Thursday, April 29, 2010

One And The Same....

Testimonies and worship are in my thoughts today. Maybe as I sit here for a few minutes I can make them come together a bit more for they really are one in the same.

A testimony is a story that tells the truth of an occurrence. While it can be used to tell any form of fact, it is most commonly referred to in telling of things God has done. In so telling it becomes a form of worship simply by letting others know of God's greatness.

Worship on the other hand is a way of demonstrating God's goodness. Demonstrations encompass singing, dancing and all forms of creative expression. In doing so it becomes something of a testimony.

I love to tell anyone who will listen how amazing God is and what I recognise Him to be doing at any given time. I also love to worship Him in song, in dance and in heart every chance I get. As I have grown in my display of love for Him, my interpretation of what love looks like has changed and grown.

What do I mean by that? Let me compare with the human relationship of man and woman. An attraction starts with a glance and a curiosity. It bubbles into finding opportunities to spend time together and they hang on the other's every word. Their physical relationship begins with their hands "accidentally" brushing against one another and then evolve into hand holding and long embraces. With the amount of time they spend together, they know what the other is thinking just by a simple look and there is complete openness of heart and security with no worries of condemnation or ridicule.

That example can be mirrored by my own relationship with God. In the beginning of knowing Him I would pray and sing in quiet reverence that was careful of not being noticed. As time went on and I grew more comfortable in knowing His love for me I would put a little step to my feet at the fun of music and after more time I dared to raise my hands in song as if I could actually physically touch and hold Him.

The past few months, as I have spread my arms skyward in open embrace, I have been seeing pictures shape behind my eye lids. They aren't pictures to be seen by the naked eye. They are colors; colors that dance through the air as if carried by the wind. I find myself reaching for those colors without being able to explain why. To my heart I felt it was an unspoken new level of freedom.

This past weekend in church it finally occurred to me that in my heart I was seeing the Holy Spirit dancing for joy and overflowing with love and I knew that somehow I had to join in. Though I had never used them before, I asked my friend if I could borrow her blue flag banner. With worship music keeping the time, I stood back to the side of the sanctuary and began twirling that flag as if it had life of its own. I became completely lost in the rhythm of Holy Spirit color and my own blue flag color. Back and forth we went, tumbling through the air as birds in precision areal dance.

How do I even put to words what that felt like?
I know that colors have meanings just like things have meaning. (I think it is pretty universally known that a dove means peace for example) But I don't know what the color blue means to God. I only know that while I was in the midst of this new demonstration of my love for Him I felt and heard these words: Simplicity, Love, Freedom

I must spend more time thinking on this. But I wanted to be sure to journal it here before any part gets fuzzy in my mind.

Below is a video of the song that was playing and it was being played by this very band too. They were in town on tour from New Zealand and blessed us with an amazing concert.







May you have a blessed and wonderful week as you feel Him all around you.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Dramatic Girls....

Some would call us foolish while others would say we were brave beyond belief. Whichever you decide....we summoned our courage and made sure the fresh warm chocolate chip banana bread did indeed have no poison in it.

My husband laughed at the above text message I sent with attached picture and replied back quickly to say that I was weird, melodramatic, and where in the world do I concoct this stuff up from.
I can't help it. It is what happens when all of us girls are in the house and feeling goofy.

For years it has been a standard conversation in the kitchen. Whenever I do any baking my girls run in as the steam rolls off the golden ______ (you fill in the blank because the response is the same no matter what it is). They exclaim with mischievous grins,"Mom do you need a taste tester to make sure those are safe for eating?" Sometimes their stuffed mouths are followed by moans of delight and other times they fall to the floor in mock drama to re-enact what they have dubbed.....a sudden case of death. Once the laughter subsides they always exclaim that they need to confiscate the rest of the baked goods for further inspection.

Yum! Banana Chocolate Chip Bread......it is the perfect treat when I have a sweet tooth. Sometimes I omit the chocolate and put cranberries and almond in instead. But the chocolate chips are a perfect compliment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a young girl we know that we have tried to become friends with for a couple of years now. She was always really quiet and barely responded to our attempts at making conversation. Over the past 3 months though there has been a dramatic change. Now she calls and texts the girls and I on a regular basis and greets us with a huge bubbling smile whenever she sees us. We have begun to include her in all of our teenage adventures that include shopping, movies, and all descriptions that can be included while visiting at "Grandma's House". She remains very quiet and chooses to be a corner observer in all activities but then thanks us over and over at the end of the day when she remarks at the incredible day she had.


Recently we learned that she was to have a birthday and didn't plan on doing anything. My girls jumped at the opportunity and proclaimed that they would throw her a party and it would be a time to remember.

It has been so amazing and humbling to watch the delight wave over her face this last weekend when she turned 18. There are so many things that my girls and I take for granted and this girl was in shock that we would actually make food for her party, that we would take her cake shopping, that we sought to know her favorites and dislikes.

I can't even think of what to write next. I simply want to aknowledge that I am so very grateful.

Thank you Lord for your prompting, for your love, and for your hugs.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Contentment Comes in Many Ways....

This is a picture Pippin took for me yesterday after Angel-girl gave in to sleep.



This is what happens when I give in and fulfill Kekoa's desire to play
in the backyard while Hubby is mowing the grass.

Both pictures show contentment.



April 19th.....

I haven't written the past couple of weeks because the days have flown by without mercy. Daily school and youth social events have kept me feeling like the over drive button is permanently fixed in the on position. But each day holds joy too and we have all had our share of smiles.

While my brother and sis-in-law were visiting Daddy, we took care of their golden retriever for the week. I don't know who had more fun....Sugar or Kekoa. Here is a typical scene of how they were as long as they were awake.


video

Even though they are so different in size, they were inseparable. Kekoa had a crusty yellowed head the whole week because Sugar would roll his head around in her mouth and he loved every second of it.

This last weekend Pippin doggie sat two lil' fuzzballs for a friend. They were equally adorable and so very affectionate. The whole experience affirmed to me that Kekoa is indeed well socialized and I need not worry about him when it is time to bring Daddy's dogs up this way.


What other things have happened?.............

I have been getting Pippin ready for prom. Even though she is not in high school now, a friend of hers has invited her to go to prom. It is a fun and new experience for both of them. They are both not the girlie type and in general have rebelled against anything remotely looking like school spirit. But all of a sudden they are kind of giggling at the idea of getting dressed up special and making a memory. And who best to share the memory with than best girlfriends.

It was so amazing to go shopping for a dress. Pippin and I decided to take a cue from another friend and try the local thrift store. Wow! We found a dress that seemed to be made for the sole purpose for fitting her tiny frame and the perfect complimentary color for her. Then when I took it to the check out counter I found that it was 50% off. Pippin rubbed a loving hand on my back as I fought back tears while paying a mere $7.49 for this dress. Here is a picture of her trying it on that day.
We have now conquered the stores to acquire the perfect shoes, earrings, necklace, shawl and all other accessories. All that is left is a small bottom hem that a friend will do for me and a dry cleaning bill.

Yesterday I was able to talk with Daddy for a bit of time. He was sounding quite winded towards the end of our conversation but good all the same. He has finished this first big round of the new chemo and is grateful for the reprieve. It seems awfully cruel to make an esophageal cancer patient swallow huge chemo pills. I encouraged him to ask for either a liquid dose or the okay to crush it into his tube feedings. He promised to ask before he starts up again this next week.

He says that he as well as everyone else is missing me and all are looking forward to my return in May. I have to agree that I am counting the days as well. Even though I am loving being back in my own home and having my family all around, I don't feel that I ever truly left Daddy when I got on that plane. All of my thoughts seem to be paired in conjunction with Texas thoughts and it is wearing me out. Even my dreams are of Daddy and all those over there.

The dreams......the dreams are the most tiring. They range from mundane every day activities to tortuously emotional dreams where I awake sobbing into my pillow. I end up feeling more wrung out than before I went to bed. Last night was one of those nights.

Here....this is something to smile over. Yesterday we all gathered for Sunday dinner at Mom's house and we all took turns playing with Angel-girl. Now at 8months old and growing so fast, isn't she amazingly cute?


video

Have a blessed and wonderful day today!



Monday, April 5, 2010

Review......

The first week of being home was a reprieve of sorts. Puddin' was on spring break from school and my family purposed to keep the calendar blank for my sake. During that time I hugged and cuddled a lot with Hubby and girls. I put a few things in order to help me regain familiarity around the house and I chose to ignore other things that will beg for cleaning inspection at a later date.

Birthday Milestone

That week Hubby celebrated his 55th birthday. Daddy had sent a money gift home with me for us to go out and celebrate with so we went to one of our family favorites - Claim Jumpers. As always the food was scrumptious, atmosphere supercharged, and the company memorable.

Our girls were so cheerful with their smiles and stories that kept us entertained. A family friend met us there too and it was his first experience eating the yummy food. We were blessed to be able to share it all with him.





Goodbye to the Truck



Hubby called me one day for a ride home from work. His truck had broken......again. Over the years he has been so patient with jimmy-rigging his vehicle into function. Part of it has been out of financial desperation and part of it because it once belonged to his father. (To clarify...it is not the truck in the above picture. I just liked the nostalgia of the shot.) It is now however beyond the point of being worth fixing. It is hard to let his old Chevy go but we really do need to figure out a replacement.

I am so grateful to my mom and dad letting us use their spare vehicle while we figure out what to do. We have so many youth that are always wanting to hang around so it has been really nice to have the extra seat capacity of their Expedition. The only down side is that it is much too big of a vehicle for Pippin to drive and help me with all of our errands. I sure have gotten used to her extra driving hands. But I am still grateful for the wheels even if I am the sole driver.


Hiking Adventures


One of the things that I sorely missed while being in Texas was going on one of my treasured hikes. Recently we packed up food and friends for a day of exploration along the Historic Gorge Highway. We set our feet to tread around LaTourelle Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Horsetail Falls, Ponytail Falls, and Multnomah Falls. Can I just sigh here? Sigh..................
I never tired of feeling so intimate with God's amazing creative beauty.


LaTourelle Falls
Do you see the tiny colored specs of red and blue
just to the right of the falls?
Those are our kids hiking around.


Bridal Veil Falls
This is one of my favorites that I can sit and breathe in
for hours while getting lost in the quiet nature all around.


Horsetail Falls
Pippin and friend "Jerry" looking like very daring lil' monkeys.



Ponytail Falls
This one is a hike about a mile in from Horsetail.
The hiking path goes behind the falls so it is quite the reward
for those willing to walk up the hill a sort bit.
Those are all our kids exploring the pool area.



Daddy


Rocks at Ponytail Falls

It has taken me a few days to come to grips with Daddy's latest scan results. The scan images show that while the tumors in his esophagus and kidney shrank during our vigilant regime, they also spread to his liver and stomach. There is no more talk of surgery or success from the doctors. Now they only speak of time and comfort.

My first reaction was to cry and coddle with denial. I couldn't comprehend his cancer advancing when we had worked so hard to get him better. I had left him feeling confident. Things played tag races through my mind of what the rest of the year will look like and left me with nothing but fitful sleep for many days.

-I have to pack his house - I have to get all the little doggies up here - The girls need to see him soon - If I pull Puddin' out of school for 2 weeks will it submarine all of her grades - How long do I stay next time - Our oldest daughter is getting married in August - I wanted to forget everything and just get back there to hold him again.
Then I went numb. The slightest thing brought me to tears but I had no concept of understanding any of it.

Now I am snapping out of it to find reason and purpose to my thoughts. Even in the depths, I knew God was with me for I heard Him over and over again saying so. I can't plan out all this is going to happen. It isn't my job or place to do so. My job is to concentrate on this minute. the next minute will take care of itself and doesn't need my attention until it is actually here.