Thursday, April 28, 2011

Miss Caroline Lawson Kelly

Outside of Good Friday services, Friday seemed like any other day...Keith and I both worked, and Rebeka ended up babysitting for the neighbors until close to midnight.  Though we ended up not going to bed until late, I was hoping to get out Saturday to find something special for the girls' and Keith's easter baskets.

A little after 8 a.m., Jessica called apologizing for waking us up so early on a Saturday morning, but she thought she ought to let us know that her water had broken and they were on their way to the hospital!  I have to admit, I was actually excited, even though the baby wasn't due until May 15 (Jessica had scheduled her c-section for May 7). 

We had really wanted to be there when the baby was born, but with Keith just returning back to work and the end of school testing, it just wouldn't be possible.  This little surprise changed I called Keith, who was on his way home from work, and let him know the news--we agreed to pack and head for Georgia!  We had several errands to tend to before heading out, so the girls and I jumped into action, and I do believe we finished packing in record time--which is a feat for our household of women who struggle to keep the suitcases down to 2 EACH!!!

By the time Keith got home at 10, we were finished packing and all but 2 errands completed.  We finally hit the road at 11:30.  While stopping to grab a bite to eat along the way, I receive a text from Bert letting us know we had a new granddaughter!

Caroline Lawson Kelly made her way into our lives at 12:53 p.m. on April 23, 2011.  Though she was a preemie, she weighed in at 7.1 lbs and measured 19.5 inches!!!

We arrived about 4 p.m. just as Bert brought in Elizabeth to meet her new baby sister!  Though Elizabeth was excited about "her new baby," she wasn't quite sure about this newcomer and the attention Caroline was drawing!

The whole day seemed all too surreal for Bert and Jessica;  Excited yet exhausted, they weren't quite prepared for this unexpected surprise, but they fell in love with their new baby immediately!

Jessica, the organizer that she is, had already been doing her "nesting," and so we were not surprised to find out that she'd already packed her bags, finished sewing several dresses, jumpers, bloomers, shorts and t-shirts for Elizabeth; completed Elizabeth's age 2 album; organized and labeled bins for the panty, the bathroom, the medicine cabinet, the cabinet and drawer spaces for Elizabeth's and Caroline's cups, plates, bottles, bibs, nipples, etc.; pulled out and hung up all of Elizabeth's clothes for Caroline to wear; and set up Caroline's changing table and dresser!!  WHEW!  In her blog, she wrote:  Now I feel like if Caroline comes early (which I'm still praying she doesn't), then I'll be ready!

Early she did come, and for us that was a blessing to be able to share in that day!  Of course, Aunt Hannah and Aunt Rebeka couldn't wait to hold her!

When Pappa held her, she began to wake up, giving us some great photos!

Finally, it was my turn!

Soon, Caroline fell back asleep.....

...and so did someone else!!!!  (Bless his heart...!  He'd only been up 24 hours by this time!!!)

Soon after, we took Elizabeth home, so we could all get some rest...I surely wished we knew how to upload videos from an UN-smart phone, because we have the greatest footage of Elizabeth eating her dinner--her favor-ite, corn on the cob!!!  It is hilarious!  Once home, we bathed her, dressed her for bed in her "froggy" p.j.'s, read her her favorite books, and sang her a few lullabies; and before we knew it, she was in la-la land as happy as could be!

Though we had to leave Sunday, it was well worth the trip to be with our daughter and son-in-law to share in this moment! 

It would be Wednesday before they were released to go Caroline, though a bit jaundiced, was ready to she is in her traveling outfit looking so much like Elizabeth!!!

Welcome Baby Caroline!  You have overwhelmed us with your beautiful little self, and I am reminded of the Psalmists words:  

For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was intricately woven in secret and skillfully wrought in the depths of my mother's womb.  Your eyes saw my substnace, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.
The Message also excites me:

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I'll never comprehend them! I couldn't even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
Ohhhh!!!  How my cup runneth over!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Trucks, Fathers, Daughters and Granddaughters

Today at 12:53 p.m., my newest granddaughter, Caroline Lawson Kelly came into the world a few weeks early, weighing in at 7. 1lbs. and measuring 19.5"!  It has been a full day of joy for us, and I have some thoughts to share about this day, but no photos to post yet, and a tired brain.  So instead, here is a post i started a few days ago....more about Caroline when i gather myself together!

The day has finally come!  My dear husband was so excited to finally be able to return to work.  The girls reverted back to their quiet mode after school (because he is asleep in the afternoon), and I reverted back to my scheduled dinners at precisely 5:45p.m.!  All went well, and I kissed him goodbye and watched him back his truck out the driveway...PAUSE button...

Since the girls' acquisition of drivers licenses, Keith has surrendered first rights to HIS truck.  His logic is that the truck is solid steel; and in a wreck, the girls would fare much better surrounded by such protection.  Of course, the girls would much rather drive the truck than the minivan...thus they drive the truck whenever possible.  Since Keith's surgery, they have become quite accustomed to having the truck at their leisure!  So when this week arrived, they were not quite prepared to relinquish "ownership."

PLAY button...There is my macho husband, in his macho Chevy, 4-wheel drive truck, backing out of the driveway to go do his man's work...he brakes, motioning me out to the truck, and hands me tea cups, female clothing, and girls deodorant; then he continues on--on the front of the truck is the "Power F" Franklin high school plate; over the rear view mirror are several strands of glittering colored beads and a school parking decal; the back window displays  "Power F" and IGBOK stickers, and on the bumper is a decal with a flower that reads "Think Happy Stuff"!

And only one thought fills my mind:  "The power of the father...!" 

If you knew my husband, you would smile at how befitting this thought is, all things considered, which just adds to the list of why my cup runneth over...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday...the Door to Resurrection Sunday

In reading all four accounts of the events leading up to Jesus' arrest and crucifixion, we can get a pretty good visual, especially of the last 24 hours before Jesus's arrest--each of the gospels adding their own personal insights.

I am amazed at how much happened in those 24 hours...from the last supper to the washing of the disciples' feet and Judas's betrayal, from His last teaching to His final prayer and ultimately His arrest, trial and crucifixion.

What stood out in my mind was how the rest of the world was so unaware of the events leading to Jesus's arrest. 

While the people slept, Jesus offered the disciples the privilege of the first communion. 
While the people slept, Jesus presented the greatest example of servitude as He washed the disciples feet, teaching them the greatest lesson of all. 
While the people slept, they would remain ignorant of the money that exchanged hands for the ultimate betrayal. 
While the people slept, Jesus prayed in such agony that his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

In the silence of the night, all these things took place so that the scriptures might be that Jesus could complete the work He had come to the earth to that the separation would end and we could once again have a relationship with the that your sins and my sins would be covered by His blood--the blood He shed in perfect obedience, even against His own will, because His love was greater.

As we anticipate His resurrection, it is in the knowledge of what has already taken place.  His disciples had no clue in that last teaching that they would be witnesses the reality of the resurrected Christ.  When Christ overcame death, they got it--they really got it and they were forever changed.

Just like the disciples, I am also changed by the reality.  I don't deserve it, and i'll never ever be able to wrap my brain around such extravagant love for me.  But I will forever be grateful that He loved ME that much; and, in return, my one desire is to spend my life changing to reflect more and more into the likeness of Him.

That's what makes this Good Friday and that's why my cup runneth over...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thirty-Two Years Ago Today...(April 15)

Thirty-two years ago, I was struggling to get through college, trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life.  I was months away from my 20th birthday and miles away from Memphis, Tennessee.

I wasn't there to behold the perfection that would be born on this day nor did I have the privilege of nursing the tiny newborn body. There are no memories of her first step or her first words. I didn't get to rock her to sleep with soft lullaby songs, nor wake her up with smothering kisses. I wasn't there to dress her for her first day of school, and I have no idea what her favorite toy was. 

Though I missed those first seven years of Jessica's life, she is--for all practical purposes--my firstborn...and the love I feel for this precious child of mine overwhelms me each time I think of her.

A grown up in a little girl's body, she was always rambunctious and incredibly intuitive.  Her boldness and sassiness are still undeniable, and  her strong-willed personality helped her navigate through the tumultuous teenage waters and thrive during her college days.  Throughout those years her days were filled with cheerleading, basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, church, choir, ADPi sorority and teaching.  Whew!  And her life is well documented in pictures--she captured every phase of her life on camera!

She has always been so much more mature than her age; and even now, she has become a leader in her own right, still full of passion, still full of life. and i am blessed to have the privilege of being a part of the last 25 years that have created a lifetime of memories to treasure always.

Now, thirty-two years later, she is married raising her own daughter, about to experience the birth of a second daughter. How proud I am of the woman she has become!

Today, as we celebrate Jessica, we also, once again, celebrate God's providence in all things which allows my cup to runneth over!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A New Twist on Friendships

Don't know why it is that i keep finding things to write about concerming friendshps, but i'm just going to go with the flow

The week leading up to April Fool's Day, Hannah and her boyfriend, Tim, decided to stage a breakup as an April Fool joke.  The whole week, they slipped in their conversations with friends how they were fighting more than not, etc.  They pretended to be aggravated with one another. The day before April 1, they staged the breakup so that by the time they changed their relationship status on facebook to "single," the posts and telephone calls were already coming in. 

Now this is where the whole friendship thing comes in.  I never thought about how differently friendships are between males and females!  All Hannah's posts from her friends were full of sympathy and promises to be there for her and offers of chocolate and ice cream and lots of shoulders.  Tim, on the other hand, received one main comment:  "Oh, don't'll find somebody a thousand times better..." 

But it doesn't end there.  So, whenever they said their "April Fools" and changed their status back to "in a relationship with ..." the guys did not find the joke to be funny at fact, they were downright upset about it...while only one of Hannah's girlfriends did not find any humor in the joke.  In fact, Hannah was pleasantly surprised in realizing how her friends would respond in the face of adversity and even posted on her facebook that she had the most wonderful friends in the world!  Tim, though, has let the joke slowly fade!

Maybe it's because I've nothing but girls, but I felt really badly for Tim at the thought that his friends would dismiss his year-long relationship with my daughter so carelessly!  If the poor guy thought there was any possibility of reconciliation, he surely wouldn't be able to turn to his friends for encouragement!  But this is supposedly how guys comfort one another!  How absurd!....Maybe that's why I never had any boys...maybe that's why i'll just be content in gaining sons through my daughters!

I guess I could spend much time analyzing guys and the anatomy of their friendships, but I think I'll just rest in the fact the my cup runneth over because I am female...and that I understand!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

More about Friendships

I've already said that I totally believe good friendships are the cornerstone of our lives and a blessing ordained by God Himself.  Nothing is more evident then when tragedy obliterates our once familiar life.

But what is not so evident is when our not-quite-adult children are able to live it out in fullness of the very One who ordained it.

I was at lunch with one of my friends last week when I received a text (i'm still getting use to this new technology in my life...) from Hannah saying she had just found out that Fred's mom had died. 

Fred attends school with Hannah, and the only way to describe this young man is as a big, loveable, cuddly teddy bear.  He has a heart of gold and smile that reaches into tomorrow.  Fred has often caught rides home with us since 9th grade, as his mom worked many hours to support them (She brought Fred to the U.S. from Brazil when he was a baby).

Anyway, back to the text...we exchange our shock and sadness, and I attempt to call Fred; but his mailbox is full. It isn't until I am on the way home that I give in to the overwhelming reality of his situation and, along with my tears, pour out my heart to God on Fred's behalf.  For all practical purposes, Fred is now an orphan. 

Once home, I figure I'll write on his facebook wall, so he'll at least know we're praying for him. 

I cannot begin to describe to you my utter amazement when I logged on and typed in Fred's name.  There, on his wall, are post after post of prayers and sympathies.  But what was most amazing to me was what these 15-, 16-, 17- and 18-year olds were saying.  Guys were posting "I love you bro" and classmates were were expressing God's love and encouraging him through the scripture and reminding him they would be there for him!  Talk about light in a dark place!

We hear so many negatives about our youth, and yet, here I am witnessing young men and women gathering around this young man and enveloping him with the love of Christ.  They are being the hands and feet, and they KNOW what that looks like, feels like and sounds like!  In the midst of tragedy, they understand hope and where that hope comes from.  I cannot begin to share what happened to my heart at that moment and the pride that welled up in me for these kids whom my daughter calls friends.  I bow in humility and gratefulness for each and every one of them and thank God that they are part of Hannah's life and she is a part of theirs. 

Romans 12:15 says to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  These friends are living out that truth and giving life to that word.  Despite the broken hearts and overwhelming sadness of this circumstance, that, my friends, makes my heart dance and my cup to run over...

Monday, April 04, 2011

Reflections on My Friendships

I have been reading Beth Moore's "So Long Insecurities" (it's been sitting on the bookshelf for ONLY a year now)!  She got to talking about the people in our lives.  The more "stuff" I read and the more folks I talk with, the more I realize how blessed I am to have even one true friend. 

So when Beth Moore wrote, in prayer form, "there have been people who have shown me glimpses of You...not perfect people, but genuine people.  In particular, I thank you for...," I began my list.  It didn't take me long to realize just how blessed I am.  I totally believe that good friendships are the cornerstone of our lives and a blessing ordained by God Himself.

The first person I wrote down was my sister, Sylvia.  My mom used to say, "When we're gone and the rest of the world deserts you, you will still have each other...don't forget that!"  I never have.  Nineteen months my junior, Sylvia has experienced life with me for fifty years...and she still loves me!  We know more about each other than ought to be allowed...and we know what's allowed and what's not.  We still are best friends and I am eternally grateful that God saw fit to place her with me!

Immediately behind her is my husband, Keith.  He is also my Knight In Shining Armour, my lover, and my confidante.  I inherited two beautiful daughters by him and carried two more by him.  We've raised them together and have entered the season of grandparenthood together.  We are growing old together...enough said.

For 35 years, I have maintained friendships with two of my high school buddies, Debbie and Susie.  We grew up together...traveled different roads together...continue to find ways to be together.  They know my past--We are the stuff books are written about.

Then there's Mindy, Jennifer, Lisa, and Lynn.  Eighteen years ago, they came waltzing into my life--each friendship with its own personality--together we're rock solid.  We have grown up in the Lord together and have come to intimately experience all those characteristics that either bind people together or tear them apart.  We have a bond of three cords. They are the reason I cried for a solid year when I left them in Memphis to start a new life in Nashville.  I still take them everywhere I go.

As I contemplate so many other friendships I left behind, I can't help but smile to think of the influence that they all have had on my life.

And now that I call Nashville home, more specifically Franklin, I can honestly say that my list continues to grow as God faithfully opens new doors to friendships that mirror scriptural definitions...I so want to walk with open arms to embrace all that these friendships have to offer...and just maybe, I can be even more of a blessing in return so that my cup will continue to runneth over...!