Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stranded on a Saturday Morning

So, here I am. Stranded. Unable to get home due to weather conditions and overwhelmed by my lack of control on any of the recent circumstances. I feel powerless and much to my family's displeasure, my untamed ADD induced control freak is starting to loose her cool. So what did I do? I did what any woman in my situation would want to do...I kicked the family out. ;-) Hubs agreed to take the hyper and pent up toddler and give me time to focus on reading and studying. Did I mention that this last week was my reading week for school and I have had the opportunity to read nothing? Well...yup, it was.

So, here I am. Stuck. Alone in a cold hotel room with Fox News muted on the TV and a high stack of books to my side screaming to be read. I have emails stacked up, laundry that must be done, cleaning back home that has to be attended to, bills needing to be needing to get moving onward. I'm mourning the loss of my grandmother deeply and every moment spent in this town filled with memories of her is increasing my sorrow. I want to get out, to go home. But then when I get home, there will be memories of her everywhere there too. So you see, my mind is scrambled and going at 100 miles a minute and I've only mentioned a small fraction of the things running through my head.

So, here I am. Exacerbated. Unable to accomplish much of anything at all and totally annoyed by my inability to control this situation one iota. I'm upset, I'm sad, depressed, angry, irritated, irrational, over emotional, stressed out and a bit panicked. I feel as if I'm caught in an undertow, my lungs screaming for a breath of air, my eyes burning for the sun, my limbs flailing about trying to find something to hold on to and then...

There I am. Safe. Readjusting to a new world while being comforted by the arms of my Savior. All morning the same words have been running through my mind like the gentle whisper of the wind. "Be Still". God told us in Psalms to "Be still and know that I am God." But in order to know, in order to focus enough on God to know God, that which we can know of God, we must first be still. How hard it really is to be still in our world. It has certainly been a chaotic few weeks for me and I could probably say that of the past few years. Life going at warp speed; often at a speed that feels that it can loose control at any moment. Then I thought some more about this being still.

So, here I am. Overwhelmed. Trying to figure out how to get all the water out of my lungs, how to breathe again. Some might say, "but you're in seminary, you're a preacher, why are you having fears and stress, why are you filled with sorrow when you know the deeper theologically presets to life and death. Why are you questioning?" You see, it's like being one of the disciples in Mark 4 who venture into the sea. They are with Jesus; they have Jesus right there in their boat. And yet, when the storm arises, their most innocent and human emotions take over and they fear. They awake Jesus and ask Him to help. Can't He see that they are all about to drown, all about to die, and why isn't He doing anything? I heard recently that just because Jesus is in our boat, doesn't mean we've stopped being human. God knows that, Christ knew and knows that. Its the faith in knowing that whatever storm we find ourselves in, we are not alone, that indeed Christ is in our boat. We're in the same boat. He understands. He's weathering the same storm with us. He knows we're scared and uncertain. God knew us...God knew we would need help down here to understand ourselves, our emotions, our nature and that which we can know of the nature of God.

So, as I sit here on the shore with Jesus, I can recall just moments ago when the waves seemed to be swallowing me whole. I can hear His voice calling to those waves as he did in Mark 4:39, "Peace, be still." As Christ calmed the waves consuming me, He is also calming me who often attempts to consume myself. What good are the calmed waves, if I myself am not calm or still?

For today, I will be still. I will attempt to quite my mind. To focus my heart, my hurts, my sorrows, my stresses and solidarity to God. It's as if this snow storm that barreled through the Midwest preventing me from getting home, is a catalyst in itself, for me to be still. To think that God could still and calm the storm in my soul through a storm of nature. There is a blessing here. An opportunity for me to embrace. A chance, a gift, of peace and of the moment to be still. God has blocked all other distractions. God is lifting me up today by making me be still.

My prayer then for you, is too embrace the moments in your life where God makes it possible for you to be still. I pray you can realize, as I have for today at least, that we don't have to fill every moment in our lives with activities and plans. That sometimes, all the time, we need to leave time for God to fill our schedules. As hard as it may seem, welcome that red stoplight today. It will only alter a few moments of your day, but in those moments, pray. Take that time to breathe, to be at peace and to be still. Bless you this day and always.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Trying to Get Home

It has been a challenging week in many respects as we've prepared for and laid my sweet precious grandmother to rest. We spent the day today sorting through her home, cleaning, packing, know...the fun stuff. Grandma had so many pretty things and it took an entire enclosed trailer and the back of a truck to get the things we're taking back with us loaded up. Now the tricky part is that we're in South Dakota and we're trying to make it back home to Oklahoma. The snow is falling, hammered Colorado and is darting right for Oklahoma/Kansas/Nebraska...right where we're needing to go. We were hoping to head back tomorrow, but I'm not sure how well that will work with a truck hauling a trailer and bad weather. So it looks like my plans to get home and get rested are going right out the window. Of course, the safety of our family is paramount to any desire to get home.

I can't help but feel a little frustrated. In general, I'm a person who likes to take charge, to embrace leadership and to get things accomplished. I like to have a bit of control on my life and not let the world get it all hairied up and out of control. Needless to say, this week, loosing a part of my heart, was quite out of my control and now the weather. I'm exacerbated. I'm really needing to get back home, to get back to some semblance of normalcy, to try and get my life moving forward again. I could just curse this weather system. One more day. All I needed was one more day. GRRRRRR!

Now that I have that out, please think about my family. Hopefully we'll make it home soon. Fingers crossed. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Walk in the Garden

Tomorrow we will be laying my grandmother to rest. It's been a difficult week but the healing has begun and it has been therapeutic to be around family. Tonight was her visitation/viewing and I never like those. There were so many beautiful flowers and plants from her friends and family. She would have been so pleased.

While cleaning out her home earlier this week, we stumbled across this photo of her being silly and I have fallen in love with it. This is the spirit my grandmother always had and the one that has been passed down to me.

God bless her always as she walks in the garden with her Savior.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Until We Meet Again

I will miss you every day since you left.
I will miss you with every breath that I take.
I will miss you every holiday, birthday and celebration.
I will miss your kisses. My God how I'll miss your kisses.
I will miss your hugs, how you squeezed my hand and how you winked at me.
I will miss playing cards with you.
I will miss watching you love on my son, read to him and play balloons.
I will miss how you loved my husband, teased him and took care of him.
I will miss our morning coffee talks at your breakfast table in our pjs.
I will miss tending to your rose garden and watching you stop to smell the roses.
I will miss our phone calls, the way you always made me feel invincible.
I will miss your warmth, your giggles, your smiles and I will really miss your hands.
I will miss how your hands would feel on my face.
I will miss the smell of your perfume, the way you cooked your eggs, how you would tap your feet to music and how you could only ever sip your drinks.
I will miss your well groomed hair and the fact you couldn't go anywhere without your red lipstick.
I will miss sitting next to you in church and hearing you sing to God.
I will miss traveling with you to far off lands, adventuring into the world and sharing liquor filled chocolates.
I will miss your house, your cooking, the way your laundry smelled and how you'd wake up at 4 in the morning when we'd come to visit.
I will miss our walks together, how you always had cranberry juice and cheese puffs when we visited and how we'd enjoy our German wine.
I will miss our weekend trips, watching the Hitchcock version of the Birds and not being able to sleep.
I will miss taking ceramics class with you, your old 'special' colored mugs, Shasta Black Cherry soda and floats on summer nights,
I will miss going to plays with you and singing at Neil Diamond concerts.
I will miss cooking with you and trying to figure out what your 'dash' and 'pinch' really meant (wait...I'll still do that),
I will miss scrapbooking with you for hours at mom's house and sharing our finished products with each other.

Grandma - I will miss you in all that I do. But all that the world has lost, Heaven has gained. I can only imagine the celebration being held for you. I can only cry tears of joy when I think of how it must have felt to reunited with grandpa and the rest of your family and friends you've had to say goodbye to.

Thank you for telling me about the angels and that you saw Heaven. Thank you for all that you were, all that you've made me and all that you always will be. I will never say goodbye to you, grandma. I can't. But I will say until we meet again and I will see you again. Give grandpa and Jesus my love and enjoy grandma. You deserve it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Prayers Needed

I am asking for prayers today as I just received a call from my mother regarding the status of my grandmother. The home hospice nurse says we are within hours now of Grandma leaving to be with Jesus. We know that Grandma is going to a wonderful place. We are just needing comfort and strength. We are blessed to be surrounded by the presence of God and to know we are not alone. We know that while our tears may be flowing, there will be a glorious reception for her in heaven.

I read a piece of hospice literature the other day and it shared a short story about a sailboat. It talked about us being on one shore and watching this majestic boat with her beautiful sails floating off into the horizon, getting further and further away, smaller and smaller. And though we morn not being able to see her beauty we must remember that on the other side of the horizon is a different shore and on that shore they are witnessing her coming closer and closer and celebrating her arrival.

Grandma will soon be with those she had to watch sail away. And they will be celebrating her arrival. So not all of our tears will be tears of sadness. It won't be long now until grandma is in the arms of God.

Don't Leave it On the Desk

There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson,
a studious man who taught at a small college in the western
United States .
Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in
Christianity at this particular institution. Every student
was required to take this course his freshman year,
regardless of his or her major.
Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of
the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students
looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery.
Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity
This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve.
Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent
of going on to seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular,
he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen.
He was now the starting center on the school football team,
and was the best student in the professor's class.
One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he
could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”
Steve said, "I do a bout 200 every night"
That's pretty good, Steve, ' Dr. Christianson said.
"Do you think you could do 300?"
Steve replied, "I don't know.... I've never done 300
at a time."
"Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson.
"Well, I can try," said Steve.
"Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and
I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this
to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can
do it," said the professor.
Steve said, "Well... I think I can...yeah, I can do it."
Dr. Christianson said, "Good ! I need you to do this on
. Let me explain what I have in mind."

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of
the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big
box of donuts. No, these weren't the normal kinds of
donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream
centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it
was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going
to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr.
Christianson's class.
Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and
asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?"
Cynthia said, "Yes."
Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked,
"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?"
Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then
Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on
Cynthia's desk..

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked,
"Joe, do you want a donut?"
Joe said, "Yes."
Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups
so Joe can have a donut?"
Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the
first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before
they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott.
Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition
as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for
female companionship.
When the professor asked, "Scott do you want a
Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?"
Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them."

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then."
Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked,
"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a
donut he doesn't want?"
With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.
Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!"
Dr. Christianson said, "Look! This is my classroom, my
class, my desks, and these are my donuts. Just leave it on
the desk if you don't want it." And he put a donut
on Scott's desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just
stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much
effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a
little perspiration coming out around his
Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students
were beginning to get a little angry.
Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"
Sternly, Jenny said, "No!"
Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten
more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't
Steve did ten....Jenny got a donut.
By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students
were beginning to say, "No!" and there were all
these uneaten donuts on the desks.
Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever
in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he
did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve
Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class,
however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he
did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.
Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose
touch on each one?"
Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're
your push ups. You are in charge now. You can do them any way
that you want." And Dr. Christianson went on.
A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the
room and was about to come in when all the students yelled
in one voice, "NO! Don't come in! Stay out!" Jason didn't know what was going on.
Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come."
Professor Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten
push-ups for him?”
Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.”
Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?"

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on.
"Yes," he said, "give me a donut."
"Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?"
Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Dr. Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on
those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve's arms were
now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift him
against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was
profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound
except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room.
The very last two students in the room were two young women, both
cheerleaders, and very popular.
Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked,
"Linda, do you want a donut?"

Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you."
Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten
push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?"
Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for
Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan.
"Susan, do you want a donut?"
Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. "Dr.
Christianson, why can't I help him?"
Dr. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve
has to do it alone; I have given him this task and he is in
charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a
donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a
party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book.
Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade.
Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered
me inferior work. Steve told me that in football
practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I
told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he
paid the price by doing your push ups. He and I made a deal
for your sakes."
"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a
As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the
understanding that he had accomplished all that was required
of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath
him and he fell to the floor.
Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it
was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, plead to
the Father, 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the
desk, uneaten."

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat,
physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile.
"Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor,
adding, "Not all sermons are preached in words."
Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you
might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of
grace and mercy that have been given to you through the
sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He spared not
His only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all, for the
whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to
accept His gift to us, the price has been paid."
"Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the

** This story was received via email. I hope you enjoyed its sentiments.**

Monday, March 2, 2009

Walking Her Home

A friend of mine heard a song on the radio a couple months back and suggested a give it a listen. She said to be sure I'm not driving when I listen to it because it will cause tears. I pulled it up on iTunes and listened and indeed, was drawn instantly to tears. The song is Walking Her Home by Christian artist Mark Schultz.

It's a beautifully written montage to a couple deeply in love and as life does, it had run its course. It starts with a love story and the image of a young man walking his date home. It ends with an old man holding a dying woman; walking her home. See...emotional.

This is especially emotional to me. I feel in some ways as if I'm filling those walking shoes. Probably one of the most influential and adored persons in my life has been my grandmother. I could honestly write a book on all that makes her who she is and it would not even sniff and doing her justice. Simply - she's something else. But now, she's tired. She's a champion fighter whose on her last round and I know it. I hate it, I ache it, but I know it.

I'm still lucky enough to have her right now and unlike my grandfather's final days, she's in good memory and knows what's going on. She holds me son, my miracle, and it fills me with warmth. To see two of the most precious people in my life love each other as much as they do. Great grandson and Great grandma. My miracle and my hero. I'm blessed to know this, to recognize this and to embrace the moments for what they are. She's near, living with my parents, and we can spend these final days, weeks, months of her life with her. I know it's closer to the end of her time with us than I'd like and these days things seem, well, like the end.

As my heart is breaking from the inside out and my world seems to be fogged by impending grief, I take comfort in knowing that this is not the end for us. There are more days ahead; days with our Lord. I believe in a God so great and who transcends all understanding. I believe in the hope and love Jesus gave us, the grace that confirms to us that there is much more around the bend. I've read and heard the stories like everyone else about the encounters with heaven. I know there's more. I'm just sad...really sad. I'm selfish and I don't want her to go. I don't want to give her up. Not yet. Not ever.

But at the end of the day, I get on my knees and thank God that I have the opportunity and the chance, in my grandfather's absence, to be one of those lucky enough to be walking her home.

Walking Her Home - The funniest movie is here. Find it

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