You Know What They Say About the Apple…

DerrickAlexdrinking“It don’t fall far from the tree.”

When Derrick decided to join the Navy Reserves, my husband excitedly told me, “He’s going to do great!  This is a good choice for Derrick.”  I was not thrilled.  What in the world did he mean??  “He’s going to do great because he’s just like his Mother.”  I sarcastically thought  sweetly responded, “What do you mean!?”  “He’s a rule follower, just like his Mother.  This is a great fit for him.”

A few years ago I was visiting Derrick when he scratched his head.  Just a simple head scratch.  But I felt like I was in the room with my Grandpa Herb, who died when Derrick was about 1 1/2.  How could that be?  It was exactly how Grandpa held his hand, his fingers, everything.  When our grandson began walking and playing, he would squat down to play with something.  I felt like I was looking at Derrick, who played exactly the same way at his age.  “There’s a dinosaur in there Mimi!”  That one phrase took me back nearly 30 years and I was listening to Derrick talk about things that were only real in his imagination.  My grandson reflects his Daddy in many ways.

Bethany does not like surprises.  Every year she begs and pleads for us to tell her exactly what she is getting for Christmas and her birthday.  She frets over her gifts for weeks months, years.  (She’s made a list for me up through 2016 to make sure there are no surprises.)  My husband complains claims that I’m difficult to buy a gift for because I don’t like surprises and am hyper-vigilant when I think he might be getting me something.  I tend to check the bank account more often.  When I see a debit to Canon, is it my fault that I know I’m getting a camera?  My Dad obviously figured this out years ago and about a week before Christmas would take me for “a ride” and then “weedle” out of me what his Christmas gifts were because he just couldn’t wait for the surprise.  It drove my Mom crazy!  Do you see a trend here?

Some characteristics that we share are fun and some are more serious.  Some are genetic, some are learned behaviors, but all are based on relationship.  There is a connection.

The older I get the more often I hear my Mom or my Dad when I begin talking.  I see characteristics and physical traits in each of my siblings that remind me of my parents and grandparents.  We reflect our family to the world.  We are very different individuals and we certainly have our own identity, but in many ways, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

When thinking of this, I found myself considering our relationship with God… how do we reflect his love?  His character?  His traits?  When we face a challenge do we respond in a way God would have us respond?  If we face a moral dilemma, do we consider what the Bible says?  When we are wrongly accused or our character is attacked are we able to love as God loves us?  In the best of times do we reflect God’s grace and mercy to those who may be going through the worst of times?  In the worst of times do we reflect strength and behave honorably?  When the world around us is crumbling are we faithful in the small and large things?  Do we remember that even as he faced death on the cross, Jesus took the time to teach, to heal, to forgive, to restore, to love?  Jesus was always focused on valuing and loving others rather than himself.  Do we even try to go there?

On several occasions I’ve heard folks speak about my parents being good, strong, hard working, generous, and loving, but they had never met them.  These folks knew something about my parents by knowing their children and grandchildren.

When folks meet you do they know something about our heavenly Father?  Do they know that we’ve been redeemed, that we are in relationship with God?  When other’s see or hear you, do they see or hear our Father?  I was struck by this text today, “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 2 Cor 2:15 NAS

Is our relationship with God so obvious that everyone around us recognize it?

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Col 3:17

You are in my prayers.  I love you,

Cindy

Her Children Will Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

Mom Dad Nick Em 2Written Sep 20, 2013 9:40am by Cindy McMurry

My Mom left for home today.  John and I are so grateful for all she’s done to help us.  She’s covered the things that John didn’t have time to do and the things I simply couldn’t do.

Between helping with meals, dishes, laundry, cleaning, driving, watering plants, helping pack lunches, grocery shopping and so much more… her generosity goes unmatched.  My Dad might argue, since he thinks it was him who sacrificed by “loaning Mom” to us.  😉

Mom stayed with us for nearly 3 weeks and I know she was greatly missed by everyone at home.  Dad told her he was going to start cleaning yesterday at noon to prepare for her return.  🙂  Kevin will be anxious to eat her cooking again, I’m sure.  The great grandkids will LOVE having Grandma Melanie back home… she’s one of their favorite people.  Her friends have missed her and she’s missed them, I know they are anxious to be with her again. Everyone missed her presence, no doubt about it.  Mom is a Godly woman, one who is loving, generous and encouraging.  She makes herself available to those in need and often gives others a listening ear and words of encouragement.

Wherever she isn’t present, she is missed.  On some level my Dad is correct… it’s a sacrifice when my Mom is somewhere else.  We will miss her.  Her calmness, sweetness and selflessness continue to teach us to be better.

Mom, thank you!  Thank you!  THANK YOU!!  for everything you did to help us… and just for being willing to be with us during this time.  You sacrificed for us and we do not take your generosity lightly.  We are so grateful.  You are a Mom whose children are all quick to “Rise Up and Call Her Blessed.”  You exemplify to us this text…

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:                                           “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.                           Proverbs 31:10-31

… But You excel them all Mom!

We love you,

John and Cindy

These are the Moments…

Written Sep 4, 2013 2:24pm by Cindy McMurry

These are the moments I get tickled and laugh at the things we take for granted. These are the moments I’m in wonder at the goodness of God. These are the moments that the change in my body distresses me. These are the moments that I try to process what our tomorrows will look like while being eternally grateful for our today.

I’m healing. Thanks be to God. There are some obvious challenges and some obvious changes. There are also obvious blessings.

John gave me a shower today and I realized washing my own hair was something I took for granted. Now my husband is learning how to care for me in a way I hadn’t expected and demonstrating love for me in new ways. Receiving care from others that we expect to provide for ourselves is both humbling and a blessing. John has teased me that I “have more skin surface” than he does even though he “is nearly double my body weight”… and has wondered if all girls wash their ankles. 🙂 I’m amazed at how tenderly he’s caring for me.

Yesterday John left quickly for work, before making himself a cup of coffee. I discovered the coffee maker hadn’t been plugged in since we returned home and there was no water in it. Not being able to reach or being steady with either hand made plugging it in rather interesting. Essentially I hiked my belly on the counter, braced my left arm with my right hand and the counter just to get the thing plugged in. Then I had to add water and hit the button on top to turn it on… I’m sorry you missed it. I’m sure you would have laughed… I’m learning to contort my body to meet our needs in ways you would be amazed. Yoga friends… beware. I’m going to need you.

Eating is not too rough. I brace my arm on the table and move my mouth to the fork instead of the fork to my mouth. I’m not sure if everyone else enjoys my meal that way, but I’ve found the food tastes the same… it’s also more work so perhaps I will eat less. I might be starting a new diet trend, who knows?

When I had my left scapulectomy I was much younger and it worried me that I “looked like a ballerina on one side and a football player on the other” because of the way my muscles adapted to accommodate my needs. Well… I don’t match this time either. I took a good look in the mirror today and I’ve lost my corner… no more sharp turn at my shoulder. It’s a lot more like a slope. Who knows how clothes will fit… most of my time right now is in pajamas.

My Mom is here and doing her best to help every way she can and our friends are preparing meals. I continue to be in awe of the sweetness, kindness and generosity of our family and friends. Just today we had three visitors, a fresh pineapple from Hawaii and flowers from my Rotary friends and a girlfriend.

In the middle of these moments I’ve been reminded that in 1987 a physician told me that my life expectancy was less than 5 years. F.I.V.E. Y.E.A.R.S. When I struggle to relearn to function and when I get discouraged because of the changes I remind myself what a glorious gift the last 26 years have been, even the struggle itself is a gift.. I may have to relearn to function in some areas, but I’m alive.

In those 26 years there have been more gifts and blessings than I could begin to mention… Derrick grew from a toddler to a man. He became a husband and a father, he serves our country with honor and dignity. Our girl Bethany came into our life and through her struggles has taught all of us to be better people and what courage it takes to face the challenge of everyday life. I met and married John who is an extraordinary human being. My Father has beaten bladder cancer and been a trooper through many accidents. All of my nieces and nephews have been born and grown into fine young men and women. And our grandchildren… Alex and Emma… let’s just say John says I have “Grandmother Derangement Syndrome.” What a gift they are to us. I’ve had the honor of serving God in churches as pastor and youth minister. We’ve been richly blessed with relationships that have challenged us to grow in faith, courage and strength.

Today I am not the same girl I was when I received that scary diagnosis 26 years ago and the prediction that my life expectancy would be less than 5 years. No way. Today I’m so blessed it’s hard to fathom. The fact that I CAN plug in the coffee maker is a gift. My shoulder may slope, but it’s still a shoulder and moves and will learn to do more. These are moments I will treasure, reminding myself that I CAN and if I can’t, there are others who will. What a great life I have.

I love you,
Cindy

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 1Timothy 1:14