Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Friends For Life

This post was one that I began many months ago, not anticipating then how time consuming a 20 minute slideshow would turn out to be. But for my wonderful sister, Leisel, it was worth it! For those of you who know this special friend of mine, you might enjoy going on a little journey with me starting at the earlier years of Leisel's life...if I can borrow just 20 minutes (or exactly 19 minutes and 49 seconds :) of your time for this  tribute, I would invite you to pull up your coziest chair, pour yourself a mug of your favorite tea, and sit back and enjoy!

But first of all...An Introduction or a couple words to my Best Friend
It all started many years ago when a little two year old girl leaned over a wooden rocker to look at the little bundle cradled in her mother's arms. Little did she know then, as she stared down at that baby girl, that that little one would become her life long shadow. I imagine that she little thought of her as sharing in so many adventures with her. But only a few years after that, one could rarely be seen without the other. 
One can define the word “Buddy” as being fast friends for life or as going everywhere together and sharing everything with each other. So it was for these two inseparable girls who shared everything, from adventures to trouble and laughter to secrets; from embarrassing moments to bedrooms and even at one time, toothbrushes (but that is a whole other story altogether :)

The two of them were so similar that lil’ sis even thought at times that they shared the same brainwaves. For they often said the same things at the same time, or knew exactly what the other one was thinking. They could even see the same thing at times and just by making eye contact with each other, the one would know exactly what the other one was thinking.
Whether it was because they were always matching, or the fact that they never went anywhere without the other, everybody thought of them as twins. And for lil’ sis, that was quite an honor (especially now that she’s mistaken as big sis's mother :)
Over the years, these two acquired the title of "the girls", and whenever someone addressed "the girls", they always knew, without it being said, that they meant them.
Of course, like all little sisters, this one looked up to her big sis as her hero. She was the leader in all of their mischief, the one who always came up with the best play ideas, and the one that never got tired of her little shadow following her around. To lil’ sis, no one else knew how to make soup out of dandelion blossoms, or medicine out of mulberries. Only her big sister could convince her that the taste of rose petals was delicious or that mixing rosemary and water together was the perfect weight-loss tonic. And of course she always came up with the most imaginative ideas; at one time telling her little sister that if they twirled hard enough, they would end up in the land of Narnia or convincing her that if she stuck a fishhook into her earlobe, it would pierce her ears. 
Lil’ sis wanted to be just like her big sis in everything: have the same tastes, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. Which was why it devastated this little girl when she learned that her big sis liked mayonnaise and she did not; and that though lil’ sis had acquired a taste for onions, her big sister still could not stand them.
These two girls did everything together; one as the instigator and the other as the eager participant. They shared in all of their adventures together; like the time when big sis and lil sis were exploring Piatt Lake together in kayaks, and big sis had the idea that they should venture farther out into a place that looked more daring.  After encouraging her lil sis to go further and to summon up her adventuresome spirit, they soon found that their kayaks were stuck in the reeds. At another time, the two of them proudly came to an agreement that they would pull an all-nighter to study for and take a biology test that needed to be turned in....at about 12:00, they drowsily decided that it sounded better in theory than it was in reality, and they headed to bed.

Their best adventures though were found in the safety of their home. For with the right imagination, they could turn it into a wild exploration terrain to be walked blindfolded; the tile floors beneath the stairs became rippling seas, and the stairways became steep mountain cliffs. Secret messages could be sent by couriers using their own secret codes or their own dialect of “French”. Then, when the time came for bed, the sheets became tents, and the bed turned into a village. They created their own sign language for conversing when they were instructed not to talk; and they would carry their pillows on their heads when they were told not to lift their heads from their pillows.
Together, the two of them would write their own play scripts and enact them for the family. Big sis would turn into the dashing hero of the narrative, another would play his sweet bride, and somehow, lil’ sis always got stuck playing the Mother-in-law. :)  A lot of their story ideas originated from their favorite movies. After seeing Les Miserable, big sis played the cruel jailer who went around branding lil’ sis. Or after watching A Tale of Two Cities, they decided to play guillotine…of course, the first time mommy caught them “lopping off each other’s heads”, they had to find a new game. At one time, big sis got the idea to play pick pocketing from Oliver Twist. Lil’ sis attended her pickpocket classes to become the great Dodger.

Big sis was the perfect balance for her crazy red-headed sister who tended to be a bit of a romanticizer. They had their differences, of course; one being a clean perfectionist and the other could rarely be seen without a pile, which big sis always called “junk”.
Since they shared in so many of their "first time experiences" together, it was hard when the little shadow had to stay behind and watch her big sister grow up and learn things that she could not yet do. Change, she hated the word because it meant that her best friend and she had less time together and more time apart. As they grew older and things changed lil’ sis had to watch her older sister move on with life, and they no longer shared in those “first time experiences”. Older sister was the first one to move up from High school Sunday class, or to go from Family camp girl’s crew member, to family camp girl’s crew leader. She was the first to graduate from school and then from piano lessons. Then, finally, she got busy with activities outside of the home. Even so, they would always spend as much of the free time that they had in each other’s company. When big sis moved into the den to do her schoolwork, lil’ sis moved in with her.  Lil’ sis always found excuses to pop her head into wherever big sis was working and see if she wanted a cup of tea; which usually ended up in a full length “sister” conversation. :)

But big sis never got too old to act crazy with her little buddy, even if it looked silly to everyone else around them. It was because of this strong bond that big sis created and kept through the busyness of their lives that lil’ sis, to this day, considers big sis her closest friend.

Presenting the Slideshow:


          "A friend loves at all times...." Proverbs 17:17

Monday, May 12, 2014

Once Upon A Child...

This was supposed to be posted on Sunday for Mother's Day, but as is normal for me, I am a wee bit off schedule. As Mother's Day was approaching, it made me wonder what it must be like for those woman who have made the "choice" to not share in the joys of being a mother. This blog post is a result of such thinking...But to all of those woman who have given life to God's greatest blessings, Thank You and Happy Belated Mother's Day :)
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5

Once upon a time, there was a child that should have been. She lived in a place called memory, surrounded by the shadows of other little children. No one saw her, or knew of her existence in their world, for she walked around as a transparent existence. The child never had a chance to be named, but she’d heard people call her “choice”. No one ever really spoke of her, and when they did, she’d heard herself described as, “Only Tissue.”
She had a mother, named “Guilt” and her father, “Regret”. They didn't seem very happy though, and she’d seen them cry once when leaving a hospital. But they had lost their smiles by “choice”. Her parents often spoke of “forgetting”, and that’s why no one else knew about her. They had once possessed a great gift, but somewhere along the way, they had lost it. In the world of people, it was called “value”.

The little girl possessed one gift, “innocence”. But her dearest possession, "life", had been stolen from her before she even had a chance to possess it.
She walked around, watching the life that she would never live. Her family kept calling it “choice”. There were no pictures of her in the home, as if they did not want to remember her.
Her absolute favorite spot in the home was the soft sofa where she would have curled up on the lap of her father to read, and the wooden rocker where her mother would have sung her to sleep every night. They looked so empty now, as if they should have been full of happy gurgles and little sticky hands.
She saw the arms of her mother that should have sheltered her from the cruel world. She could never call this woman “mommy”. No one in this world would ever wipe away her tears, or tell her that they loved her, or teach her how to play. There would never be a first dance with “daddy” or snuggle time with “mommy.”

She paced the empty hallway and watched the lonely existence of the family that she never had and wondered if she could have been somebody’s sister. But in the people world, which she had heard she was not a part of, they valued what they called “freedom” over happy gurgles and playful laughs. In the end though, she did not think that their lives looked very fulfilled. But instead, they seemed empty, and enslaved instead of freed.

This was the picture of the girl that she would never be, living in a cruel world where people didn't really care about life. But so it is in a world where people are sinners. Choices are made, people deceived, and life devalued, all in the name of choice. But it wasn't like that in the place where she lived now. She was curled up on the lap of her “Father” who lived in a kingdom. He said that He had chosen to be her Father and then He had put a beautifully spotless robe around her. He was glorious to behold, all clothed in white. There was no night in this place, for the light of her Father was so great. He sat on a great throne, that was often surrounded by the little children. She got to serve her Father day and night, but she loved to do so. This Father wasn't at all like her other father. He had told her many times that he loved her and He had wiped away ever tear from her eye. In this place, she was protected from a cruel and hateful world by the love of her Father, for He had died that she might live.