Crayons made the headlines, fancy schmancy pencil cases in odd shapes and all manner of collapsibility made their promising debut, and glue, scissors and rulers took center stage as retailers prepared for the yearly event. Not a single ad passed by the opportunity to tout its Back to School sale. Only a cheap skate, penny pincher mom could pass by the new boxes of 64s and the wrist slapper bracelet rulers to insist that last year's school tools were still working fine and good enough. Oh, yeah, I was that mom more than once, but no more. Grandma's out to score some points with this year's cute, new gizmos.
We combined Daddy's birthday with a Back to School night and Grandma served supper to the kids on a Styrofoam tray plate, each section filled with kid friendly cafeteria chow look alikes: mac n cheese, grapes, carrots with dip and a brownie. Besides each plate a paper lunch bag held a few school item surprises with a personal Happy Back to School greeting written on the front.
After the meal, we pulled out supplies to craft candy pencils. What fun!
I substituted a Sweet Tart long roll for the Rolos. (Since we've made this, I've seen another site that gave instructions for making these, and they folded the yellow paper in 1/2 inch folds before they glued or taped it together, so it looks like the ridges in a real pencil)
I've missed many opportunities to celebrate life in little and big milestones, but I'm glad I nailed this one. Life is always about learning. Anytime the learning process can be reinforced with fun and curiosity is important to me. I continually pray my grand kids will enjoy learning and that their school experience will be filled with success, teachers and staff who make learning fun and friends who will enjoy the journey with them.
I've become aware of the many New Testament letters that end with the closing "...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." There's always room to grow and more to know about Life as Christ designed it and planned for us to experience it. So I'm praying for this growth these days, for myself, family or others who I am prompted to remember.
Back to Work. After several weeks off, my office chair is occupied again and I'm catching up on what happened in the library while I was gone. Campus is quiet over the summer, so I didn't miss much, but it's time to hire new student workers, fix a bulletin board to Welcome Back campus returnees, set up the website calendar for the year ahead, and other first-of-the-semester tasks. "At least I like my job" helps get me going in the morning and "I like the people I work with" gives me incentive to get there, while inbox emails and urgent things to do keep me busy so I quickly transition from loving to be home to feeling that I have a place to make a difference and I can do this going back to work thing.
I turned 60 the day after I turned the calendar to August 1st. Nothing like a decade birthday to take you Back to the Past. Friends and family bring it up with outdated pictures of younger yous, cards that mock the primitive era you were born in and those ubiquitous forward emails that try to make you feel like the good old days were somehow better.
I usually discard the pesky inbox arrivals, but one this week tempted me to read it with this title line:
"How Old is Grandma?"
The reader was to guess the age of a person born before a long list of inventions and commonly used conveniences today- dishwashers, TV, penicillin, credit cards-to name a few. Then came the list of practices no longer commonly practiced like getting married before you live together, keeping the Ten Commandments...and of course the list of what items used to cost. It tacked on words that now have new meaning-grass, coke, etc. and words that didn't exist in that ancient world, like "software".
Grandma it turns out is 61 years old. And that's the HA HA ending. What I have to say about that? LOL!
Seriously, I have moments when I remember that my days are numbered, but I also had a moment this week where I paused in gratitude for the goodness of my life now and then. And I maybe understood a bit clearer what it means to live each day to the fullest, because no one is assured of what tomorrow will bring. Whether an infant or someone a couple decades ahead of me in years. It was one of those A HA moments where I was thinking about how confident I felt at age 18, how youth live like there is no tomorrow, and then remembering recent news of deaths, young and old. And how I know that God has a purpose in life and death and those who know him live forever, whether a short or long time here on this earth. It's a gift to be at peace with that, and if another birthday adds more wisdom and a year well lived, than our God is to be praised!
In the birthday package my sister sent me, she included some scrapbook/journals of my grandmother who died when my kids were still young. I've been taken Back to the Faith of a godly woman as I've read her thoughts and the sermons or poems she chose to copy or past in the stained, worn pages of the Essick Manufacturing Company scrap papers. Other pages show notes she wrote down from a sermon, maybe she had heard on the radio. Sometimes I wonder if she wrote some of the uncredited writings herself.
Here are some excerpts:
When Joshua succeeded Moses, God gave him his presence and the Book of the Law.
"We dare not send our children forth to face life with any less. We cannot make our children into good Christians by training them to behave. We have to teach them what to believe. We must pray every step of the way. We need to raise our family on our knees with a consciousness of Christ ever besides us. If they can have the background of a godly, happy home and this unshakable faith that the Bible is indeed the Word of God, they will have a foundation that the forces of hell cannot shake." Taken from a page that was entitled Building with the Bible in the Home, by Mrs. Billy Graham.
"Christ Jesus left all of heaven's wealth
To gather through the centuries a
a people for Himself.
He died to set men free
From sin and hell; oh, take Him now
and live eternally.
Oh, counsels wise and wonderful
and promises that heal and bless;
The sweet perfection of His love
In joy, and peace, and righteiousness,
The great Eternal Mystery,
The great revelation of His grace."
"God so loved you that he gave you His Son,
God's great desire is to save us from sin, God so loved us that he gave, He came in a babe.
God was in the Son and revealed what He was, and who He was
God so loved that He was moved with compassion
God so loved us, told us to watch careful and prayerful.
God so loved he gave His son to help others."
Look for more of her musings in my next post.