Archives For Family

After Rehearsal Dinner 1

The night before our daughter, Stephanie’s wedding, we gathered to have some family time. We have done this before each of our children’s weddings and it always ends up being so much fun! This night was no different!

As we sat and talked with Steph about her upcoming wedding and honeymoon, we somehow discovered a “secret” she had been keeping. It seems whenever she shopped in various stores, she would not give them her own phone number because she didn’t want to receive phone calls from their telemarketers. When we asked what number she had been giving over the years, she replied, “Dad and Mom’s home phone.”

Her brothers howled with laughter as her dad sputtered out a loud, “What?”

The laughter continued for so long, our sides hurt from it, and tears ran down my face.

Our evening was a wonderful time, tucked in between the rehearsal and the wedding. A time to reminisce and laugh together. A special time to verbally bless and affirm Steph before she stepped into the new day awaiting her!

Whenever we gather like this, I am overwhelmed by the gift of family! I never want to take them for granted. I want to savor every moment. Incredible moments…filled with joy and fun. Rich with love and care.

Truly priceless!

After Rehearsal Dinner 2          (Here I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. And Steph is laughing at her Dad’s reaction to his new discovery!)

 

 

 

 

photo from USAToday

Our family LOVES football! Often we spend Sunday afternoons watching the NFL and checking our Fantasy Football League points. We poke fun at each other, give the Mile High Salute when the Denver Broncos score, and whine when one of our fantasy players performs poorly!

Recently we gathered to watch the Indianapolis Colts play the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Broncos, was the focus of the media hype for this game. His opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, had been his former long-time team. Throughout the game, highlights of Manning’s greatest moments as the Colts’ prior quarterback, were shown. His excellence was indisputable! However, this night, his abilities were not enough to pull off a victory for the Broncos.

As the game ended, Peyton dropped his head and began his post-game trek to the locker room. Camera men swarmed him, but he continued to gaze at the turf as he pressed past them. Suddenly, rushing up to him, were workers from the Indianapolis Colts’ Club House. When Peyton heard their voices, his head snapped up, he stopped mid-stride, a genuine smile appeared and he embraced each one! While their admiration for him was unmistakable, there seemed to be something more being expressed between all of them. Peyton’s sluggish demeanor vanished and each man became the focus of his undivided attention. It was refreshing to see this popular, professional quarterback, set his feelings of defeat aside, and honor these unknown men.

One of the announcers, John Gruden, spoke highly of Peyton’s commitment to remain friends with these guys who worked in and around the Colts locker room. Gruden reported that Peyton still makes a weekly call to these workers, even though he now lives in Denver. Moved by the sincerity we had witnessed, we continued to replay Peyton’s encounter with these men – men who some might deem insignificant.

As we ended our evening together, I heard my grandson Jesse say,

“I’ve always liked Peyton Manning as a quarterback, but NOW, I respect him as a great man!”

Me too Jesse, me too!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the Memories!

November 15, 2013 — Leave a comment

Mom's Sheet Music

While visiting my brother, who owns the home where I grew up, I ventured downstairs to the place where the old upright piano stood. The sight of the piano always conjures up the story my dad used to recite regarding how the piano came to reside in the basement.

It seems Dad would not allow the builders to put the steps into the basement until he and his friends had lowered the piano down. He jokingly told us the piano would remain a permanent fixture there until we wanted to take out the steps and hire a crane to haul it out!

Mom's Old Piano 2

I opened the heavy lid of the bench and upon doing so, discovered some special treasures. My mom’s aged sheet music! The musty smell, invaded my nostrils, and the sight of those familiar titles and faces triggered memories hidden in the recesses of my mind. I closed my eyes and listened as the sound of Mom playing her piano came rushing back.

Before our family owned our first television, we would finish our evening meal, head down to our basement and gather around the piano. Mom pulled out her sheet music as we shouted out our song requests. My dad and my two brothers and I sang at the top of our lungs as mom played that magnificent piano. Oftentimes my dad would pick me up and twirl me all around the room while Mom played those special tunes.

As the flashback faded, I found myself grateful that Dad had permanently planted the huge piano in the basement! Its stately presence coupled with Mom’s ragged sheet music, had transported me back to a vision of happy family times!

Although my mom and dad have been gone for quite some time; I just want to say…

thanks Mom and Dad…

for the memories…

Sweet, warm, enduring, family memories!

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

If you’ve been reading my blog these past few days, then you are aware I have posted a couple of my mom’s journal entries. Her entries are about her walk with Jesus and the insights He gave her as she studied the Word of God and meditated on His ways.

My mom was a night owl. She loved being up late at night.

Her night owl tendencies are why I love the following journal entry! It reveals her love for the night time, and articulates how God revealed aspects of Himself through a “few of her favorite things.”

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Being a lover of the night, I place myself in the open, with the starlit sky as a canopy and the moon as our chandelier; much like the Israelites must have perceived this same spectacle in the wide open expanses of the desert night. The coolness of the night allowing them (and me) to relax and enjoy the beauty of the night.

One of my fondest “nighttime” memories involved a 3:00-in-the-morning experience with Danny and a telescope, in our back yard, watching meteor showers.

The incredible display before us made us so aware of God’s great power and His ingenuity in the orbiting of the objects in space, yet how much He was aware of us. It also made us mindful of His amazing love, power and ingenuity in creating us! What an awesome power He possesses and yet He is so gentle. The petals of a flower, the drops of dew, a kiss on a cheek, all these are in total contrast to the power He could express in any way, at any minute of our existence.

What an awesome God we serve!

I love you, Lord

Sheila

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

Psalm 139:2  “ You know when I sit down or stand up.”

Such an unimpressive circumstance it sounds like to me!

What difference does it make? What does He learn from being aware if I am standing or seated? With God it would not matter because He knows me through and through. However, with us human beings our “body language” tells one a great deal, if we are observant of one another, or care enough to notice.

I guess that is the point!

God loves me enough to notice the smallest as well as the greatest details about me, what I do and all my actions. Nothing about me is unimportant to Him. What a wonderful discovery for one like me!

God, please help me to care enough about others that I look at the small supposedly insignificant details in order to understand them better.

Looking at my history for a second regarding God’s awareness of my life… I remember my father’s hospital stay when his cancer was confirmed. I still remember feeling God’s presence in the chapel as I prayed. The kind of presence where “I knew that I knew, God was present — and He and I visited about how much I needed my Dad. Somehow we agreed on 7 years; which at the time seemed quite a while. My dad did live 7 years in spite of the cancer and a heart condition. He lived to see me married and enjoyed, SO much, the only grandchild he ever personally saw — our first-born son, Danny.

This experience with God in the chapel was much like one I had with God as a sophomore in school at a retreat.

Now, looking back, I see God was definitely present in my life – in fact, He was standing and knocking at the door of my heart all those years ago. I’m so glad I opened the door to let Him in permanently.

He was obviously showing me how very much He loved me long before I knew Him as my personal Lord and Savior. “Lo, I stand at the door and knock, if any man (woman) open their door to Me, I will come in and sup with him/her.” Revelation 3:20

Thank you, Lord, for being so persistent!

Love,

Sheila

(My mom was in her late 40’s when she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.)

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

Today’s post is an excerpt taken from my mom’s journal. In an effort to be true to what she wrote, I have not edited a great deal in these excerpts. It is with great honor I share the insights and revelation she found as she walked with Jesus!                                                     *********************************************************************************************************

Psalm 139:16-18

16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

I think Psalm 139 was written, by its author with awe, as he came to realize the fact of God’s knowledge concerning him. And so it should be with each of us, if we stop, as he did, and reflect on the fact that God knew each day we would live, each trouble we would face and each joy we would experience throughout our lives.

Before I was born, He knew:

1.  My conception & birth

2.  My hard times during my school days

3.  My fiance’s death, 3 weeks before we were to be married

4.  My dad’s illness & early death

5.  My marriage

6.  Birth of each of my children. 2 sons and 2 daughters

7.  My son Danny’s early death at age 22

8.  Discovering the Bible and becoming saved

9.  Baptism of the Holy Spirit – when I really came to know Him personally!

10. My husband Jim’s illness – before, during and after

11. My retirement

12. My Bible Study friends who helped me grow in Christ

As I reflected on these events, one stood out to me…the day my fiance was killed. I was in my room at the rooming house where I lived. I was 21 at the time, our wedding date was only 3 weeks away and this man represented my future.

As I thought about that day, some of the sadness & aloneness I felt back then, came back; but not the feeling of fear & anger I felt towards God back then. NOW I know God so much more personally than I did. I know, of course, that God was there through all of it. And that He was taking care of me, even at that dark time.

I praise You Jesus, for you knew the days I would live, the heartaches I would face, and the joys I would experience. And You were with me even when I did not know You were there!

I love you, Jesus,

Sheila

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

My mom never like having her picture taken and would rarely look directly into the camera. Here she is holding her miracle great granddaughter Claire.

My mom’s generation didn’t talk much about the hardships of their lives. So it wasn’t until I was older when I realized Mom had faced some very tough issues throughout her life. She would vaguely refer to being an only child, and how she had used her imagination to overcome loneliness as a little girl. She told me her dad died when my older brother was just a toddler, but she never shared the details.

At age 83, Mom’s health failed, and she knew her earthly time was coming to a close. It was then she began to talk about those difficult times, and how she could look back and see God’s hand on her life. She couldn’t sleep much, as she began to leave us, so we would stay with her and talk about anything she wanted to discuss. During each account, she would stop mid-way, close her eyes, and pray a prayer of forgiveness toward anyone in the scenario who had possibly wounded her. She often asked God’s forgiveness for harboring any ill-will against anyone. Totally aware these were her last days, she made sure every situation she recalled, was forgiven and covered in prayer.

While with her in the “midnight hours”, she allowed me to see the richness of her walk with Jesus. She had grown up in organized religion, but there came a point in her life where she wanted more than the formalities and rituals. She wanted to honestly know God for herself. She simply wanted HIM.

Her quest for Him led her to a time when she gave her heart and life to Jesus Christ, and began to study the Bible. She asked the Holy Spirit to fill her, and she told me, it was then, that she began to truly pray and understand the things written in the scriptures. She said, “I fell in love with Jesus, and I was never the same.” 

My mom recorded her love-relationship with Jesus in journals for many years. We found her journals after her death, and they are like precious jewels that glisten in the light. Reading them allows the light of Christ to shine into the deep places of my heart and gives me a deep appreciation for my mom’s walk with Jesus.

I have prayerfully decided to share portions of my mom’s journals on my blog. I came to the conclusion, others might be as touched by reading her words, as I have been. Starting tomorrow I will post special insights I have found within her precious journals. I  consider it a privilege and an honor to share the wisdom and revelation of my mom, Sheila Holsclaw, as she walked her earthly journey with Jesus.

Please join me here tomorrow for a glimpse into my mom’s journals.