Thursday, November 24, 2005

Another Thanksgiving Day

This is the second Thanksgiving since my dad died, and I still miss him. This is a very difficult time of year for me for a number of reasons, and missing my dad makes it even harder. His 76th birthday was yesterday, which is young by today's standards. I have clients in their 80's who are still vibrant and healthy, and I know my dad would have been still full of energy if cancer hadn't taken him.

I guess I am thankful I had him as long as I did, but a part of me feels lost without him here. I miss his laughter, his voice, and his humor. Every Thanksgiving Day for as long as I can remember, he was the first one to call me in the morning. I could always count on hearing from him, no matter where I was.

I am also thankful I still have my mom, who I still call almost every day. Well, at least 5 or 6 times a week anyway. As much as an influence my father was, she was certainly instrumental in my development . Mom was always there. She was a SAHM, and I could always count on her being there when I got home from school. She was the one who listened to me, bandaged me when I got a scrape, made sure I was clean when I went to bed, and taught me how to tie my shoes. I spent more time with her my first 10 years of life, because my dad was in the Air Force, and was gone a lot.

Mom taught me how to cook, sew, and take care of myself. Dad taught me how to love and respect a woman, and showed me by loving my mom. I'm thankful they chose to stay married for 48 years before he died. Even though they had issues of their own, they stuck through the hard times and made the best of the good times. I know in her heart, my mom is still married to him. They loved each other deeply, and taught us about love.

I'm thankful I have 5 siblings who love me and still stay in contact with me regularly. I'm thankful all of us have chosen to stay married to our first spouses, even when it's been hard. I'm thankful we all love each other and are not fighting over piddly stuff.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thinking about family, and how temporary life is. Life is short...enjoy what you can.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"I speak "Dog"

I love being a grandfather…. Even more so, I love still being young enough to really enjoy watching my grandkids grow. I took Izzy with me Friday to to meet with a leasing agent at our rental house in Copperas Cove . I explained to her that the house was where her mother grew up. When we went inside, she wanted to se “her mamma’s room,” so I showed her. Then she wanted to see the kitchen. The first thing she asked was, “Where’s the dishwasher?” (That house never had one, but everywhere she’s ever lived in her short 4 year life has had one…) When I told her there was no dishwasher in that house, she just gave me an incredulous look and asked, “Why?”

Just prior to going to the house, we had some time before we had to meet the leasing agent, so we went to a park around the corner. I had told her that I used to bring her mommy to that park all the time when she was a little girl. She was fascinated.

It’s an older park, perhaps constructed in the late 60’s when the neighborhood was established. There are some very old swings that are small horses that can be mounted, with handles coming from the temples, little saddles, and bars for the feet to rest on. There’s also a tall slide that has three humps on the way down, and a standard swingset with four swings. There are good old-fashioned monkey bars and a geometric dome constructed of hexagonal bars to climb. There are also some little horses, complete with handles and footrests, but they are on a base with a large spring holding them up so you can rock back and forth, even side to side. I’m sure none of these older “playscapes” would pass city codes for safety if they were new today, but to a 4 year old, damn, they’re fun.

After running for 25 or so minutes, from the swings, to the slide, to the horses, then the merry-go-round (also complete with horses), the bars, the slide, then back to the swings… she was having a great time on the swings while some neighborhood dogs were barking away at her. She kept yelling at the dogs to be quiet, and she told them several times, when all of a sudden she blurted out, “Wait a minute….I speak dog!WOOF WOOF WOOF!!!” I was laughing so hard, I forgot about the dogs.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day 2005

You gotta love this guy. Every year he’s created something different on this rock. I think it’s awesome.

I salute the men and women of the armed forces of this great country today, especially the veterans who have sacrificed for our freedoms.

[Bubba Sorrenson's Website]

Saturday, November 05, 2005

In Honor of My 48th Birthday - Nov 6

This was just too good not to post. Linda's making me a cake tonight and it smells so good. So I know it's not a "sheet" cake...

From the Weekend

Sketch of an idea I have for a painting

 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Sermon

I was struggling with whether or not to post this. As the weekend retreat came to an end, we had a memorial service for our lost children, having named them, and offered them up to the Lord. Following the memorial service was a Resurrection service, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and the fact that our children live with Him.

As I delivered the closing words, I wanted to encourage us to maintain what God had started. Take this in context, as it was delivered after much healing was done. I hope this will encourage someone else, too.

Here’s my sermon:

The weekend has brought a wide range of emotions. Think back on what you were feeling when you arrived: the apprehension, the anxiety, the sadness… The exercises over the weekend have brought healing for all of us in many different degrees. We have gone to the past to remember painful times, and in some cases uncover things we haven’t thought about because it was too painful.
We’ve shared with each other our pain and our joys. Understand that the pain and sadness of death and grief does not have the final say in our walk of recovery. The joy that God brings through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus is the last word.
Even as we have faced the reality of the loss of our children, even more now is the reality of our healing, and the hope of what lies ahead – an eternity with our children and our Lord.
As we reflect today on the hope that we have and that we now feel, I want to encourage us as we go forward with this hope. We have the privilege now of living this life of hope as a witness to those who knew us in our darkness.
Be encouraged that God is familiar with our emotions. He sent Jesus to become man so that He would know us, feel what we feel, suffer as we suffer, and experience joy as we experience joy. He understands us intimately, and even deeper than we know ourselves.
His Word tells us that “He came so that we could have life, and have it more abundantly.” Jesus Christ is intimately aware of our feelings, our actions, and our needs. He has already provided everything we have need of through His life, death, and resurrection. He knows us intimately – He knew us while we were sinners and still loved us then. He knows us in our broken heartedness, through our times of darkness, and he knows us through our healing.
Hold on to and embrace the intimacy you found here this weekend. Some of you may be afraid of losing that closeness when you head home today; or that the joy and peace you found will be lost as we go back to our daily lives.
Today is not “the end” of our healing process; it is a new beginning, a new starting point, a “launching pad” back into the world. The same intimacy you found here is the same intimacy Christ desires with us every day. God’s grace and presence is just as real at home, at work, at school, in times of loneliness, in our temptations, our struggles, our celebrations, as it is here.
Grace is portable. He is with us wherever we go. His understanding patience, compassion, gentleness, humility, and His love are with us – even when we don’t feel Him. Remember some of the exercises we did. Remember what you felt as you listened to each meditation:
The forgiveness of the woman caught in adultery
The healing of your blindness
The raising of Lazarus, and our own dead parts of our life
The touching of Jesus’ cloak
The hope Jesus gave the woman at the well
The cup of grace we poured and shared today
The breath of heaven…
Remember you are healed…You are forgiven…You are included in His mercy.
God loves you. And He loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to stay where we are. Paul tells us to “press on toward the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.” Jesus endured the pain and suffering of humanity and His death and crucifixion, for the hope of the glory that lay ahead.
Now go – hold onto Christ. Run after Him with everything you’ve got. He loves you and wants the best for you.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

More on Recovery

It literally took me a couple of days to recover from the weekend. It was emotionally, spiritually, and mentally exhausting. I don’t even know how I was able to function Monday, much less, work. I had an appointment scheduled Monday, so I went in, intending to do only that, and wound up staying until after we closed. I wish I had just rescheduled because I had to push all the feelings aside to be “on my game” for my clients. Whew.

Yesterday was just as hectic, and on top of it all I had a pastor’s meeting at lunch, then met with a missionary couple and another lady at dinnertime, so I had to rush home and cook dinner real fast. It was a whirlwind day.

You know that feeling you get deep in the pit of your stomach when you’re really stressed over something? You know… the kind that makes you a little queasy and makes it hard to eat??? …That feeling that all is lost, and it’s hard to move??? That was the last couple of days, but God got me through it.

I wish I could relay all the stories the ladies told this last weekend. Some of them really broke my heart. One common theme though, was the fact that every one of the ladies there at one time or another was disappointed, humiliated, or abused by their father. That really made an impact on me. The lack of a good relationship, and the disappointment or abandonment by a father was influential in the process that led to every one of these women to have a crisis pregnancy that ended in abortion.

I think about my own decision, and I wonder what made me think I couldn’t go to my parents and let them know I needed help and advice. I think they might have been disappointed, but they would have been there for me, and helped me. They certainly would have encouraged me to be responsible and raise my child, rather than kill their grandson before he even had a chance to breathe.

I began to deal with this back in 1997, when I did a bible study called “Healing a Father’s Heart.” It was a difficult 3 or 4 months of healing, and I put to rest a lot of feelings and shame. It took me several years to forgive myself, although I finally did. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was finally able to let go of the rest this past weekend, and memorialize my son. In all, 10 babies were memorialized, 9 that had been aborted, and 1 miscarriage. As I put my son’s memory to rest, I felt years of guilt and shame be put to rest also…

More later.