Saturday, May 27, 2017


Today, my grandsons graduated from high school.

Nearly 43 years ago, my dear grandmother went to Heaven.
I was 17.
The day before the funeral,
we had all gathered at my grandparents' home,
as families do in times of sorrow.
I came running down the stairs and when I hit the floor
there, in the living room, was my precious grandpa,
his head in his hands,
His heart was broken.

Flash forward 20 or so years.
Three years after my grandma's death,
grandpa remarried.
Seventeen years later, we were in Phoenix
for his 75th birthday.
Everyone was there.
Siblings, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles,

We were doing what families do at reunions -
a dozen different things.
Some gathered around the table snacking and talking.
Some outside splashing in the pool.
Some sitting on the patio visiting.
Some watching a sports event on TV,
rooting for opposing teams and harassing one another.
Some playing a game.
My grandpa and I were sitting on the fireplace hearth,
holding hands and chatting.
A moment of quiet companionship had settled in
as we looked at all the activity and people around us.
And then I noticed.
Tears trickled silently down his cheeks.
He turned to me and said,
"You know Jeanie (family name for me),
I love Grandma Margie with all my heart,
but on days like this,
I miss your grandmother."

Instantly, I flashed back to that other day
and those two moments in time became forever fused in my mind and heart.

I fully understand.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

I am a daughter

I am a daughter.
And this is why we have Mother's Day.
Every single one of us is a daughter or son.
And this day is only one of two that are biblically insinuated.

"'Honor your father and mother.'
This is the first commandment with a promise'"
                                                                 ~~ Ephesians 6:2 NLT 

This is a day, set aside for honoring our mothers.
We have another for Father's next month.
I am very blessed to have had a mother who was easily honored.
Not everyone does, I know.
But that does not negate the fact that we are commanded to honor them.
Some simply must do it differently.

So, while we are to honor our parents daily,
today is a special day set aside for that purpose.
And today, I want to honor the mothers in my life.

My own mother has been in Heaven for just over 36 years.
I was not quite 24 when she died.
But what a mama she was for those 24 years!
The last nine years, she struggled with the ravages of cancer.
And before that, her life was difficult.
But what a woman of God she was - 
and became even more so over those cancer years!
She was not perfect.
She was a terrible housekeeper.
But that was because she worked long, hard hours to provide for her family.
And she spent time with us when she wasn't working.
She nursed us when we were sick.
She played with us when we were littles 
and as we aged, she continued to play with us, 
just differently.
She loved practical jokes and was very good at them!
She loved to sing and had a lovely, soprano voice.
She had a temper and there was no doubt when we'd pushed her buttons -
and we loved to push her buttons! 
She was a brilliant woman.
And she loved her children with her whole heart!
I miss her so much!

Al's mother has been in heaven for four years this month.
She was my "mom" for longer than my own mother was.
Even before we were married, she mothered me.
So, at the time of her death, she had been my mom for 42 years.
She was a helper and advisor and friend.
I called her mom from the day of our official engagement forward.
And she treated me like a daughter.
Sometimes that wasn't fun when she didn't approve of something I'd done,
but it made me know that I was hers!
She raised a good man who became a good husband and daddy!
She was a good mom and I miss her! 

My Grandma was a mom to me as well.
In my early childhood, she was a great grandma
but with my mother's cancer diagnosis,
she came to help and became a mom.
How she loved her daughter!
And how she loved her grandchildren!
She once saved my life when my mouth got me in trouble,
resulting in a smack on the bottom from my mother,
which may or may not have resulted in an impulsive smack back from me.
This is not something I would recommend!
Anyway, Grandma saved my life that day I am certain.
At the same time, I knew undoubtedly that she was disappointed.
And that really hurt for I never, ever wanted to disappoint my grandma.
Grandma went to Heaven three years ago today.
I miss her!

My other grandmother was a preacher's wife.
And she always smelled of leather and juicy fruit gum.
She was a gentle, loving woman.
She taught me to sing hymns from memory,
to memorize scripture,
and that prayer and time with God was really important!
I always wanted to be like her when I grew up.
She has been in Heaven for nearly 43 years
and I miss her!

My mom's best friend, Karen, was a mother to me.
She was and is a trusted friend and advisor.
She is fun and funny and a joy to know!
I love her deeply!

I had several step-moms but the last, Jackie,
was a treasure!
I cherished our friendship and the hope she gave me for my dad.
She has been in Heaven for seven years.
I miss her.

Finally, my new mom.
What a blessing my Lanny Love's mother is to me!
She raised her son in such a way as to provide his children
with a wonderful daddy,
and me with a wonderful husband.
And she has opened her heart and her arms to me,
welcomed me wholly and completely into her heart.
Not only me, but my children and grandchildren are hers now as well!
She is a wonderful, godly example of the Proverbs 31 woman!
I love her so much and pray for many, many more years to enjoy her!
So, I have been blessed in my life with Godly, loving women
who have mothered me.
They have each and every one helped to mold me
into the woman I am today. 
Without their influence, direction, and love,
my life would be vastly different.
It is my joy, my privilege, 
to honor them today!

Thank you, Lord, for so blessing me!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I am a mom

I do not remember wanting anything in life
more than I wanted to be a mom.
I mothered my dolls.
I mothered my siblings.
I played house.

More than I wanted to be a nurse
during my Clara Barton phase.
More than I wanted to be a detective
during my Trixie Belden phase.
More than I wanted to be singer
during my Karen Carpenter or Sandi Patty phases.
More than I wanted to be an attorney or teacher or ....
More than anything,
I wanted to be a mom!

And, joy of joys,
I am a mom!

But, this part of Mother's Day,
while my fondest dream come true,
is not without sorrows.
I struggled to get my two girls.
Seven pregnancies.
A still birth.
The loss of their precious daddy.

But my dreams come true,
my sweet Chrys and her son-to-me, Craig,
and my sweet Kim and her son-to-me, Dusty,
(Oh, are the guys their husbands
not just my sons???
have brought indescribable joy to my life!!!
How I adore them!
From the moments I knew they were coming,
through the difficult pregnancies,
the moments of their births,
the first time they said "mama",
their first steps,
their first sassy talk (there was a LOT of that to follow...),
their first dates,
first formals,
their weddings,
their pregnancies,
from the very first moment,
I adored them!
I adore them still!

We have come to a fullness of relationship now.
No longer simply mother and daughters,
we are friends.
I confide in them,
and they in me.
During the early days of my grief,
they mothered me.
During my time of dating,
they supported me.
When I announced my engagement,
they thrilled with me -
and grieved with me that I was free to remarry.
We play together.
Sometimes we work together.
We disagree with one another sometimes.
We share life together.

And they are good, fine women!
They love God,
their husbands,
their children.
They loved their daddy and treated him with great respect.
They love their bonus dad and treat him with great respect.
And they love me and treat me with great respect!

And my sons-in-love!
Finer sons a mother-in-law could not want!
They treat me as their own!
And they are mine as surely as are Chrys and Kim!
They love me,
and I love them!

Yes, I am a mom!
I could not ask for finer dreams come true!
Thank you, God! You have truly blessed me!


Friday, May 12, 2017

I am a step-mom

I am a step-mom.
This Mother's Day fact brings me great joy.
And sorrow.
You see, I am a step-mom because of great loss.
I grieve for my two bonus children whose momma is not here.
Her absence is a gaping wound on days like Mother's Day.
I grieve for my Lanny Love who loves and misses his beloved
and misses celebrating in person with the mother of his children on Mother's Day.
I grieve for my bonus daughter who has a strained relationship with her mother
and longs for what should be - and isn't.
I grieve for myself as I miss the man who made me a mother.
And I grieve for my children and grandchildren for whom
Mother's Day is a reminder that their daddy isn't here to celebrate with us.

And so, the joy I feel in my bonus children
is tempered with sorrow.
Because without the sorrow,
I would not be a step-mom.

Step-mom'ing is very different from mom'ing.
And yet it is the same.
It is different in that I did not raise my bonus children.
I don't have memories of childhood to share with them.
I don't know them well.
They don't know me well.
But we are learning each other!

It is the same in that I love them!
I love them as my own!
I often wonder that this is possible!
How can I love adults that I did not birth,
did not raise,
as if they were my own?
That is the only explanation!
Just as He loves me
- and you -
as His own!
Isn't that just amazing???
He loves us as His own!
Despite the fact that we have hurt Him!
Despite the fact that we love Him imperfectly -
or not at all in some cases!
He loves us as His own!
We are brothers and sister to Jesus Christ!
Fully His!

And so, I joyously celebrate being a step-mom!
Not just in spite of the sorrow!
Not just through the sorrow!
Certainly not because of the sorrow!
But because being a step-mom is a great gift!
A gift of bonus children!
A gift of love!
A gift of restoration!
A gift of beauty from ashes!
A gift of learning more of the character of God!
A joyous, delightful thing,
being a step-mom to these marvelous people,
this Tiffany,
this Aleisha & Blu,
this Zach & Jamie,
these wonderful bonuses of Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I am a grammie

This week is Mother's Day.
It is a day of remembering and celebrating
having and being a mother.
For some it is wholly joyous.
For some it is wholly sorrowful.
For most it is a mixture of the two.
I fall into the latter category.

Wholly joyous is the fact that I am a grammie!
I have four wonderful grandchildren:

Hayden is my oldest.
He is 18 and graduating from high school this year.
It does not seem possible!
Just the other day he was watching "Bob the Builder"
and fascinated by "big trucks"!
I will never forget the day my daughter told me he was coming!
I was at work and ran up and down the hallways telling everyone,
"I'm going to be a grandma!!!" 
And when he was born -
oh the love that filled me the moment I heard his first cry!
He is a marvelous young man,
and so much more!!!
I am so glad to be his grandmother!!!
I am so proud of him!

Ashton is the next oldest.
He is 17 and also graduating from high school this year.
Again, it just doesn't seem possible!
I had the wonderful privilege of seeing Ashton come into the world!
What a joyous experience!
Ashton came unexpectedly and with some physical issues.
He is truly a miracle!
You see, he was born with a heart defect.
One that required a heart transplant.
Which he never received.
At not quite two years old,
as he neared death,
God performed a literal overnight miracle of healing!
He went from a dying toddler
to a healthy, active one overnight!
And he's been on the go ever since!
Ashton is also a marvelous young man,
and so much more!!! 
I am so glad to be his grandmother!!!
I am so proud of him!!! 

Next is Xander.
Xander is 9,
but he is my newest grandchild.
He came with my Lanny Love.
I have not known him from his birth,
rather, I met him not quite two years ago.
But what a joy he is in my life!
Xander is a marvelous young man,
and so much more!!! 
I am so glad to be his grandmother!!!
And I am so proud of him!

Finally, my little princess, Kylie.
Kylie is 8,
and she was a surprise blessing.
My daughter had tried for several years to no avail.
Then suddenly, she was expecting.
What a great blessing Kylie is!
The only girl in a sea of boys,
she is all girl!
She is a marvelous young lady,
and so much more!!!
I am so glad to be her grandmother!!!
I am so proud of her!!!

I purely love being a grandmother!!!

I look forward to the grandchildren yet to come
and celebrate those who are part of my life now!
How I love these four precious gifts from God!!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Most of you probably aren't even aware there is such a day.
I wasn't until 2014, the first time I was one on this day.
It is National Widows Day.
And I really don't get it.

It is certainly not a celebration!
It is intended for awareness as near as I can tell.
Most of us know a widow
 - or widower - 
and are aware that they have lost their spouse.
Widows and widowers are certainly aware and don't need to be reminded!
And a "day" won't make anyone understand the depth of loss until they experience it.

So what exactly is this day supposed to do for the widowed?
Are there runs for the cause?
Are there events to benefit those left behind?
I don't get it.

Many of my new widow friends embrace this day.
They post about it and advise their FB followers to hug a widow today,
do something kind for them.
Shouldn't we do that daily?
Do we need a day,
once a year,
to know that widowed people are lonely,
that they've lost more than a spouse,
that they crave someone, anyone, to hug them?
Maybe so.
Maybe we do need to be reminded.

As I said, no one can really understand until they've been there.
I didn't.
I had no clue!
Even as I prepared for Al to leave this world,
walked him to the veil that separates this world from the next,
I didn't know!
Widowhood changes everything!
Right down to one's very personality.
And the losses don't stop with the death of your spouse.
You lose your lifestyle.
You lose income.
You lose friends.
Why is that?
Widowhood is not catching!
And we don't want your husbands or wives,
we want our own!
We need you more now than we ever have!
You lose your sense of identity.
You lose your handyman.
Or your cook and housekeeper.
You lose your bookkeeper and bill-payer
- men and women both -
and financial advisor. 
You lose your lover.
You lose your friend.
You lose yourself
- more so the longer you've been married.
You lose your parenting and/or grandparenting partner.
You lose your travel buddy.
You lose your confidant.
You lose your sense of being.

And it doesn't stop after the first year.
Or after falling in love again.
Or after remarriage.
It doesn't ever stop.
Love doesn't die, people do.
You will always be widowed.
A piece of you will always be missing.

So, today -
and tomorrow -
and next week -
hug a widowed person
- women AND men.
Talk to them about their loss.
Even if they have begun Chapter 2,
they still feel the loss.
But especially if they are still alone.
Mow her lawn.
Make him a real, home-cooked meal - 
and share it with him!
Take them out to dinner and a movie.
Send them flowers once in a while.
Talk to them about who they are becoming -
because the stranger across from you 
is the stranger in the mirror too!
Love them!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress 
and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
                                                                                             ~~ James 1:27 NIV