26 July 2012

The Days of Faith


It's been a hard past few days. My sweet Grandfather Stone is in his last days. And it hasn't been an easy road for him or any of us. Having watching the suffering of my grandmother just a few years ago, it feels confusing that both of them should face such end-of-life trial after a lifetime of humble service to Him.

Yet. God is still good. God is still faithful.

After receiving call from my mother that he had been given a 12-24 hour window by Hospice, I traveled down Monday evening. I am so very glad I went. The following is an email I sent to a friend:

I was not expecting my grandfather to recognize me and the 1st day and a half he didn't. But Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning he was unaccountably alert, completely recognized me and I could tell understood what I was saying to him. I told him I loved him, read scripture and when I asked if he wanted me to pray with him he nodded his head. Before I left yesterday, I heard him say to me, "love you" and then "bye, hon." It's what he always, always said to me.

Here's something equally amazing. The reason hospice gave a 12-24 hr. alert was because of some mottling of skin on his feet. This, apparently, is a definitive sign that the end is near. At almost 24 hours, exactly, he begins to become more alert and a few more hours later, the mottling is gone. Hospice, the nurse, and the caregivers have never heard of this happening. My Dad arrived home from a 20-hour car trip from Arizona that evening and my brother gets in today.

When I was talking to my husband on the phone he was telling me that at lunchtime, Jane, our six year-old, was praying for "Great-Father" (as the kids call him) and asked God that he would let him live just a little longer. The timeline of her prayer and my grandfather's inexplicable rally coincide. The prayers of a six-year old -- arrows straight to the Lord.

I said my goodbyes to my grandfather and I am at peace with that. It is the Lord's timing when he takes this sweet man home, but it is very soon. I am both joyful and heartbroken. You know how these things go.

Grandad has run his race, as Hebrews says, and run it well. Is there more for him to learn? More room for his faith to be refined? Is that why his time here continues? No. I don't think that's it. This trial God is allowing him to endure is teaching all of us and refining our faith. Grandad's faithfulness is allowing him to be used for the Lord's purposes up until the very last minute when the Lord calls him home. Just like Grandma. What a legacy.

And this is how God is good.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith ..."
Hebrews 12:2

23 July 2012

Rome, The Day We Wandered

Sometimes "wandering" is a more pleasant term than "lost." But getting lost isn't altogether a bad thing, either. Moments for tired legs, and magnificence-over-saturation, yes. But also for pretty street signs, and hand-holding on cobblestones.

20 July 2012

The Ol' Girl Gets a Makeover

 My ironing board was a mess. I think I've had it since college, and in recent years it has been like ironing on metal with a thin, slick cover of canvas. Padding all but gone and the icky blue cover ... not like it was ever top quality in the first place.

So, armed with a surprising burst of industriousness, an old vintage sheet that I forgot I had and some quilting batting that materialized by magic (where did it come from?),  I spiffed up the sorry ol' girl.

Unroll the batting on the floor and flip the ironing board atop. Cut around the ironing board leaving a few extra inches so the batting can wrap around. Ditto for the fabric. Then, run a quick seam around the fabric to create a little pocket around the edge in which to run some string through (Tie the string to a big safety-pin, and run the safety-pin through ... much easier).

Now you can place/wrap the batting and fabric on the ironing board and cinch it all up tight with the string. Tie it off and shove the loose strings up under somewhere and tell yourself you'll trim them later, knowing that you'll forget and never will. Voila!

(ps-I took this photo while sitting. Uh-huh, that's right, I was ironing while sitting! Have you all been doing this for years and forgot to clue me in? It's like I never realized I could use it at any height other than tip-top. A definite "shazaam!" moment for me.)

17 July 2012

A Provençal Rose

Aigaliers, France

Outside in the breakfast courtyard, where even the sandy-blonde gravel is elegant, the roses bloom. Whenever I travel outside my little daily sphere, I am always amazed to find myself surrounded by beauty and sights that are all that I dreamed of. As though, surely, my imagination must have run ahead of itself and concocted such possibilities.

But then there are the roses and the pretty gravel and I pinch myself that it's all true.

06 July 2012

Somebody Who Loves Me Built Me Something ...

An eight-foot picnic table to gussy up and look at cookbooks with my girls. And can I mention that he built it in one day?? I had no idea such a thing was possible. One more reason for me to be amazed by Pops. He makes me happy.