Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Two years ago tommorow is when my dad went home. In an instant his journey, his struggle, was over and he found himself in the presence of our God in a place I can only imagine. I smile to think of him surrounded by glories beyond my comprehension. Although even with a deep belief in victory over death through Jesus, the devastation of disease and the pain of saying goodbye is beyond words. On a day like today my mind can't help but recall some of the ugliness of death and the overwhelming emptiness of watching my dad's spirit slip away before I was ready. Although I don't suppose anyone is ever ready. To chase away those thoughts, I'll write about some better memories. After all, I just want to honor him and remember all he means to me.

He had carpenter's hands, big and strong and rough, beautiful. When I was little he would rub his stubbly cheeks on mine until they were pink. He smelled like wood chips and Old Spice aftershave. He would add lots of milk and sugar to my tea just so I would sit and drink with him. He had a lovely English accent and every year on my birthday he'd take me on a date. He wore this black pin-striped suit and I thought he was very dashing, just like Cary Grant in the old movies I loved. In the winter he would wear about three shirts and a coat in the house. He liked to trash-pick, and never threw anything away. He belted out hymns one beat ahead of the rest of the congregation. I used to wonder why he often cried when he read the Bible. He loved birds, art, poetry and nature and he made me love them as well. He worked with his hand's, he painted pictures, whittled, built and fixed.

I loved to watch him work, he would make me cinderella steps in wet cement. He grew roses and lots of other things in the garden. He was eccentric and made even the most ordinary scenarios hilarious. He was as hyper as a child on holidays. He loved England and never quite fit in in suburban New Jersey. He liked to travel and lived life to the fullest. He wasn't a perfect dad, but he was my dad and I always knew he loved me.

The other day I walked through a field in Chickamauga where my dad had walked with me arm in arm to meet my groom. I remembered that as I put the finishing touches on my flower crown and wedding dress, I looked up and met my father's deep grey eyes. He had a look of bewilderment, love and pride... the age old story of a man wondering when his baby girl became a woman. A precious moment that I will always hold dear along with thousands of others my dad gave me. How I miss him. How I love him, and how happy I am that he is home.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

<<< The Birthday of Susan Deborah Sumners Green>>>

So my Mom's B-Day is tomorrow (11/6).

Susan Green could be considered a movement or a phenomenon, as much as she could be a person. I'm quite sure that anyone reading this has known my Ma in one way or another. She is a woman that is like no other. When my Mom worked at Covenant College (something like 17 years) I was forced to share her with a community, as she was the mother away from home for many. These people that shared my Ma are what I still lovingly term "cult followers." This is an affectionate term, really.

Why were these cult followers drawn to Susan Green? The most obvious reason for those of us that know her is simply the comfort one feels in her presence. I can say this with conviction since I am her true son.

I don't want to drag on so I am just going to list 7 adjectives that describe my Mom for her birthday:

1. Selfless
2. Accepting
3. Comfortable
4. Cute
5. Optimistic
6. Patient
7. Bodacious

To conclude, I'd like to offer a small anecdote that sums up how grande my Mom is and how crappy I am.

When I was 14 or so and learning to play drums I was addicted to practice. The special thing about this was that we lived in a trailer (I was with all my drums on a lil room addition off the side of the trailer, still attached). During one of my marathon practice sessions drumming along with Rush or something my poor Mother wanted to take a nap. I don't know who she thought she was, really, trying to stop me from drumming! So in an angered frenzy I insisted she nap wearing target practice earmuffs, so as to not hinder my creative excellence. She wore them without a fight.

I still feel terrible about it, but I look back on thousands of scenarios (hopefully not as bad as the aforementioned) and thank God for the Mother I got.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

a beautiful thing

At the end of last week my brother Keith stopped by and told me me Sara Groves was doing a concert up at Covenant that night. He knew I would like it and even volunteered to babysit. My kids have the best uncles ever. I have a couple of her cd's and though her music initially took me a little getting used to, I love her voice and like that her music is uplifting and helps me to worship in the tasks of everyday life. I don't get out much so let me just say this was an unexpected treat. There was no bells and whistles, her music is pretty pure and simple. She talked a lot and told stories. She sang in a strong sweet voice about love, her kids and God; her life put to song with an eloquent grace. It was delightful. Music, like reading so often binds together our humaness and makes us know we're not alone. The heart of a mom came through her music so strongly that I easily identified with the common bond. This song called Beautiful Child particularly rang true of my own feelings about my babies and brought me to tears, though they seem to come more and more easily with each passing year.

Here are the words:

"beautiful child right from the moment you were born
you overtook my heart, my world, my beautiful child

tender and sweet both in your crying and in your sleep
you radiate a sense of hope my beautiful child

and i have seen the most amazing sights
in my travels on the earth
seven sacred pools on starry nights
and other things of matchless worth

but next to you all of the beauty seems so plain
you would think i'd never seen a beautiful thing

and i have seen the most amazing sights
in my travels on the earth
moonlight sleeping on the canyon heights
and other things of matchless worth

but next to you all of the beauty seems so plain
you would think i'd never seen a beautiful thing..."

I guess I have always known I had the heart of a mom. It really is an amazing thing, the love of a mom for her child, so unlike any other love. When you think you couldn't possilbly love anymore, new wells spring up. Those of you who know Juden know he has no shortage of cantankerous moments. But whether he's fighting me or hugging me, snotty-nosed and miserable or precious as he can be, I love him just the same. So much a picture of how God loves us like his child even when we are thankless, distant and fighting him. Even on days Juden makes me want to pull my hair out, if I'm away from him I miss him, even when he sleeps. I love how he says,"I miss you," when you're right there cause he thinks it's the same thing as "I love you." I love how he says,"hold you" when he wants to be held, and how he tells Josh every time he leaves the house,"be careful on bike dada, you'll get boo boo's." I love how he kisses our new one through my belly and talkes to Ella in a super high baby voice.
And Ella, well she is my little angel girl. She's sweet natured and content, affectionate and oh so laidback. I love how she presses her cheek against mine at night when I sing to her.
As for the new one that we don't yet know, she is already so loved. With hands on my belly I pray for her each night while I feel her wiggle around. We spent a week so very scared for this little one after learning she has something called a choroid plexus cyst, which is a cyst in the brain. They are sometimes harmless and sometimes associated with a devasting chromosonal disorder called Trisomy 18, in which babies are often stillborn or die shortly after birth. So many questions whirling around my head. Could I go through nine months of anticipation to be met with such tragic loss? What could possibly be God's purpose in that? Could my faith withstand that? The mere fact that I had these thoughts made me feel guilty. What was my faith if I could think of an instance where it might not hold up. It was a week filled with prayer and contemplation. At one point Josh prayed a prayer ackowledging that God was giving us the exact and perfect little girl for us no matter what was wrong with her or how long he gave her to us. Through these simple words I felt peace and knew that he was right. It's kind of a long story but to summarize, the high risk specialist put us very much at ease and found no secondary signs of the disorder. Most likely our baby girl will be healthy and fine, but regardless we have come to understand that our children never really belong to us, every moment , every breath a gift of God's grace. So to all you mama's that have ever carried a child, given birth to a child, or adopted a child be reminded of what an awesome gift it is. You will forever be a mother. There is never any guarantee, even in those long, thankless, demanding, mundane days, stop at least once to really see your child. Every glory I have ever seen truly does pale in comparison, to the faces of my sweet babies. You would think I'd never seen a beautiful thing.