Although it is not good to dwell on our pasts, New Year's Eve seems a time of remembering the year that was and anticipating the year that is to be.
Last year brought some special memories - going to Frankenmuth, A's birth, helping at VBS in Nebraska, the train trip to Chicago to get the Bitty Babies at American Girl, fellowship at church, numerous birthday celebrations.
It also brought some challenges - so many health issues at work - Darlene, Mike, Evelyn, Richard. Then in October came Bob's heart attack. We saw God's faithfulness and His mercy and His goodness to us. We saw Him in the good times and in the bad as well.
Tonight we will go to church and reflect even more on God's blessings. I go with a heavy heart as my mom is struggling physically. She refuses to seek the help she needs and I feel guilty.
On the way home from Wakarusa today, I heard a radio speaker allude to the 'dashes' in our lives. You know. On a cemetery marker there is a birthdate and a date of death. There is a dash between them.
It is no secret that I like to hang out in cemeteries. Just ask my kids. They hated having to stop on our vacations so I could wander through a cemetery.
Often I would stop and wonder about the 'dashes' in that person's life. Did they have a family? What did they enjoy doing? Did they know the Lord? Did they die loosing the battle but winning the victory?
We all have 'dashes' in our lives. I can go back quite a long way and fill in those dashes. My first memories of horses. Moving to Puerto Rico. School. Family. Church. Vacations. Jobs. Friends. Hobbies. Possessions. How many of those 'dashes' will amount to anything in eternity? Those are the 'dashes' that count. For Him.
Sometimes I think that I put so much into Christmas with the food, decoration, and gifts - that I loose my focus on how simple that first Christmas really was. You gotta be kidding! Ruger is always so patient when I take our traditional 'antler' picture.
Oh Christmas Tree! It reminds me of another tree - one on which my Saviour died.
Patrick - A very special gift - also his birthday!
It was not a 'silent night'. Look at all those Christmas Blessings!
We spend Christmas Eve with Mom and Brad. This year, since it was on a Wednesday we also had a Christmas Eve service. There could have not been a better beginning. The church was lit with candles and we sang a lot of hymns. Patrick closed the service with 'I Am'. Afterwards everyone came over for appetizers. Something the kids have always enjoyed. We had a new face amongst us this year. A new blessing. The reminder of Christ's humble birth is very poignant. After everyone left, Bob and I watched Miracle at Moreaux, a reminder that He came to save all people.
Today was our store luncheon. I made sure Darlene knew about it although when she called me earlier in the week, she had been struggling with the new chemo.
When she walked into my office, I was shocked at how much weight she had lost. I started this blog to journal her battle with the big 'C'. Also, to reaffirm my goal to make sure she knew another bigger 'C'. She gave me a card and the last portion of it talked about me reflecting the love of the Lord to her. That's really all want to do. Reflect Him.
When she left, Jimmy walked her out to her car because it was so ugly and slippery out. I watched my frail friend and when he came in he said, 'That's your buddy isn't it?' I told him that she was and that I missed her very much. Kind of a sobering end to my day at work. I reflect on last year when she was in full swing and consider next year - will she be here at all?
I love early, Winter mornings. There is a crispness to the air and the words to the song, '"Was it a Morning Like this?" float through my mind. Sometimes I even look to the Heavens and think I will see Him any moment.
One of the places I most enjoy going is to a cemetery. There is a peace, a solitude. There is the presence of God and each marker tells the story of a life. A life that is now in eternity. It is sobering at times. Life is surely a vapor. When Dad was dying I told him that he could loose the battle but still win the victory. He did.
For months I have been trying to add pictures to this blog and wouldn't you know - the first one I add is of a cat? This is Mia. She is my nosy meezer whom was rescued from the humane shelter. I love my pets. Yes I do. I know the way we treat our four footed friends tell a lot about us. Now I better figure out how to add grandchildren!
Yesterday we had our children's program at church. Aside from the fact that our grandchildren were the cutest ones on stage...... The theme was the different names of Jesus. At the end of the progra, Patrick sang the Aaron-Jeffrey song 'He Is.' It was wonderful. It sequed perfectly into pastor's message. As Patrick sang, the power point flashed up the books of the Bible and a reference from each supporting exactly who God is in each of them. It was simpy a wonderful program to help me remember that He is my Father, Good Shepherd, Alpha and Omega, Great Physician, Teacher - and that is just the beginning. Ultimately, he is my Savior.
My favorite part of the Christmas story is Mary, pondering these things in her heart. Mary was young when she gave birth to Jesus. To have the maturity at that age to 'ponder' is rather remarkable. Most young women that age are very reactionary. She had much to ponder. She had never been intimate - maybe didn't know much at all about intimacy, yet she gave birth to a child. She was away from home. In a stable. The Bible didn't say a midwife delivered Jesus, so perhaps Joseph did. The shepherds came, seemingly recognizing this special birth. How tired she must have been. How confused. Uncertain. She had much to ponder. As I have matured, I too have become a ponderer. Sometimes I pick up a simple passage and think upon it. Wonder about it. I have become less reactionary. I remember the birth of my first child. Wondering what kind of a person he would grow into. Wondering if I could care for him properly. Michael Card has an amazing song, 'Mary's Song'. In it he talks about Jesus as a baby and having a certain cry that was different from that of being hungry. A deep, empty cry. As a baby, could Jesus sense that this was not His home? A cry so deep, so hard to understand. I do not worship Mary, but she had to be an unusual young woman. A ponderer.
One of the traditions I have begun with Jocelyn is watching Miracle at Moreau. The story takes place in France during WWII. A runner is attempting to get 3 Jewish children across the border and he finds a chateau where the nun and children are snowed in over the Holiday. The gestapo kills him as he attempts to steal food for the children. The Sister sees one of the disoriented children and rescues her and eventually the gestapo realizes that the three children are at the chateau. It is a story of hatred. It is a story of fear. It is a story of misunderstanding. It is ultimately a story of learning about another person as the previously fearful and mistrusting French children learn that these Jewish children have lost a lot in their lives but ultimately, they are alike. In the end, they ingeniously help the Jewish children escape and learn a lesson - The Holy Family was also Jewish. Many of my childhood friends were Jewish. One thing I am thankful for is that living in Puerto Rico has taught me to respect diversity. I will always realize that a person must be saved to enjoy eternal life, but I try to value that person for someone whom God has created. Sin will always be sin, but I too am a sinner - saved by Grace. God's cross is wide enough to cover the sins of all people. Not just 'small' sins, but also 'big' sins. Jocelyn is a year older and will understand more of the movie this year. One thing I attempt to instill in her is to love each person that comes into her life. To be kind to them. To show them her God. Her faith. The gift of a baby is actually what Christmas is all about. The gift was to everyone - Jew and Gentile.
I am one of those people who strives for 'the perfect Christmas'. Maybe because I am a dreamer. What has amazed me this year is that what seemed so important before, is not. One of the kids asked us to cut back on the gifts. I love giving gifts. I have cut back and am amazed at how much easier things have gone. I had a perfect menu. Bob can't eat all that fat so once again, I have 'tweaked' the menu to better accomodate him. Again, there really isn't that much that I will miss. Normally I stress about when we can get together. This year, with Christmas Eve being on Wednesday and with two different churches involved, we might not be able to get together on Christmas Eve. Last weekend was our traditional 'cut our tree' weekend. We cut ours fresh from the Lowe's parking lot! One thing is constant. One thing has not changed. We are celebrating the birth of a Savior. My Savior. Working retail takes so much joy out of Christmas but this year, things have been less stressful there. Rather than missing 3 church services in December, it looks like I won't miss any. Normally I miss singing Christmas carols but this year, I won't. Normally I have to tweak my hours so I can go to programs. This year I won't. My mind floats back to when we did 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'. Maybe this will be true of my Christmas this year.
Today I was putting out the Nativity scene that B brought back for us from Israel. It is something that I treasure. A few years ago I was putting it out and I could not find baby Jesus amidst all the tissue. I remember thinking, "Where is baby Jesus? Where is baby Jesus?" It reminded me that often I loose sight of Jesus as I go throughout the trappings of Christmas. I have to work. I have to decorate the house. I have to find time to visit my mom. I have to buy and wrap gifts. I have to do baking. I have to send out cards. I have church activities, family activities, work activities. Where is baby Jesus in all of this? Is He there? Do I remember the simplicity of His birth? Just exactly where IS baby Jesus?
It was rather a shock that first time we got Bob's meds and they were over 600.00. I called Medical Assistance and they gave some suggestions which helped 'tweak' it to 300.00 the following month. It was frustrating that insurance would not pick up the majority of it. We then got a phone call from someone that said the pharmacist needed to process the claim differently and told us to send the bill in. Taxes are due. Christmas is here. Money is tight. I prayed specifically that the Lord would allow us to be re-imbursed by Wednesday so I could pay taxes next week. Wednesday when I opened the mail, there were the two re-imbursement checks. My mind went to the story of the lepars. One returned to thank the Lord for healing. I had Edwin with me and although he did not understand, I said, 'Edwin, I prayed specifically that the Lord would re-imburse us today. I want you to know that He answered that prayer.' Such a minor detail for the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine. Today I came into work and shared that answer with Connie. Chad was sitting there. He is not a Believer, but that answer to prayer gave me an indirect way to witness to him. Did I seriously think He would answer that prayer in such a specific timeframe? I asked didn't I? It was the desire of my heart wasn't it? No, He doesn't always answer in such a manner but when He does, I need to share that answer so others know His goodness. I need to thank Him. Thanksgiving was very nice. Sharing it with two outside our family was a way to minister. Keeping Edwin and Jocelyn all night the night before - not too smart!!
The past few weeks I feel like I have been drifting. So many prayers went up on behalf of Dryscha's FET and God chose to say, "no". In true Becky fashion, I don't like the 'no's' in my life! Dryscha has always handled her infertility with much more grace than I have. My heart aches for her. My arms long to hold the baby that she cannot conceive. I have missed that close fellowship with God. Last night as I kept waking up, I began to renew it once again. I have missed talking to Him. Walking with Him. Sharing His goodness with those I come into contact with. It feels good to be drifting back towards Him. After all, He never moved. I did.
Nevertheless - a word I don't often use but have been thinking about the past few days. Our prescriptions are exhorbitant - NEVERTHELESS - Bob is alive and the medicines are paid for another month. Dryscha will never be able to bear another child - NEVERTHELESS - She has 3 miracles and could adopt. Our furnace is broken - NEVERTHELESS - we have space heaters and can keep fairly warm. Bob's stress test did not turn out as we hoped - NEVERTHELESS - We anticipate it can be taken care of chemically rather than another angioplasty.
In each case, the situation was not as we had hoped. As we had dreamed. NEVERTHELESS, God has made Himself very evident. He has been our NEVERTHELESS and will continue to be.
Today has been disappointing. Dryscha is not going to have a baby. I remembered that once I read that if you change the 'D' in disappointment to an 'H', you have Hisappointment. I have to believe that. No one would make a better mom than Dryscha. I have to believe that God has other plans for her - plans that are better than we can imagine. Perhaps adoption. Now we are awaiting election results. It is scary. Again, God is in total control. Tonight we went to the library so Bob could get a library card. I grew up loving books. I remember the first time I ever went to a library. My grandmother took me one Summer when we came home for a few weeks. I never knew there was a place with so many books! I can still remember the awe I felt....
So often we pray, but never really celebrate the answers. There were several this week. Darlene went to the doctor and her tumor has shrunk from .8 to .4 cm. That is half! She will still take chemo rather than the surgery. Mike went to the doctor and his scan turned out very good. No cancer in his stomach. That is a HUGE praise. He was very overcome as he shared with me. It is hard to believe that it is November. Although I love Fall and October is my favorite month, it is also the anniversary of my dad's death and the death of Jordan's baby. Sometimes I feel like I struggle with depression in October. It will also now be the anniversary of Bob's heart attack.
I was looking at Jonah the other day and as always when looking into the Word, saw something that struck me and I have pondered it. In Jonah 1:1, the Bible says that 'The Word of the Lord came to Jonah.' We all know what happened. In Jonah 3:2 it says, 'The Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time saying...' How gracious of God not to give up on us. How often does the Word of God come to Becky saying.......and it is not heeded? How often does the Word of God come to Becky the second and even third, fourth, and fifth times saying...... ? I once told Jocelyn that when I see a butterfly, it reminds me that God is a God of Second Chances. A butterfly starts out as a larvae so very ugly and undesirable, but after that time of rest, it metaphorps into the final product. It spends time crawling in the dirt before getting its wings so it can rise above. It reminds me that I need to get out of crawling around in the dirt on my belly, rest in the Word of the Lord, and become metamorphed into who He wants me to be.
Yesterday Dryscha and Mike had a FET and implanted the last of the frozen embroys. How we all pray that at least one will take and another baby will be born. Consequently, I had the boys. I have watched them all over there, over here, but never kept all three all night and all day. I have a HUGE appreciation for Dryscha's parenting skills. Before noon, James had spilled lime green paint all over him and everything else. Robert fell in dog poop and stuck his finger in Ruger's mouth only to be bit. Nothing too drastic happened to Edwin. yet. The biggest hassle is getting them all ready to go someplace. Loading up those 3 little boys is no easy task! Mike and Dryscha have taken those three little boys to church since they have been 8 weeks old. They have never 'isolated' them like most triplet parents of preemies. They haven't taken them just once a week, but normally 3 times a week. Always on time. Usually pretty clean :). It is a blessing to see them sing little songs about Jesus and know that they need to fold hands and bow heads when praying. Those little smiles, no matter whether clean or dirty, never fail to remind me of God's goodness. I remember looking at them all in the NICU, 3 little boys that were desperately wanted, and saying, 'Dryscha, there are THREE.' That is one blessing we have never taken for granted.....and I trust we never will......
Today I took the girls and went to visit Cathy. It has been a long time since we were together. Not really sure what happened between us. I think for a bit we took different paths. She is probably the friend I have had the longest. One of my biggest regrets is having no childhood friends that I am in contact with. Of course they were all in PR. I sometimes miss not being connected to someone! In our house she is known as 'Crazy Cathy'. I have never met anyone who gets herself into as much trouble as Cathy does. People that know both of us are in shock at our friendship because we are so totally opposite. All those years ago, the kids would turn off t.v. and watch her. That's how crazy she is.....Now they just worry that when we are together she will really do something crazy and we will end up in jail.... Cathy and I have been through a lot together. We don't really spend a lot of time together but when something momentous happens in our lives, we always share with each other first. I think we don't spend a lot of time together because our lives do go in different ways--I have my faith, she has her possessions. I have my family and she has a family that she struggles with. I am content with little and she must have lots. I am a day person and she is most definately a night person. It amazes me that in this world, God brought us together. I know He did. Maybe He gave me a little craziness to balance my seriousness......
This morning the girls and I were driving to Wakarusa to visit my mom. I was kind of tired. Kind of grumpy. My thoughts were drifting to the fact that I had been counting the days until this vacation. I had everything planned out. Where I would go. (the cabin) What I would do. (read, walk, sleep, eat) What I would eat. (pepperoni rolls and turtle pie). Instead I am at home this week watching 5 kids and eating healthy. Little walking. Little reading. Jocelyn began to sing: This is the day that the Lord hath made. Not like tomorrow or yesterday. He made today in a special way. Let us all sing and be glad.
I love Fall. I was enjoying God's creation. I also love that verse in the Bible. It IS the day that the Lord hath made. I am at peace with the fact that I am home. That peace comes from God. My plans were not His plans for this week but that is okay. I am thankful I can be a blessing to my family. Once again, my kids needed me to help them out and His timing was perfect. I can be off this week to do that. Each day of life is special and for that I can be glad.
Last night in church we talked about sin - particularly Eve's sin and the consequences. One thing that touched me was the fact that God went into the garden in the cool of the day and asked Adam where he was. He missed Adam. He must miss me when I am not being faithful. There's a song by Casting Crowns called 'Slow Fade'. The lyrics of that song really touch my heart each time I hear it.
Be careful little eyes what you see It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings Be careful little feet where you go For its the little feet behind you that are sure to follow.
I have so many little feet behind me. Not only the little feet of my 9 precious grandchildren, but also feet of newer Christians, weaker Christians, non-Christians. I was telling my new HR District Coach that I felt one of my most important jobs was keeper of not only integrity, but also morale.
It's a slow fade when you give yourself away. It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray. Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid when you give yourself away People never crumble in a day It's a slow fade.
It is a slow fade when black and white turn to gray. It is so easy to justify our sins. To rationalize them. I think that is the first step. I really have to watch my thought process'. That is a weakness for me. Some prices have already been paid as a result of the choices I have made. I need to discern those areas of my life that I can slowly fade in.....
Last night we went to see my mom and afterwards, walked around the walking track in Wakarusa. As we were walking, I thought about everything that had happened since I last walked it. The temperature was cooler and the leaves had begun to change. Some of the trees have 'In Memory' signs in front of them. One of them was for Steve Schwalm, a great guy who was a year behind me and in my Driver's Training Class. There are seasons in our life just as in nature. When Steve and I were in school together, I was 16. Had just moved here from PR. So many things to experience yet. It was a season of care free days, new friends, new memories. Since that time there have been deaths, weddings, births. Each one brought a new season in my life. A season as a wife. A season as a mom. A season without a parent. A season as a grandparent. Again - new experiences and memories throughout each of those years. I realized how innocent I was when I walked that path in August. No concept that Bob would have a heart attack. Our life changes so quickly. The seasons change. Just as the landscape in nature changes with each season, so does the landscape in our lives. It amazes me that one thing has not changed throughout eternity and one thing never will. God was here at the beginning of each season of my life and He will see me through the last season. Sometimes I move from Him but then I remember that when we aren't as close as we used to be, it was me who did the moving. Fall is my favorite season. Perhaps this is also the Fall of my life and I need to strive to make it a good season for both myself and for my family. Now if I could just get some pictures to post on this blog...........
Anniversaries can be sad or they can be happy. October has some of each. October is the anniversary of the death of my Dad and also the baby that Jordan would have had. Last night we sat on the porch and talked about death and our responses to it and how some days were so hard and some days were much easier. It is also the anniversary of life - finding out about the boys. I will never forget the day Dryscha called me at work and said, 'Mom, there were not two heartbeats. There were three!' Today I refound a verse in Jeremiah that says, "Your words were found and I ate them. And thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart." One of my biggest struggles is taking the time to eat His words. I am such a simple thinker! This reminds me of the fact that in the earthly sense, we have a new diet for Bob to follow. By doing so, his physical heart will be delighted because they are healthy foods that are being eaten. We have to search the aisles of the grocery and look at labels to seek these foods out. To make better choices. That is also true of the Spiritual Word. I need to seek it out. Read 'the labels' of what I am faced with in the world. Make the better choice. Does this book edify the Lord? What about what I am saying to my co-workers? Should I go here? Should I listen to this? It is just one Bible verse out of a multide of many. If only one verse can say SO much - how much more can I find by simply 'reading the labels' and spiritual nutrition warnings found in His word.
Last night I got home from the hospital and the stars were amazing. I always think of the song: 'In the stars His handiwork I see, On the wind He speaks with majesty. Though He ruleth over land and sea, What is that to me?' He truly is more than a God who doesn't care, who lives away up there.
Today Bob got out of the hospital. I still don't feel like I have had an emotional let down. I haven't had time. This morning I went to get groceries for our new life style changes (diet is a nasty word), and I wanted to cry. There are moments I want to cry, but cannot because I have to be strong for everyone else. I did almost though when the prescriptions were totalled. Ouch.
On a good note, my mammogram results were good. I hate going for things like that but because of Darlene, I did. I called her today. I know that she was worried, but I simply could not find the time between work and the hospital to call.
Often we pray and never give praise for answers. Another blogger, Marie, asked for prayer on behalf of her husband's job situation. God said, 'Yes'. Steve will have a new mission field on Sunday night. He is more than a God who doesn't care - who lives away up there.
Today is a new morning so new mercies I will see today. I didn't have to worry about bringing any over with me last night and tomorrow, once again I will see new mercies. Although I hate the fact that Bob is not well, God has shown himself merciful. I just got back from visiting Darlene when the attack happened. I called an ambulance. (The ER was packed that night) The ambulance got him right in. They did the proceedure within 3 hours which is HUGE. I have great kids that were there along with Pastor. Jordan is taking care of the house here. My fellow employees are awesome and such an encouragement. Once our church family finds out, their love will kick in. My new blogging friend Marie - WOW! She has shared and has given us more prayer support. How many more mercies can there be? Just enough for today. Don't have to worry about tomorrow.....
Last night I went to visit Darlene after work at the hospital. I had just gotten home when Bob called down to me and said he needed to go to the hospital. I called an ambulance because I know chest pains are not something to trifle with. Within an hour and a half, he was in surgery. God is so amazing - the timing was so perfect. It is hard to imagine. Bob did not fit the stereotypical heart attack patient. It is scary to wonder about our future and all the changes we will need to implement. But, I am excited to set out on this venture because it is with Bob. God is so good to us. I need to be still and know that He is God and He is in control. Total control.
Last night we started 'The Truth Project' at church. I am not a deep thinker. I normally grab on to something very simple and ponder it and apply it to my life situation. 'The Truth Project' is huge. It is deep. It is actually rather amazing. If asked why Jesus came into the world, we, I would probably say to save us from our sins. John 18:37 says He came to testify to the Truth. The premise of 'The Truth Project' is to take every aspect of our lives - from history to social, and see it from a Scriptural standpoint - from God's Truth. The ultimate purpose is to gaze upon the face of God. I don't even have the words. To look at each aspect of my life the way God does and in so doing, to gaze upon His face. To feel that coal upon my lips as Isaiah did. I need Him to have my attention. I need Him to have those little corners I don't want to give up. I need to gaze upon His face. Two of the best things at work are Connie and Chris C. Although Chris C is more like me doctinally, I appreciate the passion that Connie has. Her fearlessness in sharing the Lord with anyone - everywhere. I can't wait to share this with them.
I have always enjoyed Peter. Probably because we have some of the same character traits - passionate, impulsive, feet in the mouth similarities. Today Pastor was sharing about Peter and something I didn't realize is that often when Christ communicated to Peter about things he was demonstrating through his flesh, He called him Simon. When Peter was walking close to the Lord, and in the Spirit, he was called Peter. I wonder if God looks at me and sometimes thinks -' Oh Rebecca. You messed up that time. You took your eyes off me. You denied me.' And perhaps sometimes He says, 'Becky, you allowed Me to work through you. I was reflected in the choice you made.' Hmmm. Tonight we began The Truth Project. I need to ponder that so I can articulate my perceptions without being distracted. Jocelyn sang a duet tonight. Now that was amazing. It was just this past Christmas that they had to force her on the stage with her SS class and then when everyone marched off, she would stand and cry. She chose the songs - about the blood of Christ. She touched hearts. Now that is the truth...
Yesterday I went up to the cabin for the night. I have always said that Fall is my time of the year and there is nothing like Fall up at the lake. Well, there probably is, but I like it up at the lake during Fall! What fun building the bonfire last night and roasting marshmellows. Seeing cousins play together. Walking as a family. This morning, I took Ruger for a walk. It was somewhat dark out. The path was hard to see through the woods. Obviously it is a dirt road so it is full of ruts. All of a sudden I looked up and there were three deer. They were just standing there watching me watch them. I thought about that and how so often we walk through hard and dark times with our heads down. We forget to look up and in so doing, miss the blessings that continue to come our way - even when things are seemingly dark and uncertain. Today I am praying for some of my fellow bloggers who are going through dark times. I pray they will see blessings that the Lord will put in front of them if they only look up!
Today there was an article in the paper about a book signing. The man grew up in Aibonito. I can't begin to count the times we made the trek up to that beautiful mountain town. Mi Gente - My People. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if we hadn't have moved to Puerto Rico when I was five. Most times I am thankful we did. I know that I am as unique in this culture on the inside, as I was in theirs on the outside. As I matured, I have somewhat allowed the two cultures to blend. I am so very proud of the fact that I am an American. I am so very proud of the fact that I can accept another culture and very easily fit back into that culture. I love being able to understand Spanish. I love having a passion and burden for Spanish speaking people. I love the fact that experiencing the life of a minority gives me the opportunity to appreciate their lives as minorities. Although that land is no longer my land, they will always be Mi Gente. Because you see, I left a little part of my heart on that Island.
I found out that late this afternoon, there was an accident at work. A trainee truck driver penned the trainer between the truck and the dock and it was bad. I went to the hospital to see if there was anything I could do for my fellow associates and also for these men and their families. They are from Pennsylvania. Obviously the remaining delivery had to keep on going. I was able to listen to Carlye and Connie and Erich who witnessed it is having a very difficult time. I wish I would have been allowed in the ER to pray with the man injured. I know Connie will have his name so maybe rather than going to church tomorrow night, I can run up there. Although, since they didn't work for Sears, we were not supposed to be there. How cruel is that?
Rich has all kinds of sneaky little plans to try to get us to move to Nebraska. I told him that when we got home from church Sunday, Ruger had the tourism DVD and was carrying it around in his mouth. Today we got home from work and there was a message on the answering machine for Ruger. It was the "Nebraska Department of Tourism" telling Ruger that the t-bones are bigger and the meat is thicker and that Nebraska is the perfect place for a discerning dog like him! After a rather rough day, it was something to life my spirits!
Today is Brad's birthday! Wow. Am I ever getting old! Firstborn. Easy labor. Good baby. It has been a delight to look back and see God working in Brad's life. To see him allow God to direct him and allow God to change his life path. To see him minister and raise his little family to do right. As I grew more mature, I realized that success is finding God's will for your life and accomplishing it. I am at peace knowing Brad is doing that. More heavy. A few weeks ago Suzanne had to have part of her tongue removed due to suspicious spots. The biopsy turned out non cancerous, but yesterday she told me she has a new spot. This is so agressive. I assured her of my prayers and we talked about how sometimes God puts challenges in our lives to see if what we believe is really what we believe........
It was about this time, three years ago, that Jordan lost their baby. There are days that I don't think of that grandchild we never got to hold in our arms, and days when I long for them. We don't know the gender. We don't know if they would have been blonde or another redhead. We don't know what kind of personality that they might have had or talents they might have developed. We do know that they were being wonderfully woven. We know that they are in heaven. We know that they would be two and a half years old. We kno2 that they are missing.
Bob and I spent a very long, but very fun day in Chicago yesterday with A and kids. We took the South Shore and our destination was American Girl. We walked along Michigan Ave until we got to Bitty Baby Land! It was fun to see the girls enjoy looking around. Afterwards we walked back to Millineum Park and really enjoyed Crowne Fountain! It refreshed some very tired toes. The kids did so well considering we were gone over 12 hours.......
On Wednesday night, we studied passages of Scripture that spoke about the Hand of God. He sometimes uses those hands to guide. Sometimes to 'spank'. Sometimes to instruct. Before church I went to the nursery to see Juliet. She immediately put her hand into mine and I led her out into the hallway. She had no idea where we were going. She didn't care where we were going. All she knew was that she was being led by someone she loved and trusted. It was blind faith that I would not lead her astray or into danger. My father's hands are the same. He will not lead me astray. He leads me with love. I can trust Him.
Once I was reading a book that had a very special poem in it: When silence is God's only voice, and waiting on Him my only choice, a banner of faith I humbly raise and offer up a song of praise. Though answers He does not impart, forever I can trust His heart. Sometimes it is hard to be here on earth and know that I really can trust His heart. I can trust His heart to know exactly what is best for me and when it is best for me and why it is best for me. I can trust His heart when I am unsure. When I am not well. When I long for things I cannot have. I can trust His heart for my family. I can trust His heart for the authors of the blogs I read and whom my heart sometimes aches for. Forever I can trust His heart.
Today Jordan sang a duet at church with Melinda. I don't have the words to describe the feelings that overpower me when I think about what the Lord did in her life. Full circle. Forgiven. Restored. On the way home I told Bob the connection they have is odd. Meeting at Bethel, dating Dan, meeting James and ultimately coming to our church. Tomorrow I am officially back to work although I spent 4 hours there today getting somewhat caught up. I think tomorrow will be very tense. I desperately want to have a good attitude. A good testimony.
As our oldest grandchild, Jocelyn enjoys spending time with us. She especially loves to go to the cabin so if I am able, I take her with me. As we were walking down the road on Thursday night, I was sharing that it was September 11th. It was hard to explain to her the significance of that day in terms that she would understand. She understood 'fires cause by airplanes' and likened them to Hell. As we continued walking, we saw a deer standing in the woods. We talked about God's creation and about the world we live in. Today when it was time to leave - it was pouring! It was quite honestly a comedy of errors as I strove to get her, the dog, and our belongings into the car traipsing through the mud from a newly dug well. As we got closer to home, the driving got more challenging. I told her that one day it would be a day we could look back on and laugh about together. More than laughing about our muddy, wet day, I hope she remembers our talks about God, His world, and that she continues to pant after Him as the deer panteth for the water.
My cousin always says that 'the Miller's' have a gene that predisposes them to require time alone. I don't know about that, but I do know that I have a need to simply be alone at times. This being my vacation week, tomorrow I am taking Ruger and my nikon and going to the cabin. Both are pretty good company. One of my better qualities is that I am content with my own company. Actually, I am not really alone because it is one of those being still times. A time I can reflect and really enjoy God's goodness. I am at peace outside. I can listen for that still, small voice. I can concentrate on His Word and walk and talk with Him. I can be still and know that He is God.
Today my vacation week began! I went to Wakarusa to help mom get some things done on her house. Before we began, I took her to the park to walk. I thought about Generations. It is special to hear her share memories. She got out a scrapbook of her almost fatal accident. How scary that had to be not only for her, but for my grandma. We talked about my dad and how we miss him not being here to meet his great-grandchildren. Jordan came over with her two J's to help out. Four generations. Generations. We can choose life for them. We can choose death for them. They reap what we sow. It is so sobering to ponder that. The choices I make might affect my great-grandchildren. My mom asked me if I thought Jocelyn would remember her. I assured her she would. I remember my great-grandma. Perhaps I am passing down some of her traits.......Generations........
One of my biggest struggles is spending enough time in the Bible. Once I get going, I really love being in the Word. It's just the getting going that is rough. As I was studying about Eve today I realized something interesting. Once Satan tempted her, she offered the fruit to Adam who was with her! I always assumed she hunted him down or he came across her as he was out walking, but the Bible says that he was with her. Also, when God confronted them, He did not do it immediately but in the cool of the day. That gave them a chance to ponder what they did wrong. He also made them tell Him what they did. I have read this story countless times and yet gleaned these new insights. How many more are there yet to be discovered? As I scanned through my weekly blog visits, there are so many needs - health, sorrow, a very long awaited adoption, storms of life. I pray for them as I go through my week and as God brings them to mind. He meets me in the cool of the evening and I listen for that still small voice.
Tonight I decided to go visit Darlene and try to shake the depression I am feeling. Seeing her with her scarf over a bald head should give me plenty to think about. I remember the day we found out she had cancer and the tears we shed. Yesterday she called me and said she gave my name to the United Cancer Society as a contact person. Now that is quite an honor. I know her cancer is serious but I am not as pessimistic as I was when we first found out. September 5th. Innocence. New beginnings. Old memories.
Today we celebrated J's 5th birthday! How clearly I remember those two days in the hospital waiting for her to be born. She has grown into a precocious little girl. It is always fun to see all the grandchildren together.....
Do you truly believe that what you believe is really true? A question to think about from 'The Truth Project'. I think I do. In good times I think I do. In hard times, it is much more difficult. I loved the visual of the little boy jumping off the diving board into the arms of his mother. An example of childlike faith. Am I willing to jump into the arms of my Father?
This weekend we got to keep R while Mike and Dryscha were out of town. Such a little sprout! I wonder if he realizes the uniqueness of tripletness and missed his brothers. He didn't appear to. We did enjoy the zoo and the wonder of Lake Michigan. Just walks around the neighborhood take on a different perspective when you view them through the eyes of a 2 year old. This weeble wobbled, fell down and would get up to wobble some more......
Darlene is a different ethnicity than I am. When she had her nervous breakdown a few years ago, her family was very cold towards me. Maybe because I am white and because she is black. Maybe because I am in HR and they thought I cared for her only because it was my job to do so. I knew after my first phone call to see how she was that I was not welcome.
Today when she called me she told me that she made it very clear to her family that if anything should happen to her, that they were to call me. She told them that I am to be at any surgical proceedure. That I could come visit any time. She told them I am her true friend. I do not call to be nosy. I call because I care. Her mom agreed. She told her that now she knows and she likes me as well. I guess there are no shades of gray here. We are friends. That is as black and white as it gets.
Saying Goodbye is never easy but it seems to be a common word in my vocabulary. It was a week ago that we found out that Todd had left us. Last night was good-bye. Connie was able to tell his family how much we loved him and that we got to see him at a very positive time in his life. I miss him.
Today the funeral home that Todd is at called me. Death. Because he was alienated from his family, they wondered if I could help with some personal information about him. They also told me that because he had been dead several days before he was found, he was not able to be viewed. How tragic that there was such a chasm between he and his family.
The boys were over tonight. Life. So much life. We played with A and M and when we got home, played in the backyard. E discovered the hose was left on. He delighted in spraying everyone. We told him to stop and he just stood there, dimples deep, and kept spraying away. It doesn't get much better than that!
Another blow for my Sears family. Todd died yesterday. He had a lot of struggles. Personal demons. We loved him. He brought joy to our hearts. Connie reminded me today that we got to celebrate his birthday with him. He was so excited to share that special day with his friends at Sears. Todd knew the Saviour in his mind. Did he have him in his heart?
Today when I went to get groceries I drove by the police station. Outside was a squad car covered with flowers that was a memorial to an officer who died last weekend. He did not die on duty, but an officer is down non-the-less. I remember when Mike was about to graduate, another officer, Tom Goodwin, was gunned down. It made me so vividly aware that someday, we might be morning an officer down. It is sobering.
Darlene is hitting the wall today. Her blood count is so bad that she cannot have any visitors for 5 days. I called her this evening and told her she is on my mind and she was in horrible pain. I wish I could see her. My heart longs to be able to encourage her.
Mike is our newest victim of this thing called cancer. His spirits are good. He was so very angry when Darlene found out her diagnosis. They share the same doctor.
I hope God can use me in both of their lives in simple ways.
Today Darlene came in with her new wig. We talked about the day all her hair came out. No matter how horrible hair is, it is worse without it. Darlene looks great in the wig - so great we are talking her into doing her own hair the same way when it comes back in.
To be honest, I didn't really want to go to Nebraska. For some reason, I just didn't feel that it was the right thing to do. When I saw the bridge going over the Missouri River, it felt right. It was a good week. It comfirmed some things in my heart and Bob and I both came back with the same feelings. It is a beautiful area, and one that I feel so very much at home in. But, home is in Indiana and that is the sweetest place to be until God says otherwise.
I always felt like I could be happy no matter where I am. I find things to enjoy in the city. I find things to enjoy in the country. The ocean delights my soul. The mountains are incredible. Today I was driving back from Wakarusa, through the countryside, and I knew this land is truly my land. Wakarusa has a place in my heart that no where else will ever fill. Tomorrow we leave for Nebraska - a truly beautiful state and one I could live happily in. But Wakarusa will always draw me home.
One of the phrases at Travis Hunsberger's funeral was that his parents did not have to go searching for God. They did not have to go searching for strength. It was already banked in their hearts. I never thought of that before - to make large deposits and then the withdrawals will be available. I like that thought.
One of my favorite places to go on a Wintery morning to take pictures are to a cemetary. Perhaps it is due to going so often growing up. Headstones tell such stories of love, faith, sorrow. One of the most amazing I have ever visited was Arlington National Cemetary. Evidence of those who fought so I might enjoy freedom.
Today, for the last time, a young man will drive down the quiet streets of Wakarusa. He will be honored for giving his life in service to our country. As a child, driving down those quiet roads always brought me a sense of peace and happiness. If I were in Wakarusa today, I would be one of the people lining that street and waving my flag.
A few days ago I saw a t-shirt that said 'Land of the Free - because of the brave'. This week a young man named Travis died so that we could continue to be free. His death has touched my heart as I have seen the sweet spirit of his family during this time of loss. No bitterness. No anger. Simply a strong faith that sustains them. Last night our church family celebrated our freedom with fireworks and ice cream. It is indeed good to be an American.
This week our church is having VBS. I remember going to VBS when I was the same age as J & A. We had a 'cowboy' theme and I lusted after a lariat that the winner of the week would receive. Although I was the top winner, I remember walking down the aisle to claim my prize and instead choosing a plaque. Now I was a real cowboy wanna-be! Perhaps that is the first time I heard that Still Small Voice.
Today Darlene called and said that the doctors said the cancer has not spread to her liver, kidney, or bones. What a praise! I told her I have a treat I want to make for her because it is something that is refreshing and probably will taste good. I missed her very much at today's staff meeting. I always joked and said that on 'Survivor Sears' we had an alliance. And we did. And we do.
A week ago my dear friend Darlene was diagnosed with cancer. I don't know how many days we will have left to laugh together but today we did. I asked her if black people go bald from chemo and she said that they do. She said she already has a wig and I asked her if it was blonde, like me. We laughed about all the possibilities - blonde, redhead, and even blue. I don't know how many more days we will have to laugh together, but today we did and it was nice.
I am a wife, mom, sister, grandma, friend, and human resource specialist who happens to love reading, animals,Diet Coke, simple pleasures, being outside, changing seasons, my family, my Lord. I am a private person. A passionate person. A person who sometimes struggles with being still and knowing that He is God. Sometimes I think God looks down at me and says, 'Becky, Becky, Becky'. I then remind Him that He created me totally unique and thank him that He knows my name!