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The gift of time is the most valuable commodity that we have been given as human beings. It seems like only yesterday I was looking forward to my senior year of high school and now I am a grandmother. When did that happen?!

When did I graduate from playing with Barbie dolls and practicing piano to being a wife ... and then a mother ... and now a grandmother? When did my raucous, noisy, messy nest get so empty?

It happened in a thousand yesterdays that are filled with the memories of cherished friendships, bittersweet goodbyes, the echoes of laughter and the daily reminders of what is truly important in life. The scrapbook of my heart is filled with a collage of moments too precious to verbalize and too valuable to calculate by any earthly economic currency.

As I flip through the intangible pages of the days that have been given to me, I realize that some days were wasted with impatience and disappointment. I have wasted time being angry at a person made in the image of God. I have thrown away days being depressed due to situations and events over which I had absolutely no control. Who do I think I am?!

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The untold wealth in this cherished peek into the past thankfully also holds the abundance of all that has been meaningful in my life. I am amazed that I was given the delight of raising five little lives for the kingdom of God! After so many years of barrenness and infertility — while standing in faith and begging God for more — He opened the windows of heaven and breathed joy unspeakable in my lowly direction.

I loved every minute of peanut butter and jelly kisses, paper dolls and birthday cakes, and choo-choo trains and baseball games. Those were the best days ... the days that mattered eternally ... the pieces of gold in my life. Is there a gift this side of heaven so priceless as the moment when two little arms are wrapped around your neck, your legs or your heart?! Career promotions, enormous retirement accounts and academic pedigree become tawdry and bargain basement exchanges for the heavenly inheritance of the living human beings given to our parental charge.

I have loved being best friends with my mom. How I wish that you could know her! I loved falling in love with my husband, Craig, and realizing that he was "the one." He has always been a man of honor ... a man whom I could trust ... and a man after God's own heart. What have I ever done to deserve this man whose heart is pure gold? And then .. the gift of girlfriends. Truly a fortune so rare and precious that it could fill the vaults of banks too numerous to count! Where has the time gone?

Oh! How I yearn to live well the rest of the days that have been given to me by the calendar of heaven's bounty. There are days in the photo album of my mind and heart that are as yet blank ... unfilled. It is up to me how I fill these quickly turning pages of life.

- I determine to spend my days encouraging people and writing thank-you notes.

- I determine to invest the rest of my days believing for the best and not giving in to disillusionment or despair. A very wise man once told me, "It's more fun to believe!"

- I determine to lavish in the laughter of children, to wade in the gift of extraordinary friends and to drown in the beauty of creation.

- I determine to be kind to cantankerous and fractious people.

- I will pray for miracles and I will also look for the opportunity to be someone else's miracle.

Life is too dear and much too fleeting to waste the glory of one ordinary day. I will not waste this life. Not one day. Not one hour. Not one minute.

I now understand that tomorrow's memories are being created today. And so, I resolve this day, to splash extravagantly in the joy of His presence. I resolve, this day, to be heaven's gift to the world in which I have been placed for only a moment.

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Dr. Mark Rutland's

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