Lessons in Perspective

As I’ve been packing for this year of jubilee, a year of uncertainty and excitement and purging and dreaming, it has been a journey of memories, going through every drawer and cupboard, finding pictures and notes and mementos of a whole lot of life lived.

And even in the living and losing, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Do I want my son back? Yeah. It’d be awesome to see Emily have a brother closer in age and to see Ryan want to be wherever Noah is…but I wouldn’t change our history, because it has molded who we are presently and each of us reflects Noah’s impact on our lives. We are all stronger for knowing and loving him…

I have one of those drawers in my dresser with treasures and keepsakes, hankies and heirlooms, pictures, relics from travels, each piece with a story of its own. As I was going through it the other night, making no headway on actually purging or packing, I came across some notes I had jotted down years ago for a speaking engagement. I wanted to share them here as they are handwritten and may get lost in the move. I also wanted to share these notes because re-reading them tonight it somehow felt fresh, as if someone else needed to read it. I’m not going to take the time right now to give a play by play of what was going thru my head and heart when I wrote this, but if any of it resonates with you and you’d like to open a discussion, I’d totally be down with that…

“Peace, Perspective, and Perseverance”

Moses’ Mom’s level of trust at the river’s edge was, “Did I really just do that?!” while his sister was thinking, “Did you just stick my baby brother in the river?!”

  • I knew Noah was God’s kid from the beginning – he was dedicated to God in the womb.
  • Not until we went to the hospital did I begin to grasp just a glimpse of the “bigger picture.”
  • At first I thought that meant a miraculous healing, one that would lead many to Christ’s unconditional love – that’s when I tried to cut a deal with God.
  • As things progressed I thought it would be God raising Noah from the dead in order to reach people for Him.
  • It never crossed my mind that in Noah’s death people’s lives could be reached because his life was so short in human terms. A tragedy.
    • I thought I had it all figured out how it would look…God either heals Noah or raises him from the dead, then for the rest of his days, we would spread God’s love to the ends of the earth.
  • It made total sense to me and God got all the glory either way…
  • When it was clear in the natural what God was requiring of us, I remember thinking I would still have faith in God and trust Him but I most certainly wouldn’t believe in/or pray for healing and miracles…
    • That’s when my heart changed…
    • I realized I had boxed God in…
    • I surrendered to God’s bigger picture:
      • That JUST MAYBE He knew what He was doing since He was the:
        • Creator of the Universe
        • Put every star into place
        • Made man out of dust
        • Knew the hairs on the heads of over 6.5 billion people, etc
      • That JUST MAYBE He saw physical death in a WAY different way than we did…(like the Garden of Eden where they were able to experience His physical presence…)
    • So, what then? Could I truly trust God with Noah in the total sense of the word?
      • If I didn’t, I couldn’t trust Him with smaller things…
    • I realized the healing or miracle wasn’t that the story turned out the way I wanted but that my limited heart could be miraculously healed enough to TRUST God and that He is true, no matter what I see or feel…
  • The other day I told Em I loved her as big as the Universe. She said, “Mom, do you love me more than you love God?” I said, “No, sweetie, I don’t. I love you as BIG as I can love you on Earth, which is really, really huge, but I love God more than you or Daddy or Noah, and it’s in loving and trusting Him that I have the ability to love you exactly how you were designed to be loved…” And after saying this to her, I felt a little like Moses’ Mom probably did as she knelt next to that raging river…

(*I have a ton of journals and notes and thoughts running through my head and heart, things I want to share here, but presently don’t have tons of time to scribe. We close on our house in 3 weeks and then will start traveling right away. I want to share more on that, but for now, I just felt like I was supposed to share this…)

In the words of my Mom who said this every. single. night of my life:

“Goodnight. God Bless You. I love you.”

Get Your Party Started

On October 11, 2014, my Dad, sisters and I threw a party we should have thrown years prior, but under different circumstances. Life gets busy. We have jobs and spouses and kids and appointments and things to do and budgets and we get tired and the thought of traveling with niños in tow is less than appealing, and so, the seemingly responsible and practical reasons for not doing WHATEVER it is that is very important, but could maybe be put off until our lives slow down a bit or aren’t as crazy, well, those things don’t happen. And then it’s too late, over, after the fact.

There were special milestones we looked forward to acknowledging, but planning for a 70th, 80th, or 90th birthday party or a “remission from cancer” celebration, well, those never happened.

My Mom even said to me before she passed away in June, “Boo Boo, I think I was waiting to get better before I did such and such…”

Every one of us has lives filled with things to do and places to go and sights to see, check lists to complete, errands to run, things, things, things, busy, busy, busy, some of it good, some of it mind-numbing, some of it slowly sucking the life from our bones. But when the day is done, it’s the people with whom we have come in contact with, from the guy at the checkout at the store to the person across the table at dinner, to the person reflected in the mirror, who matter the most…

I’ve sat with death on several occasions. I’ve held those I love, hand in hand, close to my heart as they took their last breath and moved on to the realm of real living, but the realm I’m not welcome in yet, the one I can’t see…the place where much of my heart resides and my mind wanders to, yet my eyes are blinded because I’m meant to live here, right now, fully engaged, beautifully intentional, eyes open to the present, heart wide open, loving and celebrating the gifts (people) of God all around me, on this given day.

And so, though we celebrated our Mom with daily phone calls and family meals and gatherings, trips here and there, hours over the sewing machine, snuggles on the couch soaking in her wisdom, we never threw her a party like the one we did in Arizona just this last weekend. It wasn’t that it was some fantastic venue or even that the food was super yum. This party was one of the most beautiful gatherings I’ve ever attended because the setting was love and the décor was a room full of friends, all people my Mom loved and who loved my Mom. Set in one of the wealthiest and most beautiful cities in the world, I looked around the room and realized with an overwhelming sense of awe that my Mom was one of the richest women who ever walked the planet…her heart had been filled with the gift of friendship, both in the giving and receiving, and everyone else there knew it, too, their presence speaking louder than words.

I think Kid President is onto something…personally, I’m not so much a parade girl…they are kind of long and I’m not a fan of having candy chucked at me from a distance, but, baby, say “party,” dinner party, cocktail party, well-digging party, dance party, charity party, beach party, garden party, wine tasting party, coffee party, fund-raising party, freedom from slavery party, cupcake party, impromptu party, just hanging out party, birthday party, divorce party, because the house is clean party, bad/good day party, anniversary party, because it’s Monday party, hiking party, biking party, whatever the heck kind of party, party,” the key word here is “party” and my heart lights up!

Life is short no matter the timespan. Sometimes waiting for tomorrow, scheduling, or “special occasions” establishes a mindset that TODAY isn’t miraculous enough…

I mean, really. What’s more special than right here, right now, and the people around us?

Forget Pinterest and go break bread and throw someone a party…because you still can!

10 Things I Love About Our House

photo 1[1]

Our realtor asked me to write a list stating 10 things I love about our house, neighborhood, and community in order to share with potential buyers. I thought I’d share it here because for me it’s so much more than a way to sell our house. Even though my heart is longing and ready for […]

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“The Other Woman”

The other day I babysat 5 kids ages 5 and under. I know, it’s grounds for sainthood, but that’s not the point of this post. And, technically, I only “babysat” 4 since one of them was my kid. Details. Anyway, one of the sweeties came over to me and said that so and so had told […]

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An Alien, A Professor, and a Womanizing Motorcyclist

photo courtesy of: http://www.endedtvseries.com/tag/mork/

(*I’m not a celebrity stalker, but the death of Robin Williams so close to my Mom’s makes it all raw and real and I’m moved to share…) We moved from Ohio to Arizona in 1978 and shortly thereafter I became a “latch-key” kid. Part of the transition included my Mom going to work once we got […]

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On Weddings and Funerals

These miniature Calle Lilies were so gorgeous, I couldn't pass them up! We did almost all of the flowers ourselves except for a few beautiful bouquets friends and family sent to the church.

In preparation for my Mom’s memorial (funeral) service, I wrote out more than a dozen pieces, trying to figure out just what to say. Once it was determined I was the one who would be sharing the message, I prayed and pondered how to sum up 42 years of MY memories with a woman who […]

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Time: My Love Language

6/15/14, taken by Vanessa Kruse Photography

My number one love language is time…and I think that’s why this grief is so incredibly profound. My Mom was too young to be as old as she was when she died. She wasn’t an “old” soul. She was wise and discerning beyond her years, basically with enough God-discernment to qualify for a lifetime, but […]

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A Matter of Obedience

Here’s what obedience looks like…

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Bedside with Bebe, Literally

This is a hand I've held for 42 years...

(*I started writing this the morning of June 19th) It’s all surreal, carpet burns on my knees as I position myself to be helpful to my Mom, rubbing her back while playing worship songs in her ears, reading Scripture over her, telling her how very grateful I am that she would call me her own, […]

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Why Wait?

“I’ll run a marathon when I lose 50 lbs.” “We’ll travel when the kids are out of the house.” “I’ll go back to school once my kids are through school.” “When I’m feeling better I’ll do such and such…” “When I have more money I’ll be able to do (whatever ‘it’ is…)” You and I could sit […]

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