Sing it Grandma! Holy Holy Holy

Today I decided to go to the earlier traditional service instead of my usual contemporary service two hours later so I could get going to see Sissy and New Hubby for lunch.

I debated….

Maybe I wouldn’t go.

No. Something inside me said, “You need to go.”
My inner voice said, “Go. Just stay until after the sermon.”

Ahhhhh….Yes! Now I know why I needed to be there.

Holy, Holy, Holy.

I needed to remember.
I needed to honor.
I needed to remember the love.
I needed to cherish the memories of my dear mother-in-law, Grandma B.

Holy, Holy, Holy.
How many times have we sung this song in life?
If you are a traditional church goer, probably too many to count.

For nearly 20 years I went to traditional church services with my in-laws.

Presbyterian.

We sat on the right side about six rows back.

grandma b and grandpa j

Sweet loving in-laws.

My father-in-law, Grandpa J, always was in the choir. He sang tenor. I loved hearing his voice. I loved watching him. I love him!

Grandma B always sat with me and the kids and their dad.

Grandma B took church seriously.

We needed to be sure to sit quiet. No talking once you sat down. This is to be the time for you to get in worship mode. This is the time to honor God.

We were there to worship the Lord.

We said the Apostle’s Creed.
Grandma B knew it by heart.

We sang the Doxology.
Grandma B sang it like she didn’t even have to think about the words. They flowed out of her mouth so naturally. The words were planted deep inside her memory. The words were words she believed in.

And then there was the song that we sang so much in that Presbyterian traditional service.

Holy, Holy, Holy.

She sang that song proudly. She knew that song. She had sang that song since she was a little girl.

I can still hear her voice singing those words.
She believed. She loved. She had faith.
She believed this was the only way, the way of God.

The funny thing was, Grandma B couldn’t carry a tune very well. It did not matter to her that sometimes she sang a little off key. She didn’t care what anyone else was thinking. It wasn’t about if you could sing on or off key. It was about singing the words. Praising the Lord. Participating in the service.

This was a great lesson I learned from Grandma B. She was always teaching me great lessons!

She taught me that it was more important to participate then to be the best or perfect. It isn’t about being the best or perfect. It is about being a part of. That was a great lesson I held close to my heart and soul. It was a lesson I tried to teach my kids….that they didn’t need to be perfect….just try…just do.

I now try to remember that when I sing songs at church it is about the words in the song and the praising of our Lord. It is about the lessons in the songs and worshiping our Lord. It is about being present in the song and God smiling from above.

Sorry to anyone that stands in the pew in front of me and has to hear my sour notes or when I sing off key. I hope that you can just smile and say, “She really loves the Lord! Listen to her belt out that song!”

Grandma B….
She inspired me.
She taught me.
She loved me.
She loved me like she was my mom not an in-law.
She taught me how to worship God.
She taught me how to pray.
She taught me how to be a dedicated wife and mother.
She taught me how to honor.

Today at church, they sang this song, Holy, Holy, Holy.

I sang….

Holy, Holy, Holy.
Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning,
Our song shall rise to thee…

Then I couldn’t sing any more. I had tears to hold back.
I only could hear Grandma B’s voice. I only could imagine her sitting next to me.

I only could imagine her placing her hand on my knee during the service as she often did. It was her way of showing that she appreciated me and to thank me for being there with her.

I imagined her grabbing her tissue to wipe her eyes as she often did as the message touched her soul.

I only imagined as she looked at me from the corner of her eye and shared a quick smile.

She was proud of me.
She was proud of her sons, her daughter, her husband, her grandkids and her family.
And believe me, she let the world know how proud she was!

Church was a place for her to share her family with the world.

After church we would have to talk with all her friends. Grandpa J and Grandma B had many friends!

Grandma B and Grandp J

Grandpa J is saying, "She is a special lady," as he points to me. They are bragging about their family as they often did quite proudly!

She would brag about each of us. She was always so proud of us.
Grandma B has so much love for her family.
I don’t think I will ever be able to sing that song again without thoughts of Grandma B.
I don’t think I will ever stop shedding the tears when I think about our relationship.
Grandma B will always be special in my heart.
Grandma B helped me love the Lord.
Isn’t that what life is all about?!

Blessings to you for reading my blog. I hope that you have a Grandma B in your life. If you don’t, maybe you could think about being a Grandma B to someone who needs a guiding hand…a guiding loving hand!
Love,

Pam

It Was Only a Dollar

Starbucks Coffee Cake

When I go visit my parents in Long Beach, I still rise from bed at 5AM but instead of heading for the gym I usually head to Starbucks for some alone time. You see my parents don’t rise and shine until 7, 8, 8:15, 8:30 … whenever! The house was built back in the 1930’s so there is not much insulation hence people can hear you walk, use the restroom, open and close doors and talk throughout the house. Instead of trying to stay quiet I use this as my excuse to head over to Starbucks.

Starbucks Coffee Cakes

Last Saturday morning, I walked into my regular on vacation Starbucks.

Do you know that I only go there a few times a month and the Barista remembers my drink! Sorry, got a little off the subject.

Where was I?

I walked into this Starbucks as I quite often do and a lady was standing in line just staring at the bakery items. I was thinking “I know there are lots of bakery items to choose from I bet she is having a hard time deciding what yummy bakery item to pick.” I wasn’t in a hurry so I stood there and waited patiently after all it was early I had no where to go and I had Twitter on my iPhone. I could stand in line a long time with Twitter to entertain me!

OK, I know, I keep getting off the subject.

Starbucks Scones

The lady who was drooling over all the yummy pastries finally ordered. With her limited English she ordered a bagel and a small coffee. The Starbucks partner said it would be $4.90. The lady dug in her purse. She dug some more. She gave four $1 bills to the Starbucks partner. She dug some more and found a penny, then a quarter. I could tell from her actions and her expression on her face that she was feeling very awkward. I thought, I know the feeling when I am not sure I have enough cash for a purchase–the stomach knots!

I reached into my purse and gave the partner a dollar to cover the ladies purchase. The lady looked at me with her gorgeous big brown eyes and her lovely genuine smile and said, “Thank you, thank you, bless you. You are a good person. You will have a good day today.”

I repeated these words in my head, “Bless you. You are a good person. You will have a good day today.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Thank you!” I smiled.

“Thank you. Have a great day!” I replied.

She sat down to enjoy her coffee and bagel. I proceeded to order my coffee and oatmeal. The barista thanked me for helping the lady.

 

Then I saw at the big square table the beautiful middle aged — do I say middle aged? What exactly is middle age? I don’t want to be called middle aged!

Back to my story….

Is this a sign of middle age when you get off track?
Is it a sign of middle age when you don’t remember what you were talking about?

I am NOT middle aged. Right?!
This is a woman with so many stories in her head. No way is it middle aged! Hee Hee

Yeh, yeh, yeh! Back to my story….

Whenever I come to Long Beach, I quite often frequent this particular Starbucks early in the morning to enjoy my coffee, catch up on my social media friends, and smile because I am back home.

This middle aged woman is here every morning. I was surprised to see her here on a Saturday. I had never spoken to her before but decided that today I would just ask her what it is she does. She has that big square table covered with books, journals, an iPad, and a large attache’ bag that I can only imagine what treasures it holds. I asked her if she was a student. She said no, but she had thought about going back to school to work on her Doctor’s degree. I asked her, “Why she didn’t?” Sorry I didn’t listen well enough to that answer because I don’t remember why she didn’t.

Note to self: Listen when someone speaks to you. Listen and process what they say so you remember!

Note to self: This is not a sign of middle age. This is a sign of disrespect. This is a sign of not being focused. This is a sign of bad communication skills. I repeat. This is not a sign of being middle aged.

Continuing the story….

I then asked her what she does for a living. She said she was a Psycho Therapist. Wow! is this all destiny? Just this morning as I was driving here, I was thinking about the URL I had purchased some time ago Remarkable Women Inspire.

She asked me my story, I had told her about getting laid off, taking the time to reinvent myself through earning my two certificates. I told her how when I woke up this morning I decided it was time. Time to move on to that next chapter of my life. I know I need a job. I want a job. I also know that I think women are just remarkable. It is incredible how women always seem to get through life’s trials and tribulations on top. We always survive. We always make it through. I told her about the URL I had purchased and how I had been thinking about writing stories and getting people to write stories about Remarkable Ordinary Women.

She was so excited and asked me to repeat the URL so she could write it down. She was ready to go to my site and read these stories…but none of the stories are written yet. It hasn’t been the time yet! Universe….(my God)…are you telling me something? Is this the time?

I thanked the beautiful middle aged lady with shiny black hair for sharing her story. I told her I would love to write her story and asked if I could be in touch with her. She gave me her card it read Debra Brittain, LCSW with the words Life is About Creating Yourself;.

“Life is About Creating Yourself”

“Pam, it is time. It is time to create this next chapter in your life!” the voice inside me said.

Oh, the lady that I gave the dollar to…when she went to leave, she came over to me with her big beautiful smile and glowing eyes and looked deep into my eyes and said, “Remarkable things are going to happen for you.” She gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She said thank you one more time and walked away.

“Remarkable things will happen to me….”

Thank you. Thank you, Universe. Thank you, My God. I am ready. I am ready for remarkable things to happen to me. I am ready.

All this because of a dollar.

May remarkable things happen to you!

With love,

Pam

What Were Your Childhood Memories of Easter?

 

Mine…

My sister and I would get a new outfit that would include white panton leather Mary Jane shoes, a pastel colored dress, white gloves and a hat. Oh, my how pretty and special I thought I was!

The day before Easter Mom would boil eggs then Sis and I would dye them.

Easter morning we woke up excited to look for our Easter baskets. it was a race to see who would find theirs first, of course, being the older sister, I always wanted (and mostly did) find my basket first!

We would exam our candy which would include yellow chick peeps, Helen Grace solid chocolate bunny, mild chocolate eggs and a larger peanut butter egg, jelly beans, two hard boiled eggs and robin eggs. I think they were all my favorite…and still are!

Mom would still be sleeping. Dad was usually already at work when we got up in the morning. My sister and I would then get ready for church. Mom sometimes drove us to church but we (sister and I) often walked the mile to the Methodist Church. I don’t remember much about church itself but I am sure God was watching me!

That afternoon we would have Easter dinner. Mom has always been a great cook! Dinner would be served around 2pm in the dining room and would include biscuits, ham, mashed potatoes, corn and peas.

Mom had special blue china that she stored in the cupboard above the refrigerator that she would get out on special occasions. I always loved the little crystal bowl of black olives Mom would put on the dining room table. I would find myself sneaking a few olives every time I walked by the table before dinner.

I will never forget one year after Easter.

We started smelling a terrible odor in the house.

We looked around for days trying to figure out where the rancid odor was coming from. We wondered if something died under the house…

Dad crawled under the house and didn’t see anything. Mom cleaned out the refrigerator and all the trash cans were emptied but still the smell did not go away but only got stronger.

My Sister was not the neatest person in the house. My Dad finally decided that he would dig into her room…

Long and behold he discovered Sister’s Easter basket including what once was hard boiled eggs! Needless to say, Sister was in a lot of trouble and I won’t share here what happened next! (Saving you that story, Sis!)

As a Mom, I tried to always make Easter special for my kids. I continued the tradition of hiding Easter baskets but my kids were not allowed to look for them until they got me up out of bed (if I wasn’t already up). They would wear their new outfits to church but we would all go to church as a family. We would have Easter dinner together that we all did our part in preparing. The Easter baskets would include a Helen Grace solid chocolate bunny but instead of all the other candy, it would include a toy, a book or a movie.

Today College Boy is not able to be with me. Sissy and New Hubby will be over later this afternoon.

This morning I will go to church…by myself.

It will be hard walking into that sanctuary…by myself.

It will be hard looking around the church seeing all the other families…together.

I will sit in the back today…by myself
I will be looking at the families…
wondering what their traditions are…
listening to the message…
singing the songs…
praying…

I am sure there will be a few tears…

Tears because I am now in a new chapter in my life.

A new chapter where I have not yet accepted the new title Middle Aged Empty Nest Mom.

I don’t quite know how to act or know what to do as a Middle Aged Empty Nest Mom.

I loved, loved, loved being a young Mom with young ones at home.

It is now time to make new Easter memories.
It is time to enjoy life as a Middle Aged Empty Nest Mom.

I know one day I will accept that title proudly but for today I shall drown myself in my memories of the past…

Happy Easter! What are your childhood memories of Easter?

Songs Can Touch Me

There are songs that can touch you every time you hear them. They can touch your deep emotions.

This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your Holy presence
Living in me.
–Breathe by Michael W. Smith

I have songs that touch me so deeply that they bring tears to my eyes every time I hear them.

This is one of those songs for me.

And I, I’m desperate for You
And I, I’m lost without You

Every time I hear that verse, it gets me!

It touches my heart and emotions! It makes me want to fall down to my knees, raise my hands up and look up towards the heaven.

It comforts me. It comforts me knowing that he is always there for me. All I need to do is turn to him and say “God, here I am!”

Many times when I hear this song, I am so choked up during some of the phrases that I can only try to smile, listen and reflect on how lucky I am to live by Faith and to have God in my life.

I am lucky…
No, I am blessed to live with God in my heart.

I am totally lost without Him.

Recently I have been testing my faith…
I know we aren’t suppose to test our faith…

Life changes, being an empty nester, not having direction, being middle aged, looking for a job/career, not having a church home, Dad’s struggles with illness…all these things have made me a little lost. No, it has made me very lost!

There have been times when I pray over and over and over again “Hello, God, HELLLLLOOOOO??? Are you there?”

“Hey, God, it seems like you are forgetting about me…”

“It is lonely down here without you.”

“Life isn’t the same here, without you.”

“God, What is going on? What is your plan?”

“I NEED you, God…”
“I WANT you, God…”
“I can’t live without you in my life!”
I pray that, but deep in my heart, I know He is there. I know that He is just waiting for me to have total faith in Him for Him to guide me. Or He is trying to teach me a lesson at which I am not being a good student?

During these times, I know because of my Faith that HE IS working wonders….

His every word IS being spoken to me. (The question is am I being quiet enough so I can listen!)

I will always be lost without HIM!

I don’t want to live my life without HIM!

I will continue to grow through my Faith.
I will continue to believe…
I will continue to work on being a good student of God.

I know he has a plan for me…
I know he has a plan for you….

I know I will look back to this time and think “Wow! Wow, God, you did remarkable things through me. Thanks, God, for teaching me so much. Thank you God for giving me all that I have today. Thank you for that door that you opened. I see now why you waited so long to open that door. Thank you, God. Yes, I will always be lost without you.”

What song touches you deeply? Is it a song from your childhood, your wedding, from high school days, or church?
 
 

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