In my conversation with my friend over lunch yesterday, she reminded me that I need to set boundaries. She suggested that if there is too much drama, conflict or stress in my life, it is because I have not set my own boundaries. I have allowed those elements to invade my peace.
Do you have drama, conflict, or stress in your life? Is there a way to eliminate those negatives and invite only positives in my life? What choices do I have?
Sometimes the stress and drama come from family, dearly beloved family. Does setting boundaries mean I should eliminate them from my life? Would that make me happier? Does having a cozy home, good food, and limiting my contacts to only “Happy People” mean I would have a better life?
No, my choice is to love those family members unconditionally – and invite them into my “cozy home” and share with them my “good food” and if they are not “happy people,” then pray that my patience, generosity, and love offered unconditionally can bring them some joy.
Sharing what we have is what the “Christmas Spirit” is all about. You may not be able to eliminate the drama, conflict, and stress in your life. Not unless you want to alienate those people God has placed in your life … those people who create troublesome circumstances in their own lives as well as yours.
Is that what Jesus teaches? Only deal with happy people? Is that what He did? Think about it.
Today is the 28th birthday of my #1 grandson, Mike.
I have written a memoir titled, All My Marbles. I did it with my grandchildren in mind. I want them to understand who their grandmother is (from my inside perspective), how I met their grandfather and what our early days of marriage were like. I hope they enjoy getting a glimpse into who their great grandparents on their mom’s side of the family were, too.
In the memoir (of which I have only printed a couple rough draft copies), I devote one chapter to each of my seven grandchildren. The chapter devoted to Michael, Grandson #1, begins this way:
Let me tell you about our first grandchild, the one who was “in the hatch” when DeAna and Andre left California to live in Switzerland.
“Paaaay-shuns!!” Mikey whined. I chuckled. Standing in the tiny Swiss kitchen, heating milk to put in the plastic pouch for her toddler’s bottle, our daughter, DeAna, felt a tug on her apron. He had heard his mom say, “Patience!” so many times already in his young life. It makes me smile twenty-six years later when I think of it.
Since this is now his 28th birthday, you can see I wrote that memoir two years ago.
After taking a look back at how our daughter happened to be in Switzerland – how she and Andre’ met, etc. – I go on to tell more about Mike.
Mikey was two weeks old in December of 1992 when we arrived to visit for his first Christmas. De and Andre had a cute little apartment in Crans-Montana, a ski resort area high in the Alps above the city of Sierre where Andre and Mikey both were born. What stands out in my memory from that three-week visit are four things: 1) the joy of holding that healthy, chubby little baby, and seeing our lovely nineteen-year-old daughter as a mommy, 2) the fun of introducing Mikey to the village where he was living as we took him in his stroller through the snow to the little resort town down the mountain, 3) the luck of meeting Liz Bestenheider in a Montana boutique and introducing her to DeAna a day later or so – they would ultimately become very good friends – and 4) the love of the extended Swiss family who took us in so graciously. We had been acquainted with that extended family of Solioz/Zufferey since 1981 when our first AFS exchange student, Christian Zufferey, came to California. So in many ways it was “old home week.” But now we weren’t just related through an international organization, God had sealed us in a covenant! What a joy!
Mikey was a very easy baby. Quiet by nature, he was generally happy. He didn’t cry unless there was something really wrong. He would sit for hours in his stroller or the infant seat, content to watch patiently whatever was happening around him.
By the time we saw him on our second visit the next December, he was the toddler who was reminding himself to be PAAAY-shunt – and he was learning other words and actions that amused us. Since he was the first grandchild on both his maternal and paternal sides, adults doted on his every word, every burp, and every new action. We have a drawer full of videotapes taken of him before his brothers came along.
Mike’s been here to Montana with his brothers and his mom, but it’s been a while. Time to bring Tania and come back to Grammy & Grampy’s. In the picture above, Mike’s youngest brother and his mom (our daughter, DeAna) were here last May. It’s time for Mike to return, too. Happy Birthday, Mike!
Here he is (the one next to Bob, his Grampy) in his younger years – with his two brothers.
Have you written a memoir? Do you have grandchildren? If so, how old are yours? We wish we could see ours more often!
I live gratefully With thanks for family and friends Gratitude brings joy
The Flights Were Great!
I hope you had a joy-filled day of gratitude, too – on that day we call Thanksgiving here in the USA. We arrived safely (thanks to my niece, Jodie) at the Pittsburgh airport around 5: AM. Our flight to Minneapolis arrived on time, with no difficulties – and we had a nice breakfast in their lovely airport. The 6:15 AM flight to Bozeman was on time and encountered no problems.
Problems Began After Landing
The problems came after we landed in Bozeman, MT and Bob tried to find our car in long-term parking. He wandered in the wrong parking lot for a half hour before realizing the car was in the next lot over. By then, I knew he was in some kind of trouble as I stood in the warmth of the airport with our luggage waiting for him.
I prayed to God, “Please help Bob solve whatever trouble he has encountered.”
About that same time, Bob reported later, he realized he had not sought God’s help, so he also prayed to find the car. That’s when God nudged him to go to the next parking lot over… and sure enough, there it was. BUT, it was covered in snow… and the snow had more than one layer during the time we were gone. The under-layer was iced on.
Anyone who has lived through a winter in this part of the world, should know what to carry in the trunk of your car. An emergency kit needs to include a blanket or two, gloves, a hat or two, an ice/snow scraper, etc. Our trunk had a can of de-icer and a blanket, but none of the rest of those items. It took Bob 20 minutes to clear away enough of the ice and snow to make the car safe to drive.
Yes, we know what we need to add to our emergency supply to be prepared in the future!
It was snowing lightly as we began the 60 miles toward home, but it let up as we crossed over the mountain pass and followed the Madison River into Madison County and our valley. The roads were clear – and we praised God for a wonderful homecoming!
Family Greeted Us
At home, we were greeted by our son, his wife, two grand-daughters and their husbands, and two of our great-grandchildren. Happy Thanksgiving!! The smell of turkey assailed my nostrils when I opened the door – and hugs all around said, “Welcome Home!”
I am grateful to our dear friends, Gail & Harold, who took care of TazE while we were gone.
It was a wonderful meal… and great fellowship. I hope you had a great day, too. Now on to “Black Friday!”
Only Thing Black
The only thing black about today for me is my coffee and the night sky! I am up early and enjoying some quiet time.
I hope yours is a Fabulous Friday with delicious coffee (or tea) to warm you inside, and a cozy home filled with love to warm you through and through.
While my family is still asleep, I am up in my sanctuary, thanking God for:
a safe trip to Pennsylvania and back
the chance to see my sis in her new setting
the generosity of my niece, Jodie, and her husband, Bill
the gracious hospitality of the McSparrons in Kutztown, PA
the opportunity to participate in a bit of the life of Liam, our great-nephew
Liam’s big heart and wonderful work ethic
the love and care my niece, Jodie, gives to her family and my sis (her mom)
our son and his family who greeted us with love and a luscious Thanksgiving dinner when we returned home
F amily A dorable M essy I llogical L ovable Y ours
That adorable, messy, illogical, lovely family is YOURS! And it’s mine! And we are so fortunate, aren’t we? Not everyone is so blessed… so count your good fortune … And enjoy your time together. This day won’t come again!!
Today we fly home. Thank you for your prayers for our safe travel. See ya later!
Yesterday I promised I would send you a video of Liam and me playing at my sister’s Masonic Home. My niece, Jodie, recorded videos and took these pictures. Thanks, Jodie!
Now, as Thanksgiving approaches, we plan to celebrate with dinner out – and then our first opportunity to see a performance of Les Miserables! Thanks to Jodie & Bill… what a wonderful gift!
Have YOU had a chance to see that production?
This afternoon I am sitting and watching the birds find food here in Pennsylvania. I pray with God’s grace, tomorrow we will be looking for birds in our Montana snow. They won’t be these colorful ones… but we’ll be happy with whatever feathered friends we find.
What kinds of birds do you have in your area this time of year?