Archive for June, 2010

See You in the Morning

In loving memory of my grandma, Patricia Mezger.

April 22, 1924 – June 18, 2010

Here she is on her wedding day with my grandpa in 1945:

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Holding me and my baby brother, Josh circa 1975:

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With me and Grandpa at my high school graduation in 1990:

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And the last time we ever made it up to Oregon in 2002, with kids who were stir crazy from being in the car so long as we drove them all around the United States and Mexico. I love this picture because you can see how wild the kids were. I’m sure I was losing my mind. And my grandma’s just watching them with a smile on her face, obviously enjoying every minute with her great-grandchildren:

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I’ll be going up to Oregon this weekend to meet up with the rest of the family and celebrate her life. I feel incredibly blessed to have had all four of my grandparents in my life for 37 years. I feel a little lost right now, knowing that she’s gone. I’m so thankful for the heritage I have, the loving family in which she raised my dad, which he passed on to me, which I’ve passed on to my children. The love of games and the attitude that “if anybody wants to play any game against me, I’m up for it AND I’m sure I’ll win,” which she passed on to my dad, which he passed on to me. The commitment to sitting down together as a family for meals, where bonds are strengthened, compassion is nurtured and souls are fed, which she passed on to my dad, which he passed on to me. I can’t wait to give my grandpa a big hug. They would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in a little over a month.

My dad sent me a copy of the talk he gave at the private family service yesterday. Here’s the part I keep reading over and over:

    And then Friday about noon she breathed her last breath and went on a new adventure. The Bible tells us that it is to join her Maker and her Savior. It tells us that He, the Lord Jesus, has gone before those who believe to prepare a place where there is no more death, no more pain, no more tears…so although we have come today to say good-bye, we are really not saying good-bye. We can look at her body one last time, but she is not here. So we don’t say good-bye, we say good-night maybe. But what we really are saying is “Good-night. We will see you in the morning.”

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The Beauty of Life

Some days little things happen that help me to live better. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to capture it with my camera. The other night I was home alone with two of my daughters. One of them sits at the piano often. This was one of those nights.

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She played her own version of this song:

Which, of course, made me feel all sorts of things. I really feel like the luckiest person in the world when I get to hear other members of my family experimenting with music. There is almost nothing in the world that makes me happier.

Then, the other daughter came in the room still wearing the dress she had worn to church that morning. The dress that she couldn’t wait to show me when her sister decided she was probably never going to wear it again. The dress that neither of us had ever seen the other sister wear at all. It was given to her by a friend. And oh wow, did the littlest sister’s face light up with joy when she saw it. She declared that she had never seen such a beautiful dress in her entire life. The bottom of it was exactly like a princess dress. She felt like a princess when she wore it. I love that I still have a little girl little enough to like feeling like a princess.

When she heard the beautiful piano music start to play, she came in and began to dance like a princess.

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Even Togo wanted to be near the beauty.

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I love my daughters and all the life that they embody. I love my oldest daughter who is happily sleeping her summer vacation away and she stumbles groggily into the kitchen sometime after noon each day and we teasingly ask her if she got enough sleep and she smiles sheepishly and raises her eyebrows and says in her highest, air-headed voice, “What? I can’t help it! I’m in a stage…”

And I love my middlest daughter who can’t find the words for much that is inside of her, but loves to accompany me silently on my many errands each day. And when she sits at the piano and expresses herself in ways that help all of us who can hear to have a moment that is just a little richer, just a little deeper, words somehow don’t seem necessary anyway.

And I love my littlest daughter and her sun-kissed face with teeny, tiny freckles all over it. I love that she jumped off the high dive for the first time ever yesterday, after going up and then climbing back down about ten times while trying to work up the nerve. And I love that she still loves to twirl like a princess.

I really believe I might be the luckiest person alive.

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I Am a Slug

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I guess some of that little critter that I stepped on a few weeks back has made its way into my bloodstream. I and the slug are now one. After go-go-going for a solid eight months with no break EVER, I have now had a sufficient break in a form that I never hoped for. In just the second real week of summer break for our family, I’ve been downed. Downed to the ground. Can’t seem to shake it either. My stomach is royally messed up. I should be wearing a crown on my head – that’s how royal the situation is. I have slept most of this week away. Poof. It’s gone.

But the good news is that now I am awake and I have spent the entire day today parked on the couch in front of the TV. And boy, have I seen stuff. I watched Stacy and Clinton teach me how to layer non-matching but compatible colors. I watched two women give birth, unmedicated. One of them was very loud and one of them didn’t make a sound. Not one sound. Both of them got beautiful babies out of it. I watched Judge Wapner make a surprise appearance on The People’s Court at age 90 and decide a case, even though I don’t really think he heard anything that either of the litigants said. I watched lots and lots and lots of people talking about oil in the ocean. I watched Jamie Oliver hug a crying woman and tell her she was a good mom even though she was killing her kids by what she was feeding them and then teach me how to make chicken nuggets and I think I’m going to make them tonight even though I still have no appetite. I watched Oprah tell me to sign the No Phone Zone thing and I said to the TV, I said, “Oprah, I’m one step ahead of you, girl. I haven’t signed anything but my word is as good gold. No phone for me. Nope. Not while driving. I know where the zone is.” I watched Gary Cogill tell me that the new Karate Kid is a decent, good movie. That one surprised me.

And through it all, I sat on my brown couch with my computer on my lap, and played millions of rounds of Word Twist with strangers on Facebook.

I’m really good at Word Twist.

My mom always used to tell me I was a slug. I guess today, I’ve fulfilled my destiny. And the thing is, I liked it. I really don’t like being too busy. I really don’t. I really, really, really like sitting for hours at a time.

Shhhh. I want to hear what happened to that girl stranded in the Indian Ocean.

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Time Eternal

Last night, as I was driving (half-asleep) to pick up the last daughter of the day, I was struck by the beauty of the twilight sky. Half-asleep because a) I don’t sleep more than two hours at a time anymore at night, thus rendering me tired always and b) I had just done an all-day yard sale with friends in 100 degree heat on a June day in Dallas.  And yes, picking up the last daughter of the day does indeed imply that there were many other daughters that needed picking up and dropping off at other times during the day. Probably somewhere around twenty or so. I lost count after two. I can’t remember the exact number of daughters I have anymore. It’s a lot – I know that.

But back to the twilight sky.

You know how when it’s almost totally night, but the very last remains of light from the setting sun are still there, down near the bottom of the sky? It glows a very faint orange near the horizon, but as your eyes travel upward the color changes from orange to pink to blue to black? The color at the top of the sky and the color at the bottom of the sky have absolutely nothing in common with one another. They’re not even remotely the same color on any level. And yet they blend into one another somehow. And try as you might to find that place in the sky where you can see one color change to a different color; you just can’t. It’s a seamless transition.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the colors of life. My grandma is in her last days, possibly hours, right now as I write. My grandma who loves to play games as much as I do. She is competent and competitive. A force to be reckoned with. She made good food and put lots of fun toys in our Christmas stockings when we were little. My brother- and sister-in-law are moving across town next week. I know it’s not far and I know it’s good for them, but I’m still feeling sad knowing they won’t be just down the street anymore.  My life is filled with the sound of music and giggles and tears and the sight of limbs everywhere (Seriously, teenagers have the most unbelievable limbs. Legs that go all the way up to their necks and arms that can wrap themselves around their bodies twice. When we’re all on the couch watching TV together, there are limbs everywhere, like aliens have taken over our house. It’s a little freaky. Enough limbs for forty daughters, even though I’m pretty sure I only have about twenty. I think it’s the definition of “gangly”.) A few weeks ago one of our daughters was really getting very upset trying to understand why people still die if Jesus conquered death. And the past just keeps bleeding into the future. All of it’s important. All of it.

The colors are now green at church. I find it very soothing after the long, difficult purple of Lent and the just-as-long, glorious white and gold of Easter. Ordinary time is here and it’s nice to just breathe for a bit.

We are not here in this color without the color that came before us. Different, but the same. Redeemed but not yet fully getting it. And the next color will surely come.

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(Photo by Thierry Lombry from The Venus Transit 2004)

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Leslie, Morely or OutofControlly?

Yes. That’s right. I’m officially out of control. But what’s a girl to do when so many great things happen all at once? She takes pictures – that’s what she does. She takes pictures and then she spends millions and billions of hours editing them and trying to narrow down which ones will make the cut for Fierce Peace. And sometimes there are no answers. Sometimes they just all make the cut. I mean, girls grow into young ladies who just keep growing from there and they wear gold dresses and you can never go back again. It’s only forward from here on out. And boys get thrown in the air and walk off the end of diving boards and once they’ve been thrown or stepped off, they can never go back. They can only make the splash. And it’s usually a big one. So, here they are. Dare I say I’ll take a break from pictures after this? I want to. Oh, how I want to. I think I’m in the “admitting that I have a problem” phase of recovery.

I decided that some series of pictures deserved their own separate posts, so just keep scrolling when you reach the end of this one.

Summer has begun!

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Delight

Who’s more delighted? The one being thrown? Or the ones watching?

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Josh’s Perfect Dive

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