What A Wonderful Life

This is my grandmother. You know she was healed in 1975 of a rare bone condition. Yep… On her death bed, in a neck brace and body cast for 19 1/2 years, didn’t have feeling in more than half of her body BUT the power of God’s Holy Spirit transformed her in a single moment.

I miss her. I miss her a lot.

You know… After she was healed, Holy Spirit led she and my grandfather into full-time ministry. She would lay hands on the sick and they were made well through Jesus. She would speak to darkness, demons and things that scare the majority of us and they would flee. People began to live freer, fuller lives after experiencing the power of Holy Spirit inside of her.

You know… If you google “Delores Winder” you probably won’t find much more than a few videos of a tiny woman, with white hair, blue eyes that pierce your soul and a voice that sounds so strange yet captivating.

I always wanted to be just like her. Not the physical attributes… The spiritual ones.

You know… We butted heads a lot. Especially when I’d take the things she taught me and advance them for today’s culture. I always saw the world a little bit different. I always saw so much capacity for restoration, transformation and cultivation on a world-scale.

But gosh… To follow Him like she did… With so much ease that God was “taking care of things.” To have the faith that He would keep providing more than enough because that’s who He is and has always been. To just stay in the present moment and be like Jesus. Those… Those are still goals.

And maybe… Maybe I’m more like her than I even realize; however, I do believe the way she chose to live is one of the main reasons I keep choosing to live like this. To be constantly full of God’s presence, of love, of joy, of peace and of prosperity…. What a wonderful life! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

The Memory Tree

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/781/13106950/files/2014/12/img_1849.jpg
Since I was around the age of 15 I’ve complained about one thing… I didn’t think we had any family holiday traditions….

I’d look around at other families during the holidays… I’d see their festiveness and annual excitement and I’d think “gosh, I wish my family had some tradition”….

So as I got older I’d try and find ways to create some tradition for my family… Like Christmas Eve dinners at a nice restaurant or opening presents a specific ways…

And my family would always get annoyed with me…

And I guess I basically believed that my family was so boring and so out of date… And that we didn’t do anything truly cool or traditional for the “Winders”….

So it was ironic tonight… Tonight as I was hanging ornaments on the tree… The tree mom kept bare until Bridge and I got home… So the three of us could decorate it together….

And as we were decorating… Mom said “this tree is a memory tree. I think we should call them memory trees”….

Now every tree is different… The decoration process I mean… But ours… Well ours is unique….

For every place we’ve ever traveled together as a family, mom has purchased an ornament…. We have snow skiers from Crested Butte, Vail and Keystone… Football Santas from the years we went to NOLA for the Dome… Several starfish from the beach…. Christmas in NYC…. Disney Princesses….

And then we also have ornaments for the activities we did… Cheerleaders…. Ballerinas… And of course BAMA football…

And then there are the ones made to put pictures of us in when we were kids…

And of course their are the handmade ones from preschool…. Mom loves those the most….

And we can’t forget “the three bears”…. Not sure where they came from… Or the toys that mom turned into ornaments because we loved them so much….

And true to Andrea form…. Each ornament has a date on it… The year we got it… And some of an extra kick like “ECA”….

But the beautiful thing was… As I unwrapped each special ornament… I began to realize mom’s words are so true…

Our tree is a memory tree… Because it’s full of moments we shared as a family… It’s a reminder that we went “there” and did “that”….

And with the absence of dad this holiday… Well the tree and the ornaments are that much more special and close to my heart…

And in the midst of all the decorating… I got lost in the moment and realized… We do have a tradition…

And all of those years I spent wanting one… Well we were creating one as a family… And now we have this beautiful tradition…. One that I hope to pass down to my kids and grandkids…

I get that some people like their ornaments to look the same and fit a mold of specific color…

But I feel like ours is just right… Because we are the Winders… And we have a beautiful story to tell through our memory tree…

And in a few years… When we look back at the Empire State Building…. Olaf… And Mary Poppins…. Well… We’ll know that was the first Christmas without dad… But more than that… We’ll be able to remember that was first Christmas we changed the name of our tree….

And you know what…. I’m more than ok with that…

Month Six…

IMG_1519

July 2nd… August 2nd… September 2nd… October 2nd… November 2nd… And bam… December 2nd is here…

It’s been six months… six months since dad’s been dead… and some of the months have happened without me thinking about the day or realizing “today is month number…”

But today feels different… And it’s for so many reasons… Mainly because the doctors said he might make it to Christmas…

Well…. here we are… we are 23 days away from Christmas and I am fatherless… A miracle didn’t happen and modern medicine didn’t save his life….

And it hasn’t been a bad thanksgiving at all… I board a plane today… Heart full of love from everyone I saw and all that I experienced…

But it still doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s not here… That I will leave mom here… Alone… Again…

And she’s in so much pain… And there’s really nothing I can do to make the pain go away….

I continue to realize there’s nothing I can do every time I hear her say her heart is broken…. “it’s just broken.”… she says…. She says it’s broken and she knows life will go on and she will heal… But for now the pain… the pain she has to live with is so much…

Mom says that there are just so many hurdles in front of her she has to cross… That there’s just so much responsibility in front of her now… And that she just misses dad so much…

And it hurts my heart to know she’s feeling pain…. and that I can’t do anything about it… There aren’t any words I can say…. There’s nothing I can do to help her mend her broken heart… I can love her and hug her… But I just feel like that’s not enough….

And then she has to carry so much now… But in the midst of it all… Well my mom fascinates me because I don’t see her falling apart at every corner… She’s together in her own way….

And I know people have said the holidays are hard… But they haven’t been too bad… And maybe it’s my outlook… my perspective… But I see things differently… And I’m choosing to live in each day and just enjoy the fact that we are together as a family…

But I’ve had my moments… Like last night when I thought my dad had scared my sister… But then I quickly remembered that he’s not here and she was just scared on her own…

And of course I think living out in Cali makes this reality a little less for me… But it’s all still reality…

So I genuinely hope… today… six months from the day that I watched my dad die… Well I hope it’s filled with love and hope and goodness… Even if I don’t experience those things… I hope others do…

And I hope my mom doesn’t feel so much of a mess… That she can move through today with her spirits lifted….

And I know it sucks… Death isn’t a friend… But I do respect him for the job he does…

And more than anything… I just want my mom to be happy and her heart to be full again… I want her to be taken care of and loved…

That’s what I want…