Monday, July 16, 2018

Scars


My body has many ugly scars. They are not as red and ugly as they once were, but they are still there.  Time has erased and will continue to erase some of the ugliness.

Some of these scars are due to my own clumsiness.  Most are remains from many surgeries.  A couple of the surgeries relieved some intense pain.  I remember feeling better immediately after surgery.  Even the pain from the surgery was not as bad as what had been there previously. 



There is a fair-sized indentation on my left breast.  It is very ugly and will never completely fill in.  I had a lump removed.  Thankfully, it was benign, but who knew that until it was removed.



My stomach is covered with hideous scars.  Two major surgeries.  Two major emergency surgeries.  Both surgeries were needed to save my life.  Daily, those scars remind me that I have life, that I was spared to enjoy life.  To live in God’s will.  To continue to enjoy my family and friends.  I am thankful for life and thankful for those scars.


The scars on my body are visible.  The scars on my heart are not so visible, but they are still there.  There are several of them, just as there are several on my body.  Again, some of those scars are due to my own clumsiness.  And, just as there is an indentation in my breast, there is an indentation in my heart from the loss of my son.  Some things just never completely fill in. 



There are also big scars, hideous scars on my heart.  Some people may say that those scars have saved my emotional life or my spiritual life.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Because those scars exist I have life: physical life, emotional life and spiritual life.  I have life because of Jesus Christ my Lord.  He has carried me through everything I have ever faced.  He will continue to lead me through everything I will face in the future.  

And, speaking of scars, I have life, eternal life.  And He has the scars to prove that.





Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 4

July 4 (Independence Day) is one of my favorite holidays.  As a child, this summer holiday was usually spent with extended family.  And, usually involved food, fun, and fireworks as well.  These are very sweet memories.

July 4th was often spent the same way when my kids were little.  We have seen fireworks over Lubbock, Memphis, San Francisco, St. Louis and West Point, MS.  There was another adventure in Lubbock.

The last time I was in the USA for July 4th was 2007.  I missed not being here every single year.  I am so happy to be here this year.   We will have family, friends, food and fun.  No fireworks this year.  And, maybe we will all be inside all day tomorrow as rain is in the forecast.  It doesn't really matter.  We will have a lot more food than guests.  We will have food for our lunches the rest of the week.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Awards Ceremonies

This morning was the awards ceremonies for Haley and Emma Kate.   And, then school was out for the summer.  This was one of the sweetest awards ceremonies I have ever seen.

There was not a bunch of awards.  Instead each teacher thought of one character trait to describe each child.  I could tell the girls' teachers put a lot of thought into this for each child.

Haley's character trait was tender-heartedness.  That perfectly describes Haley.  She also got the academic excellence award for having the second highest average in 3rd grade.  She had a 97 point something.

Emmie's character trait was love.  That, too, perfectly describes Emma Kate.  She also got perfect attendance.  She was the only in her class that had perfect attendance.  We were surprised about that.  We did not even realize that Emma had had perfect attendance  Being on time or not on time  does not count against perfect attendance.

On the way home, Nicole said that considering what all they had been through this school year, she would give them the resilience award.  I looked at her and said, " them, yes.  Us, no".  We laughed.

Since they were dressed up for awards day and it was the beginning of summer vacation, I told them to kick off their Sunday shoes.  I then added to kick off their Sunday shoes in their bedrooms.

So proud of these two.










Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Pictures, Pictures And More Pictures

Anyone who knows me or regularly reads my blog, knows I love pictures.  I love to take pictures and look at pictures.  I nearly always have my camera with me.

 I often say that my books are my friends.  My photos are dearer friends than my books.  Over the last 40 or so years, I have taken thousands of pictures.  Pictures of my vacations, my kids being born, birthday parties, school programs, weddings.  Trees, flowers, and mountains.  Nearly everything I have a picture or two or more to remind me of the event.

After having my film developed, I would date and write the name of everyone in the picture on the back.  Then, lovingly, I put each on in an album.  Of course, the albums are in chronological order.

As I prepared to leave for Honduras, I packed the albums in boxes.  I drove them from Illinois to  Borger.  I was leaving my precious friends in Janet's care.  Since she has her own lifetime of albums dated and labeled in chronological order, I knew I could entrust her with mine.  She graciously gave up closet space to store nine boxes of albums.

A couple of weeks ago we went to Oklahoma City for Dustin's wedding.  Rick and Janet loaded the boxes of albums in their car and brought them to me in Oklahoma City.  We loaded them in my car.

They are heavy boxes.  I thought about taking one or two up to my hotel room to start looking at them.  I decided against that.  I really did need to get some sleep.  I did look at some of them on Saturday afternoon though.

I moved the boxes into my bedroom.  At that time, I did not have a place for them.  I stacked the boxes in a corner.


This past Friday I bought a bookcase.  I unpacked these albums late into the night.  Of course, I had to place them in the right order.

It felt so good to be near my photos again.

Saturday was Ryan's birthday.  I began looking at the pictures.  Tears flowed down my cheeks.  Such sweet memories.  Before long, Emma joined me.  As we looked at pictures of Nicole as a baby, Emma squealed with delight and kept saying, "Oh, she was so cute."   Emma is right.  Nicole was so cute.  Emma and I laughed for a long time.  

I can tell each time I bought a new camera.  The pictures became better each time I  upgraded.   For some reason the dawning of a new century caused me to take even more pictures.  In 2004, I went digital and the first granddaughter was born.  Again, I began to take more pictures.  Surely, there is picture of every breath Camille took.

I continued to take pictures while I was in Honduras, but they are all stored in Shutterfly.  I can access those and look at them, and I do sometimes, but I still like pulling out the photo albums and flipping through the pages.

All may not be perfect in my world at this moment, but having those photo albums with me again, sure made my world a lot better.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

I Am Elijah

One of my favorite Bible stories is Elijah on Mount Carmel.   Elijah challenges the prophets of Asherah and Baal to see if their gods can light the fire under the bull on the altar.  Four hundred and fifty prophets show up to meet Elijah head on.  They prepare their bull and began to call on their gods.  Elijah taunts them by saying, "shout louder, maybe he can't hear you.  Maybe he is busy.  Or sleeping.  The prophets shout louder.  And still no fire appears under their bull.  There was no response from their gods.  Ever.

Elijah then prepares his bull.  He then ordered four large jars to be filled and poured over the altar.  He did this again and even a third time.  Water ran over the altar and filled the trench.  Elijah call upon his God and the fire from heaven fell upon the altar and consumed the sacrifice.

That is the part of the story I love.

Ahab was married to Jezebel.  Neither of these people were good people.  In the very next chapter, Ahab told Jezebel what happened and she sent a message to Elijah saying she would kill him.  Elijah should have been flying high and praising God still for the miracle performed at the altar.  Elijah turned and fled.  He hid under a broom tree and begged God to take his life.

Shouldn't the God that poured fire from heaven on the altar be able to protect Elijah from a death threat?  One would think so.

I am Elijah.  I am not hiding under a broom tree, but I am Elijah.

I am still praising God for the way He placed the Casa kids at the very last minute.  I have not forgotten that.  I still tell the story to anyone who will listen.  I am still praising God for many things that happened those last few days in Honduras.

Yet, I am fearful that because I have looked for a job for eight weeks and not found one that I won't find one.

Won't the same God that took care of those children, take care of a job for me?  One would think so.

I don't want to be Elijah anymore.  I want to have faith that a job is on its way.  I also need to remember my brave song and "wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord."

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A Windy Wedding

While living in Honduras, I missed a lot of family events, both happy ones and sad ones.  When I heard Dustin and Tasha were getting married, I decided I wanted to go.  I was going to buy a ticket and go from Honduras.

Then, I was no longer in Honduras and I knew I still wanted to go.  I hoped it would work.  

I left early Thursday morning for Oklahoma City.  It is over 600 miles from Baton Rouge.

I checked in and went to move my car and get my stuff.  I saw Janet and Rick before I moved the car.  The car waited a few minutes.

After we hugged and got my stuff, we went to our rooms to change clothes.  I changed rapidly and went back downstairs.  As I waited on Janet and Rick, Nathan and Wes walked in.  I was glad to see Wes, but this mamma was really glad to see Nathan.

Oklahoma City tends to be a windy part of the country, but what was happening last week was windier than what anyone is accustomed to.

Dustin was worried the tent would not hold and the arbor was in the pond on Friday morning.  It was removed from the pond and set upright again.  It held the rest of the day Friday.

I stayed in the house as long as I could.

In spite of the wind, it was a beautiful wedding.  Rick performed the ceremony and his words were so beautiful and meaningful.  The arbor stayed on the deck, the tent did not crash and no one blew away.  The dinner was delicious.

I was glad I could make this trip.  I enjoyed family.  Tonight, I am tired, but it was so worth it.

Best wishes, Dustin and Tasha.







Wednesday, April 11, 2018

On The Move Again

I like to be settled in in whatever place I call home.  I began sleeping in the mission house on November 13.  Not in Nicole's house, but the mission house.  The mission house may be great for a one week mission trip, but for five weeks, there is nothing about that seems like home.  Many times what I needed at night was at my house at Casa and sometimes what I need during the day was at the mission house.  Fortunately, those two places were close to each other.

I was at Nathan and Julia's house for three weeks.  I love being there, but it is not home and since I was in the process of moving, I had suitcases every where and could not find anything.  I was a week on the road before I arrived in Baton Rouge.

Matt, Nicole and the girls had been in Baton Rouge for over a month when I got here.  They were temporarily staying with Matt's parents.  The church has graciously allowed to me to stay in a house they own.  It is a nice house, but it, too is temporary.  I knew every thing I brought into this house had to be moved again.  The few things I brought back were who knows where.  I had to have dishes and a couple of pans in which to cook.

After some discussion, we decided we would all live together after we got jobs.  Matt and Nicole have both found jobs.  I have not.  Nicole and I looked at a rent house that we loved.  Then Matt and Nicole looked at it and everyone was in love with it.  They applied for it and we got it.

Saturday we began moving the things that finally arrived from Honduras.  All of that was in storage units.  Saturday it was supposed to rain and we weren't sure we had any help.  We rented a small U-Haul truck and soon found out that some of our big custom-made furniture from Honduras would not fit in a small truck and a larger truck was not available.  Matt's dad, Ronnie and Melissa Ellis came to help.  And, I don't want to forget Emma Kate helped all day.  Matt was working.  If I had been Ronnie, I would have cried, or left, when I was working with three girls.  Melissa's husband, Jay, showed up in a bit.  We were really glad to see him.  We worked all day.

Sunday afternoon we unpacked and laid shelf paper.  And started a load of dishes in the dishwasher.  Until the dishwasher caught on fire.

Monday,  Matt's mom and I unpacked.  I finished shelf paper.  Nicole did errands.  A new dishwasher was installed.  A refrigerator and tv were delivered.  The owner stopped in.  The property manager stopped in.

Yesterday, we tried to finish unloading the storage units.  That almost happened.  But not quite.

We did finish that task this morning.  And picked up a washer and dryer.  And went some where else to pick up a couch that someone gave us.  And went to the house where I have been staying to get Emma's bed.   The truck was unloaded.

Every thing from Honduras was wrapped in layers and layers of corrugated.  It has been a mess.

Nicole packed their things at Matt's parents all day today.

This really should not have taken this long.  But there the dishwasher problem.  A Target run.  Going after the girls at school.  A Target run.  A Taco Bell run for lunch.  A Target run.

I am leaving for the weekend.  I will move my things after I return.

But I am going to sleep in my bed tonight.  It has been FIVE months since I slept in my own bed.  Do you know how good that is going to feel?  For one night.  It will feel good again on Sunday night as well.

I hope it is a long time before I move again.