Archive / March, 2014

Noah Found Grace

raindrops-the-lake-denise-davies_2164565Earlier today, I heard a good bit of thunder, looked out my window and saw it was raining. But by midday, the rain had stopped and eventually the sun shone brightly. As someone familiar with rain, I knew it would eventually end.

For the last couple weeks, there’s been no end of talk about the new film, Noah. A film about the biblical character and an event in which a worldwide flood destroyed most of the human race, this Bible-based tale begins with something totally unfamiliar to people of that time:  rain and thunder and cataclysm such as they’d never experienced before. In fact, when the deluge was over and Noah’s family exited the ark, the world had changed so dramatically, even the twelve-month, thirty days per month calendar year was suddenly and unexpectedly obsolete.

With the movie released last Friday, moviegoers have been abuzz with both praise and critiques. (I imagine you’ve read your share of them.) Almost everyone with whom I connected over the weekend either had a report about the film (having seen it) or had queried me as to whether I’d seen it … and did I recommend it or not?

For the record, I haven’t seen the film. We’re not usually at the theater when a film is released. More often, we view movies when they come to Netflix or even later, when they come on television.

I’ve read more than half a dozen reviews including these:  Rotten Tomatoes (more highly praised by the critics than by viewers), AlbertMohler.com (titled Drowning in Distortion), WorldMag.com editor Marvin Olasky (“not bad, coming from Hollywood”), TheGospelCoalition.org author Gregory Alan Thornbury (the Genesis account as midrash), and Erick Erickson at RedState.Com (“… one of the funniest comedies I have seen in a very long time … a pretty awesome sci-fi spectacle …”).

NoahExcept for the Rotten Tomatoes website, you’ll notice the others are websites that offer a Christian viewpoint. Given the story of Noah comes straight from the Bible, I thought it would be appropriate to see what Christians thought of the production. (Also, while RedState is admittedly a politically-oriented website, I know Erick Erickson to be a Christian, so I was interested in what he had to say. His review was by far the most entertaining of all.)

Having read an abundance of reviews, my next step was to do what several of the reviewers recommended:  I went straight to the Genesis account. I think it’s well worth reading what the original source material says about Noah. Four chapters of Genesis are devoted to Noah and the account of the flood. Without reservation, I believe what those chapters tell us.

As I’ve already stated, I haven’t seen the film, but based on my understanding of scripture, these are the things I know. Chapters 1 to 5 of Genesis relate the creation and history of the world starting with Adam (the first man) up until the days of Noah. Beginning with chapter 6, the narrative focuses on a world so corrupt that God grieves over his creation. The thrust of God’s regrets centers on human wickedness:  “… every intent of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5)

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Gen. 6:8)

No, Noah wasn’t a sinless man, but in some way that goes unspecified from the biblical narrative, Noah stood apart from the wicked men around him. God chose Noah and his family to build a vessel on which all varieties of animals were protected, and once the deluge began, eight humans and the other living things survived to eventually repopulate the earth.

Besides telling us the story of Noah (and others), the Bible is more than anything else the story of God. It’s the story of God’s creation, his desire to give mankind a paradisal existence. At the same time, God permitted his creation the ability to choose for themselves − rather than force them to be automatons (puppets) without wills of their own. The genealogy of mankind related throughout the book of Genesis all the way through to Revelation provides example after example of individuals who were created in the image of God who knowingly reject that image and go their own way … hence the tales of corruption and perversity that cause God to destroy most of the creation he once deemed as “good” or (in man’s unique instance) “very good.”

One of the best things about the release of this movie is the conversation it has generated about important things. As with the people of Noah’s time, we each have opportunity to decide for ourselves whether or not the tale is true, whether or not Noah was a fool for believing God would destroy the world (but save him and his family), whether or not the Bible is a trustworthy document. These are questions each of us should be able to answer.

Noah’s story is one of mercy and divine provision. Think about this the next time you see a rainbow in the sky:  this reminder is God’s promise that he won’t ever again destroy humanity through a cataclysmic deluge. As with Noah who found grace (favor) in the eye’s of the Lord, that favor is today extended to each of us.

Where Kudzu Grows

Peacock1Today in Savannah, Georgia, a parade and street fair were celebrated to honor the memory of writer Flannery O’Connor. If you’ve read much of this blog, you’ll be familiar with posts I’ve written about her. I’m often reminded of O’Connor when I come across Pulitzer Prize winner (for editorial writing) Paul Greenberg‘s occasional discussions of the South.

An editorial writer for our state’s newspaper, Greenberg’s cogitations on the South are (for me) always thought-provoking. Last Sunday, he asked the question:  Where does the South begin? This column has some similarities to a previous column he wrote back in 2009:  Where does the South end? (Disregard the title at that link; the column is the correct one.)

In my view, Greenberg’s awareness of the South is something of a throwback. Because our culture has become relatively homogeneous, regional differences seem less regional than in the past. Furthermore, lots of people (who once would have willingly identified as Southern) have scrapped the description, considering it tainted and out of favor.

Besides Greenberg’s columns, I’ve read and heard numerous discussions attempting to define the South. Professor John Shelton Reed provides an interesting overview, The South:  Where Is It? What Is It? He links to informative charts to build his case, and his overview is well worth the read.

Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, I always thought of myself as Southern. Though the Missouri Compromise (1820) prohibited slavery above the southernmost border of Missouri (for states that formed west of Missouri), my state entered the Union as a slave state. But Missouri’s history as a slave state is not why I considered myself a Southerner. There was another quality − a je nais se quoi, if you will − that defined my Southern state of mind … before I was even aware of it!

Greenberg admits his reluctance to cede Bentonville, AR (to the north of where I sit right now) its Southernness. He prefers the label midwestern, a term I’ve often deplored. But he does offer:  “If you think it’s a step down [being called a midwestern], you must be a Southerner.” Indeed.

Additionally, Mr. Greenberg, with all due respect, please don’t describe the northwestern corner of your state (now mine, nearly forty years) as somehow “Oklahoman.” If midwestern is a step down, well, you should be able to understand how utterly inappropriate Oklahoman would be.

I’m not as old as Greenberg, but I also remember singularly Southern culinary delicacies including Moon Pies, Grapette Soda, and RC (spoken as one word, AhrCee) for a hot summer’s day thirst quencher. But memories don’t necessarily make a person Southern.

My daughters, one born in Texas and the other born in Iowa (but both mostly raised in northwest Arkansas) are Southerners. The younger one is married to a member of the Kappa Alpha Order, an organization Reed states is a “college fraternity with an explicitly Confederate heritage.” Reed’s observation notwithstanding, I think it would be wrong to read into that comment any kind of racist or hate-filled underpinnings; we simply honor our heritage. We don’t deny its warts and shortcomings, we choose to rise above them.

Reed uses the words of Josiah Royce in formulating a working definition of the South. He suggests specific things and I summarize them here:  the South is a geographic and social domain with a unified consciousness and pride in certain ideals and customs and a sense of distinctness apart from other regions in the country. I think that sums it up fairly well.

I also like Reed’s concluding comments:  “… the South exists in people’s heads and in their conversations. From this point of view, the South will exist for as long as people think and talk about it, and as for its boundaries well, the South begins wherever people agree that it does.”

Mr. Greenberg will, no doubt, continue to think about … and write about … the South. It has penetrated his soul, just as it has mine. It is part of the culture in which I grew up. It’s part of that mystery through manners about which Flannery O’Connor wrote. O’Connor called her home region the “Christ-haunted South.” Yes, the South is a place where there is still a belief in the soul … it’s fading, but more slowly than in other parts of the country.

If all other definitions fail you, the South is where kudzu grows.

The More We Learn . . .

The posts at Serious Thoughts Taken Not So Seriously blog offer a refreshingly honest look at the world. A wife, mom and all-around versatile writer living in New York, Kate Bortell’s posts frequently pique my interest because she provides an engaging and playful take on sometimes mundane topics.Bortell

As an example, her March 22nd post, “The more I learn the less I know”  (shown in a snapshot image to the left) offered an amazingly candid tale about her desire to read and understand scripture. As with many people who pick up the Bible and actually try to read it, she made a childhood attempt to do so, beginning in the book of Genesis. I’ll let you read her post directly for the details.

As I read through her post and identified with both her frustrations and her hunger for biblical knowledge, I found her tenacity inspiring. Craving spiritual understanding? With the proliferation of news stories focusing on Stephen Colbert‘s travails and the latest photos of British royals, why would anyone allow themselves to be distracted from this compelling news of the day? For Bible reading? (Of course, I’m being sarcastic.)

Now don’t get me wrong … from what I’ve read, Kate’s definitely not a holier-than-thou religionist who’s so totally focused on heaven, so she’s no earthly good type. No. But Kate zeros in on matters of the heart and that’s part of what makes her blog compelling.

When I read her March 22nd post, I was immediately reminded of a sonnet written quite a few years ago. I think I may have been going through intense personal struggles and wondering if I was ever going to be the kind of maturing Christian I wanted to be! I had been reading in 2 Corinthians 12 and verse 9 stuck out for me. It says:  “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

You’ll notice Kate’s post starts out the same way my sonnet does. “The more I learn …” (Great minds?) Actually, from my vantage point today, I’ve begun to realize that the more I learn, I realize how little I actually know … but how incredibly rich I am for the things I’ve been able to learn thus far! I have a suspicion if I live long enough to reach a hundred years of age, I’ll still feel the same.

And I suspect the same will be true for Kate. Seriously.

Redemption, sin, need for redemption, self-control, weakness, sonnet, poetry, poem

Sonnet: Redemption

 

God Puts The Lonely In Families

After yesterday’s post, I decided I needed to expand today on the details I mentioned about my younger sister. (So if you haven’t read that post about my older/younger sister, you might go back and read that first.)LittleGirl1

When my sister Nadja died, I was 6½ years old. Hers was the first death I’d encountered in my short lifetime and it took me some time to understand the permanency of death.

Over a period of months, I slowly came to the realization Nadja wouldn’t be coming home to us. One night during our family devotions, the full impact of that realization hit me:  our family − once composed of six unique individuals − was incomplete. As much as anything, that void was most obvious because my brothers had companionship with each other, but I had no one. (Sorry, this is how my mind interpreted things at the time.)

Aloneness. As this concept penetrated my brain, I remember crying inconsolably. My parents tried to comfort me and to understand what was the cause for my suddenly overwhelming grief. Given the months already gone by, I don’t know that they identified my weeping with my sister’s death, but I know I didn’t have words to adequately explain it. I could only sob profusely.

Some time afterwards, I listened to a Billy Graham Crusade on our television. I don’t remember exactly what he said nor scripture verses he might have given. In his crusades, Graham had a tender way of communicating two things that stood out in my memory:  (1) God cares for our sorrows and (2) God answers prayer. What I remember above all was the assurances he offered that − even at my young age − I could “… draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, [to] receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) And that’s exactly what I did.vegetable garden

From that moment, I began to pray for another baby sister … and to know with assurance that God would answer my prayer.

Does it strike you as simplistic? Of course, I knew nothing about the birds and bees. It didn’t matter. My faith began to deepen. As I considered the situation, I believed God had set this yearning in my heart and he alone would provide the fulfillment.

Doubters might suggest God had nothing to do with it, that my parents were directly involved in orchestrating a plan that would “answer my prayer.” But I never actually told anyone about my prayers until the day my sister was born. Before that day, God was the only one who’d heard my prayer.

Doubters might also suggest the birth of my sister was simply a pleasant coincidence, the convergence of a natural (and perhaps predictable) event that occurred in concert with my prayers. I know I can’t disabuse you of that notion; I just know otherwise.

Tamara Joy Stricker was born on July 12, 1957, and it was a day of rejoicing for all! I remember my daddy whispering her name to me that day:  Camera? What a silly name! I told him. But then he said the name aloud for all to hear … and to correct my mis-hearing.

I can’t speak with great knowledge about what it’s like to be a child some would characterize a “replacement baby.” She was never that to me, and I know my parents gave Tamara all the love and nurture they devoted to the rest of us. In the sense of replacing Nadja, I don’t think any of us believed Nadja could be replaced. At the same time, we recognized Tamara’s unique place in our family.

But it was natural for all of us to dote on Tamara, to beware all dangers that might befall her, to cushion every stumble and slip. With all of us still operating on high alert, Tam couldn’t cough without someone giving her a thorough going-over. Considering the level of our solicitousness (and overbearing supervision?), Tamara’s early years could be characterized as charmed or nightmarish, maybe both, depending on the day.

One of these days, I’ll have to ask my sister which was harder:  differentiating herself from a sister she’d never known, or distinguishing herself from the sister she knows. Even with nine years separating the two of us, I know I often cast a shadow that was difficult to escape, unfortunately.

When I think about my sister Tam, I think of her as a gift from God. She is that and much more to all of us who know and love her. Psalm 68:6 tells us:  “God sets the lonely in families.” I love that verse! My own experience affirms what a blessing it is to be part of a family.

Safe In His Arms

Nadja_Ruthe_1Less than two weeks from today, my family and I will quietly acknowledge the short life of my younger sister, Nadja Kaye Stricker. She was born on April 8, 1954 and died on July 30, 1955 of intussusception, a medical condition that causes a portion of the intestine to telescope within itself. When the condition isn’t diagnosed quickly, a child may suffer sepsis and (when left untreated) death.

It’s almost impossible for me to imagine my sister as an adult celebrating her sixtieth birthday, but every April, I’m reminded of our loss when she died so suddenly. The picture of her at left was taken on Easter Sunday, 1955. We had just celebrated her first birthday two days before Easter. That’s my mom holding her by the hand (and my backside in the background).

Today, children usually don’t die from intussusception. My sister was taken to regular pediatric check-ups and never exhibited any symptoms of distress until the day of her death. Memories of that day are indelibly imprinted on my brain.

KushPOOL0001It was a hot summer day and few homes in 1955 had air conditioning, certainly not ours. As usual, my brothers and I were playing out in the yard. We had a 50s-era green canvas kiddie pool (like the one at right, though the picture is borrowed from here). Our pool was set up for summer play and most days, we were in and out of it until dinner time came. Any pictures of us in our kiddie pool would have been black and white prints, but we’d have gathered for a snapshot just like the little ones in this color picture did.

On that particular day, my mom and sister were inside the house, and I tend to think (in retrospect) my sister may have been showing signs of fever (infection) because my mom had decided to bathe her. The minute my mom called my older brother to the front door and instructed him to fetch our neighbor (a nurse who worked nights and would be home sleeping), our intuition went on high alert.

Ruthew_kidsAny other time, my little brother and I would’ve been mercilessly ragging on our older brother for his serious infraction of Dad’s rules … crossing our busy street to fetch the neighbor. I think the two of us probably stood with our feet in the kiddie pool, watching older brother look both ways and skitter across the street, up the steps and knock frantically on the storm door. For children who’d never known anything but a quiet, idyllic existence, we were wondering what could possibly have happened to thrust us into bizarro-land. Certainly, it never crossed our minds our baby sister had fallen into a coma and would be dead within hours.

Dead? That wasn’t a concept with which we were familiar. Look at the picture above with our mom and the four of us children all dressed up for Easter. Happy faces full of innocence and joie de vivre. But our world was about to tumble off its axis.

Our dad happened to be out of town that week. As a member of the Missouri Air Guard, he was out of state doing his two weeks of summer camp. My mom didn’t even drive … and her lack of skill with a manual transmission was a significant concern if we happened to be in the back seat! Fortunately, the neighbor/nurse had a vehicle and quickly carried Mother and baby Nadja to the hospital.

Eventually, my dad’s older brother arrived to take the three of us to his house. Before the night was out, our daddy had been airlifted home. With tears in his eyes, he told us our sister was gone.

After all these years, it’s hard for me to weigh the emptiness I felt. I didn’t have a clue what dying was all about. But I understood my daddy’s tears and the obvious grief that covered him like a suffocating shroud. I can’t be sure, but I don’t recall seeing my mom again until the next day. Where was she? Perhaps we’d been put to bed before she came home?

Like most traumatic events a child experiences early in life, my sister’s death had a pivotal effect on all of us. It definitely put a damper on the world my brothers and I shared the rest of that summer. There was a dreadful expectation that another shoe might drop. What would it be, we wondered?

Through it all, our parents encouraged us to have hope, the confidence that we would see our sister again one day and that she was safe in the arms of Jesus. I Thessalonians 4:13-14 says:  “… do not grieve … as those who have no hope …” The Scriptures brought deep comfort to us! Also, my dad often sang the Fanny Crosby hymn, Safe In the Arms of Jesus, and I have no doubt the lyrics caused him to remember his departed daughter. (I don’t have a recording of my dad singing, but the link I’ve included above reminds me of his steady tenor voice.)

In God’s perfect time, and as an answer to my specific prayers, another sister came into my life two years later. What a blessing she has been! (That’s another story entirely!)

Without intending to be morbid but to honor her memory, I celebrate the short life of Nadja Kaye. I wish we’d known her much longer. 

Listening Classically

In multiple other posts on this blog, I’ve written about music. From the time I was old enough to verbalize, I sang. All through my early years, I soloed often and joined with various music groups to express myself vocally. After I sang a class assignment (rather than speaking it), my seventh grade speech teacher declared I’d be famous someday! (So glad that never happened!) During junior high and high school, I was part of a trio and a quartet that traveled to perform in other venues (including on television).

BeethovenWhen I arrived at college, I thought at first I’d major in music. (Again, so glad that never actually happened.) I was part of two traveling music groups in those years and that experience more than satisfied any desire I (never) had for the road.

This week, I enjoyed a delightful post, The Voice of God, at the blog fairlyspiritual.org. In four brief paragraphs (less than 250 words), this young writer aptly describes something about the essential connection between our Creator and music. He says the melody of Creation was more song than command … and I agree. Many of the classical masters did as well.

Before you misunderstand, I’m not just talking about religious music or classical music or any particular sub-heading of music. I’m talking all music … music with its beauty and design was birthed in the Creator’s mind. Composers (made in the image of the Creator) have the innate ability to create their music as an expression of our Creator’s image.

The sonnet posted below was originally written while I listened to Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 14, popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata. The actual piece to which I was listening was from the first movement (of three), the Adagio sostenuto. When my children were quite small, this was one of several selections I’d play (on the piano) after they’d been tucked in for the night.

This particular Beethoven composition is memorable for its triplet repetition and the mournful (or what I’d call contemplative) tone. In my twenties, I didn’t play (or listen to) much classical music, preferring the pop music of that day (hence, my reference to Manilow). Returning to classical music in my later twenties, I remembered how an exposure to classical music when I was a youngster had been a great foundation for this lifelong music lover.

Of course, that was something I wanted to instill in my own children! When I played for them at bedtime, it was an early effort to encourage their love of music … and also to give me a small chance to keep my (now-stiffening) fingers limbered up (way back when).

So, I invite you to read the sonnet, and while you’re reading, click here to enjoy the audio file.

Classical-Modulation, Beethoven, Manilow, romance, music, classical music, hearing, sonata, sonnet, poetry, poem

Sonnet: Classical Modulation

 

Evil . . . Quiet and Tidy

It’s called Waste-to-Energy and sounds like a practical but innocuous program where waste products are incinerated to generate energy.fetus1

But the program has come under new scrutiny with the recent revelation that hospitals in the UK acknowledged at least 15,500 dead babies (some aborted and others from miscarriages) have been intentionally incinerated as “clinical waste.” The hospitals used the generated power from these incinerators for electricity and heat at their facilities. With gross mendacity, some hospital officials even reassured grieving parents their dead babies were to be cremated.

One writer from the UK Telegraph describes it this way:  “… institutions created to protect life are being fueled by burning the remains of the dead. [This] story, of light bulbs lit by human remains, is the purest example of the banality of evil, because it is the kind of evil that is motivated by the desire to keep things quiet and tidy.” In the same article, this writer refers to this example of “efficient recycling” as more “akin to cannibalism.”

Thankfully, UK Health Minister Dr. Dan Poulter has decreed the practice “unacceptable” and called for banning its horrific continuation.

But the West, as the Telegraph writer Dr. Tim Stanley is quick to note, is where gender-specific abortions are tolerated today as “not in the public interest.” The West, yes, the bastion of our more-civilized inclinations, a superior and exalted place from which we observe developing-world savagery and look down our collective noses at their brutality and backwardness … and deny any possibility for similar savagery being committed in our midst.

I never expected to post the poem below. It’s disturbing to read, but even more disturbing is how inured we civilized humans have become to the culture of death surrounding us. That pervasive culture of death makes certain demands on us, one of which is to accept (without thinking or asking pertinent questions) the redefinition of phraseology that might otherwise cause us discomfort. Hence, dead babies gets redefined as medical or clinical waste, incineration is benignly relabeled cremation. God forbid anyone should suffer the least pangs of conscience!

Solutions, Goebbels, Himmler, Goering, Hitler, Mengele, choice, sacraments, life, poetry, poem

Poem: Solutions

Yet I suspect someone will object to my Hitlerian-era comparison. We’re not like them, the objectors insist.

Not like them? Perhaps not. At the cremation pits of Treblinka II, large numbers of bodies were incinerated with some of the fires operating around the clock. To my knowledge, the Nazis never attempted to recapture the generated power (from those fires) in order to heat their living quarters.

Sneezing Into Spring

Spring_mountain_meadowSpring! A season of rebirth, of new beginnings, of enjoying the outdoors and sunshine. So delightful for almost everyone!

And so miserable for those of us who suffer allergies!

As glad as I am to say goodbye to Winter, the onset of seasonal allergies has a way of making me wish for another hard freeze. Given the number of allergens to which I’m prone, I should of rights be a desert-dweller, but living in the middle of lush grasses and trees of every sort and flowery meadows, well, I just have to suck it up … and in fact, I do.

Because Winter held on for so long this year, I totally forgot I could alleviate some of my suffering with early palliative doses of local bee pollen. That has helped me in the past! But this year, it never even crossed my mind until I was in the throes of misery a couple days back. Argghh! Winter lulled me into oblivion and then Spring pounced.

I’m certain there must be plenty of folks who feel my pain and can identify with the struggle I’ve described below. So let’s commiserate together … and I’ll grab the box of tissues! Ah-choo!

Seasonal-Sneezonal, sniffling, sneezing, wheezing, allergies, pollen count, light verse, poetry, poem

Poem: Seasonal Sneez-onal

 

Breaking Away

During the early years of my life, Sunday was actually considered a “day of rest.” We’d spend the morning attending Sunday School and Church, of course, but after we’d had lunch, everyone laid down for a mid-afternoon nap. The house was probably quieter than any other time of the week. It was a respite from the hustle-bustle that started up again as soon as the sun rose on Monday morning.

SundayPart5I remember one Sunday that was different. My brothers and I slept upstairs. (One is two years older than me, the other eighteen months younger than me.) That Sunday, I woke up from my nap and on my way downstairs, I noted that my younger brother was still napping. My older brother was not in his bed though, so I proceeded downstairs to find him. I quietly searched all through the small house, but didn’t succeed in locating him. Eventually, I tiptoed to my mother’s side and asked where Eric was. She was awake but resting beside my dad.

It didn’t take long to figure out my brother was not in the house, nor was he outside in the yard playing. I can’t say my parents panicked, but within minutes they were looking everywhere. I think it may have been an alert neighbor who noticed a tow-headed little boy walking alone down the sidewalk. Because he carried a suitcase, he surely looked out of place. He had slipped out while everyone else was resting. Where he was going wasn’t clear, but he had succeeded (to that point) with his plan to run away.

Apparently, there had been some family slight that he’d taken personally and he was bold enough to believe he could make it on his own in the world!

Many years later, as a parent myself, I remember my oldest daughter making the same decision. By my recollection, she didn’t get farther than the end of our driveway, but her strong-willed nature certainly gave us pause to watch closely from the window. She lingered there at the end of the driveway before slowly turning back. I’m grateful she quickly realized her plan had some holes in it!

The sonnet below was written with that occasion in mind.

Runaway, running away from home, emancipation, family conflicts, poetry, light verse, sonnet, poem

Sonnet: Runaway

I wrote this sonnet such a long time ago, I had the vaguest of recollections its unusual rhyme scheme (a-b-c-a-b-c c-b-d-b a-d-d-a) followed the Mason Sonnet form. (This is not a common form for the sonnet.) Invented by a poet named Madeline Mason, information is difficult to find online. However, I located a blog devoted to sonnet forms and the Mason Sonnet is among the many forms discussed on that site.

To my dismay, it seems the rhyme scheme I used isn’t strictly the Mason sonnet form (a-b-c-a-b-c-b-c d-b-a-d-d-a)! (This should only be of concern to purists, I know.) That being the case, I suppose the rhyme scheme I utilized can only be considered a variant, non-conforming tribute to Mason.

No matter. The poem is a sweet reminder of a little red-haired girl I once knew. Today, she’s blonde and closing in on her fortieth birthday.

Each One, A Precious Gift

CharlotteAnneYesterday was World Down Syndrome Day. In a post I wrote last year, The Quest for Perfect, I included a video link that featured my niece, Charlotte (shown to the left).

Then not long ago, my daughter-in-law told me her good friend was pregnant and fearful the child she carried had Down syndrome. My response was to encourage DIL to be emphatic with her friend that all moms have challenges with their children. In fact, normal is not a word that should be top on the list of a mom’s vocabulary, because each of our children is unique; as a mom nurtures her children, she comes to understand what is “normal” for each individual child.

The video below celebrates World Down Syndrome Day and is a marvelous reminder of the blessing each child is. When you view the video, I suspect you’ll cry, just as I did. The video celebrates life and the precious bond between mother and child.

Hug a child today. Thank God for each child whose life touches yours. Recognize you’ve been given blessings beyond measure. I’ll be doing the same.

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