My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘parents’

We are a Moment…

My stepmom fell today (at a doctor’s office, no less) and broke her hip.  She is currently in the Emergency Room getting admitted into the hospital where they will do surgery  tonight to fix her hip.

Prayers are appreciated – her name is Louava and my dad’s name is Troy.

This immediately brought to mind the suddeness of her fall.  It’s funny how we wake up each morning and we expect to make it through the day in one piece.  We expect for everything to be the same when we get home in the evening as when we left in the morning.  We forget how fleeting life is and how it can all change in the instant.

Before I was a believer, I used to still understand deep down in my heart that if I died without Christ, I would go to Hell.  I didn’t want to go to Hell.  I had been in church enough growing up to know Hell was not where I wanted to spend eternity.

So, what did I do about it?  I stuck my head in the sand.  I put my hands over my ears and closed my eyes and sang, “lalalalalalalala, I’m not listening.”  If my thoughts came even close to thinking about dying, I would quickly and firmly push them into a box and ignore them.

When I did actually let the thought of myself dying come into the corner of my mind, I would assure myself that when the time came, I would have time to “get things right” before dying.  I really thought that.  That I would actually have time to “get saved” at that last instant.  However, the Bible tells us in Job 14:1-2, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.  He comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue.”

James 4:13-14 says, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

God calls us “a vapor”.  That is how fragile our lives are.  Just like a vapor that comes from a boiling pot, it soon disapates and is gone.  How silly of me to think that me, just a vapor, could just say to God, “Hold it just a minute, I’m not quite ready for You to take me.  I need just a few minutes so I can get saved”?

Ecclesiastes 8:7-8 says, “For he does not know what will happen; So who can tell him when it will occur?  No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, And no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, And wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.”

What an arrogant thought.  And what an insult to the Cross of Jesus and the blood He shed to save men from their sins, for me to make it so cheap that I could just slide into salvation at the last minute.

But that’s what being lost does to you.  It makes you arrogant and self-righteous.  It makes you think that you have all the time in the world to do and live however you want to.  You’ll get right in the end…no problem.

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 also says, “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.”

All this to say… Don’t wait!  You could be gone in an instant!  Romans 10:13 says, “For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”” Call on Him…be saved!  Do it now.  You may not have another chance.

Psalm 90:1-2

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

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This is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius….

Everyone who knows me well knows that I love music. My life is lived to a soundtrack and I can pretty much tell you what was going on in my life and what I was feeling when I hear a song from way-back-when. My friend Kathryn and I used to break out into song at the drop of a hat during most any situation. She is one of the few people in my life who have the same “soundtrack to my life” kind of thing going on.

A couple of days ago, Bella and I decided to watch the movie “Hair”. It’s a pretty old movie (made in 1979) and I used to LOVE to watch it. I know my mom didn’t ever watch it because if she had, she would have never let me watch it – mostly due to some of the topics (and lyrics) in the movie. Aside from the naughty things in the movie…that movie really calls to me on a base level. I think it’s the wild-child freedom of the 60’s it portrays. That’s why music is such a part of my life. I am a flower-child born just a little too late. I have always been a free spirit…just a little different from everyone around me. I have a tendency to be a little crazy. I know a lot of people around don’t know that about me, because I’ve learned to hide it pretty well when the situation calls for it. But ask the people who know me best and they’ll agree. There’s just something not right about me.

Looking back at my life, I can see God’s grace in this too…

First off, being such a free-spirit, I definitely needed a firm hand on me growing up. God chose the perfect family to adopt me. It consisted of a father who was a nice straight-laced auditor and a quiet, demure, godly mother (think June Cleaver only even sweeter!). Even though I was raised in California, it was in a small, upscale, sleepy little town called Redlands. We walked to school past the orange groves, came home to home-baked chocolate chip cookies, and played in the back alley until my dad whistled for us to come home for dinner. Sometimes my quiet parents probably wondered what they had gotten into with this lively, free spirit that they brought home.

Second, God gave me a love of music. It always grounded me back where I needed to be when I was flitting around. It makes me happier when I’m sad, it calms me, it excites me. When God drew me to Him, music definitely taught me deep truths and allowed me to worship Him with wild abandon. It even gave me a place to plug in and get to know people via singing in the Adult Choir. There are not many strong memories in my life that don’t include music. I love that I can still hear a song I heard as a child or teenager and I can feel those feelings like it is right now. It gives me a way to remember the important things in my life.

So that being said, I’m going to turn on some music right now. I think a nice, eclectic mix of worship, contemporary Christian, old rock, a smidge of country, and a little sprinkle of pop should do the trick. Who’s ready to dance?

What’s Up?

As usual, my life has been a whirlwind of activity and I can’t seem to slow down long enough to even blog about anything. So here I go again with another post that encompasses a couple of three months of stuff.

November:

Bella and I took a long overdue trip to visit family in California the week of Thanksgiving. We had an amazing time visiting with my Father, Stepmother, Brother, and Niece, as well as spending a fantastic day with my bestest friend growing up.

Bella and I actually had a really early morning flight out, so we were able to go on over and spend the night in Atlanta. We had a nice drive over and fun just hanging out at the hotel. We were able to leave the car parked at the hotel for the duration of our trip (bonus: the hotel ended up not charging us for the week of parking either!).

We got to California and got to catch up with my parents. We even ran by my old favorite donut shop to pick up a few munchies!

Just a few highlights from our trip:

• We spent a day with my brother working at his church’s food pantry. Since it was the week of Thanksgiving they were giving away whole turkeys with all the fixings. They had a wonderful church service with lunch and communion too.

• We spent a day with my best friend growing up, Brenda, and her husband and son. We went into Palm Springs and got to see the sites and even ride the tram up to the top of the mountain. There was a lot of snow and even more wind, brrrrrrrrrrr. It was so much fun.

• My brother, Bella, my niece Dani, her boyfriend, Kenny, and I went to visit my mom’s grave. This is only the second time that I have gotten to go see it. It was a special time for us all.

• We took my stepmom out to Red Robin for her birthday and also got to tour the museum of natural history. I held a snake and my brother held a huge cockroach (yuck).

December:

While we were in California, we found out that Bud was being hired by Hyundai Power Transformers USA! It was very exciting but also a bit scary because it meant he would be going to South Korea for some training (more on that in January).

We had an extremely busy, but fun, December with the usual holiday preparations, the annual Christmas Celebration at church, which Bella and I sang in, and trying to get Bud ready to travel.

We had a wonderful family Christmas. It was strange for Joey not to be living at home and figuring out the logistics of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Bud was off for two weeks at Christmas, so he used that time to try to get a lot of stuff done at the house.

Towards the end of December, Bud finally convinced his dad to go to the emergency room for several health issues that were getting progressively worse. His dad, Charlie, was admitted into the hospital where he was eventually diagnosed with colon cancer. He spent over a week getting various treatments to prepare him for a colostomy. That actually helped him feel so much better. That was followed by outpatient surgery to get a port placed in his chest in preparation for chemotherapy. The plan is to do radiation and chemotherapy for 8-10 weeks to shrink the grapefruit sized tumor so that it can then be removed. After the tumor is removed, the doctors will then do a surgery on his hernia. The goal is to get him better and able to walk more comfortably and have a much better quality of life.

January:

Yay 2011! Maybe this year won’t fly by quite so fast as 2010.

Bud left for Korea on January 8th. He was in a group of six that was the first wave of people going over to train. He started out in the Winding Department but has since been moved over to the Core Department. He is trying to learn the language and to get used to the food. We have learned that Skype is a wonderful thing!

Auburn – SEC Champions and 2010 National Champions…enough said!!!

Bella and I have been busy helping to care for Charlie and having the house a “girls-only” zone. That is changing this weekend, as Joey has decided to move back in. He is going to go back to school, plus still being a temp at Hyundai Motors leaves him unsure of his job status from week to week. All in all, this will most likely be a really good move for us all.

Bella and I are going to the Morningview Women’s Conference this weekend. I really look forward to learning a lot and have a great time fellowshipping with other women from church. I am taking a MIT class this semester and working my way through J.C. Ryle’s “Holiness” [fantastic book]. Bella and I have also decided to start a Bible study together. We will be picking one out in the next week or so, so if anyone has any recommendations, let me know.

As usual life is busy…but life is good.

Busy, busy, busy…

So, I’ve been really busy at work for the past month and Bella just reminded me I haven’t posted anything in awhile.  I am really bad about thinking I need to post something relevant or really well written.  But really, sometimes all I need to do is really just throw some thoughts out there.  So here goes:

* Our office moved in October.  It took approximately two weeks due to the massive amounts of inventory we have.  The first week we moved our offices.  I was supposed to stay at the old building with my computer hooked up while everyone else in the offices moved.  I was going to stay at the old building for at least 3 or 4 days of the next week to support the pickers getting orders out, etc.  Well, we forgot that once they moved the computer system to the new office building, I wouldn’t have access to it.  None of us had made that connection.  So, I had to do a quickie pack-up to move with everyone else.

The next week consisted of running back and forth between the two buildings and moving stuff.  Finally, we had our big warehouse move which went smoother than we could have ever imagined it would.  The biggest problem has been finding where things are located in this humongous new building.

* A couple of weeks ago, Bella and I found this pitiful lab in the street across from our house.   He was a sweet, sweet dog who was about to starve to death.  He was as skinny, if not skinnier, than Beau when we rescued him.

Our plan was to clean him up, cut his horrendously long nails, and feed him until we could find a place for him to go.  We really didn’t need another dog and our three were not really sure about this long, tall guy either.  However, after a week of not finding a home for “Brown Dog” and being told by the Elmore County Humane Society that he would probably be euthanized due to his age (they estimated him at about 12 years old), he became a member of the Epps Family.

Happily, our other doggies now accept him and maybe even like him a little.  He is getting fattened up and settled in.  He sleeps in Bella’s room and is pretty well behaved.  He does have poor eyesight (cataracts) so you have to watch out when you are eating.  Last night I was eating and pointed the remote control to change the channel and he tried to bite it =-).

* I am really excited to be getting to spend 1/2 a day with Grafton on Friday.  Bella and I decided that it would be easier if I just hung out over at Brandon and Kathy’s house with her and Grafton while she worked on Friday, since we are leaving straight from there to head to Atlanta for our trip.  I can’t wait to play with my little friend!  He is such a sweet, fun little guy.  Thanks Brandon, Kathy, and Bella for letting me hang with G!

* And speaking of trips – we will be in California with my dad, stepmom, and various other kin next week!!!  Bella and I will leave on Saturday morning for a week in sunny, beautiful Redlands, CA.

This is the first Thanksgiving I have gotten to spend with my Dad and stepmom since I was married!  Plus, I haven’t been “home” to Redlands (where I was raised) for approximately 10 years and Bella has never been there.  There is so much I want her to see of my childhood.  Plus, I’m totally looking forward to cashew pizza and Winchell’s Donuts.

I plan to have lots to post about and pictures when we get back!

Potpourri of Thoughts, Part 2…

So, we got Joey moved out and I did better than expected.  Aside from the fact that I was carrying stuff to the truck and crying, that is.  I think I hid it pretty well from the other guys.  The actual move out was pretty hard for me, but once they pulled off I felt much better.

He has gotten settled into his new place.  I did have a really hard time when I visited his new place and saw his furniture in a new room.  This is the furniture we bought Joey when he was two years old.  It has always been in MY house.  It just doesn’t look good in someone else’s.

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Bella had a GREAT party for her 23rd birthday.  It was a Nintendo Themed Costume Party.  She spent days decorating the house (some of which is still up).

She had a PacMan room in our Living Room:

A Donkey Kong Country Room in our Den:

Mario in our Kitchen:

Rainbow Road in our Hall:

And Star Fox in Joey’s old room:

Prizes were awarded to Alaura Cook (3rd place), Andrew Eastwold (2nd place), and Caleb Quave (1st place).

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College football kicked off tonight…WOOOOO HOOOOO…just saying.

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We are planning for a visit to California to visit my Dad and my stepmom Louava for Thanksgiving.  It will be just us two girls since the boys will both be working that week.  I’m really excited and can’t wait to see them.  I don’t get to see my Daddy and Louava near enough.  The last time we got to see them in the flesh was when Bella graduated from high school.  In case you don’t know when Bella graduated…that was back in 2005.  They were going to come and visit again when Joey graduated high school, but due to some health problems were unable to fly.  I absolutely cannot wait to put my arms around my Daddy and give him a great big hug!

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I forget between times that I write on my blog how much I enjoy it.  I definitely need to take time to do this more often.  I don’t know if anyone else really enjoys reading what I write, but it is great to get it out of my head.

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Mullets…I still don’t get them.  Business in the front, party in the back – what’s that about???  And why are people still wearing them?  What brought that up?  Just saw Billy Ray Cyrus’s video for “Acky Breaky Heart.”  Wow…

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It’s September – WHY are your Christmas lights still up?  You are either way late in taking them down or way early in putting them up.  STOP IT.

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I’m still on the South Beach Diet.  I’ve lost 16 lbs. and 18 inches.  The inches have gone down the last couple of weeks but the pounds not so much.  I know this is normal but I’m ready for some pounds to get moving.  I keep having to tell myself that I didn’t gain all this weight overnight.  It took closer to 15 years actually.  Therefore, it might take awhile to take off.  I do feel like I’ve finally gained some control in this aspect of my life.

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“For You formed my inward parts:  You knitted me together inmy mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13).

As someone who could have been aborted but was instead born and put up for adoption – I just don’t get it.  How much clearer do some people need it to be.  I’m NOT a mistake, I was NOT an unplanned pregnancy – God planned me.  God formed me and planned for the parents I was to have.

So how can people really believe that abortion is okay?  How can they say that these babies are mistakes and unplanned?  Again, I just don’t get it.

[getting down off of my soapbox now]

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Fresh Cut Grass…

fresh cut grassWhenever I take one of those quizzes that seem to get passed around via email or Facebook, there always seems to be a question asking what your favorite smell is. Invariably, I always have the same answer – Fresh Cut Grass. A lot of people seem perplexed by this answer and want to know the reason behind it. So here it is…

One of the earliest memories I have is of my daddy. I was around 3 years old, no older than four. I know this because we still lived in Colorado, where I was born and lived until I was four. I was in the backyard and I was swinging on the swing set. My daddy was cutting the grass in the backyard. He had told me that the only way I could be in the backyard while he was mowing was to stay on the swing.

So that’s what I did…I swung and swung and swung the whole time my daddy was cutting the grass. It was spring or summer at the time. I remember the sun shining but it wasn’t too hot or too cool. The sky was a most beautiful blue color. The breeze was blowing by as I went back and forth. The only sound was the sound of the lawnmower.

And the smell…it was wonderful: this fresh, sharp smell of the grass. It smelled clean and, I can’t describe it any other way but green. This smell is all wrapped around in my mind with memories of my daddy. If I smell fresh cut grass he is all I think about. I don’t think that there is really a way to separate the two. It’s all about the emotions of those particular moments of time.

That memory is one of the few memories I have where I can remember exactly how I felt right then. I remember the happiness of being outside with my daddy. I remember how free I felt. I had none of the weight of responsibilities, worries. I knew that there was nothing to worry about or to fear because my daddy was there and I was safe. I just was in the moment and enjoying the moment.

This is such a blessing to have this memory. I think that when my daddy is no longer here on this earth, this will be what I remember more than anything else.

I try to remember this when I think about my Heavenly Father too. I have the same innocence and sense of complete protection from God. I have no weight of responsibilities and worries because I have nothing to worry about or fear because my Father is here and I am safe. I am just in the moment and enjoying the moment. And I thank my Heavenly Father for my earthly father who first made me see these things.

My Adoption, Part VI…

The day after the funeral Ruth and I had set up a lunch meeting. The day of the meeting, my brother was so nervous for me (worse than I was) that he insisted on going with me. I think he was really worried that I was going to be hurt. When we got to the restaurant he didn’t want to intrude, so he sat at a table a few tables away from mine and Ruth’s table.

I walked up to the table and there they were…Ruth, my half-sister Shannon, and my biological grandfather – Grandpa Bill. Ruth got up and hugged me. To me it seemed a little like coming home. She told me that I felt exactly how she remembered me feeling when she held me that one time in the hospital. Everyone was really nice but you could tell that we were all very nervous.

Looking at Ruth I could see where a lot of my looks had come from. To put it as a former boss of mine put it….I had her same “squinty eyes, pointy nose, and thin lips”…hahaha! Really, there was a lot of me that did look just like her. It was very strange for me because I had never been able to say “oh I have my momma’s eyes, or my daddy’s nose” like my friends could. Now I could say that too. From the picture of himself that Jurgen had sent me, I could see where some features came from him as well. Especially my prematurely graying hair! He has this long mane of salt and pepper hair.
Another thing I could immediately see was that there were some features that Shannon and I shared too.

We spent a couple of hours just sitting there talking. It was a big relief for Ruth to be talking too. There was this complete void of years where in Ruth’s life I never even existed except for her. Ruth’s mother, my biological grandmother, had died of breast cancer the year before I found Ruth. Ruth and her mother had never talked about the fact that Ruth had had a baby in the 30 years since I was born. It was like it had never occurred. Ruth even went so far as to say that if her mother had still been alive when she had been contacted by Betty, she would never have agreed to even writing letters.

After Betty contacted Ruth and Ruth had decided to go forward with writing letters, she had talked to her father. He was very willing to discuss my existence and was very excited to meet me. Grandpa Bill had even written an “autobiography” after his wife’s death and ended up copying it and sending me one. It was so much information about where I came from and who these people were that were my physical relatives but whom I didn’t know.

The meeting was everything that I could have hoped for. I know some people who haven’t been through this probably were expecting me to say that we saw each other and it was just like a fairy tale. However, this is real life and there were a lot of considerations on both parts.

First, I still had a mother and a father. Ruth was never going to take their place, nor did she want to. Second, Ruth and I are very different people. I can so clearly see the grace of God in His putting me with the parents he did. I’m a very free-spirited person and my parents were the perfect mix of nurturing and strict. They kept me in line and my feet on the ground. Ruth is very permissive. She grew up in the 60’s and definitely has that type of values and beliefs. She allowed Shannon to go to school or not as she wanted to and even eventually allowed her to drop out. I do not see any way that I would have ended up a decent, hardworking individual, much less a believer, staying in the environment I would have been raised in. I do not say this to criticize Ruth; I say this to give God the glory in His perfect plans and ways.

I think the biggest thing I got from finding Ruth and Jurgen was a profound sense of gratefulness to my parents for the way they loved and raised me as their own and gratefulness to God for His lovingkindness in my life.

I look back at my life and can see that I would have never met my husband, had my children, became a Christian had I not been given up for adoption. So the second thing I got from finding Ruth and Jurgen was a profound respect for the decisions they made concerning me. There were other decisions they could have made: abortion or keeping me and raising me….but they choose to make the ultimate sacrifice and give me to a couple who couldn’t have children of their own. And for that I will always be grateful and love them for it.

In the years since this time, I have kept in touch with Ruth. We email back and forth some and I have tried to talk to her some about her beliefs but she isn’t interested in that subject at all. I enjoy talking to her and we both share a love of reading and books and that fuels a lot of our discussions.

Grandpa Bill died several years after our meeting. We corresponded until his death and I really enjoyed getting to know him. I do wish I could have known him better. He was an interesting and sweet man.

Shannon ended up dropping out of high school, getting a job, and finally ended up getting married. We had a pretty good relationship started for awhile but it has kind of just faded away. She knows I’m here if she needs me but I’m sure it’s as hard for her as it is for me.

I haven’t really talked to Jurgen in years. He is a very free-spirited person and it has been hard to keep in touch. Bella went through a time when she was in high school where she and Jurgen wrote to each other a lot. Bella enjoys writing poetry and that is primarily what Jurgen does now. They definitely had a lot to talk about.

The End!