Monday, September 30, 2013

Cherished Conversations

I never know what will set off a certain line of questioning from my children.  Especially with Miss L.  She is so inquisitive and soaking things up like a sponge.  I am alway so surprised by what she remembers and in what detail.  Here is a conversation we had today right after finishing our school work for the day.

"Mama, can you show me a picture of YOUR grandma and grandpa?"

"Sure, when we get back to Phoenix I will show you a picture of my grandma and grandpa."

"Are they old or young?"

"Well, they were kind of old when they died.  They are gone now like Grandpa Tash is gone."

"Oh.  When did they die?"

"My grandpa died a long time before you were born.  Even before your daddy and I got married.  But my grandma, you got to meet her when you were really little.  And then when she died you went with me to her funeral.  Although, you wouldn't remember that."

"Oh, I remember."

"You do?!"

"Yep, I remember in my heart."

So, there I was choking back tears and off she went to the next thing.  Ugh.  These kids are hard on the heart sometimes... in the best possible way.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Unbroken | A Book

**Disclaimer: Spoiler of sorts below**

I recently read the book Unbroken under the recommendation from my dear friend, Mrs. H.  I found it from our digital library and dove in.  It was a page turner for sure.  I was drawn in by the story.  My mind finding it hard to grasp all that the main character, Louis Zamperini, endured during WWII.  However, I was all to familiar with other stories of such atrocities that I knew such things were not from an overactive or over traumatized imagination. What drew me in even more was the fact that Mr. Zamperini was an Olympic athlete.  I love that connection -- when I was younger (i.e. before children could find me in any hiding spot) I would disappear (or so it seemed) for the two weeks that the Olympic games were on.  Winter or summer I loved them all...

I don't do book reviews.  I am not so eloquent as to sum up a book in such a way as to compel people to read it.  However, I like to write when a deeper connection to the story is made.  This book has stuck with me that I have found it hard to really engage in my next book.  I just keep thinking about it.  So, now that I have some answers and I can write it down maybe I can move on with my next book.  HA!

Toward the end of the book Mr. Zamperini is haunted by a particular experience from his time at war.  He had prayed that if God would save him then he would serve God forever.  He was faced with this flashback while attending a Billy Graham revival in California.  He would eventually receive Christ and his life would see dramatic change.  His story is really quite intense in the testimony of God's faithfulness, love, and redemption.  There is a mention of Hollywood Presbyterian church.  My mind flashed and ran the dates in my head... Dr. & Mrs. Bill Bright (the founders of my former employment, Campus Crusade for Christ, now Cru) attended Hollywood Presbyterian.  I wondered if the paths of Mr & Mrs Bright had crossed that of the Zamperini's?

So, I emailed Mrs. Bright on Monday morning.  I received a reply from Mrs. Bright this morning, here is part of her response,
"Bill and I first met Louis Zamperini at a Billy Graham meeting when he went forward to accept Christ.  We knew them and considered them friends when we attended Hollywood Presbyterian Church in California.  It has been years since we have had any contact with him.  I, too, read his book, Unbroken and found it to be a very powerful story."
AH!!  I love it!  I love an even more personal connection to this story.  Love it.  It has endeared itself to me even more.

While there is a movie slated to come out of this story Christmas 2014 I am not sure that I will be able to stomach going to see.  However, I may just need to see it anyway.

I would HIGHLY recommend this book.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hotel Memories

Obviously things happen for a reason and in just the right season.  My husband has been assigned to work in California for some undetermined amount of time and we are fortunate enough to be here together as a family.  As my husband had been working out here prior to all of us joining him he found a hotel just across the street from his work site.  He told me later that he was pretty sure it was the place we had stayed with my dad when we all went to California in 2009.  Our minds stretched for that trip... we have had two more babies since then... enough said.  The mind and its memories blur.

However, as soon as we pulled off the highway onto our street the memories came flooding back.  There stood the Olive Garden that we had managed a meal with a nine-month-old Miss L.  She made a mess and I am sure she had a fit.  Maybe she had done okay.  I just remember the mess.  The hotel itself was hard to remember... that is until I stepped out back to see Matt and the two older girls swimming.  I had to steady myself and keep composure.  Memories flooded back.  We had taken Miss L swimming a couple of times in the pool here after botched attempts at the beach with a baby.  My dad never got in but he watched, took pictures, and wrapped Baby L up in a towel and kept her warm.  I could see the picture in my minds eye... and I found it... the picture above.

We came out here Labor Day weekend of 2009.  My dad had just moved from New Mexico to Arizona and was living with us for a time until he found his own place.  We persuaded him out come to California with us.  An adventure because California was never on his list of top places to vacation.  We had fun... and we learned a lot about travelling on Labor Day Weekend or just travelling with a little one in general.

It's hard to think that then we only had three more years left with him.  But they were good years.  I am thankful that the Lord brought us here at this time to let me remember these things.  And today I swam in that same pool with Miss L who can now basically swim on her own... and her two sisters.  I could almost see my dad standing in the same spot laughing and shaking his head at the antics of my girls.

Thank you, Jesus, for this time right now.