Not to sound ungrateful and all in the month where we are supposed to focus on the blessings in our lives, but….I really dislike time change….ESPECIALLY ‘fall back.’   For those of us who are ‘morning’ people, our bodies can really get thrown off.   I detest waking up and thinking it is 6:00 a.m. and rolling over to check the alarm and realizing that it is only 5:00.  I know the night owls like my sweet husband love this….they close their sweet little eyes and get one more hour of shut- eye.  Not us early birds…seeing 5:00 a.m. makes us frustrated because since we won’t be able to fall back asleep, we know that we will be exhausted by 7:00 pm in the evening.  And does anyone enjoy it getting dark early in the evening?  Boooo!

Yesterday I went to bed anticipating the early wake up. I tried my best to stay awake as late as I could in an attempt to fool the ‘fall back fairy.’  Boy did I end up regretting that brilliant idea. 

3:53 a.m. (new time…4:53 a.m. old time) I feel a tug on my arm.  “Mommy, I had a bad dream.  I {sniff, sniff} dreamed that someone took me away to their house.  {sniff, sniff} Can I sleep with you?”  Trying to avoid reaction mode and reaching deep into my heart to find that little ounce of mercy the Lord gave me (he gave a double dose to Joe…so in the daytime he bails me out in areas of mercy with the kids!), I lifted the covers and invited her to snuggle up to me.

I took a deep breath because I knew Fall Back had arrived for Holly.  I knew that since my body thought it was 5 am, it would reject my pleas to allow me to get another hour of sleep.  So, there I lay in my bed wide awake.  With Joe sound asleep on one side and a sweet little girl quickly drifting off to sleep again in my arms, I found myself battling off thoughts of ‘are you kidding me?????’

By 4:30, I gave up the battle and decided to take the sleeping angel back to her bed and make me way to the coffee pot and begin my morning reading about two hours earlier than normal. I dragged out a book entitled ‘Let’s Make a Memory’ a book by Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson that has the subtitle  ‘great ideas for building family traditions and togetherness.’   I picked this book up at a yard sale last year for 50 cents (my garage sale limit for a book!).  The copyright date on the book is 1978.  But I knew anything by these two amazing women would be worth reading….I was not disappointed.

To be honest, ‘making memories’ for my kids does not come naturally for me.  If you know me very well you have likely heard me say, “I didn’t like kids under the age of 13 until I had my own.”  Somehow God has done a 180 on my heart.  Now, I still can only handle about an hour at a time volunteering in my kid’s classrooms at school, but I can say without reservation that I have a deep love for children.  When my kids grow up, any ‘good memory’ my kids have from their childhood will be only by the grace of God who got a hold of a young momma and changed her heart when she prayed “God you are gonna have to show me what to do with these kids because I seriously don’t have a clue!”

One of my favorite things in the book ‘Let’s Make a Memory’ is the personal reflections that Mrs. Gaither and Mrs. Dobson share.    This glorious ‘fall back’ morning (can you feel the sarcasm in my hands as they type!), I read the story of Mrs. Gaither’s tradition of taking her kids to McDonald’s on the first day of school each year.  This particular year was her daughter’s senior year.  As she watched her daughter walk away from the car, for the ‘last first day of school’….

“I wanted so to holler after her: “Wait! We have so much yet to do.  We’ve never been to Hawaii.  We’ve never taken a cruise.  That book of poetry we wrote together isn’t published yet.  And what about the day we were going to spend at the cabin just being still and reading?  Or the writer’s workshop we planned to attend together in Illinois?  You can’t go yet….WAIT!”

But I knew she couldn’t wait, and that we could never keep her by calling a halt to her progress.  She had promises to keep.

The things we want to save, Jesus has said, must be let go of, for the things we hold most tightly will be strangled in the end.  And so, though I knew that it was a last first, I also somehow knew that it was a first in a whole lifetime of new beginnings…..and I rejoiced!” (p. 160)

As I read this I began to get a little teary eyed.  God has a good way of directing me to reading things like that when I’m feeling sorry for myself. . . when being a momma imposes on what I want for myself (like an extra hour of sleep).  I know my days of having children in my home are numbered and in my heart I want to cherish each of them…even the days that start at 3:43 a.m.

I thought God was done with me, and I had learned my lesson for the morning.  I was feeling extreme thankfulness to Him for allowing me to be a mother.  But…oh no…He had more for me and it wasn’t even 6 a.m. !

I made my way to the computer and was going to use the extra morning time to look at photos of friends on Facebook…and try not to get sucked into the black hole that is Facebook (you know how you start with the intentions of looking at one particular friend’s photos and then you end up looking at pictures of ‘friends’ that you have only spoken to one time in your whole life!’)

Well the first thing that popped up on the screen was a link to my dear friend Jennifer’s website.  I grew up with Jennifer, and because she was several years younger than me, I always called her my little sis.  When I think about the woman she has ‘grown up’ to be, I feel pride in my heart just as if she were my flesh and blood little sister.

Me, Jennifer and two of our other 'siblings'

The link Jennifer posted was to the website of the organization that she and her husband founded.  Their organization is dedicated to orphans.   They wrote a song for ‘Orphan Sunday,’ which was celebrated yesterday in churches all across the world.

As I listened to the song, tears rolled down my eyes.  Listening to the voice of my sweet Jennifer and looking at the picture of her with her arms wrapped around a sweet little African boy, I realized God had a bigger lesson for me this ‘wretched’ Fall Back morning.

I thought of the fact that millions of children around the world don’t have a momma to wake up at 3:53 a.m. when they wake up with bad dreams of someone taking them.  In fact many orphans actually probably have  ‘good dreams’ of someone they don’t  know taking them away from where they are.  These children don’t have a mom to take them to McDonald’s to ‘celebrate’ the first day of school.  In fact, most of them  probably don’t even know what a Happy Meal is (which isn’t such a bad thing, right?).  And

As I am writing this, the date is November 8th.  It is my mother’s birthday.  Again I am getting a little teary-eyed thinking of how not only do I get to be a momma, but I, too, had a mom to wake up in the middle of the night when I was scared.  I had a mother who was there to celebrate with me on the monumental firsts and lasts of my childhood and beyond.  A mom that ‘made memories’ for me.

My first xmas..(I'm the baby!)

I have so much to be thankful for this November, and at the top of this list is that God allowed me to grow up with an amazing woman to call ‘mom.’   So, Happy Birthday, Mom!  This month I am dedicating my ‘blog’ (for whatever that is worth!) to you.  Thank You for giving me so many memories that I want to write about so that generations that follow will know the difference a mom can make!  I love you, Holly’

And when the training wheels break, it takes a mom running along-side you to assure you that you don't need training wheels anymore!

 

Mom always made sure we had very special clothes for Easter...check out my 'lady-like' stance...mom didn't have much luck teaching me to be 'lady-like'

Mom loved me through the awkward years of big hair and braces...and when i had no clue what to do with my friend Michael's flower, she saved the day

 

Mom put up with me when I was grumpy about taking pictures...thanks mom...now I am very glad you took all those pictures!

 

I have my mom to thank for giving me the drive for excellence in school and for the bazillion prayers that got me through it all!

 

Everyone needs a mom to 'love' you through the ups and downs of wedding preparation!

 

I am blessed to have had a mom to walk with me through three miscarriages and to shed tears of joy with me when our Caleb was born!

Only a mom would put her life on hold to help someone learn to take care of two babies in diapers at the same time.

And...everyone needs a mom to call 'friend' Happy Birthday, Mom...my friend!

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