Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Mom....

Well, todays the day, the day that tons of people have been waiting for and looking forward to, the one day in year, where it's like all your problems disappear and you can smile and seem like a happy family. At least I thought we could. But even if we wear a smile on our face, our heart shows we are hurting, or at least I AM hurting. I tried So hard today, to not even think about my Mom to just concentrate on other things but I just cant. As I was laying on my bed and writing in my journal, my memories slipped back to last Christmas. When I thought it would be the worse Christmas of my life. Little did I know that just one short year later, I would be in a totally new house, with new people and not my Mom. I would never have thought that. And to think that I'd be going through the things I am and being faced with the sorts of things I am. It was just unfathomable then. I liked it better then.....

As I am typing this, I have my Mom's quilt laying over me and I can glance down and see all the encouraging blocks others did. There's one right here that says, "Bless the Lord...who healeth all they diseases. Ps. 103:2,3" and others saying, "Consider the lilies of the field", "I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands Isaiah 49:16", another saying "Born Again to a Living Hope" (which was where we got our Production Company name from) and then there is mine.

It's hard for me to think about last Christmas. It was right around that time when the Doctor was first telling us about hospice. I was almost yelling at him I was so upset. I did NOT want my Mom on hospice, to me it was almost like giving up. And so in our meeting with him, I asked him if anyone had ever come out of Hospice and he said no. Then I immediately said, "okay, let's do it then, because my Mom ALWAYS beats the odds...she WILL live!" I feel so foolish now for even thinking like this. I wonder how many other things in my life are there that I am SO confident about and really the Lord has other plans for me. I honestly dont even like thinking about it, it's scary. The Lord said He would not give us more than we can handle, but I'm telling you, lately it sure feels like I am at my limit. I feel like I cant take any more.

For Christmas, my Dad and Angie got my sister and I a heart shaped locket. They are very pretty and each engraved with our initial. And then today we each put a picture of my Mom in it. She'll always be close to my heart now. It was a very special gift, something I'll remember forever. In about an hour we have to go to my Grandparents house. I am usually very excited about this, but once again I am afraid about the memories this time. Last Christmas, we were at the hospital with my Mom. And then around 1:00 my Dad picked us up from there and took up to our grandparents. The plan was to stay there then spend the time with him. Well, at my grandparents house, I just went in the back bedroom and layed on the bed there and cried, the WHOLE time. It was so bad. For some reason, that night I had this fear that, what if she passed away, and I would be gone. Christmas Day was like the first time I had left my Mom since she was sick. So it was very hard for me. My brother ended up finding me in the room crying and went to get my Dad. He came back and talked to me some and he could tell I missed my Mom so much. So I got to call and talk to David, since my Mom was unable to talk by this time. And after talking to David, my Dad decided he would just take me back to the Hospital so I could be with her. Oh how I wish to go back to that night....just to be with her. I'm sorry I just cant even explain it. I better just stop writing I am in hysterics right now.

"Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause. Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day." Psalm 25:1-5

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cant sleep...

It's been a long time since I've been at this point where I am so tired but still even laying in bed cant get myself to fall asleep. I keep reliving what happened today over and over in my head.

And one of the saddest things for me right now is, as I was laying in bed, aching all over, I tried to remember my Mom. And was thinking, what she would do in this situation. How she would just hold me and cry with me and tell me everything would be okay, but the memory was so faded. ;( I dont want to forget my Mom. But as I try to remember back it's very hard for me to even remember certain things now. I cant even picture what she would do. I have my hopes of what would happen, but I tried visualizing it and nothing came. That got me so upset. I NEVER want to forget her and I am afraid that slowly I will.

I can remember her laugh and can picture her crying, but for some reason it is hard to picture us together. Which I hate. When I DO remember back to her and think of her smile and the way she would just hug me and share her dreams for my life it devastates me. To think I'll never see her face again. Never hear her laugh, never be held by her, it's So hard.

I'm going to be very honest with you all. Today in my accident I was hoping I would have just died. It feels like it would have been easier. Then I could have been with my Mom. But just like my Mom, I would have left those I love. A friend pointed that out to me. (I am not saying I am of ANY importance) but.... it would still be hard for my siblings to lose a Mom and then a sister. I couldnt imagine if anything were to happen to Mandy or Tara. So, I am very thankful to the Lord for being gracious to me there and for protecting Lane.

It will have almost been one year since my Mom died. I thought I was doing good with handling everthing, but I'm afriad I covered up all I was feeling with staying busy. I didnt want to think about my Mom or the fact that she wasnt here. But I knew it would catch up with me sooner or later. And now with only 4 days till Christmas, it's finally hit me and I realize the most important person in my life will be gone this Christmas and I'm going to have to bear it anyway and try to keep a smile on my face. AND, a day or so after Christmas I am planning on going to my Mom's grave. I have never been and am very scared. But I need to do this. I know I've said this before and I chickened out..but hopefully this time I'll be able to.

Life is a precious thing, dont ever take it for granted!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Family: The Priceless Gift

I am pleased to announce Living Hope Productions FIRST documentary short! Mandy and I have been participating in video contests on christianmediaforums.com and for this weeks contest it was "Christmas Traditions" documentary style! :) Mandy and I were very skeptical to even join in, because this is our first Christmas living with my Dad and actually feeling like a part of his family. So, we had no traditions, we started clean this year. Well, after receiving GREAT NEWS we decided to join in and try our best at making a documentary! We have spent the last week filming and doing interviews and then the last 2 days I have been SOOOO busy editing! But now, it is done! I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

His plans are not my plans

...That's what I learned from my entire Mexico trip! Even though, us as humans have what our lives should be, it's like the Lord has far different plans in store for us. At least that is how my life seem to keep turning out. It's very hard for me and scary, but I understand how necessary it is to completely yield my plans to Him and fully trust in Him for every step of my life. If that be to Mexico or here in Missouri.

As most of you know, I was very nervous about this trip. I had been praying for God to shut the door and to not let me go, because I didnt know if it was His will or something He would have for me to do, but He didnt. He wanted me to go. I left on Tuesday with my Great Uncle and cousins down to Oklahoma. We drove 10 hours to Ada, OK. We stayed in Ada, with one of the nicest couples, Garry and Sandy Curry. They had a beautiful home and were very hospitable. Then on Wednesday night after church we left for Mexico! We met up with the other 2 churches going and loaded into the vans. We took 3 15 passanger vans and 3 trailers. I guess we pulled out of Ada, around 9:00 pm and around 10:00 am Thursday morning, we were in Eagle Pass, TX getting ready to cross over! The drive wasnt TOO bad. I expected to sleep the whole way and to be very comfortable, well...that didnt happen. My plans had a wrench thrown in them when I got positioned in the middle of the seat in the back row! :o I thought to myself, "How in the WORLD am I going to sleep like this?" I barely knew the people sitting next to me, so there was no way I would lean over on them! Needless to say, I did start to fall asleep and I guess my head started to slump over, so my VERY kind uncle held up my head for me! He is so sweet. I had no clue he was doing it, because I was asleep. But he told me after I woke up that he thought I looked uncomfortable so he just put his hand underneath my pillow to help hold up my head. And he did that for 2 hours! So nice of him! :) Oh, that was the other thing. We stopped EVERY 2 hours! I guess with that many people there was always someone who had to stop. It made it pretty impossible to get any real good sleep though. I shouldnt be complaining though, the drive was COMPLETELY worth it! And I did end up getting to sit next to the window. Garry noticed how uncomfortable I was and offered to switch me seat! He is also very kind! (1st pic. Garry, Me, Lindsey, and Sherri....2nd- Me, Lindsey, Sherri)

Crossing the border in Eagle Pass and crossing in Tijuana are two totally different things. I was expecting them to be very similar but I was shocked. It was very easy to cross in Eagle Pass. They didnt even stop us. I realized that this part of the country I was in was very different also from Rosarito. I guess it would be like comparing New York City to Winfield, Missouri. :) So different.
(The view from our motel)

We ended up arriving at our motel in Cuatro Cienegas around 7:00 Thursday night. It was another long drive once we crossed the border, that's why we got in so late. After getting to our rooms we immediately went to eat. We had been snacking on chips and energy bars and things the whole day so we all looked forward to a real meal! :) There was a restaurant right there attached to the motel so that was nice. Now, when I say restaurant, I dont at all mean something that you would find in the states. It's more like a kitchen you would find in somebodys home, and and a large dining room with a few tables. For us, we actually entered the restaurant THROUGH the kitchen with just a sceen door! ;) I loved it! After having a delicious meal of tacos I was able to help the ladies in the kitchen with dishes! At first they refused me, but with much persistance I was able to help! I really didnt have any friends by this time on the trip, so I saw this as an opportunity to spend time with the ladies and hopefully minister to them. I was scared though, because I wasnt sure how much Spanish I would remember and they spoke NO english! The Lord was so good though! He brought back almost all my spanish! He provided it just when I needed it was truly a blessing to be able to communicate with them!

After doing dishes and cleaning up, a few of us girls and Rosa's (the owner of the restaurant) grandaughters played outside with us. We made up our own little game of hot potato! We had so much fun! There were 3 girls, Gina (5) Jesse (11) and Yaheida (15) One of the missionaries later that night overheard Yaheida telling her grandma that she wanted to go to the village with me the next day. And so this man, came to me and said I had found favor with her and to invite her to come! I was very excited. She was an instant friend to me and I really looked forward to spending the day with her. Like I said, I really had no one else! So, I invited her and she accepted right away! :) (Liz, Gina, Jennifer, Yaheida, Jesse, and Me)

On Friday morning I got up really early so I could be ready to go by 6:00. I told the ladies the night before that I wanted to help make breakfast and they actually let me. So by 6:30 (Rosa was late) ;) I was down in the kitchen helping cook. She had me crack like 4 or 5 dozen eggs, the only thing was, they were like REALLY fresh or REALLY old because they shell was SO thin. It broke so easily so I pretty much made a mess. I cracked one all over the table--I tried hiding it from her! ;) And then the others I just dropped lots of shells in! :( Dont worry, I picked almost ALL of them out! ;) :P No really, I think it was fine! I kept telling Rosa, "Mucho Fresca" Not sure if that is correct Spanish, but I was hoping that meant, VERY FRESH! :)
(Our group, the 15 I got most close too!)

After cleaning up from breakfast we were on our way to El Cicorro. It was a village pretty far away. Northeast of where we were staying. It was a 3 hour drive from the motel. One hour of it was like really bad roads you would find in Missouri or Oklahoma and then the other 2 hours was like REALLY REALLY bad. The fastest we could go was 10 miles an hour because the pot holes were so large. We were afraid of popping a tire, but if we did there was no civilization for the 2 hours we were driving so that would be a LONG walk! Constantly heads would be hitting the top of the van and we would be bouncing back and forth. Having Yaheida along made it very enjoyable for me though. I practiced lots of Spanish and just got to know her! Driving to El Cicorro seemed like the road would never end. When you looked out you would just see desert on either side and then moutains ahead of you with a long road leading to it, but the road looked like it never ended. Then we would make a turn and the same view would be ahead of us!

Arriving in the village was very different. It was like I got out of the van and stepped into the old west 100 years ago. It was something you would see in movies but not in real life I thought. I didnt see anyone and the whole town was silent. They split us up..there were only 15 of us at this village. The others went to different cities. So, about 4 were in my group to go to the different houses yelling "Bueno Dias" I was thankful to have Yaheida in my group because she boldly went to the doors of the homes and knocked and spoke to the people. She would let them know that we had gifts and dispenses for the families and children. And she told them to come to the van to receive them and talk with us. We probably walked around for about 30 min. inviting several familes and individuals. Many of the men were in the fields working or toward the back of the town working on gettin the running water working. It was VERY neat though, because by the time we got back to the van, it was so encouraging to see, all those people we had knocked on their doors there at the van enjoying everyones company! I couldnt help but smile seeing everyone. They had already gotten out many toys and balls for the kids and were playing with them. We found out that in the whole village there were only 30 people and only 8 kids!!!! We were shocked! We had a great time with them though. We gave them lots of clothes and shoes and medicine and bags of toilet paper, rice, flour, veggies, and just everyday things. And then, one man from our group spoke about being born again. He went into detail what Jesus Christ did for all of us and emphasised that Jesus died for EVERYONE! All of us have sin and need him! I saw a few people crying as he spoke and Joe, our missionary guy, translated. Then afterwards, they had a time of prayer for those who had specific requests. The men went forward to lay hands and pray for healing for one man. It was very neat. Then we handed out the Spanish bibles and everyone was asking for them. It was sad though we ended up running out of them. And one guy came up and asked for 3 more for his friends and I didnt have any. But, I did have the New Testament in spanish and he was just as happy with that! We also had some Ray Comfort tracks in spanish. I think it was a very significant trip! We found out, no one visits the village we went to. We are it. No one goes that far. They all wanted to know when we would be back. We couldnt promise them anything, but we did say we would be praying for them and would pray about it.
(The bags we handed out to each person in El Cicorro)

After returning to the motel and restaurant we ate dinner and then had a time for sharing. I was encouraged hearing about everyones experiences. One village that they went to had 150 children PLUS tons of adults! It was a great time. There were about 9 that shared their testimonies.

Friday night after sharing, I ended up talking with one of the missionaries, Chaun. I had heard that his wife homeschooled his children and others so I really was curious to why they homeschooled and wanted to tell him about my Mom and her decision to homeschool us and other kids. He ended up explaining that it was a conviction he and his wife had to homeschool and then the Lord provided the opportunity to homeschool others! This conversation led into MANY other topics, centered around my Mom and her death. We talked for about 2 hours and I cant even begin to explain how free I felt after talking to him. I had been taught that to ask God why, was pretty much a sin. To say, "Why God, did you take my Mom" would be wrong. And I have to be honest. There have been a few times where I just cried out to the Lord asking that and then feeling horrible for it later. I thought who am I to question God. But Chaun explained to me through scripture that it is not wrong. And maybe if I ask, he will be faithful to show me and explain why. Not on my time table of course, but maybe someday I will understand. He used the passage with Mary and Martha and Lazarus to explain. I wish I had all night to write out everything he said, but unfortunately I dont. One thing he DID say was this. That when his youngest daughter was a baby she had a hard time sitting up. She could, she was strong enough, big enough, but she didnt know she needed to. Everytime he tried to let her go, she would fall back and he was right there to catch her. There was no need for her to learn. He then one day decided that she needed to learn and he had to let her fall. He cleared everything out of the way and made sure she wouldnt REALLY get hurt and he sat her up and then let her go and of course she fell right back and hit her head. Instantly she started crying and he said he felt very bad for her but he knew it's what he had to do. And he then picked her up and just held her. He comforted her and held her till she stopped crying. Then, he tried again, and guess what! She sat up! She learned that quickly. So he said, just like with his daughter, God is like that with us. He hates to have to see us "fall" but when he knows we will learn from it and he is right there to pick us up and to comfort us.

Saturday morning was very hard for me. In only a day and a half, I had become very attached to these people. (The ones working in the kitchen and her grandaughters!) (Lala, Rosa, Me, and another nice lady) ;)

We ended up leaving so early I didnt get to say goodbye to Yaheida, which really upset me, but I did say goodbye to Rosa and couldnt hold back the tears. She was already like family and I knew I would miss her forever. Right before leaving, her son- Yaheida's father, gave me the offer to come back to Mexico and stay with them! He was also very nice. We were told that Mexicans at first are not very trusting. You have to earn that from them and break the barrier. And I think with these ladies through God I was able to. We were like kindred spirits. :)
(Yaheida, my sweet friend)

On the way home I had lots of good conversations with Garry and lots of the girls. I realized that my plans arent His plans and that I needed to be open to what God has for me to do. The whole group ended up stopping in the town right next to the border to have one last meal all together with the missionaries and their families. It was such a blessing to meet their wives and children. I sat next to Naomi, Chaun's wife, during lunch. I couldnt believe that she was so wise also. We talked about failure and how afraid I am of making the wrong choices in life. After we all ate they asked about 5 of us to stand up and share our testimonies and I was one of them. I was so scared. And mine was so different than everyone elses. They were all affected by the villages and I was just humbled by the whole experience. I explained to them how I had prayed for God to shut the door for this trip, but He just wouldnt do it. And then how I had planned out my whole life and a trip to Mexico was NOT involved in it. I went on to tell them that I was most encouraged by Rosa and her grandaughters. Just being able to minister to them through actions more than words and that hopefully my life could be a testimony to them and that they could see Christ in me. After everyone was done sharing and eating people were getting packed up to leave. I had about 30 minutes to spend getting to know Naomi's children. They were SO sweet. Joshua was 12, Sierra was 10 and Kelly was 8 maybe. : ) Joshua and Sierra were just too funny though! I hope one day I will be able to see them again! I exchanged email and skype contacts with their family and then Sierra and I decided to be penpals! ;)

I ended up arriving back home on Monday around 8:00 pm. I miss everyone I was with and am now praying hard to see what the Lord wants me to do. I'm not doing anything for now. Just waiting and praying. I have a lot on my mind and really cant go into detail about it right now, but I would really appreciate your prayers!

Well, I hope you enjoyed somewhat reading about my Mexico adventure! Soon I will do a post with just pictures from the trip, but I dont have them right now, only a select few!