Monday, November 21, 2011

They Are Better Off Without

Me. Have you ever had those pitiful thoughts?  Thoughts of unworthiness, of judgement and abandonment all rolled up into one pitiful emotion?  Sometimes known as a pity party, sometimes known as a make yourself feel better day, play hookie from life, o gosh she hates me syndrome, the maybe I'll just leave and you'll see road trip to nowhere, or the nobody understands what its like so you tell them in so many words then two hours later you're still talking series.  Listen, they are better off without that ME, and I hope that I am becoming a new ME every day.  Thank the Lord!
As I sit here, alone, listening to the wind howl, watch the leaves and toilet paper blow from the neighbors yard and imagine, my mind goes in many different directions.  I had chemo today, drove myself there, came home, had a bowl of muesli and hemp milk and a cup of green tea and cried.  Not because of the alone part but because of all God is revealing to me through all of this.  I am looking out my window and see a Wisteria tree that has grown big and strong but not strong enough to do without the tall oaks that stand beside it, that carry it, that hold up its branches that spritz us with perfume in early spring.  Today was the last treatment of this sort, the worst of the worst and I cried.  I cried when they plugged me in, I cried when I left and I am crying now.   I feel like the vine and God is carrying me through all of this and His presence sometimes is so overwhelming the only place for it to come out is my eyes.   Seeing this vine crucifixed to the oaks like our Jesus reminds me of His gifts.  Did He have anyone who came along side Him to carry the branches, to carry His limbs, to carry His soul so that we could live?   So no, I am not having a pity party per say, just having a party thinking its a pity no one is here with me to enjoy what I am seeing.
My friend Emma leaves today to go back to the big island of Australia.  She was like this wind that brought moments of grace demonstrated through the Father's love.  I can hear her voice like the whistle and howl outside.  There are people that cross our lives, that complete a connection with our heavenly Father in ways beyond our imagination.  It took a bump in the road to wake me up and bring us together for such a time as this in my life and in hers.   A lifelong friend indeed.  Never to be forgotten.  I learned a great deal about life in the month and a half we were blessed to be in each others company.  Like a visit from a near but distant cousin, like a Mary and Elizabeth, adjusting our lives to maximize every stage, every moment God had for us to explore together.  Little reminders and glimpses remain around the house, but eternally in my heart she will stay.  God is so good all the time. She helped me believe, "You can't be what you can't see."

In the midst of my crying, who calls?  Emma.  Nudged by God to give me a ring and see how I am doing.  It never fails when I am needing Him the most He provides a call, a text, a letter, a hug, a meal, a ray, a sprinkle, a pressing in from all sides carrying my branches like the strong oaks. A hand up not a hand out.

These encounters make me strong, they make me more aware, they bless my heart and life so much.  The strength of the wind that blows at His command, the strength of the spiders thread that hangs onto a leaf windsocking through the air, the strength from another are all that bring joy to your life.  This, for me,  is the real meaning of living faith.  Trusting to live organically.  Stripped of everything to gain eternal life.  He teaches me again and again never tiring of my questions.  He can do anything. 
I know I am not alone on this walk and have so much to be thankful for.  You too?

Friday, November 11, 2011

In the Cloud

A long hard road, concentrating, pressing on, maxing out, replenishing, renewing and regrouping all has to do with embracing goals, meeting goals and achieving goals.  Today, even though there is not a cloud in the sky, my head is in the clouds.  I have downloaded "the cloud" and I'm walking on cloud 9 as we prepare for the Texas State CC Championship Meet this weekend where our youngest of 6 is once again adding her chapters to our story.  Long awaited moments captured in her mind watching her sister's success wondering when it will be her turn.  Guess what, it's her time, it's her turn and it's her race.  She is shining like a bright star among thousands of the best runners, but more importantly she shines for Jesus.  She knows that genes have a little part to play in her success, but more importantly being a child of the Most High and daughter of the King far surpasses any prize she might win.  We have this piece of paper on our bulletin board that I cut out of a magazine years ago that reads, "There is a word for those who never quit.....Champion".
She is a champion already in our book.  What a gift to be a blessing.  She is ranked with all the rest who have traveled this same road and persevered. Matters not the type of road, but the journey that it takes us all on to get where we are going.  All we have to do is listen.

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud (great company) of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us". Heb. 12:1
Hook'em  Go Harper Longhorns!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stop and Smell the Flowers

"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come.  And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."  Song of Sol 2:12

How often are we walking so fast, rushing to get in and get out, or be somewhere by a certain time (which is good to be on time) and rushing just to get to the next thing on our agenda?  How often do we walk past a patch of carefully planted, beautifully placed and esthetically pleasing patch of flowers, but don't bother to stop, take notice or stoop to smell them?  The flowers and their loveliness can look something like a blurr of color catching only the corner of our eye, as we pace on.  By the way do you see the Love, God in this one above?

Still moving hurriedly but slowing down things start to come into focus.  I love going into Wal Mart (ok I don't love going into Wal Mart).  What I love is going in through the Garden Center to see the plants and flowers.  The petunias and pansies are all in bloom and cast a sweet intoxicating perfume all over me as I pass by.  I can not help but stop.  If we are in a hurry all the time the intensity of their color can seem faded and even dulled.  Of course I can not plant them in my yard cause, well you know, deer would mow them down in a night.  Their sweet aroma would beckon the deer over to the porch which would be no boundary for them.....they are hungry.  What a tempting delight of God's handiwork for our eyes, our noses and their stomaches.  So I enjoy them in the confines of the Garden Center.  With chemo apparently your sense of smell is altered which I experienced at a doctors office when she asked me to smell something and I said I could barely smell it.  They said it was pretty potent and surprised I could not smell it. Then I was reminded that our sense of smell does diminish somewhat through treatments.

But not with the flowers........praise God. I walked over to them, put my face down amongst their petals and waved my hand toward my face.  I took a deep breath over and over as their fragrance went all the way down to my belly button.  It was glorious.  I just kept waving and sniffing, waving and inhaling, waving and then.......someone came over as #onlyinTexas they might do, to ask,"  Honey are you alriiiiiight?"  I assured her I was fine and was just admiring God's perfume.  It did open up a conversation about Colorado and Arizona and how we could grow these flowers with no threat of the mowing deer.  She wants to move back while I told her I would settle for a visit.

"The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of our God shall stand forever." Is. 40:8 and in v. 7b it says, "because the breath of the Lord blows upon it".  Have I ever considered the fragrance of the Lord as His breath.  I am so glad His breath will be sweet, healing and intoxicating to our souls.  Have I ever considered His is the same breath that sharply freezes our nose hairs in winter, that sends warning to us when something is burning, or reminds us when to change a dirty diaper?  Can that be as sweet aroma to me as well?  Some things in life really just stink, but they are sweet aroma to God and have the life giving breath of God in the midst of it.  He is the only one that can help me see and smell past the end of my nose.  The violets and pansies are especially nice.  

 Monday was Halloween and we passed out candy.  It is my least favorite holiday and I don't even look at it as a holiday.....yuk.  It has gotten way out of hand.....but so have a great deal of other things so we won't go there.  I have tried to find ways to make it more fun and more about other things than spooky stuff.  I have for years.  Last year I did a photo essay of all the people who came to our house.  A montage of kids dressed up at my door.  Some of those same faces came back, but not as many this year.  I did get exhausted from up down up down up down answering the door, but when else do you open your door without question to strangers?  So I asked before I opened, "Is it a trick or a treat?"  And as I would opened the door to see who was there I would say, "It's a treat! O look at all of you.  Now before you get candy you have to figure out who I am"  This year, not wanting to scare the little ones with my bald head, I decided to go as a bald eagle.  I know corny right?  No, I did not get pictures of them this year or of my outfit, but saw lots of homemade ones like mine.  So I put a white baseball cap on and taped a yellow beak on it, put on a furry brown poncho, a white furry scarf and a black chenille scarf boa for my wings.  That was it.  So I would tip my hat and say," I am bald and I can fly what am I".  And again as #onlyinTexas true fashion I got some pretty fun answers....... I got "vulcher?, turkey?" which I had not even thought of but told them great answers cause yes they too are bald..........even with the hint of "think symbol of America" they were stumped......made me worry about the little fellas.  Most of them got it after that hint.  It was fun.
So stop, get out of the truck,  slow down, smell the flowers next time and all the time.  Take your sweetheart a little nosegay of violets and tell them they are the fragrance of God.  You won't be disappointed.  Know the very breath of God, the very heart and essential oil of God is what you are smelling.  "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak"......(and breathe) AHHHHHHHHH!
It will make you never want to exhale.  Is what comes forth from my mouth as sweet?  Hope so.
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord,  my strength and my Redeemer".  Ps. 19:14  "And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of  My hand, that I may plant the heavens,  lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, 'You are My people'" Is. 51:16