Friday, January 19, 2018

Signs and Wonders

I have a little story to share. Now, to set you up, you have to realize I am not one usually to believe in signs and such. I don't want to get caught up in mysticism and not miracles.

The other day I was missing my parents so much. I talked to God and asked if someday He might share a small sign that they were near with me. I have never asked this. As I folded clothes later that evening in my room, I felt as if someone stood next to me. I looked to my side and said, "Hi Mom and Dad," and went right on with the clothes. I didn't see anyone.

Later that night as I turned in for the evening, I said "goodnight" to a picture of my parents that is laying on top of my nightstand. It isn't framed, only a regular photograph laying there.

The next morning when I awoke, (I'd like to say I hopped out of bed with a spring in my step, but, well....arthritis and all...), but when I got out of bed, I looked over and the picture of my parents wasn't on the stand. I looked and it was laying on the floor on the side of the nightstand, face up with their beautiful smiling faces looking at me.

I placed the photo back on the nightstand. I tried creating a breeze with my arms, with my bed blankets, with the closet door, etc. Nothing stirred that picture at all. I tried to replicate laying there and hitting it with my arms, but it was too far away from me, and I usually cocoon myself like a burrito when sleeping, so flailing arms aren't usually my thing anyway.
 "Well, Lord," I thought, "I did ask. The Bible says you have not because you ask not." Perhaps God's gentle breath blew through my side of the room that night. He stirred the picture of my parents to show me a sweet little sign. They're okay, Karen. They are here with me. They still love you, but they've changed, and they don't have the worries and concerns they once did. Be happy for them.
When I look at the photograph now, a huge smile breaks out onto my face. For in this picture, they are young, healthy, happy, and so in love. And I believe they are like that right now.
What signs and wonders have you seen perhaps in nature, or in your own home that reminds you of God's existence and love?

This is the photo:


Thursday, January 11, 2018

When a House is Truly a Home

When I was twelve years old, my parents told me that we were going to be moving soon. They'd been looking for a new house in a different area of our small town. I must say that I wasn't too upset by the prospect, after all, my best friends would still be fairly close by. And a fresh, new start is exactly what our topsy turvy lives needed. We'd just been through hell and back with bouts of mental illness with my mother. Though she'd been hospitalized many times throughout my young years and hadn't even known who she was during the worst of it, Mom became completely well--healed and whole. We had no idea how the miracle had occurred, but to my father, it meant a clean slate was also necessary. Too many sad and frightening memories in the house I'd grown up in.

The day they brought me to the house on Highland, I knew it would be a place of magic; of life, love, and goodness. There were two back yards! A smaller one bordering woods with a rustic firepit, and the main yard with so many trees and greenery! I'd grown up in the cement jungle in town, with barely a patch of front or back yard.

This new home had the most adorable screened porch off to the back-- perfect for viewing nature and the little raccoons who would soon become like friends in a Disney movie. There was a paneled basement with a custom-made wooden bar, and even though my parents weren't drinkers, to a young girl, it would mean hours of playtime and imagination.

My room held two twin beds and had windows that viewed the glorious backyard. My parent's room was huge, and right next door to mine. No more nighttime fears. No wondering if my mom was gone. I would know where they are and I would feel safe and secure.

This house was situated on a beautiful, pleasant road. Hardly any cars, and I could ride my bike right in the middle of the street. On a summer night, the chirping of crickets...and during the day, the sweet music of birds.Though I still saw my old friends, I made one of the most important friendships of my life with a girl who lived down the road. 

It was in this home that memories began to be made. First, my mother announced she was pregnant after having two miscarriages a few years back. I couldn't contain my glee! I'd always wanted a sibling, and the anticipation for me was enormous.

My brother arrived in 1974 when I was fourteen years old. Like a second mother, I watched him and loved him. And as he grew, we became like best friends. Through the years, my brother established some of the best friendships of his life. It was his little group that I would feel close enough to that I called all of them my brothers.

And they would have so many fun adventures in the woods behind our home, the basement, and riding bikes all over the area. My parents became their parents, and our house, their house. It was the closeness of our loving family that became the glue that bonded the lives of these boys with all of us.

Christmases at the Highland home were cozy and warm. The aroma of my mother's baking and all the special foods which were prepared at that time of the year, always permeated every room of the house. When company arrived, there was always cheerful laughter and fun banter. Everyone felt truly welcomed there.

Halloween became the focal time of the year, and we decorated outdoors as if trying to win some type of contest.With the magnificent dummies we fabricated, and the frightful accoutrements, children feared walking to our door for candy until one of us would unmask, proving we weren't the crazy monster we appeared to be on that special night.

My parents love for one another deepened in this home. Never did I hear a fight, nor any type of harsh words, or tears of sadness. I watched the two of them as if they were newlyweds.

The house saw many different types of pets, from scruffy stray ones that we nursed to health, to beloved pets that became like family members. It was a place of refuge for all.

As my parents began to age, the home became more precious than ever. They would sit on the front porch together, bird or butterfly- watching for hours. Dad's beautiful flowers would sway gently in a warm, soft breeze as they chatted about all the years that had gone by. On days that I visited, a sense of peace would wash over me as I sat with them, sometimes saying nothing at all, soaking up the love and contentment.

They are gone now, my parents. Yet this past Christmas, we still celebrated at the beloved house on Highland. New memories were made, and old ones cherished. But sadly, due to many financial difficulties, our family may lose this precious home. I've been praying for a miracle, believing for God to move heaven and earth so that my brother will somehow be able to work out a way to keep this house, and sell his quickly. It feels impossible, insurmountable, but I know God is the God of the impossible. He has made a way when there seemed to be no other way many times throughout our lives.

Join with me please, if you would, in prayer, that a miracle will occur, and this home will be able to stay in our family. And think about your own special place, perhaps where you grew up, or a beloved grandparent's house. Somewhere that you felt safe and loved.