Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Grieving Continues

It is probably because Valentine's Day is tomorrow and my Valentine is no longer here, but February has been a weepy and down month. Valentine's is a day of love and sweethearts. Mine is gone but his love lives on within me. He will always be with me in sweet memories! This Valentine's memory came up on my Facebook feed today from 3 years ago. Jerry and I went out to dinner on February 13 of that year which turned out to be 11 days before his stroke. What a lot changed in such a short time. Life is certainly not a guarantee. Live every day to its full extent being sure you tell those you love that you do!

Image may contain: 2 people, including Lois Cox

My third editor is sending back her edits on the rest of the chapters. She suggested I need one more chapter because felt it left her hanging. I will be working on an Epilogue rather than adding chapter 19. This project seems to be never ending!

Last week, I had a great trip to Boerne, Texas to see my sister, Linda, and two cousins, Joetta and Brenda. We had a wonderful visit reminiscing. Our mothers were three sisters so we are truly connected in many ways. Brenda brought old scrapbooks and pictures for us to look through. It was a memory-making visit.

I have been reading about Moses again in my yearly readings. Two scriptures stood out to me this time.

Exodus 33:17 - " And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked,because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

It is so cool God knows us by name! Someone once said that if God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it! How amazing is that for him to know us so personally. He had our lives written in a notebook before we were born! Wonder how big His library of notebooks is?

Exodus 34:10 - "Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world.The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you."

My time during the stroke is a testimony to the second scripture. God certainly did wonders for me and Jerry during our 22 months. He was truly amazing and I want to share that with so many others!

Today I am thankful for:

  1. Naps in the afternoon.
  2. That I am NOT still living in Wisconsin and teaching in Minnesota with all the snow there right now.
  3. Getting my walking in this morning at the gym with Kelly Ann.
  4. Helping to take care of the children this morning at Bible Study Fellowship.
  5. Working on my taxes to have them done and off my list before I go to Israel next month. (Now to pay them when I get back!)
  6. Going to see the twins tomorrow night after a 2 week break. I miss them.
  7. Such wonderful memories of my Valentine.
  8. The love we shared for over 50 years sustaining me through this time of year.
  9. God knowing me by name.
  10. The amazing things God has done and continues to do in my life.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Wisdom from C.S. Lewis

My Sunday night life group is studying C. S. Lewis, his books and thoughts. Here is a quote from his book, The Problem of Pain:

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

It seems I keep reading about pain in my devotionals and everywhere. Pain is so much a part of this life. God created a perfect world and placed two imperfect people in that world. Sin entered the world and with it pain. For that reason, we will have pain and suffering through out lives; however, God gets our attention through our pain to help us grow and mature.

I have been listening to Chonda Pierce, Christian comedian as I have been walking in the mornings at the gym. Even though she is an extremely funny comedian, she also have suffered from clinical depression as well as some major deaths in her life including her husband after 31 years of marriage. She says, "Rehearse in the dark what you learned in the light." This says to me that when things are going well, we need to soak up the goodness of God so we can remember that goodness when things aren't going well. God is good no matter what is going on in our lives!

Yes, I have been walking and climbing stairs in the morning at the Baptist church gym like a dedicated athlete. March 11, I leave for 2 weeks in Israel and Egypt. The end of the trip will be the opportunity to climb Mt. Sinai which has ONLY 3,750 steps to the top! I may not be able to do due to my atrophied heart muscle--nothing that is dangerous to exert myself but makes me very winded when I do. But I will give it my best shot. The picture is the gym where I walk and climb.

Psalm 34:15 - "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ear are attentive to their cry." This confirms God is still good when we are in pain. His ear is particularly attentive to our suffering and when we need to cry out to him for help. God is faithful--I know that from my experience and you can too!

Today I am thankful for:

  1. Not still living in Wisconsin with all the cold temps there!
  2. A beautiful day of serving people.
  3. A new huge island in my kitchen which is great for food preparation.
  4. Spending time with the twins tonight and getting lots of hugs and kisses! They are almost 14 months now.
  5. Going to see my sister next week in Boerne, Texas.
  6. Warm temps this weekend to enjoy.
  7. My special friend, Henry, coming over last night to help me cook lots of food for shut ins at church.
  8. Warm houses on the very cold days.
  9. Walking in the gym and climbing stairs to prepare my body for my trip.
  10. Knowing God is hearing my cry when I need him the most.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Book moves forward

My book is off to the third editor, my college roommate who was an English major. The three editors have been very different in their approach which should give me a well-rounded text when finished. I am excited to have it in this stage waiting for the publishing stage. My son-in-law, Tim, has great ideas for finding a publisher through connections he has. He also has great ideas about getting me out to do some speaking this year. I am praying things will happen to allow God's story to be told.

At this point, it is close to 300 pages telling God's story. This is all getting me ready for the next phase of my new life and my new ministry. God has been amazing to give me such a great purpose in life.

The new year has brought a beautiful newness to life. Of  course, a new year always brings an overall newness to things, viewpoints, and future. This week, I am going to see my dear friends, Linda, in Hereford, Texas. We are going to catch up, and I am also picking up a suitcase to use for my trip to Israel and Egypt in March. The excitement is building!

Things are easier in year two so far. Tears still flow easily but not as often. I am more comfortable with being alone now. The pain does get easier with time! There are and always will be so many things about Jerry I will miss forever--especially his hugs, kisses, and song. Wow--how quiet my house is now. I have tried to play music but there just is no substitute for that voice!

Psalm 91:1-2 - "It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night." God continues to show me He will never leave me. Because of that, I must never stop singing His praises from morning until night. I am so thankful I don't have to sing as beautiful as Jerry did--just sing. Hearing my praises to God is as beautiful to Him as Jerry's singing was to me. Maybe the Spirit also takes my singing and makes it lovely to God as He does with the words of my feeble attempts at prayer! That would be awesome!

Today I am thankful for:

  1. Warm clothes on such a cold day.
  2. A beautiful worship service this morning.
  3. The beauty of the song, Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone. At the same time, the beauty of the memory of that song at Jerry's service and the tears that ALWAYS follow it.
  4. Spending time with Kinsey, my granddaughter, at a coffee shop during second service this morning while we waited for Tim and Lynn.
  5. The excitement of my trip to Israel and Egypt mounting.
  6. The lovely visit coming up to see my good friend, Linda.
  7. My wonderful editors to help make my book the best it can be.
  8. My son-in-law, Tim to help "sell" me with my story from God.
  9. Warm houses on cold days.
  10. Praising God in the morning and evening because of His faithfulness!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019--God Makes All Things New!

Sunday I reached the one-year anniversary of Jerry's death. It was a difficult day especially with church that morning as there are always reminders of Jerry in church on a normal Sunday. I had made the decision early in the year I would wear my wedding ring for the full year and then wear it occasionally with Jerry's on a chain. Here is the necklace I found which has a family tree and a charm saying, "love never fails," from I Corinthians 13.

Lynn sent me this thought-provoking quote from Facebook:

Hello, welcome to Flight #2019. We are prepared to take off into the New Year. Please make sure your Attitude and Blessings are secured and locked in an upright position. All self-destructive devices should be turned off at this time. All negativity, hurt and discouragement should be put away. Should we lose Altitude under pressure, during the flight, reach up and pull down a Prayer. Prayers will automatically be activated by Faith. Once your Faith is activated you can assist other passengers. There will be NO BAGGAGE allowed on this flight. The Captain (GOD) has cleared us for takeoff. Destination GREATNESS. Book your flight!!!️  I have already purchased my ticket and I'm buckled in and ready for takeoff!

Isaiah 43:19 - "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." As I start 2019, I am thankful the first year was finished with some great memories, good sharing of my testimony, and adjusting to the new me. This year was blessed already with Paul and Mara from Wisconsin coming to share the first anniversary with me. God has also put a widower in my life from my life group at church. We are able to share similar emotions in moving on from the death of our spouses. We have been spending time with each other for 2 weeks now giving us some special times of going places together, sharing our lives, and getting to know each other. Here is a picture of Paul, Mara, and Henry as we rode the new streetcars in downtown Oklahoma City on New Year's Eve day. That night, we enjoyed a party with some other of the life group. God is making a new thing! My future is in God's hands--as is yours!

Today I am thankful for:

  1. Paul and Mara's safe flight back to Wisconsin.
  2. The great support of family and friends through the holidays and first anniversary.
  3. Being with the twins tonight after dinner.
  4. Taking the twin's great grandmother out to dinner for her Christmas present with no twins around!
  5. Continuing to have sweet memories of Jerry.
  6. Having someone to spend time with and go out with.
  7. A lovely weekend with Paul and Mara here and their support.
  8. Having many at church remember the anniversary and hold me up.
  9. Great fun at the New Year's Eve party.
  10. God making new things in 2019.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A Song to Minister to You

My dear friend, Linda, sent me a song with tremendously meaningful words. Listen to the song and you will be blessed.
This is so much of what I went through during my 22 months. Now that I am a widow, it continues to help me. Tears flow so freely right now, and I would not stop any of them. The blessings of growing closer to God are priceless. Learning to accept trials as God's mercies is a change of thinking but an important one.

We had a Christmas dinner last night with our extended family before we leave today for Kansas City. Not being in this house on Christmas day is a big part of making it through Christmas #1. We are all looking forward to fun times in the Air B&B there and finding fun things to do. I pray your Christmas will also be good.

Job 2:10a - He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job had far greater problems than I ever thought of having and yet, this was his thinking. God gives good and trouble. However, in listening to the song above, the trouble is to help us make the good even better. We grow so much by being forced to draw close to God. Take a different perspective on the storms in your lives!

Today I am thankful for:

  1. The season of Christmas even with the tearful memories this year.
  2. Beautiful songs to help us look at our storms differently.
  3. Family and friends.
  4. Wonderful meal last night.
  5. Taking off today for Kansas City and visiting Tim's brother on the way.
  6. Having Kinsey in town for the holidays.
  7. David's reaction to receiving some of his Papa's tools last night for Christmas.
  8. God's unfailing love.
  9. God knowing each tear of mine and caring so much.
  10. God helping us grow closer to him through the painful times.

Merry Christmas to each of you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Christmas is on its way

Yes, Christmas is coming. The Merry is optional! I have had several bouts of crying balanced with times out at concerts and with people. This time is especially full of memories with Jerry's death on top of Christmas. However, this will be the last of the first. I will be at one year without my sweetheart.

Click here for my Christmas digital Christmas card in case you haven't found it through Facebook or another source:

Writing by book has helped both in the grieving journey and in adding more tears to my days. I just finished editing the chapter telling about Jerry's death. I cried when I wrote it, when I did my editing on it, and now as my first editor sent it back to review her edits. My second editor will be doing the same as well as the third. I have been blessed by three editors who are coming to the book from different perspectives helping the book to be so much better. I haven't started the search for a publisher yet as need to get it in excellent shape first. The new year will be spent working on that.

The twins first birthday party was last Sunday here at the house. I will include a picture in the email to you as due to legal reasons with the foster program, we can't post pictures on any kind of social media. They have helped so much with my grieving with their precious smiles and cuddles.

As much as I don't enjoy all the crying, I am still so blessed to have had a marriage worth the tears! Jerry's voice is still something I can listen to through YouTube any time--what a blessing technology is! There will be tears the rest of my life for sure. It is such a joy to remember God knows every tear that rolls down my cheeks and stores them in a bottle. What a caring God we have.

Here is a picture from the OC Remembers Monday night. This is the college where we met, and they did a remembering of those who had died during the last year.

Psalm 94:19 - "In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul." What an awesome scripture on God taking care of our anxieties! God's comfort has been with me every day this year as I have gone through all the firsts. The first of everything will soon be over--not the memories associated with those events but the difficulty of the first. Notice the word, "delight" is used to describe the comfort of God. He has truly been that for me this year in so many ways. Yes, I have cried my eyes out, but then I will spend time with the precious twins and the delight comes back. I will be really down and then pick up David from school and delight in spending time with him. I will miss Jerry for some reason and then there will be a concert to go to for my delight to return. God is so awesome!

Today I am thankful for:
  1. The Christmas season even with the painful memories.
  2. Remembering Jerry in his Santa hat.
  3. Remembering Jerry's smile and his amazing hugs.
  4. The joy of giving.
  5. David's concert last Saturday.
  6. David now being a teenager as of last Sunday.
  7. Having lunch with the twins today and getting my hugs.
  8. Chocolate every morning--dark, of course.
  9. My editors for my book.
  10. God's comfort and the delight it brings to me.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas spirit -- Hmm

Christmas is close and the closer it gets, the more the tears are flowing. So many memories surround this time of year. Jerry spent the month of December last year slipping away. I put him in Hospice on December 20 and he passed away December 30. Yes there are many wonderful memories of my sweet guy. At the same time, there is a huge hole in my heart where his smiles, hugs, kisses, and Santa impersonations is supposed to be.

This morning, I decided to at least have his Santa hat on him and took the picture below.
It is such a comfort to have Jerry in my bedroom where I can talk to him daily. I tell him good morning. Sometimes I fuss at him for leaving me here. Then there are times I tell him to enjoy sitting at the feet of Jesus as the world here sings about the birth. Here is a beautiful video about the birth of Jesus. You will be blessed to listen to it.
There are distractions for my days. This morning, I worked in the greenhouse for Master Gardeners. What a blessing to be able to dig in the dirt in the winter time! On the way down, I played gospel music and sang loudly. Tonight is my ladies class Christmas party which will include lots of laughter and fun. But there are lots of times when I am here at the house missing his presence. Tears of healing flow regularly but also joyful memories of such a wonderful man and marriage.

Luke 2:4-7: "So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." There is great joy in the birth of our savior. No matter how my grieving makes me cry, there is so much joy in being a Christian.

Today I am grateful for:

  1. Winter weather.
  2. Getting to garden in the green house this morning.
  3. Going to a Christmas party tonight.
  4. Wonderful gospel music.
  5. My warm house on a cold day.
  6. Yummy food tonight.
  7. The birth of our Lord.
  8. The season of joy even if it is full of painful memories.
  9. The memory of my sweetie playing Santa for all the kids.
  10. Jesus leaving heaven to come sacrifice for me.