Friday, February 28, 2014

A Reprieve

We always have questions for God. But, it's during our times of struggling His answers mean the most. And it's then, that we see Him most clearly. It may be in a friend's arms around you, a child's laughter or just a good night's sleep, we are given reprieve from life's dealings.

Psalm 91:1 The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What a Difference a Day Makes

I love knowing the difference the Holy Spirit within me makes. He rids me of anxieties and fears, my resentments and hostilities, my guilt and regrets. He keeps me filled with Himself and floods my heart with God's love. I am then able to give thanks for all things, every hour of every day.

This reminds me of a time I was holding Steven as his meds kicked in. God told me to pray a prayer of thanksgiving. My husband was dying in my arms, how could I thank Him? He then said to be thankful for the days I had with Steve, which I did, easily. Calculating those days now, I come up with 8,340 days, or 22 years, 10 months and 1 day. That is a lot to be thankful for.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Raccoon

Finding out I had a raccoon in my garage and trapping it was one thing. But putting the poor thing down in my back yard was another. Apparently it had gotten into fertilizer or insecticide because it was paralyzed.

After I cleaned up the destruction in my garage, chipped at the ice in the driveway, and dug out gutters from heaps of snow, I was exhausted. So I did what I do when I've pushed myself. I cried. None of this is my job. I'm not angry at Steve for dying, or God, just frustrated at the situation. I know I can ask for help, but didn't.

What happened to just being a girl?


Monday, February 24, 2014

Body & Soul

What is more important, our bodies or our souls? What has the longest longevity? Our bodies will give out little by little as a natural progression, but our souls live forever.

God cares more about our spiritual health than our physical health and so should we. To God, protecting out soul from eternal judgment and death is more significant than protecting our bodies from disease or death.

Too often, we become disappointed in lack of healing when we pray. I know I did. But, my trust in God must remain strong as I learn His value system and line mine up accordingly.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Striking My Foot On A Stone

God has promised to protect me, but sometimes it feels like this didn't happen. When I doubt this promise, I tell myself I am human with limitations on my grasp of life. But my protector has no limits. Just because I don't see the Red Sea part, doesn't mean there are not miracles happening all around me. Just because Steven died, does not mean something big did not happen in all of it.

As I watched Steven lose strength physically, I witnessed his spiritual strength grow stronger. I listened to him pray, and ask me to pray. I saw him want to go to church. I read his note that told me what he talked to God about daily. And I felt God in it all. It's the lens of spiritual wisdom I must choose to look through.

Monday, February 17, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

As I sit here watching the snow storm out my window, I know I should be missing the warmth of my vacation to Phoenix last week. But the sound of the wind as it whips the snow past, and the contrast of the cardinal I see in the snowy bush and the warm, safe feeling I have sitting here help me realize...this is home. The impending ice and snow excite me since I don't have to go anywhere. I'm in my element as the hours of this day off work stretch before me. I'll read my Bible, paint some frames, eat some chocolate pie I made, watch the Olympics, touch base with some friends, hit the treadmill and maybe even take a nap. It's good to be home.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Trip To Phoenix

I traveled. That's big for me. I went to Arizona and visited 3 couples I've known for a long time. The trip was disconcerning because I seem less brave then during my 'Steve and Denice' days. I was sure I would get stuck in Denver airport with a flight being cancelled. When I shared this with my son, he voiced how he would love to be stranded in Denver. Silly me. I never thought it could be a cool thing.

It's good to see old friends. I especially enjoyed being made to feel a part of their family as they each opened their home to me. To see the bonds of strong marriages and faith walks. It was also good to talk about Steven and share the ups and downs of widowhood. I shopped and ate, and ate and then shopped. Nothing was rushed or planned.

As perfect as the visit was, I cannot emphasize the shock 100 degrees can make to one's system. It was -20 when I left and it hit 80 the first day. I grinned ear to ear every time I went outside. The sun was warm and bright, people drove with windows down, and I couldn't understand why I was the only one in stunned amazement.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Drawer Of Toys At Gram's House

When I would go to my Grandmother's, we had a drawer in a cabinet that had a couple toys in it. Nothing extravagant, a small car or two and a plastic rattle with liquid and colorful balls that floated down. Doesn't seem like much of a toy but we could spend hours turning it upside down and guessing which would be the last color to go down. There was a book of children's poems and one of prayers with beautiful angels in it and a deck of cards.

But the few things would keep me busy for days. Why is it the less we have, the more time we spend on something. Kid's have so much now and it all gets torn out for 1 minute and it's on to the next thing.

I remember grandma telling me they would get an apple or sweets for Christmas. What was up with that? But if that was what you got each year, you didn't expect much more. Seems things were simpler then.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Stand Without Words

I had so much trouble singing the hymn It Is Well With My Soul, when Steven was dying. I was so righteous about it, when it came to that part in the song I would refuse to sing. I'm sure God was getting the message. It reminded me of when I went to St. Mary's Catholic Church with my grandmother. When we would read the Nicene Creed in the beginning of the hymnbook, I refused to read the part about believing in the one Catholic Church. At the time I went to a different church and couldn't say the words if I didn't know for sure I believed them.

But today, although life is hard, I can sing. Even the part, It Is Well With My Soul.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Too Many Choices

Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this, but there are too many choices when shopping. I get overwhelmed. I'm trying to make a decision on price, but even that is hard to figure when faced with so many. From vitamins, to sanitary products, from cereal to laundry detergent, it's all too much. That might explain why I'm exhausted when done shopping.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Gram's Trunk

I have a trunk of my grandmothers that means the world to me. I used to see it in her attic when I was visiting as a child. Being in the attic was not a fun thing. I went in for Gram to check the mouse traps. After years of doing this I'm glad I have the trunk. It is full of things of mine, my grandmothers and her mothers. There are pictures of people I don't know. Obituaries, leather work of my dads, broaches, lace handkerchiefs, newspaper clippings, a hairnet or two, and some papers.

I'm not sure why it is that I remember everything in Gram's house but not much from the house I grew up in. Maybe because nothing changed in Gram's house. She sat in the same straight back chair when she talked on the phone. The same items sat on the top of her dresser for years. I remember this picture tree with little circles dangling off the branches that held photos. I dusted the same knick knacks that sat on the same shelf, and used the same pair of Gram's underwear to wash windows with vinegar and water. I will never make my grandchildren wash my windows with my underwear. Now-a-days underwear isn't big enough to do anything with. Even to wear as underwear.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Meeting Nancy


I think I've posted before about a new friend I made through my blog, Her name is Nancy and God brought us together about a year ago, first through her sister sharing a prayer request through the church, then through this blog and then we started emailing. Her husband was very ill too and we had the unfortunate bond of pain. The pain involved with watching your husband's health diminish day by day.

We also shared having son's, faith in God, and the gift of encouragement. It was the encouragement that bonded us. One of us would feel like they were hanging on by a thread, and who better to tell it to than another who is experiencing it?

Finally, last fall we decided we needed to meet. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska and I in Illinois so the midpoint was Des Moines. We found a nice place to stay and made a weekend of it. Shopping, eating out, and telling our stories. It was wonderful.