Next to my God and Faith, Family is most important in my life.
Of this Proverbs 31 verse (:28), I have always thought of children verbally honoring their mother when they grow up. That they would speak of her influence in their lives and perhaps the lives of others.
Yesterday, I had a moment that immediately engendered this verse in my mind and heart. I realized I have these ‘call her blessed’ moments quite often. They are not always verbal, nor necessarily intentional. They happen when I see values we have instilled in our children play out in their lives. Our children make us proud every day and if you could see the magnitude of my pride as it really is in my chest it would appear as a deformity because my chest is inflated with Godly pride of not just what they do but who they are. They are not perfect (no one is) but they are my perfect heritage, my anchors, my God-gifts whom I cherish and yes, I celebrate them.
Our firstborn Son has a work ethic that is unrivaled in my opinion. His grandfather modeled it and his father modeled it.
Our second Son has an ecclesiastical mantle on his life. His passion for and faith in God awes me and frames his entire life. Also generational.
Our only Daughter, has such intellect and resourcefulness. I love that she is so grounded, embodies strength of character and sensibility. Yes, generational.
These are just a few of their qualities that I admire. They are our rewards.
In addition to who they are as individuals, they have blessed our lives with additional daughters and a son and grandchildren of whom our lives are enriched with immeasurable JOY.
I promise, when you invest into the lives of your children, not just things, but values, they rise up and call you blessed. The spiritual, educational and social experiences that you mandate for their lives as well as every single sacrifice will be worth it. The blessing is when you see what you have instilled in them demonstrated, even when it is not spoken or directly exclaimed, the fruit is the sweetest reward. Now as parents of their own children, I see them modeling values, expectations and lessons that we set for them. At first glance it can be comical but then it is a ‘Yes!’ moment. We did good.
So for parents whether you’re with a covenant partner or it is you and God, the sacrifices, commitments and investments you make in and for your children will yield a rich return. You really do reap what you sow. First and foremost, be the example they ‘see’ and ‘hear’. We are all the sum of our influences, make your influences on your child(ren) Godly, positive, of integrity, of excellence, of learning, of love, of character. They will rise up and call you blessed, they will rise up and be your examples, they will rise up and bless your life.
Since I’m coming to tears, I will stop here.
CELEBRATING Terry Dale Lipford II, Brandon Keith Lipford and Camille Joy Lipford … our heritage from the Lord.
“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.”
LOVE suffereth long, and is kind; LOVE envieth not; LOVE vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. LOVE never faileth: ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
LOVE that is lasting, continuing, patient, persisting, surviving, growing, and enduring.
Thirty-six years ago today, I married my best friend. He loves me unconditionally.
Thirty-six years is a long time. Time that God has given to us, woven by all that HE IS. The essence of Who God is has given sustaining and enduring life to our marriage. No marriage is perfect, because no two people are perfect; only God is perfect. Enduring Love is what perfects our marriage covenant. Faith, wisdom and reverance for God as the center of our marriage is what has made it an Enduring Love.
Enduring Love is not jealous, is not self-centered, is not arrogant, is not strong-willed, is not selfish, is not controlling, is not impulsive, is not disrespectful, is not revengeful or begrudging, it never gives up. It is not a fairytale. Enduring Love is all that the Love Chapter proclaims, it suffers long, is kind, is committed, is sacrificing, is giving, is caring, is honest, trusts, honors God, never retreats or gives up, it grows forward, stronger and greater, it endures.
In thirty-six years there have been some tests, some mistakes, some poor judgments, some uncertainties, some challenges. But overwhelmingly there has been a lot of joy and God’s goodness, dreams come true, blessings on top of blessings, lessons learned, experiences and memories to cherish, children and grandchildren.
Some years ago I had the privilege of presenting a seminar for married couples. The conference theme was “The Race of Your Life-Making It To The Expected End” so I entitled the presentation, “Enduring Love Covenant Marathon” (Running With My Mate — A Marathon to The Finish”. The focus was that marriage is not a sprint or a relay, it is a marathon. A marathon is a race of endurance. Much preparation, training, and conditioning is necessary to FINISH a marathon. Because at the FINISH is where you receive the rewards, the expected end. The key points I shared was understanding the runners in the race (two, ‘together’, making a team of one) (Matthew 19:5-6); determining and understanding the singularity of your goal(s) (1 Corinthians 9:24-25); conditioning for the covenant marathon with the mindset to win (Romans 8:37); actually running the race, the huddle experiences, and seeing (always in view) your goal, seeing your marriage at its expected end, claiming the rich rewards of enduring love.
“Do you think our love can make miralces? I do.
“Do you think our love, can take us away together?
I think our love can do anything we want it to.” (Allie & Duke/Noah from The Notebook)
[Reflecting now, that was a good presentation.]
So today, we’re still running this race with so much more maturity and wisdom. We’re running it with our enduring love as the wind in our backs and beneath our wings. We’re enjoying some rich rewards too, a life well lived, blessed by the favor of God, children who make us proud everyday, and grandchildren who literally take our breath away and consume our hearts with joy.
Thank You, God, for my gift, my husband, my lover, my covering, my friend, my confidant, my covenant partner, my forever love, Terry D. Lipford.
Thank You, God, for our Enduring Love, ‘ageless and evergreen’.
Love, soft as an easy chair
Love, fresh as the morning air
One love that is shared by two
I have found with you
Like a rose under the April snow
I was always certain love would grow
Love ageless and evergreen
Seldom seen by two
You and I will make each night a first
Every day a beginning
Spirits rise and their dance is unrehearsed
They warm and excite us
‘Cause we have the brightest love
Two lights that shine as one
Morning glory and midnight sun
Time we’ve learned to sail above
Time won’t change the meaning of one love
Ageless and ever evergreen
(Lyrics of one of our wedding songs, ‘Evergreen’ by the incomparable Barbra Streisand.)
Happy Noah Day! May 30, 2014
The call came the morning of May 29, 2014!
It was a beautiful day, sunny and perfect … In God’s timing.
We arrived at Hillcrest Hospital and our daughter-in-Love was doing good through her contractions and the process began.
I watched my son, a Godly man, anoint the delivery room and everything in it, he prayed the prayer of faith and thanksgiving … I’m so proud of him.
What happy moments of anticipation for the birth of their first child, a son for whom they prayed, and our first grandSON.
As the time grew long, I took a walk down to the cafeteria and gift shop. I found the greatest gift too. I really wanted a Superman soft toy for the “Superman Baby” but found a stuffed bear. He’s not all that cute, I thought, but his bib says, “Handmade by GOD ~ NOAH”. Perfect, right? Then when I got to the register the cashier pushed his paw and the bear prays a prayer for Noah in the voice of the biblical Noah … Perfect, indeed.
Well the day didn’t go as we anticipated. It was exhausting to say the least, especially for the birthing mother and expecting father. Unexpected circumstances prolonged the baby’s birth. BUT GOD! Savior, Keeper, Giver of Life, God.
He IS Faithful in all things. Yes, He Is!!
The morning of May 30 was God’s appointed time for Noah’s arrival at 5:44 AM.
Our grandson was born! Tears of Joy … He is God’s gift, fresh from a Heaven, handmade by God.
How GREAT IS Our God!
His fresh-from-Heaven arrival is close (but not yet).
His due date (guess date I call it) was yesterday.
Everyone, his young parents (this is their first), grandparents (our first grandson), aunts, uncles, loved ones … we’re all so anxious and excited.
Yesterday, my husband snapped a photo of his car seat already nestled in his Dad’s car.
His mother is graciously managing all the texts and FB posts inquiring of his status, are you in labor, is he here yet, what did the doctor say? She just posted, “Keep Calm and wait for Baby Noah.”
It is so close and yet it is his and God’s timing. It will be perfect, the time when he arrives. He will be perfect because he is being fashioned by the sovereign hands of God and he is being delivered fresh from Heaven.
He is already loved in extreme proportions and blessed by a ‘village’ of family and friends who not only love him, but also love God.
So close, any day now, fresh from Heaven.
“For this child, she prayed.”
Five Minute Friday: CLOSE
Linking to http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/
One day I came across Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog and I’ve been following ever since. I even link up with a community of bloggers who write from a word prompt she randomly chooses in what she calls Five Minute Friday. I love her writing. She does it so fluently with inspiration and sheer God-giftedness.
“I think you’re braver than you think.
And that motherhood should come with a superhero cape.
I blog about it over at http://www.lisajobaker.com”
Lisa-Jo, in her blogs, celebrates and encourages Mothers[hood] dubbing them “Super Heroes”. Her young children are adorable and the photos she posts of them tell stories that need no words, that is what I know to be ‘good photojournalism’. I read as Lisa-Jo writes about the joys and challenges of mothering and molding the lives of her young gifts, having a career, being a wife, and managing life in general. Her plate is full and spilling off the edges a lot of days.
Being a mother of three adult children and now a grandmother of two granddaughters (bka LoveJoys), I read the Gypsy Momma’s writings and I reflect. When I read her blog this morning, http://lisajobaker.com/2013/09/the-one-where-im-a-working-mom, I was inspired to write my own reflection.
“Children are the anchors that hold a Mother to life.” ~ Sophocles
So rewind over thirty years. It is not that easy any more to recapture all those moments. Thank God for photos that etch memories in our minds and hearts. My oldest son will be 34 in a couple weeks, my second son is 31, and my baby girl is 29.
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” ~ Psalm 127:3
I love how Lisa-Jo says, “Each family has to find its own way through …” That is so true, marriage and parenting is unique to the family that God designs. So many elements play into each journey. As what I believe to be most significant to everything we do and experience in life, Christ, at the center is the defining factor. Christ as the nucleus of a family guides each individual and the collective along the adventure of parenting.
What I remember to be critical to my experience as a young mother was my faith-grounded marriage and my husband who was and continues to be a superb father. (He had the best example in his own father and Godly mentors.) Also, a support system of family, both naturally and spiritually. I too worked outside the home since my oldest son was a year old and aside from the time granted for maternity leave, I have always worked at a job where I still work. In retrospect, it was God Who enabled me to have a blessed (not perfect) marriage, raise my children, maintain my home, work, and serve in my church.
Motherhood is really a beautiful gift from God.
It is not easy, but it is so rewarding.
Even through the challenges and hard lessons, the midnights and nightmares, the right decisions and the not-so-right decisions. Through every phase, the “Am I doing it right” of infancy, terrible twos, discovery schooling years, moodiness of adolescence, and the right-of-passage of young adulthood, somehow you keep gaining and winning, but never quite finishing because parenting and motherhood never ends. It just evolves.
To young mothers, I encourage you and celebrate you. I’m cheering you on because you can do it. Put your Super Hero cape on each day, PRAY and TRUST GOD to give you the wisdom, strength, direction, resources, and support you need to be the best Mother you can be.
He will do it.
“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; …” ~ Proverbs 31:28
… makes my pride overflow into roaring waves and fills my heart with Joy.
She filled a longing in my life when God gave her to me and ever since she has been a cherished treasure.
When she was just three (1987) I wrote this little poem about her …
Little Night Wonderer
Camie Joy, you’re so funny
When night falls and
Bedtime rolls around
You resound, “I can’t sleep”
Never settling yourself to the idea of bedtime
You wonder from room to room
Playing with your LEGO blocks or puzzle cards
Just waiting for your Daddy to come in
Then with the turn of his key in the door
Your little feet thump the floor
A second resound, “Daddy, I can’t sleep”
‘Til you’re tucked in bed
Comforted by your Daddy being near
Finally you give in to sleep
Good night, my little wonderer,
I love you!
It’s interesting that one of her favorite quotes is …
“… not all those who wander are lost …” by J.R.R. Tolkien
Camie, your life has taken you across several paths to becoming who you are today.
A woman of intellect, strength and courage. An accomplished educator, administrator and mentor.
A beautiful wife, mother, aunt, cousin, sister and friend.
I’ve always admired your loyalty as a friend to your dearest friends.
You’re my friend too, one I can trust with my heart.
You’re my champion too.
Best of all though, you’re my daughter … my Joy!
I love you!
Five Minute Friday: She
Linking up with http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/
Five Minute Friday, where a community of bloggers write on the same topic … 1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back and invite others to join in, http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/. 3. Visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on: HOME
“Every wise woman buildeth her house …” (makes it a HOME):
I strive everyday to make my home a sanctuary, a safe haven, an abiding solace.
Our Pastor teaches us that the husband is the priest of the home, but the wife is the heart of the home. I take great pride in my role as a wife, mother and homemaker.
We’ve been married for nearly 35 yaers. Our first home was a one-bedroom apartment, then a rented house, several rented houses, then home ownership. We became empty nesters, umm, can’t remember how long ago now. Our joys went off to college, became independent adults, started to make their own dreams. Three years ago, we decided to downsize, so we settled into a penthouse suite in a property on Lake Erie.
When my Love comes home from a long day and evening of work, ministry and service, he comes home to a sanctuary where he can rest his mind, spirit, and body … an abiding solace.
Titus 2 teaches us to be chaste housekeepers, Proverbs 31 celebrates the woman who looketh well to the ways of her household.
As wives, mothers, and single independent women, whether career women (which most of us are), including home/family managers or women of ministry, a valuable lesson I learned long ago is that “ministry begins at home”. Home, marriage and family is our first ministry.
My home is a sanctuary, a place where my family and my God can find an abiding solace.
The home should be the treasure chest of living. ~ Le Corbusier
Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Pray with me … Lord, abide with us, make our home a sanctuary.
In just five minutes. Tell me all about what your mama did that made her yours….
What Mama Did
When I was really young, my parents divorced. When I was seven years old my Mother relocated from Pompano Beach FL to Cleveland OH with her companion who would become her common-law husband, my stepfather. They were married for most of my childhood until I was a student in junior high (now known as middle) school. My sister and I are 15 years apart, so during this time, she was an adult still living in Florida … it was just my Mom, stepdad and I.
What my Mama did that made her mine was commit her life to taking care of us (she and I). After two divorces, domestic violence and abuse (which I didn’t know then like I know now) which I understand now must have been a nightmare of a lifle, my Mother took care of us.
I reflect on the years of my life when I did not lack for anything. My mother worked and she took care of me. We always had a safe place to live, I never was hungry, I never missed school, I enjoyed my childhood, I was disciplined, I had boundaries, but I also had opportunities and quality learning experiences. She introduced me to Christ in the way that she knew, she taught me faith, she loved to pray and read her Bible (which I still have).
My mother did not have more than an 8th grade education, but she modeled resourcefulness and excellence before me. As an adult, I appreciate the example my Mother lived before me and the life lessons she taught me. Even when I rebelled because I wanted to be like my friends, my Mother loved me enough to parent me with high standards and expectations.
So much of her wisdom comes back to me, echoing life values that I pray I have modeled and continue to pass along to my children. My Mother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s disease and pancreatic cancer almost four years ago. She was 83 years old.
I miss her, the lady I knew before Alzheimer’s, the lady with style, strength of purpose, pride, moxie and wisdom.
I have our memories forever.
I miss her.