He watches over each of His sparrows. And He watches over me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pickles and Olives

     This is a post I knew was coming for weeks and have not been able to get just the right lead in - and still as I start typing I have deleted multiple "startings".

     So, without just the perfect lead in, I will start anyway.

     The first of "those" days is coming soon for many of us - it looms large on the horizon - only a week away. A couple of days ago I realized that it will also be the 18 month anniversary of my beloved's Homegoing.


     Yes, by some strange coincidence (actually not so strange, because I believe God has a plan!) I will find myself marking Thanksgiving and 18 months of widowhood on the same day. 

     God has been faithful to this sparrow these 18 months and has cared for her gently and with great love and kindness. This is a story of a Thanksgiving Dinner that could have only been orchestrated by Him.

     When that day came around last year I really wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate it. I had insisted that my daughter spend the day with her "significant other" for two reasons - first I never want to be that mother that insists her children divide themselves between families and secondly - I didn't want to force myself to "be happy" when maybe I wouldn't be able to do so.

     An invitation came from a dear friend (she knows who she is!) to attend a dinner prepared by her church family - I almost didn't go - but I knew my daughter would be upset if she had found out I spent the day alone - so I went.

    After arriving I struggled with "blending in" and really didn't know what to do with myself and thought I would just stay a while and quietly disappear.  But God had a different plan - He always does - and it's always so much better!

     I was led to the appetizer table and was delighted to find exactly all the same things I would have prepared for a family Thanksgiving Dinner - in fact all the things I had prepared for my family for many years  - this included chesse, crackers, two types of pickles (sweet and bread and butter) AND both black and green olives! Even the crackers were the same as I had served each Thanksgiving Dinner in the past ....... goodness. But God wasn't done yet!

     After eating these delightful treats I was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to cry and made a quick retreat to the ladies room where thankfully I was alone. After composing myself it was my intention to leave quietly because I really didn't think I could make it through the meal -- but do you remember I said God had a different plan - well He did - because when I came out of the ladies room it was announced that dinner was ready and there was my friend ready and waiting to direct me to a table - so I took a deep breath and off I went.....

     I shortly found myself sitting at a table set with the most beautiful dishes I had ever seen - red depression glassware - much like these.....

     I felt like royalty - and in conversing with the dear people who had set this table I found that these dishes had belonged to a beloved Mother who had gone on to her own glory just two weeks previously. This was no coincidence - this was God's own special timing and provision - He blessed me and He blessed the son who shared his mother's dishes with me on that day.

     After a truly delicious meal and a quiet time of fellowship it was time for me to go home because I was truly worn out. I left with a sense of awe at God's provision and love and also a sense of accomplishment that I had made it through my first serious holiday.

     But......God wasn't done yet!.....On the drive home I was thanking Him for His love and care and He sent me this message - Beloved today I prepared a table for you in the presence of your enemies.
And yes He did - for my enemies that day were taunting me - the enemies of grief, loneliness and fear of the future - I sat and I ate at the table God Himself (with the help of many servants) provided for me.

     So as another Thanksgiving is looming large on the horizon I remember as the Psalmist did in Psalm 77 - I remember all the works You have done and the wonderful deeds. I remember the special provision for me on that first Thanksgiving Day alone and I will rest easy knowing that He has only good things for me - this Thanksgiving and every day yet to come.

     Be at peace this night dear one - for He loves you so............




Tuesday, September 18, 2012


...........this is where I have been for a while ......

with the exception that it hasn't been as cute as this little guy..........

Quite frankly, it's been rather ugly - these thoughts I have been having about my present state - this "state" of widowhood that is not anywhere on the map but I still find myself living here.

Then - I had one of these...........

What if I shared it all with God - I mean really shared it with Him - what would happen?

What if I told Him:
         How much I hated being alone
         How tired I was of hearing "hold on"
         How weary I was of waiting for the promised beauty for ashes
         How frustrated I was with being stuck in this thing called grief
         How afraid I was for the future which only holds one word "alone"
         How hard I am struggling with the reality of Him being my husband now
         How angry I become when I feel cheated and left behind alone

What if I did tell Him all of that.....

I just did - didn't I - I didn't get struck by lightening - I am still breathing and typing and hoping........

Yes, through it all I have been given the gift of hope - steadfast hope in Him - the one who has the plan and is daily working it together - such a wonderful gift - this hope He gives me daily.

He gently leads me to Lamentations 3 once again - I will never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss - yet I still dare to hope.....

I still dare to hope:
        Hope that there will be relief for "alone"
        Hope that I will be able to "hold on"
        Hope that I will receive the beauty for ashes
        Hope that I will get "through" the grief
        Hope that the future holds promise and all good things
        Hope that I will lean in and learn how to have Him as my husband
        Hope that my anger will be soothed by His loving caress

And with the hope comes faith - faith in the God who loves me - the God who knows His plans for me - the God who will sustain me in this and through this - day by day His mercies are new for me - beckoning me to trust and believe and rest in Him.

And so to Him I now say this......

I don't just say it - I shout it -

        Yes, I will trust, I will believe, I will hope. I will keep seeking You in all things. I will keep going, letting You lead me. I will gratefully accept Your gift of new mercies every morning and Your steadfast love.

         Yes I will - even though there are days when I don't feel like it - I still will......... but only if You help me - because without You I can't even begin to think about taking another step in this state of widowhood.

         And so, I stand corrected - it's ok to "say it" to God - even when it isn't "nice" - because He knows it all - even the "not nice".

         Be at peace tonight dear ones - give it all to Him - for He loves you so.........


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Just a Note...

Hey Babe,

     How are ya? Silly question huh - you my beloved are just fine aren't ya! Been feeling a little down today for various reasons - wondering how to "fix" it and realized I could "write" one of "those" letters to you,

     I hope you don't mind if this time I allow some "friends" to look over my shoulder as I do so - they are most special ladies. I've never met them but we are as close as if they lived next door. They are my Facebook widow sisters. I know that you "know" them because I am sure by now you have met their husbands and you are all perhaps sharing notes. Really, though, I don't know what is going on where you are -  but I know for sure WHERE you are!

     You know I have told many people that I was prepared for you to die (yes I use "that" word now for it is the truth - I didn't lose you - I know where you are) but I was not at all prepared for how to live after you died (ugh, there's that word again). This life as a widow is so strange, some days are not so bad especially now that 14 months have passed. It's not at all like it was those first few months when I was in what I have come to understand is a "widow's fog" - that term is not in the dictionary yet - but it should be. 

     I made a major decision last week and decided to switch cable companies - probably not a major decision for all the neighbors who did it before me - but for some reason I wavered back and forth with it. Now that I have done it I think I made the right move - but I gotta be honest with you - it would have been so much better to hear you say "Just do it".

     I'm doing ok with the bill paying and the basic house upkeep, although there are some things that are giving me some anxiety. I am so glad you showed me how to use the snow blower and all the other things you showed me in those last years we were together. We were fortunate that we had some time to do all of that. I have come to realize that the difficult things that happen would probably still happen if you were still here with me, however, I do believe they might be easier to deal with if you were here. But - you are not - you are THERE.  You made it! - and even though I grieve over your physical absence in my life I rejoice in knowing that YOU ARE THERE!

     However, that being said I still remain here behind in this strange new world - I am still me - I wear the same clothes, drive the same car, sleep in the same bed, live in the same house - with all of those things being the same how can my life be so entirely different........

     "Lonely" is a new word in my life these days - its a constant struggle - but, there again, I am learning how to navigate through the nights and the days without you - which is exactly what you expected me to do isn't it?

     Tonight our daughter came by to pick up your table saw and the chop saw and a few other things. She has been gradually taking your tools and setting them up at her place. Oh, my beloved the things she is making out of wood make me smile. She is every bit as talented as you were - such joy I have in seeing your abilities live on in her! One of her last comments on the way out the door was that she needed to go eat because she was getting cranky and we had a little giggle because that is another one of those things she inherited from you - the need to be fed on a really regular basis! I am wondering if there is food in heaven - probably not because you don't really need it - but if there were you would be having biscuits and gravy every day - and with no worries about calories or cholesterol!

     I shed a few tears after she left tonight because it suddenly hit me that this will be the first time in 25 years that I have not lived in a house with a table saw as part of the equipment - but I am getting through it - and that's the key word I have found in this strange journey "through". Just as you have traveled "through" the gap between life and death I must travel through to the next thing that God has planned for me. I don't know what that is yet - but I know He has plans for me and I must admit I get just a wee bit irked when I think that you might know what they are and I don't - but you know how I am about wanting to "know it all" don't you!

     I started this blog and it has been incredibly healing for me - I so enjoy writing and putting my thoughts on "paper". Decided to keep working for now, although I believe there is "something else" out there for me and when God is ready He will show me.

  And, as you know, our God has been right there for me every step of the way. He has never left me nor forsaken me and has guided me and provided for me daily. I admit there are times when I fret about the future alone - but I make myself remember how He cared for us over the years and especially how He cared for you in your last months and the gift He gave both of us in calling you home as you slept and then I can settle down a bit - for my life is in His hands and there is no better place for it to be.

  So my dear YOU ARE THERE and I am here and for now I will be at peace for that is God's plan for us - your love remains in my heart and in my life - and always will - whether the table saw is here or not.

Love ya babe!

     I feel better now - be at peace this night dear ones - for He loves you so.......





Sunday, August 19, 2012


     Some years ago - well actually a lot of years ago - as a teenager I remember listening to a popular song by Roy Orbison that said this:

                                                     Only the lonely
                                                     Know the way I feel tonight.....

     On July 10, some 14 months or so into this journey, I wrote this is my journal:

     "The loneliness will not leave. It is firmly camped out and appears to be here to stay. It screams at me and taunts me. Without others to talk to I loose track of myself and who I am. I detest its presence here  It has far outstayed its welcome.
     How will I learn to embrace it as a part of my life now? Embrace means I must get close to it and face it head on.  Instead of embracing it, I want to tell it to go away. Yet it remains. When it noisily has its tantrums and screams at me to pay attention to it, I want to shout at it and tell it to shut up.  Yet, it still screams and cries and grabs at my leg for my attention.
     Therefore, my attention it will get.   For I am coming to see that as a screaming child is soothed by an embrace, perhaps this loneliness will also calm itself if I embrace it.
     We have battled each other for well over a year now and I am weary of this fight. I do not know if I will ever learn to like it; but, perhaps by facing it I will in the silence hear the lesson it is here to teach me."

     How we all know the "screams" and "tantrums" of "lonely" - eating alone, going out and coming in alone, the empty bed, the empty chair, the unused coffee cup, the empty hook where the hat used to hang, more room in the closet and the dresser than we need, the unending silence, and so much more................

     This morning when I woke up I said this:

    And very gently He once again reminded me - I am here - I am with you - I will never leave you or forsake you:

     And He does - and He has. On the days when it seems lonely's tantrums are at their worst and I cannot deal with it anymore He comes in many different ways: sometimes the way the son shines through the window; sometimes the way my little precious kitty cat snuggles close; sometimes a random call from a friend; sometimes wise comments from Facebook friends like this one: "I am never alone, though no human be with me, I am never alone."

     And so I embrace "lonely" and I draw close to Him - I talk to Him out loud, I write to Him in my journal and yes sometimes I watch mindless TV - (don't we all?)

     And I have discovered that He is so very real .......He KNOWS that I am lonely, and He understands. And He has graciously caused me to see that this season of living with "lonely" is part of the plan - a plan I can't understand but one in which I am determined to place my trust - for after all He who causes an oak to grow from a tiny acorn and flowers from such tiny seeds certainly can be trusted to cause something to grow from this "lonely" I am living with.............

     I know there will be more lonely days - and nights - yet I will press on and keep drawing close to Him - my Comforter, My Shelter, My Rock - and in the silence I will listen to Him speak to my wounded heart and wait patiently for the growth that is to be.

     Draw close to Him this night dear one - press in - you will not regret it - for He loves you so.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

A New Hat

     When I first met him, he was wearing a western hat much like this one -

     And he wore it well with much confidence as he conducted the square dance class I was attending.
As time went on I learned that he owned several of these and wore them all with pride - they set so perfectly upon his head - he was such a dashing sight and I fell in love with the "man who wore the hats".

     After we married and began our life together other hats became part of the collection for "the man of hats"

        The standard cap worn for yard work and especially in his woodworking shop - many colors, many different logos - some still have sawdust embedded deep in the fabric which I have chosen not to remove.

     Then there is the engineer cap - worn faithfully each time he worked on his model train layout which he was working on the night before he had that stroke that took him from me seven months later.

     And then there is this one - a bright, neon orange cap that he wore everywhere - and I mean everywhere. He didn't care that it didn't match anything and was for hunters - he said he wore it because he liked it and after a time I became used to using it as a beacon to find him in crowds - especially after he had to start using the motorized shopping carts and would end up anywhere in the store!

     So many hats, so many memories that I treasure in my heart.

     Today I undertook a long avoided project. I cleaned up and packed away all those beloved western hats. They have remained on the rack in the bedroom just as they were the day he left our home never to return - almost two years ago.

     I had been able to lovingly store the others many months ago - but for some reason I could not take down those western hats- the one he was wearing when I first met him; the one he was wearing when he kissed me for the first time; the one he was wearing on the day we married; the one he was wearing on the day we left the West Coast and came to the Midwest.......... So many memories..........

     Today it was time. Time to lovingly pack away those hats. I won't lie - it was hard - very hard. I even had to call on some dear sisters for prayer support. As I cleaned each one and wrapped it with care and placed in the box I realized I was holding a memorial - a private memorial to the man who filled my life with love for 25 years. I was honored for 25 years to have those hats on the wall and I have the memories in my heart. His beloved hats are safe now from dust and the elements, as they should be.....

     And I have realized he is safe now as well - safe from this world and the elements in it. He doesn't need those hats anymore.......

     He has a new hat now........

    A Crown of Life - bestowed upon him in the early morning hours of 5/22/11, just as promised in James 1:12.

     Enjoy your new hat my beloved - I know you are wearing it well - you deserve it!

     As this day closes I am comforted, for I too am on my way to receiving a "new hat" right here where I am in the here and now - A crown of beauty for ashes has been promised to me - I am one step closer - as are you dear ones. Be at peace this night and know He loves you so.......


Thursday, July 26, 2012

An Apple

     Quite honestly friends, there are seasons when I battle negative thoughts - don't like them and definitely don't invite them in for a visit but they seem to arrive anyway - uninvited and unwelcome.

      Lately I have found myself feeling a bit like this...............

     You know the feeling - wondering what's next, what else do you have left to give, how on earth can you be of service to anyone - all the "good years" are gone..........

     All the days spent living and loving and sharing and serving and caring have taken a "bite" - bites given willingly to be sure and most definitely each one of them would be offered again - and the desire remains to continue to give and love and share and care. Yet there does not appear to be much left - certainly not the "best" part - that part seems to be gone.

     This is not a feeling reserved for "age". It can happen at anytime and it shouts silently to the soul saying "You're done; there's nothing left for you; why bother to even try; nothing's going to change".  And sometimes the shouting is so loud you are tempted to believe it just so it will shut up and leave you alone.

     But then hope comes and whispers "You are the apple of my eye". The Father's word comes into a tired heart and says "He who touches you touches the apple of my eye" (Zechariah 2:8)

     How I loved being the apple of my husband's eye - after his relationship with Jesus I was his number one priority and I miss that so much these days. I grieve the knowing that I no longer have that status.

     Yet there is that voice that whispers in the night - bringing hope - bringing a mirror with a different image .................

     God wants me to see myself as He sees me - the apple of His eye - whole and full and lovely and delightful - not used up, not done, not useless. He wants me to know that there is hope, there is a future, there is still sharing and caring and loving and serving to be done.

     It is true sadly that I am no longer the apple of my husband's eye, for his eye now beholds wonders beyond belief in his new heavenly home; however, I am still the apple of God's eye - as I have always been and always will be - as are you dear one - be at peace this night and know you are loved so very, very much.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Towards The Light

How about this picture...........

Isn't it beautiful........

     Knowing my affinity towards butterflies my facebook friends frequently send me ones they find. A dear one sent me this one today.

     I have always loved butterflies and during this last year they have become more meaningful to me as a representation of hope and new beginnings and promise. A butterfly must endure the cocoon to become what it is meant to be. What it once was must undergo a transformation and re-doing - sometimes a long process. I have read that there are some who stay in the cocoon for an entire season until the weather is suitable for them to emerge.

    If their cocoon is anything like the "cocoon of grief" then it is a dark lonely place. It is quiet, oh so very quiet. It is confusing and unsettling and it seems endless. Yet they endure for they know instinctively that to be what they were meant to be the process is necessary.

     We all must endure "cocoons" of various kinds during our lives - a time when God calls us apart to re-shape, re-form, re-group to get ready to fly again.

     I have gone through many such cocoons and each time I have emerged different - yet stronger. This cocoon, however, is by far the hardest of them all. It is dark here, it is lonely here, it is quiet here, it is confusing here. Everything I once was is changing and being re-shaped and re-formed. Yet I know that if I am to survive - and survive I will - I must undergo this process called grief that God has called me to.

     I will emerge - I will fly - I will be the same but different as well - I will be strong - because I have the Light - the Light that is Hope.

     Just as my sisters in sorrow have gone before me and flown towards the light I will arise and shine and fly towards the light as well. They lead the way for me and the others who will come behind me that are still waiting in the darkness. We will survive because we know the Light is there waiting for us, calling us and guiding us.

     Do you see in the picture that there are different sizes of butterflies? - that is the artist's way of letting us know that the smaller ones are not actually smaller in size but have flown a bit farther and have moved closer to the light - the Light of grace, of mercy, of healing of HOPE.

     At times I want to rush through this cocoon and be free of it - then God speaks to me gently and says "Be patient little one. I have a plan". So I wait - knowing that the Light will always be there waiting for me to arise and awake to new beginnings and His promises.

     The Light is there for you as well dear one - waiting until you are ready. Be at peace this night and know He loves you so.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tears and Roses

This was posted on Facebook today:

Which prompted me to tell you this story:

     Knowing my love for roses my husband took great pride and much joy in planting rose bushes in our yard. Most of them have survived the harsh Midwest winters and have always been a source of comfort to me over the years - even more so now that he is no longer here with me.

     About 8 or 10 years ago he decided I needed to have a red climbing rose. He built a trellis by the garage and sought out the bush - he planted it as he did all the others and we waited expectantly for it to bloom. Two years passed and the bush did not produce one bloom - not even a bud. Still we waited - still nothing. We dug around it, fertilized it, pruned it - still nothing. Year after year this bush would produce abundant, healthy green trailers - but no blooms. After he became too ill to care for the yard that rose bush's failure to bloom was pretty much forgotten but I did note that it continued to produce it's yearly crop of green.

     Last summer I had a worker do some pruning and general yard clean up and instructed him to cut the bush back to the ground  with the thought that eventually it might have to be dug out and the space given over to something else.

     A year passed after his passing and I marked the date with a post here on the blog titled NOW WHAT. Of course, there were tears on that day yet I was filled with hope and trust in a loving God who only has the best intentions towards His daughter. Two days later I went out into the yard and spotted a splash of bright red and saw this -

     Yes - it is the rose bush - the one that had failed to bloom for so many years - full of breathtakingly beautiful red roses! A gift to me straight from God's own hand - He did it just for me - no other person lives in this house and no other person sees that rose bush - just me.............

     Last night I went to the Father in prayer and simply asked Him to help me tell the hurting of His love for them - I asked Him to use me and give me the ability to relay how much He loves each of His hurting children and that His love will heal the pain.

     These are the lyrics from a song by Keith Whitley called "Til Each Tear Becomes A Rose". Imagine please that God Himself is speaking these words to you as you read this .....

Darling, I can see the clouds around you
And in your heart I know a sorrow grows
But, if you weep I'll be right here to hold you
'Til each tear you cry becomes a rose.

Dearest love I know your heart is shattered
And all my words can offer no relief
But my love will heal the pain you've suffered
And I'll be here if you should turn to me

    Turn to Him this night with your pain and your shattered heart in the midst of the clouds around you. Give Him your tears and let Him hold you - Til Each Tear Becomes A Rose - for He loves you so.........

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


     In 1994 my beloved and I packed up all of our belongings, had them loaded into a moving van, took the two children still at home and boarded a train from the West Coast to a new home in the Midwest. We decided to take the train since we had sold our vehicles and neither of us cared to fly. The train ride was phenomenal for me filled with breathtaking scenery until I heard about "the tunnel". Some passengers had been on the trip before and briefly mentioned it. The car attendant also mentioned it in passing and as we got closer it was explained to us that this was a particularly long tunnel and would require our patience and cooperation while the train passed through it. To say the least folks! - this tunnel is called the Maffet Tunnel and is some 6 miles long and DARK! We were given lots of warning and assured of our safety - nevertheless we would be traveling slowly through a mountain for 6 miles- and did I mention it would be dark? My husband and I decided we wanted the four of us to be together so we all went down to the cafe area and sat ourselves down in a booth. Then the announcement came over the PA system - Ladies and Gentlemen we are about to enter the tunnel. Please be assured we are safe and we will reach the other side. This trip through the tunnel is necessary for our journey as traveling around the mountain would be dangerous. That trip took 10 minutes - and did I mention - it was dark - really dark - so dark I could not see my hand in front of my face. I don't like dark and I don't like tunnels. In fact, had I known ahead of time that this trip would have involved a 10 minute trip through total darkness I might very well have opted for airfare. Nonetheless we made it and sure enough came out the other side - to the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen full of sunlight and the Colorado mountains. Scenery I can still remember all these years later.
     As I sat there in that total darkness with my stomach churning I could not see my husband but I knew he was there. I also knew that the engineer of this train was quite competent and knew what he was doing. However, in spite of this knowing I also really knew something else - if I wanted to get where I was going I had no choice but to be still and trust knowing that I was in capable hands and my beloved was there next to me. However, I can honestly say that all that knowledge did not prevent me from gritting my teeth a bit and wishing my stomach would settle itself - it wasn't a fun trip through that tunnel - through the darkness - wondering when I would see the light again.
     But the light did come and so much more with it - a new life in the Midwest - new experiences - new joys and a whole new world. But I had to go through the tunnel to get there.
     Now I am in another tunnel - traveling in the darkness - without my beloved. Yet I know he is there, for he is with God and God is with me, therefore my beloved is with me also. The darkness will end and there will be light and breathtaking scenery in my life once again. I know this because the engineer guiding this train of grief through this tunnel of sorrow is the Lord God Almighty Himself.
God Himself is sitting next to me as I am being still and learning to trust Him in a way I never have before and I am finding that HE is indeed ENOUGH.
     Rest easy dear ones - through the darkness - trust the Engineer - for He loves you so.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Now What

     When I awoke this morning the sun was shining, birds were singing in the tree outside my window, there was a gentle breeze from the west moving the curtains ever so slightly and I had been a widow officially for one year. 365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,948 minutes; 31,556,926 seconds. It only took two of those seconds for the nurse to say the words "he's passed" - two words, two seconds and the landscape of my life was instantly and forever changed.  The man whose life had been intricately and lovingly intertwined with mine for the past 25 years had moved on to heaven and I was left alone. I lost half of myself in those two seconds - not really lost - more like torn away. Finding words to explain the experience to those who have not lost a spouse is difficult to understand.  I offer this example in the hope that you will come to an understanding of what it is like. Picture if you will a container holding two bonsai trees growing as one. Initially you think this is one tree but on careful examination you can see that there are separate root systems and separate trunks yet the trees have grown together so completely that each branch is intertwined upon another one and each supports the other completely. It's a beautiful picture isn't it? Now can you picture what would happen if one of those trees were simply removed? The tree left behind no longer has it's support system - it is left alone in that container to figure out how to manage on it's own, and left saying Now What?- crying in pain, suffering long days and nights of loneliness and isolation and no idea of how to be a single tree. I have heard some bonsai growers say that they are reluctant to grow two trees together like this for fear that if one dies the other will perish as well because of the dependency on each other.
     After that phone call at 3:36 am on Sunday, May 22, 2011 and that two second pronouncement I found myself like that bonsai tree - left alone to figure out Now What? I had had some months to prepare for his passing - it did not some suddenly, however, there was no way to prepare for the life alone that was facing me. I simply did what I had to do, one day at a time for an approximate total of 31,556,926 seconds - and some days all I could do was live one second at a time. I have heard many terms this last year such as "new normal", "grief journey", "new reality", "grief process" and I have experienced "the fog", "the disbelief", "the betrayal", "the anger", "the frustration", "the lethargy", "the loneliness" and so many, many more.
     Now, one year later I am beginning to have a bit of a new experience "hope". For you see on this day as I have remembered the past year I have seen that I have survived the worst year of my life. God came alongside and nursed me and held me and is beginning to revive me. He has shown me love through a special neighbor family up the street, through the kindness of strangers and through the love and support of some very special widows on Facebook. Yes Facebook - God is there too!
     I know that it will get better and I also know that I will still have times of mourning and tears - but I also know from looking back at what God has done for me this past year that He will continue on to complete what He started. He will heal me and revive me and bring me into the plan and purpose He has for my life.
     So, in answer to the question Now What? I say this: I will continue to choose life, the life God has planned for me. I will set my face like flint and I will turn into the storm and move through it not trying to avoid it or bypass it and God Himself will get me through it because He has done so for the last year and will continue to do so.
     And so I ask you "Now What?" Will you choose life, will you determine to press in and trust Him. Please do. The road is a long one when we do it alone but He is there collecting our tears, holding us close and loving us all the while.  Dear ones be at peace and know He loves you so.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly

     Peanut butter is one of my favorite things - a true comfort food for me. I put it on crackers and have it with milk, love to have it with apples as well as celery and, yes, a secret I will share now - I have been known to occasionally eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon. I also love jelly and yes there is great joy in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which I consider a real treat. Now, of course, the third ingredient of this discussion is bread - very necessary for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Good white bread - soft and fresh - yum!
     So, why on earth am I telling you all of this? - so I could tell you this, of course! Each of these ingredients are wonderful by themselves and stand alone quite nicely -just as each verse in God's word stands alone quite nicely and gives joy and comfort to our spirits. But what happened when I suddenly found myself combining three of them this week really had an impact on me. Let me explain.
     Jeremiah 29:11 says God knows the plans He has for me - plans for a future - for good. This has been a verse I have clung to over the last 11 months. It has been a true "comfort food" for me. Recently I remembered Psalm 139 that tells me the Father Himself knit me together in my mother's womb and knew me before anyone else in the world did. Then there is Ecclesiastes 3 which speaks of a time for everything under the heavens.
     So how does this "recipe" come together in this "time" for me - When a knitter selects a project it has been in her "mind" before it actually started. She thinks carefully about what it will be used for - how strong it must be and then she goes about selecting just the right material to use for the project. Much care and thought is given to this selection and once the project begins care is necessary for all the stitches to be correct and precise. She has a "plan" for her project. She takes the time required for the project to be complete and well-made.
     My Father knit me carefully full well knowing that He had a plan for my life and that my life would include all those seasons mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3 - especially now - the "time" to weep and the "time" to mourn. But wait it doesn't end there - it  also says that there is a "time" to laugh and a "time" to dance - all in God's plan for my life - plans for a future and a hope- plans for good. God knew I would enter into this present season. He also knows that in due time I will enter into the next season - because He has it all planned.  I need not fret that I will be unable to withstand the sorrow or that grief will win. I need not fret that loneliness will overtake me. I need not fret that there is nothing in my future now that I am alone.
     I am fearfully and wonderfully made, knitted together by the Father's own hand, designed with a specific plan and purpose to go through all the seasons of my life.
     As are each of you dear readers - know this - be at peace for He loves you so.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Sparrow

     My fingers have remained "silent" for a while since I last posted. There have been several attempts to fashion something for this space; they were all deleted because they were "just not right". Remember I promised that I would not post until I heard God say "go" and I was not hearing it - until tonight. This is a post I thought I was going to save for later but it became obvious to me that tonight was the time to share it with you.
     On May 22, 2011 - just 11 months ago I found myself sitting in a large arena awaiting the start of the ceremony that would mark our daughter's graduation from college. I had been up since 3:36 am after receiving the phone call I never wanted to get, telling me that my beloved had "passed". I had seen him the night before and although we knew the time was close there were no real indications that it was that close so I felt comfortable going home with the plan in mind that I would return first thing in the morning to visit before going to the ceremony. I did return first thing in the morning - but for a different reason and a different type of visit.
     Upon entering the arena and finding a seat I was able to keep myself composed but was pleading with the Lord constantly to" just give me enough strength to get through this please".
     As the seats around me began to fill I was in "fog" and was so glad to see that I was not surrounded by couples but women who for reasons unknown to me were alone. The two who were sitting on either side of me perhaps felt my "aloneness" and gently led me into conversation and I eventually shared with them that my husband had passed just a few hours previously and gladly shared about him and our daughter as they shared details about their graduates with me.
     As we were talking we noticed at the front of the arena that there appeared to be a bird who had gotten "lost" inside the vastness and was flying around. It wasn't causing any problems - it was just flying around up in the high seats and periodically perching up there like it was waiting with the rest of us for the ceremony to start.
    Once the graduates processed in and the music stopped after they were seated this bird started to fly again - and came and landed directly in front of me! I was stunned to see that it was a very small, delightful little sparrow! It stayed there for a couple of minutes looking at me and then flew off to the area where my daughter was sitting and then flew directly over her head. The Chaplain got up to give the opening prayer - a message from Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord - plans for a hope and a future - plans for good. How appropriate. How comforting. During his message the sparrow flew into the high seats and waited patiently. Then came back down when he was done and flew over my daughter's head again - and continued to do so throughout the entire ceremony. And then she walked onto the stage to receive her diploma with the announcement of Magna Cum Laude!  My heart soared! Tears of sorrow were mixed with tears of joy at that moment. As she returned to her seat the bird flew down over her head yet again.
    Now perhaps others would say "Well, it was just a bird that got stuck inside" - I say differently for this reason - my beloved husband had a special place in his heart for the little sparrows. He spent many winter hours in his basement shop building bird houses just for the sparrows saying that since Jesus felt they were important he did too and they would always have a place in our yard to nest and care for their young. We spent a lot of happy hours watching them do so.
     It was no accident that this little sparrow came to visit that day and it was no accident that the scripture for the day was Jer29:11. God sent a sparrow and inspired a Chaplain to give me comfort on a most difficult day.
     As I was sitting there I realized that I would not be able to go to the care center with pictures and an account of the ceremony to share with my husband - but then I also realized I didn't have to - he had a front row seat - right from heaven!
     As we come into a season of graduations, weddings and proms and other special events be mindful of the day God sent the sparrow to comfort this widow. He will send something to comfort you as well. Lean on Him, trust Him and know you are so very loved by Him.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Love Remains

     This would have been our 25th Wedding Anniversary. As the day approached I wondered how to mark this day. It is a day the world says no longer exists. Yet is still a day that exists for me and one that I am not quite ready to relinquish. We always celebrated this day together - and therein lies the core of it - the word together. You are still with me, but you are not "here" with me. I have decided that I will mark this day by telling all who read this what a wonderful man you were.
     When you came into my life 25 plus years ago it was for me like the Kenny Rogers song"You Decorated My Life" and you said I did the same for you. Our friends said we made each other sparkle! And my love how I did sparkle in the glow of your love for me.
     You encouraged me in all I attempted. You taught me how to sing and together we sang at weddings and anniversaries and at endless Karaoke shows. You spent money we didn't have on art supplies because you knew I could paint and would spend hours watching me do so. You baked cookies for me to take to work and cooked dinners for me to eat when I got home. You planted flowers in our yard that still remind me of your love for me. You built bookcases, and tables and shelves for our home that I use daily and give me comfort because I know your hands were upon them.
     Most importantly you joined with me to have our daughter. She is such a wonderful testament to our love, She has inherited your woodworking abilities so those saws and routers and hammers of yours are not sitting idle!
     The last year of our life together was so painful because of your illness and the shared knowledge that it would soon cause us to part. During the initial months following your passing I could only focus on that pain and the pain of being left to live life alone and find a new direction now. Today I realized that was only one year of 20 plus years. I have so many more years of joy and love to remember that they are beginning to cause that painful year's memories to fade just a bit. I still flounder at times when I am trying to figure out how to be a widow but you taught me many lessons that have served me well in these last months.
     Two days before you passed you said to me "I want to thank you for all those wonderful years of marriage" I will always remember those words my love. This is my way of saying thank you as well for all those wonderful years of marriage and your unconditional love for me.
     Love remains.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Garden

     This is Holy Thursday - the night of betrayal for Jesus and the start of an horrendous ordeal for Him. Tonight I would humbly like to share something I wrote about 25 years ago. At the time I was going through a very difficult trial which I won't detail now but then I thought it would be the most difficult thing I would ever have to endure. How little did I know then that it wasn't and that these words would come back to me all these years later to give me comfort in this present season. But God knew - and I believe that is why He led me to find them all these years later. For He is the same God today as He was then and will be in all my days to come.
      At the time I wrote these words I was attending a major denominational church and it was the custom on Holy Thursday to ask members to sit in various time slots for an all night vigil.  I signed up for a 60 minute time slot and off  I went. And this is what I wrote to Him and how He responded to me in my heart.
     It is so quiet here. Such peace fills this place - such calm. So much calm and peace it will be difficult to leave. There are others here - many have come to sit through the night with you. As I sit here I wonder what was really going through your mind that night. There were no candles for you - no baskets of beautiful white flowers - You didn't even have anyone sitting with you. They were all asleep. I'm here with You now, but I wonder if I'm really no different. It's easy to spend 60 minutes with you in a comfortable seat, in a warm room with candles and flowers. But would I go out into the garden in the dark on a chilly spring night and kneel down in the dirt by a rock - I think not - I would probably be asleep with the others. How often do I fall asleep in my life becoming unaware of the call to spend time with You. How many have been the times I have feigned sleep so as not to be available or become involved.
      Yet, You knew that about me even then as You knealt. How incredible that is to me - my mind cannot grasp it - You knew I would fail and fall short and yet You still gave Your "yes". You knew what was coming - about the cross and the horrible way you were to die by taking upon my sins and thereby being separated from Your Father. It is written that you sweated blood and that an angel came to comfort you and give you strength. I believe the angel also brought you peace and that You were given a vision - a vision of the resurrection glory that was to come. You understood that Friday was necessary so that Sunday could happen.
      And so, when I come here to "stay awake with You awhile" with the intent of sharing Your anxiety and pain You say to me - No my love - look to the vision - the glory and victory of the resurrection. On all the Fridays in your life when you feel lost and alone remember that I carried all that for you. I leave you with the vision of victory - the glory of triumph over death. Walk in the light - let no one in the world or of the world rob you of the peace I give. It is a peace so strong and powerful it carried me through the most horrendous time a human could have endured. Remember the vision - I share it with you to give you strength and peace.
      And so on this night as I prepare to spend my first Easter without my beloved I am strengthened by that vision - the triumph over death that is given to us all as a pure gift - salvation through the blood of Christ. Yes, Jesus Is Lord - Jesus Is My Lord. He is here beside me this night as I pray in my garden of sorrow - He is not asleep. He stands ready to comfort me and strengthen me.
      He stands ready to do the same for you as well dear one. He is right there beside you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Bottle

      Somewhere in heaven there is a beautiful bottle with my name etched upon it by God's own hand. It carries a simple label - "Tears". Psalm 56:8 says that God collects my tears in a bottle. Over the years I have read that verse many, many times and thought it to be a very comforting concept. However, I never gave it a lot of thought until a couple of months ago when I was presented with the tears in a bottle concept in various ways over a period of two or three days. It was at that point I decided to give it a lot more thought and started seeking out information as to what it meant. There are various explanations mentioned at different sites on the web. Tears were collected in bottles by mourners to show their love for those who had passed. There were two methods listed for collection - one was to wipe the face with a cloth and then to wring the cloth out to collect the tears and the other was to simply hold the bottle at the face to collect the tears. I began to think then about collecting tears of someone I loved as they cried as God collects mine. Now this I think would be alright to do if it didn't take too long and if the person crying cooperated by sitting upright and didn't move around too much. But what about those times when the weeping lasts for hours, an entire night, is done with the hands over the face, happens while pacing in anger and frustration, takes place while curled up in a chair, or with the face buried in a pillow. I have no doubt I would not have the fortitude to continue collecting tears. I have shed many tears in each of these positions and the Psalm says God collects my tears. There are no conditions about position or place. He simply collects them. Imagine the God of the Universe in all His power and might gently coming alongside me and collecting each of my tears. Imagine Him coming alongside you and collecting yours.
      Throughout my life I have cried many tears and I am sure you have as well. In the last months I have shed more than all of them combined. And God Himself has collected each one of them. My heart soars when I think of Him bending down and coming so close to me as He does so. Why?, because each of those tears is important to Him. He cares that I grieve and He loves me.
      I like to think that when my husband reached heaven God showed him that bottle and perhaps even let him hold it. And now on this night of the 10 month anniversary of my beloved's passing into glory as I shed a few more tears I know that God Himself is so very close with that bottle. My husband is with God and therefore he is also with me. I am comforted and am able to let the tears flow because He is so close right now.
      God stands ready with your bottle. Ready to come alongside and be so close. We are of great value to Him. Know that and be at peace.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Once Again!

     I have been determined not to let the second month pass before posting again. I am just barely making that goal!
     In the weeks prior to starting this blog I was Moses - telling God I did not have the words and simply could not do this.  Then once I got the nerve to jump out there and go for it I quickly turned into Peter and after being elated about "walking on water" and being very proud of myself I promptly fell in and got all wet!
     So now I think I have dried off enough to try this again with a lot more humility and understanding that this is not an idle endeavor. Whoever reads these words will be impacted by them and the words will only come from me when God tells me what to say and when to say it.
    I have been reading other blogs and am so impressed with them. The designs are awesome and the subject matter is incredible. I should warn you that I am not yet very cyber literate and my design will most likely stay quite simple and unadorned for a bit until I become more familiar with what I am doing. I am reluctant to press too many buttons for fear of what may result. For now I seem to have found a design and color scheme that is pleasing, so I will stay with that.
    So, what to write about this night. For the last three weeks there has been a small, seemingly minor happening in my life that has come to mind and I think I am being led to share it. A few weeks ago during a casual conversation with a friend on a widow's group on facebook the word patience was mentioned in regard to getting over the grief caused by the death of our spouses. This friend said it was too bad patience was not a four letter word and I immediately had the thought "but  it is - it's called "wait".
     Shortly thereafter I remembered a spring afternoon much like the one we had today when my hubby and I were sitting outside watching all the sparrows busily tending to their nests and their young.  We were often privledged to see the young emerge from their nests and taught how to fly by their parents.  This particular day a little one did come out of the nest but after fluttering clumsily to the ground it was apparent she (my choice of pronoun 'cause I'm a she) was not ready to fly. She did not appear to be in any distress but sparrows are supposed to fly and she wasn't, therefore it was obvious something was wrong. We watched for a while and I became quite concerned, although hubby said let her be - she'll fly when she is ready. So to keep her safe from our dog I gently picked her up and placed her in a part of the yard that we had fenced off. For the next couple of hours I checked on her frequently. She appeared to be fine and would give me a "chirp" when I came near but simply sat there patiently and waited observing the world around her. I got involved in something else for a while and when I went back to check on her she was gone. She obviously had flown away. Now at the time I did not see the significance of that incident or how it would give me meaning for this season I am in now. That little bird found herself shocked by finding herself in a new situation and a different "place"; just as I have found myself shocked by this state called "widowhood". Although my husband's death was not sudden it was still a shock for me to find myself here in a world that is so very much different for me. I know I will need to get my wings ready to fly and I have been struggling these last almost ten months to get up there and soar but have not yet been able to do so. There have been some brief, very short flights but I always come back to that safe spot to rest because I get worn out and am just not ready. The little sparrow on the other hand did not try to fly at all - she simply waited patiently until she knew she had the strength and when she was ready she took off and went into her new life with gusto. Now I really understand Isaiah 40:29 & 31 - He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. So wherever you are little sparrow fly high and strong. You taught me a valuable lesson.
    Are you waiting for something as well? May I humbly suggest you be as that little sparrow and take advantage of the resting place where you find yourself these days. I am content in not using my wings until God says "go" because then I know they will truly be strong enough to take me where He wants me to be. He has a plan for our lives and when He is ready He will show us.
    Blessings dear ones.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Here We Go!

So, this is it - officially the first post! Fifteen months ago if somebody had told me I would be doing this I would have laughed. God obviously had another plan because here I am sitting at the kitchen table "blogging"!
I go into this endeavor with a bit of trepidation that I will run out of words or drift off into rambling and meaningless words.  However, I have been told by many that I have some things to say and that I should just simply say them.
At this point I do not know how often I will be posting or in what order the posts will come. I will simply leave that up to God and let Him direct me. After all that's what these "scrolls" are about - how He has been with this little sparrow of His - through the last fifteen months, through the last 60 plus years, and through the future that I can not yet see but know is full of hope and promise.
A special thank you to the neighbor up the street for the name of this blog - she knows who she is!
Blessings to all who read these words in the days to come. My prayer is that they encourage you to continue in your journey, however difficult it may be, for it is true that we are of great value to Him.