Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goodbye, my friend

My friend died yesterday.  Or maybe it would be more accurate to say she was healed of brain cancer, just not on this side of heaven. I had the privilege of spending Tuesday afternoons with her for the past several months.  We mostly just visited, with me sharing the day to day joys and struggles of being a mom of 6 with a slightly older wiser mom of 2.  But sometimes we shared more--digging into the deeper issues of life, and God, and pain.  Audrey was my Sunday School teacher, when I was a teenager, and my first camp counselor.  She was smart and funny and independent and strong and fearless and creative and encouraging and I loved her.  I love her.  As the tumor in her brain grew, and medications became necessary, the side effects made her self-conscious; as if the outward effect of steroids could somehow mar the beauty of her as a person.  I told her she was beautiful every time I visited.  Because she was.  In this last month, my visits became more frequent, and they were less about visiting, and more about managing...."what did she eat last, was she hungry, thirsty, did she need lotion, go ahead and nap, how about I empty that catheter bag"? I wish I had had the foresight to get a picture of Audrey and I together before the effects of steroids took their toll.  Some memories we must just treasure in our hearts.  I will miss Tuesdays with Audrey.  But I'm glad she's free of that body that would not cooperate anymore.

I can't wait to see her again someday.

Rest in peace, Audrey.  I enjoyed our friendship immensely.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Carpe Diem

When we returned to the car from our hike up Dripping Springs, everyone tired and hungry and thirsty and such, the boys got talking about the mountain we were sitting at the base of, and how long it would take to climb, what kind of equipment you might need. The mountains in NM have this strange way of seeming so far away but so close at the same time. Ken was thinking it would take hours with special equipment. Jon thought it would be easy. And away he ran. To climb a mountain. And Andrew joined him. The first hill took them about 5 minutes. The summit took about 20. Round trip was about 45 breath-taking, heart stopping, exhilarating minutes. I think we should live life like that.

Seizing opportunities before they slip through our fingers.

The mountain they climbed, they stood on the top of the tall one

Top of first hill

If you look closely you can see them in the center, Jon's red shirt just a dot, almost to the top. My heart was in my throat--how dangerous was this? Snakes? Loose rocks?

Ken kept asking where they were. He couldn't see them. I could just barely see them through the lens of the camera. And then....

6,000 feet above sea level
We cheered and whooped and couldn't believe they made it to the top! Three cheers for a
can-do attitude!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NM Vacation 2012

One of my favorite places in all the world, White Sands, NM. The sky is so immense, beauty surrounds and overwhelms...God feels so near...

Cousins make life infinitely more rich...

as do sisters..

A pleasantly surprised Aunt Linda and a suddenly snuggly Sarah..

Cutest sisters in all the world ride a dinosaur at the Creation Museum in Kentucky..
A hike up to Dripping Springs...another one of my absolute favorite places to be...
A picture (that I actually like) of myself ..

Dripping Springs--there was snow and ice in the cold shadow of the mountain--and cactus off the trail, where Jon decided it was more exciting to hike!
Ken stacks some rocks

Hiking with a 25 pound squirmy toddler....

Tennessee Aquarium

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fridays are for...

smiling and remembering...

this bird weighed more than Sarah! No wonder she was afraid of it!

giving thanks...(because Thanksgiving isn't an event, it's a mindset)
slowly washing and putting away the last of the dishes...
pie for breakfast, and maybe lunch, too...
planning family vacation...
dreaming up Christmas surprises...

and leftovers.
this is what the drumstick from a 30 lb turkey looks like!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fridays are for....

cleaning up the countless spills of a tired toddler
hot tea and Words with Friends
horse dreams with Emma
listening to Jon practicing guitar
Bible stories with young ones
meeting new people
devouring good books about the goodness of God

and pizza.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Playoffs, y'all!

JonnyB, #5

I never used to like football. The rules-- like undecipherable code. The play--run for 20 seconds, then stop. Run for 30 seconds, then stop. Huddles and time outs and crazy referee hand signals...I just could never understand it enough to enjoy it. But that was before it was my boy lunging down the field with 2 guys on his legs and one on his back, fighting like mad to get at least one more yard, or lunging through the air to hit the opponent with the ball. Now one of my favorite weekend past times is watching football games in the cold air with the boys I can yell the names of as they sprint down the field or take somebody down. What fun I am having watching Jon and his football team make history in the playoffs!

Playoffs, y'all! (And I'm not even from Texas!)

I now have such a respect for the sport of football. The discipline, teamwork, camaraderie...it builds character like no other sport I know. And the sense of community you feel with the other crazy, yelling parents who run up and down the field is so rich! I'll be honest, I actually got choked up the other day as I watched Jon's teammate make touchdown #2 in their first ever playoff game. I've watched these boys, and this coach for 4 years lose game after game, and not give up. It's so like life, if you just keep walking, steady and faithful, you will eventually make it to the finish line, or the end zone. ;)
Not to sound weird or anything, but I feel God's pleasure when I watch Jon play. Like he's smiling at the son He made so strong, so persistent, so focused. I don't know how long football will be a part of Jon's life, and our life. But we will enjoy it, for however long it lasts. Looking over the photos from that day, I'm struck by the sense of team and loyalty needed for those boys to throw themselves into the opposing team players to protect their man with the ball. Sometimes they are protecting Jon. And sometimes Jon is throwing his body into someone to protect his buddy.....taking one for the team, as they say. There's probably a lesson in there about loving our neighbors and bearing one another's burdens, or helping other people reach the goal (endzone) because if they succeed, we win, too, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Next weekend, second game of the playoffs. And I wouldn't miss it for anything!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What's your song?

I think God fills each of us with a soul song as He knits us in the womb. It's like the murmurations of the starlets, the crackle of water on rocks at low tide, the way the colors of autumn flash all aflame at sunrise. It's a song of praise from created to Creator which can only be heard when we are completely ourselves....being who God made us to be. Some may use voices, but many others sing in a different way.
Some use their feet as they go...
Some use wood and metal as they build...
Some use their minds or their words or their bodies...

And some use sticks...

Ken came home with this huge metal tank, and it didn't take long for the drummers in this house to figure out what it's real use was..

Sometimes, when I listen close with ears not made of flesh, I can hear the song of the people around me..the soul song that fills my heart and calls to me to sing, too.

When we, His creations, are as The Creator intended, it's like a love song to Him.

All of us, singing together, our lives set apart for Him.