I just returned from Maryland, where my grandfather was buried. My mom and her whole family were born and raised in Maryland. My papa moved them to Friendswood, TX when my mom was 15 and he got offered a job with NASA. But they are tried and true Maryland! My dad is the true Texan in the bunch! :) I took a week off work last week and attended the funeral here and then we all traveled there for another funeral and burial. It was a long, hard week but also a sweet one. Besides the yummy food and visits to where my favorite Sylvester Stallone had been, we visited the historic sight of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, and I got to be in a place where they really have fall! It was awesome! I also got to watch my grandfather have a military honored burial b/c he was in the Navy. That was such an honor and tear jerker! But I think the sweetest part was seeing a part of my heritage. As previously mentioned, my papa had a rough childhood. He was orphaned after a rough go with his own family, and then when he was 12 another family took him in and moved him to their farm. We got to meet some members of that family, hear about my papa, and visit the farm. It was awesome! I also got to see where my mom grew up (I was too little last time to enjoy.) Enjoy some of the pics below! I gotta get back to my job, ministry, and planning a wedding! :)
Friday, October 15, 2010
A weird title, I know...but something that has been so very real to me here recently. As stated a couple of posts ago, God has been bringing me to death in many areas lately. And at the same time I have been beginning to experience new life (the kind of life that He intended) like never before. Praise Him! One particular way that this has taken place was just last night.
The picture above is of me and my grandpa (my mom's dad), who I have referred to as "Papa" all my life. He has been sick for awhile now and I have enjoyed taking care of him as much as I could. Well, a couple of weeks ago he took a turn for the worse and with in the past few days he began declining very rapidly. Last Sunday I spent the day with him in the hospital...just he and I. He was in need of some love and care. So I saw to it that he got a good bath, a good meal and we watched 2 Pirates of the Caribbean together. Although not his usual self, we talked and enjoyed one another. The very next day all was different. He could no longer feed himself, he was disoriented and his speech was slurred. It was then that the doctors informed us that there was nothing else that they could do for him. So my mom checked him out of the hospital, set up hospice at her house for him, and by Tuesday evening he was at our house. Family began to swarm him and each hour grew worse as he was becoming more un-responsive. My mom called Wednesday night and said I should come over quick b/c he was actually awake. By the time I got there he had already fallen back asleep. I was heart broken. I prayed God would give me one last moment with him and lo and behold he woke, for one last time. I told him I was there and that I loved him. He said, "Corrie." Praise You, Jesus! Then he asked for water. After that my cousin said, Papa, Jesus is with you. To which he said, "I know." That was the last words he would say. He reached over and grabbed my mom's hand and then fell asleep. He slept until yesterday at 5. The hospice nurse informed us he would be going soon. At 5pm yesterday, my grandpa drew his last breath here and stepped into eternity! As heartbroken as we all were, I rejoice that he is pain free and now in Heaven with the Father! You see, my grandpa had a rough life and the effects of it had lingered for some time. But like I said, in death, there is always life.
For most of his life, my grandpa was raised in an orphanage during the Great Depression. About a week ago he had shared with me how when he was dropped off there at the age of 3, he laid in bed that night, crying himself to sleep. He then said that he felt Jesus pick him up and have him look down upon the bed he was sleeping on. He said he could see Jesus holding him and he knew he wasn't alone. How beautiful! I told him before he died that now, 80 years later, Jesus was still holding him and ready to take him home. It was sweet. The death of his lost family and childhood brought him life with Jesus. And now in his physical death, he is sharing life still with Jesus. Hallelujah!
You know, I have watched the dis-unity and also unity during the sickness of my grandpa. The death of a family member usually does that to a family. It's so bittersweet. But even in the deaths of dis-unity, God has brought some life through unity. I hope that makes sense. This concept is a constant flow in the lives of God's children.
Romans 6:3&4 states, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
My grandpa is now living a new life. And I, while on this earth, am learning to live a new life through death. It's a hard but beautiful thing. I want to really live so I'm all for it. I hope you are too!
In closing, I would like to thank my grandpa for the legacy that he did leave. Papa, I thank you for overcoming, and for teaching me and others: how to overcome, fight, manage money well, be creative, embrace all, be kind & be healthy. I took your devotional, that you faithfully read for years, everyday, last night and it was so sweet to see all that God was teaching you. I will learn as well. I love you, Papa. See you soon. You are missed!
In death, there is life! But you must die to find it! It's worth it.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
As you can tell by the picture, Linus is a tiny guy. He's also just as sweet and demanding in his presence as this picture portrays. Let's just say that he also suffers from what I like to call, "little man syndrome." He's suffered with it since he was born. The day I picked out Linus, I was actually going in hopes to get a little girl maltese. But Linus sold himself to me with his commanding presence. He was hillarious...fighting with all of his siblings and acting like a spaz. Perhaps b/c I am a little bit myself :), I like spunky personalities, so I was sold. The minute I put him in my car he crawled up on my neck and has demanded the attention and that very spot ever sense. He loves being the center of attention with people, but he absolutely hates other animals who steal it from him. The fact that he is spoiled doesn't help. Therefore, getting him used to the rest of my zoo was a challenge. We have managed for the most part however. All that leads me to yesterday. Like I said before, Linus suffers from little man syndrome and hates other dogs. The daily barking at them is quite annoying. Well yesterday, he officially humiliated and equally frightened me to no end.
I live on the 3rd floor and so everyday I have to hike 3 dogs up and down those stairs. Pooka can't walk them b/c she is blind, and Lucy thinks she is too good too. Therefore I carry Pooka and Lucy and Linus takes one for the team and walks down. Almost every day we see my neighbor walking his male pitbull and Linus barks to no end. Establishing his dominance, ya know. Well yesterday morning we had finished our walk and once I get them up the stairs and right outside my door I let them off the leash and open the door for them. It has seem to work fine until yesterday. I didn't hear or see my neighbor out with his dog, but apparently he was and Linus could smell him b/c the minute I undid his leash, he high tailed it down those stairs, barking up a storm. I jetted after him and by the time I got there, I found him attacking my neighbors dog and my neighbor having to hold him down. Let me remind you that Linus weighs 5lbs and this other dog is a rather large, male pit bull...hello! I snatched Linus up, quickly apologized, and then scooted as fast as I could back up the stairs. I was mortified and Linus was in trouble. I peeked outside my window to find my neighbor wiping blood off of his dog! Can you believe it?! That's it, I told Linus that I just knew we were getting evicted now. I hurried and wrote an apology note and stuck it on my neighbors door (he was already at work.) Last night when I got home he came by and said he had gotten the note and it was no big deal and thanks for it. He then wanted to ask if Linus was current on his shots b/c his dog had a pretty big bite and he didn't want him to get rabies. Oh my! I assured him he was and then he preceeded to tell me how Linus was hanging off of his dog's coat and trying to shake him. I see him do this with his toy rabbits. I could only imagine. He said it was actually kind of funny b/c his dog could have destroyed Linus but he just sat there scared. At that point I finally shifted from mortified to laughter. So true! I'm glad I wasn't there and that Linus didn't get tore up nor do any more damage, but I wish I could have seen it. It got me thinking...
As previously stated in another post, I am going through a 40 day journey book with Deitrich Bonhoeffer and yesterday was focused on Matthew 5:5, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." After studying that verse I was truly slayed by God. To be meek means to, "see yourself for how you really are; To be gentle." How often I look through eyes of my own rights and try to justify myself and fight for myself when wrong is done to me. That is not my place. My place is where Jesus' was...to replace the ear that Peter cut off for the injustice done to Him and to trust God to take care of it. That's hard to do. However, if we fight like Linus, we draw blood and are liable to get tore into ourselves. We don't bring Glory to God. That's the way I have been most of my life and I grieve over it now as I am aware of it. Thank God for forgiveness and teaching us! You see, to be meek means that we must die to our own rights. Bonhoeffer states, "No rights they might claim protect this community of strangers in the world. We must renounce all rights of our own for the sake of Jesus Christ." For Psalm 10:17&18 states, "O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear to do justice for the orphan and oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more." Amen! Let's release our rights and not look ridiculous like Linus! However, we could learn a thing or two from that little one. Have some confidence in who you are and go and slay you some "Goliath's." You are more than able with God on your side! Just beware when you are to fight and you only need the weapons of faith, truth and prayer. Put down your vicious teeth! :)
Monday, October 4, 2010
This morning my sister and I took my nieces and nephew (and adopted neice) :) to a pumpkin patch and boy was it fun! My love of fall grew deeper! Especially b/c today is the coldest day we have yet to have! It's simply gorgeous outside...praise Jesus! I bought some pumpkins while there and then got home and pulled out my fall decor. I am so excited! The windows are open, my pumpkin spice and candy apple scented candles are burning and I'm doing a little YL work now. Thanks for coming to us, fall! :) It would be a perfect scenario if my little yappers didn't bark every time they heard a car outside the window! :/ The next few months hold all my yummy fall recipes in store, pumpkins in abundance, and me getting to wear my new Halloween costume with my man. We are both going as firemen! :) Enjoy the pics. Im off for more work....