Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Anti-Prayer Request

See that handsome chubby boy on the left.
This is about him.
 
This is going to be a life-changing moment for me. And hopefully for you. And him, the chubby one on the left with the big grin. Today for the first time in months, I type with baited breath and a racing heart.
 
Today I write with a prayer request. A request for an act of God to fall upon that boy on the left. For a miracle of healing to occur in said boy's life. You see, that boy is no longer young and chubby and life-filled. He is now sixty and chubby and demented (literally). As his brain continues to dismantle itself, his body remains strong and unwilling to buckle. While his body could physically handle running a marathon, his brain would be overstimulated by fellow racers, he'd be unable to follow the route, in fact, he'd wear jeans and slippers to the starting line. You see, his brain is disentigrating with every passing moment. But his body remains.
 
You think I'm writing to ask you to pray for his brain to be restored. For him to return home to us, his family, and provide like he once did. For it to obvious to him that I'm Amber, his baby girl. But today I'm not asking for that. I don't want him back. After three and a half years of worry, tears, and exhaustion -physically, emotionally, and spiritually-, I've let go. And I'm trying to let God, but I need Him to act. We, that boy, his family, and me, need Him to act in a big, God way.
 
"For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him, but has listened to his cry for help."
-Psalm 22:24
 
America has turned prayer into a Santa Wishlist of sorts.
You know, God heal her of cancer.
Him of diabetes.
And restore Grandma's hearing.
God help me stop sinning,
help me clean up my act,
and, please, I'm selfish, let's take care of that too.
God, I want a new job,
I hate where I live,
Speaking of, I can barely afford life -so money would be appreciated.
Please, God, please.
Give.
And if you're going to take away,
(I've heard that happens sometimes)
make it something in the margins.
Something unimportant.
Like my cat.
Or even my neighbor's dog.
But keep my family and friends safe.
That prayer is all about me, us, not Him.
 
My prayer request goes against all I've ever been taught about prayer. Church has always said prayer is to make things better, good, to keep us all healthy and safe. Today, my prayer is one of mercy for that boy turned very sick man. 
 
Yes, God's great and mighty and good. So much so, I long for my dad to meet His glorious maker.
That chubby boy grew into a successful entrepreneur who's brain betrayed him. That, once genius man, is now broken -unable to recognize his family or put together a simple sentence. Some long for him to get better here on earth. To what point? For him to suffer and die at a later date? You think that would be fun for any of us? The last three and a half years must be for lessons learned, for His glory. Praying a selfish give-him-back-to-us-miracle prayer denies the glory of Heaven. And the maker of all things -including an eternal heavenly home.
 
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."
-Romans 8:18
 

If I had the choice to (A) live unable to spell my own name, dictate my birth date, or remember that shampoo is for my hair and essential to good hygiene, or (B) live free of pain -physically and emotionally-, with my quick wit and dry humor restored, and to do work beside the Heavenly Host, you'd bet I'd pick B. And so would the man that became of that chubby boy.
 
"Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body
and at home with the Lord."
-2 Corinthians 5:8
 
So today, redefine miracles and prayer.
Pray that three years and a half years is enough for Him and for that chubby boy.
Pray that what God needs to see done before He brings that boy home is satisfied.
Pray for the God to do what He does best -take action on behalf of the suffering.
 


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lunchbreak Links


There are times -in the last month they've seem to be more often than ever before- where I find myself asking, "Are you there God? It's me, Amber." Turns out I'm not the only one. And learning that feels good to me.

Although Sundance has always been on my radar, I've never been extremely interested in it until this. I've loved Disney since being a child, but more than that, I love the dialog so many modern artists (and filmmakers) have started with the franchise.

Lately the dementia thing feels so unfair, so ugly... And all I want is to worry about the color of my nail polish or my outfit for the day. Then this reminded me what God is doing in my life and I must, must, must keep my focus on holy, not just happy.

When hard days are upon me, I turn to some silly something to make me laugh. Here's a gem I just can't help but love.

Sometimes I wish I was a dog. How lovely would it be to sleep anywhere and everywhere? Dinner would just appear. And, if you're lucky, your doting owner would sing you to sleep.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dead Men Tell No Tales

“Dead men tell no tales
[but those close to them tell damn good ones]”.

(Like the one time we went to Disneyland in the pouring rain and wore rain slickers all day...
And dad screamed his tonsils out on Splash Mountain)

My favorite part in moving my dad (can you have a favorite when the whole thing combines to feel like a true-blue shit storm?) was the meeting with the nurse and other key staff members. I spent two hours rehashing my dad in his entirety... While the information was for their reference in understanding his history and his current "phase" of life, it brought up a plethora of my favorite memories of him.

I got to relive his youth with Sister Wafflebottom and his countless troublesome escapades while in Catholic grade school. I shared his heart for family, for humor, for life. I had the chance to talk about his love to travel and the way he instilled it in us -his kids and his wife.

The Pirates of the Caribbean got it right. But they left out the stories that the 'dead men' leave behind  for their loved ones to embrace, enjoy, and share. My dad gifted me many things; but my uncontested favorite was his love for stories. Not just any story, but a damn good one at that. One full of adventure, humor, and that always left a moral behind on which you should reflect.

The moral he seemed to favor was many deviations of making your life one worth telling tales about; be it at work, at home, or alone; in the big events, in the dark moments, and all that falls in between. It's about finding a balance between the happy and sad, the good and the bad, the beginning and the end; then go out there and make your life into the most fabulous of stories.

That he did.
 
I encourage you to live like he did (and like I hope to) with much adventure, much passion, and endless love for God, family, and friends. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Links for Your Lunchbreak

I don't know about you, but I love me some blog links during my lunch break. Thus, the Lunchbreak Link series for Sundays. Hopefully it'll give you a little something to look back at during your break at work or home or school. In fact, for any free moment life throws your way.

someecards.com - I wish time would fly as fast when I'm online at work as it does when I'm online at home.

While I love Pinterest... I can't help but think I don't know exactly how to "use" it as a pinner and as a blogger, then Beth Ann said she loved blogs more than pins and I got it.

New Year's Resolutions as general themes instead of specific numbers. Love it. I've decided 2013 is going to be a thematic year of "why not?". Like, I've always wanted to sky dive, so this year I'm going to do it because why not?

Do you find yourself hiding in layers? I know they're fashionable, but I find myself covering up because of my insecurities.

Ever head of the Roomba? Jason and I debated their cool vs. non-cool factor. I won upon finding this gem.

This citrus spritzer makes me look forward to Friday cocktails with Mama Bird and Mr. Thomas.

After reading this and this by Gillian Flynn I just can't get into any other books. Intense thriller doesn't begin to describe it... And now I'm disappointed by most other books on my shelf. Poo.
(P.S. any reading recommendations to pass on to me?)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Get on with Getting On

It's been two weeks since we moved Dad. He'd tell me to get over my depressive complex and get on with it. Actually he'd probably say: "Stop your bitching. It won't do anything for anyone." Then pat me on the back and get on with life. That is what life does after all: get on.

This week I got on with it. Part of "getting on" for me involves needles. Not in a self-destructive, mutilating way... But in a commemorative way. I've got three tattoos. Both of my tragus (tragi in plural?) are pierced... Along with my earlobes. And, as of Tuesday, the peak of my pointed right ear -both ears are pointed, but only one is pierced.
 
See?
 (The tragus is that little hard piece of cartilage inside of my ear...
You learn something new every day.)
 
Did it at Claire's. How pre-teen angst of me. The more I look and admire it (yep, I'm that self-absorbed even amidst the loss and pain) I realize it's just what I needed.

That little sparkley cubic zirconia perfectly accentuates a part of my body that is so oddly me. Something happened when I was born... Maybe it was being 18 days late and my big head in conjunction with my petite mom's hips... But the cartilage along the top of my ears folded over into a point. Like a Christmas elf. And that way, they stayed.

I've never been teased about them. In fact, no one ever really notices. Jason didn't until I mentioned it to him. They're understated, but fashionably me. And at 23, I am thankful God gave me that little bit of extra attention when He folded the round of my ears into festive points.
I get to channel Buddy the Elf all day every day (no tights required).

So what's your fashionably you?
And I'm not talking skinny jeans or polka dots here -though I do love both of them.
Take some time to find what He did to remind you
He spent that little extra time to ensure you were perfectly unique.
Then share it with me.
Either here in the comments, or by email, or Instagram should you fancy a picture.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Until then, it's all Him.

Right now, in the midst of this change, words feel clunky, clumsy, ill-fitting -or at least mine do. 
So I leave it simple. 
We are surviving and looking forward to when we'll, once again, 
be thriving. 
Until then, it's all Him. 

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." -Colossians 3:15 

"The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high place [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!" -Habakkuk 3:19 (AMP)

Be peaceful dear friends.
Let Him fight on your behalf.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year... New News

I've spent the last week enjoying all my favorite blogs recap of their highlights of 2012. Babies, jobs, marriages, moves... All kinds of goodness. Then I think about my year.

2012. The year I had planned for healing. For lots of joy, fun, lifelong memories. The year I'd settle into marriage and a house of our very own. The year I'd get a dog and make everyone jealous with her sweetness in pictures and real life. The year my blog would become "big" and loved by many. The year my husband wouldn't be awkward in pictures and we'd look so pretty.

Then life did its dang thang.

2012. The year I met pure ugly. The year dementia became, not only an unwanted enemy, but a life-sucking monkey on the back of my family. The year I thought God's mercy and rest was ever-illusive and not meant for me -or my family. The year I realized plans are good, but so quickly rendered bullshit by tragedy, disease, ugh.


But, God has made 2013. He has made new my joy this year. He has given me eyes to be thankful for the joyful bits and pieces of last year. He has blessed me with lessons that outnumber the tears I've spilt. And He's made Himself known in both BIG and little ways.

Tonight I do the unthinkable. Tonight I drag myself into a Memory Care Unit at a local Old Folks' Home and I move all of my dad's things. I set up a room for him to call home. A home he did not build. A home that was not born in his dreams. A home we do not share.

I do the unthinkable with pure joy and love -and tears. I remember the kind-spirited way he moved me three times in two months because I hated where I lived. I remember how he didn't complain, not once. How he helped me assemble my bed -not once, or twice, but three times. I remember him carrying my heavy-as-a-obese-mule box spring up three flights of stairs... And back down the same stairs two months later. I remember crying to him about my inability to find "home" for myself.

More than that, I remember his love for my favorite apartment. He loved the golf course across the street, the original Rubio's not a block away, the sound of the freeway nearby, the beach just a two mile jog.

Tonight I do what I've dreaded since the diagnosis. But, I do it with his heart inside me. His spirit always of service to our family. I do it knowing one day in Heaven he'll tell me I did the right thing.

(on a lighter note: this will lend more time to post recipes, crafts, more God talk that's not quite so heavy... I just haven't had the extra energy to do those things as of late and I miss the pretty, foo-foo fun)

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