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Our only comfort

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Last week, my sister-in-law lost her dad.  My nephews lost a grandpa.  And all of the Parsons lost a man who has been family for the past 9 years.

Today, Kent McElroy will be laid to rest in a cemetery in Missouri.  A few weeks ago, he chose his plot, and bought kites to be delivered after his death, asking that Jeremy and Ashley take Micah and Tyler to fly them next to his grave.  He knew that he was leaving.  If he could have willed himself to stay, he would have – but cancer does not honor our will, our wishes, our fight.

It is cruel.  It is callous.  And in its aftermath, it tempts me to be the same.

But Kent was the opposite.  He was generous, and positive, and selfless.  In the face of terminal, inoperable cancer, his heart was continually for God, and for others.  He touched so many in his 56 years – and never so many as in his last one.

I was in Kansas City last week to say goodbye.  It’s so hard to see death up close – painful, and terribly sad.  But it’s also an enormous privilege to be invited into that precious time.  I will never forget it.

Hearts are broken today.  They will be for a long, long time – and maybe forever, because I don’t know that we ever “get over” the loss of a loved one.  I think of my sweet sister-in-law Ashley, and how the mountains of her heart have slid into the sea – how nothing will ever be the same again, how nothing COULD ever be the same again.

But, as the Heidelberg Catechism says, my only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.  I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8).  And even when I can’t see it or feel it, I have faith – and faith, no matter how small, is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

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I will never have roommates again.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

And no, not because it’s been so awful.

Only because nobody else could ever, ever compare.

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I will always be a JAM girl.

And now, excuse me while I go weep.

Closing in

Monday, December 14th, 2009

We are down to single digits: I am moving in 9 days.

And yes, I have Christmas parties 6 of the next 9 nights.  I might run out of outfits.

That said, posting may be light until after I get to Colorado.  I don’t want to miss out on a single moment of Nashville until I have to.  The thought of leaving these friends of mine – the ones I just tried to list by name and then had to stop because it would have been too long to read – keeps me awake at night.

I want to love on these people who have loved me for two years.  I want to write them each letters and tell them exactly why I appreciate them, exactly why I am going to miss them so much my heart might dissolve.  I want to sit face to face with them, and hear their voices.  I want to hug them while I can still touch them.  I want to take pictures with them, to capture this sliver of time that is flying by much too quickly.  I want to let them know that I believe in them, that I want good things for them – that, quite simply, I adore them.

Nashville, get ready for some lovin’.

Ripping my heart out

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

I cannot look at the Nashville Humane Society website.

It breaks my heart into a million little pieces.

I want to save every dog without a home.

Or at least this one.

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Her name is Annie, too.

Anyone who beats or abandons a pet should be put in jail.

But instead, it’s the dogs that wind up in cages.

I want to save them all.

Broken

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

This morning in our new house, because of a miserable failure on my part, we awoke to no heat and no hot water. We have spent the past 2 weeks with no internet, and since I left my phone charger in Kansas City after Christmas, I’ve been limping through with no real phone access. My closet doors fell off the tracks. My Chi hair straightener has mysteriously stopped working. I had a flat tire on Sunday night, and when I called AAA for help, was informed that my service had expired. To top it all off, the first time that Mel used the mug I gave her as a housewarming “happy to be roommates!” gift, the coffee flooded out through a crack in the bottom.

A lot of things in my life are broken. But none more so than my heart.

Little Ben’s broken body was taken from this broken world on Tuesday. And there are simply no words to express the grief, the anguish, the suffering of his family and community. It’s the most devastating tragedy I have ever experienced.

God is good. But life’s a bitch.

At the end

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

We are counting down to New Years’ Eve, making our plans for cocktail attire and merriment, or for Dick Clark and take-out, or wondering where that rogue kiss might land – in any case, looking forward to a fresh beginning and a brand new start.

But today, my great-grandma is dying.
And today, Ben is in his last moments.

What do you do at the end? There are no more words, and no more scriptures to be claimed, and no more ideas. There are prayers – there are always prayers, seamlessly woven into our thoughts, silent pleadings, and that last desperate shred of hope – but in the end, the end just… comes.

We weren’t made for death – yet none of us will make it off this earth alive. Not one of us will survive life.

Still. Death should never come, especially for one so small.

Please join me today in praying for comfort for both my legendary great-grandma, and for sweet, spunky, miraculous little Ben. And then pray for courage for those left behind – those whose hearts are crumbling even as I type.

S is for Sister-in-Law

Monday, December 1st, 2008

In September of 2007, I was cruising through Kansas as a part of The Big Trip, en route to Nashville. My über-talented sister-in-law, Ashley, gave me the gift of some pictures to use for promoting my music – we spent hours in a field, and then at a barn, and then in a parking lot with a fabulous red brick wall, taking hundreds and hundreds of images. There were wardrobe changes, there were smiles, there was fabulous hair. The Annie that was captured is hopeful, warm, vibrant.

Just over a year later, I look at those pictures and think, “I feel like a completely different person.”

This past weekend, I talked with Ashley, and told her about what’s been going on in my heart. There has been a cold wind blowing through, and the death of some dreams. At times, it has felt like my life is a stark and barren wasteland. My heart has been broken, my spirit stripped, and I’ve been confronted with my many limitations. It’s been a dark time.

And yet, somehow, hope remains. There is a resilience in my will, and a warmth in my chest.

I told Ashley that right now, I feel simultaneously the happiest and the saddest I have ever felt. Odd, but true. So we decided to try to capture that in some pictures.

Can I brag on my sister-in-law? Ashley Parsons is a true artist. Creative, soulful, truth-telling. She allows people to be exactly who they are, and encourages them to take off the mask. She has this unreal ability of using a camera to capture something more than just a picture – she captures life. She takes the time to get to know her subjects, and has a deep desire to tell their story through photographs.

I don’t know anyone else like her. And when she laughs, I can’t help but feel absolute joy.

She has become one of my best friends, one of my favorite people – and she has set the bar high for those who might someday join the Parsons family. My younger sisters and I cannot marry duds, because Jeremy sure didn’t.

Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your gifts. And of all of the beautiful pictures that you took, this one speaks the loudest to me. The happiest and the saddest I have ever been, all at the same time.



For more stunning images from the Parsons Photographers, see their amazing blog. And then hire them for all of your photography needs – you will not be disappointed.

Ignored by England

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

I don’t think that women should wait until they get married to get good kitchen gadgets. That would be a drag. And so a couple of years ago for my birthday, all that I asked for was a set of sharp knives in a cutting block, and a really awesome blender.

Note: this was the same birthday that my then-boyfriend gave me an iron and a tube of wood glue. And no, I am not joking.

However, my parents came through, big time. My knives are truly sharp. My blender is truly awesome. And copper! Not your average Wal-Mart appliance – this is a serious grown-up-lady contraption.

Which is why I was upset when I discovered a crack in the base a few weeks back. Sarah and Grant “the man that I [used to] live with” came over for dinner, and our margaritas turned into a tequila-doused countertop and a sticky floor. In fact, I continue to find sticky spots that I missed in the mop up.

A lazy person might toss the blender and get a new one. But not me. It is a sexy piece of machinery, worth more than I am currently willing to spend on a blender, and I should be able to get a new plastic base, right? Just go to the website, click Customer Service, send them an email and…

They only serve the UK.

[exasperated groan]

They don’t even recognize my model number. To the Brits, I do not exist, and neither does my blender. I emailed them back to ask if they have an American counterpart, and they said no. The Russell Hobbs RHCBL3 is an anomaly. It’s a mystery.

And a crying shame.

A report from the Island of Woebegone

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

We interrupt this 4-day series to bring you a special report.

Annie Parsons, the author of this blog, is feeling emotionally despondent.

Many things are to blame for this current lack of enthusiasm about life. It all started with her DNA strand, making her exceptionally susceptible to The Funk. But genetics are not fully at fault, as Annie has clawed her way back up the downward spiral many times before. No – this is different. This is largely a CIRCUMSTANTIAL downheartedness.

Consider the facts:
– Annie hates change.
– Annie hates transition.
– Annie loves feeling in control.

And:
– Annie’s life has been nothing but change lately.
– Annie’s life has been in constant transition for at least 9-months now.
– Annie feels out of control.

In a recent message to a friend, Annie said,
“It’s like this: the minute [this season of life began], someone pulled the plug at the bottom of my spirit. Everything felt fine for the first little bit, but now, all of a sudden, I’m like, I’M SPIRITUALLY BANKRUPT! HELP ME! HEEELLLLP MEEEEEE!! This [season] has felt equivalent to a month of Sundays. Actually, no – a month of Mondays, with PMS, and really bad hair. And I want to run screaming out the door.”

Annie knows that she will be alright. She always is. But today, she is praying for some little miracle, some small hopeful sign that will lift her spirits. She realizes that this is a prayer worth praying, because the last time that she prayed this prayer – in the midst of a heart-shredding day last year – she found out that there was an H&M a few blocks from the place she was staying.

In the meantime, she is putting one foot in front of the other.

My apologies for the virtual soul-barf of this post. I wish that I could be peppy all the time, and spread warmth and goodness and bubbles everywhere I go. But for right now, this is where I am. I hesitate in posting my gloom for you all to read, but I know that it’s important for me to write, even when it’s ugly. Thanks for reading despite my grungy reality.