Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One last post for Taking Two

Dear Friends...
I will be taking a "who knows how long" sabbatical from Taking Two... maybe indefinitely?
I have cherished..... CHERISHED this time with you...
and will be SURE to check in with all of you...
as I have made TRUE, beautiful friends. 
THANK YOU for all of your love.
THANK YOU for your time and comments and encouragement.
THANK YOU for blessing me. 

And so I leave with you a favorite quote...

and a favorite love song, maybe two. and one more good song thrown in there.
Very random.... but very good. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The forgotten birthday...

About 3 weeks ago... it was my birthday.
(GASP)!!! ( I have friends who are reading this now and are kicking themselves because they feel bad for not remembering). 
And friends.... let me tell you....
Nobody. Remembered.
(Okay.... some people remembered... but a very precious few.) 

Facebook didn't remember. 
I don't know how that happens. 
But facebook didn't remember either. 
I think I even forgot. 
Friends... What I want you to know is... the stars were somehow aligned... and ....
It's not your fault. 
Maybe I needed a good dose of humble pie. 
Maybe it means that because it was somewhat "forgotten" that my body hasn't actually aged a year.
Maybe it means... 
nothing at all. 

Bottom line... my birthday was a few days after my Dad got out of the hospital after having a heart attack. 
And, the "small sting" I would have normally felt by a somewhat "forgotten day" didn't sting at all. 
Well.... maybe a black fly midgy sting. Yeah... one of those. Our family had a more grand celebration going on in our hearts. My Dad was still here. So, a few precious family members gathered around down at the lake at my parents' house. We had pizza on the party boat. We had piggy-back races. We had joy. It was actually... the perfect day... mostly forgotten and all. 

"Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything, 
and between the two my life moves."
-Nisargadatta Maharaj 

Friday, August 5, 2011

A completely legal "high"...

About a week ago... I did something I didn't think I would do. 
It was the result of 50 % peer pressure. (Or cousin pressure, I should say).
And 50 % of my own guts. 
I flew in an airplane that was notorious for dropping out of the sky. 

Remember... I'm the girl who made myself actually sick from worry to fly on a plane. 
This worry was the result of getting struck by lightning on the way to Ethiopia. 
This kind of "fear" or "worry" is the same kind that often results in my "passing out".
For you medically inclined people out there... I usually have one of those "vasal-vagal reaction" thingys and, as my husband has witnessed a couple of times.... look like I'm getting sucked into a black hole, and then collapse. Poor guy. 

"Jennifer... just do it," she said. 
So I did. 
My cousin works at a skydive zone. She packs the parachutes. She's got guts I tell you. And her other half is a skydive instructor. He's got even more guts. I was able to fly co-pilot in the plane that drops off the skydivers. I was able to see them barrel out of the plane. 
Soon after they were all out and screaming through the sky...
the pilot looked over at me with an elated expression... yelling over the hum of the engine...
"HERE WE GO!!!!" 

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry... so I just focused on breathing. 
He dropped the plane. 
We were going to beat most of the skydivers down.
Beat them down.
Did you read that? 

And it was so dog-gone awesome. 
I have to tell you... although I'm not sure I'll ever muster up enough gusto to actually jump out of the plane... I walked a bit taller that day. I was sorta proud of myself. 
My cousin knew it would be good for me. 
"Just do it, Jennifer." 

For the rest of the day, my usual obsessive brain was a bit more quiet. 
The sheer moment-by-moment focus and joy I experienced up in the sky had carried into the rest of the day. 
And it was a day to remember. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Conversations (Thoughts on love, humility, God, heart attacks and the I.C.U.)

The night of the heart attack...
I haven't cried like that in a long time. 
My heart ached. 
My cry was almost so deep that it sounded unfamiliar. 
I clutched his hand, stuck with I.V.'s.
I watched his vital signs on a black screen.
It's gonna be okay, baby. It's gonna be okay.
Don't cry...

The next morning...
His eyes had more of their usual glow.
That green tint in his skin was gone.
He smiled. 
Hi Daddy...
we had a moment when it was just him and I...
Daddy... that house we're trying to sell... it's gonna sell... 
and everything is gonna be okay. And it doesn't matter anymore... nothing really matters... 
but we've got to get all of that stress out of your life Daddy...

And Daddy?
Yes, Honey?
Daddy? Me and God... we're gonna be okay. Tears.
I know it's been hard to see me go through this... where I questioned all that God is and all that I am for the past few years... 
But I'm gonna be okay... okay? 
And me and God.... we're gonna be okay... okay? 
I squeezed his hand.
I know, Baby. 
And Daddy... it's just so hard to talk to you about it Daddy...
I know, Baby. I know. Cause it's your journey... and only you know the aches in your heart. And only you know your questions.

Daddy? I'm sorry for any stress I've caused. 
Honey, it's okay. You didn't, Baby. 
I love you, Daddy. 
I love you, Honey.
I left his I.C.U. room thinking about his life. All the ways he's given himself so that we could have a beautiful life. He's practically built a home for us. Given so much so that we could adopt our boys. Drove to my house one morning at 6:00am to love on a crying and exasperated daughter who never knew being a Mommy would be so hard. He just gives. And gives. He doesn't want us to be rich. He just wants us to have time to be with each other. He doesn't want us to have a big house... just a place that we can love and be loved. And while I sat in the waiting room... overhearing the quiet sobs of the woman sitting next to me... I just wished he knew the love that I held in my heart. A love for him that mere words could not hold. 

Driving back from the hospital...
I can't help but think that God was in this... I could feel something sacred in the midst of this... but...
But if you say that God was in this... That your Dad is still alive because of God...then where is God when the heart attack is fatal? Or the car crash? Or the cancer? 
I know... that's just it. To say that Dad lived through a heart attack because "of God" sounds arrogant, or at least, ignorant, of the suffering and death of others. But I can't help but feel thankful. 
I know. Me too.
Do you think that there is an energy... an energy that runs throughout the earth calling us all to a realm that is beyond what we see and hear and feel? And that, instead of "God" sitting high up in the universe somewhere controlling all things, that the current and energy of God runs through this earth... and we have to wake up to see it? And hear it? And feel it? It's a gentle current, loving and inviting. But it does not control? 
I like those words... Reverend Peter uses those words...
Babe... just think about Reverend Peter. He just lost his daughter-in-law to a fatal car crash last week. And he stood up in front of the church that very next Sunday and said... "I have to believe... that God's heart was the first to break." 
So much better than words such as, "It's just God's will..." 
And in that way... I do think that the energy of God was there with my Dad. It was there when he ran into his friend a week ago who told him about taking aspirin when he had had a heart attack. It was there when the birthday party was scheduled for Monday, and caused my Mom to stay home from a trip up north. It was there in the speed of the Doctor's hands and minds. It was there when my Dad knew it was time to stop working. It was there when he had clarity of mind that this was serious. There were so many things that could have happened but didn't. And I really believe that many people and places and things all were aligned with this "energy of God." 
But sometimes it doesn't happen like that. Sometimes life is taken too soon. 
I know. Reminds me of the scene in the movie "Avatar" when they bring the woman to the tree of souls... and everyone gathers around in prayer. And she is wounded badly. And the "energy" of "Ewa" couldn't heal her. It was too late. The way things "are" ... in the physical world... couldn't be reversed. 
And God's heart breaks. 
And God's heart breaks. 
There was a breeze that filled the car as we drove. And a vivid feeling of thanks filled my mind. And it made my heart beat. 
And my Dad's too.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And a marvelous birthday it was...

Our boys turned two just a couple weeks ago. 
And it was a splendid day.
At the lake. 
And the pig was there too. 
Can't forget the pig. 
It was one of those moments that, while it happens, you stop and breath deep...
thinking... This is the life. 
All these people who love our precious boys gathered around. 
And I knew that these boys have not only turned my world upside-down... 
but they've changed things for the whole family. 
There was a certain presence about that party. 
A presence of overwhelming thankfulness in our hearts...
for Braveheart and Tenderheart. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

How Daddy takes pictures...

Most of us Mommies, most of the time, are the ones behind the camera... taking the shots. But every once in a while we can ask someone to try to take a picture of us with the kids. 

"Hey, Da-da?" 
"You mind taking a couple pictures of us?" 

Well... he's a photography genius I tell you... 
Here's how he did it: