Thursday, February 20, 2014

We Are Fearfully And Wonderfully Made...

I was just listening to Matthew West's song "Wonderfully Made". You can listen to the song and see the inspiration for it here.

wow what a testimony that young man has. What an inspiration. 

I think about a little girl at our Church.. Alyson... She is such a wonderful kid.. I can't really explain the issues Alyson has to deal with. The doctors themselves are not really sure. I don't really think that's important. What is important is that Alyson, along with all of us,  is fearfully and wonderfully made.  She loves deeply, she is full of kindness.. She knows God in a very special way. She wants everyone she meets to know Him too.  

Ally may never be able to sit down and tell you how and why she loves God, or why she loves you, But I know along with everyone who meets her, that God has made Alyson special for His Glory. She has a heart full of His love and mercy. She has a purpose. She has a story. We all do. 

Maybe you have something that keeps you from being seen as "normal" or "just like everyone else"..  God created us all for a purpose; For His Glory. If we look with our hearts we will see that Everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made..  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Some Days I Have To Hold Jesus' Hand A Little Tighter....

Today has been a little overwhelming. We lost my Aunt Shirley on Thursday and a dear friend from Ky. Papaw Bobby, on Wed. As I was calling to order flowers this morning for the respective families the pain of it starts to overwhelm me. We lost Ken's brother almost 2 weeks ago. It's overwhelming. 

Mom called to tell me about Aunt Shirley. I don't normally have regrets, but today I do. I could have made time to go see aunt Shirley. I fully intended to go. Every spring, every summer, and every fall... especially when I don't drive during the winter. I had 3 knee surgeries and didn't drive for months.. I just had another surgery this past fall.. See lots of excuses. So the pain of not seeing her is a bit more intense, because I thought I had plenty of time.

I feel overwhelmed with death and the pain and grief of it today. So today I have to hold Jesus' hand a little tighter. I have to ask for more comfort. I have to ask forgiveness for putting off what I should have done because I could do it another time. I have to ask for extra comfort for my mom. Shirley was her last sister. the others have passed. 

I am so thankful for the times we did see each other. I am thankful that on one of those visits she shared the information she had on their family tree. I'm glad she wanted to share it with me. I'm praying for Uncle Lynwood today. They spent 56 wonderful years together. I'm also praying for the kids and grandkids. Their grief is heavy. 

I also want to mention Papaw Bobby. Funny how we just called him that. Our dear friend Terry, (she's the same age as our Sue, so we've always just thought of her as our kid) introduced us to Bobby, her mom's 2nd husband. "hey Karen, meet papaw bobby"..  

He looked at me from under that big scruffy Grizzly Adams beard and said "Hey Sis"..  I melted right there. My brother Keith had been gone for several years and no one had ever called me sis except him. He just continued calling me Sis all the years we knew him. I think probably because he couldn't remember my name. :) 

we would see him from time to time at Terry's house bringing her mom for a visit, or looking for parts. He was always tinkering with some sort of motor or vehicle. He loved to fish and he spent many a day on the river or at the lake cat-fishing.. He was "old timey" as Miss Head would say. I just loved Papaw Bobby. He was a very special kind of man. 

Today as I remember papaw Bobby and Aunt Shirley I'd like to think they are already sitting on the porches of their mansions sipping ice tea. Sweet tea for Bobby.. I bet he's already asked the Lord if He needs anything worked on. He'll be catfishing this afternoon sometime and pulling in a few "big uns"... 

Today I'm thinking of aunt Shirley finally able to be with her baby son, her sisters, and her parents. there'll be lots of hugs and a lot of catching up to do. 

I'll be thinking about Papaw Bobby and his gentle smile and his sparkly eyes full of mischief, and I'll sing for them.. 

I will Rise ... Chris Tomlin.. join in and sing.. it's a great way to remember that some day God will call our names and we will Rise.. 
click here...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I Can't Believe It's Been 24 yrs. Today....

24 yrs. ago today I found my birth family. wow, it doesn't seem like it's been that long. What a journey it was. I won't bore you with the whole long thing. I'll just tell you that I received a call from a Judge I had written a letter to asking for information about my adoption and my birth family. Now I will tell you that Judges Never, and I mean Never call you. I don't know if he had ever done it before. I just know for some reason (It was a God reason) he called my Dad's house. He found my dad had passed along with my older brother Tommy. He spoke to my sister Pennie. she was a bit surprised. The kids hadn't heard about us. They knew dad had been married before, but they didn't know there were 2 more kids. 

well after that conversation, he called me. I was shocked to say the least.. I'd only known about an older brother for a couple of months. Now to know I had a sister.. I would soon learn there were even more kids.. between my mom (6) and Dad (2) and the 3 of us.. there were 11 kids.. oh my.. I about fainted..   

The judge asked if I wanted to talk to my sister.. of course I did.. so we talked.. well we cried for a while to each other.. then laughed and just jabbered about everything.. We made plans to meet at my step-mom's house.. My mom-Ella is so wonderful.. she knew about us kids (my brother and I.. Keith passed in 1982 so he never got to meet everyone. He would have loved it) She and my dad had hoped we would look for them someday.. but I don't think she had planned on it being that day. 

My adopted family was awesome and wonderful and big and huge and loving and well just everything that anyone could ever want in a family. They loved us and many didn't know we were adopted.. I just had a need to know about my birth family. I wanted to know some things.. and well I mostly just needed them. I had lost my Papa (my name for my adopted dad) and Keith and I felt so alone in the world. God answered my heart prayer, and He did it in a wonderfully fast way. 

I made my way that evening to mom-Ella's house and we all met. I'll tell you there were lots of hugs and kisses.. lots of tears, and lots of questions and answers. The photo albums were brought out and I got to see pictures of my Dad and Tommy. Then photos of aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. It was so weird to see pictures of people who looked just like me. I'd never seen that. It was wonderful. A party was planned for the weekend. I met my Aunt Janet and my Uncle Mike and heard more stories about the family and all the Aunts and Uncles.. 

I got the phone number of my aunt Shirley from mom-Ella, and called. Within a few short days I made the call to my mom-Lillian (I was a bit hesitant) and the plan was made for us to meet and then we had a party with all the family here. It was so strange to walk into a room and see a woman who looked a lot like me. The party was great. It was so much fun to meet more Aunts and Uncles and cousins. 

I will say I have my dad's hair.. "the Woodruff hair" White white.. all the aunts and uncles had it too. I'm not sure if any of the nieces and nephews have it, but I do and I love it.. I think I look a lot like my Aunt Janet (dad's sister) I have the same body shape as my mom. all us girls do.. well I think we do.. it's just so much fun to see how much we look alike and then how we look different. 

Since then I've met many more of my Woodruff/Christie/Rodarte/Donelow family members. Some I've only talked to on the phone, but that's fine. I hope to meet more of my family that live in Texas. 

Today I'm celebrating Family. They are really the most important thing. they make life so much fun and so interesting. They are our history.. and our legacy. I am so richly blessed with family.. It is so great to add them all in with my huge Pennala Family. 

I can't wait for the next 24 yrs. 
Mom-Lillian and my Christie Family

Mom-Lillian's family and my brother Juan

My mom-Ella and the Woodruff women.

More of my Woodruff Family...

Mom-Lillian and some of my Rodarte Family 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The End Of A Journey...

Today I got a call from my mom. She was sobbing. I held my breath, then she spoke. "It's your aunt Shirley honey. She's gone back to the hospital and the Doctor's are saying it's her heart and she'll leave us in a day or two." her heart was breaking as she told me what she could.  

We had just gotten that same call from husband's Niece a couple of weeks ago when his oldest brother Floyd was in his last days. 

Floyd and Ken

Ken lost his brother Don last spring; now it was Floyd. Two brothers in less then a year. Now my Aunt. The 2nd of mom's sisters to pass. It's a grief and a pain to our hearts. 

Floyd was a good man. God fearing his Grandmother would have said. A fine man. A good brother. His life was full. He had children and a wife that loved and cared for him. He was a farmer. Floyd purchased the "old home place" where Ken was born in Mo. He was able to purchase it and more land to go with it. He took out the trees and made it an excellent rice growing farm. He never bragged about it, but it was one of the highest producing rice farms in Mo. He was proud of that. 

As I spoke with the family all could remember special things Floyd did with them as kids. Like tickets to the Circus. Floyd was a Shriner and gave a lot to help others. He was generous. He had a wonderful Journey. He would tell you the last few years were hard with the Parkinson's. I think he was glad when it finally looked like the end was going to come. Finally his long awaited journey to Heaven and his eternal home.  

Aunt Shirley and Uncle Lynwood

Aunt Shirley too is at the end of her earthly journey now. She also has a loving husband and family. Her journey was full of love and joy. Her heart is full of wonderful memories. Illness has taken it's tole on her. I think she is ready for the final journey from this life to the next. Her little body is tired. 

I know that's it's the best thing for her. I also know my mom, her other siblings, her husband, the kids, and grandkids wished she could get well and stay here with them. I wish it too. 

My mind knows that " Going Home to Heaven" is the most wonderful journey.. The one that begins as this earthly one ends. The one where Jesus is waiting to take our hands and lead us to the mansion He prepared for us. My mind knows that. My heart breaks at it. My heart wants to keep them all here with us. 

Tonight I'm praying for mom, for the brothers, for Lynwood and the rest of the family. I'm praying for Floyd's family too. I know they're grief is fresh and painful. I'm praying that God will fill our hearts with His Peace, His comfort, and His Joy.  

till we meet again in Heaven we love you Floyd and Aunt Shriley. We love you..