36{6} days ... and HOPE for the future . . .

36{6} days . . . in "this" year.  A year of "firsts" and this one contained an extra day.  An extra day to "count", an extra day to remember, an extra day to grieve, an extra day to trust, an extra day to learn, an extra day ... just one day, but an extra one.

I've been thinking about "days" lately.  I think because I'm on the other end of counting the days.  By that I mean, when Rickey went to Heaven on November 5, 2011, I remember thinking, just one more day.  Just do the next day.  Just finish what is in today.  I remember thinking, "People talk about all the firsts and making it through the first year, how will we get to 365 {or in this case, 366} days?  This is only day 21 or 32 or 46 . . ."  As I have mulled over the fact that NOW we are "only" 15 days from a year, my mind has attempted to grasp GOD.  To grasp HIS plan for my life.  To grasp the height and depths of His love for me, for us.  As I look back and reminisce I think . . . what was I doing last September, last October, last early November  . . . what did I do "this" weekend last year?  I remember "this weekend" clearly . . . we went to the UP Finals Cross Country meet in Munising - the girls and I  . . . and then we headed over to Marquette to see Nick, Ashley & the little girls.    We called home to see if Rickey minded if we spent the night and he assured us that we should - he felt "selfish" that he was going to be busy hunting soon, take this time and enjoy it. . . . If I had known then what I know now, what would I have done?  I also know that next weekend marks our last "date" . . . we went to LaCabana for Mexican - after a brief argument about where to eat . . . If I had known then what I know now, would it have mattered where we ate?  That's the weekend that Kajsa tried out for the 7th grade Cheer Team - and made it . . . and actually was asked to cheer with the 8th grade squad!!  Her Daddy was SO PROUD of her - I'm so glad she got to share that victory with him!  I remember being in town and calling home, trying to find pumpkins - because we needed to carve some for Halloween.  I remember 2 weekends from now, on Friday, Rickey called me at work, could I pick up a battery for the 4-wheeler so it would be ready to take to camp, and then, maybe could I pick up a pizza that he could bring to play cards with "the guys".  Often, I complained about these little "errands".  I remember I didn't complain about those, I did them with a joyful heart and a good attitude - little did I know they'd be the last "acts of service" I would do for Rickey.  I'm glad they were done without grumbling!  Of course, there is no "going back".  There is no room for "what-if's".  Life {and death} happen . . . as purposed in God's plan before the foundation of the earth . . . "Age to age HE stands, and time is in HIS hands . . . "  I have NO CONTROL.  I LIKE to have control.  I like to be in charge.  I want {often demand} to know what is going on, what will happen next, what the plans for the day, the week, the month are.  I'm not in control.  I never was in control.  I never will be in control.  THAT became very clear to me on November 5, 2011.  November 5.  A day I will never forget.  I have heard people say that in crisis, they have gone into shock and they don't remember details.  That didn't happen to me.  I remember.  All.Of.It.  My memories are VIVID of November 5.  I remember Rickey leaving to go work on the roof.  I remember going to the craft show in Stephenson and calling Rickey on the way home.  I remember leaving for camp without him, and turning around to go back home because something "just didn't feel right".  I remember pulling in the yard and seeing Pastor & Bobbi's vehicle and the police car there.  I remember the police officer pulling me into his arms to tell me "There's been an accident, you need to get to the hospital".  I remember throwing my purse in my car, and him telling me that I was being "taken" to the hospital {I'm independent - I don't like to be "told" what to do, but I listened - and also knew that it could not be good if I was being given this instruction}.  I remember the drive, the phone calls, the doctor, the nurse, and the details in the Emergency Room {where I now work}.  I remember the people who came to the hospital and the disbelief in their eyes.  I remember feeling like I had to take care of all of them.  I remember asking the nurse if it was a bad dream, and I remember talking to the transplant coordinator.  I.remember. . . . ALL.OF.IT.  I also remember the days preceding November 5 - with thankfulness that they were filled with love and laughter, and not angry words and discontent.  I will always be thankful that when Rickey went to Heaven, he went knowing he was fully loved by us, and we by him!  I also definitely remember the days following November 5.  God put a guard around me in those days, but He did not cause me to forget.  As I talked with one of my best friends about the events surrounding Rickey's "home-going" I told her that the one detail that is fuzzy in my mind is getting "to" the funeral home for services on November 8, and as I think back and remember, even those come into clearer view.  I remember stopping at school {my place of employment at the time} and actually having a run-in with a student who was angry about something - and yes, the student was fully aware that I was headed to my husband's funeral!  

Yes, I learned very quickly that I am not in control.  Yet, daily, I attempt to regain that control.  I try to be "in charge" of my circumstances, my surroundings and the people that I love.  Daily I have to relinquish that control back to the Lord.  I have become much better in trusting God in ALL things.  I still struggle, but I certainly do better.  I have let Tessa drive to Appleton, Milwaukee, Chicago and Cedarville, Ohio.  Without me with her.  Before last year, I'd NEVER have let her go.  I realize now that she is much safer in God's hands than she will ever be in mine.  As will her sisters and brother.  I can't hold on and I can't protect every moment of every day.  But just as He loved Rickey infinitely more than I ever could have, so it is with my children.  So, I relinquish control.  Each day.  Over and over and over again.  I still like my house to be "tidy" and I still lose it when the kitchen is a mess, but I'm improving.  The dishwasher isn't always loaded the way I would, but the dishes still get clean!  The silverware drawer may find tablespoons & teaspoons in the same bin and salad forks and dinner forks also put away together {gasp}, but at least they are put away . . . {yes, I'm THAT much of a control freak . . . I told you, God is working on me!}!

In July, God allowed me to meet another Rick . . . who quickly became a trusted confidant and trusted friend. This Rick had lost his dad when he was only 62 years old, and he had lost his son - at 10 months old.  He was able to understand the loss of someone who you loved.  Though losses that were different, still losses that didn't make any sense in earthly, human terms.  Rick who was the only person who has ever visited the cemetery with me, just being there, no words were needed.  Rick who drove me past the house {for the first time} where Rickey was the day of the accident {where I'd not been ever before}.  Rick, who encouraged me to not just write a letter to Clayton {the owner of the home}, but to go and visit him, and then went with me for that visit.  A visit that was one of the most healing things I did over the past year.  Clayton gave me insight to some things that happened that day.  

As Rick and I spent more time together and shared our lives with each other, through Facebook messages, e-mails, texts, phone calls and visits, we realized that we had fallen in love.  I know {gasp}  . . .   I felt the gasp too.  I only wanted to be friends.  I stated that to him when we first started exchanging Facebook messages.  I told him that I hoped God had someone for me, someday.  That I prayed that I would get remarried, someday.  That for now, I was not ready.  I needed time.  I just wanted to have a friend.  

God's ways are not our ways.  

The love that Rickey and I shared for 20 years was truly one of the most wonderful experiences that I could have ever had.  We were blessed with 3 of the most wonderful daughters that I could have ever dreamed of having, and I was fortunate enough to be the step-mom to his two big kids and in that became Gramma Sheila to 5 of the most precious little people I have ever known.  God blessed me BEYOND MEASURE, more than I am deserving of.  I have an awesome family because of the love that Rickey and I shared.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law are really the best there could be.  My extended family of brother and sister-in-laws have blessed me beyond measure through the years.  I have nieces and nephews who I am so proud of.  Yes, God blessed me.  Beyond measure.  And I was SURE that Rickey and I would grow old together.  I had it all planned.  My ways are not His ways.

So, when God sent a new love into my life, I wasn't sure what to do about it. Is it real? Could I trust my emotions?  Could I trust God?  . . . Did I ask that?  Can I trust God?  The God who had sustained me through the worst months of my life.  The God who had proven to me time and time again, and then again that He holds me in the palm of His hand . . . CAN I TRUST HIM?  Yes.  Yes, I can trust Him.  I can trust only in Him.  He is my strength and my shield.  He loves me with an EVERLASTING love!  And, yes, I can trust Him.  So, trust Him I did.  I trusted Him that He sent me Rick.  That he sent me Rick for this new season in my life.  Not to take away any of the season that I shared with Rickey for that season has made me who I am today.  Yet, as much as it saddens me, Rickey is not here for the coming season.  But, Rick is.  And when he asked me to marry him, I, trusting in God's plan for my life, said yes.  I believe that God has a plan for my future.  Plans to prosper and not harm me.  Did He allow pain into my life?  Certainly.  Did he allow sorrow and suffering?  Absolutely.  But, He has also shown me hope.  He has shown me that He does care - for he cares even for the sparrow.  He cares about me.  He does bring beauty from ashes.

Knowing that life is but a fleeting breath, to brief to measure, Rick and I chose not to have a long "engagement" {when you are 45 and 51 and have experienced loss, you realize that life CAN (and does) change in the blink of an eye}, and were married on October 1.

We know that life will present us with challenges.  We know that many will not understand.  We know that at times even we don't fully understand.  But, we know that we both love God first.  We love our children fiercely.  We love our parents and our siblings and our extended families dearly. And we love each other.  We have prayed {together and separately} about and for our relationship.  We have talked with trusted Christian friends.  We talk . . . constantly and about EVERYTHING.  We know that we are BLESSED.  With God's love and redemption for us, poor weak sinners that we are.  We are blessed, with children and grandchildren that we adore.  We are blessed with families.  We are blessed with each other.  Our journey will continue.  I will continue to grieve the loss of Rickey while basking in God's gift of new love {an odd range of emotions  that was brought fully to to light this morning in church as I stood with Rick listening to the song "Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone" - the song that was sung at Rickey's funeral} . . . Our journey will continue.  We pray daily that God will allow us to grow old together.  We pray that as we move forward in our new life that we would honor God.  That we would honor the memory of Rickey and Rick's dad, and his son, Joshua.  We pray that in honoring those we have loved and lost, we would be more tender to the needs of others.  That we would love as we have been loved.  That we would perhaps be that smile, or kind word, or offer of hope to someone who is hurting.  We pray that God would use our losses, and our love to show others God's redemption - even through difficult, earth shattering, life changing events . . . . ♥


  1. A beautiful post... you reminded me of something very important... I need to go tell someone how much I love him! Blessings... Kim

  2. I agree with Kim. I think you and I am very much alike when it comes to the silverware and dishwasher!!! I just barked at Jeremy for not bringing the toys into the basement. I have to step back and realize that yes, he might not do things the way I would like them done or WHEN, but he does them and more for me and the kids. I love him!
    Stay strong in your relationship and in your relationship with the Lord because from the sound of it... You've got some great "men" on your sides :) LOVE YOU!!!

  3. as always, I so enjoy your posts, I pray and wish you and Rick the very best of what God has for you, the man who is trying to be a christain is trying to hold onto something, the man who is a christain feels that he is being held by something. Its what has been done to him, it is what he has become, it is an awareness of this power within him, " LIFE " LIFE ETERNAL. Enjoy the life God has given you and be blessed. love in Christ, Bev.

  4. I love stories of redemption. This is one of them :-)

  5. Thank you for writing again! Happy for you ~ and LOVE you sooo much!
    Love, Mom


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So many changes ...

We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...