Goodbye, friend

For those of you who don’t already know, we lost a dear friend and brother this week. Nathan Taylor was fishing in freezing temperatures on a lake in Oregon, when his boat began to fill with water. After the boat sank, he tried swimming to shore, but was unable to remove his heavy clothing, and didn’t make it. He is survived by his wife of two years, Lauren, his son of three months, Jack, his mom, Pamella, his dad, Tim, his stepmom, JoDana, his brothers, Jeremy and Tim, his sisters, Charlotte and Sabrina and all of us who had the honor of knowing and loving this remarkable young man. Please pray for these beloved people, as their shock and grief is unimaginable right now.

I grew up with Nathan, as our families were very close. We spent holidays together, took trips together and off and on, through my growing up years, we even lived in the same house. I remember when I was about thirteen and Nathan was about two, we were all in the same house, trying hard to get everyone out the door to get somewhere. With so many bodies and so many little kids, it was not an easy thing to do. I remember Nathan, walking around in his socks, holding one shoe in his hand, “looking” for his other shoe. As he wandered slowly and aimlessly around a house full of busy, frantic and even angry people, he kept a gentle smile on his face. I was thirteen and didn’t have the cares that the adults had of getting us to wherever we were supposed to be and I remember watching him with great amusement. Everyone cared so much about that silly shoe and he was trying, in his two-year old, Nathan way to care too. He kept that same gentle smile on his face throughout his life. Every time I was ever around him, he seemed to have a peace about him that most people spend their whole lives trying to find. In fact, I remember somebody saying about him when he was two years old, that you could tell exactly what Nathan was going to be like as a man. He had such character.

A few years ago, after traveling the world, climbing mountains, swimming oceans and walking many miles through many countries, he married his sweet love, Lauren. I’ve never been at such a beautiful wedding as theirs was. Their deep, pure, young love for one another was evident in every word that was said, every look that was given, every touch, every tear, every kiss. Their faith was so beautiful as they dedicated their love for one another to the One who gave all for them because of love. Their love for Jesus was contagious.

Nathan, I will miss you. You have been a part of my life that could never be replaced and the hole right now feels huge. I don’t understand why your days were numbered so. I don’t understand why you have flown to the arms of our dear savior while the rest of us are left to travel this sod. I want to cry out, “How long, oh Lord? How much longer will you tarry?” I don’t understand so much. I’m sorry that I never got to know you as a father. I praise God for the son you left behind and I pray he is a source of comfort and joy to his mother. I will meet him this weekend as I travel to Oregon to say goodbye to you. Right now, my eyes are filled with pain as I look forward to that trip.

Goodbye, gentle brother. I’ll see you at home.

Come Gather 'Round People

What I did this weekend:

I had a wonderful dinner with wonderful friends and wonderful family on a wonderful day.

I went to a surprise party for my friend over at 1st Crack and I got a little carried away with the 80’s dance mix that my husband put together. Yes, dancing AND singing. My daughter, at one point said, “Mom, do you KNOW any other dance moves?” No, honey, this is pretty much it. Reality bites.

That same daughter turned twelve. Thanksgiving is always a magical time for me because it was exactly twelve years ago that I started having painful contractions right in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner at my mom and dad’s. It’s a beautiful reminder every year of all that I have to be thankful for. She was born the next morning. She was born bald with big, round cheeks and now she has tons of hair that she likes to put in two braids and her cheeks are as cute as ever. And she gets embarrassed when my friend (Carlee) says to her friend (Nikita) “Don’t you like my socks?”

I got sick with the ick. Really sick with the ultra ick. Pretty much everyone I know has had it this week and boy did I get it. It kept me from celebrating my daughter’s birthday with her. I’m sorry I missed it, but grateful to have been blessed with most of the rest of her 4,379 days. Happy birthday, sweet baby girl.

The Boy and the Dump Truck

As I was picking the kids up from school today, there was a huge dump truck in the park beside the school. I mean really huge. It was dumping red dirt on the baseball diamond. I was fascinated watching it through my rear view mirror as I sat in the line of cars. I found it odd that I was so captivated by this great, big red-dirt dumping truck and the kids walking past on their way home from school didn’t even seem to notice it. They walked, in their groups of friends, talking, playing, laughing, oblivious to the dump truck. I thought, “What’s the matter with these kids? Aren’t kids supposed to be drawn to stuff like this? Have children lost their sense of wonder?”

And then, the boy I was waiting for came into view. A slightly chubby, red-headed, round-faced, hair-cut-in-a-bowl-shape, nine or ten year old boy, wearing a puffy, black jacket that was too big for him and pulling his backpack on the ground behind him. At first, he was walking with his eyes to the ground, dragging his feet a little, looking like the long day at school had really taken its toll on him. Then, he noticed my dump truck. I watched the world fade away from his view. All he saw was that dump truck. He stopped, dead in his tracks, dropped the back pack on the ground beside him and watched in awe as the red dirt poured down. He was totally transfixed. His mouth was wide open and slowly, a smile of delight spread over his entire face. When he remembered that there were other people around, he started looking at everyone with a look of disbelief on his face. “Don’t you guys see that?” the look on his face said very clearly. He kept looking between the other kids and the dump truck, turning his whole body back and forth, with his arms flying and a look of glee on his face. It seemed that the long day at school was already ancient history.

It was great. Kind of made me wish I had a boy.

Blarty Like it's 1999

It was an unforgettable weekend in the Linebarger household. Our friends Jackie, Jasmine and Donald came to town after an eight year absence. We took the opportunity to get our blogging friends together for our first ever blog party. For those of you who couldn’t make it, you were talked about and missed. (Were your ears burning or was your nose itching?) For those of you who could, thank you for coming. A special thank you to Cup of Silence for actually buying a plane ticket for the big event! I’m sure there will be a way to write this trip off as a blarty expense. I believe a fun time was had by all. There was food-eating, roller-blading, coffee-drinking, cup game-playing, trampoline-jumping, couch-cushion-stacking, talking-talking-talking, church-going and we even got a rousing dance to the Charlie Brown Shuffle in there somewhere.

For all you impatient people out there, I have thrown together some pictures from the weekend (starting with a picture from ten years ago of Callie and Jasmine):