2/29/12

...lies, some helpful "hints" and SNOW DAYS!




Please don't read too much into this statistic . . . . I'm not saying that I've lied every time I've told you (or anyone else) that "I'm Fine", but this little quote DID catch my eye!  I think SO often we (whether in the midst of an earth shaking, rock your world crisis like us or just dealing with "living" day to day) are very quick to answer "I'm Fine".  It's just easier.  It's just quicker.  And, does the person asking REALLY want to know how we are, or is it just the "polite" question that we so often use when greeting one another?  Do I really want someone to answer that honestly?  Hhhhmmm . . . brings me BACK to the question I asked last night, DO I LOVE WELL?  How can I LOVE better, how can I ASK "How are you" and be ready for the REAL answer, not the "canned", "I'm Fine"?  That IS my desire, that IS one thing that I have learned on this new road that I'm on!!  I've learned that I want to have EMPATHY for others.  I want to LOVE and to SERVE.  I want to point others to JESUS . . . so that someday, they will join RICK (and me!) in HEAVEN!  

Last night I mentioned that I sent an e-mail (maybe not very successfully) trying to express my muddled thoughts . . . 

Today, on another sweet widow's Facebook "timeline" I found "What Grieving People Want You to Know" by Virginia A. Simpson, PhD . . . I'm not going to share all of the points that were there, just the ones that JUMPED off the page at me - the ones that validated that I'm not crazy and I'm not the only one feeling these feelings!!

  • I'm not strong, I'm numb.  When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.
  • I will not "recover".  This is not a cold or the flu.  I'm not sick - I'm grieving and that's different.  I will not always be grieving as intensely (and some days I'll grieve terribly, and some days won't be as bad or as hard), but I will never forget Rick and rather than recover, I want to incorporate Rick's life and love into the rest of my life.  Rick is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear.  Both are o.k.
  • PLEASE DON'T AVOID ME!!  (even if you think seeing me is "too hard" for you - if it's hard for you, what do think it is for me, and the kids and Rick's parents and my parents and our siblings . . . )  You can't "catch" my grief.  My world is painful and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about.  If you don't kow what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm and gently say, "I'm sorry."  You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."
  • PLEASE DON'T SAY "CALL ME IF YOU NEED ANYTHING"  I'll never call you because I have no idea what i need!  Trying to "figure out" what you could do for me takes more energy than I have.  So, in advance, let me give you some ideas . . . A. Bring food (or a store or restaurant gift certificate - and it really does mean alot when you say, "I'm bringing you supper this week - what night works best for you!" . . . this way, I know you're not going to give me an out, but I do have SOME say in the matter!).  B. Send me a card (or text message, or e-mail or Facebook message) and remember to mention Rick's name.  You can't make me cry.  The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough to reach out.  D.  Ask me MORE THAN ONCE to join you for a movie or lunch or an event.  I may say no at first or for awhile, but please DON'T give up, somewhere down the line, I'll be ready and if you've given up, then I'll really be alone.   (This one was a GREAT re-affirmation for me, because I was told that if someone offers and is told no, and their intention was a feeble attempt to show me love and encouragement and I meet it with offense, they may not ask again!)
  • TRY to UNDERSTAND that this is like I'm in a foreign country where I don't speak the language and I have no map to tell me what to do.  Even if there were a map, I'm not sure right now I could understand what it was saying.  I'm lost and in a fog.  I'm confused.
  • Please don't complain to me about your husband, your wife or your children.  Right now, I'd be delighted to have us all here together, NO MATTER WHAT we were doing!
  • PLEASE just love me as I am today, and know , that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. 
I added the " " marks and the capitalization and the items in ( ) are my commentary - on the points that REALLY jumped out to me . . . but, overall, it's very similar to the list I posted back awhile ago titled ...what is impossible with man is possible with GOD ♥ (by clicking on the title, you can go back and read what I wrote back on January 2 - almost 2 months ago!) 

Right around that time, I also shared a quote from a sermon that I heard which may be a better way to express what I wish for me and my church to become . . . (the church must) "Be the GREATEST restorative force in the lives of those it contacts" . . . which was followed up by the illustration that things that have been "restored" are usually better than they were originally.  Do we "love" well enough to restore?  To be the GREATEST restorative force in those we come into contact with?  THAT is a HUGE "command" . . . Do I desire that?  Not for myself to "be" restored only, but to be a catalyst for RESTORATION in the lives of others?!

Today, we had a SNOWSTORM . . . a LEAP DAY snowstorm!! This is the little path that we shoveled on our back deck . . . 


We were truly SNOWED IN today.  The snow was too heavy to move with the snow blower, and certainly too heavy to move much with our shovels, so, we waited to be rescued by a truck with a plow.  Something I've NEVER had to do before.  Rick always had the 4-wheeler with the plow, ready to go in the event of a snow storm . . . today, I was fully reliant upon someone else.  And, I survived it!  I actually enjoyed it.  It forced me to be patient!  In weather like this, EVERYONE wants to be plowed out, and everyone wants to be first!  Today, I told them to "get to me when you can.  I have nowhere to go, so take care of the other jobs that you have, come here when it's convenient for you". . . . I shoveled the little path on the deck and a trail over to Gramma & Papa's.  The girls and I cleared a small area right outside of the garage door where I didn't think the truck could squeeze in, but other than that, we waited!  And we are now plowed out, but it's still a sloppy mess out there, side roads are bad and at last report, the highway was still pretty messy so we have a 2nd SNOW DAY tomorrow!!

Two more things . . . 

FIRST . . . please remember to go over to CIRCLE OF MOMS TOP 25 and VOTE . . . you can vote once every 24 hours through 5:00 p.m. PST on March 7!  Since Rick's death, I have PRAYED that I could bring GLORY to God through this situation.  That I could share Christ's AMAZING love and Rick's legacy . . . maybe this blog can do that!

SECOND, and MORE important . . . today, there was an accident in our area, 4 teenagers (16 years old) from a neighboring school were in a car that skidded out of control, hitting an oncoming pickup head on.  The 16 year old driver was killed and the other front seat passenger in his vehicle is in serious condition.  The boy who was killed is the nephew of a classmate of mine.  I don't know the boy personally, but I know the family, I know who his mom & dad are.  And I ache for them tonight.  Please keep them in your prayers, won't you?


. . . I am SO THANKFUL that even though I MUST walk my "road" myself, there are MANY others walking WITH me . . .!

It's late & I'm EXHAUSTED!  It was election day today (as Township Clerk, I am in "charge" our our local polling place) - it was election day the day we had Rick's funeral (my SWEET friend Bobbi & my other election ladies took over for me on that day!) - therefore, today was another F.I.R.S.T.  Another first that I survived.  Elections themselves went very smoothly.  I work with some awesome ladies, who I LOVE spending the 13 hour day with!  I ran into some trouble when the time came to "transmit" my results in that the phone lines did not want to co-operate . . . u.g.h.!  NOT what you want after a 13 + hour day.  I'm usually pretty "intense" and don't deal with with interruptions to my planned timetable very well.  Tonight, though, I remained calm until the issue was resolved - AGAIN, Rick still teaching me!! ♥♥

When I got home (after 9:30 p.m.), I decided that I still needed to get on the treadmill (have I mentioned that I can be a "little" OCD at times?!)!  As I was walking, I was catching up on the e-mails that I missed today (44 of them, but who is counting!?).  

I've sometimes felt that I'm not only walking the "road" that I must walk myself over the past 3 months, but that I'm walking it alone.  Some of that is due to my own stubborn-ness at not being willing to ASK for help, some of it is simply that life is busy and life does go on, some of it goes back to what I blogged about a little bit ago that some people just "stay away" because seeing me/us brings them more pain at the loss of Rick in their own lives.  All very real reasons, yet still hard for me to grasp.  I'm a talker, I'm a people person, I love to give and receive hugs, and I don't WANT to walk alone . . . so, tonight, as I read one of the e-mails that I had received, my heart swelled!  It was JUST what I needed to hear, it was like a big cyber-hug, it was like a band-aid on my still healing heart!  

Below is a part of that e-mail:

You are on my heart today.  You are on my heart today because Rick is on my heart today.  I just wanted to share with you how much I miss him . . . when I shovel the deck he built . . . look at the beautiful chicken coop he built . . . park my car in the garage he built, I think of him and I miss him . . . when I hear a hunting story, see a mounted deer or bear, open the closet and see my camo jacket and even when I walk through the woods I think of him and miss him . . . when I see a Packer shirt or two people high fiving I think of him and miss him . . . and I especially think of him when I go to church every Sunday and walk through the emptiness of the doorway and that's when I really miss the friendship of my dear brother in Christ . . . by God's grace we know and believe where Rick is and we praise Him for that . . . but I really, really miss Rick, I love him dearly . . . it's important to me that you know how much he meant to me and it is just as important for you to know how much you and your girls to mean to me . . . 

There was a little more, but I'm now typing through my tears.  Happy tears, sad tears, overwhelmed with love tears!  I'm also giggling through those tears . . . a BEAUTIFUL CHICKEN COOP - really??!!  :)  And, remembering high fiving as we watched the Packers, remembering Rick greeting everyone as the entered church - making EVERY PERSON feel welcomed and loved . . . THAT was Rick . . . he never met a stranger and he loved EVERYONE!!  As strange as it may sound, THIS is what I have been craving!  This is what is filling just a little bit of the emptiness in my heart . . . this past weekend, I went out on the proverbial "limb" and sent out an e-mail to a few ladies who I trust with my heart, trying (not REAL successfully) to express that longing . . . the longing for "genuineness" within my church family.  Knowing that in living through and realizing my loss, I've also realized how poorly I myself "love" others.  I'm challenged to "love" better, more authentically.  To not only show sympathy to others, but to show empathy . . . something most of us don't do "well" because our lives are BUSY, so very BUSY . . . but I've realized that we MUST be deliberate about it, I must be deliberate about it!  Sometimes it will pull me out of my comfort zone, sometimes I will have to do that which I don't want to or like to do, sometimes, I might have to sacrifice, sometimes I might have to hurt, but, if in the end, I can say I LOVED better, then it's o.k.

Tonight, I'm bathed in LOVE.  My dear friend in Christ "loved better" today.  My dear friend SHARED my loss with me.  They let me know that TOGETHER we are missing Rick.  They let me know I'm (we're) not alone . . . THEY are walking along this road ALONGSIDE us!  

Tonight, I will go to sleep with a SMILE on my face!  A smile for my sweet Rick, and all of our WONDERFUL memories, a smile for my wonderful friends, and a smile for my GREAT GOD! ♥

And, QUICK before I sign off, please click on the PINK "button" above to the RIGHT . . . the "Circle of Moms Top 25 Vote for Me" button!!
I've met some SWEET "widow" friends since Rick went to Heaven . . . one is LEAH who has a blog "Out of Deep Waters", and one is FERREE who has "Widows Christian Place".  These two sweet ladies love the LORD and blog to bring glory to God and to share with others through their losses.  All THREE of our blogs are in the top 25 as I type this, but the contest goes through March 7 at 5:00 p.m. PST . . . you can vote once every 24 hours, won't you pop over there and vote for us?!  All you have to do is click on the "thumbs-up" alongside the word VOTE!  The reason I decided to blog publicly in the first place was to bring GLORY TO GOD, even through Rick's death, this is an opportunity for my blog to reach so many more people that it ever can/would without this "boost"!  Won't you help remember Rick in this way??!! :) Thanks!

2/27/12

... holding on ... and letting go ... ♥


...as your circumstances consume more and more of your attention,  you are losing sight of Me . . . yet I am with you always, HOLDING you by your right hand . . . I am fully aware of your situation!   ~ Jesus Calling

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.  Psalm 73:23

THAT is what I HAVE to hold on to . . . on the days like yesterday, on "those" days . . . I need to remember to HOLD on . . . He does know what He is doing . . . and He is ALWAYS holding me . . . He has promised that over and over!  Speaking of yesterday, today was a much better day.  I remembered to "grab" hold of HIS hand a little tighter again today . . . and He opened my eyes again to all of the blessings I DO have but sometimes fail to see and appreciate fully!  He is so amazing!  And, as I learn over and over and over again to "Hold On", I also am learning day by day to "Let Go" . . . I got a "crash course" in letting go on November 5, yet I have much learning left to do . . . 


 . . . for, me "letting go" of Rick was "easy" in the sense that I knew EXACTLY where he was.  I knew that he was in the very presence of his Lord and Savior, so to "let him go" was the response that comforted me!  Heaven's glories can't even begin to compare to this earth so as difficult as that "letting go" was there was comfort and assurance in it.  The pain I felt (feel) was for me and the rest of us "left behind", it wasn't for Rick!  There was the knowledge that even if he could, he wouldn't want to come back, the knowledge that he was safe and whole, the knowledge that we WILL be reunited some day.  There were so many things that I knew for sure, that I could rest in them.  

Now, "letting go" of my kids is another story.  I don't doubt that they are any more in God's hands than Rick was, yet, to "let them go" is to let them go to much more of an unknown (I KNOW ultimately it will be Heaven, but it's the "immediate" unknown that I mean here!)!  And, I have been accused in the past of "keeping my children in a bubble" . . . so, today, after school when Tessa and her friend Katie came to my desk and asked, "can we go to Iron Mountain", I'm sure that Tessa assumed she knew the answer would be a "no", however, reminding myself that GOD is in control of my children's safety, not me, I said yes.  Realizing that when I was her age, I'd already graduated from high school and had gone ALONE to California and Colorado - with NO cell phone!  My instinct is to pull them closer, to hold them tighter to never let them out of my sight . . . to not risk any injury to them, or to my fragile heart.  But, I must step back, I must remember that as hard as it is to comprehend, God loves them . . . so much more than I or their Daddy ever could!  

So in one SMALL way, with one little word, I "let go" a little more today.  I'm working on letting them spread their wings and soar on the wind.  To find what GOD wants of them for their lives!  


Today, the day after one of "those" days, God "showed up" (because I LET Him) and He helped me with two life lessons . . . 
holding on AND letting go . . . all in the same day!

He's good like that! ♥

2/26/12



I'm totally drained tonight . . . it's been one of "those days".  Just one of "those days"  Kind of one of those "one thing after another days".  A day where I felt "all alone" and that nobody understood . . . but, GOD did!  And for that, I'm so thankful!  I'm also so THANKFUL for my beautiful (outside AND inside) girls!  The day ended on a bright note as we went out for supper and laughed and loved together! ♥

As I was driving today, I heard AMAZING GRACE, MY CHAINS ARE GONE, the song from Rick's funeral . . . beautiful words, and so true, my chains ARE gone, my God my Savior has ransomed me!  And ALL of Rick's chains are gone . . . He has been fully rescued and ransomed!  I was also thinking about that moment when "God called him" . . . and I thought about that and how it could make me mad . . . why didn't he "fight" to stay with us?  Yet, I've never felt that, and today, it came to me . . . at that moment, God DID call Rick, He called him home, and Rick went - joyfully . . . and it doesn't mean in any way that Rick loved us any less, it's just that he loved God MORE . . . and isn't that how it should be for ALL of us?  Rick is STILL teaching me lessons! ♥

The day of Rick's accident, Taya & I were headed out to camp.  I just "knew" something wasn't right and we should go home (where we found Trooper Borski and Pastor & Bobbi waiting for us).  The spot where we turned around always makes my heart skip a beat - and I have to pass it EVERY DAY when we go to school/work . . . and any other time we go to Stephenson . . . some reminders just can't go away.  Today, when I got to that spot, I had to pull over as I was meeting Mid County 114 (the local volunteer rescue squad).  It was followed by the BAMC (the local hospital)'s "intercept" vehicle.  The same TWO vehicles that responded to the 911 call for Rick - right at the spot I turned around, because "something wasn't right" . . . on one of the hardest days I've had in quite awhile . . . WHAT IN THE WORLD??? . . . 

But, God.

But, God knows.  He KNOWS, He KNEW I was having a bad day.  He KNEW I was hurting.  Right after the rescue vehicles passed and I was back on the road, the Mercy Me song that has come on countless times as I'm missing Rick came on . . . 

"This is not my home, this is not my space . . . Can't get comfortable, can't get settled in . . . "  
The song continues on, but one line hit me today - and I took it out of the context of the song, but it says
"This won't go to waste" 
. . . and that is what I needed to hear - Rick's life (and death) will NOT go to waste . . . IF God can continue to be GLORIFIED!

But, God.
He knows that even though I can't sing to save my life, music is a huge ministry to me . . . so He sent me a couple of other songs today that hit me right where I was!  He also sent just the right people at just the right time.  I'm thankful for Him, and for them.  Again tonight, I can lay my head on my pillow (that is covered in a camo pillowcase that is made from one of Rick's t-shirts!) and sleep peacefully, because GOD IS WITH ME!  Even on one of "those days"!

"NO MATTER WHAT" 
by:  Kerrie Roberts

I'm running back to Your promises one more time
Lord that's all I can hold on to
I gotta say this has taken me by surprise
But nothing surprises You

Before a heartache can ever touch my life
It has to go through Your hands
And even though I keep asking why
I keep asking why

No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what I'm gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, I'll trust You
No matter what, no matter what

When I'm stuck and there's nothing else by myself
I'm just sitting in silence
There's no way I can make it without Your help
I won't even try it

I know You have Your reasons for everything 
So I will keep believing
Whatever I might be feeling, God, You are my hope
And You will be my strength,

No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what I'm gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, I'll trust You
No matter what, no matter what

Anything I don't have You can give it to me
But it's okay if You don't, I'm not here for those things
The touch of Your love is enough on its own
No matter what I still love You and I'm gonna need You

No matter what I'm gonna love You
No matter what I'm gonna need You
I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But if not, I'll trust You
No matter what, no matter what


"BEFORE THE MORNING"
by:  Josh Wilson

Do you wonder why you have to feel the things that hurt you?
If there's a God who loves you where is He now?
Or maybe there are things you can't see
And all those things are happening to bring a better ending
Someday, somehow you'll see, you'll see

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming

So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling 
It's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
And you know where you're going
You just don't know how you'll get there so say a prayer

And hold on 'cause there's good for those who love God
But life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time
But you'll see the bigger picture

Would you dare, would you dare to believe
That you still have a reason to sing?
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It can't compare to the joy that's coming

So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning.

Once you feel the weight of glory
All your pain will fade to memory
Once you feel the weithg of glory
All your pain will fade to memory, memory, memory, yeah!

Come, on you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the hurt before the healing
Oh, the pain that you've been feeling
It's just the dark before the morning!

2/25/12

. . . Not only did she receive an acceptance letter . . . but  scholarship news as well . . . MAYBE God IS leading her to Cedarville . . . we will continue to TRUST IN HIM and He will lead her where He wants her!  I'm so proud of her and excited to see where HE takes her!

. . . And, yep, that letter above reminds me that "midnight" is almost here!  I'm SO THANKFUL that God gave her to us . . . what a BLESSING she has been to her Daddy and Mama . . . we are SO proud of her!

. . . This was in the mail today . . . from SWEET MOLLY!  ♥  God has so RICHLY blessed me!!  "FAITH IS DELIBERATE CONFIDENCE IN THE CHARACTER OF GOD WHOSE WAYS YOU MAY NOT UNDERSTAND AT THE TIME"!  ~ Oswald Chambers

. . . Another SATURDAY is drawing to a close.  This one was spent  in part skiing at Norway Mountain!  It was a chilly, but beautiful day!  The girls and I had a good time and got to spend some of the day with wonderful "old" friends, one of them being one of Rick's VERY GOOD friends, Blair.  It does me good to see him - he's like a "connection" to Rick! ♥
Another Saturday has come and almost gone.  Yes they get easier, but they get harder too . . . A comment from my sweet friend Sandi has a post swirling in my head that I'm too tired to delve into tonight . . . the "thought" of it though is "the day "we" became "I"" . . . .

But for tonight, I will focus on the commandment given to me in
1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

2/24/12

be STILL


Be still in the Light of My Presence, while I communicate Love to you  . . .  there is no force in the universe as powerful as My Love.  You are constantly aware of limitations:  your own and others' . . . there is NO LIMIT to My Love; it fills all of space, time and eternity . . . the knowledge of My loving Presence is sufficient to carry you through each day!   "Jesus Calling" 

"...to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."  Ephesians 3:19

Amazing thoughts and verses.  And good reminders for me.  I'm NOT GOOD at "being still".  I am not a good "waiter" (the last couple weeks of pregnancy were TORTURE!!)  I want what I want, I want it NOW and I want it MY WAY! 

But, God tells me to BE STILL.
BE STILL and KNOW.
That's it.
Four simple words.
BE STILL AND KNOW.

Be still in the LIGHT of His presence . . . so He can COMMUNICATE with me . . . so He can communicate His LOVE to me.  His LOVE that has NO LIMIT and the knowledge of that is sufficient to carry me through EACH DAY!

I'm learning.
I'm (a little) slower to anger.
I'm trying to be honest AND loving in sharing my feelings.
I'm working on BEING STILL!

Today after school, I went to a "visitation" for a young man named Ben (who passed WAY TOO SOON in human terms -  he was only 22 years old).  Visiting the grieving is never an easy thing to do.  Never something we want to do.  But, something that life (and death) calls us to do.  I didn't know Ben personally, but I graduated with his step-dad, Dave and Ben's sister, Brook is Tessa's classmate.  It is very different experiencing this setting after having walked that road.  When you greet the family, you can truly say "I know" (though I FULLY realize that nobody EVER fully knows - EACH grief journey is individual to the families, friends and loved ones travelling this new, unplanned road).  I was touched earlier this week when Dave told me that they wanted to celebrate Ben's life tonight - like we had celebrated Rick's!  Rick would have liked that!  That was kind of rambling, and didn't have much of a "point", except that, I'm so thankful that God granted me peace in going, and I pray that I will be an encouragement to the family.

I rode to the church with a childhood friend (I babysat for her and her sisters - starting when I was 12 years old) and teacher at our school.  Lisa is such a SWEETHEART!  Kajsa LOVED having her for a teacher.  Lisa told me that she reads here every night - and if I don't post, she checks in each morning . . . oh, my, now the pressure is on!!  Just kidding!  It was really nice riding with and talking to Lisa.  It is nice to know that people are reading, but not only that they are reading, but through my ramblings, through my love for the Lord, through Rick's life, and yes, even in his death, God is speaking.  People are "moved".  God is "moving".  Yes, I started "journaling" here as therapy of sorts for myself.  However, as I journal here before, I pray that I will write what God wants written.  That people read beyond my grammatical errors, my mis-spellings, and my rambling to "hear" my heart, to "hear" of my LORD, to hear of the LORD that Rick did love with all his heart, soul and mind!  I pray that readers will BE STILL and KNOW that
HE IS GOD!

Tomorrow, the girls and I are going skiing!  I'm looking forward to a day with them.  The weather looks beautiful ☼ and we got coupons for discounted lift tickets.  We are doing something as a "family"  . . .   as our newly formed family.  A family with a huge hole in it, but a "family", still loving, still holding tight to God, still holding on to each other, still navigating this "Grief Road" on OUR JOURNEY TO A "NEW" NORMAL.  




2/23/12

♥ good friends ♥


"good friends"
Sounds like the name of a country song!
I'm very thankful tonight for "good friends"!
The kind who you may not see/talk to in months or sometimes even years, but, just like the stars that I don't always see . . . 
THEY ARE THERE!

"Jesus Calling" this morning read:
Live in the Light of My Presence by fixing your eyes on Me.  Then you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you.

"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the Light of Your presence, O LORD.  Psalm 89:15

I've struggled some today.  More about "circumstances" and people who I feel have "failed" me.  I've struggled MORE than I should have, because, I should know by now to TURN IT OVER TO HIM!  I HAVE learned to "speak my mind" a bit more than I used to do, yet, I've also learned to "speak it in love" better than I did before as well!  Today, I've "spoken" in my mind all day.  I have still not put things into a real life conversation or down in writing in an e-mail .  .  .  I'm praying that I will wait until the LORD gives me the RIGHT words to share my honest feelings, or not share them if I'm not supposed to!

Just as I was getting ready to crawl into bed tonight, I got an e-mail that there was a comment on my blog!  (That always makes me excited - I never really know if anyone is reading - and it's fun to know someone is!).  Following is an excerpt of the comment that was left on my post from 2/20/12 (you can read it in full HERE!)

"You hit the nail on the head with your "venting"  . . . I've been through that as well -- it feels like "I" stopped existing to them too.  It's so very, very painful . . . Yes, someone may feel a bit awkward at first -- not knowing what to say or what NOT to say.  BUT, being invisible or silent to us is so much worse and hurtful than they can ever imagine.  I guess we need to sweetly educate them to just say "I'm sorry for your loss" . . . That says it all . . . Much love sent to you from one widow to another . . ."

Good Friends . . . 

This comment was written by someone who grew up 1/2 mile from me.  Our moms were best friends.  She was my babysitter (as was her brother - funny story - her brother challenged my brother and me to a "Quiet Contest" once when babysitting us . . . and I WAS THE WINNER!).  We were in Youth Group together.  We rode the school bus together.  We both liked "Ziggy" (anyone else remember him?!).  We both liked Keith Green music.  I visited her at her first apartment when she moved out "on her own" . . . we "shared" many of the usual experiences that teens growing up share.  We also share the title of "widow".  Her husband went to Jesus a little more than a year and 1/2 ago.  She became a "widow" less than a year and 1/2 before I did . . . how could we have ever imagined?  Would we have ever wanted to imagine?  Yet, here we are.  Friends, sisters-in-Christ, and "too-young" widows.  Doesn't make sense to either of us, but, to God it does.  And some day, He will make it all clear to us.  For now, I continue to CHOOSE to trust Him.  And thank Him for sweet friends like Sandi! ♥


2/22/12

u.g.h.!


... yep, that ^ was my today.
u.g.h.!
nothing fluffy.
just overwhelming.
wishing my BEST FRIEND was here.
the ONE who quietly let me "unload".
he didn't try to "fix" things.
he just listened.
ah, i miss him so!
tonight, as i was "venting" to him, i heard him say 
"you gotta be kiddin' me?"
yep, i miss him.
i'm so glad that i know the truth that 
GOD IS ON MY SIDE.
i CAN unload to Him.
He will listen.
He will "hold".
He will overcome the circumstances.
but tonight, i still wish for my "yesterdays".
but will lie down in peace, trusting HIM to be in my tomorrow!
i WILL CHOOSE to trust in this truth:


. . . weeping may last for the night, but JOY comes in the morning!  Psalm 30:5

i read my "Jesus Calling" this morning, but forgot to hold on to it throughout the day  . . . 

"You need Me every moment . . . the emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or My Presence . . . keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete . . . "

...ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy may be full and complete.  John 16:24

it's a choice . . . people will let me down.
circumstances will disappoint me.
He will never leave me or forsake me, He WILL bring me joy in the morning!

goodnight, buddy, I LOVE YOU ♥
♥ always & forever ♥

2/21/12


...and, ultimately, THAT would be what I pray would come of this "test" that is now a part of my every day . . . that God WILL use it for HIS glory and I will be a TESTIMONY for him.

Today, a student returned to school after losing her 22 year old brother over the weekend.  She is in Tessa's grade and they ran cross-country together through their high school years.  Her dad and I graduated together.  When she got to school, we held each other and I told her "I know" . . . I don't "know" her exact pain - it's different for each and every person, yet, I do "know" more than many others do . . . please pray for Brook and her family through the rest of this difficult week . . . services will be held on Friday.

After school/work today, I went to the Town Hall to set up for the election next week and "test" the equipment.  The last election I set up for was held November 8.  I wasn't there.  I was at the funeral home that day.  The last election I set up for, Rick surprised me at the hall and helped me set up.  Another "bittersweet" day - even in setting up for an election, another reminder of the crazy changes that have taken place.  Yet, God is the same yesterday (or many yesterday's ago, like the day I set up the last election), TODAY (that one's obvious, He makes His presence KNOWN every day) and TOMOROW . . . So I don't have to fear tomorrow, because HE IS ALREADY THERE!


"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you!"  1 Peter 5:7


2/20/12


"Life kicks you around sometimes.  It scares you and beats you up.  But there's one day you realize you're not just a survivor.  You're a fighter!  You're tougher than anything life throws your way. . . ."

As I was deciding "what" to write tonight, I was looking at Facebook and my sweet friend from my childhood (she was even my babysitter!), Sandi posted the above picture & quote to my timeline.  Sandi is also a "too-young" widow, so in addition to all our growing up memories, we have that in common as well - and I LOVE her to pieces! ♥

I'd like to add to the quote above though, that yes, "life" DID "kick me around" . . . it did scare me and I sure feel beat up.  I also am not just a "survivor", but a fighter . . . but, there-in lies what this quote missed . . . I {alone} am  not a survivor or a fighter, I am not tough in any way, shape or form . . . but . . . 
I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH!!!!!   :) 
So, WITH HIM, yes, I am tougher than anything that "life" throws my way.

It's funny that leading into that, my thoughts have been swirling lately and for a couple of days, I have been "stewing" over something . . . you know that feeling??   I promised you early on that it wouldn't always be pretty when I write, so, here goes nothing . . . 

There are some people, people who I consider "close" to me who have seemed to "ignore" me these past 3+ months.  Someone told me that maybe it's because it's "too hard for them" . . . Really?  Seriously?  It's too hard for "them"?  Huh?  Too HARD for THEM? . . . .  ummmmm, I'll tell you about hard . . . how about dealing with life insurance claims, and lawyers, and taxes and keeping up a household - all by yourself . . . how about getting bills over and over and over that SHOULD have been taken care of MONTHS ago, but somehow, someone "forgot" to input the correct information, so the bill keeps coming, asking "Mr. Rickey Rye" to please take care of this matter (thanks to my SWEET friend Renee, this matter HAS been resolved, I THINK!) . . . how about looking at your beautiful children, and grandbabies, cherishing EVERY SINGLE moment with them, wishing their DADDY/PAPA was right here with you watching them . . . 
seeing me is "too hard for them" . . . really . . . w.o.w.!  

Whew, I can't believe I really put that on here, but, I'm going to leave it, sometimes you just have to VENT . . . sorry if I offended anyone . . . 

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.....!!

I found this AMAZING picture and the quote that follows today . . . and how NEAT that it talks of a "journey" and a "new normal" . . . as if I needed ANOTHER reminder of God's hand in EVERY SINGLE DETAIL!! 


Grief is a journey on a road you didn't ask to be on . . . going to a place you never wanted to go . . . the good news is you are not alone . . . the LORD is your  Companion and Guide.  When you grow too weary, He will carry you.  He will make sure that nothing overtakes you as you walk through the dark valley and He will be with you as you emerge into the light of a new normal. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . Colossians 3:15

2/19/12


Yep, that's really ALL I need to know! 

Jesus Calling 2/19 . . . "You can learn to be joyful in Me, your Savior, even in the midst of adverse circumstances.  Rely on Me, your Strength; I make your feet like the feet of a deer, enabling you to go on the heights."

...Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.  The Sovereign LORD is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.  Habakkuk 3:19

HE is ALWAYS with me . . . even in the midst of "adverse circumstances" (well, now, n MY opinion, THAT's putting "it" mildly!) . . . but, RELY ON ME, your STRENGTH . . I will never leave you or forsake you.  The Sovereign LORD is my strength . . . HE will never leave me or forsake me . . . 

Yep, that's really ALL I need to know!

THIS is an awesome saying . . . and it does DEFINE what GOD is doing in my life - moment by moment!





2/18/12

Valentine's Day/Anniversary in photos . . . 


The kids ("bigs" and "littles") got me a charm bracelet!!  The green charm is Rick's birthstone, the smaller end ones are a heart and a star and the other larger one says FAITH!  :)  I LOVE it and can't wait to add more charms - I plan to add birthstone ones to honor each of those AWESOME kids & grandkids ♥ (my "support system") that God has BLESSED me with!! :)
(The ring on my ring finger is the same as the one I and each of the little girls have - our memory rings, the one on my thumb is my Grandma Nelson's {mom's mom} wedding ring . . . those two I wear ALL THE TIME!)

Flowers delivered at work, the card, signed EXACTLY as Rick would have signed it on this our 20th Anniversary/Valentine's Day! ♥ Again, those kids of mine . . . they are BEYOND AMAZING! ♥  I could NEVER begin to articulate my LOVE for each of them!  ♥


When we got home, there was an envelope in the mail - a sweet little boy, who I know only as "Micah" made a card for each of us!  (He is in Kristin Lambert's class in Texas - Kristin is my cousin Kevin Newlin's daughter!) 


Jeff & Norma (Kait & Patrick too!) sent us some ♥LOVE from Livonia♥!! :)  They sent "Hugs" & "Kisses" as well as a gift card to Applebee's (one of our FAVORITE places to eat!)


When I was in grade school, I thought it would be SO COOL to have a pen-pal, but rather than go out of my "comfort zone" to a different country, or even a different STATE, I picked one from Michigan!  Her name at the time was Renee Jamieson, and she lived in Reed City, Michigan.  We corresponded for several years and had the chance for a {brief} meeting when our schools played each other in a basketball championship game when we were both freshmen in high school {March of 1981 - my team won and we went on to be STATE CHAMPS!}.  We lost contact after that point, briefly connecting several years back and then re-connecting {through Facebook} about a year ago.  Renee sent us some AWESOME chocolate covered strawberries (another favorite!) ♥

As you can see, a day that I had been dreading a bit, turned into a day full and overflowing with love and blessings!  Each of them a reminder of the wonderful love that Rick and I were blessed with for 20 years!  He may not have been physically present with us on Tuesday (or any other day), but he was "here" with us as he will always be . . . in the little things and the big things . . . ♥  We love you Rick! ♥

2/17/12

♥ never.alone ♥


... Tonight we were at a basketball game.  In a gym that was pretty FULL of people.  Tessa and some of her friends (Cody, Katie, Brigette), Taya and some of hers (Savannah, Rachel, Kaye), Kajsa, Daila & Maddie were sitting all around me.  My wonderful, sweet cousins from the team we were playing were in the gym-I visited with and got hugs from most of them . . . but, I felt like I was there all ALONE.

I'm NOT making this statement to ask for pity.  I'm just making a statement.  I did mention early on in writing here that it wouldn't always be pretty!  So, as I sat in a gym filled with 100's of people, including those I love the MOST here on earth, I felt alone.  I've sat alone at games "before".  But, "before" Rick was a text away.  Or a phone call away.  He was waiting at home, opening the door for us when we got there.  He worried along with me about Tessa driving home on the slippery roads.  He was HERE, I wasn't ALONE . . . 

It's interesting that I woke up today feeling that "alone-ness" and one of my devotionals had this quote by Tim Hansel:

 "Loneliness is not a time of abandonment...it just feels that way.  It's actually a time of encounter at new levels with the only One who can fill that empty place in our hearts"! 

 My "Jesus Calling" devotional had this line in today's reading, 

"I want you to embrace all that I am doing in your life, finding your security in Me alone."  

Two different readings, two very similar thoughts.   ONLY One can fill the EMPTY place in my heart . . . find your security in HIM alone . . .!  I also read over on LEAH's blog today, the guest post from Danita, she said she misses, "being part of a team, being a "we" instead of an I".  So, I'm not ALONE (He is always with me!) and, I'm not "alone", others have felt this same way.  It doesn't take the loneliness away, but it sure helps to know that it's not "just me"!

As if all that was not ENOUGH, I opened my e-mail today, and part of one of the messages read:

 "After reading your blog, I wanted to share this with you ("Modern Widows Club") as you are very well written and your inspirational story including your amazing daughters, may very well help others if you were to share it.  Just a thought."  

That would be incredibly encouraging coming from anyone, but it didn't come from "just anyone" . . . it came from Susan Kingsbury . . . as in the sister of my absolute FAVORITE author, KAREN KINGSBURY!!  Back in December, I had sent an e-mail thanking Karen for her books.  I shared that I read them, my Mom read them, Tessa read them and had gotten Taya hooked on them as well.  I NEVER expected an answer, especially not one so personal, yet today, when I was feeling ALONE, I got a very personal response, not a "canned" automated one.  ANOTHER proof, that I'm NOT alone, HE will NEVER leave me or forsake me!

Tonight as I get ready for bed, my little girl next to me, the big girls in the living room with our precious grandbabies (Daila & Maddie), and Cody visiting for the weekend, I do still feel alone . . . but, why shouldn't I?  My best friend of 20+ years isn't here with me.  Life has taken a totally unexpected turn.  The ONE person who knew me inside and out isn't here tonight.  So, it's o.k. to feel "alone".  It is part of this journey I am on.  God will be here.  God will fill the empty spots.  God will smooth the rough edges . . . I will miss Rick.  I will miss the companionship.  I will miss being someone's "priority".  But, God reminds me, daily (sometimes moment by moment) . . . 

I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU !
Hebrews 13:5

So, even when I'm "feeling" alone, I'm not, I'm never really ALONE, because the God of the UNIVERSE has promised to NEVER leave me or forsake me!

♥  W.O.W.!  ♥