The Faithful Friend of a Goose

Once again, Mother Goose must honk the praises of a very fine feathered friend. Michelle has been interested in me for such a long time — it’s almost scary to think about the years that have passed! When our middle children (Ben and Ellie) still had their long curly blonde baby hair, Michelle and I became BFF’s, and that was long before BFF’s were as common as they are nowadays.

Michelle and Mother Goose

She’s an incredible woman (as are all of the people who would consider a lifelong commitment to a goose), and she’s precious in so many ways. Let me count the ways right now, whilst I’m thinking of them:

1. Michelle is kind and thoughtful. She has helped me to pack up my kitchen more than once when I was moving. She has brought our family more meals than I can count and baked us more muffins than there are stars in the heavens. She writes me letters and sends them through the mail. She always remembers to ask about each of my goslings even though they are numerous.

2. Michelle is faithful. I know that Michelle is praying for Mother Goose. Perhaps she has even prayed life into me when I was feeling as droopy as a ragdoll. Her conversational prayers are not showy and all high-falutin’ and fancy like some churchy people — she talks to God wherever she is. She knows that He’s there too so we might as well talk to Him. Her husband was unemployed for more than a year, and Michelle never stopped believing that he’d get called back to his airplane mechanic job at United Airlines. Guess what? That’s where he is now!

3. Michelle is generous. Whenever I visit her, she gives! She gives hugs like they are going out of style. She gives whatever’s in her fridge or pantry. She gives little scraps of wisdom that she finds and saves just for me. She gives blankets, Fisher-Price kitchen sets, smiles and heart-to-hearts.

4. Michelle is brave. For as long as I’ve known her, Michelle has had ongoing troubles with bipolar disorder and needs to take various medications to stay stable. And like Mother Goose, she has a multiple sclerosis diagnosis on a medical chart somewhere in some neurologist’s office. Her migraine headaches are relentless in their attack, and sometimes her hands tremble. But does she ever complain about these ailments? No. Never. Not once. She takes it all in stride, trusting that tomorrow will be better.

If Mother Goose was to identify Michelle as a certain type of bird, I would call her a Purple Finch. She’s lovely and sociable with such a pretty song to sing. When we were neighbors in Carol Stream, I would enjoy hours of listening pleasure with the finches AND with Michelle. I pray all sorts of blessings on her today and everyday!

My finch of a friend, Michelle.

The Heartfelt Plea of a Goose

This past month you may have read some of Mother Goose’s stories about sponsoring children through a great organization, Compassion International. A few thousand of us who sponsor these kiddos have been celebrating Blog Month and spreading the good news that sponsoring a child somewhere around the world can release them from the cruel bonds of poverty and open their precious hearts and minds to the potential that is within them. By writing letters and committing a tiny portion of our incomes to these little ones, the world brightens and hope returns and the love of Christ goes abroad into their hearts and the hearts of their families.

Our final assignment for this month-long event is to write a letter from the point of view of one of these sponsored children. Please enjoy this bit of sweetness with your toast and tea this morning:

“Greetings in the Jesus name from your sponsored girl in India! This is Benny K. and I want to say “thank you” to you, my auntie in the U.S. for believing in me. I remember when my father died two years ago, my mother and I cried for days and days because we didn’t know how we would be able to survive without his love and protection.

In my country, women and children, especially little girl children, are not very important to the society. In fact, many families quietly let little girl babies die because they have very little value and they cannot afford a dowry to give to their future husbands. It is a sad thing to be widowed and alone in the world.

Thankfully, my mother has great skill as a tailor. She sews pretty garments for our neighbors and community, and people are very glad to pay her for her work. But it is difficult work. She often gets shocks from the electric sewing machine. Yet, my mother is kind and loving to me, and also my grandmother.

Now that I am a part of the Compassion project, I receive meals and medical care at the center. They teach me many things about God and His great love. I am also learning in my school and I try very hard to get good grades in my classes. I have many friends and we play together with our dolls and also soccer when we are at the program center. I know that my mother and grandmother love me, but I also know that God loves me and that you love me too.

I have hope and happiness about my future.

Thank you very much for your letters and pictures. Thank you for your prayers for me and my family. Please remember that I am also praying for you everyday.

By Benny K. your kid in India”

Mother Goose has a heart full of faith that many children around the world are going to be blessed by the generous and loving readers of this blog. May your world be full of sunshine and love today.

A Family Reunited

Families are very special. They come together through the marriage of two young loves, they grow and change, they drift apart and then come running back together. Recently we had the great joy of attending two family reunions in one weekend. On Saturday, we caught up with the maternal side of Husband Goose’s family. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to prove it….But the good news is that they get together every year at this time, and so we will be seeing them again in less than twelve months.

The very next day we were reunited with the paternal side of Husband Goose’s family. Again, a wonderfully fun time and especially special because these cousins haven’t had a reunion in more than ten years! You might be able to spot Mother Goose in this picture as she looks completely different from the rest of the family.

The Cramers

Another reason I post this story today is to ask for your prayers for Aunt Charlotte, the beautiful 70-something lady in the center of the picture. Since this picture was taken ten days ago, Aunt Char has been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of thyroid cancer.

Aunt Char is on the left, and sister Suzanne is on the right. Suzanne was the flower girl for Aunt Charlotte’s wedding fifty three years ago. They are both still as beautiful as on that day long ago.

Friends, we are praying for a miracle. This is looking very serious from any sort of a treatment standpoint. We just really need a miracle for Aunt Char and the family. Will you please pray with us?

With love, Mother Goose

Mother Goose Writes a Letter to God

Dear God,

Can you hear me now? Are you there?

I know you’re there, of course. You promised that you’d always be there. You’re always with me, and you know my thoughts before they come out of my mouth or across my laptop screen. Our connection is so much more secure and reliable than my cell phone or my internet.

So, yes, you’re there.

But do you care?

You say you care. The Bible says all over the place that you love me, yes even me…

But, God, don’t you care about children around the world who don’t even have their basic needs of life met on a regular basis? What about kids who don’t have clean water, or nutritious meals or opportunities for education? What about little kids who live on the dumps of Ecuador or in the slums of Mumbai or on the hungry plains of Uganda?

God, don’t you care?

Yes, I know you care. You care a whole lot more than I do. You watch over the little ones day and night — you never leave their side. No matter what they have to endure in their worlds, You are always caring for them and protecting them.

Each child born into this world is a new bundle of hope. Babies and children are symbols to the world that life is going on — that love and genetics have produced another spark of miracle life once again — hope endures for another generation.

But the grind of poverty in a child’s life can extinguish that bit of hope.

Poverty tells a child that they are not important — not to anyone in this world and not to You, God.

Poverty lies to these precious and impressionable children, telling them that they are just another mouth to feed.

Poverty deceives these little ones into thinking that they are no better than the dirty dress they wear or the broken shoe on their filthy foot.

God, I know that I cannot erase poverty in this world. I’m just a goose — how can I change the world? This world is riddled with crime and disease and evil and poverty. God, the problems of this world are simply too complex for me to fix. I can’t make it all go away, and I’m sure you don’t expect me to try, do you?

Nope, you don’t, right?

Right, God?

/

You can click here to see other kiddos who need a sponsor. (Or you can just go check your email now or click over to some other website, and forget all about their poor faces and their poor places…)

But Mother Goose knows that she can make a difference. I have discovered first-hand, or first-wing, that sponsoring a child with Compassion International can change THEIR world. Suddenly, somebody outside their immediate family thinks that they are special! Suddenly, they matter! Suddenly, they have an importance!

And here is the bottom line: they didn’t have to do a thing to earn it. It’s all grace (oops, just like our salvation!). There’s nothing they can do to win it, deserve it or improve on it. It’s just a love-gift to a needy little person.

When they get a sponsor, their future immediately changes. My little girl in India actually jumped up and down when I sent her a picture of my daughter, AnnaRose. Now that little bit of hope within the heart of every child gets a little puff of love and blazes into real anticipation and expectation of good things.

Faith grows within the heart of a sponsored child. Mother Goose knows, because she’s seen it happen in the lives of three Compassion children already.

Oh, and God, are you still there? Could you please help the children that I personally hatched from eggs to get along with each other today? Thank you for loving them and me…

My Friend, My Hero, Kim

Mother Goose has a very dear friend and her name is Kim. The first thing I want to tell you about Kim is this: she’s wife to Gerry (who works two jobs to support their family) and mom to four really great kids.

Kim has homeschooled their oldest, Theresa, for the past seven years. Theresa will be graduating from high school this spring, and will continue her studies in music composition and performance when she gets to college in the fall. She’s an all-state calibre flutist!

Kim also has three sons, Emmanuel, Nathaniel and Samuel. Nathaniel was diagnosed with autism shortly after entering public school six years ago. Emmanuel is a musician like his sister. Sammy will start kindergarten in the fall. They also have two miniature greyhounds, Daisy and Luigi.

Kim is a home remodeler, a virtuoso gardener and has spent thousands of hours taxiing her kids to music lessons and performances. Of course, she covers the basics (cooking, cleaning and laundering) very well — her home is comfortable and so charming.

Kim is a cancer survivor.

Kim was quite sick when she was pregnant with Sammy, much more sick than she had been with any of her other pregnancies. After he was born, Kim was still sick with various illnesses — her immune system seemed to have disappeared completely. They visited the doctor’s office frequently, but it took several months for the doctors to diagnose her with AML — acute myelogenous leukemia. She received numerous blood transfusions, underwent all the usual and horrible cancer therapies (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) and then finally in November of 2008, a bone marrow transplant.

Kim was hospitalized for weeks at a time while she fought against the cancer. Her kids were cared for by loving family and friends, and her husband drove back and forth (round trip of nearly 80 miles) from their home in Glendale Heights to the University of Chicago medical center to spend as much time as he could with Kim.

During this crisis in their family, Kim continued to write up lesson plans for Theresa and monitor the other children’s progress at school. Of course, she agonized about the family’s well-being, especially baby Sammy. She was absent from her family for nearly three months — allowed only the occasional short visit home and then back in the hospital for more treatments and preparations for the transplant.

During these times, Kim and I would talk on the phone. We’d cry together and pray together — we’d ask the Lord for strength and healing for Kim and for comfort and hope for Gerry and the kids, and wisdom for the doctors and compassion for the nurses. We talked on and on about these unbelievable challenges in her life, and so many times we asked “Why?”

I never gave up on her — even when she was at her lowest point and wanted to just give up, I would tell her “it’s going to be OK” because what else would a friend say, right?

I’m so grateful to report that these days, Kim is active and healthy again. Her body accepted the donated bone marrow, and she’s strong and busy with life. Sometimes she feels like she catches every virus that comes in the house, and the secondary infections that come from taking antibiotics, but SHE’S ALIVE and SHE’S WELL and she’s with her precious family and friends.

Mostly Mother Goose wants you to know that Kim’s faith in God has completely inspired Mother Goose. When I find myself in discouraging and troubling situations (and as a goose, this does happen to me), I know that Kim will still love me and listen to my stuff. She is full of Jesus and generously shares His love. Honk honk! A round of applause for my friend and hero, Kim! Join Mother Goose and flap your wings and stomp your old webbed feet in her honor and support today!

She's one of the most beautiful women I know.

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 63,068 honks to date

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