Sunday, April 09, 2017

Family Beach "Wake-up Over" 2017

In spite of a very rainy forecast for our weekend, we were blessed with a great deal of sunshine! A bit of wind as well, but very little rain. Our house had a great view and was filled with love and amazing, interesting family so we had a fabulous time!

Our bedroom decor was an immediate hit when Kam toured the house. "I love these starfish so much!" All weekend it was, "Can I go look at the sea creatures in your bedroom?" At first he thought they were in a spider web, but once he learned it was a net he didn't make that mistake again. After gazing at them awhile he asked, "Where is the starfish's mouth?"
We had to share the fun with Baby Evy.
 Baby Evy has not yet completely mastered gentleness,
 but fortunately Kam is really good at it. Don't worry, I didn't let her rough him up too bad.

Before we went to bed the first night, I told Kam how excited I was to have a family sleepover. The next morning when he got up, he announced he was so happy to have a family wake-up over!
 "The wind is blowing in my hair!!!"
 Grandma Heaven!
 Kam and I ran around the hot tub about a million times. He chased me, I chased him, and catching each other resulted in hugs.
 These great men engaged in passionate debates and attempted to solve the problems of the world.

 Evy loves her daddy's music.
 Molly and Eric had a great place to do some child-birth reading.
(Only one more month til their due date!)
 We had some wonderful adventures at the beach,
 including fishing with the fantastic fishing pole he found. We walked about three blocks to Yaquina Bay State park and then it's quite a downhill hike including many stairsteps to get to the beach. On the way back I was complimenting him for being such a big strong boy because he was climbing with such ease. He informed me, "Actually, I'm a tiny boy!" When we got about a block away from our house, he said, "Let's run!" I said I couldn't believe he still had the energy to run. "I'm running out of energy," was his reply!
 "You just called me sweetheart," he said with this awesome grin!
 "Look at all those eagles!"  "Now Kam,"said I, "We've told you a million times that those are sea gulls!"

Awesome place for Eric to make some music. 
(Or "Uncle Craigic", as Kam decided to call him this weekend.)

A little guitar is a great sunset accompaniment.

Meanwhile Aunt Christina and her ice cream cone are earning major points with Evy.
We are not sharing many pictures of Aunt Christina because when she saw them she decided that wearing her husband's clothing in advanced pregnancy made her look like a homeless man. I don't agree but couldn't stop laughing anyway. She was wearing cute clothes Friday and all day Saturday until I started taking pictures… I feel really bad that I didn't plan photos and didn't get any of their family. But below is a lovely one of Nick and Christina!

Such great views from the deck.

 Kamden, just before his mother cut up another sausage patty and put it on his plate, whereupon he said with great expression, "Thank you, that is SO kind of you!"
  The sun was just too bright for this boy this morning! Where were his sunglasses?
 What did we ever do without all the love and sweetness these two bring to our lives?! And the joy is about to double, with Molly and Eric's little girl due in May, then Nick and Christina's little boy expected in early June!
 Love this family.

We had some interesting activity on the beach in front of us on Saturday. We didn't see anything until we noticed an ambulance out there, with someone on a stretcher. A small boat was upside down out in the surf near the shore. The boat had washed up on the beach this morning. We are hoping the person is ok.

Kam rode home with us and played here for a short time. Zeek was a bit envious of his cookie and I think Kam was more than willing to share! (And yes, I did immediately let the boy know that we don't put our cookies on the patio floor!)

I miss my family already! Nothing fills a mother's heart like having ALL her sons and daughters and grandchildren under the same roof! Each one of them is a precious gift and I am SO thankful!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The First McAnulty Cousin Night

Earlier this week, the two most beautiful, sweet, precious little ones you could ever imagine came to Grandpa and Grandma's house while their parents enjoyed some child-free time.  It was our first time to babysit four-month-old Evy at our house, so the excitement was very real!
Kam was eager to see her and immediately shared his little truck with her.
Grandpa's left hand is holding onto Evy's hand, and Kam's hand is in his right.
I love it.
Papa helped Kam hold Evy on his lap. Evy doesn't look too certain about it! 
Those eyebrows!
Kam still finds time to play with Zeek.
Such a hungry boy - eating with a spoon in his left hand and a fork in his right!
They were all extremely well behaved at dinner. 
Kam is such a good worker, he pulled some weeds for me after dinner.
Kam is not perfect though, he does not sit still and say cheese for pictures.
He sat long enough for me to take just this one.
Evy is still good at sitting fairly still.
Such beauty!
Zeek loves these kids.
Yikes, he just couldn't resist a quick affectionate little face lick.
 Dogs!! Sorry, Evy!
So I say to Will: We need to take pics with these two on our first cousin's night with them. In my usual kind, unselfish manner, I let him have them first.
Kam is pleased to demonstrate "patty cake" to Evy and goes through the whole thing with great joy.
It's just the cutest. So many cute pics of this.
Then it's my turn. "I want to get down" says Kam. But Kam, Nana wants a picture of us together! Say cheese! Look at papa! Please!
"I go play!" he insists.
Fine, go play then.
Ooh, look what I found! Water in the bird bath! So delighted!
Just have to touch it, don't we?
Oh, so sad, while Nana is in the house warming up the bottle for Evy, Kam gets his first time out from Papa because he keeps picking the flowers from the pots of impatiens even after Papa tells him not to. "I'm all done with time out," he announces after about 10 seconds. Oh, buddy, sorry, your papa is a tough one, he's gonna make you sit at least 30 seconds. Oops, when you're set free and immediately pick more flowers, Papa has to sit you down again.

Baby Evy made short work of the bottle and it's all going great. Kam decides to join us in the house for a few minutes, and Evy gets a little fussy as her bed time approaches. Kam chooses to go back outside with Papa, but somehow he slides the screen door all the way back and manages to pinch his finger. Next thing I know, I'm squatting on the floor with a loudly wailing child in each arm. That's enough to break a grandma's heart! Especially when grandpa's ears aren't what they once were and it takes him awhile to come help me! But a little boy's face lights up and the fingers feel fine when he can put them in a bowl of water with some ice cubes.

The bigger challenge was making sure the daughter-in-law doesn't come back to a crying baby the first time she leaves her at grandma's house. This grandma doesn't even want to even admit that the darling baby cried while in her care, much less be caught with a crying baby. After a little singing and reading and rocking and walking, then lying her on in the crib upstairs, she was content to lay there awhile. After Kam left, I brought her back downstairs, and when her parents came soon after, she was still as happy as could be.

Such a happy evening. Oh thank you Lord, and please bless us with more!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Life and Death

On a recent Saturday, we attended two memorial services, both former co-workers of ours who left this earth far too young, in my opinion. These men were not much older than my husband, and it was heartbreaking to see the grieving widows, children, grandchildren and friends they left behind. I don’t like to think about my death or my husband’s death, but after two services in one day, what else could I think about?!

If I knew I had five years left, how would I live my daily life? What if I only had one year? What if I knew my husband only had a few years? How do we truly live our lives to the fullest and make the most of our time together? What would I regret if I (or my husband) were suddenly at death's door? Do we need to sit down and make a list of places we need to go and things we need to do? Oh, and I definitely need to go through those boxes of old junk in the attic and get rid of my teenage journals so no one reads them and finds out how ridiculous I was back then!

And what about my own memorial service? Who will speak? What will people say about me when I’m gone? I can imagine someone blunt enough to speak the truth, “LeAnn meant well, she had a lot of good intentions that she never followed through with. She was always really busy but she didn’t actually seem to accomplish much, bless her heart.”

So I was thinking and fretting a little and asking God to give me wisdom and direction.  And then I went to church the next morning. Have you ever gone to church and discovered that the morning’s message was just for you? It wasn’t immediately apparent to me as Pastor Nathan introduced the day’s scripture, Psalm 90, written by Moses out of the depths of his disappointment that he would not get to enter the Promised Land. He gave a brief synopsis of the story of Moses, then said he would be talking about three truths from Psalm 90 that would help us walk by faith through life’s many seasons of ups and downs. (Oh and I didn’t even the mention the funny part about Moses’ BHAG, as well as Nathan’s wife’s BHAG. What’s a BHAG, you ask? But I digress, that’s not the point of this post. Or, maybe it is. Hmmm.  Well, you can listen to the sermon here.  (You really should. I've listened to it a couple times just for fun. It's easy, put it on your iPhone and time will just fly by as you clean toilets and do the dishes!)

Anyway, as I followed along with the reading of Psalm 90, I think my jaw dropped as we went through all this great stuff. We’re talking about the numbering our days so that we can be wise! We’re actually talking about facing our death!

Psalm 90
A prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, through all the generations
    you have been our home!
Before the mountains were born,
    before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
    from beginning to end, you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying,
    “Return to dust, you mortals!”
For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
    as brief as a few night hours.
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear.
    They are like grass that springs up in the morning.
In the morning it blooms and flourishes,
    but by evening it is dry and withered.
We wither beneath your anger;
    we are overwhelmed by your fury.
You spread out our sins before you—
    our secret sins—and you see them all.
We live our lives beneath your wrath,
    ending our years with a groan.
10 Seventy years are given to us!
    Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
    soon they disappear, and we fly away.
11 Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
    Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom.
13 O Lord, come back to us!
    How long will you delay?
    Take pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
    so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
    Replace the evil years with good.
16 Let us, your servants, see you work again;
    let our children see your glory.
17 And may the Lord our God show us his approval
    and make our efforts successful.
    Yes, make our efforts successful!

I was so excited that this subject was being discussed and eagerly dug for the little spiral I had finally remembered to put in my purse so I could take notes instead of scribbling on miscellaneous scraps of paper found in its depths.

The first point: God is Big. Really Big. He is infinite, he is powerful, he is all knowing. The contrast between God and our measly 70 or 80 years of toil and trouble is pretty striking. We are small. But we tend to live our lives as though we are big and he is small, fitting him into our story instead of looking for how we fit into his story. Ponder: Is God big in my life? If so, how am I serving him?
God is big. We are small. So serve Him.

The second lesson: Life is Short, so Get Wise! Moses asks God to teach us to number our days so we can get a heart of wisdom. So we are supposed to meditate on the brevity of life. (I’m not crazy, I’ve actually been obeying scripture!) If I own the fact that I’m going to die someday, it will help me get wise. Nathan took this as a personal challenge to look his own death in the face and related how he embarked on a Google search that had me laughing so hard I forgot to be depressed about our impending deaths for about five minutes. He spoke of sitting at a computer screen watching the seconds of his life counting down, which brought him to a similar point where I was when I walked in the door. If you knew exactly how many days you had left, it would affect the way you spend those days. It would affect the way you spend your time, your resources, and what your priorities are.

How am I spending my life? It’s short, so get wise.

Thirdly, God is Good, and He can be trusted. Moses cries out to God to return and satisfy him in the morning with his steadfast love.  He recognized that true lasting satisfaction doesn’t come from a place or thing, not from realizing dreams and goals, but from his friendship with God.  Moses ends with a future oriented prayer that God’s work and power would be shown to his servants and their children. “God’s work and glorious power has been made known to us in Jesus in a story even more powerful than the delivery from Egypt. Because our powerful God came to earth as a servant and died on the cross, when we face death someday it doesn’t need to be the end. In Jesus, the Everlasting numbered his days so that our days could become everlasting. That is a steadfast love that satisfied; glorious power that shatters our disappointments; glorious news worth rejoicing with glad hearts. “ WOW!
God is good, and he can be trusted indeed.

Ok, I can check one thing off my list. Funeral plan: Ask Nathan to speak on Psalm 90. (Be sure to include the funny stuff, Nathan!)

The last part of the chapter (v. 14-17) resonated deep within me.  Here is a plan to live life to the fullest.  So often I am crazy busy doing so many things that I love with people that I love while neglecting things and people that I don’t love and feeling guilty about things that I should do but fail to get around to, as well as being annoyed that I can’t get my job done in eight hours a day so that I could have more time to do what I want to do. I just can’t seem to find the right balance of priorities.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have read and listened to this Psalm numerous times, praying these verses at the start of my days.  I created this paraphrase on a photo of a wonderful sunrise at Crater Lake and am planning to pick it up from Costco tomorrow, frame it and hang it next to my mirror where I will see it every morning.
As I continue to think about priorities and how I should live so I don’t have regrets should I unexpectedly face the end of my life here on earth, I keep finding myself confronted with situations that make me recognize how thoughtless and selfish I am, forcing me to choose between a good or a best, an easy or a hard. I would like to conclude this by saying that I have it all figured out and will live a life of perfect prioritizing from now on. Though I am often unrealistically optimistic, I am not a liar, thus I shall not make that preposterous statement! 

The other thing I wish I could do is wrap this up by sharing my own BHAG. I’ve been thinking about that too, what is my own personal Big Hairy Audacious Goal? I have finally come to the conclusion that  as an old-fashioned 57-year-old woman, I am just not cool enough to pull that one off. Everything I come up with sounds trite and ridiculous. Kind of like when I found myself on a Hood to Coast team named “Embrace the Suck”. Are you kidding me, I tried to forbid my children to even use that word back in the day. But when I found myself running on steamy Portland streets in 97 or was it 98 degree sunshine, the phrase became very real and personal to me, and I am now accepting it as a very valid and helpful motto in many of life’s situations. Oh but I digress, how far off track I have fallen once again.

What I really, really want when I reach the end of my life is to know that I will spend eternity not only with God, the amazing Creator of this incredible universe and my best friend, but that my family and friends; all the people I love, will be there to enjoy it with me someday. As I hear many times on Sunday mornings, Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good, he came to make dead people alive.  Eternally alive.  Death is not the end. Because of that, the fact that I am somewhat older than middle-aged and have a husband who is way older than middle-aged (sorry sweetheart), knowing that death could surprise either one of us at any time doesn’t totally suck after all (excuse my language), though I don't make light of how devastating the loss of a loved one truly is. Thank God, death is not the end.

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:1