Friday, May 29, 2009

Morning Prayer

Dear God,
I've got a busy day and If I'm in charge of it, I will sure-nuff ruin it.
My daily running around can become heavenly if You are with me.
You alone are what makes day worth living.
Please take every effort of every task and redeem it into something of eternal significance.
In spite of my weaknesses, I love You with all my heart.
And Please God, help me today to eat Apples instead of Oreos.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Found My Camera!

Quick! I have to use the camera before Abby knows it's been discovered! It's just a matter of time til the camera story begins.

Here is Caleb.
The closest thing to a grandchild we have.
My kids used to put this very bowl on their little heads.

Abby's throwing gang signs at our kitchen table.
You can tell her daddy is very impressed.

One of my wonderful patients made this butterfly house for me.
The little butterflies perch on the posts below the slits,
then they fold up their wings and enter to lay their eggs.
I can't recall the exact science involved, but if you remember,...
the eggs eventually change into a cocoon
which then morphs into a new beautiful butterfly.
Did you dear readers know that the "Butterfly"
is the official symbol of The Bereaved parents?

This will go into Jae's memorial garden which you can kinda see behind the porch swing.

Bought the metal sign below at a flea market.
I told Ralph I wanted it on the front of the house.
I kinda meant somewhere "unobtrusive".
It is now eye level by the front door.
I love that man.

I let Sophie out this morning and she chased some type of varmit into Jae's garden.
The hunt was on!
Heidi joined in and began ferreting out something under the rock.
The two of them have dug around the rock seat until it is almost falling over.
You can't see it real well, but there's a huge hound dog nose sticking under the rock.

Note the weed.
If I plant flowers, Heidi eats them in minutes.
Weeds however, will live there forever.

Below are my yard ornamanets.
One RV, one Back hoe and one 4 wheeler.

Now don't be jealous.

The 4 wheeler hasn't moved since it died there two years ago.

And I gauran-durn-tee you that the backhoe won't start tomorrow.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The VOCA People

Thursday, May 21, 2009

5 Years

I recall when Jae had been gone only hours and days, I clung to every other mother who had lost a child and asked them "Will it always hurt this bad?"
Almost without exception, the friends would comfort me with thoughts and words that I really did not believe. The reassurances they gave did not seem possible.
How would this agonizing physical, emotional and spiritual pain get better?
The idea that life would get better was preposterous.
Jae would always be gone, therefore I would always hurt.

Another thing that always made my stomach lurch was when moms would tell me that they had lost their child (so many) years ago. The mere thought of living "years" without her was unimaginable.
Facing the next hour was too hard, could I look ahead into the coming "years"?

People often asked me early in my grief "How are you doing?"
It's a typical casual greeting given to people often every day, but I swore that for as long as I lived, I would never say "Good" again.
I would say "Fine" or "OK" or "All right", but "good"?.....never!

Now that it's been 5 years, I find I have learned to wear this coat of grief and have even grown accustomed to it. It is an internal garment and although it's not comfortable, it is as much a part of me as my skin.
I can not get out of it.
I can not take it off.
It clings to me.
I hate it, but I accept it.

My heart broke today and I had to work crazy hard at holding tears back. I watched a beautiful wedding picture/video of a friend's daughter and several of this beautiful young bride's pictures reminded me of Jae.
All the people watching the video beside/with me would have never had an inkling that I was missing Jae Lynn. They weren't thinking at all about my loss of Jae. Why would they?
But I was painfully reminded that I would never have the opportunity to create such a beautiful video for Jae's wedding. Her daddy will not give her away, her younger sister will choose another maid of honor, I will not help her pick out a white dress, she will never know romance, I will never hold her children, etc.....
The grief coat suffocates me for a moment.

It's normal that no one would notice.
Still,'s lonely that no one notices.
If they did notice, they would not speak of it because it would be,..well,..awkward.

One of my patients spoke this morning of the fresh death of his wife of 67 years. (!) His wrinkled eyes were wild with pain and his voice broke as he said "I am selfish. I wish she was still with me".
I think not.
It's not selfish to wish for wholeness.

I watched another friend of mine sob as she lovingly caressed a photo of her mom who recently died. Her coat's too big. It's too much to bear. She knows it is a pain she will wear for the rest of her life and the reality is overwhelming.

What do I say to these dear ones who hurt so bad?
I have lots of experience,..but they are skeptical that it will be the same for them.
Yet, I did, they hold out hope for the day when their heart will not ache so bad.
Hold on.
It does get better.


Til then, I'm here as a 5 year survivor telling them that life can indeed be once again,...."Good". God still performs miracles.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ist Kings

If you look on the far left sidebar of this blog, you will find that I am studying one book of the Bible each month. In the past, if I do not finish the book by the end of the month, I quit and keep to the schedule.
This month I did not follow that rule. I just finished April's book of 1st Kings.
This sounds corny, but I just could not stop.
I was captivated.

Here is the Becky Russell commentary of 1st Kings:

This is a book which discusses the death of David, whom God calls "A Man after His Own Heart". For the first time, I imagined what David's entrance into Heaven was like. The warrior was finally home.
His mighty men were with him at the end of his life. Not too long ago, I wrote a post about these men.
Solomon's building of the temple was tedious, but that prayer,..oh that prayer! The one he prayed at it's dedication was surely one of his finest moments in life.
I read right over the passage and completely missed the division of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel.
I never did understand that very well.
Obviously I still don't.
I don't recall much good that Ahab did.
Yet, God extended mercy to him for a moment of repentance.
Because Ahab got that moment of mercy, God instead chose to punish his son.
I don't understand that line of reasoning at all.
The 22nd chapter holds a hilarious moment of sarcasm in the middle of high drama.
A country will follow the current leader.
God holds the leader very accountable.

** ********************************
Here's the biggest impact this book has had on me:
Blessing or curses are freely bestowed on individuals which are based on the ancestor's past behavior and commitment to God. The scripture constantly mentions genealogy when discussing a person or situation.
My ancestors, generations back, have had a significant impact on me even though I have never met them.
I am just a small cog in a big wheel.
That's exciting.
That's scary.

I am now praying for God to
give me the courage
to live the kind of life where
wants to bless my children
because of me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


That girl of mine.
She's a restless spirit.
Full of wanderlust.
Still grieving deeply.
College education almost complete.
Frustrated with her lack of "calling".
Determined to mark things off her bucket list.

Her job in Colorado as a white water river guide did not pan out. I guess they hired others who were stronger and had more experience.
Good for them I guess.
Still,......don't anybody go to Colorado and use the "Wilderness Aware" rafting outfit. I'm holdin a grudge.

Casey was resolute that she would not work in the Texas Roadhouse again this summer full-time. She threw a dart at a map of the USA, it landed on Wilmington, North Carolina, she found a roommate on Craig's list, borrowed her dad's Garmin (Tom Tom) and headed East.

Her roommate was throwing a graduation party at the very moment that Casey drove into the driveway of her new "home".
Instant friends.
One took her to church Sunday.
She's been wake-boarding already.
Two hour bicycle tour exploring the town.
Been to the beach everyday.
She's been turned down for about 30 jobs.
She's now living with a stupid shedding cat. (Gross. Casey hates cats like her mom.)
She's loving it. So far.
She's planned on staying only a few weeks, but I suspect by that time, she'll be more than ready to come home.

Am I worried about her?
Every minute.
Did I encourage her to go?
No one knows more that I that a hundred terrible things can happen to her and I swear I visualized most of them. But I also know that the worst can happen three miles from my home.

Letting her go Encouraging her to go was the right thing to do.

Oh yeah.
Guess who/where she has an interview with tomorrow?
Texas Roadhouse in Wilmington North Carolina :)
Is that not a scream?

(please. No hate mail about the cat comment.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Birth Moms

I, of course, have lots of personal thoughts about Mother's Day.
The ones from last year haven't changed.

Today, I'm thinking other thoughts as well.

A few years ago, a friend gave me a great little book with an idea that will always stay in my mind. It's entitled "The Epic". (Thanks Jan!).

It spoke of how all of us are living out God's big story and we each have a very important part to play. Each of us is a main character and believe it or not,..our little bitty selves have the ability to affect and changed the world.
Our influence is determined by our choices and, of course, our willingness to follow God's ways.

This weekend, Mother's Day eve, I was honored to speak to a small group of women who had made some really tough decisions in their lives. They were birth-mom's who had chosen life for their children and had placed them up for adoption.

Pivotal moments in their lives.
Pivotal moments in the lives of others.

None of the ladies in the room were the birth-mom's of my daughters, but I created my message as if they were.

Just imagine will you?.......
A young woman in distress
A man and woman who longed for a child
A tiny baby, powerless and unaware.

All of Heaven watched as each of those stories began to be woven together for eternity.


Dearest birth moms of Jae, Casey and Abby,

As I held them for the very first time, I thought of you.
As each of their birthdays approached, I thought of you.
On each Mother's Day, I thought of you.
When I rocked them at night, I often thought of you.
On National Right-To-Life days, I marched to the state capitol and thanked God for you.
When I studied their eyes and their smiles, I thought of you.
When people told me that they looked like me, I thought of you.
During all the high moments of a child's life,... award ceremonies, baptisms and other times, I truly wished that you could see and know how wonderful they are.
It is important to me that you be proud of them.

and to Jae's b-mom,...
As we wrote the obituary for her, we mentioned you.
And as the rest of the family members here on Earth began to pull together a memorial service and funeral for her, we purposely wove your story into hers and ours and reminded every person there that they knew and loved Jae Lynn because of you.


Happy Mothers Day to all my friends with a broken place in their heart.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I've spent some time this weekend working on different layout options for this blog and accidentally lost the entire section of all my friends blog links!

I'll hopefully get 'em back on here, but it will take a couple of days to gather them all up!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Last night, I went to Red Lobster with my friend Kay. The hostess took us to a booth waaaayyyy in the back of the restaurant where a ginormous group of teens were eating together (the Paragould boys and girls high school soccer team).
I observed other Red Lobster patrons be escorted in, look around and immediately refuse the seating arrangement. I, on the other hand, felt right at home.
Tomorrow morning is the first of three Sunday mornings that I get to teach our youth group. (yippee!) Since Levi has come on our church staff as part-time youth director, I have not gotten to teach much, and boy have I missed it!

Good ole Southern we are in the start of the new Sunday school quarter. Where in the cotton-pickin-heck are the new books?
I have no idea.
You'd think since I live with the Sunday School director, I could find out this important information.

I get to make a lesson from scratch.
As usual, I teach from the spot where God is working in my life. Not always the best lesson plan, but today it's working for me.

Years ago, Ralph led our family in some scripture memorization and the first one he had us all learn was
Psalms 1:1-2
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor stands in the path of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord
and in His law he meditates day and night.
I love that verse and it's going onto my mirror this afternoon.
It will remind me to not let myself get spiritually lazy.
We do not smoke, drink, cuss, have sex outside of marriage.
We go to church and tithe.
Therefore, God must be pleased.

C'mon. We know better than that.
We know better!
We know that in order to be a delight to God, we must pursue His heart with our own.

It's not enough to stay faithful in our religious routines.
Some of the people farthest away from God will be sitting in America's church pews on Sunday morning.

It's dangerous to raise our families with our frantic busy schedules and allow no time for the matters that God considers important.

Although our hopes are high, our spiritual expectations for ourselves and our children are often very low.

The small youth room at Bayou Meto won't be filled with deep theological wonders and discussions this Sunday morning.

But then again,......I think it will.....