June 26, 2006
The Solitary Vigil
Against the wind, lone palm in the tidal zone Pohiki Puna Big Island of Hawaii
Hoku, Im sorry, your mother's wishes have been denied, and they have inserted a feeding tube. No one could stop this, and we here waited to tell you, because we were not sure what we should do...
As my cousin spoke I was reminded of this post written in December of 2004
, the last time I saw her, and we spoke of this time that would come in the future...
"I want to die"
"Why wont God take me"
Mom plays these video tapes of Bill Gaither, some are pretty old and a lot of the older singers are long gone to glory. She will recite who is and isn't here with us and then she pointed at Rich Mullins who was guesting on one of these recorded concerts... He was killed in an accident a few years ago... And Mom said " Why would God take that young man in the prime of his life and leave me here?"
There is of course no answer for that...
She says that she is not afraid to die one minute then is the next... That's pretty human, but we are a family that is so pragmatic about death that we shock and upset people with our casualness about it. This is because we are well acquainted with it, My father was a suicidal manic depressive and both he and Mom felt it was best that we children knew what that was all about and how to deal with it. I am grateful for that... So her comments surprised me.
It also doesn't surprise me. I would want to take the easy way out of I was in her situation at least I would be tempted to take a gun to myself, as I wouldn't want to live that way, but then if God wills it then He will give me a way to handle it. So I trust Him.
Moms crisis of faith surprises me. Remember the teabag... I don't want to be like this. We had a daily discussion of death. "Why wont God take me...?" I am afraid to die." I was able to tell her that she has nothing to fear. I have had a near death or actual death experience. ( the nurse overheard my talking and was fascinated. She said I was likely dead as my blood pressure was 65/40, and I was in cardiac arrest from anaphlyctic shock) I can tell you that it was the most peaceful warm fuzzy feeling. There was the light and tunnel like visual but my vision had a corona sort of light field around the peripheral of my vision. But I was not afraid.
I spoke of her brother who told her that" death was a part of living and her wasn't afraid of it" He died a beautiful peaceful death after a long illness.
For the Believer, death is the beginning, the door to the great adventure, to our real life. I was disturbed by the doubts in her mind.
It left me often deeply sad. I would leave the nursing home really depressed...Always putting her fate in the Hand of One Who Knows What is Best... For it is beyond me to do anything else.
I have been told that she is not in a coma but is in a non responsive state. She has shut down and is beyond us... she has given up, I think. I know that this last 4 years has been more than most of us could bear... unable to move speak or swallow at the last. Eventually she will not be able to breathe. The doctors fearing a lawsuit put the feeding tube in... it only prolongs the enevitable
As my cousin explained what had happened, I realized something profound was at work in my own heart. As I have spoken of in the past, both Woody and I have been studying Roman Catholic theology and while much of it is still in the relm of discussion and we dont agree either between us or with the dogmas directly, the church's position on life and the preservation of life is unequivicable, and we both profess to stand with it... You preserve life and do nothing to thwart it. This was illistrated in living color by the final days of the late John Paul II, and his own struggle with Parkinsons. Do we belive that God is the giver of life or not? Do we have faith to believe that He is in control of everything including the doctor that made this decision, perhaps to cover his own behind?...yes of course...
It was also dramatically lived out with the struggle for the life of Terri Schaivo... The discussion is, do we reinact that horrorible situation between Mother's caregivers and our family? In an instant I knew the answer...
No... Rather than fight it out in the courts of the law of the land, I am choosing to fight it out in the courts of the Almighty, on my knees. God is the giver of life and He will determine the date of Mother's Homegoing... and perhaps she is already there. I pray that in this in between state that she is in a place in her mind that is safe and beautiful and where she wants to be... That she is free at last of the shackles of a earthly body and if not in God's presence, in a place of peace and rest... I pray that her solitary vigil in between heaven and earth will be short and that soon she will be in the presence of her Saviour and Lord
June 25, 2006
The Promise of Hope- Luke 11:9-28
Open Hearts Open Minds Open Doors, our motto at Bella Vista United Methodist Church, and in this case open blooms. A spectacular pink dogwood gloriously displayed this springKeep Asking, Seeking, Knocking
(also found...Matt. 7:7-11)
And Jesus to those gathered around Him...
"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for *bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by *Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons."
Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!"
But He said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
June 19, 2006
A river of evening light pouring through the forest canopy in my back yard. This stream of light will eventually pour into my workshop every afternoon....God willing
Its a brilliant evening. There is a brush of a breeze and the various sounds of the evening, birds, the chatter of sparrows and finches, the call of other birds I cannot name yet and then The tropical sounding shreak followed by rapid loud staccato of the Pileated Woodpecker
. It sounds like a howler monkey beating on the rim of a Snare drum.The bird is fairly large and very pretty as woodpeckers go
The Pileated Woodpecker
But the amazing thing to me is the golden light that pours through the branches of the trees, gleaming like a river of light. It causes me to pause, to close my eyes in wonder and think about things higher than my puny self can fathom. The cats love this light and will stop what they are doing to run out to the lanai and bask in it for as long as it lasts...
Nani laying in her personal sunbeam
The cicadas have come...As the fireflies have started to fade, these noisy insects and will sing until the cold sets in in October. Summer is well and truly here in the Ozarks.....
Today as Woody and I took a sunday drive out in the countryside, I found myself pondering the things that God has placed on my heart regarding my job. I have received appologies from management and from my new boss the word that "balance" is his watchword and that he is pushing for a shorter work day and a rotating weekend shift. Rotating to these people means every other week end versus ever weekend... No I dont think so... More like once a month. NewBoss feels the same and called for others in the company that might like to work extra to be allowed to do that to give us all a break. That was done and I hope that things worked out ok saturday
I was thinking about quitting right away but I heard a study on St. Josheph this morning that changed my mind and encouraged me to relax and see how things go and try not to rebel against all that goes on. Joseph just did what God asked him too,when God asked him to do it...,I need to do this too and quit the mental backtalk and just go with the program as best I can.. But I will firmly continue to reduce my hours, and save for the future. It is really not necessary for me to quit. In fact as things are being built I dont need to supervise every little thing. So, I am trusting God, to show me the proper time. The extra cash will help too... Woody is behind it he says untill they start getting crazy again and then we will have to revisit it....
I am thankful to have a boss now that lets me alone to just do my work and get it done .I am back to taking a lunch break and two breaks . Hey the smokers go and take their breaks I am not going to be left out of this break bonanza. I take a long walk around the building and so enjoy that. I have a chance to refocus my mind...there is nothing I am doing that is more important than prayer and being who I am. This situation is temporary and I can do it one day at a time...
I had a contractor in and he is willing to start my project, building me a workshop. Price was good and I liked him. But after the fiasco of our remodel there will be two bids, references and photos, as well as a contract that will drop dead on a certain date for compleation. The building of the shel of the shop is only the beginning. I need water, power and fininshing on the inside. This is a much bigger project than perhaps it seems on the surfice, but by doing things right now it will save me in the long run. Woody is nearly always a quality above economy guy so onward with the building... with references please...
We have not heard anything from my aunts regarding my Mother. Parkinsons is a dreadful illness, it is my hope that she goes quickly and in peace.
My kitties Mak and Nani are doing very well. Mak is over his urinary tract infection and is now on a low fat diet to deal with his colesteral... There has been a bit of lack of grooming but we are going to take of that this evening... They are frisky and full of life and I believe as happy as they were in Hawaii. When it rains like it did yesterday I see them turn their faces to the sky, and wonder if they remember the forest and the tropical breezes...It has been warm and humid enough that if I just close my eyes I think we could all be transported back to the Big Island once more just for an instant...
I am dazzeled by the way God has brought us to this moment in time... We spoke this morning to a group of newcommers to this land about how we have been blessed by a willingness to be obedient...God has blessed us in return for that faith. I am reminded even now as the light streams into the lanai...Peaceful Light reminding me that there is light at the end of this tunnel, I need only to trust and believe
June 18, 2006
Titus 3:3-15 Graces of the Heirs of Grace
Molokai lava FlowTitus 3:3-15Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing. And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.
All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all. Amen.
June 15, 2006
The Firefly Ballet
Summer Sunset Holiday Island Arkansas
The Fireflies are back...The locals say its a banner year for them. Woody and I have been dining out most evenings and as we drive home in the early evening twilight, the road side grass, and the trees are blanketed with the twinkling lights of thousands of luminescent tummies, all little flying romeo's looking for a prom date...
just as the firey leaves of fall and the dogwood blossoms say Spring is really here, Fireflies are the symbol of Summer's brilliance here in the Ozark's. Its going to be hot and hopefully stormy this year as we so need the rain...
I have spent the past few evenings out here on the lanai. It is around 80 degrees and humid. A thunderstorm is in the offing and I can hear the lightning off in the distance... It is peaceful and after a day with the loudest woman on the planet shreaking next to me, and the last minute stand off I had as I tried to leave and my old boss came up and said I couldnt ...I was needed to help someone else... I blew out of there, So I could put a few dishes in the dishwasher and a decent meal in front of my husband...
and to rest and think about my mother, Who may be in her final illness...forgive me if I say that the sooner her demise the kinder it will be for her she has suffered terribly.
In thinking about her I stood out in the general area of where I want to set up my shop and swore that I would not live my life safely, the way my mother did...choosing the world's way over what God might have had for her life. I make a lot of money at "thisplace" but it is very unsatisfying... And not Gods best for my life.
Life is short, a season really, like the fireflies, we shine brightly for a moment then we are gone. I want to make the most of what I have today. You cant wait for a future that may never come... Life is for the moment live now!
June 14, 2006
The Backside of the Storm
oncomming storm taken near Pohiki Puna Big Island of Hawaii
"Hoku, is it not better than it was last week?" New Bossman looks at me intently. He is a quiet man, and outdoorsman, who, like me, values his private time. "I see radical improvement in everything pertaining to your work... You had no missed deliveries and you were able to get two critical deliveries that were just dropped in your lap handled perfectly. I wouldnt have believed that it was the same person working this desk..."
Its true. I received many compliments today as we toiled on a "voluntary" saturday. Even my former bosslady came to me today saying that the change in my situation must have done me a great deal of good. The truth is that I have the same amount of work, but I am no longer working for a micro manager that wouldnt let me finish anything that I would start. I am starting and finishing my work and getting something accomplished.
So I am pressing forward. We signed loan docs this morning and I now have a line of credit for my business, when I am ready to get started... Knowing that I was getting this money has been a huge relief. The interior design work has been started and most importantly I have started my business plan, a roadmap to a new future.
The progress continues. I had a quiet day yesterday as my seatmate was gone and all enjoyed peace and quiet. I coulnt believe it when I realized that I was actual caught up on my work and have time to really handle the freight.
We have had a clean up crew in and they have removed most of the bushes and plants as well at the weeds, and last years leaves that was providing cover for COPPERHEADS... yes poisionous snakes in our bushes around our doorways. If Mak and Nani ever get out ... I dont want to think about it. The result is a cleaner and neater front to the house. A few small azaleias, and the Crape myrtles and Dogwoods are all that is left. I love the clean-ness and simplicity of it, plus my front door has nothing obstructing the view for security's sake....
I am walking again at lunch...yes I am finally back to taking lunch what a joy! Normalcy at last, perhaps for now...At least I can catch my breath....
June 13, 2006
Forest Falls Hana Road Maui
I saw this lovely slide show on MSN and thought how nice for all of you island lovers just to take a 5 minute vacation...enjoyHawaii Waterfall Tour
June 12, 2006
Life's Ten Simple Pleasures- A Meme
Cloud Strewn Sky over Northwest Arkansas
I took a tag from Miri at Yiddishe-Kop 2.0 for the Life's 10 Simple Pleasures
The mission: Come up with ten of life's simple pleasures I appreciate the most and then tag ten more people to do the same. The only drawback is that I can't list things someone else already has. Like she said, doing this is hard as we have so much in common or so it seemsA cloud strewn sky
. As a child growing up near Los Angeles I remember the endless days of blank sky, and how facinating I found the Tropical cloud massings that are a daily part of the sky scape of Hawaii. I dreaded moving back to "blank sky country" but I have even more interesting clouds here in Arkansas...which brings me to pleasure number twoweather
Thunderstorms, rain, wind I enjoy it allSinging a song
I miss leading worship very much but I have also been critical of our new church for being spectators rather than participants as singers. I sing all of the time The cats like it so much they will come to listen .A hand written letter to or from a friend
In this day of "rapid communication" which really is not, having a letter in hand opening it is like a gift or a treasure box waiting to be examinedSitting still in silence
A church, a room, there is something about it that moves me deeply, I can touch God and Life...A rose from my own bush
there is nothing like nurishing to fruition a beautiful thingpetting and loving my cats
and them loving me back...pricelessWalking along a deserted beach
My motion and God's motion...and time to be able to be in tune with that. A great book, or peice of music
that stirs the soulThe Morning's first cup of coffee
Im not sure that ten people read this blog any more but I will add one more pleasure. The pleasure I feel when friends find a new joy in life...and with that I will introduce you to our neighbors Gene and Ginger and their blog Kijabe and Back
Blogging is a passion that I cant count as simple, but introducing it to another is a joy and helping others find this medium of expression. Ginger set up this blog herself I only gave a bit of encouragement. Their mission to Africa is a dream of mine, let us join them in their journey and that will be a pleasure also...
June 11, 2006
Psalm 63 The Water in a Dry Land
Falls of the Seven Sacred Pools, Hana Maui HawaiiPsalm 63
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
June 07, 2006
The Empty Nest
Butterflies and wild flowers near Beaver AR
Well as my title suggests, my little wrens have flown the nest, and are off exploring the world, staying close to Mom and Dad of course. Our little miracle we only saw for a few days. Now we have a a new crop of little bug chasers and more power to them...
My situation is still obnoxious but, my new boss seems to be a nice man. Very quiet and seems to take a hands off approach. I had a brutal day yesterday, spent much of the day in tears...as things seemed to just be melting down... I got no help and all I could think was..."when can I get out of here".
My friend who now sits in an entirly new group has heard nasty things said about how I cant manage because Im not good enough...Its depressing.
No word yet on the loan, I am thinking that it might be fall before I am ready to quit. But we are fairly resolved about this. The situation is playing out day by day, I need to stay focused on the goal
June 05, 2006
What Have We Been Missing?....
Four tiny baby wrens peek out of their nest, no bigger than an egg cup. The toy fruits on the wreath give you a sense of proportion...just how tiny they are
"Hoku, We have come to say good-bye"...Our neighbors to the north of us, Gene and Ginger left today to go to Kenya to teach at a Bible College there. Woody and I had just returned form our weekly outing together. Church, then breakfast, then a stop at the Grapevine Mall to check our store and pay the monthly fees... Nothing has been done in the house in a week, catbox smell and stale dishwasher dishes, the place looks like a bomb hit it...So we stood on our front porch and talked. Our conversation was interrupted when Gene pointed out the wreath and the obvious to him, nest full of chicks. Our front door is used so seldom that mom and dad Wren felt right at home nesting right near the doorknob!
I stopped and took this photo as I walked in. Momma was on a worm run, and so I was able to approach the nest snap a picture and hurry away...
And it has made me think...What am I missing...The time I used to spend in prayer and meditation is the greatest loss. The time we were going to devote to the church, even the time to be neighbors and make friends. The time I was going to devote to being the wife and homemaker I have always wanted to be...
At church yesterday I realized that yes I am impacting lives at thisplace...some positively some negatively. But I wonder if I shouldnt be more available to active ministry... I really feel the pull, and am praying about it everytime I think about it.
Things are changing on my account as well. Two additional managers, and nine more employees will be starting over the next two weeks. I will be losing two thirds of my workload generating areas. Saturday, to everyones surprise we were all moved around to different desks. I hate that. I lost my wonderful deskmate and have a lady that is loud and smokes like a chimney and smells gross... I like the gal but she is affected, the loud voice and the brash phone persona is ment to get attention. People are betting how long I can put up with it. Not long. But day by day I can. As long as I can..
I was prepared to hate the new arrangement, one of the new managers, sits right accross from me, watching my every move. Bosslady is two rows away now on the opposite end of the room. She can no longer shout at me over the wall. I no longer feel the relentless pressure to do what she wanted on the spot neglecting my other work..
So other than seatmate lady's boisterous talk, which I think she toned down for me It was more peaceful. Part of that peace is knowing that I have a vision and a goal that I am working towards. It isnt hopeless for me.
One of the new mans visions is to break up of the bad habbits of no lunch no break no life. So 6pm was our deadline today I scurried out of there and rushed home...To a thundering sky. I put a one pan baked cassorole in the oven and sat out here in the shadow of the storm, brave kitties by my side, watching the lightning and listening to the gentle rain. No matter how many times I experience this it blesses me. I feel a part of this wonderous greatness that surrounds me...Weither it it Rolling thunder, or the peeping of tiny baby birds...it is the music of God's world that I have most sorely missed, and long for every moment of everyday, for as long as I have breath....
June 04, 2006
1 Chronicles 16:7-36-Let the Fields Rejoice
Freshly Mowed Hayfield Near Centerton Arkansas
1 Chronicles 16:7-36
David's Song of Thanksgiving
(Ps. 96:1-13; 105:1-15; 106:1, 47, 48)
On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord:
Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
O seed of Israel His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
Remember His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel for an everlasting covenant,
Saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,"
When you were few in number,
Indeed very few, and strangers in it.
When they went from one nation to another,
And from one kingdom to another people,
He permitted no man to do them wrong;
Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes,
Saying, "Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm."*
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is also to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and gladness are in His place.
Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved.
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, "The Lord reigns."
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field rejoice, and all that is in it.
Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.*
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.*
And say, "Save us, O God of our salvation;
Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise."
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!*