Mother Goose Prays

For the past twenty-five years, I’ve been Mother Goose to six beautiful children of my very own. Together, they constitute my largest reservoir of smiles. When I’m having a day that isn’t going according to my own personal expectations, I look at one or more of these young ones and suddenly nothing else matters except that I connect and love on my babies.

That’s when the smile of Mother Goose stretches wide and her eyes crinkle up with mirth. The first sign of my laugh lines began when my firstborn looked into my eyes — the laugh lines just get deeper everyday. Do you have laugh lines? Those curves in the skin of your face that miraculously connect the corners of your nose with the space on either side of your mouth? Do you hide them? Do you call them wrinkles? Mother Goose wears them as proudly as a medal of honor.

My puny words cannot express enough of my heartbreak for the moms and dads whose laugh lines are shadowed now by their tears and their sorrow and their loss.

My heart breaks these days as I consider what so many dear families are facing now after madmen stole away the lives of their babies. There is no evil as black as that which blasts away at innocent little children. There is no pain as deep as losing a child — nothing compares.

And the media will buzz for days about what should be done, and what can we do to prevent this from happening, and the politics of gun control will shout back and forth. And then life will get back to normal for most of us, and we’ll remember … but mostly we’ll just want to forget.

I beg you, do not forget. Use the tears, the pain, the grief, the images and the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness to motivate you. Each of us in our own way, in our own worlds, in our various circles can instigate change. Some of us in small ways, some of us in large ways — but all change is important and necessary to make this world a safer and better place for our children.

Mother Goose prays. Every morning before I turn on my typewriter, I spend time with the Lord. We go over the day a little bit, but mostly He listens to my concerns, my fears, my challenges, my complaints. Then He takes me by the hand, and we proceed to travel through the day together.

This morning I sent out an email to the mothers of children in my daughter’s fourth grade class — it was an invitation to come to the home of Mother Goose to pray on Monday morning. Being together, nothing fancy or formal — just praying for our precious ones and the families of the fallen across our country, but especially in Portland and Newtown.

In the world’s broad scope, maybe a few moms sitting around a table praying doesn’t sound like a solution to a horrible problem. Mother Goose believes that it’s the best thing to do right now. Wherever you are on Monday at 9:00 a.m., please feel free to join us. There is power in prayer.

There will be hero stories that come out of this tragedy, there will be stories of hope and stories of great love. Watch for them and cling to them. Love is the great conqueror. In this strange and scary story of life, Love wins.

bible-by-candlelight

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…

Green Hope

Mother Goose is celebrating Spring and all things green and pink. These pretty pictures were all taken in my yard, and it’s a real blessing to share them with you.

Bleeding hearts seem to come up overnight like mushrooms!

I love the two-toned beauty of our Plum Tree.

Our Weeping Crab tree has tiny white blossoms.

Peonies and Sedum are on their way.

New leaves on the grapevine. Who could ever forget the failed jelly of Mother Goose last autumn?

My special Clematis which transplanted miraculously from Carol Stream in 2010 will bloom purple in a month.

The waxy and pink magnolia blooms are bigger than the rubbery foot of Mother Goose.

So much GREEN!

Mother Goose could expound on the beauties and miracles of springtime. I could talk for hours about hope and rebirth and all things pink and green. But I think the Scriptures say it best:

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” [from Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 15, The Message]

That’s a Blessing

So often Mother Goose goes along in her little world — taking the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, the sane with the mad, the depressing with the glad and the ridiculous along with the rad. I stay focused on the story, look for the rainbows and try to find the “happily ever after”. However, it has come to my attention that much of life is passing by without my conscious observation of blessings. I haven’t verbally addressed those blessings. I’ve kept my attitude of gratitude to myself.

What counts as a blessing? Well, of course, there’s the obvious: family and food, clothing and shelter, health and wealth, transportation and employment. Everybody counts those as blessings. Mostly everybody is thankful for these blessings. And Mother Goose is thankful for these blessings as well.

I just don’t say so. Not very often.

And then there are the “blessings in disguise”. The coincidence that ends up saving our lives. The injury or illness that gives us more compassion towards others who are suffering. The dreaded meeting that turns out to be so much fun. You know all about those incognito blessings. We are generally thankful for them also.

Do we say so? Do I say with my audible mouth “that’s a blessing”? Probably not enough.

And then there are the beatitudes in the Bible (Matthew 5:3-11). Those are the “way out there” blessings that we all want to be thankful for, but can hardly ever muster it. Jesus says that we are blessed (and we should be happy) about these things:

* Being poor in spirit
* Being in a state of mourning
* Being meek
* Hungering and thirsting for righteousness
* Being merciful to people
* Being pure in heart
* Being peacemakers
* Being persecuted for righteousness
* Being insulted and false accused

Those don’t sound like blessings, do they? Honk honk!

But here’s the deal, gentle reader. The Bible says that these things ARE blessings, and God’s word is truth. So for nearly twenty years, I have pondered this riddle of the beatitudes. I think I’ve found the answer…

Declare that these situations are blessings. With the words actually coming out of my mouth. Even if I don’t feel it. Even if I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy about the circumstances. Simply believe.

For the past two days, I have said “That’s a blessing” so many times, it’s almost ridiculous. When Mr. Mother Goose and I had a disagreement about who would drive the car, it took me almost thirty minutes to say it, but finally I thanked him for driving and told him that it was a blessing. When my children squabbled, I said “that’s a blessing” because at least they are communicating. When my two sailor sons left this morning to return to their base in South Carolina, I declared it a blessing because they are growing into fine and responsible young men. It’s only twenty degrees here in Oak Park today, but its a blessing because the sun was shining and at least it’s not below zero.

That’s a blessing.

Please read this quote from Chuck Swindoll. My dear sister-in-law, Suzanne, has this message near her kitchen sink — I think I need it near my kitchen sink, my bathroom mirror and tattooed on my feathery wing!

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education,than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people do. It is more important than appearence, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company..a church..a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past.. we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude..I am convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.”

It’s an attitude really. It’s taking the circumstances that I’ve been given, and seeing the blessing in them. AND saying it out loud for my ears to hear. Do you know how powerful that is? You really must try it. Practice by yourself first if that feels safer. Say it softly. But the more you declare the blessings, the more of them you will see. Trust the goose on this one, dear reader. And listen to this quote also:

“Every day I manifest My grace in countless places and situations, but the media take no notice. I shower not only blessings but also outright miracles on your planet.” (from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

And there’s a song on the radio too — my friend, Michelle, gave me a copy of the CD for Christmas. Here’s a youtube link if you want to listen to it.

And that’s a blessing. It really is a blessing.

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