Monday, June 29, 2015

June’s Big Lessons

I learned some things in June.

When you’re a middle child, you’re not cute like the baby and you’re not in charge like the oldest.  I won’t go so far as saying you’re overlooked, but it still happens that when you do open your mouth to share, the rest of them start talking over you like you are not there.  That’s what happened one night at dinner with my family while I was in Chicago. The dynamics kicked in and soon I was overshadowed by the rest all talking at once and not listening to me.  I don’t like it when they do that, but this time I did not quietly retreat into my shell.  I called them on it.  They heard!  Every eye was on me as they told me to finish my story; I told them I didn’t want to now.  (All of a sudden I was ten again!)  Of course, I finished my *wonderful* story!  When my daughter heard about this, she shouted “It’s about time, mom!”   I’m wondering if there is a proverb somewhere for the middle child syndrome.  I just haven’t found it yet!  So in June, I learned to speak up for myself.  

I learned that the Lithuanian language is beautiful.  One Saturday morning, we placed our Wal-Mart purchases in the trunk; the family that parked next to us did the same as they conversed in their foreign language.  As we pulled away from the parking lot, I mentioned how beautiful the Italian language sounds.  Tom corrected me, “They were speaking Lithuanian!”  He would know; his mom’s mom lived with them when he was a child and did not speak English.  I only wish he would speak it for me.  He told me he will not speak in tongues.  Wise guy.

I learned that relationships are still the best gift you can give to another person.  Our oldest truly gets this concept and took her dad on a two-day road trip down Route 66 for Father’s Day.  I loved hearing how much they laughed and enjoyed making a special memory together.  She’s investing in the right thing.

I learned how to make an apricot tart.  I still have apricots from my tree; they’re delicious this year!  The recipe was awesome and made enough for a large tart and smaller one to give away.  You can view recipe here.

I had opportunities to learn the spiritual lesson of obedience in June.  I learned that you don’t have to plan what you will say or do, just go when God says: “Go!”   He truly does take care of the details.  Then He gets the glory for all the good stuff that follows.  And then I look back and say “Wow, God.  You did amazing things!”

That is what I learned in June!  Name something you learned in June.
Linking up with Emily Freeman What We Learned in June.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Tale of Two Women

For God so loved the world
That He gave His One and Only Son
 That whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

This is a tale of two women.  One is rich and the other is poor.  You have to guess which one is the rich one.

My girlfriend, Marge, lives in a ritzy suburb west of Chicago. Her lawyer-investor husband did well and when he passed away, she inherited his successful business.  Her kids help run the business but her phone rings often and she makes important decisions.

Marge’s phone rang when I met up with her for breakfast.  She’s quick and bright so it’s not a big deal.  After breakfast, Marge offered to take me home.  She stopped at our favorite craft store.  When it comes to paper crafts, she’s my girl.  We had a blast looking at everything and she, again, shared helpful tips. 

Marge got off the expressway and took the scenic back roads pointing out several businesses and buildings that she owns.  I thought to myself, “If I owned just one of them I could get my nails done regularly!” 

We passed the Christian mega church and I exclaimed:  “Oh, I would love to attend one of their services someday.”  Marge told me she is not impressed with that church because like most Christian churches these days, they have become businesses not real churches.

We weren’t hungry at lunchtime, but I agreed to appetizers and Marge  pulled into a nice sports bar.  We sat outside on the patio.  When our ice tea arrived, I toasted to our friendship:  “May we always be close friends even in eternity.”  Marge responded with:  “Mary, what if I don’t believe in HeavenHow do you know it really exists?”  I told Marge that Heaven is in the Bible and that I wasn’t aware that the Bible wasn’t her benchmark for truth.  You can just imagine the rest of our conversation. 

Marge got a text message that required her signature on a document.  I get text messages too.  Most of mine are prayer requests.  The grand kids had pink eye just before I left and I’m close to a young vet suffering from PTSD, and he tried to commit suicide three weeks ago. Important updates call for my attention to pray, immediately.

I hated to see our fun morning end.  Marge and I are living proof that a Jesus lovin’ conservative and a New Age Liberal can hang together and survive.  Honestly we like each other, a lot!

Did you guess who the rich woman is?  Yeah, it’s me. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Back in the Middle Again

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
Sara Swank

There’s nothing like a trip back into the past to stir up my neurosis.  Is anybody else out there a “Middle Child?”

I just got back from Chicago and I can’t help but smile.  I witnessed amazing things.   My brothers spoiled me and I felt like a princess.  “Whisper your wishes and we’ll make them come true,” they said; and they did!    A fat princess at that because of all the deep dish pizza and wet Italian beef sandwiches I wished for and got.


My first day in town started off with a bang.  You know how bloggers are when we get to meet with one another in person.

I go crazy.

It’s one thing to connect with our words and understand with our hearts but then to be able to hug and chat in person is the ultimate best. 

Ceil from the popular blog, Surrounded by theSpirit Connecting the Everyday to the Divine, is loving and considerate.  She was gracious to answer all of my many questions when we met for coffee.  She lives in a close proximity to my youngest brother and found a Starbucks nearby making it all very easy for me.  I wonder if that’s why I enjoyed my visit out there so much because it was jump started with encouragement from meeting up with Ceil?  She is a cute sister in the Lord; we had a fun time!  I feel like I’ve known her for years.  When I got back to the house, family asked: “Did you meet with your friend?  How was it?”  They could tell I enjoyed my time with her by the glow on my face!

I’m use to being in the middle, and I like being in the center of my brothers.  They had big smiles on their faces (me too) because we missed each other.  When I’m with them, I miss my dad.  They look like him, talk and walk like him.  They’re kind like him.  Every day with them was special!

They took me out on the town.  But before we got into the big city, we drove past our childhood home and reminisced together.  It’s fun to hear their memories and to share mine.

I grouped my photos together to make viewing easy and fast.   Have you ever been to the Botanical Gardens in Northbrook?  Greenery drenched this parched desert dweller, especially in the Japanese Gardens.   We posed for pictures in front of the waterfall.    We saw a wedding party hamming it up.   And I saw a lilac bush in full bloom; smells from childhood. 

I showed my nephew this photo of an old church I took in the city.  He said it is the oldest church in Chicago, St. Patrick's.  Interesting.

One night as we all sat around the dinner table, we discussed just how three years ago, my sister-in-law, Bonnie, fell and sustained two aneurysms and a stroke.  We rejoiced that Bonnie pulled through and although she is still seeing doctors regularly, she improves!

I remember when I worried out loud and my on-line friends consoled me and helped me pray.   Bonnie is seated next to my brother, Denny, in this photo. 

My prayer for this family is to know just how personal God is and how much He loves them.    I opened up the topic of faith and also politics, but the debate with my big bro wasn’t a healthy one.   I made the others tense.  I guess we’ve come a long way from the days he would take me to the corner drug store, lift me up on the counter seat and buy me a cherry coke and tug at my pigtails. Now I just get “You watch too much Fox News.”

Outside of that though, I was a gracious house guest!

I’m close to my younger brother, a passionate Christian man, and our times of fellowship and prayer were powerful.  God gave me a very special word to pray over him on his birthday while I was there!

We’re like any other family with our differences and issues!  I like our family.  We choose to keep loving each other despite our imperfections.

When I arrived at my sister’s, she was depressed from so much physical pain.  I still am amazed at our prayer time together and the miraculous breakthrough she received as we uncovered some things that the Holy Spirit revealed to us.  Her smiles now make me smile!  Her faith in God inspires me.  I helped her with her necklace.  You know things are going well when a girl puts on her pearls!

I close with this quote:

What can you do to promote world peace?
Go home and love your family.
Mother Theresa