Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Online Celebration of Life

I was supposed to go to Daryl Billing's Celebration of Life today in Joplin, Missouri. A former member of the Youth Group I led 20 years ago was going to fly in and we were going to drive down to Joplin for the service. Then Missouri weather, in typical fashion, happened and the young man didn't fly in and we didn't go. While I was significantly bummed, I knew it was the right decision. Imagine my JOY this morning when I saw that they were streaming the service on FB live. *grin*

When I initially heard Daryl Billings had Cancer, I thought he'd be fully healed. He lasted 5-ish years with Cancer. When he passed away recently, I wrestled with it. Well, I was wrestling beforehand. Then this past week Brian Pink released a song, "Welcome Home, Daryl" that helped me immensely. I think that losing dear friends this side of Heaven is the hardest thing we experience here. That song shifted my perspective and made me glad he's Home.

Even though I haven't had Daryl in my daily life for YEARS, He will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. People were able to share memories with Daryl today during the service, and I wanted to do a post about him. *grin*

I could literally write pages and pages of experiences in the Lord with Daryl (and Deb) mentoring me. Instead, I'll post highlights. That's what others did today during the celebration of life.

Daryl baptized me while I served alongside him and Deb at New Song Church in Joplin. We had an evening baptism service and several of us were baptized. It was priceless.

For a season we participated in Saturday night services at Joplin Church Alive (J.C.A.) and then we had services on Sunday morning at New Song Church. Defining moments in my walk with Him were made in that season. Daryl & Deb encouraged me when I was unsure, and let me know they believed in me. I was new to the Spirit Filled culture, and they taught me a lot in that season.

Daryl said a lot of things that have stayed with me all these years. One of my favorites was the fact that Daryl would always point me to God. When discussing various things, he would say, "What's God telling you?" He always pointed me to God, not to him or Deb. I try to do that when I'm mentoring young people now. That's helped shape who I am today. I think that's what good mentors do. They encourage & guide, but ultimately prepare you for success without them. Daryl did that very well with me.

I find it amazing what we remember throughout life. I remember a specific morning at New Song when Deb was encouraging a few of us, and she walked over to Daryl, put her hand on his chest, and told us not to settle in who we had for a spouse. She told us Daryl was worth the wait that she had between her first marriage & Daryl. That's been deep in my heart all these years.

Daryl was the person who encouraged me to play bongos at Crossroads House of Prayer. I remember the night he invited me up and how much I loved it. (Looking back, I was not good at it that night, but Daryl encouraged me in it anyway.) I've had some deep encounters after New Song on the Bongos at various events. If Daryl hadn't opened that door, I would have missed out on some amazing times on worship teams or at BYKOTA's Women's Retreats. I'm so thankful for that first night. *grin*

It's been MANY years (16 I think) since I served with Daryl & Deb at New Song. I have enjoyed watching Daryl & Deb do life together via facebook. I feel like we've been connected even though I've been in KC ten years now. I'm so very thankful for Social Media in this way because I enjoyed watching Daryl and Deb take adventures together. They inspire me.

I will miss him, although not in the way you might think. Over the years, when Bethel Music would come to KC or at the Onething Conference, I'd see him at the events. We would always hug (side hug, he was always a gentleman) and chat briefly. I remember the first time I saw him after I had moved up here, and we were both very excited to see each other and catch up. Whenever Bethel came, I would look for him. We both share a heart for worship music, so it was fun to see him at various events. I'll miss him when those events happen now and I won't see him. That's okay though, I'll think of him and smile. I think he'll be there in spirit. *grin*

Watching his Celebration of Life online today was neat. Not only did a get to see people from that season at New Song speak on Daryl's life, but I got to chat throughout the service via the chat feature on the web. In live time I was able to converse with some of those young people that were at New Song. I also met some new people too. I enjoyed hearing people share what an impact Daryl made on the lives of God's kids. There were A LOT of people that were blessed by Daryl. I wasn't surprised by that, but I was inspired.

Daryl was a man that knew how to unconditionally support people where they were at, but also challenge them to be more than they thought they could be. Daryl knew God and was able to impart the love of the Father into his kids.

As I watched the service, I was inspired to be used by God like Daryl was this side of Heaven.

Daryl, you will be missed this side of Heaven. May we all love people as well as you did while you were here. Love, T.S.O.

*grin*
(My nickname with Daryl was T.S.O., The Short One. It made me smile)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

My Heart is Full-Christmas 2019

I sit here tonight and my heart is full. I remember being a kid and the joy that Christmas brought in our home. The older I get, the more I realize how wonderful my parents are to my family. They are kinda amazing. *grin*

Over the years, we've adopted traditions without even realizing it. Or perhaps I just took it all for granted until today. Either way, it's incredible.

Love comes in different forms. Add them all up, and my heart is full.

It can be in a hug.
It can be in a conversation.
It can be in giving a gift.
It can be petting a dog.
It can be in a text.
It can be giving someone the perfect item that was on their wish list.
Or it can be something totally new that the person never knew they wanted.

Yesterday I drove to Springfield, had my favorite pizza on the planet, and a conversation that I didn't know I needed with a dear friend. One conversation can change a person. For me, it's been a lot to ponder, pray, and appreciate. Friendship comes in so many forms, and I'm blessed in my friendship with my friend in Springfield. I'm closer to God than I was on Monday. That is a gift. Priceless.

Okay, so back to the whole Christmas Day sap. *giggle*

Family. Priceless.

Gifts. Priceless.

Laughter.

Food.

My Heart is full.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD. *giggle*

Friday, November 29, 2019

To PD From TSO

Dear PD,

I know you're known as Papa Daryl to a lot of people, and that is so fitting for you. You will always be PD (Pastor Daryl) to me. I realize that even as I type this, God may call you Home. Part of my heart breaks, as I've been contending for healing in your body. At the same time, I've come to realize that where you're headed is where you're called to be. I'm excited for you, and sad for us. I hate C, but gosh you've taught so many of us in this season. I wanted to take a moment and let you know how much you taught me in my season at New Song.

I didn't know that day at Cecil Floyd Elementary when you came to talk to our mutual friend, Pam, would change my life in such a good way. You were so kind and simply gave me your card and invited me to church. I've thanked God several times over the years for that meeting.

Over time I enjoyed getting to know you, Deb, and the New Song family. I am so very thankful for the foundation you put in my heart in the things of the Lord. I had my first prophetic word there, which solidified so many things that I still hold dear to me today.

Everyone that asks me about my history of God, I tell about you & Deb. You did so many things for the young gal that I was in that season as I navigated singleness, living alone, and my first flood in my apartment. *grin* You were the one that taught me how to turn off my water, and we worked together to clean up the mess. THANK YOU. I smile when I think about that night, as I realize how young I was in that apartment, and how good you and Deb were to me. I look back on that season with a smile and love the family you became to me during that season.

I love how you walked me through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I'll ALWAYS be grateful for that. Thank you. It shifted my entire walk with Him. When I share my testimony, you are part of it. *grin*

I admired how you and Deb were so transparent with the New Song family. I truly felt like we were our own little family, and unconditional love was prevalent throughout that season. I'll never forget Deb teaching me not to settle for a spouse and what waiting meant for her as He made a way for you two to be together. I've held that deep in my heart all these years. *grin*

You and Deb were such good role models for me as a new believer, and I smile now as I reflect upon that. You (PD) never crossed any boundaries with me, and always had a father's heart toward me. Thank you. I'm so very thankful for the two of you.

When I first heard that you had C, I prayed and felt you'd beat it. Truly. When I read your post earlier this week, my heart sank. That Thanksgiving post is one that has impacted me & you haven't been far from my mind since.

Your positivity during the past few months on social media has inspired me. You know where you're headed and are at peace. For that, I am thankful. I want you out of pain and in paradise, as much as that breaks my heart for us. I'm praying for your family during this season. The party that's coming in Heaven when you arrive is going to be an amazing one.

You're leaving behind a lot of people who are closer to God today because of the way He used you in our lives. Thanks for your obedience. You won't be forgotten. You set an amazing example of the Father for all of us. Thanks.

Ohhhhh, what did Tigger find in the toilet? Pooh. *giggle*

Well, you enjoy jokes, as you've posted them a lot on FB. I thought I'd give you one more. *giggle*

Thanks for everything. You'll never know how much I adore & love you and Deb this side of Heaven.

With Love,
In Christ,
TSO
(PD's nickname for me as TSO-The Short One)

Friday, November 01, 2019

A Memorable Conversation

I am diving right in tonight, as I'm tired but want to remember something from today in detail. I had a conversation today with someone who's body is failing. I don't feel that sharing her name would be fair, however, you don't need it to understand this story.

I found out earlier this week that a dear friend has Cancer throughout her body. I was taken aback and she's been in the back of my mind since. Various opportunities to help her have been posted (the internet is an incredible tool in this way) and I volunteered to take her ice today. Fortunately, a couple friends were also in a helping mood. One person donated a refrigerator for her so that she doesn't have to go up and down stairs quite so much. Someone I work with raised a nice chunk of change for her too.

Today I went with a co-worker and we delivered the refrigerator. What followed was a conversation I hope I never forget.

My friend is dealing with some major pain, fatigue, and significant limitations in her world. She shared with me that sleeping for her isn't like it is for most people anymore. She sleeps, then is up for a while, and sleeps, and it goes on like that 24/7. I can only imagine the limitations she's adjusting to and how hard it must be. What she actually said was something like:

This is a new chapter I guess. I think with every chapter in life there's a lot of change. But it's okay, even with my new limitations, I'm glad to be alive. I'm adjusting to my limitations and I still want to be as independent as possible. I want to do the little things while I still can.

That wasn't all of it, but that's what stuck with me. She's a wise gal. She was given three months to a year to live, as Cancer is throughout her body. She is shooting for longer, and I wouldn't be surprised if she does live longer. She's a fighter. *grin*

I walked away changed in ways I can't quite put into words. I've always adored this gal, and I do have more days on the calendar to go visit her. I am glad too. I'm always amazed at how "at peace" people are in that situation. She definitely has a peace that inspired me today.

I've pondered her A LOT since I went to her house. I think each person that crosses our path is for a reason and teaches us something. The gal I saw today has blessed me repeatedly throughout the time I've known her. I'm praying for her to be with us as long as possible. At the same time, Heaven is ready when it's time.

There's no Cancer in Heaven.

Seems to me that when she does go home, that will be beautiful too.

Hug your loved ones folks. It can all change in the blink of an eye.

Life.
is.
Good.

It's not always easy, but, it's good. *grin*

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Lessons in Moving

It's been a while, too long really, since I've been on here. I honestly think daily about blogging, but I've been a little busy. See, I moved.

After ten years in the townhome I adored, I moved to an apartment closer to work. Honestly, I really, really like my new place. I typically avoid change, but have felt good throughout this whole process. I knew it was time. I was right too.

The move itself was hard. I cleaned out a lot before I moved, but honestly not enough. Ten years in my townhome allowed me to accumulate a lot of stuff. Two spare bedrooms allowed me to accumulate things without realizing it. It's been healthy though, as I've cleaned things out it has felt good to let things go.

I was a little overwhelmed when I first got all my stuff in here, I'm not going to lie. However, I've spent the past two (almost 3) weeks doing two or three boxes per night. I have made one trip to Goodwill with a full car of stuff to donate, and I've also done two trips to the recycling center. I have coats and shoes that will go out Friday too. *grin* My prayer is that I will have a clutter-free home when I'm done. Legit. *giggle* It may take a few more weeks, but I'm on a mission.*GRIN*

Jay wasn't sure of the new place at first. Now we're in a routine and he honestly is loving having new things to sniff when we walk after work. I love it too, as it's new scenery, and we haven't really even explored very far. *giggle* It's fun though. Tons of fun!

I've learned a lot through this process, and the biggest word that I keep thinking on is "healthy". I know I won't have a perfect apartment, but gosh I want it to be a healthy one. I want people to come over and not be embarrassed by my stuff. I want to be proud of my home.

And it's getting there.

Step by step.

Box by box.

I think I'm going to go crash. Moving & unpacking is more exhausting than I recall. Even when it's the right thing to do. *giggle*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!


Friday, September 13, 2019

Operation: Clean Crap Out *giggle*

Hi!

It's been a little while since I've been on here, and my mind is full of things to blog. I'm not sure where we're headed in tonight's post, but I'm excited to be writing again. *grin*

I've been in deep cleaning mode. I'm tossing out what I don't need (which I'm learning is a lot more stuff than I ever thought possible) in order to downsize for my move. I have found it all motivating and inspiring. Yes, hours of it (with a lot more to go) have taken place and I have found freedom in getting rid of stuff. I don't want to be a person held down by material things. *grin* For me, it has been a healthy process because I am getting rid of stuff and making room for a my new home. Yes, I'm nervous, but it all feels right. That makes me smile. In some ways I can't wait to be moved into my new place and have it all done, but, I know God is in this as I let go of some things and trash other things. *grin*

I've also taken time away to recharge in some different venues. Between our women's retreat at church, Jon Thurlow's final GPR set, and last night's Young and Free worship night, I'm in a good place emotionally and spiritually. *grin*

I hadn't realized it, but I had been focusing so much on this move that hearing His voice was difficult. I can honestly say in the past three weeks, I can hear Him again. I LOVE THAT!!! I've had the breakthrough I've been seeking, as well as a new connection that I wasn't expecting. *grin* I'm also seeking some wisdom on next steps in some areas, so if you think of praying for me, that'd be cool.

Well, I need to get back to the big "clean crap out" operation I've got going on.

Life is good.
ALWAYS.
*grin*

Sunday, August 18, 2019

YOU BE YOU

I think I'll dive in tonight. I mean, you are reading my blog so you know me in some form or another. It could be camp, church, school, or various other reasons. So I have something on my heart that I've been pondering all Summer.

Part of my job this Summer has been on the Employment Team and I have LOVED IT. It would take me A LONG time to explain what all I've learned this Summer. Anyway, I have met people at all the libraries around the metro. (Libraries are a whole new world now, by the way. Kids today will never know how good they have it now. *grin*) In one library in particular, there were a bunch of kids participating in a day camp at the library. So, as I was teaching my student, I noticed that two of the kids (who had skin different than white) were playing on the computers and made avatars that had white skin, blonde hair, and their bodies were thin. My heart broke a little. These young gals were beautiful (I mean that in a very appropriate way) as they are, it broke my heart that they felt they need blond hair and white skin to be pretty. I didn't say anything to them, I mean I was the new kid at the library.

Not too long after that first encounter, I was back at the library. There were three or four young gals in dark skin, and their avatars were white with blonde hair. I had to bite my lip, as my heart broke for them. I continued to teach, but at the end, I did walk over to them and told them that they're beautiful just as they are.

So, as we dive into a new school year (I start teaching in a high school an hour a week in September with more to come) I want to encourage all my readers to BE YOU. What ever that looks like, YOU BE YOU.

If you are smart, be smart, don't hide it.

If you are short, that's okay, you'll never bump your head going under doorways. *grin*

If you're tall, enjoy seeing life from a perspective that short people don't. *giggle*

If you have a disability, don't let it hold you back. YOU BE YOU.

Your skin color doesn't define you. It's part of you, but not all of you. Don't wish to be someone else. YOU BE YOU.

I could go on and on. I won't though, as the week is about to start and sleep is a priority.

Before I head up to sleep, I want to encourage you to be you.

We don't need cookie cutters or copy cats of each other.

We need each other to be different so that the world is a better place.

YOU BE YOU.

I'll be me.

We get one life. ONE.

Make it count.

*grin*
LIFE IS AWESOME.