Saturday, September 26, 2009

in loving memory of Billy Anderson...

Today I slept in. I stayed up too late. And my neighbor across the street likes to have loud parties until 4:00 am. Before I popped the earplugs in my ears last night, I turned my phone off. When I finally got around to waking up today, I checked my phone and saw I'd missed a message from my friend's wife, Nikki. She was informing friends & family that the doctors where telling her to call them to come to Billy's side. Having been in the hospital with a mysterious illness for nearly 2 years... it's been a long, hard battle for Billy... and his family.

Nikki and Billy

Today Billy's pain ended and he walked through the gates of heaven. I'm glad to know he was greeted by friends today... I'm sure Tim greeted him with a hug. And I'm especially glad to know that he's face-to-face with Jesus.

I've been thinking of Billy all day. Remembering high school and other memories with friends throughout the years. I was so glad to hear that he made things right with God before he left this earth.

Many of my friends have experienced so much loss this year & I've cried hard tears... more than I have in about 15 years combined. But as Thessalonians says, we do not grieve or mourn like those who have no hope. I am comforted by the fact that I will see Billy and all my friends again and we will all spend eternity with Jesus. I look forward to heaven more & more. And I look forward to seeing Billy's bright eyes & big smile greeting me as I walk through those gates.

Please be praying for Nikki, Billy's daughters, and the entire family.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

Isaiah 40:31
those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering Sept 11, 2001

If you're wondering where I've been, I've been spending more of my online time on Twitter. Between work & life, it's hard to find time to blog these days. However, today being the 8-year anniversary of 9/11, I'm taking time to honor those lost on that horrific day.

I've recently read statements from some public school teachers that trying to teach kids about 9/11 in schools today is like trying to teach them about the Civil War. The kids don't remember because they're too young, most of them have no personal impact nor memory of it.
I have some friends in their early-twenties who admittedly don't remember much about 9/11 either. Again, they were too young 8 years ago to really understand the tragedy of what was going on.

As for me, I had just graduated from college in May 2001 and was busy working at a local company in Tulsa. I do remember Sept 11, 2001. I had arrived at work as usual that morning. I started to make my daily calls to customers and clients. At the time, I worked with churches helping them with their websites.
I decided to call my customers in New York because it was almost 9am EST. The first church I called (located in downtown NYC) said: "Hello? Kristin, we can't talk to you right now... we don't know what's happening... but we're being evacuated! I think the city is being attacked!" CLICK.
I was left listening to the dead line & thinking: What? New York City is being attacked? I turned around and called out to my manager & co-workers: "Anyone know what's going on in New York?" Someone responded: "Yeah, a plane accidentally hit one of the World Trade Center towers."
Me: "Accidentally? No, sorry, but planes don't accidentally fly into buildings like the World Trade Center. That's nuts."
The next thing I know, my phone was ringing. It was my mom.
Mom: "Kristin, do you know what's going on in New York? Two planes have flown into the WTC buildings in downtown NYC."
Me: "Yeah, I just heard about it. One of my churches is down there and..."
Mom: "Kristin, Donnie was in one of those towers."
Me: "What...?" and my heart skipped a beat... and the room started spinning.

My friends, Donnie & Andrea, were married while we were still in college. They're the type of couple who you meet and you instantly love. You just need to spend a few minutes with them to see that they were made for each other and will be together forever. We met our freshman year. We spent a lot of time together... Donnie, Andrea, Stacey, & me. These are "salt of the earth" people... people you'd like to know all your life. They were my closest friends at the time... and I still love them very much.

Donnie, who worked for Morgan Stanley, had been sent to NYC for some training. He was in the South tower of the WTC the morning of 9/11. He'd called Andrea to tell her he was okay... before the towers fell. When my mom called me on 9/11 to tell me that Donnie was in one of the towers, I couldn't believe it. I remember spending the evening with Andrea. I remember watching the news coverage with Stacey, Andrea, and some of Andrea's family. I remember us waiting for Donnie's call. I remember Andrea screaming at the TV: "Why do you keep showing that? I don't ever want to see those planes again! I don't want to keep watching the towers fall! Stop showing it! It's terrible!"
We all waited to see what would happen next.

Donnie was one of the lucky ones who made it out alive on 9/11. I remember hugging him when he made it home days later. I remember wanting to ask him about it, but being afraid to. I remember the relief of having him back in Tulsa. Seems like yesterday...

I remember watching the scenes of the planes & towers for days.
I remember the photos. I remember the "jumpers". I remember watching the families on the news who were desperate to know of their loved ones whereabouts... begging and pleading people to contact them if they'd seen them... not wanting to believe their loved ones were dead. I remember watching the denial and pain in people faces. I remember adults sobbing. I remember the stories that began to emerge of heroism and courage. I remember "Let's roll." I remember the quiet. I remember the eeriness of not knowing what would happen next. I remember the pictures of the guilty Muslim foreign terrorists. I remember the security videos released days later showing the terrorists checking in for their flights. I remember praying more than I'd ever prayed before. I remember my grandmother suggesting I join the military. I remember the songs. I remember the conversations. I remember the waving American flags. I remember President Bush. I remember the tears. I remember God's peace. I remember the names & faces of those lost in the attacks on 9/11 flashing across the TV screen.

I remember. I will always remember. And I will never forget.

This vid is powerful & difficult to watch... but we must never forget the horror of those attacks.

This vid is a little over an hour... a documentary called "The Falling Man".