Saturday, October 10, 2015

All Too Soon the Clock Will Strike Midnight

Today is the day!

Our youngest daughter is on her way to a pumpkin patch in Doylestown ( None-Such-Farm) and her prince charming plans to get down on one knee and ask her to spend the rest of her life with him as his wife.

In 2013 Alyssa's life seemed to be transforming. God was pulling all the debris that was hindering her in her path out of the way.  And He began to show her the desires of her heart. She was in nursing school was getting excited about her future.  She started weeding out the people in her life that were tearing her down. And in place God was filling her life with people that wanted the best for her.  People who she thought were important became less important.  And others became a rock for her.  

 In April of that year I saw something remarkable in her smile.  Something I hadn't seen on her face in a few years.  Joy! Her eyes were gleaming and when she walked into the room she was glowing.  If you looked into her eyes you could see something was different. The month prior a young man, by the name of Michael, entered the scene.  It was his smile and polite nature that captured the heart of our youngest daughter. I remember the morning after they had locked eyes for the first time.  She was trying to be cool, calm and collected.  She had been on the phone with her girlfriend and I popped my head into her room to hear about her latest adventure with her friends.  As I sat on her bed she began to share with me the events of the night before. She wasn't going to go out but her friend convinced her to meet up for at little.  So she reluctantly went.  She walked in and in an instant started having conversation with her friend's friend Michael.  She gleamed as she continued to share how they talked all night.  During their conversation she found out that he was a little reluctant to go out that night as well.  They exchanged numbers.  And now she laid on her bed waiting and hoping that this guy would call or text her.  And he did!

In the weeks that followed every time she would talk about him I could see her heart grow.  In my head, and sometimes out loud, I caught myself singing the song from Cinderella, "so this is love", every time she entered the room. There were times she would come home and lay to the floor and talk about how wonderful Michael was.  And that she could't even find the words to explain the feelings she was feeling.  I said, "This is love.".  She replied, "It's too soon to be in love."  Oh want a silly girl.

Over the past few years we have watched the two of them grow together as a couple.  And on Friday, September 18th, at a little restaurant in Manayunk, Michael asked Greg and me for our daughters hand in marriage.  His words brought tears to my eyes as he expressed his love for Alyssa and how he wanted to be a part of our family.  We expressed that we knew from the beginning that God's hand was in their meeting.  And emphatically we gave him our approval.  

And here I am now.  Sitting in the palm of God's hand once more.  But this time for a much different reason.  I am prayerfully sitting, or pacing, in a place where God gives me peace.  I know that this day is going to be one of the most wonderful days in Alyssa's life.  And that tomorrow she and Michael will begin to plan for their big debut as Mr. and Mrs.Visco.  And I pray that they will find comfort in knowing that they have a lot of support.  I also pray that God would give them wisdom as discernment as they have some big and some not so big decision making ahead of them.

 As this day has progressed a song keeps playing over and over in my head.  Steven Curtis Chapman's "Cinderella".  From the very first time I heard this song it made me think of my Dad and his great love for his children and grands. And I have to say that I am blessed to have married a man who has this same great love for his children and grands.  And I know that both of Alyssa's Dad's, Greg and Chris, and her Mom's, Denise and I, are all so proud of her. And we all love Michael too.  The last verse in the song is why it's been resounding in my head.  "But she came home today with a ring on her hand.  Just glowing and telling us all they had planned.  She says, "Dad, the weddings still six months away but I need to practice my dancing. Oh please Daddy please"  So, I'll dance with Cinderella while she is hear in my arm.  Cause I know something the prince never knew.  Oh I'll dance with Cinderella.  I don't want to miss even one song.  Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight.  And she'll be gone."  I am overjoyed, overwhelmed and filled with great anticipation because today is the day my Cinderella come home with a ring on her hand.  It's funny how Michael has so many qualities that remind me of my Dad, and also Greg and Chris.  Alyssa is truly going to be a blessed woman.

Still waiting with great anticipation for the call.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Out of The Blender. The Recipe of Our Life

In December of 2002 I was asked a very important question.  And I gave a life changing answer.  My life up until that point was much different. I was a single mom of three pretty spectacular children.  Two girls and one boy.  We were pretty comfortable being a quartet.  Life wasn't easy.  But we loved the silly adventures and lessons God blessed us with.  The four of us grew up together.  Daily we found ourselves seeking God's plan and provisions.  And my answer to the big question would turn this quartet into septet in June of 2003.

The months leading up to our big day were packed with emotions.  Some good and some not so good.  There were moments of excitement and moments of reluctance.  We were about to pour the ingredients of two very different meals into one blender and create a new recipe for our lives. My children and I started packing up our ingredients. While Greg's girls tried to make room.  We brought some boxes over to our future home a little at a time.  And it was becoming clear that some of our ingredients were leaving a bitter aroma in the home that was, up until now, occupied by a trio.  We hadn't even unpacked the boxes and there was a small chemical reaction.  It seemed that my future daughters and my youngest daughter were not to excited about the prospect of the blender. But this would take time.  And I prayed that God would give me the wisdom to know how much of each ingredient to add.  And the right time to add them.

All of the children were involved in the meal planning from the beginning.  My husband and I thought that it was important that they had a hand in preparing the feast.  On the surface they all seemed to want to be involved.  But initially, deep in their core, some of the kids had no desire to partake in the recipes end result.  And at times added a bit too much salt.  Making it a very difficult meal to eat.

The blending day arrived.  And when I look back at the pictures it is evident who had joyful savory ingredients and who had a brackish but bitter-sweet element in their hearts that first day. We celebrated our union with family and friends. We danced, ate and had a fun day.  Afterwards the kids went to stay with their other parents for a week while Greg and I went on our honeymoon.  And one week later the quartet moved into the trios home.  Greg and I tried our best to make the septet sing in harmony.  It wasn't very melodious.  Tension began to grow as we dumped ourselves and pushed the children (some needed a gentle push and others a bit of a heave ho) into the blender. We hit the button and hoped for the best.

Our initial recipe was awful.  There was a lot of crying and frustration.  It just had a very astringent flavor. And the ingredients began to separate the instant the blades stopped blending.   Something was wrong.  An ingredient was missing.  You see we forgot to add the most important ingredient of all.  God wasn't invited into the blender.  So, there we were.  Five very traumatized children. And two heartbroken parents.  We wanted so desperately for our children to want to be a part of this, the recipe of our life.  We knew it was going to take a lot to convince them to willfully go back into the blender. I remember praying every morning and night that my "family" would come together. I am still, to this very day, praying this very same prayer.  Being a family takes a lot of work and perseverance.  God has been faithful in bringing healing and restoration to my septet.  We have all been wounded by the blades and each other.  But one thing I know for sure is that we wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for some of our disastrous first experimental recipes.

Recently, the Lord placed on my heart that it was time for me to share the blender recipes from O. Court with my community.  In this day in age there seems to be a lot of blended or not so blended families out there.  And I pray that over the next few weeks/months.  That my septets recipes help you in your journey in becoming a well balanced blended family.  I am not sure exactly how God wants me to share.  But I know that He will provide the time and the place. Please pray for me as I will put my family and myself out there and invite you into our hearts.  I hope you enjoy the stories about the meals that came out of our blender. The recipes of our life.