Friday, January 29, 2010

Girls Night Out #1 ~ 2010

Tonight, despite the snowy land before us, we traveled the country roads to “The Italian Villa” in the rural setting called “La Torre” meaning “The Tower.” (Yes they have a 40 ft tower! Here is a summer pic....)

These are special people, John & Chris, that cooked for us 10 gals tonight. Their home is a special retreat that allowed good food with awesome fellowship. This is something I yearned for and anticipated since we wrote our names on their over-packed calendar back in 2009!

When a few of us went to see the Broadway show “Wicked” and loved it – and the time we spent together, we vowed we’d make more times of togetherness....tonight was one of those times.....vow fulfilled.

I think of Jesus and his dinner with friends that is so famous in the painting as well as the scriptures, The Last Supper. Supper with friends, breaking bread and wine in fellowship and symbolic of the sacrifice he was destined to on the cross – for all of us. Was this a time he anticipated with joy or sadness? He knew his destiny. Do we know ours? I hope so.

One thing I’ve learned too is in sadness or happiness, friends are there for you. These are my good friends. I feel blessed in this. For Jesus, his disciples were his friends too – they’d had so many experiences together – amazing experiences. Their bond was tight. Granted, we gossiped far too much....and while this wasn't a religious experience of togetherness, we did enjoy the company of each other in good food while coming to the table.

Luke 22:17-20

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Peace & Blessings

May Peace and Blessings fall down on you today as a gentle snow fall.  Each of us individual, no two alike, gifted by God with talents that make us who we are.

Isaiah 32:18

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Shaving Cream Lesson of Life

Kris came over today to “play” with Sophia in shaving cream.
The first look on Soph’s face was “uh uh, not too sure about this.” She took come coaxing to get her fingers into it. Still, the look was of concentration trying to process what was the deal here.

Then, “I’ll get a little more involved with this.”

Then, “This is kind of fun, oops Mom, got something on my shirt!”

Then, “I like this!”

Then, “Up to my elbows in it!”

Then, there was the clean up – shaving cream play done.

As I watched her process her apprehension yet curiosity into exploration and fun she’s made me reflect on my brother Jim’s passing away and how his brain cancer affected his walk of life. He had the same shocked experience with discovery in the beginning, then the involvement of treatment and while it was not “fun” to have brain cancer, Jim did find the fun in his life despite cancer. One of the things so many people shared about Jim at the sharing night was his positive attitude and the humor he maintained during the struggle, especially towards the end.

That sticks with me….like shaving cream on the fingers gluing them together.

I’m forever changed from the far distance of experiencing a brother with cancer who passes away too young, with so many missed future events that we wanted him to be there for….his children’s wedding(s), grandchildren, retirement and the continued love of his wife and family. But his shaving cream time was done…..clean up and live on…..he’s in heaven now, watching us all, reunited with grandparents, aunts , uncles, cousins, friends ….but I’m still here, still missing him in my heart.

Grieving still.

Then, there will be a time we will be reunited….until then; I know he’d want me to keep playing in shaving cream.  I can hear his luaghter....

Proverbs 24:32  I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.  

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Funny Man

Yes, he makes us smile.
Yes, he makes us happy. 
Yes, he makes us laugh.

Yes, we love him completely.

He says to himself, "Nothing will shake me; I'll always be happy and never have trouble." Psalm 10:6

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sun Dogs

These “sun dogs” were part of our drive home.  Glorious ~ to me they seemed like Jim was shining down from heaven watching over us as we drove through blowing snow and cold temperatures in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. I loved watching them, they stayed all day long and in some odd way they comforted me. Like a piece of my homeland following us and keeping us safe….seems mythical, but I like it so I’ll keep it that way.

Myth has it that if there are sundogs in the afternoon sky to the west, good weather is on its way…or was that more snow!

The sun dog is created when the light comes through ice crystals in the cirrus clouds creating a rainbow or light display on each side of the sun. Similar optics are at work when the sun shines through water droplets creating a rainbow. Todays were probably due to the high winds carrying enough snow crystals into the air for the light to go through.

Ezekial 1:28

28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Oversize Load

Driving North – knowing the purpose was to deal with a lot of emotion, memories of my brother in his death and to find a was to celebrate his earthly life….I carried an Oversize Load. I felt like seeing that truck, summarized the burden on my heart. Through the days that followed, many opportunities presented themselves to delve into that “Oversize Load.” At first, to get to the bottom of a big job, you have to dig hard and it feels like you are only going down, down down only to get to the point you can go back up. The climb back up has been strenuous and I’m not sure I’m even at the top, but along the way the Oversize Load has started to show the light at the top. But oh, the ache.

I’ve cried tears daily as the memories flood my mind and soul in grief. My face and eyes have hurt from the wiping of the tears, only to have more come and come with a lack of being able to keep my eyes and face dry. Standing at the gravesite in cold Canadian air, feeling the sting of those tears once again, shaken to the core when the casket was lowered, watching my sister-in-law in her grief and aware of her loneliness made me cry out to God again, wondering if this is what Jesus in his humanness felt when he asked “My God, why have thou forsaken me?” I knew it was only his body and his soul was long rejoicing in heaven, but it was so final. It was so hard.

Helen summarized the memorial sharing portion and funeral well at: well so if you want to read that, it is a good source.

In closing I now sit in a hotel in a snow storm somewhere in South Dakota, we’ll return home tomorrow if traveling is good and I know we’ll jump head long into “life” again with the schedule of four children, church and activities. So this time for this journey of saying goodbye feels like it is ending – but it isn’t, as a day won’t go by that I won’t reflect on my brothers’s life and testimony. I feel changed, but I’m not sure how this will manifest in my life right now….but want it to in some way.

I’ll leave you with The Dash – a poem by Linda Ellis that I read at the Sunday evening sharing in response to our focus in the imovie we made of Jim’s life zeroing in on his dash on a screen:

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on his tombstone, from the beginning ... to the end.
He noted that first came his date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years. (1960-2009)

For that dash represents all the time that he spent alive on earth... and now only those who loved him know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars...the house...the cash, what matters is how we live and love, and how we spend that dash.

So think about this long and hard... Are there things you'd like to change? For you never know how much time is left, that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough to consider what's true and real, and always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger, and show appreciation more, and love the people in our lives, like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect, and more often wear a smile... remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's being read with your life's actions to rehash... Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?

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