three deaths

My Uncle Bob died this week. So did a cousin of mine, and this morning my cousin Beverly’s husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

Three deaths. One family. One week.

Uncle Bob’s name was Robert Hair. He was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. When he was little his great-grandma told him stories about the trail of tears. She could tell him the stories because she remembered it. For the first years of his life (until he was 6, 7, 8??) he lived on a reservation and only knew how to speak Cherokee. When he married my dad’s sister Joyce, I was young. He was a policeman where we lived in California, in a small county, in a very small town, in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The first party I went to in high school went something like this. Me, thinking I’m a badass at 16 years old holding a wine cooler (Ha! A wine cooler! What a nerd), talking to a cute guy in the kitchen of… well, to be honest I don’t even remember whose house it was. All of a sudden someone starts pounding in the door. Everyone in the party house froze. “Open up kids. This is the police!” Yep. You guessed it. I immediately recognized my Uncle Bob’s voice. Classic. We laughed hard about it years later.

He wasn’t perfect. He could be quite mean. He and my aunt had some tough battles and some wicked fights.

Fifteen or twenty years ago he had a heart attack. He died for a matter of minutes before they revived him. When he came back to life, he told everyone who would listen that he’d seen Jesus when he died. Jesus had told him that he was the way. From that day on Bob couldn’t shut up about Jesus. Some people in my family got really annoyed with him. It was awesome and never deterred him. The joy of Jesus was like fire in him.

I didn’t know my distant cousin very well. He was actually my Grandaddy’s first cousin. I saw him at family reunions. What I do know is that he had a family who loved him and that at 70 years old he finally got the grand kids he’d been looking forward to for years.

Bev’s husband woke up at 1:00 in the morning last night with pain in his chest. He didn’t want to wake Bev, so he sat up all night until 8:00 this morning when she found him outside on the porch swing. She rushed him to the hospital. He passed away about two hours later. They loved each other a lot and tonight her grief must be at its peak, and that fact hurts my heart so deeply for her.

So death has visited us too many times these past few days. Yet, life still flows on for us. I know that the coming week will hold my huge and wonderful family coming together and being there for each other like we always are. There will be lots of tears and a lot of hugs and laughter.

My cousin Pam and I talked on the phone tonight. We cried and laughed with each other. She has yet another cousin on her father’s side of the family that I am not related to, who is in hospice. His name is Ted and hospice told the family today that it will most likely be tonight or tomorrow for him.

She told me a story about her 97 year old grandma who once said to her, “We’ve got it all backwards. We should mourn for someone when they’re born and rejoice for them when they die.”

Maybe she’s right. We mourn when we lose people because we miss them. But we also celebrate because they are free.

I just wanted to remember them here tonight to you, whoever you are, wherever you are, because I loved them, I love those who they’ve left behind, and because they mattered.

They are now seeing fully what we only know in part. what we blog about and talk about and experience pieces and moments of… They know. It’s fantastic and it gives my heart a lot of peace.

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Hiding

I’m in that kind of mood these days… Hiding away, thinking a lot, digesting what I read and hear, not having much to say out loud about it. It’s all rolling around me inside, totally alive, but outwardly quiet.

I read a friends post about isolation recently and it so clicked with me that it’s been in the forefront of my thoughts for several days. So freeing to be taken aside through isolation (spiritually). Maybe “taken aside” isn’t the correct description because I don’t feel that I’ve come off the path in this journey. I feel that I’m looking for and finding Jesus.

So many political things I could have been throwing out views on. So many religious views to debate. So many days just slogging through the work day. So many magical moments of encounters with God and people within all of these issues and viewpoints and boring old days.

My main recent decision? I’ve decided that every person is loved by Jesus and that their path to Him will look very different to mine. I don’t care if they believe in Him or not. They don’t have to measure up to my standards. Hell, if I’m honest, I don’t measure up to may standards!!! They are LOVED. And so am I.

Gay marriage? I don’t mind it. It doesn’t threaten me. I feel for them. I feel that if the Christians who truly believe its sin worked on loving those around them, straight or gay or anything in between, the world would be better off because of it. I don’t think the world, or my children, will be better off because of a debate about marriage.

Politics? I don’t have time for the power hungry. I believe politics do play a roll in these times, but not as big a roll as we give them. The undercurrents are full of the presence of God. That’s where I am choosing to look to gauge my life and times.

I’ve taken a leap off the tracks of the discussions about what church is, what should it be etc, etc, etc (thanks to a very concise and beautiful dream that gave me permission to do so!)

I still struggle in my day to day 9 to 5 job, but that’s ok for now. It isn’t heavy like it used to be. I’m hearing some things in my heart, I’m looking at a light at the end of the tunnel.

I love my friends and I miss England a lot these days. Really longing for their company, laughter, depth, and a good night out with them in an excellent pub.

I’m loved by my family and that’s just an awesome feeling. I love and enjoy my husband so much. My sons really do delight me. My parents bless me. I’m rich because of my family.

These are good days. I think it’s going to get better and better from here. I have so much to learn about everything!!!!

Wherever you are in your journey of life I hope you feel loved, I hope you have people around you who love you, and I hope you are continuing to learn to love. Without love, none of this means anything. If I can remember that, I think I’ll not waste my life. (remind me of that on the days I want to strangle my boss, ok??!!??). 😉

Take care, guys. Good night.

thoughts on a tuesday night

Don’t know what to write here tonight. I haven’t written for days. I’ve yet to figure out why I’ve been avoiding spending some time with Jesus over these past several days. I feel and hear Him asking me to, leading me to… yet I don’t.

I’ve had some good days lately, some profound moments. Two nights ago when we were spending time outdoors Eli was running and playing. He fell and got his first skinned knee. As I was tending to it and comforting him I felt a realization that this was the first of many hurts for him. It made the moment precious because for now I get to be the one who cares for him when he needs it. I also had a realization that time passes quickly and at some point that moment would be a mere memory, he would be a man, and I would miss his small, chubby, sweet little boy self who I was holding onto and giving kisses to at that moment.  I think it’s the way Mary must have treasured Jesus’ time with her in her heart. I keep thinking of her since having Eli.

Anyway, I realize that when I keep away from God I begin to be irritable and find that nothing really entertains me any more.  Distractions don’t actually distract.

I’m not really beating myself up about it.  I’m just expressing that this is where I’m at. I figure if everyone I tend to look up to was more open about how they are with God at certain moments, I’d feel I was simply struggling as a human struggles instead of dealing with being guilt ridden a lot of the time.

Well, it’s after 10:00 pm so I guess that means it’s bed time for me.

I hope that all of you out there are doing well tonight and keeping on on this journey that has become so clouded with rules, opinions and pedestals.  All week a scripture from Lamentations (of all books!!) has been coming to mind: “Arise, cry out in the night. Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.”  Think He’s trying to tell me something? I do. I’ll let you know how it goes.

when does a job become a crutch?

When does a job become a crutch that holds you up, but keeps you from walking forward?

When does the fact that a lifestyle or a place sucks the life out of you matter to God?  Am I there to learn a lesson? Am I there because I view my hours and my boss as my provider more than I view God as my provider?

When do these thoughts become dangerous to my family when we can barely make it financially with both of us working full time?  Or do these thoughts finally bring about something God has wanted me (and Patrik?) to realize all along?

Good questions. Questions that I’m asking tonight.  I’ve sat with God and shared my heart with Him.  I’m sure there is more to come.

getting honest

Honesty is such a brutal thing with me and God.

I fight it. I ignore the need. I get angry and into my self. I lash out at others. I get weary and then I get real.

I acknowledge and usually feel pain… for different things, for those I’ve wounded. Today I saw his wounds and it was not something I wanted to see and know that I had been a part of.

After that, I let go. The tears flow. The sobs come. The Presence grows. The Reality becomes a wave over me. The Grace saves me.

My Friend knows me. He knows me beyond my name and my face. The troubles lift. The healing begins to flow to me, from me. I am forgiven and feel clean.

I go to the one I wounded and he hears and receives my confession in the dark where he was sleeping.

I can’t truthfully say that it’s a lightheartedness I feel right now. It’s more like a weary peace.

Jesus, you love me and I’ve seen you face to face, and so I follow you and love you in return. Thank you so much for sorting through all of the wasted days and places in me. I need your view. I need to see life in and around me the way you want me to see them. Even in my own house.

Peace sits here with me tonight. I am free because you bring honesty and love.

Thank you. I’m so glad there’s never an ending to our story. Bring what you have to me and my family!!

I live in the shelter of the Most High and I will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He alone is my refuge, my place of safety. He is my God and I trust Him. He will rescue me and my family from every trap and protect us from deadly disease. He will cover us with His feathers. He will shelter us with His wings. His faithful promises are our armor and protection. We are not to be afraid of the terrors of the night or of the arrows that fly in the day. We are not to dread the disease that stalks in darkness or the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at our side, though ten thousand are dying around us these evils will not touch us. We just open our eyes and see how the wicked are punished.

If we make the Lord our refuge, if we make the Most High our shelter, no evil will conquer us; no plague will come near our home. For He will order his angels to protect us wherever we go. They will hold us up with their hands so we won’t even hurt our feet on a stone. We will trample on lions and cobras; we will crush fierce lions and cobras under our feet!

The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.’

Psalm 91

morning

Woke up this morning to the blaring alarm. It was still dark outside. Cold. Didn’t want to get up and face the day. Another day of stress and a desk piled with other people’s bankruptcy’s. It’s the day before payday and we’ve got less than $20 in the bank. Then I rolled over and hugged Patrik and he hugged me and we cuddled in the warm bed and all of a sudden the day didn’t seem so daunting.

Love and trust with someone is beautiful and I’m so thankful for him. He makes me smile. 🙂

welcome to the world, debra!!

I have a new niece.   This makes me VERY happy!!!

She’s gorgeous.  I can’t wait to leave work a little early today to go kiss those cheeks for the first time!!

She weighed 6 lbs, 9 oz and is very healthy.  Her name is Debra Lois, after her grandma and her great-grannie.  I love her already.

Welcome to the world, Debra!!

that’s my son

Not to be depressing, but I need to think and feel out loud.

When  I saw this picture, my heart was wrenched with pain and love for this child and my first and instant thought was, “That’s my Eli”.  That’s my son in that picture. That’s how painful and horrifying it feels for me to look at this picture.  It’s someone’s son or daughter.  I can hardly handle that thought or that feeling. Dear God.

I ask for God to give me that type of compassion for another so that the compassion feels personal when I see someone who who needs, so that I truly behold them and love them.   Not just physically, but someone who may be dripping in diamonds or $600 shoes, someone who may be poor in their spirit.

And yet, I don’t want to diminish whoever that child is… or was.  God knows him or her and I want to remember them with this photo, not just make their suffering a lesson I’ve learned on my blog.  What a beautiful, precious little baby, whose life was NOT lived in vain.

Jesus, come.

fire IN blackberries!

“Earth’s crammed with heaven” so the poem says.

My dirty dishes on the kitchen table at 10:34 pm are part of earth.  My dirty kitchen that has not been cleaned since last night are a part of earth.  A bit of a disagreement with my husband… part of earth.  I am insecure and I am part of earth.  Earth’s crammed with heaven.

COOL.

So, the dishes, though dirty, seem to sparkle a little.  The time I spent with Eli instead of doing dishes for the second night in a row, that’s heaven crammed in there for sure.  The small disagreement?  I’m about to go climb in bed where Patrik is sleeping, hug him, and accept that we both struggle and that we are both not just part of earth, but part of heaven too. My insecurities… I’ll hold them up and let the fire from Moses’s burning bush light them up and burn them up and leave me filled and glowing with God Himself, because He loves me.

I think I just took my shoes off, because this is holy ground.  (I feel like saying that in a whisper, because it’s like a secret I’ve discovered.)