Thursday, June 13, 2019

Keeping your eyes on the goal

All my life,
I have heard that the way to accomplish anything
is to set a goal
and keep your eyes on it
as you work toward it.

Am I alone in this?
That feels overwhelming to me!
Goals often seem so distant,
and in the hard times,
impossible to reach!

In the days of computerless
tractors and plows,
I have heard it said that
farmers picked a spot in the distance
and walked/drove toward it,
never taking their eyes off of it,
in order to plow the first furrow straight.
They were then able to follow
that first, straight furrow
for a perfect field.
For that initial row,
they kept their eyes on the goal.
But only for that first furrow.
After that,
they kept their eyes on the path they had created.
Had they continued to stare relentlessly
at the goal,
the field would have been unsymetrical indeed!

I have been a slacker over the winter.
And now I am having to work very hard
at getting back in shape
rather than the much easier maintenance
of already being in shape.

I do a run/walk each day.
As I go, I pick markers.
I begin running at this tree
and I slow to a walk at that one.
I run again at that bench,
and walk at the gazebo in the distance.
I have discovered something.
I have a much more difficult time,
become much more winded,
if I watch the marker in the distance
as I run.
I also discovered I am much more likely
to trip and fall.
And much less likely
to reach the goal at a run.

If, however,
I watch the ground at my feet,
with occasional glances up
at the goal in front of me,
I am surprised at how quickly I reach it,
am less winded when I get there,
and am often able to continue running
beyond the goal.
I have also discovered that
my initial distance or speed goals
for the day,
can be exceeded when
I keep my mind on the goal
and my eyes on the path.

I have particularly heard
"eyes on the goal"
in regards to my Christian walk.
"Keep your eyes on Heaven!"
And very often Philippians 3:14 was quoted:

I run toward the goal,
so I can win the prize of being called to heaven.
This is the prize God offers 
because of what Christ Jesus has done.

So I have spent my life running toward Heaven.

Can I be honest here?
When I was 14
and 21
and 30
and 40,
Heaven seemed very, very far away.
I would look toward that goal
as I had been taught,
and very often could not see it at all.
It made it very difficult to run toward it!
At 55 when I found myself alone in my race,
and my beloved had reached the goal,
it seemed simultaneously nearer
and desperately, endlessly far away.

Today, at 62,
it still seems distant,
but is, at last,
becoming more and more attainable
to my mind's eye.

As I ran this week,
I began to think about Philippians 3:14.
I began to wonder if we are chasing the wrong thing!
So I began to research this passage.

(My Lanny Love has ruined me! 
I no longer take "others" words as "gospel",
no longer look only at the surface of Scripture.
He has taught me that even when I am not "teaching"
I need to delve deeply into the Scripture
to find what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me.
"Devotions" and "Bible study" are not the same thing!)

What I discovered is this.
Many translations,
especially word for word translations,
rather than thought for thought translations,
and most commentaries,
feel that the correct interpretation of that Scripture
is not with Heaven as the goal.
More accurately,
we should chase Christ that He would lead us to Heaven
through His death and resurrection.

So then, my goal is not the tree in the distance,
my goal is fitness, health, and long life.
The tree is just a marker,
one more easily reached if I am not staring into the distance.
Just the same, Heaven is not the goal in the distance,
the prize toward which we strain.
Christ is the goal.
And He is right there!

Heaven is just a marker that we have reached the goal -

Christ Jesus!

Image result for chasing after jesus

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Under the shadow of His wings....

Yesterday, Lanny and I were out for a run
when we passed by a bird.
She was dead,
but was strangely positioned.
It was obvious she hadn't
fallen from the sky,
nor had she been killed by a preditor.
She was sitting
with her wings spread.
As we ran,
I couldn't get the picture of her
out of my mind.

I began to wonder
what brought her to death
in that particular position.
And an answer began to form in my mind.
I had to know!

So, on the way back,
I stopped by her body
and snapped a picture,
then moved her just a bit,
and sure enough,
underneath her,
was the body of a baby bird.

Like much of the country,
we have had a lot of storms recently,
including high winds, rain, and hail.
As I ran on,
I put together a likely scenario.
The wind blew her baby out of the nest
located in the tree above where she and her baby lay.
She, unable to get her little one back to the nest,
settled over it, wings spread, to protect it from the storm.
The little mother,
gave her life for her baby.

It made me think of our Savior.
While this little bird gave her life in vain,
He did not!
Just like she did,
He knew we were endangered,
and gave His life for our salvation!
Not only that,
He continues to shelter us from the storms of life!

Isn't that just the most amazing thing!

"He will cover you with His feathers.
He will shelter you with His wings.
His faithful promises
Are your armor and protection."
                       ~~ Psalm 91:4 ~~

 

Monday, April 15, 2019

A blog walk

Image result for god is always there in good times and badI have been reading my blog the last several days.
I was looking for a specific post.
It's not here.
I must have either posted it
during my Caring Bridge days
or journaled it rather than blogging it.
At any rate, I didn't find it
and after several days of searching,
I am done.

However, over the last several days
I have reread every blog entry,
including drafts that were never posted.
Every. Single. One.
What a journey!

I started this blog about a year into my widowhood.
I had blogged on Caring Bridge
since the week of his diagnosis,
and continued to blog there after his death,
but my life was changing
and I began to want to blog about life and living
not just death and grief.
And so,
just over five years ago,
I created this blog.

As I have read through those days
of my early decision that,
despite the grief,
I wanted to live
not merely exist,
to learning to love again
to navigating a broken heart
to breaking a heart,
through dating
and remarriage,
and the changes and conflicting emotions
that brought,
I am amazed.
And Humbled.
What a metamorphosis!

How naive I was in those days.
Do you suppose I will look back
in five more years and think the same thing?
Very possibly.
Even likely.
I have seen some holes.
Periods of time where I didn't blog.
And I have remembered
what was happening in my life during those holes.
I have seen personal growth.
Seen patterns I hadn't noticed before.
I've seen some areas where I have failed,
areas that need continued improvement.
I have seen spiritual growth,
and faltering.

But most of all,
I have seen the Hand of God!
Ever present.
Ever kind.
Ever loving.
Ever compassionate.
Ever forgiving.
God.

In the midst of the deepest grief I have ever known.
In the midst of the greatest confusion I have ever experienced.
In the midst of the doubt.
The fear.
The lack of trust.
The lost hope.
The sadness.
God.

Author of renewed hope.
Author of growth.
Author of healing.
Author of love.
God.

Blessed be the Name of The Lord!



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Loving Like God


My Lanny Love is on a highly restricted diet.
Like a good wife,
I have joined him.
He is feeling better
and losing weight
he most definitely does not need to lose.
I am feeling worse
and gaining weight
I most definitely do not need to gain!
I am also finding myself to be
increasingly weepy and moody.

Now, as I am a middle-aged woman,
you might have guessed that
I am at "that age"
where horomone producing organs
(and we're talking all of them here,
not just the reproductive organs)
stop doing their jobs.
Add to that the fact that
I had a total hysterectomy
a number of years ago
and you get weepy and moody.
And hot flashes.
LOTS of hot flashes.
Turns out his diet,
which cuts out many foods
with naturally occurring estrogen,
is not good for me.

Recently,
on day two of what had been
a weepy few days,
I did what turned out to be
a greatly unappreciated nice thing
and I got my little feeling hurt.
Which did not help my weepies!

Exactly what happened isn't important.
What is important is
that this is a long-term relationship
that has always been difficult
but which is very important to me.
One that I have prayed over
and worked at
for many years.

For the rest of the day,
I cried off and on.
I cried in  frustration...
                              disappointment...
                                                     grief...
                                                           anger...
                                                                   love...
I waffled back and forth between
"I'm done!"
and
"How can I fix this?"
Today I know only two things.
I'm not done.
I can't fix this. 

I've thought about my tears of the day.
All the emotions.
Only one is permanent.
I love this person!
I have for nearly 25 years.
In the good and the bad.
That is the consistency in our relationship.
I love this person like my child.
Like I love my daughters.
No matter what...
...Like God loves me.
In the good and the bad.
Like His child.
No matter what.
He has never given up on me!
Even when I have been
difficult...
unyielding...
ungrateful...
Even when I have been unlovable,
He has loved me.

We talk a lot as Christians
about loving as God loves.
And in the same breath
we talk about not taking "'crap' off anybody".
We talk about being offended.
We talk about our rights.
These are incongruous
with the love of God.

I confess,
I find this issue somewhat confusing.
Modern psychology says,
"Don't let others abuse you!"
And, as someone who has come
from an abusive childhood
and found it necessary to,
for a time,
cut ties with a close family member
and to limit contact when we reconnected
in order to prevent further abuse to myself and my children,
to that person with that life experience,
this philosophy makes perfect sense.

But then I read The Beatitudes
and the Sermon on the Mount
(Matthew 5)
"Blessed are the Merciful"
"Blessed are the Peacemakers"
"Blessed are the persecuted"
"Blessed are you when people insult you,
persecute you and falsely say all kinds
of evil against you because of me."

Aha!
My "out"!
But then...
"Because of me..."
This isn't "suffering for Jesus"
this is just suffering!
I read on.

"You have heard that the law of Moses says,
'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
But I say, love your enemies!
Pray for those who persecute you!
In that way, you will be acting as true children
of your Father in Heaven.
For He gives His sunlight
to both the evil and the good,
and He sends rain on the just
and on the unjust, too.
If you love only those who love you,
what good is that?
Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.
If you are kind only to your friends,
how are you different from anyone else?
Even pagans do that.
But you are to be perfect,
even as your Father in Heaven is perfect."

And I realize that continuing
Image result for love as God lovesrather than being "done"
IS, after all, "suffering for Jesus".
And, as God loves me
in my many imperfections,
so do I love this individual in theirs!

What I must decide is this.
Where does my acceptance of
"who they are"
become enabling this person
to be less than God wants them to be?
And where does "drawing the line"
become self-serving?

May God's Spirit
grant me wisdom and discernment,
mercy and grace,
and an abundance of His Love!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Poppycock!!!

This is a bit of a rant!

I hear it a lot.
About all kinds of days.
I hear it about birthdays.
I hear it about anniversaries.
I heard it again last night.
"Oh we don't celebrate Valentine's Day.
He loves me well every day of the year."
I say poppycock!!!

Don't get me wrong!
We should love well
every single day!
But every once in a while
we should go above and beyond.
We should make our husbands or wives
feel extra special,
extra appreciated.
And our culture has provided us
with a few "public" days to do that.

Can I tell you a secret?
Except I don't think it's really a secret.
I think everyone -
men and women alike -
know this without being told.
But we don't say it out loud,
we just feel it in our hearts.
Women - and men I think - who say what my friend said last night...
don't mean it!
They really wish their spouses
would make them feel extra special
on those extra special days.
And really, they're embarrassed -
and hurt -
that their spouses don't care enough
to go to the extra effort
just a few days out of the year
to make them feel extra cherished.
Because that's how it feels.

Can I tell you something else?
Those of us whose spouses
go to that extra effort
feel a bit sorry for them.
And no one wants their friends
to pity them.
Especially because of their spouse.

Men, it doesn't take a lot!
It just takes remembering,
a little extra doing or saying -
"I'm glad you're my Valentine!"
"I'm glad you were born!"
"I'm so glad you chose me to be yours!"
Maybe dinner out.
Maybe a card.
Maybe write a corny poem.
Take her in your arms and slow dance -
even for just a minute..
These little things
make us feel wonderful,
even giddy.
And they make us feel very, very loved
and very, very special.
Just a little effort goes a long way!

And a bit of not doing or saying.  
Never, ever, ever say things like -
"This is a stupid day!"
"Just another day for retailers to soak me!"
"I love you every day, I shouldn't need to remind you."

And ladies, don't you get sloppy either!
He may say it's silly, unnecessary
but really, he wants you to
make him feel special too!
Bake him a birthday cake!
Make a romantic, candle lit dinner.
Fix your hair that way he especially likes it.
Tell him how very much you appreciate him
and all he does for you!
Make him feel respected, admired, needed!
It makes him feel very fortunate to have you!
Just a little effort goes a long way!

So, get on the stick!
And have a happy Valentine's Day!




Monday, January 28, 2019

Year of Jubilee

To be sure,
I am loosely translating this
to my life!
The Year of Jubilee
in the Jewish faith and tradition,
(Our LORD was Jewish
and while many of the customs of the Jewish faith
are null and void
with the death and resurrection
of our Saviour,
we can still learn and profit
from them!) 
the Year of Jubilee
is a year of restoration, forgiveness, and freedom.
Technically,
the Year of Jubilee occurred on the year following
the lapse of the seventh Sabbath of years.
So the Year of Jubilee is the 50th year. 
However, many consider it to occur
every seventh year.

In the United States
every seventh year,
bad credit falls off your report.
Many crimes have a seven year
statute of limitations.

In Jewish tradition,
the Year of Jubilee
meant the forgiveness of debt,
return of property,
freedom for slaves. 

Think about that for just a second!
Life changing freedom!
From that point forward,
no more slavery to the past.
Nothing will be as it was!
Never the same again!

This evening,
I will enter into the seventh year.
Today is the sixth anniversary.
At 4:59 p.m.,
I will begin the seventh year without my Al.

Yesterday morning,
while laying in bed,
talking to the LORD,
I was very suddenly impressed that
I was entering my Year of Jubilee! 
As I considered what that might mean,
I began to think about my grief journey.

The days when the pain of loss was physical,
when I thought I might literally be dying.
The days when I couldn't move,
couldn't think,
couldn't eat.
The confusion.
The tears.

Then came the days of desperation.
Anything to make it stop.
The frenzy of activity.
Running away from home.
Dating too soon.
Laughing too loud.
Forcing myself to move forward.

Then the days of stillness,
waiting on the LORD.
The quiet.
The solitude.
Choosing joy over happiness.
Moving at God's pace,
not mine,
not Al's.
Softening grief.
Beginning to see beauty again.
Genuine laughter.

Then my Lanny Love.
Restoration.
Happiness.
Love.
The return of the music.
And a different kind of sorrow.

The fifth year,
the one leading up to the fifth anniversary,
when the grief unexpectedly
consumed me again,
threatened my happiness,
hovered over everything
like a dark shadow.

Always,
over it all,
the constant knowledge.

He is gone!

Then last year,
the sixth one.
Softening once again.
The assurance that it was not just
okay
for me to be happy,
it was right under God!
The lessening,
then cessation,
of daily, actively missing him,
missing his presence.
The lessening,
and just recently,
the cessation
of feeling guilty for loving my Lanny Love,
for being happy -
not just happy,
but happily, joyously, lovingly married happy -
the end of jealousy on his behalf.
The end of the constant shadow,
the constant awareness that
he is gone.

Then yesterday morning,
the LORD's whisper -
"Your Year of Jubilee is about to begin!" 

Today,
as I remember Al
on this sixth anniversary 
of his Homegoing,
I think of a phrase about Heaven
that someone mentioned recently,

"We are homesick for a place we have never been" 

and I rejoice that Al is not homesick,
he is Home! 
Today,
on this sixth anniversary,
I feel a lightness,
a happiness,
a freedom
that I have not experienced before,
and,
as I have suspected for for a little while,
I believe I am no longer grieving.

Love has not ended.
I love him still!
There are those days when he should be here
and I miss him.
There are those moments I remember a specific thing
and I miss him.
But the constant awareness,
the sorrow,
the grief,
that has left me.

Now I remember and smile.
In gratitude that he was mine for those years.
In love.

My Year of Jubilee.
Freedom from slavery to grief.
Nothing will every be the same again. 
Thank You, LORD!

Image result for year of jubilee


 
 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

What is this?

I have been quiet.
For some time I have been pondering
what I want from my blog.
Is it simply a way to process my life,
a public journal?
It is definitely that.
Is it a way to express myself creatively,
something I crave?
Yes.
Is it a forum for widows,
remarried or not,
and how life is different now than then,
a way to encourage,
help them know they are not alone
in what they feel and experience?
Uh-huh.
Is it a place to celebrate
my happiness,
bemoan my irritations?
To a degree.
Is it a place to brag on
my "practically-perfect-in-every-way"
husband, children, and grandchildren?
Any forum is appropriate for that!
Is it a potential way to
make some money?
Possibly. 
Is it a way of witnessing
to the faithfulness and grace
of a loving God, a merciful Saviour?
Absolutely.
What is it ultimately?
I think I want it to be all of those things.

But, you see,
in order to be any of those things
it - no, I -
must must take risk,
be completely open.
Vulnerable in a way that,
frankly,
makes me quite uncomfortable.

I must be willing to say in public
those unspeakable things
I think in private.
I must be willing to share
my emotions and feelings
regardless of what "they" will think,
those things which are unshareable.
Otherwise, this is just another social page.
And that I know
I do not want!

It is something I feel
spiritually compelled to do,
this risky, open, vulnerability.
So, here I go.
Vulnerable.
Open.
Risking.
Hang on for the ride!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Grumbling about our blessings

I started this post a couple weeks ago.
I knew I needed to write about it,
but it felt flat.
I couldn't put words to what I was feeling.

Today it came to me!

A couple weeks ago in Sunday School,
my Lanny Love,
who was teaching on the fifth chapter of James,
made the comment:

"We should be counting our blessings
rather than grumbling about them!"

Now, can I be honest here?
I can't remember in what context
he made the observation
as it relates to James.
But I remember the way it affected me -
and that phrase has stuck with me!!!


Now, I'm not a generally grumbly kind of gal.
Mostly I see silver linings and the positive side of things.
But now and again,
just like all of us,
I'm grumpy.

Today is one of those days.

I'd like to share a text conversation
I had with my closest female friend, Chris,
this afternoon.
(Young at Hearts, please forgive me!)

Me: I forgot we have stupid young at heart tonight so no feet. 
(insert grumpy emoji here)
(She is also my reflexologist)
 As you can tell, I am thrilled about going and my attitude is peachy... 
(nose growing emoji)

Chris:  LOL!!! Yeah, I can tell.
And I'm sorry too.

Me: I'm feeling very sorry for myself and very put upon today. 
Because, you know, my life's so bad... 
(that was sarcasm - I have a GREAT life!!!)
Can't seem to shake the grumpies...

Chris: I'm sorry. And it's all relative. 
(My friend is very generous!)

Me: I haven't had a good pity party in a long time! 
I think I'll just decide I'm due one and embrace it. 
Until 6pm when I must transform into sweet Gina.

(Pause as I work up some pitiable problems.......)

Me: You know, it's pretty hard to have a full blown pity party 
when the best I can come up with to feel sorry for myself about 
is that I have to go to a potluck/domino party tonight 
with a bunch of people who love me 
and whom I love 
and I'd rather stay home and pout...
but I'm going to work on it! 

Chris: Oooh, snap! Yeah, not much there I'm afraid...

Me: Zach is coming and bringing 2 more dogs to pee on the floor - 
surely that's justifiable!

(I have spent the last two days cleaning carpet
because of naughty doggies.
I thought about waiting until 
after the granddogs leave,
but one is still a puppy in training
and that would be an invitation
and make it harder for Zach and Jamie
to continue his training!)

Chris: Oh yeah, that'll do it.....
hang on to the shampooer....
(Borrowed shampooer
and I will!)

Me: And I have to cook dinner 
for a whole bunch of nice people Saturday night 
and I can't fall back on easy but noteworthy spaghetti! 
Now we're rollin'........ 
(tongue sticking out, winking emoji)

Chris: Lol!!!!!

Me: And they can't fix the dryer until Friday 
and it's really, really loud and annoying! 
Yeah baby!
(Oh my goodness!!!
SO loud and annoying!!!)
Okay, better now! Thanks!

Chris: Now the blessings.........

Me: (yellow heart emoji)
Soooooooooooo many! 
And, funny thing, 
many are the same as the grumbles!

And it hit me!!!
I am grumbling about my blessings!!!

I get to go to Young at Heart tonight
because I am part of 
a loving, accepting, giving church community!

I get to clean the carpet 
because I have carpet to clean in my lovely home;
because I have a sweet little doggie 
who is having some issues right now;
because I get to see my bonus son and daughter-in-love
and their sweet little babies;
because I have a dear friend who loaned me her cleaner!

I get to entertain Saturday night -
and can I be straight up honest here? -
I LOVE entertaining!

I get to listen to a noisy dryer
because I have a dryer!
And I get to have it repaired
rather than living with the noise
until it dies and I no longer have a dryer!

I'm not sure why I was grumpy this morning.
But I'm sure why I'm grateful that
God has so richly blessed me!

Lord, forgive my grumbling!
Thank You for Your generosity!

My whole being praise the Lord
and do not forget all His kindnesses!
                                                   ~~ Psalm 103:2


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

This was the week...

Five years ago today,
my grandsons and I left for
a five-day adventure
in Red River, NM.
I had been widowed
for six months,
four days.
During that week,
I began to live again.

The journey ahead of me
was to be very, very long
and extremely strenuous.
There would be times
I would think I would not,
could not,
survive.

But I did.

I not only survived,
I began to thrive.

But I had to make choices.
Existence versus living.
Joy.
Letting the grief flow,
and letting it ebb.
Fighting the urge to quit.
Choices and consequences.
Either way you go.

Some of my choices were foolish,
painful,
costly.
But I would make them again
if it meant coming to today -
which, of course, it would.
Most of my choices were
adventurous!
Or at least it felt like that to me!

I chose to try something new
in the way of a career.
I chose to look at the possibility
of dating and remarriage.
I chose to pursue that.
I chose to do the things,
go the places,
I wanted to go -
even if it meant doing so by myself.
I chose new friends.
I chose to forgive the old ones
by whom I felt abandoned.
I chose to accept where God had placed me -
and to allow Him to move me forward.
I chose to feel the grief,
but feed the growth.

I miss him still.
Sometimes painfully so!
But life is good!
Joy-filled!
I am happy!
Content!
Five years ago today,
it began.
A new adventure.
Something I'd never done before.
I chose to allow God to teach me something new.
I chose to learn to live without him.

I'm glad I did!

 

I look up to the mountains -
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, 
who made the heavens and the earth!

He will not let you stumble and fall;
the one who watches over you will not sleep.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never tires and never sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not hurt you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all evil
and preserves your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.

~~ Psalm 121 NLT


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Anniversaries

42 Years.

I was a brand new bride,
five hours to be exact,
at the moment of this writing.
After nearly five years of being his girl,
I was finally his missus!
I was so excited!
And happy!

How I loved that man!!!
And how he loved me!!!

Over the next nearly 37 years,
love grew and bloomed
into a flowering plant of rare beauty.

7 years.

I did not know.
It would be the last anniversary we would celebrate together.
The next year,
he would be gone.
Celebrating would have ended.
Observing would have begun.
And grief such as I had never known
engulfed me.

Over the next two years,
I learned.
I learned to be single.
I learned to be Gina rather than AlGina.
I learned that he had given me a great gift
in his conversation encouraging me to remarry.
I learned that while I could live alone,
I didn't want to live alone.
He had been right!
I needed to be married,
should be married.
And I learned to be a better wife during those years
while I was NOT a wife!

God had commanded a period of quiet,
stillness,
waiting,
listening.
During that time,
He showed me many things.
I grew tremendously.
As a woman of God.
As a woman of the world.
As a wife.
I listened and learned.

3 years.

It was the observance of my 39th wedding anniversary.
I had been seeing someone for several weeks.
Someone very special.
Someone who would tell me that night
for the first time
that he loved me.
Someone to whom I would
for the first time
express my love.
I was excited.
I was happy.
I was sad.
I was confused.

May I confess?
I did expect to remarry at that point.
I did not expect to ever deeply love again.
And when it happened,
I felt disloyal.
And some others felt I was disloyal.

Over the next nine months
God taught me a lot more about love!
He taught me it is possible to deeply and completely
love more than one man at the same time.
He taught me that doing so was not disloyal.
To either of them.
And in the ensuing months and years,
love has grown and bloomed
into a flowering plant of rare beauty!

My vase is full!
Two blooms!
Each exotic and special.
Each unique, one-of-a-kind.
Each admired and envied by others.
One a cut bloom,
no longer growing and thriving,
but preserved and cherished.
One a lovely, flowering, rooted plant,
thriving and growing and lovely!

Thirty-six years, ten months, eight days
of love and marriage.
Three years of me and God,
changing, evolving.
And now, three years of growing love,
two years, three months, 16 days
of love and marriage.

God has been so good to me!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dad

Eight years ago today,
just ten days after his sweet wife, Jackie,
my dad died of a broken heart.
Oh, he had health issues aplenty!
But a broken heart is what he died of.

They had not been married many years.
They were not first spouses to one another.
But they were the love of each other's lives,
each living beyond their life expectancy
for the sake of the other.

My dad was a brilliant man.
A literal genius.
He was musically gifted
playing many instruments
including his voice -
the deepest bass I ever heard.
He was also a gifted artist, writer, poet, and so much more.

He loved playing games,
particularly pinochle.
And he loved words and tongue twisters.
I have an extensive vocabulary largely because of him.

My dad was different.
He wasn't your average American male.
He was a star-gazer and spent hours upon hours
looking at the night sky.
He invented things.
He was a great cook.
He loved debate.

Our relationship was different,
not your average daddy/daughter relationship.
It was difficult from the get-go and never became 
what either of us wished and hoped
I grieve over that.
A lot.
But I loved him.

I was 52 when he died.
Still, I felt like an orphan.

Dad and Jackie both opted to donate their bodies
to the University of Vermont for education and research purposes.
I don't know what was learned from their generosity,
but I like to think that there may be diabetics, heart patients,
and others who have already benefited from their gifts. 

Rest in peace, Dad.



Honor your father and your mother,
that your days may be prolonged
in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 
                                                                    ~~  Exodus 20:12

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Remembering


I have struggled with this post.
I have written and deleted.
Written some more.
Deleted some more.
Nothing seems right.

Today is five years.
Five.
Long.
Years.
1826 days.
Days of sorrow such as I have never known.
Days of the most drastic changes I've ever experienced.
Days that lasted for years ~
and flew by in the blink of an eye.

What does one say about a man who is gone ~
before he was ready to go ~
before we were ready to let him go?

Do I say he loved and served God every single day?
He did!
Do I say he loved me with all his heart?
He did!
Do I say he loved his little girls wholly and completely?
He did!
Do I say he loved his grandsons and granddaughter
and delighted in them?
He absolutely did!
Do I say he was the very finest kind of husband,
daddy,
papa,
son,
brother,
friend?
He was the very finest!
Do I say he was brilliant?
He was!
Do I say he was a hard worker?
The hardest!
Do I say he was passionate about all he believed?
 Extremely!
Do I tell you of his tenderness?
His generosity?
His sense of humor?
His wit?
His friendliness?
Do I tell you of his desire to and gift of preaching?
Teaching?
Do I tell you of his magnificent baritone?
Do I show you pictures of him playing in the floor with his little girls?
Do I share the stories of him playing catch with Kim 
and one resulting ER trip?
Do I tell you about the time he caught Chrys up on the run 
and flipped her over in the store?
Or her hand wrapped around his finger as a pre-teen
because his hands were too big to hold the whole thing.
Do I tell you about the middle of the night shopping trips 
for a specific brand of pacifier?
Do I tell you about the Saturday morning breakfasts, 
just he and Kim?
Do I tell you about the ways he romanced me, 
made me feel special and cherished?
Do I tell you about the 15 1/2 year old boy who asked me to go steady at 14,
the only boy I ever dated,
and the five years of our courtship?
Or do I tell you about the man he became 
who married me and cared for me every day for the next nearly 37 years?
Do I tell you of the man who worked through the hard times
and reveled in the good times?
Do I tell you about the man who sat me down just a couple weeks before his death
and gave me his instructions and expectations for my life after Al,
for living and loving and remarriage?
Do I tell you about him shooting BB guns and bows and arrows with his grandsons
and letting his granddaughter put bows in his hair?
Do I tell you about the man who loved and respected his sons-in-law?
Do I tell you about the son who served his parents?
The brother who loved his siblings?
Do I tell you about the man
who only wanted the very best for all those he loved
and to be needed and loved by them?

How can I sufficiently honor such a man on this anniversary of his death in this life
and birth into eternal life?
What can I say about him? 

Those of you who knew and loved him,
already know anything I could say.
For those who didn't,
no words I can say will give an accurate portrayal
of the kind of man who walked this earth
for 57 years, one month, 20 days and,
five years ago today,
left behind a gaping, open wound,
a hole in the hearts and lives of those who loved him best.

This then, is what I will say.
This man ~
~ this husband ~
~ daddy ~
~ papa ~
~ son ~
~ brother ~
~ friend ~
 ~ this man,
this great man,
is loved more than he knew,
missed more than he would have thought possible,
and thought of daily.
I cherish the years,
nearly 42 of them all told,
that we were a couple
and I am profoundly grateful
that he was mine.

Five years.
I remember............ 


He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, 
because all the old ways are gone.
                                                                      ~~ Revelation 21:4

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

30 Days of Thanks: My People, Day 9

I am a step-mom.
Times three.
Bonus children are different than children.
Don't get me wrong,
I adore my bonus children!
Love them passionately and deeply and wholly!
No matter what!
But it wasn't always that way.

If you read my day four post,
you know that I loved my children instantly!
I grew to like them,
but I loved them instantly.
That is not the case with bonus children.
With bonus children,
you like them immediately -
or maybe you don't -
but you grow to love them.

When I met the first one,
my Lanny Love and I
had only been dating a little while.
I thought I was falling in love with him
and he with me.
But we had not said those three little words yet.
I was sure they were coming soon,
(Five days later, as it turned out)
but there was still no commitment
or likelihood of one.

It so happened that
Aleisha and her boyfriend, Blu,
went to the same performance of a play
that we did one evening.
And so, we met.
We sized one another up -
as women do -
and I liked her and her Blu,
immediately.
But I did not love her.

As my Lanny Love and I grew in our love,
I began to love his children because he loved them.
By the time I met Zach,
I loved Aleisha because I loved her.
We had developed a friendship,
had enjoyed lunch together a few times.
She had become my cherished new friend and
I had begun to look at her as a daughter.

It took longer with Zach.
While I liked him
and his sweet wife, Jamie,
immediately,
and I loved him as my Lanny Love's
and knew that it was likely
he would become my bonus child,
He did not live here
and he was a boy!
We didn't lunch, or text.
But the more I knew him through his dad,
and the more often he came to visit in the ensuing months,
the more I loved him.
And, can I be honest here?
He was extra special to me because he was a boy.
The son I craved!

My third bonus child,
my sweet Tiffany,
I did not meet until the night of our wedding.
I liked her immediately
and she very quickly became my friend.
But can I tell you that
I also loved her immediately?
Like my children,
she was mine the moment I laid eyes on her!

You see, the night Lanny and I married,
we became one in the eyes of God.
My children and grandchildren had just become his.
His children and grandchild had just become mine.
And something magic happened.
I loved them as mine!
No matter what.
No matter what they might have done,
or said,
or how they might have acted,
just as with the flesh of my flesh,
blood of my blood children,
none of it would have mattered!
They were mine!
Just like my own are mine,
that night, they became mine as well!
And I loved them all!!!
The Bible says little about stepchildren. Most of what it says is about half siblings, brothers or sisters that share one parent. The only thing that it specifically says about stepchildren is that a man may not have sex with a stepdaughter for that would be incest, even though she is not of his own blood. The passages are Leviticus 18:17, Leviticus 20:17, and Ezekiel 22:11. 

Beyond that, it seems to be understood that a parent's responsibilities are the same whether a natural parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent. No distinction is made, anyway, between the three. When you consider what God has done for us, saving us from our sins, and that the scriptures say those who are saved are adopted by God (Romans 8; Galatians 4; Ephesians 1:5), then it is clear that God treats the adopted children (and one would presume stepchildren if it were possible) the same as the natural son. If God treats us that way, then we ought to treat children who are not our birth-children the same as if they were.
How amazing that God granted me
that love for my bonus children
the moment He joined me to their daddy!

Bonus families are not always easy.
Especially with adults.
Blending children who are grieving loss,
who were raised in different households,
with different styles,
adult children with differing personalities
and lifestyles,
is challenging.
Sometimes I laugh -  a lot.
Sometimes I cry - a lot.

But it and they are always worth the time and effort!
It has recently occurred to me
that Jesus was a step-child
and Joseph a step-parent.
We are in good company!

In my list of people for whom I am grateful,
my bonus children are a great blessing!
Thank you, Lord!
Thank you for
my Tiffany,


 
my Aleisha and Blu,



my Zach and Jamie!


You are a good, good, God!