Saturday, June 21, 2008

Then Sings My Soul - If You Want Me To

Four years ago this week my sweet, beautiful, bestest friend in the whole wide world, Paula passed away. And my world still rocks. Although it started out as a knock-you-off-your-feet-and-down-to-your-knees kinda rock that was the hardest thing I have ever had to recover from, it has become a rock-you-in-the-arms-of-Jesus-till-you-fall-asleep-in-the-peace-of-knowing-she-is-THERE kinda rock. Both were unfathomable to me four years and 1 month ago. Now, I am Blessed by knowing that God is there through ALL kinds of rocking.

Paula was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it - the double mastectomy, chemo, radiation and hours and hours and HOURS of prayer - and beat it. Just in time to look so beautiful for my wedding I was a teensy bit jealous. But I came back from my honeymoon to learn that the cancer had come back in her bones. Many people would have given up. But Paula was a mommy (her girls were one and three when diagnosed, four and six when she died), and so she fought it HARD. The chemo wore down her defenses and she contracted valley fever. And that is what, in the end, took her away from us.

There was one song that held us up through it all - many songs made the journey easier (and sometimes even "fun-er") - but one song lifted us to His throne. In the very beginning Paula prayed that if she was gonna have this thing, God had better "use the tar out of it"!! She wanted to make a statement with the cancer - a statement about faith, blessings and HIM. She wanted her life to say that she was HIS - no matter what and even if she died, she KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was gonna LIVE. And, by golly, she was taking as many people with her as she possibly could.

I am here to tell you that she lived this out LOUD!!!!

I remember that last week in the hospital we played music in her room 24/7 - worship music. Just the way she wanted. We had worship teams come and do some live praising at the foot of her bed. We sang out loud to the favorites on the various CD's and, in the end, we sang her home with a group of loved ones and a guitar. Her death was one of the most precious and beautiful things I have ever experienced. I held her sweet bald head in my arms as she walked into Heaven and I felt her last breath against my wet cheek. I remember every moment of it like it was happening today. And I am more thankful for those moments that you will ever imagine.

I found a version of this song that is lovely - but I wish I could have found a live version from the CD "Night In Rocketown" - the one with the verse that she is living out today ...

So, when I cross over Jordan, gonna scream, gonna shout,
Gonna look into Your eyes and see
You never let me down
So, take me down the pathway that leads me to YOU
And I will go through the valley,
If You want me to

I love you and I miss you Peanut - me and Jelly both!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Crazy. Busy. Whoo!

This is VBS week. It is crazy. It is busy. It is constant go-go-go. But it is GOOD!!!

Hattie is finally able to participate. We registered er and I volunteered with the knowledge that we may not last the week. She has never been able to do anything like this before. It is constant transition and movement and following directions. None of her strong points!

Monday, she sprayed Lysol in her hair - homegirl has a thing for Lysol. Don't ask. I have absolutely NO idea! She had a pretty good meltdown about 3/4 of the way through and they had to find me. But, overall, pretty good.

Tuesday, she put soap in her hair (pattern anyone?). She had a minor meltdown, but by the time I got there she had rebounded and she finished the day just fine!

Wednesday, more soap in the hair (but just a little bit!). However, she went potty for them and NO MELTDOWNS!!! AND she did the art project! How cool is that?!?!?!

Thursday, she woke excited to go to church, but I can tell she is tired! No meltdowns - but no art project either. Nothing in the hair (til lunch - pizza at COSTCO before therapy!)!!! She was a bit grumpy at therapy, but no meltdowns there either.

Here is the challenge - I sing this week at church. Steve is not running sound on Sunday, but he has to do it for rehearsal tonight. Which means the girls have to go BACK to church tonight. And since I am also doing special music, we will be there a while. Therefor, late bed times all around. YIKES!! Two sleepy girls, late bedtimes and more VBS tomorrow!


Also, two wonderful women in my life - V & D - both are fighting cancer. Surgeries this week - V on Monday (stage 3) and D on Friday. I love these ladies. Please pray HARD!!!!

Cancer, it stinks! So not my friend! THAT is why I do the 3day. There is a link to my page on the side bar. I am trying to raise funds. Any help at all is GREAT!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To My Men

They say that a girl learns what to look for in a man based on her father. If that is true, I had mixed signals in that area.

My mom, as you may know if you have been reading this blog for a while, is an AMAZING woman. She is strong and bright and beautiful. She is wise and carefully makes all choices to the best of her ability and for the good of those around her. However, she did make one BIG mistake at one time in her life. When she married my father. At the time - and this is very hard for me to fathom - she was insecure and thought she could do no better. MAN, was she wrong!!!!! Which can be wonderfully proven by the man who saved her, and became my Daddy.

Now, my father was an abuser. Verbally he was cruel, emotionally he hurt my mom in many ways and left my brother and I with a few scars as well. And he could be abusive in other forms too ... but this is not about him. I am just saying that, had that been my only example of a man, I would not be here today. Not HERE with the man of my dreams and the life I have always dreamed of. Of that I am sure.

But then my Daddy came along. And, by the grace of my HEAVENLY Father, I was given a second chance. And I was completely Blessed. He was the first man that God gifted my life with.

My Daddy is a wonderful man. He can get loud and can growl with the best of the grizzly bears, but really, he is just a big ol' teddy bear. And, for the majority of my life so far, he has been the truest example of Godly love that I know. He rescued my mom, and in turn, rescued Jim and I as well. I know that that could not have been easy. Our father had not been an example of a loyal dad in any way. He would make promises that were not kept, so my brother did not expect much of the promises Daddy made. That damaged their relationship for a long time - and can even still bring up old hurts at times. He was a GOOD dad and could be counted on and did all he could to show us his love. I knew, and KNOW, what a dad is because of him. And I knew that I wanted NOTHING LESS for my children.

I also saw what a husband should be through him. I watched him love my mom into self confidence and strength and pride. I watched him love all of the pain away. But, most importantly, I watched him respect her. I saw him let her go far enough to make a name for herself, trusting that she would always come back. And she always did.

Both as a father and a husband - as a MAN - he set the bar pretty high. I had seen the bad side of a man, and I knew what I didn't want. Fortunately though, I also saw the GOOD side of a man and I knew that I would settle for nothing less. There was one time in my life that I almost fell into the trap of believing I could do no better. But my daddy - and my mom and my brothers - were there to help me see the light. So I kept looking. And I am so glad I did!!!

My mom knew before I did. She told me he would be "the one". I told her she was crazy. Turns out she was right. And I am living out the Blessed proof of her wisdom. Lucky, lucky me!!

My hubby is the other best man I have ever known. I cannot even begin to put into words what that man does to my heart. I TRULY could not have even begun to ask for a better man. That God is GOOD!!!!!!!

He is a man after the heart of God. He is honest, faithful, true and kind. His heart is sooooo stinking good that it scares me at times. And I often - OK, everyday - wonder if I deserve his love. But because of my Heavenly Father's love, and the love of my daddy, I knew good when I found it. And I was not about to let him get away.

Now I live with the assurance that our boys will be good, quality husbands and fathers (if they so choose), because of the example they have been given. And our girls? Let's just say that someday, there will be a couple of men with a LOT to live up to!!!!

Father God, I am so Blessed by the men You have put in my life. I truly could not have asked for more. You have gifted me in ways beyond my imagining with the love of these two men. I thank You for the men that the boys are becoming and I pray for the men that will someday reach the hearts of these two little girls. May they be as Blessed as I have been.

Daddy, I love you and I will always be your little girl. You are the very best thing that ever happened to Mom and one of the best things that ever happened to me. Thank you for living out the love of God and pouring it into the heart of a little girl. And thank you for showing me what a TRUE man should be. Oh, and thank you for saying yes when he asked your permission to marry me!

Farmboy, what can I say? "I love you" does not seem to be even close to enough. But, gooly bob howdy, I surely do love you. And I will FOREVER. Of that I am sure. You are my heart's desire and more than I ever even thought to ask God for. I cannot wait to live out the rest of the adventure with you. At our wedding I chose a song for you and the words are still true:

"I was just thinking how nice it would be to have some to kiss me goodnight.
I was just thinking what I really need is someone to hold me real tight.
I was just thinking of finding somebody that I could mean everything to.
And it's funny you should happen to walk in the room ...
... 'cause I was just thinking of you"

I love you baby. To infinity and beyond. No tag backs!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Picture Perfect Monday - More Beachy Fun

***FATHER'S DAY TRIBUTES ARE TO COME (sorry Honey and Daddy!!)***

Here are some more glances are our day at the beach (mostly of Sophie - Hattie was in the ones from our camera - plus, there were many more good ones, but they had faces of strangers and I didn't have time to edit them out!) for ya!