Friday, July 30, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
We go from store to store and shop a little. Mostly we sit on their displays to talk. Or, as my friend's daughter calls it, we "clump around." We did a lot of clumping this weekend.
We visit the local Mills Mall. Our taste in accessories is amazingly similar, don't you think?
Welcome to Texas where painted cows are considered art forms.
Clumping in the Ice Cream Store after the ice cream is long gone.
Clumping in the hotel suite to sign our friend MA up for Facebook for the first time.
Fellow teacher shopping for school supplies. (Teachers ask so little to make them happy on birthdays.)
The only bad part? Stopping in a quilt shop to say good-bye.
Friday, July 23, 2010
That horrid 70s faux golden marble sink is GONE. Kicked to the curb and replaced by granite.
And look at D's red door! This makes me happy every time I look at it.
The window guys were here today and they replaced every window in the entire house.
It is rather jarring when there is a huge hole in your home where a door or window used to be. I spent the day running into every room as they took out huge windows, and I kept saying, "WOW. There is a big hole in the wall!" I'm sure the workers thought I was acting about four years old, and at least that irritating. So I took a picture of them to prove it.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
So began a year when life as I'd known it came to a screeching halt. I've posted these pictures to remind myself that God is/has been/will be faithful, and that friends and family are the most precious gift He gives us on this earth.
In August 2009, a precious friend let me use her Maine home for some much-needed time away. Thank you, Kathy.
My children and Loyal Sister helped me set up my first grade classroom, which soon contained the most wonderful children (and attentive parents) on the entire campus. Thank you Bumblebee parents for all your patience, love and support this year. Your children blessed me daily.
Kansas City Marathon/5K in honor of Dave. Thank you Steinochers for blending me into your family and surrounding me with your love.
Oklahoma City Women of Faith Conference with three of my favorite women of faith: friends since high school who let me talk and cry and process this year. Thank you Adrienne, MaryAnn and Pat for walking beside me this year. (And Jennifer! I know you were there in spirit.)
Thanksgiving weekend brought members of my church to paint my house. (And that front door? It is now RED!) Thank you Arnett and Heriford families for meeting my practical needs.
The day after Thanksgiving for early morning shopping with friends. (Not sure I should thank you for the cost of this little excursion!)
Christmas in Missouri with Young Son, Married Daughter and Loyal Son-in-Law and his extended family. (Have I mentioned a time or a million that my friend's son married my daughter? Made it easy to blend these families together for holidays...) Thank you real family and faux family for getting me through the holiday.
My first white Christmas...except it is too cold to breathe! Thank you God, for serendipities throughout this year.
A birthday/slumber party held at my house for a former student who grew up way too fast! Thank you, Meg and friends, for a wonderful weekend.
Meeting a reader of this blog who flew to Houston from Canada for a Beth Moore conference. Thank you, Lynn, for all your helpful advice this year. You made the path a little smoother.
A high school aide who helped in my classroom each week. Thank you, Miss Haley, for giving extra joy to our classroom. (Good luck at A&M next year!)
Meeting sorority sisters in Crawford, Texas. Thank you Kaye, Gayla and Debbie for all the laughter and good memories.
O'Brien's Bumblebees ready to rumble on Sports Day. Thank you 19 six-year old best friends for making my world a happy place each day.
A Spring Break trip to Pennsylvania. Married Daughter had just moved a few miles from Dave's brother and sister, and his oldest daughter, Heather, drove down from D.C. to see us all. Thank you Kevin, April, Heather and Katy for helping me keep Dave's memories alive.
Another Delta Chi Rho reunion. Thanks Debbie, Kaye and Sonya for making time for memories.
Elton John in April. Thanks Loyal Sister Renee for walking close by my side all year.
NEW YORK!!! in April with Quality Friend, Connie, and three of my former kindergartners. Thanks Rachel, Celeste and Gracie for letting me be your chaperone and seeing the bright lights of the Big City with you.
Young Son graduates from College! Thanks Chris and Katy for remembering the importance of family.
Ireland in June. Thanks Bonnie for taking me on the trip of a lifetime.
Seattle/Canada with Married Daughter. Thanks, Katy, for helping me mark the end of this year with laughter and happy memories.
Friday, July 16, 2010
"I have always known that at last I would take this road,
But yesterday, I did not know it would be today."
Moving on to a New Life that is full of the future, and full of hope.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I am writing you a thank you note because I want to say thank you for being the husband that my dear friend deserves. In the past fourteen years, you have shown her that you love her and appreciate all her talents and giftings. You valued her and showed her that she had great worth; I have seen her confidence be rebuilt and grow throughout her marriage to you. Because of you, she got to experience being in love and being loved! I remember R telling me after returning from your honeymoon that just holding hands with you was wonderful and that “fireworks still happen”.
You provided her children with the model of a father and husband that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They saw a man who was dependable and true to his word. They saw a father who loves their mother, holds them to a standard and receives them as his own.
You provided R with a house that you made so beautiful with your woodworking skills and other building talents. Just as important, you valued her input as you shared this common interest in the house remodeling and the Mission style furniture; I know that she sees your love for her with every replaced baseboard, cabinet and door frame.
I am so thankful that God put you in R’s life and she has shared these past 14 years with you. I know she has been amazingly strong throughout your illness, and I truly believe that strength is based on the fact that she knew you loved her and she could let herself love you in return. I admire you both so much – you are both a testament to the faithfulness of God despite difficulties in this life. Knowing that He is enough for you both helps me to know that He will always be enough for me.
Thank you for being the man you are. My friend R will be blessed all her days by your life. I hope my life will make an impact on those around me like yours has. Thank you. P
D was in a deep sleep as I read this, but I believe he heard me because he became so peaceful. I talked with him and prayed with him, and I thanked him for the time we had together. I told him I knew this the day he would leave the earth, and I was ready for that. And I felt something settle into my spirit: the grace I'd need for the day. This last day.
The family began trickling back in for the morning, and after taking shifts to go get lunch, we were called in to D's room: he had about an hour left. Well. How do you respond to that?
We just encircled the bed. I sat in a chair and held his hand. I stayed quiet for a while, asking the others if they wanted to talk or pray. No one seemed able to speak at that time. I didn't fault them for that: I'd had far more time than the rest to work through the reality of this situation. So, I began telling D how much we loved him. That we believed that all that needed to be said or done had been said or done. That a terminal diagnosis had given us the gift of loving good-byes. That we appreciated he'd bravely fought the cancer for 7 years, and during that "extra" time we saw all four kids graduate from high school, then enter college. One was now married; one was in graduate school. He had made it through some of the most important times of their lives. And now it was OK to let go of this world and pain, and to go to God. And he did. And we all prayed together one more time, and tried to figure out how to leave the room and resume our lives.
I've had several people ask me if I felt anything during that last hour. My answer? Absolutely. God manifests His promises through His presence. There was such peace, grace and mercy in that room. It was a real Presence. It is no mistake that the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter: I like to see that as a quilt that is just laid over me. And it was.
To be honest, I have no memory of how I got home from there. I know Married Daughter took my phone and began making calls to my friends. I know the pastor and his wife were at our home almost immediately. Friends from out of town (I love you, Patty and Chris) came over as soon as they could. The memory of The Day is very raw. But the memories of the friends and family members who surrounded me and my children are full of love to the point of feeling like my heart will burst with joy.
And so I cross the line into a new year. The most important lesson I learned is simply: God is enough. I've heard it said that the base of all fears is the fear of death. I ask, like the letter to the Corinthians, "Oh, death where is your victory? Oh, death where is your sting? But thanks be to God that He gives us victory over sin and death through the Lord Jesus Christ."
Pressing on to a year filled with victory, and a journey back to joy.