Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Funeral to Family Reunion

My precious dad was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in November. It is a cancer of the lung that there is no cure for, medically. I flew up to Alaska in February to spend time with him and had a wonderful visit.

Last Monday, I received a call from several siblings saying that dad had taken a turn for the worst, and I better get up there if I wanted to see him again, alive. Alaska Airlines, flew Jim and I FREE all the way to Homer, Alaska and back with confirmed seating. What a wonderful perk of being one of their employees. We flew into Homer, to save much time on the road traveling, so we could get there in time to say goodbye.

All 8 of the siblings flew in, as far away as Louisiana, and we have not been together in 19 years. Uncle Ken was there to pick us up at the Homer Airport and drove us right out to see dad. Dad had come home from Providence Hospital in Anchorage because he wanted to die at home.

As I saw my dad, laying there, fighting for his life with every breath, it was almost more than this daughter heart could contain. He seemed so weak and so vulnerable. As I sat there watching him, I was asking myself the question, " Which is worse, the way my mom's sudden death in the car accident was, or sitting here watching someone you love suffer till death?" I came to the conclusion that NEITHER is better. They are both horrible.

Each of us took turns sitting with dad, so he wouldn't be alone. A couple times I had the midnight to 3am shift. Well, I fell asleep during one of them and Auntie Vicki had to fill in for me. It was a good time to sit in silence and pray and just be.... having my heart flooded with memories from childhood, and the legacy that my dad is leaving to all of us. The legacy of loving Jesus and serving Him with our whole hearts.

On Saturday, my dad suddenly took a turn for the better. We couldn't believe it. I was doing my shift and about 3am in the morning my dad opens the door, is dressed and I said, "Dad, are you okay?, what are you doing?" He spoke legibly and just as clear as could be and said, " I am not tired and want to come out here and be with all of you!" We sat in amazement..... He sat out with a few of us for about 15 minutes and then said, he was tired and went back to bed, and has continued to improve each day since then. On Sunday, he wanted to go out for a HAMBURGER.... He also went to get some tests done and all the liquid around his heart is GONE.... He is breathing good, he is talking, he is just like he was when I came up in February. It really is a miracle, there are no other words for it. The cardiologist gave him 2 days....

We are witnessing a miracle and calling him Hezekiah. (Read 2 Kings 20:1-6) I don't know how many days my dad has left. But 15 years sounds really good.

All 8 of kids, plus many grandkids that came, were able to say goodbye and hug their dad and grampa. He was also able to hold each of our hands and with tears share the goodness and miracle of God in his life. We have now each started to journey to our homes, knowing that the time together was right, and good, and ordained, and precious.

Being all together after so many years was a gift. We took many pictures, laughed our heads off, cried our tears, said our prayers, ate tons of food brought in by loving people and just made more memories to cherish and hold on to.

I can say this. God is faithful and God is good. And I also will add, even if the Lord would of taken my dad home at this time, I would still say, my God is faithful and my God is good. And we would of wept a lot, but we would not of wept as one who has no hope.

I love my family. It is such a gift to belong to such a family. So to Dad & Gail, Debby, Marie, Bobby, Kenneth, Valerie, Vicki and Mark, thank you for caring, for all the memories and laughter and tears. It is a wonderful gift to know we have each other. I know mom would be so blessed by her family.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

12 Years Ago......July 16th, 1999

Oh Lord, you have been so faithful to the deep cries of my heart. It was 12 years ago today, that you took us from our beautiful home in the most absolutely gorgeous place in all the world, Homer,Alaska, to bring us to a place in Oregon where we could find grace and healing for our hearts.

We left with so much pain and heartache over circumstances and the Lord knew that for us to be free and whole again, and to find the healing we needed, and that He longed for us to receive, that we had to leave where we were. Our hearts were desperate for His touch.

Even as I write this blog, so many emotions flood my soul. Tears come easily to my eyes. I left my family, people I loved dearly, and my heart in Alaska, but knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord opened the door, prepared the way, and ordained Canby New Life Foursquare in His plans for us. He knew, this would be the place that we would find what our hearts so desperately needed.

If I could only use one word to describe the last 12 years, I would use GRACE. Over and over the Lord has done His work of grace in my heart and continues to do so. It has been a season of healing through tears, valleys, mountaintops, joy, sorrow, repentance, worship, in His Word, and putting myself in places where the Spirit of God is, so I can receive from Him. He also placed significant people in my life to help me along this journey.

I can honestly say that He has healed my heart and made me whole and I have found the Lord Jesus in ways that I have only ever dreamed about.

His work is not over in my life. This has just been one season. My heart continues to press on, to knowing Him deeper and loving Him more. I am thankful I serve a God that sees. He sees the past, He sees the now, and He sees the future. He knows what we need. Oh Lord, keep my heart soft and tender and my ears sensitive to your voice always. And may I always say YES to you, no matter how painful that choice may be. Knowing that You always have our best interest in your heart.

We said yes to you 12 years ago, even though we left so much of our hearts in Alaska, but what we have gained in our souls has been worth every tear!

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness and the extent you went to, to do the deep work in our hearts You knew we longed for. I will always serve you, Lord, always.

p.s. Lord, I would love it, if it is in your heart, to send us back to Alaska someday soon....I am trusting you with this portion of my heart...

Friday, July 15, 2011

The 7am Grand Opening

I love crowds and grand openings..... but going to the new Fred Meyer grand opening in Wilsonville this morning was quite an experience.

If you were one of the first 200 people to go through the door then you were given a free gift card ranging from 5 dollars to 500. I got there about 6:45am and I must of been the 2000th person there. I heard the first shoppers were ones that spent the night on the sidewalk....What is ironic is that if I was 20 years younger, that probably would of been me. :}

Observing people is quite the pass time. Especially when they are "anxious" to receive a bargain. It seems to bring out the worst character flaws in one's soul...

I was waiting patiently to check out at the self check and saw that a spot had opened up. I pushed my cart over and was looking at the screen to begin checking out and all of a sudden this customer comes up to me, gets right in my face, and says, "excuse me" (with an attitude). I guess she was still using it and had gone for help. So, I nicely apologized and walked back to line.

Isn't it interesting the responses of people these days? It just takes a moment for an act of kindness instead of rudeness.

May we all take a step back and think before we speak. May our words and body expressions and actions bring life to the ones we are interacting with.

My reward for going:
1. I saw some dear friends and was able to chat a few moments
2. I got the layout of the new store, which was very nice
3. I got a free Fred Meyer shopping bag (HA)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

There's No Crying (In Baseball) In Learning A New Job...

Well.... today I actually had a moment of wondering if I could learn everything that was being shown to me at my new job. I knew if I let it get to me, that my eyes might of started leaking profusely. So, I took a deep breath, went outside, got some fresh air, and continued to ask the Lord to help me do the best job I could and to learn it!

There is so much to know and I recognize that I am working with fellow employees who have been there for over 10 and 20 years. A passenger can come up to the counter and have a request and they can plunk the keys on the keyboard and wala.... there's the answer, or there's the new boarding pass. Me: I am still trying to figure out if I should hit F1 or F3....

The people I work with are great. My trainer is the best. My brain is trying to work as fast as it can and all I can do is continue to do the best I can. I know the Lord opened up this job for me, and I love what the job consists of. Looking out over the counter at 30 to 100 or more passengers to help and I love it!

I am trying to keep it all in perspective, recognizing that in time, I will get it. Until that time, I will press on and persevere and try to keep the faucet on my tear ducts closed.....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another Time.... Another Place.....

4th of July memories from my childhood...

July 4th, 1959... Three sisters, Debby, Marie and myself, went to stay with our second elderly cousin, Allen Lester and his wife Eleanor. He brought us into an old five & dime store. I can still picture it today. Real old hardwood on the floors, glass counter tops, penny candy in big wooden buckets. Cousin Allen wanted to buy each of us three girls little flags to wave, but I didn't want a flag, I wanted the little pink diary that was under the glass shelf. I didn't get the diary, but it just goes to show you that I liked pink way back when I was a little girl and would also come to love to write. It also shows that I have a mind of my own on what I want.:}

It was this same holiday, that we had the big picnic with the Fitts side of our family at a park. I remember watching Aunt Edith, a lady who never married and was very old. I think she was pushing her mid 80's. To a 5 year old girl, that is OLD. I was watching her make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and all I could look at were her old wrinkled hands. It is still very vivid in my mind today. I just couldn't eat the sandwiches that she touch with her old hands, and I wouldn't eat them. So, I was sent to the car, as a naughty little girl, with no food. But sisterhood is sweet. My sister Debby snuck me a red apple.

July 4th, 1967.... Christian Community Church had their 4th of July picnic out at our homestead at the Anchor River. It was a beautiful day. I remember Harris Gordon falling over a tree and cracking a rib.

July 4th, 1968. The whole Halpin clan again attended the 4th of July picnic with the Christian Community Church family. We were somewhere up East Hill, where the first CCC building first was. Back then, there were the Edens, Gordons, Farnens, George Dahlgren, Arnos, and Halpins that consisted of the congregation. A small but close family.

When we were raising our children in Homer. Every 4th we would go out to the Homer Spit and see who could find the most states on the license plates. Homer is such a tourist town. I remember the year we came up with 48 different states and Hawaii was one of them.

Many 4th of July's have come and gone. It is funny what you remember. That is what makes up our lives. The memories and circumstances of the past.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Week Down.....His Grace Abounds

I never realized how wonderful it is to sleep in passed 2:30am.... but today, I did and it was glorious. I am looking forward to enjoying my 3 days off, to rest and relax and sleep in, and spend time with my hubby, and family that is coming for the 4th.

My first week of work went fast. The Portland Airport is big and spread out and I do a lot of walking every day. I am looking forward to having skinny legs soon, hope it works its way up to a skinny butt too! :}

I got to board many flights and one to even Vancouver, BC. It is an absolute blast, greeting each passenger and checking their boarding passes and making sure they are on the right flight and ready to board. I LOVE THAT! I never in my wild imagination realized how much work goes into getting passengers boarded and on their way to their destinations. LOTS of work!

Lots to memorize and remember.... "Now what keys do I hit to get that answer?" HA.....But each day, I am gaining a little more knowledge and what I love about the job is that everyday can be different. We are boarding different flights, and different passengers with different needs and so it is never dull or boring....

Everyone I have met is so friendly and tons of people have been working for Horizon for years. It is a great compliment to the company. They do treat their employees well and we do have laughter and fun together.

They say it will be a good 4 months until I really catch on and a good year to feel comfortable. So, my goal is to not be too hard on myself (the perfectionist I am) and to give myself time to feel confident. I love learning something new, and I want to learn it well with excellence. That is my goal.