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February 2018
Dearly Beloved. We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.

Dear Friends: 

I haven't sent a monthly newsletter out since September, so if you subscribed between now and then, you may have forgotten that you signed up. This is Jennifer from the Gen X blog, Are You There, God? It's Me, Generation X.

Farewell Momma
So much has happened since fall. In October, my mom's battle with heart disease began to overtake her, and we lost her on December 24. Just 10 days later, my mother-in-law died very unexpectedly. It's been hard time for Robert and me, and it's been especially tough on our kids. It's hard to lose the people you love so much, and it's hard to go on without them, but go on we must and do. 



Liz Longley's song, When You've Got Trouble, has been humming through my days, my mind. I'm happy for any occasion to share it, for it always bring me so much comfort. Always remember, if you have no one with whom to share your troubles, the Lord is there for you. He sees all and knows all. And, for what it's worth, you have my prayers. Please, if you would, say a pray for me and mine I would be so grateful. When you've got trouble, I've got trouble, too. 

You've been kicking in your sleep
Tossing and turning relentlessly
And I know you'd be a-lyin'
When you told me you were fine

You've been screaming in your head
Swallowing the words that I know you would have said
If you would just breathe

Oh my heart is tangled all around you
When you've got trouble I've got trouble too
Oh my life is arm in arm with you
When you've got trouble I've got trouble too


Click here to hear the rest of the song. You won't regret it.

Blessed Are Those Who Try, 

Jennifer 

Bartlesville

My daughter Bridgette and I traveled to Bartlesville, Oklahoma on Friday, for the Phillips 66 Gymnastics Meet. I lived in Bartlesville my last two years of high school, and was able to show Bridgy our old rent house on Dewey. It's where this picture of my mom and me was taken in February 1987. I was a sophomore in college and had come home to visit for the weekend. My dad took the picture with his Polaroid camera just as we were about to leave for church.
 


The house on Dewey was a 1920s bungalow, and one of four we lived in during our brief time in Bartlesville. We were always moving. I tried to show her the rundown American foursquare style house we lived in on 8th Street, but it had been torn down. Both those houses were so cold in winter, and I often felt like my life was not that far removed from the stories my dad shared about growing up in the Depression. He was right at home with the cast iron gas heaters. It always unnerved me to have to strike a match and open the valve. I'd hold my breath until the BOOM*BANG passed, a sign that I had at least momentarily survived the lighting of another pilot. 
 
By the way, my mom made the swell dress I'm wearing in that picture. She made me so many gorgeous dresses during my girlhood and youth. This one had a black velvet bodice and a skirt of tiered ruffles in burgundy satin. Lots of 1980s glory there, friends. She made the dress for the annual Valentine banquet at my Alma Mater, Southern Nazarene University. My date was Alan and we went with Devin and Barb. The event was held at the Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City. We all felt very fancy with our bright 80s makeup and rhinestone jewelry. Ha!

***

For many years, I have driven up and down the Turner Turnpike, the toll road that links Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In college, I often took a Greyhound Bus home for the weekend. I never went long without seeing them. But Friday's drive home from Bartlesville was like no other. As Bridgy and I drove through a cold, dark downpour, I saw a vision of my parents entering the Washington County Courthouse where they both once worked. My father was wearing his big, brown cowboy hat and my mom was wearing a pale blue dress. They were standing on the steps of the courthouse and they were smiling at me. They were so happy. I wondered what it was they wanted to tell me, and, then, I realized, it wasn't anything special at all. Just that they are together and have made it to the other side. They are OK, full of joy actually, and are still a part of me. They always will be, and I know they are waiting for me, and we'll be together again  some distant day.

Finally, I leave you with some of the words to the song my brother Billy sang at my mom's memorial service. We sang this a lot growing up. Elvis even sang it, but I prefer Ricky Van Shelton's version. Listen here. If our family had an anthem, it was Mansion Over A Hilltop.

...Don't think me poor or deserted or lonely
I'm not discouraged I'm heaven bound
I'm just a pilgrim in search of the city
I want a mansion, a harp and a crown

I've got a mansion just over the hilltop
In that bright land where we'll never grow old
And some day yonder we'll never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold...


 

Fun Link

Recently, I added some new plugins to the blog that help me organize and feature content. Check out this newly-organized collection of hilarious and sometimes scary Easter Bunnies from Easters Past.
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