Friday, September 11, 2009

Frank's Birthday

September 11th is Frank's birthday. Of course, it's the attacks on our nation that most people think of when you say 9-11. When Frank would sign in at the doctor's office, the receptionist would ask for his name.... "Frank Carlton".... and then date of birth.... "9-11-64". Almost every time, they would look up at him (sometimes for the first time) with big round eyes, as it he had something to do with the attacks somehow. Frank would just smile with that precious twinkle in his eye and say... "It was my day first".

Well, it was his day first. Today marks another "first" in our journey. It reminds me of conversations Frank and I had about his leaving us. He would say them in light hearted way, but I knew there was truth to his feelings. He once said he didn't want to die around any one's birthday or holiday and he wanted his funeral to be on the weekend. He said he didn't want people to have to take time off work because of him. Well, he sort of hit the mark on both of those. Chandler, Jim and Momma have April birthdays, but they are before the 29th. And, we did have a weekend funeral. It made me happy to know it worked out that way for him.......... it's the little things, you know?

Frank and I learned how to make gumbo a few weeks after we were married. I'll never forget talking with his Mimi in Greenville as she instructed us over the phone how to make the roux and share her tips with us. What a sweet memory that is. She had a giggle a lot like Frank's. We have made gumbo every year since then as our special tradition - usually on New Years Eve.

We decided to move Gumbo night to September. We will mark the tradition tonight on Frank's birthday, and then it will probably be Zach's birthday dinner in years to come. He loved sharing a birthday party with his dad. This birthday for him will be especially difficult.
We stayed up late last night making the gumbo. We listened to Frank's voice in different recordings we'd saved. And we cried together as a family as we remembered him on his birthday.
The marker has been placed - as the pictures show. We are pleased with it and think it honors him as he would have liked. I put flowers in his vase from our garden all summer long and will miss the chance to take them out each week. They were flowers that all came up from seed that he had planted the year before.
Thank you for your continued prayer for us. We need it still as we travel through this first year. We are hurting still, but more importantly, we are healing too. We know it takes time and we are continuing to praise our wonderful Savior for all He as done... and will do! His grace, mercy and provision for us is so evident. How can we be anything less than in awe of Him??
One of the things we did last night, as we stirred the gumbo pot, was read the Sept 10th entry from "Streams in the Desert", by L.B. Cowman. I know this is a bit long, but it was so powerful to each one us and so timely... just another little gift from God right when we needed it. I hope it blesses you as much as it did all of us.
With love from our hearts to yours.....
September 10
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Psalm 138:8
There is a divine mystery in suffering, one that has a strange and supernatural power and has never been completely understood by human reason. No one has ever developed a deep level of spirituality or holiness without experiencing a great deal of suffering.
When a person who suffers reaches a point where he can be calm and carefree, inwardly smiling at his own suffering, and no longer asking God to be delivered from it, then the suffering has accomplished its blessed ministry, perseverance has "finished its work" (James 1:4), and the pain of the Crucifixion has begun to weave itself into a crown.
It is in this experience of complete suffering that the Holy Spirit works many miraculous things deep within our soul. In this condition, our entire being lies perfectly still under the hand of God; every power and ability of the mind, will, and heart are at last submissive; a quietness of eternity settles into the entire soul; and finally, the mouth becomes quiet, having only a few words to say, and stops crying out the words Christ quoted on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Ps 22:1)
At this point, the person stops imagining castles in the sky, and pursuing foolish ideas, and his reasoning becomes calm and relaxed, with all choices removed, because the only choice has now become the purpose of God.
Also, his emotions are weaned away from other people and things, becoming deadened so that nothing can hurt, offend, hinder, or get in the way. He can now let the circumstances be what they may, and continue to seek only God and His will, with the calm assurance that He is causing everything in the universe, whether good or bad, past or present, to work "for the good of those who love Him" (Rom 8:28).
Oh, the blessing of absolute submission to Christ! What a blessing to lose our own strength, wisdom, plans, and desires and to be where every ounce of our being becomes like a peaceful Sea of Galilee under the omnipotent feet of Jesus! (from Soul Food)
The main thing is to suffer without becoming discouraged.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Mr. Frank. We Love You!!!! Cole & McKennah

Varners said...

Thanks for sharing his day with all of us! We love you all so very much and have been blessed by you in countless ways.

Michele said...

Still keeping you in our prayers. Happy birthday Frank!

David Morris said...

Thanks Peggy. My mom loved "Streams in the Desert". I can still see her reading her daily devotional while sitting on her bed. Maybe she and Frank are discussing some of those insights with the Lord today.

Anonymous said...

I wish there was a different way to say how much what you share and minister means. While my heart aches for the pain you feel, I am truly inspired every time I read the thoughts, feelings, the life that you so kindly and beautifully share. Thank you... Vicki

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post Peggy. The 11th was a difficult day for us in losing my beloved Uncle Mike. Your "Streams in the Desert" devotion was so timely. We love you and hold you close in prayer always, Jeanne, Mike & Family

Barbara & Scott said...

Peggy, I love your note. It is wonderful that you have honored Frank on his birthday. I think I will start making gumbo on 9-11 from now on. Love to you, Chandler, Zach, and Chase