Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ephesians 5:20

"Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,"

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We had a wonderful day, filled with ups and downs of being in a new house, with a new family and new stresses.  But it was nice.  The turkey refused to cook at first, but we worked around that.  It gave us lots of time to play some fun games.  

We watched the parade, and we put up the tree.  Does a nine foot tree fit into an 8 foot room?  YES!  You can do it!  We added a lovely seal ornament to the tree, and we know we will add even more through the years as the girls start to add an ornament each year just like the other five kids have always done.

The move was stressful.  Any change is, but add a 7 bedroom home to move in the mix...and it's a lot of back breaking labor and restless nights to make the stress seem--well, unbearable at times.  Thankfully, our friends the Wellman family came to the rescue.  Even Giles showed up...with hugs and love.  He took a few things to remember Layne by, and we were happy to provide those things.

And so we settled into a new home with a new routine.  Megan landed, and our family, minus two, was together.  We awkwardly met new  family members, and we learned their quirks and personalities.  We found the local Little Caesars, which kept us fed, and those of us from Nevada learned that rain is not a one day thing here.  It's more like a season thing...the entire season, every day, every hour, drip, drip, drip.  We saw our first frosted over windshields and we applauded when the sun (formerly in Vegas known as "the hateful burning orb" peaked out slightly today.

We combined the dvd collection, the dishes, the towels.  We found new places for every item in our lives...well except for the things in boxes still in the garage that we prefer not to think about right now.

Tomorrow, we begin the search for a home church.  That, we assume, may take some time.  We'll start at the Nazarene church...and we'll work our way around the neighborhood.  I'll miss my little church in Vegas, it had  become a place of respite for me.  I know the boys will miss Summit Ridge.  We need to find a new homeschool group, and we need to get Matthew enrolled in fencing, and the girls enrolled in activities that suit them, as well.

But for now, we are home.  In OUR home, and we are safe.  

Thanks for all the prayers.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gen 18:19

"For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of theLord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

So, what is family?  Who is part of your family?  What does family DO and how do you recognize them?

Well, I have a lot of family.  I have family in Ohio, family in South Carolina, family in Texas...  But I also have family who don't have the same blood running in their veins as mine.  If you checked our DNA, you may not think that we are family.  But we are.

Family are people who are there for you.  When things are rough, they are there to uphold you, to support you in your roles as husband, wife, father, mother.  They are there to hold your hand when you are terrified, and there to laugh with when things are good.  They are the ones who know the small things that matter to you...and always seem to be able to remember those small things.  

In my life, I have been blessed with several people who are not of the same DNA, but who truly are family.  These people have become an integral part of our lives.  

Sam and Gail, Layne's very best friends...the first people he introduced me to--in fact, long before I met his DNA family, I met Sam and Gail.  He told me these two people were family...and that they had loved him like a brother and sister.  Those feelings only intensified as the years went on.  When Layne was diagnosed, it was Gail who I called for support.  It was she who bore my tears when I couldn't share them with Layne.  It was they who insisted that they could come down and help out in person...and just give us hugs--though the trip was long and the cost, I'm sure, outrageous.  

Gail is a sister.  Sam, a brother.  They always will be.  My kids look on them  Because they are.

Connie--she's a bit opinionated.  She's a bit obnoxious...and she can be downright sarcastic.  I think that is why I like her.  When we needed friends in Texas, she was there, always there.  We stayed with her, we bothered her...and when Layne died, she flew in, became my brain, and took care of our family as if --well, as if they were HER family.  She is family.

Then there are family members who you don't get to choose, but who actually ARE your family.  People like my son-in-law, Chris.  Chris is pretty amazing.  When Layne was sick, he brought the family to see him.  When we needed help, and I was exhausted...he supported Teri in coming out to help me--for weeks.  She was able to help with feedings and doctor visits...which made my life so much easier.  

Then, it came time for us to move.  This has been very difficult.  It's been pretty much--well, our family only--doing the move.  And it is exhausting and mentally difficult.  Not many people would give up three weeks of leave and travel across the country to pilot a moving truck for someone else.  Except Chris.  Chris has been here, helping to remove some of Layne's work for me, disassembling furniture, filling boxes, and even digging out my special rosebush.  He has spent hours and hours and hours measuring, toting, and getting sore muscles.  He has a lot more of them to go.  I didn't get to pick Chris, but I am certainly glad that he is family.  

See, that is what family is.  They are there physically pitching in.  They are there mentally, giving you a boost.  They believe in you, hope the best for you, and overlook when your hair isn't done and your jeans have moving gunk on them.  Family is not a name, it's action. It isn't doing what it is asked, it is offering BEFORE being asked...and following through with what you offer.  Because these people depend on you--you're part of the same root system, like sequoia trees.  You know if they fall, you fall.  Wow, sounds a lot like that saying that Layne kept using the last few months. "Love is an action, not a word."

He had noticed that everyone wanted to call and say they loved him in the last few months...but very few picked up a hand and helped--take him to the doctor, ensure that his days were stress free--and in the hospital, be willing to give him quiet and peace.  So many people wanted what THEY wanted of his last days, not what HE wanted.  And he loved to refer to those folks as "vultures."

But there were those who showed love not by saying they loved him, but by action.  When he called them for support, they were there.  They held him up.  They made him feel valued.  If he wanted to just be alone, they let him do that.  When he was lonely, they were there for him.   And those people...with their hands holding him up--those people were family.  Each and every one of them.  

I'm very thankful ...for family.  Those who share my DNA and those who do not.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Psalm 127:3

"See, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

It's an interesting perspective...being on this end of being a parent.  When my kids were very small, there were many long nights of rocking, crying (both them and me) and worry.  I wondered to myself, "God calls this a 'blessing'?  Really?"

The teen years really threw me for a loop, and sometimes...they still do.  After all, you love them, give up your life for them, and sometimes, they roll their eyes at you, say the most terrible things about you, and even worse things to you.  

Yet, as the tragedies of the past few years befell us, my children have become my most priceless "possession."  As we have gone through pictures as we pack, I have realized how much like their father the boys look.  It is so nice to have part of him still here.  My daughter, Teri, has come to help us pack.  I know that I would not have been able to complete this huge task if it weren't for her assistance.  Today, she helped me complete the tear down of the office.  I had been three days working on the office prior to her arrival.  It seemed the more I went through, the more the piles grew!  

We went out to dinner last night, to celebrate Camm's 21st birthday.  I looked around the table at all of my children except Megan, who is teaching school in South Carolina.  I realized how blessed I am.  The traditions, the beliefs, the integrity that we hoped to instill are all in tact.  They were respectful to the waitress, kind to one another, and they were totally enjoying sharing a meal.  

When I needed them, they have come to my rescue.  I understand now that the Lord means it when He tells us that children are a blessing.  The long nights I invested, in what I thought was their future, turned out to be an investment in my own.