Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fuzzy Finish

In my time zone, it's not quite midnight yet as I begin this entry, so it's not officially the day of the 2011 Winter Solstice.  But it's close enough that I can say most wholeheartedly, "Thank you, God, that this is the shortest day of 2011"!! The year is almost over and a new one can begin fresh, with no mistakes in it.  And I, for one, am ready.

Exactly one year ago when I woke up, I never dreamed that the next time I laid my head on my pillow would be thirty-five hours later.  Those thirty-five hours saw a diagnostic doctor visit for my mother turn into emergency cancer surgery resulting in a colostomy for her.

Side note:  While only one sentence, the above words have required months of living before it could be written so concisely.  

Woven throughout the threads that have made up my mother's life this year with all of its resulting complications have been more changes for our family.  Even I can't keep up with the Joneses anymore!!

April saw Hamp's "new" job that moved us back to Georgia end unexpectedly so in June we packed up hearth and home once again and headed to Nashville to the only job that was offered. 

We barely got settled when Hamp decided to test out the local emergency facilities by having a heart attack during the 4th of July weekend.  Then, after months of assessment, Tiffany had to have her thyroid removed in mid-July which has made her already full life of graduate school and work much more interesting as she's battled getting hormone levels balanced.  Matthew's house finally sold in October ending a year of stress and financial worries, then Michael and Bekah moved halfway across the country in November to Texas to a new job, new climate, and life challenges that are still being worked through.  Mixed in there somewhere was my birthday in October which was spent saying goodbye to our sweet Kit, the family cat for the last fifteen years.

It's been a difficult year.  Starting over has lost its adventure and I have drug my feet in doing so.  We don't really have a church home yet nor a group of people with whom we can share life.  Friends and family are at least four hours away and in a different time zone which has been an interesting adjustment.  I'm still not over that fact that the sun is setting at 4:30 right now!

Yes, I know, I'm whining...and doing a good job of it! But I've realized as this year is rapidly coming to a close that while difficult, it has been one in which we've seen God's faithfulness in so many ways. For example, this is a picture of my Mom from last weekend when we gathered for Christmas with my side of the family. Pretty good for someone who wasn't supposed to live through her ordeal a year ago, huh?

And while things haven't been easy for any of them, our kids are seeing God meet them in new ways and they are continuing to trust Him as they travel the paths He has set before them.

In glancing back over this entry, I realized I haven't really addressed the title yet. I had to have cataract surgery this fall on both of my eyes. (Yes, I'm considered "young" to need it yet, but I have genetics to thank for that!) The surgery was easy and recovery has been fine except for the minor detail of my world being fairly fuzzy if I get much beyond a couple of car lengths. It won't be until January before the healing will be complete and I can get my glasses tweaked which will enable me to see clearly again. I've thought often about this verse and as I have, I realize that it describes this year well. I haven't seen much beyond my immediate circumstances to know what God is up to. But someday, I will, and the story that's being written over all of our smaller ones is the One that will finally make sense of them all.

1 Corinthians 13:12 - "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."

So forgive me, 2011, if I seem a bit eager to be rid of you. Don't take it personally. And should you decide to ask 2012 to take it a bit easy on the Joneses, we won't mind!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Hands

I'm back in TN after a busy month or so which recently saw us in Orlando for Thanksgiving again with Tiffany.  The weekend before that we were in GA for my brother's wedding.  The proximity of those two events led to an interesting union in my head one night when it took a while to go to sleep and I wanted to share it with you.

First, I'm guessing most of us had an experience either as the elementary student or the parent of one that resulted in a finished project looking something like this.

Or perhaps this.

Both creative turkeys used little hands to make them and probably somewhere in the lesson taught was the giving of thanks for various aspects of life.

Fast forward to the weekend before Thanksgiving and picture time at my brother's wedding. Tiffany was able to fly in for the special occasion and did double (triple?) duty as the flower arranger, photographer, and creative support for me in helping make things look just right. One of her favorite pictures to see/take is of the bride and groom's hands as they show off their new rings. Picture #1 was taken and deemed quite acceptable...with one lone dissenter.

Having dealt with severe arthritis and its complications for most of her life, Carla grudgingly agreed that the picture was OK, even though we could tell she wasn't overly excited about it. It would have been easy to just keep going to the next planned picture because to the rest of us, she is a beautiful woman of God, both inside and out, and we didn't see a problem with the picture as it was. But John knew the heart of his new bride well, so he quietly took her hand again and held it tenderly in a new position for another picture.

At the time, I was moved by the sweet gesture of love that was expressed, but on that sleepless night I realized an even greater truth. Marriage is supposed to be the tangible example of God's love to His people here on earth, but in today's world a curious observer might conclude that as soon as we mess up, He's gone. Instead, the reality is that He tenderly accepts us not because we have no blemishes, but simply because we're His...and He loves us. We might not have a picture in an album to show that, but all we have to do is look at the cross of Jesus and the proof is there.

Congratulations, John and Carla as you begin your lives together and thank you for letting us be part of your special day!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Life and Loss

9 days ago I had a birthday.  8 days ago we had to take Kit, our family cat to the vet for the dreaded but eventual one way trip that a lot of us have to make with our pets.  It was a crappy birthday week.

We had gone to GA for the weekend to celebrate my Dad's induction into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame with the rest of my family that could be there. 

We arrived home Sunday late afternoon to Kit not greeting us at the door as we came into the apartment.  When I called her, she came out from under our bed, but it was obvious that she was not herself.  Vet visits Monday afternoon and again on Thursday became the foreshadowing of the reality I had slowly begun to accept. 

She was still Kit, but obviously things were not right on the inside and she was getting worse.  Instead of going out to celebrate my birthday, we stayed home and I periodically would go into the bathroom where we were keeping her to check on how she was doing. 

I ended the beginning of my 55th year on this earth saying goodbye to a beloved pet that had shared the last 15 of them with me.  And then on Friday morning, with my heart breaking, I quietly patted her to sleep as the sedative took effect and then walked out of the room through one door while the vet went out the back door to administer the final shot that would stop her heart.

A lot of you don't like cats and don't understand those of us who make room for them in our lives.  But for those of us who have, we've learned that a cat and her mysterious ways are simply a wealth of affection waiting to be discovered and embraced.  I could never begin to count the number of family pictures she's in from being cuddled as a scrawny little kitten that looked like a baby possum to sitting or laying on each family member more ways and more times than any of us can count.  In the last few years, I was the primary recipient because I was the only one home during the day and wintertime found her on my lap within a minute or two of sitting down, preferably with a fleece blanket over my lap first.

I've read that when grief comes for any reason, it pokes at the scars from past pain and can multiply the emotion that is felt.  I have found that to be true and as with the original grief, I'm ready for it to be over before it apparently is going to be.  I had distractions this week in the form of a visit from Joey but he left today.  While the intense feeling of loss has lessened, I know that it will be a while before I quit thinking that I see or hear Kit as I go through my day.

Matt Redman has a song on his album, "10,000 Reasons" called "O This God".  Part of the lyrics are below:

We've walked through storms and
We have walked through sorrow
Still You won't let them steal away tomorrow

We are going to shine
Now we are going to shine for You

We leave the old behind
It will not define us, no
Yesterday is gone
Now anything is possible

Those I have loved and lost, human and otherwise, will always be in my heart and will never be forgotten. But if I'm not careful, grieving over what's gone could steal away tomorrow and I don't want that to happen. So I'm praying the tears that have yet to fall will soften my heart and not harden it as I look ahead to what this now makes possible.

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
~A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I'm finding that before I can head to bed, I need to process for a minute what today has been for me. Like most Americans, I have spent at least part of the day remembering the attack on our country 10 years ago. It was my first experience of feeling unsafe in my own country, wondering if further attacks were forthcoming. Hamp was in Chicago at a printing trade show and it took him several days to get home since air travel had been halted. While he was never in harm's way, having normal life interrupted in such a way underscored the point that life in America as we knew it had changed forever. An innocence was taken and while not necessarily a bad thing, a forced growing up in any capacity can leave scars.

When we stop to remember anything - good or bad - it seems that usually pictures or symbols of some kind do what words sometimes cannot. All of us probably have images in our mind of what 9/11 was to us, but one that particularly stood out to me was this picture.

I suppose I could be accused of not wanting to deal with the graphic reality of the day, but I think this picture does that well. While covered in dust from the debris in the air and standing on rubble that possibly has entombed some of their own, they still chose to make a statement of hope. America had been attacked and many were lost, but those who remained were standing together in a new-found commonality to face together what might lie ahead.

And then it occurred to me this morning that God left us a similar reminder in the last hours of Jesus' life here on earth.

Mankind had been attacked centuries before in a garden of perfection by the enemy of the Creator. Just like ten years ago in America, the ripples from that first attack have taken out more than just the original target. Yet, in the midst of the pain and suffering, we were given a symbol of hope in which to remember the only One who could save us from our enemy. A broken body and spilled blood remind us that our Savior came, lived, died, and rose again and that He will come again and all will finally be as it should. With that hope, we're to encourage one another to not lose heart and to remember that this is actually not as good as it gets.

While not perfect, America has gotten it right often down through the years. I, for one, am still praying that we remember again before it's too late.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The World According to Pooh

Have you ever begun a task and ended up doing something so totally different from what you started with? Yeah, that was my afternoon. I really was being productive, but then found myself looking up Winnie-the-Pooh quotes. I know, it boggles the mind as to how I made that transition, but I quit trying to understand myself a long time ago.

As I read through some of them, I realized that A.A. Milne was actually quite brilliant. So I thought I'd pass along some of that wisdom to you on this first day of September that doesn't seem to know it's the month that ushers in fall. Right now in middle Tennessee at 5:00 central time, it is 96 degrees.

I keep telling myself that before I turn around good, I'll be wishing for warmer days, but my self isn't listening right now.

Anyway, back to wisdom from Pooh and his friends. First, though, did anyone besides me ever know all the words to the Winnie the Pooh song that listed the names of his friends? If not, let me reacquaint you. Click here for the link that will let you not only hear the song, but you can sing along if you so desire. I won't tell. :)

In case you're wondering where Tigger was, he didn't show up until later. If you know Tigger at all, you'll understand that he must have his moment of fame as well, so if you click here you can meet him too.

A little side note - when I was in high school one of my best friends decided I reminded her of Tigger and nicknamed me that. To this day, I'm not sure if I should have been offended or not.

Back to the quotes. Here are a few of my favorites that I came across this afternoon and you can let me know if you agree that there's much more here than meets the eye.

"Sometimes, said Pooh, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."

"You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes."

"I'm not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost."

"Oh, Tigger, where are your manners?"
"I don't know, but I bet they're having more fun than I am."

"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you us quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."

"Pay attention to where you are going because without meaning you might get nowhere."

"Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon."

"Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully.
"Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever."
"And he has Brain."
"Yes, said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain."
There was a long silence.
"I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything."

"We can't all and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."

"Mind over matter, will make the Pooh unfatter."

"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way."

And last, but certainly not least,
"Some people care too much. I think it's called love."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Starting Over

As the title of this post would suggest, life in our corner of the world has been all about starting over in recent weeks. It's been over a month since I've written and I'm sorry about that. There might be a handful of you that read on a regular basis, so for you and for ease of recording our journey for posterity's sake, I anticipate doing a better job of keeping up as time goes on.

I've told you before that when I'm full of words, I sometimes can't get them to come out and that's been the case this summer. I've had moments here and there of doing well and anticipating what God has next for us in a new city. But I have to be honest and tell you that I've also complained a lot and fretted even more. The truth is that I don't want to be starting over again. But since we're not independently wealthy and have to work to make money, it seems like a good idea to go where the job is and that is now in Nashville.

Yes, Nashville is a cool place to live from what we've been told. But it's also been ridiculously hot this summer and checking out a new place in air you can't breathe is not my idea of fun. Nor is it appealing when everything has to be done alone. So I've read a lot, kept Kit company, nursed a couple of family members, and just been stuck in survival mode. While doing so slowly, time has passed and the back to school madness has arrived.

I love school. I always wanted to be a teacher and while I didn't quite reach that goal, I worked in a school for years in one of the administrative offices. I grew up as the daughter of a football broadcaster so fall meant games on the weekends, marching bands, and blanket wrapped cheering in the stands. Now that I'm not in that setting anymore, fall brings a bit of melancholy to my soul because I still feel like I'm supposed to be starting a new year even though the calendar might indicate otherwise.

Churches do the same thing. Summertime is a break from ministry and a time of refreshment for the staff. Normal opportunities to get plugged in aren't available and on any given week different people are out of town. Guess when we moved to a new city? Yep - right as school ended and summer began, so finding opportunities to meet new people has been complicated by the calendar.

Lest you get depressed with me, let me quickly say that all of the above is background information so I can keep going forward. In spite of the crazy summer schedules, we did visit a few churches and found one that felt like home. Since the school year has begun, so have the Bible studies, etc. and I actually went to the first one yesterday morning. It was still hard because I wasn't meeting a friend there and I knew that I wouldn't know a soul...but I did have this reminder as I headed out the door.

It's a small wall hanging a dear friend gave me right before we moved and it's been such a sweet reminder that no matter how alone I might feel, the truth is that I'm not...and I never will be. One of the good things about being alive for a few decades is that experience really is a good teacher. I know that I will meet some new friends and probably sooner than later I will have someone to go to lunch with again. No, they won't know anything about me until I tell them and they won't know who my kids are and what they were like as they were growing up. But God does and that's enough.

In honor of new beginnings, whether in school or in life, I'll close with a few letters of the alphabet to summarize our days since we last chatted.

H is for Hospital...where I have spent too many days in the last 6 months. My Mom's emergency surgery right before Christmas was enough to last a lifetime, but then Hamp decided to have a heart attack on July 4th weekend. Tiffany had unexpected surgery to remove her thyroid two weeks after that and I went to Florida to be with her during that time. Everyone is doing well but it was such a reminder that life can change in an instant and I'm thankful for those who are called to the medical profession.

M is for Music...and there have been some great new albums released in the past month or so. I suppose it's only fitting since I now live in the Music City to find my palette expanding as you will see.

Matt Redman has an awe-inspiring CD with his lyrical and musical mastery creating songs you'll soon be singing in church. Steven Curtis Chapman invites us into the journey God has him on as he recreates what God has given him down through the years while continuing to move forward in the story he and his family have been given.

Yes, I've tested the country music waters after watching American Idol this past season and found that they're not so bad. :) I love Scotty and Lauren because they're both strong Christian young adults from Small Town, USA. They've been very brave and bold in their testimony for Jesus and both are amazing singers. If you need a smile, you'll enjoy their respective CD's as well as their new albums due out in October.

A is for Atlanta Braves...who are playing their hearts out and making a serious run for the playoffs in October. We went to Turner Field on August 12th when Bobby Cox's number 6 was retired and another baseball was added to the outfield wall to join the other Braves Hall of Famers. I'm still holding out for a World Series birthday celebration in mid-October. :)

B is for Books...and the friends we meet in them. If you're looking for a recommendation of the next Pulitzer winner, you won't find it here. But Robin Jones Gunn has been writing for decades and was instrumental in shaping the dreams of Tiffany as a teenager. While those dreams were shattered by choices beyond her control, the Foundation on which they were built was not. Being reminded that her story is still being written by the one true Author encouraged me yet again as I became reaquainted with Sierra Jensen and her friends.

F is for Family...and the gift they are. Since our moving adventures began three years ago and we've been away from family more than we've been near them, we've learned as most everyone does never to take them for granted. It's sad that we can spend most of our lives wishing for someone else's story only to discover that our own is what has made us who we are. If you still have family to call your own, make sure things are OK between you and spend time together often because someday you might not be able to.

As a sidenote, I'd like to share that our family is going to be growing in the months ahead. My brother recently became engaged to an amazing woman that we all love dearly. Their stories didn't turn out like they thought they would years ago when they set out on separate paths, but God saw fit to bring them together in His timing and we are glad He did. Congratulations, John and Carla!!

L is for Long...which this entry has become! I will close now and try to coax Kit out from under the bed. It's our building's turn to have a new roof put on it and the noise has been annoyingly loud if you're a cat...and even for us humans at times. This is a picture I took of her last night after the workers quit for the day and she finally braved the living room. Poor kitty! She was trying to smash her face as far away from the world as possible while on my lap.

Thanks for reading and I'll be back soon...really!! It's much easier to stay current than have to play catch up. If you're on the east coast, stay safe as Irene races toward you. This crazy week looks like it will be ending with the reminder that God really is the only One in control. Here's to living like it's true!

"This far you shall come, but not farther; and here shall your proud waves stop."
~Job 38:11

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Daze

Hello from the latest hospital room! This is seriously getting to be way too common of an occurrence and one I'm ready to stop for a while. That being said, if I was 30 years younger, I think I would have liked being a nurse...maybe.  If we're friends on Facebook, then you already know most of what I'm going to tell you. If not, here's the latest from Tiffany's surgery today.

She had her thyroid removed which took about two hours. They sent the whole thing to pathology where they'll check it out and she'll find out in a week or so whether the suspicious cells were actually cancer. If not, she's done except for being on medication the rest of her life. If it was cancer, there's more to be done, but it's not as bad as other cancer treatments are. Hopefully that won't be the case.

Tiffany has been drug sensitive her whole life and that knowledge has helped today with the types and amounts of drugs that were used both in surgery and afterward. Even so, she still struggled with some pretty bad nausea most of the afternoon. That's better now and she's taking pain medicaton orally now so the trick is trying to get enough food in her stomach to keep her from getting sick past a throat that is not happy about anything coming near it. Now we wait because only time will improve things. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon will see us heading back to her apartment where she can truly begin to rest and recover.

In the whole fifteen minutes she was resting a little while ago, I was thinking about how when you're in a hospital room, the outside world becomes foreign to you and you function in an alternate universe. It's July, I'm in Florida, and it's hot outside.

But I'm sitting in jeans and a long sleeve shirt over a t-shirt with a blanket nearby because it's cold in this room to keep Tiffany from getting sick as easily. And I'm OK with that because this is one of my babies and I would do anything to make life easier for them if it's within my ability to do so. That's what being a Mom is. And as I was thinking about all of that, this picture flashed through the memory banks of my brain.

It was taken at a 4th of July church picnic when she was around 6 years old and it epitomizes summertime to me. How has time gone by that quickly and where did it go?

There's not really an answer to that question, so I'm going to close this out and attempt to sleep a few hours here and there in an interesting looking reclining chair. Well, in between Tiffany's vital signs being re-checked at midnight, another dose of pain medication being given, more blood drawn sometime near dawn to check calcium and hormone levels and possibly a bathroom trip or two thrown in with her IV cart going along for the ride. OK, so maybe it'll only be a few minutes here and there. Meanwhile, you all enjoy summertime for us the next few days until we're back in commission.

"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart." ~Celia Thaxter

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On To The Next Thing

It would appear that our two week respite from normal life (do we have a normal life??) has come to an end. Hamp's been back to work this week and the doctor this morning told him things looked great. With a couple of weeks of cardiac rehab so he can be monitored, he'll be back to his regular routine...sort of.

Gone for the most part is the southern tendency to have food smothered and covered. While we probably were at about the 60% ratio of eating well, it was the other 40% that tried to kill him. The last two weeks have found us eating LOTS of veggies and fruits, eating fish more often, reading labels on "food" items only to discover most things actually don't qualify, and drinking enough water to float a small boat, or at least a rubber ducky or two.

Yes, we know that deprivation leads to rebellion so we're being aware of that too, but the reality is that we choose and act on what's important to us. Our days are numbered and we can't add or subtract from what God has given us, but I believe our chooser can determine to a degree what those days might look like. So thanks in advance for your support of keeping us around a little longer. :)

What's next for us? It's late and I need to go to bed so I won't take time now to go into details, but I'll give you an outline so you can be praying for us and maybe try to keep up with us. Good luck!

~We leave tomorrow in two vehicles to drive to GA for the weekend. Hamp's family is quite ready to see him with their own eyes and my mother is celebrating her 80th birthday on Sunday.

~Hamp will head back to TN on Sunday after the celebration and on Monday morning I will head south to FL because...

~Tiffany is having surgery to remove her thyroid. It was discovered somewhat accidentally that she has two nodules growing on it and after biopsies and a second opinion, the doctors agreed that complete removal was the best decision. That means she'll be on medication the rest of her life which she is not a fan of, but it's necessary. She's never had surgery before and is a bit apprehensive about being put to sleep. She'll be in the hospital a night or two, so I'll probably be reprising my "sleep in a chair, if at all" role that I played in December with my Mom.

~An eye doctor appointment last week confirmed that I am now the bearer of two cataracts that will be have to be removed sometime this fall. I am not a fan of getting older, although the alternative keeps it a desirable option most of the time.

~Last but not least, I leave you with my soapbox topic for the day. My car, a Toyota Camry, started making a clunking sound in the steering column that I could not only feel, but hear. It's been doing it a while and had gotten more pronounced so before heading out solo for 11 hours, I wanted to have it checked out. The problem was a part in the steering shaft and after giving them our extended warranty information, I thought everything was going to be taken care of. Wrong! The warranty company refused to pay for the repair because it had not "mechanically failed" yet.  The problem I was having is documented on their Technical Service Bulletin that goes out to the dealers letting them know that potential service repairs don't qualify with the initial reporting problem if they're on that list.

The service technician went to bat for us with the warranty company and went so far as to have his supervisor talk to one of theirs, only to receive that same answer. According to them, the problem wasn't likely to cause a mechanical failure and if it did, they would then fix it. But here's the kicker - should that have happened, my steering would lock and the car would not be able to be turned to the left or right. Can you imagine what disaster might result if that happened going 75 miles an hour down an interstate?

We made the expensive decision to go ahead and repair it but I am armed with information (and a blog) to contact Toyota and express my complaint. I found it amazing that a company who in the not so distant past was dealing with terrible PR over stuck gas pedals that were causing accidents and even deaths was taking something potentially as dangerous so lightly.

By the way, the warranty company (that our current dealer doesn't even use anymore) is Fidelity Warranty Services, Inc. out of Deerfield Beach, FL...just in case you were wondering.

I need to end on a more positive note so here you go:

As the first half of the baseball season ended, the Braves were one win away from reaching 10,000 wins as a franchise.

And tonight, July 15, 2011, they won again! Congratulations to the Braves and for what I think will be a very special second half of the season.

Thanks for reading and I'll be updating as I can from various places in the south. And next time, I promise I'll have pictures!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Well, I certainly didn't see that one coming! Who would have thought that a mere week ago I would have been bringing Hamp home from a hospital stay necessitated by a heart attack? As you can imagine, life has pretty much been on hold until this morning. He headed back to work for hopefully shorter days this week until he sees the doctor on Friday.

The only restriction he's really had was to take it easy so the incision in the groin area where they did the heart cath can heal. He was able to work from home some and we all caught up on the rest that was missed in the last week.

A lot of things have gone through my mind in the last nine days and it will probably take me some time to process before I'll be able to share them with you. But there was something I had already been pondering and everything that happened has magnified the significance of it. I'm not sure I'll be able to rein in my popcorn thoughts, but I'll give it a try.

For background, you need to know that I love the book/movie series "Anne of Green Gables".

Anne unexpectedly finds herself in a loving home after being orphaned, where she speaks often and usually without thinking as she lives life to the fullest. The bane of her existence is her red hair and those unfortunate enough to comment on it in teasing find that out quickly. Yet, the very characteristics one thinks of when seeing a redhead are the ones that make her uniquely Anne...with an "e".

When Marilla decides she can stay at Green Gables, she informs Anne that she must say her prayers that night before she goes to bed. Anne promptly replies that she doesn't say any prayers and give the following explanation:

"People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is. Mrs. Thomas told me that God made my hair red on purpose and I've never cared about Him since."

Whether I see it in print or in the movie, I always laugh at the immature reasoning of this precocious child. But then I was reading some more in "To Be Told" by Dan Allender, and I realized I'm just like Anne. Consider these words:

"Do you ever feel that you're stuck, just going through the motions, not hearing from God, and not feeling any passion about your life? It's easy to land there if you're not listening to your story...Your story has power in your own life, and it has power and meaning to bring to others. I want your story to stir me, draw me to tears, compel me to ask hard questions. I want to enter your heartache and join you in the hope of redemption. But your story can't do these things if you can't tell it. You can't tell your story until you know it. And you can't truly know it without owning your part in writing it. And you won't write a really glorious story until you've wrestled with the Author who has already written long chapters of your life, many of them not to your liking."

Did you catch the last few words? What does he mean that the Author has already written long chapters of my life, many of them not to my liking at all? You mean, God has written my story like this on purpose???

It was like a spotlight fell on those few words for me. I could concede that God knows everything and allows certain things to come my way with a greater plan in mind, but to believe full authorship didn't set well with me. Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if God really is God, then He has to be fully Author...or He's not God at all.

And then Hamp had a heart attack. So, I'm still wrestling a bit with this one...and yet I'm not sure that I am so much any more. For a control prone person such as myself (freak is a little harsh, in my humble opinion) to accept that Someone else has everything calmly in hand makes me feel free. But I don't think I would be OK with this if I wasn't convinced the motive was out of love and care for me. So maybe the age-old question really isn't "why?" after all. Maybe it's as simple as elementary angst - do you love me? Check one, "yes" or "no"...knowing that "yes" will always be checked.

I'm pretty sure this tension is something that is going to be continued...