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31 March 2008

The Look~

I love how she looks into the camera. Looks at me with laughter in her smile and that little gleam of adventure in her eyes. Her hands clasped, but not tightly. Just enough to let her know that she still has a hold on life. Note the little finger, the one that's a bit separated from the rest. One might say that she is beginning to relax and enjoy what life is bringing her way. You'd never know that just a little over two years ago her world fell apart. Changed. Forever. The future was rewritten.

They were high school sweethearts. He didn't just love her, he adored her. They married, he joined the Air Force, and they traveled. Saw places most of us only dream of seeing. Visited ruins and castles. Brought two beautiful children into the world. A boy, named after his father, and a daughter. A perfect family. There are no perfect families. Each have their own trials. Children move through the teenage years, finances get tight, and so on.

Throughout it all, though, they pampered each other, supported each other, and lived to help the other. They were close to the King and found such pleasure in their church family. They worshipped together. And it was so good.

The children grew up, married and moved away. Empty nesters now, he brought her breakfast in bed each and every Saturday. Those of us that knew and loved them would tease, wanting such treatment ourselves. And we watched the way he looked at her, following her with his eyes. We spoke, amongst ourselves, of the love that was so evident, so real, so absent in today's world. And they planned. They planned for their future,

their retirement and the golden years. Saving their money over the years, they'd managed to have almost enough to purchase a bed and breakfast ~ something they'd dreamed of over the years of traveling and staying in homes across the world. They were so well suited for it and we knew they would find not only success with this venture, but that they would delight in the strangers that crossed their threshold. Then,

he began to feel bad. For someone so healthy, so in shape, we worried. After too many tests, too many doctors, and too little time, a diagnosis was given. The news wasn't good. In fairy tales, it is. In the real world, it seldom is. And so they planned not for the golden years,

but for the years they would be apart. Now living each day became a challenge. So much to do, and so little time. For him, it was to make sure she would be well taken care of, that she understood how the household would need to be maintained, and he tried, oh how he tried, to prepare her. She lived trying to make it easy for him, being strong for him, letting him know each and every moment how she loved him, had loved him, and would always love him. They took a last trip together, to Canada, to a quaint bed and breakfast and fell in love all over again, as if it were the first time. And we watched.

We watched as they both withered away. He with the cancer, and she with the ever present knowledge that he was leaving. And so he did, on New Year's Eve, 2005. She woke the first day of a new year without him. And we celebrated his life with a memorial service in the middle of a raw and cold January. And our hearts stung from the unfairness of it all. They, who were so in love, so true to each other and to their feelings, to be separated so soon. More than one of us would have traded places with him. He left this earth, and she woke each morning without him.

The first year was harder than she ever thought it could be. Staying busy, staying focused, wondering how she would get up the next morning. But she did. She learned so much that first year without him beside her, in the physical sense of the word. He did well in preparing her for this, but how do you teach someone to live without you. How do you really teach that? And she grew.

Slowly, day by day, she began to draw strength from the memories and, dropping the cloak of heaviness, she allowed Him to wrap her in comfort and guidance. Once again, she began seeing the beauty and freshness of Life that had dimmed with the news of his illness. She found that laughing didn't mean he was forgotten, that smiling at another didn't mean she was disloyal, and that life doesn't stop with dying. We who knew them know that he would be so proud.

So she looks at me, with laughter in her smile and that little gleam of adventure in her eyes. Her hands are clasped, but not tightly. Just enough to let her know that she still has a hold on life. She is happy. She is strong. And she plans.

28 March 2008

"Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan. But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see."
~Deuteronomy 3:27b-28

Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt and in the wilderness, but did not get to enter into the Promised Land becauseof his sin. Yet, for all those years, Moses nurtured and prepared the person who would do what he could not do. That person was Joshua. Who are you training, molding, encouraging, motivating, and calling to do what you won't be able to do? What successor will take your dreams farther than you can? Who is your Joshua?

This was my devotion today from Heartlight and it made me stop and wonder. Powerful words, sobering thought. So, who is YOUR Joshua?

27 March 2008

i believe in pink, i believe that
laughing is the best calorie
burner. i believe in kissing,
kissing a lot. i believe in being
strong when everything seems
to be going wrong. i believe
that happy girls are the
prettiest girls. i believe
that tomorrow is another day & i
believe in miracles.
~audrey hepburn

19 March 2008

How wide is Your love
That You would stretch Your arm
And go around the world
And why for me would a Savior's cry be heard
I don't know
Why You went where I was meant to go
I don't know
Why You love me so
Those were my nails
That was my crown
That pierced Your hands and Your brow
Those were my thorns
Those were my scorns
Those were my tears that fell down
And just as You said it would be
You did it all for me
After You counted the cost
You took my shame, my blame
On my cross
How deep is Your grace
That you could see my need
And chose to take my place
And then for me, these words I'd hear You say
Father no
Forgive them for they know not what they do
I will go
Because I love them so
~On My Cross by FFH

13 March 2008

I love this picture. Happiness, total abandonment of joy. Ian, playing soccer with his dad, in the sunshine of youth. Oh to be able to capture that feeling of agelessness once more. That feeling that there's no tomorrows, just the glorious moment at hand. I choose to live more moments in just this way. Thanks, Jen, for sharing this picture, but moreso for reminding us we need to give the child in us a chance to come forth.

05 March 2008

"I cannot live without books" ~ Thomas Jefferson

04 March 2008

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ~Hebrews 13:2

I feel very strongly, even moreso since the accident, that angels are near, especially during times when they are most needed. I also feel very strongly that we need to take the time to acknowledge them and to thank God for their presence. Let's rid ourselves of the scales the world has put upon our eyes and pray that He allow us to witness these heavenly beings He sends to help, to comfort, and to guide. They don't have to be in white robes with strong wings attached behind the shoulders. She may be sitting beside you in the doctor's office when you're afraid and weary; he may help you with a dropped package in the grocery line; who said, who wrote that they have to be anymore than what we need at that time? The next time you open your eyes after a prayer, leave them open so you can witness His work. And may you continue to remain fascinated by this beautiful earthly home, for you won't believe how much more Paradise is~