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Dawn….

Today, our sweet friend Paula Sonnenberg tells us of how God is showing himself to her through her beautiful daughter, Scout.  Here’s Miss Paula:

Little girls holding hands

When I was in 7th grade, I sat in my first Sunday School class in the youth group.

There was a new girl – Crystal. She sat in the back & did not say anything. She was deaf. I pulled a chair up next to her and wrote her a note: “If you will teach me some sign language I want to talk to you.”

So began my love for American Sign Language. Crystal left the beginning of our Freshman year to go to the Texas School for the Deaf. I never saw her again. But what a beautiful gift she had given me!

Signing became like a friend to me. It was & is my favorite way to worship. My ‘prayer language’ if you like. It is how I talk to babies- including my sweet Silas who never ever threw a fit for lack of me understanding him. It was the path of my second graduate degree to become certified as a Deaf Education teacher. It was how I fed my family when my chickens were babies- giving private lessons to students. It has even how I mentored Senior Projects for students at Cooper High School.

As Lee is in Arkansas right now, guess what non-morning person is delivering my treasures to school? This one! As I dropped off my middle-schoolers & watched my sweet Silas struggle across the cross walk- waving me on when I stepped out of the car to help him – I felt a quickening in my heart….“I cannot take away his struggles,” I whispered.

As I felt the tears shoot up from my soul, I had to shake it off. I had one more bundle of joy to deliver. I got back in the car to take Scout to school and, of course, was immediately mindful of her struggles as I warned her “The sun is about to pop up & smile at us! Get those cool sunglasses on that pretty face!” We rolled on over to the elementary school singing a little Toby Mac. My sadness fled.

As we pulled into the parking lot & got in the drop off line, I saw a cute little blondie start hopping up & down in front of our car. I opened my door to help Scout out & as soon as Scout heard the voice hollering “Scout! Scout!” she lit up. “Momma! Hurry! That’s Madison C.! She wants to walk me in!” We scurried her out & over to that sweet voice. Off they scrambled into the cafeteria.

As I continued to roll up through the drop-off line, watching them, through squinted, sun-drown eyes; they were skipping into the gym arm-in-arm. I jerked my head up to heaven with a sudden realization.

“OH, my God- Scout is Crystal!”

A wave of snap-shots flashed through my mind. Years & years of Scout maneuvering & navigating this world- so vulnerable, yet with such faith in people. Having no other choice but to trust her God, her momma, her Poppa, her friends- big & little.

She has opened hearts to a new way to see just as Crystal had opened mine to a new way to listen.

Now I was free to cry it out as that last snap-shot became a freeze-frame in my head. That snap-shot was of a cute little blondie eagerly leading my Scout by the arm bravely into the sun light that finishes off the job of blinding her completely; giggling & chatting & skipping all the way.

I quote our sweet Fran at least once a week & this morning I offered up that wisdom of hers as a prayer:

“God, You may not will it, but you won’t waste it.”

– Paula

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Hot Pink Post-Its

Today, Paula tells us about her recent experience where she shared her story….

In Sunday School people are taking turns testifying to The Mighty Acts of God in our lives. Well, a couple of weeks ago, it was my turn.

There was so very much to talk about I felt over-whelmed. Very quickly ‘over whelmed’ turned to ‘over-come.’ As I spoke publically for the first time about some things from my childhood I felt my organized timeline start to slip away from me. All order in my thoughts escaped me and I began to babble. I am not completely sure what the other 19 people in the room heard, but it felt like kind of a mess to me.

As time had run out for my testimony- it felt very incomplete. But I had something very important to say about my story and the mighty acts of God in it. So I stopped talking and took out 2 hot pink post-it notes and read this aloud…

 “And do you know what makes this mess OK?

It is that I can look any one of you firmly in the eyes and say… I know what hard is

But you know what? I know what hope is too.

I know what it is to be hit, And I know what it is to be healed.

I know what it is to be tempted to hate, And I know what it is to choose to have a healthy heart.

I know what it is to have harm come to my tent, And I know what it is to suit-up and storm the gates of hell.

I know what it is to hemorrhage, And I know what it is to hold His hem.

And even baring up under this heavy, heavy stuff- I still have a happy heart.

I still hear the quiet humming of the Holy Spirit in beautiful harmony with the Father and Son.”

 

I am so grateful for the hot pink post-it notes in all of our lives…that God is bigger than anything this world can throw at us…that, as Phil talked about in his sermon yesterday, despite the darkness that may surround us, it does not overcome us because God gives us that light to lead us. We concentrate on the light and the darkness cannot win.  Thank you, Paula, for sharing with us glimpses of that victory in your life.                                                                             – Kacey

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Sum of Us

We are sharing with you a post by Paula Sonnenberg. It gives thought provoking insight into the body of Christ and how we react to our part.

Some of us are chosen- appointed; assigned to carry out
a mission-

Some of us are gifted with discernment to recognize
those people- even when they do not recognize
themselves.

Some of us are the mission field to whom, on which, the
mission is carried out.

Some of us are ‘extras’ – background noise; scenery.

Some of us march boldly forward with the message.

Some of us hesitate.

Some of us take seriously our assignment to encourage
the warriors.

Some of us hoard that encouragement because we’re
afraid of being empty ourselves.

Some of us stand eager in a receiving position.

Some of us stare blankly into the light.

Some of us turn with military precision and walk away.

Some of us flutter around safely being seen.

Some of us are chameleons.

Do you have a “some of us” statement of who you are called to be? Feel free to respond with any other comments…

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Patches

Paula Sonnenberg is sharing today about the different “patches” in her life…read it and let us know which “patch” comes to mind for you and what memories it brings with it!

  • Patch- Eye patch “Patch Adams” Patch me through, please. Patch me up Estrogen Patch Knee patch/elbow patch Patch of grass
  • Patchy fog Patch-work quilt Heart patch Patch of ice Pumpkin patch Rough patch

 Patch-

patch 1 (p ch) n.

v. patched, patch·ing, patch·es v.tr.

[Middle English pacche, perhaps alteration of pece, pieche, piece; see piece.]

EYE PATCH :

a. A dressing or covering applied to protect a wound or sore.

b. A pad or shield of cloth worn over an eye socket or an injured eye.

My sweet, sweet baby Scout- 9 days old, 15 days old & time after time after time in pain & pain & more pain. And madness & miracles & medicine. And heartbreak & triumph & a little life set on a new course to see with spiritual eyes.

 

 

“PATCH ADAMS” :

Lee & Dallas sitting in a hotel room in Guatemala- shocks of lightening. Booming rolls of thunder, electricity flickering on-and-off. Not saying too much, but enough. Been through water falls & worship & hearts storing up so many visions & experiences. Watching movies- becoming friends.

 

 

Patch me through, please.

A temporary, removable electronic connection, as one between two components in a communications system.

Ever just layed out on the floor- spread eagle- not enough energy to effectively blink- & asked the Holy Spirit to just ‘patch you through’ to the throne of God?

Romans 8:25-27 (NIV)

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

 

Patch me up :

To put a patch or patches on.

To mend, repair, or put together, especially hastily, clumsily, or poorly: They patched together the broken statues with glue and plaster. The delegates will be forced to patch up their differences.

Oh, my. The story of my life. Eye surgeries; foot surgeries; car wrecks; broken bones; a quick exit from the window of a moving pick-up to thrwart a kid-napping; stitches; falls; crashes; oral surgery; c-section; hysterectomy; punctured bladder; blood transfusions; MRIs; spinal taps; shots; broken toes; blah, blah, blah, blah! I am practically held together with duct tape & hot glue!

 

 

Estrogen Patch :

A transdermal patch.

Emergencyish hysterectomy. 35 but feeling twice that by now. More emotional than a gallbladder or appendix. A definite end- but my MS body could not have done it again anyway. Welcome to hot-flashes & night sweats & self-talk after a melt-down “Did I change my patch today?”

 

 

Knee patch/elbow patch :

A small piece of material affixed to another, larger piece to conceal, reinforce, or repair a worn area, hole, or tear.

A tree-climbing, LEGO playing girl who got ‘Transformers’ in her stocking for Christmas in 6th grade. Well, the knees of her pants always needed patching. Until Jr. High :/

 

 

Patch of grass :

a. A small plot or piece of land,

September 15, 1993. Down on 1 knee in the middle of Kastman Park (yes, Caporale Family… just behind Murphy J) at the end of a fabulous scavenger hunt- A RING! A proposal & a tennis court of applauding by-standers. What a great day!

 

 

Patchy fog :

Haven’t we all been there? An ‘autopilot’ of sorts. Blurring our surroundings to conserve what energy we have left. Sometimes we need a stop-gap of a misty breeze where we are cocooned from what is impending- pressing in? Sunlight filtered. Then it lifts. The world awaits.

 

 

Patch-work quilt :

 n. A small piece of cloth used for patchwork.

v. To make by sewing scraps of material together: patch a quilt.

SO EXCITED for my sweet Carol & Cathryn to help me make a memory from my boy’s old t-shirts! Karate & Tee Ball. North Ridge & Summer Camp. Golf, Children’s Miracle Network, American Heart Association, Millennium Baby, nursery fabric & baby blankets. You see- he’s going to Middle School next year & We are setting up an ebeneezer for him with loving hands stiching & a momma’s heart most-likely crying.

 

 

Heart patch :

That same boy, my Silas. Barely surviving. “Heart Day” we call April 15th every year. 15mm Titanium & Nickel AMPLATZER® Septal Occluder for Atrial Septal Defect Closure. Later learning that the “margin for error” was less than a 10th of 1%. Thanking the Lord for the steady hands of our Scottish pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon & praising the Lord for his miraculous compassion!

 

 

Patch of ice :

A small piece, part, or section, especially that which differs from or contrasts with the whole: a patch of thin ice; patches of sunlight.

18 & the death of my Mustang on South Loop 289 overpass over Quaker. Mom, you could have called me @ work. I was in the mall for 8 hours & did not know it was icy!

 

 

Pumpkin patch :

A small plot of land, especially one that produces or is used for growing specific vegetation: a briar patch; a bean patch.

Perfectly plump orange orbs. So much fun! So many pictures. A festive fall afternoon strolling, holding hands with my Sadie-girl. Watching my man with a kid on his shoulders & freshly plucked pumpkins in his hands. “soft sigh.”

 

 

Rough patch :

An indefinite period of time; a spell: weathered a difficult patch after losing his job.

I’ve had 1 or 2000 of those. How about you?

 

Tell us about your patches.

 

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M.S.

Not many words to share with you about today’s post from Paula Sonnenberg because I have tears running down my face!  I am so glad you stopped by.  You will be deeply blessed by what you read.

I was more-or-less doodling in my journal last night. Way too tired to think, but way too achy to sleep. I had written the letters ‘M’ and ‘S’ in bubble letters & I was listing other couplets that began with those letters. Starting off with the obvious “Multiple Sclerosis” I continued on writing everything from “Muddy Shoes” & “Mister Salty” to “Money-Sucker”  & “Master Sergeant.”

Then I penned “Maximum Security.” Those words gave me pause. Wow! Tumbling like tennis shoes in the dryer- the words clunked around in my mind.”Maximum Security.” What a frightening place! A place of confinement with the most severe limitation on freedom… ‘Lock-up!’ A place where collective evil is forced together to ‘hash-it-out’ amongst themselves.

 I put down my pen. I could feel my heart race a bit just imagining being in the middle of that nightmare. Was this my fate? Was my M.S. leading me to a place of confinement? Was it stripping away my freedoms? Was I destined to be in full body ‘lock-up?’ My alert mind imprisoned? As I often do when a panic starts to rise, I ask. God? Is this true?

Like a mountain wind barreling in a whistle through the pine trees- strong & direct, yet comforting in its strength- He says “Yes.” And as I feel my shoulders begin to drop & my knees ache, the need to sink setting in- I hear “Sweetheart, I am Maximum Security.”

Freeze! Sink or stand? Tell me what to do God!

“It doesn’t matter, love. In this world you will do both. But your destiny, your fate does not lay in the grips of a misbehaving body, it lies with Me. Your ‘Maximum Security’ is a place of sincere contentment not of severe confinement.”

I cannot choose the path of my brain lesions, but I can choose the path of my heart. I cannot get out of this science experiment that is my body, but I can get in to the lap of my Shepherd. I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but I fear no evil. He’s with me. He comforts me. And my destiny, my fate is to dwell in His house forever. My M.S. is ever-present, but my God is omnipresent. My Multiple Sclerosis can never trump my Master Savior.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

he makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quite waters, he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all they days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 23:1 – 6 (NIV)

 

What’s your earthly “Maximum Security” lock-up?

Can you ask for a transfer to your heavenly “Maximum Security?”

Your answer may be a resounding ‘yes!’ or a ‘hell no!’ or a ‘maybe’ or even a ‘not yet.’ I imagine there could be a few ‘I don’t know(s).’ No wrong answer here, I am just asking you to walk this out & if you are able, please share with us your steps & allow us to be your company on the journey. It is a hard, brave thing to do.

-PAULA

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Please Daddy!

We are happy to have a post from Paula Sonnenberg, a member of our writing team. We appreciate Paula’s willingness to trust us with her tender experiences and share with us who her Abba is.

I watched out my bedroom window as my dad & his suitcase walked awkwardly down the circle drive. Stopping for a second to yank up his sagging jeans from the back- like he always did. Two 10-year-old eyes stinging with tears sitting just on the rim of my eye lashes. Forgetting to breathe for a moment; not wanting to swallow because the ache abiding in my gut was too much to touch. Then my heartbeat got louder & louder as I sank down onto the floor. Head in my hands, nose to the carpet, knees tucked up under my chest- the flood gate burst. “Please Daddy! Oh, please Daddy!”

Like it or not- we had the same extroverted, people-loving personality. Like it or not- we had the same need to laugh & have fun. Like it or not- I was a Daddy’s girl. That’s where it ended- the likenesses. But that was enough to be practically an alien to my mom & sister. That was enough for me to know that the only one who knew how I worked was gone.

I knew it had to be. There was a lot more I would learn later, too. That is about all I can stand to say about that December day in 1984- way too close to Christmas. The jagged cut on my heart would never heal all the way- not on this earth anyway. The twenty-five Christmases since have all been tinted gray.

Much because of that day- I cannot bear to hear the man I love being called ‘Daddy.’ My Silas is 10 & to even imagine him having to stand at the window & watch his Poppa leave for good makes me want to sink to the floor again.

In the not-too-distant past, I arrived at a point where I was able to remove the word “Daddy” from the man who left that day. I was able to give that word back to its rightful owner. It was harder that I can express. I whence when I hear the sound & it is with an arsenal of tools that I have fashioned & a gunny sack of grace that I can then relax into the place where I can weakly whisper “Please Daddy” to the One who need not strain to hear it. You see, the only one trustworthy enough to bear that name is Abba. So I stumble on with my feeble words…

“Please Daddy. Help me to fight the temptation to put his jacket on Your shoulders. Please Daddy. Please help me to see You walking up the circle drive with a smile & dancing eyes when you catch me looking out my window. Please Daddy. Laugh with me for a little while. Play with me, please Daddy. Know me. Please Daddy! Oh Please Daddy! Let me be a Daddy’s girl again!”

It is enough to render me in the same position I was in that day- head in my hands, nose to the carpet, knees tucked up under my chest- the flood gate bursting. But now mixed with the tears of sorrow & anguish are tears of gratitude & comfort. Full restitution has not come. My little 10-year-old girl’s heart still longs for a warm daddy arm to put my head on when I’m watching TV. But I live with the promise that when I am face-to-face with my Abba Daddy, He will wipe all the tears from my face. And I know that each time I am able to speak to Him in that timid voice, I move ever closer to His heart & further & further away from that December day.

Tell me about your Daddy.

 

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