Friday, July 31, 2015

Shortest Post - Longest Title

"Don't cry because it's ending.......Smile because it happened!"  -Anonymous

Isn't that a great quote?!  I just read it today at a key moment.

Frank and I saw a full day off approaching on the calendar.  I found a coupon on line and we made a quick dash for our favorite beach spot here in FL. 

We managed to dodge the rain drops.  Sat by the ocean, read, watched the waves and clouds. Ate a hot dog for lunch.  Drank a malted milkshake after dinner. 

As I realized the all too short "breather" was drawing to a close, I just happened to spot this quote on a plaque in a window.

"Don't cry because it's ending.....Smile because it happened!"

It immediately shifted my perspective and improved my attitude.

Thought perhaps someone else might need that little boost for their weekend as well.  Pretty sure this is the shortest post I've ever put on line.

Bless You!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Her Purse

Purse: noun "A tote for carrying personal things."  So says Webster.

Others call it a Pocketbook.  Handbag.  Satchel. Clutch.  Reticule.  (Yeah, I'd never heard of that one either until I checked the thesaurus.)

One friend in middle school called hers a "pocketpurse."  Extremely odd!

Why the tutorial on the word - purse?

Because this week I received a purse in the mail that you couldn't buy from me for any amount of money.  It's my mom's last summer purse.  And I'm overwhelmed with joy!

New readers won't know.  But my precious mom moved to heaven December, 2008.  There has been an empty spot in my heart ever since.  Others who've lost beloved parents tell me that's perfectly normal.

My life is full of joy and adventure just the way she would want it.  But during the benchmark moments.........I miss her as though the move took place yesterday.

Having two new grand babies born within three weeks this summer was one of those times.  I wanted to pick up the phone so badly and listen to her celebrate with me!  She would have been a phenomenal great-grandmother!

Mom usually carried two purses each year.  A light-colored summer purse; Easter to just after Labor Day.  And a black winter purse; Labor Day to the next Easter.  The winter purse was never brown or camel - always black.

In later years, she indulged herself and would buy a new one almost every summer and winter.  I can't remember her ever spending more than fifteen or twenty dollars on a purse at most.  But she carried each one with such pleasure that she made them look like designer bags costing much more.

Mom's purses were such a part of her that Dad kept a black one and a white one on the nightstand for six years.  When he decided to remarry, he gave them to my sister.  She mailed one to me.

Of course I cried as I cautiously extricated the white bag from the packaging.  And quiet tears kept slipping from my eyes as I tenderly touched each item the bag held.

My sister and I had discussed how to chose which purse we would take.  Finally, I selected the summer bag based on the small Bible contained in it.  The Bible had been presented to Mama as a birthday gift when she and Dad first left their home church to become pastors.

I was twelve when our family made that transition.  It impacted me greatly.  I wanted the Bible Mom read from during that major shift.  So naturally, the Bible was the first thing I reached for.

The navy-colored leather is stiff from lying unused these six years.  The snap closure, which she had often described as "spiffy," broke off a long time ago.  I turned to the presentation page first.

There it was..........her distinctive hand-writing:
     "This Bible Presented to:  
Alice Burke
        on the 24th day of January, 1971 
        Eastside Assembly of God Church
        on the occasion of My 34th Birthday
As we left to fill the 
pastorate at Warrington"

I gingerly began turning the pages.  Mom always underlined in her Bibles.  Single scriptures and sometimes lengthy passages.  Whatever spoke to her at the time.  And she wrote little notes in the margins, too.

I sensed her laughter as my eyes widened with the very first underlined scripture I found:  "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you......"  John 15:16.  That just happens to be the very scripture Frank and I chose for our wedding verse.  The reference is engraved in his ring. 

Can't make it up!  

Life is full of benchmark moments.  And God used Mom's purse and Bible to remind me of their great love at a time when I longed for it most.

Benchmark moment - just this week.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Clickers and Closers

Are you a Clicker or a Closer?

I truly believe that most people in this world fall into one of two categories: Clickers and Closers.  The camp in which you find yourself can be rather revealing.  Please, allow me to explain.

This clarification of personalities came into focus for me during my college dormitory years.  I only had two room mates.  Both were Clickers!

When Frank and I first married, he too was a Clicker.  But he soon became an excellent Closer!

"Sheri!  What in Heaven's name are you rambling about?!"

Clickers are the people who close the door behind themselves without thought of what the closing will sound like in the room they've just left.

Closers take time to quietly turn the door knob, slowly close the door then release the handle so as to make no perceptible noise for anyone remaining in the room they've vacated.

We're all Clickers during the day.....unless you have children sleeping peacefully in the room you hope to leave.  Then you'll immediately become a Closer.  And you dare anyone in the house to be anything less!

Many Clickers are dear people. (i.e. my room mates and my husband).  They just aren't aware of what their habit causes.   For the person trying to grab just fifteen more moments of precious rest, the last thing they want to hear is the door clicking shut.

In our tiled dorm room, that click echoed like a cannon going off.  And you can imagine the irritation; frustration; annoyance it caused the one who had been sleeping.

I even went so far as to demonstrate the fine art of Closing for one of my room mates.  She looked at me over her study guide and sniffed with a bit of disdain at the conclusion of the demonstration.

And although I carried on as the Closer anytime she was sleeping, she maintained her Clicker ways until we graduated.  It's hard to convert some people.

Frank converted rather quickly!  Of course, we were newlyweds.  In that phase of doing any and every thing that brought a smile to the face of the other!  To his credit, he remains a kind and faithful Closer all these years later.

Most RV's have doors that force all occupants into the role of Clickers.  Thankfully, ours had regular doors with handles which allowed the family Closers to flourish.  (The girls' space had a pocket door; cancelling the question of  Clicking or Closing entirely.  Sliding Only Required by All.)

Clickers and Closers - two distinct camps of thought and action.

I had to laugh at myself recently as I slowly backed out of the room where Noah was sleeping.  I turned the door handle ever so carefully.  Pulled the door toward me without sound.  Released the handle noiselessly.  And moved away silently.

The reward for all my effort - a long, satisfying nap time for Noah! The child on the other side of the door slept for almost two hours.  I had those closed eyelids in mind the entire time I attempted to close the door without disturbing him.

As I've aged, I've discovered that the Clickers and Closers exist in every area of life....not just one's home.

Some people are Closers in conversation.  A topic comes up that will leave another person in an unfavorable light or make someone else in the conversation uncomfortable.

Closer to the Rescue.  The Closer steps in, expertly diverts the conversation flow and effectively closes the door on what could have been a disturbing, hurtful discussion.

The Clicker invariably responds with pursed lips, raised eyebrow, impatient sigh.  All signs indicating that they had plenty more information to share if only the Closer hadn't interrupted.  The feelings of the person "on the other side" really not mattering as much as the Clicker's desire to share.

You'll find Clickers and Closers in traffic, at stores, concerts, even at church now and again:
  • "This is the row where I sit.  I'm not moving over to make it easier for you."  (CLICK)  
  • "My friends and I always ride together.  Sorry!"  (CLICK)
  • Body language speaking loudly - "My back is to you because I have no intention of including you in my conversation!"  (CLICK)
I've been a Clicker - more times than I'd like to admit.  Clicking just seems to come naturally.  Closing can be awkward.
Being a Closer takes extra effort.  Many times, your work as a Closer will go unnoticed.  And some people you encounter will choose to live as Clickers their entire lives.

But I've noticed something about the times I'm able to operate as a Closer - it makes me feel better about myself.  It's like giving a little gift to someone; even if they don't realize or acknowledge it.

Clickers and Closers.

Which one are you?  I'd love to hear your thoughts -



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cup of Joy!

(This post was actually written yesterday from the corner of Joy's hospital room. )

 My Cup Runneth Over!

I’m so completely overwhelmed by God’s mercy and goodness today!  At 8:28 AM, Mr. Zachariah Avery Schreck took his first big breath.  And when we got the text, celebrating commenced from New York to Florida. (John's parents and grandparents live in NY.)

Frank and I arrived at the hospital just after sunrise.  We all prayed together, caught some pictures; then Noni and Poppa took up station in the waiting room.  Joy went through the C-section beautifully.  John served all the roles of a doting father.

Her massive bouts with heartburn accurately predicted an amazing head full of black hair.  Chubby cheeks, almond-shaped eyes, perfect bow lips, chunky legs.  His cry?  Decisive!

Mostly Schreck looking; although, we occasionally glimpse some Hawley or Burke.  He is perfection; swaddled and capped in blue.

My heart is so incredibly full!  The joy keeps coming in waves.  And with it, my whispered gratitude to the Father.

Around lunchtime, Aunt Meagan and Aunt Kristin descended on the waiting room with four excited little ones.  Spencer (4), Abby (3), Noah (almost 2), Madi (3weeks).  The parade included a double stroller, multiple diaper bags, flowers, and balloons.

Poppa and I switched out to care for Noah and Madi while the sisters took Spencer and Abby in for introductions and pictures. 

Noah is a true people watcher.  So much was happening in the waiting area that after a long walk with Poppa, he sat quietly on my lap looking left then right then left again.  Never a peep.

Frank will bring lunch for me then head to the church for Bible study.  I’ll keep watch while John gets out of the hospital for a while.  Kristin and Cody have sibling duty with Spence and Abby.  Meagan and Nathan are holding down the fort with pictures, information, food, etc. 

(The Schreck house is already clean.  We descended on it Monday and cleared nearly every crook/nook/cranny to be found.)

Moments like this remind us of the blessing of nearness.  The joy of a big family.  The importance of prayer and gratitude. 

After weeks of concern about Meagan and Madi, bed rest proved the key.  Madison quit knocking on the exit and settled in to wait the extra time needed for development. 

How thankful I am every time I look at that precious little face.  I’m grateful even when those tiny lungs fill with air and allow her to express to the neighbors just how displeased she is!

Zach brings the “grand” total to 5!

And Kristin and Cody haven’t even launched into this part of the marriage journey yet!  When it’s time………..

Thanks for your prayers and expressions of care! 

I’m well aware that I haven’t written much about our miracle trip to Israel.  And I have so many stories to share from our missions trip to Spain.  There are posts I’ve pondered concerning all the current events and struggles in our world.

But for today, the greatest story I could share is this – God is Faithful - always!  And sometimes, like with Zach and Madi, things work out just the way we've hoped.  In those moments, we must bow and whisper, "Thank you, Father!  Thank you!"

Yes, my cup truly runneth over!