Thursday, April 30, 2009

Small Talk

As I've mentioned before, our next-door neighbor has FIVE kids. 

Every once-in-a-while, we share in the joy of a little conversation with one or two of them as they are playing out in front of their house. 

The other day, I stopped and chatted for a while with the oldest brother (7) and the oldest sister (4). 

Mark pulled up as I was going inside, and he too stopped to talk with them. It turns out, they had used up all of their small talk on me and were saving the personal questions for Mark. 

Here's how it went: 

Mark: Hi guys, whatcha doin'? 
Sister: Do you guys have any kids? 
Mark: Not yet. Someday we will though. 
Brother: Ya, when God gives 'em to you, then you will have them. 
Mark: Point taken. 
Sister: (Pointing towards me) Mark, are you that girl's sister?
Mark: Huh?  

Mark came inside feeling quite confused and now we are a little afraid that the five kids next door might be praying for God to give us a baby. 

not ready

I've been crying alot lately. An activity that is generally fairly foreign to me. 

You see, my grandpa is dying and my sister is graduating, and I'm finding myself challenged and grieving and unprepared. 

These are two changes that I am not quite ready to deal with. 

Two losses I am not ready to face. 

You would think I would be more prepared. It's been pretty clear for the past 18 years that Emily would indeed graduate one day. But I'm not ready for her to move on and move up.  To suddenly be "better than" everyone because she has graduated and they have not. I'm not ready for the basketball games and choir concerts to stop. I'm not ready to help her move into her dorm room in Greeley in August. It is a joy for me to share in her life, and I'm just not ready to begin doing that from a distance. 

I'm excited for her and so proud. She has and is and will do amazing and exciting things. I'm just sad for me.

As for my grandpa, it has all just happened so fast. Again, I realize that death is inescapable. That it is one of the few things in life about which we can be certain. But it is painful. It is agonizing to watch. It is a helpless feeling to see a loved one suffer and to not be able to help them. 

I have been so blessed with great relationships with all four of my grandparents. I have been given the gift of really being able to know them, to learn from them, and to feel their love for me. 

My relationship with my grandpa is a treasure, really. And I thought it would be 20 years before I would have to say "goodbye." But this brain tumor says otherwise. 

I've never dealt well with change, but this "change-mixed-with-loss" thing is especially difficult. I'm guessing that I am going to fight it, to deny it, for the next couple of weeks. And then I'll face it when it is time and I will resolve to deal with it and feel the pain and move forward. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through. 
-- Francis Chan

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

House for Sale

Last week Mark and I put our condo back on the market. 

Last time we put it "on the market," it sat there for two-and-a-half years. With no offers. 

This time, we are hoping for an offer. And would it be too much to ask that we get that offer within a year? 

Yesterday, Mark asked me to get some papers from home and take them over to the realtor. When I asked him where to find said papers, he said, "They are in the closet, right on top of the Monopoly game." 

Oh, how appropriate. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

A New Challenge

My Aunt owns a restaurant in Illinois that makes pies (and other yummy things like casseroles and breads) and she is beginning to take orders and ship her foods all over the country. 

She has hired Mark to redesign her website and she needed some new pictures for him to post there. 

So last week, we received two beautiful pies nestled in a box of dry ice and I got to bake and photograph them. I've heard that food photography is one of the most difficult kinds of photography, so I was a bit nervous about this project. But I think the pics turned out okay. 

I hope she likes the pictures because we have since devoured these two beautiful pies with the help of our friends. I guess if she wants more pictures, she will have to keep the shipments coming! 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dancing Queens

Tonight I danced with my niece. My little brown-eyed, five-year-old niece. 

We danced non-stop for half-an-hour. We twirled, and spun, and bounced, and swung. And we sang "Livin' on a Prayer" at the top of our lungs. 

And I had the time of my life. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter in Colorado


Last Friday, my sister and I went to Greeley to visit my grandparents. My sweet grandpa is in the hospital with a brain tumor that is quite literally sucking the life out of him. 

My dear grandmother is caring for him as much as she can during the day and is facing life alone in her home at night. 

Our visit with Grandpa was horrible and wonderful. It was moving to say the least. It's not something I have processed or can really completely express. 

But Saturday morning is a different story. 

Our plan was to eat breakfast at home with Grandma, then leave at 9:00 am and head to Denver for a little prom dress shopping on our way home. 

Then the toilet overflowed. Alot.

And for the next two-and-a-half hours it was me, the toilet water, the wet-vac, and the carpet. In the bathroom. And the hallway. And the bedroom. 

While the roar of the shop-vac drowned out the activity of the rest of the house, I had two-and-a-half hours of reflection. Reflection on servanthood and slowing down. Reflection on love and the actions that show love and what motivates me to love. I thought about how selfish I can be. I reflected on control. I thought about how most things - big and small - are out of our control. Things like toilet water and brain tumors. I thought about how uncomfortable it is to be out of control. 

I didn't solve any problems or come to any earth-moving conclusions. But something about the experience calmed me. Made me stop feeling hectic for a moment. It shifted my perspective and I'm facing this week with a resolve to be more deliberate and more intentional. To remain out of control and uncomfortable and, somehow in the midst of that, to regain focus.  

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. But the one who has love, courage, and wisdom moves the world. 
-- Ammon Hennacy 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

good bye. good luck.

This is our friend Brent. 
Brent is talented. 
Brent has a record deal. And is going on tour. And is moving to Arizona. 
We are so happy for Brent. And so sad for us. 
Good luck Brent. We will miss you and are praying for you to keep your head on straight while you enjoy your success. 
Click here to see Brent's photos. 
Click here to hear Brent's music. 
If you like what you hear, click here to buy Brent's album.