When Being So-So is Anything But

2-4-13 Mom's 019 Do you have someone who you swear shares the same brain with you? Like identical thinking twins, to the point that it strikes you both as quite eerie?

I don’t mean your spouse or bestest friends ever. They tend to compliment, confer, confide, and some times confront the good, the great, and the sometimes whacked out ramblings that ping through the noggin like a renegade pin-ball. While there are things in common, the differences give the relationship sparks.

My thought is more in the lines of Dr. Frankenstein putting mixing bowls with multi-colored wires on both of your heads and flipping the switch.

No lights would blink, and no smoke detectors would beep, because there would be nothing different to transfer.

Before you file committal papers and ship me to see the good Doctor for a jolt, let me give you an example. Mine is my cousin, So-so, or Phyllis, as most call her. We look nothing alike, but So and I have this uncanny connection that baffles both of us. Rarely, do we see each other, but when we do, our spidey-senses become glaringly clear through our humor, timing, how we comfort each other, our personality quirks and tastes, how we finish each other’s sentences…and the list goes on.

In fact, I pushed my knows-me-inside-and-out friend to go visit with So, ‘because it’ll be like hanging out with another Me.’ Her eyes shrieked in terror. Could the world really handle two of us? I’m afraid I keep my buddy’s hands of friendship full as a solo act.

Recently, this rather unflattering picture was taken of us.

Privately conferring with each other, are we discussing someone’s unbecoming outfit or a tumbleweed of a hairstyle? Though we have the potential for much worse, I cannot remember the conversation, let alone a darn thing we would have said under the category of extreme tackiness that the tattling photo is capturing.

Therefore, I email it to So to see if she has an inkling and ask for a caption.

This is what came back: “Loved it!!! It made me think of the scene in Steel Magnolias where they’re at the wedding reception discussing the woman not wearing a girdle and the one woman says, ‘It looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket!’ And Dolly Parton says, ‘I haven’t left the house without Lycra on these hips since I was 16.’ Someone else says, ‘Your Momma raised you right.’ That’s what we look like we’re looking at and discussing.”

Exactly! Cracked me up and creeped me out in one fatal swoop.

Only one other soul knows how the conversation really went. Psalm 139 tells me that he “searched me and and knows me. You know when I sit and I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar…..you are familiair with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O’ Lord.”

Creepy, convicting, and comforting. He’s so far from taking a mere ‘so-so’ role in our lives.

Search me, O’God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Gazing Back Over This Thief’s Footprints

How insignificant our daily footsteps seem as we plod through the ordinary. If we only had a clue to how orchestrated they truly are. Join me as I gape in awe at some of our recent ones.
*A shopping trip to Mega LumberLand with detailed list and full intentions of buying bathroom remodeling supplies that fell paint-roller flat for no particular reason. Hence, we left with confused expressions and not so much as a paint brush.
* A compulsion propelled me to excavate the mysterious treasure trove of Mom’s cedar chest. This led to organizing the pictures inside-which overflowed to labeling and sorting all of our own family photos-which led to me vowing to go through every scrap of paper in our office-which led to ‘why don’t we just paint the walls,’ which led to engulfing mass chaos inhabiting three main rooms in our house.
*After writing Mom’s eulogy, I put the papers in a padded folder to try to look muy professional, on a day I felt anything but that.

So why are these random actions significant? If we gone into our crazed inspiration mode, where nothing in our path is sacred in our remodeling path, when Mom died, we would have been down to one bathroom.

And no shower.

For eight people to navigate for four days. Not that it couldn’t have been done, but so we were blessed that we didn’t have to.

And despite the office project insanity, all of Mom’s pictures and special items from her past were pre-laid out for us like a memorablia fan. What great memories they triggered to pass on and made her tribute sparkle.

The padded folder. After giving the eulogy, I scooped all the papers off the lectern that I had gently laid aside as I had read through them. Whew! I was so relieved that I hadn’t blubbered, passed out, or fell off my heels. Now I could just sit down and be in the role of just being the grieving daughter. Once I plopped in the pew beside my husband, the pastor began the sermon, starting with: “I had planned to do a twenty- minute sermon, but it seems that Kelly stole my notes.” The place erupted.

I whispered to Cliff, “Do you think I should I take them to him?”

“Well, yes!” he answered incredulously, as my father-in-law flashed a proud fist-pump for my slick thievery.

I frantically retrieved the papers and tiptoed them up the center stage steps, as if no one could see me. I handed them sheepishly to Pastor Dale. Later, he wove the incident in as a perfect illustration for a point he was trying to make. It was like he had seen it coming, it was crafted in so masterfully.

Besides my mom would have thought this episode was hilarious!

In awe, I sat, as he continued to read on. Psalm 121 was one he plucked out of the blue. There was no way he knew it was one of the very last pieces of scripture I read her. And why did I pick that one? I had no idea it was one of her most loved passages–until I read through some of her bible study workbooks a few days after the all the funeral dust had settled.

So all these incidents got me to pondering: If God shows himself at time a time when our feelers are up and tuned as a result of a desperate need to see His hand in the situation, how often does He ordain our oblivious daily steps? Don’t we need to see him as much in the hum-drum? Do we need to slow down and be intentional about watching for what He is choreographing around us? Or do we just allow His orchestrated notes be stealthily whisked away by thieves such as the time-crunch and busyness gods, chasing the stupid, or just flat being weary of life’s harshness?

Well, I’ve decided to steal God’s notes from Psalm 40:4, for I’m certain He’ll smile and flash a fist-pump when He hears me pray: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O’Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you have planned for us no one could recount to you; were I to speak and tell them, they would be too many to declare.” Yes, Lord, open my eyes, because I don’t want to miss a thing! Amen.

When a Good-bye Is Not Forever-The Unbelievable Last Gift

As you read this, it’s kind of tough, but please stick in to the end. You’ll be glad you did.

If you haven’t lived in this area, you wouldn’t know the story. My fun-loving Mom has been a neurological Pearl Harbor for several years. If the genetic code of chronic depression and Alzheimer’s wasn’t enough, the after-effects of the Radiant Patient Award to kill the bugs of brain cancer, followed by fluid on the brain, well, it’s amazing she still knew us most days and had it together enough to breathe.

That is until a couple of weeks ago. All signs pointed towards heaven for our Mermaid. (see When Your Parents are Named Cleon and Myrlee) I arrived at her care home with my F150 truck’s backseat packed for an unknown period of time. Mom was working hard to sleep, although I knew she would not truly wake up again. Of course, I talked about everything in the world–just in case she tuned in. Funny times, great memories, what I knew of wonders promised in the Bible, and of course, tears fell.

At one point, a favorite aide of hers, Katrina, was trying to get her to open her mouth, and Mom stubbornly pursed her mouth. Yep, that would be my mom. We shared a chuckle at the glimmer of personality through the fog. After I reminded Mom that she had been through a lot worse stuff than this, she relaxed and the mission was accomplished.

Later that evening, I cracked a stupid joke that only my family would catch, and a corner of her mouth turned in a grin and she moved a little. A sign she was with me, so jumped at the opportunity to I share my heart. I assured her of who was going to take care of whom, and that it was okay to leave at anytime. A private and precious time I will cherish forever.

Then we went through a night of hard sleeping to wake, knowing soon, yes soon was going to be her moment. Fourteen hours had passed since that last smile–just fading breathing. Cliff, my knight to my rescue, arrived, and two Hospice workers, that I had met the day before, just happened to cruise in the door.

Suddenly, Mom’s expression changed. I wish I could explain it. Nothing terribly profound, just ever-so slightly different. Cliff came behind me and hugged my shoulders.

Softly, I asked her, “Mom, do you see them? Are Grandpa and Grandma Moore there to meet you?”

Her mouth began to move, forming letters she didn’t have the breath to voice.

“Are you seeing Ann? After 50 some years, it’s about time best friends got together. And is Delmer there? What about Aunt Elva? You know, she met Grandpa when he left.”

Oh, did she try to fill us in! Her lips puckered and opened, her tongue flicking.

“Mom, you know you have those grandbabies up there we haven’t even got to meet. Jesus is an excellent babysitter, but don’t you think it’s time to meet their grandma?”

Still, she tried.

“Mom, if you see Jesus, you go run and hug his neck.”

And at that moment, she quietly left.

The Hospice nurse confirmed it. When I looked around the room. A sense of awe had taken over. And while there were tears, unspeakable joy was on all our faces. And Peace comfortingly patted Sorrow’s back and assured that all would be more than okay.

How does one leave any better than that, I ask? What a gift God allowed her to share. Her passing makes us ponder how thin the veil between this life and eternity is and fertizlized the hope in our hearts.

Of course, I have my moments. My eyes well at almost nothing and packets of LiL Traveler Kleenexs fill my pockets, which I will probably run through the washer. My brain is kind of fuzzed out as of late. Afterall, she was my mama, we’d been a team for a very long time. BUt I smile continually because in her leaving, she left a ministry that death can not stop, but keeps sparkling with eternal hope.

If you see any of our family in the grocery store, at work, or out and about, and if someone says, “I’m sorry to hear about your mom,” don’t be surprised to overhear, “Thank you so much! She went out in grand style. Here, let me tell you about it.”

(Oh, how this verse has been made clear to me now.) “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 Precious indeed!

“Sparklers” ~My Mama’s One and Only Twinkling Post

a>My mom pic />For the first time, I am opening my blog to my mother, Myrlee Moore. She went to be with the Lord on Thursday and having sparklers at her graveside with this reading she authored was her request. Since South Central Kansas is in a burn ban, our family struggled with the risk of setting the cemetary on fire and solicited my father-in-law that he may be responsible for the family’s bail money. Instead, pictures were taken, and the reading will appear in the Protection Press newspaper this week. Yes, her sparkle will continue to flicker on.

When I was a kid, my favorite 4th of July fireworks were the sparklers. I liked the fountains, roman candles, not so much the firecrackers, but give me a box of sparklers, and all was right with the world.
After a trip to town for fireworks, the anticipation of lighting the first sparkler was almost too much for a little girl to endure. Now, you can light them in the daylight, but the magic and enchantment isn’t there like in the dark. Sometimes you got one that just burned and sparkled endlessly, while you ran and danced through the dark. And there seemed to always be one in every box that started out with promise, but never quite took off and fizzled out. But it did its best. And you try another one. If later you went back and tried again the fizzler would ignite and sparkle after all—not as strong, but doing its best, because you didn’t give up on it.
Our lives are a lot like sparklers. The good times we are there sparkling away, but not nearly as evident as the dark times. Our sparkle changes and encourages and lights the way for others. Yes, we have those who start out with great promise, but for whatever reason they fizzled out quickly. But remember they did their best and maybe their time was not yet to be a great sparkler. Don’t give up on them.
After the sparkler has slowly faded away, the smoke drifts away on the breeze, you’re left with a burned up wire, but in your heart and mind you still see the magic and the light of the sparkler.
This is why when I’m gone I want sparklers at my graveside service. I want a celebration of good times and of all the people who have been strong sparklers throughout my life. My body will be like the burned up wire, my soul the smoke drifting to heaven, but always remember the sparkle of life we each have and keep sparkling, dear ones. Keep sparkling. You never know how much light you’re giving to others in the dark.
I am so blessed by the Lord for my huge box of Super Sparklers! My loving and supportive family, my old friends from childhood, who went out of their way to call, write, visit, and my caring church family, who came through with food, prayers, calls, monetary contributions, driving or just listening. Scripture tells us to let our light shine, and you are! I love and appreciate every one of you. Keep up the sparkle. You are the greatest and I hope I’ll be remembered by putting a little sparkle in your lives in return. I thank God for the special experience with Him and all of you.

Myrlee Ann Moore September 29, 1940-January 31, 2013