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I have to say that I am over the moon about this one. Celia is one of my favorite people and writers. She just happened to have birthed two of my best friends in the whole world (Robin and Laura). When I am her age, I hope I look exactly like her. She is one of those natural beauties who only gets more lovely as the years go by. I would call her handsome, she has a bright eye and a kind face. Best of all, her heart is stunning. Here is a lovely glimpse into her artful and meaningful life.
For as long as I can remember, from preschool on, I promised myself that I would never marry a gas station attendant
(I hated the smell of gas)
or a pastor.
One out of two ain’t bad, right? Since my dad was a pastor and I was gleefully ignorant of any church struggles,
I think it was because I was sympathetic to my father being called away to the phone to talk to distressed parishioners
while we ate all the chicken down to a pile of bones, or the last cookie leaving him only the crumbs, etc.
Actually my great-great grandfather, my great-grandfather, my grandfather, my grandmother, and my dad were all pastors.
I guess I was doomed to be married to one. Instead I married a house painter.
Wouldn’t you know it, God called him into the ministry.
My wild man-husband was a Peter turned into a Rock.
Born in Kansas City with a childhood in Lawrence, Kansas, we moved to Pasadena, California when I was in fourth grade. Then in my sophomore year of high school, we moved to Los Osos, across the bay from Morro Bay happy days on the sand spit with our dune buggies. Then when I was a senior in high school, and when he’d been out a couple of years, I met my man. Since I didn’t believe in getting married at eighteen, we waited a couple of days after my nineteenth birthday to get married. Then we moved to San Diego to go to Point Loma Nazarene College. Next was seminary in Kansas City where I worked as a teacher’s aid in an all-black school with wild experiences in a teacher’s strike. Back then, no one knew about autoimmune diseases or if you had depression, you needed to just go to the altar; so I suffered like a second-class Christian. Thankfully, it is recognized now for what it is, and is treatable.
It’s true, how quickly time passes, so kiss your babies while you can. I discovered that I could be supremely happy as a mom, but be deeply depressed at the same time. I clung to the supremely happy as much as I could. But when my infants had colic that lasted past a year and only slept a couple of hours at a time, I was severely sleep deprived. No one else had kids like mine, it seemed. So I just assumed I wasn’t very good at mothering. But my kids just happened to be extremely precocious and hilarious. I learned you might as well laugh as cry. One piece of advice, find a blank book and write down all the funny things your kids say. We called ours “The Brag Book,” and whipped it out to read when I was beyond frustrated with my young’uns. Instead of stringing them up, having a good laugh together was a better idea.
Lo and behold, I spent a lifetime in children’s ministry, taught preschool, and am now a mother of six, a grandmother of
fifteen and great grandmother of four, so far, and have precocious grandkids just like their parents. As of this year, we only have one left in the nest, a fifteen year old man-child who can grow a beard better than his dad. We had three, adopted three and then they multiplied like rabbits. I guess I’m not as bad with kids as I thought, though it still surprises me a bit.
So, after a lifetime of getting up and getting kids off to school, Hank is on his own in the morning, unless he misses his bus. In the words of my grandmother, ‘I won’t raise no helpless southern boys,’ so I have taught them to fix their own breakfasts and lunches and save my best efforts for a nice sit-down family supper. One thing when you adopt kids, is that they come with issues. Our younger ones have mental health issues which means we had to finally place our now eighteen year old in a group home for his own well-being. So this means I have spent more time with psychiatrists and psychologist with them than with most of our friends. Sometimes this means becoming a mama-bear and causing an uproar on their behalf. How well I remember when that mama bear instinct kicked in while holding my firstborn in the hospital, and it never left. I know what oppositional-defiance is, bi-polar, ADD, and various other diagnosis we live with.
But at this point in my life, after forty years of ministry and raising a gaggle of kids, this mama bear is content in her den. I feel I’ve earned every last gray hair and am proud of it. With autoimmune issues and permanent neuralgia–nerve damage left over from shingles–I have curtailed my activities until I am truly a stay-at-home mom to the max. My social life is celebrating nineteen grandkids birthdays which happen on a regular basis. It’s nice to be an introvert instead of a forced extrovert after all these years, a rather opinionated introvert however. Thus, I blog. And I read. I devour at least five or more books a week, preferably Christian historical fiction. I am a Jane Austen and Lucy Maude Montgomery fanatic, but Laura Ingalls Wilder probably had the biggest influence in my molding. I have books, books, all over the place, up to my elbows hiding my face!
I was an art major, but have become more led to writing these days. I was able to have a biography of my grandmother published by a small Christian publishing house, and have put other books online. I feed my passion for history by researching on ancestry.com
and imaging kinfolk’s lives in the different periods of history. Short stories of romantic fiction slip out on my blog now and then as well. But my devotional daily blog is my discipline and calling. I spend my mornings studying and writing it, http://ohsusannahwesleyan.blogspot.com
“Come grow old with me, the best is yet to come,” is one of my favorite quotes as my husband and I are closer than ever.
Children grow up and become independent–which is our hope and prayer, but you never know how many years are allotted for you to savor and enjoy together. Vacations are the whipped cream and cherry on top, making memories that last all life-long. In fact right now, we are enjoying time with our son and his family in Southern California at their twelve year old twins regional softball tourney. If they win this, they will be off to the Little League World Softball Tournament. The five year old twins declared last night, “I need to snuggle something,” which meant go attack grandpa where he was relaxing in his motel bed reading.
Grab those snuggle moments and attack life for all it’s worth squeezing every drop of joy out of it.
Oh, and then there is our family dog. But that’s enough for now.
Thank you so much, Celia, for contributing to my little project. It is an honor to get a little window into your life.
Wisdom and beauty.
Tune in next week for yet another day in the life of a woman.