Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sweet Daughters

Almost thirty years ago I gave birth to a precious baby girl, and this baby girl is now all grown up - and two weeks ago she gave birth to her own precious baby girl.

So it was the time for me to look through our boxes in our storage room to find a collection of little baby girl clothes ... some that our youngest daughter had worn when she was my baby girl.

With tears of joy, and with thanks, I wrapped these memories up ...

And gave them to our sweet daughter ...

For her own sweet newborn daughter, Eva James ...

Sweet Eva at two weeks of age today ...

Thanking God for His gift of family - and for daughters, and little newborn granddaughters ...

Linking up at Friday Favorite Things, I'm Lovin' It

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First Love

"Be still in My Presence, 
even though countless tasks clamor for your attention. 
Nothing is as important as spending time with Me. 
While you wait in My Presence, I do my best work within you:
 transforming you by the renewing of your mind ... " 
(Jesus Calling)

Sometimes we need to sacrifice the urgent things of the moment, to grab hold of what is most important. Needing to be reminded of this on the morning of a full day ... 

"As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest gift of all:
Christ in you, the hope of Glory."
(Jesus Calling)

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person
by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God's will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect."
(Romans 12:2)

"... And this is the secret:
Christ lives in you ... "
(from Colossians 1:27)

(Photo above: the first blossoms on one of our apples trees this morning.)

Linking up at Walk with Him Wednesdays, Faith Filled Friday

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mom and Grama

After a daughter has a baby, I get the best of both worlds ~ my heart is filled to overflowing as I help my daughter. And also, I am overjoyed to spend time with my grandkids.

Today I headed into Omaha to pick up three year-old Cruz again for the day, giving Carrie a break to enjoy her newborn Eva in a quiet house. One cannot get enough of bonding with a newborn baby.  And so sweet to catch the photos above of Cruz with his baby sister - they have truly bonded, as well.

Back at our house for the day, Cruz and I had a wonderful time together. The weather was perfect for jumping on the trampoline. Cruz had fun helping us put on a new trampoline pad that had just arrived the day before by UPS. And indoors, he was fascinated with play-doh, and also with a little painting project.

It gave me a lot of joy to give Carrie a quiet day with little Eva ~ and also in the morning and again, at the end of the day when I took Cruz back to his house, I enjoyed some sweet moments holding baby Eva, too. Wanting to treasure this time with our newborn grandbaby girl - such a sweetheart.

Being a mom, and being a grama ~ two of life's greatest blessings. Thanking God for His gifts ...

Linking up at In the Studio, creating with some great digital frames from The CoffeeShop Blog.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Beautiful and a Safe Place

"I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love,
for You have seen my troubles,
and You care about the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place."
(Psalm 31:7-8)

The beauty of springtime, coming early to us this year. And the beauty of springtime in our hearts - always present throughout the seasons of life. All because of Jesus. The Giver of all that is good, and our Protector and Lover through all our days - in the good times and also through the times of trouble that we experience in this world.

Thanking Him and praising Him today ~

For life-giving words ~
"This friendship means being so intimately in touch with God that you never even need to ask Him to show you His will ... You are free to make decisions in the light of a perfect and delightful friendship with God, knowing that if your desires are wrong He will lovingly produce that sense of restraint." (My Utmost for His Highest)
"I'm only seed. Small, hard, not of much use to anyone. Not without transformation. And first must come death. Isn't it funny that the God who calls us into light, Who bids us go and bear fruit, calls us first to this laying down? This carrying of a cross, this dying to oneself, this submission to the giving up?" (
"As you bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving, regardless of your feelings, My Spirit is able to work more freely within you. This produces more thankfulness and more freedom, until you are overflowing with gratitude." (Jesus Calling)
"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God." (Psalm 50:14a)
"As you walk with Me through this day, practice trusting and thanking Me all along the way. Trust is the channel through which My Peace flows into you. Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances." (Jesus Calling)
"How precious is Your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of Your own house, letting them drink from Your river of delights. For You are the fountain of life, the light by which we see." (Psalm 36:7-9)
"He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." (John 3:30)

For the privilege of being mother and "grama", treasuring memories in my heart ~
The miracle of birth, a newborn daughter for our daughter & her husband.
The priceless gift of grandbabies - now holding our tenth in our arms.
News through texting and phone from our son in San Francisco.
For love in our family - a gift.
Living close by, helping our daughter after birth.
Hearing her heart, loving and treasuring these days with her newborn daughter.
Having three year-old "big brother" here one day - so full of life and fun.
Stopping in to see another daughter and her family - enjoying the spring outdoors together.
Hugs and love from two little two year-olds, almost three.
Phone calls with each of my three brothers - from the west coast to the east.
Sharing of love and prayers over the phone with a sister-in-law, going through surgery today.
The constant, faithful, never-changing love of my husband - always supportive as I process things.

For the daily gifts given ~
The beauty of springtime.
Sounds of my husband mowing the lawn - in March.
Anticipation of an extended Sabbatical and vacation this spring and summer.
Friendships - blessed by so many.
Open windows - birds chirping.
Email, blogging, sharing of photos and lives on facebook.
Seeing of "OctoberBaby" with my husband.
A picnic after church - Subway at a park nearby.
Connecting with friends in our church small group.
Time to reflect and give thanks.

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 - #220-248)


How can a mother's heart hold so much love, and carry so many varying emotions? All at the same time. One day after the birth of our tenth grandbaby, we gathered at a little lake park near the hospital where our youngest daughter, her husband and their newborn baby were, and the rest of us had a little good-bye picnic together as family. (We missed our daughter & family in Texas, as they had planned to be here at the time of Eva's birth and of Seth's leaving, but some sickness in the family kept them from coming.) 

It was a bittersweet time together, as we prepared to say good-bye to our oldest son, Seth, before he moved to San Francisco, following his dreams of a new job in that fascinating city. Five of our six (grown) children have been living close by - and now, one more would be leaving. We are excited and thankful for this move for Seth, and are amazed at all the doors that God has opened up for him with this move - but we will miss him so much. We're also so thankful that baby Eva came in time for Seth to meet her and hold her in his arms. Two days before he would be leaving for San Francisco ...

The time for the final good-byes came the following day after our picnic together ...

A tearful good-bye at the airport the next day - wiping of tears, and warm hugs as part of my heart left for San Francisco ... 

Thanking God for family, for love, and for holding us together even when we're apart ... 

(Credit: photo collage template at top of this post, a free download from The CoffeeShop Blog.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Miracle of Birth

How well I remember each of the births of our six children ~ memories I want to treasure in my heart forever. The joy of childbirth far outweighs the pain of labor to bring a child into the world. Our birth experiences are some of my most treasured moments. 

And now, the births of our grandbabies ~ there are no words to describe the joy, and the deep emotions I have felt as our daughters have given birth (both through pregnancy, and also through adoption of newborns). Part of my heart as a mother is always with each of our children, and at certain specific times I am even more deeply aware of this. Some of those times are when a daughter is in labor, and then also as she is bonding with her newborn baby during those first days and weeks. 

Thursday, March 15, found me in one of those intensely emotional times as a mother. I may have looked calm (at times!) to the observer, but my heart was not totally in place within me. We spent most of the day in the waiting room, but my heart was in the birthing room with our youngest daughter, Carrie. (Photo above - my husband, our youngest son, and I spent a bit of time with Carrie in the early stages of her induced labor, induced due to a concern with high blood pressure. One day before her due date ...)

We were filled with excitement to finally be able to see our new grandbaby, and also to discover if the baby was a boy or a girl, as Tyler & Carrie had chosen not to find out ahead of time. Such excitement was in the air! We brought three year-old "big brother" to the hospital (as we had kept him for the night before the birth), and thinking that the labor would go fairly quickly, we waited in the waiting room that morning until the time of birth in mid-afternoon - along with other family and friends. Oh ~ I sat there in the waiting room, helping care for Cruz ~ but I was very aware that parts of my heart were being stretched, pulled into what our daughter was experiencing in the room so close by. It is difficult to describe the feelings that I experienced - feelings of being scattered in heart and mind, of having a need to be held together as I waited while our daughter labored to give birth.

Tyler kept us updated with texts and quick visits to the waiting room ~ and then, Angi (Tyler's mom) and I could hardly contain ourselves when we heard the cries of a newborn! In a short time, Tyler came bursting into the waiting room as he excitedly and tearfully shared the big news: "It's a Girl!!" 

How do you explain the overwhelming love and joy that fills a heart, and spills out everywhere? Our daughter had given birth to a beautiful, precious baby  - the most valuable, priceless gift from God - and, this sweet baby was a GIRL! I had wished for a baby girl, knowing, though, that either a boy or a girl would have filled us with joy. But I could hardly contain myself with joy over the news of a baby girl, a sister for Cruz, and a daughter for Tyler & Carrie! Tyler maybe was surprised at how quickly I moved across the room to tearfully put my arms around him for joy. Overflowing, inexpressible joy - the miracle of birth.

And when it was our turn as family to enter the room where the miracle of birth had taken place (after Cruz first had some special moments of introduction to his baby sister), it's like I was pulled in by a magnet - my husband and I were overjoyed to express our love to our daughter, and to see and hold our precious new grandbaby in our arms.

Thank You, Lord ~ for the priceless gift of new life, for precious baby Eva, a sweet, newborn baby daughter for Carrie and Tyler. And a sweet, precious grandbaby girl for us - our tenth grandchild - five girls, and five boys now. But really, a dozen grandchildren for us now, with two little ones that we will not be able to hold in our arms until we're in heaven with them.

My heart is overflowing with thanks and with joy for this priceless gift from God, little baby Eva - and also overflowing with love for our daughter and her husband. I am going about my days of helping Carrie, helping with Cruz, holding Eva, driving back and forth in the 30-minute drive to their home. Desiring to give the help that Carrie needs, and also the private, bonding moments that she needs as a new mother with her infant daughter. And always through these beginning days and weeks, part of my heart is with my daughter ~ as her heart is overflowing with love, bonding closely with her newborn daughter. I'm finding that it is difficult for me to concentrate on much else.

Carrie & Tyler were also blessed with another amazing gift ~ a record in photos of the birth of little Eva. Tyler and his friend Matt run a photography business together, and it was Tyler & Carrie's desire to have the magic of the birth recorded in photos. An amazing record of a miracle to treasure in their hearts for years to come ...

The two photos directly above are from their collection, as well as the ones below. (I've chosen just a few of their many, many photos to share here ...  thanks, Tyler & Carrie, and also Matt, for giving me permission to use them here.)

Today, eight days later, my heart is still all wrapped up in the miracle of birth. And part of my heart continues to be with our daughter, and with her newborn daughter. I am loving every minute of helping with meals or with Cruz, or of listening to Carrie's overflowing heart, and of holding the priceless gift of little baby Eva.

Linking up with other writers at Write It, Girl!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Day with Big Brother

Three year-old Cruz has been saying for months that he wants a "baby sister", and a week ago today, he received his wishes. In just one short week, he has come to love his little sister so much - it has been so fun to watch him as he was first introduced to little baby sister Eva, and then since her birth, as he is learning how to be gentle and treat his little baby sister with care. Sometimes a challenge for an active little boy, but he is doing great!

Today his mommy needed some quiet, uninterrupted time with her new baby girl - and his "grama" needed some not-so-quiet, fun time with her grandson! So - on a beautiful spring day, Cruz came over to spend the day with "grama" and "grampa". Treasuring my time with Cruz today ...

Linking up with Friday Favorite Things

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

"Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God."
(Psalm 50:14a)

When life is easy and good, thankfulness overflows from our hearts without much effort at all. But when difficult things come our way, our words of thanks become more of a sacrifice. Offered up in trust, in love. Maybe through tears. And the result is springtime in our hearts, even when it may be cloudy outside.

"As you bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving, 
regardless of your feelings, 
My Spirit is able to work more freely within you.
 This produces more thankfulness and more freedom, 
until you are overflowing with gratitude." 
(Jesus Calling)

Linking up at Walk with Him Wednesdays, and Word-Filled Wednesday

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Time Has Come

In just one short week ~

The daffodils in our yard have bloomed ...

Our youngest daughter has given birth to a beautiful baby girl ...

And our oldest son has moved to San Francisco ...

How can a mother's heart hold so many emotions? Overflowing with joy at springtime, treasuring the precious memorable moments of birth, and needing to be held together as part of my heart has moved to San Francisco.

Today ~ treasuring memories, giving thanks, and holding on to the Maker of my heart, and the Giver of all that is good.

Thank You, loving Lord, for:

Open windows
Chirping of birds
Green grass
New life

Your peace and presence in labor for our daughter
Perfect timing
Waiting with three year-old Cruz
And other family and close friends
The miracle of birth
Healthy newborn cry
New daddy's announcement to us ~ "It's a Girl!!"
Tears of joy
Overflowing love for our daughter, and her newborn daughter
Holding the most precious gift in my arms
Most treasured moments
Holding them close in my heart

Your presence and peace two days later
Words of love
Warm good-byes
Wiping tears
Trusting our oldest son to Your care
Joy in watching our son following his dreams
Seeing Your provision for him
Safety in travel
Texts of safe arrival

Your Spirit within
Holding me together
Filling me with thanks and with love
The incredible gift of family
And of love

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 - #188-219)

And sharing my mother heart at the time of birth, and the time of good-byes, at:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sweet Precious Baby Eva

Announcing the birth of our beautiful, sweet, precious granddaughter ~ 

Eva James McCarty

Born March 15, 2012

Weighing in at 8 lbs 15.4 ounces

We are thanking God for the safe arrival of our 10th grandchild, a sweet baby girl born to our youngest daughter Carrie, and her husband Tyler!!  Three year-old Cruz kept saying he wanted a "baby sister" - and he received his wishes!

There will be more photos and posts coming in the near future when this happy "grama" has the time. I am overflowing with joy, and filled with thanks to God for His precious gift of Eva to Carrie & Tyler, and to our family ...

(Linking up with In the Studio, sharing digital photo display - made with supplies from Scrap Girls STI_Newborn Embellishments.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Layered Salad-in-a-Jar

One day last week I came across a great idea for salads, and as I was already planning to go to the store for some groceries that day, I picked up a few more ingredients needed for it. And - we used two jars of it for our lunch a few hours later!

The idea is to layer some fresh veggies in a pint jar, put a lid on the jar, and then store the jars in the refrigerator to use in the next 3-4 days. Taking care of all the chopping and assembling at the same time.

The choices of veggies, and the different combinations of these choices are endless. I layered:

corn (canned, or frozen)
shredded carrots
chopped green onion
broccoli slaw (the pkg of broccoli mix that I purchased was enough to make six salads-in-a-jar)
tomatoes, cut up

I plan to use this "salads in-a-jar" idea to make multiple salads ahead of time, and then at the time of using them, to empty the fresh veggies onto a plate before adding the protein and dressing. I like to put a thin layer of fresh salad greens on a plate, empty the fresh veggies on top, drizzle on some dressing and then add some sliced cooked chicken strips. It is beautiful to the eye, and delicious to the taste. Definitely will be using this idea again and again, varying the types of veggies, and also the type of protein toppings.

We used up the rest of the jars over the next few days - and each time, the salad was so delicious! What a great time-saver in preparing salads for a nutritious lunch menu.

Another idea is to leave a bit more extra space in the top of the jar, and add some type of protein and also your favorite dressing into the jar at the time that the salad-in-a-jar will be used. Then shake it up, and enjoy it straight from the jar. Which would be a great way to take a salad for a packed lunch, or on a spring/summer picnic.

(Credit: I came across this recipe through a blog post link-up - please click here to find where this wonderful idea came from.)

Linking up at Tasty Tuesday

Monday, March 12, 2012

It Will Be Soon

Very soon ~ the daffodil buds in our yard will burst open ... and soon my favorite season of the year will be here. I can feel the stirrings in the air, new life waiting to spread it's beauty.

Very soon ~ our youngest daughter will hold her precious newborn baby in her arms ... and we will welcome our 10th grandbaby into our hearts and lives. We are waiting and longing for this greatest gift of all - the birth of new, fresh life.

And very soon ~ our oldest son will move to San Francisco, fulfilling a dream he has had for quite awhile. A new job for him, new opportunities in a fascinating city. We are excited for him ... and know that it will be a new journey for us, as well, as we will miss him here.

This week will be bringing new things. Sometimes I don't know if my "mother heart" can hold all the emotions of new things. My "mother heart" - bursting with love, holding on and treasuring moments, wanting them to stay alive forever - and also, a heart needing to be gently held together, constantly letting go and releasing our (grown) children. And always, loving them - and trusting God for them.

And today, holding the memories of this past week in my heart ~ thanking God for:

Time for my soul to breathe, after busy days of preparing for our Silent Auction fundraiser.
Some days at home - cleaning, baking, preparing for family here.
Great bargains at Kohl's - with a 30% off coupon.
Taking Panda Express meal to a daughter, 39 weeks - so ready to deliver.
Four pans of dinner rolls made.
Winter decor away - and the putting up of some spring decor.
Some warmer days.
Daffodil plants growing, and budding.
Birthday party invitation received for two little grandsons, turning three soon.
Organizing of digital scrapbook supplies.

Holding our weekly staff meeting here at our house.
Sharing of hearts while going through Beth Moore's "James: Mercy Triumphs" study.
Connecting with friends in our small group from church.
Friends who pray for us.
A short visit with my 90 year-old father yesterday.
Phone calls, texts, email messages - from our grown kids.
Waiting with expectancy - for birth, for spring, for new opportunities.

"Waiting, trusting, and hoping
are intricately connected, like golden strands 
interwoven to form a strong chain."
(Jesus Calling)

(Counting 1000 Gifts in 2012 - #171-187)