Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Tribute to My Dad

My Mary

“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name.” John 10:3

I can almost hear him now. It’s as if it were yesterday. Dad would cuddle me in his arms and say, “My Mary,” and I would feel so special and so loved.

Dad died many years ago, much too young, at the age of 53 from the ravages of cancer, my handsome, meticulous father, who was always so particular about his looks; many, in fact, say he resembled the Hollywood legend Clark Gable.

I’ll never forget seeing him lying in his hospital bed just before that cold and dismal day in November, a remnant of the man he once was. I would have given anything for him to be able to say, “My Mary.” But he never would again.

Years later, one day in prayer, I sought God’s comfort at a time when the responsibilities of life seemed just too much for me to handle. All of a sudden, I heard my name – I heard, “My Mary.” And I knew it was my heavenly Father reaching down to me with His infinite love and comfort. I’ve heard those words several times since. Perhaps I’m conjuring them up in my mind, just wanting to relive moments from the past with my earthly father. I don’t know for sure.

But one thing I do know. God tells me in His Word that He calls His sheep by name. In Isaiah 49:1, He says, “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.” He is that intimate with His children. It’s as if He reaches down with His loving arms and cuddles us, and calls us each by name.

I’m confident that when I’m ushered into heaven, God will reach out His arms and welcome me with the words, “My Mary.” And I can picture Dad, once again young but now in perfect health, waiting not too far behind, with his arms outstretched, his lips forming those treasured words.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you that you love your sheep so intimately that you call each one of us by name. And thank you for the promise that we will be reunited with precious loves ones when we leave this world and come to spend eternity with you.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Elders need each other...

Mary C. Morrison writes in her book, Let Evening Come:

"But in the long run, and for everyday life, most of all we need one another, we elders. We need to be together. We need others like us with whom we can laugh at our unreliable memories and collect jokes about our failing powers. We need to create communities in which we can be ourselves, in which we can all be in it together, sustaining one another, and finding a richness and quality of life that we did not know would be possible at our age. 'The old are younger in one another's company,' Gabriel Garcia Marquez says, and as we live together we find that he is right."

I found this little book in the local Senior Citizens' Center Library this morning. I thought I was there for an appointment. But the appointment didn't happen. I'm convinced God had another reason for me to be there. It was to come across this little book and minister to me that the decision we made to move my elderly mom to an assisted care facility was, indeed, the right one to make.

Go for it, Mom. Be in the company of those like you...and enjoy life with your new friends and family.

Thank you, Mrs. Morrison, and thank you, Lord!

(Let Evening Come was published in 1998 by Doubleday.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A little dose of comfort, please...

Far from my husband and far from my own bed, I lie awake in my friend’s guestroom several years ago, stuffed up from a head cold and hacking, longing for sleep to overtake me.

Instead I envisioned peanut butter and jelly sandwiches accompanied by steamy hot chicken noodle soup, foods my mother used to serve me at times like this. I could practically taste the smooth peanut butter and tangy grape jelly on soft white bread.

When I was a child, I had a routine for eating my sandwich and soup. Bite of sandwich, spoonful of soup, slight pause; bite of sandwich, spoonful of soup, slight pause. Sometimes I’d dunk a corner of my sandwich into the soup…the ultimate blend! Mmmmm. Mom's love gift to me was smooth and warm as it soothed what ailed me and warmed my soul.

Since on that particular night, I couldn’t have the coveted sandwich and soup, and since I couldn’t sleep, I decided to write about the comfort foods I remembered as a young girl. Included on my list was macaroni and cheese. Mind you, not the kind out of the box. Oh, no. Mom made hers from scratch, boiling the elbow macaroni and then smothering it with the most wonderful white sauce and melted cheese. Then there was the lemon pie piled high with meringue, still a favorite.

When I stayed home from school because I didn’t feel well, I’d listen from my bedroom as Mom rattled around in the kitchen, and I knew something special was on its way. If Mom made a trek downtown on one of those days, she’d bring me back an added treat – a Nancy Drew mystery.

I must say, my comfort foods have changed somewhat, although I still enjoy the tastes from my past. Now my husband brings me something chocolate to satisfy my soul. And Nancy Drew has been replaced by Mary Higgins Clark. But the memories linger and are comforting in themselves.

I took another swig of cough syrup, rubbed menthol on my neck, and tried again to sleep. No comfort foods that night. But, be sure, before the week was over, I made a trip to the grocery story for a good old-fashioned dose of comfort. I also went by the library to see what my friend Mary was up to.

If I ever needed some of Mom’s comfort foods, it’s today, October 5, 2010. But she doesn’t cook any longer. In fact, my sister and I will be moving Mom into an assisted living facility this afternoon.

All I have now are the memories, but how sweet and soothing those memories are. Thank you, Mom, for your gifts of love and comfort over the years. I am blessed beyond measure…and I’m so grateful!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday's Makeup Tip!

Here’s a tip from my recent Merry Notes newsletter:

Never pump the wand in your mascara.

Pumping the wand adds air to your mascara, creating an environment for bacteria to grow. Instead, brush the wand around the inside of your mascara tube and gently pull it out. Then apply mascara and enjoy your finished look!

Play it safe and don’t share your mascara…and replace it every three to five months. Check out Mary Kay’s best-selling Ultimate Mascara (in black or brown/black) on my personal Mary Kay website: We also offer Waterproof Mascara and Lash Lengthening Mascara, Eyeliners, Brow Definer Pencils and Brow Gel, plus over 30 shades of Mineral Eye Color!

If you decide to purchase, place the code "a moment a day" in the comments box and receive 10% off your entire order.

Have a great "makeup" day!

Monday, September 27, 2010


My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me

I let Him choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He worketh sorrow
and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside. 

Not till the loom is silent,
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas,
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads were as needful
In the weaver's skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver,
In the pattern He had planned.

~Author Unknown

Today I walk in confidence knowing that one day I'll understand.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"You can do it!"

On Friday and Saturday, I attended a Mary Kay seminar in Bay City, MI. So it's appropriate to pass along some of the inspiration and motivation I received from this fabulous event.

One of the ways we were encouraged was in being reminded of what Mary Kay Ash, Mary Kay's founder, would say to the women who came to her for mentoring and advice. She would take their hands in hers, look them directly in the eye, and say, "I don't know how, but if you want to do this badly enough, you'll figure it out. I know you can do it!"

What amazing words! "You'll figure it out" spoke volumes to women, empowering them to make their own good decisions based on someone else's confidence in them to do so.

She wrote in her book, Miracles Happen: The Life and Timeless Principles of the Founder of Mary Kay Inc., that when she was only seven years old, the task of taking care of her invalid father while her mother worked outside the home fell on her small shoulders. One of her greatest challenges was preparing meals. She often would phone her mother to find out what to do. Whenever Mary Kay's mother gave her instructions, she always added, "Honey, you can do it."

Mary Kay passed along those encouraging words to the women she brought up in her business. "You can do it," she told them. I have only begun my Mary Kay business, so I was not able to meet this business legend who died in November 2001. But I am being mentored by women who did know her, women who were told by Mary Kay to "Pass it on!" And, truly, they are passing on her words of encouragement regularly, through email communications, seminars and retreats, weekly training meetings and so much more. There's a slogan in this company that says "Independent Mary Kay Consultants are in business for themselves, but they are never by themselves."

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you starting a new business like I am? Are you trying to make a decision on whether or not to move to a new locale, start a new school, leave a good-paying job to work at something you really enjoy? If you're hearing words from others that are less than encouraging, may I pass along to you the words of Mary Kay Ash:

"I don't know how, but if you want to do this badly enough, you'll figure it out. I know you can do it!"

You really can!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My love affair with words...

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

My love affair with words began many years ago when I sat nestled beside my father on the sofa, watching attentively as he worked the evening newspaper’s crossword puzzle. From time to time he’d ask my advice, as if a 5-year-old had much to offer in the way of the English vocabulary. But with enough hints, I’d guess a few words.

In addition, my daddy made speeches at his weekly labor union meetings. Occasionally, he would take me with him, where I admired him from afar as he voiced his concerns for his fellow workers. Of course, I understood little of what he was saying, but I was so proud.

Preparing for his talks, Daddy literally read the dictionary, noting words he was not familiar with. To include me in the process, he marked words with a dot and then had me list them in the little spiral notebook he carried around in his shirt pocket for easy reference.

In school, English and writing were two of my favorite subjects. I competed in spelling bees in elementary school and enjoyed writing term papers in later years. I loved reading everything from my grandmothers’ worn Bible to my mother’s recipe books, my 10-cent comic books and my coveted Nancy Drew mysteries.

Careerwise, for over 30 years, I worked with words, writing, editing, producing books, managing a daily newspaper and coaching writers. And I loved every minute of it.

Daddy’s not around any longer; cancer took him at an early age. But I think he’d be proud of his daughter. I know he’d enjoy seeing some of the fruits of his labor. When he didn’t even know what he was doing, he was training up his child in the way she should go and I still have not departed from it.

Thank you, Daddy!

(A version of this devotion first appeared in Proverbs for Busy Women: Devotions to Refresh You in Your Work, edited by yours truly, published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, 1995.)