I never imagined writing something about my Grandpa. Not that I thought he would live forever, I just never made a reality in my mind of when he would be gone. I assumed he would live many more years and I would sift through all the memories then. Later in my life. Not right now, anyway. This past week I’ve been at work most of the days and have been grateful for the distraction. But now I’m supposed to bring memories forth from where they’ve been drifting around unorganized. Well then. I’m going to sound like a less poetic version of I Remember Mama, but I don’t care.

I remember when Grandpa visited from California. It was Easter time. We were shopping in what was then Meier and Franks and there were these stuffed animal bunnies dressed in pink floral jumpers in a basket. He bought one just for me and “Bunny” stayed by my side for years and years afterward. Whenever Grandpa visited after that, he made sure to ask how Bunny was doing and I would bring Bunny out and he would hold her and talk to her like a person. Poor Bunny has been sewn back together many times and her jumper is no longer pink, but she will always be special to me because Grandpa and I made her a REAL bunny, just like the velveteen rabbit.

I remember camping in their motorhome in the towering redwoods. He had this huge horrible wooden spider fastened to the curtain by the table and told me to be good or the spider was going to get me. I never would touch it, or sit next to it if I could help it, even though I knew it was fake. He made my sister and I beds up in the bunk and told us scary stories of how bigfoot was out there and was going to come get us. I knew he was teasing because his eyes would twinkle and his mouth would twitch, but I would still get a shiver wondering WHAT IF bigfoot really was out there and was going to turn over the motor home in my sleep?!

I remember countless fishing trips with him. Trolling around Lake Merwin for Kokanee and anchored for Steelhead Salmon at the mouth of the Lewis River. One time in particular was exciting. I had a fish on, but could not reel it in for the life of me. We drifted much farther than usual, and when Grandpa finally reeled the fish close enough to net it, we realized it had been caught by the hook in the middle, and we had been reeling it in sideways! No wonder it pulled us so far. It cracked him up and he could talk of nothing else all day.

I remember how once when fishing he asked if I like barbecue chips. I wasn’t too keen on them, but I said, yes, I liked them. Ever afterward, there would be sure to be a bag of barbecue chips in the cooler, just for me! I obligingly ate a lot of them and he never knew they were my least favorite ever.

I remember he was a Pepsi guy. The cooler on the boat would be full of them and to this day I cannot have a Pepsi without also smelling fresh air, barbecue chips and fresh fish.

I remember how he almost always called Dairy Queen, “Dairy Freeze.” Once I knew what he meant, I never corrected him but smiled and replied, “Sure, I’d love to stop for ice cream.”

I remember how much he loved Christmas and how he gave my sisters and I special ornaments each year when we were young.

I remember how much he loved food and cooking. He made the best macaroni and cheese. Mustacholi was a favorite and with every dinner, french bread with lots of butter. He loved barbecuing and would find me a nice juicy piece of steak and then trim it for me and take all the “ickies” off. He loved Mexican food and made the best chili verde.

I remember when he picked a spot to anchor for steelhead, he would make sure to go only by certain fishermen, so that my little girl ears wouldn’t hear any swearing.

I remember how much he loved kites and I was so excited when he brought his man legs to fly. The legs looked so silly next to all the sleek colorful ones, but the legs were all I had eyes for. They just tickled me pink.

I remember just the way he used to call me Ambie. I can hear his voice, even now, “Ready to go fishing, Ambie?” “Hows Bunny, Ambie?” “You all ready to go camping, Ambie?”

Yes, Grandpa. I’m all ready to go with you. I’ll miss you until the day I can explore paradise with you.

 

 

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The devil doesn’t want you on his side. He doesn’t want you as a trophy, or as someone to help him. He doesn’t want you at all. It’s not a choice of choosing evil over good. He wants to obliterate you. He wants to turn you from Jesus any way he can, and destroy you. Not because he has anything against you personally, but only because in hurting you, he’s hurting Jesus. Because this is how he’s ‘getting back at’ God. He wants to take Jesus from you. anyway he can, large or small. He wants to steal your joy and take captive your hope. He isn’t interested in you. You’re just another little creature he hates because Jesus loves. Beware. Be careful. Look out.

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Why is Jesus always the first to go,
When He’s the one we claim we love the most?

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Without Jesus, I am just a hollow, empty shell. 

You take Him away, and I’m just a casing, just a body. 
A writhing mass of sinful ugliness, spewing hurt out into the world. 

Jesus is the only thing that can fill me up with love and joy.
He turns my grey ashes into sparkling beauty. 

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And Hope, she w…

And Hope, she was just 3 and she was scared of that pond after Sunday services. And the maple woods. The girl wanted a fence and rules and where she should go — but there was no fence that marked the lines of this space here and this way there.

The kid got it early. Fences and rules are easier — this is the best life and that is the less life, this is the way and that is a copout, this family is on fire for the Kingdom and this family is just going to crash and burn.

But the Farmer, he scooped up his little girl and said it in his gentle spoken way — “I’ll stand outside after the service and I’ll be keep a close eye for you. But listen.” He’d cupped Hope’s full cheeks in his field worn hands. “Your Dad will call you– and if you can’t hear him? You’re not where you are meant to be.“

Your Father calls you.

And if you can’t hear Him?

Am I making the right decisions?

We want clarity — and God gives a call. We want a road map — and God gives a relationship. We want answers — and God gives His hand.

The whole room, it’s still quiet and holy full and God singularly calls you and a call from God is about relationship and a call is something one keeps listening for — come this way, come to the land I will show you. God didn’t give Abraham a map — He gave Abraham a relationship. He doesn’t want you to lean on a guidebook. God wants you to lean on the Guide — who speaks to you through His Book. Why would God give a map — when He wants to give you Himself?

We need the person of God more than we need the plan for our life.

“Mom?”

Shalom looks up and I hear her and I hear Him and a calling is something you never stop listening for. And I help Shalom scoop out the very last and I’ve come to the skin of it and I know the way through for me… And career – career, it comes from the French word — carriere — meaning road or a highway, and a career is about well marked roads and clear fences and mapping out your life, following the chart, focused on these goals.

A career is about the guidebook and a calling is about leaning on the Guide who speaks to you through His Book. A career is about making a plan and a calling is about trusting a Person who changes the plan. Grace, that careers can fall way to callings.

The call that thing one keeps listening for and the heart of faith is the ear.

And after the innards have all been spooned and the pumpkin pureed and the stories read and the kids put to bed, I find the pillow and lay the ear up against His Word and I read it and I hear Him:

This is the way for you — not her way, not their way — but My Way for You.

I have to stay close enough to the Word to hear my Father’s voice.

And in the stillness, the Father’s voice calls and there is a moving back closer to hear Him —

The sound of peace and what you were meant to be filling all the room.

– Ann Voskamp

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“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

“Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against these things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”  -Galatians 5&6

I know there is more of the Spirit than what I have. I know when Jesus calls you to himself, he gives you his Spirit, but there is also a filling up of the Spirit, and a re-filling and re-filling. My great desire had once been to learn how to attune myself to the Spirit. Learn more about him. What grieves him, and what brings him joy. I wanted to be filled up to over-flowing with his fruit so that I could pour him out on others, and then hold my heart up to be filled again. What a sweet cycle it would be! I don’t know what happened. I got distracted, forgot to include him in my prayers, as if it were a duo I believed in, instead of a trio. I’m so silly. I try, and fall short, try again, and surprise, fall short again. When you let Jesus slip away from being center in your life, it shouldn’t be astonishing that everything you’ve worked for and desires slips away too. When you let yourself drift on the wind, the wind takes you where it will. When will I learn that I have to constantly, actively fight for the joy of faith?

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It smelled as if I was brewing a pot of coffee in the shower, instead of just washing out my hair. There are worse things to smell like, I guess.

People sometimes. I look at people and am just amazed that Jesus can look at these same people, and just love them.

I hate small talk. I like getting to know people, but I always wish I could know more of the real them, and not just the ‘customer in an establishment’ them.

Things always go in trends. Yesterday, weird comment night. Me: “Hey, how’re you today?” Him: “Adorable.” I’m never quite sure how to respond to things like that. I wish I was quick witted and could give back a satisfactory retort, but it never works that way for me. Then the other man, who whenever you ask him how he’s doing, replies with, “I’m short, fat, and ugly.” Well, today, he wanted a cup of attitude. Too bad we don’t serve out steaming cups of grateful attitudes, the world would probably be a better place. Same guy, proceeded to tell me never to steal toilet paper from restaurants, because how dumb would it be to go to jail for toilet paper? “No, siree,” he says, “my brother may do that and steal as much toilet paper as he would like to from restrooms, but I ain’t gunna, I don’t wanna get in jail for that!” No. No, we wouldn’t want that, now would we?

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