Sunday Morning Coffee: The People in our Lives

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the people who have affected my life over my 74 years.

My parents, of course, were primary. But they’re both in heaven now. And they moved away from where we lived way back in 1970, I believe it was, so contact with them was intermittent for the rest of their lives. Still, so much of the foundation of my life, my beliefs, attitudes and opinions were formed by their own. Mostly, that was a very good thing.

There was a family that took us into their own family circle. I thought they really were my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. I was SO unhappy when I figured out that they weren’t, but it certainly didn’t change the joy of spending time with them, of being loved and loving them in return. One of the “aunts,” Lois Sanders, led me to Jesus in her Sunday School class when I was only five. I’d say that’s an eternal influence.

Sibling, of course. I was the younger of two for a long time, but when I was 14 my parents announced that there would be a baby in September! Sadly, he died when he was only 49. He was only six when Mom and Dad moved away, so there was always a lot of distance between us. Still, he has his place in my heart.

We moved a lot when I was growing up, so lasting childhood friendships were rare. Terry and I married in 1969, and along the way we have found wonderful, lifelong friendships with people who are more like family than just friends. Some of them were here last night to celebrate a family birthday. Lots of fun, and very precious memories.

Our children, of course, are daily visitors to my mind. They are scattered. Three sons live from South Dakota to England to Germany. Our daughter and family are the only blood relations nearby, about 30-40 minutes away. Their spouses, their children, are all in my heart. We love them all dearly. I think having adult children is a reward!

I never lived close to either set of grandparents, something I have often regretted. On my dad’s side, I have cousins who did grow up near out mutual grandparents, and knew them well. We don’t see much of each other, but there is a bond that makes it easy to be with them on the rare occasions when we meet.

It’s been six or seven years ago, I think, since my youngest uncle and his wife were driving through our area. We met them at a restaurant and enjoyed several hours reconnecting with them. My uncle is my dad’s youngest brother, born when Dad was all grown up. There is certainly a resemblance, and I probably made him uncomfortable because I had a hard time not to stare at his familiar face :).

There have been outstanding pastors in my life. There have been memorable teachers who encouraged me to expand my abilities in areas that are still important to me today.

There are friends of 50+ years’ standing, and newer friends in the church we now attend who have blessed us with their openness and concern when I’m dealing with my back issues–which are under control for the time being :).

People need other people. God Himself created us for His own pleasure. Friends and family enrich us, help us grow, keep us accountable, surprise us and sometimes irritate us to no end, but we wouldn’t trade any of them.

The friends who are the most important are the ones who love the Lord, and who share that love freely. They encourage me to do the same, by their example.

The ones we share life experiences with, that we can laugh or cry with, that we have been with through their own dark time–they are rare and precious jewels. We are blessed in our family and friends.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Church!

I’m going to church today! I’m so pleased that I can finally, after missing at least five Sundays, look forward to being in the services this morning.

I got the injections I needed on Thursday. It’s not perfect, but it’s SO much better. There’s still some foot pain, but the doctor said it would take longer for that to settle down.

So, some people may wonder what on earth is so exciting about church?

I’ll tell you: Being with other like-minded believers; enjoying the music; hearing good Bible preaching; fellowship before and after; feeling at home!

Do you understand what a privilege it is to be able to attend the church we choose, rather than whatever the government dictates? Do you realize that we don’t have to hide, holding meetings in secret, fearing at every moment that we’ll be discovered? Are you aware that these are freedoms we could easily lose? If your answers are “Yes!” to all of the above, then please join me in prayer that we will see repentance, revival, and the power of the Holy Spirit once again sweeping over our land and around the world.

Please pray for Americans and others who are deserted, stranded in Afghanistan, losing hope as each day passes. Christians are already being targeted for death. The chances of being rescued seem less likely with every passing hour.

Please pray for the families who lost sons, brothers, and boyfriends in the bombing attack last week at the Kabul airport. It’s going to happen again. There is no fear of America at this point. Human life is not held dear in a country where God is ignored, and that human life includes the lives of their own people.

Satan is busy here in America, too. Babies are sacrificed by the millions every year. Even here, human life is not valued.

The next attack that happens on our own soil will send people back to church in droves, just as it did after 9/11. It’s too bad that it takes something so horrifying to make people seek God for a few weeks, and then go right back to the way they lived before the towers fell.

Go to church; find a church where the Bible is the foundation of belief and practice, and pay attention to the preaching and teaching.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24.

“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.'” Psalm 122:1.

Family

I thought it was time for me to pop in again for a short post. We have nine people in and out of the house, besides ourselves, so things are just a little hectic. It’s wonderful :). I’m enjoying three of my very tall grandsons, all close to the same age, who are having a great time getting reacquainted. One granddaughter is here, along with a girlfriend of her brother’s. The Germany contingent of three is staying with some extremely kind friends right now, while the South Dakota delegation occupies the basement. South Dakota will leave on Saturday, and Germany will return. However, Germany will be making day trips to visit friends and relatives, so our population will be quickly reduced!

Outstanding in the Field 2020 tour: Fat Rice, Parachute chefs involved -  Chicago Tribune
This is not us, although it COULD be 🙂

Yesterday, seven of them went to Six Flags in New Jersey, and also did a quick trip to the shore for the sake of the girlfriend of a grandson. She’d never seen an ocean, and was very excited to be close enough to dip her toes into the Atlantic 🙂

I remember feeling like that when I was ten, and we moved from Minnesota to Oregon. I was thrilled to pieces to see the Pacific. What surprised me was my classmates there who thought it was so awesome that I had actually seen the Mississippi River, which was like a fable to them.

Anyway, we’re having a wonderful visit. My two oldest sons and their families are keeping us laughing, and helping out with some chores here that Terry just can’t handle on his own any more.

Never take your family for granted. We’ve enjoyed every stage of our 51 years of marriage, but I think this may be my favorite time, apart from the physical debility that begins with aging. Our kids are all forty and above; our grands are growing into fine young adults. I hope we live long enough to enjoy the first one or two. . .or more. . . great-grands. Who knows?

Last night, Mike and Ken and Terry and I drove out to the OWOWCOW ice cream shop in Ottsville, and I enjoyed a dish of honey lavender ice cream. Absolutely delicious. Terry says my love of lavender has become an obsession.

Well, there are worse things with which to be obsessed 🙂

Sunday Morning Coffee: Mother’s Day 2020

So, this year marks my oldest son’s 50th birthday, which means I’ve been a mother for about 49 1/2 years. Three other children have joined the family, the youngest of whom is 42. We have nine grandchildren, and four dearly loved in-laws. Next month marks our 51st anniversary. The numbers are both reassuring and quite amazing to me. I can hardly realize I’ve lived nearly 73 years, and my husband’s 77th birthday was yesterday.

Someone started a thread on Facebook to post a picture of our mothers this weekend. I found one of my mom and me together on my wedding day that I had already saved to my online collection. Here it is:

She was 46. I was not quite 22. How the years have flown! Mom is in heaven now, with Dad and my brother and nephew and countless old friends. We have no idea, of course, how long our time here will be. We rejoice, however, in the knowledge that we know Jesus Christ as our Savior; that He died to pay the penalty for our sin, and that He rose again and gained the victory over death for all who will turn to Him for salvation. There will be a great reunion for our family when we all get to heaven!

I pray you all will honor your mothers today. Be thankful for them. If you never knew your mom, or if she has passed away, I know there will be sadness for you. But you can still be thankful for the gift of life she gave you. Use that life to be a blessing to others in your life that may need exactly what you have to offer.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sunday Through Wednesday Morning

We left home around 10:30 on Sunday morning.I had arranged with the airline to have transport (wheelchair) for both of us, because neither of us is good at walking a distance these day. The escorts who pushed our chairs were wonderful. They were kind, helpful, and completely pleasant. They took us right to the front of every line, and no one was upset or unhappy with that. We breezed right through TSA, and then they wheeled us through to our gate. It’s the first time I’d ever experienced that service, and it sure saved us time and a lot of pain not to have to walk all that way.

Our escorts left us in the seats designated for the handicapped, and told us they would return to help us board. Again, we were taken to the head of the line and right to our seats on our first flight.

When we landed in Toronto, we were again met by two delightful women who tended to us until we were in the right gate. But between the Toronto flight and the London flight, I lost my Kindle e-reader. My own fault. I had dropped into the pocket on the back of the seat in front of me, and totally forgot about it. We have a report in the Air Canada’s lost and found, but I really don’t have much hope It will be returned. I need to get in touch with Amazon and tell them not to accept any new orders. Also, I will file a claim with the airline. I’m not going to do that until we get home, though, because there’s an off chance that someone will turn it in to lost and found, and they have our mailing address.

We arrive at Heathrow around 8:30 a.m. Ken’s family came in around noon, and we all piled into a couple of vans and drove up to Oxford, and the village of Islip where Dan and Maria live It’s a wonderful little village, just like you read about in Agatha Christie mystery novels or Jane Austen’s books. Dan and Maria are enjoying their time here, wishing they could find a way to stay after Maria finishes her degree.

It was so much fun when we were all finally together in one place. Lots of hugs and joking and just enjoying each other. Two people to add to the mix: Katerina, who has been Victoria’s friend since they were six years olf; and Josh, who is Victoria’s boyfriend. He’s a very pleasant guy, and and great cook. He and Janan have done major food prep. Victoria likes to cook, too. And I find absolutely no stress in having the opportunity to sit back and let them do it without my participation.

On Tuesday, we went in to Oxford. What a cool place! Amazing artisanship in the old buildings. You can almost envision Harry Potter and his buddies scooting around on brooms 🙂

We went through the University of Oxford Museum of Natural History. You could spend all day, every day, looking at the amazing collections there, for at least a month and maybe more. They have lots of fossils from dinosaurs, which I’ve always found fascinating. The size of those animals is astonishing.

From there, we went to the Botanical Gardens in Oxford. Oh, my, how beautiful! There are all sorts of things, but I especially loved the rows of all kinds of flowers. They’re planted in thick rows, and walking between the rows tends to stir up the scents from the various blooms. I want to go back there before we leave and just spend a couple of hours–or more–enjoying the color, variety, and aroma. It’s a delightful place.

I stole some pictures from my daughter-in-law Janan, who posted them on her Facebook page. If they don’t show up here, you can find myt FB easily. On your FB, just search for Linda Fullmer Kreger.

I’m sure there will be more pics.

The days are already flying by so fast! My back is holding up fairly well, but is still recovering from all those hours in an airplane.

One of my favorite things is just to sit and listen to my family talking and laughing together. Memories that will never fade.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Family

I know, I used family in my title yesterday.  Not very original to use it twice in one weekend, but oh, well 🙂

Short and sweet today.  People are starting to move around,  looking for coffee and breakfast.  I’ve pretty much left them on their own to fix cereal or toast or whatever.   I made a pot of coffee for them.   Aside from that, it’s each to his own.  That’s one of the perks of having grown-up grandkids.

Anyway I’ve been thinking a lot about family this week. The importance of it, the pleasure and joy of it. The fact is, God created the family.  He did that for many reasons, I’m sure, but for me one of the best parts of family is the shared history, the recognition of family traits, and the sense of belonging.

Image result for family

My family is scattered from 15 miles away from us to South Dakota to England to Germany to New Zealand.  We tend to not stay in whatever place we’re born. Not sure why that is.  Maybe we come from a line of nomads 🙂  In any case, having so much distance makes the times we do get together all the sweeter.

I’m enjoying it.  A lot.

Psalm 68:6.  “God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”

 

Family Time

My family from Germany is here.  Mike has been working for the American military there for about 20 years. They get  home leave every other year.  The main attraction this summer is that Janan’s parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary in July.

Right now, Janan and Victoria are busy preparing what looks like a feast–a full German breakfast.  I suspect lunch won’t be much of an issue today 🙂  It’s a treat to have them taking over in my kitchen, and they’re enjoying all the renovations that have been made since they were here last.

Connell injured his big toe a couple of weeks ago, a pretty severe cut, but he seems to be doing well.  He went with his grandfather yesterday to mow a friend’s yard.

It’s great to have them, and we’re having a great time catching up.  I’m going to try to maintain my normal blogging schedule, but I’m making no promises.  If I do drop out of sight for a day or two, don’t worry.  I’ll be back 🙂

Sunday Morning Coffee: Home

There’s no place like home.  After 1 1/2 delightful weeks with my family in South Dakota and a rather grueling flight back here, it was just pure pleasure to crawl into my own bed. Use my own kitchen, bathroom, laundry, easy chair. Not that I was uncomfortable in any way–it’s just that home is still the best.

Today, I’ll be back in my own church after missing two Sundays.  I’m looking forward to being  back home there, too.  Familiar faces make church a home place, a place for the heart.

Image result for a welcoming church

I even enjoyed going back into work for just one day this week, on Thursday.  My office.  My desk. My comfy little nest where I work 18 hours most weeks.  And Shirley, our secretary, brought me a welcome-home doughnut that was so good I may have to treat her to one next week 🙂

While I’ve been thinking about being home, I’ve remembered all the many places I’ve called home over my almost 71 years of living. Some are vague, back to when I was 3. But from the time we moved to Minneapolis just before I started kindergarten, I remember them all.  There were many.  Even after I married Terry, we moved a good bit until we came back out here to PA in 1994.  Now, we’re going on 24 years in the same house.  A record for me!

I’ve never been one to suffer from homesickness.  I’m usually too interested in seeing what’s just over the next ridge to feel sad about not being at home.  Now, however, at this end of my life spectrum, I’m finding that I do really prefer to be home.  I will still travel when I can, but it’s always so sweet to just come home.

Do you know the home I’m looking forward to most of all?  Sure you do, and you probably wondered when I would get to this part of my post.

I’m homesick for heaven.  Not morbid or anything, just looking forward to the day I see Jesus, and know that the journey is over down here, just beginning up there.

South Dakota!

We had an uneventful flight from Philly to Dallas/Fort Worth to Sioux Falls.  Kind of a round-about-route, but also less expensive that a straight route.

I had a fascinating seat mate on the Philly-to-Dallas flight. He is from South Africa, here in the States to get an education.  Smart and articulate, with a charming accent, he  was eager to answer my questions about what is going on in his home country right now. Back in the end of the Victorian Era, @ 1901-02, the Boers (Dutch) and some English took control of South Africa. The indigenous peoples were removed from their tribal lands, and  the white colonists created a new order.  Now, those natives whose parents and grandparents were dispossessed are demanding the return of their land, with no remuneration being offered, and the whites must all leave.  Power has been regained since the end of Apartheid.  My seat mate had a lot to say about all of it, and he was reasonable and practical.  His major concern is that as the whites leave, the economy, in his words, will tank.  He says that his people will suffer, because they simply don’t know what to do with the land. He said that the President has been convicted of at least 750 counts of corruption, yet he was re-elected because he promised that the poor would be restored to their homelands, and that they would all become wealthy, like the whites had been.  He said that the history of Africa has this story repeated in country after country, yet they never seem to learn from it.

He also told me that he can thank CNN for helping him see that he needed to stop being a Democrat and switch to being a Republican.  He is studying economics, and he believes in free enterprise and capitalism.  Made me laugh out loud 🙂

It was delightful, of course, to see Kyle and Alayna, who have both grown up SO much since we last saw them.  Ivan was away on a band trip, and didn’t get home until late last night.  He’s so tall!  And his voice has deepened to what I’m sure is a very nice bass singing voice.  He and Kyle still look very much alike.

After supper last night, Sheila, Kyle, Alayna and I went for a short walk.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Well, the pics are going to have to wait.  I can’t figure out how to copy/paste them with from my email to here.  I’m sure it’s simple, and I’m usually pretty good with this stuff, but not this time.

Anyway, we’ve had a relaxing, enjoyable couple of days.  Kyle graduates on Sunday.  The kids have school through Friday, although half days only on Thursday and Friday.

You may or may not hear from me again until we get back home and things are back to my normal routine.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: Resurrection Sunday

You should know I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon. WordPress has a neat little option to schedule when you want a post published, and I use it when I know time will be short in the morning.

I love Easter. The weather has the definite feel of spring. Flowering trees are doing their thing. Several people in the neighborhood are mowing their grass right now.  Birds are thrilled.  You can tell by the trill 🙂  Our raspberry canes are greening, and the air is soft.  It could stay this way all year, except I would miss the fall. Could we just do spring and autumn, please?

Well, anyway.  There is no better season in which to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Without the resurrection, the crucifixion would  be meaningless.  Just another dead Jewish man killed by the Romans.  But Jesus wasn’t just another man. He made life meaningful, made eternal life possible, gave everlasting life to  those who could not provide it for themselves.

Last year, we planned to have Easter dinner here. My wacky back had another idea, though, and my daughter–an exceptional cook–made dinner at her house and brought it over here. This year, I’m going to be able to do it.  The house is clean.  Floors swept and mopped, bathrooms cleaned, furniture dust-free.  After supper tonight I’ll peel the potatoes for tomorrow and put them in cold water in the fridge. The ham will go in the oven before we leave for church in the morning.   Others are bringing dessert and veggies. Some old friends will join us, and it will be a good day. The weather is going to be perfect.

We will relax, probably play a game or two, eat and visit.  The kids will doubtless spend some time outdoors, and Andy the puppy, who is now a year old, will be all over the place.  He loves people, loves to be petted and played with and sometimes just held. I’m sure he will be very interested in any tidbits that may (accidentally) fall to the floor.

Aren’t we a blessed people?  Please take some time tomorrow to just be thankful.