Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two Good Books - and Some Randomness

We interrupt our regularly scheduled travelogue to catch up on some very random "stuff."

It is a gorgeous autumn day in Colorado - so beautiful and warm that I was able to sit in the sun on the patio and finish two books I've been working on.

The first one I finished was 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death by Don Piper. Rev. Piper was a Baptist pastor who had been at a conference. On his way back to his home in Houston, he was in a horrific accident. He was declared dead and left under a tarp in his mangled car. His account of 90 minutes in heaven, when he then came back to life, is amazing and heart-rending. I could totally understand his frustration at being back on earth after being in the glory of heaven for 90 minutes. As his health improved, he saw some of the reasons he was back on earth.

Then I finished The Shack. Many of you have read this book. I think of it as an allegory in the nature of Pilgrim's Progress.

I found it fascinating. These paragraphs really hit home with me, as we come up to this very crucial election. Mack, the main character of the book "spent a lot of time fretting and worrying about the future, and in his imaginations it was usually pretty gloomy and depressing . . . And Jesus was also correct in saying that in Mack's imaginations of the future, God was always absent."

Jesus then says to him, "It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can't. It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn't even real, nor will it ever be real. You try and play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear."

Mack asks Jesus why he has so much fear in his life. Jesus answers, "Because you don't believe. You don't know that we love you. The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it, but you don't know it." (p. 142)

Papa (God) speaking: "Nobody knows what horrors I have saved the world from 'cuz people can't see what never happened. All evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice. If I were to simply revoke all the choices of independence, the world as you know it would cease to exist and love would have no meaning . . . Evil is the chaos of this age that you brought to me, but it will not have the final say. Now it touches everyone that I love, those who follow me and those who don't. If I take away the consequences of people's choices, I destroy the possibility of love. Love that is forced is no love at all." (p. 190)

If you've read the book, you know why forgiveness plays a huge part in the story. I love these quotes:

"Forgiveness is not about forgetting . . . It is about letting go of another person's throat." (p. 224)

Papa (God) talking: "Forgiveness does not establish relationship. In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship. . . don't you see that forgiveness is an incredible power - a power you share with us, a power Jesus gives to all whom he indwells so that reconciliation can grow? . . . Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver, to release you from something that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly." (p. 225)

"Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. . . Forgiveness does not excuse anything." (p. 226)

I wish we could all get together and discuss this book. If you haven't read it, I recommend it highly. Also the first one.

Moving on to something far less important and cerebral - a bit of randomness just for fun. Our town does Trick or Treat at the shopping areas where all the little rugrats run around in their costumes and get a head start on sugar the Saturday before Halloween. This year Care Bear is a cheerleader and Feisty is Ariel, the Little Mermaid.

Care Bear promised Grandpa that she'd bring him back a Snickers bar if she got one.

Feisty wasn't having a great time at first, but she warmed up to the idea after awhile.

The little jack-o-lanterns had their first sugary treat - probably not such a good idea, but simply adorable!

Earlier in the week, Kristen had a really tough couple of days. She needed to be by herself for awhile, so I ended up having the kids for more than 30 hours. It usually goes pretty well - the big girls sleep on couch cushions on the floor of the family room (in spite of the fact that we have two spare beds in Kristen's old room). Don't ask me why. One baby slept in the Pack and Play and the other was snuggled up on the floor of my bedroom (Grandpa does go into the spare room so that he can sleep all night and not hear all the potential commotion). The last few times they've had a sleepover, the big girls have slept through the night with no problem - and at least one of the twins did the same. Not this time!

I had the babes down by 8:00. It was around 9:00 by the time the big ones were settled in. I crashed after a very long day for just a short time before both babies, within a couple minutes of each other, woke up. I replenished their bottles and they went back to sleep. At 1:11, Feisty came charging up the steps - ending up in bed with me. At 1:17, Katie, on the floor, woke up again. I brought her into my little t.v. room so that she wouldn't wake up anyone else. She was very restless, even as I held her and snuggled her. She never did sleep soundly, and when she doesn't, I don't. Suddenly Care Bear appeared, half asleep. I told her to go ahead and crawl into my bed, too, because she didn't want to be alone downstairs. At that point, I realized there was no room for me in my bed - I could have gone into the spare room with Dwight, but instead I snuggled up in my recliner. I had slept about an hour, and it was about 4:00 by this time, when Feisty came stumbling into my room, saying that she was lonesome by herself. I thought Care Bear was with her, but learned later in the morning that she had gone and joined Grandpa in the twin bed. I had no energy to get up from my chair, so I had her snuggle with me for the next couple of hours -- Let me assure you - this did my back NO good!

Fortunately there was no school the next day, so we didn't have to rush in the morning. Care Bear was very helpful with Emma Bemma and took a bath with her.

After breakfast, I could hear all kinds of fun stuff going on in the living room. I finally figured out that Care Bear was teaching school with Feisty as her class. I would love to sit in on her real class someday, because I feel certain that her every word and action was directly from her teacher. I just got such joy out of listening and surreptitously watching.

Katie's newest trick is crossing her leg over her knee as she watches cartoons!

Shifting gears drastically - our church has been badly in need of parking space for years. We have struggled with various solutions, when finally we were able to buy both houses just west of the church. In April, the guy who bought them, did so with the agreement that he would remove them to property he had elsewhere. It is now the end of October - our pastor's blood pressure has been in danger for the past months as he has watched this guy consistently break his verbal promise - that was our first mistake - not getting it in a written contract! Here is the house that has been in process of being "moved" for six months.

This one has gone more quickly. It was supposed to be out last Thursday. You can only do the moving after midnight, and not on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Imagine the problems this caused when everyone came to church on Sunday and found this in the parking lot:

It's supposed to have happened last night - I forgot to drive by there today - I'll believe it when I see it!

PLEASE CONTINUE PRAYING FOR FEISTY. Poor little sweetie - the infection returns about two days after she finishes her last round of meds. She is sick again tonight and has an appointment with the right doctor tomorrow afternoon. She has an appointment with a pediatric urologist in Denver on November 9. Kristen is beside herself with worry that her kidneys have been compromised with all of these infections, and that she will be immune to antibiotics by the time they figure out what is going on. THANK YOU!

On a final note - I am really looking forward to not having to use my "mute button finger" after next Tuesday. I am so sick of these political commercials!!


CrackerJacks said...

You have had quite a busy couple of days not to mention a slightly sleepless! What a power grandmother you are!!! I really enjoyed reading this entry and seeing all the photos of the girlies.

I REALLY REALLY hope Feisty is okay. I'd love to have an update when you know something if you don't post one here. I know what it's like to go through some of that stuff. Still to this day it's very easy for me to have issues. Hugs to her!!

I hope Kristen is feeling revived too. She is such an inspirational mother. I know she's been/going through a lot, but she is very blessed to have parents like you guys and beautiful children who will always return their love. I do keep her in my thoughts and prayers, but some days I wish I could just fly out there and give her a break.

Have a great week and Happy Halloween!

Sammy said...

Oh, you are just the best grandma ever!! :-) The picture of you and Feisty asleep together in the recliner is just precious. And how kind you were to be such a good sport all night about the musical beds! Those girls must treasure you!

I really hope Feisty is okay and they get this figured out soon. I am so sorry and I'm sure Kristen is so worried.

As far as your last paragraph is concerned--I AGREE!! I need a big break and it's going to start on November 5th!! No newspapers, no CNN, no nothin'!! :-)

Hootin' Anni said...

Hi Dawn.
That first book you read, I've heard a lot about it being near Houston and all. I will have to pick up a copy. Thanks for reviewing it for us.

And those trick r treaters are just so adorable!!

Happy Wednesday. I read in our news that Obama was in CSU's oval for the weekend. How exciting.

Christa said...

I've been eyeing 'The Shack' in the store and probably will buy it sounds like good reading. Bless you and your family, sounds like much is going on, hope you get a good nights sleep soon. I will pray for Fiesty that her infections can be resolved.
God Bless

Needled Mom said...

The photo of you sleeping in the recliner says it all, Dawn. You must have been exhausted. I am certain that God knew what he was doing when he gave us children when we were young.

Love the Halloween costumes!!!! So cute. I am sure it did not take long getting into the treats. It never does.

Both books sound great. I had heard of both of them but haven't read either. How nice to have the time to relax and enjoy them.

Like you, I cannot wait to have Tuesday over. I am so sick of political ads on TV, radio AND filling my answer machine. Grrrr.

Maine Mom said...

I want to read 90 minutes in heaven. It sounds like a great book.

The kids look so cute in their costumes! After looking at the pictures, Zoe just said she wants twins when she has kids. Part of me wanted twins as well, but it didn't happen.

I know I've said this before, but it's so true that I'm going to say it again, Kristen and her kids are so blessed to have you so near and so willing to help out. You remind me of my own mom in that way. :-)

Morning Glory said...

What a fun bunch of pictures!

I, too, will be glad when the commercials are over.

Linda said...

I've read both of those Dawn. I think I need to reread "The Shack". I have some unresolved questions.
You are such a blessing to Kristen. I don't know how you do it. I have never really had to babysit the grandkids for long stretches when they were tiny. Now that the youngest is four - it's a lot easier. Having said that - I find it doesn't take very long for me to feel totally wiped out. I think you are going God's work dear one.
The girls are all one cuter than the other - love their costumes. I will pray for that sweet little Feisty. I pray the Father will just touch her and heal her completely. I believe in miracles - just look at those cute little "pumpkins".

AMANDA said...

The costumes are really cute! The girls are so blessed to have such a committed Grandma!

Theresa said...

I loved The Shack too. The part about forgiveness really hit home and I was able to get past some things that I didn't even know I was still holding onto.

The costumes are so cute.

Theresa said...

I loved The Shack too. The part about forgiveness really hit home and I was able to get past some things that I didn't even know I was still holding onto.

The costumes are so cute.

Penless Thoughts said...

I was so greatly moved by The Shack. I read it some time ago now and will have to re-read it. The other one sounds good, too. I've heard other's tell of their brief times in Heaven and even on in Hell.

Praying for your dear little GD and for you. Don't know how you manage to take care of all 4. They are so adorable in their costumes.

groovyoldlady said...

I love these newsy posts. I've been busy as bear in a honey tree, so I really haven't caught up on your trip yet, but I'm sure Kristen and the kiddos are VERY glad you are back!

Susie said...

You have been one busy Grammy and I know you're earning your halo! You look so tired in that recliner. Whenever I think I'm stretched to the limit with two active boys, all I have to do is come here for a dose of your reality.
Loved seeing all the photos. The girls all look so cute in their Halloween costumes. I've said a prayer for Fiesty. I'm sure you're all very worried for her.
Try to rest a bit if you can.

nancygrayce said...

The girls are sooooo cute in their costumes! You are officially nominated for the grandmother's hall of fame! Kristen is so blessed to have you as I'm sure she knows! I know this has been a rough time for her and I pray she quickly gets through the rough times. Hope that back gets some real rest soon! :)

Midlife Mom said...

Oh so much news since I last read your blog and I only have two that I haven't read. Did that sentence make sense? That is a great picture of you two in the recliner chair, you must have been soooooo tired! I don't do well without sleep and didn't keep the grands over night when they were just babies for that reason. Now they are fine and sleep through although the teeth grinding sometimes wakes me up! ha! As so many said before me, Kristin is so blessed to have you and your Hubby to help her through these hard times. I'm sure she appreciates it so much and you will be blessed for it. The pictures of the kiddos in their costumes are just so cute!! Bet the little girlies loved that first lollipop!!!
I haven't read those books but the 90 minutes in Heaven sure wets my appetite! Must check and see if we have that at our Bible book store.
Always nice to get a book review!
I got caught up on your trip! What a great time! I love hearing about other peoples travels and places that they stayed and ate. Have never been to Johnny Rocket's but that sounds like fun! Your condo looks so nice and comfy, how nice to get it for such a good rate! We were supposed to go to Myrtle Beach this month for a wedding but due to Mom's surgery we didn't go. Would like to go there some time.
Please take care of yourself, you do more then ten people! xoxox

Tammy said...

Wow, so much news here, but I so enjoyed getting caught up with you!

The little ones looks darling in their costumes...and look how sweet you are all sound asleep in the chair~ ;)

I've played musical beds with the kids myself a few nights...one comes in, I go out a bit later and sleep in their bed- it can get crazy!

I will indeed pray for Fiesty- poor little thing! I can understand her mom's concern but praying for healing and wisdom of the doctors too- and peace for Kristen!


PEA said...

Happy Halloween dear Dawn:-)When you get a chance, make sure you drop by for my Halloween Bash, you're there in costume you know! hehe

Care Bear and Feisty look so adorable in their costumes, as do the two little pumpkins:-) I wish I could give them all big squishy hugs!! I don't know how Kristen would manage if it wasn't for you and it's no doubt that she appreciates it no end. I hope I make the kind of grandma you are!!

My prayers are with Feisty, hopefully the doctors can find out once and for all what is going on inside her little body!! xoxo

Nancy said...

Hi Dawn~ I loved both of the books you mentioned,,, two of my all time favorites.

You really had a rough night! I hope you have caught up. I'm sure Kristen appreciates all that you do for her. The girls are just precious in the photo's. I love the teacher photo!

I will keep Feisty in my prayers... bless her precious little heart!

Have a great weekend!

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Poor Feisty...I so hoped the UTI's were over and done with. Praying that you'll finally have some answers after the upcoming visit to the specialist and that she can get the treatment she needs to get well, or for the Great Physician's healing, however He chooses to work.

All the girls are so cute in their costumes. And they're all getting so big, especially the twins.

As much as I love Emmy, it wears me out when I have her for more than a few hours, and it's even worse to keep her overnight, although she's doing better about sleeping all night these days.

I can't imagine doing it with 4 kids! You and Kristen and all the other Moms and Grandmas of more than one kid have my respect and admiration, Dawn.

Have a great weekend!

Love and hugs,


Barb said...

Reading about your night makes me feel like I need to go lay on the couch and go to sleep, Dawn. I know how exhausing a night like that is. I went through this when Avery was born and both Krissy and Cameron ended up in the hospital before she was two weeks old. For me, it took days and days to recover from the lack of sleep.

This is beginning to be very worrisome, those UTI's she keeps getting I so hope they get to the bottom of it and figure out what's causing them. UTI's are painful! And she's so little. Poor thing.

For the record, I got your check on Thursday, so I'm going to get the yarn for the twins' fuzzy caps today. :-)

Nadine said...

I haven't heard of 90 minutes in heaven but it sounds fascinating. I've read the Shack and enjoyed it myself.

The girls (all of them) look adorable in the outfits.

And you were right - I loved meeting Diane.

Robin in New Jersey said...

Hi Dawn!

I loved 90 Minutes in Heaven. I didn't care for The Shack. In fact, I couldn't finish reading it!

Glad I found you again. (My computer was messed up and I had to get a new one. I couldn't remember 3/4 of the addresses for my favorite blogs!)

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

You have a beautiful family! I love the snicker picture, for a child to give up her snicker is true love for her Grandfather :)