6/3/17

again today ... my.heart.is.full! ♥


{Photo taken last year at Tessa's college graduation}

today ...

today, my heart is full.

full of emotion!

nearly 5 years and 7 months ago {june 5 will be that exact "milestone"} we sat in a hospital room and heard the words that changed our lives forever...

"i'm sorry, rickey didn't make it"

and...

just
like
that

life as we knew it was no more.

tessa was a senior, she hadn't even graduated yet, how could this be happening?

but, God.

but God, knew.

while we still do not know the "why" of that day
{and won't understand the full "why" until we reach heaven}
God does.

and He has been faithful to see us through.

today, we awoke to sunshine filtered through the clouds on this "yooper" morning.

there is a chance of rain yet again, it's been a rainy spring, but the temperatures are supposed to be pretty nice, for springtime in the "yoop"!

the house will soon be bustling with activity as mama worries that everything is "just perfect"!

for today, today & tomorrow, we celebrate a milestone!

each day is a milestone actually, each day is a testament to God's unfailing love and grace, but today, and tomorrow, we celebrate another big one!

when the doctor spoke those unbelievable words on november 5, 2011, i wondered how in the world we would survive? 

how would we go on?

how would the girls make it through the next 24 hours without the daddy who adored them, much less through the next days, weeks, months & years?

they had school to finish, the world to explore, husbands to meet .... all without their daddy.

but, God!

but, God stepped in and was a father to the fatherless!

He sent just the right people at just the right times, to offer support and love and encouragement that they needed and this weekend, we celebrate a milestone as kajsa who was just a little girl {12 years old that day in 2011} will graduate from high school!  it is such a blessing to see what a beautiful young lady she has become and it is a joy to celebrate her and the accomplishment of daddy's girl #4 graduating from high school!

since rickey went to heavem, all 3 of the girls have gone on to graduate at the top of their classes which is such a testament to God's watchcare over them through the years, and even more importantly, all have professed and demonstrated a deep, deep love for Jesus ... an honor and tribute to their daddy!

so, this weekend, we WILL celebrate!

we will celebrate KAJSA and her achievements!

though she has actually already spread her wings and flown {she completed her required classes for high school at the semester and has spent the last 4+ months living and working in georgia with uncle tim}, she will officially walk across the stage tomorrow to receive her diploma!

today.

today, my heart is full!

as rick and i watched a friend's son graduate last weekend, who also lost his daddy, we reflected on how truly unfair life in our fallen world can be.  in a perfect world, joey's daddy would have been there, fist pumping him and giving him a high five for his accomplishments, just as rickey would be here this weekend, loving on his girls and glowing with pride as kajsa walked across the stage tomorrow ....

but, alas, God.

God has plans that we do not understand and rickey will not be there, in person, but he will be there in spirit ... for he lives on in the lives of his 5 amazing children and his beautiful grandchildren.  he lives on in the memories of all who knew him, and he TRULY lives in heaven with our LORD and SAVIOUR.

God's ways are not are ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. so, we will miss daddy this weekend, and that is o.k., but we will also celebrate!

we will celebrate the love that God has blessed tessa with in her husband andrew, and the love taya has found with her fiance justin, and with the accomplishment of  "the baby" graduating from high school!

we will live and laugh and love and be thankful for these beautiful days we have been given!

i, as the blessed mama to these 3 amazing young ladies will savor the moments as they fly by 

way
too
quickly

i will be thankful for all that we HAVE been given, rather than focusing on what may have been taken from us too soon {in our earthly view}.

i will love on those that are here and enjoy their company
{tessa & andrew & kajsa}
and look forward to next weekend in georgia with taya for her bridal shower!

i will be thankful today, as i am each day, that God brought a "new" rick into my life who so completely "gets" these swirls of emotions! 

i'm truly amazed at his gentle understanding at occasions such as this and blessed beyond words that God has allowed me to love, and live and enjoy life again! i know that though he is not the girls earthly, biological daddy, he WILL beam with pride as kajsa walks across the stage tomorrow, and he will be thankful for the opportunity to have his "bonus daughter" achieve this milestone! i once asked him how much he loved the girls and he, without missing a beat replied, "so much that i would take a bullet for them" ... greater love has no man than he lay down his life ... rick truly is a blessing to us!

so, yes, today & tomorrow, we will celebrate!

we will celebrate all that was, for without the Godly influence of their earthly father, the girls would not be the amazing young women they are today!

we will celebrate all that is, for each day is a miracle and a gift from God!

&

we will look forward to all that is to come ... possible college graduations, and more weddings and {hopefully, wink, wink} grandbabies ....

knowing that we do not know what the future holds, but we know WHO holds the future, and we know who holds our hands!

thank you, Lord, for all your blessings.

my heart is full ♥

4/19/17

{can.you.do.it?}


o.k. ... this sounds good, right?!

But can you put it into action?  

Can you really go 24 hours without complaining?

The cat knocks over the vase of flowers {again} sending water spilling everywhere!

The garbage is overflowing but nobody but you seems to see it!

The car in front of you has their cruise set 1 mile below the speed limit {and you can't pass them}!

Yet *another* glass of milk is spilled at supper!

The clerk at the store is just a crab.

You ordered a CHEESEburger but it came with no cheese!

Can you do it?

Can you find something good in each situation?  A glimmer of "hope"?

Flowers tipped, water spilled ... the counter needed to be wiped down anyway!

The garbage is full ... I have a home full of people to create garbage!

The clerk is a crab ... maybe they have a sick parent/spouse/child at home, but have to be at work, maybe they just got "that" call from the Dr. with bad news, you never know what is going on in their life ... BLESS them anyway ... even if they are just a crab!

*Another* glass of milk is spilled ... my children {or my spouse or myself} are happy and healthy and HERE with me!

The person in front of you in the store ... you have the money you need to purchase the items in your cart!

Your CHEESEburger had no cheese ... you are able to enjoy a meal out!

Hmmmmmm.....maybe just maybe:


Let's work on this together today, and tomorrow, and next week, and next month ... and then let's see what direction our lives, and our families, and our little corner of the world takes 
{I'm going to make a prediction that things will improve ... when our attitudes improve}!

Start with the next 24 hours that God has given you

 ... they are a gift 

... will you use them to complain or enjoy the blessings that are yours for the taking? 

It's all up to you!

CHOOSE JOY!

xo, sheila 




4/18/17

{tabs}

Yes, I've seen this before.


Yes, this is truth.

Some days, my mind feels like all these open browsers on my computer!


Today is one of those days!

I have so many thoughts swirling that I can't even THINK about what I could/should/want to share!

We went to the gym today for the first time in a long time and it was amazing!

I need to organize/update my LuLaRoe albums and take photos.

I can't believe how amazing my LuLaRoom smells with Tangerine/Lemon/Peppermint diffusing!

I LOVE, love, love wearing make-up {and even lipstick} again thanks to Senegence and LipSense!

I LOVE, love, love that my daughter texts me recipes to try in my InstantPot!

I hate that we have an empty nest, but love that all of our kids are self sufficient, amazing young adults!

I'm excited that we're going to CHICAGO this weekend!

I LOVE seeing how God is working in my life, in Rick's life and in our marriage!


I can't believe I didn't love animals before I met Rick ... 


I mean seriously ... look at that face!
{she climbed in my lap while we were watching a webinar}

I love eating healthy and can't believe that either!

I'm amazed daily at the new friends I've made #becauseoflularoe!

My heart {and prayers} are with so many hurting people, but today, especially with my sweet friend Leah {widowed twice in 6 years} and our friend Kylie & her family whose sweet little {2 & 1/2 year old} Nora had a baseball sized brain tumor removed today.


I think it's time for a hot bath with some epsom salts & Lavender while I try to shut down some of these tabs so I can get some sleep!

Thanks for checking in ... and stay tuned tomorrow ... I have something EXCITING coming!



4/17/17

{i.am.enough}

This is a tough one for me ....


All my life, I've tried and failed, and tried and failed to be "enough" for others.

I strive, 

and I try 

and I fail 

to be a good daughter, sister, sister-in-law, wife, mommy, cousin, friend, employee, business owner ...

It is a process, and I know that I have not arrived by any means, but I'm slowly learning that 

I.am.enough.

I'm created in HIS image.

I'm loved extravagantly by HIM.

If I were the only person on earth, HE would have died {and rose again} for me.

I will continually fail my earthly family & friends but HE sees me as beautiful 

For some, I will always

talk to much

 or be to boisterous

or too emotional

I may never be

thin enough {or I may be too thin}

or patient enough

or organized enough

I.will.always.be 

"not enough" {or too much} for others.

BUT ... in God I can know that I am

treasured

and loved 

and HE adores me 

and because of that ... 

I.am.enough.

xo, sheila ♥

1/23/17

{smile thinly and say you're fine when you're not}

"who doesn't know what it's like to smile thinly and say you're fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain? there isn't one of us not bearing the wounds from our own bloody battles." 
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}


"amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  i once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now i see"
...
keep singing, just keep singing, i try to tell myself, and myself argues back, but this is "amazing grace, my chains are gone". this is rickey's funeral song. i can't, i can't keep singing, but the song won't stop.
...
"'twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. how precious did that grace appear, the hour i first believed"
...
ok then, i tell myself, don't sing, breathe. just breathe. in, out, in again. that's it, you've got this. just breathe.
...
"my chains are gone, i've been set free"
...
oh, yes, that's why we sang this ... all rickey's chains were set free, he's more alive in heaven than ever on earth. it's good, it's all good, right?
...
"my God, my Savior has ransomed me"
...
keep breathing, focus, focus ... focus!
...
"and like a flood, your mercy reigns"
...
can i escape? 
where can i go, can i slip out unnoticed? 
i need to run, i have to get out of here!
i can't.
i'm stuck.
breathe in, breathe out, breathe in again. 
focus, 
don't pass out, 
don't let them see you, 
"smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
"unending love, amazing grace"
...
wait, what's that? what's dripping off my chin? where did that come from? it's a tear, but i don't even "feel" like i'm crying.  what in the world there's another one, and another, they are coming unbidden and I.CAN'T.STOP.THEM!
...
i can't really hear the song anymore. i'm sweating. the room is spinning. what is going on? help me, somebody, help me!
...
 wipe them away, quick, before anyone sees. now you really can't escape. teary eyed and gasping for breath. breathe. focus. breathe. focus. the song is almost done, you can do this.
...
"but God who called me here below, will be forever mine. you are forever mine. you are forever mine, you are forever mine"
...
ok, the song is over. sit down, keep wiping the tears. nobody noticed. you're safe.
...
"i don't know the way to put all these broken pieces back into place...old scars can break open like fresh wounds and your unspoken broken can start to rip you wide open and maybe the essence of all the questions is: how in the holy name of God do you live with your one broken heart?"
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
i need to interject here that since the day rickey died, 5 years, 2 months and 18 days ago,
 i.haven't.cried. 
ok, yes, i've cried, 
i don't mean that, 
but i mean i.haven't.cried. 
...
shortly into our marriage, my dear sweet rick asked me a very pointed question.
he said
"when are you going to grieve"?
i got mad at him and walked away.
...
that is a loaded question.
when am i going to grieve?
when do i not grieve?
how do i grieve?
and ... most importantly ... do i have permission to grieve?
...
"smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
how in the world did ann voskamp get into my brain?
...
i almost did it that sunday.
i "almost" grieved.
in church.
in a church full of people, where i felt utterly alone.
while we sang "rickey's funeral song".
5 years, 2 months and 10 days after he died.
...
after the song i texted one of my few safe people a simple but profound text,
"where are you"
{of course, i didn't add the whole story ... i'm looking around the congregation and i can't see you, where are you? if you are here, maybe, just maybe today is my day to grieve. maybe, just maybe, i'll let it out and i'll cry {finally} until there are no tears left}
...
"i'm working today, what's up"
...
and i "smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain." {"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1} and respond "nothing, i'm at church and you're not"
...
breathe in. breathe out. breathe again again. you can do this, let them think you are fine.
...
"this is the deal we all get: guaranteed suffering. we all get it. it is coming, unstoppable, like time. there are graves coming, there is dark coming, there is heartbreak coming. we are not in control, and we never were. one moment you're picking up balls of crusty dirty socks strewn across the bedroom floor, and the next moment you're picking up the pieces of your one shattered life."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1}
...
"unspoken broken"
...
we all live with our own "unspoken broken"
...
God has been good to me. He has seen me through. i know the love of {another} good man. life is good. but there is still "unspoken broken". there is still grief to be felt and grieving to be done.
...
over my sweet first born's wedding weekend, i had a good chat with her big brother. afterwards i told him that he mended a piece of my heart that evening, that sweet, big man-boy who reminds me so much of his daddy in some ways that at times it hurts.
...
"unspoken broken" 
...
you'd think i'd learn. you'd think i'd let go of the stubborn, dig your heels in, grin and bear it old me, but, i don't. i continue to "smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1} 
...
it took me a week to tell anyone about the episode at church. to bare my soul enough to even share what happened that day {what really did happen, i'm still not sure myself}. on the way home from church yesterday, i told rick the "amazing grace, my chains are gone" story. he smiled, and nodded, and understood. that's all, he understood. and for that moment, on that day, that was enough.
...
someday i'll grieve. someday, i'll cry all those tears that need to be cried. but, until then, I'll
"smile thinly, let them think you are fine when you're not, when you're almost faint with pain."
{"the broken way" by ann voskamp chapter 1} 





5/21/16

{she.said.yes}♥

so much has been going on lately that I haven't taken time to blog!

the car was totaled and we made "car decisions" and as usual, God's hand was so evident in everything and we were more than taken care of!

we are moving forward with my signing on to be a lularoe style consultant and i'm excited and terrified all at the same time!

we took a trip to kentucky {via chicago & a college visit for kajsa} to see tessa graduate from boyce college. it was such a blessing to be able to spend the weekend with my mom & dad, all three girls, tim, rochet and andrew!

we came home from kentucky to a fun week spent with rick's younger brother ken and his wife linda from florida! we always have such a good time with them and we're glad that kenny needs a "place to stop and pee" when he's traveling!



in even {bigger} news ...

when tessa, taya and andrew came home for easter, andrew asked if he could talk with us while they were here, so on the friday night of their visit, he shared with us his love for tessa and his desire to ask her to marry him!

as a mama of 3 girls, i {and their daddy} spent many hours praying that God would be preparing them for this time in their lives. we prayed that God would be preparing the man that He had for them {even when that man was yet unknown and still a little boy!} 

even as i type that, i'm amazed to think that i prayed for andrew before i even knew him.  that i prayed for him as he was young, and growing, and facing the joys and sorrows that he has known to this point in his life.

of course, God knows so much more than this mama knows, and He orchestrated the events that led tessa and andrew to each other {which included the heartbreak last spring of northland international university closing}! when andrew asked for our blessing, it was given to him freely and without reserve! he has shown himself to be a wise and Godly young man, and we couldn't be happier to welcome him into our family!

after finals, graduation, packing up a dorm room and all that goes with college life, tessa and drew were able to head to uncle tim & aunt rochet's lake house in alabama for some quiet time.  on wednesday {uncle tony & aunt tricia's 20th anniversary}, after kayaking to their favorite spot on the lake, andrew "popped the question" and it is now "official" ... tessa and andrew are engaged and we couldn't be happier!

congratulations tessa and andrew!  we love you so much!


5/3/16

{quick.update}

the car has been towed to the adjustor.

in detroit or grand rapids.

yes, crazy i know, but that's how our insurance company does it!

so, now we wait to see if it is repairable or totaled, and while we wait, we are keeping an eye out for a replacement {initial indications are that it is totaled} :(

when i went yesterday to retrieve the items remaining in the car, there was an older lady at the body shop at the same time as me.

the car she was cleaning out looked very familiar ...

as in, it looked like the car in the pictures that hit the girls on saturday.

so i asked her, was this her car, was she the lady in the accident saturday.

yes, it was her.  she explained that she felt terrible. she looked both ways and just didn't see their car. she crawled out of the passenger side of her car because her driver's side door wouldn't open. when she got to kajsa's car, the girls were all still inside, and she didn't see them moving. she panicked, not knowing if they were o.k. or not {i can't imagine what must have been going through her mind at that moment}.

she apologized for not saying anything on saturday.

she was glad to know that all girls were o.k. ... achey, bruised and shook, but o.k.

she has a sore wrist {she had it x-rayed - no breaks}.

i showed her prom pictures. she thought the girls were beautiful.

she said she felt so bad.

she was very sweet!

i gave her a hug and told her that it's why these things are called "accidents".

i did my best to extend grace to her, she didn't mean to hit them.

so, while there is some frustration in waiting on insurance, trying to understand why the car had to be towed down state, looking for a potential replacement car ... and so on ...

4 people are {other than aches and pains} o.k.

God's hand protected everyone.

life is still good.

God is still good.

And it was just an accident.

I still choose forgiveness and thankfulness!