Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Witnessing the Cycle of Life

She flew from Belize to Los Angeles, then on to Banning, CA. Her first-born son, our fifth great-grandchild, arrived by C-section on November 1, 2013.

I watched Benaiah's daddy as he observed the nurse check his new-born baby.  Benaiah was measured, bathed, weighed, given eye drops and shots.  His tiny naked form stretched out under a bright light. Sometimes he cried until quieted, as the nurse and his daddy spoke softly.

The nurse, who came out of retirement because she missed her babies, cradled  his tiny head in her capable hand while she turned on the faucet and shampooed his hair.  Then she took a fine-toothed comb, parted his hair and laid the swaddled form into his daddy's arms. 

The glass-viewing window could not hold back the sense of bonding and love I felt as Benaiah's daddy tenderly held him.

My mind flooded with 27-year-old memories of the first time I held his daddy.  The tiny bundle I once held, now cuddled his own son.  Here I stood, privileged to observe the on-going cycle of life. I wondered what was going through his head.  His life had changed dramatically: he'd watched a C-section performed on his wife, then he followed the nurse pushing his son on a baby gurney.

Benaiah spent the next weeks photographed, loved-on by grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and experienced his first Christmas in the States.  He returned back to Belize in January, to the jungle where his mommy and daddy serve at Machaca Outreach near Punta Gorda.

You will always be loved and prayed for, sweet Benaiah,  as we wait in the States for your next time home.

© 2014 by Marilyn J. Woody

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

© 2013 by Marilyn J. Woody

Read this morning:
On my bed I remember you;
  I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, 
  I will sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
  Your right hand upholds me.
              Psalm 63:6, 7, 8

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Katie, an Air Force nurse in Afghanistan, barely makes it home in time for her wedding in Tesas.

We were all counting the days before the June 16, 2013 wedding in San Antonio, TX.  It began to look like she might not be released in time.  Fortunately she had the venue, bridesmaids, and food arranged before she deployed  for her second term in Afghanistan. Oh yes, and she had a groom, Chuck.

Joy, joy, joy.  She arrived home 10 days before the wedding and two days earlier, Chuck graduated from flight school.

Chuck's family came from New York area and other places.  Katie had over 50 family and friends who came from California and Washington and far-flung spots.  Five girls she went through school with arrived from California.

Oh, and did I mention that many had prayed for Katie's safe return from Afghanistan and this special day?
Joy, joy, joy!

© 2013 by Marilyn J. Woody

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Big House in the Little Woods

© 2013 by Marilyn J. Woody

“I sure like our farm, Nana,” said my four-year-old great-granddaughter, Jen, as she placed another bulb in the moist soil. I stuck my shovel in the dirt, glancing at the large white house towering behind us. A farm? Not really, but a vegetable garden, assorted citrus and other fruit trees, giant oaks and two dogs met her storybook idea for one.

We live on a wooded hillside in South Pasadena, California, ten minutes from downtown Los Angeles. A Canadian lumber baron discovered the site in 1903, building a three-story house, separate maid’s quarters, a stable and tennis courts. As years passed, the property was sub-divided and sold. In its present state only the house and maid’s cottage remain on the two acres. Our two daughters and a son-in-law bought the place in partnership over twenty-five years ago. Now there are four generations living “on the hill.” We speak of the location this way because reaching the house requires heading up a long, narrow driveway, shaded by massive oaks.

 The Big House in the Little Woods bend, an alcove overflows with ferns, foxgloves, roses and delphiniums. A tall birdhouse greets visitors and a wrought-iron bench beckons those wanting to sit and enjoy the mountain view. Babytears and moss grow in the rock wall crevices.

“With four generations living so close, how do you get along so well?” people often ask. “We all love Jesus,” I tell them, “and pray for each other.” When our children moved to this home they dedicated it to the Lord and He helps us keep this commitment. We understand the wisdom of Psalm 127:1 which says, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it.'"

Students, missionaries and others needing a temporary place to stay are welcome. The big house is divided into three separate homes. Visitors usually stay in a cozy blue and white guestroom on the second floor with a view of the hillside path where coyotes follow a well-worn trail.

Terri, a teenage great-granddaughter said recently, “Please don’t ever sell this house, Nana. I want to be married here someday.” She knows the grand old home is where happy memories form.

It’s the gathering place for birthday parties, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. The garden alcove affords great hiding places for Easter egg hunts, and weddings and receptions are captured in lasting photos.

Two large porches wrap around the house giving ample space for outdoor eating in warm weather. A tree house, complete with swings and steps leading to a platform, is a great favorite. There the children play, nibble on snacks, read books on lazy summer afternoons or stage a puppet show for the adults.

From the tree house the children look down on a large fountain in the front yard. It’s a glorious place to cool off on hot summer days and rinse the Popsicle drippings from their elbows. The fountain is also occasionally used for small groups wishing to be baptized or as a spot for reflection.

Still, all of this does not explain the true essence of our home, for it has a special quality. It’s the “something” so many comment about as they experience love and tranquility on the hill. Where Jesus dwells in loving hearts, He brings peace to outsiders and insiders. The big house in the little woods offers this quiet serenity.

Irene Hikle Faubion was a published author of poems and short articles.  She was also an accomplished musician.  She and her husband, Wayne, served pastorates in four different states for almost forty years.  They left a legacy for two daughters, four grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My mother's journal

Written to my mother's grandson, Donald Burnett, when he was elementary-age.
"You were living in Oroville when I sent this bit of "whimsy" I had composed on our "day off."
We had visited the old mission at La Purisuma.  Later, while walking down a dusty road that beckoned us, the following lines popped into my head.
                                              Wind in my hair;
                                                Sun in my face;
                                                  Feet in the dust;
                                                    Mind out in space:
                                                      Strolling along
                                                        down an old dusty lane--
                                              Piecing together my memories again.

I must have shared it with Carol (her daughter) in my next letter and later learned you had taken it to school!  To you it was the most wonderful poem in the world, just because your grandmother had written it.  Oh, what small boys can do to a grandmother's ego.

© 2012 by Marilyn J. Woody

Friday, July 27, 2012

Legacy of a Newbie Blogger

The past few days I reread Lyn Cryderman's "Glory Land - A Memoir of a Lifetime in Church." He reminded me of the songs, the sermons, the flannelgraphs, the colored paper, and white paste of Sunday School. The tales he recounted as he traced his faith, took me back to my own journey in the church, one I hope to pass along to generations to come.