Monday, September 29, 2008

hey, sister

I talked to Kathy most evenings. If she called me, she always started the conversation with “Hey, Sister!” One of the saddest days for me, was when her cell phone had to be disconnected. I called it several times, after her death, just to hear her voice. I miss her voice.

When we talked on the phone, Kathy always had all sorts of news and information for me. I can vividly remember her saying: “You’ve got to check out the really-good-deal I found at Wal-Mart today;” or “I talked to so-and-so today,” or “You are gong to love this new recipe I tried today….” She was a connecting force in my life, and I was barely aware of it until she was gone.

So…when we meet again…on the other side of eternity…I think she will flash that big smile and greet me with “Hey, Sister!” …and I think she will proceed to tell me about all the bargains and people and connections and recipes she’s found, and she’ll be so excited to be in the big middle of it all…loving it all…sharing it all…

Hey, Sister….I really miss you….

Saturday, September 27, 2008

somewhere down the road

This has been a hard week. Joy lost yet another friend (she has lost 3 friends and a sister in the past few years), and we just found out that our dear friends, William and Diane, lost most of their earthly possessions in Hurricane Ike.

The song, “Somewhere Down the Road,” has played over and over in my mind these past days:

So much pain and no good reason why

You've cried until the tears run dry
And nothing else can make you understand
The one thing that you held so dear slipping from your hand
And you say
Why, why, why
Does it go this way
Why, why, why
And all I can say
Somewhere down the road
There'll be answers to the questions
Somewhere down the road
Tho' we cannot see it now
And somewhere down the road
You will find mighty arms reaching for you
And they will hold the answers
At the end of the road.”

In FIRSTLIGHT, Sue Monk Kidd tells of a tremendous storm that awakened her one night, at her seaside home. In the morning, she went walking on the beach and found a beautiful seashell…a kind that she had never found before. Her observation was this: “I carried the speckled pink shell back to the cottage-a reminder that in every squall there is a gift, in every upheaval a redemptive moment.”

I’m searching for the gifts and the redemption. I have to admit it is hard to see them at this time, but I also know that I have to hold on to the promises of God. He tells me in Genesis 41:52 and Isaiah 61:3:
“I will make you fruitful in the land of suffering, trading beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for despair…”

Somewhere down the road….


Monday, September 22, 2008

walk on

I have been listened to the words of the song, “Walk On,” that Kathy quoted on her scripture cards, on UTUBE. A group called 4Him sings it. The words are beautiful, and they speak to me right in the place that I am in now. These are the words:

“The wind blows hard
The climb is slow
Shadows are dark
I stumble on these stones
But my Lord,
You are near
I will not fear
I chose to take this road called faith
I will walk on
I trust that You will lead me through
I will walk on
No end in view
At times I feel alone
and the signs are few
But at least they all say home,
And You my Lord,
You're the hope I hold
Strength of my soul
Because of love
There was an awful hill You climbed
And because of love
I'll live my faith
One step at a time
The course is set
Life's hard but yet
We will walk on Around each bend,
until the end
We will walk on”

When I first started, I didn’t know life’s journey was going to be such a hard walk. Jesus, though, has shown me the way (all the way to the cross), and he helps me every day…I just have to put my eyes on him, and keep walking.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

message from kathy

Mom found a little packet of cards that Kathy made (probably during Brooke’s transplant). It had some of the words of the song “Walk On,” on a sticky note, stuck to the top. These are the words she wrote:

“I chose to take this road called faith
I will walk on.
I trust that You will lead me through
I will walk on.”

On the cards, she wrote these scriptures:
Psalm 61:2:
“…when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Deuteronomy 31:8:
“ It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will be with you; He will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed.”

Psalm 139:5:
“You both precede me and follow me, and
place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Isaiah 26:3:
“Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Philippians 4:6:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.”

Psalm 63:6,7:
“I lie awake thinking of you-of how much you
have helped me-and I rejoice through the night beneath the protecting shadow of your wings.”

I told Mom and Dad that is was like Kathy had left us a message…. It is a message of hope that encourages us to “walk on.”

Thank you, Sister. I need these words today.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

be still

Deb gave PawPaw a tiny hymnal. He is always reading and singing from it. He has been thinking about this song this week:

Be Still, My Soul
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.T
hy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shall thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

It’s funny because this was one of the songs sung at our wedding. In a way, it was a strange wedding song; but in another way, it was perfect. Life is full of pain and uncertainty…many times we have had to rely on the promises this song extols. Lately, it has become even more meaningful.
These things are sure: I can trust God…I can be still in the darkness…I can wait on him. He is always there… waiting for me with all that he is. It is in pain that I can “better know his love and his heart.” In chaos I can wait for his order and provision to set things right. Most of all, from the overflowing fullness of Himself, he always gives me all that I need.

As He tells us in Psalm 46:10:
"Be still, and know that I am God...”

I’m still today (I’m too weary to move). I’m waiting on you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The sisters have been on a voyage together. Actually, we have been on several voyages lately. Last weekend, we got on a boat and traveled out into the ocean. There was lots of water, sun, laughter, and talk (and food). We had so much fun together!

These past months, we have been on another sort of voyage. Physically we may have gone nowhere, but our spirits have traveled to the depths. The depths are dark and cold and lonely. The beautiful thing is, though, God always knew where we were because He never left us even for a second. He has always guided and helped us…He has held us fast.

It seems as though our Kathy traveled from us, and went to a cold, dark, lonely, place…but she didn’t. God has never left her side. He has guided and helped her…and He has held her fast. She has flown, on the wings of God, to a beautiful, light-filled place.

Psalm 139: 7-10 says it this way:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold my fast.”

Lord, please continue to help us on the voyage called life. We need your help every day.



We have just returned from our second Sisters’ birthday trip. We celebrated Deb’s 50th birthday on a cruise to the Bahamas (we went to New York City, for my 50th, two years ago). We were missing one sister this trip, and as we did talk about our Kathy a lot, it was such a joyful experience to celebrate the special life of our “beautiful” Debbi. I thoroughly enjoyed having time to spend with five very special women in my life: Deb, Joy, Crystal, Mom and our Mom 2 (Kathy and Joy’s second mom from Bakersfield).

How I need significant relationship with other ladies who give me advice, example, and inspiration for this sometimes arduous journey, called life. I don’t know what I would have done without these special relationships in my life these past stormy months. They have picked me up when I have fallen, cheered me on in the race, and have held my hand to help me travel a few steps more (when I really wanted to just give up).

As Christina Rossetti wrote:
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

Lord, please bless my “sisters” today. Be close to them, and help them with all the ups and downs of life. Help us to keep our memories, of our special moments together, close to our hearts…they are wonderful gifts for all of eternity.


Saturday, September 6, 2008


One thing I have discovered in my “adult” life is that there are givers in this world and there are takers in this world. It doesn’t matter if I am dealing with rich people or poor people; church people or unchurched people; children or adults….there are givers and there are takers… and there are many more takers…always.

Our Kathy was a giver. She gave until there was no more to give. One of the greatest stresses in her life, was when she needed others to help in the giving, but they did not want to cooperate. I wonder how often God feels that way about me.

These words of one of my favorite authors, Frederick Buechner, speaks to me today:
“The world says, The more you take, the more you have. Christ says, the more you give, the more you are.”

I pray that I can leave this world a better place because of my living here. I want to give more than I take.


Monday, September 1, 2008

father to the fatherless

Our family has been together this weekend, and we have cried an ocean of tears. We are sad. We are sad for ourselves. We are sad for Todd. We are sad for the five children who have been left motherless.

Kathy’s birthday was this past week. The card her family made, and left on her grave, broke my heart. I can hardly look at Todd without thinking, “this man has five children, and no wife to help him. I can’t look at Nick and Haden without thinking, “these teenagers need their mom, right now.” I can hardly look at the three little ones without thinking, “these babies have no mother.” I can’t imagine life without a mother. (All that said, though, Todd is doing a wonderful job. He is faithful and diligent, and watchful over his family. He is weary to the bone, but he is pressing on.)

Today is the twins’ birthday. How excited Kathy was about the birth of those two babies. How she took care of them all through these past nine years…through sickness and near death….how she loved them. They had unusual ties to her because of the one-on-one times they spent in hospitals (or on the way to hospitals). They had lost a very significant part of their lives.

But, you know, our Father in heaven is aware of all of this. I believe that He, too, cries bitter tears for our sorrow and loss. He is aware of all the husbands and wives and children who have been left by the most important person in their lives (through death or abandonment). As Psalm 68:5-6, 19 says in the NIV Translation
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, ....
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

I am especially comforted by the fact that He “sets the lonely in families.” Whether it be a biological family, or the family of God…we need each other….and we need our Father in Heaven.

Father to all, thank you for watching over us and for bearing our burdens.