2/15/18

{he.loves.me.that.much}

i didn't post yesterday because i wrote and re-wrote this post over and over in my head all day and couldn't put into words what i wanted to put into words ...

here i am today, still not sure how to do it, but i'm going to give it a try. sometimes once my fingers hit the keys, the words flow freely, as if my fingers are doing the talking.

february 14, 1992 ... do you remember what you were doing?

a friend of mine does ... she was having a baby! i remember that well! we got the call and i was so excited! i was excited because it was cool to share such a special day with my sweet friend and her beautiful new baby as it was also my wedding day to my best friend, rickey! february 14, 1992 was the day we had chosen to get married. the day our adventure began and the day that was the beginning of our happily ever after, our i'll love you until forever, the beginning of our story of taking this journey of life side by side, hand in hand. valentine's day, at the time seemed so romantic and so fun, and so practical! now rickey could never forget our anniversary, right? hallmark would make sure of that!

little did i know that our happily ever after, our i'll love you forever, our love story would come to a screeching halt less than 20 years later ...

not that the loving stopped. i loved him on february 14, 1992, i loved him on november 5, 2011 and i still love him today. death does not stop love, it just puts it into a new dimension. our story didn't "end" that day, as our beautiful children carry their daddy's legacy and he continues to shine the light of his love through him.

but ... the story of him & me, the story of rickey & sheila, the story of a "happily ever after" reached the point in our wedding vows that none of us like to consider, the "until death do us part" portion of those vows.

when you are 24 and starry eyed in love, that part of your vows seems like a long time in the future. a long, long, long time in the future. a let's have kids and grand kids and great grand kids time away. a we'll retire and travel together, and a let's get old and gray together time away. a "forever" time away.

so ... when that part of the story comes way sooner than you think it will, and your life becomes different than you ever thought it would, what then? what happens then?

when my "love story" as i knew it took a drastic turn on november 5, 2011 there was honestly only one thing i knew for certain, well actually two. rickey was safely at home in the arms of Jesus and God doesn't make mistakes. 

but ... where did that leave me? 

having spent nearly 20 years as rickey & sheila ... what now?

i was only 45, i wasn't buried in the cemetery next to rickey ... there must be more ... but what?

well, i shouldn't have been surprised to realize that in as much as God had been there on february 14, 1992 and on every day between then and november 5, 2011, He was also there on november 6, 2011 and every day that came after that!

to say that i have seen God's hand at work throughout my whole life seems like such an understatement, but it will have to suffice, because there aren't words big enough to accurately describe His presence and His peace and His love that He has lavished upon me!

one of the many blessings that He has lavished on me and one of the ways He has shown His love to me is in allowing me to be happy, truly happy again by giving me the opportunity to love again! the opportunity to have someone else to love and cherish and adore. someone to serve and submit to under God's authority ... a "new" someone to call husband!

i do not take this gift lightly, and each day, i realize more and more how truly blessed i am!

what i really wanted to share with this post though, was the amazing respect that i have seen my "new" love, rick show for the beautiful love that rickey & i shared by his response to february 14.

i have to be absolutely honest too, and say that i believe that this is the first year that i truly understood and respected and appreciated rick's reaction, and response to february 14.

the first year rick and i were married, i looked forward to valentine's day with anticipation {or should i say expectation?} ... would he get me flowers, or candy or some pretty, sparkly piece of jewelry? 

the answer to the above question was no. no, he didn't. he came home with flowers & stuffed animals for the girls, but not for me. i was a little baffled, a little hurt, but i tried to smile bravely and appreciate the love he was showing to the girls even though i wondered why i didn't receive anything.

in the years that followed, valentine's day was quiet. while friends were posting their dinners out and their flowers, or their chocolates or their sparkly pieces of new jewelry, i liked their posts, i commented how sweet their gifts were, all the while wondering how i could change rick and be the recipient of some of these things on this hallmark holiday that i placed so much value on.

at times, i forgot all of the little and big things that rick did for me on the other 364 days of the year as i either waited in anticipation of "this" day, or felt sorry for myself when my expectations of this "day" didn't come to pass. these hallmark holidays sure can cause a lot of stress and anxiety in a relationship, can't they?

little did i know, that rick was not ignoring this day. he didn't love me any less on february 14 than he did on february 13 or february 15! 

actually, he probably loved me MORE!

yes, more!

as our relationship grew, and we were able to talk through things without me getting irrationally emotional {i know, i'd never do that, right?} i slowly began to understand.

i began to understand that he loved me enough to keep february 14 low key. this was his way of honoring what "was". what rickey and i had. what i saw as his inability to meet my expectations on february 14, was actually his way of showing his utmost love and respect for me, for my previous marriage, for the life that i had shared with rickey. 

it may have taken me six years of spending valentine's day with this man for me to really "get" it, but now that i do, it only makes me love him more! this year, we had a quiet dinner at home. we ran to town and got culver's {a favorite treat} and came home and watched the olympics. no fireworks. no huge bouquets of flowers. no sparkly new jewelry or fancy dinners out. no huge boxes of heart shaped candy ... just quiet, soft spoken love. of mutual respect and understanding. of a wonderful man showing respect to another wonderful man and honoring a day for what it meant in the past.

my "valentine" from rick is a truly treasured gift. he loves me enough to keep one day of the year special, honoring a love that was and is no more.

in my mind, that is a gift to treasure and i love you for it rick, more than you will ever know!

thank you for loving me, and being patient with me until i finally "got it"




2/10/18

{use.your.good.dishes}


i was recently having a conversation with a group of ladies about deep-house cleaning ... a.k.a. "purging" and had stumbled upon a few articles that are too good not to share!

the first is "swedish death cleaning" {don't let the name scare you} which you can link to HERE

& the other is "89 things to remove from your home & your life" which you can read HERE 

while you may not follow every bit of this advice, there is some valuable information that may just be the inspiration that you need to get started!

we have done 3 what i would call major purges in the last 5 years, and with each, i find i want to get rid of more! the less stuff we have, the more enjoyable our life has become! it is so much easier to keep the house clean, to find things i'm looking for and to focus on the things that really matter!

during my last cleaning spree, i was cleaning in the basement. just that week, i had been on the lookout for some new dishes, because you  know, the 2 sets in my cupboard weren't "enough" for me. as i went through the dusty boxes stored on shelves in the basement, i opened one to discover some china dishes i'd nearly forgotten about. years ago, when my grandma had to move from her home to the nursing home, i'd inherited a partial set of china from her & ironically {?} a former pastor's wife had gifted me a set of china for my "hope chest" that she'd received and didn't particularly love that was the identical set to my grandma's partial set. these dishes had been sitting on a shelf, in a cardboard box, collecting dust in the basement untouched for 20+ years. since i'd recently been on the lookout for a set of dishes, i proceeded to clean out my kitchen cabinets, donating all the other plates, cups, bowls & more that had collected there and we now have one set of dishes, and yes, they are the combined china sets. 

yes, they are pretty, yes, most people would save them for their "good" dishes, their "company" dishes, but why? isn't saturday night pizza with my husband who i love dearly a special occasion? aren't burgers on the grill with my parents a reason to celebrate? aren't bbq ribs with our kids a reason to enjoy something nice? isn't every single day that God has gifted me with reason enough to use my good dishes? in addition to making every day a reason to celebrate, i opened up extra space in my kitchen cabinets, i simplified my life and i made use of something that was taking up space in the basement.

today, i want to challenge you, if you are looking to start making your life more relaxed, more enjoyable and certainly much more stress free, consider just one way you can remove something from your life that you really CAN live without! 

if you are brave enough, share with us what that item was ... and if you want some of my hints towards a more simple life, feel free to reach out to me, i'd love to share with you more of how we've done it, and how freeing it really is!



2/7/18

{ever have one of "those" days?}

i really want to sit down and blog.

everyday.

not to be famous.

not so you'll read it.

but for my sanity.

to put ink to paper, or in this case, fingers to keyboard.

because i believe that, for me, writing, journaling, even with jumbled thoughts is good. 

it has proven in the past to be restorative, refreshing, refining and yes, even relaxing ... and for my "type a" personality that is good ... "relaxing" to me is not knitting, or crocheting or cross stitching, nothing that takes longer than a day to complete is relaxing, it becomes stressful, i like the "instant gratification" of putting words to paper and seeing them then and there, no waiting for the finished project {anyone else relate to that?}!

but ...

some days, i don't blog because i have too many thoughts ... they are all running around in my head like 100's of open computer tabs, and i can't focus on one tab long enough to make a coherent sentence, much less a journal, or blog entry.

some days, i don't blog because, i feel i have nothing worthwhile to put in writing, but really, that is never true because each day that God gives me breath is a worthwhile day.

some days i don't blog because honestly, life hurts and those hurts feel like are too much to put out there for all to read.

some days i don't blog because life is so busy and fun and filled that there just isn't time.

some days i don't blog because i feel lonely and i don't want that to come across in a post, because i don't want to appear needy.

some days i don't blog because i'm so full of joy and excitement that i don't want to sound like i'm bragging, and have someone think that my life is perfect all the time - especially if they are facing a difficulty of their own.

some days i don't blog because i'm worried about what the future holds, my parents health, my kids well being, my marriage, my job, my finances, my future.

some days ...

can you relate?

is your life a jumble of days, some the same or similar to those i listed above?

friends, i want to remind you, as i need to stop and remind myself ...

on the day when my brain has 100's of tabs open, i need mark 4:39
"peace, be still"

on the day when i feel like i have nothing worthwhile to write, i need to remind myself of psalm 139
He knows what every day holds even before it happens and He ordained it!

on the days when life hurts, i need to remember psalm 147:3
"He heals the broken hearted"

on the days when i'm so busy and life is so fun-filled, i need to share proverbs 17:22
"a cheerful heart is good medicine" and i need to share that good medicine with others!

on the days that i feel lonely, i need to be reminded of joshua 1:9
"God is with you"

on the joy filled days, i need to remember where my true joy comes from psalm 16:11
"you will fill me with joy in Your presence"

on the days when i seem to forget that fear and faith cannot co-exist, i need to remember isaiah 41:10
"fear not for I am with you"

basically, every day, in every situation, i need to remember Him! 

He is the giver of all of my days ... 

the great days.

the good days.

the joy-filled days.

the sad days.

the lonely days.


every.single.day.in.between!

He gave me these days and i need to always remember

THIS IS THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE, I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT!
psalm 118:24

what kind of day are you having today?

share your praise or prayer request in the comments ... i promise, i will pray for you! 

2/1/18

{i'm not a good "waiter"}


i am not a good "waiter"

i don't like to wait for anything! when i was pregnant, all the books said that baby could safely arrive anytime after 36 weeks, so guess what? my impatience kicked in at 36 weeks & 1 day {and baby #1 was 10 days late - God was really teaching me a lesson!} i don't like waiting for my food when i order it, i don't like waiting for the mail if i'm expecting something, i don't like doing projects like quilting or knitting or cross-stitch that may take weeks or months to complete ... patience is not my virtue!

Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now, please!

i am working on it, and i'm getting some better, but it's still a big challenge to me! just this morning when i mentioned to rick that i've been awake since 3:37 a.m. he said it's because i want instant gratification. i'm waiting on the Lord for a few things, and i'm trying {really hard} to leave it all in His tender, loving hands, but truth be told, yes, that's it, i want to know what the future holds and i want to know it ... yesterday! i'm not necessarily anxious as in worried, just excited to see Him work and move ... but still anxious, and wanting it in my timing, not His!

how very appropriate that i found a calendar with a verse of the day [#votd} for the month of february and this is the verse for today,

"we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 corinthians 5:7

and then my Bible app verse of the day is,

"be still and know that I am God." psalm 46:10

if that wasn't enough, my "Jesus Calling" devotional started out,

"follow Me, one step at a time" and one of the Scripture passages for today? yep, you guessed it, 2 corinthians 5:7

well, then.

Lord, help me to trust in Your way and Your time! help me to follow You and know that all things happen in Your time and for my good and Your glory! help me to be patient as i wait on You and to walk by faith in You! help me to be still and not try to rush on ahead of Your. plans for my life. You have shown me time and time again that Your ways are always better, help me to remember that each day! amen.

He knew. . .

As I sit here on my comfortable couch in our cute little air conditioned apartment in Chattanooga, I'm again amazed at how God works in...