Thirsty Thursday: Citizenship in Heaven

I wasn’t planning on breaking my self imposed blogging hiatus today, but I read something this morning that changed my mind:

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20, 21

The phrase “citizenship in heaven” really stuck with me.  Especially since I am still struggling with what direction I should go in my writing and the death of my Uncle.

He was the only Uncle who never missed a birthday.  He attended my high school graduation.  If I hadn’t burnt out, he would have attended my college graduation with his face painted the team’s colors.  He was the only Uncle who attended my wedding (but not the only one invited).

My Uncle was a Marine in the Vietnam War.  I remember my father talking about him having flashbacks.  We all think Agent Orange was the root of the stomach cancer that ended his life.

Above everything else, my Uncle loved God.  It was beyond obvious by the way he loved people.  All people.

(Jesus Speaking) By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:35

And:

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  1 John 4:8

He was involved with a prison ministry and would hang out with the inmates.  As a child and shallow follower of Christ, I would wonder why he hung out with prisoners.  Why would you willingly spend time with convicted criminals?  I know why now.  Because we ALL need to know that we are loved.  We ALL need to understand that God loves us, and there are times when it takes one of God’s followers to show that to us.  We are His arms to hug.  We are His lips to smile.  We are the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).  If it wasn’t beneath Jesus to spend time with society’s cast offs, it isn’t beneath us.

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard it, He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Matthew 9:10-13

I am so thankful that the last words I said to him were, “I love you.”  I had no idea that would be the last time I would see him, and I’m not sure if he really heard me because he was on the phone when we were leaving.  But I think he did because he looked up at me after I said it.

You are loved, too.  I hope that you know it.

Apparently, It Can Get Worse or (I’m Wrong Sometimes…)

Yesterday, I claimed Thursday the “crown jewel” in a bad week.  I was wrong.  The Uncle I mentioned in that post went home to be with the Lord (I plan on writing a post about him next week).

Then I got this in my email:

My name is not listed.  I think I would be less sad about not being a finalist if that news weren’t paired with a loved one’s death.  I would still be sad, though.  I was pretty confident that I would make the finalists.  More confident than I have been in myself in a super long time.

I should look at both of these devastating events in a positive light.  My Uncle was suffering.  He was on a morphine drip, and he was still in excruciating pain.  He is no longer losing his battle with cancer.  I have a story idea that I never would have come up with on my own because I participated in this contest.  It is completely outside my comfort zone.  I know I will become a better writer because of it.

But right now, I can’t.  I’m allowing myself to cry and grieve.  Even Jesus cried when He heard about His friend dying:

Jesus wept. John 11:35 (Here’s more)

By the way, this is the shortest verse in the Bible.  It’s the one my brothers and I chose to memorize in a Sunday School contest to see who could memorize the most verses.  In retrospect, I don’t think that’s the best method to get kids to memorize scripture…

My First Earthquake or (How Not to Evacuate an Area)

This morning was miserable.  I had a skull crushing headache and lacked the energy required to change out of my pajamas.  From my vantage point of the couch, I had been able to delude myself into thinking I could contain Cupcake all morning.  Then Hunny came home from lunch.

Cupcake is what you would call a messy eater.  She’s been eating on her own for what seems like a long time now (She’s almost two.  Shouldn’t she be a master at using a fork and spoon by now?).  Since it’s summer, I came up with a great solution.  I strip her down to her diaper for lunch.  This way I only have to wipe her down, and I don’t have to stain treat the dirty outfit and put on a new outfit.  It saves a lot of time.

I’m laying on the couch nursing a soda, when I hear Hunny freaking out and yelling my name.  I had made tortellini with tomato sauce for lunch.  The tomato sauce in the fridge was bad, so I opened a new one.  I wasn’t able to throw away the bad sauce because we are out of trash bags.  Guess which one Hunny used?  I tore myself off the couch and fixed him a new bowl with the good sauce.  Being sick and tired with my feelings hurt, I went into the bedroom to cry alone.  Cupcake follows me because she can tell something is up.

As I’m sitting on the bed with her, I feel the bed tremor.  Is the bed moving?  I felt it again.  Oh no, I’m sicker than I thought.  I didn’t make a sound.  The bed began to shake harder.  What on earth is wrong with me?  Then the walls shook.  It’s not me.  The ceiling shook.  The entire room shook.  Hunny yelled to me, “We’ve gotta get out of here!”

That’s the exact moment Cupcake starts running from me, essentially naked, all over the bed.  I grab her clothes and run around the bed looking for a discarded pair of jeans.  None to be found.  I cannot go outside without a bra!  I throw one into my laptop bag thinking I can put it on in the bathroom at the coffee shop down the street.  I grab the only pair of pants I can find, a pair of thick, dark wash jeggings.  I slide my feet into flip flops.  Cupcake thinks I’m playing a game with her, so she’s hard to contain.  I wrestle her down and get her clothes back on all the while praying the building doesn’t collapse on top of us.  We run downstairs and outside.

We live in downtown Statesvegas in an abandoned building that was fashioned into four small apartments.  This is not the type of place you want to be during a severe thunderstorm let alone something stronger.  There are times when the wind blows really hard and things rattle in our apartment.  On top of that, major construction on the road and city plumbing system is going down right in front of our apartment.  I thought one of the machines ran into our building and hit it.

Across the street, there are crowds of people outside the office building.  It doesn’t look like the construction caused the building to move.  We started talking to people and learned there was an earthquake!  I never thought I would experience an earthquake in my home state.  Hurricanes, yes.  But an earthquake on the east coast?  Never.

There’s nothing like walking around in a big black tee and thick jeggings during the hottest part of summer.  I think sometimes sweating can help you think.  Thankfully, no one around us was hurt.  We are fine, and our building is still standing.  Our old, rickety building didn’t extinguish my life today.  So what now?  God keeps reminding me that our time is short.  What more can I do with the time He has given me?  What more can I do to be a blessing to others?  What about you?  A building didn’t collapse on you today.  What are you going to do with the time God has given you?

When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.  When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.  Psalm 94:18-19

Thirsty Thursday: Live Adventurously

I follow Kat Richter’s Blog After I Quit My Day Job.  She recently wrote a post titled Sometimes, Ovarian Cancer Can Be A Good Thing.  It is a much more serious post than my Six Month Experiment.  I encourage you to read that post.  Consider your mortality.  Is there anything you would change if you had months or weeks to live?

If you are curious about God and are interested in learning more about Him go here: How to Know God

30 Days, 30 Movies {Day 10} Movie from your Childhood or (Bedknobs and Broomsticks)

I was born over a decade after this movie was released in the theater, but thanks to the magic that is home video.  I was able to watch this with my brothers and cousins at my Grandmother’s house.  I thought that I would be super emotional watching this movie because the last time I saw it I was a child, and this will be the first time watching it as an adult and without my Grandmother being alive.  She passed away around the holidays in 2009.

Instead of her death ruining the holidays, it was like a Christmas miracle.  She had battled with Alzheimer’s for many years.  She stopped looking like my Grandmother several years before her death.  She was in pain.  She was confused about everything.  She’d ask us to take her with us, but she was not allowed to leave.  Near the end, she couldn’t feed herself.
It was torture visiting her sometimes.

I would have to look away and choke down my tears because I didn’t want to cry and scare her along with the other Alzheimer’s patients.  Especially since she thought I was the pastor’s wife and we were just visiting her.  Hunny is not a pastor, and I wasn’t his wife… yet.  I would wait to cry until I got out of the door to the Alzheimer’s wing.  A few tears would trickle out.  I couldn’t allow myself to really cry until I was out of the building.  I didn’t want to make the regular residents feel bad, either.  Once I was out of the door, I broke down.  I sobbed, “Why is God letting her live?”

Hunny always listened.  He prayed with me.  Just being there and visiting my Grandmother with me made it less painful.  There were times when I didn’t recognize her from behind.  That tiny frail skeleton couldn’t be the same woman who would always correct my grammar and say, “How wonderful!”  about our accomplishments in a booming voice.  Or the same person who jerked rakes away from us because we weren’t raking “correctly.”

I am so thankful that she’s not suffering anymore.  God is so merciful.  I know she is with Him in heaven.

Now that I’ve sufficiently depressed us (I’m bawling as I type this), I want to ask you to do something for me.  Give your grandmother a hug or a call.  If she’s not with us, give your mother a hug or a call.  If your mother is no longer with us, here is a hug from me: *HUG*

I promise that I will actually review the movie next time.

Favorite Line: I think I prefer you as a rabbit, Charles.

Favorite Character: Emelius Brown

Favorite Scene:  When they win a dancing contest in the “beautiful, briny sea.”

Since I couldn’t find a good trailer, here is my favorite song.  Enjoy!

Thirsty Thursday: Life is Worthwhile

My friend Daniel wrote about Amy Winehouse in his latest post.  It’s kind of sad that we watched It’s A Wonderful Life, a movie about a man who is prevented from taking his life, when thinking about Amy Winehouse’s unfortunate end.

We will never know how important our lives and the lives of others are this side of heaven.  I encourage you to reach out to those you know who are going through a rough time.  You never know how a kind word or gesture could change someone’s life.

You are special.  You are worthwhile.  And if no one has said this to you recently, you are loved.  God bless you.

Wanted Dead or Alive Or (How’s my experiment going?)

I told you last week that I am acting like I have six months to live (for those of you who didn’t read that post, I am not really dying).  How’s it going?

One of the things I wanted to do as a pretend dying person was to let Hunny know that I love him more than anything and anyone outside of God.  I am not a morning person.  I am a sleeping person who loves sleep.  We sleep in on the weekends to make up for the week.  Saturday, Hunny got up and asked me if I would make breakfast “in a little while,” which usually means whenever I roll out of bed.  I laid there for a second and thought, “If I had six months to live, I would get up and make my wonderful husband a yummy breakfast.”  “You can sleep when you’re dead,” is a well known expression, right?

Well, it should be, “If you don’t sleep and you’re in a crabby mood, people are going to wish you were dead.”  Tired, sensitive me plus hungry, cranky Hunny equals disaster.

Let me set the scene for you.  The night before, I had frozen fish on top of the toaster oven, and a ride down the street with Hunny turned into a romp about town and picking up dinner out.  Hours later, Hunny noticed the fish and the fish juice had dripped into the toaster oven.  Yay.  He wiped down the toaster oven for me, and by morning I had forgotten all about it.

We had exactly two English muffins in the freezer.  Those being Hunny’s favorite, I thought they would make a perfect centerpiece for my love’s breakfast.  I popped them in the toaster oven and went into the other room.  Hunny yells to me, “You’re using the toaster oven?  What about the fish?”  I come into the room and smell my mistake.  I was upset.  Hunny was upset.  Not the loving breakfast for which I’d hoped.

Another thing I wanted to do was to spend more time with friends.  A friend of mine was free to get together this Saturday.  We were orginally getting together in the morning, but then we had to switch to late afternooon.  I had to check with my family first because they were going to have a cookout.  Well, Dad didn’t know when the cookout would be and my mom had other things on her mind.  Long story short, the cookout didn’t happen and I didn’t see my friend either.

0-2.

Leaving scripts behind for Hunny was another goal of my six months to live.  I have written three pages, since I started my experiment not counting what I am writing today.  Score one for me!  Finally!

Six Months or (My Experiment with My Life)

Naturally, I have trouble sleeping at night.  I remember being four and wishing I could watch TV with my parents.  As a teenager, I just kept my light on and wrote or read things or whatever.  In college, I was kind of an insomniac on the border of having an ulcer.  It only took me one semester to consume a giant container of Rolaids.  Anyway, now I’m a happily married lady who lies in bed while her love snores away (I wouldn’t give you up for the WORLD!).

While I was lying in bed, I thought about something my Hunny’s friend asked on facebook, “How would you live your life if you only had one day to live?”  As a Christian, I’m supposed to treat everyday as my last and live it with the intention of giving God the glory and being a source of comfort to the world.  I don’t treat everyday like it was my last.  Honestly, if I died tonight, I wouldn’t feel bad about my life.  I’ve made mistakes like every other human being, but I am doing my best and that is all I can give.  I’m not saying that I wouldn’t be sad to leave Hunny a widower.  It is devastating to think of Hunny being on earth without me.  That is not the point.  I wouldn’t do anything differently with one day.  I realized that if I had six months to live, I would do things differently.

If I had six months to live, I wouldn’t care that I had six pounds to go to be my goal weight.

If I had six months to live, I would want to have scripts left behind that Hunny could sell or make.  Half written scripts, log lines, and fragments of story ideas can’t be made or sold.  This would mean that I would have to get over myself and the writer’s block with which I’ve been dealing.

I would want Hunny to know how important he is to me.  I would take more pictures of Cupcake with me.  That way when I’m gone, she’ll have evidence of me in her life.  There aren’t a lot of pictures of us together because I am so particular about the way I look in pictures.

I will take more pictures with Cupcake

If I had six months to live, I’d want to go to France.  I’m a big francophile and have been since kindergarten.  I would never, ever ask Hunny to get into a bad financial situation so that I could go to France, so even if I had six months to live, I would “go” to “France” as I will next month for my birthday.  I’ll share that with you when I “go.”

If I had six months to live, I’d want to see my friends more.  I don’t have any friends in the town where I live.  All my people live in other cities.  I would definitely make time to see them more often.

For the next six months, I’m going to be living as if they are my last.  Don’t worry.  I’m not going to go on crazy shopping sprees or gain all the weight I lost back.  I’m just going to do the things that I would want to do if I were in that situation.  And although the paranoid part of me wonders if this is a bad idea, like I’m asking God to take me in six months, the other part of me thinks that it is great.  If God does take me in six months, then I have done all the things I wanted to do.

If you had six months to live, what would you do?  Would you do anything differently?

September Sucks

*DISCLAIMER*

Your birthday does not count as a reason September sucks.  Your birthday is a very special day.  The day God brought you into this world and into your family is both a miracle and a blessing.  It has nothing to do with this post.

September 11, 2001 – The campus was uncomfortably quiet.  The normal throngs moving in every direction were absent.  There were only ten other people walking on the quad as I returned to my room from class.  When I got to my room, my roommate was watching TV.  She said classes were cancelled.  I saw the smoking sky on the screen.  Life would never be the same.

September 15, 2005 – Getting a call from my father late at night is not normal.  He hardly ever calls and never late at night.  My uncle was dying.  They didn’t know how much longer he had.  In my lifetime, I had seen him maybe five times, but God had been bringing him to mind for several months now.  I prayed for him and was distraught at the thought of his death and how his daughters would handle losing their father.  A few days later, he went to be with the Lord.  I wasn’t able to attend the funeral and I wasn’t able to get in touch with my cousins.

September 28, 2007 – “You have to help me.  They’re trying to kill me!”  That was the last thing my great-uncle said to his brother, my grandfather.  The next day he was dead.  Maybe my great-uncle heard his second wife and her family conspiring.  Maybe he heard his healthcare providers say that he didn’t have much longer to live and they should ease his pain.  Who knows.  The next week his daughter was laid off.

September 4, 2009 – My father’s calling is more frequent these days, but when he said my grandfather left a message on the answering machine, I knew something was wrong.  My grandfather never calls.  Ever.  He hates answering machines.  Hates them.  When my father called back confirming that not only something was wrong, but my Nana had passed away, I was stunned.  I looked out the window to see the flag outside my building was at half mast.  I collapsed in tears on my bed.  I wasn’t able to go to her funeral, and she died suddenly so I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.  My only consolation is that I was the only grandchild who sent her a Mother’s Day card.  She knew I loved her and that should be good enough for me.  Somehow it isn’t…

September 12, 2010 – I want to talk to my mom about Nana’s passing.  There are some things my mother and I do not discuss and death of family members is one of them.  Brutal killings and kidnappings that turn fatal of strangers are up for grabs.  When dropping me off for pre-college at University, my mother noted that the well-known forest of the school was a place where, “..if someone dropped your body off in there, they would never find it.”  Yeah.  But talking about her mother’s passing is off-limits.  I miss Nana.  I miss my grandmother who passed in November of last year.  Thankfully, I have my hunny and a small group of close friends who want to listen to me, but there are times when you want to talk to your mother.

September is a tough month for my family.  Once September is over, the holidays approach, and that is always a joyous time for us.  We celebrate our family and the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  It is a blessed time!  September is the darkest before the dawn, and this year, I am looking forward to the dawn with more anticipation than ever.