Perspective

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The last time I saw Daddy.

 

“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” –Psalm 126:3

It’s all about perspective. You know, the way we look at things—glass half empty or half full. Today would have been Daddy’s 73rd birthday. Today I would have been stopping by his place for a visit, presents in tow, greeted by his smiling eyes and soft voice. Instead, I am feeling the void of his presence, and clinging to a photo taken of us at his birthday celebration last year—the last time I saw him, touched him, heard him. It’s eight days before Christmas, eleven days before he joined the angels.

My birthday was two days ago. I missed not getting a “Happy Birthday” text from him for the first time. Life kept on moving, but a part of me stood still.

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Can you relate? I imagine the holidays are difficult for anyone who has lost a loved one. I think of my friend Ryan whose beautiful wife Tammy graduated to glory the beginning of December last year. How quiet the house must be. But then, I am reminded of Jesus, his birth, his coming to fill the void of humanity—if we will let Him. To view life through a lens of “this is it,” is quite depressing, but to view life through the lens of “I am just passing through” creates faith and hope—expectation for what’s to come. Ryan and I view life through the same lens. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it means there’s hope.

This verse is a reminder that while we live in a world full of violence, pain, and death, the LORD has done great things for us, and we can be filled with joy. Joy is always possible. Thanksgiving proceeds the miracle. Always.

Prayer: Father, help me to remember the good times I had with my loved one, and not focus on their absence. Remind me to have a heavenly perspective when it comes to the ways of this world. Thank you for Christ in me, the hope of glory.

“Grief, no matter how you try to cater to its wail, has a way of fading away.”
V.C. Andrews

Meet Tendai

This is the photo from Craigslist.

I’m beyond excited…First, let me begin by saying, yes, I named an inanimate object. Don’t judge. 😜

So, Monday at the VA, I saw a lady on a tiny scooter that looked neat. I’ve been in the market for a new one as mine is so big and heavy (it’s a Pride Go-Go), and on it’s last leg. I didn’t ask her what it was called, but was able to find an image of it on Google the next morning. There were no prices online, so I called the company that makes them (you can’t buy them anywhere else) and found out they are $2,500! 😳 I was thinking they would be $500 or so because there is nothing to them… Ha.

Well, the guy I spoke with suggested I check Craigslist, so yesterday morning after we hung up I did, and out of the Tampa Bay Area (4 counties) there was only 1 for sale, and it had just been posted 9 hours before I saw it! (God wink!)

I called the company to ask some questions and they looked up the seller by first name and location and confirmed it was 3 years old. It is the older model that has a drive belt and doesn’t reverse, but she said it is still a great scooter and the guy was selling it at a great price. So, I drove to Land O’ Lakes this afternoon to check it out and got it! I’m SO stoked to not have to put my scooter together and take it apart several times a day. I picked this up WHOLE and put it in the back of my car! It weighs only 35 lbs. total, compared to the 99.5 lbs. of my current scooter (of course it comes apart, but the heaviest piece is about 55 lbs.). The battery alone on my Pride Go-Go is 35 lbs.! I feel like I have even more mobility now! I’ll need to get used to backing it up manually, but over all I am pleased with how this all worked out, and how God orchestrated the whole thing.

The possibilities are endless with this thing!

So, back to the name. My dad always had a knack for new things. Motorcycles, Cessna planes, computer equipment, you name it. After his health really took a turn for the worst, he got into scooters. The scooter I currently have I purchased from him I believe in 2011 for $500. It was practically new, yet now, having gone through an accident with it in the car (that one was not my fault), it has gotten pretty banged up.  Those who have seen it can attest to that. Here’s a pic of it from Daddy’s blog when it was new:

Her name was Tambaa (and still is I suppose), which is Swahili for “walk slowly or crawl.” And that’s pretty much what she did (and still does), even after I replaced the batteries…

It saddens me that Daddy isn’t here to see Tendai, blog about her, and likely order one for himself. I know he would be just as excited as I am pouring over the videos and photos of this amazing contraption. However, like most of his scooters, I have a feeling he’d be blogging about the cons, as it does require caution while riding due to the 3 wheels. He probably wouldn’t like the fact that it doesn’t reverse (this older model), and that you have to hit the brakes when coming to a stop unlike the Go-Go that simply stops. But I think she will be a good fit for me.

To honor Daddy, and carry on my love for Africa, I decided to name her Tendai. I normally wouldn’t name the thing, but Daddy always did, so I did it for him. 😄 Tendai means “be thankful” in Shona. It’s a great reminder, as I truly do have so much to be thankful for, including coming across this scooter.

The inventor of the TravelScoot and a friend showing more options for the scooter.

If you want to check out Daddy’s posts on his scooters to see why I wanted to name mine, click here:  Daddy’s Scooters

Daddy on Silverado several years back . . .

Daddy on Silverado several years back . . .

We both had annual passes to Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, and loved visiting there often together. In fact, that is where my hubby proposed to me. 😊 I used to go by myself with my Canon AE-1 film camera that Daddy had given me years ago and shoot rolls of film of the wildlife. We used to go to Budweiser Beer School each time we visited and get a certificate, lol. I remember how sad it was when they tore down the brewery and got rid of the Hospitality House. It just didn’t seem the same, and Daddy was disappointed with the changes. In fact I was stationed in Bahrain when he told me Busch Gardens was being sold to Inbev, and there was rumor that the amusement part and wildlife would be taken away, as they weren’t interested in that. I cried. Thank goodness that hasn’t happened.

Daddy and I on the Skyride at BG years ago.

Daddy and I on the Skyride at BG years ago.

Here is a video I made today driving Tendai for the first time after buying her. When I say, “brand new,” I mean that it’s new to me. 😉 I have also included a short video showing the Travelscoot in action. I’m excited! People travel all over the world on this thing, including the Holy Land, which I have wanted to do but didn’t think I could manage it with Tambaa. Oh, and I ordered the red pouch that you see in the other pictures. 😉

Check out this short video showing how you can put it in a car in one piece, or fold it up (watch until the end):

Not Fatherless

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“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” -Psalm 68:5

This is the first Father’s Day that I won’t be wishing my dad a Happy Father’s Day. I won’t be buying him a sentimental card that brings him to tears, or bringing him gifts to unwrap excitedly. I won’t be listening to the stories of what’s going on in his world, or the latest music he has been into. I won’t be seeing him wave hello or good-bye to me through the blinds of his studio as I pull in, or pull away. But it’s okay.

I haven’t cried today, which surprises me, but I know that although my earthly father has passed from this life, I am not Fatherless. No, I have a heavenly Father that loves me more than I could fathom, and He will never leave me. What a dad!

Perhaps you are in the same boat as me today, missing your earthly father. Don’t despair! We truly have the BEST Dad! 🙂

Day Five of Writing-201: Fog

Photo by Carsten Frenzl via Creative Commons.

Photo by Carsten Frenzl via Creative Commons.

Today’s assignment is to write about fog in one form or another using the form of the elegy. The device for today is the metaphor. I found myself so focused on the form that I forgot about the topic and device, so I adjusted accordingly. Although the entire poem isn’t really about fog, in a way it is. I believe the death of anyone we love leaves our lives in a bit of a fog for quite sometime. I’m not sure I did this correctly as far as form, but here goes nothing.

The Fog Will Soon Clear
 

Three days past Christmas and Daddy was gone.

It’s been almost two months, but the pain is still fresh.
 

A fog rolled over my heart as I waited for dawn,

Trying to live by the Spirit instead of the flesh.
 

Morning came, seeming almost surreal.

I got ready for church determined to rejoice.
 

Hands held high, tears flowing, trying to heal.

Instead of depression, God was my choice.
 

Like a newly scraped knee, I feel the sting.

His absence often bringing me to tears.
 

But just as winter turns to a jubilant spring,

I will find more healing through the years.

Memories of Music

The guitar Daddy gave me years ago. This photo was taken several years back at my apartment in Virginia.

The guitar Daddy gave me years ago. This photo was taken several years back at my apartment in Virginia.

I picked up the guitar again after much too long. It is my most prized possession from Daddy. He gave it to me years ago (I can’t recall when). I remember being SO concerned when I was in the hospital after my accident because it was in the car. Thankfully, the case was the only thing damaged. I am learning a song called “It is Well” by Bethel Music, because in spite of everything I am going through, it IS well with my soul.

I taught myself how to play using a chord book, and spent many a day playing it on the ship while in the Navy as well as while deployed to Bahrain. I’ve had to relearn the chords pretty much each time I’ve picked it up because I let so much time pass in between playing. The same goes for the book I am “working” on. I let so much time pass that I need to reread 22,000 words before continuing to work on it, and I end up polishing the thing instead of adding new content. Back to the guitar (squirrel)! It’s a classical wide neck guitar from Spain (a real beauty), so it’s a bit difficult for me to play having fractured both wrists in the accident. If need be, I may get a modern guitar with a smaller neck, but I love the way nylon strings sound! Of course, I imagine I could put nylon strings on a modern one.

One of my biggest regrets is selling the $900 viola Daddy bought me in middle school after I had auditioned and been accepted to Blake High School. (I have NO idea where he got the money for that!) Instead, I ended up going to Robinson High School, and no longer placed first chair since I couldn’t afford private lessons like the other students (at least that was my excuse). I had made first chair every year in middle school, and even during competitions with other schools in the area. I made third chair all county which was a big deal. I loved the trophies and medals, but I especially loved that Daddy was SO proud of me. I struggled with music theory, so began falling behind in high school. Put a piece of music in front of me and I could play it. Ask me what the notes are and I couldn’t tell you. But hey, I am actually learning the chords with the guitar! 🙂 Anyway, I sold it for $300 to a 70-something-year-old man who wanted to learn how to play. I asked Daddy first, but I could tell he was disappointed. He always attended my concerts and encouraged my musical gifts. He was so proud of me. I felt like I had let him down, so wanted to throw in the towel all together.

A photo Daddy took of me after he bought me the viola.

A photo Daddy took of me after he bought me the viola.

Daddy and I had a lot in common. I definitely got his creative genes. I wrote a short story in my creative nonfiction class about my dad’s talents, one of which being the ability to produce music. He was a sound engineer for many years, and he produced the single hit “Love Can Make You Happy” by the band Mercy. He was actually given a golden record of the song that he proudly displayed on his apartment wall. I will have to share the story I wrote with you all one day, or perhaps post the audio file to the story told by him. I thank God for Reverbnation, and for the music my dad has “remade” on there, as well as created himself. It’s comforting to hear his voice. Here is a song called “Jesus My Lord” that he sang and composed years ago:

http://www.reverbnation.com/mikeapsey/song/12201054-jesus-my-lord

I recently listened to the song after his death and realized what it was about. I had a good cry needless to say.

I’m sure there will be many more posts about Daddy, as I am still grieving him. We shared so much together. I’d stay the night at his place and we would share music. He would introduce me to new music, and I would do the same for him. We enjoyed trips to Busch Gardens mainly for the entertainment, as well as trips to Buffalo Wild Wings to hear music from one of the singers at BG who had his own band. May the music live on, and may the memories of music with Daddy live even longer.

Daddy and I after one of my orchestra concerts in high school. I guess white eye liner and dark lip liner was the thing. Or at least I thought so! :-)

Daddy and I after one of my orchestra concerts in high school. I guess white eyeliner and dark lip liner was the thing. Or at least I thought so! 🙂

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! -Psalm 95:1