A Tribute to Mom

IMG_0539Four years ago today, I walked into my mother’s room and said: “Mom, today is your birthday.  Do you know how old you are?”  She thought for a moment and said: “No Stan, I don’t think I do.” “You’re 101,” I said.  My statement revived her spunky and independent spirit, and she informed me that, “I might not know how old I am, but I know I’m not 101!”

Mom died about a month later form the ravages of Alzheimer’s. Since today is her birthday, I’m re-posting this blog as a tribute to her. . .

Times were tough in 1930. The stock market crash in 1929 had knocked the economic wind out of the United States and left it gasping for survival. Some 1,350 banks would fail and close their doors. The newspaper headlines reported on financial failures as well as world leaders like Mussolini, Stalin, and Herbert Hoover.

Times were tough in 1930. The stock market crash in 1929 had knocked the economic wind out of the United States and left it gasping for survival. Some 1,350 banks would fail and close their doors. The newspaper headlines reported on financial failures as well as world leaders like Mussolini, Stalin, and Herbert Hoover.

At this time in our nation’s history bread was 9 cents a loaf, gas was 10 cents a gallon, and a movie ticket was 35 cents.

On Friday, June 20th, about halfway through 1930, Buzz Aldrin was born. At the time of his birth, the idea of space flight was just science fiction; however, Aldrin would join Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969; and, they would be the first two people to walk on the moon.

Buzz Aldrin wasn’t the only person born on June 20, 1930. A baby girl, who would never experience his fame and notoriety, was also born. Her family had little money but a lot of love. Her fragile world was shattered a few years later when her mother died. She quit school in the 8th grade because her dad needed her to help work the fields—the fields of a farm he would later be forced to sell.

As a young lady, she married, but heartache found her again. At the age of 35, she became a widow when her husband was killed on the job, and she was left with three young sons. A short time later she married again. Five children came with her new husband. His 5 and her 3 made for a memorable life that could be as harried as it was happy.

When her second husband died, the truth was exposed: She was weaker than any of her family knew. Her cognitive skills were becoming cobwebs; Her sense of direction failed her; and, she was often lost.

 

On Monday of last week, my siblings and I had to stand toe-to-toe with the toughest woman we’ve ever known to break the news: “Mom, you can’t live by yourself any longer—we’re moving you into assisted living.”

 

Mom’s independent spirit has served her well for most of her life. She kept going and remained positive when she had every right to be negative and quit. It’s that same spirit that keeps saying: “I’m not staying here. I’m going home.” But with the next sentence, it’s evident that Alzheimer’s has a befuddling grip on her once vibrant mind and spirit.

 

Buzz Aldrin may have walked on the moon, but he stands in the shadow of my mother, Evelyn Lou Lacy–the girl who was also born June 20, 1930. She’s been a loving and loyal daughter, a faithful wife to two fortunate men, and a sometimes-fearsome force who molded the life of her children.

Thanks for reading this annual tribute that I share to honor the memory of my mother.

Impossibly Possible

possibleLet me pose a question to you; a question that is tucked away in the prophetic works of the prophet Jeremiah: Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me (32:27)? Is there anything that God can’t do?

To most people who believe that God is omnipotent and that He is all powerful, the quick and easy answer is a resounding, “No!”

As you think about your answer, I offering the following:

  • God can’t get tired and His wisdom is never diminished: The Lord is an eternal God, the Creator of the whole earth. He does not get tired or weary; there is no limit to his wisdom. ~Isaiah 40:28
  • God can’t break a promise: My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips. ~Psalm 89:34
  • God can’t remember the sins He chooses to forget: I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake. ~Isaiah 43:25
  • God can’t lie to you: God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes His mind. Does He speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? ~Number 23:19
  • God can forsake you: Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6
  • God can’t forget you: Aren’t five sparrows sold for two cents? God doesn’t forget any of them. Even every hair on your head has been counted. Don’t be afraid! You are worth more than many sparrows. ~Luke 12:6-7
  • God can’t stop loving you: I love you with an everlasting love, so I will continue to show you my kindness. ~Jeremiah 31:3

The next time you get down in the dumps, and feel as though God has abandoned you, I hope you’ll review this list and remember this final thought: Before you were ever aware of God or thought about loving Him, you were already the object of His love.

The Beauty of Spring

bartram_trail_pic1My two favorite seasons of the year are Spring and Fall.  In the cycle of life, I think these are the two most refreshing seasons of the year.

Even though Spring doesn’t official begin until March 20th, God blessed us with Spring-like weather this past weekend.  As I was enjoying the day, I thought about the many blessings that God gives His children, and two words from John 3:16 came to mind:  He gave.

As I was tilling the soil in my garden, I thought about several things God has given:

  • He has given the warmth of the sunshine.
  • He infused flowers with their delicate fragrance.
  • He designed your taste buds, so they would be tickled by the flavor of food.
  • He engineered your eyes so they can see the beautiful landscapes of His magnificent creation.
  • He gave you ears, so you can hear the three greatest word that have ever been spoken:  I love you.

The I love you verse of the Bible is John 3:16, and when you read it you discover the greatest gift that God has given: “He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him might have eternal life.”

Take a moment sometime today to give yourself a gift.  The next breath you take, make it a deep one, and then pause to thank God for the beauty and fragrance of life. Then take about 4 more minutes, and listen to this brief and beautiful song.

Blueprints and Road Maps

kansasBlueprints and road maps are useful and necessary tools to get you from where you are to where you’re going.  I have the same opinion of the book of James.  It’s a book of divine directives, that will help you negotiate the challenging hairpin curves of life.

There are 5 points of interest that are the keys to everything that James says in this book:  “Submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you (James 4:7-10).”

These words are good advice and principles to be practiced.  To apply them to your life, focus on the 5 points of interest:

  • Insist: Submit to God
  • Resist the Devil
  • Persist: Draw near to God
  • Desist: Cleanse your hands and purify your heart
  • Consist: A life of humility—humble yourself

These 5 points can be summarized by one statement: The life that’s yielded to God is a life that’s shielded by God.

Be Still and Bear Fruit

prayerYesterday I walked by a table and, I heard part of a conversation in which one person said:  “It’s a mute point.”

Mute means silent, and I have often made a point of being silent, and I have even pointed silently. I cannot, however remain mute about a key point of that conversation.

Mute and moot cannot be used interchangeably—they are not synonyms.  Moot is used to refer to some item or point of discussion that is debatable, but of no practical value.

While moot points are often hypothetical in nature, making a point to be mute can have real value.  In Psalm 46:10, there is a clear command to be mute:  “Be still and know that I am God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer expressed the importance of this principle in a letter to some friends:  “Daily, quiet reflection on the Word of God as it applies to me becomes for me a point of crystallization for everything that gives interior and exterior order to my life.”

The words of Bonhoeffer serve as a commentary on God’s instructions to Joshua:  “This set of instructions is not to cease being a part of your conversations. Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to carry out everything that’s written in it, for then you’ll prosper and succeed (Joshua 1:8.”

Mother Teresa suggested that silence is an essential of practical Christianity:  “The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith. The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service. The fruit of Service is peace. “

I encourage you to take time out of your schedule for a mute point, so you can “be still” and bear fruit . . .