Sunday, April 26, 2015


It has been a very tangled week!
Many emotions spilling over one another,
battling for supremacy in me.
What to think.
How to feel.
What to believe.
Oy vey!

Following a good sermon on James 1:2-4,
and a Sunday School lesson on Habbakuk 1,
my two favorite Books of Scripture,
I headed to the cemetery.
I do a lot of my best sorting out there.
It's quiet, peaceful, and, for the most part,
no one disturbs you.

So, James had this to say.

Dear brothers and sisters,
whenever trouble comes your way,
let it be an opportunity for joy.
For when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow,
for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be strong in character and ready for anything.
                                                                                 ~~ James 1:2-4 NLT ~~

And Habakkuk, this (my very favorite Scripture passage):

How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
I cry, but You do not come to save.
Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me?
Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed and useless,
and there is no justice given in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery.
(Here it comes!)
The Lord replied,
"Look at the nations and be amazed!
Watch and be astounded at what I will do!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it."
                                                                                       ~~ Habbakuk 1:2-5 NLT ~~

Those of you who are regular readers know that
in January, I committed to choosing joy again!
Some days that is easy -
especially since my Lanny Love came into my life -
some days it is difficult.
Since my birthday,
several things have happened that have been very confusing,
so joy has, once again, 
had to become a conscious choice some days.
And that's okay.
We all have those periods.
But overall, I have been truly "astounded at what [God has done]"
in my life over the last several months.

So, this morning, following church services,
I went to the cemetery, 
as I often do on Sunday after church,
to sit with Al for a bit.
And do some sorting.
I spent some time talking to Al
about where my life is heading
and my confusion over the last couple weeks.
I spent some time talking to the Lord 
about where my life is heading
and my confusion over the last couple weeks.
And then I visited two more graves.
One, a surrogate grave.
One, the grave of the spouse of a friend also battling some confusion.
(As I have said before, this widowhood thing is so complicated!)
And I talked to the person represented by the surrogate grave.
And I talked to God.
And I talked to my friend's spouse.
And I talked to God.

And the tangles in my emotions began to unknot a bit.
They began to loosen.
God moved and began to calm.

One of the things our pastor said this morning
is that many believe that once they are saved,
once they have given their life over to Christ,
that there will be no more problems,
no more heartache,
no more temptations,
no more - anything but happiness.
That is absolutely not true!
Matthew 5:45 NLT tells us,

For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good,
and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too.
So it's okay to be tangled.
Because God allows those tangling situations
for our strengthening and His glory!
And because He is astounding!
He brings peace and joy in the midst of the storms!
We just have to allow it.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Friday, April 24, 2015


Maybe it's the high winds.
Maybe it's springtime.
Maybe it's hangover from this stressful week.
Maybe it's just part of the process.
I don't know, but it's been a strange evening.
Bear with me as I process.

I stopped by the grocery store
to pick up a few things
for my Lanny Love's birthday dinner tomorrow evening.
I love birthdays!
I don't care whose it is, they're fun and should be special.
And when it's someone you love,
well, double fun, quintuple special!
So, I'm excited about tomorrow.

Nonetheless, I found myself
feeling more and more sad as I shopped.
"Hungry and need to eat" I said to myself
and picked up the pace a bit.
Then suddenly, I was overwhelmed
with sorrow and longing for what
no longer is and never will be.
For the first time in a number of months,
I cried in public.
I checked out.
Cried all the way home.
And then it was over.

I watched someone else struggle with loss
and moving forward yesterday.
We talked about the guilt that sometimes comes
with moving forward.
The still loving that individual we have lost
and yet loving someone new.
The feeling of cheating when you kiss another person,
begin to desire intimacy with them.

What we didn't talk about, 
and what I think I may be experiencing this evening,
is the feeling that you are betraying them,
their memory,
when you begin to desire another,
begin to want to be happy  -
even knowing they won't be part of it.
No, we didn't talk about that feeling that begins to happen.
That awful realization.
That thing no one wants to admit out loud,
or even to themselves,
but which I think all people who have loved deeply
and who have lost that person they loved,
begin to feel if they have begun to move forward with another.
It goes beyond acceptance that they are gone,
that they are not coming back,
that you are lonely.
It's that feeling that you wouldn't change the now even if you could.
Because the now is wonderful.
And you realize,
for the first time that,
while you are not happy they are gone,
at this point,
you wouldn't bring them back.
Because it would mean giving up what you have now.

Those of us who have loved and lost
understand the risks of loving again,
and we weigh them carefully!
We know how it can hurt when it is over!
We know the excruciating pain of permanent separation!
And we don't want to experience that again!
Nor do we want to cause it.
So we don't love casually.
When we finally decide to give ourselves,
we do so completely.
And we can't imagine a life without that new individual.
Just as we once couldn't imagine a life without the lost one.

There will always be those times of intense longing.
There will always be those memories.
There will always be that deep, abiding love.
But, and I think it takes finding the right "another",
when God brings that person into your life,
the "Bring him back! Bring him back! Bring him back!
Or take me there!!!"
prayer stops and the "Let us both live long, healthy lives!"
prayers begin.

I have done several things this week,
taken some steps,
made some changes,
that have signaled that
I have reached that point in my feelings for my Lanny Love.

And it is a joyfully painful realization.

In my devotions this morning,
before any of the revelations of this evening,
I read the following two Scripture verses:

The Lord will work out His plans for my life -
for Your faithful love, O Lord,
endures forever.
Don't abandon me,
for You made me.
                                                   ~~ Psalm 138:8 NLT ~~

Teach me to do Your will,
for You are my God.
May Your gracious Spirit
lead me forward on a firm footing.
                                                 ~~ Psalm 143:10 NLT ~~ 

As God has carried and prodded and pushed me
through the last several exceedingly painful years,
He has been laying my path before me.
He has been working His will in my life.
I have not been moving toward His plan for me,
I have been in His plan for me!

Today is no different!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Following a particularly stressful day yesterday,
God showed me a few of my blessings today.

First, my Lanny Love met me for a picnic lunch.
We sat in the sun and talked and held hands.
It was the first of several very therapeutic events today.
What a blessing!

Next, I gained a beautiful new great-niece this afternoon!
While I was billing and cooing in the park,
my niece was laboring away bringing a new life into the world.
What a blessing!

To be honest, I'm not too fond of my job.
But some days, I am less fond than others.
Yesterday was one of those days.
Today made up for it.
Nothing particularly bad happened yesterday.
Nothing particularly good or out of the ordinary happened today.
But I got to sooth the ruffled feathers of a darling little man,
82 years old next week,
and he spoke of his experiences in widowhood.
We helped each other.
As it should be.
What a blessing!

Then, my Lanny Love surprised me!
When I walked out the door after a long, late day,
he was waiting by my car to take me to dinner.
It was rather comical.
He texted me to see when I would be getting off.
I walked across the parking lot, head down,
toward my car while texting a reply.
I was preparing to get into my car, when the car behind me honked.
I ignored it.
It honked again.
Then a third time before I looked up.
There he sat, that gorgeous smile of his beaming.
So off to dinner we went.
Good food, good conversation, the very best company!
What a blessing!
(Yes, I know I counted my Lanny Love twice.
That's only what you see - he gets counted endlessly!)

Then, my very excited daughter called
and asked me to stop by her house to see her completed handiwork.
She built, from scratch, new cabinetry for her kitchen.
It is beautiful!
She is very gifted!
And she was excited to show me!
I have adult daughters who are not only my children,
they are my friends!
What a blessing!

So, following a night of very little sleep,
a very stressful day,
and a night of no sleep at all,
God showed up - as He always does.
And showed off!
What a blessing!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

I! Will! Trust! God!

Someone shocked me yesterday.
I had taken them at face value,
taken their words as truth.
Their actions as evidence.
I guess I shouldn't have.

I should have listened closer to the underlying message.
The other actions that told a different story.
But I didn't.

A while back,
I asked about the underlying message.
Asked if I was hearing it or no.
Turns out "Yes!"

So now I am shocked.
And incredibly, incredibly sad.

They say that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
I'm really tired of strength!
I'm ready for a little good old-fashioned weakness!
Just sayin'.....

Nevertheless, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." Job 13:15 NKJV

Yes, I will trust Him!!!
I WILL trust Him!!!
I will TRUST Him!!!
I will trust HIM!!!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Monday, April 20, 2015

In His Arms...

My Lanny Love has been gone for nearly a week!
It seems like a hundred years!
But he'll be home tonight!
I won't get to see him,
but I'll know he's here,
and that soon,
he will wrap his arms around me
and hold me close!

Missing my Lanny Love has made me think.
When we leave "home",
stray outside of God's will and plan,
He misses us.
And when He knows we are on our way home,
He waits with excited anticipation
of taking us in His arms once again.

Isn't that just the coolest thing!!!

The eternal God is your refuge, 
and his everlasting arms are under you.
                                          ~~ Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT ~~

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dreams of Widowhood

I have rarely dreamed of my Al since his death.
And it bothers me that I don't.
I have desperately wanted to!
When I do dream of him, the dreams are almost always nightmarish.
Only a couple times have they been pleasant.
Early this morning was one of those times.

It was a strange little dream.
We were apart.
Had been for a while.
He was sending me a selfie video of what he had been doing that day.
He was in a very sunny back yard.
His dad and brother, Olen, (both also deceased) were with him.
As was his dog, Rudy (a Valentine's gift to him the year before we married).
The three of them (Dad, Olen, and Al) had come up with a silly invention.
There were frisbees hanging in a tree.
They had some sort of device that they loaded with tennis balls
which were then flung at the frisbees, sending the frisbees sailing.
Rudy chased and caught them.
Their was much laughter and fun going on.
And as I watched the video,
I laughed too
and was so glad he was having a good time.
At the end of the video,
he told me how happy he was,
what fun he was having with his dad and brother.
That he would see me later
and that I should have fun and be happy while I waited.
He said "Show this to Lanny, he'll get a kick out of it.
Maybe he can make one for Mitzi." (Lanny's little dog)

I dream about my Lanny Love a lot.
And so in my Al dream,
as he suggested,
I showed Lanny the video.
He also enjoyed it
and I commented to him how much I enjoyed Al's "little boy" side.
From that point forward, the dream became about my Lanny Love.

I woke from the dream thinking about both of them
and for a moment I was confused.
I did not feel any guilt over dreaming of, thinking about, another man.
And for just a moment I couldn't remember why it was okay.
And then I did.
My Beloved Al is gone.

I find myself strangely comforted.
I so loved the video of my Sweet Al!
It was so good to see him laughing and running and playing and well.
And that's the way it is for him now!
He is supremely happy!
He is completely well!

What a great gift I have been given!
Tears are flowing as I sit here typing.
Tears of love and gratitude.
Love for God that He sent me this little piece
of comfort and confirmation that my Al is happy,
that it is okay for me to move forward.
Love for my Precious Alfie and his generosity
in telling me before his death
that he wanted me to move forward once he was gone.
And love for my Lanny Love,
yet another great gift from God!

The travels of widowhood are not easy.
The trail is twisted and strange.
But it can be navigated!
It can be survived!
God has been so good to me as I have traveled!

And I am beyond grateful!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Friday, April 17, 2015


Did I say "Oh my goodness!"?
Because if I didn't, I certainly should!!!
What a crazy day!!!

I slept relatively well last night.
I woke several times,
but was able to quickly fall asleep again.
So I rose this morning, full of energy,
and ready to take on the world!

And then I walked in the door at work.
Big mistake! 
From the very first customer in the door,
I realized I had a target on my back
and a sign on my chest that read,
"All Crazies and/or Angry People Come To Me!"
Oy Vey!!!
And right down to the last phone call of the day,
they all did!

AND, I spoke to my bane of my existence client,
not once,
     not twice,
            not three times,
but four, count them, FOUR times today!

I ended my day with tears.
Of laughter!
Because one just had to laugh!
It was just too odd, too funny a day not to!
And everyone else was laughing too!

At first, it was a little unsettling,
all the strange, angry people.
And all of them,
every last single one,
came to me!
After a bit, it was just funny!
And so, laughter!

And an ice cream lunch!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


He serenades me!
He plays his guitar and sings love songs to me.
I know.
It's corny.
And lovely!
"Our song" is
"Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?"
I'm not sure why that's "our song",
but he says it is.
And that's good enough for me!

He has a beautiful voice, my Lanny Love.
a pure, clear tenor.
So not only does my heart thrill at the sentiment and emotion,
my ears are delighted at the sound.

So this, then, after all the loss and sorrow,
is love, both giving and receiving.
This is happiness.
I had forgotten!

I have repeated this quote from an unknown source before,
"Happiness is in happenings, joy is in Jesus."
And I believe that with all my heart.
But it's so nice when the two coincide,
when God teaches the joy,
and allows the happiness.

Thank You, God, for joy!
Thank You, God, for happiness!
Thank You, God, for my Lanny Love!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Monday, April 13, 2015


Letting go is hard work!
Really hard!
But some things can't be changed!
No matter how much one wishes!
This is an excellent read!


Normally, when I blog, I have a destination in mind.
Today, that is not the case.
Nonetheless, I feel the need to write.
So bear with me as I meander around a bit.

Today is a gray, windy day in my neck of the woods.
These are two conditions I do not like.
I am very negatively affected by lack of sunlight and wind makes me achy and restless and following two sleepless nights in a row in a week of mostly sleepless nights and the resulting massive migraine, a gray day is not a welcome thing!
Not even if it brings some much needed rain!
I often wonder how people who live in the Pacific Northwest survive!
The beauty and lush green foliage comes at a high price!

I am feeling very lonely and sad this morning.
I realize that much of that has to do with lack of rest
and not feeling well.
Nonetheless, lonely and sad.
On days like this, I am very tempted to run away from home.
But no matter where I go, there I am.
So running away doesn't help anything.
Still, a nice walk on the beach
or a hike along a mountain stream
would be quite lovely.
And sunny!

So, today I find that I need to practice choosing joy!
I've talked about this before.
And choosing joy has, once again, become mostly automatic.
But today, I find that I must focus on choosing!
So, I know what's hurt in my life.
I know what I've had to choose to overcome.
This morning, I want to remind myself of the massive amount of good in my life!

This sounds cliche.
But it's really not!
The last several years have been incredibly difficult.
During those times when I could not move forward,
could not take one more step,
when it was just too hard,
God cradled me in His loving arms.
Sometimes we just sat still until I could walk again.
Sometimes He carried me out of the scarey part.
But always, He was there!
And continues to be!

Unless the Lord had helped me,
I would soon have died.
I cried out, "I'm slipping!"
and your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind
Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
                                         ~~ Psalm 94:17-19 NLT ~~

Praise Him forever and forever!!!

My Lanny love.
We've officially arrived.
We've had our first - tiff isn't the right word,
nor is disagreement, but at any rate, our first "issue" has emerged.
And some things will be different.
But that's okay.
It's all part of the learning each other, growing a relationship process.
And that's a very, very good thing!
And we have assured one another of our continued love and commitment.
And that's all that matters.
Truly an amazing gift from God, my Lanny Love!

Oh, lover and beloved, eat and drink! 
Yes, drink deeply of this love!
                          ~~ Song of Songs 5:1 NLT ~~

My family.
I have the very best children!
Bar none!
They are loving and kind and generous!
They are honest!
To a fault!
Okay, sometimes I might not like that part so much.
But they want only the best for me!
And I respect them so much!
And they honor me!
And that is a wondrous thing!

I prayed for this child,
and the Lord has granted me what I asked for.
                                                        ~~ 1 Samuel 1:27 NIV ~~

My precious grandchildren!
There were times over the last few years
that I only lived for them.
I was their only grandparent.
They needed me.
And I needed them!
They are such a joy!
Happy, well adjusted, loving - 
they are their parents' children!

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged.
                                                 ~~ Proverbs 17:6 NLT ~~ 

Clean laundry.
Go ahead!
I certainly would!
But I have recently become re-aware of how very blessed we are in this country!
As simple as throwing them in the washer, then the dryer, and I have my choice of sweet smelling, soft fabrics to clothe my body.
I don't have only one or two things to wear.
I don't have to wash them in a stream -  
if there is a stream with water nearby.
I can lay my head on soft, fragrant pillowcases each night.
I cover myself with comfy, snuggely blankets to borough under.
I am very, very thankful for clean laundry.

I am thankful for music!
As the saying goes,
"Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast."
While I'm - mostly ;-) - not a savage beast,
God uses music to soothe and uplift me all the time!
I cannot imagine a musicless life!

Let us find a good musician to play the harp 
whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. 
He will play soothing music, 
and you will soon be well again.
                                  ~~ 1 Samuel 16:16 NLT ~~

What an awesome life I live!
I have so much for which to be thankful!
I don't have to continue to choose joy today!
God has faithfully reminded me that He is good!
That I have much for which to rejoice and be glad over!
Thank you, Lord!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happy birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday.
It was a lovely day!
I had breakfast with my girls, son-in-law, and grandkids,
did a little shopping,
then dinner and Les Miserables
with my Lanny Love in the evening.
It was lovely!

Birthdays are one of those things that I'm a little strange about.
Most people in my age group -
I'm in my late 50's -
don't celebrate birthdays anymore.
I do!!!
I figure ignoring it isn't going to stop the aging,
I may as well have the fun!
So I have birthdays.

This year's birthday was different.
It was the first "happy" birthday I've had in several years,
since before Al's diagnosis, death, and Harlan.
The first where the smiles weren't forced.
The first where I didn't work hard at having fun.
The first where grief and sorrow didn't consume me.
And it felt wonderful!

At the same time,
I am frightened.
I have been hurt.
And I am afraid of the pain now.
I suppose that edge always will be there.
But I am so grateful to discover that I can be genuinely happy again!
Even if only for a day.

Here's to overcoming fear
and many more happy days ahead!

Friday, April 10, 2015


I am, for the most part, a rule follower.
If I break a rule, I have usually given it a lot of thought.
But yesterday, I broke a rule that I had determined to keep.
I had given it a considerable amount of thought.
The rule, though I didn't like it, was a keeper.
Nonetheless, I broke it.
And I am very disappointed in myself.

In the process, I hurt someone about whom I care deeply.
Therein lies the real disappointment.
Because I had promised myself I wouldn't.
Because it was important to me.
It was important to the other person.
It was important to God.

I think the other person may be somewhat disappointed in me.
I'm pretty certain God is.

But wait.
Perhaps God isn't.
For disappointment requires an element of surprise.
And nothing we do surprises God.
When we displease Him, we hurt him.
But He knows us better than we know ourselves.
We don't surprise Him!

Back to my train of thought....

We tend to think of breaking rules in terms of the depth of the break and consequences.
Some are okay to break we think.
Five miles per hour over the speed limit is okay, for example,
because usually an officer will not pull you over for that.
So it must be okay.
Twenty-five miles per hour over the speed limit isn't okay.
We'd definitely get pulled over for that.
A little white lie doesn't hurt anyone, and, in fact,
sometimes prevents someone from being hurt we think.
"Yes, you look great in that dress!" when it really makes her look like a toad.
That's okay.
But a whopper, a blatant, out-and-out lie for our own benefit,
that's not okay.
Picking up a bunch of grapes, sold by weight, in the grocery store
and eating a few on the way to the check out is okay.
You're buying the bunch, after all,
and a few grapes would only come to a few pennies at the register.
But robbing a bank is stealing.
That's not okay.

See what I mean?
Levels and consequences.
If it's "big", we don't break the rules.
If it's "minor", it's okay.
If others would do the same or look the other way,
it's okay.
If most everyone in society would gasp in shock,
or if it could get us in trouble,
it's not.

But here's the thing.
Rules are rules.
And breaking a small rule simply makes it easier to break a big one next time.
No one starts out robbing the bank.
They start out eating a few grapes on the way to the check out.

What rule I broke isn't important.
And most of society wouldn't think anything of it.
But it's a rule.
And I broke it.
And I'm disappointed in myself.


The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Today is Easter. 
And holidays are always hard. 
But this is the first holiday I am spending completely alone, 
other than church this morning, 
so this one is proving particularly difficult.

Everyone in my life had plans
that could not include me
and so this morning,
for the first time in my life,
there was no Easter basket,
no chocolate bunny,
no one to "oooo and ahhh" over my Easter dress.

And that is because life moves forward.
People stop remembering that I am alone, lonely.
And, while it may be the third Easter since Al died,
the vacancy in my life will never completely go away.
Under any circumstances.
The "Al hole" will always be there.
It can't be filled by my Lanny Love.
He has his own spot.
It can't be filled by my children.
They have their own spots.
It can't be filled by my grandchildren,
or friends,
or co-workers,
or my job,
or church,
or anything or anyone else.
It is Al's spot.
And it is empty now.

And so no one admired how I looked,
or noticed the new skirt and top,
or gave me a chocolate bunny.
And that's how it should be!
And I'm glad it is that way!
Because people continuing to
mollycoddle and accommodate widows,
or anyone bereaved for any reason,
beyond what is reasonable for that person
(and "reasonable" is different for everyone!!!),
enables them to stay trapped in anguish.
And I have fought against that with a vengeance!

To be honest,
I am a very different woman
than the one Al left behind.
I am much, much stronger!
I am softer, gentler!
I am more compassionate,
more understanding.
And less tolerant of some
nitpicking over inconsequential things.
I don't get my little feelings all hurt quite so easily. 
I've done some very, very foolish things.
And I've learned and grown from them.
I've made some very wise decisions.
And learned to appreciate my own gifts.
And accept my own limitations.
I have some regrets,
and have learned to give myself a break.
I've survived a broken heart.
I have grown tremendously spiritually.
I am a better person now than then!

So, in some ways,
I am glad I am spending this day alone
for it allows me to admire how far I've come!

Go me!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~


"After the Sabbath, 
at dawn on the first day of the week, 
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, 
for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, 
going to the tomb, 
rolled back the stone and sat on it. 
His appearance was like lightning, 
and his clothes were white as snow.  
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook 
and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, 
'Do not be afraid, 
for I know that you are looking for Jesus, 
who was crucified.  
He is not here; 
he has risen, 
just as he said. 
Come and see the place where he lay.'"

                   ~~ Matthew 28:1-6 NIV ~~


Friday, April 3, 2015


I am not Catholic.
However, for a number of years,
I have observed Lent,
that sacrificial time beginning on Ash Wednesday
and ending on Easter.
I started doing it when a teenage girl
in a youth group I led
challenged me to try it.
That Easter season was more meaningful
to me than ever before
and so I have continued the practice.

Each year, depending upon what I've given up
and its physically addictive properties,
I do well the first few days.
I think about it some,
am aware when I start to do it,
contemplate Christ's sacrifice,
whisper a prayer,
and move on.

Along about the second week,
it gets a little harder.
I stop feeling noble.
I start wanting what I gave up.
This year, a friend who also observes Lent,
said when he was complaining about how hard it was once,
a friend of his commented,
"Is it as hard as dying on a cross?"
Kind of puts it in perspective.

Then along about week three,
I start doing well again.
I'm getting used to not having whatever I've sacrificed,
it's a little easier not to really think about it,
a little easier to say "no".

But then along about day 34 or 35,
I begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I begin to think about Easter Sunday
when I can have "it" again.

And six days before Easter,
I really begin to fight temptation.

Lent is 40 days.
But there are 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
That's because it was against the law
to sacrifice on the Sabbath in the days before Christ.
So, during Lent, one can imbibe on Sunday (our Sabbath).
There are six Sundays during Lent.
I don't imbibe on Sundays.
So six days out, I start thinking,
"Technically, I've fulfilled my commitment...."
Isn't it funny that we're always looking for the loopholes?
A way to not have to be obedient to something God has commanded
or asked of us?

I always think about that last week of Jesus' life
during these last six days of Lent.





                   First Communion.


And I always ask myself,
"What if Jesus had looked for a loophole?"

I'm so glad he didn't!


"Then Simon Peter drew a sword 
and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, 
the high priest's servant...
Simon Peter followed along behind...
Peter stood outside the gate... 
[but the woman watching at the gate] let him in. 
The woman asked Peter, 
 "Aren't you one of Jesus' disciples?" 
"No," he said, 
"I am not."... 
                           ~~ John 18:10, 15-18 NLT ~~

He loved Jesus.
So much that he had declared allegiance unto death.
So much that he attacked a member of the government,
a "police officer".
So much that when others scattered,
he followed.
He loved Jesus with all his heart!
But when push came to shove,
Peter denied even knowing Him,
rather, passing himself off as a curiosity observer,
a rubber-necker.

Jesus had washed his feet!
"Wash all of me!" Peter had impassioned!
Jesus had saved him from certain, harsh punishment just minutes earlier
when He healed the soldier's wound.
But fiery, passionate, dedicated Peter denied his Saviour.
Three times in quick succession.
Because he was afraid.

Jesus had said he would.
Peter had vehemently denied it!
And when he had denied Him the third time,
Peter's guilt and shame most likely nearly crushed him!
As he looked into Jesus' eyes,
he quickly looked down.
He suddenly remembered Jesus' prediction.
And shame and regret and grief washed over him.

As he watched the rest of the story unfold,
the guilt increased.
He watched as his shame ran down the beams of the cross
in Jesus' blood.
And then it was over.
And disappointment and sorrow joined the shame.
And Peter was changed.

You know the "Friday feeling"!
We all know it!
We do things,
say things,
feel responsible,
crushed in spirit,

But Jesus!
Jesus knew Peter!
And He knows us!
And Peter's "Friday" rolled down that cross!
And so did ours!
And we are changed by Friday.
We walk away,
But Friday wasn't the end!
Glorious Sunday was coming!
And when it did,
Peter was changed again!
And so are we!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All aglow

I am all aglow inside!
Warm fuzzies are just bursting from my heart
in an  absolute fount
of hearts and rainbows!
I can't stop smiling!
It's quite disgusting actually!

"What brought this on?"
you might ask.
My Lanny Love and my daughters
met today over lunch.
They were all themselves.
And they liked each other!


Now I know this sounds so 16,
and it is a bit - I feel 16 lately! -
but it's really an important thing!
I've talked about some of the oddities
of dating after widowhood,
and one of those things is that,
in many ways,
the children become the parents.

Remember the first time,
as an adult in a serious relationship,
your parents met your significant other?
Remember how important is was that they like him/her?
Add to that the fact that if children don't like that person,
they can keep your grandchildren from you,
they can stop coming by,
they can turn a joyously growing relationship
into a very difficult choice.
(Sadly, I know people to whom this has happened.)
I don't believe my children would do that.
They would politely and generously tolerate almost anyone I loved,
just as I would have for them,
because I loved him.
But still, it was important to me that they like him.

Now, add a twist.
I was married to their daddy.
Their daddy whom they loved!
And who loved them and was a very good daddy!
And a very good father-in-law!
And a very good papa!

While I cannot "replace" Al,
I can have another husband,
a similar relationship.
A person only gets one daddy.
So when the children of a widowed individual
think about their surviving parent dating
and someday possibly remarrying,
it can feel like a betrayal if they approve.
Even though it isn't.
Just like when the widowed person
first starts dating - and sometimes after -
it feels like cheating.
Even though it isn't.

It was also important to me that he like them.
Because these are my children.
I like spending time with them.
And he is my boyfriend (giggle......).
I like spending time with him.
I don't want to divide my time.
I don't want birthdays or holidays to be uncomfortable.

So it was important to me that they all like each other.
And they did!
And I'm all aglow!

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him,
and He helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise Him.

                                                                 ~~ Psalm28:7 NIV ~~