Saturday, December 31, 2011

the best gift

Every year I say I am going to write it down. I’ll finally put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keys) and write about losing my dad.  Every December I vow to record it.  And every year it doesn’t happen. But it sneaks up on me.  Not the day.  I know it is coming.  It’s everything else that goes with it. 

Dad died 12 days before Christmas.  There isn’t one thing about the season that doesn’t not make me think about what we lost.  You can’t hide or out run that day.  All through the year every siren I hear or fire truck I see makes me think, if only for a split second, of him.  Football season brings it’s own memories.  Christmas brings back the bad memories.  Christmas trees, lights, carols…it’s like every year you have these reminders of that day and the days that followed.  Even poinsettias, because some people had sent them to the funeral home.

I don’t write this for you to be sad.  I’m not sad.  I may be crying right now, but I wouldn’t say I’m sad. I’m far enough on this grief journey that I usually only cry a few times a year.  Sometimes on Ohio State-Michigan game day.  But usually not until 15 days before Christmas.  I’ll remember the last time I talked to my dad on that night and that will start it. I can still see him standing there in my doorway, silhouetted by the hall light.  Our last words were not goodbye.  By the time my sister and I got to the hospital he had already been gone for probably an hour or more.  Our last words came two nights before that. He stopped at my room before going to bed.  “Good night”, that was the last thing he said to me and the last thing I ever said to him. It’d be the last time we’d see each other.  It was a Saturday night.

“Say goodnight, not goodbye, you will never leave my heart behind.” When I heard this song on the Dawson’s Creek finale years later, I was so glad that our last words had been goodnight.  Not goodbye – that is so final, forever.  My dad had given us the greatest gift that anyone could give their loved ones – the hope of seeing each other again.  To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ (2 Cor 5:8).  Two years before he died, my dad had gotten right with God.    I couldn’t even imagine how unbearable it would have been to go through that and not had that hope that this wasn’t going to be it.  Don’t get me wrong, burying him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. 

So the point of this post is to encourage you, if you haven’t yet, to get right with God.  Don’t put it off. You never know when your number will be up.  There may not be enough time at the end.  From the NIOSH report, I think there was less than sixty seconds from the time Dad collapsed until he technically died.  I believe that there is a heaven and therefore there is a hell.  Heaven is wonderful, hell is not.  Everyone will go back to the Creator one day.  And you will either stay with him in heaven or you will spend eternity in hell.

No one can be good enough to get to heaven on their own.  Not Mother Teresa.  Not Billy Graham. Not Greg Rodgers. Not even Tim Tebow. Only by the grace from Jesus will anyone get to heaven. It is simple to get.  All you have to do is confess that you are a sinner (the Bible says that all have sinned – have you ever lied? stolen? said the Lord’s name in vain?)  and ask Jesus to come into your heart.  Then turn away from your sin and start living your life for Jesus.  It won’t always be easy, but it will be the most important thing you could ever do.

{He’s here but not here, He’s gone but not gone.}  This line from a song from Ladder 49 is awesome.  My dad is not here on earth physically, but he lives on through the people who’s lives he touched. My dad is gone from this earth, but he is not gone. The part that made him who he was lives on.  Isn’t that amazing?  It really is the best gift.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

32 Goals Update

I can’t believe how fast this fall went. Between my new job and grad school I just felt like everything flew by. I’m going to be taking some time off grad school at the beginning of the year. I need some time to just chill and work on some things.

10. Make a pumpkin pie Done! I did this for Thanksgiving with pumpkins that we grew in the garden. It was ok. Not as good as the apple pie. I might try this again.

15. Do Daily December book – Didn’t get done. I started the month taking a few pictures & remembering things I wanted to write down, but grad school work just got in the way. Will try this again next year.

16. Start Project Life – Got the album and stuff bought. Just need to put the page protectors in and I’m ready to go. Very excited to document 2012. I think it is going to be a great year! I’ll try to share my layouts here as I’m going to try to link up at The Mom Creative every week.

#17. Read 20 books – Yeah! I finished the first book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m halfway through LOTR: The Two Towers. I finished the first book with my 4th graders. After the break we are starting on a new book, Among the Hidden. I also bought & read Tim Tebow’s book. It was really good and I’ve since shared it with three other people. It’s great to pass along a great book. I purchased a few of the Grace Chapel Inn books from because they were such a good deal and I want to start collecting this series of books (there’s about 40 of them). Well, I think one of them I haven’t read yet so I’m excited to get my hands back on those sisters and their B&B. I’ve also got a couple books I purchased this fall that I haven’t read yet. I also think I’m going to start on The Hunger Games. But I really just want to finished up the LOTR series & The Hobbit this year.

  1. I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp
  2. Middle School Ministry Made Easy (for school)
  3. Courageous (the novel based on the movie)
  4. Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow
  5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  6. 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley (for school)
  7. The Castle in the Attic (read w/ my 4th graders)

#18. Watch 20 movies – I’m so excited for Courageous to release next month. I’ve already preordered it. It ended up coming to Zanesville for a couple weeks, but I didn’t make it there. And of course the week that I wanted to go see Breaking Dawn it left the theater. Oh, well. I’ll wait for it on DVD, which should hopefully be in March. I watched the 12 Dates of Christmas on ABC Family. It’s one of the few Christmas movies I actually got to watch this year. Grad school really interfered with that.

  1. The Grace Card
  2. Madea’s Big Happy Family
  3. Little Fockers
  4. 12 Dates of Christmas

#20. Try 12 new recipes – Got the stuff to make Loaded Baked Potato Soup this week sometime….yummo!

  1. Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  2. Homemade bread
  3. Apple Pie
  4. Pumpkin Pie
  5. Pumpkin Fudge
  6. Buckeyes
  7. Homemade Pop Tarts – for Christmas Eve brunch

#23. Make an apple pie – Done! Man, I’ve been craving another one of these!

#25. Build craft armoire – I have about 85% of it primed. Just need to sand a spot and finish up the priming then it is on to the paint. It is going to be so nice to have all my crafting stuff in one spot & behind doors.

#29. Start living room makeover – I painted my living room during Veteran’s Day weekend. It is Wild Turkey by Martha Stewart (brownish). I love it! I also painted the crown molding as it was in serious need of some help. I’m going to have to get some new lamps now as both of mine were knocked over during painting (only one by me), breaking the bulbs and now one won’t turn on at all and the other is hard. I can’t wait to finish spray painting frames and getting them up on the wall (with some B&W pictures).