Thursday, June 30, 2022

Little Moments

Today is a special day for our family. . . Abigail Grace Schreck turns TEN years old.  She is our first granddaughter, one smart cookie, beautiful like her mommie, a nurturer, an honor student, a worshipper, a baker and a great soccer player.    

Here is a picture of the sour cream pound cake Abby and I baked recently.  My mom (an excellent cook) made these often and Abby was excited to have that connection.  It did taste delicious, if you're wondering.

The Schrecks and Smiths do birthday parties for the major birthdays: one, five, ten and so on.  Otherwise, they explained to us, we would be celebrating a birthday every other month.  (They have four children each and when Olivia is born, we will be a family of Eighteen people!  Yes, Christmas and the other celebrations are indeed loud, chaotic, amazing events for us.)

We'll be celebrating Abigail's birthday in grand fashion on Saturday evening.  She asked that the decorations be cat related as she's trying to talk her parents into giving her a kitten.  Unfortunately, two-thirds of our family are allergic to cats so that probably won't be happening.

This picture is from our birthday lunch with her when she was five.  She had her choice of any restaurant in town and she chose Chick-Fil-A.  They still had a playground open at the time and when you combine that with a chocolate dipped ice cream cone from DQ, you come out looking like amazing grandparents. 

Looking back like this is good for us all because it reminds us of the importance of little steps.  There's nothing so big about taking two hours to bake a sour cream pound cake.  It takes even less planning to share lunch utilizing a playground and some ice cream for entertainment.  But Abby enjoyed both little adventures.

I've met lots of people who think life is all about big, grand moments.  The trip to Disney.  The cruise to the Bahamas.  The new car at sixteen.

Those are great. Nothing wrong with them if you can afford them.  But I think many people who are waiting for the big moments run the risk of missing life that's also found in the small things.   

Abby is blessed because both sets of her grandparents value the small moment investments.  She talks with her grandparents in NY almost every week.  And little packages arrive in the mail frequently.  When Grandma and Grandpa visit, the children are lavished with undivided attention.  They know they are loved.

This final picture is from Abby's first birthday.  I remember taking this picture (and the half dozen others I also took trying to get one good picture with her holding still and looking at the camera. LOL)

The point is, it feels like I took this picture yesterday.  Time flies, friends.  Scroll back up and see how quickly.  Same sweet eyes.  Same infectious smile.  But 3,650 days have passed between them.  

We have shared a few big moments but more important have been the dozens of little ones.  Little moments listening to her jabber on about things I didn't really understand.  Little moments making eye contact that communicated, "You are important!"  Little moments singing "Baby Shark" together at the top of our lungs.  Little moments sitting beside one another, squeezing her hand before she ran off to play with her cousins.   

Those moments may not seem like much when they happen but I assure you, life is richest when woven of countless little threads that offer strength and warmth against the cold, harsh days.  

Make time for the little moments, friends.  Those are the greatest gifts you can offer anyone you love.  

Happy Birthday, Abby Grace!  May the your love for the Heavenly Father grow even stronger during the next decade of your life.  Noni and Papa pray so daily and love you more than we have words to tell.

How about you?  Do you only mark the main birthdays?  How many grandchildren do you have?  Can you share one great "little moment" idea that would help the rest of us?  Please leave your comment in the section below.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

One Friend

Sometimes your next step forward comes through a major life change.  Something big and jolting takes place then you are forced to make a step of transition.  

Sometimes the next step forward comes as a result of a gentle nudge from someone who cares.  that friendly nudge arrived in my email yesterday from Becky, "Just want you to know someone out here is missing your blog." 

That one sentence from just one friend was the encouragement I needed to get back in gear and make a post happen.  Today!

This picture was taken just about two hours ago.  Frank has had health issues since the first of the year and today should be the final procedure moving him back to full health.  Can you see the smile behind our masks?

We are grateful for nurses and doctors who are incredibly knowledgeable.  But on a day like this, we’re also thankful for those who remember that their workplace is intimidating, cold, overwhelming and downright frightening for the rest of us.

Gloria, Kelly, Stephanie and Dr. Brown filled the bill beautifully for us this morning.  Patiently answering questions, meeting needs, anticipating requests and offering genuine kindness.  Thanks to all of you in the medical field who read Embrace the Grace.

This picture is also part of the reason I haven’t been writing.  Our family has been experiencing an unusual amount of medical issues.  (Of course, when your “family” is comprised of eight adults -one of which is pregnant- and nine little people, some ER and doctor visits are to be expected, I guess.) But in six months we’ve had three surgeries, two biopsies, multiple MRI’s and CAT scans and another surgery on the horizon.  That really is a lot for a family that’s typically healthy.

Today I want to focus on the importance of ONE.  

Many of you may feel like I have lately, a bit overwhelmed by life.  Pretty sure I have nothing of value to offer anyone else at this moment.  Thinking my contribution isn’t being missed by anyone and that it’s so much easier to move to the back of the room and sit silently.

But all it took for me to shake my head and re-engage was one email from one friend saying, “Those thoughts are not true. I miss you!”  

Are you supposed to be the ONE in the life of your friend today?

May I encourage you, don’t keep sitting silently in the back of the room.  Shake yourself.  Send that email; write that card; make that call.  Someone needs your ONE word of encouragement and you don’t even know how badly they need it.

Be the ONE in the life of another.  I can promise that every seed of encouragement you sow into the heart of someone else, will eventually bloom and come back to supply you when you need it most.  

The wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) put it this way, "The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25 NLT

Thanks, Becky.  You’re ONE refreshing friend!