Sometimes an ending is a perfect way to have a beautiful beginning...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Good 'Ol Floyd

I was driving home from taking Savannah to school, usually Bethany and I are contemplating the day ahead but this morning I was itching to just listen to some music. Turn on the radio and start surfing... usual stations just not cutting it. I went to a station I don't usually listen to... it's a soft jazz station I only put on when 1) Bethany is screaming in the back seat or 2) the girls are fighting because Savannah is antagonizing her sister and Bethany has lost her temper or 3) I just don't want to know they are back there (come on, admit it... you've done it too).
So, on went the soft jazz station and it was so nice, soft, pleasant. A song came on that just transported me away to another time, another place. It was a song by Floyd Kramer (I waited to hear who it was) all instruments, no vocals. In one moment I was 'mama' heading home to do mundane chores, change diapers, clean, do laundry and the next I was fourteen years old, in a Honda Accord with my parents and my little brother (who would've been eleven) as we drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on vacation. I believe my parents loved Floyd Kramer because they listened to it during the entire drive. No Michael Jackson, Madonna or even Hall and Oats (it was the '80s). Just Floyd Kramer. In the small car with their kids killing each other in the back. We were at the height of our sibling rivalry. He just drove me nuts as I'm sure my teenage self did to him.
I remember the weather was cool and overcast (the North Rim is like being in the mountains, trees and all) and I had on a Members Only jacket (why in Heaven's name would I remember this?) and we stopped to see some deer. Then we headed to the North Rim 'resort' we stayed at. We stayed in an adorable cabin, there were many. I met a friend who was staying there also. She was sweet, we vowed to keep in touch but never did. I think that was also the year we headed to Durango, Colorado. We rode the Durango to Silverton railroad (a three hour train trip up the mountain in open cars being pulled by a coal locomotive). Many years later Hubby and I found a painting of the exact same railroad going up the mountain and it's in our bedroom.
So, I drove home, not quite sure of how I got here because the entire time Floyd Kramer played I was fourteen and fighting with my brother in the Honda. Music is transporting and magical. Thanks Floyd.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

So, What's Your Story?

I have been getting to know my bible study group of ladies lately. They're very sweet, Christian sisters who come from all walks of life. One's a former business owner who once had lots of money till this economy took hold, one is mostly deaf but is a practiced lip reader, one is a mom to four and in severe dire straights financially speaking, one is in very poor health with diabetes and has to go to dialysis a few times a week. They all have one thing in common, though. They love the Lord, they trust Him no matter their circumstances and they see the brighter side of their lives because Jesus is their savior.
We all got together at my home last week to just get to know one another better. After I got to ask them all kinds of questions to find out about them they then all wanted to know my 'story'. Well, I filled them in on the, "I'm a mama, a wife, we moved here in August of '08, my Hubby is in law enforcement" stuff. They didn't want to know that stuff. "We already know all of that!" Oh. They want to know me. I'm sometimes not great at telling that. I'm not proud of a lot of it. Yes, it's what brought me to the Lord in the first place but, ugh... it's not pretty. I hesitate to even think about it all, let alone tell it! But then, what if it helps someone? What if my story helps turn someone to the Lord? Isn't it worth it? Yes. It. Is.
I asked Jesus into my life as my Lord and savior when I was 16 and had dealt with teenage 'stuff'. I was in a youth group through church and knew I needed to be saved from myself and needed a savior. My Hubby and I met in our senior year in high school. A year after graduation we were married. He was in the Marine Corps and we moved a lot but amazingly, we always stayed in California! We went to church. He was constantly gone in training and in schools. After 8 years in active duty he decided to leave the corps and join the police department. More training, more schools. We tried for 4 years to have our oldest, Savannah. One of the sweetest moments I ever had with the Lord was when I found out I was pregnant! I was on my knees thanking Him and praising Him. I was crying wonderful tears of joy. Savannah was born and we became parents finally, 8 years into our marriage. A year after her birth our marriage hit the skids. We separated and came very close to divorce. In the midst of our marital strife Hubby was called back to active duty with the Marine Corps due to the war in Iraq looming on the horizon. By then, Savannah was 2 and a half and we had moved back to 'home', the small town I grew up in. On February 23rd, 2003 Hubby left for Iraq. We had done what we could to strengthen our marriage and to have him leave under the best circumstances we could. We were together as a family as Hubby left for war in Iraq. Savannah and I stayed as busy as we could, writing Daddy and being with family as often as we could. She was my little trooper. On April 9th, 2003, coincidentally the same day Saddam Hussein's statue was pulled down in Baghdad, Hubby was shot at the UN building in Baghdad. God uses all kinds of things for His good. Even horrible, bad things, the Lord can use those as His tools, for His good, for His purposes. He doesn't cause the awful things in our lives but He allows them and hopefully those things will cause His children (all of us) to turn to Him in our need. This is exactly what happened with Hubby and I. After Hubby came home (sent home as a casualty of the war; this just means he could no longer fight, not that he was dead!) we made a commitment to one another to put our marriage back together, to not even consider divorce as an option. We made a commitment to God too. My relationship with the Lord became so much closer, so much more intense. I promised to seek His will for my life in everything and only do what His will for me was! Hubby made a full recovery and our marriage began to as well. This is when I really began to have a relationship with God. Our marriage became what it never had been before.
In March of 2008 we were still living in my small hometown when my brother-in-law, a pastor in Colorado called to tell us a family up there was looking for a home for their baby. They knew they could not take care of her, she was the second child they were due to have in a year. She was due in May (two months from then!!), they knew it was a girl and had we ever thought about adoption? Huh? No. We. Never. Thought about adoption. Never. Why? It just never went through our minds. We had Savannah and had hoped for another baby but it just never happened. I had gotten pregnant in '05 but lost that baby. I surprisingly had an easy time getting over that loss. I didn't know why. I had really wanted that baby but it was like God put a heavenly salve over my heart and I grieved quickly. And here we were being asked to consider adoption. We prayed about it but knew that this was our baby. God created her with us in mind. On May 22nd, 2008 our Bethany was born!
That's my story. Believe it or not, it was the short version! There are so many times in my life that I could tell you God used something bad for His good. Learn the lesson quickly, turn your face heavenward and maybe it won't be so bad.
Keep this in mind during your next trial and tribulation.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Winner!! And she's so deserving!

Congratulations are in order for Myra Lewis who won the HGTV dream home in Santa Fe NM!
I just watched her win and cried for her, tears of joy! Her story is amazing! She had a home in New Orleans that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina! Just goes to show that God knows exactly what He's doing! I really wanted to win but knew I would be thrilled for the real winner, especially to hear how deserving they would be. The Lord didn't disappoint! I am just as pleased as pie that the new owner of that amazing home, new car and $500,000. is someone so deserving! I will just try next time! You can't win if you don't enter...
We have been busy as a family! Yesterday we went to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Swap meet. I had never been and we went to see Hubby's grandparents. Bethany and Savannah would much rather have been doing something different than walking around looking at "old stuff" (antiques!) with their parents! But they both did have a blast at the park we went to after the swap meet. The weather was beautiful... 75F and not a cloud in the sky! We all had lunch and the girls played with their Uncle Bradley and visited with their great-grandparents. If you live in SoCal and have never been to the Rose Bowl Swap Meet like me, I highly recommend going!
The entire parking lot is filled with dozens and dozens of vendors of antiques. The place is huge! It almost requires 2 days! Bring sunscreen, water and plenty of cash!