Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Eulogy for my Dad's Funeral

1. Read Daddy’s history from the class reunion.  (I’m sorry I don’t have this document anymore)

Many of you here knew my daddy during the early years of his life. I bet a memory of a time you had with Artie crossed your mind as I read his biography. In the past week I’ve heard some fun memories that some of you have: our cousin Ralphie, who is one of our Pall Bearers, can remember sliding down the banister at Horton’s Corner as a little boy and my dad saved him from getting a spanking for doing it; My Aunties can remember when my mom and dad were dating and dad would announce himself by spinning the tires of his 52 Chevy on the dirt road when he’d pick my mom up for a date; My Auntie Gloria was a little girl back then and she would run around the house yelling, “El Artie esta aqui!” but it sounded like “Lardy esta aqui!”  Others know my daddy from the V, or Jordi’s, or Brighton Bar. He sat on a bar stool next to you and had a beer or two with you. And of course our family remembers Uncle Artie with a Coors Beer in his hand sitting at the kitchen table in their homes on Christmas day, at family reunions, or when we dropped by to have dinner and a cold one.

Throughout his life my daddy liked to have a good time. He loved to be the center of attention and make people laugh. He would dance, sing, tell jokes, argue, whatever it took. He was often the life of the party. I remember one time when we were at a wedding at the Dome at the Adams County Fairgrounds. He was dancing up a storm with a beer in his hand. When my daddy had had enough beers her would do this flip while he was dancing. (Note - I saw a lot of people's faces light up at the Rosary at their own memory of my dad doing this.) Sure enough he went and did the flip with the cup of beer in his hand and do you know he didn’t spill a drop of beer! Artie the Great – defies gravity! One summer, when I was a teenager, my mom and dad, and I went to The State Fair in Pueblo with Hal and Charlie from KHOW radio. It was a super hot day. We had gone to cool down in one of those tents where there is live music. This particular tent happened to have a live Mariachi band. They began playing one of my dad’s favorite songs. He had been drinking beer most of the day and so when he heard the music start he stood up and with a strut walked up onto the stage, took the sombrero off of one of the musician’s heads, walked up to the mic and began singing…Hay, hay, hay…canto y no llores. Of course everyone loved him, they sang along with him, laughed at him and gave him a standing ovation! As a teen,  I was appalled, my mom informs me that I stood outside the tent and cried from embarrassment. Now as an adult I treasure the memories of my daddy’s antics. And quite frankly wish I would have had the wisdom to join him in them. I’d get up there and sing, “I’m going to Kansas City, Kansas City Here I come!”

Since his youth Artie wanted to be the boss, weather it was at work or at home. I don’t know how many thousands of times I heard him say, “Because I’m the jefe!” This fun-loving man was not always the easiest to love. He had a hard exterior that he didn’t let down very often and he didn’t know how to show love very well. Here’s an example: Please raise your hand if my dad ever called you Ugly-Dugly or Stupey-Dupey.  It took many years for me to understand that these terrible nick-names that he would call me were his way of saying that he loved me; I want each of you who raised your hand to know that, when he called you Ugly-Dugly or Stupey-Dupey, it meant that he cared about you.
Many of us here have been raised by fathers who didn’t show that they loved us very well…and it hurt. In fact, throughout my teenage years and early adulthood I both hated and loved my dad. But, I knew about a part of my his heart that not very many were acquainted with: the soft side. At home, when a movie or story moved him, he would shed a tear or two. When we were together watching a movie or listening to a story on the radio, and I would start crying he couldn’t help himself – he would openly cry too. When I couldn’t control by tears at my cousin, Eddie Albert’s, funeral he held me and cried too.  I absolutely loved laughing with my daddy, but the times we cried together were beautiful.
As an adult I have loved my daddy more than I thought possible. It wasn’t because he changed his ways, in fact when I would ask him, “Daddy, why do you do that?” He’d tell me, “That’s the way I am, I’m not gunna change.” He didn’t apologize to me one day nor did he suddenly start saying “I love you hita,” whenever we talked.   It was nothing that he did.  I am able to love him because of what Deacon Antonio spoke of tonight, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. You see, I am just as much of a sinner as my daddy ever was. I have MY own issues that affect MY family. It was at the foot of the cross where I realized that we are all equal. All of us have sinned and none of us deserve to be forgiven. God’s amazing grace is poured out for each of us. Jesus suffered and died a horrific death so that he could bear all of our sins, including my dad’s, and wash us white as snow with his precious blood. If God loved ME so much that he would forgive ME, how could I  not forgive my daddy?  In forgiveness there is freedom to love.
Our family is so blessed to see each of you here tonight. It is a testimony to the laughter shared, the songs sung, the beers tapped and the “one-for-the road” lifestyle of Artie Sanchez. He truly did live life like one of his favorite songs speaks of: “I did it my way.”  Thank you all for being here and the love that you have given us tonight. My daughter and I would like to close this service with one of our favorite worship songs. It is a song of hope and adoration for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The words will be displayed for you to follow along. If you know the song please worship with us. Thank you again for coming tonight.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Identity Crises

Majesty and Intimacy
Sitting on a porch at a hotel in the mountains of Honduras I watched the drizzling rain gently touch the banana leaves in the garden, collect along the center of the leaf, and then run down in a dainty stream to the ground. I was at a missionary women’s conference and had been instructed to contemplate God’s majesty and then His intimacy. The Word has many amazing descriptions of both and yet there they were, displayed before me in the soft drizzling rain: His majesty and His intimacy.
I began to pray about the challenge that had been facing me for three months prior: Homeschooling, or to be more specific, Math and Ben. To make a long story short, Ben’s online math course has been more challenging for us than I had expected. Oh, he understands the assignments, but it takes him FOREVER to complete his assignments. Math has taken up to four hours in a day for us. (I am leaving out details that make this a long story to get to the point of this article.) As I sat on the porch I thanked God for being my strength through this situation because I wouldn’t be able to do it without Him. The Holy Spirit seemed to say to me, “Look who you’ve become. You’re patient with your son.” My mouth dropped open, my head fell to my chest, and tears ran down my cheeks.
I was immediately carried to a memory of sitting on the floor in my mother’s bedroom looking through my elementary schoolwork which she had saved.  I was an adult reading from my second grade writing journal, “I wish I was patient like my mommy.” Wow. That memory clearly showed me that I have believed myself to be impatient (and short tempered) since before the second grade. Again I heard the Spirit speak gently to me, “You made impatience part of your identity; I didn’t.”
Surprised at the realization that my impatience wasn’t “just the way I am,” I began contemplating how my “identifying” with impatience and a short temper had affected my life. For most of my youth these characteristics most obviously affected my relationship with my dad. As a hot-headed teenager I loved and hated him. Dave’s and my marriage, only by the grace of God, has been wonderful, though he has confided in me that he avoids certain subjects with me so as to not make me mad. (Ouch!) The most obvious affect it has had on my parenting is with Benjamin. He too has made these same characteristics part of his identity. He has a short fuse and quick temper; He’s my “mini-me” that I bump heads with every day.  But how has it affected my relationship with God?
When I was a little girl I identified with my dad’s personality. My experiences convinced me that I would never be able to be patient and gentle like my mom. I chose to believe this as truth and it became part of my identity. God revealed to me that my decision to identify with impatience, even as a young child, has hindered my walk with Him. I believed this lie about myself to be “truth” more than I believed God’s word to be truth for my life. This is called unbelief. My Father in heaven has shown me a number of places in my life that have been darkened with unbelief. He has always gently, but firmly opened my eyes to each of my identity crises: fear of failure, fear of rejection, procrastination, lack of discipline, anger, and now impatience. In 1 Corinthians 5:4 we find the biblical name for these identity crises: strongholds.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Strongholds are defined in verse five: arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God. When we decide to believe something about ourselves that is contrary to scripture (the knowledge of God) we believe a lie (a pretense).

That morning on the porch in the misty rain I realized something: that which I identify with is my decision. My experiences have always been what I based my reality on. As I have embraced God’s truths about where my identity truly lies I have learned to change my mind. I have to make my decisions based on His Word, not my experiences.  In verse 5 above we learn that our strongest weapon against unbelief is taking “captive every thought” and making “it obedient to Christ.” This is a conscious decision to recognize the lie as a lie and then replace it with the Truth of God’s Word. When really dealing with a stronghold of anger last year I would pray something like this:

“Father I give you my heart. Make me into the woman of God you created me to be. I thank You, Lord, that I am no longer a slave to anger and that I can live according to the fruit of the Spirit. I
have love, joy, peace, patience, good-ness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control dwelling inside of me.”

I chose to replace my thoughts with Biblical truths for my life. It has been a difficult but wonderful road from slavery to anger to freedom from anger. I like myself so much better as I live in the light of my identity in Christ; my family does too. And so goes the road to victory over impatience: the same prayer, the same truths, the same freedom.

…Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Perhaps it’s time for you to ask God, “What have I identified with Lord, that isn’t true about me in light of Your Word? What things have become strongholds in my life?” Perhaps He has been gently but firmly showing you where your identity has been your decision and not His. Perhaps it’s time for you to replace lies with truth, slavery with freedom, and a false identity with an identity in Christ.

(Addendum: I began writing this blog post in November of 2013. It was originally intended for the Fields Family Newsletter, but when it got too long I sat it aside to finish for another time. Since that time things have gotten much better with "Math and Ben." We are thankful for his teacher, Mrs. Martin, and her counsel and flexibility; most importantly for those of you who helped us through this hard time with your prayers... XOXO--Marinajo)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reading Glasses - Help Others See

It is a beautiful Wednesday morning, which for me means I am in the Eyeglass Clinic at Hospital Loma de Luz. I have a break between patients and decided to share a praise and a petition: Last fall the Eyeglass Clinic received a very generous donation of new reading glasses in current styles. Before we received this donation came we were at desperately low levels of nearly every magnification of reading glasses. It has been so wonderful to actually offer options for my patients who need reading glasses. This donation has been a blessing for my patients as well as me! ere's my petition: We are still critically low in reading glasses that have a magnification of 1.0 or less as well as 3.0 and above. I understand that at stores like The Dollar Tree or Family Dollar you can find inexpensive as well as stylish reading glasses. $25 worth of these inexpensive reading glasses from your family, home group, or bible study group would be a HUGE BLESSING! If only 10 people or groups would be willing to buy $25 worth of these readers the clinic would be set for reading glasses for over a year. I often am told by my patients that they can't read their bible anymore because the words are cloudy or blurred. Often the older ladies complain that they can't see the hole of the needle or the end of the thread to sew. The younger generation usually tells me that their eyes get tired while they're studying. The lovely elderly women trying to repair their grandchild's tattered clothes need the stronger magnification and the youths trying to get an education need the lower - both of which I have nearly nothing to offer them.
Please let me know via FB, email, or this blog if you'd like to help out and bless the beautiful people on the north coast of Honduras where we serve.