Monday, July 29, 2013

Come On, Elizabeth! It's Time For Church!

God called my mother home yesterday morning.  It was Sunday around 10:00 AM, the time she would have gone to church to prepare an array of organ music for Sunday morning services. When I was young, Dad would often call up the stairs, "Come on, Elizabeth.  It's time for church!"


We all knew Mom had mere weeks left on Earth, and that she would soon join Dad in Heaven.  As our annual vacation was coming up, we made the difficult decision to proceed with our plans for a week at the beach.  Mom had slightly different plans.  In the middle of the week, I received a call that Mom was in distress.

Another difficult decision ... What to do???


My grandmother (Nana) was in a nursing facility and had been ill for a few days.  My parents made the difficult decision to proceed with our vacation plans, and we went to Atlantic City.  Nana died while we were away, and we returned home immediately.  By the time we arrived, almost all the funeral arrangements were made, with a few exceptions.  Mom told me on more than one occasion that she regretted not letting me swim in the ocean one more time before we returned home.


The next day she was still in distress, no change in her condition.  What would Mom and Dad do?  Time for another difficult decision.  We decided to let the kids swim for one more day, and go to the boardwalk one more night.

A late night text from my sister revealed that Mom may be holding on, waiting for someone. Maybe me.  Hmmmm ... We were heading home the next morning.  I could only pray that we arrived in time.

The next morning we arrived by Mom's bedside.  She slept the entire time while we visited with her, my brother, sister, spouses and kids.  As we left, I kissed Mom's forehead and said, "Go plant your garden.  We're all okay here,  It's alright if you want to go."

She held on.  She was waiting for something else.  Something none of us could fathom.  Something only she knew in her heart.

The next day was Sunday.  We awoke and ate breakfast and lounged around my in-laws' house, exhausted from our vacation, from the trip home, and from a long night a Mom's bedside.  Then the phone rang.

"Yes," I said.
"Mom died." My sister's words were emotional, but with a hint of relief, as we both knew Mom was finally happy.
"What time did she die?"
"They just called me.  She died a few minutes ago, a little before 10:00."

I think it suddenly dawned on us.  Mom wasn't waiting for any of us.  She was waiting for Dad to yell, "Come on, Elizabeth!  It's time for church!"

Yesterday morning, while we all mourned, Mom went to church with her husband for the first time in many years.  She and Dad are celebrating and praising God with glorious, pain free, heavenly bodies today and every day forevermore.

Mom's death is not a sad occasion.  She had been ill, living a tormented life in a tiny, frail body for far too long.  Her transition to Heaven is a celebration of her new life with all those who have gone before her.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. 
 - Philippians 3:20-21

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Kids Day!!

Today is my Mom's birthday.  She's 81. This most likely will be her final birthday here on Earth, as she is ill and the doctors have indicated that she has only weeks left to live.  I was feeling very sad because I was not able to be there today to sing "Happy Birthday" to her (we did get to visit and sing to her a few days ago).  Sad that is, until my 8 year old son declared today "Happy Kids Day." 

He didn't realize it was his grandmother's birthday nor that I was feeling sad.  He only knew it had been a while since we celebrated something, and he decided to create something new.  "Happy Kids Day."

Today we ate pizza for breakfast and for lunch.  We also went swimming and had cheeseburgers and pickled eggs for supper.  We played video games and watched some kid-friendly TV. 

It's a perfect holiday for this day, because their Nana was always going above and beyond for her grandchildren.  Anything the kids wanted ... *POOF* ... there it was.

If they wanted ice cream ... No problem.
If they wanted to go to the playground all day ... No problem.
If they wanted to sit around and watch cartoons ... No problem.

Anything was possible when they were at Nana's house.

So, in honor of my mother, I think we will keep this new holiday tradition.

Happy Kids Day!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

This is the Government I Want

Of all the pictures and scans of the Declaration of Independence, this one is my favorite.  I like it much more than the pristine, finished copy that all the fathers signed so long ago.

I love that it shows the mistakes and the lines that are crossed out.

I love the arrows and phrases that are circled.

I love the stuff written in the margins, and the bold faced words that must be more important than other words.

I love that the handwriting belongs to several people.

Most of all, I love that it shows the sweat that went into the document, and subsequently the nation, to which this document gave birth.  The men who sat in a hot, sweaty room in Philly and argued over details - details that were scribbled onto the working document - are represented in this document, not so much in the finished, polished, signed one.

This is what I want my government to look like. I want them to lock down in a room and work TOGETHER, even though they disagree, and come out with something that is actually for the common good, instead of something that lines the pockets of campaign contributors.

The writers of the Declaration of Independence knew that they would likely die for their contributions, yet they were brave enough to write it and sign it.

Are there any as brave today?