Strength – a poem for Carly

She dug further down in the deep of her heart
And the further she went, the more pain would impart
Past the rejection, past all the lies
For their protection, she casts off disguise

She sees it all
But is blind to her own strength
She sees it all…but her strength

      Upholding them
      Supporting them

      With the strength
      She has from above

In the very last days he spent on this earth
She would fight for the rights of the two she gave birth
Walking the tightrope, shaking with fear
Helping them say all he needed to hear

She sees it all
But is blind to her own strength
She sees it all… but her strength

      Upholding them
      Supporting them

      With the strength
      She has from above

The strength she has from above
From above
She fights with the strength
From above

With the strength from above

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Death Be Not Proud – a poem about Nathan’s Win

Death be not proud

That you’ve gained one more soul

It was not a win for you

Swallowing whole

His breath and energy

Cancer and pain

You may count it as yours

But this loss is yet gain

 

Friends and dear family

Daughter and son

Draw near to heaven

Where life’s now begun

His grace is a blanket

His comfort a salve

His presence with Nathan

Is here with you now

 

Death be not proud

For this world is not home

For this earth which we roam

Will assault heart and bone

Rather, home is our city

In heaven and light

So I raise my proud fist

For one hell of a fight

Three Months to Love

I cried today…

…when I took Angel to school, dropped her off, hung out a while and then had to leave when it sunk in that no chaperones called in sick and there was no room for me on the field trip to go see “The Adventures of Frog and Toad” play downtown. That was one of my favorite books i used to read to Angel and Braylon in Texas. I waited until I rounded the corner to the hallway, and the tears took me off guard. I couldn’t hold them back for nearly 20 minutes. I guess…you just never know when it may be the last day you have with someone you love.

…when it dawned on me that our friend since before we were married, Nate, may not live through the summer. He is 38. It is a reality, the cancer that is growing, spreading in his body. And although our God is just as real, Nate’s Doctor is giving him three months to live. And I just typed “love” with my big thumb, instead of “live”, which is really more accurate. Three months to love.

…when Angel put on “Hymn of Remembrance” by Warr Acres, on my iPhone and plugged it into the loud house-speakers.
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S63GblduLcs&sns=em)

…when I texted with Kim my sister in law, and was reminded of how much they are missing in Texas, not bein here in the NW… & how much she is missed here. Their family not being here just does not seem right and it makes me sad that they are 2100 miles away. Perhaps a Foursquare pastor position will open up around here and they will get to move back.

…when I watched Love Happens ~ a romantic drama with Jennifer Aniston about a motivational speaker who has a hard time overcoming his fears and denial about the death of his wife three years prior.

…when over dinner, we told Braylon and Angel the news of Nate’s prognosis & failing health, and Braylon began to cry, using his purple tee shirt to dab his tears. My eyes welled up too, when I saw his emotions showing. And then Angel said her eyes were getting watery. She is not as close to Nate as Bray. And doesn’t quite understand the finality of death like Bray might. But she is certainly compassionate and suddenly becomes sad when she sees others sad.

…when I called my friend and fellow musician, Shawn, to ask if he would be willing to play the song I wrote for Nate, and he said he has all day tomorrow free. Now I’ll be able to sing it while he plays acoustic, & Kenny is making himself available to record it for Nate to be able to listen/watch it on YouTube, (per his request as he spoke w/Ricky tonight).

I’m tired now. I’m fasting. Which is making things more exaggerated, I’m sure.

Thank you, Father, for bringing me through today and for the sweet short visit from my mom who brought me my dinner: a Venti White Mocha, extra hot, w/an extra shot.

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Gramma Grace ~ a poem on Memories in Honor

Her hugs would envelope my tiny frame
Hydrangeas of purple white blue
Her slanted driveway gave us a game
Makeshift go-cart planks on wheels

Easter service bunny cake-pan
Jellybeans green-hued coconut
Lemon drop dishes, two in each hand
Makeshift roller skate rink in the back

Reader’s Digest, People’s Court
Whopner, dachshunds, motorized chair
Secret passage, hideout, fort
Eyes that sparkle, giggle fest

We were welcome, we were there
Road trips, parks, reunion fun
We were clueless to despair
Until she stole her life from us

1995 in Spring
When Easter boasts of Jesus’ blood
The day after her birthday’d bring
News of her blood, it left her still

We watched her Pastor lift and roll
Heavy carpet, dripping bed
What would become of Gramma’s soul?
Her wounded heart, is it now whole?

There was no stone that rolled away
Her Depression held a permanence
Can suicide be void of blame?
I’ll never point to man, nor self

Two years later, down the isle
Eight and Braylon grew inside
Twelve my Angel flashed her smile
Nineteen now, I miss her still

Death over Coffee

My friend came over for coffee today.

This woman has seen death up close. She’s felt it and smelled it and heard its cry many times. She knows its tactics, aftermath and sorrow. She’s even experienced the pain of a close family member who has taken their own life.

We talked on my living room sofa about life. And sex. And accountability. And school. And schedules. And abandonment. And purity. And death. And the stages of grief.

It was six years ago for her, when her 17 year old died. It was ruled a suicide.

I read her the poem I’m writing about my Gramma Grace – my memories of her life and death. This month it will be the 18 year anniversary. She challenged me to stop censoring myself and just be free to express my feelings, because who knows…someone may read it and feel the same way and no longer feel alone. Who knows…it may help someone else in their grieving journey.

Then we pulled my green patio chairs close, almost smacking foreheads together… joined hands, and prayed together as my neighbor walked around outside, brushing his teeth. Yeah, Austin’s a weirdo.

Then we hugged.

It was a good afternoon.

as certain as death and texas

with hurricane ike’s death toll reaching 51 as of this morning, this great state of texas has been pulling together to help those who’ve survived. my church, calvary austin, put a team together & traveled to calvary houston which along with most of houston, is on its 5th day without power. this is the most current article i’ve found, written about hurricane ike, if you’re more detail-oriented.

here in austin, 300 miles inland, we were safe and warm. disconnected. only felt a brief wind. and it’s back to normal now. normal, disconnected, apathetic, comfortable, enjoyable. yet there’s a lingering sorrow.

there are so many i’m sure, who’ve discovered that a relative or friend is now dead. they may be wondering where that person is now. if they’re in a ‘better place’…or a worse; if there is even a heaven or a hell.

but these are some of the most commonly asked questions about heaven & the afterlife:

  • do pets go to heaven?
  • should Christians be cremated?
  • will we be married or have sex in heaven?
  • should we try to contact the dead?
  • can a person who commits suicide go to heaven?
  • will we remember our lives when we’re in heaven?
  • can people in heaven see what’s happening on earth? and the most important question of all,
  • is there more than one way to get to heaven?

well, earlier this week, my husband & i watched a really great video by craig groeschel who’s studied them all in depth. he gives Biblical explanations, references, answers and opinions for each one of them. i hope this video brings clarity to anyone on their spiritual journey to truth.

but before you navigate away, if you’re a praying person, could you agree w/me in this short prayer?

God, forgive those of us who forget so quickly those in need. quicken our hearts to action, giving us the faith needed to step out & use our resources, whatever they may be. show yourself real and your love present in the lives of those who have lost people they care so much about. bring them peace, beyond understanding.

you are still our God, unchanging and trustworthy. and we love you.

(photo taken not in texas, but haiti where the death toll is over 300 after back-to-back storms. read this well-written article about haiti if you can)

shattered glass

what happens when your world, as peaceful & good as you think it is, falls apart almost suddenly? what do you do when you hear the news – the kind of news that not just changes your year, but your entire life? you can try to move on, do your best to reconcile your feelings of disappointment & confusion. you may find it easier, in the moment, to skirt around the issue or even ignore it. have you ever had a child stand 2 inches from your face, staring at you? it seems impossible to not look back. ignoring never works. looking back is ok until we can say “i’m doing everything i can do to let God work.” looking back as a means of facing your own short-comings with humility & honesty so that you can learn from them, is different than “dwelling in the past”. looking back for short periods with a heart of thankfulness and self-examination is crucial. remembering triggers, thought patterns, habits & lures can be hugely instrumental in keeping us from making poor choices in the future.

and yet, even when we believe it’s been pretty well worked out, reminders have their way, don’t they.

my son helps with a few things around the house like dust-busting the kitchen floor, cleaning, and emptying the dishwasher. tuesday he was moving all the cups to the counter and trying a shortcut by stacking them. just as i saw him stack two glasses, i chimed in, “woah, there! you shouldn’t stack glasses!” quickly, he pulled the top one out of the other. “…they could br…” and it shattered. thin shards flickered all across the floor.

5 years. pornography and a messy affair threatened to obliterate our unity as a family. oh, that’s not how long it lasted. that’s how long ago it happened. both our lives were terribly affected by the lies. there is hope!! but trust is so slow moving. even after this long… after so many boundaries and kept promises, after our marriage has seriously grown, & we are restored, i can still step on a sharp piece of broken glass. it’s few & far between, but we still struggle. we haven’t done all our learnin’ just yet.

a strange text message or email, a late poker night with work friends…they can lead to lies in my head. those bastards (the lies) can stab my sole and make it bleed ’til of course, we talk it out like grown-ups. me & my husband…and me & my God. and i’m healed again.

trust breaks. it happens with abandonment, or the death of someone very close. it happens with verbal or physical or sexual abuse or when a parent lets you down. it happens when your son looks you in the eye & lies.

but i continually find comfort in this truth: His mercies really are new every morning.

have you ever committed to building trust again after it was shattered? how long did it take to restore? do those stupid tiny pieces of broken glass ever really go away…completely?