Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mr. Carlson

by the grace of God, i grew up in a home in orange, CA...
across the street from a man named Mr. Carlson.

this evening i returned home from a memorial service for a man whom i respected deeply and loved very much.  a man who poured so much into me that my life is forever changed by the love he showed and shared with me.  i don't believe that i can find words that would describe who Mr. Carlson was, but as my husband was driving our family home i was looking through my Bible seeing scriptures that stuck out that reminded me of him.

romans 12:9 "Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never lacking in zeal, but keep your spriritual fevor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality."

1 corinthians 13:4 "Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered it keeps no records of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices int he truth.  It always protects, all trusts, always hopes, always preservers."

titus 1:8-9 "Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

hebrews 13:16 "And do not forget to do good and to share with others for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

Mr Carlson loved the unlovable.  And i know because that was me.

i lived across the street and i was at the Carlson house a lot.  not just a little.  but really a lot.

Mr. Carlson never turned me away.  he never didn’t have time for me. 

Mr. Carlson helped me with my math.  He warned me about boys.  He told me every blond joke that he knew.  our family shared a horse for awhile.  he taught me how to whistle a whistle that could bring in every neighborhood kid with in a mile.  i call my kids to me with this same whistle.

 i was playing charades with his daughter - my friend, trisha in the front room one day, eating a peppermint candy, i inhaled and choked.  (right before that we had been laughing hysterically) she took my hand and walked me back to her dad.  he did the abdominal thrust on me and saved my life.

about a month ago i was sharing my testimony with a group of women. after hearing about different things i had gone through one of the ladies asked – “how did you know Jesus' love?”  i responded “Mr. Carlson.”

as i sat at his service with another 800 plus people i bawled...  i was overwhelmed with the love that i felt from him as i grew up.  isn't that how it should be?  that young ones feel so loved and special by the adults in their lives?   amazing that the Lord can and will fill this need when someone needs that.  story after story was about how he showed Christs endless love for others.  i am so grateful to have seen this and have it modeled to me.  even though i really hadn't seen him super regularly in this last 20 years i had my first 20 years pretty continual with him.

Father God - thank you Jesus for your mercy.  for planting each one of us right where we are to be.  Lord, as Mr. Carlson learned to follow you and to be used by you for your glory, please do this in me, in my children, and in the children that spend hours at our home...

i have endless stories of him.  i am so grateful for the saving grace of Jesus and the hope that we have in Him. i know that Mr. C is in heaven worshiping our King. when i get there i am grateful that i will be able to walk across the street of gold and get another hug from Mr. Carlson.

(left to right) Bob Carlson, Trisha Carlson, Michael Carlson, Joanna (Arneson) Caldwell, Gail Arneson, Mary Carlson, Jenna (Arneson) Smyth, David Arneson

no doubt this is one of Mr. C's jokes he's explaining as he is chopping my hand?

"Tiata" and Mr. C.  Notice he is barefoot...he usually was.

Friday, February 27, 2015

And the Curtain Closes...

you know how when you are the symphony and the musicians play such an amazing song...  it moves your whole body.  your hands wring with emotions, your eyes swell with tears unable to keep them from falling.  you feel it in your chest and neck trying to keep from sobbing of all that stirs within.  the song ends.
you jump to your feet. bravo!  bravo!  clapping with all you can.  you shout encore! encore!
once again  the performers give just the last several measures of what they had just triumphantly completed - bravo! bravo!

and then it's over....
that's it...
you sit...
try to gain composure.
the last song has been played.  it's time to get up, take a deep breathe and move on.
the curtain closes.

this happened as i sat for the last performance my sweet "baby girl" played her violin in the symphony orchestra.

it happened again tonight.

tonight a man came with excitement to pick up our piano.
as he came in my girl was triumphantly playing "joyful joyful".  i stood there in the room staring at her - tears streaming, flooding down my cheeks.
she can play this piece amazingly.  and i love it.  every time, i love it.  every thousand times, i love it.  she plays with passion, with all that she has.  sometimes i wonder how the keys can with stand the amount of passion that's played on them...  but they do and they lift the sound of praise to our Heavenly Father.
i'm in awe.  looking at this girl who has grown to be a young woman.  so musical.  so talented.  and i cry knowing that hearing that, seeing that in my life every day is coming to an end.  the piano now gone.  just a year and a half ago our oldest daughter was wed and started her own family.  the sound of the violin left.
it's not just the music of course - it is the ones who play it...
they grow up.  the seasons change...

hours and hours and hours, the children have played music.
piano, violin, cello, mandolin, a little bit of accordion, ukulele, drums, guitars, banjo,
it's just been part of the atmosphere of our home.
and it's changing...

it's ok.  there will still be music.
i am sure someday there will be another piano and the littlest girl (who is three right now) will make "joyful joyful" sounds on it as well.

i am grateful for the sweet gift of music in our home.

thank you Lord for blessing our house with song.  constant song.
thank you for the joy it brings and the millions of memories that come over me when i hear certain songs.  especially the ones my children have played over and over again.
Father God - please Lord - help me never to forget the joy of my children playing songs.  beautiful ones, off key ones, just learning songs, noisy songs - and please let me never forget the sound of their voices singing to YOU.
and Lord, as the curtain has closed with that little brown piano on the other side, please don't let me forget and please don't let them stop playing...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pack up the Tents

we have moved many times.  how many?  many...
it's been in a time period of 20 years...
and here we go again.  and it is good.
and it is clear.
we have been in southern ca for 5 years now.  we came from the central coast with a job transfer.  we said "oh Lord, we will go anywhere but l.a."  hence why we are in l.a.
and it's been hard.
and it's been good.

we are transferred again to a mountain area.  we are going to be mountain people.  imagine.  we will live on a strong slanted hill where it would really be a bad idea to sled down it considering it's a pretty busy road at the bottom.  we won't really have a yard, but the forest is close, right??  checked out the library and it looks like it will be a good fit for our family.  small town libraries are the best.  it is a 950 sq. ft. cabin.  3 bedrooms.  2 bathrooms. (that part is a gift from the Lord - thank you)

i feel like the Lord has told us, "pack up your tents.  time to go.  your work is done here and I've got things for you to do".
and it brings a big sigh.
this probably has a lot to do with the fact that our two oldest boys have lived in the back yard in a
ti pi for the last year and half - yes, by choice.  they wanted to brave the storms of winter and the blazing heat of summer.  we learned we were moving so one afternoon while the ti pi was dry it was time for it to come down and for the men to move back inside like civilized folk.  terribly hard to sleep for the first few nights with having a comfortable bed and all.  the ti pi came down, was rolled up and packed away for a indefinite time until it comes out of the "long term storage" pile for the next set of adventures, late night book readings and midnight rat captures.

this last five years living in this city life place has been a huge season of loss for us.  loss of our babies, loss of three amazingly loving grandparents, loss of a relationship of one dearly loved & missed, loss of friends, loss of a child of a friend, loss of health for several that we love.  it has been a heavy season. it has been a growing season.  a season of listening.  a season of waiting.  a season of questioning.
and we still have hope.
hope in our Savior.
trust in his plan for us...

i keep thinking of calling my grandfather to tell him of the new things going on and he isn't there.  but still, his christmas present sits on the mantle wrapped...i think i will leave it a bit longer.  not ready to move it yet... strange how it takes so long to adjust.

i seek the Lord, searching His Word, asking for a word from Him.   i wait...ask Him to release me from the fear that i have entangled myself in.  asking Him to heal the holes in my heart knowing and trusting that He patch it perfectly.

i look forward in anticipation of what He is leading us to.

it has also been a season of joy...
we have been so blessed to have our family grow with a son-in-law and a bright, blue-eyed baby grandson.
blessed by our neighborhood,
blessed by our lay-hands-on-you-and-pray-in-the-name-of-Jesus-neighbors.  (yes! that's you!)
       by this we have been most blessed; people confident in our God's good and perfect plan for each one of us.
blessed by the home fellowship group we have been able to be a part of and for the dear friendships made there that we hope will last a lifetime.
we have had the great joy of a growing and loving marriage - soon to be 20 years.
of reunited friendships,
a special relationship with a most dear auntie & uncle,
time with our folks,
and now a season on mountain living.
we are truly blessed.

our sweet "baby girl" & our grandbaby