Saturday, October 26, 2013


Psalm 131:2, 3 (MSG) But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.

Tonight's bedtime story and evening chat lasted longer than usual with many "Why?" questions from my two year old.  Normally, I have no trouble staying awake and relish each moment, but tonight I was really worn out and I had to fight off sleep while I listened carefully to my inquisitive son after prayers.

"Mommy, why is it dark at night?"  "Why do I sleep way over here on this side of the house?"  "Can I have another drink of water?"  "Can you stay with me a little longer?"
I answered what I could and stayed nearby until I heard Philip's regular breathing, signaling that he was finally asleep.

Stretching, I turned in my bed like a cat looking for just the right spot to curl up for a good night's sleep.  At last, I talked to my head, my neck, and on down to my toes, "Relax".  

Slowly tight muscles softened and released their tension from scurrying around to drop off and pick up my kids, and teaching my middle school ESL students all day.  Then home again to prepare supper and family time.

My body was exhausted, but tonight my mind continued to rehearse the events of the day and then plan for the next.  I got up for a glass of water, thinking I could clear my thoughts by walking a little bit.  Then, back into the covers I went with high hopes of a deep sleep that normally came over me pretty soon after lying still.

Several hours later, something moving close to my head startled me as I jerked awake.  I squinted in the darkness to see what it was, and suddenly I heard, "Mommy,(pause)  "Mommeeeeeee..."  

"What is it sugar?"

"Mommy there's a noise outside my window and I can't sleep." my toddler whined.  

I could see the whites of his big round eyes, they were open so wide.

Honey, it is probably just the wind.  Come up and get in bed, it's still the middle of the night and I want to sleep some more."  And before I knew it, he snuggled up beside me, squirming a little. 

"Relax, Daddy's right here," was all my husband said, and soon Philip fell asleep.

Secure in the knowledge that his dad and I were near, my youngest son lost all sense of alarm and mellowed out, totally at peace.

This repeated itself for several nights, and Pops was concerned that this was going to become a habit, so the next time Philip crawled in with us, afraid, he crept out of bed and went to sit in our little guy's room to see what he could hear.  Nothing.  He returned perplexed.  Our children are all very sound sleepers, so this was really unusual.

I thought I would go and take a look out of his window, and then I heard it.  A few minutes later I saw the culprit.  It was a large barn owl.  It was perched on the branch of the neighbor's tree which stood close to Philip's room.  The bird continued to hoot, "hoo-hoo", but I was relieved that the mystery of the sleepless nights was finally solved.

Being in our presence calmed our little boy's fears.  Peace settled in because he knew Daddy was big and we would not allow anything to harm him.

When frustrations rise up over unfair treatment, or unexplainable breakdowns occur after the budget is used up.  If a job is lost with no money coming in and the fridge is pretty bare.  When we come to the end of our rope, we finally sidle up to our Heavenly Father for comfort and strength.

Even before the disasters come, we can dwell in peace by daily spending time in the presence of God.  When we quiet ourselves before God and bring a question to him, then wait. Listen and he will answer every time to calm our fears.  It is unexplainable, yet so real.

I call it baby trust.  Just in the same way a baby that trusts its parents will go limp and rest better in their arms, we as adults can practice baby trust toward God.  Allow yourself to completely trust in the promises of God. He will never leave you or forsake you. Rest in this promise alone and I can assure you that you will experience a peace that passes all logic for the situations that you face in your life.

Relax, Daddy's right are never alone.  He is with you even unto the ends of the earth. 

These men in the pictures are my older sons.  On top is Nathaniel Markley and his oldest son Alan (taken about 8 years ago).  Just above, is Jonathan Markley and his niece, Janae and nephew, Ashton (taken almost two years ago).



Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Psalm 128:3b (MSG) ...the children around your table are as fresh and promising as young olive shoots.

Psalm 127:3-5 (MSG) Don't you see that children are God's best gift?  The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?  Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.  Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!  Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

On my way home, I decided to drop in on my youngest daughter, who is always in constant motion at a local coffee shop.

We exchanged broad grins as I walked in.  Even though she was preoccupied mixing a latte,  she introduced me proudly as her mom to one of her regular customers waiting at the counter.

"Your daughter just brightens up our day here!" he spoke without missing a beat.  "No really, she is very special."

"Well thank you!" I beamed!

I hear this from time to time when I visit her at work.  Believe you me, I never take any of it for granted, either.

I stayed and chatted with Christian while I drank my pumpkin spiced latte, then hugged her before departing.  

On my way toward the exit, I smiled at a lovely brunette, who was getting situated with a table full of friends.  She turned to me and deliberately stated, "Your daughter is so sweet, really she is."

The first thing that touched me, was the fact that two thoughtful people stopped to take the time to express to me something so great about my daughter.  How kind is that?  Music to my ears!  

Upon reflection, I realized that both of these patrons also made a point to emphasize to me that their compliment was genuine.  Contrast this with so much insincere small talk these days that reeks of empty flattery and pat phrases.  Yet today, I clearly read between the lines, "Great kid--well done!" (Well done to the mom, and well done to my collegiate, hard-working daughter.)

Don't get me wrong, I have not had a seamless life without trials or mistakes.  My children have not had perfect lives, either.  Yet, they are my legacy!  I am so blessed with the fresh promise in each of my blooming olive shoots.

My mother heart realizes that these children are outstanding-- each in their own way.  They have their unique personality and gifts.  They deal with their hang ups and struggles; sure, who doesn't?  Yet, they are recognizing goals and dreams which are thrusting them forward into unchartered waters; where they wade right in, undaunted.

I am thankful for this light airy moment that stirred my heart, transformed my countenance, and  inspired this short monologue of gratitude today.

I wholeheartedly agree with the psalmist and choose to admire with wonder the wealth of possibilities that incubate in my children, who are on their way to fulfilling their destiny.