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A Christmas Carol: My Thoughts on Tiny Tim

“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

A couple of years ago, my obsession with A Christmas Carol became evident to my family. My son, Taylor, who resides now in Heaven, asked, “Mama, why do you have every version of that movie possible!? Don’t you get sick of it?”

“It’s the best movie ever, Taylor, because it always reminds me of what is really important at Christmas. Besides, what a blast to watch Scrooge shock everyone at the end!”

My favorite versions are the ones where, in the end, you get to see the presents Scrooge showers on people who have feared him. The best shocker is where Mrs. Cratchit doesn’t know whether to karate chop Scrooge Miss Piggy-style or wrap him in a huge bear hug.

The compassionate depth of this story is obvious to me except one line that always confounded me: Tiny Tim’s comment quoted by his father, “…that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.” – Until this year.

Would it be asking for pity if it were me? This year, it has become real to me. Although five months have passed, I still get to share with people the familiar phrase, “Our son, Taylor, was married and twenty-eight days later went to be with Jesus.” I finally get Tiny Tim! Sometimes I hesitate to share the news because I don’t want people to think I’m looking for pity. But I am truly thankful for this tragedy so I can share my next phrase of hope and my anchor, “But I know for certain he is with Jesus and our Lord is doing great things with this loss and holding me up in joy as I hold His hand tighter than ever!”

Last night, I saw a friend who did not know of our loss. I shared the first part of the story, and then we were interrupted. Thinking of Tiny Tim, I couldn’t go on today until I called him to share the rest of the story. I don’t want to share my story without the joy because there is no need for pity, just a chance to share, that in the midst of trials, there is hope for everyone. Tiny Tim saw the silver lining of gratitude in his life. When others see me, may it be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made a way for my son to have eternal life.

Merry Christmas.  I pray for silver lining perspective in each heart and “God bless us, every one!”

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My Tribute to Taylor, Our Second Born Son, Our Adventurer

Carla Wood – July 25, 2013Image

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Psalm 20

In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary
and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
May he grant your heart’s desires
and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king.
He will answer him from his holy heaven
and rescue him by his great power.
Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
Those nations will fall down and collapse,
but we will rise up and stand firm.

That last part of that verse was one of Taylor’s favorite verses. He loved anything to do with cowboys and horses. As you listened to me read this passage from Psalm you might have asked, “How were your prayers answered?” As a follower of Jesus Christ, our greatest prayer is that each family member and friend gives their whole heart and life to Jesus so we can be in Heaven together forever. We know beyond any doubt that although Taylor was not perfect, just like we are not perfect, he is in Heaven with Jesus living ecstatically in awe and wonder of all the amazing things God had promised him if he would trust Jesus with his whole heart.

When Taylor was 4, he asked Jesus into his heart. He wanted to be a good boy and he knew he couldn’t do it on his own. After he asked Jesus into his heart I told him about how I needed to spend time with Jesus every day, reading my Bible and talking with Jesus to help me to be a good Mommy. Shortly after this, I had an impatient moment with Taylor and he tugged at my shirt and said with his little Bostonian accent, “Mama, did yo have yo Jesus time? I think yo need yo Jesus time.”

From the age of 4-6, we homeschooled in Oxbow, OR. Each morning after breakfast, Taylor would get all of us in the living room. He would grab his cowboy hat and his stick horse, and the kids and I would run around singing with Steven Curtis Chapman, “The Great Adventure” or as Taylor would say “Saddle up Your Horses”. He wouldn’t let us do our Bible time until that song was sung and danced to. It is the first song on his life video J.

Taylor really knew what was important in life.

When he didn’t dress or keep his hair the way I thought was best for him in high school, I love how he gently gave me a scriptural reminder, “Mama, man looks to the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” Taylor always saw beyond the outside of people and saw what God saw in their hearts and could recognize what they were created to be. He would often make a quick call and say, “Mama, pray for so-and-so. They really need prayer this week.” He would never tell me what the problem was, keeping his friends’ personal lives confidential, but he knew the power of prayer could change lives and wanted all his friends to have the same peace and relationship with Jesus that he had.

Taylor didn’t just have a free ticket to Heaven when he asked Jesus into his heart; he saw life as an adventure to learn more about God in nature and an adventure to see who God wanted him to reach out to next. He didn’t preach a lot, he loved people where they were and expected the best out of them while having a lot of fun along the way.

Taylor felt closest to God in the Idaho outdoors. It started first in our family campouts. I saw his relationship with Jesus first grow in our garden. Raspberries, my favorite food, were abundant in our back yard in July. In grade school and junior high, Taylor was always the first one up summer mornings and would say, “Hey Mama, let’s go have breakfast!” Out to the garden the two of us would go to pick raspberries and eat them as we talked noticing cool things about God from the garden. He loved to be close to God in nature so when I went to the river to see where he took his last breath I had a deep sense of peace knowing he flew to heaven from a place he would go  to hear God speak. It was a safe place, not dangerous, but beautiful and we all realized why he was so excited to play there.

During my back surgeries over the last few years, Taylor always slept on our sectional couch while I reclined in my sleep. His hand was always stretched out to touch my hand or leg. For 2-3 weeks for each surgery, he would do this and make sure I had whatever I need and prayed to ease my pain even on days he worked his 10 hour shifts.

Taylor was very creative in a mechanical way and in business, art and music. He loved to paint. If you ever saw his bedroom, he and his friends were allowed to draw on the walls. Although he loved his mechanic work, he longed to use his art and entrepreneur gifts more. His self- portrait is in the foyer that he made at a summer art school near my sister, his Aunt Carolyn’s in Annapolis. We hope you each will take a magnet copy of this which his aunt has made as a gift for all of you.

As the Lord has ministered to me this week he keeps showing me a vision of Taylor painting his heart out in worship of God with the outdoors in Heaven. Some of his favorite past times were playing and singing with Michael Pease, Stephen and the gang. Michael and Stephen are doing a concert thinking of us today. A big favorite was going with Trevor Powers in high school, downtown, playing on the street corner on Taylor’s snare drum with Trevor on the guitar making more money than they expected. He was never quite sure his voice was good enough to follow the path his two friends had found, but Michelle said his voice was improving so much and he loved to sing this past month even more. His new singing genre was reggae in Hawaii but making up his own new words to it. I’m anxious to hear what he has written in Heaven for the Lord. I think we should expand the Christian reggae genre on earth. Hmmm…

One of my sweetest memories was when he was in junior high at that typical junior high stage with an “I-don’t’need-my-parents” attitude. However, he would ask at the end of a tiring day, “Mama, could we lay on your bed, cuddle, and watch “Little House on the Prairie?”  This went on for about a month until we had watched every episode of Little House and moved onto The Walton’s.  J

Taylor was the only one of our 4 kids that called me mama. I will forever hear his frequent phrases, “Mama, guess what God did for me today?” “Mama, please pray…” “Mama I found the greatest place.” Especially missed will be his random phone calls or texts that simply said, “I love you Mama!” My favorite Mama moment was in January 2012 when he asked, “Mama, would you please pray that God will give me a wife who is perfect for me?”

“Well sure Taylor, I have done that since you were little but I will be intentional about it now. What’s the deal with Michelle True? Why aren’t you dating her?” I replied.

“I can’t do that, she is my best friend. I wouldn’t want to ruin our friendship.”

“Well Taylor, best friends usually make the best spouses. At your age, maybe you should rethink that.”

Shortly after that, Michelle started spending every day at our house and we all fell in love with her, along with Taylor J. God knew that we would need Michelle and her amazing family to help us get through this. Treasures they are in our lives forever.

To Taylor, yo Mama loves you, and she will always have her Jesus time sending messages to you through Him. I hold Jesus hand knowing he will pass on the information to you holding his other. Thank you for daring us to dream, loving people the way Jesus does, and preparing us to carry on your adventures. Dad and I always told you, with your strong will and spirit, God would do great things through you. Thanks for cheering us on up there encouraging us to continue to pass on the love you have given to others and make the world a more loving and fun place. We promise to make your domino affect change the world into a better place as you did.

To our Lord Creator, thank you for giving us 23 amazing years with our son. For using his gifts to love others and make his life an amazing adventure. Thank you for giving him the happiest year of his life with friends, the completely perfect wedding to the absolutely perfect woman for him. Thank you for the assurance that we know he is with you and for all the little kisses you have sent to us this week to confidently remind us he flew into your arms. Thank you for showing him the good things that happen down here and let him know how deeply we love him.

To those adults in this room, teachers at Cole Valley, Borah, Sunday school teachers and youth pastors, and parents and family, thank you for being a part of the plan God had to impart love and truth into our son’s heart that made him a man after God’s heart. Taylor, Michelle, and our other children are living proof that seeds planted in our young people will grow to serve our Living God.

To all of you, in this room, and those who were not able to be here, thank you for being such an amazing support to us. The miracle of the Body of Christ praying and reaching out is glorious and has given us strength that was supernatural this week. Despite times of crying, none of us are hopeless we have constant reassurance that Taylor is surfing in Heaven in between painting, singing and using these gifts to just completely worship his Awesome God in the fullness of His glory. He is cheering us on to persevere and reach the prize of our ultimate calling to also be with Christ.

To Gary, my sweet blessed man, thank you for raising a godly man to love and serve us and others. He has your servant’s heart and I’m deeply humbled by that. I am so glad I married you and have shared this amazing son with you. I am excited to continue close to you in this journey we are on to see what amazing things God is going to do next.

Michelle, my new amazing daughter, thank you for seeing Taylor as God saw him and for bringing out the best in him. You completed him, now we have the other part of Taylor to cherish for life.  You were the answer to a lifelong prayer for Gary and me. You and God gave him the best year of his life and no one could ever ask for more at a time like this. You are the greatest treasure Taylor has brought to our family and we are so glad to have you for our forever daughter. Gary and I vow to take care of you as Taylor would.

Shawn, Angela, Drew, and Bethany, our precious children we are so grateful for on earth, thank you for loving and supporting Taylor and each other, especially during the last two months of celebration of his life and marriage. A student at Cole Valley told Shawn his senior year that our family was weird. When Shawn asked why, the reply was, “You all love each other and don’t fight.” I’m so proud that you all understand love so deeply.

To the True Family, the Wood Family, the Barkley and Clark families, as always you have been faithfully by our side. We are so blessed to have all of you and look forward to having many more adventures together making new memories with joy as Taylor would want.

To Jamison, you are technically a friend, but truly a brother. When Taylor chose you to be his best man in the wedding, it was a no brainer to Shawn and Drew and the rest of us. There is a friend that is closer than a brother and that is you. Thank you for being there with Taylor through thick and thin. We are here for you through thick and thin too.

And to all his friends new and old, especially you honored pall bearers, we started to list all of you and the list was going to be so long; we know you are grieving in some ways more deeply than we are. I wish I had time to list each and every name of Taylor’s friends. You spent more time with Taylor than we have lately and will have a bigger hole in your lives right now. Our home is open 24/7 for any of you to hang out. We want you to gather whenever you need a place in our home to play, talk, laugh, share, pray, whatever you need. I always wanted a huge family, God gave us a start with 4 and Taylor gave you to us to adopt. You will always be our kids just like Michelle. Be watching for his Birthday Party in September to join with us and celebrate our relationships with all of you!

My prayer for all my children throughout their lives is from Ephesian 3 and I want to pray this for everyone here and all whose lives have been touched by Taylor:

 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 Father God, I pray that from your glorious, unlimited resources you will empower these beloved friends and family with inner strength through your Spirit. 17 Then Jesus will make his home in their hearts as they trust in you. That their roots will grow down into your love and keep them strong. 18 And may they have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep your love is. 19 May they experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then they will be made complete as Taylor is now, with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the Body and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

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Great Week with Author Sigmund Brouwer, Cindy Morgan Brouwer and The Hymns for Hunger Tour

Sigmund spoke in Treasure Valley Schools with his Cool2Read and Rock and Roll Literacy assemblies and Young Writers’ Workshops, inspiring kids to read and write. His wife, singer song writer Cindy Morgan, along with Andrew Greer and Kyle Buchanan helped raise money for Lighthouse Rescue Mission in Nampa and Food for the Hungry with their Hymns for Hunger Tour. A fabulous week in Boise and Nampa!
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Remembering My Child-Like Faith

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
John 10:10 (The Message)

God is our refuge and strength. Our very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear.
Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV)

When I was only five years old and attending Vacation Bible School, our pastor told me about being a Jesus follower. Truths about having peace and no fear, and going to Heaven rather than Hell, made an impression. I remember thinking about it, then going home and thinking about it some more. At bedtime, I told my mom I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. From that day on, I was determined to love Jesus and make Him my best friend forever.

In the third grade, a broken leg landed me in the hospital. In 1971, kids with fractures spent at least one or two nights in the hospital. Because of work, my parents were unable to visit me, so other than my two Sunday school teachers, I was alone for a couple of days, and tempted to be frightened.

With determination to remember Jesus was with me, I decided the situation was like my Bible story from the Sunday before – Paul and Silas in prison. A bit dramatic for the much more mundane truth of my hospital stay, but I still decided to praise Jesus in the midst of my trial and pray for the girls in my room.

During crutch lessons with the physical therapist, I noticed other children up and down the hall who were very sick. I asked the nurse if I could go up and down the hall in a wheelchair praying for the sick kids. She granted permission, so off I went in my prayer machine on wheels.

One family, in particular, touched my heart. Their baby girl had pneumonia, and the doctors were not hopeful. I asked the parents if I could pray for her, and they eagerly agreed, wheeling my chair into her room. I prayed a simple little girl’s prayer for this baby asking for healing, and for her parents to not be afraid.

The next morning, I awoke to her mom and dad standing over my bed, tears in their eyes, holding a rosebud for me. Thinking the worst because of their tears, I asked what was wrong. But they quickly assured me that not only was their baby girl all right – despite not being expected to live – but the doctors were actually sending her home. The doctors, they said, were amazed that the baby was better. They thanked me for my prayers, and told me that Jesus had used me to bring healing to their little girl.

At that moment, I realized that being a Christian was not just a free ticket to Heaven. It is also a free ticket to join Jesus on the adventure of life, looking for opportunities to partner with Him in bringing abundant life to others.

As the years have passed, there have been many times that discouragement and doubt try to settle in. But each time I take those fears to Jesus, He reminds me of that little girl who knew no fear and His promise to be my lifelong partner in the best adventure of all.

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May These Words Be a Blessing

Wow! My first blog.

My sister, friends, and free- time have moved me to take my adventures with Jesus to the blogging world. (That’s a story in itself I will share in the weeks to come.)

Prayer goes into the words on these pages that they will bless those who may cross paths with me in this digital world.

I always have a story to share, so whether or not people read this or it is just a diary for me to read and be reminded of God’s faithfulness in my journey with Him, I’m excited to join the 21st Century’s journaling world.

In His Infinite Love,

Carla

Ephesians 3:16-19

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.