Friday, January 3, 2014

Vomit and Snow

After our first hefty snowfall of the season it seemed like a good time to post a  reprise of my New Year's blog from 2008. Be blessed.
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So it was snowing...which is pretty typical for January in Morgantown, WV. I'm not a huge fan of snow unless I'm skiing on it, however I have to admit the little flurries were kinda pretty dancing in my headlights as I drove home from my friends house that night. Talia said "Momma, I'm going to pray that we have a snow day tomorrow so we can have another day off from school!". I gently told her that while God was a big God, that it wasn't going to snow that much and that she had plenty of time off from school for Christmas break and that she should get ready for bed. At 2:00am she woke me-feverish and vomiting. She hadn't been able to make it to the bathroom, so there was quite a mess. I remember feeling worried, frustrated and ALONE. "Why God? Why am I alone to face these sorts of things? It's 2:00 in the morning, Talia is so sick and I don't have anyone who can help."

I went back to my room and sent a short text to my boss and assistant to let them know what was going on and that I wouldn't be able to be at work the next morning. I figured they would get the messages in a few hours when they woke, but within a few seconds Corey, my assistant, text me back saying he would open the Spa for me. I thought "Whew! Well at least I don't have to worry about THAT!" I rolled over, without thanking God for taking care of my work situation, and went to sleep.

Talia slept through the night. I got up that next morning to check on her and glanced out the window. Much to my shock there was at least 8 inches of snow on the ground. I thought "Oh great...this is the last thing I need. What if I have to drive her to the doctor?"

After checking on Talia (who was feeling less feverish) I came into the computer room to check my e-mails and begin my day. As I sat here I started to hear someone shoveling snow. The sound grew closer until I realized it was right below my window. Just at that moment, it hit me. I am not alone...ever. God is right there ALWAYS. He's not just there when I am praying or when I am thinking about Him...but He is there on His hands and knees with me cleaning up vomit. He is shoveling the snow. 

I went downstairs and opened the door to thank this elderly man who was cleaning snow off of my sidewalk and car. He said, "My son lives here and says you're a single mom. I just wanted to help." I talked with him a bit, thanked him again and wished him a Happy New Year. The tears started rolling down my cheeks before I got the door closed. Because of my nature to scream "What about ME!" when things are rough, I nearly missed the presence of God.

May you see Him...His presence, His leading, His love in those "small" moments. God doesn't always show us His love and awesome power in parting a sea or flooding the earth. Sometimes He just uses some vomit and snow.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, there was no school in Monogalia County that next day.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Three Years

Today marks three years since I held my Gran and watched as she passed from my arms into the arms of her King.  In some ways it feels like it was yesterday.  In most ways it feels so much longer than that.  I miss her every single day.  I am confident that I will be with her again.  I would like to post the tribute I wrote 2011 on this day.  Another year has passed, but the feelings are exactly the same.  I am sure they will remain the same until I once again look into her beautiful blue eyes...

"Did You Ever Know You Were My Hero?" 

A tribute to Mary Louise Eye

 



On 12/2/10 at 3:45am I looked into your beautiful blue eyes for the last time and held you as you took your last breath.  You lived a life dedicated to your family, friends, and your God.  You were the single greatest example to me of unconditional love and you were more my mother and best friend than my Grandmother.  Oh yes, you scolded me and were stern at times, and you were never shy about giving me a piece of your mind, but it was always because you loved me so deeply and wanted the best for me...a better life than what you had.  Your father was killed while you were in your mother's womb.  You were a hard worker from the time you were a small child to help your mom make ends meet and to just scrape by, and you were a dedicated and wonderful student.  You didn't go to college, but your wisdom knew no end, and you continued to read and learn well into your 80's.  You loved your Lord with all your heart and soul and you served Him all your life.  You suffered much.  You watched your mother, husband, son in law, and all your 10 brothers and sisters as well as many dear friends pass away before you, yet you did so with dignity and grace.  You loved your family beyond measure, and you were the glue that held us all together.  You encouraged me, you were proud of me, you even listened to me on the radio! ;)  And you taught me about Jesus from the time I was a little girl which is the greatest gift anyone could give to another.  You didn't just teach me about being a Christian, you showed me and many others what that really means.  You were the most loving great grandmother to my children and you helped me raise them.  They are wonderful people because of you.  You and I argued, cried together, debated, learned, reminisced, and laughed together, I worried you, you worried me, but there was nothing we wouldn't do for each other.  You even made your one and only airplane trip to help me when I was ill.  My most precious memories are when we would make popcorn and I would lean up against you on the couch and we would would watch "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island" on Saturday nights and you would sleep upstairs with me because I was too scared too sleep up there alone.  You're love was sacrificial.  You thought of others before yourself -always.  You were my rock and this year without you has been devastating, yet I know that you are exactly where you belong-in Heaven walking with Jesus and your loved ones, and wearing a beautiful crown of glory.  I can't think of anyone who deserves it more.  As the apostle Paul said, you ran the race and you fought the good fight, This is your reward.  Yes, I miss you every single day.  Yes I still cry because I feel totally lost without you.  And yes, I know the first thing you're going to say to me when I get to Heaven is "Liska, why did you waste time crying over me?" (AND you're going to scold me BIG TIME for getting a tattoo of a cross for you ;)  But Grandma, when I felt your soul leave your body, a part of me left with you.  As I said at your funeral, 'You were my defender and I was your black sheep".  No one understood me or ever loved me like you, but I am so happy that you, the person who made me who I am today...my Queen... is with her King.  I live for the day I get to see you and hold you again Grandma and never, ever, ever have to say goodbye. 

As you know, this is the song I had played at your funeral Wind Beneath My Wings  You will always be my hero.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grace

I am perfect in my imperfection because of Grace


Grace is an inflated raft that can submerge to the floor of a sea to save you.
 Grace is the silver thread that stitches up the shreds of mangled souls.
 Grace is the eye that finds us where it refuses, there, to leave us.
 Grace calls the waitress to the table and sits her down to wash her feet.
 Grace sees underneath the manhole on a street of self-destruction.
 Grace is the air to draw a breath in the belly of a whale.
 Grace is the courage to stand in the shamed wake of a frightful falling.
 Grace is the only fire hot enough to burn down a living hell.
 Grace waits with healing in His wings when we’re too mad to pray.
 Grace is the gravity that pulls us from depravity.
 Grace races us to the Throne when we make haste to repent and always outruns us.
 Grace treats us like we already are what we fear we’ll never become.
 Grace is the doorpost dripping red when the angel of death grips the knob.
 Grace is the stamp that says Ransomed on a life that screams Ruined.
 Grace sets a table before me in the presence of my enemy even when my enemy is me.
 Grace is the cloak that covers the naked and the palm that drops the rock.
 Grace is divine power burgeoning in the absence of all strength.
 Grace proves God true and every self-made man a liar for the sake of his own soul.
 Grace is the power to do what we cannot do for the Name of Christ to go where it has not been.
Grace is a room of a thousand mirrors, all reflecting the face of Christ.

Grace is…
The eye popping
Knee dropping

Earth quaking
Pride breaking

Dark stabbing
Heart grabbing

Friend mending
Mind bending

Lame walking
Mute taking

Slave freeing
Devil fleeing

Death tolling
Stone rolling

Veil tearing
Glory flaring

Chin lifting
Sin sifting

Dirt bleaching
World reaching

Past covering
Spirit hovering

Child defending
Happy ending

Heaven glancing
Feet dancing…

Power of the Cross.


Jesus Christ, Grace Incarnate.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

At Seventeen

She's Seventeen today.  Wow.  Wait...How can that be true?  That went by so amazingly fast.  I know every parent says that.  But it seems it all only lasted a heartbeat's length.  I am trying to wrack my MS'd brain...trying to fumble for the 'Rewind' button so I can go back and watch it all over again...being careful--this time--to pay attention to all of The Sights (her sleeping heavy in my arms--all stuffed and drunk on milk--all of  "The First's"--the First Time I saw her face, her First Steps, her First Day of school), The Smells (baby powder kisses and fresh out of the dryer hugs), The Sounds (her musical, infectious laughter that bubbled up out of her little body and had the power to instantly cause a smile on every set of lips within earshot).  Can I just see it all again, just one more time?


She's a young Woman now....and what a fine one she is.  She is Wise so far beyond her years--and ancient soul in this young, healthy body.  Yet, her Kindness and Consideration for others harkens back to a simpler time, many decades ago.  Her Nana would be proud.

She is Brave.  More brave than anyone I've ever met.  She has seen hand to hand combat, looked evil in the eye and stared it down.  She has known both Loss and Death.  She has felt Pain that would have caused someone three times her age to cry for mercy, yet she set her jaw and kept going.

She is Beautiful.  Not restricted by the conventional...she radiates a Light from within.  She is His, and it shows.  She is Grace...even when she stumbles in her high heels.

She is Love.  She's filled with it to the point that it almost oozes out of every pore.  The world has tried to stamp this out of her.  She had every excuse to become angry and bitter and to replace her love with hate, but the world was unsuccessful in it's efforts.

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My Dearest Talia Beth, 

I don't have a lot to give you, on this, your seventeenth birthday.  I won't be able to throw you a huge party or give you the keys to a new car or a diamond (your birthstone)---all of which you deserve, and so much more.  All I have to give you is my words and all the things that have been yours since the moment your little heart started keeping rhythm with mine--my Gratitude, my Trust, my Admiration and undying Devotion and Love.

This seems so unfair to me...it's your birthday, but it was I who received The Gift 17 years ago...and every single day since then.  I got to be your Momma. 

You are this lovely multifaceted little creature dipped in honey and sprinkled with star shine.  If I live another month or 50 more years I will never do anything greater with my life than bringing you and your brother into it.

This song is for you.  I know you don't always see your extreme Beauty and your priceless Value and Worth, but making you aware of those gifts--and all the gifts you have been given by God--is the greatest thing a mother could do for her child At Seventeen...and beyond.

Happy Birthday Talia.  Your happiness remains my Joy, forever.

I love you,
~Momma



"AT SEVENTEEN"

By Janis Ian
I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth...
And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say "come dance with me"
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen...
A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
Whose name I never could pronounce
Said: "Pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve"
The rich relationed hometown queen
Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly...
So remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debitures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen...
To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
the world was younger than today
when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me...
We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say: "Come on, dance with me"
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen...



Watch the video of "At Seventeen" here


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Littlest Hero



By Guest Blogger: Scott DeWitt


I need to get this out so bear with me. Today we went to court with a friend. I saw both the rational, fair side of justice and also the side that the victim should not be made to suffer. Please dont ask for names but I feel I must speak about this so that it makes a little more sense, at least to me. Our friend and her daughter sat in the courtroom and listened to the "person" who raped the child, try and express his remorse and explain away his actions ( he spoke first). He never took his eyes off of the judge's bench, he never changed the inflection of his voice, not wavering, not angry, no detectable emotion. When my friend spoke, she gave a detailed accounting of what she understood, the why's and how's of coming to her opinion of the rapists' sentence and was heartfelt and upset as a good Mother should and would have been. 

This part was hard for me to watch. I saw a small slip of a girl, both trembling and digging her nails into her fists the ENTIRE time everyone was speaking. When her time came, she was hesitant to talk and the judge urged her "because it had been her experience that the victim's healing process" would be speedier and forthcoming if she DID speak. Her small hands clutched a ream of papers with her account. She shook like a dry leaf in the wind, her voice wavered and was so small. The absolute worst part was that child trying to get out the things that had been done to her. I cannot and will not relate them because it gives me chills and angers me to the point of wanting to harm someone. She reminded me that hers was not a lone burden, there are far too many like her, bearing the pain and humiliation and guilt that come with being raped. My heart was breaking and yet I was so enraged at what he had done and that she was being subjected to it yet again, this time by the court. A necessary evil, I suppose.


He will serve a mixed sentence that is by no means easy. I will not disclose the particulars but suffice it to say that justice was served, although some may not agree with the method. He will forever be reminded of what he did, he will suffer for several years a mental strain and anguish by the judge imposing severe restrictions and impositions on him. The Mother forgave him, the child was to sick and frightened. I cannot forgive him or any of the others that do these heinous acts. Most are not remorseful and never will be. Perhaps someday he will TRULY pay for what he did. I am going to bed now and I will leave this space for you all to write your thoughts and comments but again, please don't ask me for particulars. Tonight my friends, I truly pray to my God after what I witnessed, for peace. Peace for that little girl, her Mother, family and friends and I pray that justice be served to the monster that caused this and all of his kind.






Thursday, February 7, 2013

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

Today marks one year since my best friend, Loray Robinson suddenly and unexpectedly passed from this life. In some ways it feels like it just happened. In other ways, it feels like it's been decades since I heard her laughter. My heart is still just as broken as it was on that bright sunny morning last year. I would like to take the opportunity on this day to share with you the words I spoke at her funeral. If you knew Loray please take a moment today to honor her memory by showing someone an extra measure of kindness--be it a warm smile, encouragement, a cheerful salutation, or taking the time to thank someone for a job well done. Also, call your best friend...don't put it off. I was suppose to call Loray at 3pm the day she died. I never got the opportunity to make that call.






When I spoke with Loray’s sister Shirley Saturday night and she asked me if I would like to speak at this service today I immediately said yes, but when I hung up the phone I was absolutely panic stricken that, for the first time in almost 25 years, I wouldn’t be able to find the right words to say ...because I now know there truly is a grief that can not be spoken.

I met Loray in 1987 when I had just turned 21 years old. I was a single mom in the middle of a divorce and I pretty much had the words “trauma and drama” written all over me, but Ray chose to look past all of that. She saw my worth as a person and took me under her wing. That’s what she did with everyone she came in contact with. My relationship with Loray, while so dear and precious to me, was not unique. If you were blessed enough to be her friend, her family, her coworker, her listener...then you were adored by her. We were all in her “family” and there was simply nothing she would not do for us. Her love was sacrificial.

I owe so much to her. She encouraged my radio career which she started in 1988 and I went on to be an announcer from coast to coast for nearly 20 years. She gave me my wings so I could fly and I took her with me wherever I went. I guess it’s only fair that she took part of me with her to her new Heavenly home Tuesday morning.

So I called her cell phone the day after she passed...just so I could hear her voice on her voicemail message. The really strange thing is I left her a message. "Ray it's me. If you're picking up your messages in Heaven, I want you to know that I love you, and I miss you...really bad Ray Ray....really bad..." What I also should've said (with my cracking voice and through the non stop tears) is that I hope she is seeing what is going on here in the town she loved, by all of the people she loved. I want her to see her impact...and I am sure she is somewhere all wide eyed saying "I had no idea!" because she never completely knew her value...that is actually part of what made her so special. Loray Christine has left us a legacy....a legacy of love and laughter. May we rise to her example and cause more laughter than we do tears, and treat everyone we meet like they are the most important person in the world, like she did. Loray had pain and heartbreak in her life at times...but just because she had pain she knew she didn't have to be a pain.

Loray lived a life that will transcend all restrictions of space and time...life and death. My life is infinitely better because I knew Loray Robinson. She was a game changer. I am forever changed and forever thankful.

I hope you, her friends and family, will join me in rising to the challenge of spreading her legacy...a legacy of pure love, light, and laughter.

I love you Loray. “Do take care my friend”

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One thing I know Ray Ray is I will never be Over You. I miss you. I love you. Watch Miranda Lambert's beautiful yet haunting video for "Over You" (my song for Loray) here.

 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beauty in the Brokenness


"When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful." ~Darla Jackson, Sculpturist

I was an inexpensive vase.  I was common and easily found, one might say, and no one had to look very long or very far or go out of their way at all to find me or one of the thousands that looked just like me.  You couldn't even tell us apart really. I didn't have any real characteristics that made me special.  Some might say I was useful--practical--I performed my job adequately.  I certainly wasn't unique or lovely, and you certainly could never describe me as "art". I was, for all intensive purposes, disposable...easily replaced..."cheap".  Then one day the most fortunate series of events happened,  It started the day I was completely destroyed.  Broken beyond recognition.  Instead of being taken to the curb to be thrown out with the rest of the trash someone gathered the pieces of my former self and decided I was worth repairing...saving.  Not only would I be mended using a common bonding substance, but the cracks of my body, mind, and soul would be filled with one of the most valuable substances known to man-GOLD!!.  The liquified gold was carefully, almost lovingly, poured into what pieces were left of me.  The gold traced each blemish, each break, each imperfection...each crack caused by the trauma of being destroyed.  It was those very points of impact that now shimmered brightly in the light and demanded every eye's attention.  Beauty took the place of the unsightly scars.  I actually treasure each of those scars now because I became so much more valuable because of the very damage that destroyed my former self. There is always so much more beauty that can be found after brokenness if you are wise enough to look for it and have a soul pure enough to treasure it.  Strive to see with your soul.  You're eyes will deceive you every time.

Be Blessed.