Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break

I remember some fine times from Spring Breaks of my past.  During the school year, this holiday time always came at just the right moment – when everyone really needed a break from the pressures and routine of school/work, when stamina was wearing down from long days of answering constant questions topped off by Open House night during Texas Public Schools Week where you politically, politely answer more constant questions.  I remember some relaxing spring trips to Fredericksburg and the Hill Country, to Port Aransas and Padre Island, to the St. Augustine area of Florida and an extended Spring Break trip to southern Spain when Travis was there on a study abroad semester. We took in wonderful sights, enjoyed company of lovely people, tasted some great local foods and spent some down time reading good books.

This year with retirement I thankfully did not feel the worn down need to get away from my regular life but I did spend a week away from home doing different things.  Planning well in advance, Jonathan arranged to take Erica for a much needed beach getaway during her spring break.  While they spent some time at a Cancun resort, Darrell and I lived at their house in Austin and filled our days with watching Keller.  I really do mean that literally we enjoyed our week by just watching him – watching him greet the morning, watching him eat, watching him walk by holding on to walls, furniture and toys, watching what caught his attention on TV, watching him explore and look closely at things, watching him take things apart (he’s not yet at the stage of putting things back together), watching him express his feelings – elation, curiosity, determination, satisfaction, frustration.

We learned his eating/sleeping routine.  We learned his likes (hugs, laps, pacifier, blueberries, broccoli and bananas) and his dislikes (getting his nose wiped, getting his face washed and waiting for a bottle).  We learned to interpret some of his babbling:  ach-O, mama, dada, de-dada, nana, hi, baa. We learned that Pinterest has good ideas for corraling a toddler in a tub. We learned that baby gates are a great invention. We learned that we do not know how to operate all modern baby technology.  When the monitor beeped and ran out of battery charge on the first night, we did not find the right button to restart it until Erica came home and showed us so I listened the old fashioned way for baby noise in the night using my mother/grandmother ears.  A few false alarms just gave me a chance to peek in on a peaceful, sleeping angel.J

Our days passed by lazily following the Keller schedule of eat, poop and play.  We caught up on Jeopardy in back to back daily shows, caught up on all the broadcast details of the new pope, swung in the backyard hammock, watched families do yard work as we took different strolling routes, soothed to the cooing dove noise of their neighborhood and, like all good trips, we read good books during our down time.

Feeling rather bold, one day we ventured out to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, only a few miles from their house and just down the road from Erica’s school and Keller’s day care.  Proudly we were successful in loading a car seat and then a stroller and the possibly necessary take along items for this outing in the beautiful outdoors.  Darrell and I found some promising native plants to try in our tiny backyard inspired from the display gardens at the center and were happy to see our first bluebonnets blooming for this year. Be on the lookout, wildflowers are starting to show along the roadways, too!

This was the best Spring Break ever!  Gratitude for being given precious time in the life of a precious child fills my heart.

Psalm 127:3  Behold children are a gift of the Lord.

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”




Saturday, March 2, 2013

I Dreamed a Dream...


For five days a dangerous fugitive was hiding out in my hometown after wounding a police officer who was transporting him to a different state to serve a life sentence in prison.  Although I didn’t consciously worry about being hurt by him, I did change some daytime habits of keeping doors open for letting in the light and enjoying the view of trees and sky.  Night time habits were followed to lock doors but now double checked.  Relaxing hot tub use was cut because the mental relaxation was not happening when you have a simultaneous possibility of being ambushed in your own backyard. Dark thirty dreams revealed a subconscious worry when my mind created a scene that made me cry out from my restless sleep – the “bad guy” was using a drill to bore through our locked door and then his arm was reaching through the door…Darrell woke me up from my screams so I don’t know what would have happened next.  Thankfully, the Grapevine police and U.S. Marshals working the case did bring it to an end so our nervous community has resumed its comfortable life.


The great Biblical character, Daniel, was known for interpreting the dreams of the kings who held his people in captivity in Babylon.  Relearning his story and reapplying the lessons has been one of my regular weekly activities through a Thursday morning women’s Bible study group at church – retirement allows participation in these opportunities without feeling too tired or too limited in time with a demanding work schedule.  My heart is happy with this new lifestyle!


Looking back over my Daniel notes, these are the highlights/questions of the study so far that I choose to rethink and incorporate where applicable: How do you go about breaking bad news to someone, as Daniel did for the king when interpreting a dream?  What kinds of ideas fill my dreams for the future? To whom do I attribute my prosperity? Life choices = indulgence, indifference & irreverence or faith, hope & love.  How do I react to fear and crisis? How do I react to being falsely accused?  What guides my decision making process?  What Biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled and what is yet to come? What do I do with the visions God gives me today? How do I know what is true?  What is the impact of prayer?

Daniel was recognized as a godly man. The angel, Gabriel, spoke to him face to face and called him “highly esteemed”.  Daniel gives us an appropriate model of prayer life – he followed a regular habit, he acknowledged God as the ultimate authority who keeps his covenant, praised Him for being great and awesome, thanked him for loving-kindness and compassion, confessed his sin identifying with the disrespect of so many of his kindred people, made requests for himself and his nation.

So lately my dreams have moved from the nightmares of the convict to reliving past scenes of my role as a mom when the boys were young.  Jonathan and Erica spent time with us on Presidents weekend and their sweet ten month old Keller entertained us with his constant movement, babble, expression, determination and curiosity.  Travis and Chelsea chose that time frame to send us all text links to a YouTube video they created to announce the development of another baby coming to join the Green family.  My subconscious mind has been pleasantly consumed with family, children and babies, most recently Travis as a toddler/preschool child running to me for comfort from some mishap and climbing into the safety of my lap. When I woke from this dream, I wasn’t fearful; just nostalgic for the days when I was able to simply pat his back and solve his problems.  I said a quick prayer for guardian angels to watch over him in my absence and in my role that has changed over time and distance.

“I’m so glad to be alive”, Travis reported to Darrell yesterday via cell phone. He works at Sunlight Mountain ski resort during the winter season and runs his own business, Green Landscapes, during the growing season.  In his current job as manager of lift operators, he has a certain snow mobile assigned to him for use in traveling up and down the mountain.  Yesterday, his machine was in for servicing so he was using a bigger, faster, unfamiliar snow mobile to move down the mountain after going over some training with his operators at the top of the trails.  He told of it moving too fast and the breaks locking when he tried to get it under control, flying off the trail and crashing into trees.  He could have been killed, but he walked away with bruises while the snow mobile was completely totaled.  Thank the Lord, oh my soul!

Darrell and I recall that this is the third time we’ve rejoiced at a call from this son, celebrating that his life continues!  Once he was in the back seat of a vehicle that slid off a mountain road during a sudden snow storm.  The second time was a mountain climbing adventure with a friend where they got caught in a thunderstorm at perilous heights. And now this one.

One of my personal plans to incorporate lessons from Daniel is to continue my habit of prayer when I wake in the night and to expand on my adoration and praise for God’s goodness.

Psalm 91:11-12  For he will give his angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.  They will bear you up in their hands, Lest you strike your foot against a stone.

Psalm 91:14-16  Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.  With a long life I will satisfy him, And let him behold My salvation.

Isaiah 66:13  As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.