each could experience this peace, and rest. Well, tomorrow Little Critter and I will get to make groggers (kinda like noise makers at New Year's) for the children's Purim celebration at church Sunday night. The kids love Purim....lots of noise, colors and of course, food! So I better get ready for bed before it's time for me to go to work.....I pray you each experience Papa's peace, rest and joy this week my friends. Shabbot Shalom, (Sabboth peace) Joie

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where did the time go?!?!

This past week our other church we attend had an evangelist come visit for several days. He was from South Carolina and the cutest little skinny red head! But he preached without fear. It was cool listening to his Southern drawl and his questions for things we regularly say that made no sense to him. Anyway, after we'd gone and listened to a couple of his services, he gave an altar call (as he did after each service I'm told. I missed a couple of services due to work...booo) and imagine my surprise when I felt a cold spot beside me where Little Critter had been standing! Now, Little Critter professed his faith in Yeshua years ago when he was either 4 or 5....he was watching The DJ Club and when they talked about accepting Yeshua, he did! But while we were thrilled, we also wanted to see what happened when he was old enough to really better understand the implications of what he'd just done. Obviously, last Saturday, he understood. He walked up there with no prompting from either Dodi or me and told Brother Jeff he wanted Yeshua in his heart. (OK, this mommy knew he already HAD Yeshua in his heart, but wasn't going to belabor the point!) As he stood up there, I was almost shocked at how tall he'd gotten. And how broad his shoulders were getting...and how he no longer looked like a little boy, but somehow on that short walk seemed to have grown into an attractive young man. While he answered the questions of faith in a clear strong voice, I was shocked at how grown up he sounded! Good Grief! My Little Critter is growing into a young man!?!?! When did THAT happen????? How did I sleep thru this metamorphosis??????? He's not quite a butterfly yet, but he's also not a cute little wormy, squirmy caterpillar either. Ye gads! Does that make him a grub??? Perhaps. But before I gross myself out with this analogy, I know that when we finish the grub stage, he'll be an incredible butterfly. I've seen signs of the man he'll be, and while there's still plenty of rough edges to work on, for the most part, it appears the shape is there and is only in need of some serious polishing. Then I realized, he'll be 9 years old in two weeks. NINE YEARS OLD?!?! No, time can't be flying by that fast....can it? That means that we only have 4 more years before he'll have our version of a Bar Mitzvah. Only 4 years before he's responsible for his words, actions and is considered a young man! Deep and heavy sigh. My little wormy, squirmy, giggly, darling boy is far too rapidly becoming a young man who will far too quickly become a grown man. Oh, I understand more fully the bitter sweetness of things stored in Mary's heart as she watched her little darling baby become the man Hasheem planned for Him to be since the creation of the world. While I'm proud of Little Critter and the young man he's becoming, I find myself often missing those 2 am cuddles while I fed him, or the giggles and laughter as we took showers together when he was 2 and 3, or the exuberance we felt when he learned to blow bubbles for himself. The excitement and pride we both felt when he learned to read for himself. I miss that trust that he'd come to me with his little booboo's for me to 'kiss and make better'. I realize I'll have some more time to gather my sweet memories to treasure later, but oh, how grateful I am that Papa led Dodi and I to home school Little Critter. I can't imagine the pain of missing so much of the last several years that most parents miss. But for the life of me I can't figure out where the time went? Oh my friends, I pray you treasure each moment you have with your children and grandchildren while they're little. Those times that so often feel like they'll last forever.....don't. They end entirely too quickly. And one day soon, you'll be like me, wondering where DID the time go? Treasure those darlings you have like our Papa treasures us and spend every moment you can with them, teaching them of Papa, loving on them, and watching as they grow. It's an adventure there are no words to describe, but an adventure that has eternal implications. Well, I'd better stop now before I start sniveling....or as Little Critter says "Mom, don't get mushy!". So be blessed this week, and look for those love letters from Papa. Shalom, Joie....who's feeling proud, sad, thrilled and beginning to wonder if this is the beginning of menopause......,again!!!! LOL!

Happy Dancing

Well, what a difference a week makes, huh. After my last post, I was a little concerned that I'd depressed everyone. But not this time! After we got out of church last Sunday, one of the other women in the church was walking out the front door, and noticed something shiney on the sidewalk. She bent down, picked it up and exclaimed "This must be Joie's ring!" And she was correct!!!!! After 6 of us scored that sidewalk, and the grass and searched and searched for it. After the gardner had come thru with the blower cleaning off the sidewalks for church. And after an entire week of plenty of folks walking past it, Papa showed her my little band of love laying on that same sidewalk. Now how wild is that?!?! This church is downtown, there's tons of folks that walk by there all the time. We'd had Fat Tuesday services, Ash Wednesday services (twice, I might add) and then Sunday morning it shows up. Oh squealing with delight. My Papa loves me. I mean He really LOVES me!!!! After I got slobbery about it's return, I quickly shoved, pushed and twisted until I got the little darling on my somewhat swollen finger. Next time it comes off, they'll have to cut it off!!!!!!But it looks so sweet there on that finger! It's kinda amazing how once I admitted that the ring itself wasn't so important, that it was the sentiment behind it, that's when the ring showed up again. You'd think I'd have learned this lesson many years ago....but no. I'm a little slow sometimes about things. Years ago, when I was facing cancer for the 4th or 5th time, I learned that if I'd give it all up. All the dreams, all the wants, all the fears....Papa comes in quietly and almost stealthily to give us all that we just gave up! I pray, my friends, that you'll learn this lesson quicker than I have. When we give it all up for Him, He is trustworthy and faithful to give us the desires of our hearts. Not always in the way we think it should happen, but in ways that are better for us and bless us to a much greater degree than we can imagine. So as you rejoice in your 'rings of love' that surround you, don't be afraid to give up those rings. Knowing for a certainty that Papa will replace them with bigger, better and brighter rings of love. Shalom, Joie