Saturday, March 31, 2018


SICK was not what I had planned for this day!

But it appears when you eat a taco salad that doesn't agree with you - At ALL - the choice is not yours.  Frank and I had a lovely al fresco lunch yesterday at a Mexican restaurant where we often eat.  The weather was perfect and we had the outdoor dining area all to ourselves.

About two hours later, my tummy started rumbling but I didn't have time to stop and deal with such minor discomfort.  We had rehearsal for the Tenebrae service starting at 5.  Frank needed me ready to walk everyone through their parts.

The rumbling became more insistent.  While Frank read through his last section, I slipped to the restroom and almost completely unloaded my lunch.  (All the while holding my cute little necklace out of the way, mind you!)

The nausea subsided and I thought that was the end of it.

Oh, no!  Not by a long shot. 

Thankfully, the whole point of a Tenebrae service is reflection.  People enter silently and exit silently.  Greeting, talking, hugging as we leave is discouraged.  Since that is one of my main roles, I was able to slip to the office bathroom.

I'll spare you the details of riding home with a trash can in my lap.  Cody and Kristin followed us to bring home my car.  Frank told them to stay outside!  We were pretty sure it was the taco salad but she only has five weeks left and couldn't risk a bug at this point.

Frank is without a doubt the best care-giver in the world.  He just senses what I need before asking.  Cold cloth.  Trash can.  Blanket warmed in the dryer. Hot tea.  Dry toast.

When I stumbled out of bed this morning, I was more than a little relieved to find he had decided to study here instead of going to the office as planned.  It's the little things, when you're sick.

He made my grocery run for me.  Our dining room was already set up for the flurry of excitement that will descend on us tomorrow evening.  And six little baskets are sitting in our guest room waiting for the grands.

As I mentioned earlier, our normal family sunrise service will be a Skype experience this year. Since I'm usually up by 4AM on Easter to prepare, it's a timely change.

Several things I wanted to make happen for tomorrow will have to be tabled for another year.  I've slept off and on almost the entire day.  Even now I know I won't be back to 100%.  This is an untimely sickness for sure!

But as I rested today, I reminded myself the most important elements are locked into place whether I'm able to assist or not.

The sun will rise tomorrow.  We will gather with our church family and celebrate Resurrection Day with great enthusiasm.  We'll remind ourselves that because of Easter, we have hope for our future.

Because of Easter, I know I'll see my sweet mama again some day.  Because of Easter, all the things in my life that seem to make no sense can be turned over to Christ.  He can explain it all to me or not, the choice lies with Him. 

He has a different perspective on my life and yours.  He sees what we can not.  The key is resting in the truth that He Does Know.

One of my favorite Easter songs is written in a lilting 6/8 time. Tomorrow our family will sing together.  The verse isn't well known so Noni will sing it but everyone joins in on the chorus:

"I serve a risen Savior He's in the world today.  I know that He is living whatever men may say.  I feel His hand of mercy I hear His voice of cheer.  And just the time I need Him, He's always near.  

He Lives! He Lives!  Christ Jesus lives today.  He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.  He Lives!  He Lives!  Salvation to impart.  You ask me how I know He lives.  He lives within my heart!"

My prayer for you is that you'll experience the Savior in a wonderfully timely way this Easter season!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Significant Celebrating

Happy Easter, Everyone!!  And so begins my favorite week of each year.
  • Palm Sunday (Marking Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.)
  • Maundy Thursday (His last supper with his disciples)
  • Good Friday (The day Christ gave His life in exchange for ours)
  • Easter (RESURRECTION DAY!!)   
If you're a regular reader, you know that Frank and I are a bit extreme about significant holidays and the celebrating there of.  Mostly, because holidays serve as perfect teaching opportunities.

We used a fun video in service yesterday to explain Palm Sunday.  (The Skit Guys are our favorite.  They use humor to explain/teach/challenge the Church.)

This Wednesday, we'll share the traditional elements of the Passover Meal in place of regular bible study.  We have a minister who worships with a Jewish congregation coming to teach us all about the significance of each element.

On Friday, we'll have our first Tenebrae Service.  This is new for us; we just learned of it last year.  Tenebrae means "shadows."  This one hour service will be very somber; calling us to reflect on the sorrow that surely surrounded the death of Christ.

Please remember, the disciples were living the story in real time.  They hadn't read the ending.  They had No Idea that Resurrection Day was just around the corner.  The purpose of the Tenebrae Service is to help us identify with the depth of those emotions.

THEN (mental drum roll).................EASTER SUNDAY!!!

Frank, in full Biblical costume,  will be presenting a monologue as the disciple Peter.  I've willingly tolerated shaggy hair and a growing beard for several weeks now as he moves toward creating the characterization.  Wigs and fake beards just don't do the trick for him.

My favorite part of his presentation?  He'll sing a solo, "The Day He Wore My Crown."

Music was what first brought us together.  Frank has an amazing voice but he seldom ever does solos anymore.  I'm looking forward to hearing his rich baritone fill the rafters once again.

Our annual family sunrise service will morph yet again this year.  Six babies and two pregnant mommies means getting to one location all ready for church before the sun rises is a bit more challenging than it used to be.

So, at Nathan's suggestion, we're going techie.  We'll Skype!  Not quite sure how that's gonna work but we're gonna give it a try.

"Oh, Sheri!  Doesn't that make you sad?"  

Well, sure.  No change is comfortable at first.  But the important thing is that we're trying to make the connection and we're making Resurrection Day special for our young ones.  Easter is about an empty tomb.  A Risen Savior.  Hope for all people.  Not a chocolate bunny.

Traditions and breaking out of the mold impacts children.  We want desperately for Easter to be understood by them.

Before our Easter dinner, everyone will tell about a Resurrection Egg they'll find on their plate.  Special blessings will be read over each family.

Then comes the Egg Hunt in Noni and Papa's backyard!

At the writing of this post, I'm still not sure when Easter Dinner will actually take place.  We're looking at Saturday, Sunday and even Monday.  We're trying to co-ordinate multiple families, work schedules and the all important issue of - Nap Times!

The date is not as important as the doing.  I should have my own special song about flexibility.  :-)

Bottom line is this.  Easter is our most important day of celebration.  The message behind Easter is really quite simple:
  • We're all broken.  
  • We all need a Savior.  
Aren't you grateful for this wonderful season, too?  

I want to share another reason we're so big on Easter.  

In 1974, a teen-aged boy invited two of his friends to join him for church on Easter Sunday night.  The incentive was, they would all campout afterward.  So the boys went.  Both of his friends heard a clear Gospel message for the first time that night and accepted Christ as Savior.

One of those boys was my own dear husband!  Easter is Frank's spiritual birthday.

Most people are happy to go to church on Easter.  Be bold.  Don't go alone.  Pray this week and invite someone to join you.  You may be helping them toward the best decision of their lives, as well.

Happy Easter, Dear Friends!

(I'd love to hear about how you mark this wonderful holiday.  Your celebration ideas may spark a great new tradition for someone else.  Please share with us in the comment section.  Thanks!)  

Monday, March 19, 2018

First and Third

I'm aware that "first and third" is most commonly heard in musical discussions.  Or maybe with directions being given.  "It's on the corner of First and Third."

But for us, First and Third describes our current life.

Our First daughter (Kristin) is pregnant with her First child.  Our Third daughter (Meagan) is pregnant with her Third child.  And Joy (middle daughter with four children)  is keeping them both calm!

Last week, our "adopted" daughter Amanda flew down to spend a few days with the "Frisisters."  (That's friend and sister blended.)  She is also pregnant with her third little boy.

It's a joyous time for our clan.  Some days I do indeed feel like the most abundantly blessed person around.

Yesterday, we celebrated Kristin and Cody's little guy with a family and friends shower.  We held it at their home so everyone could see their nursery.  (Completed the day before, they used the shower as a push to make it happen.  Smart plan!)

About 30 ladies.....and Cody.....spent the afternoon ooohing and aaahing and saying "How Precious!"  Um, the ladies were saying all that, not Cody.  :-)

Paula (Cody's mom) and I hosted.  The sisters helped with games and serving.  Closest family and friends literally did shower them with love and good wishes and all things baby related.

Most of you will remember, Cody is an only child.  Parker Franklin McGhee will carry on the McGhee name.  As Cody's dad was an only son and Native American, this is a special honor.

It's also a great honor that Parker will carry Papa's name.  Franklin means freedom and Parker means GateKeeper.  So they often say Parker is the Keeper of Freedom.  Powerful, right?!

Someone commented that because Parker will be our seventh grandchild, this must not be quite as special for us.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Which of your own children could you do without?  Each unique, each holds a spot only they can fill.

When my sister was born, I was almost 7 and became concerned that my parents would only love the new baby and forget all about the older kid.  I went to my mom with my fear.  "When the new baby comes, you won't have as much love for me anymore."  That's what made sense to in my little mind. 
She pulled me up onto her lap and shared this bit of lifetime wisdom with me.  "When God blesses a family with more children, the love in your heart is multiplied; not divided.  And the multiplying simply means there's more love to go around for Everyone!"

Isn't that true?!

Parker Franklin McGhee is the first of the first and the seventh in the bigger line.  But he already holds a place in the hearts of Noni, Papa, his aunts, uncles and cousins that belongs only to him.  Just like the spot held by Meagan and Nathan's baby who is third of the third and eighth in the bigger line.  :-)

Zach, the three year old, proved this last week.  He was standing in front of Aunt KayKay and everyone was talking over his head.  He started patting her belly and saying, "Pahkur, ooh, ooh Pahkur."  He's looking forward to the arrival of his newest cousin.

If you could see how they all look out for one another and how tender the bigger ones are with the new comers you would see the multiplied love in action.

The bigger truth is this, scripture says our Heavenly Father knew each one of us intimately while we were begin knit in our mother's womb.   You and I are more than one more number in the lineup.  We each fill a special place in His heart.

Aren't we grateful that the love of the Heavenly Father for us is multiplied by each child born into the Kingdom through Salvation?

Wow, my little mama was so smart!  :-)

Post Script: 
It is with great joy that we share, Meagan and Nathan are expecting another little boy!!  We are all over-the-moon excited!  There will, of course, be another post about their fun reveal party and all that the loquacious siblings brought to the celebration.  

Our grandchild count will go from 3 boys 3 5 boys 3 girls, this summer!   Oh, but fret not - those three girls can Hold Their OWN - trust me!  :-) 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Perfectly Clear

"Whoawha Air!  Whoawha Air!!"

This quote is from our two year old grandson, Zach.  Bet you wouldn't in a million years guess what he was so excitedly saying.  Here's the background story.  I promise, it will make you laugh.

Earlier this week, Kristin and I went to Sam's club (a HUGE grocery warehouse) to restock some items for church.  Joy knew we were going and asked if she could meet us there.  We said sure.  Then Meagan decided she would join us, too.

Please remember that Joy nannies two extra babies and Meagan nannies one extra.  So Joy arrived first with Zach - 2; Tyce - 2; Ava - 9 months and Avery - 3 months.

I wasn't at the door to meet them but I heard that as soon as Joy brought them inside,  both boys were shocked by the immensity of the warehouse.  They began looking all around, pointing and loudly yelling, "Whoa!!  Yook!  Yook! (Look) Whoa!"

Que the smiling customers.

When we connected, I took charge of the shopping cart with the two bigger boys.  Meagan was delayed so Zach kept watching for her and his cousins around every corner. 

"Maymay?!"  He would look up at me with immense blue eyes, tilt his head slightly and turn pudgy little hands palms up.  All this I interpreted to say, "Dearest Grandmother, do you know where my Aunt Meagan might be hiding?"

You're probably wondering how in the world one could get all that from Maymay?  Trust me.  These littles know more than we give them credit for; we just have to learn their communication methods.

I know many of them but not all.  Hence, the story......

I shop in Sam's Club often, I even know the names of several workers. (Occupational habit.)  But it is indeed a massive place and I can easily get overwhelmed if I don't stay focused.

Pushing that cart with two active two year olds while trying to concentrate on the items I needed to locate was a comedy show in the making.  Believe me!

Finally, it seemed best that Noni should only focus on the precious cart cargo while Joy found her short list of items.  Then I would do my shopping.

So began my most fun trip to Sam's Club ever.

The boys - fascinated by all they were seeing - noticed a tall net secured above the 20' bank of diary doors.  "Yook, Noni!  Yook!"  Zach pointed and Tyce giggled.  "Backebauh!"  (Look, Noni.  Basketball.)

In a flash, this fifty-nine year old, 5'3" professionally dressed lady became the imaginary twin of Shaquille O'Neal.  I bounced my imaginary "backebauh" a few times then shot toward the netting.  We all three watched while it made its trek; then I started jumping and cheering, "WooHoo!"

Zach never hesitated.  He threw both hands into the air and yelled loudly, "Core!!"  (Score!)

Then began the real competition.  First, I grasped Zach's little hands, dribbled the bakebauh, then threw his arms over his head to make the shot the way I've seen his dad do so many times.

We watched for a moment then all three cheered as the invisible orb "disappeared" behind the netting.  Now, Tyce's turn.  Now, Noni again.  Back to Zach.

It made no difference that several people slowed and stared while passing us.  A few smiled.  The boys were loving it and so was Noni.

When the backebauh game was over, we journeyed on.  That's when we rounded another aisle and Zach went absolutely ballistic.

"Whoawah Air!  Noni, whoawah air!"  His stubby fingers were pointing, his legs were swinging, his bottom bouncing, his short arms waving. Blue eyes were electric.  Red kissy lips formed a perfect awestruck circle.

He was inviting me to celebrate this wondrous discovery with him.  Only one problem.  I had no idea what the child was saying!

"Whoawah Air!"  He kept pointing and repeating it; a bit more intensely now.  Each interpretation attempt was deemed a failure.  "No, Noni!  Whoawah Air!!"  This was getting urgent.

Finally, I spotted Joy standing beside a mountain built of oranges and apples.  I made a beeline for her as quickly as a grandmother in dress shoes can push an over-sized cart containing two little boys and heavy grocery supplies.

"WHAT is He Saying?!"  In my perplexed state, I may have said it a bit too loudly.  Joy jumped and turned to see who was coming at her.  "Tell Mommy!" I directed.

Zach twisted in his seat again pointing and calling out, "Whoawah Air!  Whoawah Air!"

Joy took one look in the direction he indicated then calmly responded, "Yes, that little boy over there has hair just like Noah's."  There were triplets in a cart we had passed.  All three had white blond hair just like Meagan's children, Noah and Madi.

Zach looked back at me, gave a short nod and said again for my benefit, "Whoawah Air."

Of course, he couldn't verbalize it, but his look clearly stated, "See?!  What I was saying was perfectly clear, Noni.  Why didn't you get it?"

I burst out laughing.

Thinking back on that moment of disconnect reminds me of how often I've misunderstood others, as well.  What someone is trying to say may be perfectly clear in their thinking but may not be what I hear at all.

This struggle can become especially difficult between husbands and wives or parents and teenagers. They desperately want us to understand what they're saying but we just can't seem to get it.

Frustrations quickly arise and feelings can be hurt all because we just aren't able to connect.

If you find yourself not understanding someone you love, may I encourage you to find a mediator who can help decipher your communication?  Who knows, you may also end up with a great story of encouragement.  Once the intent of the words your loved one is saying becomes perfectly clear, that is!