Deanne Has A Blog!
“The best things in life are unexpected because there were no expectations.”
“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.”
I received a small box in the mail earlier this week. This was an occasion for celebration as, probably just like you, what I mostly get in the mail is bills, catalogs – how is it possible for me to receive catalogs
from all over the world from companies I’ve never heard of where I’ve never bought anything – political materials, guilt-inducing letters from every charity known to man, frequently including a dime or a nickel that I must pry out, rather
than just tossing it, which then exposes me to pathetic pleadings to save it, whatever it is. No, I’m not a heartless, selfish person who doesn’t do anything to help the world be a better place. I’m just selective about where I send my checks.
John, my best friend and husband of fifty years – who has been dancing with the angels for two years now as of October 9th – was an ardent supporter of clean water for people all over the world. He supported World Vision’s clean
water program and I have continued to walk in his footsteps to provide clean water. It mattered to him and it matters to me.
But I digress! I was talking about the small
box I received. It was a totally unexpected gift from my friend, Darren Pollock, who is the father of two of the most adorable children, an Adjunct Professor at Fuller Seminary, a Pastor at Panorama Presbyterian Church, a theologian, and a great singer. What
was the totally unexpected gift? The picture shows it all, well, almost all. Inside were six Cadbury caramel filled chocolate eggs. These things are a particular addiction of mine and I was whining about how I couldn’t seem to find any of them at Easter
time. Hence, Darren’s generous gift. I am rationing them and not sharing with anyone, I don’t care how closely related we are.
The best unexpected gifts,
for me, would be a letter or a card which arrives at the exact moment one needs a word of encouragement. Texts are in that group also, especially texts with pictures attached. Also for me, every day God sends me an unexpected gift in a sunrise and a sunset
which are beyond beautiful. They are different every day and I send them to friends and family as an unexpected gift and occasionally put a bunch of them up on Facebook. I’m not the world’s greatest photographer, but it’s hard to mess up
a picture of a sunset that takes your breath away.
Christmas is coming when gifts are pretty much expected, but I thought I’d tell you about a couple of the most
expensive and possibly unexpected gifts ever given:
1. Mike Tyson gave then-wife Robin Givens a 24-carat gold bathtub costing, at that time, a mere $2.3 million. (Seriously? A gold bathtub? What do you clean it with?)
2. As a Christmas present in 1968, Richard Burton made good on a promise he made to his then-wife, Liz Taylor, of a perfect ruby ring, an 8.24 karat Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and ruby ring, a bauble costing a mere $4.2 million. (Too much responsibility! I’d lose it, I’m afraid.)
Personally, those unexpected gifts aren’t anything I’d ever want. A box of Cadbury caramel chocolate eggs, on the other hand, are a fabulous gift. God has given me so many gifts that I am grateful for: pretty good health, an amazing loving family, a beautiful home, friends, and a 50 year marriage to a wonderful man.
Walking this morning it occurred to me that the greatest unexpected gift I ever received was the day John said to me, “I can’t marry someone who isn’t a believer.” This was in 1967, friends and neighbors. I promptly said, “Where do I go to sign up?” and he told me how to ask Jesus into my heart. I did and God has been working on me ever since. Let me quote this wonderful song by Chris Tomlin one more time...
“I’m forgiven because you were forsaken
I’m accepted, You were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again.
Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my king. would die for me
Amazing love, I know its true
It’s my joy to honor you
In all I do
I honor you.”
Maybe an unexpected gift will come your way today!
“He turned the water into wine, He turned the water into wine.
In the little Canan town the word went all around,
that he turned the water into wine.”
“On the third day a wedding
took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus mother was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone Jesus’ mother said to Him, “they have no more wine.” John 2:1-3
Weddings were the highlight of everybody’s social calendar in those days. The feast was very important and might go on for a week, unlike a lot of the weddings we attend these days where it’s a short
ceremony leading up to waiting around hours for pictures to be taken. We all hope there will be really great hors d’oeuvres, decent wine and maybe a sit down dinner with filet mignon or salmon, incredible wedding cake, a little dancing and you’re
outta there. In first-century Palestine, to fail in proper hospitality was a serious offense. Running out of wine was more than a minor social embarrassment, since the family had an obligation to provide a feast of the socially required standard. There wasn’t
a great variety in beverages – no Diet Coke or Sprite - and your choices were water or wine. Running out of wine would mean that you would be the town joke forevermore. Needless to say, there was no BevMo down the block and the best man and a couple
of ushers couldn’t just jump on their mules and run down for a couple of cases of Mumm’s Cordon Rouge (high end wedding) or Cook’s Brut (lower end wedding) even then nobody would have served Andre or Two-Buck Chuck!
“Dear woman, why do you involve me? Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone
water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water” so they filled them to the brim. Then He told them, “Now draw some out and take
it to the master of the banquet.” They did so and the banquet master tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and
said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:4-10
My friend, Rich Johnson, who is a member of the praise and worship team at Bethany Church in Sierra Madre, recently had the opportunity to deliver a small sermonette on the subject of the water into wine. He spoke of Jesus’ mother’s
involvement. He referred to her as Jesus’ Mom, but with a different meaning than just the name most of us call our mother. Rich used Mom as Mother Of Messiah. She didn’t want this young couple and their families to be humiliated before everyone
they knew and so she asked Jesus for His help. He responded as most of us do when our mother asks us to do something, “Hey, Why me! I’m not ready yet!” She knew He would do the right thing and said no more to Him about it. And look what happened!
Dom Perignon all around and the astonished bridegroom was incredibly grateful to whoever had saved them all from social disaster.
“Dear Woman,” what Jesus
called her when she wanted His help at this wedding, where He performed His first miracle, and “Dear Woman” is what He called her as He hung on the cross. “Dear Woman, here is your son,” indicating his disciple, John, and to his beloved
disciple, John, “Here is your mother.” Dear Woman. Mom is what He meant. Just Mom.
My daughter-in-law, Michon’s mom passed away this week and today
is her memorial service. Michon has written wonderful memories of her mom and will speak wonderful memories today. Her mom is in heaven now and has already met Jesus’ Mom. What a glorious thought!
“Whatever He tells you, do it.”
“You know it’s time to go back to school when you hear parents singing, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” George Washington Carver
‘Twas The Night Before School Started
‘Twas the night before school started and all through the town,
Parents were cheering, it was a riotous sound.
By eight the kids were washed and tucked into bed,
While memories of homework filled them with dread.
New pencils, new folders, new notebooks too,
New teachers, new friends, their anxiety grew.
The parents just giggled when they heard of this fright,
And shouted up the stairs...Go To Bed, It’s A School Night!” Author Unknown
That’s pretty much what’s happening all
over the place this week and next. Up the street where granddaughters, Jessie and Emily live, they have been to the Start of School Splash swim party this afternoon, showered, shampooed and are already in bed as school starts for them tomorrow.
This seems somewhat unbelievable to me as I went to school in the prehistoric era, just shortly after the Jurassic age, when school got out in June and started up again the day after
Labor Day. Jessie and Emily have been out on the town since early May and go back today, August 7th. While I’m reminiscing, and maybe you remember it this way, too, school started at 9:00 and went till 3:00. These girls are yanked rudely from
sleep at 6:00 a.m., are on the school bus about 7:10 and on their way home shortly after 2:00.
We’ve bought new backpacks, tennis shoes, shirts with unicorns,
flamingoes, hedgehogs and positive statements emblazoned across the chest. We’ve made sure there are plenty of socks and underwear, and will be ready to invade Target when the new teachers pass out the lists of All The Supplies You Will Need To
Survive 4th and 6th Grades.
Yes, school is starting again tomorrow. It’s been very pleasant to start the mornings around 8:00 when people really wanted to get
up, pleasant to send the girls off to Vacation Bible School, various Art Camps, go to the movies, spend a week at the beach, just hang out at home and not feel any pressure.
A Parent’s Back to School Prayer
Dear Lord, help them find where they need to go,
And go only where Your will leads.
To lead boldly, even where few will follow, and follow only the path You reveal.
Reveal kindness to those who yearn, yearn for excellence in all they accomplish.
Accomplish in themselves the promise of all You’ve given.
Give them a desire for truth and passion for real learning.
Have them learn to give, to love, to forgive and encourage.
Stay by their sides and light up their souls,
Fill them, guide them, protect them and enliven them.
And by all this have them become the masterful creations You formed
And longed for them to be, even in their mother’s womb.
“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord,
“Plans to prosper you and not to harm you., plans to give you a future and a hope.”
Yes, school starts tomorrow and our hope above all else is that everyone they encounter will be kind. God bless them, every one.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna! Hosanna!”
Jesus is entering Jerusalem, riding on a donkey colt while people along the way spread their cloaks before him, wave palm branches and generally make a huge welcoming fuss over him. He enters the city, goes into the temple courts and then as it is already late, goes on to Bethany with his chosen twelve. The next day, leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if it had any fruit. Disappointed, as all he found was leaves as it just wasn’t fig season yet, he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” Everybody heard him say it and were probably a little astonished as it wasn’t the tree’s fault that it just wasn’t time for fruit.
Then after a busy day driving out money changers and all those who were selling stuff inside the temple... “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations...but you have made it a den of robbers!” Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. In the morning as they went along, they saw that same fig tree, withered from its roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” Mark 11:7-21
As you can see from the picture, I have a tree that looks pretty much like that fig tree that so annoyed Jesus on Palm Sunday, just a few days before those same crowds who were yelling “Hosanna” started yelling “Crucify Him!” My tree, an oleander, was a really lovely thing, tall, sturdy, covered with white blossoms and about as healthy and happy as it’s possible for a tree to be when it lived three doors up the street at our daughter, Crissy’s house. It made the mistake, however, of tossing lots of those blossoms into their swimming pool and Crissy’s husband, Chris, came to hate it as he scooped hundreds of oleander blossoms out of the pool every day.
I, not having a pool, lusted after this tree and offered to take it off his hands and plant it in my yard. He enthusiastically agreed and we arranged for the landscape guys to come move it to my place. They promptly planted it in the wrong spot, had to come back, dig it up and plant it in the right spot. Then, for some reason unknown to anyone involved, the water got shut off in my yard and the tree, which should have been getting gallons of water every day was getting none. Zero. Zip. Not a drop. By the time I figured this out...yes, I admit I have moments when I’m a little slow... the tree was a goner and every day it gets drier and more pathetic.
Early this morning, I stretched out a brand new 100’ hose to be sure it’s long enough to reach my new tree. Yes, friends and neighbors, a new tree! A Sunday or two ago, we descended upon our local tree nursery where a delightful and extremely knowledgeable young woman, Lucy, escorted us up and down row after row of gorgeous trees, each of which was just waiting for the right checkbook to appear. Making a decision was difficult when faced with so much beauty. Another oleander? Ash? Acacia? Crepe myrtle? No, definitely not as they are deciduous and will spend all winter looking bleak. And suddenly, there it was, the exquisite creature I had been imagining.
Today, some time between 11 and 1, my new Tipu (Tipuana Tipu) tree will replace the withered oleander. The Tipu is, reportedly, a fast growing shade tree, thrives in intense desert heat and cold, will produce a coat of golden blooms in late Spring and is perfect where a high shade canopy is desired. Who could possibly ask for more!
Here’s where possible failure comes in: Every morning and every evening for the next couple of weeks or so, I’m supposed to fill up the basin they will create at the base of the tree. That’s it, you ask? Yes, but...
“Blessed is the man...whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Ps. 1:1-4
Actually, I can’t possibly fail as it is my delight to sit outside early in the morning, read God’s Word and lift up my friends and family to Him in prayer. The tree is right there in front of me. It’s leaf shall not wither as I shall water it while I feed my heart and soul.
“...a tree planted by the rivers of water...”
“They carry us beneath their hearts,
That’s how every new life starts.
The beating of our mother’s heart,
The first sound that we hear.
Love and peace surround us...
And God....is very near.
Your mother, my mother,
And Mary....the mother of....God.” *
Mother’s Day was just a Sunday or two ago and I’m hoping yours
was as nice as mine was. We got together, six of us mothers, along with assorted husbands and children – some large, some very small - to enjoy each other’s company, along with many hugs. Son-in-law, Dave, provided some excellent BBQ, and
we exchanged cards which had been carefully, thoughtfully and lovingly selected. Let me quote just a few:
“To my mother. We all need someone to believe in us...in
who we are and in all we can become. Someone to cheer, encourage, comfort and guide us...to give us the confidence we need to believe in ourselves and in our potential to reach our dreams. Thank you for being my someone. May you know how much your love and
support mean to me and always will.”
“For our Grandma! If everybody had a grandma like you, there would always be lots of smiles in the world.”
“Family is love and laughter, strength and smiles, hope and happiness. Every Mother’s Day is a gift – a chance to go back through the memories of the heart
and say thank you. For a home that was warm and welcoming and filled with life and laughter – where each day seemed to hold some small adventure and something new to learn. For a family that loves being together – that cares for each other and
helps one another through all the big and little ups and downs of life...for a connection that gives meaning and purpose and joy to every day. Thanks for all the joys of having a mother like you.”
“Happy Mother’s Day from both of us...the one you raised right, and the one who really appreciates it!”
it was Erma Bombeck who said that the saddest day for a mother is when her children no longer believe that she can magically get the traffic lights to change as they have now discovered the yellow light on the other side of the street. This is true. For years
I have been telling my grandchildren; Jessie, who is now eleven, and Emily, who is eight, and is looking doubtful right here in this picture, that...
Grandma! I know everything!”
I’m Grandma! I know everything!
I’ve told them that for years.
And now, alas, the moment’s come,
I must face my biggest
“Grandma, you don’t know everything,”
Miss eight-year old Emily sneers.
Yep, it’s happened, I got it right,
Time to face my biggest fears.
“I do so,” I said, wisely and maturely,
She just smiled and snorted.
“I can make a cheese soufflé,” I instantly retorted.
And Lincoln was our 12th President,
And the duckbilled platypus lays eggs...
And the whale is a mammal...
And Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with The Wind...
And I can spell antidisestablishmentarianism...
And I know never to put tomatoes in the refrigerator...
And Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so...
And all the words to way too many songs...
And a lot of knock-knock jokes...
And who’s buried in Grant’s tomb...
And that you can get everything in the world at Amazon.com...
And how to braid hair...
And how to repair Puppyblanket when he’s torn...
Yeah, Emily...how to repair poor Puppyblanket,
Who was lost to the ages a year or so ago.”
Their Mommy patted my trembling, age-spotted hand and said, in that tone that stops all further discussion, “Grandma knows everything that matters.”
“If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand The Fear of the Lord and find The Knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:1-5
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of The Holy One is insight.”
King Solomon asked the Lord, not for wealth, but for wisdom. I pray for wisdom to do the right things, say the right things. Mercifully, I don’t need to worry about praying the right things...
“We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28
If you haven’t gone back yet and taken a second look at your Mother’s Day cards, give yourself a few minutes, pour yourself a cup of coffee and read them again. You’ll be glad
*Lyrics from “Your Mother, My Mother” – Star of Wonder – A Christmas Musical Book & Lyrics by Deanne Davis, Music by David Wheatley.