God's Footnotes on the day, a late night prayer for YOU and musings on "sibling rivalry"?

Here I sit, ready to head to bed after a long productive day and my 4 offspring are in the middle of a heated battle. The Offspring (I hesitate to call them children as the "baby" is now 14 yrs old and almost as tall as I am) are all in the middle of their latest game of "Illuminati". This is an odd strategy game and I don't know if anyone else, short of their long time friends, has heard of it.

The Sibling rivalry comes in when you understand the nature of Illuminati. This is a strategy game in which you bluff, out think and even (gasp) CON your fellow game players into doing whatever it is that is your objective.

Ordinarily I would not encourage this sort of deception, but in the spirit of the board game, I am sitting here basking in the evidence of a "Job Well Done".

How so?

I see before me the fruit of literally decades of work trying to knit my children's heart to each other. They are now fast friends, although they are still working on the dynamics of "what to do when your sibling doesn't do things the way you think they should" and "Learning to let go of preconceived notions of how much better it wold be if Sibling X would just listen to Sibling Z's advice."

I write all this in order to explain that, although I am basking in the glow of God's goodness in letting me be mom to these 4, I know they are not perfect. (Thank GOODNESS because they certainly don't have a perfect mother!)

What God is showing me right now is that HE HAS BLESSED ME (yet again) and this beautiful scene is a "common, every-day" blessing. What would my life be like if I'd not recognized the need to pray for God to help me to knit their hearts together? They love each other, they tease and play with each other. They pray for each other and actually ENJOY EACH OTHER'S COMPANY!

Tonight's blessing is given just because of God's grace and mercy to me, a grateful mom who had no clue as to how to raise kids, except that she had to LOVE THEM and show that love, praying to God to bless my efforts. He's blessed me way above anything that I could have dreamed and what I see before me is nothing but the Grace of God. My children are so much better than any children I would have "earned" by my own feeble efforts. It's just one more way that God has shown His love to me, I know.

Speaking of God's love for us, the only one of my "chilluns" missing right now is our "newest" son, who is working hard at his EMT job in Louisiana. I don't know how long it will be before we see him again but we call and text him many times a week, he's constantly in our prayers and there's yet another "care package" ready for the post office tomorrow afternoon.

It's touching how, even though he's not here, his "adopted" sibs have mentioned him many times tonight, even giving a cheer for his favorite football team, Notre Dame.

Football has been the big topic of discussion this evening, with the general consensus being that this is the most off kilter year we've seen in a long time of NCAA football viewing. #1 rated LSU has lost this weekend (ouch! and to Arkansas?!) Kansas lost to Missouri (unexpected around here but very appreciated as we're Sooner fans) and now it appears that our Sooners will have a game against Missouri for the Big 12 Championship game. (This will be the 2nd time OU has played Missouri this year and it will likely be a fantastic game. Too bad those season tickets don't extend to the Big 12 Championship game!)

The only bright spots for the fans on this football viewing day are that Oklahoma managed to win the big "Bedlam" game vs. in-state rival Oklahoma State and (sweet thing for our Cajun son) Notre Dame is now reveling in the glory of their 2 game "winning streak". It's been a tough year for the Fighting Irish and those 2 wins are a sweet end to the season. So there is yet another footnote, the folks who formerly didn't like Notre Dame at all are all happy because they won another game and it's all because of our love for the "newest" addition to the family.

As I head off to dreamland, I pray your eyes are open this week to the GLORIES that God will show you. I encourage you to look around you and seek out the small victories and loving signposts that God has undoubtedly put in YOUR life right now, too. Every Glory that He has prepared for you might not be a BIG SIGN, but maybe a little footnote to your day, just like the footnote God showed me this evening while watching a fast paced game of Illuminati.

I hope and pray your eyes are now open to seeing HIS grace and gifts in your own footnotes to the day.

P.S. News Flash- the winner of the 1st Illuminati game this evening is the "baby" the 14 year old daughter. Just one more sweet end to the day as I hold on to the memory of her sweet smile as I walk down the hall to my warm bed.

Thanks, Lord! I needed these little footnotes today.

I'm loving the photographer who took these photos!

God is so amazing to take me from a "plain clothes mom" to the mom of a budding commercial model.

Sorry about the sideways posting, I don't know how to get them to stand upright. I'll fix that when I figure out how.

When you wonder if it's all worth it......

I love this little essay. Seems to describe how frustrated I get and reassure me all at once. I hope you enjoy.

The Journey by Max Lucado

I drove the family to Grandma's last night for Thanksgiving. Three hours into the six-hour trip, I realized that I was in a theology lab. A day with a car full of kids will teach you a lot about God. Transporting a family from one city to another is closely akin to God transporting us from our home to his.

A journey is a journey, whether the destination be the Thanksgiving table or the heavenly one. Both demand patience, a good sense of direction, and a driver who knows that the feast at the end of the trip is worth the hassles in the midst of the trip.

For me, six hours on the road is a small price to pay for my mom's strawberry cake. I don't mind the drive because I know the reward. I have three decades of Thanksgivings under my belt, literally. As I drive, I can taste the turkey. Hear the dinner-table laughter. Smell the smoke from the fireplace.I can endure the journey because I know the destiny.

For some of you, the journey has been long. Very long and stormy. In no way do I wish to minimize the difficulties that you have had to face along the way. Some of you have shouldered burdens that few of us could ever carry. You have bid farewell to life-long partners. You have been robbed of life-long dreams. You have been given bodies that can't sustain your spirit. You have spouses who can't tolerate your faith. You have bills that outnumber the paychecks and challenges that outweigh the strength. And you are tired. Let me encourage you with a parallel between your life's journey and the one our family took last night. It's worth it.

As I write, the Thanksgiving meal is over. My legs are propped up on the hearth. My tablet is on my lap. I have every intention of dozing off as soon as I finish this chapter. The turkey has been attacked. The giblet gravy has been gobbled. The table is clear. The kids are napping. And the family is content.

As we sat around the table today, no one spoke of the long trip to get here. No one mentioned the requests I didn't honor. No one grumbled about my foot being on the accelerator when their hearts were focused on the banana splits. No one complained about the late hour of arrival.

Yesterday's challenges were lost in today's joy. God never said that the journey would be easy, but he did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.

Remember this: God may not do what you want, but he will do what is right … and best. He's the Father of forward motion. Trust him. He will get you home. And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll close my eyes. I'm a bit tired from the journey, and it feels good to rest

A few thoughts...What makes a "Real Family"?

The following thoughts have been bouncing around in my brain for a long time. Today I saw them articulated on another mom's blog. Go visit her site and be blessed yourself!

Angel brought home two children through adoption and posted recently about the "are they brother and sister" question which drives lots of people (even me) crazy.

Part of what she said really resonates with me. Maybe it rings true for you, too?

It's from her site here:

She says:

"When I try to get at the root of why this bothers me and why this is still a question that seems important for people to ask, I come down to this, In America, our concept of family when we refer to parents and their children is based on blood, not choice, and I don't like that.
When you say someone is your mother, you are referring to the woman who gave birth to you. In Liberia, this is not the case. Your mother may be biologically an aunt, a grandmother or a family friend, but no one ever thinks to ask about these distinctions. They simply don't matter.

Your mother is the woman who nurtured you, loved you, cared for you, raised you. The same is true for brothers and sisters. They are the people you love best, and the people who love you best. If I had to name one of my top ten most favorite things about Liberia, this would be it. They get God's concept of family."

Now it's me again-

She has such an amazing explanation on her blog, please take a few minutes to go read it. I think this topic resonates with me for many reasons but a few I'll explain here.

I have "children" who are children of my HEART. They did not come through my body nor were they even raised by me but they are LOVED as if they are my children. I pray for them everyday, many times a day, just because God brings them to my mind so often. I send them little (and sometimes big) gifts and they are soooo dear to me!

I have "brothers and sisters" who were not raised alongside me but we have formed a loosely defined "family" relationship. Sister-friends and brother-friends, I guess you might say? This is the sort of friendship that goes deeper than words can explain.

As is true with all families, I've had times of being hurt by some of these other family members. I'm sure also that I've hurt some of them by my actions or inactions. Whether that action was intentional or not doesn't really matter as far as the hurt feelings go. Just as with all families, we can choose to forgive (or choose to not forgive) the person who hurt us. Even just reaching out and saying "I'm sorry, I hope you can forgive me" is enough to get us back on track most times.

We can choose to FORGIVE just as we can choose to LOVE. It's all a choice. Just as we chose these special family relationships out of LOVE, we can choose to forgive out of Love, also. Here's just one more indicator that we're a family: We are there for each other through thick and thin, no matter what. Only time can show that love and committment to the ones we love, whether those loved ones are related through birth or through choice.

Above all, we are FAMILY because we share those common bonds and beliefs that grow us together. We are family by CHOICE, not just by biology. We're Family by choice, just as God chose us to be part of HIS family!

This concept resonates with me so much that I named THIS BLOG in the spirit of that theme: CHOOSING a Loving Family!

As I've been reflecting on Love and what Love Really is this summer (the wedding of our son and our 25th wedding anniversary) I've been reminded that I am SOOOO Blessed! I have a family to love and am adding new family members as God blesses me. It's such a blessing to have a family both by choice and by birth. I pray that you are already experiencing even a small part of that sort of joy in your life both now and in the future. It's enough to make your heart sing just out of gratitude that you are so blessed by God with a family!

Dear Lord, my prayer today is that more and more of YOUR children will begin to see family the way that YOU see family. That we will begin to bless each other and treat the other person with the deep and abiding love that you hold for all of us. Knit us to each others' hearts, Lord, so that we can become a righteous, effective team for YOUR honor & glory. In Jesus' name, Amen!

I'm praying God's Blessings rain down on you throughout the coming week.

with Much Love,


(Here are a few more quotes that inspire me)

I am only one. But still, I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
~Edward Hale

I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. ~Robert Frost

Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell your storm how big your God is. ~Unknown

How can there be too many children? That's like saying there are too many flowers.
~Mother Theresa

Grandparents with some of the Grandkids

Grandparents with some of the Grandkids
Becky's parents with most of the grandkids

Jim's High School Picture

Jim's High School Picture
My goodness, we were so young!

Becky's High School Picture

Becky's High School Picture
Would you look at that red hair! Thank You, Lady Clairol!