Friday, December 31, 2010

a new year

Acts 1:7 " and he said to them, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power."

We are literally hours away from saying farewell to the year 2010 and welcoming the New Year ( a.k.a. the unknown).  The disciples had three years of their lives completely turned upside down, they had left all to follow, had seen whom they followed brought to death, and now after experiencing all those things were at what we would consider " the happy ending" of their journey. Jesus was alive and they were all together. So, when Jesus tells them to wait for the promise they ask if the kingdom of Israel would now be restored. After all they endured and experienced their heart was for the reconciliation of the Nation they called home. This was a silent longing in their souls. Could we so quickly settle in for His response? Is there a deep desire in your own life or perhaps a restoration of your own for which you are hoping for? I have many and here the disciples were left with a very simple response " it is not for you to know the times or the seasons."When I first read that verse it didn't leave me comforted, until I reflected on the second half of that verse and here I found my comfort. "... which the Father hath put in His own power."  In other words, these are things which are in His hands, not ours. I don't know how you will welcome the New year, or where your thoughts will be when that magical moment occurs and both hands point to the 12. I know for me personally, I will probably have a mixture of emotions.In light of those feelings my prayer is simple, "Lord help us rest in the unknown that You know" and with that let us enter into the New Year!

Happy New Year from!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Birthday Garden

My friend Robin once shared a story she read where two women would write letters back and forth. The one always wrote about her garden and how lovely it was growing, though the rest of her life was perhaps not quite as pleasant. It encouraged me to focus more on “the garden” of my life. So with that thought I share the following:

The Good in my life
I often sit and wonder at what my life was meant to be
How many times my past mistakes would get in front of me
I’ve sat here and lamented at the things I should have done
Sad for all the losses, glad for battles won
Then I begin to ponder, take stock, observe and see
That through it all the good, the bad
He’s meant it good for me.

I’m thankful for my children,
Whether near or whether far
They reside safely in my soul
In this garden, they’re my stars
I look at E-man and see hope
And wait for hope fulfilled
I hear Evans gentle music
And raging waters become still
I smell the scent of Samuel
His laughter is my myrrh
I glance at my stepdaughters
Remembering how small they were

I’m thankful for my parents
My dad, my mom, my Blanche
Without them in my life
I would not have had a chance

I’m thankful for my family
My friends whose hearts I know
I’m thankful for all who come
And help this garden grow.

I’m thankful for what’s coming
His freedom keeps me free
Most of all I’m glad my garden
Dwells in the grace of Gethsemane

Monday, November 8, 2010

She held her breathe, til she got her way

Thanksgiving is just around the's also going to be 6 years since my Mom passed away.  She passed on a couple of days after Thanksgiving in 2004. It is during this time of the year that I think about my mom the most.  It is honestly the hardest holiday for me and for other family members as well. Towards the end of her battle with cancer the Doctors recommended Hospice for my mom. I found a Hospice facility near my home and she remained there for the last three weeks of her life. We have a big family and rarely was my mom alone. Between my aunt, siblings, and close friends she often had visitors. Hospice prepared us for what was to come and we made it clear that if they began seeing the signs we were to be informed immediately. We knew she would not want to go home alone and we wanted to be there for her last moments here. When the time came I got the late night phone call saying that they were beginning to see signs and that perhaps we should call the family to come down. Soon after I got there everyone began showing up.  We were all there except for my youngest sister who at the time was 17 yrs old, she was at my house just a couple of miles away and wanted to come after my mom passed. At first my mom was talking with us and then she fell asleep. My aunt was heading back to California and when she tried to wake my mom up to say goodbye; we realized my mom was no longer responding to anyone. They saw she was not just asleep but now in a coma and we waited. The hours had passed by and we began to see the physical signs of what a Pastor/friend called " the folding of the tent."  It was difficult but important that we were there. The moment came when she stopped breathing. I immediately walked out of her room, called my sister, and told her to come now.  Friends of ours went to pick her up. When we hung up my uncle came and said," You're mom is not gone, she is still here." I went back to her room and there she was breathing again, still in her comatose state.  When my sister arrived I apologized to her but said nothing else. I knew she didn't want to be there for this part of it, but now she was there. A few moments after she arrived the most amazing thing happened, my mom suddenly opened her eyes and began to look around the room. After hours of being non responsive she came to and we all quickly gathered around her bed and began saying hi to her. Slowly her head began to span the room and she didn't just look at us, she beheld us. We told my sister to say hi and with her head faced down she did. It was a gift, we were able to see our mom with her big brown eyes staring back at us for one last time, but more importantly she was able to see all of us and it didn't happen until my sister arrived. Once she looked at us she closed her eyes and couple of hours later she passed on. The months that followed were extremely difficult; it has taken a lot of time to heal and to be able to even talk about her or about the experience.   Nowadays my sister and I talk about her with a smile. My mom was the type of person that made friends wherever she went. She had a way with getting her way, and she was known for that!  In fact, now looking back Ana and I both agree that our mom wanted her there in the room. Our mom knew the only way to get her there was to well, in a sense, hold her breathe til she got her way.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Until the smoke clears

I find it telling that the last time I posted anything was on my son's 16th birthday. What I wrote today I cannot post. I desire to be transparent, however my transparency is limited to myself and therefore cannot allow me to post what I recently wrote. I sit, pray and wait until the smoke clears.

Friday, June 4, 2010

We both became older today

Today my son turns 16 years old yet, I age today too. How did that happen?  It's his birthday not mine and I know ,as well as others who have gone before me, that my son turning 16 is a milestone for the parent as much as it is for child. This means that there are two official years left for which I will sign medical release forms and permission slips. I had him at 18 years of age; I look at him and think to myself how insufficient I truly was at that age. Now, I'm 34 and still feel that I'm not sufficient enough to provide him with all that he needs. I look to the One who is sufficient and pray  that my son will see that too.  Our struggles and moments of anguish feel like eternity at times. Moments when there are smiles and he allows me to hug him  are rare. For all the moments, birthdays, tears and joys they add up to the sum of 16 years. In the next 16 years he will establish his life, perhaps marry and know the feeling of holding a tiny little life in his arms. I chuckle at this final thought, will he in the next 16 years understand that which he now claims to not understand? Will he have his answers to the "why mom" questions that he throws at me every time the answer is no?  Will he look back and say thank you for being so "mean"? Amidst the candles and the cake these questions swirl in my mind.....I guess I'll let have to let you know in 16 years what the answers are to these questions.

I find myself struggling to raise you

But am determined to fight to my end

I find you are going through your growing pains

And I pray for growth through the pain

At times we smile and laugh

Reminisce when your small hands once fit mine

And I long for those days to my end

Now your arms are long and you grasp

For freedom not yet ready

So I pull you back and I trust to my end

One day you will walk in a different direction

Your life to make your own

Yet my love for you will always be

And I’ll be here to my end.

Happy Birthday Emmanuel!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

room for the bloom

So, I've been busy. Busy teaching teens about abstinence (awesome love it!), busy keeping up with the kids, busy trying to keep up with the home, busy planning my son's birthday party,just plain busy. Let me take this a step further I've been so busy that this entry was penned in my brain about a month ago! You know the saying "take time to smell the roses"? Well, it's not an exaggeration when I tell you that I literally was missing out on the roses. A few weeks ago we had a family get together and my cousin's wife commented on how beautiful the roses looked. I wasn't sure what she was talking about until I went out to the backyard! Lo and behold there they were in full bloom with their vibrant colors popping out! Just a few weeks back they were a plain ole twiggy mess and here they were now looking amazing! It hit me that I almost missed the bloom because; I've been so busy. Tonight I looked at my almost 16 years old as he sat on the couch with long skinny limbs and messy hair. I look at him and see a twiggy mess but, I also see signs of maturity peering through.  I see his shoulders are broadening and his face resembles the face of a man. I also see how badly he needs me, although he would be the last to admit it. I stared at him until I made him nervous. He gave me the " what is wrong with you mom?" look and I just sighed. This minor wake up call causes me to be more determined and redeem what time I have left with him. To say I love you even when I know silence will be the response I get because it's just too weird to say " I love you too mom." I am realizing that my baby is no longer a baby, he is a young man and like the roses in my backyard, I don't want to all of a sudden wake up one day and see that before me stands a man where once stood a child. So, busy... you're gonna have to get out of the way because this momma is determined to make room for the bloom!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The best Wedding I never went to!

I'm here in Virginia because my dear friend was set to be married today.  I had my bridesmaid dress ready and was glad to be able to stand in my friends wedding, especially since she stood in mine.  This morning was the wedding date. Everyone got dressed and we drove over to a beautiful southern style home for the reception.  I walked in and saw beautiful yellow and blue flowers with nice wooden floors. The tables nicely set ,all arranged with wooden chairs covered in linen white. The Bride and Groom to be stood there together as they walked to the front and shared with their guest ( who had already been previously notified) how thankful they were that all who were there, were there. They talked about God's timing in their lives and how this day was "their" intended wedding day, but not God's. There were tears from friends and family, my eyes were filled to the brim as we solidifed this day. It was a day of rejoicing for what is to come and yet we felt saddness for what didn't come. The Pastor stood and spoke for a moment and acknowledged this brave couple. As the room was filled with worship, I suddenly felt as if I was witnessing a miracle. The glass windows shone the light from outside and the wind caused the trees to gently sway.  I sat and watched as the bride-to-be sat next to her groom-to-be and they worshipped with their eyes closed. I began to ponder todays events with a covering of God himself. I began to think about how sad it must have been for the disciples when Jesus died, because it represented to all those around an end to His life.  Yet that end was necessary in order for the beginning to take place. Letting go of what we really want is hard, it requires a measure of trust that God will provide. Today....they said no to the wedding so ,that in the future, they could say yes to the marriage. How beautiful is that!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mr. Chris and the wife

We're moving, nowhere far just a couple miles down the road, yet those couple of miles change a lot in our life. The house we've lived in was the first place we became a family. My husband and I shared our first years of marriage in this home. In this home, we came home from the hospital with a brand new baby boy in our arms. I remember my neighbors seeing my pregnancy progress and they gladly took a peek of our new bundle of boy. As the years went on, we got to know our next-door neighbors. Morning greetings were a norm and the occasional " can we borrow your ladder?" were common interfaces with them. As our bundle of boy grew so did his desire to explore not just our home, but also our next-door neighbors home. They would graciously allow us to walk our children through their Christmas decorations and would sometimes give us things they thought we could use. A couple of summers ago our neighbor Chris was painting the outside of his house. There he was painting and as always had an unlit cigar hanging from the side of his mouth. Samuel was fascinated and when Mr. Chris allowed him to "help,” Mr. Chris became Samuel's friend. As Samuel grew a little older, he would ask to go say hi to the neighbors. I would let him go, they would say hello, and he would run home. On one occasion, Samuel went to the door and asked Mr. Chris " where's the wife?” They keep an extra fridge in their garage stocked with cold water bottles and about once a week, Samuel asks if he can go get water from them. He claims their water just taste better than ours. For Christmas, we gave them a big pack of water. So, as I began packing I realized this relationship Samuel has cultivated with them is now coming to an end. I can't help but feel a little tinge of pain knowing that where we move will probably not afford us this same experience. After all, they've known Samuel his whole life! I pondered about how much of this friendship Samuel will retain and then it struck me. When I was a little girl, we had an older couple living next door to us. The husband was tall, wore glasses and smoked cigars, just like Mr. Chris. I remember going to their house by myself and just saying hi or playing with their dog. I remember feeling safe and loved by this couple. So, as I reflect on Samuel's experience I can't help but see how full circle life can be. To this day, I love Don Celso and Blanca, they became one of my best child hood memories and I'm so glad to know that Samuel will be able to look back and fondly remember Mr. Chris and "the Wife.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sometimes it's just best to live in the first two minutes of a game.

As most of you know the Cardinals got beat down on Saturday. It was awful and I admit that I am still licking my wounds from it. The game did start with a phenomenal touch down and all my hopes appeared, as if they would become a reality. However, with a 45-14 score my hopes were the Kurt Warner to the reality of bobby McCray. Very sad folks. Going on with my story, I found that living in the first two minutes of the game made me happy and hopeful all over again. So, I got to thinking about the first two minutes of numerous life events. Remember the first two minutes of your life? Neither do I. I do remember the first two minutes of my babies lives. Ahh yes the joy and hope all wrapped up in a tiny new life. How about the first two minutes of marriage? Now that is gold right there! Being pronounced man and wife, walking down the aisle with clapping and whistles. The only aisle we walk down nowadays is the grocery aisle and rarely do we get people around us whistling. How about the first two minutes of driving? Perfect record back then huh? Here is a first two minutes memory zinger, right after I prayed that I remember that one perfectly well. Wow, for me brand new redemption all in the simple utterance of those words. I believe the Bible talks about this when in reference to " returning to your first love.” It was a reminder to go back and live in those first two minutes of His love towards you. So, I am determined to try to live more in the first two minutes of things rather than the 45-14's of our lives. OH wait, here's a last one...remember the first two minutes of your first paycheck? too.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

17 again

Tonite I watched the movie "17 again" with my 15 years old. It was a bit surreal and am always amazed at how movies can impact us! In the beginning of the movie we get that the 17 yrs old is told by his girlfriend that she is pregnant and he makes a choice to marry her rather than pursue a basketball career. I was 17 when I was pregnant with my son although mine didn't have the "fairy tale story" but I'll save that for another day. The movie fasts forward to the couple deciding to get a divorce and the character is given a second chance by becoming 17 again. So here I was sitting with my son as we both laughed at different parts of the movie. I would laugh when the character was enjoying being young and energetic. My son laughed at the sarcastic remarks.( don't know where my son gets his humor from). It was very telling as the movie dealt with parents understanding and relating to their kids and adults getting the" only in movie's "chance to redo certain parts of life. Naturally the movie got me thinking to that fateful day when I told my sons' dad that I was pregnant. I reflected on the course my life took because of the adult choices I made in my teen years. I couldn't help but feel a little ansy at the thought that my own 15 years old could possibly make those same choices and indeed end up with a similar outcome. I quietly prayed for God's grace in his life and in mine. In the end of the movie all is right in the world and you can't help but feel some relief that ,at least on screen, things ended up okay. Truth for my own soul is that in my situation things worked out somehow, perhaps not as idealic as the movie provided, but worked out nonetheless. I wondered if my son connected the storyline with his own momma's story. For now I'll just savour the fact that we were able to watch a movie together and that in itself is a happy ending.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reflections of the Christian Mind

Poet don’t weep
It’s not over yet
Lest the Lord’s mercy you too should forget
Humble His actions
Towards all of man kind
Though the anguish of torture
Enclosed in your mind
Rest in the restless
Thou heart how naïve
Mindlessly wandering
The thoughts we conceive
Bearing for the bearer
Who brings us good news?
When we’ve so much to gain
How much should we lose?
Folding, enclosing, drawing you in
Embraced now embraces
To start once again

dedicated to my friend Robin.
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