Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Sister Friend

How did I find such favor with God, that He would send me a sister friend like Karen?

In many ways, we are two of a kind. We both cry at movies. We both feel things deeply. We both desire to walk with God and be pleasing to Him.

We both like to laugh. A lot. And we often think we're funny.

Karen often looks beyond my words and hears my heart. She listens when I rant. She listens when I whine. She listens when I share a struggle. She chats and plays Word Twist in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. She'll happily climb in the car at midnight to go to Wal-mart and make me laugh when she turns every day oven mitts into full-of-personality hand puppets in the middle of the store.

She's walked through grief with me and never told me it was 'time' to be past it. She's willingly jumped into my projects and made them so much more fun. She's sat in my garden and spent hours pulling dandelions out of my lawn. She's raised a sweat, mixing 80 bags of cement and fussed when I wanted to do it, because she didn't want ME to throw my back out. She's helped me form that cement into a wonderful 'flagstone' patio and walkway. She's hiked through the forest when it was too hot to breath and brought me rocks, because I didn't have enough to finish a rock wall. She's brightened my garden with gifts ... the most important being her presence.

She's helped me paint my house when I've decided it must be done NOW... three days before my sons wedding rehearsal dinner. Not just any plain ole paint job, but a special faux finish that had to be done by hand. She learned how to do a form of tole painting with me, by watching a video in Japanese (I ordered the wrong tape.) She spent hours in a pottery shop painting pieces of bisque because it's what I wanted to do.

She's encouraged me to think that I can do anything... and do it well. She's my cheerleader and my fan. Everyone needs one! And I think she's terrific.

Not many friends would let you take a photo when you both show up wearing the same shirt, but a sister friend will! A sister friend will also forgive when she finds out that you posted those photos on your blog.

I love you, Karen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Dad

Yesterday we went out to lunch with my dad. I don't get to see him very often, so it was a special treat. He's 85 and it's hard to see his health declining, but he's still the same dad he's always been. He's a hyperactive funny man, trapped in a body that refuses to be hyperactive anymore.

My dad was raised in East Texas, by a hard working mother of nine. His father - my grandfather - was a distant man. He didn't seem to care much for kids, but somehow, my sisters and I seemed to find a soft spot in him. He let us sit on his lap while he sat in his rocking chair... a chair he made himself. I have that chair and enjoy it immensely!

My dad fought in WWII. Pearl Harbor was bombed on his 18th birthday. He and a brother enlisted the following day. He was wounded on Okinawa and spent over a month in a military hospital in Hawaii. (Unknown to him, his brother, was also wounded and they were in the same hospital, one mile away from each other. They didn't find this out until the war was over.) My dad still carries bits of shrapnel in his body. Pieces they couldn't remove.

He was sent back into active duty and was one of the first to walk into Nagasaki, after we dropped the 2nd bomb that ended the war. We suspect that some of his health problems are related to that... but who could prove such a thing?

My dad worked and played hard all his life. He was a good provider. When something around our house needed fixing (like the washer or freezer), my mom would get out the tool box, lay a towel on the floor and as soon as he was due to arrive home, she'd go sit on the towel and get a tool in her hand. My dad would ask what in the world she was doing. She'd reply that she was going to fix the machine. He'd scoot her out of the way and take over, getting it fixed in no time. I always wondered if he caught on to her game. But I learned that her method beat the heck out of being a nagging, complaining wife! And she got things fixed when she needed them fixed... not when he 'made time'!

When my mom died in '78, my dad was lonely. Shortly, he met and married again. I'm so thankful for her! She tries to take good care of him. Tries is the operative word. Dad does what he wants, eats what he wants and no one is going to stop him. Not the greatest mode of operation for an insulin dependent diabetic, with high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, but in a way, I appreciate that he is still 'his own man'. He's been through a lot and I see his strength, even in his frailty.

I love my dad.