Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm Worried About You

Mom, you are so filled with worry and concern over Dad's health when yours is the one that's deteriorating. You don't tell him some of your pains because you don't want his blood pressure to keep rising, but that only adds to the fire of your Gehenna that lit you into the fiery place you are now. An adult lifetime spent nurturing worry, frustration, offenses, and raw deals results in the less than mediocre health you now have. All my life I've heard Dad urge you to let things go, to give them to the Lord and let Him keep them. I don't think you know how. You tell me that you trust Him, but that worry is something you do when you love someone. Not because you love them, but something that results out of the very great love and concern you have for that person's well-being.

My sweet, sweet mom....... that's not how it works. When you place your trust in your Heavenly Father, it's a whole different ballgame. He is not even just the best promise keeper you can imagine; He IS the promise. He IS the keeper. He IS the vault and the heart and the brain that keep the thing you're so afraid of and do with it whatever His deep love knows to do. If we polled the entire family and asked What is the one thing you wish she could have?, I believe the unanimous vote would be Trust in God. To not handle absolutely everything in your own strength--doesn't that sound divine?! To be relieved of the tremendous burden of this thing we call life can be found on this earth. Your think your desire for heaven will be met when you finally take your own life, which you've held as an option ever since Apo opened it up for you, but that's twisted, evil thinking that you say you can't help when you get enraged. But isn't that what wife beaters and child abusers say is that they can't help it...? There IS help. The enemy wants you to believe that you can't help it because then you believe there's no other option but to go there. The enemy takes a bit of truth and then contorts it so that it becomes a miscarried embryo passing itself off as the real thing. Mom, don't settle for less than GOD's Truth. Seek His heart and compare what you believe to His Word and see for your own self what's true and what's not. You'll see with the eyes of your soul that what's not is meant to kill, steal, and destroy. Implicit trust in the Almighty God I know you love is our surest, most thorough and complete fortress.

I love you, Mom. I wish you Trust. I wish you Peace. I wish you Joy. I wish you Jesus, because then I've wished you Everything.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

on being sick

I've had the flu since Monday night. It was like some kind of viral bomb suddenly kicked off inside me. I was standing there doing dishes when suddenly my face and neck got hot, I felt achey all over, and I was freezing in my core. I finished the dishes and went and put on a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and my softest, fuzziest socks. I curled up on the couch in a couple of blankets, but could not get myself warm. As the evening went on, I felt a little worse.

Kev kept asking me if I was okay and if he could get me anything. "No." Jylle was funny. She kept kissing my cheeks every few minutes kind of mechanically and rhythmically "because I've never felt anyone with cheeks this warm before."

My fever was the worst ever last night, and I just couldn't quit shaking inside. Kevin finally bundled me up in a comforter and heated a neck warmer. A second one finally put me over the top. Whew.

How like You to use sickness to pull me nearer. I've heard it said that "your favorite child is the one who needs you the most at the moment." I know You don't have favorites, but I can take that saying and see how I have needed You, and You would have me need You like that all. the. time. There's been a difference in my need too. It lacks that kind of hopeless desperation that's marked some neediness in the past. Instead there has been the most intimate sweetness about how near You are and how intensely You love me. Although the piercing pain of the intermittent headaches tends to knock me out, there remains that exquisite draw to Your sweet spot.

Yesterday I helped some friends, but by the time I got there I was feeling puny again. I laid down once, put my head down at the counter a few times, closed my eyes occasionally, and each time I did something like that, I was self-conscious about not wanting anyone to think that I was posturing for sympathy or attention. Certainly I have my moments, but even my Kevin (yes, "even") knows that when I'm sick, I just like to be left alone, not asked often how I am. I tried not to do any of those things in front of one friend who disdains pity-fishing. Then I tried not to be sad that I cared so much that she not think badly of me, and then felt frustrated when I couldn't stop caring. Finally, I just felt better, so that problem went away. Thank You for rescuing me from myself.

This morning, a headache had me in a vice, so I couldn't help my people off to school. They set me up with what I needed before they left, and Jylle even fed the horses without being asked. I'm upright and except for still having a headache of a lesser ferocity, I've managed to get a few things done. Mostly, I've just enjoyed nestling with You. Thank You for singing to me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the way it was

I went to coffee the other day with a friend, and I saw something I'm not sure I've ever seen before. These two older men were next to us in the café, and as soon as their lunch was served, they bowed their heads, and one said a prayer. I was as surprised at my surprise as I was at what they did. I thought of how that must have been a rather commonplace act at one point in time in this country. I wondered what their families were like and if that's something they taught their own children, and if their children were in turn teaching their children by example. Praying over a meal in public is something I do with my friends, but it's not something I see often. When I do, I instantly fall madly in like with them. I want to hug them and thank them for taking the time and stand to thank God for the food they're going to eat and the Heart that supplied it. I want to take a picture of their faces and put it in my scrapbook.

This is the next best thing. These guys were all right...

Monday, April 20, 2009


My mom has a type of cancer of the plasma cells that her doctor is treating with 20 sessions of radiation. The plasma cells are growing abnormally fast, especially at the vertebrae she damaged when she fell. Those cells can put a protein into her blood that can spread throughout her body and cause tumors at the joints. This is the less aggressive type though, so we're extremely grateful for that. She won't need chemo, so she feels like she dodged a bullet.

Her last treatment will be a couple of weeks before they leave in their RV for Brett's graduation. We're all praying she feels well enough to travel. I think Ryan's going to help my dad drive, so just having him around will be a huge boon to her. His bedside manner is comforting and genuine.

Lord, hold my sweet mama ever so tenderly. Sing Your love into her, and swathe her in Your velvet grace and brightest sunlight. Position her thoughts to be toward You and shield her mind from sad imaginings. Use this to make her more alive to Your realness and power than she's ever known. And thank You for her.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"The Motions" by Matthew West

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life


take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

(Chorus 2X)


I don't wanna go through the motions...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

my sweet mama

My mom fell and hurt her back this winter. She's been in terrible pain and has had to wear a brace when the pain gets extreme. She damaged a vertebrae, and when she went in to have the damage repaired, her doctor noticed an abnormality in her blood. He immediately referred her to a cancer specialist and sent her a letter stating that based on the increased plasma cells found in the vertebral biopsy, he suspected a cancer of the plasma. I'm waiting now to hear which kind she has--multiple myeloma or plasmacytoma. I'm finding conflicting reports online as to which is the more serious.

My dad is a fairly calm person, not prone to worry or overreaction, so I can see why he wasn't too excited about this news. My mom is another story, however. As soon as we got to their house, she came up to me and whispered, "Cyndi, I think I have cancer in my blood." Not having any information one way or the other, all I could do was ask questions and pray for her.

I don't know if it's His protecting hand on me that I'm not freaking out about this, or if it's that all my life, my mom has always had something serious going on with her body. She's had something like 20+ surgeries, and there's literally always been something wrong with her body. It's why I've referred for years to her 'mediocre health.' I'll just wait and see what the results show before I decide whether or not to schedule a meltdown. That's what I did back when my dad had colon cancer. After I called Cheryl.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Day

Easter Day was LOVELY! Brightest sunshine woke us up, and Jylle and I wore our new dresses. (I was a little disappointed that the only dress she found that she really liked and that fit was black. For Easter?! I know, right?! I told her to try accessorizing with some color, and she pulled it off. I forgot to take a picture though...)

Our youth pastor, Andy Fox, brought a powerful message about how shocking and offensive some of Jesus' words in John 6 were to the crowds and to the disciples. We like to think that we'd be people who took in everything He said with a Yeah, and a Right, and a Preach it. But if you put yourself in their shoes, totally unaware of the big story and the ending, you just have to believe that you'd be just a little offended or repulsed, or pretty confused at the very least.

"I Myself am this Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever; and also the Bread that I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh" (51).

"Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me"

I love that we ended the service with communion. There's something about coming together in unity around the person and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is profound and moving in its symbolism
and meaning.

We went to the early service to allow more time to get ready to go to my brother's. I made a lovely salad and a couple of dressings, and the Jell-o was ready from the night before, orange with sour cream and mandarins mixed in it. We changed into more comfortable clothes and took off.

I called both boys on the way there (an hour plus drive). Brett's fighting a cold that's going on a month old now. He already went to the doctor, but nothing seems to help. I told him to eat some wasabi or Chinese hot mustard if he gets desperate for at least some temporary relief. Motorcycle safety class got canceled because of snow, so that'll be rescheduled soon. He didn't go to church because of the road conditions, so he was listening to something online. I'm so glad I mailed his Easter package in plenty of time so he could have his jelly beans and chocolate bunny on Easter!

Ryan went to church and was just sitting around practicing guitar when I called. He was going to have a little jam session with Keira later. She's in his Texts and Critics class, puts on a dinner for students once/month for $3, and plays a mean violin in the MSU symphony orchestra. They're just friends, and he admires her mad music skill. He was thankful for the Cheez-Its and jerky I sent. Have no idea if he'll actually eat the chocolate bunny, but I had to send it for me. He thanked me for not sending him Peeps. I haven't given him those for years though because they just don't do anything for him. When he said that, I immediately thought of how I did send some to Brett, but I didn't give any to Jylle! I gave her a bunny and a bag of jelly beans, but no Peeps! She didn't say anything, so she either didn't care or didn't want to complain.

The air smelled absolutely delicious when we stepped out at my brother's house. As the turkey fried in boiling oil, we stood around the pot just catching up. The girls were inside, and the guys stayed outside, so I went into the room where Jeslyn stays when she's in town and joined in the conversation between my mom and her. Jylle came in a few minutes after that, and it was kind of fun to all be in one room like that. Jeslyn's toes were really cold, so I started rubbing them, and that evolved into a foot massage. "This is only the second foot massage I've ever had, and I am really enjoying it!" It was so satisfying being able to bless her like that. I don't get the chance to bless those girls...

When Alan brought the turkey inside 15 minutes later, the aroma was completely captivating. We were all SO ready to eat! Alan said the prayer, and I always love when he prays. He sounds like he does in the cards he writes--sweet, straightforward, poignant.

Surprisingly, my folks left shortly after dinner, just like they do when they come to my house, even though they only live 15 minutes from my brother. Jylle's hopes of playing a game of "Apples to Apples" was dashed. She's a quick recoverer though, and we decided to leave shortly after they did. Jeslyn had to get back to Pullman for work in the morning, and she was already tired, so we didn't want her to stay any later.

We just snacked a little in the evening and went to bed after eleven. It was a simple day with a blend of routine and some new stuff added. I realized that it's awfully nice to have family in the area and to enjoy them as well is truly a wonderful blessing. The only thing that would've made this better would have been to have ALL the kids with us. We gave thanks for their safety though, and I look forward to seeing Ryan in just a few weeks, then Brett the end of May. We'll be all together again, at least for a few days.

It's for unity, love, and Your glory that we thank You this day. Thank you for what we could never have done ourselves, so that we might meet around You together in spirit if not in body. Thank You for this precious day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

David Garibaldi: Portrait of Christ
Painter and performance artist David Garibaldi uses his unique style and gift to create The Portrait of Christ.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Prophecy, a Dutchman, and More Hope

We had a guest speaker at youth group last night. Peter Helms is a Dutch man with who speaks all over the world, conducts retreats and workshops through faithbuilders, and happens to be friends with a couple from our church. He wore a black beret, black shirt and jeans, and a long red scarf. Cosmopolitan, self-deprecating, witty, and engaging, not only was his message peppered with pictures, music, and humor, but he made certain Scriptures vitally relevant as he encouraged the kids to live empowered with the life of the Holy Spirit indwelling them. It went long, but nobody noticed. I know I would've loved more! He spoke about how he became a Christian, witnessed to and loved on by two older Swiss ladies named Heidi and Helga as he was touring in the musical "Hair" in 1972. It was great! I wish I could tell it all like he did, but I'd only insult his sweet testimony.

At the end, he prophesied over four kids, one at a time, and each time laser-point-relevant into their lives. There was nothing mystical or emotional about his prophesying. He spoke over the first girl and then explained to everyone that the spirit of prophecy is just the revealing of the heart of Jesus. He said it's all about family because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all about relationship, and we are One in Christ, all part of the family of God. He spoke to three more kids, all in the same calm, gentle manner and then asking if that seemed right to them. To the last girl, he said that her creativity would affect many for Christ and that music and dance were particularly important to her. "Is that right?" he asked her. With some tremor, she replied, "Y-e-s..." Truly, it was the way I believe Jesus would have prophesied--no hullabaloo or fanfare, just straightforward wisdom, knowledge, and encouragement from the heart of God to His people with the aim of revealing Jesus.

This is the third time I've encountered this message of prophesying into someone's life in the space of a month. Could it be that God is up to something in this small corner of the world?!

Monday, April 06, 2009

April Thought Salad

The sun is OUT!!! I'd forgotten what it feels like to be warm outside under total blue and what feels like a full suit of sunshine. Glorious...

Went riding for the first time this year yesterday afternoon. My horse is da man! I was pointing him into woods that didn't have any clear path, and he just went wherever I directed. That's a big deal because it means he trusts me. I remember when he used to shy at painted arrows on the road! I can't believe he's 12 this month. I still call him "baby horse!" He's like a puppy, always has been, so I'll probably always call him that. My friend is going to teach me how to ride him without a bridle this summer. It'll be within the confines of a round pen so I'll be safe. Kev's been making great strides with his paint, who is so lazy and stubborn it's ridiculous.

I wish my insides matched the weather, but I still struggle against melancholy. I try to "choose joy" like they say, but it is a struggle! What am I doing to nurture that...... I'm hoping the sunshine will help a little there. It's been gray and blah for months!

Brett's graduation announcements need to get mailed out. Dad printed a picture to include, so I just have to address them. Oh, Jylleeeeee...!

We're redoing the raised beds out back so they won't look like giant graves.
I wish I could acknowledge my Self in a grave, dead to sin, alive to Christ all the time. Is this a lifetime struggle? Or the struggle of a lifetime...?

The front flower bed needs to get cleaned out. I did a little yesterday, but it needs more, and some Preen too. I thought parsley was a biennial, but this is at least the third year, and there are a billion plants just like last year. I've lost track of when I first planted it, so maybe it's just reseeding itself.

Just when I think I might be getting a foothold on new ground in my walk, it's like the old stuff from last year has reseeded itself, and there's as much as ever. Ripping up the garden sounds so painful and daunting. I'm not a fighter. I don't even try a game if I think it'll be a fail. But this is Life. This is everything. Everything that goes on here will have implications forever, and I don't want to end up in the remedial room, catching up on what should've been "gotten" here. I'm not worried, just thinking as I write.....

Before I talk myself into another Eeyore web, I'm just going to go pray now. I am in desperate need of my Jesus. He's the most joyful thing to think of in all the universe now, isn't He?!

Sunday, April 05, 2009