The Old China Hutch

My Fathers Hands

The China Hutch in the closet

My Father’s Hands

There was an old china hutch in my closet. My Dad made it for me many years ago.

I dragged that hutch with me through many moves over many years. It grew ragged over time but I could not bear to part with it.

The door was broken, the back was no longer attached and the once beautiful finish was marked with scratches and grooves. It had definitely seen better days.

I could never bring myself to get the old hutch out of the closet and bring it back to life. Somehow it was easier to close the closet door and let it rest along with my memories of Dad.

But one day the hutch beckoned me. I opened the closet door, dragged the hutch to my workroom and started to work on it. I don’t know why, I just knew I had to do it.

That first swipe of the sandpaper was the most difficult, what if, as I sanded the old finish off my memories disappeared also?

It was after that first difficult step that the magic started happening. I sanded off layers of paint and with each layer that was sanded I was given the most precious gifts I have ever received.

I remember thinking to myself through the tears, my hands are working the same wood that you did Dad. I learned much about my Dad as I worked on the old hutch. Memories that had faded to dull gray were suddenly alive in vibrant hues.

I could see on the inside of the hutch where my Dad had experimented with the stain. There was dark stain, light natural stain and everything in between. In the end he went with something in the middle. That was just like I remember him, not to flashy but not content to fade into the woodwork either.

There was plenty of wood glue on the old hutch. He wanted it to be solid and to hold up to whatever it was called upon to hold. That was so like my Dad. Strong, steady and able to handle whatever was called for.

The hutch was of a plain design, there was only one thing he added that could be called a decoration. There again, that was my Dad, nothing fancy, but strong, steady and very functional.

I found funny little modifications where he had rigged unconventional fixes when the door wouldn’t shut right or the hinge wouldn’t work like he wanted. He was an old farmer after all, if it took wire and twine to get it to work, well so be it.

I learned that he didn’t care much for the prep work like sanding, he wanted to get right to the nuts and bolts of building it and fitting it together in just the right way. There were drops of wayward stain and dollops of wood glue that went unnoticed. It reminded me that what is on the outside is not the most important, it is what is inside that matters. That was my Dad, work clothes, not always pretty work clothes but he had the heart to do what he needed to do in those work clothes. Rough around the edges but a heart that loved to please his family.

I remember when he broke the glass in the door of the hutch when he was putting it together. He would be proud to know that the door of the old hutch continued to be a problem. I asked my husband Earl to help me put new glass in the top of the door and some fancy tin in the bottom. It was beautiful, just like I had envisioned. It was going so well right up to the time I tried to attach the door to the hutch and the only way it would fit was upside down. I don’t know how I did it but we put the glass where the tin went and the tin where the glass went. It looked great but it was upside down and opened on the wrong side! In honor of Dad, I am leaving it that way. So Dad, the door got me too! Like Father, like Daughter. I can just hear him chuckling up in heaven and saying Oh Sis…..you never could tell directions.

I always worried that if I altered the looks of the old hutch my memories would disappear or somehow be altered also, so I just put it in the closet and shut the door.

I was wrong.

As I finish breathing new life into the old hutch I am refilled and refreshed with precious memories and with the values, love and morals my Dad instilled in his children. I am putting the newly redone old hutch in a place of honor in the living room. It is coming out of the closet for good. Every time I see it I think of all he taught me as we worked on the old hutch together. Thanks Dad!

Dottie

…………and so I ride

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The Love of a Child

She looked up at me with complete trust, this brand new little granddaughter I held in my arms. I knew then and there that it would be a life long love affair.

When she gazes up at me I can see complete faith in her that I will take care of her every need. She does not stress over it, she just knows.

This little girl soaks in the unconditional love that comes to her.

 She takes it without reservation and she closes her eyes and simply rests there.

She cannot yet understand what I say and she cannot yet see me clearly, but she knows nonetheless.

This is the kind of love that we often think we cannot possibly receive as adults. It is reserved for others.

Yet when we turn to Christ, He offers us that. As much as I love this little grand-daughter, the love I can give her does not hold a candle to the love Christ Jesus offers me. He takes me just as I am and He loves me. He offers me unconditional love that I can get no where else.

If only I had the same kind of faith of this child I hold in my arms. The kind of faith that says, I know you will take care of my every need Father, I will let you.

If only I had the same kind of faith that says I accept without reservation the unconditional love you offer me Father. I will receive it and rest in it fully.

The funny thing is, my Father knows my shortcomings and my fears and He loves me anyway.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Who Is God To You

Our lives are filled with many people. Friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers etc. Each are known to us by their names whether it be the names their parents gave them or some other description that helps us know and remember who they are and how they fit into our lives.

Isn’t it amazing that God, our wonderful, personal God, fits so many roles in our lives. Depending on the season we are in, He can be our Deliverer, Prince of Peace, our comforter. He can be our refuse, our source of strength, our power, our conscience.

God is all things to us.

 Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we are feeling rejected, tattered and torn by the world that God, our Wonderful Counselor is always there. He has always existed and will always exist. God is our eternal source of strength.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we are feeling defeated and discouraged that God, our Mighty God has promised that with Him, all things are possible.

Isn’t it wonderful that when we feel alone and lonely that God, our Everlasting Father reminds us that we are not set aside, we are set apart. For to be set aside is to be rejected but to be set apart is to belong to the family of God.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that above all else and above all other names, God is simply the Great I Am.

Talk to God on a personal level, let Him reveal who He wants to be for you.

Dottie

………………….and so I ride

I keep finding out that His ways are not my ways…………

God seems so silent sometimes. We pour out pour heart to Him, anxiously awaiting an answer. We are waiting for the encounter with him that heightens our trust and faith.

………and we wait, yet the unrelenting darkness settles in permanent fashion. Our prayer turns to cries of anguish as we are confused and dazed as He not only seems silent, the perception is that God is absent, unreachable and simply doesn’t care.

I often find God when I am riding my motorcycle, so when God has apparently taken a trip abroad, I jump on my bike and let the wind take me where it will.

Instantly a peace comes over me and moves within me. It is simply a feeling, not like God is talking to me or anything.

I am refreshed and comforted, again, just a feeling, nothing concrete from God.

I am still praying and still listening but so far the door is still shut. So I continue riding. I am waiting for the almost audible voice that belongs to my Father and that I have come to count on. But I get nothing.

Then a small critter runs practically under my front wheel but neither the critter or me are hurt.

I come into a corner to hot and hit the gravel parking lot, but glide up to the gas pump as if I meant to go through there like Evil Knievel.

Someone comes up to me while I am sitting enjoying my Diet Pepsi, it ends up we pray together and I am most blessed.

I round the bend and am graced with the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen.

God is like the wind because he is a guiding force in our lives. Even though you cannot physically feel or touch him you can feel his prescience. You can feel Him as He refreshes and comforts. You can feel him in the peace that is moving within you.

You can see His hand in an averted accident, in an incredible entrance into a gravel parking lot that should have by all accounts ended in disaster. You can feel Him as He settles between two kindred souls who are praying together at a humble outdoor wooden table. You can feel him as you take in the beauty around a whole lot of bends in the road.

We could look at Job 30:20 or Psalm 22:1-2 to see that we are not alone in thinking that God, at times, seems distant, absent or totally not at that address. But that is just how it feels, not how it is.

He didn’t make plans for our lives to give us a future and hope just to disappear on us.

We will not fear He has gone anywhere because we believe in the promises and not the perception.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 55:8 for my ways are not your ways.

It seems I have to keep being reminded of this!

Dottie

………………………..and so I rideSilent_edited

What do you spend your time doing?

We take months to plan the perfect vacation. We spend hours and hours to research the best routes, the most comfortable motels and the tastiest restaurants. All this to have the vacation of our lives. We spend hours pouring over the latest home interior magazines, paint swatches and drag our significant other to store after store when we re-decorate our homes so we get it just right.
Heck on a less grand scale when we eat out we have to decide first what kind of food we are wanting then we take many precious moments going over the menu so that we are sure to order exactly what we are craving.
In other words, we take a lot of time out of our busy lives to plan for the things that have meaning to us and can make our world a little better, a little more comfortable and a little showier. It feels like time well spent.
Then there are the times we are sitting in the Dr’s office and we get bad news, or we are sitting in our office and our work world feels like a hostile and evil battlefield. What about when our children are following every worldly path except the one we want them to follow, or when our spouse leaves us for greener pastures?
There are times in our lives when silence is the only sound and fear and despair are so thick and fluid that it creeps into every open crevice available. Those are the times that you cannot think straight and you have to rely on the truths hidden in your heart that are automatic and come to the surface unbidden.
Those are the times I come to understand fully that it matters a great deal what I spend my time doing and what I hide in my heart. All the travel magazines, interior design material, recipes and menus I spend so much time on are not going to help me much when the real battles between light and dark press close.
Unfortunately we are guaranteed those hard times, life is going to be life and bad things do happen to good people. There will seem at times, to be no escape and the light seems to grow dimmer and dimmer until finally it is only a flicker.
The key to making it through these times I truly believe is to be stronger on the inside than the problems facing us on the outside.
Do we make sure the words and promises of God are familiar and comfortable? Are those promises resting in our heart and are we letting those promises get us through that which is plaguing us?
Do you live in the truth that God really is our refuge and our strength or is it only a vague promise to you? God can give us peace, hope and gladness, NO MATTER what is swirling around us.
Are we keeping our eyes on the Lord our God and only the Lord our God?
But to have that we must make the commitment to be in the Word of God daily, we must choose the foundation on which we build our lives.
Just like planning a killer vacation, or decorating an award winning home, living with the peace of God takes work, planning, determination and diligence. However, unlike the temporal vacation or earthly home, the rewards we reap from the work we put into our relationship with God are forever. There is no storm strong enough to erode the Word of God once firmly planted in our hearts.
Dottie
………………..and so I rideheart

God Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle………………….I Guarantee It

We have all heard the sayings, God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, if He brings us to it He will bring us through it and even in scripture it says that all things work together for the good to those who love God. We often kid that we have no trouble handing our troubles over to God but the troubling part is leaving them there. We are a people to love to maintain control over our lives.
I don’t want to be consumed by what I went through with my Father as he died and I don’t want to over focus on it but I do want to use the experience to point out some things that I learned from that experience.
Watching Dad die was like trudging through every level of hell in slow motion and at heightened sensitivity. It was all consuming and is still very alive to me. With that said, as horrible as it was, I felt God’s presence washing over me day after day, God was so present it was almost like I could reach out and touch him. The moment Dad died was not horrific, it was peaceful and God was fully present for both of us. Dad literally passed from my hands to Gods hands.
God does give us more than we can handle, I guarantee you He does. He wants us to need Him. He wants us to cry out to Him when we can no longer bear what is going on around us. The funny thing is even though I felt God so strongly there were times I was tempted to (and did) forget He was there. It was easy to ignore His presence and fall back into the struggle of handling things my way instead of letting the comfort and strength that was literally washing over me carry me through the struggles.
It is the control freak that lives inside me I suppose and now I know that to some degree anyway that control freak is guided by Satan. God had his ways of getting my attention back on Him however. When I was focused on what God was doing in that room I was content, comforted and supported. When I let my attention wander the days were torture and filled with chaos.
This might sound simplistic and let me tell you for certain…………………..it is simple.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me………..for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)
It was wonderful being surrounded by my family and the many friends who came in. They offered comfort and support in their own way. However none of them could substitute for the presence of God in that room.
It was a valuable lesson for me.
Dottie
……………………..and so I ride
Matthew 11

The long goodbye?

Special moments in life are few and far between, so when something special is thrown your way, grab it, hold onto it, breathe it in and wrap yourself around it so when that moment passes you have the memory to sustain you.

Special moments have nothing to do with money and everything to do with love. I was given special moments with my parents and my sister and her family this weekend.

Holidays can be a bittersweet time and filled with sadness for families of a parent with Alzheimer’s. This holiday was starkly different than the home-grown holidays of the past in my family. It is a different time in everyone’s life and though my mom and dad are different now, they are still my parents, they still love me and I still love them.

The  one thing that has not changed is the way they love their children.  I know they love it when I come to visit but I feel like I am the real winner here because the love is unconditional here, the love is not withheld and the love is spoken honestly.

In Ephesians 6:2 it says to “honor you Father and Mother” It doesn’t say honor thy Father and Mother when times are good, when their bodies and minds are not failing them and when it is convenient for you. It says “Honor they Father and Mother”, period.

It is interesting to me that it says honor and not obedience, to honor is  to give them respect and having an attitude of esteem for them. Honor means to revere, prize and value. I give them respect not because I have to but because they are who they are and they love me.

I hear “your Dad just isn’t who he used to be” when I walk into the manor where my parents live. Well, I respectfully disagree with that statement. He is exactly who he used to be. His situation has changed, his health has changed and his temperament has changed because of the disease but he is still the same Dad who I have always loved.

Each time I visit home I find my parents changed. The changes tend to be startling and obvious and it would be easy to think they are not the same parents I once knew so well. However, they are still the same parents, my parents.

If anyone deserves sainthood it is my Mom for what she does for Dad even in the nursing home setting, She never has a moments peace except late at night.

She has found ways to cope with the changes in their lives, she sews. She actually has set herself up a little cottage industry of which I am incredibly proud of her for. She took the situation at hand and found a way to cope with it.

The incredible thing is her physical health is far worse than my Dad’s, yet she fights for her independence and wins!

I cannot think that this is what she dreamed her retirement would be, who would? Hopes and dreams of travel, good health and leisurely retirement are suddenly not what they are living. But what I admire and respect is how she took the situation and made it bearable. There is a lot to learn from this wise woman. If my Dad has a cowboy spirit (and he does) my Mom has a wonderful put one foot in front of the other , fighter spirit that cannot be broken.

She is the little lady in the wheelchair buzzing around the manor spreading joy, a smile and respect  to the other residents here. She doesn’t let them forget they are people worthy of recognition, worthy of a hello and a conversation. That makes me smile and makes me more than a little proud of her.

The other person that deserves much respect is my sister who spends more time caring for our parents than anyone else. She never complains, she always does it with a smile and at this moment she is my hero.

So although I call the holiday bittersweet upon reflection it is a wonderful holiday because I get to celebrate it with people who love me and who I love more than anything in this world.

I thank God that I have this time to spend with my family and I will be here to help them celebrate the holiday’s in a fashion that makes them smile.

They say Alzheimer’s is indeed a long goodbye………………….but isn’t that just life, whether you have a disease or not?

Thank you God for this holiday that I got to spend with my family. I think I shall make sure my Mom and Dad know this time with them is precious to me and for my sister…………………well, I  think we will just go shopping!

 

Dottie