Tuesday, December 17, 2013

for Lily

As we anticipate the arrival of our precious grand daughter, I can't help but think back 2000 years ago & ponder what must have taken place. Baby Jesus had so many prophesies which foretold his coming. Our baby has sonograms to foretell her sweet arrival. Our Savior had a bright star which wise men followed. Our lil girl has non stress tests.

Our hearts are waiting & watching. At least we've been distracted from the ruins of our home. A tornado ravaged our community one month ago today. Christmas is around the corner, & our plans are tentative. After all, we are about to be blessed with a most treasured gift, a new baby grand daughter.

We have done all we can to prepare for her birth day. A few little sleepers have been bought & laundered. She has a nursery complete with a crib & a rocker I used to rock her beautiful mama. She has a carseat & a blanket or two. Most of all, she has our hearts. We cannot wait to meet her!

When Jesus was  born on that first Christmas, it seemed despite all the prophesies, people were caught off guard. Their minds were not prepared. Their hearts did not welcome the greatest gift of all time. Even today, people haven't figured this out.

So... as we anticipate our little miracle, I can't help but imagine what went on 2000 years ago. I can't help but wonder why people still refuse to trust in Him. I can't help but thank my Heavenly Father for the greatest gift of all time, & for the Little Blessing He is about to bestow on us.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

ashes to beauty

Today we had a unique experience. We were invited to my daughter's college as guests of honor. Being tornado victims seemed to qualify us for this honor. The experience was beautiful. I felt as though I had temporarily stepped into a different culture (a culture I've always wanted to visit). This event represented Heaven. First of all we were all gathered together feasting. Different cultures came together to feast, much like The Great Banquet described in the Bible. Secondly, our ruins from the tornado became works of art. This symbolized the restoration of the fallen Jerusalem. Brilliant.

Our wreckage became artwork. What a lovely way to acknowledge the tornado, but at the same time, allow God to turn our ashes into beauty (just as He does with our broken lives). I think when we take our heart aches & turn to God with an expectation of healing, small miracles begin to happen. Things don't always follow our timeline or turn out according to our desire, but the end result will probably be better than anything we ever imagined.

This feast was filled with spontaneity. Refugees from war torn Africa were invited. A refugee woman prepared beans that she had grown on one of the professor's land. They had a flavor we here in America are not accustomed to tasting.  Brussel sprouts still attached to the root were broiled with bacon. We had rice, peanut dressing, bon bons, & so much more.

The feast began with song. Soon clapping & dancing began, & before we knew it, we were all parading around the artwork. Instruments accompanied this joyful event. There was a professor playing a clarinet, an accordion, a tambourine, & a djembe. People of all ages were participating. Cultures were interacting. It was my dream come true. I do believe it resembled Heaven. Words are not enough.

I had but one regret. I did not feel we were worthy of being the guests of honor. As I said in my last blog, we can drive out of our wreckage. We are safe. We are warm. Our problems are temporary. For a few hours, I forgot about my tornado wreckage even though I was surrounded by my own damaged goods. I was in awe of the artwork, but even more at the whole event. Singing, parading, feasting, joy, beautiful smiles... Heaven cam down to earth this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Tonight I feel the need to write an addendum to yesterday's blog. It accurately describes my feelings, but I failed to mention a few key points. Even though things are so unsettled, time is marching on (for the victims & for those who rescued us). Ready or not, Christmas is coming. Somethings are standing still, like our home, our neighborhood, & our insurance, but life keeps moving forward.

In the midst of our sorrow, loved ones are still suffering with heartbreaking issues. I have one friend whose body is rejecting her chemo. I have another friend undergoing chemo who lost her home. Lastly, I have a dear friend waiting for test results. She suffers daily with pain. I don't know how she lives. I love her dearly. I love each of these women.

Loved ones are having babies. A high school friend lost his life to a massive heart attack. My grandson is learning new things every day. Children are suffering from Post Traumatic Shock caused by the frightful tornado. Mission trips are still in the works. People are still homeless that were homeless long before the tornado.

Sex trafficking is still a problem. People are starving. Their water is unclean. HIV runs rampant in their countries leaving children as orphans every day. Adoption is difficult. It takes time & tenacity. Violence exists. Women are oppressed in many countries & even in our own. People are still prejudice. Bullying is a part of growing up. People are lonely, outcast, sick, impoverished. The list is unending...

Our problem is overwhelming, but it has an end, even if we cannot see it right now. It is temporary, but it will take much patience & perseverance. It requires teamwork. We live in a community where this sort of thing rarely happens. We are not used to seeing such devastation. However, we can drive out of it. Our cars have already been replaced. We have become situated in temporary homes.

What about the people who live in war torn countries that cannot drive out of their problems? What about the people who have only one hope, that is Jesus Christ? What about the people who have only known poverty & chaos their whole life? What about the children that have never had a pillow on which to lie their heads or a bed to call their own? What about those who live in homes made of cardboard?

Yes... our problems are much more than we are accustomed to. But there is a reprieve. There is an end. There is safety around the corner. We are fed & clothed & residing in temporary homes. We have lost our possessions but not our lives. We do not have bombs zooming through the sky. We are not living under bridges & in cardboard boxes. We are okay.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It feels like forever...

It's strange how our feelings come & go. News and lack of news ignite different feelings. Hanging in limbo never feels good. Sometimes we are numb, sometimes crabby, & sometimes we laugh. We know nothing more than we knew 2 weeks ago. In the blink of an eye, our home was destroyed. We know that. Neighborhoods were devastated, & they don't look much better 2 weeks later. The look of death & destruction are all we see when we drive through our neighborhood. Going back is no less painful.

The surrounding communities are kind. We run into people who couldn't be more caring. Many of my friends are in a very similar predicament. Their feelings seem identical to mine. Shock still reigns. Numbness isn't too uncommon. Depression is seeping in. When little things go wrong, it crumbles what little reserves we have. Rebuilding will be painstaking. It will take time, waiting, & more waiting.

But then there are the things that arouse a smile, a giggle, & even a hearty laugh. Yes... it feels so good to laugh. A hug is always welcome. It's strange how we find ourselves intermittently spacing out. Sometimes we are unable to answer a simple question, or we miss a turn & wonder why. Despite the beautiful music & the twinkly lights, it doesn't really feel like Christmas (at least not to me). We sleep less soundly than we once slept. I find myself waking throughout the night & lying awake for hours.

We count our blessings. I know my prayers are answered even before I voice them. I do not feel alone. I do not feel forsaken. My every need is met, yet I feel brokenhearted. I worry about my husband. I worry about all of the stress on him. As I go about my Christmas shopping, I wonder if I am kidding myself. Is it really Christmas (the most magical time of year)? Should I be buying presents when my house is in shambles? But then I remember, there is nothing to do right now. Just wait.

We think about our future. We have to let the dust settle before we make our big decisions. But wait, will the dust settle? Will we ever be able to think clearly, to make wise decisions? For us, the jury is still out. We are healing, but we are still so tender. We are settled, but we are still unsettled. We laugh, but inside we are crying. We are numb, yet we feel pain. We remind ourselves that our situation is temporary, but right now, it feels like forever.