Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Dad

Note: My sister and I wrote our own little article for my Dad and gave it to him for his birthday. Here's mine...

Today, we are celebrating my Dad's birthday! And it's always a challenge to figure out what to get him for a gift because he has everything, and of course, he can buy whatever he wants when he wants it!

So we're buying him dinner and giving him some small gifts he might enjoy - nothing too exciting. But my real gift is to tell him what a gift he is to me.

The idea of writing this came to me a few weeks ago when I had taken my Dad to an appointment for a procedure he was having done. The procedure only took about 20 minutes, and he felt perfectly normal when he was done, but they recommended he have someone to drive him home, so I went along to drive him back home.

Our destination was 30 minutes away, and the appointment was at 1pm. This meant that we'd be driving home right in the middle of rush hour traffic. The smart thing to do is to get on the Fastrack toll lane to bypass the traffic jam. But for me...well, in the past, I've battled anxiety and/or panic attacks when I drive. And the Fastrack is a separate lane on the far left of the freeway, which makes it difficult to "pull over" if you need to. So I usually just sit in traffic, in the slow lane, with the comfort of knowing that I can pull over if I start feeling funky. So I was a little worried that I might have to make my mom and dad sit in traffic for hours to accommodate my anxieties.

But on that day, I felt pretty good. And I feel pretty comfortable with my mom and dad. But still, the thought of the possibility of the panic attack was in the back of my mind. I was a little embarrassed that I might have to tell my Dad, "Uh...I don't wanna feel anxious so I'm gonna make you sit in traffic for a couple of hours. Hope you don't mind".

So I nervously said, "Um.. I cant quite decide if I want to get on the Fastrak or not". I said this to feel them out...to see what they thought. (Yes, I have to do this even though I've known them for 43 years!)

My mom says, "Do whatever you feel comfortable doing. If you feel like getting on the Fastrrak, go ahead, I f you don't feel comfortable, just take the regular freeway."

And she meant that.

My Dad said, "Do whatever you want, Mija. We're in no hurry".

And he meant that.

And you know what? Any feelings of anxiety that I had were removed by the fact that their only concern was for me to feel comfortable. I hopped on the toll lane and felt perfectly fine, because I felt no pressure. The only thing that mattered to them was that I felt ok.

As I thought about that, I realized that their response that day was a pretty accurate representation of them. They are always fully accepting of me and they love me despite all my "issues" and weirdness. All they want is for me to be happy. Total patience. Unconditional acceptance.

I’m 43 years old. I am married. I have two kids. I am in the wonderful position to look at my life and appreciate the really important things. As you probably know, when you are a teenager, you don't always appreciate the things and people you should appreciate.

My sister - she was kind of a mellow sort. Not much trouble. But I'm sure I tried my Dad's patience a lot more since I was a bit more trouble! But I've always known that there was nothing I could do where I couldn't come to my Dad for help.

He is also a great Grandpa. He is funny, wise, loving, generous, patient, forgiving. I know that my boys love him with all their hearts!

Aside from him being a wonderful father and grandfather, I can also say that he is great man. I see people come to him for all kinds of help. I've seen him get taken advantage of. But that never makes him bitter. He keeps on helping people and giving them chances to do better. Since we've lived in CA, my parents' home has been a refuge to a lot of people. Some have appreciated it. Some haven’t'. But they never stop being available to their friends and family.

This is why, when I hear that God is my "father", the image I get is of a loving God who loves me, despite myself. Not everyone can say that.

Just want to say Happy Birthday Dad. I love and appreciate you more than you can ever know!

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Encourages Me

Found an interesting new blog today. Its called In Courage. In the post I read today, the writer talked about having courage and the many "colors" it comes in. In the end, she asked...what encourages you? Usually, I read such things, take a minute, and then go on with my day. Today I am prompted to think a bit harder. And as I do, it becomes an inventory of the blessings I have...

I am encouraged by my husband. Who even though he gets on my nerves by leaving socks in every corner you can imagine, and who has opinions I think are too strong some times - he still is the one who can speak God's Unchanging Truth to me when I've dropped the ball and want to give up. He is unshakable in that way.

I am encouraged by my sister. Who found out she had cancer the week before her wedding. Who has had two miscarriages. She is married to her best friend and finds the things she has gone through as an opportunities to speak God's Rescue to anyone who is willing.

I am encouraged by my friend Gina - who, having endured things in her childhood, and in the difficult beginnings of her marriage, finds herself happily married to same man, who is a new man, and a house full of the most polite children you'll ever meet! the things she's experienced have served to fill her heart with compassion for others. She speaks God's Mercy

I am encouraged by my friend Tracy- who has the gift of faith and exhortation. My most precious memory of her is right before my son was diagnosed with Coats Disease. I went up to the altar for prayer at church and felt gentle hands on my shoulders behind me. I recognized her voice whispering prayers behind me. When I turned she was gone. She had no need for recognition, she simply needed to pray for me. She speaks God's Faithfulness.

I am encouraged by my friend Barbara - who is a quiet and gentle spirit, full of wisdom and experiences. As our friendship grows, I am surprised to discover how we go through similar things. She speaks God's Understanding to me.

I am encouraged by my Mom - who taught me to unclog a sink with Vinegar and Baking soda! (smile!) And even though moms get on our nerves sometime when we are grown mommies ourselves, she's always there when I need her. I know that I could throw up my hands and give up and she'd be there to take care of me and then gently get me going again. She speaks God's Comfort to me.

I am encouraged by my Dad who is the ultimate in generosity. He'd give his last penny to help me if I needed it. He has always been there to help me, even if the trouble I was in was by my own making. Its hard to sum him up in a couple of lines - so let me just say this, he has always been a grand example of God's Unconditional Love.

I could go on and one with this. I scratch my head and wonder why God has placed all these precious people in my life - does He do this with everyone???

What gives YOU courage?

To read the blog that inspired this post go to Incourage.me

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Mid Summer Night's Blog

It's the midpoint of summer vacation, and as you can probably tell from the silence on my blog...I've been busy! So I thought I'd throw a quick blog at you just to say, Yes, I'm still here!

I'd like to share some summer things that either work well for me, or just plain make me happy!

1. Once the hot weather hits, I start wearing sunscreen in place of body lotion. My favorite is "Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 50+" because it has a nice scent and feels light on your skin, not heavy and gooey.

2. Using a light scented body spray over my whole body every day helps me feel better on those really hot and sticky days!

3. Having the kids home equals a messy home. Concentrate on these areas to stay sane: Dishes, Laundry, and Making the beds. Most everything else can wait, and these particular areas go a long way in making you feel like you've got a handle on things.

4. Enjoy your kids! This is a big DUH for most of you. I, on the other hand, try every summer to keep up on things just as I do during the school year. This year, I've whittled the chores down to the few priorities listed in item #3, and made it a point to do something every day with Little Boy. And I'm not talking about anything too complicated, sometimes just buying a pay-per-view and watching a movie together is fun! Now that I'm not thinking about how productive I could be, I'm actually having fun with my kid!

5. Let the kids stay up late! I've been letting Little Boy stay up till 11pm, and as a result, he sleeps till 9:30 or 10am. Since I get up early with hubby (he leaves for work at 6am), I stay up after hubby leaves and enjoy some quiet time watching morning news and sipping coffee. Which leads me to the next item...

6. Try to get most of my quick chores done for the day while Little Boy is still sleeping so I can be ready to hit the day when he's awake!

7. Create a special holiday! We do "Jamba Juice Mondays". We went to Jamba Juice on one Monday at the beginning of the summer, and Little Boy said, "We should do this every Monday!" So we have!

8. Refuse to use the oven during summer. The oven really heats up the house and with the cost of electricity, I don't want the AC to work too hard! I make a vow every Summer that I will not use the oven, and I don't! I've even converted some "oven recipes" to work on the skillet or toaster oven.

9. Here's something I just plain love about summer: Dragonflies! I love when they make their appearance! They are such beautiful little graceful creatures!

10. Well, I actually couldn't think of another thing, but I wanted to end on an even number! So let's just say that my Number TEN favorite thing about summer is blogging about my favorite summer things/tips!

Enjoy the rest of your vacation!!!