Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I couldn't decide which photos to share so I picked my top 3 to post here. These stargazer lilies were given to me Sunday night by Icca Chou and her beau.....just because. I absolutely love their smell. As I sit here typing away at various tasks, I keep stopping to look up at their beauty just beyond my laptop.
For some reason, that I haven't taken the time to ponder and figure, the depth of these lilies remind me of something I did a couple of days ago. I was running errands in Wal-Mart and made myself do something. I purposed to walk in all of the places that would conjure memories of being in Texas with Daddy. Then as each wave hit, I made myself walk slow....breathe.....and told myself out loud that this is a different time and I am safe and I am fine. I made myself take in the differences all around......smells, sounds, accents.
I feel that I accomplished something that day.
Thank You God for your beauty and encouragement.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
These two beautiful tulips have sprung up the last couple of years on the side of my driveway. The thing is....I never planted them. None of my neighbors have anything that resembles these bright yellow orange blessings. Before we lived here, this land was grazing land for milking cows and that was more than 17 years ago so it is not like they were dormant for a season. All I know is that they make me stop and smile and find myself grateful for color and life.
These blossoms are from the Apple Blossom tree in our backyard. We had two of these trees side by side but Hubby cut one down last year because of the branches going over into the neighbor's yard. I had to laugh when I saw there are new branches sprouting in defiance. The thing about these trees is that they are hybrid grafted to be non fruit bearing blossom trees. Despite that, every year we have shiny apples in our backyard.
Sweet little Conguito is always trying to get in the middle of something just to make sure he gets maximum exposure opportunities for getting loved on.....and who could resist that face?
My amazing Kekoa....while it is hard for him to be photogenic much of the time, he makes up for it by constantly making sure I am protected, I have a warm lap and a wet face full of special kisses.
Pippin is always grabbing my camera when I am not looking. She snaps these self portraits for me to find later and laugh at.
Puddin' who is awesomely inspiring as she pushes through her intense schedule of school and music and still has a smile on her face and heart.
My sweet little Angel-girl, full of energy, smiles, questions and joy.
Oh-oh, I don't have a current picture of Hubby. Sadness. I will have to work on that.
There are many other things that make me smile but more pictures must be taken because each day holds opportunity for joy and love.
Blessings to you today.
Friday, May 13, 2011
I have wanted to sit down so many times and write, but when my screen is in front of me I find myself full of emotion and blank on words. There has been much to happen in the past few weeks. Often I have a snippet of a few sharing sentences that I make mental note of to share but they become lost or forgotten once I am at the computer.
This won’t be a well written post by any means. I will try to put together things as they come to mind. Thank you for …..well, I just thank you.
I wrote in my last post about our foster son. I have not heard from him since I dropped him off at the MAX Transit station that day. He had showered, slept and eaten well in that 24 hours and I packed him containers of food to go. I don’t know if they were all the right things to do. Was I helping or enabling? I don’t think it really matters. It was my mother’s heart meeting him in what he needed at the time. Where is he now? I don’t know but I am choosing to hope that he did check into a rehab center and is in the “blackout” phase of his treatment and not allowed to make contact with anyone. God knows where he is and He can help him so much more completely than I could ever hope to.
A couple of weekends ago we drove up to Spokane to see our children and grandchildren. It was a great weekend. The children are growing like weeds and oh so full of character. I wish there was a way we could be closer in distance and see them more often. But our roots are firmly planted and delight in the quiet rain of the northwest while they are drawn to all that Spokane has to offer their young families.
We smiled as the 10 year old obsessed over the pangs of his first crush, smirked as the 5 year old tried to continually “mother” and “handle” everyone around, cuddled with the 3 year old that can never get enough hugs, laughed outright when the 18 month old ran around “honking” her nose with dimpled cheeks and most definitely we sighed plenty while holding our new 9 week old little granddaughter.
While we were there we did the big annual Bloomsday route. Hubby ran it with his brother while I walked it with a whole handful of relatives. The actual route was 7.5 miles. But by the time we parked, found our designated starting point, did the route with 50,000 other people, formed another line to pick up our finishing t-shirt and then found the car again…..it was over 10 miles.
I did it! I am so proud of myself. A year ago I was walking pretty regular. But being in Texas with my dad and then coming back home to rain and snow has kept my muscles in a fairly jello state. I was worried they would have to scrape me off the ground. We did the whole thing in just under 3 hours. Considering we had a baby stroller, my 75 year old mother-in-law, numerous bathroom breaks and having to re-group to find our people…..I think we did amazing. I venture to say I may even do it again next year.
This is the time of year for Puddin’ to be going all over the place with her choir groups for end of year competitions. Last weekend they were in the state finals and placed 10th. The group was a bit disappointed but I think it is something to be proud of. Tuesday night they had their big spring concert. Puddin’ had been telling me all along that she had a solo for one of the songs. Little stinker didn’t say that she was going to be singing harmony duets for the whole song. I posted it on youtube so that I could share. It is just a video clip from my camera but it still lets me be a proud mama all the same.
Next week my brother goes back to work. His color bone is not quite healed yet but he is far enough along that he is chomping at the bit to do more than be at home all day. So that means little Miss Angel-girl will be coming back over here to play and chatter away with her auntie during the week days.
I absolutely love the ministry I have been working with. It is quickly growing into more than I initially thought it would be but not for a single second does that scare or overwhelm me. I personally think that being an assistant is an incredible job. In my mind the pure definition of an assistant is to be extended hands for the head person, to anticipate their needs and equip them to shine fully in their calling. I love it. I love the balancing of being able to cheer and encourage the teams and then in the blink of an eye be able to dial back and be calm assurance for the people requesting appointments. I picture it like I am the bridge of communication between both sides and it is so very satisfying.
I remember sitting in the living room with Daddy last summer and out of the blue he said, “You know, you really need to pursue being some sort of counselor. I listen to you talk to everyone here and you are very good at your insight and patience.” It blesses me to picture him smiling and watching now.
I was asked by someone yesterday how I am doing now that Daddy is gone and I have been home for a few months. I didn’t know how to answer. I really wanted to avoid the question all together. Instead I thanked her for the compassion as I stumbled through trying to express a small portion of what keeps me feeling……..like I don’t know how to feel.
I have said before and I will say again (as if in my mind it helps me to validate my lack of being able to communicate) I don’t wish him back. I know where he is and am so grateful for the fullness of never ending joy and love he has now. I cherish the extra time we had and the memories that I never imagined I could own. I am happy to be home and with my family. I love my days and activities. Yet…..no matter what I do with my day it is like Daddy is on part of my mind. Everything seems to bring about a subconscious thought of “What would Daddy think of that?” or “That would make Daddy giggle.” It is almost as if I could turn around and he would be there to lend his input….which is so strange since that was never the pattern of our relationship.
Most every night I dream of caring for him or odd things like arguing with the doctors because he is alive and I am trying to explain to them that he has already passed and they need to let him go. It is exhausting. I am trying to figure out what feelings to own, what to toss and what to deal with. I know that much of what I feel is not part of God’s attributes so I can filter it through and not claim it. But still….many days I almost feel I was better off when I was numb and moving forward. The pictures of us together that I proudly put up when I came home….now I fight wanting to turn them face down because they bring up feelings I don’t want to even have.
In an opposite realm, I feel so strange in my relationship to God right now. I know He is here. I depend on Him being here. I completely trust that He is walking with me, holding me, guiding me, protecting me….and yet I feel so very vacant and distant. I open my bible to read and just stare at the pages. I sit to pray but the quiet is so uncomfortable.
I know that God loves me where I am at but it amazes me that I am still being used. Someone said to me last night that every time she is with me she is overwhelmed with the peace and grace that God offers through His love. It was so very much a humbling thing to hear. I thought, “God I feel too broken right now to be aware of hearing You and yet You still guide my steps to do and bless others. How that works is only by Your orchestrating.”
I feel such guidance when I am helping others. It is a factual and obvious guidance that most often takes no second guessing. I just know it is the right thing to say or do. But for myself I feel vacant.
I most often handle inquiries people ask about me with a careful but quick answer. It is not that I am purposing to be deceptive. I just don’t know how to answer and would rather look forward to what is in store instead of flat spinning in something I don’t understand. This is such a weird time for me. I don’t understand it. I’ve stopped wanting to analyze and understand it. I choose now to just ride it out and hold on to what I know. I press through and do the things I know to be true and right because I know sooner or later everything will balance out. God promises it will. He says everything is a season.
The truth is that He cares for me affectionately and watchfully (1 Peter 5:7). He sustains me and will never allow me to slip, fall or fail (Psalm 55:22) That is what I hold to.
At the same time, God is moving mightily around us and I don’t feel that I am missing out on anything. God is here, God is everywhere but it is so humbling to know that He is finding the open freedom here to so more of Himself. As a church we are getting calls and visits from all over the state wanting to glean what we are doing with our church. What are we doing? As near as I can figure to explain, we aren’t tying up God with scores of rules and time tables. We are only opening our minds to how big and great He is.
There is a freedom happening that makes people feel so safe, even when they don’t know what is going on. As our teams go out to share about God’s love people are listening and responding by the hundreds. From all areas of our diverse Portland culture people want to know the intimacy of God….and things are happening.
Here is a link to a post written by one of our friends. Leg Grows Out - Major Healing! His story is amazing and the videos in his story blow my mind. It is a posting that will take maybe 20 minutes of your day. I encourage you to read and view all three videos when you have time.
God bless you greatly in all you do for you are loved with a never ending passion.