Saturday, January 31, 2009

Come Away...

Mark 6:31 (MsgB)
Jesus said, "Come off by yourselves; let's take a break and get a little rest."

I decided to take Jesus at His Word! It takes me a little while to get in the resting groove because I am so used to doing! I realized, though, that if the One Who created the universe, fed the five thousand and raised dead people needed to get away from it all and recharge, then surely it was okay for me!

So, if you're looking for me...I'm taking a much needed breather! I'll be back soon, though! ;O)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Words of the Year

I am part of an amazing online community that is full of inspiring and encouraging women! The last 2 years we have bucked the "Resolution" system of ringing in the New Year and have, instead, prayerfully chosen a word for the year.

After thinking and praying for a number of days, I felt I was given 2 words instead of one. My words? Breathe and Write! As I contemplated my words 2 days ago, I realized the irony in them.

If you have been following my blog at all, you know that I have lost a dear friend and a beloved grandmother so far this first month of the year. 2 solid weeks of the last 27 days have been spent watching people breathe...counting the seconds between their breaths...making sure their chests are rising...wondering when they will breathe their last here on earth and be taken up to breathe deeply of the fragrance of Him!

And how have I processed it all? Why I've been compelled to write, of course! It was either write or have my brain explode with all the thoughts colliding around in there with each other, so write it has been!

I've spent more than a few moments wondering why the Lord couldn't have given me a word like Joy or Peace or Rest. I have to believe, though, in His infinite wisdom and love, He was preparing me! He had to have been for those are rather random words and Breathe is especially not one that I would naturally have thought of on my own!

So rather than question the whys and why nots of this tender young year, I think I shall breathe deep and write, trusting that as the words unfold and are assembled on the page, He'll have something precious to show me...something to encourage me, challenge me and cause me to fall more deeply in love with Him...the Author of my story!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The School of Life and Such...

2009 has brought with it the feeling that I am cramming for finals. The only problem is, the class seems to be The Art of Dying 101.

Since I have long resolved that Jesus is sovereign and there is something to be learned in all of life's experiences, I am left pondering just what Papa has for me in all this!!

If He wants me to contemplate the brevity of life and try and make each day's working. If He wants me to learn to have an eternal perspective and not be so focused on the trivialities of's working. If He wants to develop a deeper compassion in's working. If He wants me to learn at a deeper level to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who's working.

Maybe there's more...I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I am thankful His love for me is so deep that He feels the need to continue to refine me and gently school me in the mysteries of life...and death!

It's Over!

At 10pm on January 20, 2009, Eleanor Cunningham (aka "Granny" to all who knew her), breathed her last breath with a smile on her face! Many times we say someone "lost their fight" when they finally die, but I think Granny finally "won" when her struggle came to an end and she was at rest!

Granny will be missed, but she'll live on in the Christmas stockings she painstakingly cross-stitched for all the grandchildren and all the other items she so lovingly stitched. Every time I see a chickadee I'll remember how happy they made her. The sight of tulips in the spring may bring a tear because I always bought her a pot of the flowers we both loved.

We will all have many occasions to be reminded what a friend Granny was to us. She was a special lady who put up a spirited fight to make it to her 91st year!

We love you, Granny!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Sounds of Dying...


Click, click, click, click...


Click, click, click, click...

The slow and rhythmic clicking of the knitting needles serves only to accentuate the ragged and intermittent breathing that signals life on this earth is making its curtain call. Row upon row of stitches marks time as surely as the counting of each shallow breath.

The gift of knitting lessons continues to bless. Hands are kept busy as the mind swirls about, ever conscious of the need to wait for the next breath, wondering when He'll finally beckon her Home.

Knitting, thinking, praying, counting...knitting, thinking, praying, counting...the rhythms of life ~ and death ~ that have become so familiar these days...too familiar.

What a comfort that scarf will be, though! The constant reminder of a prayerful vigil at the side of one loved so deeply...the one from whom this "crafting gene" descended.

Her body so frail, her ability to talk now gone, but her will to live not yet extinguished! She always was a feisty one and each hard-fought breath proves it!

We love you, Granny! Pop is waiting...

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Misspoken Word That Got Me Thinking...

The last couple of weeks have been very rough and I am strung pretty tight! My brain is also on the fritz and I am not sure if Tim should have left town and left me in charge of the children. *perplexedsmile*

I buried my 43 yo friend on Tuesday and today I took my kids to tell my 90 yo Granny good-bye for the last time! On the way to the hospital we were listening to Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace and I commented on it to Rachel and mentioned how it had been such an awesome song to hear at Sandy'! I realized my mistake and corrected it to funeral, but then it hit me that maybe I had been right after all.

Think about it...wouldn't it make funerals much more joyful if we thought of them as heavenly weddings? They are you know! When we finally stand face-to-face with Jesus, it is the bride meeting her Bridegroom for the first time ~ definitely something worth celebrating! While it is a time for us to say good-bye, it is merely the beginning of an eternity of shared life between the one gone Home and the Lover of of our souls!

As I have been overwhelmed with the sadness of saying good-bye to these ones I love, this other song by Chris Tomlin has ministered to me greatly! I hope it does you, too!


A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.

The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
'That laundry is not very clean', she said. She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.'

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: 'Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?'

The husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.'

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


For those who are in Christ...

2 Cor. 5:8 (NASB-U)
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

At 1:20pm today, Sandy heard those tender words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant", as she met her Saviour face-to-face!

1 Thes. 4:13 (NASB-U)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

So we mourn, not as those without hope, but as those who now must fill the void this special lady filled in our lives!

Please pray for Steve, Adam, Chris, Carrie, her mom and sister. Not all of them can understand the hope we have, but I pray that Sandy's death will bring about His purposes and He will allow beauty to arise from ashes!

God's Mail

2 Cor. 3:2-3 (MsgB)
You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. [3] Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.

"Our friend Crawford Loritts did a radio broadcast on the Moody network one day and as I listened to a tape of that broadcast, the Lord began to prick my heart with the truth of that message. How many times have I tried to convince others to adopt my convictions? How often have I made others reside in an issue until they agree with my point of view?

God sees us all as individuals each with our own address, a spiritual post office box if you will, and while He does send out bulk mailings, "Go ye therefore into all the world and make disciple", for instance, He also sends out notes meant only for me, written to challenge, encourage and correct.

You handed me a letter
Just the other day
And eagerly I opened it
To see what it would say.

I started with the intro,
"My dear child," it said
And it seemed to be appropriate
So on and on I read.

The more I read the stranger
It did appear to be
For all the names and places
Were unfamiliar to me.

Then I got down to the bottom
And read it with a nod,
Yes there is was signed in His blood ~
"Forever yours, love God."

Well, then I really was confused
Or maybe just quite dense,
Why would my "Daddy" write to me
Of things that made no sense?

Then while I sat there thinking
The envelope fell down
And as I stooped to pick it up
I read it with a frown.

For suddenly the problem
Was very clear to see ~
The letter had been sent to you
And wasn't meant for me!

Because, although we're all adopted
As His children, nonetheless,
We're all at different places
Each with our own address.

And just because He sends you mail
That really speaks to you,
Unless He puts it in my box
Don't make it my mail, too!"

New Beginnings

January...a month of deep breaths, renewed hope, frenzied organizing and vows for this year to be different. There is something about the thought of the beginnings of a new year spread before us, full of possibilities, that energizes and spurs us on.

Spiritually speaking, each day the Lord gives us is a new beginning...a chance to be more focused, to listen closer, to forgive for real this time, to be still, to search our hearts, to confess our sins, to love deeper and to allow our spiritual radar to be a little more finely tuned.

Hebrews 3:13 (MsgB)
For as long as it's still God's Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn't slow down your reflexes.

Today is a gift from the One who created it! May we seek Him first to see how He would have us use it, for once gone it can never be reclaimed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Process of Dying

2 Cor. 4:6 (MsgB)
It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

My friend, Sandy, is engaged in her final battle with the vicious opponent...CANCER! We are marking days and know it won't be long until she is welcomed into the arms of the One to Whom she surrendered her life! She is soon to experience a welcoming like she has never come close to experiencing before and we are inching closer to the gaping hole that her Home-going will leave for us!

What mixed emotions are involved in watching someone die. On one hand, the suffering you see hurts at such a level that you wish the end would quickly come! The reality of what life will look like without this one soon washes over you, though, and you find yourself wishing you could hang on forever!

I was struck yesterday as I stood at Sandy's side, stroking her hand and kissing her face, how gestures like that would have probably seemed strange if she was healthy and full of life. As I rubbed her arms, chest and nose with lotion in an attempt to help fend off the itchy, dry skin that comes with winter weather and lack of hydration, I realized that impending death makes the social boundaries we unconsciously set into place disappear and we are suddenly allowed to approach those we love in new and intimate ways!

We find ourselves sharing words of love and affirmation that we might not otherwise have felt comfortable expressing and we allow tears to flow that would normally be kept in check. However painful the process is, I am thankful for the opportunity Sandy has given us to "feel" at such a deep and intimate level.

My prayers as I reflect on what I am experiencing through Sandy's dying process are complicated and filled with many unintelligible groanings, but the one thought that keeps rising above the jumbled words and emotions is the desire to reach out in life as easily to those I love as it is possible to in death! I want to allow the reality of an expiration date in each of us to help me keep short accounts and critical words at bay! I want to touch and feel and love...just because!

Sandy's life has brought me many laughs and shared times of fun, but her dying has impacted me in ways that I may not ever fully comprehend. I am so very thankful for the opportunity she and her family have given me to wade into the churning waters with them!

1 Cor. 15:54-55 (MsgB)
Then the saying will come true:

Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
[55] Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?

The reality of Christ's triumphant life has birthed triumph in the life of Sandy as well and death is merely the doorway through which she will catapult into the welcoming arms of the One Who defeated death and made eternal life our final destination! Praise be to Him!

We love you, Sandy, and while contemplating life without you makes the tears freely flow, we rejoice with joyful and expectant hope that your suffering is soon to come to an end and the greatest chapter of your life is about to be opened!

Go in peace, my friend!