I was thinking, "How do I follow up such a sad blog post?" The answer is obvious: pictures of cats. Everyone who has a cat knows that they are the world's greatest form of comic relief. This blog post is dedicated to Katya climbing into places she does belong. For example:
A bowl on top of the cupboard.
The fruit basket (and yes, that's an apple peeking out from under her).
The doll bed.
Here's one of Mr. Paws, just so he's not left out. He is not as creative as Katya when it comes to hiding places. He likes to keep things simple.
So this blog is supposed to be cheery and happy and fun, but unfortunately life doesn't always present itself that way. Today was the day that my baby was due to be born. Sadly for us, the little guy didn't make it past eight weeks, and we have been quietly mourning ever since. To me it seemed especially sad since my husband and I had been trying for years and I've sat on the sidelines and watched as friend after friend after friend welcomed beautiful children into the world.
I am a crafty person. Whenever any of my friends experience a loss or tragedy, my first thought is always, "What should I make for them?" Some people think "casserole" but I usually think "yarn, scissors, or glue." I found that it is no different when it applies to myself. I wanted to have some way to acknowldege that Michael and I had a baby, even if we never had the chance to meet him. Since we don't have any photos, I thought a painting would be a good option. I knew there was only one person who would be able to beautifully grasp the idea I had in my mind: my sister Emily. While I'm great at knitting and quilting I know I'm not very good at painting and drawing. She puts my craftiness to shame with her beautiful artwork. I know she would be able to perfectly capture what I had in mind.
I drew this picture as a simple sketch for the basis of the painting. I wanted it to feel like the baby was in the New Creation, which is described like this in Revelation 22: "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with it's twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him."
I had the baby riding a bird mainly because I like birds, and so does Michael. I told him he could pick out what kind of bird the baby would be riding and I think he picked the perfect speices: a phoenix. The phoenix has long been a symbol of resurrection and new life.
I also wanted to incorporate something from each our our parents. My mom and dad had sent me a package and my mom had included these leaves as the gift tags, so I wanted them on the tree. (We called the baby "The Sapling" since our last name is Groves and a sapling is like a baby tree.)
Michael's parents had also sent us a package that included a card with a hummingbird on it. Michael and I love hummingbirds so I also wanted this included.
Emily did not disappoint. I think she captured it all perfectly. She decided instead of paint to use scrapbooking paper, which I like even better. It hangs in our apartment and I love seeing it.
This is a sad story. However, faith in Christ means it isn't the end of the story. Michael and I know that we will meet our child someday. "Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed....'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" (1 Corinthians 15:51&55)
I like Lent. It's one of my favorite seasons of the church year. It's dark and heavy and rich. I like the purple paraments and the hymns with subdued tones. Just like we need sunshine to brighten our days, we occasionally need a rainy day to make us slow down and reflect on things a bit. Lent is the rainy day season of the church year. I also love music. I spent almost all of my school years in choir so music is woven through the fabric of my life. I was flipping through our church's hymnal this morning and compliled a list of my favorite Lenten hymns.
Christ the Life of All the Living: Now this one takes me back. We sang this one a lot when I was a kid and whenever I sing it I'm back at Peace, the church where I grew up. I remember the darkened church and the calmer, quieter, atmosphere than the usual Sunday services. There was also a huge soup supper in the gym where the church ladies would be serving delicious chili or chicken noodle soup that they had spend all day making. I liked Lent even way back then, and this song always puts me in mind of those times.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: This one is pretty standard. We were always singing a version of this in choir. It has a good alto line, which I still like to sing to this day.
My Song is Love Unknown: The first time I remember singing this song was in college. The school I attended had a beautiful chapel filled with stain glass windows. I loved going to chapel, it was always a calming and peaceful time during a usually hectic day, in addition to being a place for meeting up with lots of friends. I loved singing this song then, and have loved it ever since. You'll hear part of this hymn's text in A Message, from Coldplay's X & Y, a little fact I discovered a few years later. This makes them even cooler in my book.
Lamb of God, Pure and Holy: I didn't hear this one until my husband was a pastor of two small churches in Wyoming. The first year we were there we sang this every Wednesday during Lent. Then on Good Friday he led the Service of Reproaches. He chanted this haunting melody of God accusing His people of their rebellion, which is followed by a plea for mercy. The congregation then joins in by singing, "Lamb of God, pure and holy, who on the cross didst suffer. It is stirring and beautiful, and really puts you in mind of the suffering that Jesus went through on our behalf.
O Dearest Jesus, What Law hast Thou Broken
In the Cross of Christ I Glory
Come to Calvary's Holy Mountain
A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth
Go to Dark Gethsemane
Lent is just beginning and I'm looking forward to hunkering down for the next 40 days, just like I do on rainy days. Plus, I know that with Easter, the sun is right around the corner.
I was trying to figure out what to blog about today when this popped up on my facebook page:
It was posted by my old college roomie, Kara. Oh the fun that Kara and I had has roommates. We shared many-a laugh and good times.
Here is the story of that picture. We were in class together and had the very simple assignment of writing one of those poems were you count out the syllables. It wasn't a Haiku, because that poem obviously doesn't have the 5,7,5 format but it was something similar to that.
Our prof collected the assignment at the very beginning of class and Kara was annoyed to realize that she had forgotten to write her poem. "Don't you worry," I said. "I'll save you." Literally while the papers were being collected I quickly jotted the down the world's absolute lamest poem, slapped Kara's name on it and turned it in.
And we thought no more about it. Until...
We came into class about a week later and our professor handed out some sheets of paper. He had compiled all of the student's poems onto one sheet and was giving them back so we could have them all. There, at the very top of the page where you couldn't miss it was that awful poem with Kara's name on it. She was horrified, and rightly so. I was highly amused.
At some point later I commemorated the event with construction paper, and the bad poetry lives on.
Thanks for the fun times, Kara. And thanks for holding on to my silly artwork for all these years :-)