Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year 2010

New Year 2010

"Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!"
I Chronicles 4:9-10

I am looking forward to the new year and I am anticipating everything the Lord has for us this year. My heart and hands are open to receive from Him. We have rested and recuperated and thoroughly enjoyed over a year of sabatical. I am at peace and very thankful.

"Bless us. Enlarge our territory. Keep Your Hand upon us. Keep us from evil. and may I not cause pain.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Wonder of You



THE WONDER OF YOU

When no one else can understand me
When everything I do is wrong
You give me love and consolation
You give me hope to carry on

And you're always there to lend a hand
In everything I do
That's the wonder
The Wonder of You

And when you smile the world is brighter
You touch my hand and I'm a king (queen)
Your kiss to me is worth a fortune
Your love for me is everything

I guess I'll never know the reason why
You love me as you do
That's the wonder
The Wonder of You

Words and Music by Baker Knight
Sung and recorded by Elvis Presley

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One More Week



If I could have one more week with my Dad, I'd make sure every time we passed each other I touched his arm, and each and every time we parted I'd give him a kiss and a hug and tell him I love him. I'd listen to him tell the "Brass Ring" story as many times as he wanted and I'd listen as if it were the first time. I'd listen attentively and ask questions as he showed me his High School Yearbook. I'd look at the picture of his mother and say how beautiful she was. Then on:

SUNDAY - I would sit by him in church and place my hand through his arm while we're standing to sing hymns out of the hymnal. After church I would sit by him at the table as we're enjoying a delicious Sunday dinner prepared by my Mother. I would make sure his iced tea glass stayed full and I'd make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after or get his desert depending on which one he wanted. I'd watch Nascar with him in the afternoon and Jack Hayford in the evening.

MONDAY - I would go to work with him at the frame shop and work tirelessly shrink wrapping signed and numbered prints so he could add them to his inventory for sale.

TUESDAY - I would walk 5 miles with him at the walking park even if I had to sit on one of the benches along the way and then catch up.

WEDNESDAY - I would watch as many Gaither Homecoming Videos as he wanted and sing along after or before listening to The Statler Brothers.

THURSDAY - I would have him show me one more time how to balance my checkbook in Quicken and how to sign up for online billpay.

FRIDAY - I would help him clean the fish pond and notice all the baby fish and comment on how much the big fish are growing. I would help him weed around all the foliage in the backyard and listen as he told me about each plant.

SATURDAY - I'd sit in the "co-pilot's" chair in the RV, share his bag of licorce Twizzlers with him and help him watch the road.

Since I would know that this night was his last, I'd tell him I love him one last time before he fell asleep and I'd ask him to bless me as his first-born child. Then I'd lie down on the floor in his room and listen to his every breath. When the end was near I'd tell him, "Good-Bye. See you later. I love you."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Joy!


Children. . .

The purity of their wonder as they gaze in anticipation standing in front of the Christmas tree. The house is still dark but the lit tree is illuminating the wrapped presents underneath. They are totally unaware that "Santa" is watching. They are caught up with the wonder. They are pointing, and whispering, "That one's mine." And then comes the delight, the innocence, the excitement and the happiness of each child as they open their gift.

That is Christmas. That is Pure Joy.

We first noticed Pure Joy this Christmas in Jayla's face at my Mom's Christmas party the weekend before Christmas. Grandma (my Mom) had gifts under the tree for the children and the youngest were first to receive theirs, Major, Berkley, Victoria and Jayla. I'll never forget how the three little girls scooted forward in unison full of expectation. I'll always treasure the look on Jayla's face when she was handed her gift. She looked as if she couldn't believe the big box was hers, Oh the wonder of it all! She carefully unwrapped the box even though everyone in the room wanted her to hurry. I'll always remember the "OH!" on her face as she saw the gift inside and then the total peace and contentment as a new baby doll was placed in her arms. She needed nothing else, it was Pure Joy!

Two days before Christmas we took gifts to Stan & Mary's for the kids, as they are so affectionately called (they are blessed with 10 children). We arrived while they were eating dinner which was perfect timing for me. I placed the wrapped gifts under the tree while they were still at the table. One by one they were excused and immediately ran to the tree to check out the presents and discover who's was who's. When everyone was finished eating and the table was cleared the gifts could be opened. Oh the waiting, and questions, "Why was it taking so long?" Finally, when everyone was gathered, I passed out the presents one by one in random order as fast as they could unwrap them. It was total chaos. They were so excited and Oh!the fun!

I will never forget the smile on Marla's face as she thanked me for her sunglasses! Joel hugged me twice and said thank you for the Air Soft gun. The three little boys received a western sheriff set complete with bandanna, rifle, holster & pistol. They were everywhere arresting everyone. Victoria and Jayla were given baby doll strollers and little backpacks full of baby essentials for the baby dolls Grandma had given them. I didn't know little strollers could stroll that fast on hardwood floors. It was pure delight.

Then just as we were leaving and had our hand on the door knob, the doorbell rang, Stan opened it expecting one of the older boys and right on cue, in perfect harmony we heard, "Joy To The World, the Lord is come. . ." and there before our eyes were Mr. and Mrs. Carr and their seven children. They were standing in perfect caroling formation and wore matching wool scarfs. The youngest child, a girl with short curly black hair and fair skin stood right in front looking just like an angel. Her older sister was next to her holding a plate of cookies and hosting a big smile. It was impossible to capture the magic of that moment on camera but it will be remembered as one of those rare surreal happenings that only the Lord can orchestrate.

Last night, the day before Christmas Eve we took presents to my Christmas Joy, Berkley and Major. Berkley squealed with delight as she unwrapped her little school bus. Major tore into his gifts totally thrilled with the sound of ripping paper. I'll never forget the precious innocence of Berkley as she walked as fast as she could across the room and handed Grandpa his present and said, "Merry Chrithmas." Then she repeated the same with my present. I will cherish the memory over and over.

The moment of Pure Joy happened as I helped Berkley into her pj's and we sang Christmas carols to the rhythm of tickling. And then again while I held Major. Major was totally focused on looking into my face. We baby talked and got to laughing.

Pure Joy. There's nothing else this side of heaven. I know now all those things I believed were so important to "make" Christmas and establish traditions are nothing more than a fleeting vapor. The real Christmas and the lasting memory is the love and Pure Joy we share with one another.

Oh Joy! Pure Joy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is Aunt Sandy Old?



That's what my nephew, my sweet little 4 year old nephew, Judson, with the permanent smile asked my brother. "Dad, is Aunt Sandy old?"

Yikes! Oh please, not yet!

I arrived at the family Christmas party last night accompanied or supported by a cane. Picture that. It's one of my mom's canes. From my Grandmother's estate she inherited a collection of canes that has been in the family for several generations. I swear (not really) Moses had this one in the wilderness. Anyway it helps. The colder temperatures are aggravating my pinched sciatic nerve and by the end of the day, oh man, walking is a pain. Enter, the cane.



Jeffrey, my nephew who's 6'5" and in the Ninth Grade, picture that, (the basketball team loves him) (we do too), asked me what happened. I said I have a pinched nerve. He asked "How'd it happen?" I said, "It just progressed..." then he said, "Oh" and his eyes kind of glassed over so I didn't go into details. He added, "I'm sorry" which I thought was sweet. He's a really nice young man.

The way I understand it is: the genetic tilt to my pelvis caused the muscles to over-correct and over time the over-correcting curved the spine. My low-iodine levels and chronic malabsorption due to systemic candida eventually degenerated the cushion between the vertebrae therefore putting pressure on the nerve which is aggravated by the cold and there we have it, the perfect storm.

I was blessed and encouraged yesterday by the woman at Natural Food Market who scanned my grocery items. She's about my age, (not old) and as she looked up she said, "How are you?" I replied, "Fine" then I said, "No, actually..." She told me she had been through the same thing and it would eventually heal.

The Lord knew I needed to hear from someone who could totally relate. He also knew I needed to hear that even though it's been a year, it will heal.

I thank Him for his forever and always faithfulness. I ask His forgiveness for doubt, self-pity and selfishness.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home is Where My Dad Is


Right now I just want to go home. You know the feeling, the desire. Someplace where there is no pain. Someplace safe and secure. A place where everything is taken care of and there are no worries.

That's how I felt when I was a kid growing up. Wherever I was I knew I would go home and my Dad would be there. His presence was always there. Tall, strong, capable, loving, giving, big shoulders, safe, always an answer and a solution to every question or concern.

My Dad made me feel as if I could do anything in the world I chose to do. I was precious to him and I knew it. I knew it in a secure way not an arrogant way.

I missed my Daddy terribly when I moved up North when I was 19. I barely saw him during the next 23 years. He came to my aid in 1995 and helped me start over again. We spent a couple of years together as he and my mom got me on my feet. Five years later he was gone.

He's in heaven with the Lord and he's been there for 7 earthly years. I miss my Dad now more than I ever have. Not that I didn't miss him before, I did, but my logic pushed aside my feelings. Right now, I'm in pain, sciatic pain, and pain has a way of cancelling out logic.

I'm thankful for my Dad, for his love, provision, and guidence in my life. I am blessed by the gift of his legacy. I am humbled by the awareness that not everyone has this legacy. I am quieted and at peace with the assurance that I will be with him again for eternity. Home is where he is.

Thank you Lord. I am Blessed.

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