Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

Farewell old friend
Just getting to know this sweet little guy.

An icy trip down I35

His first romp in the bluebonnets
Austin fun with the boys
She's crawling!
Baby Dedication
First trip back to the Oregon Coast without Rob
A whole lot of eatin' going on!
The quilt is finished!
Somebody's two
Father's Day
Camp Tallowood with Daniel and Joshua
First Ballet Recital

 First trip to Sea World

She's One!

 Kansas with the cousins
First Fall Family Day
She's five!
A photo shoot to remember

Look who's one!
Thanksgiving at the beach
Rob's birthday
 Hello 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The year I awoke to pain and loss.
The year I pledged to discover the real meaning of joy.
I've found it!
It sits with me in the pew, at the table for one, beside a good man's grave.
It fills me in a house full of family and friends. 
Joy guides me through confusion and chaos, ordering my life.
Gratitude precedes it.
It's found in a manger and on a cross.
He's the author of joy; He is my JOY.
I've grasped for it in the dark places; I've reluctantly let go of both treasure and rubbish to fully experience it. 
It spills with tears, laughter and hard questions.
is not a marketing "feel-good" strategy based on emotion.
It's truth that God has a better plan than I ever will, that I'm deeply loved by the Creator of the Universe, that the end may not be in sight, but will be perfect in all ways.
is a quiet confidence, a known, a peace.
Can I spread it like cheer or  
 catch it like happiness?
I don't know.
Often, I hold on to it with my dear life; sometimes, I feel it slipping from my soul!
 will continue to be my constant, conscious choice in the new year. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Milk Project

Imagine losing your daughter to HIV complications;  your role as grandmother drastically changes. You must find nourishment for your tiny grand baby on a lean income. A mother too ill to provide breast milk for her newborn...seemingly hopeless situations. 
A group of young professionals almost 10,000 miles away, having seen the need up close and personal, makes the radical choice to provide hope. 
Little Changes International is born.
Young Texans answering the call of Christ... 
 I'm so proud of my son and daughter-in-law for shepherding this wonderful milk project.  
Please consider watching this short, but powerful video.
You, too, will be blessed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I fall apart in the dairy section. Tears spill over the screen as I interrupt my phone call to you. Habits are hard to break...unlike my heart.
No numbness this late December; the pain of missing you this second Christmas stings harder!
There are merry moments...they just don't last long. I miss everything about you and our Christmases together. 
Little telling me not to look in the closet, asking me for scotch tape from back in the bedroom, sitting under the tree passing out packages, watching your face glow by candlelight at church, crawling in bed with you after filling stockings.
 I gladly gather the sweet memories, but why do they have to hurt so much? 
I fight to see light in this darkest of Decembers, knowing no one can tell me how to sing this winter song.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Your last Christmas card
I remember you telling me, like most years, "I really mean it."  I knew.
Even though the sentiment wasn't handwritten, I always knew you had read over dozens of cards until you found the exact one that expressed your heart.  
Today I'm thankful for reaching in a box full bows and tags and finding this gift from you.
Words from the heart last forever.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Village
Rob's gift to me...
It started with this single church
and grew and grew until we considered new real estate to house it all.
We all chuckled; the family knew this was really Rob's collection. He could name the churches in order of their release, their retirement dates, and the year I received each piece.  When he ran out of steeples and naves to buy, he turned to Old London shops and cottages.  I remember his disappointment when I had to gently let him down...
"No more! There's no more room in the inn!"
 He loved his slice of Merry Old England, looking forward to the great reveal each December.
I wish I'd been a bit more enthusiastic about unpacking, dusting, running extension cords. 
I remember one year when we dragged a lawyer's bookcase home to encase the half I refused to repack. To Rob's delight...everlasting Dickens!
It's been a few years since there has been a big package under the tree and a gleam in his eye.
Oh, I miss that gleam in his eye.
Every piece of Rob's village has found it's proper place this year.  There's no more complaining about hauling down boxes and finding room for each item; Rob's village not only lights up the house, but also my heart with a host of beautiful Christmas memories.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pay it forward

We gathered a year ago to say our goodbyes. Most moved on...but a few of us still remember your investment in us.  Your so what' out the words of Jesus. 
Your goodness still challenging us, we want to do radical things in your quiet, unassuming way. 
A village receives walls to house their faith.
Women take short, safe steps to draw their families' water.
Babies receive life-sustaining milk.
Students attend heart-changing camp.
Employees receive a bit of help.
and the so what's march on and on.
Today, we don't just look back on a life well-lived; we look forward to living a Jesus kind of pay it forward life. Oh, that there might be pinholes in heaven, that you might catch a glimpse of the harvest.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A vintage gift from a young husband,
hand carved music maker wrapped with Christmas love...
This naming of gifts tugs hard.
 An endearing note from a young doctor overwhelms me; Rob left his imprint on him as well. A past minister phones; friends fill the loneliness.
I encourage students to look past assignments and quizzes and list the blessings, but one of them 
 drowns in heartache. How do you name the blessings when your brave cousin fights for his life? 
But if we don't list one by one in the hardest times, don't we, too, lose the battle?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I have followed Kara's journey for many months. Today's post, Today, few words are necessary, causes me to relive Rob's infusion days. I'm lost for words; watching one man's courageous battle still rips at my heart!  I'll never know if he realized my torment as he was poked and prodded, as poison designed to prolong his life ran through his weakened veins and as he was consumed with nausea and pain.  I captured only three photos on the chemo unit; I wasn't brave enough to aim my camera. 
July 11, 2013
We are full of hope this first day of the trial. We believe God can wipe out the cancer cells with one mighty command, yet, we pray this experimental cocktail might be part of His perfect plan.
August 1, 2013
Rob has battled through one round of horrendous side effects. Here he waits and knows what is to come.

September 19, 2013

All of the trials have failed. Rob is too sick.
We retreat to old chemo agents with a poor trajectory. Rob perseveres; he has a grand baby to meet.
Today, I'm reminded of our dear friend, Ryan Denison; he, too, braved those long hours with our family.  Ryan, I'll never forget!

My dearest Rob, you remain our hero.