Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Beat Goes On

Music moves me. I don't like stillness, I feel the rhythm and melody in every step of this thing called life. I hum a lot. I dance a lot. Our children love to dance. And yet, lately, in this new year that I simply could not wait to turn the calendar to, I cannot find the beat. The dance I am dancing at this time feels awkward, out of time... with many missteps.

Rob and I attended our third funeral this year, yesterday. Our sister in law lost her father this past weekend. In her words, he was a kind and gentle man. He absolutely was. He had struggled for some time with illness, and as much as I like to say that he is whole and healed, I also grapple with the reality that it is never the right time to lose someone we love.

My nephew is learning this lesson all too well, as he discovered yesterday that a dear friend of his, only nineteen years old had died. A mentor and friend to my sweet nephew, he met this young man through the band, through music. And the beat goes often amazes me that in the midst of our sorrow, in hard times and struggles, the dance continues. The music plays and we partner with others to sway and move to the rhythm of life. Up and down, loud and soft, life swirls around us in a cacophony of sound and energy. And even when the air around us feels thick with trouble, the beauty of notes pulled together in just the right way can shift our movements, our hearts, our lives.

Psalm 30:11 says, "You have turned my mourning into dancing, you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me in joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent."

We can almost hear the music speed up, lighter, simpler; perfect for rejoicing, celebrating. Truly, there are still celebrations to be had, joy to be shared.

Gwen accounts this week of Maggie's first surgery. How beautiful the spirit of this little girl and her family; The faith and trust they so eagerly offer to others, the healing that is about to occur in Maggie's life, in more ways than we could possibly comprehend. In a time that is filled with uncertainty and sadnesses, here glimmers the hope and encouragement that God has so readily promised. Kimberley was able to announce that they have found Sophia! Both Gwen and Kimberley, women who possess servant's hearts in all that they do, are dancing at this very moment, thankful for their daughters, seeking guidance for their futures. I encourage you to encourage them as they see God's plan unfolding and their dance taking shape.

So many have inquired about my dad, thank you. We are blessed that he is feeling well, back to work and finding his groove once again. He stopped today on his way to work. Though it was a busy morning and I was anxiously packing lunches, trying to feather some mascara onto my virtually nonexistant lashes and finding a plethora of necessary items to place on our feet, I was so grateful. Grateful that he danced into my kitchen, loved on my children and placed yet another bar of notes into an already brimming composition.

I have included pictures in this post of Emily at one of her dance classes. We are invited once a year to sit and visit in her classes, it is open forum for the mamrazzi. The lighting is terrible, the room is tiny and quite congested with all of us moms in there snapping away. But, I must confess, I am continually amazed by our fluid redhead, who sparkles and shines as she twirls and jumps, sashays and glides, finding her own rhythm and meter. Most days if you asked me who it is that has taught me the most, despite my years of formal training; it is unequivocally my Heavenly Father, who has most powerfully influenced the direction in which I dance. He blessed me with two tiny dancers, who like the music I love, stir my very soul.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Dad

My dad. My hero.

Sunday, after church, my dad began to complain that his belly did not feel right. He was not nauseous, but felt full. The pain was high on his middle. We assumed since the stomach virus is rampant, he was yet another victim. We were wrong.

After leaving lunch early, completely out of character for my foodie father, he and my mom would make the drive to the hospital. Thank goodness they did. My father's appendix was diseased and leaking. He was operated on Sunday night. I was with my girlfriends when my mom called. They just took him. I was there in minutes.

We sat together, it was quiet...empty...late. We chatted and when we weren't chatting, I was thinking. I was thinking of all the good things I had to think about when it comes to my dad. A man of pure goodness, he is the man anyone would want for their daddy.

He and my mother have taught us responsibility not by what they say, but how they live.
He taught me early to tithe to the church.
He taught me that real men honor their wives in every possible way.
And their daughters too.
He taught me that sometimes holding down several jobs at a time is essential to providing for your family.
He holds education in high esteem and at the beautiful age of 69 commits himself to learning every single day.
He is the smartest man I have ever known.
He can make things work.
He still works full time and he is good at it.
He has never let me down, not once. EVER.
He loved God from early on and when his parents didn't take him to church he found people who would.
He is a crier. His heart is bigger than he is.
His children and grandchildren rock his world.
My brother and I are better people because he is our father.
I may be the apple of his eye, but I share that title with one awesome brother and his five amazing grandchildren.
He believes in me even when I don't believe in myself.
I still call him Daddy...

The doctor emerged...Everything went well. Due to certain circumstances, they used a longer procedure but the surgeon hoped it would mean a speedier recovery. As they took him to the OR, he apologized to the staff they called in, he was sorry he had taken them away from their families. That is my dad.

He was groggy next I saw him, aggitated and slightly confused. I held his hand and told him that I love him. His response time was rather slow but he managed to croak "I love you too".

I know Dad. I have never been more sure of anything than I am of the love of my parents.

"Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord, your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord, your God is giving you." Deuteronomy 5:16

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love Amazing, Love Divine

Has it really been almost two weeks since my last post?

I have so many items to post right now, that the thought of breaking it down into chunks is overwhelming. So, in honor of Valentines Day, I thought it may be nice to post some of the love we have been feeling here lately.

We celebrated Rob's birthday. We went to a local restaurant and then went back to Grammy and Pop Pop's house for dessert. It was a perfect way for Rob to begin a new year. We love Daddy!

We had the honor of going into Emily's classroom to celebrate Chinese New Year. Even one of Emily's dearest friends was permitted to leave her classroom and come in to join us. We read a story, answered questions, colored dragon fans and ate Moon Cookies. The kids really enjoyed it and Emily was so happy to talk to her classmates about why China is special for our family. We spoke of how we all see the same moon and serve the same God. No love finer than that!

" far as east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12

Unfortunately, we also attended a funeral. Perhaps one of the largest and most ceremonial funerals our county has ever seen, it was a beautiful celebration of a life well lived. We waited in line a very long time the evening of the viewing. We had arrived early to see Chris brought in on a horse drawn carriage. The streets were crowded and many, many people were there to support the family of this fallen officer. Two of Chris' brother in laws offered that we might move up toward the front to see their family. We opted to stay right where we were. That room was filled with compassion and love. We heard stories of amazing things he had done as a police officer. We heard people speak about his devotion to his wife and children. We shared some of our own fondest memories of Chris' wife and her family growing up. And even more beautiful than all of that, we met people in that line who had never met Chris Jones. They felt a kindred spirit to his vocation or just community outpouring, whatever inspired them to attend and stand in line two, three hours at a time, it was lovely. We were blessed by that experience.

Rest in Peace, Chris. Well done, good and faithful servant.

Last weekend, we had the distinct pleasure and priviledge to celebrate our friend, Jim. His wife Sharon, a sister in the Lord and and a sister in my life, blessed her husband with a surprise. She hosted a fete to celebrate Jim's 45th birthday and his impending trip to Israel. It was divine in every way that they are divine.

When Sharon and I began a friendship last year, I would have never imagined how the Lord would weave His plan into the fabric of our lives. Our daughters are friends, which is precious, but our families are family which is a treasure. Jim has long dreamed of taking a trip to the Holy Land to walk where Jesus walked. Jim and Sharon live their entire life in obedience and accordance to God's will. Whether it is lifting loved ones in prayer, opening their home for fellowship, or finding friends in the company of complete strangers, this family is carrying the word of our Lord everywhere they go.

The service staff at the party made comment of how much love was in that room and I concur. Jim is a special, special man. As iron sharpens iron, Jim takes this verse seriously and is a true brother to his friends. He cares. Sharon cares. Their children care. Hearing their lifelong friends speak so eloquently about Jim and his family and the ways they have touched lives was moving on every level. Friends like this are a gift from God. How blessed we are to have been in their company to have had the joy of being part of those moments. We look forward to a lifetime of loving one another. (Feel welcome to visit Sharon's blog to see all the special touches she prayerfully added to make this occasion unique and special)

"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, February 1, 2009

We Heart Our Hannahversaries

With Chinese New Year in full swing and Valentine's Day right around the corner, we have yet another celebration to relish.

No, not the Super Bowl.

This celebration remembers one little face. A little round face atop a cheery yellow sweater. The face of an angel. I gasped when I saw her...I knew she was our daughter. You can revisit the day of our referral here.

Today marks two years...two amazing years since we caught our first glimpse of our little Jiangxi girl. With just the right blend of sweet and sassy, Hannah is a precious gift. My heart still swells with that initial joy. Each time she kisses my face or leans in to whisper, "I love you, Mommy." She hunches in her seat every morning muttering, "I miss her already." as Emily jumps from her seat and bounds into school. She is fine mix of Daddy's girl and Mama's baby, and we are thankful beyond measure that the Lord, in His divine wisdom, knew to join East and West that a family may continue being built.

She sings "His Eye is on the Sparrow" at the top of her lungs...a symphony to us. So completely perfect...His eye was on our little sparrow, which gave us peace until we could reach her and gives us peace as we love her every single day. Today, we pray for all of the families enduring their wait, knowing that His eye is on their babies also. We look forward to each new referral remembering with misty eyes the range of emotions that pour over mommies and daddies who wait to see that face, to hold their children. East meets West...hearts unite.

Yes, we heart our Hannahversaries...and will forevermore.


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