Monday, June 29, 2009

On Why I Don't Say Goodbye

I don't say goodbye. Actually, I do. But it's always followed by, see you later, see you soon, see ya. You get the picture.

It started the year I was fourteen. We had just returned from a trip to see my sister in college. Both my sisters share a birthday. This was the first year they would be apart and it was my middle sister's 16th. As a surprise we drove to Michigan with several of their friends and partied at the dorm. Well, good girl style partying. One of the friend who went on that trip with us didn't like to say goodbye. He always said, "see you later." Which is what we said that cold night in the driveway all our friends taking off in their various directions.

A week later, David died. It has always stuck with me that my last words to him were not goodbye, but "see you later." It's true. I will see him "later." Not the later in the year I expected, but I am certain I will see him again.

This past week I've said many of my "see you laters" someone I love very much. Mom #2 was only home from the hospital two days before she began to become very ill again. This time we are honoring her wishes to stay out of the hospital. Our earthly time with her is short. I don't want my last words to her to be goodbye.


Love you.

I'll see you again.

Over and over I say those words knowing them to be true. Refusing to grieve as one who has no hope. Gosh, I wish that was as easy to do as it is to write.

This past week, I have sat by the bed of a woman I love listening to every breath get slower. This week I have been blessed by an unexpected burst of "health" that allowed me to have a fun chat with a woman I love. This week I watched as my 18 month old daughter tried to get Grandma to wake from her coma by covering her eyes and saying, "Boo. Boo. Boo." She didn't know why Grandma didn't play the only game they have ever played together. This week, I held my boy as he sobbed. The week I listened to my little girl weep in her daddy's arms. Tears that could not be comforted. I have watched a mother say goodbye, and a daddy choke back tears. I have watched a husband mourn and sons stand by with grief to deep for words or tears.

Along with being sad, I'm jealous. Mom is going to a place where tears are no more. She's going to run, dance and laugh with abandon. She's going to see her loved ones and know as she is known. Tonight I asked what song she wanted at her "party."

The Old Rugged Cross.

Over 25 years of Multiple Sclerosis has not taken her joy. Fourteen years with out walking didn't steal her laughter. Nothing has stolen her smile. She's always been beautiful, soon she will be radiant.

"And I'll cherish the old rugged cross
'Till my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange them someday for a crown."

Love you, Mom. I'll see you soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Steamy, Sticky, Sweaty...Aaahh

It's hot. Open the door, feels like a steam room hot. Thankfully I found this a few day ago when I was visiting a friend. Beautiful, life saving cool water. Not that I'd actually recomend drinking it of course. One of the nice features of this particular park was they had two play structures nearby so there was more to play in besides the sprinklers.

Hope fell asleep on the way up there and was very hesitant at first. I was rather surprised given how much she loves to play in the sprinkler. Maybe her reserved attitude had more to do with the kids that kept knocking her down.

Becca loved the water, but was way more excited to find low monkey bars. We typically don't let her try these on her own. For those of you who don't know her history, before age four she had broken all four bones in her forearms. She took right off on these and made it all the way across.

Ty loved running from the sprinklers to the play structures. It was nice he took the time to hang out with both his sisters too. He loved the "big" kid play structure. It had lots of fun and challenging activites. The monkey bars went around in a circle or the bars were staggered at different heights. It's fun to see what new things they come out with.

It was nice to be out and about after so much rain lately. It was really nice to find such a wonderful place to play with the kids...for freeeeeeee! (If you watch Bedtime Stories, you'll get that!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thanks for Praying

Just a quick update on Mom #2. SHE'S HOME!!!!

That's right. The doctors discharged her from the hospital today and now she's home. The kids are so excited to go see her. They were sad that her birthday happened to be when she was in the hospital. Maybe now we can have a "real" birthday party for her.

Thanks for all your prayers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rainy Days

It's raining. It's been doing that lot here lately. Not that that is all bad, my garden loves it. Our yard loves it. The farmers love it. It's been a good rain for all that. Little bit of rain here, little bit of rain there. Just enough rain to DRIVE ME CRAZY!


(Thanks for asking.)

With two dogs, three kids, a sandbox, a yard that has been torn up by the previously mentioned two dogs, a basement that leaks, and yes my dogs that track stuff in, I'm tired of the mess. Mud. Wet sand. Mud. Grass clippings. Mud. Muddy, sandy, grassy footprints all over the upstairs and pooling water downstairs. At one point last week, I think there was a definite current to the water in our basement.

Ahh, the joys of home ownership. (Ashley, you may want to be sure David doesn't read this. That is if you still want a house after reading this.)

So when I made the brilliant decision to have the kids lay down yesterday, on a nice dry day, it didn't occur to me to check the weather and see if it would be raining today.

It is.

And they took 2+ hour naps yesterday. For the first time in a LONG time. Yep, brilliant move! Full of energy and raring to go. That's the mood in our house today. At least if you're under the age of 7 (and a half).

So today, I'm beating the rain. I grabbed my camera and decided to see how close I could come to a macro setting. While I may not have my dream camera, this picture made my day a little brighter. Bring on the rain!

Monday, June 15, 2009

How do I know I believe the right God?

Tyler asked that tonight.

Let me start at the beginning. Tonight was a nice calm normal night in the Bishop house. The kids played outside while Doug mowed. We ate dinner. Tyler helped me clean up the kitchen and we all settled down for the evening. Or stood on our heads as Tyler is in the habit of doing now. We got him right side up and his blood once again was more evenly distributed throughout his body by the time we finished reading The Swiss Family Robinson chapter and the Bible story. Then came the question.

"I've got this question I keep thinkin' about," he said. "There are so many books how do I know which ones are true and which ones aren't. And how do I know which god is the real God. What if I believe the wrong one and I die and I'm not in heaven. I mean, I could live my whole life and still be wrong."

Yes. He really did say all that.

I looked at Doug. He looked at me. We both looked at the floor. Neither of us wanted to try and give him a pat answer to a question that can be found - at one time or another - in the heart of every person I know.

"Are You really God?"

Just last week I was listening to Moody radio. I heard a little blurb from Focus on the Family about when your kids start to question God. Naive me didn't really pay attention. "I've got years before I'll need that info." Or so I thought. Ha! What I remember them saying is something about encouraging your children to question.


My mind jumped at ways to defend my faith. My Christian worldview training and apologetics kicked into overdrive. (Thanks for all those years of teaching, Mom and Dad.) Thankfully the Lord had a muzzle handy because I couldn't say a word. My mind went into prayerful overdrive. I have been reading (for the third or fourth time) a wonderful parenting book by Ted Tripp, Shepherding A Child's Heart. Tripp encourages parents not only to speak truth to our children, but listen carefully to them. He says we need to learn to be skillful at drawing out their thoughts. "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." If we hear our children's hearts, he says, we will be able to help direct them. Our job as parents isn't to control them, but to teach them to submit to the Lord and His direction. Those thoughts were fresh in my mind as I tried to listen as Ty continued to pour out the questions stored in his heart.

Doug and I encouraged Ty that it is okay to question God and ask who He is. We told him God loves for us to question Him. We told him that God will answer those that seek Him. It was hard for me to do that. I want Tyler to keep his childlike faith. I wanted to rush Becca to bed so she doesn't hear questions that get her asking questions too. One at a time please.

As I got ready for bed it was my turn. I pleaded with God to keep my son close to His heart. I pleaded for protection for his body, mind, spirit and soul. I pleaded for God to hear and answer his questioning quickly so Ty didn't have to wonder and wait. And as I stood brushing my teeth, I heard this.

"Do you have to worry about defending the fact that you are Tyler's mother? Then you don't need to worry about defending the truth that I AM God. I AM not hurt by a child's honest seeking. I AM not scared by his searching. Trust that I AM able to handle this."

As much as I would love to be the one with the answers to my children's questions, I'm glad I know the One who does. As much as I would love to point out chapter and verse and affirm that God is really God, I'm thankful that He doesn't need me to. As much as I would love to sit up and talk with Tyler and answer His every question about God, I'm grateful I can't. If I could, what kind of god would God be?

So for now, I'll do what I'm called to do. Teach Tyler about God. Show him daily the pictures God left of Himself for us to read. And the rest? I guess I should leave that up to the Professional. He knows what He's doing. Yep, that sounds like a good idea.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On the Lighter Side

I had an idea for a post. Kind of a good one if I say so myself, but as often happens, my thoughts were interrupted by my children. Rather than fight it, I went along for the ride.

While it is a fact that there is a lot of hurt and yuck going on here we try not to let those feelings inhabit our souls. While life around here has been long and heavy and short on the lighter side, we try not to let it weigh us down. Some days,we push the yuck factor to the side and let some light and life in.

Here's the proof. And proof that not all of our kids costumes are boy related as in this post. I turned on Enya. (Sail away, anyone?) You know, nothing like good edifying music to lift the soul. And here's what characters my PJ clad children turned into.

The Cowboy meets Laura Ingalls:

The Dancing Princess:

They got those moves from their mama! (Unfortunately!)
Notice Hope is taking a break from all the strenous exercise. Or maybe just trying to spare herself some embarrassing photos later in life.

"May I have this dance pretty lady?"

"Why that would be lovely, kind sir."

What has been the lighter side of your week?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

She's Awake!

Praise God for His many mercies. Right now, it is our gain!!!!

After nearly a week, Mom #2 woke. She has been steadily gaining ground after the doctors altered some of her medication. Today, she was able to talk. She is able to respond to questions with appropriate answers. So, for now, we are enjoying a little more time with her. (Well, technically, I soon will be. I haven't seen her since she has been awake.)

I just wanted to update this very quickly as I know many of you have prayed. While we were at peace with however the Lord answered those prayers, this is certainly a time for celebration. Thank you for your prayers. We are so very grateful.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Right Now.

No great big thoughts rolling around in my head. No really interesting things happening here. No funny things my kids have said. It's just that kind of day.

I spent two hours sitting by Mom #2 (my mother-in-law) last night. It was strange to sit there and not see her smile. Not see her beautiful eyes. Not a movement, not a sound. She was so full of life last week. It's just not right.

Yet, I know there is a greater plan being worked here. God only knows what work He is completing in and through her life in spite of the coma she is in. What am I to share with the nurses, the respiratory therapist, the aids, the people in the elevator? Who will my father-in-law touch with his words? Who will my husband's presence touch? What is happening away from the hospital?

Mom's life seems so short in so many ways. She could have done many things. She was a great Sunday school teacher. A wonderful friend. Good cook and housekeeper. She loved to shop and throw parties.

On the other hand, how many people were brought to her bedside. How many saw her endure a horrible disease with much grace, much dignity, and much joy. How many were blessed by her warm smile and friendly greeting. How many people did she pray for?

Not much of this makes sense to me. But it doesn't have to. His ways are higher than mine. His thoughts are higher than mine. He knows what I cannot see. He sees clearly while I see a dim reflection. He know the promises of a hope and future for Mom #2 that I cannot see.

Tyler said it well, "I don't understand it. I just have to trust God knows what He's doing."

Becca summed up my heart, "I miss Grandma. I want her to come home."

I don't know where her home will be. If it is here on earth. We will rejoice in our gain. If it is in heaven, we will rejoice for her gain.

Thank you to all of you who have prayed. It means so much to us. We love you!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Through Tyler's Eyes

The Bishop house is very busy right now. Lots of daily stuff going on. Lots of other stuff getting mixed in. Tyler was working on setting the table a few nights ago and summed up it up this way.

Tyler: "Mommy, there is just so much going on right now."

Me: "What do you mean?"

Tyler: "Well, Grandma is in the hospital. Uncle Jim has to start chemo again. And I heard you say gas prices are up again. It's JUST TOO MUCH!"

I knew the first two things occupied his mind, but that last one blew me away. Ty is quite the little prayer warrior, but future economic analyst...who knew?