Is This What God Meant?

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41.10)

Postponed: Baer Tennis Whites Classic

I’m sorry to say that the Third Annual Baer Tennis Whites Classic has been postponed due to a new ball boy training academy in Sunnyvale. The Baer Tennis Whites Classic will resume next year to coincide with the BNP Paribas Open (for the non-tennis folk, this is a professional tennis tournament in Indian Wells).

Ball boy training is tough work. I admit… it’s flat out exhausting.

1st Annual Baer Tennis Whites Classic (2009)

2nd Annual Baer Tennis Whites Classic (2010)
We learned that we all played much better with wigs on…
and my Mom blended in better with the Palm Springs hairdos.

Nesting for Heaven

It’s taken me a long time to get around to this post. I guess I’m still processing the loss of my beloved Grandma. The loss is deep because the joy of knowing her was so great.

After her stroke, while she was holding on tightly to our hands and her last moments with us, I’d often hear my Papa tell people, “Go visit Katy in the health center if you want to say goodbye.” The word “want” really struck me every time I heard him say it. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I don’t think any of us really wanted to say goodbye to her.

In each of our own ways, many did get to say goodbye during her final days. For me, those were treasured times of reading to her  from her journals (her collection of her favorite verses, hymns, and stories), singing to her, telling her how much I loved her, and kissing her forehead, while having her squeeze my hand in response. I was able to show her pictures and remind her of our special memories through the years.

For my Papa, it was a tender and heart-breaking goodbye after a 72-year love affair. As he held my Grandma’s hand and wept, he told her how much he loved her, while tears fell down my Grandma’s face with no ability to speak. I always knew they loved each other, but during those times I truly felt like I received a gift of really experiencing the deep love they have for each other.

Now, Grandma is with Jesus.

I read this recently, and it really speaks to how I’ve been feeling. “It always seems easier to leave than to be left behind. Because when others leave, you’re left with negative spaces, left to focus on what was once there. Your routine is the same, while they’re off exploring and experiencing something new. You can’t help but feel abandoned, despite all the rational thoughts inside your head. The hardest part is the unknown.”

The finality of death is, well, so final. The grieving is truly for my loss, but the hope and praise is in my Grandma’s gain. Her body is whole and she can now look upon Jesus face to face. She is in her true Home. And to think she is off exploring and experiencing something new in heaven is beyond comprehension!

In the months leading up to this day, my Mom would often ask Grandma if she was “nesting for heaven.” My Grandma planned her memorial service, cleaned through things, and planned what gifts to buy in the future for her great-grand children. It seems that she was ready in many ways. She truly lived an amazing life – dedicating it to God and to her family and friends. What a legacy.

My Grandma lived as if each day was a gift, or as my Papa would say, a “bonus day.” Lord, help me not to forget that.

About a year ago, before Carl and I were engaged, we visited with Papa and Grandma in San Diego. During that visit Papa unabashedly gave Carl an ultimatum – telling him that there was one more social event they were holding out for before they died. Carl proposed a few weeks later. It was such an honor to have them both at our wedding – a day they had been praying over for years. And Grandma, you sure had a good time!

Great Heights Remembered

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Carl proposed to me on a hot air balloon. As I said in my post last June, we truly were at “such great heights.” I find it fitting that our wedding photographer, Geordie, used that song when he put together our wedding slideshow. Nice touch! And, it’s about time I posted the video on my blog. Check it out here.

Praying with Confidence

“…the one who prays correctly never doubts that the prayer will be answered, even if the very thing for which one prays is not given. For we are to lay our need before God in prayer but not prescribe to God a measure, manner, time or place. We must leave that to God, for he may wish to give it to us in another, perhaps better, way than we think is best. Frequently we do not know what to pray as St. Paul says in Romans 8, and we know that God’s ways are above all that we can ever understand as he says in Ephesians 3. Therefore, we should have no doubt that our prayer is acceptable and heard, and we must leave to God the measure, manner, time, and place, for God will surely do what is right.

…We are to come to God in simple faith, remaining on the straight road, trusting him, and yet setting him no bounds.

…God sometimes delays, but He always comes.” – Martin Luther, from Table Talk, featured in Devotional Classics (HarperOne)

“Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.'” – Mark 11.22-25 (NRSV)

Lord – forgive me for not praying with confidence; for putting boundaries and limitations upon you. Thank you that you always hear my prayer and that in your time, you will always, always come. Amen.

Escape Artists

Carl loves dogs. Period. Any size, breed, or color. If he sees a dog, he cocks his head and with his dog-loving voice he says to the dog, “It’s okay. You’re a good dooogie.” I guess we make a pretty good match since I sometimes consider myself the “dog-whisperer,” but Carl is much less discriminatory in his affections. (I lean more towards the big dogs that you can hug.)

For the past year, Carl has been telling me that he’s going to get a dog. Practical me always responds with, “Are you sure? Really? How about after the wedding? Do you really want to have that responsibility right now? Don’t you want to be able to travel, be spontaneous, etc etc etc?” Poor Carl. I can be so boring sometimes. He’s reluctantly agreed to wait, but in the meantime, he’s signed up for the Lab Rescue, which sends him cute pictures of labs every other day that need to be adopted. Not a good idea. Of course he forwards me the cutest ones. And c’mon, who can say “no” to a cute lab and their hopes of being adopted? I’m starting to bend. As much as people have advised me, I think we’ll be proud dog owners sometime very soon.

But, we definitely had a dose of reality this past weekend. Knowing that we both love dogs, our friends asked if we’d dog-sit over the weekend. We thought this would be a great, low-risk opportunity to see what it was like to have dogs in our house, so we said “yes.”

Sophie and Murphy (pictured above on Murphy Street – of all names – in our “under construction” downtown Sunnyvale) are Portugese Waterdogs. Yep… Obama has one too. They got dropped off at our house on Friday morning to spend the day in our fenced in backyard. At 3:00pm on Friday, I got a call from our friend, letting me know that Sophie and Murphy had a little “excursion” and somehow escaped from our yard. Fortunately, they were discovered by a kind neighbor who was walking her dog and realized that Sophie and Murphy were escape artists. Just a little embarrassing. Our friend hadn’t even left for her trip yet, and the dogs had already escaped under our watch! Sigh. When we picked up the dogs after work, we discovered that they had pushed through one of the boards in our gate. Apparently, we’re not as prepared as we thought to take on a canine.

Dog owners… give me your feedback. Should we wait on this adoption process or move full-steam ahead? And, is there a fancy pooper-scooper option where you don’t have to pick up the yuckies with a plastic bag? Just the thought gives me the heebie-jeebies.

107 Years

I must say, we started off the New Year just right. First, a solid breakfast at one of our favorite spots in the city – Ella’s. Next, a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge… just to say “hello” and because it amazes me every time I see it.

Sportin’ our new Christmas beanies, of course. (Mine is a Sarah Baer original!)

Then, a hike along the coast, just north of Santa Cruz, and a picnic lunch on the beach.

But to top it off, we got to enjoy a special and spontaneous dinner with my godparents (Steve & Margie) and Margie’s 107-year-old dad. 107 years. (I thought that was worth repeating.) Although he’s lost his hearing, we were able to hear fascinating stories from him by asking questions via an “Etch-a-Sketch.” Stories of him taking a 30-day journey across the Pacific, from Seattle to Korea, to start missionary work, followed by his beautiful descriptions of his first impressions of the country. Stories of his language lessons, and finally, how he fell in love with his Korean wife by writing her letters (per Korean customs) and planned their wedding in 2 days with only $20. We were in the presence of a gentle man of God with a wealth of life experiences and history, just waiting to be told. Truly, a gift to be with him, and a wonderful way to start our new year.