Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow death.......I suppose the 23rd Psalm is the first scripture I memorized as a child. It has always been my go to for comfort. When I have actually walked in the shadow of death before each procedure to remove brain tumors or to fix aneurysms in my head, I would recite the "yea though I walk through the shadow of death....."

However this week the scripture has taken on a different meaning for me. Monday, January 27th makes one year since my niece Megan died at the age of 24. As I have pondered this I have thought to myself, death of one so young casts a long shadow. Without her it seems like a valley "in" the shadow of her death. Her parents live in the shadow of her death. Her brother lives in the shadow of her death. Her grandparents live in the shadow of her death. Sometimes we laugh at some memory of her. Sometimes we simply smile as we remember. But sometimes we sit in the valley of the shadow of her death and weep. At those times there are no words, only our sorrow.

But that is not the end of the scripture; "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me." So I am not alone in my grief. We are not alone in our grief. God walks with me through this valley, in her shadow. We are not alone in our grief. God walks with us through this valley, in her shadow. And in spite of all the sorrow I am eternally grateful that I am the aunt of Megan Autry. I am grateful for how she enriched my life. And yes in a way I am grateful to sit in the shadow that she has cast. Because it means that she lived and that I loved her and I still love her.

"The Lord is my shepherd....."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sweat.......there is one thing that I have missed since living in Marble, CO and that is the gym. All those years that Jon was in the Air Force I took advantage of the base gym. I always got to know the gym regulars and they knew me. We would all look at the January newcomers and make wagers on who would last till February. I have missed that because Marble has no gym. That shouldn't be a surprise because we have no grocery store, no place to buy gas and only one restaurant that opens only during the summer. We have no problem staying in great cardiovascular shape because we hike up everywhere. But I discovered today that I really and truly miss the gym!

My brother got me a week free membership at his gym while I am in NC. Today I went to the gym. I got on the treadmill and could run with ease because I am now at sea level from the 8000 ft. where I live. I got off to lift weights. I loved being able to bench press. I loved all the testosterone grunting as men lifted heavier and heavier reps. I loved the estrogen fueled softer grunting as serious women did their weight routines. I loved the smell of sweat!!! Yes there is nothing like the sounds of a gym and the smell of sweat as people get in shape! Who would of believed that I like the smell of sweat in the gym!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Harvey's Little Acre........ Memories are a tricky thing these days for my father. It is so frustrating for him as he tries to reach some memory only to have it missing or difficult to retrieve. I have been asking many questions to pull what I can from him and discovered a little jewel that both he and Mother could recall.

It brought images of the movie Grease into my mind. Daddy said that he had a blue convertible. Mother dated him for a time while he had the car. He told me of a place between Dunn and Benson that all the young people went to hang out on the weekend. He said a little "parking" would take place (both parents were quick to qualify that "parking" in those days meant just a little innocent kissing), a lot of talking and joking around, and in general just a good time to be had by all. This was in the 50s. So can't you just see it? Poodle skirts, pony tails, saddle oxfords, penny loafers, greased back hair and all. Then Mother remembered the name. "It was Harvey's Little Acre, wasn't it, Brewer? I saw my Daddy's eyes light up as he responded, "yeah,that's it!"

I saw it all in my head just like some teenaged 50s movie and marveled at the precious moment recaptured from a fleeting past!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Photo: Official Marblite; cross country skies on the porch with the snow shovelWoohoo!!!!! Went cross-country skiing for the first time in my life today. Just went off the porch and out into the road. I only fell three times! Hey! the skis are very narrow so don't laugh unless you have done it before. Besides which I was able to get up on my own two of the times and only needed Jon to help me up one of the times! Getting up on your own is sort of important. It was a little difficult but I had a blast! It's official! I am a true Marblite because I have the skis on the front porch along with the snow shovel! Life is good!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Memories........I have often tried to figure out how to hold on to a memory as if I could bottle it up and open it at any time so that it would flood my mind in such a way that it was never lost. Okay, so most of you who know me well know that I come up with some "unusual" ideas. But truly I have thought of this many times. Perhaps with the recent knowledge of how memories can completely disappear, I have revisited this idea. And perhaps because of this God is speaking to me in a different way. Live, child breathing in the moment. Live, child perhaps today is the last moments of any day you have.

The first of December we hosted the annual Marble Christmas ornament exchange. We had a raging snowstorm all day and the phone rang constantly asking if it was still on or not. I told everyone I would be there to greet anyone who came. I set the fellowship hall up for the people to come. Some of the ladies who came early to help looked skeptical at my preparations. But 25 of the 35 who responded that they would come showed up in the still raging snow. But more than that it was the laughter and noise of conversation and the stealing of ornaments and the taste of food that made the event. God was in the laughter and in the joy and yes in the snow. To be aware of that is better than holding forever the memory, isn't it?

December 15th we had the after-church treats in the parsonage. Every decoration was up and all the Christmas dishes out. The food awaited. Then 30 some people filed through our small but open home. There were oohs and ahhs over this certain decoration or that. Again the sounds of God's people filling our home. There were private conversations going on in different areas of people caring for the needs of others. God was in our midst, in our hearts celebrating with us. To be aware of that is better than holding forever the memory, isn't it?

Christmas Eve I again presented the character of Mary's Mother during our evening candlelight service. I had lived with her as I developed her for two months, memorizing scripture after scripture. That evening as I stepped out to present her, I felt the power of the Holy Spirit fill me giving the character meaning far beyond what she had started out. Then the lighting of the candles during Silent Night reminded us that Light had come in the midst of darkness. God was with us, Emanuel fulfilled. To be aware of that is better than holding forever the memory, isn't it?

I ask you the question, "Isn't it?" I am now well aware that memories can slip away from a mind forever. But God is!!!!!! So perhaps living each moment whether the moment is a good moment or a devastating moment is more important for our lives, realizing that God is in every moment, never forsaking us even when our minds can no longer hold even the simplest of memories.......To be aware of that is better than holding forever the memories, isn't it?