Families are a blessing …

“Families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17b

Keith, wearing Glen's new hat, and Susan.

Keith, wearing Glen’s new hat, and Susan.

Susan and I took turns getting a big bear hugs from Glen’s brother, Keith, as he left this morning to go back to Iowa. He came to spend Memorial Day weekend with us, but mainly to accompany Susan to the Indianapolis 500 race.

Keith’s a single man who enjoys traveling and seeing the sites of the U.S. It was a pleasure to show him Brown County, walk the streets of Nashville (IN), eat at best pizza at Mother Bear’s, hang around the house, and tell stories that helped us learn more about one another.

In February, Susan bought two tickets for the 100th Indy race–one for herself and one for her dad. Glen and I had planned to be in Indiana to attend Susan’s PhD commencement and hooding ceremony and stay for a couple months to help her move to Upstate New York. The other highlight was for Glen to go to his Indy 500 race, with his daughter.

After Glen died, Susan invited her uncle Keith to go with her. What we didn’t anticipate was how his visit would keep us from overthinking Memorial Day without Glen. Instead, of mindlessly watching Netflix on TV, we spent time honoring his memory reminiscing days of the past. As he left, I said, “Thank you for making Memorial Day weekend so special for us.” He replied, “It was my honor to be here.”

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of family. Amen.

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My dad died …

[Today’s post was written by my son, and I post it in honor of Glen on Memorial Day.used by permission ]

1964

1964

Today I keep repeating these three words “My Dad Died”

Even though it is painful to say them I am also very grateful those three words accompany other words describing the way he left us.

My Dad Died courageously
My Dad Died surrounded by love
My Dad Died peacefully
My Dad Died in presence of family
My Dad Died happy
My Dad Died knowing Jesus
My Dad Died leaving a legacy

The list continues and I’m sure anyone who knew my Dad can contribute some positive impact he left on their lives. He was, is and will always remain My Dad the most awesome man in my life. I’m honored to carry his name and continue to share his beliefs, skills, knowledge, love and memories.

Thank you to all the wonderful friends and family who continue to celebrate his life and also share in our sorrow.

God Bless!

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“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you.” Isaiah 49:15

owlI’m watching a mother Robin feed her baby (which is about the same size). She pokes around into the ground, finds a worm, and feeds it to the baby. I’m assuming one of these days, she’ll say, “Enough, is enough. Go find your own worms.” About that time, the baby will probably be able to fly away and be independent.

What humans can learn by observing our fine-feathered friends. They nurture their babies from the moment the baby cracks through the shell until they no longer need to be “spoon” fed. I’ve heard people talk about mothers who choose to nurse their babies long after the begin to walk and talk. Maybe these moms get it–the child needs their mother to feed them in whatever way and for as long as need. Frankly, it’s nobody’s business. She may be nursing a future president of the U.S.

There are times I’d like to crawl into my mother’s lap and say, “Feed me.” My ninety-five-year old mother might object to me physically doing this, but she is there to listen, help, and give support in whatever way possible. God says even if my mother were to forget me, God never will. That is good news.

Lord, thank you for always being near to feed my soul and hold me tight. Amen.

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Sleeping giants and dogs …

“Then David took his shepherd’s staff, selected five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s pack, and with his sling in his hand approached Goliath.” 1 Samuel 17:40

imageWe get slangs from incidents, such as in the scripture above, such as “Let sleeping giants lie,” and one more familiar, “Don’t wake up a sleeping dog.” Neither giants nor dogs present danger while sleeping, nor do they cause problems for anyone around them.

What are the “sleeping dogs or giants” in your life? Right now, my sleeping giant is the discomfort I feel when I think about going home alone to Arizona in October. Two weeks after Glen died, Susan and I headed toward Indiana to make the five-month trip Glen and I had planned to visit family and friends. The trip is going well, and I am enjoying the extended time with my daughter, Susan, and look forward to time with my daughter, Karen, and her family. But, I will have to go home–to a quiet house to face a closet and dresser with Glen’s clothes, his tools and golf clubs, etc. I can’t let the “sleeping giant” lie forever.

When I return home, I’ll take on the “giant” like David did, who picked up his shepherd’s staff, and tackled the giant everyone else feared. With my Shepherd, I’ll have the ammunition I need, too, when I return home.

Dear Lord, help prepare me for days when I’d rather let sleeping dogs lie. Amen.

 

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Choices and possibilities …

“And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over… ” Matthew 19:29

imageNow that my head is beginning to clear of the “must do” things one has to accomplish after losing a partner, I’m beginning to see possibilities for the future. I say retirement is a time of making choices–a time to dream and set goals.

This winter my Arizona home will be rented to someone seeking to escape the COLD weather. Next winter you may find me multi-layered and freezing my fanny off in Upstate New York and northwestern New Jersey with my daughters, son-in-law, and grandchildren in upstate New York and northwestern New Jersey. For years I have wanted to spend time with my grandsons during Christmas and stick around awhile to see them in school activities. With Glen’s lung condition and rheumatoid arthritis, this was not a good choice.

Glen and I had had also wanted to do mission work of some kind. Again, because of Glen’s health, we were limited in this area. In the near future I will begin to explore possibilities to volunteer for missions anywhere where my skills can be utilized. Jesus told the wealthy young man, ” … anyone who sacrifices… will get it back in another way.” Yes, I am willing to sacrifice the warm Arizona winters to go out into the mission field … except maybe Alaska, Siberia, or Antarctica.

Dear Lord, help me discern my calling to serve you. Amen

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Stuff …

“When you tell God you’ll do something, do it—now. God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble. Vow it, then do it.” Ecclesiastes 5:4,5

imageAnother topic of conversation with Glen before he went to hospice was about disposing of Glen’s hobby equipment and tools. For over fifty years we moved his massive toolbox at least nineteen times. His hobby stuff grew  to consumes one room in our house. It was important to him–part of his identity, I’d say. To me, it was stuff–tiny electronic components, cords and cables, dead computers and hardware, plus robots and remote controlled trucks under construction or in different stages of repair.

“I promise I won’t throw out any of your stuff,” I told Glen, and we both laughed. He knew what a mess it was and how I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it. Then he said, “You know, some of that stuff needs to be sold on EBay.” I just smiled at him and said, “We’ll figure it out.”

Our son, Michael, became the owner of all Glen’s hobby equipment and tools. I am grateful to have his assistance in getting it into the hands of someone who doesn’t see it as just stuff. I am sure Michael is overwhelmed by his father’s bequest. Together we will keep my promise to Glen to handle what seems like an impossible task.

Lord, give us patience when dealing with things I don’t understand. Amen.

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I’ll be okay…

“‘You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom,when you make friends with Madame Insight.” Proverbs 3:13

imageOne of the brief conversations Glen and I had before he died was about household finances. Glen asked, “Is your name on my saving’s account?” I told him I’d check to see. (It was.) Then I said, “You know you are leaving me financially okay, don’t you?” “Yes,” he whispered through the oxygen mask. He seemed to rest better after the conversation.

I know a few widows in my community who whenever the topic of money comes up, say, “I can’t afford … ” Well, I can’t afford to go on a spending spree, travel the world extensively, or do risky trading in the stock market. But, if I hang out with Lady Wisdom and let her guide me with money issues, hopefully it will outlast my needs.

Thank you, Lord, for everything money cannot buy. Amen.

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Daisy learns to walk …

“Stalwart walks in step with God; his path blazed by God, he’s happy. If he stumbles, he’s not down for long; God has a grip on his hand.” Psalm 37:23,24

imageFor weeks I’ve been taking my daughter Susan’s big dogs, the 70-pound sisters, for walks separately from their little cousin, Daisy. Daisy, who came to us with an unknown past, has been a lousy walker since I was able to get a harness on her. Most of the time I find myself pulling her down the street and carrying her home.

One day I decided to take all three on a walk at the same time. The big girls walked ahead, dragging me along. The little girl hung behind, but kept up with the fast pace and didn’t put on the brakes.

Susan had a theory as to why Daisy suddenly became a strutting walker. She needed to be taught how to go for a walk! The pack-like mentality of three dogs gave her confidence. For the first time she felt like one of the gang and did not want to look like a baby. She had the “look at me, Grandma, I’m walking” look in her eyes. We walked a half hour yesterday, and she slept for two after we returned home.

God is the pack leader who accompanies us through our walk in life–catching us when we stumbling, pulling on the leash when we lag behind. Smiling when we succeed.

Dear Lord, help us learn from those who set good examples. Amen.

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A Case for Crying …

[Today’s post is more about crying from my book, The Donut Theory, a Westbow publication.]

“Crying is better than laughing. It blotches the face but it scours the heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:3

imageAs a little kid, when something upset me I’d cry. My father would call me “Crybaby,” which only made me more upset. He grew up in a home with little affection, and I’m guessing tears weren’t acceptable—especially to a man. But his mean comment worked: I’d shut off the tear valve and stuff my feelings deep into my gut.

When I was a teenager, I found an article in a Reader’s Digest magazine titled “A Case for Crying,” about how shedding tears can keep you sane. With this revelation, I decided it was no longer a sin to be a crybaby.

Babies and children cry until they learn to verbalize how they feel or what they need. As an adult, sometimes the only way I can communicate how I feel is to cry. However, I hate to cry in public. Not only do I end up with red eyes and blotches all over my face, I feel as if I’ve shown my vulnerability and sensitive nature—blowing my cover as someone always in control. The last good cry I remember happened at the office following a conflict with a co-worker. I had put up with enough criticism and complaints. Rather than blast the co-worker, I sat with the assistant pastor in her office crying like a baby.

The volume of tears I shed represented a reservoir of bad feelings, fears, frustrations, insecurity, and from being overworked and too tired. Like God, caring people see someone with a tear-stained face as a person doing a good job of housecleaning the heart.

Recently I found the tear-stained article about crying and pinned it on my bulletin board. It serves me as a reminder that tears are okay—even in public!

Dear Lord, remind me that I can cry on your shoulder any time,

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Tears …

“Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest.” Isaiah 55:2

imageThis morning I cried while attempting to make Glen’s special breakfast for my daughter and me. As I fried the bacon, fond memories of Glen standing by the stove, patiently slicing raw potatoes into the bacon grease just got to me. He didn’t care if it took an hour to prepare the meal; he wanted it just right for me.

Once again, I’m amazed when something takes me to a moment or two of grief. One of my friends lost two husbands, both too young and after long illnesses. A couple of weeks after Glen passed away, I received profound advice from Marcia’s first-hand experience with grief. She wrote, “Grief is such an uneven and ‘bizarre’ phenomenon: I give you permission to walk that path in whatever manner is most helpful to you—which may perhaps mean NOT grieving in any ‘traditional’ way, but through journaling—or bibliotherapy—or travel—or work; whatever seems appropriate to you at any given moment is the ‘right’ path for you!” Marcia’s message has freed me to just “be” during this time.

Something was different about the egg scramble—possibly because Glen fried the potatoes in more grease than I did. Gratefully, my tears didn’t ruin the meal or the memory of Glen laboring over a hot stove to give me a scrumptious breakfast.

Lord, thank you for the wisdom of my friend. Amen.

 

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