Monday, December 31, 2012

Slán go fóill

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen
the friendship of those who are thoroughly
persuaded of each other's worth. 
~Robert Southey

If we knew that today would be our last how might we spend it?  What sage words might flow from tongue or pen?  What intentional act(s) would we craft?   Who might we seek out for one long, last hug?  Where might we go, or not go?   

These are the tenor of my thoughts today, and for many of the days & months leading here.

Rest assured:  I'm full of robust health with nary a notion of vacating my mortality any time soon - God willing.  But today is the last day I will make the blogosphere a regular stop in my daily or weekly route.  It's time to shift gears, change chapters, move along, take a break and otherwise disengage.  The Aborigines call this a walkabout.   

What's ahead?

I don't know.
What I do know is that I am not leaving YOU.  You will remain in my thoughts & prayers.  I will occasionally drop by for a dose of delight or wisdom. 

The fact is:   You've altered my world.  Some of you have become lifelong friends ... people like Judy, Debbie, Sonja, Elaine, Beth, Luther, Lisa, Mary.  Yet others of you have filled my world with warmth, wit & charm - Rosel, Noreen, Karen, Father David, Linda, Robin, Susan, Jen, Janet, Ray, Denise, Patrina, Beth2, Rebecca, Maryanne, Shirley, Melanie, Peggy, Renee, Bren, Lea, Nancy, Andrea. 

“The next best thing to being wise oneself
is to live in a circle of those who are.”
~ C.S. Lewis

Most (if not all) of us will spend eternity together, so parting need not be sorrowful ~ sweet or otherwise.  Forever is such a long, long, long time. 

This I also know:  2013 will be a year of refreshing; a year of renewing, reviving, reinvigorating & replenishing.  I'm counting on it. 

How blessed am I that I went from being no one, to being Know One; and to have been granted the great blessing of faith, family & friendships.  What more is there? 

But one who looks intently at the perfect law,
the law of liberty, and abides by it,
not having become a forgetful hearer
but an effectual doer,
this man shall be blessed in what he does. 
~ James 1:25


Slán go fóill
(Gaelic for: "Goodbye for now.")

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Forward Momentum

There's a lot to think about and even more to do before putting a wrap to 2012.   While I relish the ramping up of all things Christmas, I'm not a huge fan of the ramping down, primarily because there's a bushel of bling to dismantle.  In its wake is an even larger bushel of blah.

Make no mistake, though:  I have no intention of entering 2013 with the blahs. 

I ran across the following piece in Forbes Magazine.  It might as well have been lifted from the pages of Scripture, so succint & wise is its content ~ which is why I'm sharing it here.  Practical wisdom is always a rare commodity.

5 Simple Things To Do Before The Year Ends
  1. Stop it! Schedule some time to look back on 2012 and ask yourself: What did I do that I shouldn’t do next year? Most of the time you’re better off thinking about things you should stop doing, rather than trying to add new habits into your routine. For example, is checking your email inbox the first thing you do in the morning instead of doing something far more productive? Then “not checking email until 11 a.m.” would be a great goal. In other words, stop doing things that are slowing you down rather than trying to do new things to speed things up. To improve, you have to release the e-brake first!
  2. Stick to one resolution at a time. Don’t cave in to the urge to create a laundry list of things you want to improve about yourself, your business or your life. Stick to one resolution at a time; that’s it. Then, review where you’re at every 30 days. If after 30 days or more you’ve stuck to your guns consistently and are on your way to achieving your resolution, feel free to try to stop or add another habit. But never make more than one resolution concurrently. Not even on New Year’s Eve!
  3. Think small. Resolutions often fail because they’re not broken down into small enough steps. As an example, how are you going to run your first marathon if you don’t first set a goal of running your first mile? Avoid making this mistake by breaking down each of your new goals into as many small goals as possible. Ideally, you should have daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly goals, which can keep you on track and will allow you to consistently assess your progress. Don’t just set an annual goal and keep your fingers crossed that you’ll somehow achieve it.
  4. End with the beginning in mind. If you’re not already ending each day and week by planning out the next one, this is a change you can immediately make that will have a huge impact on your productivity and peace of mind. By ending your day with the planning of the next, you’ll prevent your mind from racing at night, allowing your brain to adequately prepare for what tomorrow holds. You’ll wake up the next day fresher and with a clearer sense of purpose, and will achieve far more than if you’d just awoken with a calendar that looked like a blank slate.
  5. Be grateful.  ... By focusing on things for which we’re grateful, we ... have made a habit of starting our days by focusing on the things that make us feel happy, alive and vibrant. This allows us to be more resilient, positive and productive throughout the day, and furthermore, creates a more enjoyable work environment. How is your team planning for a productive, healthy New Year?
The aspect or the article that captured my attention is #4:  End with the beginning in mind.  I'm not at all inclined toward New Year's resolutions, but I wholeheartedly subscribe to the business discipline of annual Inventory initiatives.  Taking stock is good for the bottom line AND for the soul.

With that, let me just say that I will probably vacate the blogosphere in 2013.  As much as I have enjoyed the venue and your sweet, swelling presence these past five years, it is (as you know) a time-consuming, sometimes tedious, often distracting mixed blessing.  Some days it feels like one un-ending effort at Senior High School Year-Book signing. 

Besides, I'm sensing the nearing of a new horizon and new directions; all of which I probably won't consider seriously unless & until I make way & room for them.

At least one more post remains as I sort, box/package & put a wrap to the endings.  Where oh where will I store all of it if not the heart?

New beginnings. Six days remain in the process of this year's ending as I consider them ... 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Be Born In Me (& Update)

Yesterday I spent the better part of my day at the hospital's Critical Care unit.  A young family known, but not directly related to me are sitting vigil by their 18 year old son's side. 

Due to complications with the pregnancy some 19 years ago, Drew was born with myriad disabilities.  Blind & deaf, mentally challenged ... he's lived in a world that is, largely, of his own design.  His mother (who's photo you'll find adjacent to the word devotion in any dictionary) has scrapped & fought for him all his life, making certain he's been given the benefit of an education & nurture in a culture that finds him to be an oddity.  He is a treasure in, and to their family.  Big brother Dillon, 20, considers him to be a hero.      

Last Friday Drew had one of many Grand Mal seizures; this one while bathing.  Typically he's allowed to bath alone for 5 - 8 minutes at a time.  On Friday, that duration combined with the seizure caused him to drown in his own vomit & bath water.  Upon discovery, CPR was started at once and paramedics summoned.  He was resuscitated, but prospects looked grim.

The vigil began.

While I was there with Drew's parents, Craig & Nancy (his father is my daughter-in-law's cousin), the Neurosurgeon came by.  She - the lady doctor - read & pondered, answered questions; answered more questions, and then summoned a deep breath to give Drew's parents a medical opinion no parent wants to hear:  Drew is probably already brain dead, but I won't know with certainty until we can remove him from all meds and then perform an indepth physical & EEG."  That process of removal & exams will begin today or tomorrow.

I wanted to leave the room in the worst way, though I had been tucked back into a corner and would have to interrupt the doctor/parent discussion underway in order to escape.  Instead, I prayed while floods of tears bathed my face and neck.  I listened to the mournful wails of a bereft mother, all the while looking to the Lord for His comfort for them, for the doctor (who had streaming tears of her own) and for myself:  "You know, Father don't You, the unique depths of pain at the dying of a child?" 

Church this morning was profoundly powerful as Pastor Art wove the Christmas story from the soil of its early telling & promise in Genesis, through the life of Abraham & Israel, to the advent of Kings and the hope of Prophets ... right down to the silent night of holy birth of the longed-for Messiah King:  God With Us.  He ended his message with this amazing song & video.

I hadn't planned to have such a burdensome Christmas post, but somehow it seems more scrumptious fare than anything fanciful I might have quickly crafted. 

Today I am again reminded in the most powerful, personal way of the one, sure, certain hope for all mankind for all of time, and for those - like Craig & Nancy - who suffer here and now:  Immanuel. 

Blessings & Good News
this Christmas season and always.

UPDATE:  At 4:00pm Christmas Day (yesterday), Drew's life-support was removed.  At 4:30pm, he moved from being disabled & comatose, to dancing on streets that are golden: fully alive & made whole. 

God's myriad comforts upon all who grieve today.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Resting Places

I laid it down in silence,
This work of mine,
And took what had been sent me--
A resting time.
The Master's voice had called me
To rest apart;
"Apart with Jesus only,"
Echoed my heart.

I took the rest and stillness
From His own Hand,
And felt this present illness
Was what He planned.
How often we choose labor,
When He says "Rest"--
Our ways are blind and crooked;
His way is best.

The work Himself has given,
He will complete.
There may be other errands
For tired feet;
There may be other duties
For tired hands,
The present, is obedience
To His commands.

There is a blessed resting
In lying still,
In letting His hand mould us,
Just as He will.
His work must be completed.
His lesson set;
He is the higher Workman:
Do not forget!

It is not only "working."
We must be trained;
And Jesus "learnt" obedience,
Through suffering gained.
For us, His yoke is easy,
His burden light.
His discipline most needful,
And all is right.

We are but under-workmen;
They never choose
If this tool or if that one
Their hands shall use.
In working or in waiting
May we fulfill
Not ours at all, but only
The Master's will!
~ Stream in the Desert
As the new year approaches, I have been curiously quizzical in terms of what the Lord is doing in & through my life.  What appears to be a long pause is anything but.  Even so, I find sitting or stillness very, very difficult.  I always have.  Thus I lean harder into His word, knowing full well that His ways are not mine; His will superior to anything I might conjure. 
Peace, be still ... and know ...  
Purposeful isolation with Jesus allows me to live
more peacefully with his population.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Tropical Wedding

Today is our last full day & night in Hawaii.  Our week is swiftly drawing to a close, but not the memories associated with sun, sand, surf and ~ best of all ~ our daughter's wedding.

Molly Diane was born to us on December 12th in 1970, the 2nd of 3 children.  From her earliest of days she was a child on a mission, one that insisted upon the charting of her own course.  She was and is smart, fun & funny, and full of life.  To say she is a joy is to admit to a poverty of words in describing her place in our hearts.

Seventeen years ago Molly married.  It was a hopeful union, and soon they were three.  Rylie, who turned 16 on December 12th (her mother's birthday AND wedding day), joined them.  But hopes soon turned to sorrow when Molly's husband found himself plagued with drug-related issues.  Still ... Molly waited while treatment programs & time seemed to be in her favor.  For nearly seven years she held out hope that one day the marriage would survive.  It did not.

Six years ago Tom Fisher came on the scene:  a man grieved over the loss of his own marriage; a man fathering two adorable daughters himself: Meagan & Ava.  Sparks flew.  From the git-go, Molly & Tom were smitten.

Terry & I watched closely as only parents/grandparents do in these matters.  Was he a good father to his daughters?  Would he respect our daughter and granddaughter?  Was he a noble man given to hard work?  On every count, and over a period of their years together we also found ourselves smitten with the man who'd captured Molly's heart, and ours.
This week Molly married her prince, while her father and I stood teary-eyed along with some 30+ family & friends who also traveled here to witness their marriage.  To a person ... all felt this was a marriage meant to be!

I've captured but a few pictures of my own since there's been a photographer in the mix.  Here are but a few ... 

Arriving on Maui - Terry & me, along with our "porter" Rylie

BEFORE:  Ava, Meagan, Rylie, Molly & Tom  
~ The promise of family

Rylie and her best friend, Chloe ~ Hawaiian style!

Where most of the wedding go-ers parked all week:  The Beach!

VIDEO ~ Daddy escorting his little girl ...

While the minister spoke of love & commitment, THEY only had eyes for each other.

Tom & the girls (Meagan, Ava, Rylie)
 Molly & the girls (Ava, Rylie, Meagan)
Ava and Meagan call her "MUMMY" ~ Sooooo sweet!

AFTER:  And then they were a family of five!

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We love you, Molly & Tom Fisher
Thank you for weaving such precious magic 
into the fabric of your family & ours!

12 ~ 12 ~ 12

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Kept Woman

I must confess, there are times when I just don't understand the fullness & complexity of God's amazing grace - - and never more than when it comes to the reality of being kept in Him, and by Him.  

There's so much talk today about how the Church is failing, or dead & dying.  I wonder how that fits with the fact of God's promises to the Body of Christ?  I must also wonder if it's not an indictment of God's Holy Spirit, Who actually guides, guards and leads the Church?    

Oh ... I readily recognize that shepherds & sheep can & do fall, or fail.  I recognize how goats move in much too close to unwary lambs; or weeds seek to choke out blooms.   

I also readily realize & rejoice in knowing that God's Kingdom WILL come on earth as it is in Heaven ... anyway.

It's good that we mortals aren't in charge!  

To those who have been called, 
who are loved in God the Father and
kept for Jesus Christ:  Mercy, peace 
and love be yours in abundance.
~ Jude 1-2

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling
 and to present you before his glorious presence 
without fault and with great joy 
to the only God our Savior be glory, 
majesty, power and authority, 
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
before all ages, now and forevermore!
~ Jude 24-25

P.S.  We are still enjoying the Hawaiian Isle of Maui, having seen our daughter married last evening.  More on that another day ... Aloha!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On the Road Again

For the past several days hubby and I have been roosted in Vancouver, British Columbia.  It's a beautiful city just 4 hours north of our home in Washington State.  So when Terry has work here I gladly tag along.  From the warmth of our downtown, 20th floor room we look out upon a city alive & aglitter.  

I've never been to Vancouver at Christmas-time.  What wonderful ambiance accompanies my usual touristy excursions this trip!  I've logged plenty of miles as I walk up hill & down; below ground, too.  The Malls here are neatly tucked away beneath the bustle of city life.  And I do mean bustle!

We head home later today, just in time to pack for Hawaii.  We leave the Pacific Northwest's chill at dawn's break on Saturday morning, exchanging it for the warmth of Maui's sun-baked shores. 

The reason for our tropical getaway is for a week-long celebration of our daughter's wedding to her long-time love.  Molly & Tom will marry on 12/12/12 - her birthday (42), and her daughter Rylie's birthday (16).  How cool is that?!!  Better still, we get two new granddaughters in the bargain:  Megan (11) and Ava (7).

I will be paying you a visit shortly.  In the meantime, just know that I treasure the cyber-friendship here ... friendship that's as real as any I know.

Love to all!