Tag Archive | Love

A melancholy musing

Two almost-sisters were blessed with new grandbabies last week.  One is a cousin by marriage who has been family a long time  The other is a life-long friend who calls me her “forever friend.”

I am so happy for both of them.  There is nothing like holding a new baby in your arms, and when that baby is your very own grandchild, well you just have to experience it and you know what I mean.

I was blessed beyond measure to be at the birth of my first grandchild, a girl.  Our one and only son and his beautiful wife lived close to us then, and her parents were driving from out of state to be here when she entered the hospital.  So it was my great priviledge to be in the birthing room when that tiny little creature breathed her first and squalled like a baby.

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,   Because birth itself is simply breathtaking.  But when the son of my heart gives life to his own child, that is a mountain’s high peak.

My melancholy comes when I wish for and long for that grandgirl to be closer to my house.  She, along with her two siblings (my other equally precious grandchildren), and her parents moved far away three years ago.

So when I get a Facebook message from that first grandgirl saying, “Dreamt that I arrived at your house after a long trip. I miss your face!!!!!”, I weep.  I just can’t help it. Because I. Miss. Her. Face. So.Very. Much!

Elyse older

I know I’m not the only one.  I have friends whose grandchildren live across country, and we often share our joys and heartaches at short bursts of togetherness and long stretches of being apart.  We understand each other.

So I rejoice with those almost-sisters who have new babies to hold and snuggle.  They will cherish these days.  And I weep with those who wish their grands were right next door, like mine were for twelve years.

I thank God for those twelve wonderful years.  I was given time to invest in relationships with three that are still precious and dear to this Grammy’s heart.  Those years were a gift, an important and valuable gift that I don’t take for granted.

In my tears, I will remember the hugs, the smiles, the cups of hot cocoa, the snuggles with a thousand Disney movies, the tucking into bed, the reading of books, the telling of stories, the prayers.  Ah, the prayers.  They never stop.  They go wherever the grandchild goes because that is my connection with her and with God.

And I trust God to hold her.


our wedding jan 21 1972, 2

Forty-two years ago I said “I do”.  I didn’t really know what I was saying “I do” to.  Does anyone?  They who stand at the altar in the perfect dress and the pressed tux with shiny shoes while love songs are playing and friends and family are smiling, they have no idea.

We didn’t either, Sweet William and I.

But we meant what we said and we said what we meant and were determined to be faithful one hundred percent. 

It wasn’t easy.

But today, on this our 42nd wedding anniversary, we are thankful for the commitment.  The promise we made was God-ordained, and He kept us from falling.

And we are thankful, counting it grace, counting it a gift.

Because love is still love no matter what it endures or how many bumps are in the road or how we felt we were drowning at times.

If you ask me was it worth the fight, I will say “yes” with a resounding shout.

To young couples, old couples, any married couple I encourage you, don’t give up.  Fight for the covenant you made.  Get help.  Make changes.  Give grace.  Forgive and don’t hold a grudge.  Move toward each other not away.  Remember love.  Pray hard.

So I re-post from a few years ago, because it’s worth saying again.


I remember catching you look at me when you thought I wasn’t looking.  But I was.

I remember when you asked me out, hesitant that I might say no.  I didn’t.

I remember when you first reached for my hand and how it felt encircled in yours.

I remember the first tender kiss by the gate.

I remember falling in love with you and never quite recovering from it.

I remember waiting for your call and hoping it would last awhile.

I remember walking down the aisle and having eyes only for you.

I remember the newlywed days that were replaced with the young parent days that were replaced with real life days.

I remember the struggles, the tears, the pain, the laughter, the joy.

I remember when it all began to fall apart, and we were afraid.

I remember how God gave us a second chance when no one else did.

I remember how our love bloomed again and became a bouquet I never thought possible.

Now it is today.  And I love you more than I did when I first remembered.

Happy Anniversary Sweet William.

Bill and Peg, dad's 90th

The heart of a servant


Looking into the heart of a servant is a wondrous thing. I glimpsed its extraordinary depths this weekend.

More than a dozen men and women descended upon us to work in the yard and around the house that belongs to the son who moved to Tulsa in September, leaving an empty home and a Grammy with empty arms that long to hold the family that used to live next door.

An empty house begins to look unkempt, uncared for. The family that filled it up with love and laughter, with work and play, with yard swings and toys, with flower gardens and tomato plants, with lawn chairs with cups of coffee are long gone.

I’ve walked the boundaries of the lot, looked at that vacant building and a yard that keeps growing taller weeds and wondered how in this wide world I could get it into a shape and ready it for renters.

The word got out that I needed help to accomplish a task I was not able to do alone. Then the word got around. On Friday and Saturday, the servant hearts showed up with lawn tractors, weed eaters, weed sprayers, work gloves and a mind to serve. They brought their joy, fruit matured by the Holy Spirit.

And I was overwhelmed by the sight of them.

From 7:30 until almost noon they mowed and cut and pruned. They gathered tree limbs and salvaged bird feeders and risked poison ivy. They moved boulders and trash and all the while smiled and laughed and shared the fellowship of those who gladly work together.

And I was moved to tears. This house had not been so happy in months.

We ate together, food prepared and sent by daughters of my heart, and it was communion because the Lord Jesus was in our midst.

There were people from our Sunday School class, people from other classes, people I know and people I don’t. Yet we were brothers and sisters all.

Some left quietly without me even getting to say “thank you.” Others stayed to finish the final clean up and sit for one more glass of sweet tea.

For almost two years now, I’ve been on the receiving end of grace upon grace from fellow believers who have offered help to Sweet William and me on a long road of sickness and operations and hospitalizations.

I used to think I could manage on my own, being the independent, stubborn woman I am.  But I’ve learned to look at the one who offers a gift and say, “Yes, that would be so nice. Thank you.” It’s been a hard pill to swallow at times because Ive been more comfortable being on the giving side. After all, doesn’t Scripture say it is more blessed to give than receive?

Consider Jesus and His life of giving. Giving the very Words of God, giving bread and fish, giving healing, giving forgiveness, giving His life.

Yet there came a season when a woman brought an expensive alabaster box of precious ointment and poured out her gift on Jesus. Others around Him thought it was quite improper, wasteful even, for Jesus to receive from such as she was. But he said, “Let her alone . . . She has done a good work for me.”

That is what has happened to us. These Image bearers have done a good work for us.

They came to the house to let our dog out for potty breaks while I stayed in the hospital with Bill. They brought fully cooked meals and some extra for the freezer. Children delivered home-made cookies and chocolate covered strawberries. They signed up for daily dinner duty when the family in Tulsa came impromptu for a working-on-the-house visit right after Bill came home from the hospital. They came to change light bulbs that were too high so I would not have to climb on a ladder. They trimmed my hedges. They weeded my gardens. They listened when I needed to talk. They offered to dust and vacuum, fold laundry, scrub toilets. They sent encouraging cards, emails, Facebook messages. They came inside the house and prayed and touched us and hugged us when we needed to feel human flesh.

I am humbled by these gifts of service and the servants who bring them.  I realize I am not that independent soul I thought I was. I am part of the Body. The Body that hurts when one of its members hurts. The Body that turns its attention to the pain, trying to ease the suffering in whatever way it can. The Body that laughs together and cries together and works together and worships together.

This is the Body of Christ at its best. Soothing the suffering. Bringing the gift of service. Being present to share the season of joy and sorrow.  We fellowship at the Lord’s table with the bread and the cup because we all are needy and we all are forgiven and we all can offer the hand to another.

I look forward to the day when I will be on the giving side again.

It is not that I think I can repay what has been done for us. As a wise old friend said to me, “Friends don’t keep count.”

How can I give back to all who have given? How can I love the way I’ve been loved? How can the life of Jesus the Servant live and move and have His being in me?

Surely, this season of our lives will pass eventually. Sweet William and I will be able to offer sanctuary, a helping hand, a loving touch and an encouraging word to a weary traveler.

Until then, I offer a promise from Holy Writ to all of those precious servants who have a heart like their Savior:

“Give and it shall be given unto you – a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over – will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Paybacks are out of this world!

Forty years ago . . .

Amidst the stark bareness of winter, I see it green and living, nestled and attached.

It is mistletoe in the upper branches of an old water maple tree that grows near my yard.  The bunch of green grows where nothing else does in the deep of winter. The season that hangs heavy around us.

And it reminds me . . .

A tall young man, muscular and strong, walked with me, just a young woman, to the back of property owned by my uncle, Sam Rayhill, Jr.  It was just fields and high weeds and a few trees, a place for a courting couple to be together in the outdoors that seemed a bit of Heaven on earth for those who are young and falling in love.

We spied the mistletoe in the top of a tree that day. It was nearing Christmas, and wouldn’t fresh mistletoe be wonderful to hang in my mother and dad’s house, already decorated with reds and greens?

I’d never seen real living mistletoe before.  But how to get it out of that tall tree in the uppermost branches?  The tall young man borrowed my pellet gun, and we walked back to that tree.  He aimed with an eye trained to hit the target.  The bullet struck its mark, a piece of the mistletoe fell to the ground, and I thought he was just wonderful.

I gathered the green plant and took it to our house.  We hung it with some ribbon.  And we kissed underneath it.

Now, forty plus years later, life has taken its toll on that tall young man.  He has suffered much, grown weary at times with too many illnesses and too many surgeries.  Yet . . . he is still the one and only love of my life.  He is my hero, my friend.  After all these years, I still think he is so handsome.  And he tells me I am beautiful.  He will always make my heart thrill.  Today we celebrate 40 years of marriage.

We are two who have beaten the odds to remain as one.

We almost lost this precious gift of love, of covenant promised long ago. Once I held papers in my hand that read, “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” and I cried, uncontrollable, inconsolable, unable to breathe. I had never wanted that.  Neither did he.  But there seemed to be no other solution.  Too much pain and too many hurtful words.  Too many misunderstandings and too much anger and too much pulling away.  Too much dysfunction.

How did we manage to salvage what was so broken and beyond repair?


There is no other explanation except that God will have compassion on whom He will have compassion, as He told Moses on the mount when He revealed to him His glory (Exodus 33:19).   God’s glory announces “I AM” when He pours out compassion and mercy on souls so undeserving.  Souls like us.

And we were soaked, drenched, plunged into the glory.

Sweet William and I will rejoice in this milestone of our lives.  It will not be picture perfect this year.  No fine restaurant, no trip to the Bahamas, no sparkling gemstone in a setting of gold.

But we will celebrate nevertheless.  How can we not?  We who believed have seen the glory of God (John 11:40).

The glory that picks up the pieces of shattered lives, that puts brokenness back together while leaving the scars.

The glory that restores what the locusts had eaten and destroyed only to gives life in its place.

The glory of love renewed from Love Himself.

The glory of covenant kept and of legacy passed to the next generation and the next.

The glory of grace.

I love you, Sweet William.  Happy Anniversary.


I heard voices this week.

Actually I talked to my grandchildren on Sunday and thanked God for unlimited long distance.

I remember when Sweet William and I were dating.  He lived in Louisville and I in Shepherdsville.  It cost long distance phone rates for him to call me.   So those calls were few and limited.  We usually had 5 or 10 minutes to say all the things on our minds and hearts.  It wasn’t nearly long enough.

So to be able to call and talk for over an hour on the phone was a bit of heavenly bliss.  Bill and I got on each extension of our home land line.  We asked each of the children about their days, their rooms, their school work, the church they visited and their neighborhood.  We got to hear about the neighbors, the parks close by, and friends who live a few blocks away.  We heard about their daddy’s work and how amazing it is. 

We finished each conversation by sending air kisses across the lines.  I almost felt hugged.

Then our sweet daughter-in-love got on the phone.  We chatted about their new home, her yard sale finds, the decorating, the front porch she loves, the comfy coffee nook near the kitchen.  I heard contentment in her voice.  She is with her man and her children, and right now that is enough. 

I hung up the phone and felt filled up on the inside.  Oh there is still a deep longing, a loneliness in knowing they are so far away.  But I have heard their voices and experienced their emotions and laughed with them.

In our technological era where new gadgets appear on the market faster than I can learn the old ones, we are quickly becoming a messaging community.  Email and texting are replacing voice to voice communication. 

I appreciate the benefit of quick unencumbered messages that get to the point and are sent faster than a speeding bullet.  For work related issues, I love email.  It is efficient, and I like efficient.

But for the loves of my life I still prefer conversation, face to face and voice to voice.  Nothing takes the place of that.

Communication is God-designed and recorded in the very first chapters of God’s wonderful story.  He talked to the humans He had formed.  He called for them when they hid themselves from Him.  And I wonder how God felt when that happened, when those  he lovingly made and to whom He had given all the earth didn’t want to be near Him or hear His voice.

I find it interesting that the cravings we have for relationships were created by our Creator.  He understands our longings because He put them there.  I contemplate how man was made in the image of God and that we are relational because God is relational.

He desires communication with me just like I desire communication with those I love.  Face to face, voice to voice.  His Word to my heart.  My prayers to His.  Nothing else takes the place of that.

The daughter I love

My son’s wife, Renee, celebrated her birthday in June, and I can’t let the month pass away without expressing my love for her. 

I call her my daughter-in-love, rather than daughter-in-law, because she is a daughter of my heart, not just joined to our family by a legal act of marriage.  I did not coin the phrase.  I heard about it, read about it, from Emilie Barnes, an author, speaker, organizer, and home manager.  I’ve read her books and admired her work, especially her love for the Lord Jesus and her family. 

When Travis came to the age where he began to seriously think marriage, I considered how this was going to eventually impact our own relationship.  We always had a close bond.  He was my only son, and I was his only mother.  We could talk about most anything.   Through the years, we have been each other’s support system.  I know he prays for me, and he knows I pray for him.

When I contemplated another woman taking first place in my son’s life, I had a decision to make.  I could be jealous and resent his love and attention to her and thus alienate my son’s affection for me and drive a wedge between us.  Or I could accept her as Travis’ choice, love her and hopefully become her friend, thus making the bond of our family even stronger.  I chose the latter for it promised a better outcome.

Travis dated a few girls, well, a lot of girls.  He was a good-looking boy with an outgoing personality.  There were a couple of times I wondered if one of them was going to be “the one.”  But they went the way of infatuation, or young love, I suppose.

Finally, he brought home a tall, dark-haired beauty named Renee.  On her first visit to our home, we had spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, and strawberry shortcake.  I didn’t know it at the time, but strawberry shortcake was Renee’s favorite.  I made some brownie points that day.

She became a frequent visitor, and Sweet William and I began to see Travis falling deeply in love.  Actually, we were also falling in love with this sweet young woman. 

Travis told  me he wanted to marry Renee and had planned to give her a ring on Christmas Eve.  The bombshell dropped, but I had seen it coming.

I wrote a letter that Christmas Eve and gave it to Travis and Renee after Travis presented her the ring.  The letter is too personal to reprint here, but let me just share a small portion of my heart on that momentous day.

“Renee, I’ve been praying for you for a long time and didn’t even know who you were.  But I asked the Lord to guide Travis to the wife he needed, who would be a strength to him, just as the Scripture says.

“You have become very dear to Bill and me.  You are mentioned in our prayers right along with Travis.  And I feel almost like someone has said, “Congratulations, it’s a girl!”  I’m so happy with the prospects of having a daughter.  I welcome you into our family, our arms, and our hearts.”

Proverbs 31 says of a wife’s value to her husband, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  Renee has been that kind of wife to my son.

She has been to me like Ruth was to Naomi  in the Bible.  She is the daughter I never had.  I am thankful for her in my life, in my son’s life, and in our family.

I celebrate my precious daughter-in-love.  I love you, Renee!

Boo-boo Bunny

I created Boo-boo bunny as a sample project for a women’s ministry event many years ago. At that time he was white with blue and yellow stripes, bright and clean, and his ears perked up as if he were actually listening for any sound of a cry for help. For that was what he was created for, this was to be his purpose, to ease the pain of someone’s boo-boo.

Boo-Boo Bunny was made simply with a dish cloth, some string, jiggly eyes, a bit of embroidery floss for whiskers, and a few tiny pom-poms to give him a nose, a tail, and those cute bunny jaws.

All put together, he was quite cute. There is a split section in his body that is just the size to hold an ice cube. That is where his soothing characteristic comes into play. With ice cube held nicely in place, the bunny is ready to rest on someone’s scrape or cut and give cooling relief.

He’s been sitting on top of my refrigerator for years. He is on duty and ready to give aid and has done so on many occasions, especially for the grandkids. My three grandchildren are rough and ready kind of youngsters. They climb trees, swing on ropes, skate and scooter and bike. They have had their share of bumps and bruises.

Just the other day, Ethan fell on the driveway, scraping his thumb and causing a bruise under the nail. It looked painful. I placed an ice cube in the bunny’s tummy and offered him to Ethan. He placed the ice-cube-in-tummy on his sore thumb and sat on the porch steps. After awhile, the pain was eased, and Ethan was back to his play.

By now Boo-Boo-Bunny is bedraggled looking because he has been a busy bunny. He is a bit stained. His ears don’t stand up anymore but instead droop down permanently. He has seen the sad side of life. We only bring him down from the fridge when there is a painful crisis where his services are needed.

I sometimes look at him and think of his value. He was made with a couple of dollars worth of materials. But he is dear to our hearts because he has been there when we needed some comfort. The grandchildren know him well. I reach for him quickly when someone comes running in with that look on the face that says, “Help me! I’m hurt.”

What if we were put on this earth to bring healing and comfort to other people? Maybe we are. Don’t we too often, however, think about ourselves and “what’s in it for me?” Instead of promoting ourselves, grasping for our pot of gold, concentrating on getting in on good life (whatever that may be), what if we looked for ways to sooth the troubled soul, to listen to a stranger, to offer a cup of tea and comfort, to weep with those who weep? Perhaps our world would be a little bit better if we were less centered on ourselves, sort of like the contestants on TV talent shows who are sure they are the ones worth one million dollars. Maybe we should be more like a little rag bunny whose only purpose in life is to give aid and comfort to the hurting.

Max Lucado said it well in his book, It’s Not About Me. What “if we played the music the Maestro gave us to play . . . made His song our highest priority?” And what is the Maestro’s highest priority?

I think it is to reach the lost souls drowning in their sins, to strengthen the weak, to lift the fallen, to encourage the discouraged. Jesus taught the idea in Matthew 25:34 – 36:

” . . . I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

What we do for others, we do for Jesus, and He is taking notice of our Boo-Boo-Bunny actions.

Do you have a Boo-Boo Bunny at your house?  Would you like to?

  Visit this link and learn how to make one.