5/30/12

longest.run.ever!

5 months ago tomorrow, I challenged some friends and myself to do "at least a mile, at least 5 times a week". My goal was to complete my C25K (Couch to 5K) training program and be able to run ONE 5K!! I barely made it through WALKING that mile on December 31, but I kept at it...because I can be a little stubborn and I like a challenge ... I DID run that 5K - on March 17 (thanks to the encouragement of a couple of great friends - 2 who even came and walked it with me!) .... If you would have told me on December 31 or even on March 17 that I would still be running, that I'd look forward to it, that now a mile feels like I skipped my workout, I'd have said you were cRaZy!! BUT, tonight, I headed out for a run, I got to the road where I'd usually go to run the 5 mile "block" and turned around a mile in, I wasn't "feeling" it....I kept going though and "feeling" it finally kicked in and I finished the night with my.longest.run.ever...7.5 miles!!!! I wore one of Rick's "Under Armor" Camo shirts and my Camo Packer hat ... I kinda felt like Rick was with me!! :). I know he's proud of me! But, boy do I miss coming home and HEARING his encouragement! Yep, still really missing my best friend tonight!!

5/29/12

f.r.i.e.n.d.s.


This is so true for all of YOU, my friends!

I'm thankful for the part each and every one of you has in my life.

But, tonight . . . 


I just really miss my BEST FRIEND ♥

5/28/12

... another FIRST ...



I wasn't going to post tonight. It's a night that ends a day of another "first".  We have never been big "celebrators" on Memorial Day, yet, it was still another first to get past. 



I started the day by picking 55 daisies to lay on Rick's grave.  I mentioned yesterday to Tessa that I wanted to get a YELLOW rose from me and 3 PINK roses from the girls for his grave and she said that she always wondered why people spent so much money to put things on people's graves (she IS the LEVEL - HEADED/frugal one!).  I guess God agreed as when I got into Walmart, there wasn't a flower to be found!  So, daisies, which are the flower that will always remind me of Rick, it was.  He'd like the daisies better anyway!


Even though we hardly ever went to the cemetery on Memorial Day, I went today, because I figured people would "expect" me to be there . . . oh, that fear of what people think, does it ever leave us?  It was nice to go, though and I was glad I went!  In light of the "what people think" statement, I will say here that going along with Tessa's statement from last night, THAT is one of the few conversations that Rick & I HAD had about death, and we both also agreed that it IS foolish to spend lots of money on the grave-site of someone who we know isn't really there anyway.  So, if you go to visit Rick's grave and find that it's not decorated as beautifully as some others, please know, that grave decorations do not = our love for Rick/Daddy.  I believe Rick loved his family with all his heart until he took his last breath, and we loved him fiercely and still do!  I personally do not feel the need to "prove" my love for him by placing large amounts of flowers/decorations on his grave, nor did I feel that I needed to purchase a larger/flashier stone.  Those are my personal feelings, so that being said, I'm also in no way, saying that it is wrong for others to do so, it is the way some people show their continuing respect and that's wonderful - just please don't judge me/us that's just not "our way"!

The rest of the day was fairly quiet (besides the rumbling thunder and the VERY LOUD tree frogs that have taken up residence near our back deck)!  

One of my devotionals this morning was a perfect reading for another day that marked a "first" holiday with Rick not with us: 

"There are no accidents with God, nor is He surprised by anything or anyone in the life of His child.  God uses even the most horrendous circumstances for our good.  Every circumstance comes to us for a purpose, bound by God's love and plan and faithfully delivered with His permission . . . Only God can take the broken pieces of your life and make something beautiful out of each one.  He is waiting for ou to let go of your pain and trust him."

Isaiah 45:3 says : "And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness - secret riches.  I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the One who CALLS YOU BY NAME."

What a wonderful thought in the devotional and promises from His Word!  "He is NOT surprised by ANYTHING . . . HE uses the most HORRENDOUS circumstances for our good . . . EVERY circumstance comes to us for a purpose, bound by HIS love . . . faithfully delivered with His permission . . . for He is the ONE who calls ME by NAME!

AGAIN, I'm reminded, I don't have to understand (or even like) facing all these firsts without Rick.  I don't have to like "visiting" him at the cemetery.  I just have to TRUST that He has a PURPOSE, that HE can turn even my most horrendous circumstance to my good.  Again today, the day of another "first", I CHOOSE to trust that He will give me treasures hidden in the darkness - secret riches.  I had the blessing of that today.  I had text conversations and a "real life" telephone conversation with 2 BEAUTIFUL new friends - friends who I didn't even KNOW 7 months ago.  I DON'T like the circumstances that brought us together, but I LOVE that God brought us together - we "sister" widows.  Leah and Cindy were both HUGE blessings to me today.  A day that DID feel a little "dark", but a day that God took just a few of the "broken pieces" and fitted them back together . . . a few more each day . . . as long as I CHOOSE to trust!

Something beautiful,
Something good,
All my confusion, He understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.

5/27/12

Weekends....

.....yes, they do get a little easier....the pain isn't so sharp and the "panic" feelings pass more quickly....the loneliness however is more noticeable. As life settles into more of a routine, the reality that this is really our life now sinks in a little more. This new being alone. All.the.time. Not the being alone as in the kids are gone for the day/evening/weekend, this is being alone as in I'm alone if I'm in my bedroom all by myself, if I'm sitting in a church service, if I'm working at a track meet, .... No matter when it is or where I am, I still feel "alone". If I'm truly alone or in a crowd. I'm working on trusting the Lord to fill those lonely places, and I KNOW He can, it's just different than a human being filling the empty places!! This weekend though, God sent some "filling" in the way of friends! On Saturday we had two unexpected visits - both of them reminding me of the LOVE that people have for us! Sweet reminders on a SATURDAY that we are not alone. Thanks, Bev, Kim, Issy, Sara, Lexi & Jo-Jo! We also got to spend time with Nick, Ashley & the girls for Lila's 1st Birthday....another bittersweet celebration. I still can see Rick's look of pride as he was holding her a year ago....she never got to know her Papa. But, she will always be reminded of just how much her Papa loved her! So, today we CELEBRATED Lila!!

As I'm falling asleep tonight with friends over and sleeping in the tent with Kajzi and Tessa & Taya "camping out" in the living room, I WILL give thanks for the blessings in my life! Wonderful kids, sweet grand-kids, good friends, lots of laughter this weekend, frogs "singing" outside my window (and I seem to notice all those things SO MUCH MORE this year-reminders of Gods presence EVERYWHERE!). I thank Him that weekends are getting easier, and that He sends so many little blessings my way!

5/22/12

BAD things DO happen to GOOD people . . .

I wasn't going to post tonight, because I'm just TIRED from our busy, busy weekend!  Taya had a track meet in Menominee tonight so I went down to that, ran some errands in town and came home and went for my run - the first one that felt "good" in a couple of days (couldn't be all that CAKE I've eaten in the past couple of days, now could it?)!!   

Anyway, I am posting tonight, but it's actually a "cut and paste" of a message that I sent someone on Facebook that also contains a "cut and paste" of a post that I did back in December . . . . (I have changed a few details here to offer some privacy).  My Facebook response is to someone who knows the Aunt who I mentioned last night - the one who just yesterday received a cancer diagnosis.    The person I responded to knows my Auntie quite well as we live in a small town.  She is questioning "why" . . . as we all are and we all do when "tragedy" hits just a little too close to home . . . the following is my attempt to help (just a little) give her some hope for this seemingly hopeless situation . . . 

Dear {friend}, I read through your post and comments on the news of Auntie's cancer diagnosis and I can just FEEL your pain in your posts.  :(  I wish there was a way to reach through the computer and give you a HUG!  First I have to say that I am so blessed reading your post - not in the pain that is there but that my Aunt has meant SO MUCH to you!  She is a special lady and your comments remind me how "each life affects another" (these were the exact words on a plaque that {this same} Uncle & Auntie gave me on my high school graduation!)  I hope that through your pain and all the questions you are asking, that you will also consider yourself BLESSED to have had this dear couple in your life for the past 16 years!


As for your questions, TRUST ME, I GET IT . . . I have asked questions over and over and over for the past 6 months.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  I don't know how well you knew Rick, but in the "grand scheme of things" Rick was a pretty "good" guy!  And I'm not saying that just because he was my BEST FRIEND, the Daddy to my kids and my husband, he really was a "good guy" as most anyone who knew him will tell you!  


But, BAD things DO happen to GOOD people.  Things like falling off a roof, car accidents, heart attacks, and yes, a cancer diagnosis.  I won't EVER pretend to have the answers as to WHY?  I don't have them.  I remember a very wise person once telling me when they questioned "why" something happened, they pictured GOD at a big desk in Heaven with envelopes piled near Him.  As He looked at the contents of the envelope (which contained the "bad" news . . . falling off a roof, a car accident, a heart attack, a baby born with a condition requiring surgery at just hours old, a cancer diagnosis . . .), God stamps the envelope "approved" and sends it on - to touch the life of those affected.  This story wasn't told to say that God "sent" the bad our way, it was told to say that He KNEW of it and still promised to be near to us as we endured it - whatever "it" might be.


This might all be just rambling, and if it is, I'm sorry, I just ache for you and want to offer you some hope - even in this darkness.  Shortly after Rick died, I posted the following on my blog, I hope that it explains a little of the HOPE that I have (and that I KNOW that {Auntie & Uncle} have) . . . 


The post was titled "so, how did he KNOW . . . how do we KNOW?"


"...some of you may be wondering, how did Rick KNOW he was going to Heaven?  You might be asking us, how can you rest assured that he IS in Heaven?


I would be failing my Lord and Rick’s legacy if I didn’t take a minute or two here to let you know how Rick (and we) have the assurance of eternity in Heaven after our time on earth is done (and how you can know the same if you aren’t sure)!


Simply put: “For God so loved the world that He gave His ONLY BEGOTTEN Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”.  John 3:16


However, we can’t just end there, because I think there are some things that may be “assumed” if I just use this verse alone to point you to Jesus.


First of all, if I were able to talk to most (if not all) of you reading my blog, I’m thinking that the majority would say that they “believe” in Jesus, God, Heaven and Hell. There-in lies a problem because, James 2:19 says, “even the demons believe – and shudder”.  So, "belief" alone, obviously isn't enough, if even the demons believe - and SHUDDER!


I also think that most of us would say that we are “good” people (and Rick surely was a GOOD man - as his brother in law said once, Rick is so nice - you could stand on his tongue and he wouldn't get mad - and that was a very accurate assessment of Rick's mellow personality!), but, the Bible says “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  Romans 3:23


…. But, I’m not a murder or a thief, I'm not addicted to pornography, I'm not an alcoholic, don't do drugs (or any one of the MANY excuses we can make to help us feel better about ourselves). . . . , LOTS of people do MUCH worse things than I do - you may be thinking . . .But, wait, Romans 6:23 says, “For the WAGES of sin is DEATH, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”


So, if ALL have sinned and the wages of sin is DEATH (which in this sense means ETERNAL separation from God for all eternity), that pretty much covers every one of us.  All is a word that leaves NO doubt, it doesn’t say “some” have sinned, or “most” have sinned, it says ALL have sinned – ALL, EVERYONE, EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING WHO HAS EVER LIVED . . . that’s you, that’s me, that’s Rick.


Now that we’ve established that we ALL are sinners, what is the penalty for that sin?  According to Romans 6:23, the wages, the PAYMENT for sin is DEATH – eternal separation from God.  But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  GIFT as defined by dictionary.com is “something given  voluntarily without payment in return,”


Romans 5:8 tells us that, “God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse ties in with John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He GAVE . . . “ He gave (“gave”, FREELY, a “GIFT”), His ONLY son that WHILE WE (all) were still sinners, “CHRIST DIED FOR US”.  He (God) GAVE the ULITMATE gift, He gave His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, while we were sinners, and that ultimate gift, His only SON DIED for us . . . while we were yet sinners.  WOW!  I LOVE giving gifts as much as I enjoy receiving them.  I LOVE to show the kids my LOVE by giving them gifts, but to give a gift to someone who doesn’t love me in return, who in fact hates me?  That puts it into a whole new perspective.  Yet, that is exactly what happened when CHRIST DIED FOR us.  He did that WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (while we still “hated” Him, while we were still His enemies). 


At this point in the story, we all have a choice to make.  We can believe and embrace this truth and ACCEPT this FREE gift, or we can deny it and turn our backs on God and the promises He makes to us – the choice is up to you.  The Bible says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  That’s another one of those “all” words!  EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 


Rick and I had several conversations about the moment when we each “called upon the name of the Lord”.  He very vividly remembered watching a Billy Graham crusade as a child and making the conscious decision that he WAS a sinner and he needed the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He, at that point called upon the name of the Lord and invited Christ to live in his heart and reign over his life.  He put his old sin nature to death at that moment, and was brought forever into God’s glorious kingdom!  That is the REASON we as his family have HOPE for the future.  I remember the day that I prayed that same prayer at VBS one summer and the girls all remember the moment they asked the Lord into their hearts, Tessa at home in the living room with me, and Taya & Kajsa with their Daddy – what precious memories, and a GLORIOUS hope for the future!  We WILL all some day be reunited – it is a PROMISE.


We are also told in the Bible that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”  Romans 10:9-10.  Rick and I had the privilege of “confessing” with our mouth before our church family that we were saved and were baptized along with our best friends, Jim & Donna, and several others on Superbowl Sunday several years ago.  We do NOT believe that the baptism is what “saved” us, it was our trust in the Lord, the asking Him to be our Savior and rule over our hearts and minds that gave us that free gift of eternal life, the baptism was the just “outward” confessing, the professing to others that we were children of God.  It is the symbolism of being “buried with Him” (when you go under the water) and being “raised up again with Him in newness of life”) as you are brought back up from the water).  Rick and I also had the honor of attending the baptism of all 3 girls out at Lake Lundgren Bible Camp on Labor Day 2010.  Tessa was baptized by one of the leaders, Sponz, who mentored her during LDC (Leadership Development Camp) that summer, and Taya & Kajsa were baptized Mama Ruth's husband, Mike.  It was a beautiful day and one that I will not forget, and I'm so thankful that it is a day we got to celebrate together as a family!


So, that in a somewhat abbreviated form is the WHY we have HOPE in the future, WHY the night we welcomed 600+ people at the funeral home, we were CELEBRATING Rick's life. This is it . . . we were celebrating his life here on earth - the 55 years that the Lord blessed him with, and blessed us with for having had such a wonderful person in our lives!  But, we were also (and more importantly) celebrating the fact that Rick was more alive than ever that day - safe in his FOREVER home with Jesus in Heaven . . . the place that have the assurance that some day, we will be reunited, when the Lord calls us home.♥


And, if I still have questions, Pastor Dave read from Psalm 146 for the scripture reading on Sunday - verse 9 contains this promise "The Lord . . . upholds the widow and the fatherless".  As much as Rickey loved us, and took care of us (and he WAS my BEST FRIEND, an awesome husband and such a tender, loving Daddy), THE LORD TAKES EVEN BETTER CARE OF US, AND LOVES US EVEN MORE!!!  ♥  That is something to give thanks for, and to REST in as we lay our heads to rest each night and to wake up to each morning to face a new day, in this our journey to find our "new normal"


Please, also understand that I am not saying I fully "accept" this "new normal" that I am living with the "flippant" saying, "he is in a better place".  I CHOOSE daily to accept that the Lord loves us, infinitely more than I can imagine.  I CHOOSE daily to accept that God did not BLINK on November 5 as Rick was falling.  I CHOOSE daily to look to the Lord to be my strength and my shield.  I CHOOSE daily to believe Psalm 139:16 "16 "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,  when as yet there was none of them (IN YOUR BOOK WERE WRITTEN EVERY ONE OF THEM THE DAYS THAT WERE FORMED FOR ME - that tells me that God planned Rick's life, from 1st breath to last).  I CHOOSE daily to embrace what I have been given - to love just a little bit better, forgive more quickly and make each moment count.  I daily pray that I will honor Rick's memory, serve the Lord, be both mama & daddy to my girls, love the big kids, love the grandbabies . . . . It is a daily (moment by moment) CHOICE and a daily (moment by moment) prayer to serve the Lord in all things."


I hope this helps, just a little!  


Love you girl, and I'm praying for you as well as Auntie, Uncle and their entire family ♥

5/21/12

YOU saw me . . . ♥


Psalm 139:16

One of my favorite verses.

One of my favorite promises.

The promise that God KNOWS.

The promise that God KNEW.

God laid out Rick's days before even ONE had passed.

We don't understand, but GOD does.  Our days are in HIS hands and HE knew of them before we even came to be.  With HIM, there are no mistakes.

Tonight we got the news that one of my Aunts found out that she has cancer.  Not many details are known yet.  Those will come in the days and weeks ahead.  Another reminder to us of how precious LIFE is. Another reminder to live and laugh and love and hug our loved ones.  We DON'T know what tomorrow will bring.  BUT HE DOES!

Tonight, I will fall asleep with my Aunt & Uncle, their kids, grandkids & great-grandkids on my heart and in my prayers. I will be thinking about and praying for my dad and the other siblings. I am again reminded of how unpredictable (to us) life can be.  I'm thankful that we can bring it all to HIM who is not surprised by today's news, and I'm thankful that HE is already in our tomorrows.

5/20/12

...for I KNOW!


Amazing kids, amazing weekend, amazing God!

Daddy was sorely missed, yet this weekend, we celebrated LIFE and LOVE and FAMILY and ACCOMPLISHMENTS!! :)

There are MANY, many more pictures, but tonight I'm EXHAUSTED!

And PROUD!

And feeling SO BLESSED . . . I have been left with wonderful memories of Rick, a heart full of LOVE for him and the WONDERFUL life we shared and the AWESOME kids that we were blessed with!  

"For I KNOW the plans I have for you says the LORD!"
Jeremiah 29:11


5/17/12

a tree . . . God gave me a tree!


I'm not sure "beautiful" or "perfect" are exactly the "right" words to use, yet they are the ones that come to mind with these pictures.  The setting IS beautiful.  I remember clearly the morning I went to the cemetery to pick out a "final resting place" for Rick.  On the way there, I prayed for a tree.  Yep, a tree.  But, I KNEW there couldn't be a tree because the spots available are in the "new" part of the cemetery.  New meaning just recently developed.  New meaning pretty, very well manicured grass with some small hills, but no trees.  For some reason, a tree was really important to me.  A tree represented the woods - a place Rick LOVED to be.  A place he always said he felt the closest to God.  A place he spent much time IN (he bow-hunted from a tree stand!).  Imagine my surprise (WHY when God "shows up" are we surprised?) when I pulled in to the cemetery and the sexton was there with a measuring tape, standing right next to, you guessed it, a beautiful, mature pine tree?!  Even in the throes of my grieving, God was meeting even my little requests.  Requests that seemed impossible to be answered.  There was this spot that had been reserved as a walk-way, but would never be used as such, what did I think of this spot?  What did I think of this spot, really, what did I think?  It is at the base of a pine tree.  The tree I prayed (with so little faith) for.  There was a TREE, and not just any tree, an EVERGREEN . . . a tree that is always green, reminding us of our EVERLASTING life in Christ.  Of Rick's everlasting life in Christ - a life he was just beginning to taste and see!  Oh, yes, I told him, it's perfect, just perfect!  GOD GAVE ME A TREE!!  So, yes, this spot is beautiful, because along with being the "remembrance" place for Rick's earthly body, the spot represents yet another prayer God answered.  Another reminder that His eye IS on the sparrow!
  
Today's reading in my Jesus Calling said: 

"...you have access to as much of Me as you have faith to receive . . . rejoice in My abundance - living by faith, not by sight."

My sight, my human knowledge told me a tree wasn't possible.  God whispered, "have faith, I have not left you nor forsaken you, lo, I am with you ALWAYS.  I hear your desire for a tree.  Have FAITH, rejoice in my abundance".  And, today, we have a beautiful stone commemorating the place where Rick's earthly body awaits the Lord's return right there at the base of a pine tree.  Yes, "rejoice in His ABUNDANCE - and live by faith, not by sight"!


We live by faith, not by sight.  2 Corinthians 5:7

5/16/12

l.a.u.g.h.t.e.r.♥


I am your Lord!  Seek Me as Friend and Lover of your soul, but remember that I am also King of kings - sovereign over all!  ~ Jesus Calling

This is a good reminder today and in the coming days.  As my human mind wants to SCREAM . . . Rick SHOULD BE HERE!  He should be sharing the pride that I am feeling and experiencing through Tessa's accomplishments as a SENIOR in High School.  He should be HERE with US . . . IT'S NOT FAIR!!!!  Yes, I do "shout" those words at God at times . . . because my human mind can't always grasp the sovereignty of God.  I'm thankful that at times like that, I'm led RIGHT BACK to HIM.  And promises like the one above.

HE IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL!

Today does not find us alone and missing Rick unbeknownst to HIM!  He is my (our) Lord.  HE is the Friend and Lover of my (our) soul (s).  And HE is KING of kings, and SOVEREIGN over all!

So, when I don't understand, He doesn't expect me to understand.  He doesn't command me to understand.  He doesn't promise to make ALL the answers clear to me.  He does promise to LOVE.  To make all things new.  To bring beauty from ashes, to give the oil of JOY for mourning!  His promises NEVER fail!

Today was a day that I could have felt very sorry for us.  Very angry at God that I'm here and Rick's not to celebrate Tessa's victories.  Yet, in all honesty, today, I enjoyed the day.  I trusted that though it makes no sense at all WHY Rick isn't here with us to my human mind, God HAS A REASON.  And I do seek to honor and glorify HIM and honor Rick's memory by seeking Him and praising Him even in this storm!

Senior Award night was tonight!  Tessa received her Honor Cords (#3 in her class), her National Honor Society Stole, many classroom and department awards as well as many scholarships.  It was a night to celebrate her and her accomplishments along with those of her friends and classmates!  And, yes, I MISSED RICK terribly, BUT, I enjoyed the evening!  I celebrate with Tessa these accomplishments, and I remind her (and her siblings) as often as I can that their Daddy IS still proud of them!

When we came home, after I went for a run (my fastest mile ever!), we talked and laughed, and laughed and laughed some more!  Tessa's best friend Katie was here too - she's one of those who is as close to being my own without giving birth to her - I'm thankful every day for HER in Tessa's (and our) life!!  I tried to take a video and almost couldn't because I was shaking too much I was laughing so hard!  In the interest of not embarrassing the person who STARTED the reason for our laughter (I'll just say 2 girls were playing 20 questions with the 3rd . . . and Kajsa had already gone to bed!) I'll not give any more details.  On a day that could have easily brought tears and anger and frustration and snapping at one another . . . . we instead had FUN with each other.  Enjoying each other's company and the GIFT of LAUGHTER!  God gave us the gift of laughter TODAY and it was the perfect end to what really was a GOOD day!

.... to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of JOY for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.  
Isaiah 61:3

5/13/12

Rejoice, be patient, be constant...


Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Isn't this just the CUTEST thing you ever saw?  My girls saw it on Pinterest and made it for me for Mother's Day (with a few "tweaks" to make it their own!)  I LOVE IT . . .  and I LOVE THEM!

REJOICE in Hope - yes, we do, the HOPE we have of a glorious, Heavenly, ETERNAL reunion!

Be PATIENT in tribulation - I'm not always good at patience, but, I'm learning - He is teaching me, step-by-step!

Be CONSTANT in prayer - yes, I am, and others are for me (for us) and we can feel it - especially on days like today - days that could be melancholy and sad, but end up silly and happy and fun and filled with new memories!

I woke up this morning to BRIGHT SUNSHINE ☼ streaming in my bedroom window (we forgot to close the curtains!) and a clear blue sky . . . we OVERSLEPT was my first thought, as I rolled over to check the clock . . . 6:20 a.m., on a SUNDAY.  The ONLY day I COULD sleep in this week . . . ugh . . . or ahhh?!  It's all in the perspective, isn't it?  I decided to make it ahhh rather than ugh and got up, put on my running clothes, grabbed my iPhone, turned on the worship tunes and hit the road . . . I returned home SIX miles later - every song on "shuffle" was a praise song so it was six miles of praise & worship - enjoying the beauty of the day that was dawning!  

When I got home, I got breakfast in bed (kind of - I ruined that surprise a little), the cute wall hanging above and Happy Mother's Day wishes from my 3 sweet girls!  A wonderful start to what was a wonderful day!  Before Sunday School, we brought Gramma Dodo (Rick's mom) her Mother's Day gift - a hanging basket of flowers  -  I also thanked her (via Facebook!) for sharing her Rickey with me for these 20 years . . . he really was the best gift I EVER received (besides SALVATION from my Lord, but you know what I mean!)!

Speaking of wonderful days, at Sunday School, we sang What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the One by His grace, when He takes me by the hand and leads me through the Promised Land, what a day, glorious day that will be!  Takes on new meaning when I realize that Rick has experienced that glorious day!!   He has been taken by the hand of the One who saved him by His grace . . . he has been shown around the Promised Land!  During church, we sang "It Is Well" . . . and I echo the chorus It is well, with my soul, it is well, it is well, with my soul.  That doesn't mean that I totally understand, or even that I like it, it means it is "well" in that my faith carries me through the not understanding and the not liking it, so I CAN say with the songwriter of old, Oh Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as the scroll.  I have that promise that someday, the FAITH that I have in the Lord WILL become sight and all of the circumstances of this life will be made sight.  Between now and then, I'll have FAITH that HE does know!

This afternoon, Baccalaureate was held at the High School for the graduating SENIORS.  There is never a large turnout, but it is still a nice service.  Most of the kids who showed up this year have been really good friends since their early elementary school days, so it was fun to see them celebrating this milestone together, praising God and taking fun and silly pictures afterwards! The service started with Tessa's best friend Katie playing "I Can Only Imagine" on the piano, and ending with Tessa playing "I Will Rise" (which I linked to last night!)  Her Daddy would have been (is) so proud of her!  

After the service, Kajzi & I ran to town, got a few more graduation party things, some ice-cream cake and lemon meringue pie and then some Brothers 3 pizza which we came home and had with my parents and Tessa's friends Claire & Katie.

Today was ANOTHER first, in a line of FIRSTS that we are facing, but today, all I can say is that I must have been totally bathed (smothered) in prayer, because it was a WONDERFUL day!  I thoroughly enjoyed it and am going to sleep tonight (in clean sheets that smell so good from drying out on the line - I LOVE THAT) with a smile on my face for the BLESSINGS that HE has bestowed upon me, and for the FAITH that He allows me to grab hold of - the faith that He has NOT left us nor forsaken us - we are His precious children!

"Be on the lookout for what I am doing in your life . . . worship   Me by living close to Me, thanking Me in ALL circumstances" ~ Jesus Calling

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

5/12/12

a party and some conversations...



I mentioned a couple of days ago (the last time I posted) about a family that recently went through a horrible loss.  The family who we are friends with are a Christian family who are very dear to me!  One of them had the following on his Facebook: 


"The body buried in the ground is meaningless...it's of this world.  It does rest, maybe in peace.  But what that body symbolized, the soul of a person, if he or she is in heaven, there is no rest, and it is a worship concert forever up there.  So, instead of rest in peace, why not say Party On those who were of this world and are in a place SOOO much better.  Singing and praising the LORD of LORD and KING of KINGS.  Praise be to God now and forever from those of this world, and those with Him. Amen."


Pretty insightful from a 16 year old boy!  What peace it reflects.  Even in experiencing terrible loss through family friends, he NAILED IT . . . those in Heaven are participating in the BEST worship concert ever . . . and it will NEVER end!  I asked his mom if I had permission to use it on here and she said I did.  I won't give him credit by name, but the credit is his, not mine, yet I'm pleased to share it with you!

On to other things . . . 

Here we are, 1 week past "6 MONTHS" . . . . a date that i feared.  And survived. Through the strength that God imparts to me moment by moment!  Last night the girls were all gone to track meets (different meets - one running, one watching and one doing the "score-keeping")!  Tonight the girls were all gone to see "The Avengers".  Two nights home "alone".  A day full of doing lots of "house" stuff with little assistance (my dad helped me power wash yard furniture and has been keeping my grass mowed for me!).  A day realizing how MUCH different life is without my best friend here to help me do all these things!  Two nights with too much time to THINK . . . two nights when the phone didn't ring . . . two nights when I'm reminded how different my "new" life is.  My girls are all home again, and I don't feel "alone" anymore!  God is so good in blessing me with them - they are my pride and joy and besides HIM, ultimately it is THEY who sustain me day to day!  

With all this time to "think" I've drafted many posts in my mind, but am going with the one that is here - REAL conversations that I've had with people in recent days - and my response in italics (not always to them, but to you, here if you care to read on!) . . . 

True conversations . . . 

"Just let us know what you need, we want to help you"

O.k. - I'm NOT good at asking for help, so I "hinted" while standing near several men . . . my riding lawnmower will need to be serviced for summer - oil changed, blades sharpened, things I can't do.  What do you suggest?  They all were QUICK to suggest the "best" place to bring the mower, but none offered to help me get it THERE, I don't own a truck or a trailer - and I didn't even know if the mower would START!  Since I didn't get the results I was needing, I mentioned it again to another group of men, where one told me not to worry about it, it was taken care of . . . My Dad got my lawn mower going for me this spring - he's not the person who told me it was "taken care of" . . . My parents are SO AWESOME, but sometimes, they need a break too, I didn't WANT my Dad to have to worry about my lawn mower!   So, though I didn't come out and say COME AND TAKE CARE OF MY LAWN MOWER, I tried, to no avail - makes asking for anything else really tough - especially for a stubborn soul!

"You are using Rick's death as a 'crutch' and if you continue, you will find yourself all alone on an island"

Really, really?  I'm not even sure HOW to respond to that one.  I was back to work within 11 days of Rick's accident.  I cleared my own driveway of snow all winter except for 2 times someone plowed it for me.  I took care of all of the "paperwork" required when someone dies mostly by myself.  I have rented a BIG dumpster TWICE and pretty much single-handedly filled it - both times.  I'm doing my BEST to take care of 3 girls, a home AND working full time . . . besides that, it's just 6 months, I've made every attempt to NOT use my circumstances as a "crutch", but sometimes, my circumstances ARE my "excuse".

"I would LOVE to be left completely alone for a day."

Yep, me too!  As a BUSY mom of 3 a day alone is a treat!  Especially if it's a day where I can do what I want (read a book, get a pedicure, relax, take a nap, lay in the sun . . . ).  But, there's not much time for that now days.  After 40 hours at work, I still have to come home and do all the "house" stuff (the girls are HUGE helps and my parents are wonderful, it's still really different knowing that ultimately it ALL falls to me).  And the "alone" that I refer to isn't THAT kind of alone.  It's the new state of being I live in.  Every day.  Being alone in a gym full of people.  Being alone in a church where the pews are full.  Being alone at a band concert.  Being alone at church potluck.  Being alone where ever you go.  A different kind of alone.  An aching kind of alone.  An alone that I don't want my friends to experience for a REALLY long time!  It's an alone that I know that only the Lord can fill and I'm leaning on Him more and more every day trusting in His filling, but as someone very wise said to me, "God can't take you out to dinner at the Landing"!  So very true - so He is  ultimately my "All in All", yet there is still that aching hole, that alone-ness that permeates my every day.

"I don't really know when you are grieving"

I don't wear black every day.  I don't cry easily in public.  I try not to use my circumstances as a crutch.  I try not to look "alone" even when I am . . . therefore, "grief" doesn't look like others expect it to . . . yet it is there.  Every moment of every day.  There's not a moment that I'm NOT grieving.  The sting of it is less sharp than 6 months ago.  The depth is not as aching.  It's still there.  It's always there.  Again, something that only the Lord can truly "cover".  So, again I continue to LEAN, trusting in Him to help alleviate the grief - a little more each day.  Some day, maybe I'll wake up and not have my new "reality" be the FIRST thing I think of!

"You have such a great support system"

I have some great friends, yes that is true.  But, my real support system, those I can/do go to at any time, for any reason, it's a pretty small "system". There are only a few who are on the "inside".  Some "come and go" as I journey through - they are there for a season - when I need them, only a few (very few) have truly been "there" through it all.  And that's o.k.  There is "history" there.  Those people know.  They know where I am at any given moment.  They know the circumstances surrounding me that bring me joy or pain.  They are the special few that the Lord has set aside for me.  It's o.k.  I'm good with that.  I just needed to clarify that.  I've talked to other widows and that's how it is.  It's good to have your "core".  Those are the ones who really "get" you and ultimately will sustain you until you don't need them as much on a day to day basis.  I appreciate EVERY SINGLE person who is in my life, who has loved and cared for and prayed for me/us.  But, my "core" support system, it's really pretty small!

If you have actually read all the way through to here, please don't think that I'm "targeting" anyone!  I'm just trying to be transparent (which is not easy for me - I DON'T want pity - THAT is the WORST thing anyone has given to me throughout this journey!).  I'm just attempting to be honest.  To share some of my "day to day".  Some of the "new normal" that is now my life!  GOD has been faithful!  Tonight when I was home "alone", I got SO MUCH cleaning done.  I feel like we are really almost ready for a graduation party next weekend (but as usual, still worried that I won't have enough FOOD!).  "Life" really is good.  I am actually happy most of the time.  I have learned to see God in the little and big things.  Tonight, I had the radio blasting as I cleaned, and every single song seemed like it was written and sung just for me.  God orchestrated that.  He met me where I was!  He gave me a peace about being "alone".  He is amazing and I love Him so!

This week will be BUSY!  Tomorrow we have Baccalaureate at school.  Tessa is playing piano - I think she's playing "I Will Rise" - a song I blogged about awhile back I think - the song I KNOW Rick was singing on November 5 "I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain, I will rise on eagles' wings, before my God, fall on my knees, and rise, I will rise - And I hear the voice of angels sing, 'Worthy is the Lamb'"!  THAT is what the Facebook post above talks about, that ETERNAL worship concert!  (I've added the link below!)  On Wednesday, the Seniors have their awards night and Senior "Tea" (where tea is not served!), part of my job is getting all of the awards co-ordinated and ready for presentation - it will be a busy couple of days!  I have off on Thursday & Friday to get ready for Tessa's graduation party on Saturday and then Graduation on Sunday!  I'm so EXCITED for her!  It's SO MUCH fun to see the wonderful young lady she has become and I can't wait to see what God has in store for her future!  So, if I'm a bit absent in the days ahead, you know why!

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:20

I Will Rise sung by Chris Tomlin

5/9/12

life is fragile . . .



Tonight, I have a heavy heart.

Today, I heard of another loss.

An unexpected, earth-shattering, life altering loss.

All losses, I suppose fit that description, but one that comes so totally unexpectedly, seemingly "out of the blue" (to human minds) somehow seem to be a "wake up" call . . . a call to remind us that life is FRAGILE.  That not one of us knows the time or the place when the Lord will take us Home.

This loss came to a family that I do not know well, but they are friends to some of our VERY GOOD friends.  So, the family is hurting and our friends are hurting, and ultimately, I am hurting.

Maybe because I have experienced that unexpected, earth-shattering, life altering, "out of the blue" loss, I in some small way feel their pain, relate to their pain, their shock.  To honor their privacy, I won't give further details, it is their story to tell, not mine.

But, because of their story, I will say tonight, remember to LOVE those closest to you.  Hug them.  Tell them you love them.  Cherish them - imperfections and all.  Make time for them - no job, no school work, no amount of money, NOTHING can give you back time once it is gone (trust me, I KNOW that first hand - today I was looking back through my time sheets from work - last fall, prior to Rick's accident, I had weeks where I worked 50 hours and more.  Not ONE of those extra hours, or the extra dollars I earned can bring Rick back to us).  Again today, I was reminded that life is fragile.  Life is fleeting.  Only the Lord knows the number of breaths we will take, and once they are gone, we CANNOT recover them.  

I challenge you - make your time count.  And make sure when your time on earth is done, you are ready to meet the Lord.  As much as hearing of this loss today brings me back to the moment I heard the news of Rick's death, it reminds me how at THAT MOMENT, I was filled with the PEACE that I knew where Rick was.  I knew that though my world just "crashed", he was safe in the arms of JESUS.  That is the ONE thing I was sure of at that moment - and am still sure of!  That knowledge is what sustains me from day to day and allows me to go on from day to day.  Make sure you have that same assurance, that same knowledge.  There is nothing more important than this knowledge, there is no more important decision you can make in your life.  Accept the FREE gift of SALVATION ... available to ALL who will call upon the name of the Lord.  You cannot earn it, you cannot buy it, you can never be good enough or nice enough.  Going to church won't do it for you.  The only way you can have that assurance is to believe that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"!  It really is THAT easy, that's all there is to it - ACCEPT the FREE gift of salvation given to you by Jesus' death on the cross.  

Today was another reminder that tomorrow is not promised to any of us, our next breath is not promised to us.  ONLY GOD KNOWS!  Make SURE you know what will happen to you when your fragile life here on earth is through.  Rick knew, I knew he knew, so though it will take a lifetime to "forget" him, I am promised an ETERNITY with him in Heaven!

5/7/12

too BLESSED not to BLOG!

I was completely ready to go to bed and not blog tonight . . . but then I got thinking and realized that I was feeling "too BLESSED not to BLOG!" . . . 

I'm not going to be "deep" tonight . . . I'm just going to share some of the BLESSINGS that God bestowed on me today . . . 

  • I had a job (that I MOSTLY love) to go to today.
  • I have great co-workers and I LOVE the kids at school!
  • The weather warmed up some and it was a pretty nice day - even some sunshine peeked through!
  • I went for a RUN . . . (3.16 miles) then I stopped and tanned and napped (yes, I was SO TIRED I fell asleep in the tanning bed!), I shopped (yes, there is shopping at my tanning place - and I have a CUTE pair of SHOES picked out - so glad I didn't buy any when I shopped this weekend - I must have tried on 50 pairs yesterday!)

  • I RAN home - and took the llooonnnnggggg way home . . . which resulted in 4.65 miles (and took me past the cemetery - of course I ran through and told Rick about it!) . . . so my TOTAL run for the day was 7.81 miles . . . If you had told me six months ago I would be running, and enjoying it, and going ALMOST 8 miles in a day, I'd have told you that you were CrAzY! :) 
  • I hauled a bunch more garbage to the dumpster - it is scheduled for pick-up tomorrow, but thanks to my girls and my dad, it is nearly FULL and the garage and basement are looking AMAZING!
  • A friend got good news about some medical tests she had done that we'd been praying about, still some "unknowns", but initial good news!
  • A good friend (who lost a daughter so she "gets" the grief thing) stopped over tonight.  She reminded me that it's only 6 months, 6 months is yesterday (in terms of forever!).  We had a really nice visit and she assured me (again) that so many of my thoughts/feelings/emotions are totally normal!  I'm so thankful that God sends just who I need, just when I need them!
  • A sweet friend sent me the lyrics to an old song I'd forgotten, but LOVE, and she said she thought it was written for me . . . and it is amazing - I've included the YouTube link below - "Through It All" as sung by the Gaithers who I also love! The abbreviated lyrics are:  "I've had many tears and sorrows, I've had questions for tomorrow, There've been times I didn't know right from wrong; But in every situation God gave blessed consolation that my trials come to only make me strong . . . Through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God; Through it all, I've learned to depend on His word . . . I've been to lots of places, and I've seen a lot of faces, There've been times I felt so all alone; But in my lonely hours, yes, those precious lonely hours, Jesus let me know that I was His own . . . I thank God for the mountains, and I thank Him for the valleys, I thank Him for the storms He brought me through; For if I'd never had a problem I wouldn't know that He could solve them, I'd never know what faith in God could do . . . THROUGH IT ALL . . . I'VE LEARNED TO DEPEND ON HIS WORD!"!
  • I also had the song going through my mind that reminds me "I know WHO holds the future and I know WHO holds my hand"!

  • Along with that, I posted on Facebook last night . . . " I LOVE my girls ... and my friends!!! .... And yes, this weekend marked 6 months since our goodbye to Rick, but, we are also 6 months closer to our eternal reunion!! :) " . . . and as I thought of that, I also thought that every day, every moment, I'm one more breath into my "future" . . . the FUTURE that the LORD has planned for me!  With that thought came another of my favorite Bible verses . . . Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE"!  What an amazing promise - even though I can't see past this moment in time, HE can, and HE knows, and HE promises to prosper, not to harm, to give hope and a future!  And I know that my ULTIMATE future is eternity in Heaven!
  • I have AMAZING kids (I know I've said that before!)!  So often, people tell me they can't imagine having 3 teenage girls, or that they dread when their girls are teens, to which I reply, "For me, it's a BLESSING"!  I also have 2 great step-kids!  They were raised more in their mom's home than in ours, but I love them so very much!  They have grown into AWESOME "people" with great spouses and amazing children.  I'm thankful to their mom who did such a good job with them! ♥
I hope this gave you a little "peek" into my day.  Even though Rick is not with us any longer here on earth, he is always in my heart.  We shared a wonderful life which I am so thankful for.  I KNOW where Rick is today (and it's not in that cemetery I ran through today - it's just the last place I know his earthly body was placed - so I feel "connected" to him a bit when I'm there!).  So, in spite of the grief that does follow me each day, I can also praise God for each and every BLESSING He sends my way! ♥


"Through It All" By Andrae Crouch

5/6/12

Friends :)

Tonight I'm getting to bed fairly early, it's been a BUSY weekend!! God was (again) so good and it was an enjoyable weekend even though we marked yet another month gone by since Rick went "home"! On the other hand, we are now 6 months closer to our eternal reunion!! :)

Tonight, I just need to "voice" my thankfulness for the blessing God gave to me and Rick in our best friends Jim and Donna! I'm not even going to start in on ALL of my reasons for feeling this way or I'll NEVER get to bed! I'll just share that I will never forget Jim's presence next to me as I spoke with the transplant co-ordinator that day in the hospital - he was just "there" beside me through it all, even though he had just lost his "brother". And Donna has been the sister I never had-I'm SO BLESSED to have them! Some day, I'll share more! For tonight, I'll just say, "Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of Jim & Donna" and Jim and Donna "Thanks for being you...I LOVE YOU!!"

5/5/12

...of anniversaries & expectations...



SATURDAY
NOVEMBER 5, 2011 

. . . 

SATURDAY
MAY 5, 2012

. . . 

Today was an "anniversary" I NEVER thought I'd have to experience.  Not at this stage in my life.  I never thought with one graduating from College (Nick) and one graduating from High School (Tessa) and the youngest grandbaby turning ONE in a few weeks (Lila) that I'd also be commemorating six months without their Daddy/Papa and my BEST FRIEND.  This isn't how the story was supposed to go (in my mind!) :(

Yet my "story" isn't really "my" story, it's His story and He has written it differently than I would have if I'd had the choice.

Saturday . . . I've blogged about this day before.  Yes, it DOES get a little easier when Saturday rolls around . . . a little better each week.  

The 5th of the month . . . I've blogged about this day before.  Yes, it DOES get a little easier when the 5th rolls around . . . a little better each month.

But, this time around, it was a SATURDAY.  It was the 5th.  AND it was SIX months.  For some reason, that has been a "milestone" marker for me.  Partly because shortly after this journey of ours began, the Lord led me to a dear new friend who was SIX MONTHS and ONE DAY ahead of me on this journey.  In her, I could look ahead and see that "life does go on".  In her, I could see that though life looked bleak and scary and filled with questions that God does carry us through . . . so I looked towards this "day" as a milestone of sorts . . . Leah made it to six months, and she survived . . . I could too!
(you can read Leah's blog OUT OF DEEP WATERS by clicking on the link!)

HOWEVER . . . if you were able to speak to Rick today, he would tell you that we (he & I) really had very few arguments during our marriage (honest!) . . . BUT, he would tell you that MOST of our disagreements came about because of MY expectations . . . 

Expectations as defined by Dictionary.com = "An expectant mental attitude" or "Something expected, looked forward to"  synonyms include "anticipation, hope, trust".

Well, I have been known to "expect" things others have no idea I'm expecting. . . . 

-When the girls were little, I EXPECTED that Rick would realize on a SATURDAY how much I'd like to go to town, ALONE even if it was just for groceries . . . and I EXPECTED him to OFFER to stay home with the girls, and when he didn't, my day was ruined (and his was too!).  I did get better on this one and began to share with Rick that I'd like to go to town, and he was usually more than happy to send me off on my errands while he spent time with the girls!

-When my Birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day . . . came around, I EXPECTED a "surprise" - sometimes what I expected was bigger than others, but usually I didn't share what I might be expecting, and therefore, I was usually surprised, but often not excitedly surprised!

-More recently, I EXPECTED that because I bought all the pool chemicals, the pool should be winterized the next day (which ironically was our last disagreement, probably a week or two before he died, to which Rick said, "Sheila, it doesn't matter, it does not have to be done today - it's not going to freeze yet - we have TIME . . . the pool was not completely winterized on November 5 - little did we know that even though he was right, it wasn't going to freeze yet, we still didn't have "time"). 

Why do I share these things today?  Because today, I again had "expectations".  I expected because SATURDAY NOVEMBER 5 has been forever etched in my heart that everyone else should remember the exact date too.  That people (especially those closest to me) will "remember" that TODAY was SATURDAY, that TODAY was the 5th of the month, that TODAY was 6 months.  I EXPECTED . . . I'm not sure what I expected, I think more of an "acknowledgement" of the "day" . . . And some did remember (very specifically - and sent me texts telling me so), most did not (or they did and didn't share for fear of sharing . . . )  So again, my EXPECTATIONS could have gotten me in lots of trouble.  My EXPECTATIONS DID start to get me in trouble.  I ALMOST let myself go down that slippery slope.  I gave the devil a little crack, and almost let him have free reign over my thoughts, emotions and attitude today . . . But THANKFULLY, God put the RIGHT people in my life today who re-directed me - back to GOD.  Back to what really matters.  Back to HIM!  So even though my "expectations" weren't met, it's o.k.!  I learned (again) that my expectations aren't always (o.k. usually aren't) on track with God's expectations for me!  I KNOW that there are MANY people today who were WELL aware that today was SATURDAY, that today was the 5th and that today was six months.  Many of them PRAYED for us today.  Others had us in mind all day long.  Some just couldn't come to us . . . because even if it has been six months, they still aren't sure "just" what to say! As I get ready to turn in tonight, I can truly echo the words of the beautiful old hymn (which is a good reminder of where my "expectations" need to lie):

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and rightousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand!

I'm again amazed at God's goodness.  I'm in awe that BEFORE TIME BEGAN, HE knew that Nick would graduate from college (something his Dad was so proud of!).  HE knew the little girls would have a dance recital this afternoon.  HE knew that WE would have a SPECIFIC reason to spend time together (as Rick's family) today (even though we missed having Ashley Beth with us - we will all be together in 2 weeks for Tessa's graduation!).  Someone said to me how "ironic" it was that Nick would be graduating today, on a Saturday, on the 5th, on the six month anniversary of Rick's "Home-going".  It's not "ironic" though, it is all a part of God's beautiful story for our lives.  

Today, we all missed Rick/Dad.  We KNEW all day long that someone was missing.  We felt the missing piece to our family puzzle.  BUT, we still had a good day.  We still cheered for Nick when they announced his name.  We still loved watching the little girls dance.  We took LOTS of pictures.  We hugged.  We smiled.  We kept on keeping on.  Rick would have not wanted any less from any of us!  He was right there in our hearts.  He was right there with Nick as he walked across that stage.  He was right next to me (in seat #13) at the dance recital.  He was right there with Jim & Donna (Rick's "boss" & best friend and my best friend) when they saw a huge bear in the middle of the day today.  All day long, we were all reminded in little and big ways that Rick will always be with us.  We were reminded to be a little kinder, gentler, more patient, and to always LOVE, because, we have learned that we don't always have "time".  God met us today.  He blessed us today.  He blessed me today.  The girls and I laughed today.  Laughed until we cried.  I even made the Starbucks guy laugh today!  And, you know what?  It's Saturday.  It's the 5th.  It's 6 months.  And, it's o.k. for us to smile, to laugh, to have fun, to live life, to enjoy life, to celebrate the accomplishments of the kids and grand-kids . . . because Rick would have wanted it that way and God gives us grace for each day - our HOPE to carry on!

My "Jesus Calling" for today read:

"Come to Me for all that you need . . . I am Light, in whom there is no darkness at all . . . relax in the knowledge that the One who controls your life is totally trustworthy . . . come to Me with confident expectation . . . "

"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."  1 John 1:5