Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Grief, Brokenness, and... Parades?

In the days since Izzy’s passing to heaven, our lives have been overwhelmed with blessings!  Yes, you read that right.  Our friend, Joe Quigley, the founder of Timmy’s Fund, told us those weeks ago:  Get ready and hold on, because the blessings are gonna flow!  He was spot on.

It happens every day that someone will tell me, or other family member, what an inspiration Izzy’s life has been to them, or that they were moved toward God at her service.  On some days I’ve melted into tears to witness the hand of God at work, being moved beyond words in knowing that our amazing God uses broken vessels to proclaim His perfect glory!   Some time ago, a friend wrote an insightful post titled, How deep the wound -- how much deeper the healing, and I’ve come to embrace this phrase and Truth wholeheartedly.  There is so much I have to say on the topic of pain and joy, but I’ll save that for next time.  For now, I want to share a very joyful moment or two.
The photos below depict just one of those abundant blessings:  Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School wanted to do something special for my sister and family.  They gathered the students outdoors on a brisk spring day to release pink and purple balloons in memory of Izzy and to present a loving gift:  an adorable dogwood tree for the McManaway family to plant in their yard.  I love trees as gifts because they continue to bless others as they grow.  They provide not just the memory of that love shared, but cool shade on hot summer days (perfect for selling lemonade under!), fun in climbing sturdy limbs and in the case of dogwoods in particular, the joy in watching birds nest among the leaves and dine on their autumn berries.  Yes, a delightful gift indeed.  Our heartfelt thanks to all those at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School.

Releasing balloons at the school

Sis, giving and receiving hugs from the students

My sister,  ...a beautiful woman of God

Jenny with the new dogwood tree

Kind people ask how my sister, Jenny, and her family are doing.  They’re doing all right, they really are.  Everyone experiences and works through grief differently and I admire how my sister and brother-in-law take each day at a time,  allowing themselves time to be alone as well as embracing their friends and meeting life head-on.
They’ve been working in the yard, going to birthday parties and events at school,... then there’s softball and homework and the thoroughly enjoyable parade we held in front of their house yesterday evening.  I might show you those photos, too, if I weren’t such an incompetent smart phone user.  If you saw those pictures, you’d see my two nieces and daughter dressed in fancy attire with theater masks boasting tall feathers affixed to the top, batons and parasol in hand, all the while, pulling the youngest in a red wagon and dancing down the street.  For my own part, I followed along on my bicycle and nearly fell off from laughing so hard.  I’m in favor of having a parade at least once a week!

As always, THANK YOU for your prayers.  God hears, He answers and He sustains through His amazing grace.

To God be the glory for all things †

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Abandoning Your Inheritance

Why do people, and women in particular, consume chemical laden, twisted plastic when they are given pure, refined, gold?
It’s the question I’m pondering today after reading about Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James, a first-time author and mom of two.  Apparently this new hit about bondage, sadism and masochism is flying off the bookshelves.  Reports of how this tale about sex slavery and pornography say it is adding spark to “everyone’s marriage”.  What a sham.
This book has sold 250,000 copies and flew directly to the number one spot on the NY Times bestseller list for fiction.  Interesting how the number one spot in the non-fiction section is The Vow, by Kim and Krickitt Caarpenter, don’t you think?  A book about everything twisted in sex and relationships contrasted against a tale about the virtue of love and loyalty? Hmm.  Good food for thought there.
It’s been a good reminder to me this morning that we live in such a sex-starved culture.  Yes, starved, as in completely deprived of nutrition, to the point of not recognizing that trash is being consumed, mistaken for filet mignon.  
Wake up women!
You’ve been given an inheritance of gold, of purity ...yes, of love and sex and everything this is beautiful about it.  Throw off the idea you may have that Christian love & marriage is oppressive or all about resentful servitude, or martyrdom.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  God intends the absolute BEST for you in every aspect of your life.  Even in relationships, in marriage and in the ultimate expression of love with your husband.  That bond as God intended is golden, pure, honest, beautiful, exhilarating, and completely fulfilling. It is a gift of God. Inasmuch as you can be stimulated and carried away in fantasy by images of bondage, sadism and masochism, know that you are in the firm grip of the enemy.  An enemy who seeks your destruction in every regard.   Those words and expressions of such a twisting of love and sex will NEVER be beneficial to a healthy  marriage.  Healthy marriages reach every aspect of your being, in body, mind and spirit. Healthy marriages call forth all the beauty that is within you.
Your inheritance is GOLD;  please don’t abandon it.

                                           †   †   †

*More thoughts on marriage and pornography... Memory of Eden
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