Wordless Wednesday: birthday week!

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birthday fun with her great aunt

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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City boy turned country gardener

blog 2009 036They say opposites attract.

He was a city boy.  Born in the city and grew up in the city.  I mean the inner city where row houses are the norm and there are no front porches, just a stoop.

He recalls tales of playing in the streets because he had no grass in his bricked back “yard.”   Those were the days when kids could roam around a city unafraid of kidnappers, child molesters, drug dealers, or anyone to do them harm.  He and his friends played at the nearby river or ran the halls of the Capitol building as he grew up in our state’s capital city.

I was a country girl.  Born and raised outside a small town in a very rural setting.  I lived in a two-story white country home with a huge front porch, complete with porch swing, and played in my multi-acre yard.  My neighbor friends and I would stay outside until after dark with no fear of people; just meeting up with a skunk was our biggest concern.

I met this city boy in college and we clicked instantly.  I soon fell in love with that tall, quiet, almost shy young man with the nickname “Smiley,” and amazingly enough, he fell in love with me.

After three years of dating, he proposed, we married, and he whisked me off to military life.  Following our stint as a military family, we settled down to life in the suburbs where my husband traded his officer’s khakis for a suit and tie every day.  We became parents to three terrific kids and my husband proved to be an awesome father.

During those years, city boy became a suburbanite, learned to take care of a small lawn, mowed, and planted shrubs and flowers.  He seemed to relish in that activity when he found time from his busy career.

blog 2009 046Life changed drastically 14 years ago.  Jointly, we made the decision to move back to our home state, to my rural neck of the woods actually, as we were tired of suburban life and living on the other side of the country from our families.

My city boy turned full time country.  We had our new home built on 2 ¼ acres of what once was farmland.   Suddenly, my city boy was riding a John Deere lawn tractor to mow the grass.  He not only was planting shrubs and perennial flower gardens, he was planting trees, digging drainage ditches, and building things.  And he seemed quite happy to do so.

Then one day, he announced he was going to plant a garden – a vegetable garden.   And he unearthed a small plot of ground.  We enjoyed leaf lettuce, tomatoes, green beans and green bell peppers that year.

City boy turned country gardener.  Each year, the garden plot enlarged and he tried new plants, including berries.   My hubby pores over gardening magazines and seed catalogs and he thoroughly relishes digging in the dirt.

Thanks to his hard work, we enjoy our own red raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries.  His garden delivers fresh veggies every summer – cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, snow peas, green beans, green peppers, carrots, radishes, even brussel sprouts.  We’ve had sweet potatoes and watermelon and this year, he’s added asparagus, garlic, cantaloupe, and zucchini.

Yes, my city guy’s turned country and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Today in my book called Opportunity, we will celebrate his birthday and I will give thanks for my city/country husband.

Happy Birthday with love to my favorite gardener.   I’m so glad God planted you here with me!

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.”  ~Mirabel Osler

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Surprise!

blog341He proved to be a surprise from the beginning and he continues to be, even now.

Over 24 years ago, my husband and I decided our family was complete.  We had two sweet little daughters and were happy with our life the way it was.  A unit of four.   Even numbers.  We fit neatly and nicely in a restaurant booth.  I had two hands which could hold two little hands safely when we crossed the street.

And then….surprise.   I found out I was pregnant with our third child.  We recalculated.  Readjusted.  Readied ourselves to become a family of five.

At my scheduled sonogram, we strained to see if we could determine the sex of our unborn child.  But back then, sonograms weren’t as refined as they are now.  A strong, beating heart was visible and we could determine a head and body but as the technician rotated her wand over and over the bottom half of our child, we couldn’t see any gender determining ‘parts.’

So we naturally assumed we were having another girl.  Three of a kind.  It fit with our family history because I was the youngest of three girls and my husband was the youngest of three boys.  We were so confident our child was another sugar and spice and everything nice little sweetheart that we only chose a girl’s name for our soon to be newborn.

Awakened at dawn with substantial labor pains, we happily trotted off to the hospital leaving our two angels sleeping and in the good hands of my parents, who had traveled half-way across the country to care for the girls while hubby and I got down to the serious business of birthing.

This was my third child, I had pre-determined that labor would not be difficult.  “I’ll just pop this little one out in no time,” I thought.  Surprise.  Labor seemed to drag on and on and on!  At one point, I seriously wondered if this child wanted to be born.   Finally after more hours of labor than it took for my second child, medical personnel wheeled me into the delivery room.

blog001A healthy nine pound baby emerged.  Surprise!  “It’s a boy!” my doctor announced.  Puzzled, I think I asked, “WHAT???”

Reassured by my husband that indeed I had just given birth to a baby boy, a son, I distinctly remember remarking, “Oh, he doesn’t have a NAME!”

Surprise.  We bantered boys’ names back and forth for most of the day while Unnamed Baby Boy slept in our arms.  And then….surprise again.  My dad, who never offered much advice unless you asked for it, suggested a name.  Not just a first name, but a full name – first and middle – and it was a good, sound, strong name.  And so, Baby Boy was named by his maternal grandfather.

My little guy, this little fellow, who surprised us so when he was born on this day 24 years ago and is now a fully grown, independent adult, has never stopped surprising us.

Over the years, our son has surprised us with so many aspects of his life.  Born of parents who had no particularly stellar athletic prowess, our son thrived in the world of sports – soccer, baseball, basketball, track and field.  He determinedly gave his all and excelled, even setting track records at his high school and earning a championship finals medal.

Academically, he also surprised us. After a few years of elementary school report cards that only evaluated students with vague ‘grades’ such as M’s (meeting expectations) and E’s (exceeding expectations), our son attended a new school when we moved back to the homeland shortly before his fifth grade year.

When he brought home his first report card with letter grades based on percentages, he surprised even himself.  He earned all A’s and remarked, “Mom, I didn’t know I was so smart!”

And surprise… that academic trend continued.  Our son astonished us when he graduated first in his high school class as valedictorian, making the grandfather, who named him and had graduated from the same high school 68 years previously, so very proud.   Deciding early to only apply to one college, which also happened to be difficult to get into, and being accepted shouldn’t have surprised us, but it did.

Our son has the zaniest sense of humor, another surprising aspect.  He literally  makes everyone in our family howl with laughter.  Whether it is doing a believable yet hysterical impersonation of a dinosaur on the loose or arriving home at Christmas time wearing a tacky red sweater festooned with jingle bells and candy canes, he always makes us laugh, loudly and soundly.    Aristotle once said, “The secret to humor is surprise.”  Our son understands this philosophy well.

But even more surprising is our son’s character.  Oh, we struggled with the same teenage angst that all parents and sons endure as he tried to assert his independence.  I vividly recall the day in his college years that he firmly explained to me that I should not call him “my baby” any longer because he was a man.  I remember feeling a little angry, a bit hurt, but soon I realized he was right and that surprised me.

Our son has always amazed us with two vital traits  – his respect for us (his parents), for others, and also for himself, and his utmost love for God.  Strong in his faith and loyal to family and friends, our son tries to be a friend to all.  I truly believe he strives diligently to be a man after God’s own heart.

So this year, his 24th year of life as of today, our son has surprised us yet again by announcing he is ready to become a husband.  What didn’t surprise us was his choice, a lovely young woman who he soon will take for a wife.

Happy Birthday, my beloved son.  When God gave you to us to complete our family of five, He blessed us immeasurably.  I love you and I’m so proud of the man of integrity you have become.  Thank you for the joy, the fun, the laughter, and all of the surprises you have given us.   No doubt, more surprises are yet to come.

This post on your birthday, this wonderful day in my book of Opportunity, is my way of surprising you!

“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.” ~  Charles Morgan

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The third incredible woman of May

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Incredibly brave while holding a friend’s snake!

“When you become a mother, you stop being the picture and start being the frame.”  ~ Unknown

Today is Mother’s Day and also the birthday of the third woman, born in May, who impacted my life in a significant way.

This young woman is beautiful, articulate and adventuresome in spirit.    Tiny in stature, demure-looking to the world, but if you invoke her anger, watch out because she possesses a fiery, feisty and very passionate side.

Intelligent, but not in a nerdy way, she has compassion for those less fortunate than herself, which is why she volunteers regularly at a soup kitchen mission, encourages a young underprivileged girl as her “big sister” in the Big Brother/Big Sister program and has served others on mission trips.

And oh, does she love to travel to exciting places!   She’s ventured to a majority of the United States and experienced trips abroad to France, England, South Africa, Mozambique, and Honduras.  If she acquired enough financing, she would travel all over the world because visiting every continent is inscribed on her bucket list.

Her highly organized style makes her a keeper of lists – lists of things to do, lists of adventures to take, lists of things she’s accomplished, lists of ordinary occurrences.    Her talents include singing (although she does so quietly) and playing piano beautifully with gusto and emotion.

She understands complex molecular biology yet has a knack for writing with humor and insight, and she loves country line dancing.   She owns an outrageous sense of humor and provides family and friends with lots of laughs.  (Ask her if gullible is written on the ceiling – sorry, that’s an inside joke.)

She loves God first and her family second, and probably her cat ranks third on that list followed by her friends.  And sunflowers are her favorite flowers.  I know this young woman so well because she is my daughter, my first-born child.

My daughter and I bonded long before she actually entered this world.  While her military daddy was stationed across the globe, she, as a tiny baby developing in my womb, helped me stay focused during the time hubby and I were apart.

My life centered completely on hers during that time.  To ensure her health, I concentrated on mine and consumed nothing that wasn’t healthy even abandoning my beloved tea for decaffeinated.

I talked to her each day as she squirmed and performed somersaults inside of me.  I wrote daily letters to her daddy describing preparations for the new life that would be joining ours.

When her tiny foot or knee or fist protruded and formed a knot on the outside of my abdomen, I caressed that spot with my fingers to assure her Mama loved her.  I knew music would play an important role in her life because she “danced” each time I played piano and stopped immediately when the music halted.

One Saturday night, after many hours of labor, my oldest daughter emerged as a tiny, delicate mixed version of myself and my hubby and presented herself to me as my Mother’s Day gift.  Born less than an hour before Mother’s Day arrived, my little one gave me the gift of motherhood in time for the holiday.

Every single concern or doubt I fretted over about becoming a mother totally evaporated when that amazing little baby girl was placed in my arms.  In that moment and in the years to come, I finally understood the meaning of unconditional love.

No matter what she or her younger sister and brother may have done, I neither would nor could ever stop loving my children.   Becoming a mother gave me insight into how God loves us without condition.

“The mother love is like God’s love; he loves us not because we are lovable, but because it is His nature to love, and because we are His children.”  ~ Earl Riney

As I reminisce on this Mother’s Day about all the years I’ve spent as a mother, I realize I never could have accomplished this task without God’s guidance, without prayer, without the understanding of a mother’s ferociously intense love for her child.  And I’m hopeful that I’ve done my very best with the lessons I have learned in motherhood.  I agree with Ruth Bell Graham when she said:  “As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible.”

So as I celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday in my book of Opportunity, Chapter 5, Page 8,  I give praise and thankfulness to the One who gave me the gift of life first, then blessed me with the gift of motherhood, not just once but three times.

Happy Birthday, my dearest Oldest Daughter!  Thank you for teaching me to be the frame for your beautiful picture!   May your day be blessed with the knowledge that you are loved beyond comprehension by God and by your mother.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The first incredible woman of May

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My mother with me

With Mother’s Day approaching, reflections of all three of these incredible women dart in and out of my thoughts, so I’m writing a three-part blog dedicated to each of them.

The first woman born in May was my own mother who I lost over 10 years ago.  If she were alive today, she would celebrate her 92nd birthday later this month.  I imagine my mother was an ultimate surprise when she was born to my grandparents after 19 years of marriage and no children.   She surely was the apple of their eye as their only child.

She certainly was the apple of mine.  Washington Irving said it well when he wrote:

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

I loved and admired my Mom so much, it’s difficult to express in words.  I watched her with awe and respect, especially in her last year of life as she bravely and without complaint battled the cancer that was taking her body captive.

Mom was one of the strongest, most determined people I’ve ever met; she had a feisty spirit and she was fun (ask any of her grandchildren!). She loved God, her family and her home.  She was happiest when she was whipping up goodies in the kitchen and watching her loved ones enjoy her home cooking.

Crafts, sewing projects, quilting, crocheting – all right up her alley.  Any ideas to enhance her home or anything she could make with her own hands to give as a gift caught her attention  – just one of the ways she demonstrated her love.  She especially enjoyed planting flowers in her garden and watching her six grandchildren flower as well.

When I was a squirrelly teenager, my mother suffered through menopause.  The combination wasn’t exactly compatible so we butted heads often.  Sometimes, she just made me so mad, I would stomp up the stairs to my room and cry my eyes out.  And I know I made her just as angry.  But not once, did we ever stop loving one another.

As an adult, I realized first-hand the stresses my mom endured.  And I sadly recall  wounding my mom so badly one time during my teenage years.  After yet another ridiculous battle of words I waged with her, I had shouted, “You don’t love me and you never did!”

I’ve never forgotten the look of horror on her face as she recoiled from my venomous words.  She seemed to wilt as she slowly sat down and tears quietly streamed down her cheeks.

I don’t believe I have ever regretted words more than those ugly ones I flung at her that day.   The power to reduce my mother to tears did not give me satisfaction, instead it made me realize what a spoiled brat I was being and I never hurled hurtful words like that to my mother again!

But through those trying years, Mom never stopped encouraging me, giving me good advice when I needed it and loving me.  She urged me to be the first person in our family to attend college.

Without admonition, she expected me to try my hardest at whatever I endeavored.  I remember many late summer nights, swaying gently back and forth side by side on the front porch swing, having conversations with Mom about boyfriends, what college life would be like, and dreaming about my future.

Later, I would make my mother cry again.  When I married my true love and we loaded our belongings into a U-Haul trailer to move half-way across the country, my mother wept.  And every time we visited my parents from our home away from home, she would once again cry each time we said goodbye.

My Mom was always my rock.  She was the one I turned to for help, to vent, to rail against the injustices of my world because I knew she was always on my side.  And she always knew what to say to pick me up, dust me off and send me back on my way.

She provided the strong arms of comfort into which I collapsed with hysterical tears in an airport ladies room after sending my military husband off to a foreign land for a year’s tour of duty.   Pregnant with our first child and saying goodbye to my husband, who would miss the birth of that child, was the most heart-wrenching task I had ever endured.

And it was Mom, who held me tight, rocked me in her arms even while she cried with me, and whispered in my ear, “You’ve got to think about this new little life you’re carrying inside of you.  You’ve got to be strong for the baby.”

I didn’t want to be strong.   But I learned to be.  And that’s one of the lessons I learned from my mother who portrayed strength every day, even as she lay dying all those years later.

Today in Chapter 5, Page 6 of my book of Opportunity and on Mother’s Day, I will miss my mother terribly. But I can almost hear her whisper, “You’ve got to think about your own family, your children.   You’ve got to be strong for them now.”

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  Give Jesus a hug for me.

“I miss thee, my Mother!  Thy image is still

The deepest impressed on my heart.” ~Eliza Cook

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Putting on my happy face

blogpic3My lawn is covered with several inches of snow.  The sky is overcast and gray; gloomy rain is predicted to arrive followed by more snow.  No sunshine whatsoever.

All week long I’ve had to awaken at o’dark thirty to travel to the school farthest away from my house to present programs for my non-profit employer for the first class of the day and I’m not…shall we say an ‘early bird.’   So I’m a little tired and grumpy.

My house is naked on one side where the siding blew off in a windstorm.   Spring hasn’t shown its perky little self in my neighborhood yet.

But it’s still a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Why?  Today is the birthday of my last born – my son, who lives and works in the state next door.  Of course, Mama in her empty nest was feeling a little melancholy over not seeing son for his birthday.  But then the miraculous text message appeared on her cell phone yesterday announcing that son will drive the six or so hours home today after work and will arrive in time for birthday cake tonight!

Mama quickly became a happy camper.  Papa went to a near-by bakery known for their yummy cakes.   There will be some celebrating at Mama’s Empty Nest tonight and tomorrow! I’ve got my happy face on!  And it makes me want to sing:

“Gray skies are gonna clear up,

Put on a happy face;                                                                          

Brush off the clouds and cheer up,

Put on a happy face.

Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy,

It’s not your style;

You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad

Ya’ decide to smile!

 Pick out a pleasant outlook,

Stick out that noble chin;

Wipe off that “full of doubt” look,

Slap on a happy grin!

 And spread sunshine all over the place,

Just put on a happy face!”

Yep, celebrating the life of my son is like spreading sunshine all over the place.  I can’t help but put on my happy face!  Happy Birthday to my beloved son on this 24th page in Chapter 2 of my Opportunity book!  I love you!

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

City lights or country nights?

blogDSCN6877The city beckoned to us yesterday so  we briefly joined the hustle and bustle.

From our little country plot into the city is a pretty short drive and really not horrendous considering the traffic gridlock you can find in other cities.

Our nearby city has some God-created natural land aspects that make it a little more difficult to travel around like rivers and hills which require bridges and tunnels for vehicles to negotiate.  Add some construction into the mix and traffic snarls can line up in a snake-like fashion.

Middle daughter lives in the city.  Hubby and I wanted to take her out to dinner to celebrate her birthday yesterday, so we picked her up at her apartment and headed to the another area of the city where we decided to dine.  Hubby is more adept at city driving than me because he learned to drive in the concrete jungle and he navigates the city streets daily.

Being the rural girl, I learned to drive on country roads and highways.   It’s not that I can’t drive in the city, of course I can, I lived in the suburbs of a couple large cities for years.  I just don’t like to deal with the traffic of the city.   Call me wimpy, I don’t care.  (“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  That’s what a character named Wimpy in old Popeye cartoons used to say.)

Middle daughter has inherited her fine sense of direction from her former city dwelling dad and she’s learning her way around the city very well.   I tend to get lost much more easily than the two of them, so in areas I’m unfamiliar with I’m not what you would call adventurous.    In other words, I like to know exactly where I am and where I am heading.

As we were meandering around the streets of our fair city, I was glad hubby was driving as he knew how to get from point A (daughter’s apartment) to point B (area where the restaurant was).   I didn’t have a clue.   But on the way back from the restaurant to daughter’s apartment, we definitely traveled the not-so-scenic route.

Clueless me foolishly asked hubby if he knew where we were.   His answer was “Yes, this should take us to (this particular area of the city).”

“Are you sure?” I replied.

And he admitted he wasn’t completely sure, but that he’d manage to figure it out on the way.  See that would freak me out if I were driving.

We arrived at our destination with no difficulty, parked our car, and started walking along the river towards the  yummy dinner that awaited us.   The scenic sights of the city though caused me to stop and haul out my camera to take a few photos.   I do love living in the country, but there is something exhilarating and exciting about being in the city from time to time.

blogbirthday dessertAfter my short photo session, we entered the restaurant and had a lovely and delicious dinner together, just middle daughter with her mama and daddy.

It was pleasant and we had some delightful conversation.  We wished daughter a happy birthday once more after her lip-smacking, delicious dessert was placed before her –  s’mores fondue, a warmed pot of chocolate ganache and marshmallow crème with glazed graham crackers and fresh strawberries for dipping.

Daughter thanked us and then paused and added this thought, “Thanks for giving me life.”

In this day and age, that statement is very thought-provoking, and I had to fight back the tears that started welling up in my eyes.    Imagining what my life would be like without middle daughter’s life, or any of my three children’s lives, is like imagining a world with no flowers.

As each of my children grew and bloomed, the Master Gardener used my being their mama to mold and shape me into the person I am today.  Looking at my beautiful daughter,  I uttered a silent prayer to my Lord who entrusted those three lives to my husband and me and I felt humbled to be so blessed.

blogDSCN6889As summer wanes, the days are getting shorter, so by the time we left the restaurant, it was already dark.

The lights of the city caught my eye and enticed me to draw my camera out of my purse once again.  The city’s landscape at night is beautiful and this picture is only a small portion of it.

I’d have to disagree with author Somerset Maugham who wrote, “In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile and menacing.  It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time.”

To me, the darkness of night in the country is comfy and comfortable.  It’s like an old friend.   But our city with its blaze of lights doesn’t seem hostile or menacing to me.  Unlike the city Maugham was describing, I wouldn’t call our city a monster.   It’s just a different kind of friend.

Nice place to visit.  But still… I wouldn’t want to live there.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

A Birthday Letter for Middle Daughter

 

My beautiful daughter at 25

My beautiful daughter at 25

I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing on this day 25 years ago.  I could explain all the details and give you a play-by-play on the events of that day, but I’m taking a different trail today.

Today, you see, is a milestone.   Today my middle daughter turns 25.  I’m not sure she is that pleased about her age, but I want her to see herself through her mama’s eyes, to see what a blessing she’s been to me for 25 years.  So this post is addressed to you, dear middle daughter, on the occasion of your birthday.

Your older sister was three when you made your appearance into this world.  The three of us, Mama, Daddy, and Sissy waited all through a long, hot, and very muggy summer for you to arrive and then you decided to make us wait an extra week!  I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was to finally be in labor early in the morning of September 8.

From the first moment we laid eyes on you, you were a joyful addition to our family.  Sister had someone to love, play with and boss around.  Mama received another beautiful baby to love, cuddle, and nurture.  Daddy gained another little girl to cherish and rock back to sleep at night, taking little snoozes together on the recliner.  You were a happy, contented, pleasant baby full of smiles and giggles.

Babyhood turned into the toddler stage all too quickly and the meaning of your given name, which means “lively,” fit you to a tee.  You were oh so busy all the time, not content to sit quietly watching “Sesame Street” like your sister.  Oh no, you had to be doing something at all times!  Climb up the huge, high sliding board at the park?  No problem.  Run and jump and take in everything there is to see?  Absolutely!   With excitement and wonder and gibberish.

You developed your own little language complete with inflections and hand gestures and none of us could decipher it, yet you regaled us with hysterically funny stories.  We just didn’t know what they meant.  But you did.  Two French fries or even two crayons would suddenly be involved in an intense conversation in a language unknown to anyone but you.   And you would laugh heartily and be delighted in what they had to say, whatever it was.

You welcomed your baby brother with gusto when you were two and a half.  You loved him, wanted to hold him, and wanted me to attend to him at the slightest squeak that he made.  You never seemed jealous that there was a new baby in the house.  On the contrary, you were thrilled to have another person to have fun with, and your sweet nature prevailed.

Time to venture to pre-school arrived.  Prior to that, you asked me two questions every morning: “Where daddy go?”  To work.  And “Where Sissy go?” To school.  Oh, the excitement of getting to go to school too, where you could learn and be busy as a bee and social as a butterfly!

School years flew by and we could always count on two things: you always did your best at school and everyone, teachers and students alike, absolutely adored you.  Your cheerful and positive attitude always were your assets.  Even when there were struggles, you marched forward and persevered and had fun on the way.

Being the middle child of our family was never a detriment to you; instead it uncovered  some of your finest strengths.  You learned the fine art of diplomacy and compromise and settled many a backseat argument with a mature, “Can’t we just figure out a way to get along?”

I will never forget a disagreement a friend had with you on the school playground.  You demonstrated maturity way beyond your years when you approached her and said, “On the road to friendship, we’ve taken the wrong turn.”

Friendships came easy for you back then and everyone in your classes wanted to be your friend because they knew it was a treasure to behold.   Your kind and compassionate heart befriended the unlovable, including a special needs child in your class who got along with no one, except you. She listened to you, looked up to you, and loved you with all her heart.

You strived to do your best whether it was learning a new dance, doing a one-hand cartwheel in gymnastics, or learning goal-keeping skills at soccer.   You developed a devout love for reading and still can be seen with a book in your possession.  Athletics, math, singing, and acting were activities in which you shined.   And to us, you were always our glimmering star!

Moving back to mama’s homeland brought a few difficulties for you.  For some reason, cultivating friendships wasn’t as effortless as it was before.   You learned you had to stand up for your convictions and your beliefs and that wasn’t easy.  But you stood firm, even when you were talked about behind your back and ridiculed for your godly decisions.  Your sensitive and sweet heart got trampled on more than one occasion.  But God used those difficult years to strengthen and prepare you for things you had yet to encounter. I think He knew He had to make a warrior out of you.

Daddy and I were very proud of you graduating from high school with honors and participating in so many activities where you devoted your all whether it was on stage in school musicals or on the soccer playing field trying to vie for a playing spot amid a field of boys.  The frustrations you endured and the injuries you incurred didn’t make you surrender; they just made you more determined.

Your college years were harder yet. You faced disappointments – and there were more than your fair share – but you chose to show your mettle instead of giving up and you earned that Bachelor of Science in Nursing with lots of hard, diligent work.  And again, you relied on your Savior to carry you through the difficult times.

The Lord bestowed upon you a heart for those less fortunate than you and provided opportunities to bless those on mission trips to the Navajo people, to the poor and needy in Mexico, and to those devastated by hurricane Katrina.  As always, the children in those areas were drawn to you and adored you for your free-spirited sense of fun and play, but most of all, your sweet and loving ways.

As you begin another year of life, I pray for God to bless you and always lead you where He wants you to go.  My daughter, you have bloomed and blossomed into the most gorgeous of creatures. 

God uses your compassion for others and your servant heart each day as you minister to the sick and weary in their hospital rooms.

As much as the Lord has blessed others through you, He has blessed me even more for He allowed me to be your Mama.  Daughter, you are loved beyond measure.  Happy 25th Birthday, my dear one!

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” ~Zephaniah 3:16-18 (New International Version)

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com