Saturday, November 22, 2014

For Everything There Is A Season

We stand around your bed as the sunshine streams in the window with tears running down our faces. The door squeals as it opens and your sweet nurse enters with tears in her eyes, and she joins our huddled group.

Christmas carols play softly. You love Christmas so much... Sirens in the distance mark another ambulance's path and another life forever changed. You have touched so many lives. You are loved so much. A friend slips in and comes to your side, it is agony to watch the monitor as seconds pass without a breath but it's even worse not to watch. How did we get to this point?  I'm so tired.

I'll be home for Christmas... If only in my dreams...

Notifications pop up on my Facebook from friends and family sharing old pictures of you and words that though they are hundreds of miles away to be whispered in your ear.
There is a time for everything,

 and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,

 a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build, 

    a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

    a time to search and a time to give up


    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    a time to tear down and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 
Goodbye, grandma...

Waiting With You...

I watch your vital signs on the monitor.  

I watch your life sustaining breaths grow further apart and more ragged.

I listen to phone calls coming in – final words being spoken and I wonder.  

I wonder why do we leave things undone and unsaid.  Everyone with a smartphone and I-phone in their pockets and purses but why are we all really so un-connected.  

There are Facebook and Twitter and still mostly it is just meaningless. 

 I think for all of our so-called connectedness in our modern age I think we really are one of the most unconnected societies. 

Sound bytes and 140 characters but where is the heart? 

A check in from Starbucks and Chicago O’Hare but how is your family? 

A photo from Chuck E Cheese and a day at the beach but are you really happy? 

Can I pray for you?

What is a burden you are carrying? 

You had a cheeseburger today and you like a vegan pumpkin pie recipe but what is your joy?

What burden are you carrying that I can walk with you through and help you carry?  You see for all of this connectedness, the heart, and soul of communication lay withering on the vine.

We get so busy with the business of life.  With the pulse of our daily duty - the breathing in and breathing out of life, work, commute, doing…  We miss out on so much.  Relationships are not found in sound bytes but in the walking out of life.

Your breathing is more ragged now and tears stream down my cheeks as I think of all the words that have been left unspoken because of the business of life. Is it worth it?

Again they say you have only hours and we watch the lengthening flat lines appear where breaths should be and then a ragged breath and your frail chest rises once again.  You are so small and helpless in that great big hospital bed.  I know that healing and restoration are awaiting you when Jesus comes to take you home.

Then that part of me, that selfish part of me- as the flat line crosses the screen my heart screams inside of me No! Not yet!  Don’t leave me yet!

Oh selfish, selfish heart.  Another breath comes and I breathe again, realizing I too am holding my breath until my lungs burn at the holding of it. 

Friends And Savior

You have come on your lunch hour to see her. 

I tell her you are here and she says “Oh for goodness sakes!” 

I am surprised at her speaking because it has been so long since she has spoken. You look at us briefly then you are looking again beyond us at something we cannot see.  Then you begin to speak.  “Oh, oh how nice!”   “Pretty”  “Jesus – yes – yes”.

Oh, if we could only see with our eyes what you are seeing.  Oh, the beauty of the hope that is beyond this life.  The beauty that you have gone to prepare for us.  How glorious it must be. 

John 14;1-3 "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.…

Revelation 21:20-22 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple...

Revelation 4:6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.

Revelation 21:18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.

Revelation 22:2 Down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Will Stay With You All Of Your Days...

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come…
The room is dark now all except for the monitor flashing your vitals and a tv tuned to a hospital menu of television options. It is late and has been a long day.  A long few days really of not enough sleep and the strain of watching a loved one walk through terrible illness and the stress of death looming on the horizon.

 We girls head to the other side of the room, you know the one that is designated for family and sit in chairs to sleep or on that hard pull out couch.  The room is cold and we snuggle under too thin blankets.

You begin to struggle, you are in pain and cry out and suddenly I can’t just lay here and so I get up to stand beside your bed and help to calm you. Soon your other daughters gather by your side and we are trying to help you, to comfort you.  The time begins to stretch and my body and mind is so tired but I can’t sleep, no not can’t because truly I could.  I could fall asleep standing, but I must not.   I need to walk this with you. 

Suddenly I think of Jesus and his last night on the earth.  Surrounded by his friends and all he asks is for them to stay awake and pray with him.  How hard is that guys?  I mean, just stay awake, right? 
Suddenly I feel so weak and unfaithful.  Suddenly I feel the weight of the exhaustion and my brain plays out the story and now I understand.  I understand the pull of sleep on a weary body, like that new mom with the baby up all night and all your eyes want to do is close.  Like the business person road weary and just needing a good night’s sleep.  Like those friends huddled in a garden, wanting to support their dear friend – but just so very tired.  The eyes close, not to sleep, just to rest.  The head nods and the sleep comes.  The spirit is willing but the body… the body is weak.

Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Couldn't you watch with me even one hour? Matthew 26:40

My precious best friend.  I want to do this right.  I don’t want to leave you scared or hurting, I don’t want to leave you alone to face this.  I want to stay up with you, to rub your shoulders and tell you it is going to be ok.  I want to help rub your neck and scalp to help make the pain bearable.  But truly the spirit is willing but the body is weak.
You no longer look me in the eye, but if I call your name you will answer.

You are looking above me at the ceiling but you are enthralled with it.  I ask you what you are seeing and you tell me breathlessly "pretty, pretty".  I ask what it is and you say "angel".  I ask what else you can see and you say "Jesus".  I say to you, "now wonder it is beautiful".

I wish I could see what you see.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reflection In A Window


Good luck... Two words from an E.R. nurse, from the other side of the phone. It's all I needed to hear and I knew how this trip would end... I walk around the house waiting for Mr. Cottage to arrive, so this is what an empty house sounds like, the gentle hum of  the refrigerator and the heater. If I listen really hard I can hear the rain hitting the gutter. So many memories reside in this house. My steps so loud as I pace through the living room for the hundredth time. Heart Failure, Kidneys shutting down the list goes on... They are calling for snow tomorrow.

I watch my reflection in the cold glass of the giant mirror-like window 8 stories above the ground. Nurses huddle around the frail frame in the hospital bed. The frail frame that blood and memories tie me so tightly to. The family has all been called, several family members are looking for flights.

Familiar voices and unfamiliar voices echo through this room. So quiet as we all deal with what is happening in our own way. I scribble on a napkin, as a friend updates my uncle and his wife. Mr. Cottage grabs a few peanut butter cookies from the box, and the wrapper crinkles and then all is silent again. A friend asks us to tell Grandma she loves her. My cousin says she will take us home so Mr. Cottage can stay with Mrs. Cottage at the hospital. Faith greets us at the door. Dogs are such amazing creatures. The house seems so big, so quiet.

So many people are praying for a miracle. But I can't help but wonder, what does a miracle look like? Mrs. Cottage told me this morning that after we left last night she was holding Grandma's hand. Grandma was staring off into space above Mrs. Cottage's head and she whispered "pretty" when she asked her what was pretty she simply said in her hoarse voice "angel". And again I wonder did those prayers get an answer? Just not in the way those that said them thought?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Little Patriotic Outfit

 Hey, guys. It's Veterans day here in America. Thank you to all the men and women who have served our country. Sunday dad took us to the zoo Sunday for their Military Appreciation Day. It was so much fun and I got some great shots of the animals. It was so sweet to watch the military parents interact with their kids. Oh, and can I just say I HATE SNAKES (OK and massive spiders) so the whole building filled with creepy crawly things and crazy fish etc. was not so fun but I survived. :) We are expecting a cold snap next week, at least, that's what the weather people call it... in normal people talk it is going to get really cold and chores are going to be miserable. LOL! So all the winter leggings, coats, jackets, gloves, sweaters, shoes etc. will be pulled out of hiding.

Today I haven't quite given up on my warm weather, so I'm wearing my flag skirt, a red sequined shirt, navy blue jacket, a blue and white star bandanna, red stars and anchor earrings, and white and gold necklace and black high-heels. Ok so I may be playing on the whole red, white and blue thing but if you scroll down to the last photo you may understand a little better why. 

Shirt: Vintage Store
Skirt: I made
Jacket: Target 
Shoes: DSW
Jewelry: Earrings: Walmart Necklace: Burkes 
Bandanna: Target 
And I have my hair up in a simple sock bun with the bandanna tied over it.

My dad :)
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's Just Me Being Me

                                                                                                            Artistic Expression.
Everyone is wearing it!        
                                                       It is just me being ME.

I walk through the glass front doors to see girls torn up jeans in places that should not be torn.  Not from hard work on a farm or from any work or toil at all.  There are short shorts that are so short the pockets hang down from under them and mini skirts so short that I don't know how they manage to sit down and don't have a tube top on their hands or a belt instead of a skirt.   Men try not to look, to avert their eyes, to look them in the face respectfully and not at what there wearing. But the truth is- it's too late. Far, far too late and these are not even grown women, but they are children some not even into puberty yet.

Where am I? I'm at church, on a typical Sunday morning. Who is dressed like this? Young girls. Some not even thirteen. They've grown up in church, they've gone to "Christian Camps". They're in Youth Group. They serve in the children's ministries. They swirl around me in a crazed mix of color, prints, and height. Seemingly unaware, in clothing I would never be allowed out of my room in. They cheerfully greet friends as I wonder when did this become "OK" and worse "The Norm"?

When did we get to the point that Youth Leaders have to specify "how short is too short" to wear to a church event. Or that if your swimming suit is too skimpy that you need to wear a t-shirt over it.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Maybe it's time we stop showing off us, and start showing off Him

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Just that it's available doesn't mean we should be wearing it. My mom has a great phrase she uses on the very rare occasion that we wanted to do something because everyone else was. "Just that everyone else is jumping off a bridge doesn't mean you should". See the bridge is available, no one has said that you can't jump off like the others. It doesn't mean you should jump off. Or let's say there is a sign that says "Dangerous! Shallow water!" but you see others still jumping. So therefore the sign must be wrong, right?

 Worship starts and hands go up but they don't even realize there causing others to stumble. 

 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,  and so train the young women - to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, - that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

So many younger children watching. Wanting to be like them and they don't even notice. 

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pretty Sage Sweater And Floral Skirt

Hey guys! I hope you had a great week... My dad's out of town, so its just us girls. Saturday two of my dad's school friends came for dinner. It was such a good time I don't think we stopped laughing all night. We had our first freeze a few nights ago, I was so sad to see all the pretty summer flowers go, but the colorful leaves almost make up for it. Our dog loves to play in them. She looks so cute! The cat on the other hand has begun to prefer to spend the nights inside the warm house curled in a chair.

I'm trying to decide whether to start putting up Christmas decorations or not... I just can't decide. We always have at least one of our six (I think it's six anyway it may be seven) trees up. What can I say we love Christmas. :) When do you start decorating?

So today I am wearing a green sweater top, white knee length skirt with a pink floral pattern, brown high-heels and a brown sequin purse (You may have noticed I have a slight obsession with sparkly/shinny things, They remind me of one of my foster brothers who was 2 and couldn't say my name so he called me "Shiney". The sparkly purse or earrings reminds me to pray for him when ever I see them.)

Purse: Vintage Store (brand new, still had the original tags! Original price was 9.99 we payed 2.99)
Skirt: Vintage Store
Shirt: Vintage Store
Shoes: Vintage Store
Hair Tutorial: Here

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10