February 11, 2013

Some Hard Eucharistos (and some easy ones too)

Every week I list them here.  The items I've tucked into my Gratitude Journal app throughout the week,  things that catch my attention, things I remember to say thank you for.  Some of them are hard.  Some of them are easy.  All of them sum up where God has had me this week. If God has me somewhere, I want to look around and take notice. How often I forget to do that though!  Just think how long the list would be if  I remembered in every moment where all the good comes from. I've been counting for a long time, but in recent weeks I've been more deliberate, more intentional about looking for God, refusing to passively record the good stuff after the fact.  I'm trying to see God in every moment.  I feel a change.  Ann said it would change us.  I didn't see the change for a long time.  Even though I was listing the gratitude, I didn't always feel grateful.  But I sense a softening in my heart as I am humbled by the quiet footsteps of God that walk beside me day by day.  When I bow low in humble adoration, on hands and knees, my eyes are wide open to the footprints all around me.  His footprints. He isn't way out there somewhere.  He's right here.  Do you see him?

1398.  The outline of leafless branches against the sky

1399.  Photography inspiration from Kim Classen

1400.  Hearing these words, "Whether I'm in the mountains or the valleys, I love ya!" spoken by my husband as we talked on the phone while he drove through the Kiamichi mountains.

1401.  Combing Dad's hair

1402.  Another late night visit to Dad's.  He's always so pleasantly suprised when no visitors are expected and they show up.

1403.  Finding Dad's hiding place for his glasses 

1404.  Loving on my puppy through the fence every day when I get home.  It's routine.  I pull up into the driveway, open my car door, and I can hear his excitement.  As soon as I head toward the fence I start saying, "I see you!" and he starts running laps around the perimeter of the backyard.  And just in time to reach my hand as it squeezes through the gap in the fence, he bolts towards me.  I talk baby talk, and he kisses my hand.  Why is he so excited? Could it just be that he loves me so much?  Or could it really be that he knows that dinner is on its way now that Mom is home?!

1405.  Tired feet that lead to a foot massage and an apricot scrub

1406.  Cinnamon toast.  One piece of bread, smothered in butter, then covered in sugar and sprinkled with cinnamon.  Baked then broiled. Yum! An old favorite that reminds me of home.

1407.  A squirrel scurrying across the road

1408.  Heart shaped measuring cups just in time for Valentine's Day

1409.  A new Valentine garland hanging above my breakfast bar

1410.  Reading a devotional to Mom from Jesus Calling and having her say, "I think that applies more to you than me."   It was about being weary. "Come to Me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life. . . ."

1411.  That feeling after I change from work clothes to evening relax clothes

1412.  Being at home after a long hard work day

1413.  Progress on going through papers. Downsizing Mom's apartment when she moved to assisted living meant lots of paperwork to go through and file.  It's all in my living room.  I'm up to my eyeballs.

1414.  A shredder to limit the bulk of garbage and lend security

1415.  Zephaniah 3:17 - "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."  He SINGS over us!

1416.  Fresh heartache for Dad.  When you are so busy caring for someone and so busying worrying about their welfare, sometimes you forget to check your own pulse. Maybe sometimes you forget intentionally so you don't have to feel the ache.   I started feeling the ache again this week.  I cried in front of Dad.  Something I had toughened myself against and hate to do in front of him, but my heart just aches that he has to be alone, and I can't take care of him all the time.  When he cries, it's double ache, a massive heart attack of wishing I could change all of this.  But why am I thankful for the heartache?  Because it's good to feel it again, to miss him, to need him, and not just be busy about taking care of him.  He's such a good, good, man.  I wish you could know him.

1417.  A new love for mom.  Every time I drive across town to her place I anticipate all that needs to be done and that I need to make sure she knows.  I tend to the activities of caring for her, but I don't really care for her.  God has given me a new heart where she is concerned.  He's softened me some and made me sensitive to her loneliness and how she's traveled through a terrain of mountains in the last two years, and she still keeps going.  Sometimes it seems she is barefoot and bleeding, but she keeps going.  For all of her faults, she keeps fighting, and she stays lonely, and I can't fix it, but God is showing me how to enter into her loneliness and empathize and buffer the pain.  I cry for her anew as well.  It's more risky to feel these things, but it's more rewarding because I can lend mercy better when I can feel the pain.

1418.  Seeing Don one last time before he dies.  There is no use in saying, "I wish."  But, I'll say it anyway. I wish I had gotten there sooner.  Our friend Don decided a few weeks ago to stop taking chemotherapy and let the cancer run its course.  We sent cards.  We talked on the phone, and we kept saying, "We've got to get over there to see Don before it's too late."  I guess when you show people you love them while they are alive then "too lates" never happen, and Don knew how much we loved, admired,  and appreciated him. But, we wanted to tell him one more time.  He was one of those people that walked like Jesus, talked like Jesus, lived like Jesus.  He smiled and praised the Lord while the cancer had its way.  So yesterday we went to see him.  By the time we got there he was unconscious.  We stood in a circle with family and friends around the bed, and my humble husband prayed, in hushed tones and tears, a mighty prayer of gratitude and love for this great man and his God. Don breathed heavy on and off.  It won't be long now.  I'm thankful for Don's life, that we kenw him, that he knew how we felt about him, that we saw him one last time before we see him again.

UPDATE:  I just got this message from Don's wife, "Don went home to see Jesus face to face. Praise the Lord!"  I am selfishly sad as tears drip over the rims, but rejoice that he fought the good fight and has finished the race, and most of all because he is indeed with Jesus now, the author and finisher of our faith.

A blessing captured . . . 
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free . . .
 ~ Galatians 5:1a ~



13 comments:

  1. My bucket is so full right now but when I come for a visit you put into words so many of the things I am feeling but can't quiet grasp..I know Jesus is closer than my breathe because He says so and I know He is taking me to a place of deeper understanding of Himself but it still hurts and is still hard. So often, I deal by just playing the game and keeping it to myself but I feel free when I am here.....
    Thank you for sharing your heart on your blog. You help me as you struggle with your own issues in your life....

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    1. Oh Nancy my eyes are brimming with tears. Tears of graditude that these words here are being used but also sad tears as I sense the ache in your heart. I'm breathing a prayer for you even now.

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    2. Oh Nancy my eyes are brimming with tears. Tears of graditude that these words here are being used but also sad tears as I sense the ache in your heart. I'm breathing a prayer for you even now.

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  2. I have tears in my eyes right now. Everything you said made an exact point to my life..or where my life is headed. Bless You and thank you for sharing!

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    1. Nikki, I'm so glad the words were right for you today. God is so good, better than I can comprehend.

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  3. Stephani, I saved your blog for last on my roll because I knew I'd want to slowly savor each word. So many things I want to say to you, but don't know how. Maybe I just don't know how to say them as eloquently as I know you could. What touches me most overall is your faith and love of the Lord. What you gleaned from that verse in Zephaniah just blew me away: "He SINGS over us!" How many times I must've read that and glossed right over that part. So, thank you. This will be added to a running list of favorite verses. God bless you, dear girl.

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    1. Yes, it is such an amazing picture to think of him singing over us. This great magnificent God who rules the world, sings tenderly over his children! Awesome!

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  4. I, too, love that you shared the verse in Zephaniah. It's the verse that has inspired the name of my own blog. How my heart goes out to you, Stephani, in your love and caring for your parents. May God bless you in all! Oh, and I love your photo!

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  5. Wow. Stephani, this post brought tears to my eyes. I don't even know what to write. Your tender care of those around you...your reliance on God, your sweet puppy. I am praying for you today...that God will make His face to shine upon you...God Bless you.

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    1. Anita, I've grown to expect kind words from you, but it's all God. I'm not capable of loving Mom and Dad the way they need. Each day he amazes me with how he moves in spite of me!

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  6. Beautiful post, and how wonderful it is to keep a gratitude journal! I have loved mine and it has revolutionized my life! beautiful photo and scripture, and how true!!!

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  7. Your words ring so loudly in my heart - I am where you are in some of them. And, yes, we need to see the eucharistos all around us. It softens the blows of life and helps the tears when they fall.
    ~Adrienne~

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    1. Sweet Adrienne, I'm glad these words helped in some way. That's why I write. We are so blessed, it's important to keep looking for the blessings!

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