Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hello, Thank You, and Goodbye

Today marks a month since dad was hospitalized. It seems like forever ago and like yesterday all in one lump.

And today seems the perfect day to say hello, thank you, and goodbye.
These are to you -so figure out who you are and know, I'm thinking of you by name.
And I mean my words.

The Hello

To Those Who've Come In to Say, "Hi, You Can Do This" or at Least Stopped By To Read,

Thanks for stopping by. For coming near to us and welcoming us into your hearts. We all feel so lucky to have you here to see God's goodness and glory in its fullness. To share this as a family is special, to share with a growing net of amazing, wondrous people is positiviely indescribable.

And if you haven't said "Hi" yet, don't be shy. We don't bite, but we do cry hot tears of sadness and frustration, we do laugh with wreckless abandon when it's inappropriate, and we love vulnerability.

So, let me end here,
Hi to you too. Thanks for stopping by, please make yourself at home.
Amber
-----
love lover
lymes hater

The Thank You

To Those Who've Been There "If I Ever Needed Anything",

You win because you meant it. Your grace, your sweetness, your tangible love and caring does not go unnoticed. One blessing that has come in all this madness is seeing a group of friends we call family and family that's the best of friends gather around us and hold us up when the days feel too heavy.

You've encouraged, you've inspired, you're on our team. And we are thankful.

Thank you from the tippy top and bitty bottom of our hearts,
Amber
-----
love lover
lymes hater


The Goodbye

To Those Who've Gone,

I know, this death thing, it's awkward, especially because it's happening slowly and surely. And it's weird seeing us all knowing that it isn't going to be a happily ever after. I understand your discomfort.

I hope this is the only reason you've gone. Because it's weird, too weird to endure.

As you leave, please know, there's no anger, no hostility. First, because it is uncomfortable. Second, because in this I've learned life's too short to be angry. To hold a grudge.

I hope you know, in our hearts, you'll always have a little home.

Goodbye just for a short time,
Amber
-----
love lover
lymes hater

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm sorry. I'm not sorry.

At 3:03 this afternoon I sent this to my mom in a text:
"And you'd rather do it this way than the way he was trying for on that day."

That day, already an entire month ago, being the day my dad's sweet brain became overwhelmed and he lost touch with reality. He thought people were out to get him, some of those people being us -his family. He wanted it to end. And his solution had become to withdrawal from us.

Who cares how. Or when. Or why.
 All I care about is his failure in doing so.


In sharing our news with friends and family, they seem to look on us with pity and shower us with sorries. And while we appreciate the sweet words and sentiments, we all feel so odd being sorry about the new course our life has taken. Somehow in the shadow of the way my dad has ailed, the years of sadness and fighting, and our newfound love and zest for life after his emergency, our new normal seems perfect. 

There are things for which I'm sorry.

I'm sorry we didn't do things bigger earlier in life. But I'm not sorry he's going to head to heaven earlier than we planned. I'm sorry I let the little things bug hormonal, high-school me when I should have been loving on him. But I'm not sorry I get this blessed time to spend with him before he goes home to His Heavenly Father.

I'm sorry that I'm not sorry about death.

Knowing his brain will be restored, his body cleaned of the ravaging bugs inside of him makes me joyful for him. His masterful business brain will be back. His wits restored. His dry sarcasm enjoyed by all his heavenly hosts.
I'm sorry that I'm not sorry about my dad dying.

I have never been to a funeral. Not once. I've never experienced death. Did I imagine my first time would my dad's? No. But we have this beautiful moment of time where we know he's going to die and we can soak up every little morsel of joy with him. Through this time of transition, I have come to see bits and pieces of God's greatness. And that makes my heart swell with pride. I know my dad's untimely passing (whenever it does occur) is going to be a beautiful -brutiful- occasion where God will sit among us. And, I believe, for a few hours, God will come nearer to us as He welcomes home a good and faithful man while we bid him farewell.

I'm not sorry he's headed to His Father's home.

There's this glorious place dad will be going. I just know it. In fact, a little piece of me is jealous that He gets in on the God-paradise before me. But, a big, HUGE part of me can't wait to live out his leagacy. I already know when it's my time to join him in Heaven, he will be up there heading some of God's greatest projects. He'll make sure the floors are flat, the concrete mixed just right, and the laborers (though I imagine they have a cooler name in heaven) getting what they deserve for their hard work.

I'm not sorry we'll be here to honor him and, more importantly, Him.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lyme's Lesson [2] Prayer & Your Heart

In March 2009, we started the long journey of finding a cause
and cure for my dad's memory loss.
Three years later we marched on fighting Lyme's Disease and
learning more about ourselves and God every day.
Here's number two of seven bits of knowledge we've picked up along the way:

Prayer may not seem to change your immediate circumstance, but it will change your heart.


I wrote all seven of my Lyme's lessons out before my dad was hospitalized. Before we stopped fighting Lymes and started embracing dementia -as much as one can embrace such a condition. I considered not publishing them... But realized God's fullness is furthered in the way these lessons, both learned and not yet mastered, are playing out in our daily lives. 

The number of people praying for my dad's mind and our family's fight is far greater than I can imagine (this I know by the outpouring of emails and calls in the last two weeks). It's undeniable that he -we- is covered in prayer.
 
Prayer is a funny thing -not in the ha, ha, ha way- but in the way it reveals the vastness of our Lord and the deep-as-a-puddle-in-the-midst-of-a-heatwave knowledge we have of God and our very own self. 
Boy oh boy, have we prayed.
For healing,
for hope,
for continued faith,
for strength in our weary hearts,
for answers,
for more of this,
for less of that,
for anything and everything God has for us. 
 
We found our prayers perfectly described in Psalms: 
 
"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven." -Psalm 107:28-30
 
It's simple enough.
 
But the storm wasn't settling. The waves were quieted. Why God? You seem to have forgotten us, left us to fend for ourselves and we aren't yet ready. Why? Damn it. Why? And then, He did it.
 
He showed us that what we thought was the insurmountable storm was, in fact, the pre-storm. The part where the pavement starts to smell hinting of the rain to come, where the drizzle starts and the wind is a-blowing. But you don't ratchet down the hatches because you ain't seen nothing yet.
 
Yeah, we were crying out "wolf" and didn't even know it. We were holding onto an idealized miraculous recovery while ignoring the dark clouds outside our wide-open windows. But then He did it.
 
We didn't get the picture perfect present we were asking, pleading, begging God to bestow upon us -healing and full restoration of my dad's mind and body. In fact, we got something more, something larger, some small glimpse of His vastness and our place within that enormous, glorious place.
 
What He had worked out for us was, in fact, far more glorious than our little cliche, of-this-world, happily-ever-after story. (more on this tomorrow) Through years of indignant prayer where I asked God for what I was sure was best for me, my family, my dad, I ignored the lesson God so wanted for me to grasp. Prayer isn't about me.
 
Rather than pray about my wants, needs, wishes, desires, I need to flip my prayer life on its head and pray for His glory, His plans, His kingdom. For my receptors to be on high alert so I can catch His messages both large and small. For my stubborn heart and head to relinquish control and enjoy His majesty. For whatever end our story has to be one that reveals His goodness and grace.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Celebratory Sangria


How about a sweet sangria to end summer...
And to celebrate a time of joy.
I know, what a change of pace from just two days ago.
We have joy in God.
And in love.
(and to be honest, Mr. T and I are off to celebrate our one year anniversary this weekend!)
And having dad home.
And family. 
And the end of summer and the start of fall.
A change of seasons to remind us the way God renews - not just earth, but us too.


Ingredients
A bottle of white wine
Gingerale
Oranges
Raspberries (even frozen work)
Peaches (again, frozen works) 

Directions
Add parts white wine and gingerale to your liking.
I did about 75-25 wine to gingerale.
Toss in your sliced oranges, raspberries and peaches.
(If you use frozen, they chill the sangria for you!) 
Leave in the fridge for about two hours.
Enjoy! 

I couldn't wait the two hours after getting home from work, so I tossed in some ice cubes.
Not as good as I was hoping.
Find something to celebrate this weekend folks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dear Glennon, God and You, Readers of my Blog

This post was originally an email sent to Glennon of Momastary
After clicking send, I realized it might help make my last post, and most likely future posts, more comprehensible. 
And if you haven't met Glennon, you must. 


Dear you -reader of this blog, this post, my words.

I don't even know where to begin, the last week and a half seems like a mystery complete in it's bizarre cast of characters as much as it seems to be a "whole picture" perspective of the last three years. While I long to share every last morsel of emotion, every last detail of the timeline, I also long for privacy in this time of challenge.

You see, there's this amazing lady named Glennon, she writes amazing words about ordinary and not-so-ordinary things... And she says brutiful. Beautiful and brutal. Makes sense enough, doesn't it?
Brutiful. That's it. Seems simples enough. But it's not. You see, my family and I didn't "get it" totally until two weeks ago Sunday. We've been fighting Lymes Disease. By we, I mean, my dad's infected and there are five kids and their three spouses, and one wife all wrapped up in helping him get through this evil debilitating disease. His memory shot, his words muddled, and his heart motivated, we fought. Until the meds wreaked havoc in his mind and he lost control of his body. Police and paramedics came. Four days and three nights in the hospital later and we get brutiful. That place where the devil sneaks in, does his damage and, yet, God prevails in His night in shiny armor way. Brutiful, we get it.

After asking WHAT IN THE HELL JUST HAPPENED? forty times, we realized that God turned our heads in a new direction, slapped us on the butt and said, "Go get 'em slugger." And now we stand over home plate hoping to hit the fastballs and curveballs that life's so damn good at. Unfortunately, none of us were big baseball fans, much less players, and all feels so overwhelmingly glorious. Like we've been given an opportunity by God that's entirely out of our league and simultaneously perfectly tailored to our strengths and skills. -How does He manage that? He's so darn good at that too-much-and-just-enough thing.

Here we all sit, in the wake of tragedy, trauma, bruty and we wave our WTF flags furiously about and yelp for God's attention, for His answers. We laugh. We cry. And we fist pump with an almighty AMEN! We turn to one another and ask, "How in the world did we end up here?" Yet, we thank Him for every change, every bit of wonderment and confusion and love and frustration.

Mostly I want you to know that love wins (not my original words, but those of God and, so aptly put, by Glennon as well). The nurses, the doctors, the emergency room staff... They all knew my father and my Father are loved. Every single person who came into my dad's room knew that there was something special about him. They felt Him in the room with us. In a beautiful, brutiful way. Bringing dad home, refusing the meds to kill the Lymes that were poisoning him, and instead of pumping him full of chemicals we are choosing to enjoy the love we have for my dad - as daughters and sons and a wife - oh, how brutiful. Love wins has become our mantra. So much so we're getting it etched into our skin just below our hearts at a tattoo parlor on Friday. We believe it. Because Glennon and God said it, He proved it, and we get it.

Love wins. Always.

amber

fellow monkee
love lover
lymes hater

Saturday, September 1, 2012

That Thing Life's Good At

This may be the most incomprehensible post ever.
Or at least the first of many that you and I will struggle to make sense of.
I long to write, to put something out there for you.
But life is doing that thing it does so well,
changing.
And it makes me uncomfortable.
And frustrated.
And longing for more and less all at once.

We spent this last week in the hospital with my dad.
This man.
(He always does that with his smile thing... Talk about a model)
Talk about hard.
Our family was broken.
We spent three years fighting a disease that had a hold on my dad
and on us. 
Each and every one. 
His body revolted on Sunday and he got sick.
The ambulance came.
We cried and worried and fought with God.
We sat in a link in the ER holding hands.
The three of us.
Linked like a small chain.
Praying.
Wishing.
Wanting more and less all at once.

And then He did something amazing.
He did what the bible says.
He provided.
I've heard God provides more times than I've showered in my life.
(And that's a lot, I'm a clean person)
But I saw it happen. In every moment.
He does.
At times he provided more and at others less.
He provided all at once.

Doctors, nurses, family friends.
They showed up.
They spoke words to us that were not theirs, but His.
They cried with us.
No dumb trite words telling us it'll be ok.
Just promising to be what they've always been despite life's changes.
They laughed at our corny jokes to try and make light of darkness.
They felt the weight.
The pressure that's making us God-diamonds.
And they helped settle the dust so we could shine.
That we did.

He will be glorified.
We are determined.
In grief,
in joy,
in frustration,
in calm,
in routine,
in change.
In all the life brings, He will remain.
And His glory continues.
(as will this story)

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