Today I turn 41 and I am so thankful to be 41. I am not scared, embarrassed, or nervous about being 41. My days are numbered and I see each one as another opportunity to glorify God, apologize, fix my wrongs, make steps forward, love my family, serve those whom God puts in my path, make a difference in the lives of those God crosses my path with, and grow in my relationship with my heavenly Father and those around me. Overnight I have come to realize I am an older woman God speaks of in Titus 2. I am not the oldest woman but I am definitely not the youngest. I am still learning. Yet I can encourage. A wise woman once told me that I would always be an older woman to my girls and I have enjoyed encouraging them but I now also know that as I move in and out of seasons of my mothering, I am not to neglect those coming behind me. Sitting here on my birthday, I have 41 random thoughts.
#41~Pizza is always better with an ice cold Coke. Not Coke Zero. Not Diet Coke. Not Cherry Coke. And definitely NOT Pepsi. There it's off my chest.
#40~Babies won't always be babies. Be with them while they are. Love them. Hold them. Sing to them. They won't always be up in the middle of the night. Try to treasure those moments. Pray for them when you feel like you don't have an ounce left. Funny how a prayer to the Creator of life, can put just enough fuel in the tank to take the next moment with patience.
#39~An hour run in the dark is better than just one more hour of sleep. I never regret a run but I have always regretted trading one for sleep.
#38~Having a teenage son is a great thing. It doesn't have to be an "Oh you just wait" kind of time. Do your teaching and training way before he has to look down at you to look at you and it can be a joy.
#37~As a piggy back to number #38....even when you think you have disciplined your toddler for the same thing 15 times in one day.....discipline your toddler for the same thing 15 times in one day if that is what is needed for him to learn. It's ok to say, "I love you but you may not behave this way." Don't ever stop teaching and training.
#36~Even when you don't feel like you are, be a brick wall. Say it out loud. Your kids need you to be a brick wall and one day they may thank you for it.
#35~Don't count to three. Take care of their behavior before you say 1. Cars don't care if you are only on number 2 when they run over a runaway child in the street, fire is as hot on 1 as it will be on 3, a knife is just as sharp on 1, and a pool is just as deep. If your child can obey by "2 1/2...you better come here," they can obey the first time. Teach your children first time obedience. Your requests don't always have the luxury of waiting until 3.
#34~Get up with your husband to see him off to work. No one likes to walk around a dark quiet house.
#33~On that note, smile at him when he walks in the door...and a genuine one at that. It's amazing what a smile conveys...even if your day has been hard. Chances are...his was hard too.
#32~Clean feet before getting into bed makes you sleep better...a whole bath is better but at the very least, the feet. Not sure if this is a proven fact, but I can not go to bed with dirty feet.
#31~I bleed maroon. Texas A&M is my favorite place on earth.
#30~The sound of a jet spooling up can make me cry.
#29~There's not much sweeter than a child's prayer.
#28~When you do have to discipline your children, make sure you always tell them you are only doing it because you care about the young man/woman they become. Say, "I love you too much to let you behave this way." The Bible says that a parent that doesn't discipline, hates their child. I want them to know, they are my job. It is my job to teach and train them.
#27~It's my job to work myself out of a job.
#26~When your sons do something helpful or kind, tell them how much one day their wife will love and appreciate them when they do that.
#25~Teach your girls that a lady never purposely draws attention to herself.. in the way she dresses, acts, talks, etc.
#24~Teach your girls to make kissing knees when they sit down, to have self-control, and to speak like a lady. Never buy them a dress that they can't sit like a lady...even if they are sitting like a lady.
#23~Sometimes a bowl of "fun cereal" at night is the perfect end to a hard day.
#22~Teach your boys and girls how to clean a bathroom, make a simple meal, do laundry.
#21~Boys should hold doors open for girls, older people, ....and generally anyone.
#20~Children should look adults in their eyes when they are speaking to them and should not interrupt an adult conversation. You don't have to teach them yes ma'am and no sirs, but please teach them not to say, "Yea."
#19~I love to see red-faced, sweaty boys working in yards to earn summer money. It teaches them responsibility and not to shy away from hard work.
#18~Home should be a child's safe place to land...and your man's.
#17~Baseball games and dance recitals are more fun to watch if you see your own sweet faces up there.
#16~My love and appreciation for my mother grows with every passing day and moment.
#15~Coffee is God's gift to my mornings. Even better coffee and my Bible on my front porch in the fall. I love it.
#14~My marriage was instantly sweeter, stronger, and more fun once I learned that every thought in my head doesn't have to come out of my mouth. I'm busy teaching my 14 year old the same thing.
#13~I secretly love my June Bug. Thanks to my little sister Megan.
#12~A run is so much more fun with your oldest sister.
#11~God has blessed me with four best friends in my life (not counting my sisters or hubby)....one when I was 6, one my sophomore year at A&M, one when we started TBS and one in our first squadron. One has passed away, one forgave me for a stupid choice of mine in high school and our friendship is stronger because of it, one walked me through every moment of college, and one just gets me, still. I don't talk to any of them near enough but when we do, it's like we never missed a day.
#10~I love making cookies.
#9~Yellow cake and chocolate frosting can only truly be enjoyed with your three sisters. Just once in your life, lick the frosting out of the tub in the parking lot of the grocery store. Don't tell anyone. Watch their faces when they go to frost the cake. I love my three sisters. Each of them for such different reasons.
#8~As soon as your eyes open in the morning, praise and thank God for allowing another day to begin. No matter what you face that day. No day is promised but everyday is a gift.
#7~Read bedtime stories to your kids. Even when they're 14. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is so much more fun enjoyed together.
#6~Being late is one of my biggest pet peeves.
#5~For that matter, so are mean people.
#4~I have learned the hard way some people will not forgive. As far as it depends on me, I am at peace with everyone I know; it took me years to do that but I have. I have apologized, asked for forgiveness, and waited. I can't control then what they do beyond that.
#3~My life is sweeter by the 5 people God has placed in my home. I love my four kids. I truly LIKE my husband. My house has laughter and fun. It's not always perfect and we have our moments, but my life is sweet. And I am thankful.
#2~I am a blood-bought, born again child of God. Jesus Christ is my life. I want that statement to be true of my thoughts, words, and actions every day. At the end of my life, I hope that is what they say about me....oh and that I loved my husband and loved my kids.
#1~I am joyful. In my heart, I am joyful. Today, I am thankful to be 41.
Monday, August 5, 2013
January 2012-August 2013
"But WHY did she have to die, Mom?"
The questions had been coming since Jitter's passing Friday night. The conversations had been easy, sweet, and comforting. There were many hugs, lots of tears, and funny stories. Who knew a small, Chinese dwarf hamster could have meant so much to a 9 year old little girl.
We said goodbye to Jitter Bug Friday night. After discovering a large tumor under her chin on Thursday, watching her suffer through the night and next day, her passing was a relief in many ways. But it still did not make it easy for a little girl who had loved this hamster.
God is good though and the conversations that followed were sweet. We talked so much about death, our fallen world, our sin, our faith in Jesus Christ, and heaven. We pondered on how it must have been in the garden and how God never intended for this kind of death and suffering to be a part of His Creation and how it would all be right again in Heaven. All of these questions of the "why," of Jitter's death were so easy for me to answer.
It wasn't until the "what" question, did she cause me to sit and ponder.
"What was Jitter's purpose Mom? If everything has a purpose, what was hers?"
I had never really bonded with Jitter. She was too much like a rodent and she nibbled on fingers in her first few weeks of being a Fitzgerald. I knew I was done with her then. Lillie Grace had asked for a hamster for several months and when her 8th birthday rolled around, her Daddy knew exactly what to get her. Enter Jitter Bug Fitzgerald. At first, she was a novelty and all four kids loved her, played with her, and were fascinated by her. One by one though the newness wore off, for everyone except Lil. She loved Jitter and would play with her for hours. She loved to put her in her ball and watch her roll outside in the grass. She made obstacle courses for her to run through and she knew her favorite treats such as grapes and cucumbers. It was her responsibility to clean her cage each week, check her food and water, and make sure she had time outside of her cage to play. Lillie took her job very seriously. She never failed to remember when a week had passed, she played with her daily, and talked to her constantly. Jitter had grown fond of Lillie too and Lillie had the only hands she would not bite. Lillie could hold her for hours and Jitter would be very content.
What was her purpose? Simple. For Lillie.
God used Jitter to grow my sweet girl. She matured in so many ways taking care of this sweet, big-eyed rodent....ahem...hamster. God used her to teach Lillie responsibility. Jitter was cared for better then I ever could've. In the beginning, when I took responsibility for the cleaning of her cage, I often forgot. I would've gone weeks had it not been for sweet reminders from my girl. Jitter taught Lillie a softer side of herself. My brave, independent girl needed someone to be dependent on her. Someone was counting on her and for the first time she had to think of someone other than herself. She learned how much her siblings loved her. One cried with her, one wrote her a poem and drew a picture, and one provided the hug she needed at just the right moment. She honored God in the way she cared for one of His creatures. She learned about life....and about death. She learned that somethings can't be fixed. She learned that sometimes the hurt in loving something is worth the time spent loving. Her eyes were opened to the reality that everyone around her has an end and to spend what time she has loving those around her. Jitter had a purpose. I can't know every purpose God had planned in bringing Jitter into the Fitzgerald family, but He's allowed me to see some.
As I pondered these things on the front steps with my first born girl, I was thankful for the little rodent. I was thankful that she had been allowed to be a Fitzgerald and that Jitter would forever be a part of Lillie's memory. Before I could voice any of these realizations....
"I know her purpose Mom."
I looked into her tear filled eyes.
"She needed to know how Fitzgerald's love."