Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Meet McKenna

We have a new family member…a six-week-old puppy whom Sam named McKenna. He’s a full-fledged mutt; he is mountain cur/Australian shepherd/Rottweiler/blue heeler. Yes, in case you were wondering, he is going to be a large dog!

“McKenna” is Irish for “son of the handsome one.” I told Sam that was typically narcissistic of him. He said he had settled on that name before he knew the meaning, so, “It’s meant to be…”


An Unexpected Guest

2016-07-08 13.15.53If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen my post two weeks ago about the gentleman who came to my home that Sunday afternoon, telling me it was his childhood home. The visit was quite interesting and surreal. Here’s what happened, if you didn’t see the original FB post:

As Sam and I pulled up to the house after church, a car stopped out front, and a man approached us. He told us that he had grown up in this house and hadn’t been back to see it since he was a teenager. I offered to let him inside to see it, and the excitement on his face at seeing his childhood home was contagious. The man turned out to be Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue University. He was with Brian and Donna Noland. (Brian is the president of ETSU.) They were all very kind, and I’m glad we had the opportunity to meet them.

While he was in our home, Mr. Daniels asked for my name and address so that he could send me a card upon his arrival back home. This past Friday, I received a package from him in which was a beautiful blanket from Purdue University. There was also a copy of a photo taken by Donna Noland of Mr. Daniels, Sam and myself standing on the front porch (see upper left corner). Included in the package was also a handwritten note from Mr. Daniels thanking us for allowing him to see inside his old home.

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The note says: “Dear Suzanne, Thank you for your kindness in allowing a stranger to accost you last week, and then to permit him a look at the first home he remembers living in, six decades ago. My trip to Bristol was a truly joyful experience from end to end, but the highlight by far was 100 Neal Drive, and meeting you and Sam. Thans again for your hospitality; I guess I should have expected it from a Hoosier! Best wishes, Mitch Daniels”

Here is a photo of the gorgeous blanket:

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Baptism Day

2016-07-03 10.28.21I usually consider myself to be technologically savvy, but for some reason, when it comes to recording things on my iPhone, I’m completely inept. Last month, I failed to get a video of Sam’s modeling debut, and today I almost failed to get a video of his baptism. I missed all the nice things Tony said at the beginning, but thankfully, I noticed my phone wasn’t recording just in time to get the actual baptism. (I noticed Trevor videotaping the whole thing, so I’m hoping it will be posted on the church’s facebook page where I can share the whole thing with everyone.)

I am incredibly proud of Sam! He has given his heart, his life, and his musical talent to God; and his only desire is to live the rest of his life to bring glory to God and to advance His Kingdom.

Being human as I am, I would love to take the credit for the transformation in his life, but I can’t. I’ve made many mistakes along the way; I am far from being a perfect parent and role model. The one thing I did right was to pray for Sam and to enlist my friends to pray for him as well. God answers prayer!

In the picture in the upper right corner, Tony is talking before baptizing Sam. Here is a picture of Sam stepping into the baptismal tank:

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And, here is the video…

A Mama’s Prayers

prayerGod is so good! Although I am totally unworthy, He has listened to this mama’s prayers and actually answered them. I’ve been praying oh, so fervently, for Sam for quite a long time. Despite being raised in church and being inundated with the Bible, he chose to go his own way for a time. He is a person of extremes, all in or all out. So, while he was running from God, he was very far from Him. He said and did some things that made me fear for his safety and even his life. (For example, he once told me that he didn’t need God because he WAS God.) I have prayed and cried for this man-child of mine so hard at times that it felt like something was about to rupture, and I asked some of my friends to pray for him as well. I’m so happy to be able to say that God has answered our prayers. Last week, Sam got saved!

He made a profession of faith when he was about four years old, and he has known practically his whole life how to be saved and why he should get saved. Finally, one evening last week, while I was at work and he was alone in his room, he decided to stop resisting God, and he accepted Christ as his Savior. He told me that he knows FOR SURE now that he is truly saved. I know it, too. He is a totally different person! Old things are passed away, and all things have become new.

All he talks about now is God and the Bible. He is seeking to surround himself with people who will help him grow in his faith and serve God to the fullest. His dreams and goals for the future have drastically changed. He is even talking about going to a Christian college (maybe Milligan), which he would never even think about before. His number one goal right now is leading his best friend to Christ. He spent a few hours talking to him yesterday and has drawn up an outline of what he wants to say next time he gets a chance to talk him some more.

I am completely overcome with emotions, which is why it has taken me a week to write this blog post: I couldn’t get my ecstatic thoughts organized enough to write anything coherent before now. As elated as I am, I know that God did this in spite of me, rather than because of me. It has been a very humbling experience for me to see God work in our home despite my failings and unfaithfulness to Him. So, if you’re praying for someone, even if you’ve been praying for them for quite a while, don’t stop! He is not willing that any should perish, and He has promised to answer prayers that are according to His will.

What Would Jesus Do…If He Were a Mama Bear?

mama-bearI’ve written a couple times (here and here) about how I’m re-reading In His Steps by Charles Sheldon and asking myself “What would Jesus do?” before making decisions or taking action. Well, tonight I’m having a tough time with that. I want so badly to lash out at someone, but I’m fairly certain that wouldn’t be Jesus’ course of action. But, my baby is hurting, and I’m a mama bear, after all.

Sam is a more-sensitive-than-usual young man. He both empathizes with people more and feels his own emotions more deeply than the average guy his age. When other people reject him and his offer of friendship, it cuts him to his very core. And, being his mom, it makes me angry at the insensitivity being portrayed by the other people.

Sometimes, I really want to tell other people that I think they are cold and heartless, and that I wish Sam would just move on and forget about them because he does not need the negativity they bring into his life. But, is that what Jesus would do? No, probably not.

Instead, I try to help Sam see things from the other people’s perspective. I try to hold back my feelings of distaste toward them and tell him that maybe there are reasons or circumstances that we don’t know about. I let him sleep on my bed while I spend the night in my recliner (not sleeping) just to make sure he actually gets some sleep instead of staying awake all night fretting over people he doesn’t need in his life anyway. I watch him all night to make sure he doesn’t do anything everlastingly stupid in a moment of temporary grief.

What else would Jesus do? I’m really not sure, which is why I am also spending much of the night in prayer, asking for wisdom and the right words to say in the morning. Although Jesus never was a mama bear, I do know that He is on our side; and He will defend us, fight for us, protect us, and always love us more than any of the shallow people we may get our hearts set on. I intend to do that for my son.

Thirteen Years

IMG_2181There’s a hidden blessing in having a great big load of catastrophes land on you all at one time. This is the first time in thirteen years that I’ve been so busy dealing with other stuff going on that I haven’t had time to dread the anniversary of my mom’s death. Tonight, at 11:10 p.m. CT, it will be thirteen years since Mom took her last breath. Just eleven days prior to that, my Grandma passed away. It was a BAD month, and every year since then, February has been the worst month of the year, but never as bad as February 2003…until this year, that is. This month has been the worst month Sam and I have experienced, and I have wished more than anything that I could talk to Mom about it all. The past few days, several things have come up as a reminder of her and her faith, and they have been of sweet comfort to me. At the end of this post I have added a song that is very fitting for this time I’m going through.

The picture in the top left corner is one of my very favorites of Mom. She and Sam look supremely happy, because they were. They loved each other so much! Below is a collection of some old pictures from Mom’s school days, elementary through college:

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When Your Child Hurts

My heart is full; my eyes have cried themselves empty. I don’t even know where to start. This has been the worst week we’ve had in a long, long time. Six days ago, Sam had an accident and totaled his car. That seems like an eon ago. All week, we have been busy with all things wreck-related. We had to make sure Sam was okay. (He is fine, other than some nasty bumps and bruises that haven’t gone away yet.) We picked up the accident report, took it to the insurance agency, talked to our agent and an adjuster, and all that kind of stuff. We have checked with nearby businesses to see if any of them have security cameras that may have captured the wreck, particularly the traffic light, to determine which driver was at fault. (No luck there, unfortunately.) We have been busy doing, well, stuff.

On top of all that stuff, Sam finally opened up to me and another person about an incident which happened when he was very young. My motherly instinct had told me many, many years ago what happened, but I had no proof, and Sam refused to talk about it until last night. What he told me confirmed my worst suspicions and broke my heart.

When Sam was three years old, I enrolled him in preschool at a church near where we lived at the time. My boss and his family were faithful members of that church, and I believed it would be a good, safe place for Sam to be while I was at work. I’m not going to go into details about what happened there, but I will say a certain person at that church needs to be stopped before more little children get hurt. I had my suspicions at the time, but I had no proof and no certainty of who was to blame. Sam would not speak of it to me at all. I tried to get him to open up, but he seemed to be afraid to talk about it. I did what I could with my limited knowledge and meager means. I got Sam into a daycare that really was safe, and I packed us up and moved us to another state as soon as the opportunity arose.

Although I have known in my heart for the past sixteen-plus years what happened, now that my worst fears have been confirmed, I feel raw, broken, shattered, numb. I believe talking about it has provided a release for Sam, and that’s a good thing. The friend he talked with about it has experience and resources we don’t have to go after the perpetrator. I have provided every bit of information I know in the hopes that somehow the person will be caught and brought to justice. And, I fervently pray for Sam and any other children who have been damaged by the monster.