Monday, January 28, 2008

What's On Your Bucket List?

I was with some friends yesterday and we decided to go see a movie. Sometimes we have seen movies that are a flop. We look at each other and smirk. That was a waste. But, we have something in common to talk about. We shared the experience together. Then, however, there are great moments when we all see a movie and it is good. When we walk out of the theater, I smile. I wonder who’s going to make the first comment. After all, we vary a great deal in age, experience and tastes. This weekend we hit a winner. Together we went to see the Bucket List. It stars two greats: Jack Nicholason and Morgan Freeman. Two totally different strangers are thrown into life together because of their mutual fight with cancer. One is a man of faith, the other is a hedonist. But, their common fight draws their life together to live out a “bucket list.” That is a list of things that they would like to do before they “kick the bucket” that is, before they die. Whose philosophy and values in life affects the other? Whose life finishes the movie embracing eternity’s hope? I liked it. All of my friends liked it. For the wide age span and varied tastes, we liked it together. So it got me thinking, what would I want on my bucket list? I mean we all will come to an end in life at some point, so why not have some things you want to do before you do. Some of the things I came up with are:

  • Travel by cruise from Brazil to Chile

  • See the Taj Mahal, the Serrengeti and Pyamids of Egypt

  • Help out in an organization that would benefit others

  • Take a cruise on the Medditeranean, seeing Greece and Europe

  • Go with my friend to Tuscany or Provence for a wine tasting trip

  • Master some of the foreign languages I have studied

  • Teach someone to read, possibly in a poor country

  • Read through some of the classics again
  • Go to NYC with friends

  • Travel across America

  • Sky Dive

  • Make a diffence in others lives

  • Get back into snail mail with friends

So that is just the beginning. In my mind the bucket list is something to look forward to, these are things we strive to accomplish in our lives. They are things that give us a reason for going through life. I wonder what others would have on their lists.....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Life's Ups and Downs

Today when I woke up I knew I had a busy day ahead of me. I woke up full of energy and was off to breakfast with my dad at one of our little spots. We had a great talk and then we went our separte ways. I had an appointment that would take about 1 1/2 hours and then rushed back across town for a funeral for the Weathers Family. I knew this funeral would be difficult, you see, it was the infant daughter of my friends and pastor, Sophie Ann. There was a mixture of joy and sadness. It was difficult to watch my friends in their brokenness, but at the same time I knew they were rejoicing that Sophie is in Heaven with our Heavenly Father and she is perfect. Here brief time here with us has touched so many. In the service it was mentioned that she has touched people in 44 states and 14 countries. That is amazing. She has brought people to a new understanding of faith. Of course there are questions and the answers will not come until we meet our Maker. Jerrod Brown, a photographer with The Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation, had taken some amazing photos of Aimee, Carlton, Sophie, Hannah and Noah. It was so difficult to see this little one and know that we will not have the chance to watch her grow, she will not see the dreams we had for her, but I am so thankful that the brief time she was here, we were able to have a glimpse of the love her family has shared with us. She is a beautiful child and the pictures captured her in ways you would not think possible. The tiny hands and feet looked so perfect, you could not help to miss her. I am thankful that her parents carefully planned for her. They have shared a very personal and emotional journey with us at the funeral and through our church. My faith has been challenged and increased. I do not understand why this happens to such dear, faithful people, but I can already see the changes that Sophie has brought and the glory that was given back to God. Much like Rick Burgess, the pain is great, but through the Lord the strength is powerful and the testimony is challenging for all who do not believe in a Savior. I left the graveside with an unexplainable feeling, but I know God has been faithful and he will bless the faithful. I know the family will have a grief that is understandibly difficult, but even in their pain they helped us to rejoice for Sophie Ann. On the other extreme, my day ended with an engagement party for a dear friend. It is amazing, to have the turn of emotions in one day. I am so excited to be the part of a new beginning for Jenn and Todd. I cannot help to get excited about the love they share and the joy and excitement of watching Jenn open her china. She has a wonderful journey ahead of her and I am glad for her. God is gracious to allow joy on a day that started with sorrow. It is amazing that we cross paths of so many people and the realm of emotions and events we share with them. I do not know what will come next, but I know there are many things to be learned, enjoyed, cry about and walk though. I am glad I could experience the extremes today, it makes you realize how precious life is.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Joy In The Midst of Tragedy

I have been reading the blog of my pastor's wife on and off over the past couple of months. It has been amazing to watch the power of God in her life. You see, she was pregnant with a child they knew would not survive in our earthly world. The baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, which means she has an extra chromosome 13. This diagnosis meant the if she survived birth she would not live past a couple of minutes. News like this would be tragic to anyone and most of us would constantly question God why? Why them? My pastor's wife decided along with her husband that they would completely let God control this situation. He strengthened her relationship with Him in ways you would not think possible. Well Sophie Ann was born yesterday on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. She made it clear that each life is precious. Although she lived only 9 minutes, they are 9 minutes that are so precious to them and cannot be replaced. Aimee and family are rejoicing in the midst of tragedy in the fact that they know Sophie is in Heaven being loved and cared for by our Heavenly Father. As I read Aimee's blog I was brought to tears, some sad, but most of them with joy at the fact that the very things she prayed for were answered in this situation. She wanted Sophie to make it through the birth, she did, she wanted to hold Sophie when she went home to the Lord, she did. The gifts God gives us are amazing even in the midst of tragedy. The link to their blog is in my favs - Weathers Family.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Wow! It snowed in Alabama today! It's funny how that brought out the excitement in me, you see I am NOT a cold weather person and I prefer the kind of snow I can visit. I have to admit though snow is so pretty when it falls and there is nothing like being the first one to walk through the pristine white covering. Although our snow did not last long, it was just enough to play a little and get my feel of it. Today's snow was the perfect kind for snow balls. My dog Halle is 5 and she never experienced snow until today. She was so funny, she seemed to like it at first, but then she realized how cold it is and ran back to the house. Curosity couldn't keep her away from the snow -- it was so cute. This brings so many memories of getting my sled and meeting my friends on the big hill in our neighborhood in Germany. We would all pile on the sled and try our best to steer it away from potential accidents. It is so amazing we all survived those days. We had a hill that was about 4 or 5 stories steep and it you aimed just right you could make the sled go all the way past the bottom and through a hole in the hedges that separated us from the farmer's field. There was always the rush that we may not make the right turn and end up in a pile of bodies under the branches of the hedge. We never worried about concussions, didn't have to be strapped in or wear helmets and goggles, just had plain old free fun. Laying down on the Red Ryder sled with my hands at the wooden handled that controlled my destiny, it was envigorating as the rush came over me and the chill on my cheeks from the artic air. There was always the loud cheers each time someone had a successfull trip. It never took much to get us to go back to the top of the hill and start all over again. Sometimes we could even coax a parent or two tear down that hill. At the end of the day, we would all go home frozen and of course be welcomed by our mother with at great cup of hot chocolate and marshmellows, full of questions and curiosity about the day of sledding -- which was relived in exciting stories of successful feats.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Walking Down the Musical Memory Lane

Today I caught myself drifting down memory lane. I was listening to The Carpenters and began to think of the last time I blasted them from my stereo. I was packing up my apartment in Portland. This made me think about how much music influences our lives. Certain songs seem to bring back memories of good times. Every time I hear "Under the Boardwalk" I remember being with my dear friend Lana visiting her parents. Her father woke us up for church that Sunday morning by blasting that song from the stereo. What a crazy way to wake up, but it put us in a good mood. When I hear the Beach Boys, I remember driving with my old roommate down the coast highway in Oregon. We had the top off of the Samauri and the wind blowing in our hair, we laughed as we sang at the top of our lungs and drove through the beach towns of the Oregon Coast. Music sure does bring back memories. I can't help to think of cruises when I here salsa or merengue ... that music just gets my blood flowing and you might catch me on the dance floor.... As I drift back in to my walk down the musical memory lane, a calming effect comes around and the nuicances around me seem to disappear -- even the one's that are so loud it takes a high volume on my ipod to block out!