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,

But I did.

I not only survived,
I began to thrive.

But I had to make choices.
Existence versus living.
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,
But I would make them again
if it meant coming to today -
which, of course, it would.
Most of my choices were
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!
I am happy!
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


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,
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


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


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

Today is five 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,
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?
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?
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