Remember

July has gone whirring by filled with tearful goodbyes, travel, families, boxes (of books) and a new place to call home.

Today I find myself unwrapping pictures and dwelling on the memories and people they captured. I am so grateful for the past and how it witnesses to the Lords graceful and perfect provision.

I put pictures in their respective homes to gather dust and let me know that here too we will find community and make ourselves a home.

The future can be so overwhelming with the what ifs and the unknowns. The Lord continually calls his people to remember what he has done to bolster their faith for what lies ahead.

Today, I am grateful for the peace that comes with remembering the sovereignty and goodness of the Lord.

“It is well with my soul”

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A long goodbye

It has been a busy month. A few words on the last few weeks:

A season of saying good bye.

Preparing for what is next.

Visiting NYC and all the places we love one last time.

Cookouts, take out and cleaning out.

More to come when things settle down and we are moved into our new place in early July.

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A Few Words

No matter how much you think you are prepared for it you never can be. On January 18th, my dad passed away. Three years ago he was diagnosed with lymphomatoid granulomatosis and we have cherished every extra day together as a family.

I have thought of many things that I could write here. One thing I do want to say is how grateful I am for the love and support of my friends. Your prayers held, and will hold me up as I discover what it means to grieve and process the loss of my dad.

I decided to ease back into blogging with something I have already written. Below this photo are the words which I shared at my dad’s funeral. I will have more thoughts to share soon, I am sure. But for now I will begin with these words of remembrance:

“As I look around the room, I see my dad in each person who knew him. He touched each of our lives in a different way. As we gather together we form a portrait of my dad like a mosaic made from many small pictures. I would like to offer you a few of my memories to add another tile to the picture of who my dad was to me.

As a child he taught us not only how to tie our shoes, but to my mom’s dismay, also how to play with our food and belch like champions. One of my fondest memories is ice fishing with my dad up at Lake Winnepesaukee. I would watch in awe as my dad chose various pieces of equipment that were a mix of old and new. I looked on as his hands seem to work on autopilot setting up hooks and lines that seemed an extension of himself. They were old friends that had been through the coldest of days with him. A flag would go up and we would all run with excitement to find out what was on the end of the line. He loved the anticipation of pulling the line through the icy water to reveal the illusive catch of the day. I will carry with me his feeling of joy and wonder out there on the ice. It was a joy to share in his joy. It was exciting to share in his excitement. Whether it was fishing, skiing or woodworking in the basement, his passion for these things was contagious.

As an adult, my understanding and love for my dad has been enriched and deepened. I grew up to know him as a man of courageous resolve who felt deeply about becoming the man that he wanted to be. He took on and accepted the challenges that life brought him, even the ones that he took on himself. Because of his willingness to take on those challenges, as well as look himself honestly in the mirror, he is one of the bravest men that I know.

Countless times I have told my dad how much I appreciate his and my mom’s tenacious commitment to their marriage and each other.  As a married woman, I am so blessed to grow up with such an example of: for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. They taught me that marriage is work, but it is a work that produces vulnerability, closeness, healing and love. Like iron sharpens iron, my mom and dad are better because they have been together and shared a love that was honest and steadfast. I know that their example will continue to enrich my marriage.

As we share our memories of my dad, today and in the future, we add color to his portrait, but  may we also allow his memory to add a tile to our lives as well.”

Gratitude

We were all buzzing around the kitchen: peeling potatoes, prepping broccoli, basting turkey when I was struck by the fact that there is actually a holiday set aside for giving thanks. A national holiday to gather together with family and dear friends to break bread and just be together.

I know that the stores have now whipped themselves into a sale frenzy and try to entice us to join the madness at 12am. But the materialism of thanksgiving stays at an arms length- commercials and billboards that leave you with the choice rather than the obligation of engaging in the thrill of the best-deal-ever hunt. It has not become about gifts and spending, but remained a day to gather, reflect and hug the ones you love.

My hubby and I spent the day with amazing friends because we were not able to travel to be with family. I am grateful for “new” friends that feel like the oldest of friends.

Our gratefulness for our spouses, family, deep friendships, the Lord’s provision and healing was shared with joyful hearts and watery eyes.

“In Out of the Wind”

Three years ago I bought a copy of Devotional Classics Edited by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith for $2 at a used book store. I think that this might be one of the best devotionals I have ever happened upon. It is filled with the wisdom of male and female Christians from as early as the year 480. Their writings are rich, deep and profound.

Recently, I read the section by C.S. Lewis, or Clive as my friend calls him. This excerpt in particular made me take a deep breath and relax after reading it.

That is why the real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes at the very moment you wake each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

I just love how his imagery gives actual life to the feeling of how overwhelming the day ahead can feel. Those worries and fears take hold of our day and our focus before our feet even hit the floor. It is so easy to give anxiety the power over us it does not deserve.

C.S. Lewis reminds us that this is not the way we should live as people who know Jesus. As big and powerful as those wild animals can seem in the morning or throughout the day, God can disarm and subdue them, “letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.” We cannot simply will anxiety to cease. We must choose the passive action of “standing back from all (our) natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind” and allowing God to do the work as we trust Him with our present anxieties, our future concerns and our past regrets.

We found out just 2 weeks ago that my dad’s cancer has come back. We are grateful that it has not returned as aggressively as it has in the past, but we are still dealing with the vast array of emotions that accompany this return. I have prayed for many things during this time for him, my family, the doctors and myself.

I find that in prayer for myself I am asking for peace, that anxiety and worry would not win my mind and heart. I find peace does come. I realize that no matter what happens today, tomorrow or 15 years from now- the Lord is here now and will be there then. He knows the very depths of the core of my being and will not fail to provide, comfort and love in the present or the future. For me, this understanding has been a “coming in out of the wind.”

Soul Food

At our church they have at least two hymns as a part of the service- I love that they have kept they Hymn tradition alive. 
As we sing together, I think of all the people throughout history that have met on Sundays and sung these hymns for hundreds of years. It is like worshiping with all who have gone before us.
One of my favorites is: Before the Throne of God Above.
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God.

If this hymn were to be compared to food, it would be Jamie’s Chocolate Ganache cake. If you have had it, you know there is some truth in this comparison :)

Take some time this week and listen this hymn that proclaims truth, grace and joy sweeter than anything on this physical earth. I highly recommend Shane & Shane’s version.

Do you have favorite hymn? 

You can download SPOTIFY and listen for free (it is legal and legit too!)


Flowers from Pikes Place Market, Seattle

For a friend

This is a little out of order since I completed this before I completed the portrait in the previous post.

This paining was done for a sweet friend who just came out with an amazing CD: Terese Fredenwall’s “Not About the Songs.” The painting is inspired by her whole album, really. But the lyric that was playing through my mind as I added layer upon layer to the canvas was: “I see beauty, everywhere you go.”

You can listen to a few of her songs here. Her songs tell the stories of the people she has meets through her tours and work with Wings of Protection. They are filled with truth, love and encouragement. In knowing the love that God has for us there is freedom and healing. The dancer represents that rising out of hardships, oppression and emotional pain and again finding joy and freedom that was taken away or lost.

Here are some photos of the process: