Monday, December 28, 2009

He gave her a window

For the first time in three months when I said, "I love you," to my mom tonight she saw me. She saw ME. It was so different than any other time - like God was in the room and gave her a "window" Himself. As I cried, I pressed my cheek against her's and heard her sigh the kind of sorrowful sigh only a Mother can when she knows her child is pained. I want her back. I want her for more than ten seconds. I don't know what I'm going to do when she's gone.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Virtual Christmas Card

Merry Christmas from the Grandles!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A year ago today

It has been a year since my mom went to UAMS for what we believed would be a short stay. As you know, things turned out very differently. Eleanor and I have talked a few times over the past week about how sad we feel. Neither of us thought this time of year would be difficult, but we were quickly proven wrong.

A year ago my mom started acting out in some unusual ways. She stopped eating, drinking, and sleeping. She refused to take her medicine on most occasions, and spent a lot of time talking to herself in the mirror. Eleanor was telling me tonight that she remembered trying to get my mom to go to bed last December 16. Mom was so upset and confused and didn't want to leave her "friend" in the mirror. The next day I got a call from my brother George. They had to take my mom by ambulance to UAMS. That morning she became severely agitated and was uncontrollable. The hope was that after a short stay at the hospital she would be evaluated, regain normal fluid and electrolyte levels, and return home before Christmas. After two days at UAMS we learned several things. The two major ones were that She suffered from a UTI which contributed to her behavior problems. And, on a dementia scale of 1 to 7, with seven being the most severe, Mom was at a 6. It was then recommended that she go to Baptist Geriatric Psych for further evaluation and to get her medicine controlled. I can't even remember exactly how long she stayed at Baptist. I think it was around three weeks. While she was there we learned from the social worker that they would not release her to go back home. They said that even with care at home there was no way to make a home environment safe for her. Our option was a 24 hour care facility. My dad and I spent the week of Christmas visiting nursing homes and talking to them about her situation. After PV agreed to take her, we all agreed that was our best option. A year later, we are still there.

My sister was telling me tonight that one of her friends told her she didn't know how Eleanor got out of bed every morning. Sometimes I wonder how we all go on without my mom, too. She was our world, and we were hers. Some days, especially when I'm in Little Rock, it would be a lot easier to stay in bed, to pretend nothing ever happened. But we move on, we press on everyday, because we know she would want us to. I think one of the hardest things to think about going forward is that as much as I've grieved over the past year, there is still a lot of grieving yet to come. And, when we finally send her home to Jesus I know another kind of grief will overwhelm me.

Thankfully, I can say my family is truly closer than ever. My siblings and I have watched our dad fall more and more in love with our mom while caring for her each night. It is one of the richest blessings from this past year - to know our mom was loved well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fall on Your Knees

I've been thinking a lot about this for the past few weeks. I hesitated to write about it, but it has had an impact on me and I think its time I share it. Our pastor, Matt Chandler, was diagnosed with a two-inch brain tumor after suffering a seizure on Thanksgiving Day. He had surgery to remove it on December 5, and heard the pathology report today, December 15 (the report will be shared with the church body tomorrow via email). You can go here to read more from our pastors and elders.

I can't stop thinking about the song O Holy Night. A song that so richly describes our Hope. We sing this song every year, but I never stop to read and meditate on the promise of these words. So, please join with me and fall on your knees before our Savior in prayer for the Chandler family.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of Our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world In sin and error pining,
'Til He appear'd And the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks A new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts By His cradle we stand.
So led by light of A star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men From Orient land.
The King of Kings Lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials Born to be our friend.
He knows our need, To our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Behold your King.
Truly He taught us To love one another;
His law is love And His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break For the slave is our brother;
And in His name All oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us Praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.
His power and glory Evermore proclaim.

Monday, December 14, 2009

He Came

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." Romans 8:18-23

Our sermon today was a topic that's been on my heart this entire week - really for the past month. Everything down to the scriptures that were used; My heart has been wrestling with and praying through each one of them.

I've written a lot about the different emotions I've felt over the past six years, and even more about what I've felt over the past year. I knew the Holiday Season would be difficult, but I couldn't gauge just what I would feel. On Thanksgiving Day it hit me. I was mad. I was so mad that every time I thought about how much had changed in a year I had to go to the bathroom to cry. It was a mad, angry cry and it didn't go away once Thanksgiving was over. I'm still mad - mad at the destruction of sin. How devastating its effects. It is a new stage of grief I'm working through. And it is one I honestly never thought I would enter.

Thankfully, it doesn't stop with me just being mad and crying about it. Like our pastor said today during the sermon, we, as Christians, know and anticipate the end of the Story. One of my favorite descriptions of the coming reconciliation is found in Revelation 21.

So as Christmas draws near, once again, I find myself reflecting more and more about the sacrifice that God made to send his Son to save us from the sin of the world. A pastor in NY said something in a Twitter update this week that really struck me. He said, "The first advent (or coming) brought relief of our sins. The second advent will bring relief from our sufferings. Come, Lord Jesus."

In his book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer talks about "The supreme mystery". It is that "mystery" that further assures us that in a world full of sin and pain He came. And one day He will come again.

“The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man– that the second person of the Godhead became the ’second man’ (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that He took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as He was human…

It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.

And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.”

–J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 53.

*Click HERE to listen to the sermon "The Hope of Advent" by Beau Hughes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Reason for the Season

I don't think I even really realized it until last year when my mom wasn't with us for Christmas. Everything was different. I didn't want the gifts I had been so excited to get from Reid. I didn't want to spend Christmas money. I didn't want anything. I was disgusted that the focus was so skewed. My feelings haven't changed. I think it is sad that a sacred holiday has become an excuse to give thousands of dollars of gifts. Its made me realize I want to be very intentional about the traditions I start with my own kids someday. Not to say there won't be gifts, but I don't want gifts to be the focus of Christmas Day.

That said, my friend Jennifer (Luke and Emerson's Mom) sent me this video about the Advent Conspiracy today. I think it says it all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More house pics

Our den furniture was delivered today! Now we just need our dining room table and chairs to come in and we will be set!

Den/ breakfast room - not done, but getting closer!

Looking from the family room

Reid's study. There is a brown accent wall that his desk is on that looks cool but the picture didn't turn out. My camera is dead and I can't find the charger so all of my pics have to be from my phone.

Guest room

Hall bath

Master bedroom

Master bath

Front porch decorated for Christmas!

-- Post From My iPhone

House Pictures

Well, we are settled into our house and we love it! Reid was home from the 20th until this past Sunday which was a wonderful treat! We loved coming home from Thanksgiving in Little Rock to our HOME - we've been ushered even further into adulthood! Every life step we take brings us closer together, and buying a house was no exception.

Reid and I came home from Little Rock on Friday so we could have a few days to finish unpacking, painting his study, and spend some quality time together. He left yeasterday and won't be back until a few days before Christmas so it was good to have the weekend together.

Anyway, yesterday after he left I tackled the last of the boxes! We are officially unpacked AND settled. Here are pictures of a few of the rooms. I'll finish taking the others tomorrow. Enjoy!

Family Room. We still have to hang a lot of our pictures and I have been ordered to wait for Reid to do that!

Breakfast area off the kitchen. Still needs pictures hung.

Kitchen looking toward dining room doors.

Kitchen looking into breakfast area.

My desk in the kitchen. Need a chair.

Goodwill boxes or TV equipment in the den area where the furniture that's being delivered tomorrow will go!

My winter flowers! I planted them myself

Our first tree in our house!

-- Post From My iPhone