Wednesday, December 17, 2008

End of Year Reflections, part 1

I have been in denial for some time now that Christmas is very close by and that also means an end to the year 2008. They say that it is a sign of old age when time flies .... "they" always seem to know what "they" are talking about. The years are moving swiftly, much more swiftly than I wish them to, however, that is totally out of my hands. (Thank God for that.)
For the last few months, I have made the very dangerous statement that this year needs to end. Dangerous in the fact that I have no right to make that judgement. Only God in His infinite wisdom and His unending mercy and kindness is worthy to make that decision. And so I have changed my outlook. Journey with me, if you will, through this year.
March 1st was a turning point in Ben's life. His moped accident left us all a little drained. How he got through those pain-filled days is beyond me and how we, as his parents, coped with the rehabilitation is definitely beyond me. He could have lost his legs, he could have been paralyzed, he could have died.......instead, he was named first team, all-conference. But more than that, he fell in love with the God of his salvation and turned his life completely over to him.
August 11th was an extremely difficult day. Rich's brother, Don, passed away after a very short battle with an illness durinItalicg the summer. It was also the day that Rich hit rock bottom. His illness had been creeping up on him through late spring and early summer and came to a peak on that fateful day in August. We watched him literally self-destruct and shrivel up right before our very eyes. We watched a man who never met a stranger suddenly become a stranger himself. He could have cashed it in, he could have overdosed, he could have died ..... instead I watch him now loving life like never before.
Yes, looking back, one would be tempted to say that it does need to end. But I say it has a way of helping you to refocus your priorities. It has a way of helping you determine your very core and definitely helps you determine WHO is in charge.
It has been a great year for growth, a great year for reflection, a great year of blessing and we have only the LORD to give the credit to. Blessed be His name.

I Peter 1:17-19 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood, as of a lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Maw Maw's Birthday

Today was Maw Maw's birthday. This is a woman who belongs to everyone. She is timeless and tireless. She is love and life all rolled into one. Today she turned 79 years old and thinks that she is slowing down. She always tells me to stop and smell the roses. So, in honor of Maw Maw, I am stopping tonight to smell the roses of my life with her ....
When I think of her, I remember ....
blackberry picking
fishing on the bridge
shaking in the shop on the shaking machine
beach trips
"gettin' greased"
camping trips
sleeping at the foot of the bed
Vicks Vapor Rub
snapping green beans
ironing pillow cases
vacuuming EVERY day
canning green beans
blackberry jelly
Bible School refreshments
going to see Sadie
singing around the piano
singing while washing dishes
singing while in the car
singing "Everybody oughta know"
crying with exhaustion after caring for a sick husband and little babies
coming EVERY single time I called her
and showing up when I least expected it.
I love her. She is a wonderful woman and the best Maw Maw ever invented.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Andu!

Some days you get up and do the normal routine and don't even realize your life's about to change that day. Imagine if you will, having a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old running through the house and getting ready for day care, and here you are about to give birth. Crazy! Twenty-five years ago today I gave birth to Andrew Ryan Erdman. He was an adorable tow-headed kid and sweet as apple pie. As Andrew grew, he added an extra little touch to the household as he ran around with the "big" boys. Andrew was very much his own person and his own little entertainment center. He was daring and adventurous. One day I chased him through the trees on a battery-powered four-wheeler when he was only about two. I think I hit more trees than he did. He broke his arm at age 15 months (I still have the cast). He used to call his dad "Rich".
The most worst (I like that phrase) thing that ever happened to Andrew was that his parents made him move in the 7th grade -- that was absolutely awful -- but Andrew was okay eventually and made good friends during his life there.
Now, 25 years later, it has been interesting watching his life unfold. I have watched him struggle and overcome many obstacles. He told me he wanted to go to a major university and I really did not think it possible. We found a program at NC State that was perfect for him and so, there, he accomplished his goal. (I still remember the day his acceptance letter came - I had to open it and I cried and laughed and jumped and yelled all at one time.)
The name Andrew means "manly." Andrew fits that perfectly. My prayer is that God will bless him beyond measure because he really does strive to do His will.
So today, as I have done every year for 25 years, let me ask Andrew a question: "Did I ever tell you about the day you were born?"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. Rich!

Today is my Mr. Rich's birthday !!! There was a time this summer when I was wondering if we would see another birthday for him. Praise GOD we still have him and he has recovered. It is so good to have the old Mr. Rich back ---- I love him.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let Me Tell You about my Dad

Every little girl should be a daddy's little girl. When I was growing up I thought my dad was perfect. (I have since learned differently, but have chosen to forget that part !) We had the most unique toys of anyone: a bicycle built for two, a trampoline before trampolines were cool, and ski skates ! If you don't know what ski skates are, just think about it for a moment. So, anyway, back in the day, it used to snow and that meant presents for us - puzzles, games, coloring books, crayons - you name it ! And sometimes, if I was really good at it, I could fake sick and get to stay home from school. (That never worked, however, on Sunday nights when the Wizard of Oz came on t.v. during church.) And if I got to stay home from school, that meant tomato soup, cheese sandwiches and more games.
Daddy would always make sure everyone was taken care of, which sometimes meant holding onto his paycheck until everyone else in the plant got paid first. But Friday night meant hot dogs and Cheerwine.... yum! He took us to the beach faithfully two weeks out of the summer - dropping us off on Sunday and returning to the work week and coming back on Saturday. Then the camping phase - a whole new adventure and another future post.
Throughout the years, my dad has spent so much money on his girls and his grandchildren; he is an endless supply of support, but more importantly he is an endless supply of wisdom. He truly took his father role seriously.
One winter day I was visiting my parents with my two young sons. It began to ice and snow and I needed to get home. My dad said he needed to go to the store and that he would follow me as far as the store so that I would be safe. (We lived about 25 minutes away and the store was halfway.) I crept along, praying all the way that we would not slip off the road. A 25-minute ride turned into a 50-minute ride, but as I turned down my street, I looked in the rearview mirror and my daddy had followed me all the way !
The Bible says that God is a father to us, a giver of good and perfect gifts, our Creator, our hope, our first love. My daddy set an example of an earthly father with a lot of things, but most importantly introduced me to my heavenly Father who is perfect. My heavenly Father watches all the way for me. Not only does He follow, but He leads, He surrounds, He holds and He gives - only the very best.

Funny Little Tales

So, the principal calls the house and leaves this message on the machine, "Mrs. Erdman, please call me at your earliest possible convenience." Ten-year-old Skip runs into the house and I say, "Whoa, young man, why would your principal be wanting to talk to me today?" He confesses to 10 or so sins that he committed just that day. I call the principal and he says, "Will you please serve on a parent committee for school accreditation?" I laugh.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

So Far Away

"So far away, doesn't anybody stay in one place any more? It would be so fine to see your face at my door." Years ago (back in the dark ages of the 70s) my sister and I loved to listen to Carole King. Her sultry voice haunts me today as I remember one song in particular, "So Far Away." It just reminds me of little boys who grow up much too quickly and laundry piles that grow smaller... of daily grocery trips that now cost $15.72 instead of the monthly Sam's trips that cost $1,572. (What a difference a little dot like a decimal makes!) The pitter patter of little feet that transitioned into the thump thump thump of huge feet has given way to total silence on the hardwood floor. Many days and nights I spend with no noise and wonder where it all went. God's plan is that we are given children for a short time to enjoy and to love and to help along. I am not sure I did that much to help them along, but God certainly did His part with His grace and mercy. Now they are men, making their own way .... sometimes running, sometimes limping, sometimes skipping, sometimes stumbling .... but ALWAYS looking up to the heavens from whence cometh their strength.

While everyone is so far away and everyone has grown up, God saves His other gifts for the "over 50" crowd...... daughter-in-law and grandchildren!