Living the Wet Life

One of my favorite pastimes is swimming laps at our nearby community pool.  Early morning is my favorite and when possible bringing an inspirational book and a cup of coffee or water.

woman swimming

After swimming a few laps and treading water, as well as greeting other swimmers, relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair and reading is delightful.  Usually it is easy for me to shut out the activities and conversations of those around me. But not always.

Kids playing “Marco Polo” and other water games often get a bit rowdy until told by parents to “calm down”.  Conversations between youngsters and their siblings can be interesting, as are interactions between children and parents.  Most children especially enjoy playing in the water with their mom and dad.  Some children wistfully watch as parents of other kids join in the fun, while theirs do not.

After finding a set of 5 squirt guns on sale, I offered them to my granddaughters.  Three brothers arrived at the pool and noticed the squirt guns.  “Wow, first time I ever saw girls with so many squirt guns,” the oldest loudly said.  Soon all had one to use and they played well for a long time at the end of the pool.

kids at pool

One warm evening last summer, a large family including a mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins played energetic games of volleyball.  All the other swimmers at the pool were invited to join in. It was very inter-generational, as well as inclusive. Surprisingly, not even the oldest people at the pool complained.  It was refreshing to see such fun among several ages. It doesn’t happen often enough.

pool volleyball
I live two blocks from the beach and one block from our pool, and have found being near the water soothes my soul.  It is a good place to pray and think.

Jesus often walked along the Sea of Galilee as he taught his disciples. He even prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them.

Once when His disciples thought they were lost in a sudden, strong storm, Jesus walked across the sea to help them.

Jesus taught us how to live ‘the wet life.

woman by ocean

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Maria’s Main Message

One day back in the late sixties, my friend, Lois, called to ask if I was free that evening.  I am so glad I was, as she invited me, and my 9 year old daughter, Pammy,  to attend a talk by Maria Von Trapp.  She was appearing at nearby Triton College.  Of course, I did have to explain to Pammy that we were not going to see and hear Julie Andrews and she did understand that.  Sound of Music had become her favorite movie, next to Mary Poppins.

Maria was entertaining and even more remarkably inspiring.  She had her audience laughing and singing.  Many were students of this community college but most were fans of Baroness Maria Von Trapp, coming from all around the western suburbs of Chicago.  Even back then, before it became “politically correct” not to mix religion with public events, Maria did not allow the fact she was not in a church to prevent her from giving a very inspiring faith message.

I can still see her now, dynamically and boldly proclaiming how important it is for every person to “know and to do the Will of God.”  She pointed out how, when she had been planning to be a nun and was sent on a temporary, short time assignment to teach children who had lost their mother, she was guided to seek what God’s Will was.

Maria discovered God’s Will was for her to become stepmother of these seven children, and not to be a nun. It is not always easy to know the Will of God, but it is worth seeking. Once we know what He wants us to do, it is important to do it. As Maria herself said ” to know and to do the will of God”.

dm

 

Funny Farm . . . Or A Winter Wonderland?

Living in the North Woods of Wisconsin was exciting, exhausting and challenging.  It was not easy with three youngsters who were absolutely full of energy and always ‘raring’ to go do something.  Especially during the cold, early winter months, before the snow falls.  We lived on a lake and once it was frozen the fun began.

Until then, however, we all suffered from cabin fever.  Our log home was rustic and not too big.  We played games, read books and did creative art projects. But my children all seemed to have very short attention spans.  Some days I felt like I was at my wit’s end, trying to entertain my family.

family projects
When Its Too Cold To Think Of Being Outside

One day, the wall phone rang and since this was before portable or cell phones, I had to answer it in the kitchen.  Although I did have a very long cord, my ability to watch what the children were doing was limited.  That call was important.  I was trying to listen and sound professional while worrying about what was going on in their play area.  Sure enough, the middle child, my most rambunctious one, had got into mischief.  As I hung up the phone to survey the damage, I muttered, “You guys are going to drive me to the funny farm.”

Big mistake!  Not recommended positive reinforcement.

“Can I go with?  Please?”  My middle son kept begging for a very long time.

“Me, too, me too,” sobbed his younger brother, while their older sister looked confused.    It took much too long to explain. I doubt they ever realized it was just a silly comment.

Finally, a few days later, it began snowing and soon we were  snowed in.  Now we were in a winter wonderland and the fun began.  There was lots to do and the price was right!

man ice fishing

We ice fished for supper and enjoyed healthy hot cocoa out on the lake.  One has to drink it rather fast, of course, before it froze right before our eyes.

young boy ice fishig

Kids Hot Cocoa

So much fun in the snow.  My daughter spent hours building sturdy igloos.  One day I was pulling my young sons on a toboggan across the lake and met another woman walking over to my side. We became lifelong friends.

Then came the day when I suffered from frost bitten toes. Really suffered when I got stuck driving on a stretch of road the snowplow had neglected to clear.  It wasn’t long before Florida began sounding wonderful.  I have been here now 30 years and it is wonderful.

Those memorable days in a winter wonderland are permanently etched in my heart.  My daughter and her family spend a lot of time snowmobiling in Wisconsin and sometimes send me photos.  I enjoy seeing them all bundled up when i am relaxing on the beach or at the pool.

dm

A Grandmother’s Perspective

Several times when my granddaughters were visiting me with their parents, I noticed a recognizable difference between parents and grandparents.  It had to do with the laughter coming from the bathtub when my two youngest granddaughters were supposed to be washing their hair and scrubbing their knees.

“How sweet,”  I thought, enjoying listening to their playful fun. But then. . .

“Girls, you are making too much noise.  I have a headache,” their dad called to them.

“Just get your hair washed and get in bed,” chimed in their mom.

Silence!

Then, rather sadly, I remembered times years ago when my own two little boys were having pillow fights in their bedroom, laughing instead of falling asleep.

pillowfight

”Boys, get to sleep now. It has been a very long day.  I am so tired.”  I would firmly call from my bedroom.  Usually I needed to repeat myself.

“But Mom, we are not tired.”

“Well, I am.”

Finally, silence!

Amazing how, now that I am much older, kids laughing in the evening is music to my ears.

I suspect I’m not alone in acquiring a fondness for children’s laughter later in life.

dm

Not Just Hope So . . . Rather Believe So!

 In her post,  It’s Personal, seasoned blogger, Rebekah Beene, wrote, “The King has heard your petition.  You are not whispering ‘hope so’s’ into the atmosphere.  You have an audience with the only living God.”

Over and over in the written Word of God, believers are assured that God hears our prayers.  Yes, we have probably been reminded that His answer may be yes, no or not yet.  Many times in my life, friends have reminded me, ‘delay is not denial’.   Difficult as it is, trusting that the answer to our prayer may take many days, weeks, months or even years is not easy.  Yet, a certain peace often comforts us as we ‘keep the faith’.

There are even times when, as we wait, our mind changes and we realize the particular prayer request we so fervently repeated, is no longer what we really want.  In fact, we may be very glad that prayer was answered a definite “no.” We don’t always know what is right for us so oftentimes we may pray for things that would hinder not help, harm not heal. However there is a promise in scripture that can solve the problem of what is and is not the best for us. Psalm 37:4  says ” Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. Now that is an entirely different idea than us tossing prayers up and seeing how things turn out.

Notice it does not say ” I will give you the desires of your heart, then you can delight yourself in me” . No it actually means that when we draw close to the Lord, or delight ourselves in Him, He WILL give us the desires of our heart. Why though are we guaranteed the desires of our hearts if we ” delight” or draw close to Him? It is because when we walk closely with Him, the desires of our heart will line up with the desires of His. That is the secret. It is not about heaving endless prayers to see what hits and what does not. It is about staying so close to the Lord that we know what to pray and when we pray our prayers will be answered.

Watchman Nee put it something like this- we walk in close with fellowship with Him, the Spirit Impresses upon us those things we are to pray, or those people we are to pray for, and God answers those prayers. It is a matter of discipline to stay close to the Lord so we can hear His voice through the Spirit. It is a matter of obedience to then pray for those things we know to pray.

Save some time and energy and find out what He is thinking before you pray. You are likely to have more answered prayer, and that’s a promise!

DM

The Right Power

I always look forward to those fun summer times when I am blessed to have a grandchild or two spend a week with me.  I try to stock up on ice cream, frozen pizzas, and apples to eat at our community pool.

One year stands out, though, as especially memorable.  The Sunday afternoon, just before my two preteen grandchildren and their one year old sister arrived, my lights went out.  No power, meaning no lights, air conditioning, refrigeration or television.  After checking my fuse box several times, I called Florida Power and Light.  They assured me it was not their problem. . .  it had to be mine.   But no one could identify what was my problem and our fun time was here.  Deciding to make the best of it, we went to the pool.  We ate up all the ice cream that evening.  The next day we again went to the pool, with  apples, chips and water.  We enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and crackers.  Several times that day I also called FPL but they continued to insist it was not their problem,

Vacation Bible School began at five that Monday evening.  I was a member of a very new congregation, and our church council had decided to offer a free cookout each evening, inviting families in the neighborhood to attend and meet our members.  It worked great for us as it solved our ‘no power to cook’ problem.  The food was great and all seemed to have a nice time.

The theme for their first ever week long evening Vacation Bible School was “Wonder Working Power.”  That touched home to us, for sure.  (Of course, we all sang the song, ‘Power in the Name of Jesus’, which included the words “Wonder Working Power” enthusiastically, but it meant even more to us that week.)  So every afternoon that week, we showered up with cool water after a fun day at the pool and enjoyed a cookout at Church before an exciting Vacation Bible School class.

Friday evening, my son and daughter-in-law came to watch the final program, and took my grandchildren home.   As I drove home alone, a feeling of relief overcame my loneliness, now that the grand kids were back home.  The week had gone very well.  But it was now time to face reality. Something had to be done about my electric power.

As I pulled into my subdivision, our security guard said, “There are three FPL trucks behind your house.  Evidently several of their lines broke into the wooded common grounds there.”  Finally, they realized it was their problem, not mine!  By the time I walked into my house, lights were back on, refrigerator chilling and ceiling fans cooling..

Although the children and I had a wonderful week together, it would have been nice to have our air conditioning working.  As I let the air out of the air mattresses we had used to sleep outside on the screened porch (to get a few cool breezes), I found myself singing. “There is power, power, wonder working power, in the precious blood of the Lord.”  (The kids and I had sang that catchy, peppy song all week and it was stuck in my mind.)

By now, I was really tired but very grateful the week had been fun and no one got hurt. As I climbed into bed, I thanked God for providing His mighty power in the midst of our outage.

DM