Thursday, July 31, 2008

Years to An Answered Prayer

Dad, Sara, Me

I find myself amazed at the answering of a prayer a decade after it was first sent to God. Sara Dee Roberts Barry is my favorite cousin. To begin my story I will say she recently gave herself to the Lord. She is the black sheep. I am the white angel. Yet we are sisters.

At the young age of 29 Sara has been married three times, lived in numerous cities, sent to many different high schools and has three children. This day she is happily married living her husband and two young boys. Her daughter lives with her grandmother. I could rustle through all of her trash, but that is not important to my story.

Sara grew up in a family of five children. Those children grew up to live the type of lives we think we should lead... One got her Masters and is happily married with a baby on the way; one lived out her dream of marrying a sweet Southern man and raising two young boys; one has four "perfect" children and a "perfect" wife; one has three children and married his sweetheart. Then there was Sara. Her parents are probably the most saintly people I know; they are also my godparents. She grew up thinking because she was adopted that she was not Adams blood and the world owed her something. Instead of letting us love her she ran from us her entire life.
Dad, Me, Jodi, Gena, Sara

Sara, Donna, Jodi, Gena, Me, Jan, Leslie, Dani

Jodi, Sara, Me, Gena

I worshiped my cousin from a very young age. Though she is the black sheep she could walk in a room and the entire world stopped for her. She has a magnetic personality. I was envious. No matter how perfect I was or what I accomplished even to this day... Sara was more interesting. The world began to doubt her when we were teenagers and the family seemed to turn against her wishing and wishing she would behave. I stood beside her. I always saw the potential and I knew she could use the magnetism for good. She would get angry when her mother spoke about God and she would yell we were all Bible Beaters. My mother didn't want Sara to come visit me. Sara took me to my first party. Sara let me smoke my first cigarette. Sara bought me wine coolers at age fifteen. I followed her around like a puppy. Then truth hit me.

I remember a time laying in bed crying to God about Sara when I was about fourteen. I told Him I wished she would grow up and find Him. I wanted her to see what I saw in her eyes. It took God twelve years to answer my prayer. God doesn't live in our time limits.
D'Layna, Sara, Jaci, Me

Sara would bounce back and forth. She would be on the right track. She was married. Once. Twice. And I thought with a beautiful baby girl and a family her life was set. She tricked me into believing her. I always fell for it. Her little girl, my angel, then was forced to live with Bill and Donna in West Texas. We all knew it was for the best... Then she got married the THIRD time and life seemed truly set. She was so happy... and then she let me down more than anyone can imagine. She hurt our entire family and thrust her marriage into shambles with her actions. She lied to me for six months on end after we talked numerous times each day. My Dad gave up on her. The whole family seemed to throw in the towel. I prayed for a long time and finally found myself able to move on from the pain. Sara was my sister. My family. It's hard to keep getting thrown in the mud and walking. We continued to pray.

Sara did turn around her life and actions before she found God, but she was always questioning them. She wanted to be alone. She wanted to run from everyone and everything that loved her. It was easier than facing reality. Her reality was the fact the world owed her something and the world wasn't living up to her expectations. But, her expectations weren't enough for God. So this summer she attended a Walk to Emmaus and life changed forever.

Cousins Galen, Sara, Me

When she returned I listened as the bitter fell out of her voice. Her mind was filled with love. Her webpage filled with Bible scriptures and passion. Some question if it is just fire for God that will blow out... I don't. She finally found what I have seen my entire life. God was always right there. She ran. He carried her. She changed her married life and her family life and her entire life. It amazes me to speak to her today. She has always been my sister giving it to me like it is; loving me despite my faults; knowing me better than my own dad. But, she is different now.

God waited so many years to answer our prayers. He let her fall apart. He let us all hang on that fraggled rope of hope we had for our loved one. It amazes me how God does answer our prayers. It amazes me even more that it isn't in a time frame. I want it now now now. God wants me to wait. Sara began rebelling at age twelve. Though her parents were firm believers and amazing people there was NOTHING any of us could do, but discipline her and love her. God put her through all of those trials...and here she is today. Of course she isn't where she wants to be spiritually and her family puzzle is not yet perfect. It's all in the works.

The times when we thought our prayers were hitting the ceiling... God was patiently telling us to wait. Just wait.

So today as we pray for things we want right now... We remember this story. God took a rebellious young woman and threw her in the fire while we prayed... Maybe she threw herself in that fire... but, we remember if God could take those ashes and turn them into the beautiful creation that stands before us today... Nothing is impossible. Nothing is in our hands. Nothing is hopeless.
Sara's beautiful baby girl, D'Layna

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crazy Wisdom

I’m annoyed that at one time I thought Lindsay Lohan was going to be special.

Tonight I am cooking for Geoff and Nick. It’s a sad thing that I am not very domestic. I broke out Granny Jac’s cookbook in hopes of finding some manly food. Then I stood in the meat section for like five minutes staring at the meat. I decided on boneless chicken with lots of spicy marinades and toast… and ummm… I have no clue what else to serve. Why can’t they just eat salad like girls and be happy?!

The river trip is in two days and I am getting so excited. I have now bought two new swimsuits. I don’t know why. I have a million. There are about thirty of us staying in one huge home on the river. And I get to see Tiffy! Her baby shower is right there in San Antonio. I worked hard on her gift, too. She is my second family!

The doctor had this bright thought to help my anxiety levels I should take sleeping medication. I am not a psychiatrist, but with my battles all of my life obsessing over weight and worry and even gum… seems a bit of an addictive personality to me. I accept it. He says the lack of sleep could be effecting my serotonin levels thus effecting my anxiety levels I don’t remember sleeping a whole night in years and years. I did take the pills the last two nights and truthfully I don’t enjoy them. So happy to say I won’t be getting addicted anytime soon. It’s so embarrassing to tell people about my anxiety that I do not know! “Hello, I am a bit crazy.” I believe it is just a part of me and really there is no cure. Nick explains it as I had a horrid thing happen in my life when I lost my mother. It flipped everything upside down and when a great fear like that actually happens you have to face it and just live with it. That must mean living with the anxiety of wondering if everything bad will happen to you from then on?

Speaking of… Dad and Brenda have been on the cruise now for a few days. They called this morning from Jamaica. My anxiety levels have been high and I find that utterly ridiculous. Of course they aren’t going to call. They are in the middle of the ocean. It’s expensive. Rationally I know this. Irrationally they have been left on the island as sharkbait. They are having a blast. I cannot wait to see their pictures!

In other news… I told everyone at lunch yesterday I had the wisdom to carry with them the rest of their lives. I told them they need to treat everyone like they are talking to God. They thought I was crazy. I meant… by always being yourself and down to earth and gracious. Ahhhh if one could only live in my head for a day they’d learn great things!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bottling the Moment

The weekend has come to a close and I am left exhausted. Exhausted with happiness and a smile.

The sunshine blared down all weekend making it very hot. I really enjoy sunshine... even when it's this hot. Tonight I decided I look like a mexican immigrant with raccoon eyes. Lots of pool time! Friday Nick and I went to his parents house for dinner. I wrote his mother a poem for the loss of her father and compiled a list of my writings for her. I feel sort of dumb as Keele and Nick said I dwell too much on death at times. Part of me justifies that saying no one really understands losing your mother at nineteen, but part of me also knows life is about life and not about dwelling on that sadness. I guess a part of me feels like accepting it means you say it's okay that it happened to you and it's okay to let them go. It's such a psychological pull. I also know writing things like that for his mother help those in grief and that is a gift of mine from God.

We went to Jeff & Keele's after that and we had such a nice time. We seriously just watched television and hung out. The boys love to hear Keele and I banter as we are downright mean sometimes, but we know it is all in good love. Nick, Matt, Kristen and I all went out to George and Lanna's Saturday to lay by the pool. They live so far north in Dallas... I think it is by Prosper. Their neighborhood is adorable like you are in a 1940s movie. Perfect little houses with ponds and little porches. We cooked burgers after laying out all day and chicken fighting in the pool... Nick and I dominated Kristen and Matt by the way.

Nick and I found ourselves on the back porch just chit chatting. I wanted to bottle that moment. The air was so peaceful as we looked up at the stars. It amazes me looking back at how much we have grown from our first date. I never thought I could be myself with anyone. He loathes my barriers so I have found myself as we have gone through trials and such just breaking them all down and being normal without laughter. I am amazingly quiet when one gets to truly know me! We had a tough conversation where I truthfully had no answer. It baffles all of us about my worry. Dad left on his cruise today and for the first time in many years... or ever... we will not talk in a week. Rationally I know that they are just fine... but, my heart could not quit worrying. Nick keeps talking to me about faith and living in the moment and I am truly working on it, but sometimes my mind interferes. I sat in silence trying to answer him. I said all I knew that God hurt me terribly and I was scared to death to have total faith. But, I also know I must have total faith. I do not know the reason I panic when Dad does not answer the phone. There is so much I don't understand about my fears... so I am just trying to live in the moment and trust God with everything. There has been way too much happen recently that had to be God... so much in my life ... all in my life is HIM.

I didn't go to church today. I need a church home and when Andrea isn't here to go to Watermark I don't go! That's so bad!!! Instead I went to Shanna and Leslie's and chilled by the pool. We had a blast. These guys were playing volleyball and there was food everywhere. It was another moment to bottle. I just basked in the happiness of the sun. Dad and Brenda were so excited calling as they left on the cruise. They were getting massages tonight and Dad was on his way to get a haircut.... strange thing to do on a cruise!!!

Now it's all over. I can't really see the stars in the city where I live. I need to get out my bottle and remember all the nice moments in my weekend. Thank the good Lord.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Almost Friday!

I love the fact this blog list is growing. Just yesterday Lindsey & Brian started a blog... makes me very happy! They give me inspiration. They were friends for years... then began dating and within WEEKS were engaged! God really worked through them. Now-- I've been dating Nick since March, but ummm I sure am not ready to get engaged! We have a long road ahead to build a strong and lasting relationship. I joke about marriage all of the time with my crazy bridesmaid list, but actually walking down the aisle will remain a figment of my imagination for a few years! That said... I wouldn't date a man I would never consider marrying either.

The week has gotten a lot better since Monday. It was very emotional a while there as we mourned the loss of Nick's grandfather. He says he had a dream his grandfather told him not to be sad. My gosh, I have been wanting that dream for seven years!

I have hugged my mother in dreams, but it is no consolation. It warms my heart to see him smiling once again. The hard road is not finished, but atleast he feels a bit of peace. His parents come back from vacation this weekend so I hope we can be there for them awaiting with a big hug. They make me smile - These are the faces I like to see...

Dad and Brenda are going on their cruise next week. I hope they outrun the hurricane! I am insanely jealous they get to bask in the rays. They deserve it after their year though. Losing Granny Jac so suddenly and thrusting Dad into this ocean of dealing with the house, the car, the investments then getting his teeth ripped out and replaced by his beautiful new grill and both of them watching Alyssa and the kids up and move far far far North... they need a vacation. This will be the first time I will go five days without any communication with Dad. I'm already praying for my sanity... needless to say.

Chandra is in town doing all of her preparations for her wedding. I've been working so hard on the website for them, but it isn't put together yet. It becomes difficult when both have eight people on their side. Trying to get pictures is a hassle. No worries though... I have pictures from when Chandra and I were six years old ;)...

I believe Nick is bringing me my huge television tonight. Matt is giving me his 50 inch television FOR FREE!!! The boys always make fun of my little 19 inch television. Hey, it works for me! It's so huge though that it make take a few of us to bring it up the stairs! Soooo excited!

Next weekend we go float the river. I've never been! There are like 25 of us! We are going through San Antonio on the way back so I can go to Tiffany's baby shower and Nick and Tony can go visit Tony's sister. I'm so excited to see her. She and JC will make such amazing parents to baby Hailey Josephine.

That reminds me... Today Heddy is having Baby Girl Langston. Here is her big sister Baby Girl Harper when she was only a few months old... Wow... It amazes me out of my high school friends Heddy is the one with the cute little family life. She's so blessed.

I'm just so ready for the weekend. I want to bask in the sun and just hang out. We aren't getting to go to Dayme's wedding. It's in Lubbock and with all of the craziness following Nick's grandfather's passing I just figure it's best we stay here this weekend. We have a wedding in two weeks... yes, and Nick makes fun of my Baptist weddings and then after that he is taking me to like FOUR weddings. Oh dear... new dresses galore! Feeding my shopping obsession. Check out all my wedding obsession fun the past few years...

God bless.

Monday, July 21, 2008

West Texas Weekend

The weekend was full of laughter. It was also full of tears. I had such a wonderful time in Midland visiting the family. Steven, Ashley and Rylie were already there so I got in late Friday. We just hung out and had ice cream. Dad and Brenda had the guest bathroom redone and it is gorgeous! I felt like I was in a mansion taking a shower. Dad got his new teeth! His grill is awesome! They hurt a lot right now, but his smile is amazing.

Saturday we all hung out in the morning playing with Rylie then we went bowling! Such a blast. I actually hit a few strikes as well! We had such a nice time laughing and bowling. Brenda brought her own bowling ball. She is a certified bowling nerd. That night we watched "Definitely, maybe" and ate quesadillas. The movie brought too many emotions to the surface after my emotional week dealing with both Nick and Jessica losing loved ones. I sat outside on the swing and cried for a bit. We were all not ready to leave Sunday morning, but we all had long treks back to our real worlds. Steven and Ashley left at 6 AM. I am never awake that early. It was absolutely peaceful outside with the stars and the morning air. It is always hard to leave home. It is so very peaceful to be there feeling wrapped in a blanket. I understand we are too old to stay wrapped in our bedrooms at home, but in those moments it feels so easy and so secure.

I went to Nick's when I got back in town. It was a rough night. We looked at pictures of his grandfather and cried together. It was all too raw as I took off my mask and let myself truly feel everything I have been through since Mom passed away. It is going to take a long time. Each day a battle. Each day a victory. One day at a time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"This Too Shall Pass"

"This too shall pass."

These are the words from Grandmommy's lips as I told her about the tough times. I reminded her those are the same words she used in the limo on the way to my mother's funeral.

Jessica says my strength for friends amazes her in loss. She believes God put me in some lives for that reason. Her grandmother's funeral is today. And all I've done is be there listening and in spirit. I have no words of Yoda.

Nick called at 9 pm crying as he said his grandfather let go. He waited until five minutes after the family left for food to pass away. Wow. Nick said he knew God had reasoning and he understood he would get through it, but it was so difficult. I sat there finding it insanely difficult not to be selfish. On this side we want that person to open up and we want to understand them, but it is all about them in that moment. Not us. So when he called at that time I was very quiet and I just whispered, "Oh Nick, I'm so sorry." I hate those words and it was cliche. But, I meant every single word. And he called back late to share memories and share his heart as he sat outside his grandfather's house under the stars. In that moment we realize there are no words of advice. Of course not. I hate when people give you all the bullcorn they should be saying. I want to hear that this is tough stuff and we're just all going to have to trudge through it. In tragedy families and friends bond together under God to just pull one another through everything. Nick has an extraordinarily tight family and he is surrounded in spirit by such amazing friends. He said he learned everything about his work ethic from his grandfather and he always wanted to be just like him. My thought... he already is... and thank the Lord for that fact.

In the past four months I have lost my own grandmother and shared in the losses of grandparents with Keele Bisping, Andrea Mayard and Jessica Cobos. Four months. Chandra reminded me today of how difficult it was to deal with me when Mom passed away. She said I was stone and acted as if nothing happened for months. It is very hard to be on the outside not knowing how someone reacts and deals with things. We all choose our paths. Keele went into a cave. Jessica reached out. Andrea gave it all to God. With Mom I ran away. With Granny Jac I just got very serious and tried to let others in. And I prayed last night about Jessica's words. Sylvia says I take the pain of others and feel it too much. I wondered why... the only reason I can comprehend is the fact that I know the pain of loss. Does that make you a grief expert? No. But, knowing that speechless pain is just horrifying. Knowing you cannot fix it. It's weird because the strength I give to others in loss is just love from God through me. I don't have it all of the time. It really comes from nowhere and it is purely genuine as if I just want to give all of the love into that person to just help them for a second. Nick says loss will hit one for a long time and it will hurt a long time, but in that time one knows it's all in God's plan.

So today as Jessica sits at the funeral of her grandmother and as Nick goes through those days of shock before the funeral of his grandfather the hearts and spirits of those that love them are standing right there. Knowing the hardest day is yet to come. Knowing there are no words. Knowing this too shall pass.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Excitement Overload

My mind is so cloudy right now. Lots going on at work. My Dad is getting fake teeth today. It's Brenda's birthday. I am going home this weekend. And... now... Nick called to tell me his grandfather has congestive heart failure. We all feel totally helpless and I just wish I could take away the pain. There is no way I can predict if he will live and I know how much Nick loves him. It is insane that in the past six months I have received four phone calls about grandparents' deaths... one of them being my own grandmother. I wish I could fly to Houston right now to be there for the entire Gray family. All I can do is pray. That's all any of us can do.

I want to have a lighter note now. We had an amazing weekend. Friday was a lot of fun for Leslie's birthday. We went out in Addison and just enjoyed the entire night. Saturday was legendary for me. I grew up on weekends going with my family to the Stewart household and just playing with Quintinn and Stephanie while the parents watched movies or played cards. We all were helping Matt move into his new house... there were about twelve of us. We were dressed in athletic clothes and vegged out. As the night progressed more people came over and we were just hanging out. I love that so much more than going out to the bar. It was how I was raised. I called Stephanie to tell her about it just because I was nostalgic! We had the best conversations and laughed until we couldn't breathe.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yay for the weekend!

I lived in a man's world last night. It's not unusual for me to be the only girl when we are with Nick's friends. It's weird as growing up Cody was my best guy friend and that was pretty easy for me, but I'm such a girly girl that it was very hard for me to have a lot of guy friends. So Nick wanted me to meet his childhood best friend. Erichson came over and we all sat on the back porch. One of these man outings always includes MEAT. I don't really like meat, but these boys love to grill. So I actually let myself have a bratwurst! Geoff, Tony, Nick and Erichson went about their usual conversations like I was one of the guys and I just laughed to myself. Our woman conversations are nothing like this! I laugh at how they view women and how we think. I know we are insane though... this I know!!! They talk about video games, sports, food and women. Oh... dogs, too. It's so interesting... They told me a couple of times to put on my earmuffs.

Jessica's grandmother is dying and it's been interesting to hear her tell me updated stories each day. I told her yesterday she is so "lucky" to get to sit in that room with her grandmother and just talk in her final moments. I got that with Grandaddy, but I was ten years old. I didn't have that with Mom or Granny Jac. So many unspoken thoughts. She says that Abuelita keeps talking about her deceased husband being in the room. Part of me wants to think she is just plain insane that the pain meds are messing with her mind, but part of me actually believes it. It's weird to be there for someone in this time. I actually just make it light hearted and even joke about it. She knows how I really feel. It's weird... when Jessica's grandfather died when we were in high school I faded away because I was scared to death of what to say. Now that I have been through it all it makes it so much easier for me to be there. I realize it is not at all about the words in the air.

My stepbrother and his family and my niece are going to visit Dad and Brenda this weekend. It would be so wonderful to get to go, but that's okay because I'll hopefully go "home" in a couple of weeks. It is just impossible to get us all together. I'd love to see Rylie as I missed her second birthday, but getting to West Texas is tough in such short notice. We are all going to Addison tonight for Leslie's birthday. I think it'll be a blast. I never drink much as I just don't enjoy the feeling... so last weekend on the boat my good friend, Jana, said, "God forbid you drink on a boat with your best friends on the weekend." I was like... hmmm... Why am I so guarded that I cannot even let go for a little bit on a boat with good friends? Yep, as Nick said this week... "I want you to let your hair down - literally and figuratively." So far this boy has made me look at people in the eyes, be sweet and not sarcastic, try to live in the moment and watch what I say... maybe he isn't so bad after all!

We are also supposed to help Matt move tomorrow. What can small women move? I think I'll lay by the pool until they truly need my expertise.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Welcome to my world

I'm obsessed with writing. I'm also obsessed with communication. I figure this will be a good way to communicate and enjoy life on a daily basis.

I am astounded by how many people are making blogs... most of them are doing this because they are now having children. I am nowhere near having children. I can barely contain my cat! I kill plants and I forget about food for weeks on end letting it rot in my fridge. I just think it's fun to read about their little ones and live vicariously through their families!

I may be working in Marketing, but my head is never far from the light of my own spotlight. I still do pieces here and there for movies and television... mind you, it will probably never make the big screen! I do enjoy that rush of energy though. I don't know if I will ever go back into television news. I don't miss the pay or the crazy hours, but I sure do miss the people. For now I enjoy living in Dallas and love the opportunities. I have signed on to write a monthly article in Midland Monthly so my articles about entertainment will be published in the magazine... I have been working with a local agent regarding some small movie roles. Who knows what will happen. I do miss my family... that is the hardest part about being here. I have many friends, but each has their own life. It's almost like feeling alone in a crowded room at times. It's like that for everyone at times.

I've been dating Nick for a few months now. He met my family a few weeks ago... poor guy. His family is so much fun. It's all in God's hands so I try not to control it. I'm learning so much about myself. Relationships are tough stuff. I hate the emotional walls I have created over the years because it's so easy to play on the surface level, but once people try to climb over the wall I shut down. It's very hard. I guess it's better to have loved and lost though... only time will tell and God is always quilting my life. I need to remember this...

I wonder while I read other blogs about their lives. It seems really neat. My life truly consists on a daily basis of work, watch some television or do some laundry, go work out, go hang out to socialize either over at Nick's or a friend's or out to dinner with someone, shower, sleep... I don't covet another life, but I think it'd be really neat to have the life my parents had or the life many of my friends have... the pictures may seem so fun, but it sure would be a blessing to be the one absorbed in a small family life. Maybe most little girls dream of that life one day. I just remember being the little girl in the perfect little family enjoying each and every day with friends. I do enjoy each and every day with my friends and my family, but I also know one day my world will be very different... and maybe then I will realize both lives are a blessing... part of God's quilting.