Mama’s Soul Markers

There are moments in life that are Markers on my soul.

December 1981, I held in my arms my first child, Melissa Anne. Allen tells me that
I was in labor for over 31 hours without any kind of help for the pain. I only remember how beautiful she is and has always been. A perfect beautiful little red head who reflected back all the adoring looks we gave her. Fiercely loyal and strong, she demands peace and will settle for nothing less. Her daddy laughingly told her once to put a 55 gallon drum in the back of his truck while he ate lunch. He was being funny but when he went back, she had done it. It never occurred to her that she could not. That remains her attitude about anything she intends to do.

March 1984, I had the shortest labor ever and I say truthfully that Holly Elizabeth has never given me any pain since the day she was born. The medical personnel forgot to come back for us so I lay in the recovery room alone with her, clutching her to my chest, amazed at this tiny and perfect little blonde baby. Faith-filled and confident of provision from the day she was born, she refuses to worry and never lets her circumstances dictate what she will do. She once travelled with a mission group across three countries without a dime in her pocket and typical Holly, she called to say she was bringing home a few friends for Thanksgiving. She brought home, fed and housed 27 people.

February 2, Allen Lynn was taken to NICU and I could only hold his tiny toes as they took blood and kept him in his special bassinet so he could breathe. Praying and believing that the LORD would heal him for two weeks before they finally placed him in my arms, a miracle and my first son. We took him home in a little white tuxedo onesie. We call him the perfect man because he controls his tongue and never wastes his words. His siblings count on what AJ says because he does what he says he will do. He expects no less of others and if he shows up at the house, things that need doing will be done. He never leaves without giving both of us a good strong bear hug, a gift from this child who does not give affection or smiles liberally or lightly.

May 22, Thomas Glynn made his premier, happy and friendly from the moment he was placed in my arms. He was named for favorite uncles on both sides of our families prophetically –he is a family man, a loving father now himself. My favorite memory with Tommy was the day he took his Daddy and I on a tour of his school. Only in Kindergarten, he knew the names of not just his teachers, but the cafeteria ladies and the people up and down the halls. He greeted them all by name with compliments and favor flowing from his lips. Every one he meets matters and family is blood.

September 17, Jackie Leon was tiny and Daddy and oldest sister had to take care of him while I recovered in the hospital from a serious infection. Named for my daddy, Leon, and his daddy’s best friend. My favorite picture of Jackie Leon is the one where he is standing in his daddy’s boots. We all made our way to South Carolina to watch him graduate from Basic Training. He serves his country and his family, following in his daddy’s footsteps. Like his daddy before him, sleep is not important if there are things to be done and it is not unusual for him to have three jobs if that is what it takes.

January 19, Sandra Denise made her debut into our family and into stardom. She was the only one born in the hospital her Dad was born in and starred in a television commercial when she was only hours old. A little girl after three boys, she was a girly girl and petted by parents and siblings alike. She is positively positive and gave me my iconic “Never Give Up” poster and attitude. Times got tough but she was my built-in personal and family cheerleader. Her naturally nurturing nature will come in handy now that she has started her own family.

September 13, Matthew Ryan was born on Friday the thirteenth. His umbilical cord had a square knot tied so tight that the doctor sent it to a lab because he could not believe this healthy bouncing baby boy could have gotten any blood through that cord. Blessed of God, Young King. He is the only boy that looks like his Mama. Matt takes the initiative to do what needs to be done and has the kind and gentle heart that befits a King.

June 8, Sarah Michelle was the only child that loved Mama more than Daddy. She was my little Princess with her Daddy’s thick curly brown hair and big beautiful eyes. She was my ego boost because she adored me for no reason at all. Quiet but not really shy, she developed her own personality and strong individuality in spite of being eighth of ten. Drop her into a crowd and she becomes the center, making everyone think she has been their friend for a long time even if she just met them. Sarah is my sidekick; she loves to work outdoors beside me and also loves to sit and read for hours at my beloved public library.

March 2001. Jonathan Hunter. It was hard to understand how people could think that losing this son would not matter since I had so many other children. We have no physical mementos at all to remember him except the note to my employer from my doctor saying I had lost him and a sympathy card from one close friend. My last son was the first child to go to our LORD but I look with hope to the day I will at last meet him in Heaven.

January 8, Zelma Grace. Named for Allen’s mother and for the comforting joy that she brought so soon after our loss. She has a different mother than all her siblings because the loss of Jonathan changed me completely. Zelma is proof that Grace nurtures us into our full potential and my only sadness is knowing that my other children were not reared in the same freedom that has caused her to flourish. She is creative, invincible and boldly expectant of favor as we all should be.

My children. Markers on my Soul. I cannot love you less. I cannot love you more.

You have all my love always.

Five Really Easy Ways that You can Build a Strong Relationship

Scriptures: Use an Inspirational Verse to Remind you that Love is Eternal and to act in a loving emotional way toward your partner. Love Never Fails is a great one but My verses were Ephesians 5:33 & 1 Peter 3:2. These are the verses written into my husband book beside one of my favorite pictures of Allen.

Admire Him

My Husband Book

In the picture, he is dressed in his biker gear and I particularly admire him for how he looks in the photo and also because of what he was preparing to do, go minister with the Christian Motorcyclists Assocaiation. It reminds me of a moment when I respected him, admired him, enjoyed him. Although he is preparing to leave me at the moment the photo was taken, he was being all the things I (in the human sense) adored about him. It reminds me of other moments when I can indeed act out this verse with regards to my husband.

Time: Invest minutes to Earn years. Do something that takes a moment that will build up long term value in the relationship. When Allen left for work every day, I stood and watched him until he was completely out of sight. I watched for him when it was time for him to be home and jumped up to run and greet him when he came home every day. I really did not take it for granted that each moment would not be our last. It became something much more than just a few moments each day. It became a routine he depended on as he realised just how important he was to me. Those few moments every day became a cornerstone that represented loyalty and faithfulness over our years together.

Romance: Be what He saw and See what He can Be. Let yourself Enjoy both Planned and Spontaneous phyisical Pleasure. Share your Vision of your Relationship at Opportune Tender moments but Relish Touching and being Touched. Say Yes even when it is Inconvenient and Surprise yourself with some Exciting memories.

Now: Just like the manna, Today is the only day that this moment can Nourish your relationship. Treat REGRET as a Strength Building exercise instead of Endurance Training. Let it build Muscle in an area that needs improvement instead of spending time with it just to build up your stamina. How can you live in the NOW moment with the lesson it gave you? How will you act NOW differently than then so your relationship can be improved? Never let what you or your partner did in the Past keep you from having the day you want Today.

Grace: Give what you need; compassion, forgiveness, romance, passion. Give what you need to your partner but also Give what you need to yourself. Ask instead of assuming your Significant Other knows what you want. If you need a romantic moment and your partner really just wants to watch television, then spend a little time with your memories of other great moments instead of spending it with bitterness or regret. Instead of nursing a grudge or expanding the gap with indifference or anger, Use the time to rehearse your Victories by going through photos or meditating Successes.

Rehearsing Victories

Rehearsing Victories

[My Husband Book was created Just for these Growth Moments. More on that in another post.]

When your partner does give you what you ask; time, romance, passion: Enjoy it and Encourage it. Give up your preconceived notions of how it should go and make the effort to Just Enjoy what it is.

…and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. | …When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him—to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]. [Amplified Bible]

Never Give Up

Never Give Up

Never Give Up

O Father, I’m so tired of this struggle with [what’s bothering you] and I’m ready to give up. Please show me what to do. Help me to be willing to be willing to do it. I know I am never alone for you promised you would NEVER leave me. TODAY I will JUST KEEP SWIMMING. In JESUS’ name, Amen.

Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Thinking Lessons: Being Patient

Patient ≠ Suffering | Patient = Rest

We want to be patient because patient is in the definition of LOVE and it is listed first. How many of us have cried out to our Lord, “Please make me patient and do it now!”

We just do not think we can change or we think we do not want to be patient because we associate it with suffering.

So let’s think about our thinking.

We do not have to become patient. It is called “BEING” patient.

We actually can be patient right now. How?

Patience is NOT changing or suffering, as we might think. To be patient means to remain the same in whatever circumstances.

Let me repeat that. It means to remain the same in whatever circumstances.

So first, spend time with the LORD.

Decide to act according to the TRUTH as it is revealed to you in God’s Word and then….

Then, Remain the SAME. Under whatever the circumstances. Remain the SAME. REST in the LORD.

And there you have it. You are patient.

Sounds easy, right? Just remember that you will have to make the CHOICE at the moment of the Stimulus to Respond according to the decision you already made.

Newton’s Law says, “An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an external force acts upon it.”

Since an object at rest remains at rest, the work of being patient is just remembering what you already decided to do under the circumstance you happen to be in and then REMAIN at REST. The effort is only in re-focusing off our present circumstance and back onto our Redeemer being PRESENT.

If I am stuck in line and there is only one register open, even at the self-check, I just CHOOSE to remain the SAME- I remember that I have decided ahead of time that my Savior is called the WAY so I choose to spend the moments waiting meditating a scripture about loving my neighbor INSTEAD of grumbling at the employee who probably cannot do anything about HER circumstance except CHOOSE how she will act.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. [Colossians 3:15]

A [true] Sibling Story

Julie, Jeff, Albert Mama, Shannon, Daddy

Julie, Jeff, Albert
Mama, Shannon, Daddy

A story about a brother who took the blame.

We were four. My oldest brother, Albert, was born on my Daddy’s birthday. Then came Jeffery, then Julie (me), and finally, Shannon, the baby, was born. In those days, four was a big family. We lived on three acres in Watson, Louisiana, surrounded by trees, canals, hunting dogs and love.

In those days, Mama hollered out the back door for dinner time and we kids walked together to the store to get our Popsicle. Neighbors spanked naughty children if they needed it. Real disobedience was dealt with by the closest adult and again by Mama and Daddy.

My father lined us all up, belt in hand, to find out who committed an offense. I do not remember what the misdeed was. I just remember that there was a guilty party. It was me.

Daddy was determined. Someone had to be punished. Someone was going to admit it and get it or everyone was going to get it. The guilty child was commanded to step forward and get the belt.

Long scary wait.

Then an amazing thing happened. My oldest brother, Albert, stepped forward. My mouth dropped open. I was guilty but I never spoke. I was too afraid of the punishment. My brother never said a word but he took the whipping.

He never said a word but we both knew he was not guilty. He never said a word during or after about the offense or the whipping. He did not try to get out of that punishment. Instead he took it for me without ever rebuking me though he and I both knew I was guilty.

Wow. Is it any wonder I accepted Jesus as my Savior when they explained to me what he did? I understood what they were saying. He took my punishment and he never said a word.

Thanks, Albert. You were a good big brother then, You are a good big brother now. Love, Julie

Now all[a] these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 1 Corinthians 10:11