Tuesday, April 29, 2008

He holds all creation together

I found this over at Pink Paper Peppermints, and it is awesome. Gave me chills. I want to cry, in a good way. It is a bit long, but so worth the time. It combines God and science in a way I have never seen. I can't believe that "scientists" can know things like this and not believe in God. You will be blessed by this... it's Jesus that literally holds us together.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
through Him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.

He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through Him and for Him.
He existed before anything else,
He holds all creation together.

Christ is also the head of the church,
which is His body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
He is first in everything.

For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through Him
God reconciled
everything to Himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of
Christ’s blood on the cross.

-Colossians 1:15:20

Monday, April 28, 2008

james smith's appearance on miami ink

If you weren't able to catch the Miami Ink episode featuring James Smith, or if you'd just like to see his part again, here is the edited youtube clip. He will be having another butterfly release on September 6 in Katie's honor and to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. Last year he was able to raise $2000 just by putting out a donation box. This year he has arranged to be sponsored by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). Even people who will not be able to attend will have the chance to sponsor a butterfly with an online donation. Very cool. Very inspiring. I know I'll be donating, and I'll be sure to post about it here in case anyone else wants to donate also. His efforts are proof of the good that can come from something so bad.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

happy birthday to Poppa...

today my dad would be 61. I haven't allowed myself to be sad today, because he wouldn't want me to. I still want to make him happy and proud, and my happiness would make him happy. After lunch today, Jonathan, the kids and I met Mom at the cemetery. We sang "happy birthday to Poppa" and then released six white balloons, one for each grandchild. We also left one pink flower from Ella, his one little girl baby. How I wish I could see them together. We watched the balloons until we couldn't see them anymore and we told the boys we were sending them to Poppa and that he'd catch them when they got to heaven. They loved it, and Elijah talked about how we always send balloons to heaven for Poppa's birthday. It is so interesting to take then there, because they love to go and run up and down the hill and check out all the flowers, pinwheels, and other things people put on the nearby graves. They have a blast, and it is a sweet reminder to me that life goes on. You do your best, putting one foot in front of the other. Some days finding joy is easier than on other days. But you remember and continue. You celebrate memories on big days, like birthdays, and on any old day. And you have expectant hope in the promise of heaven.

I recently recalled the day my dad was away on business in another town, and he called me from the Old Navy there to see what I wanted. I was pregnant with Miles, and our Old Navy didn't carry maternity clothes. For about 15 minutes, he shopped for me while we were on the phone. He described things to me, and told me the colors they had, looked through sizes and told me what he liked. He bought several things for me that day, his favorite being a tee shirt that said "Oh, Boy!" on it. My friends were so surprised and said their dads would probably not do the same for them. I don't think I'll ever get rid of that shirt...

He loved Johnny Cash and this song, which you can read about here. I thought this would be a good one to include for his birthday. Happy birthday, Dad. If you were here, I'd give you a big old Sears gift card so you could buy more tools. I love those stinky old tools, now, by the way...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ella finally decided to bipedal!

That's right, she's a fully dedicated walker at 14 1/2 months. That's exactly when Elijah decided to walk, too. Miles was 16 months, but like Ella, he started walking while Gammie was in Michigan. I guess they like to give Gammie a thrill when she gets off the plane back in the south. Ella was eager to show off her new skills right in the airport.
She's also always happy to share her silly skills.

at the park

The kids and I had a picnic and fed the turtles and fish at the Blount park last week. Can you tell that Ella loves a camera?
Be on the lookout for these two. They think that the purchase of one 1.99 cop play set each makes them a force to be reckoned with. Don't let on, but I've already hidden the whistles.

Friday, April 18, 2008

pancreatic cancer on Miami Ink

The September after Dad died I remember a church email about a 32 year old woman, pregnant with her first child, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My heart sank. I never heard anything else about her. A year later I stumbled across her husband's blog and found that she was diagnosed around September 20, lost the pregnancy at 15 weeks in October and passed away at the end of November. Two months. Two months to go from expecting your first baby to losing your baby and your wife. I cannot imagine his pain. He has become involved in raising awareness of this death sentence of a cancer.

It is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths, with an estimated 33,000 Americans who will die of it this year. Every 15 minutes an American is diagnosed. There is a 99% one year mortality rate. Yet pancreatic cancer receives very little funding for research.

The story of James and Katie Smith will be on Miami Ink next Thursday, April 24 at 9 pm central. I know some who will read this probably dislike tattoos or think they are a sign of being "bad" or whatever. (I have one, you know.) But many, many people get tattoos to memorialize lost loved ones, which I can understand because I have considered getting a second one somehow relating to my Dad. In this episode of Miami Ink, James will get his tattoo memorializing his wife, their struggle, his loss. He will also talk about pancreatic cancer. I'll be watching it, and in some small way will share his pain. I have no idea what it is like to lose a spouse, but my family shares with him the devastation of this cancer. The way it hides until it is too late. The way it usually very quickly steals your loved one away. And the fear that it leaves in it's wake...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

sun beans from Kevin

Lately I've been singing Blue Skies and Rainbows for Miles at bedtime. He requests it by asking me to "sing sun beans from kevin." He definitely is confused about the words heaven and Kevin. When I ask him where Poppa lives he says "in Kevin." I tell him that he has an uncle Kevin and that Poppa lives in heaven. He'll agree and say heaven, but the next time Poppa's living in Kevin again. And when I think about it, maybe he's not so confused after all. Dad does live on through all of us...

Send some sun beans this way, Uncle Kevin.

Uncle Kevin with Milesy at about 2 months old. The first time they met was during this visit.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I Can't Wait

I love the Sara Groves song that is first up on my new mixed tape on the sidebar. Go make it play while you read this post. There are a bunch of other songs there that I just love - some because they remind me of my children, some remind me of my dad, some just carry me through different times. I love music and how it can move, stir and inspire.

This song is called I Can't Wait and it speaks such truth about what we may find essential to teach our little ones, but how we are actually students of their huge faith, simple trust, and (usually) easy-to-come-by joy. I have learned so much about faith through Elijah's heart. No doubts, a few worries, fear that can be chased away with a prayer. There's a reason we are urged to "become like little children." Matthew 18:3

When you reach the proper age
I will teach you to read and you can turn the pages
How to dress and tie your shoes
Your one plus ones, and your two times two's
And you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that i have lost along the way
And I can't wait

As you grow, I'll show you things
How to ride your bike and kick your legs out on the swings
To fold your hands and bow your head
How to say your prayers before you go to bed
And you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important things
And all that I have lost along the way
And I can't wait

How do you sleep so peacefully?
How do you trust unflinchingly?
How do you love so faithfully?
How do you dance so joyfully?
Oh you'll teach me
Of hearts and dreams
And all the most important [essential] things
And all that i have lost along the way
And I can't
No I can't
Come teach me
Of love and dreams
And all the most essential things
And all that I have lost along the way
Cause I can't wait

Thursday, April 10, 2008

an honor

Yesterday I had the honor of receiving an award from the Alabama Public Health Association inducting my dad into the inaugural class of their Hall of Fame. This is a professional organization my dad was very involved in throughout his career. Jonathan and I attended the awards luncheon at the conference. Unfortunately by the time we were contacted about this, my mom already had travel plans to be in Michigan. Here is what the ceremony program read about Dad...

Mike was a strong supporter of the Alabama Public Health Association during his entire career with the Alabama Department of Public Health. He was always more than willing to fill any position on the AlPHA board and do his part to be sure the association flourished. He lead the association as president in 1995. Mike always did what he said he would do and was faithful to AlPHA in so many ways. The passion Mike had for AlPHA is unsurpassed. He loved AlPHA. He was a constant recruiter no matter where he was. Many current AlPHA members were encouraged by Mike to join. A lot of the work he did was behind the scenes. He was a man of character, commitment and dedication. These three qualities shown brightly while he was unselfishly volunteering his time for AlPHA and continue to shine even today. It is with great appreciation that the Alabama Public Health Association inducts Mike as an inaugural Hall of Fame member.
The current president of the association knew Dad well and was the one presenting the award to me. He said that there are some people that influence you for a time and some people influence you such that you will never forget them. For him my dad is one person he will never forget. That was so humbling and wonderful to hear. When you lose someone, people really seem to give you about six months to grieve and then they want you to move on. Those are the people who are yet to lose someone themselves. Because others rarely speak of Dad, it was so special to hear that he will not be forgotten.

I was so humbled and honored to accept the induction on behalf of my family. It was a little difficult to get up and speak about Dad in front of the crowd, but I could feel him urging me on like he always did. It reminded me of reading him the scripture I intended to read at his funeral a few days before he died. I read it to him and then asked him if he thought I could do it. He said, "I KNOW you can." And I did. So I was able to speak for Dad again yesterday, with tears in my eyes, knowing he was humbled by the honor and proud of his daughter. He always was proud of me...now it's my turn to be proud of him.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

joy in the journey...

is the title of a new sermon series we started today at church. We are taking a look at Philippians and Paul's joy even when imprisoned and facing possible death. Being content in all circumstances is something I've been striving for, so I'm excited about looking into it more deeply. The post below will play a couple of songs I love that really speak to this idea to me, and reveal that God's love for me is what really matters.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

joy in the journey

Saturday, April 5, 2008

for mom

I took Mom to the airport a few days ago so she could go and visit my brother and his family. She's gone. For two. more. weeks. So I did really fast shopping after I dropped her off and Ella and I made it home just in time to get the boys from school. Mom left her car here at our house, so the boys thought she was here, even though I had told them earlier where I was taking her. I was proceeding to get Ella out of the stroller while Elijah locked the storm door, locking the rest of us outside, because he was so angry about Gammie being gone. I was understandably quite irate by this point. He was not anywhere in sight through the windows. I was pretty upset and knocked loudly and yelled for him to come back. And I knocked on one of the window pains and broke it. Do I sound like a crazy woman yet? I really didn't hit it that hard. Finally Elijah came and unlocked the storm door, then promptly went to hide under his bed. Good idea. Of course, Jonathan had to leave work to come and fix my window. Elijah's punishment? He lost his treasured good puppy for 4 days. Not exactly the start to being without Mom's help that I was anticipating...don't worry though, Mom, things have been better since then. But, the boys (I'm sure) would want to dedicate this video to you...

Friday, April 4, 2008

circus, circus

We went to the circus with Wes, Amanda and Taylor. It was fun, although it was only a one ring circus with one elephant, five tigers and several wiener dogs. I'm not sure when wiener dogs became circus animals, but when they came out Ella ripped her paci out of her mouth and started roaring at them. (She roars at all animals - birds, monkeys, everything.) It was really neat to see the elephant, which is Elijah's favorite animal, but I felt sorry for her. Elijah's favorite "circus character" was the man who rode the bikes (including a very tiny bike under a hoop of fire!), Miles' favorite part were the pyrotechnics which he called fireworks, and Ella had a love/hate relationship with the circus. She was either dancing and clapping or fussing and crying. Overall we had a great time and it was fun to have Taylor and Miles at the circus together, as Wes and Jonathan went to the circus a couple of times together as little ones. Miles got a motorcycle toy that he has had with him almost constantly since last night - he's sleeping with it now. Very cute.

elijah read this book to me yesterday...

and to think I was intimidated by the expectations of his pre-k class at the start of this school year.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

happiness is a voyage...

My mother-in-law shared the slide share in the post below with me today. Something I really needed to think about on a day when Miles barged into the bathroom as I was taking a shower screaming and crying - when I asked him what was wrong he said "I skweeming" and when I asked why he said "because I is skweeming." Then he covered his arms and new shoes in hand sanitizer while I finished my very unrelaxing and not so private shower. And I think to myself...when he's older it will get better. It will be easier. I need to enjoy Miles (and Elijah and Ella) now, and not wait for when they are older or easier or whatever. Easier said than done at times, I know. But one day they will be grown and gone. What will I be waiting for to bring happiness then? I need to learn this now...so that then I won't have so many regrets. Now, go on down to the post under this one to see what I'm talking about.

happiness is a voyage...