Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

Easy come, easy go <3

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Friday has rolled around again and let me tell you the past seven days have hurtled past in a blur of activity and responsibilities. 

I knew my time at home would be shortened this week as I only had Monday to accomplish any necessary tasks and we are headed to our nephew’s wedding this weekend.

One of the things I wanted to get done was plant flowers outside. 

I made two trips to the garden center and stayed on task, completing my project as the sun began to set Monday night.

True to my nature, I moved planters around multiple times and debated on what to put in which one with an incredible amount of overthinking. I finally got them the way I thought they looked best and when I opened the back shades on Tuesday morning I almost wept at how beautiful they looked. 

After being gone to either work or helping with the Fab Four up north the next three days, imagine please the utter despair I felt last night when I returned home after being gone 24 hours and looked out at empty planters save a couple of sprigs of ivy and one lone begonia looking back at me forlornly from the corner of our patio.

It seems our little rabbit family had a smorgasbord while I was away. Thankfully the pots off to the sides had flowers that were unappealing to these fellows…but they certainly gorged themselves down to the roots on the petunias I had placed to be my view during morning quiet time.

If you know me at all, you know I love the animal kingdom in a very conditional way. 

As long as critters behave, keep to their boundaries and do not damage or infringe on my space…great. I am all for them.

But when they dig up things, leave their waste matter scattered hither and yon on our property, and act like…well…animals…I get a little annoyed. 

The bunnies have been an exception. 

There is something about their soft fur and sweet little ears and faces that has softened me. 

So I didn’t feel angry at them. 

I just felt incredibly sad and defeated because I had worked so hard and it was like a slap in the face that these fuzzy critters that I have grown quite fond of decided to feast on the fruits of my labor. 

My investment of time, creativity and money was devoured and I was deeply disheartened at the loss. 

Maybe someone or something you love and care for has suddenly munched your petunias down to the roots recently. 

Maybe like me, you feel a sadness that does nothing to diminish your love. 

You aren’t angry. You aren’t feeling betrayed really. 

It’s just the nature of life and the course it has taken today leaves you feeling like the thing you thought you had accomplished just vanished into thin air. 

Your labor appears to have been in vain. 

I hope you know you are not alone. 

I hope you know that the God who made the petunias and the rabbits that love them and made them fluffy with  brown fur and big eyes that make me smile every morning as I watch them scamper around our yard is the same God who made me and knows the odd sadness I feel looking out at what is no more. 

I hope you know He will give us strength to go find some new plants, so to speak…geraniums I hear are not appealing to rabbits…He will give us wisdom to fill the empty places with something new that is good for us without harming the ones who, just because that’s what they are…petunia eating critters…did what they do. 

I hope you know that your efforts are not wasted and I hope you receive back more than you gave away. 

God bless you today. 

You are loved greatly <3

The ties that bind <3

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This is kind of a crazy week and even as I type that I know I say it a lot, but it really is setting the bar at a new level. 

Several trips north sprinkled in with regular work and a side of a weekend out of town wedding with weather that is ranging from high 40’s to mid 80’s has me just slightly frazzled. 

Our nephew is getting married which has me thinking about family and how amazing the connections are as family trees add branches. Character traits and resemblances and even common mannerisms pop up whether you are around family much or little.

Russ and my cousin Kenny’s wife will laugh when we are together as apparently he and I, though we grew up on opposite sides of the U.S. and really were only around each other a couple of times growing up, have so many similarities. And obviously ones that don’t bother us a bit, but make our spouses nod their heads in sympathy.

I love watching his dad, my father’s younger brother, because it is like old home week. The way he puts his hand on his forehead, his laugh…even things he says…like a carbon copy of my own dad.

And again…they lived apart from each other and visited infrequently all of their adult life. 

That same uncle, after hearing a recording of our Sarah singing, marveled that she had my Aunt Eugenia’s voice…and ever after, I have realized that yes indeed…that laugh I miss so much from my aunt still bubbles up out of our daughter.

Even while I often think l hear my own voice on some video Russ is watching and then realize it is actually Rachel’s.

Our nephew who is getting married is no blood relation of mine and we think resembles his mom’s side….yet there are little bits of him I see sometimes in our Graham. How can this be but through Russ’s line?

How fun to glimpse that spark I have loved in our red-headed nephew twinkle in the eyes of our grandson.

And love.

Wow. 

I think of our nieces and nephews as just as much mine as they are Russ’s and yet – no blood tie exists. 

I look at our grandchildren and the way they already love and bond with family and while they share aspects of two family lines, they draw no difference between who is blood and who is just kin of the heart. 

Such is the family of God, you know.

We belong to this big extended family through the blood of Jesus. 

He is our common thread and it is His character and His love and His mercy that tie us together. 

We belong because He first loved us. 

We begin to resemble Him and people recognize Him through us as we love and care for one another.

Precious <3

Remembering our own Red Sea crossings <3

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May is just about the sneakiest month, isn’t it?

It kind of slides in behind Easter and all the euphoria about the landscape changing from bleak winter bareness and brown as budding trees burst into action and we are marveling at tulips and daffodils and then all of a sudden we realize we have to mow grass and ball games dot our calendars as prolifically as dandelions are cropping up amongst the mulch we spread.

Suddenly the brevity of what summer will be is breathing down the neck as we attempt to figure how we are going to fit “Lazy” into the days of summer we have been so looking forward to.

Life is busy and days fill up quickly as years fly by. 

I have been hearing a theme of late in some sermons and devotions about the importance of remembering and declaring the good things God has done and so this morning I am acting on that by sharing with you a prayer once prayed and answered many years ago, but it is building my faith still today. 

I came across an entry I jotted in December of 2008. Five days before Christmas that year, I wrote in my journal “Next year, we will have two college tuitions to pay. I trust You to raise up how we will pay for that. I trust our years ahead to You.”

He did it. 

He answered that prayer. 

Sometime between the May graduation from high school and sending John off for his freshman year at ORU and Sarah to her senior year at Greenville, He made it happen.

I had two part time jobs that I loved and that summer I added a third. The hours meshed and still allowed me the freedom to be where I needed to be to keep up with our home, family and the ways I am called to serve others. 

It was exhausting and challenging, but God is good. So good. 

And every month when I calculated my three little paychecks, they covered one child’s tuition. 

Oh we would have made it without those jobs. We could have borrowed the money and paid off loans, but God heard the particular cry of my heart that I could ease the burden of that double tuition year. 

He understood that for me it mattered to be a part of the process. 

He knew the redemption and restoration working hard and maintaining the semblance of holding down real jobs could work in the soul of a woman who contributes more to the expenses than the income side of the family ledger.

All of her life. 

He understands the why behind our prayers more than we do. 

He meets the needs we were not even aware of when we asked. 

Write down your prayers.

Go back and look at them years later.

They are your personal record of His faithfulness. 

See what wonderful things the Lord has done and declare them to others. 

He is mighty and He is kind. 

Praise Him  <3

Mother’s Day thoughts…Part 3

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We have these pink cowboy boots that we just can’t part with. 

Sarah asked for them for months before she turned 6 and she wore them faithfully until she couldn’t cram her growing feet down in them one more time. 

Her teacher asked me a couple of weeks after her birthday if she slept in them and I had to say she would if we would have let her. 

She loved them. 

And they birthed an expression that still puts me into fits of giggles every time it is said, or I even think about it being said. 

Walking down the mall or a street or out in front of our house, she would start this long, striding, purposeful march with her arms swinging wide at her side and with her head raised high, she would proclaim…

I’m walking like a mom!

It was adorable, although less than flattering to see her impression of what a mom walked like. 

I couldn’t tell if she actually thought that is what I looked like or if she was capturing the essence of the power and confidence she thought I possessed as her mother. 

Since no one in our family ever agreed that she had definitely nailed an accurate impersonation of me walking (I know this because we all would laugh uncontrollably and ask where she got that idea), I have to assume it was the latter option.

So in honor of Mother’s Day…here is my response to that little girl in the pink cowboy boots and the sister and brother who made the bookends around her.

Oh children….if ever you thought your mother was confident that she knew what she was doing…she had you fooled. 

I had not a clue how to dress a baby or change a diaper when they laid the first one of you in my arms and said we could take you home to raise. 

While I had practiced for this role a zillion times in the play house my dad made for me in our basement as a little girl, real babies are not like dolls. I had never really cared for a newborn child.

They wiggle and move and their very lives depend on you and I was so scared I would mess it up. 

And I did. 

Time and again….although I was greatly relieved to find out eventually that feeding errors and occasionally binge watching cartoons doesn’t lead to sudden death.

I questioned every decision and I read so many books, even the falling apart paper back one from Dr. Spock that my mom had used when she was struggling with her own doubts raising me and your aunt. 

I asked other mothers and I thank God the internet wasn’t a thing because I would have been googling perpetually.

I never wanted to do anything right and perfectly more than I have wanted to raise you three. 

I wanted you to love Jesus and love people and spread your wings and not live in the same kind of fear and dread cycle I have fought so that you could do the wonderful things I knew God made you to do. 

And you went and did, didn’t you.…

All three of you.

You went and spread your wings and flew, and traveled, and set your mind to attempt careers and learn skills. You have taken up the cause of others so many times and fought for the underdog.

You have made a life of purpose and forged into areas that have forced me to respond to  your big ideas with a phrase I coined back in your college days…

“That sounds like a great opportunity.”

And here’s a little secret, that is code for “Your mom is going to need some time on her knees to get happy about that plan.” 

You weren’t afraid to think and to be adults who fend for themselves. You have learned to wait for the things you want to happen and yet you have also rolled up your sleeves to do your part.

And along the way, you realized that your mom doesn’t really have a bent to walk with big confident steps and her arms swinging boldly at her side with her head held high…even if she would like to be that way. 

You figured out that sometimes she does manage to pull it off…but a lot of times she moves slowly and sometimes she just rambles…and many a time all she could pull off was a crawl. 

So here is to you birds that made me a mom and the dad who held us all together with the glue of steadfastness, consistency and wisdom.

Here’s to the laughter and the tears and the way we all have grown up together. 

And here’s to the years and growth that lay before us all as we….

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pc/Graham

journey onward <3

A PS on that story….

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I wrote a post yesterday on the website about a positive experience I had with the customer service department at the Discover company and what I learned about dealing with my own interactions with customers as well as people in general. 

Link is here

But today I want to add a PS to that and I am sharing with you all the thoughts that went through my mind after I posted.

Because I refer to myself as a “customer” of the Discover Card company and yet they really do not make any money off of us. 

We pay our balance every month so they never get a dime of interest and there is no annual fee. 

They even give me cash back on purchases made. 

You see, the real paying customer is the businesses from whom I buy. 

They pay the fees for the convenience of me using the card.

And yes, businesses may cover the cost by tagging a little more on to the price of an item, but for the most part I am one of those “sale shoppers” who rarely pays full price anyway.

I live on grace and mercy. 

I was treated very well by a customer service department for a company who has done everything for me and I have done nothing in return but avail myself of their services.

Kind of sounds like Jesus doesn’t it?

No…the Discover Card is not my savior…but I get treated well and am called a child of God, with all the rights and privileges of an heir, and have done really nothing to earn that status. 

He paid it all and I just live in the fullness of life He gained for me. 

I am treated like royalty. A daughter of the King. 

The great exchange.

My debt paid by Him.

Accepted because of His rejection.

Abundant life purchased by His death and resurrection.

A sinner saved by grace. 

What a wonderful Discover-y.

Be blessed today child of God and extend grace as it has been given to you <3