Friday, March 30, 2012

Two Years Ago...

The shadow silhouette passing over my door frame, not passing but pausing.  Words, mumbles, a breath in and tears out. The slanted shoulders, no strength beneath them. A jerk of the head, lifeless turn of the back and the shadow is gone.  I look. I see the white, the light, the place the shadow was and is no longer.  Something has happened. Something terrible. Irreversible. Finite. Something inside breaks, shatters, grinds and melts.  I’m stiff, unable to move, wanting to run....or collapse, wanting to do something but knowing that nothing can be done. Not by me. It’s over. The struggle is silenced. Pain will turn to praise.  For her, not me. Not Yet.
I stir, I sting, I step, another and another down to the spot. Down to the grave, down to where the breathing stopped. The next breath full of heavenly grace.  More words, a touch from palms, eyes blink towards me, they close, opening from the flood of tears.  They ask, what will you say?  I stop. What will I say?  What can I say? When my world has just disappeared? Where do you begin? How do I begin when all I want to do is go back, stay back, turn the time before, the time no more. I stand, shiver and quake.  Inside my body the grief rattles among the empty spaces. Among the places that are not whole.  
O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. (Psalm 141:1) My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?” (Psalms 119:82)
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.... (Isaiah 66:13) 
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. (psalms 119:76) My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life (psalms 119:50) I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.(Psalms 4)
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. (Jeremiah 31:13)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chris, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
I’m comforted in knowing that through my horrible pain & grief, the Lord stood near, holding my frail pieces together as everything around me fell apart.  God’s grace has been sufficient, though every day I wish I had never suffered the loss of my Mom...still, the God that was faithful to my Mom has continued in His faithfulness to me and for that I praise.  He chose to heal my Mother, but unfortunately for us here He chose to heal her in heaven.  He will heal me too, us too, He has and will continue, working in those places, those spaces where the things seem to be ripping apart at the seams. My mother was the best woman.  She was “satin & steel”.  She had spunk and a character that endlessly craved adventure. My mom loved people.  She loved the unlovable and unloved.  She was strong, persistent, stubborn & patient.  Very patient.  She made learning an adventure, not a chore.  She encouraged creativity and taught us to enjoy the small moments in our days.  She was a fighter, a warrior, a rock.  
As I sit here remembering, I’m crying again.  I miss her more than all the words these letters can form.  Nothing can replace her, no one can replace her.  Tears won’t wash away the pain, but do balm the wound that still feels fresh.  
Love you Mom!! You’re still the greatest! I’d climb any fence for you, especially if it meant I would see you again right now.  I love you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

....foodie penpal!

Hey friends!  Just wanted to let you know about this fun thing I'm doing this's called foodie penpals!  I found it on this blog called the Lean Greenbean.  Tomorrow I'm sending off my package....packed with goodies, but you'll have to wait and see what I'm sending because I don't want to spoil the surprise for my pal out there.  Also.....stay tuned for the one I receive!  Looking forward to it!

Just chalk this one up to another adventure in the making! Bon Appetite!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 23-Day 34

Wow. I sincerely apologize for not blogging the last 14 days that we were on the road!  How could I let you one or two readers down? ;)  Especially when some of these days were the best we'd had??

I'll do my best to give you an overview.

Tupelo, MS.....sorry, I can't think of anything outstanding from this city! :s If you were here, inform me on how awesome it was and how I shouldn't ever forget a city like this again!!'s honestly probably because we had another 9 hour drive this day.  Not fun.

 Nashville, TN....on our way up from Tupelo, Tawny & I took the Natchez Trace, which proved to be a very beautiful & restful drive.  Once we got to the city, Tawny stayed with her Aunt & cousins, and I went to stay with my friend Kyla.  Later in the week I was able to visit with my cousins David & Susan with their three sons! It's so nice to see family & friends after such long absences!  So about Nashville? I pretty much I fell in love with it.  The city felt a lot like Minneapolis, but warmer and a few more parks pretty close to the city.  My friend Kyla introduced me to some good friends of hers and taught me about the homeless ministries in the city......we even had a few opportunities to speak to a few homeless people, and I was really impressed by how she interacted with them and the knowledge she had to help them.  Pretty sweet learning experience for me.  Tawny & I ventured down to Franklin which is the city I REALLY fell in love had this quaint little downtown blocks with boutiques, old theaters, great home town market/grill places, etc.  When we got a little turned around, I looked out the window on this sunny day, and there were pink blossoms blooming, while three kids slowly chased each other around the yard and their parents slapped their knees & reminisced on the steps of their old house.  It was idyllic.  ;)  Tawny had dinner with two of the UofMobile guys, and we also had breakfast with two of the We As Human guys & one of their wives.  She invited us out to a performance of "The Music Man" that night that she & another WAH wife was starring in!  We joined them for that and it was so much fun! They all did a great job!

Memphis, TN....First off, I have to say how thankful we were to God for keeping us & our friends safe from the tornados that came around Memphis & was a little unnerving, but God protected us.  We were expecting a large shipment of RESET books (the gospels of John), but when I checked in, no one could find them.  After various phone calls & searching every nook & cranny of the arena for over an hour, the shipment was confirmed, but still not found.  I was about to breakdown, when one of the arena workers found me and let me know they had JUST found the pallet of books.  AHHHH.  I was so thankful & relieved!  And what did we find when we got to the boxes? Little notes of encouragement that our co-workers had written on the boxes before they sent them! What a blessing after a crazy afternoon!  Cindy (Development director for PULSE) came out for the day so that was really fun to see her!  Also, Tawny's dad Terry came out for the day as well, driving a friend's Maserati, so Tawny & I both got to take a spin in the car!! It was really nice to see some familiar faces.

Bossier City, LA...In Bossier, my Papa came to visit for the day!  It'd been way too long since we'd seen each other, so it was nice to chat over lunch and bring him around to meet people at the show.  He actually didn't need me to be introduced though, because while he was waiting for me at a coffee shop, a few of the guys from Sanctus Real & Phil Joel came in! So....just like my dad, he went up and introduced himself, met them and told them that his daughter was touring with them too!  It was pretty funny.  Later in the night, we saw them all again so it was cool to see my dad interacting with them.

Mobile, AL...Well we drove into Mobile and it was such a beautiful day, that after everything was set up, we took a walk out to the fountains and just chilled for a few minutes.  It was a good 5 min break after another long drive.  Honestly, it was SO nice outside, I kept making excuses to go out to the car & grab something...even if it was just something little!  One funny thing, and one amazing thing from this day to note!

FUNNY--The violinist from Skillet came out to our booth before the show, and was talking to me, and really getting into our slap bracelets (which he wore on stage that night)....well one of our volunteers had been all excited to see/meet Skillet, and so while he was there, she's like "You look just like the guy from Skillet! really pulled a good one on me...I almost thought you were him!"  We both just smiled and he was like "Yeah, I get that a lot." ha.  After he walked away, I told her that it actually WAS him.  She was pretty excited to have met him.....even if she didn't know it at the time!

AWESOME--All weekend I'd been praying that we'd have a connection to give away the few hundred extra gospels that the Palau organization had given us, but didn't need anymore after our own books made it the second weekend.  So as I was at the booth, this big guy came up and told me how he gave away gospels at rave parties and to the homeless and how he wondered if we had any way of getting him a bunch of copies.  I told him to come back at the end of the show and I'd see what we could do.  Not five minutes later, a pastor came up and said, I'd love to get my hands on a bunch of these for my youth kids, is there anywhere I can get them?  Not five minutes after that, a volunteer from the next table came over and said...I work for this one organization and we're looking to get gospels to hand out, would you have any extra you could spare??  No joke.  So at the end of the night, we were able to give all three men 200 gospels each!!!! It was such a cool answer to prayer! I'm just hoping that those gospels will bless them and that they'll also see prayers answered as they hand out the Word of God!

Ft. Walton Beach, FL....After our last weekend out for this stent, we spent three nights with my cousin Crystal & her daughter Emily!  They took us to a bunch of great places, and gave us a fun experience in Ft. Walton!  We also got to spend some time with my Aunt Ethel & Uncle Mickey, seeing Mick's collection of WW1&2 memorabilia.  It was really impressive....he had badges from the SS & SA, Hitler youth, a flag marking a land mine, bayonets from the American soldiers, flight helmets from the US and German pilots and a cap from the Russian military.  These are just a few of the things he showed us!  While we were at a starbucks with Crystal, this girl walked in and saw the PULSE on my laptop...she asked what kind of computer that was, so I told her.....a mac? But I guess she meant the PULSE and so I told her it was the company I worked for...and that was it.  Until Tawny, who was sitting outside next to the girl & her friend, texted me and told me that they were out there talking about who they thought I was...some big music mogul or something...but didn't want to come and ask.  She did though, eventually, so I got to tell her more about PULSE and WinterJam that we were with, and I think it probably helped her confirm her suspicions that we were someone awesome....not just the normal little old Alissa. ha.  It was funny.  When we got back home, Emily sang a Sanctus Real song for us, which was one of her favorite songs...we told her that we knew the band, and she was SO excited, so we made a music video of her singing it to show the guys.  It was precious.

Columbia, SC....There wasn't too much to note about our trip from FL to Columbia, except that it would have been my Mom's birthday, so I don't think my mind was 100% clear all day.....and it came out through missing turns ALL day....but Tawny & I decided that it was just our mom's wanting us to take the less traveled route.  :)  When we got to Augusta, GA we stopped for dinner.  I wanted to at least have a piece of cake to celebrate & remember my Mom.  So we went to this cool place called Bee's Knees.  It was a tapas bar, and the food was amazing!  We had a fruit & cheese plate with warm bread, and then smoked gouda nachos.  For dessert, we chose a Red Velvet cake.  It was fabulous.  I think my mom would have approved. :)  The next time we go out, the day before the last will be the two year anniversary of her adventure to I'll be trying to think of how to remember her then as well.  It's hard to be on the road for things like that, when all you want to do is be home with family.....or her.

Keep praying for Tawny & I as we rest these next few days/weeks and as we prepare to head out again soon.  Also, pray for Nick as he continues to share the gospel each night, for hearts to respond and for the musicians to know that they also have a part in bringing these people into the Kingdom of Heaven.  Thanks for traveling with us!