31 May 2009

The Circle of Life

I have not posted in a week, partly out of respect for my friends' loss and partly because I just didn't have the heart to write anything.

I have been so sad this past week, achingly sad for my friends -- Herman and Lisa and their other 3 children -- in losing their precious 2 yr. old angel, Vivian. I have grieved and I have cried until there are no tears left. And yet, my life goes on relatively unchanged.
Not so for them.
Their lives are forever altered by the events of a few horrible minutes.

Lisa has been posting on Vivian's Caring Bridge site, using it to journal her thoughts and feelings during these first few days of raw emotion and crushing defeat. Reading her courageous words and realizing just what lies before her humbles me beyond belief.
How can any mother endure such a loss?

At Vivian's funeral last Monday, they played the song, "Circle of Life" (from The Lion King) and it seemed so apropos.
With Vivian's passing comes the renewing of other lives.
By making the choice to donate her precious organs, Lisa and Herman have guaranteed that one or more other babies or young children will LIVE.
Somewhere -- during the same week when we were all fervently praying and waiting -- there were parents hovering over their own children's hospital beds, anxiously awaiting news of a miracle -- praying those same desperate prayers for mercy and intervention.

Sometimes the answer, inexplicably, is "No."
But sometimes when God says "No" to one prayer, He is actually saying "Yes" to several other prayers.
I'm sure this brings minimal comfort to Herman and Lisa at this time, but just knowing that Vivian's death was not in vain -- that somewhere, parents are rejoicing and praising God that their own child will live -- gives hope for the future.
It really is the Circle of Life.

25 May 2009

Happy Memorial Day


In Honor of Those Who Served

An officer spoke briefly at our church yesterday morning, but something he said really hit home with me:
"It's not just about KEEPING peace; it's about
MAKING peace."

Sometimes, some very hard decisions have to be made and carried out in order to achieve this goal. There is not always a peaceful means to a peaceful end.
Sure, in an ideal world, there would be.
But we do not live in an ideal world.
This is our reality:
People fight and die so that the rest of us can live free.

It's horrible and wrong when atrocities are committed in the path to that freedom, but we can never let them overshadow those who fight bravely and nobly so that good is achieved.

And there are some things we should
never apologize for;
Sometimes the end really does justify the means.

God bless our soldiers, police officers, firefighters, and first responders
Those who served and who now serve.

21 May 2009

God Bless Baby Vivian

My heart is broken.
Sweet, little Vivian left us today, but I know that we will see her again. That is a comfort no one can take away.
Please continue to lift up Lisa and Herman and their children during this difficult time of grief and mourning. Pray that they would feel HELD.
I love this song by Natalie Grant; it says it all:

18 May 2009

Sad Weekend

In case you are wondering why I haven't posted since last Tuesday or, if you are a friend in Arkansas, why you have not heard from me while I'm here...

This has been a very rough few days.
Not long after I arrived here (3 days ago), I received some horrible news.
The two year old daughter of a dear friend was found, nearly drowned, in a swimming pool.
I don't know the details -- how she got there, or how long she was under the water -- and those things are irrelevant now, but I do know it was very serious and now this baby girl is fighting for her life.

The past three days are a blur of phone calls and constantly checking my email for updates on little Vivian's condition. I feel so useless being so far away from my friends... I am cutting my visit in Arkansas short so that I can be there for anything they might need.

We have not stayed in touch like we should in the past year or so, but we have known Herman and Lisa for almost 9 years, literally since we first moved to Baton Rouge.
We were in the same homeschool group for a number of years and our children were great friends. Lisa and I were pregnant at the same time and delivered our 5 year olds just days apart.

Lisa is one of the sweetest people I know and she and Herman are wonderfully kind and generous.
After Hurricane Katrina, they opened their home to a family who had lost everything and housed them for more than a year. And Lisa has been an a blessing to me during some rough seasons of my own... when we talk on the phone, it's never a short conversation. I could talk to her for hours.
This family truly is the salt of the earth.

While I would not wish such a horrific thing to happen even to my worst enemy, it seems especially cruel that this has happened to them.

Little Vivian needs a BIG miracle and we need you to PRAY.

People ask, "Why does something like this happen? Where is God in this tragedy?"
But the truth is that God does not cause sickness and death and disease to happen. These things are in the world because sin and evil are in the world.

We may not understand why things happen the way they do or why our prayers are not always answered the way we would like, but we never have to endure such things alone. God's Word promises that we are never alone when we go through something so painfully difficult. He is always with us.

This is my prayer for Herman and Lisa now... that they would not feel alone for a minute, that they would feel His hands lifting them up and the warmth of His arms around them.
And I continue to pray for a miracle for Vivian, even as her doctors begin to lose their own faith in miracles.
Mostly, I pray that something good can come of all this hurt.
Please keep this family in your prayers.

12 May 2009

Where's the Calgon?!?

Calgon, Take Me Away!!!!

Ok, so I just totally dated myself by saying that, but that really is how I feel right now.

Too much on my plate and not enough time to finish everything. I wish I could just freeze time so I could try and catch up.
First of all, I have totally destroyed our schoolroom in my attempt to "redo" it. I am trying to update it & make it a more organized, usable space, but right now it looks like a tornado came through.
On top of that, I have started exercising for the first time in over a year and lifting weights for the first time in more than two years... and I am FEELING IT!

I have had painters at the house for the past 2 weeks which (even though I wanted it) has totally disrupted my schedule. They did an awesome job, though, so I don't really mind. BTW, if you are in the Baton Rouge area and need a good painter, email me & I'll give you his name.

I am making a lot of progress on my book right now, but this is one of those areas where I wish I could just stop the clock. The desire and motivation are there; the time is not.

I have been helping the HP Women team prepare for our upcoming, annual "Pamper Night." I am assisting Elizabeth and Nikki with procuring vendors from various salons and spas in the local area.
This is a HUGE event where we host approximately 1000 women, treating them to a night of free mini-massage, mani/pedi, eyebrow wax, paraffin wax, facials, and more.
I had no idea how much work went on behind scenes, but I guess you never do until you are a part of it.
In any event, the night is going to be FABULOUS and if you are in the area, you do not want to miss it! Monday night, June 8th -- Mark your calendar!

Finally, I am trying to get the girls and myself packed for a week-long visit in Arkansas.
My niece, Tia, is graduating high school and has received a full scholarship to college! I am so proud of her.
If my posts are sparse for the next week, you'll know why.
I promise to post when I return if not before.
Until then, I'm going to continue in the *slightly* organized chaos which is my life.

10 May 2009

09 May 2009

Sometimes I Pause...

and hesitate to write another blog post when I know I've written something that needs to be read.
It's not that I don't want to write something or that I'm slacking on the blog thing; it's just that I want to make sure the previous message gets through.

I have had confirmation from at least 3 different people who told me my last post struck a chord with them.

One friend told me last night that she started to text yesterday (while driving) and remembered my post and decided to wait until she got to a stopping point.
I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

Perhaps that last post wasn't meant for any ONE person, in particular.
Maybe it was just a wake-up call for several people.
In any event, I'm glad I wrote it and I appreciate the positive responses I have received.

Today, I am recovering from another fabulous MIDNIGHT OUTREACH.
No matter how late I sleep on Saturday morning, it always wipes me out, but in a good way.
I feel like I've really DONE something the day after Midnight.

I don't mind being a little groggy or moving a little slow because I know that THIS MORNING, some girl -- somewhere -- woke up and saw her beautiful rose with the Healing Place Church card attached and right now, she is thinking about calling that number.

I don't mind because I still remember the girl who told us last night that she recently lost her mother and she was so touched by our little gift to her.

I don't mind because I may never know how God chooses to use those few simple hours we gave to further His kingdom.
There's no better feeling in the world.
That's something that should give you pause...

06 May 2009

Don't Shoot the Messenger!!!

Ok, let me just preface this by saying it is NOT aimed at anyone in particular! I have a lot of friends (who I love) who do this and this is not meant to be a scolding of them.

But I was convicted to write this post awhile back (like 3 months ago) and I have put off actually writing it until now...
How many know it's never a good idea to procrastinate on something you think God is telling you to do???
Even now -- as I sit typing -- the words are just pouring out.
Perhaps this is to be a warning for someone I love.
Or maybe for a complete stranger.
Or maybe just for me.
Whatever the reason, just know that I felt REALLY, REALLY compelled to write it.

A couple weeks ago, I heard about this story and I could not shake it from my mind.
Then, last week, I saw a member of my church doing the same thing.
At least, I think it was a member... they were leaving the church parking lot. I didn't really get a good look at them, but that's beside the point.

My point is this: What would it do to your testimony -- not to mention your life --if you accidentally killed someone because you were texting while driving?

Yes, I realize there were other things at play (like speeding) when the woman in the article slammed into a bunch of stopped cars, but there doesn't need to be any other extenuating circumstances for something like this to happen.
As stories like this and this point out, even experienced texters are at risk...
And who can forget these shocking photos?
This young man was texting and accidentally veered into oncoming traffic. He did not survive.

Maybe you think: "Well, but I'm always careful and nothing has happened yet..."
That doesn't mean it won't.
Maybe you think -- because you are a Christian or a good person -- that God won't let anything happen to you while you do this, but He will.
Just as someone who binges on food will become fat and someone who smokes may get lung cancer... even if they are Christians.
Even Christians have to face the consequences of their actions.
And so will their families.

If the articles/pictures/rationale above doesn't sway you, then let me appeal to the very basic fact, that as Christians, we are instructed and expected to obey all laws. Furthermore, we should be ever mindful of how our behaviors are being observed and interpreted by others. What we DO is far more important than what we SAY.

If the deacon of a large church texts while driving and causes a wreck, it won't matter that he's a deacon. He will go to jail.
If a nursery volunteer is texting and accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian, a life is still lost. She has taken a life for a moment of her own convenience.
And she will have to account for that life.

I don't care how important the text may be or if you are too busy to stop, if you need to read/return a text,
Or wait for the next stop light.
If you have a wreck while texting, you'll be a whole lot later than if you had just pulled over for 2 minutes.

Like I said, I don't know who this was meant for, but if you are convicted by it, consider yourself warned.
God may be trying to tell you something

01 May 2009

Funny You Should Ask...

I'm always amused when someone who hasn't seen me in awhile says, "Wow! Eighty-six pounds!! You've got to tell me your secret! How did you do it?"

I never quite know how to answer that.

How do you sum up -- in conversational-length banter -- how God has completely rocked your world?
How do you convey that you haven't just lost 86 pounds and 5 dress sizes, you have lost a HUGE part of your old self (which you aren't missing in the least, by the way).

I'm starting to get the whole "Prophet without honor" thing Jesus talked about. People who have known you for awhile are always skeptical when you change. I recently had a guy who has known me for awhile tell me that he can't figure out who the "real" me really is.

Deep down, I guess none of us believe we are capable of truly changing.
But that's the cool thing.
I didn't do the changing.
HE changed me.

Granted, I had to submit and ask for it... I had to be open to the new ideas and perspectives He was showing me, but it certainly didn't come from my own ability to change, because that just doesn't exist.

I am feeling more and more compelled to get my book finished NOW... and I have made some incredible strides in the past 2 weeks.
I just sense, every time someone asks, that my book will do a much better job explaining it than I ever could.

So, if you could just hold that thought...
I promise, I'll get back to you.