Wednesday, July 15, 2015
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Sunday, March 22, 2015
The first time I danced with my father was at home. I was eight or nine years old and I remember my sister and I took turns dancing with Dad while the stereo played, our bare feet atop his shoes. We had great fun twirling around and pretending we were princesses. And Daddy smiled right along with us.
Years later, I danced with my father at a wedding our family attended. And let me say this—standing on my dad’s feet as a little girl was a lot more fun than actually trying to keep in step with him as a teenager.
I did what I could to get out of it. “Dad, maybe we shouldn’t. I don’t know how to dance.”
“Just follow my lead,” he encouraged. “Do whatever I do, and you’ll be fine.”
In my head I tried to follow the old “one-two-three” method I’d seen on television shows and movies. But my father seemed to follow a different approach. Try as I might, I could not seem to keep up with him. I wound up stepping all over his polished shoes and almost tripped over them a couple of times.
When the song ended, I left the dance floor dejected, and watched as my dad continued to dance with mom. Sigh. They seemed so in tune with one another, twirling effortlessly across the floor like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I wondered if I would ever be a good enough dancer to cut a rug with my father or with anyone else. Likely not.
Even at my own wedding, the situation failed to improve. Dad and I danced, or rather, attempted to. “Just follow me,” he said. “It’s easy.”
Easier said, than done.
Fast forward. Dad suffered congestive heart failure in 2004, and moved onto heavenly real estate. Mom survived him, but was diagnosed with Dementia. I often reminisce with her in an effort to stimulate memories. One day, I made a comment about my dismal dancing abilities and ended my sorrowful account with, “Too bad I never learned to dance as well as Dad.”
“What?” she perked up.
“Dance like Dad. You know.” I shrugged. “I wish I was as good a dancer as he was. You two used to dance all the time and you were great.”
With that, Mom started laughing.
“Mom?” I wondered what had set her off.
She had one hand over her face, shaking through a real side-splitter of a laugh. “Your dad?”
“What?” I wondered what she had to say about dad. Mom’s memories were mostly scattered and foggy to say the least.
“He couldn’t dance!”
Stunned, all I managed to do was stare. “He couldn’t?”
“He was a terrible dancer.” Mom kept on giggling.
“But I thought he was--”
She shook her head. “He thought he was a good dancer, but your father stepped all over my feet for years. He blamed it on everyone else, but he was all over the place. No one could follow or keep up with him.” She dabbed at her eyes. “Your dad couldn’t dance. He just thought he could.”
“Mom, are you kidding me?” All these years I thought I was miserable at keeping rhythm and pace. A woman with two left feet! And all along, my dad was the true culprit? Could it be that my dad was the one with the two left feet?
“Did everyone he danced with feel the same way?” I asked.
She giggled. “Yes, they all knew.”
I leaned forward. “All our family and friends?”
Mom gave me the nod.
“Well, I’ll be…” I did a twirl around the room, making use of the “one-two-three” method, wishing I could somehow stand on my daddy’s shoes again.
“I think I can dance after all, Mama!”
Mom smiled and shook her head. “So did your father.”
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Lagniappe--by Linda P. Kozar
Do you like bittersweet chocolate? The month of February is like that for me. My father went to be with Jesus on February 14th, Valentine's Day, 2004. But his passing on February 14th, was no coincidence. His story began 15 years earlier in 1989, a God-ordained miracle. Here is our family testimony:
My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalms 73:26).
(Creole French for "a little something extra")
"Life is too short to buy green bananas. Buy the ones ready to eat because you never know how long you'll have." Always ready with a clever quip and a funny face to match it, Dad kept his family forever laughing. For some reason though, he continually brought up the subject of dying, and somehow, inexplicably made it sound funny. In retrospect, perhaps joking about death was a form of bravado for him.
Dad was forty-seven when he was hospitalized for the first time--on Valentine's Day, 1975. But unlike his own father who died of a heart attack around that age, he lived--a tribute to modern medicine and lifestyle changes.
Years later however, on New Year's Eve, 1989, his heart again rebelled with a series of heart attacks. Dad's condition was serious and the prognosis, extremely poor. Four arteries leading to his heart were blocked. Severely damaged, his poor heart struggled. One valve was leaking blood, and doctors also discovered an aneurysm in the outside wall of his heart that could rupture at any time, resulting in instant death.
Doctors tentatively scheduled surgery, but were waiting to see if he would gain enough strength to live through it. The death of my father seemed imminent. However, in the course of time between his first heart attack years ago and this incident, most of our family, excluding Dad, had asked Jesus into our hearts.
So we waited. And one night, after an exhausting day at the hospital, the family gathered in the kitchen. My mother was preparing to return to the hospital to spend the night at Dad's side, but before she left, we decided to pray together. Filled with the hope of God's promises, we formed a circle and joined hands, each sharing a prayer from the depth of our souls. Surely God knew our hearts were as broken emotionally as our father's was physically.
My brother was the last to pray, and he felt strongly prompted by the Lord to pray the prayer of Hezekiah over our father:
"In Second Kings, Chapter 20:1-6 (KJV), the Prophet Isaiah was sent to King Hezekiah by God and said unto him, 'Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.' Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, wept bitterly and repented. So God answered, "...I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee...And I will add unto thy days fifteen years..."
My brother continued praying, "Lord Jesus, we ask that You will grant to us the life of our father. Let him live another fifteen years as you did King Hezekiah."
The strength of that prayer did not shake the earth or startle us. It was a simple heartfelt prayer that we agreed upon in the presence of God. Bu on the night before his operation, we all visited Dad, and something amazing happened. My brother asked if he wanted to receive salvation. To our surprise and delight, he agreed. That very night, Dad asked Jesus to be his Lord and Savior!
After his surgery on Valentine's Day, 1989, Dad's condition instantly improved. Doctors could suddenly find no trace of the leaking valve, or "fatal" aneurysm in the wall of his heart. After a quadruple by-pass, he began an astonishing recovery. He was transformed inside and out and six weeks later, was able to proudly walk me down the aisle at my wedding.
In the years that followed, mother and father became grandparents to a total of nine grandchildren. And as the years passed, so did our memory of that prayerful night. We had long ago forgotten the details of that prayer--until the close of the fifteen years approached.
Dad contracted bronchitis, but seemed to be doing all right. Doctors prescribed medicine and the medicine seemed to work. An X-ray revealed that his lungs were clear. However, both my mother and brother remembered the prayer of fifteen years earlier. The illness seemed to call up the echo of its spoken word. They both realized that 2004 was the fifteenth year, but said nothing to the rest of the family. Perhaps, they reasoned, God would let him live longer. After all, he seemed fine.
Then, on Valentine's Day, 2004, my father's heart began to fail. The diagnosis--congestive heart failure. The kind, young doctor who worked on him in the Emergency Room, assured our family that he would treat him as if he were his own father. In spite of all the doctor's efforts however, Dad faded away.
God is never late, never early but always, always right on time.
A flower fades, dries and crumbles to dust, but its fragrance remains for a while. The fragrance of that one special life remains for us and it is sweet indeed. Our world did not come to an end the day Dad died, though we all imagined it would. And though we missed him desperately, life continued without missing a beat.
Though his absence seemed unbearable in the beginning, we remembered the prayer and understood that God had indeed granted us the desire of our hearts. He gave our father another fifteen years of life, and we were indeed grateful, but even more so with the eternal perspective that we can look forward to a joyful reunion in heaven.
And as for his children? Like our father, we're fond of bananas and we always buy bright yellow ones, never green-because you never know.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
|Love Quotes I Wish I'd Wrote...|
We'll always have Paris.
--Rich (Humphrey Bogart) to IIisa (Ingrid Bergman)
Winning that ticket, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me...it brought me to you...You must do me this honor, Rose. Promise me you'll survive. that you won't give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise.
Listen to me, mister. You're my knight in shining armor. Don't forget it.
--Ethel (Katherine Hepburn) to Norman (Henry Fonda)
But for now, let me say--without hope or agenda, just because it's Christmas and at Christmas you tell the truth--to me, you are perfect. And my wasted heart will love you. Until you look like this (picture of a mummy). Merry Christmas.
--Mark (Andrew Lincoln) to Julie (Keira Knightly)
What I really want to do with my life--what I want to do for a living--is I want to be with your daughter. I'm good at it.
Sleepless in Seattle
Well, it was a million tiny things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together. And I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home, only to no home I'd ever known. I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like...magic.
--Sam (Tom Hanks)
You had me at hello.
--Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) to Jerry (Tom Cruise)
I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend a day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
--Harry (Billy Crystal) to Sally (Meg Ryan)
From Pride and Prejudice
...If, however, your feelings have changed I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love...I love...I love you. I never wish to be parted from you this day on.
--Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen) to Elizabeth (Keira Knightley)
Gone With The Wind
You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.
--Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) to Scarlett (Vivian Leigh)
Tonight, I will look up at the moon; and I will know that somewhere you are looking at it too.
Every girl is beautiful. Sometimes, it just takes the right guy to see it.
Lord of the Rings
I would rather share one lifetime with you...than face all the Ages of this world alone.
--Arwen (Live Tyler) to Aragorn in The Fellowship of the Rings
The Princess Bride
Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
--Westley to Princess Buttercup