Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy Birfday, Bub...

This one is going to be quick, but you all know that I just don't have it in me to let a birthday of my bub pass without an acknowledgement of some kind.  Chad would be 39 years old today...and I can hardly believe that.  I've told you before, those years that Chad was sick and right after he passed, it's almost like my mind lost them...I just don't remember that much.  Consequently, I don't feel the 36 years of age that I am...and I can't believe my sweet baby brother will be 30 soon, or that Chad, if he was still here, would be embarking on his last year in his 30's.

How is this possible?

When did it happen?

We were JUST kids...



Oh that picture slays me...how sweet are they???

I love dem boys.

I asked the beau if we could go to dinner tonight at one of Chad and I's favorite spots.  I'm in the mood to celebrate.  You would think, after burying my PJ last week, that maybe I would be extra sad today, missing them both.  But, oddly, I am full of joy.  I'm all smiles... Crazy, cause I don't think anyone would blame me for being sad and, really, it would be okay if I was.  Maybe it's naive to think of it this way, but Chad and PJ have each other now...and that matters to me...because they both have Jesus and one day, we will all have each other again because we ALL have Jesus.

Oh, wow.  What a day that will be...

Yeah...this life is tough.  You have to fight every day to keep your head up...bitterness, sarcasm, frustration, anger, pity...there are days they can try and eat you alive.  But the thing about my Lord is this joy...it never fails to eventually well up inside of me and overflow this abundance of hope...


I remember my affliction and my wandering,

    the bitterness and the gall.

 I well remember them,

    and my soul is downcast within me.
 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

    therefore I will wait for him.”

 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

    to the one who seeks him…

-Lamentation 3:20-25


Ephraim.


How about that million dollar smile?

Happy Birfday, bub.  Looking forward to that day...that wonderful day...save me a hammock!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Whatever It Takes...

I haven't given up on blogging...as it may seem.  I love to write beyond most things but, unfortunately, my life at the moment doesn't lend many moments to it.  Many of the blogs that I love and are done well are by folks that actually do it for a living...and I think that says it all.  My writing takes a few hours and it has to be pretty concentrated time...not a little here and a little there.  That can be tough to come by for a full-time gal in a full-time world!  And it takes more emotional energy than I find myself wanting to expend these days, which could probably mean I need a dose of therapy...but I'm gonna settle for a 90-minute facial next weekend.  We'll see what that does.  ;)  Anyway...I'm gonna make the attempt today...

SOOOOOOO....

Happy Valentines Day!

Even though I do have a Valentine love and a date tonight and all dat today, I still am just not crazy about V-Day.  I've been single for a lotta lotta years, and it was always a tough day to swallow with grace.  So, my beau and I (much to his relief because he is so not the ooshy-gooshy romantic type), we keep it pretty simple.  Dinner and a card and I'm happy as a clam!

He's a lucky guy.

I tell him.

Lots.

Okay, okay, okay.  I'm a lucky gal, too!!!

So, enough of the Valentine nonsense.

The big news of late is that my sweet and precious Papa Jack...PJ...went home to be with Jesus.  PJ is my mom's father, who lived with my folks for the last 5 years.  To call him sweet and precious and kind is the understatement of the year.  He was quite simply the best granddaddy a girl could ask for, and every time I think about his lonely green chair and his many unsmoked pipes, all used to being well used for many, many years...well, the tears just flow.

It was the wish of my granddaddy to be buried with his wife, my Mimi who was lost 19 years ago to cancer, in the town they called home, Tompkinsville, KY.  They lived there until my Mimi was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989 and soon after moved to North Carolina to be closer to us, and a medical center equipped to treat her.  After my Mimi died in 1994, PJ lived alone and we loved having ihm close.  He never missed a ballgame, birthday, weekend home, graduation...for as long as he was able.  Five years ago, my folks made the decision to make the move to Charleston, SC, and they packed PJ up and took him to the beach!  Since then, he has become a fixture at my mom and dad's house...in his green leather chair smoking one of his many pipes.  He loved to feed his clan and fill up gas tanks galore...if you came to see PJ, it was gonna be on his tab!  I can hear him now, as I walk back into his downstairs bedroom right down a small hall from the kitchen...

"Heeeeeeey, Martiii!!!"

All he wanted was a kiss and a hug, and to look in my eyes and get a reassuring word to see that I was happy.  It was all he required in the world from me.  From all of us.  He just wanted us to be happy, and to love the Lord...that was it.  "Whatever it takes!" he would always say.  I can still hear him...

But now, he is gone.  The best way I know how to say what I feel is to say that I am happy for him, but so sad for us.  He was ready to go, and for that I am so grateful.  He was a good man, who lived a good life.  He didn't suffer, and he went with strength and dignity, and he is in his eternal home.  With my Mimi, and my bub.  I am sure he and Chad are doing some mean fishing in Heaven, Chad showing all the best holes!

I am so very grateful.

We buried him last Saturday, at Oak Hill Cemetery in T-ville, KY, next to the one love of his life...Clara Alexander.  They were best friends and constant companions, and he missed her every day from the day he lost her til the day he went Home.  I wrote a tribute to PJ for his service, and I though I would share it on the blog.  One of the Scriptures that I reference at the end is the Scripture out of 1 Corinthians on love, so I thought it befitting for today.  Missing one more of my special Valentines today...





My Papa Jack

I heard my Pastor say years ago that the manner in which a person ages is, in many  ways, a measure of their faith and motive in life. Those folks who grow increasingly cantankerous and embittered with age perhaps, somewhere along the way, lost sight of their purpose in Christ.  Maybe someone had come along and stolen their success, a loved one had betrayed or disappointed them, or life just hadn’t gone as they had hoped or planned…as William Shakespeare writes, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”  

Then again, there are those folks who seem to become gentler and kinder with each passing birthday.  Their patience and joy increase as the years pass, and their loved ones are blessed by their presence.  They know well from experience that their purpose in life is centered on Christ, and through life’s highest mountains and deepest valleys…God is always faithful, and His Word is a lam unto their feet and a light unto their path.  Theses folks have kept their hearts focused on Christ, His light shines through them, and He continues to use them for His Kingdom year after year.  Folks like my Papa Jack, for instance…my PJ
For me, my grandfather…my PJ… will live forever not only in eternity, but in my heart as the embodiment of many things.  He taught me, by a life well-lived, so many lessons:  joy and faith in an everyday life, resilience in the face of defeat, provision and even abundance when there seemed not enough, grace and hope in moments of difficulty, generosity to the undeserving, and kindness and respect to all fellow men.  He was not a perfect man, but he was a good man who lived a good life.  And, above all, he exhibited the love of Christ wherever he went.  Even until his dying days, I saw God grant my sweet granddaddy opportunities to share the reason for his hope…what an awesome privilege, and testimony that we are meant to be used by God, even unto our last breath.  My PJ showed me that the true measure of the success of a man is not education, money, or business, but a life that pointed others to Christ, and strived to be more and more like His Savior every day.  The words of 1 Corinthians 13 describe him perfectly in my mind and heart…
PJ was patient, PJ was kind. He did not envy, he did not boast, he was not proud. He did not dishonor others, he was not self-seeking, nor easily angered, and he kept no record of wrongs. PJ did not delight in evil but rejoiced with the truth. He always protected, always trusted, always hoped, always persevered.
Thank you, PJ. The love and faithfulness of your life has indeed birthed the blessings of mine.  I’m not sure a better legacy could be left.

“…Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
-Matthew 25:23