Remember and Celebrate

July 15, 2011

A Little Boy, A Big Spider and Daddy

The setting:
My son and his wife live in an OLD stone farm house.  In the back yard is an old root cellar…. a weird focal point to the back yard. The kids love to climb over it. (for the grandmas reading this, the door is secure!) Tonight it’s back yard Graduation Party for my son who has graduated from Seminary, 10 years, 1 wife and four children later . . .. .

The night air filled with
the sound of children at play
and the easy conversation of adults
is broken with a fearful cry . . .. . .
a cry that escalates with the fear.

A little boy in a yellow shirt is perched atop the root cellar,
afraid to come down
because of a Big Spider.

Daddy hears . . .  comes to rescue him
and investigate the source of his fear

As Daddy sets him down and inspects the offending Big Spider,
the little boy in the yellow shirt scampers right back up beside him.

The fear of the spider is broken. . .
The little boy in the yellow shirt suddenly fascinated
by the very thing that caused such terror
moments before . . .

All because Daddy is here.

It reminds me that the presence of Jesus can
calm our fears,
grant us courage
even when things
seem to
S
    P
         I
              R
                    A
                          L
                             out
                                      of
                                            control.

Isaiah 41:10a (The Message)
Don’t panic, I am with you

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July 4, 2011

Radio Controlled Model Planes, My Life and God

The model airplanes are flying again,
          diving low, at times skimming the lake
          and rising again,
          flipping, rolling,
          banking to the left and then to the right,
          at times simply flying through the air.
I think of how the safety of the plane depends on
          the skill of the operator.

Lord, as our lives dip, turn, rise, flip and roll
Help us to remember . . .
          You have the controls of our lives.

There is no problem with Your skill as operator.
Our response is to simply rest
          in this confidence
          as we move through the
              days . . .
                        weeks . . .
                                  months . . .
                                            and years
          you have remaining for us.

There will be times it won’t turn out
          “all right” . . .
          all the time . . .
          to our liking . . .
but as long as it’s to
          Your liking . . .
                    Your plan . . .
                              and in Your time . . .
we can rest secure.

Even when we lost Gordon,
He was not lost to You.
We did not die.
We still love You.
We still say You are good.
Blessed by Your name!

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June 27, 2011

Baby Ducks and God’s Faithfulness

 

( I wrote this last summer, June, 24, 2010)

Today I see them . . .
     the baby ducks.

I look for them every year,
It’s already June
And I have been wondering where they are.

Maybe it’s been too cold –
Too. . . . . something?
And I am surprised by how 
      seeing them today makes my heart sing.
And I wonder what this is all about.

Maybe it’s because it just feels good
     seeing things work
     like they are supposed to
     when it seems like so much doesn’t
          work at all.
I sense a sweet peace,
     all because of a mama duck
     and her ducklings.
Could it be, God, that it’s a reminder to me
     of  your faithfulness?

And then I remember Genesis 8:22 . . . .

“As long as the earth endures
     seedtime and harvest,
          cold and heat,
               summer and winter,
                    day and night
                         will never cease.”

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June 22, 2011

Special Future & Redefining Greatness for our Children

 

from www.ToddHiestand.com – August 2007 post. Thought provoking and an important concept.

August 16, 2007
Tonight, my parents hosted a little get together for all of their friends (many were friends who have known me since I was just a little weasel) to come and welcome Mason into our family. It really was a neat time and we were excited to have so many people be so excited about this kid.

One of the things that I often hear now is the statement that “God must have such a special plan for Mason.” This is great statement and I do believe that it is true. In fact, I can’t believe that after a year and a half of waiting we find ourselves parents of someone who seems like such a perfect fit to our family. God’s finger prints are all over this kid and his adoption that is for sure.

My only concern with this kind of statement however, is how it might be misunderstood by him as he grows up. When we say “God has something special and great for you” I hope that we are very, very careful in how we frame that. I mean, its not as if God has a more special plan for Mason than he does for Cole right? My worry is more in what he learns to define as “special” and “great.” What I mean is that we (and by we I mean us and all his friends) need to be careful not to put unnecessary pressure on him to become something like an astronaut or a great pastor or write a book or cure the planet of AIDS.

What I do hope that we can do for Mason and for Cole (heck for all the children in our lives) is help re-define greatness for them from the narrative of scripture. I pray that they can grow up knowing that their greatness lies not in their profession or job but in something comepletly different.

In fact, first and foremost I pray that their measure of greatness simply comes from the knowledge that they are God’s beloved, his children, his special creation. Second, I pray that they would simply understand greatness in how well they love God and love others and how they respond to God’s call on their lives to be part of what he is doing in the world.

I can think of many people who are “great” (many of them were at this gathering tonight) who no one has ever heard of. No one will ever write books about them. You won’t find their stories by searching on Google. But, they have loved and grown Godly families and served God in amazing, compassionate and faithful ways and have truly been part of what he is doing in the world.

So, here’s to redefining greatness and allowing our children to not feel the pressure to be something “great” in the worlds eyes and instead allowing our children the freedom to become who God is calling them to be.

Carpenter? President? CEO? Garbageman? Pastor? Who really cares.

(For the record when people say this to us, I know that they believe the same things I do, my emphesis here is just on how our children interpret what we say).

added note by Grandma: There are now two more Hiestand Men in the family!

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June 10, 2011

Rise and Come

"Rise and Come"

 

This was written September 17, 2005, about 6 weeks before my brother died.

Dear God:

The fear that plays around the edges of my heart is that this enjoyment of scripture, this new way of studying Your word will fade away (reading for the pause, writing to You, God and being quiet as I wait to hear what You might way and then writing it down.) And I’ll get stuck just reading for information/content again.

What if it’s just a nice idea that doesn’t last long? I’ve read the first 4 chapters of John and have never gotten so much from reading your Word…What if I read sometime and nothing speaks to me? Lord, I have been here before – but it didn’t last. What is different this time?

I talk to Shirley about it and she sends me the following note by mail:

“And so, after she has risen, the Word again says “Rise” and after she has come, He says “Come.” One who has thus risen never lacks the opportunity to rise further and the one who is running towards the Lord, never reaches the end of the space available for the divine race. We should always be rising and those whom the race is bringing close the goal should never stop. Each time the word says “Rise and come,” He gives the power to ascend to still loftier heights. (St. Gregory)Carol, sit with these words awhile and see what they offer you. Love Shirley

Note:  as I look back over these past 6 years, I realize that being in community was important.  I thank God I had people walking the journey with me. 

I did “sit with it” and I wrote the following in my journal:

“never reaches the end of the space
available for the divine race…”

Lord, I love these words . . .
Thank for for drawing them to me today.

The thought gives me hope.
I cannot reach the end
of what you have for me!

Perhaps there will be times when I seek you
and I wont’ be able to see through the fog.
Maybe life will make it hard
to see and feel you.

But Lord, still I will “run to you . . .
Where else can I go?
Capture me with grace.
I will follow you” **

**from the song “Rescue” which we learned and sang in choir this month.

” Rescue”
by Jared Anderson

You are the source of life
I can’t be left behind
No one else will do
I will take hold of You

I need You Jesus, I need You Jesus

My heart is Yours for life
I need Your hand in mine
No one else will do
Lord I put my trust in You

chorus
I need You Jesus to come to my rescue
Where else can I go?
There’s no other Name by which I am saved
Capture me with grace
I will follow You
My heart is Yours for life
I need Your hand in mine
No one else will do
Lord I put my trust in You

bridge
This world has nothing for me (I will follow You)

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May 17, 2011

On Blankets and Being

 From my May 2008 album:
 Mason, how you love your blankets . . . all five of them! The colorful one is your “Guatemala blanket” and the blue/yellow/white on is the one I made for we were waiting for you to come home to us.

When you wake up, you point and say “it” for each one of them until I gather up all them along with you!   Then you are willing to sit and cuddle while you wake up slowly

 I love these quiet moments together… just “being.”

Maybe that’s how God feels when we are willing to just sit quietly with Him – not asking anything of Him, just content to be with Him.

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May 17, 2011

On Blankets and Being

 From my May 2008 album:
 Mason, how you love your blankets . . . all five of them! The colorful one is your “Guatemala blanket” and the blue/yellow/white on is the one I made for we were waiting for you to come home to us.

When you wake up, you point and say “it” for each one of them until I gather up all them along with you!   Then you are willing to sit and cuddle while you wake up slowly

 I love these quiet moments together… just “being.”

Maybe that’s how God feels when we are willing to just sit quietly with Him – not asking anything of Him, just content to be with Him.

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May 11, 2011

White Clover, Gods Creativity and Sharing Life With Grandchildren!

 

White Clover and God's Creativity

I created this card to send to my Grandchildren.  If they lived next door like in the olden days when family’s grew up together,  I’d take them for walks and we’d look at God’s big creative world together, but since we don’t, ……..

Created for my Grandchildren on May 11, 2010

I have a friend who is an well-known water color artist.  And she told me it’s good to  take time to look at things, like a patch of grass and to draw what we see.  I didn’t try drawing yet, but I  took a picture when I noticed how all the clover plants looked alike!

Each  heart- shaped with jagged edges  had a light  ‘V-shaped’ marking.  And then I did a little research.  I  learned each white flower is not just one flower but  20-40 individual  ones and  smells a little like cinnamon, I think!

Isn’t God creative?  He not only makes clover, he makes different kinds – and each KIND looks different from another KIND.

Isn’t it wonderful that He makes all these beautiful things for us to enjoy.

It’s hard to find clover in a yard that has had week-killer on it, but try looking the next time you’re at the park!

It’s good to Pay Attention!

What have you noticed lately?

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May 9, 2011

celebrating a friend

 

Shirley and Carol at Botanic Gardens, April 28, 2006

 

A couple weeks ago, on  April 28 I spent time with my mentor/spiritual director friend, Shirley and we celebrated 5 years of friendship. Our first visit to Botanic Gardens when I was deeply hurting, was 5 years ago! I wrote the following about a year ago and sent it to her.  And I share it here now as a tribute to the impact she has had on my life.

Dear Sweet Friend, Shirley:

The following is an attempt to express in words the impact you have had on my life as I have been “becoming.. ”  You told me once “becoming is messy and unsettling, but it can be a gift.” I think I believed you at the time, but it was hard to see. You said being in-between was a hard place, but a place for growth – and it was –  still is, as I suspect I will always be “becoming .”  Now I am in the process of gathering the “story” of these past 5 1/2 years. I have a story to tell and a lot of that story I owe to the your influence on my life.

•  You taught me to read scripture and engage it with my heart – to “read for the pause.” And since I find it almost impossible to pause and stay on a topic, I started to write at the pause. it opened up a whole new world.

•  You taught me the value of journaling “Dear God . . . ” and then writing “Dear Carol . . . .” and wait for what He might say. He always has something to say if I listen…even if it’s to tell me to sit with the question.

•  When my brother died, I knew I had to see you, because I knew you knew, the way no one else would know, because you too had lost your brother.

•  You reminded me not to quantify grief. Everyone’s grief is their own and should not be compared to another’s grief.

•  You taught me to “Pay attention.” You said “Look up. Look down. Look around. God has a message for you – a message of life,” when we returned to the place he was found 7 months earlier on that cold November night. I did that and there was a message for me, just like you said.

•  You encouraged me to go to Gordon’s grave site by myself for the first time . . . You were right. I needed that.

•  You taught me that “becoming” is a process and it’s OK to not get answers right away and that it was OK to feel disoriented while I was becoming.

•  You helped me understand that God delights in ME – not just me-as-in-all-of-mankind me.

•  You helped me discover my contemplative self. Quietness has become my friend. Quiet time with God used to be something I knew I should do, but wasn’t sure how to fit it in. Now I try to figure out how to fit the rest of my life in around my Quiet time, which I want..

•  You taught me about breath prayers.

•  When we felt betrayed, you were properly indignant and I felt your love and compassion. You helped me process that particular loss and learn from it. A mutual friend told me you were “safe” and you were.

•  I quote you frequently – everyone in my life knows about you. They all want to meet you.

•  You said when I share with others what I have learned I am passing along the bread I have been given. I’ve been passing it.

•  In a large measure, I owe my new self to the impact you have had on my life. Yyou were there at the beginning of my journey.

this path at Botanic Garden that we walked April 2006 became a symbol of my journey

On that day in April, 2006, I committed to a journey I had actually begun the summer of 2005 before I experienced the death of my brother.  I am still on that journey.

Your influence lives on, not only in me, but in those who have learned to pay attention, make silence their friend, read for the pause and engage their heart with God’s heart for them.  I love you my friend.  And  my prayer is that I will continue to “pass along the bread I have been given.”

As you read this, are you being reminded of a person who has been key in the develpment of your life and growth  I’d like to hear a bit about them…and then why don’t you write them a note and tell them so!

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May 5, 2011

It’s “the continual presence of an absence”

 

5x7 landscape panel grief poem - Page 001

I created and framed these pics for my mom for Mothers’ Day, 2006, 5 months after she had lost her third child and I had lost my last sibling:

“The world loves closure, loves a thing that can, as they say,be gotten through. This is why it comes as a great surprise to find that loss is forever, that (two) decades after the event there are those occasions when something in you cries out at the continual presence of an absence.”  Anna Quindlen

51 years ago today, my little brother, Ronnie slipped away from us early in the morning, after a 16 hour illness.   I was 12 years old.  Nine  months earlier, my baby sister had been  born too early and lived only 7 hours. ( those footprints are only 1 3/4 in. long)

While there is a lot I have forgotten, I still remember parts of that day as if it were this morning.  Most of all I remember the despair of the finality of death.  It was 45 years later, after Gordon, my one remaining sibling died, that I found and understood the powerful meaning behind this quote by  journalist  Anna Quindlen.  I am grateful for people who capture profound concepts with words

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