Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Today is Leisha's birthday! April 28th

I remember this day like I do the births of my other two girls- I usually begin with when the first labor pains began. Cait & Brie will say, "ok mom, what time was it when...? as if to humor my need to remember it all. But Leisha would settle in next to me and ask, "and then what did I do?"

She was born on a Sunday! It just happened to be THE Sunday that our church was dedicating a brand new sanctuary. Rennie was overseeing all the music and helping with the child dedication at the end of the service. But 45 minutes before the service began, I had to call him to tell him it was time. I couldn't wait at home anymore. And just as the church family witnessed parents dedicating their child to the Lord, Leisha made her way into our family.

It was 12:16pm! April 28, 1991.

I miss so much being able to share the story with Leisha today! I talk to her all the time- I don't know if that means I'm crazy or not, but I talk to her a lot. I just wish so much she could talk to me, in her inquisitive, sometimes demanding way. I miss those talks! I miss her dreams and her consternations. I miss her ramblings of the goings on of all her friends and her ideas of fun things they could do together.

I remember the day she came bounding in to the kitchen after a worship team rehearsal and squealed, "Mom, do you know what GREEN means! My favorite color means my favorite word! HOPE! GREEN means HOPE!"

As I ponder today, I affirm that no matter how painful her death has been and continues to be, I wouldn't give up her birth, her energy, her love for life & people, her struggle for faith & purpose, her passion for GREEN-and the hope that it represents.

I'm different because she was in my life- I'm better! Both in the miracle of her birth and the anquish of her death, I have seen God bigger and more able than I ever knew Him to be before. I understand HOPE in a way that was only hopeful thinking before.

I feel the new life of Spring with more vitality and freshness than I've ever known.

And each Spring since she died, I experience more LIFE & more HOPE.

Two years ago, on her birthday, we declared,- well, ok, I declared and the others are cooperating- 110 DAYS of GREEN! From Leisha's birthday till the anniversary of her homegoing is 110 days. So during these days, we look for all the GREEN, new life, growing hope things we can find. It's not that we don't look for those things all year round. But instead of dreading the upcoming anniversary of her death, I choose to look for the things that inspire LIFE, that empower HOPE.

I'd love for you to join us in our journey, our 110 days of GREEN! God doesn't waste anything- so LIVE with eyes wide open and see what it is God is doing in your world! Join us- Seeing GREEN HOPE in a brown world!

Happy Birthday Lei! I love you still!

Friday, April 23, 2010

the Heart of a Friend

Today, I visited with a friend- we see each other quite often, but today was different somehow. Today, we had a little more freedom to talk, to share 'deeper things' -things that don't come to the surface very often because they stir up all kinds of emotions. It's not always easy to share those kinds of things- mostly because we just don't want to - or don't know how to deal with those emotions once they begin to bleed through. So...we keep talking about the things that don't go deep- that don't hurt much.

But today we went deeper, one question inspired another; one confession admitted there were more. It started with one conflict in a relationship, only to reveal years of hurt & pain and great sadness. As we spoke, I realized that the words I was saying to my friend, to encourage her heart- to challenge her next steps were really the words I needed to have a friend speak to me. Buried under years of effort and 'positivity' were aches and sorrows that I longed to be honest about with someone, but afraid to admit.

What if they don't like me if they really know who I am?
What if I can't ever 'get it together'?
I'm afraid to try for fear of finding out I am a failure!

It takes time to make that kind of friends that will stick with you. It takes sharing life together on a frequent basis. It takes work to learn to put up with someone's differences while cherishing their strengths. But as I watched her tears fall for want of that kind of relationship- I knew we were not so different. And I know we're not the only ones.

I want what she wants- it may take a different shape- but it's intimacy with someone who will still love me tomorrow! Lord, help me be that kind of friend for her!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today's my birthday!

It's hard to fathom another year has gone by- I'm another year older- my life is one year less! Six weeks ago, I heard of a woman who had just been given 5 weeks to live. I was struck by such a brief amount of time. I wondered for days what I would want to do if I was told I only had 5 weeks left to live. Who would I want to be with? What things would I want to accomplish or what words would I want to say and to whom?

I never really came up good answers for all of it. I knew that I would want Ren and the girls with me to touch, to hold, to say I love them. I would call my parents & siblings and some dear friends and remind them that I love them too and how grateful I am that they have been in my life.

But I couldn't really come up with things I wanted to do yet. A bucket list didn't seem that important. With all those dear people around me- there really is little else I would want to do. The rest just doesn't matter. I wouldn't want to finish 'uncluttering' my home as I wrote about yesterday. I wouldn't want to complete my spring wardrobe or create a perfect front garden. I wouldn't care if I ever visited Rome or Israel, unless my girls were there. I wouldn't care if I wrote another message or even a book. I might write here again- but only because I would want to say something to you- the reader who cared enough about me to read what I would write in my last days.

Here I am 6 weeks later. The woman who had 5 weeks has already gone on to be with the Lord. I'm still here! To live, to love, to laugh with all those precious people God has placed in my life. I celebrate that you are in my life! I'm so grateful! Thank you for allowing God to use your gifts and abilities to strengthen and empower mine! You are such a gift! It's you I celebrate today!

Monday, April 19, 2010

a Space in my basement

Who would have thought that just knowing there is an empty place in my basement would be good for my soul?

I spent most of Saturday sitting in my garage sale booth among belongings that I haven't used for a while. We have spent the past year uncluttering our home. I say WE because it has been a process that my oldest daughter has been helping me do in between her college and Master's degrees. She's had her hands full helping me to let go of things that hold special memories for me. She's been extremely patient, listening to lot's of stories and providing kleenex and a shoulder to cry on as many emotions come spilling out.

In the last 7 years or so, I've done very little uncluttering. Part of the reason was I was just too tired. My health had taken a turn and it was all I could do to live life with some zest.

But the main reason was that as life had happened, all these "things" became my scrapbook of memories; when times were better, when the girls were young. One of those items was my old dining room table. We haven't used it for several years. But I have vivid memories of the girls doing school at the dining table, enjoying a tea party at the end of our first week of school, or celebrating a birthday with family & friends. I had moved that table from my dining room, to the attic, to the basement. But now it was time to move it out completely and find someone else who could make memories there.

As I sat next to it, and appreciated it's vintage beauty, even though it needed a great deal of attention by now, I relived all those memories. And I committed to take it back home and fix it up myself. Maybe we could find another way to use it...

And then she came- a woman walked in the front door straight to me- and my table with purpose. In minutes, she made an offer and it was hers! She saw it's potential and that someone else would want it too. Her husband, who had to leave his other job due to parkinson's and a heart condition, was refinishing furniture and finding homes for them for their income now. I was thrilled!

As I came home and walked in my front door, I couldn't see the place where the table had been. But I knew there was a bit more free space in our home where we could live with more freedom. In the mean time, I cherished once again the memories that I will always have with me! And I somehow felt stronger! I had faced my fear of letting go- and found healing! A place for green to thrive! I knew that this was a good thing in my home, and in my heart!

Now- I've got this great old desk....!