Grandson, Summer {a #poem}


The raspberries–your favorite–ripened after

You’d gone, the sun’s August denouement

Leaving a subtle ruby postscript like pendants

Suspended on green-edged strands.

Gentle tugs released the jewels between

My fingers then traveled to my mouth.

They were (almost) sweet and needed

More time for sugaring. Had you been here

To share the waning warm days’ treasure

I could have held you, too, before you

Grew into full fledged bloom, walking into

The world seeking your own fruited fortune.

The Sound of Musing

A thousand years ago when my children were growing up, their grandparents spoiled them by letting them stay up as late as they wanted when they went to visit their home in Southern California.  

And when they stayed up late it was usually to watch ‘The Kids’….my children’s name for “The Sound of Music.” (Well, wouldn’t you call it that? After all, a captain with seven children…).

When Grandma and Grandpa sold their home and began to travel in their motorhome, they equipped it with a TV and a VCR to watch movies on VHS (you can Google it). They’d park in front of our house in Fresno for a two week visit and invite my son and daughter to come watch a movie.  Out the back door, across the lawn and into Grandma and Grandpa’s trailer….and their own private movie land.  There was The Sound of Music’ in all its glory–they never tired of watching it.

I was enraptured with ‘The Sound of Music’ from the first time I saw the film. I drove my siblings crazy singing along with the movie (as the oldest of 5 children, I felt like a governess myself sometimes.)  That love of song and dance on stage and in films is something I passed on to my children and now it’s been passed on to my grandchildren. Apparently, they waited in great anticipation of last week’s history-making television event, complete with costume-making of their own.
We all enjoyed it thoroughly, my daughter and daughter-in-law and I all chatting via Facebook during the commercials. (Then I HAD to stop so I could focus. People were singing, for Heaven’s sake….I couldn’t be distracted.)  

Image result for carrie underwood in the sound of music

Although I didn’t weigh in with the 4, 7 and 11 year olds, among the grown-ups in our family, I don’t think anyone was disappointed.  I cried when Audra MacDonald (also from Fresno) sang ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’. How could you not? I smiled out loud when they children sang ‘So Long, Farewell’ at their father’s party.  The nuns sounded heavenly, Uncle Max was a delight….I could go on and on.  
I knew the scenes weren’t ‘real’, changed with lowering or raising of a backdrop–from Abbey to mountains and back again–no matter.  The magic was still there, if you were looking for it.

Did I expect it to be like the original? Absolutely not–there is only one Julie Andrews.

But this wasn’t an attempt to copy or recreate anything–it was a fresh, new joyous experiment in television, and I think it worked. Say what you will about Carrie Underwood’s acting chops, the girl can SING. And, more importantly, she is the definition of brave–musical numbers in high heels up and down stairs (twice) with small children and well, high heels.

LIVE.  In front of 18 million people.

Talk about being out of breath.
Talk about the pressure to be amazing.
Talk about the pressure to measure up.

Apparently Carrie Underwood didn’t care about any of that. I can only guess she tackled this once in a lifetime adventure because it looked like loads of fun and might just be what America needed–wholesome singing, dancing TV fare for the whole family.
And why not?

There were doubters and critics (whom she said would be in her prayers) but I’m guessing her priorities are elsewhere–maybe to just use her gifts to bless other people and make Jesus look good? Without caring what anyone thought?

Just for the joy of it? 

Gosh, I’d like to be like that–sold out to joy to make Jesus look good.

I’m thinking people could use a good dose of that this Christmas season–
how about you?

Summer Snapshot-A Photo Essay

I’ve not been very up close and personal with the family scrapbook-like sharing here in this space.  But since Jennifer Finding Heaven Ferguson asked……well, here’s how I was refreshed last weekend.  And praise Jesus it came just in the nick of time–it’s been a challenging summer.

Forthwith The Collins Family Swimming and Burger King Adventure
(with a little Julie Andrews thrown in at the end…you’ll see what I mean.)
Crazy Grandpa (my husband Bill) with youngest grandson Luke.
Hanan (too cool for school) in front. Abi to the left is a floating fish.
My son Aaron is behind him with Peter in the air,
and Courtney is trying to convince Paul it’s okay to be in the water.
Heathman Lodge in Vancouver WA.
We love the Heathman!
Luke Ezra–2 in October
Hanging out at Burger King with Nana
Son Aaron and wife Courtney
The Stately King and Queen of Burger Kingia
“This is my cute swimming face, Nana.”
Abigail–almost 6.
Hanan adjusts his mask.
Pauly 4 in October.
MUCH happier OUT of the pool.
My son with his Garden Manager tan.
Adorable Abi and Paul at church.
Peter has freckles just like his Grandpa
We are richly blessed!

Watching Hanan See the World {a #poem}

Grandson Hanan Samuel Collins, 3 ish (2006)














Spider, bug,

Ant and bee

In my garden,

At my knee.

Provide a show

For this young one,

Eyes tuned tight

In midday sun.

He alone can see them move

We pass so fast his dawdling proves

Were we more still

We’d find delight

In this wee world

Through child’s sight.

Just a simple poem for my first grandson. Children delight in the simplest things.

Names Matter

 Goodnight Moon   -              By: Margaret Wise Brown                   Illustrated By: Clement Hurd
“Nana, do you have any kids?”

I am wedged on the couch between Abigail, 4 1/2 and Paul Silas, 2 1/2.
We are reading a bedtime story. ‘Goodnight Moon’, no doubt; it is always ‘Goodnight Moon.’

“Well, Abi, I have two kids. One is your Auntie Leah and the other is your Papa.”

“Oh.” (Maybe she wanted to know if there was anyone else in the house to play with besides her Grandpa and I…)

I could tell by the sound of her voice  she had absolutely no idea what I just said.
Paul, of course, was oblivious; he is after all, only 2-ish.

(l to r) Hanan, Peter, Abigail and Paul

My son Aaron will be 36 today.  He actually has 5 children (four of whom are pictured above.)
When I was pregnant with him back in the day, ultrasounds were unheard of and doctors only ordered them if complications were suspected.  So knowing a baby’s sex ahead of time was out of the question.
At any rate, we were hoping for a boy–I wanted to name him after my husband’s father Paul.  So when he was born it was ‘Aaron Paul.’
I don’t recall that I spent any amount of time seeking God in fervent prayer about it.
It just came to me. (or so I thought).

Three years later we were blessed with a girl.  While I was pregnant, the name ‘Leah Michelle’ just sort of dropped into my heart. There was no ‘thus saith the Lord about it’; I just liked the way the names went together.

Aaron, Leah and their father, comparing Smartphones

As I watch the way my children have grown into their names to become who they are it is astonishing to me. Even though we weren’t intently purposeful about the process it is clear God had them in mind long before we ever did. Both of them match their biblical counterparts perfectly.

Aaron and his lovely wife Courtney’s 5 children are, in birth order: 
Hanan–from the Hebrew ‘to entreat grace’. Hanan was one of David’s mighty men.
                  (yep, that’s Hanan. 9 1/2 years old.  Gracious and strong)
Peter–the Rock.  Stubborn, impulsive, strong.  (You remember Peter?)
                  (Fits this Peter to a ‘T.’)
Abigail–‘the Father’s joy’ from the Hebrew (and she is!)
               Her middle name is Sophia–(Greek)’wisdom’.  She is very smart….truly.
Paul–from the Greek ‘Lucanus’–‘little’. Small but mighty, like the Apostle Paul.
                   (well, he is now. He is also a clown and a charmer and wonderful with   
                   strangers…yes, that sounds like a Paul to me.)
Luke….well, Luke is only 10 months old, so time will tell how he grows into his name.
My concordance says, ‘Greek, a Christian.’ Luke’s middle name is Ezra, for the prophet who encouraged the Jewish people to return to God. Yes God, may it be so of this Luke Ezra.

So–named on purpose, becoming who they are, who the Father had in mind.  I can see God’s hand on my grandchildren, my children and even on me.

My given name is Joanna.  Growing up it was my ‘in trouble’ name–“Joanna Lee!”–as I recall.

Abigail and Paul ‘dancing’ with their Nana and Grandpa

I was never able to ask my mother who I was named after; she died when I was young and raising my own children.  She lived 5 hours away and my conversations with her were few and far between.

I became a Christian when I was 19 and it wasn’t until I was forty years old and my mother had been gone several years that I saw my name in the Bible. I was reading the book of Luke and there it was. Twice.

Joanna ‘Whom Jehovah has graciously given.’ The wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 8:3). She was one of the women who ministered to our Lord, and to whom he appeared after his resurrection Luke 24:10).

I was amazed.  Joanna was one of Jesus’ followers.  So was I.

After all these years it was clear God had His hand on me from the very beginning, naming me even though my own mother didn’t know why. 

He knew me from the start, knew I would be one of His kids.

I’m so glad I heard Him calling my name.

The Song of Your Life

Son Aaron at the piano with his firstborn, Hanan, 1 year old, 2004

Maybe you have a Life Verse, one Scripture that encapsulates your identity, from God’s voice to your ears. Mine is Psalm 45:1, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer…), but what would be your song?

When the service begins to celebrate your passing (which I am not doing any time soon, just for the record) will they know what to play?
I’ve been considering this question more and more lately, as I approach my ‘twilight’ years.
Without sounding a little weird, I think it’s wise to have something written down ahead of time so there are some directions and you have a little say-so in how things are done when it comes time to mark the end of your life.

Choosing The Song….the stand on your feet at the end of the service song–is practically impossible for me–way too many choices. I’d want to fit a few favorites in somewhere in the requisite slide show–surely a Broadway tune or two, maybe some James Taylor, Josh Groban…well, I’m getting ahead of myself.  WAY ahead of myself.

Anyway, for the final song, I think I have it decided.
The other night as I was listening to a recording of the Odes of Solomon (produced by Andrew Schreiner), the familiar notes on the piano began the piece I love the most–‘Sing Allelu’ (Ode 40) sung by Fernando Ortega.**

I had to get up from my work, throw my arms in the air and sing…it’s one of those ‘stand on your feet’ kind of songs.

Planning ahead, I pictured my going home service–how would this ‘Sing Allelu’ be delivered?   Would it be during a stirring video with amazing photos and the accompanying song?  Or someone singing live? 

And instantly I saw plain as day, my son sitting at the piano, as he has been doing since he was 8 years old, encouraging everyone to rise to their feet and join in the worship.

People would be moved, my grandchildren (maybe my greats??) would hear what their Nana loved more than anything, there would be tears, there would be joy and most of all my Jesus would be lifted up.
It’s amazing what one piece of music can do for your soul.

Just for fun, if you could plan ahead, what would be the song(s) of your life that celebrated what you loved the most?
What do you want people to remember you by and why?

Leave a note in the Comments.

**turn up your volume, take 5 minutes–pure worship

Neat Little Package{a #poem}

I wrote this poem on the January day in 2003 when my first grandson, Hanan Samuel, was born. 
This week he turned 9….I wanted to share this to honor him.

Your birth today unequivocally proved

that science still can do nothing

at explaining the miraculous.

The day you came into the world

the university physicists claimed to

be pursuing an explanation of gravity.

an unseen force, it defies definition actually

They lamented that “it can’t exactly be pinned down” and

“doesn’t act in a way that science can explain.

It has been said that “nothing important is completely explicable.**”

Indeed, your miraculous birth cannot be explained apart from God,

your creation cannot be contained.

Though swaddled tightly now,

you will not be confined to a neat little package.

Your long, wiggling fingers will noodle on a keyboard some day,

Your legs will flail in the ocean waves,

Your daddy-sized feet will carry you into the unknown,

You will fall, you will climb, you will think and create.

We will sit back and watch, observe and record

As you unfold from this neat little package.

Hanan Samuel Collins, Age 8
Multnomah Falls, OR
**Madeline L’Engle