Monday, May 27, 2013

Front Porch Play

Having the four grandchildren last week was a lot of fun for us, and for them. The weather was overcast with periods of rain for four days straight. Not being able to contain them indoors any longer, Kathryn and I brought some ride-on toys to the front porch where they could still be outdoors and stay dry when the rain fell. One day I started thinking about how our screens pop out of the windows and that they were just about the right height to create the McCampbell drive-thru restaurant.

While I made lunches, I asked the older kids to find the pirate coins and make some paper money. They finished their project about the time I finished making lunches. What fun to see them "drive up" to the window to receive their lunches and pay me with money they had made themselves! They got such a kick out of it that they have already told me that they want to do it again.  When I play with children I feel God's pleasure. They are always ready to pretend and create. I find that to be refreshing for my own soul when real life is hard. I hope that my Lord's eyes were smiling as He watched what I had done with the morning He had given me. 

Thank you God, for the creativity to enter in to the play and pretend world of children. It reminds me that to You, I am still Your child.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dedicated to Brave Moms Everywhere

There is a particular kind of woman I want to praise today in this Mother's Day post. She's every mom everywhere who has had to take the high road and choose a loving response over a negative reaction. To Claire's mom, who wrote in her Caring Bridge journal that after being up night after night with her sick little Claire, heard her scream, "I hate you mommy," just before hurling her princess toothpaste tube from across the room into mommy's back. And her mom responded, "steroids, those nasty things." And this dedication is for moms who helped to hold their baby's arms down while blood was being drawn for the purpose of checking tumor markers. And to the moms I have known who released their children to God, either though an accident or illness, knowing it would be many years before they would see their children again in Heaven. 

Moms have a special kind of ability to do what is needed with an amazing amount of grace. To all these mothers I just want to pat you on the back and say a hearty heart-felt word of gratitude for showing the world that children have worth.  God values them, and we should too. And even when they grow up to do nasty or mean things, they are precious in the eyes of God, and He sacrificed  His only Son on Calvary to insure His covenant would extend to them.

There is one more group of women to commend in this writing. I want to thank the women who made an adoption plan when they recognized the child they were carrying would need a home. They are mothers to be celebrated today too.  They may possibly be imagining what their child looks like on this Mother's Day, and if they made a good decision.  If I could talk to the two women who gave birth to my two adopted daughters I would say, "thank you for giving God the final authority in the matter of your baby's life. He chose us to parent your babies, and what a blessing they have been." Happy Mother's Day to all. 

Monday, May 06, 2013

Marriage; What It Is

It has been a  dark gloomy day in the Valley. The cold air and dark clouds had arrived yesterday, and by mid afternoon today, the days of predicted rain had begun. I would feel hemmed in if not for the internet and the connection to the world it is for me. On this cold day I have some things to think about to warm my heart, and if you want to join me, grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in for a while.

Paul and I have been looking forward to finding time to be together for a few days without any responsibilities. Recently we have had a friend volunteer to come for a couple of weeks to stay with the girls so that we can take a break. Qavah still needs daily care and while I am not quite ready to hand over the responsibility of her central line; that offer started us dreaming! Now we are like kids at the candy store with twenty dollars to spend. We have been on the internet and searched our hearts to know what a true vacation would be for us. It didn't take long to settle on something. We have set our hearts on a trip to Israel, and have been dreaming about it daily ever since. The trip wouldn't be until next spring, but every day we have started to look forward to the trip by searching for the best hiking shoes and clothing for warm days and cold night. We imagine ourselves hiking the trail  where Jesus walked, and talking to Him as we walk through our day. It's a forty mile hike from Nazareth to Capernaum and we hope to do it in six days. To see some of the beautiful trail and read more about it, here is a place to start: 

We have put many vacations on "hold" in our lives, thinking we will get to take time for each other eventually. Then having lived in the bone marrow transplant unit for eight months we learned that "eventually" isn't guaranteed to anyone. I picked Paul up from work on his lunch hour today and we went to Gander Mountain, a store we have never visited. After all, hiking was for other people who had time. Today we looked at walking shoes, just for the fun of it. And even while I picked them up and turned them over in my hand, I dreamed of slipping them on in the early morning as the sun is rising over Israel.  Our dream has become a topic of conversation and we find ourselves caught up in the joy of planning the journey. I hope the joy continues because now we start the dieting and exercising to give us the stamina to walk and not grow weary. 

Paul and I have shared so many wonderful moments together. Many of those moments are tucked in our memory for later review, when time and experience causes us to appreciate them even more. One day at a time turned into forty years of history. We've had many adventures and misadventures, and I suppose, Lord willing, as we walk along together in Israel we will be thinking of some of those times. But I also know that new adventures await us as we age, and no one knows the infirmities lying around the bend. As the years take hold of our faces, once smooth skin looks more like a relief map on the road to the journey's end. But oh how sweet to live with the one who knows the girl inside, and how she still likes to laugh. And the sweetness of knowing which coffee beans he prefers to make the best morning coffee to start his day. With all of those years of history, a picture is being painted for the world to see.  The Scriptures speak of the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5 :32-33 as the earthly relationship that depicts the love Christ has for us.  With God's help, the better we are at loving our spouse the better the world around us will understand the unconditional love of God. 

I recently discovered this story of William and his beloved wife. You'll want to watch both features. Please enjoy them, their story will bring my words to life.

Friday, May 03, 2013

The 1950's

Our nine-year-old daughter Qavah is slowly starting to read. With more oxygen going to her brain since her bone marrow transplant, she is thinking more clearly, and able to comprehend the formation of words using letters. We are starting out with the same Sally, Dick, and Jane readers we used with our other three kids. I have observed that after a session of reading, Qavah will call Paul "Father" instead of "Daddy," just as Sally, and her siblings do. The little stories are usually quite simple, but that doesn't matter to Qavah. She's learning.

We live a simple life, much like the one in the Sally, Dick, and Jane, readers. My girls prefer puffy dresses, my boys are respectful, and I enjoy cleaning our home and cooking for my family. Around five o'clock I can be found re-applying lipstick before my husband Paul arrives home from work. The boys are grown and out of our nest now, but we girls greet Daddy at the end of his work day with hugs and kisses of appreciation.  Most days we sit down to a home-cooked meal to eat dinner together at the table. It sounds like a scene from the nineteen-fifties, doesn't it?  I hadn't really thought about how much my life resembled the classic story-book life of Sally, Dick, and Jane until recently. 

Last week I was listening to a speech our President made to a group of abortionists. He said that the pro-life movement would prefer to go back to the fifties. He meant it in a derogatory way, of course. But as I thought about growing up in my neighborhood, east of Detroit, I remembered those years fondly. Everyone I knew on my street had a daddy. Everyone on my street respected the property, and we children called the adults by Mr. and Mrs. I remember that the church located at the end of our street made it so that whole families would leave their homes together and walk to church, with mom and dad out front and several kids following behind.  And the cry of my heart when I heard my President was this, "Lord, please help me to reflect the benefits of knowing You to a world that has strayed far from the nineteen-fifties values, and You."

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

COMING SOON: The New Campbell Family Journal

Having spent months inside the small hospital room where our daughter received her bone marrow transplant, I had plenty of time to think and pray. It was during that time I had the idea to change my blog. Previously I used The Campbell Family Journal for updates on the health of our two daughters, however, I soon found that I enjoyed journaling my thoughts. The more I journaled, the more clearly I could see the way God was reflecting His own image on my heart. He helped me to think things through and share them in a way that resonated with others. I feel so humbled when someone mentions my writing as a "good thing." It is a surprise even to me, and I know it is a gift from God. I wouldn't have thought to do it on my own.

Included in my new blog will be daily devotional quotes I have gathered, and links to the sermons I listen to in order to fill my mind with good things. I want those who stop by my blog to feel as though they have stopped by my front porch, to sit awhile, and to glean with me the harvest of good things God is doing in this world. If you feel like relaxing on a porch swing in the South, and taking in refreshment, you'll like the new look and read of The Campbell  Family Journal. I hope to see you there in just a few days. My hope is to launch this new endeavor by May 5th. 

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement over the past year while our daughters have been through some very tough health challenges. We feel so blessed to have been able to cope, and get through it with God's help, and the care of our praying family and friends. I'll see you back here soon. Thank you for stopping by today and finding that Mr Snowy has been packed away, and spring is well under way.