Monday, October 31, 2011

Years gone by

Last year I shared a couple of pictures of me and my sister on Halloween when we were little. This year, I'm reminiscing about Daniel's costumes when he was younger. Oddly enough, after several years of being "too cool" to dress up, he's actually dressing up and going trick-or-treating this year (I stopped trying to figure out a teenager a while ago).

From 1998--and that's Jesse Smeltzer sitting next to him

1999--showing off his Superman muscles

Also 1999, but just had to show Pirate Sean and Batman Taylor

2000--with friend, Joey, who moved to Florida

(after he ditched the bandanna and eye patch,
he looked like Clark Gable)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Favorites: Songs that lift me up

I've been wanting to find a time to write about a song that has been touching me deeply and helping me through this time of my life. Since it's Friday, what better way than a "Friday Favorites" post!

My friend, Barbara, has recently released an album project that has been years in the making. Some other friends from church were a part of it, from writing and producing to designing the cover art. You need to go get this CD for yourself or listen to the songs here.

While I have been enjoying the entire CD, there is a song that I have literally been listening to over and over again as I drive around town. We also sang it at the women's retreat and in church last week, which only reinforced how it has been ministering to me. 

To be able to "Praise Him" in the hard times, as well as the easier times of life is a gift that only God can give. And I'm so thankful that this time of deep sadness and grief has not caught me unprepared. God was not surprised by the timing of my dad's death and has used my life experiences and my relationship with my dad throughout the past 44 years to give me the tools I need to walk through this time with faith and hope.

Thanks, Barbara and Ben for including this song on the CD. And thanks Kristi and Jay for the calming and beautiful design that I just wanted to share and not just cut and paste the lyrics.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 Scripture Memory #20

Paul's Letter to the Colossians has been coming up a lot lately. Several verses from the first chapter were read in our worship service last Sunday, the entire theme of our church women's retreat was "Opening the Letter to the Colossians" and this verse was chosen by my mom to be printed on the cover of the program for my dad's memorial service:
"Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way." Colossians 3:17, The Message
While nobody is perfect, this verse is one of many that exemplifies how my father lived his life. And it is how I desire to live as well. I choose to be thankful to God the Father every step of the way (even the ones that are hard). And I'm thankful to my dad for teaching this to me throughout my life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Memorializing October

October will always be my Dad's month. His birthday is October 19th, so we've always had a celebration of his life in October. Today, October 13, 2011, is the day he left this earth to live forever with his Savior, so this month will have another remembrance of my dad. I kind of think it's appropriate that we'll always celebrate him and remember his life during this month.

A few years ago on his birthday, I had some time in the afternoon and picked him up to go on a surprise outing to Radnor Lake. We walked and talked and viewed the beautiful changing colors of the leaves. We also shared some Pecan Sandies cookies, which were some of his favorites. I gave him a picture I took of the trees reflecting on the lake and he hung it in his home study.

Yes, October will always be memorable and not only in sad ways, because the happy far outweighs the sad. Even in his death, I can celebrate, because of the hope we have in Christ and because Dad is no longer in pain and is enjoying all things new, including his body.

I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My father's eyes

There is so much I could write about this experience that we're going through as my dad nears the end of his life on earth, but it's mostly too raw for me right now. Our family has been lifted up and loved on and are getting through this only by the grace of God and the prayers of His people. And we are thankful.

My father has blue eyes and while I didn't get his exact eye color like my sister did (mine fluctuate between dark blue and green), I think my eyes are shaped like his. But more than just the physical characteristics of his eyes, the ways that they looked at me, his daughter, have spoken volumes to me. Nothing but pure love has come across to me through his eyes, even when I made him angry. My father's eyes told me that he loved me and that he thought I was beautiful and that he was one of my biggest fans.

This morning while he was lying in his hospital bed, I went close to his face to tell him "good morning" and that I love him. Many times while he's been so ill, his eyes have not been focusing and I couldn't get a good read on how he was doing through his eyes. But this morning, we had a sweet interaction through our eyes and I will remember it forever.

I looked at his eyes and told him I was there and that I liked the morning. He kind of blinked, so I asked him to blink again. He did it, so I smiled and told him I loved him and that it made my heart happy for him to blink for me. He closed his eyes in a deliberate way and kept them closed a second, and then opened them again. I thanked him for doing that for me.

There's an old Amy Grant song called, "Father's Eyes" which talks about the love of our heavenly Father. All of my life, I knew that my earthly father loved me, either by his words or the loving twinkle in his eyes, and he also taught me about the love of God, the Father, throughout my life. I am so thankful that my dad was able to show me his love through his eyes once again when my heart is so broken over having to say good-bye very soon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 Scripture Memory #19

I recently started a Bible study with a group of women from church and we are studying Romans 8. If you need a good dose of gospel truth any day of the week (or hour of the day), read this chapter. It gives me hope and encouragement every time I read it.

I decided to take some verses from Romans 8 to focus on and hopefully get more ingrained in my brain:

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." Romans 8:5-6, ESV

I don't know about you, but for me, every battle and struggle that I face begins in my mind. I can't fight these battles on my own (in my flesh), so my only hope is to set my mind on Christ and on His Spirit. That is where I can find victory and life and peace. More, please!