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You're A Good Good Father

Faith, FamilyDeane Watters2 Comments

Yesterday, the first Sunday in Advent, I felt especially thankful to have part of our family sitting with us in church.  As the worship team began to strum our next song and the lyrics went up on the screen, people started to sing and our little Lucy's eyes brightened up immediately. "We sing that song at our church!" she proclaimed as she started swaying and singing along.

You're a Good, Good Father.

It's who you are, It's who you are, It's who you are

And I'm loved by you.

It's who I am, It's who I am, It's who I am.

Her delight and my history collided in that moment and I felt the impact of God's work in my life.

My dad was a good enough man but he was not a great father to me.  It was a turning point in my healing to understand his humanity, his history. And because of him I absolutely LOVED the idea of God as Father...the only perfect Father. I have come to keep my eyes open for fathers who represent God well as dads to their children. I look around and I see guys who act lovingly toward their children, who teach carefully, who are patient and kind, who come home every night, who are available, good listeners, who accept their kids for who they are, who encourage and build them.

One father made a deep impact on me while in China. Brian and I along with Joel and Rachel were having a little picnic during one of our outings. Our grandchildren, two-year-old Lucy and one-year-old Charles, were hungry, tired and things seemed a bit stressed. At one point, Lucy reached down and found her hand full of dirt. Her eyes lit up and I saw her face brighten as she lifted her hand and proceeded to throw that fist-full straight at me. I don't think there was any malice in the act. She just decided that it was a good idea, something fun.

Now stop and think to yourself. What would most of us do? Our voices might rise a bit and the shaming words would just pop out so easily, "Lucy, you know better than that! We don't throw dirt! Say I'm sorry to Grandma!!"

But that is not what happened. Her daddy picked her up and explained to her that throwing dirt was not a good idea; her decision was a poor choice, a mistake, but it's OK to make mistakes, we just need to make them right. He held her close. He talked quietly. He told her he loved her. He waited for her. He told her again, "It's OK to make mistakes. We love you. But you need to make it right by saying I'm sorry to Grandma."

I could see her little eyes working, stubbornness hovering just an inch above all that love. Then, when the time seemed right, she decided, yes, "I'm sorry Grandma."

Relieved, I responded, "I forgive you, Lucy, Grandma loves you!" followed by a big hug and a kiss. All was forgiven. I never heard it brought up again. She had made it right and learned a few good lessons in the process.

That is what came to my mind as Lucy delighted in the recognition of You're a Good Good Father. 

As the Advent season starts I can't help but go back to this song and breathe in the truth of the goodness of God. Long before Jesus was born, God had the plan to send a Savior to Israel. In Isaiah he wrote: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

For this season we, of the Christian faith, will focus on Jesus. We will remember how a baby came to earth to save us from our sins. We will recall the story of his birth, his amazing life, death and resurrection as a triumph over sin and death. We'll hear it over and over in Christmas readings and carols, church services and in cards that have already started arriving.

But today I savor our good, good Father who had a plan and carried out his promise. He does not shame or call us to task for our humanity. He loves. He is patient. He made a way for Jesus to make it right. Our self-will hovers above and within us but he patiently waits for his goodness to be recognized and embraced, so that roots can form and a shoot of faith can grow up in our hearts. Wisdom and understanding form a deep-inside-knowing that we are loved and lovable.

That is what I call a good, good Father. 2016-01-18_0020

charles' first birthday

FamilyDeane Watters2 Comments

2015-05-16_0003Hand, hand, finger, thumb...Charles is turning one! Our family gathered in Pella to celebrate this, our newest and littlest member.2015-05-16_0004With freedom to dig into the cake, Charles showed hesitancy to get frosting on his fingers!2015-05-16_0005But Lucy knew exactly what to do! She skedaddled right up to claim the first piece! Savoring every bite, she slowly forked tiny pieces into her mouth.2015-05-16_00162015-05-16_0006 2015-05-16_00072015-05-16_0018 2015-05-16_0017 2015-05-16_0008 2015-05-16_0009A beautiful boy with his precious dad.

We love you, Charles! We look forward to gathering every May 8th to celebrate YOU!

 

 

your one word

Deane Watters3 Comments

April is right around the corner. Those of us who picked a word at the beginning of 2015 have lived with that word for three months now. I am doing a check up here. Are you still with it? Do you think about your word and try to integrate it into your life? How are you different today because of your chosen ONE?2015-03-30_0005 I found EMBRACE this year and my second, BRAVE, found me.

Gifting my family with words has become an annual affair: abide, nourish, breathe, (bless), enough, (love), treasure, tend and savor are this year's favored ones.

Other friends have picked words that encourage or remind them: fresh, hope, nourish, embrace, flourish, illuminate, grace, trust, renew, freedom and finish have found their way to desk tops, journals, in frames or on walls. All these words really fire me up! (Am I sappy or what??)

(What is your word? Can I add it here?)

I find it surprising when I come to a moment when I realize I can stop and EMBRACE something. Its like finding a puzzle piece as I focus my senses to experience life just a bit more fully. You know, things like hugging grandbabies, biting into an exceptionally delicious pizza, settling back into a really hot bath, getting my back scratched, standing shoulder to shoulder with Brian in church, finding a hand written note in my mail box, remembering my mom. These are all points in time to embrace by stopping to feel the feelings each moment offers.

But recently I ran smack dab, face first into something that I have no desire to embrace. Its not a bad thing, but I feel so sad about it. I know I have to open my arms and not cling to the old. I desire to welcome the new and all the possibilities it might bring our way.

But not before I cry. A lot. And grieve the loss of something delightful. . .  so I can give permission for that which, quite possibly, will be wonderful also, but in a different way. The word EMBRACE is helping me...oh yes, so is brave :)

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Have you had an experience with your word that you might like to share? Would you humor me or just help me out? I would love to read all about it!

Words! They offer us so much possibility for making our lives more delicious, discerning and wise.

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happy birthday mr. thirty-year-old

FamilyDeane Watters4 Comments

2015-03-12_0013Thirty years ago today, at 10:50 pm the world was given a gift like no other. He came in the form of a little white-haired, blue-eyed,  beautiful baby boy who we named Joel Chesley Watters. God breathed into this treasure a gentle and kind personality, a strong work ethic and a winning smile. Today I remember this son of ours. Happy Birthday, Joel!

You were the one sent to be our glorious "middle" child. The one who never tried to fix anyone but who always made an effort to get along with everyone. You made us laugh and asked us to throw that ball one-more-time as you sang and whistled with a bounce in every step. Climbing trees, huge rocks and walls gave you unique ways of exploring and experiencing "dangerous" wanderings. You were the one everyone liked; the one boy in the Sunday school class full of girls. The one who adored his big brother and played endlessly with his little sister. The one who smiled and cried exuberantly, who so wanted to get it right. The artist. The musician. The team mate. The good reliable friend. The runner. The prom date. The violin player. The one who listened and embraced. The one who put that angel on the Christmas tree - every year- while balancing on your dad's back. The one who cut open his chin on the air conditioner, and the first to get stitches while mom nearly passed out watching you. Your love of big old trees led to countless visits to Old Henry at the Indian Creek Nature Center and the pointing out of favorite oaks on every car ride anywhere. You are the one who ran beautifully, like the breeze, while fully embracing cross country running, teammates and great coaches.

Five years ago you picked a wife who is just right for you! You have become a real doctor, a carpenter,  builder, painter and restorer of an old house, antique lover, writer and book maker. You do laundry, cook, change diapers, read stories and wrestle, coming alongside Rachel to parent well. You come home happy, eager to play and make your children laugh. You take your faith seriously and truly want to be an honest follower of God. Aware of your own brokenness you strive to be real which makes you able to come alongside others. You enthusiastically play basketball, ultimate frisbee, flag and fantasy  football. You cross country ski, go biking and have plans to visit all the National Parks. Taking care of people in physical pain is your gig and with gentle firm hands you guide them to wholeness. Your insistence has led to many years of White-Watters' foot ball games during Thanksgiving weekend and your desire for family time has led to watching innumerable games while packed in our little TV room in our big old house.

While honoring and encouraging us as parents, you aren't afraid to let us know when we mess up. At the same time you are quick to forgive and to invite again. You and Rachel have given us two darling babies to love and embrace. Your love of home and family truly blesses us.

With open heart, a genuine desire, you are one to be respected.

God has been gracious to our family by planting you in our midst. We love and remain truly thankful for you in every way. May you feel celebrated today.

View More: http://hannahwhite.pass.us/lucy View More: http://hannahwhite.pass.us/lucy View More: http://hannahwhite.pass.us/lucy

(Thanks to Hannah White for photos.)