Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Blessing!

I said Friday that my Fingerprint Friday post would probably be the last about Emily and her family, at least for awhile.Well, I was wrong. I have a footnote to this story. I will make the long story short.

A beautiful handmade quilt "Emily's Garden," (shown below),  a beautiful, bejeweled bird house, and my painting, "Emily's Garden Angel" were all raffled at the benefit for Emily. The quilt was a stand alone item and it was traded by the person who won it for the item that  Emily's brother won. This meant that it could go exactly where it belonged-- to Emily and her family. How perfect is that?
 
My painting and this beautiful, handmade birdhouse with "EMILY" spelled out in jewels on the front...
were included in my life group's gift basket....
which ended up being three gift baskets in a gift wheel barrow! I was hoping that this gift "barrow" would go to someone who knew the family or someone in our church and it did!
It went to our beloved, "Ms.Kitty" who is the Women's Ministry Leader at our church.
Friday, after the service for Emily, Ms. Kitty approached me and wanted to find out how to get in touch with Emily's mother because she wanted to give the bird house and the painting to her and use the time to minister and comfort her a bit. Ms. Kitty said, "it is only right that Emily's mother should have these things. They belong to her."  My heart was singing with love for Ms. Kitty and for God, who I am certain, orchestrated all of this.
This morning, Ms. Kitty and I presented these items to Emily's mother. What a blessing!
I have been blessed and changed forever by becoming involved in helping this family. I had no idea how much of a blessing it would be. I only hope that this series of posts about Emily has touched hearts and will be an encouragement and inspiration to others to get involved with families who are affected by pediatric cancer and to help in the fight to eliminate cancer in children.  Here are some links that might be of interest:
St. Jude Children's Hospital
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Hope Street Kids
CureSearch

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - A Few More Words

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


Today we will have a Celebration Service for the Life of Emily Young at 2pm at North Pointe Church. If you can, please offer up a prayer of thanksgiving to God at that time, thanking him for allowing his princess to touch the lives of so many and asking him to help us, if not understand, at least to accept that his way is always the best way, no matter how it seems to us. 


Today's post will probably be my final post about Emily. We will have to wait and see. Somewhere down the road I might have a few more words to offer up about this amazing journey with an incredibly loving church and a wonderful, God-loving family. 
Today my Fingerprint of God are Emily Young, the Young family who have demonstrated amazing faithfulness to God throughout and  all of the people who have helped this family in some way as they walked through the valley.
I don't know all the names....many, many people from our church, many from the family's church in Tennessee, people from their work, many who are strangers to me but not to the family, many strangers to the family but not to me and many strangers to us all. Those who organized the benefit, those who donated items for auction, those who took their time to make things....quilts, food, birdhouses and lots of gift baskets and those who gave gift certificates of vacation stays,massages, hair cuts, restaurants and so many other things to be raffled off. There were those who baked cakes for a cake walk.I have no idea how many but I hazard to guess that it was easily more than 50. Those who made an enormous amount of food for the benefit. Those who made last Sunday possible--Princess Day, complete with Cinderella and Snow White-- for the little princess who, unknowingly would, on the next morning, be transferred from her temporary home to the Kingdom where all princesses of the High King go.  Those who have given of themselves, who have let their hearts be opened with love, knowing that in opening their hearts, they risked having them broken. Those who have comforted the Young family by wrapping them in love in person, through cards and letters and through the internet. Those who offered up prayers and good thoughts for this family, one or many, long or short.  Those who saw and felt God's presence in each step of this journey.   All of you have been God's hands and feet and you are most definitely, collectively and individually, a Fingerprint of God.  Emily Young's short life has touched and blessed hundreds, probably thousands of people.   Her life had a purpose and we will never know while we are here in this temporary place, just how many lives were changed because of her sweet life and as her Aunt Kim said, "that's a pretty good legacy for a 5 year old."


A friend of mine.who knows all too well how quickly our lives can change in an instant, is constantly reminding me:  Thank God for those you love and don't forget to tell them every day that you love them and cherish their love and their friendship.  So, graceful reader, I love you and I cherish your love and your friendship.How precious it is to know such giving and loving people. May God bless you with His love and keep you safely until next time.




Psalm 138 (NIV) 
1I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.
4May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth.
5May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.
6Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
8The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dancing with the Angels!

Today little Emily Young went to be with the High King. God is faithful and showed His mercy with no pain and no fear. She left this temporary home for her eternal one in her sleep early this morning. I believe that today she is is dancing with the angels and other, precious princesses before the throne of the everlasting God.  Thank you and much love to all of the graceful readers who have prayed for this family.  Their hearts are broken even as they praise God for His mercy and I ask that any who come this way today, will pause and reflect and offer up a prayer for God's love to surround this family and bring them comfort and peace as they deal with the reality of losing this precious child.



 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, 

       and he saved them from their distress.


  He sent forth his word and healed them; 

       he rescued them from the grave.


 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love 

       and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm107:19-21

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Emily's Garden Angel

Emily's Garden Angel was painted for the Emily Young Benefit. It is being included in a garden basket donated for a raffle by my life group at church. A friend of mine made a beautiful and bright quilt to donate and named it Emily's Garden. I thought Emily's Garden should have an angel. So here she is. It is my first "folk art" painting. Well, at least I consider it folk art.  I have been painting a series of angels in ACEO size and am now doing them in 9x12.  Prints and cards of Emily's Garden Angel will be available in my new shop, Graceful Moments, opening soon at Etsy.com.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Mercy, No Pain, No Fear!

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


My church family has been helping with a fundraising benefit to help with medical expenses for the family of a young girl named Emily Young. Emily is the niece of one our church members. She is a five year old who was diagnosed with anaplastic medulloblastoma just last year.  Emily endured several rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. Then the cancer spread to her spine and the doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do for her. Today we learned that the doctors believe it has spread to her intestines and  bone marrow. She is under hospice care at home with her family. 

Emily and her family are my Fingerprint of God today. 

I don't know Emily's mother personally because she lives in Tennessee.  What I do know about her is  that she brought her daughter to our church to have her anointed with oil and prayed over by our elders and the congregation. She knew about the prayer warriors in our church and she was praying for a miracle. I know that almost every day, she has something on her Facebook status that shows me her faith in God and her trust in Him. I know through her words and the photos she has shared with us, that it is her desire for Emily to have the best and happiest last days possible. I think of the sorrow, the agony, the sleeplessness, the waking to the same impossible reality, the unconditional love for her child and I marvel at her faithfulness to God and her trust as she prays to Him for Mercy, No Pain, No Fear!

I only recently met Emily's aunt, Kim  -- we are a church of 800, so it is hard to know everyone. I met her in a women's Bible study group. She came to my rescue one night when the Lord prompted me to share something with the group that was excruciating for me to share. She was the first to speak up and share her experience so that I would not be standing alone in the baring of my soul to these women, some of whom I barely knew. I know that God brought the two of us together to show me that I do not have to stand alone in shame and sorrow, He will provide what I need when I need it when I am obedient to Him.  Kim's presence and her words made the experience of my confession bearable. She didn't know me at all, but she showed me the love of Christ. She shared her phone number with me and told me to call if I needed to talk. I know that God brought us together too because of Emily. I  believe that He wanted my heart abundantly full of love for this precious family as I offered my tiny bit of service to this enormous project.  I know that Kim loves the Lord with all of her heart and I know that she is looking to Him to keep strong for her family. I know that inside she must be experiencing excruciating pain, the magnitude of which I have never known and pray that I will never have to know.  Yet, she offers up praises to God each day and stands as inspiration for those of us who watch helplessly, wondering if we could be that strong, if our faith would or could prevail in such circumstances. She tells us that Emily is being faithful. She reminds us to ask God to be faithful as we lift our  prayers for Mercy, No Pain, No Fear!

I think of Emily. This time last year, she was a seemingly healthy and happy and beautiful 5 year old, going about her carefree, daily life and bringing joy and happiness to those around her. 

I look at the photos of Emily in her hospital bed at home surrounded with toys and fancy pink tutus and crowns for the princess, that she truly is, and am astounded at how quickly this unexpected, life-altering-forever, change has occurred. She is beautiful still, but she is not healthy now and her life is not carefree as she depends on oxygen tubes to breathe and morphine to ease her pain, but she continues to bring joy and happiness to those around her. They are hanging on to each precious memory they can hold as they offer up their mantra to their faithful and loving God: Mercy, No Pain, No Fear!

What marvelous lessons we learn from the stories of the people and families who make these journeys through the valley that is cancer. Some have very happy endings of cures and long lives to live to the fullest on the mountain top and we praise God with gratitude for these happy endings and long lives. While others, like Emily's story, leave us stunned and confused and lost in the valley as we grapple to understand how this terrible thing could happen. I thank God that my faith tells me and Emily and Emily's family that Emily's story also has a happy ending.  Emily is going to where we all pray that we will, one day, go. She is going sooner than we like to think we should. She is going to her permanent home with the Lord. I believe that she will dance and sing with the angels. She will bask in the presence of the everlasting God: the One that created us, the One who died for us and the One whose spirit sustains us and who has promised to walk with us so that we never walk alone, through the valleys in our lives.


These stories that lift us, break our hearts and change us, all share a similarity but each is unique. Each has its own cast of characters, its own miracles, its own inspiration, its own unique ending and each will touch its own group of people who will never be the same for having lived through it, witnessed it, prayed about it, read about it or somehow heard about it. Each unique story becomes part of the tapestry that is the story of all humankind from the beginning of creation and which will live on because of its telling, long after the cast of characters has moved on. 

I dedicate this post to Emily and her family and to all those who have prayed for them and lifted them up to the Father for comfort and peace, and to all those who have walked in the valley of cancer. You are all precious Fingerprints of God.

Dear Father, we pray with complete faith and trust in you and ask for your tender mercy, no pain and no fear for your daughter and princess, Emily Chesney Young. Amen.


Links: Benefit of Emily Young, Praying for Emily Young

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Sunset,Sunshine and Love

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


I have three fingerprints to share today.

Another gorgeous sunset from last night that followed a day of rain and storms...it reminded me a bit of the one that God painted for us on our wedding day,

















a bit of sunshine that brightened our lives for much of this week,

















and the love of my life and my best friend forever...God has blessed us richly for these 18 years!














Happy Anniversary to us!

Hope everyone has a blessed Friday and a lovely weekend!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Visit

It's spring break and my sweet granddaughter came to visit last night and will be staying for a few days. She is a "princess" so we will be having tea parties and playing girlie games! She also likes to weed the garden, plant flowers and play a little kick ball. I know it will be a lot of fun. Grandchildren are the best! .
Picking blooms off the forsythia branches...

and sticking them into the watering can's spout...




Why? Because they are pretty that way! Of course...I knew that!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen

HE IS RISEN....HE IS RISEN INDEED!
If you know Him, bask in His amazing love today. If you don't know Him, I pray that you will. His love will change you forever. Happy Easter!



Lyrics of In Christ Alone, Newsboys

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ


No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - It's Friday

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that participate, go to the Fingerprint Friday post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions. 


Easter Sunday...it is the ultimate day of celebration in the Christian faith. 
It is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of the most beautiful of all fingerprints of God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  
But Sunday isn't here yet and I cannot yet feel the joy of Easter morning without first remembering and reflecting on the suffering and agony that my Savior endured before that wonderful and glorious and miraculous resurrection.
Unlike those who witnessed His crucifixion, I know that Sunday is coming, but I try to reflect on how His disciples, His mother, His brother James and all who were there,  felt seeing their Beloved, savagely beaten and disgraced and placed upon that cross. 
Their hearts were broken, their doubts established and their fears were realized. 
Their teacher, her son, his brother and their Savior was dead.
I try to feel what they felt and my heart is broken that my sin was on that cross. 
But Sunday is coming and when Sunday comes,  
my heart is healed, I know that my sin has been atoned forever and I know that my Savior lives. 


I love this video with S.M. Lockridge's sermon "It's Friday but Sunday is Coming." It's about the ultimate Fingerprint of God, my Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ!


Note: I have special music for Holy Week and Easter...my regular playlist will return on Monday for all of you sweet peeps who have told me that you use my blog music as background music while you work!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday

Holy or Maundy Thursday. This is the day of Holy Week that Christians traditionally celebrate the Last Supper. The day on which Jesus instituted the Holy Communion. His agony and prayer in Gethsemane would follow and then his betrayal. I have no words for how my heart is feeling today as I think of how much our Savior had to love us to allow His body to be broken and His blood to be poured out as the precious innocent lamb, slaughtered for the atonement for our sins.  Thank you my Lord Jesus.

There are graphic clips from The Passion of The Christ in this video. You will want to turn off my playlist before viewing.


But I will remember that Sunday is coming.