Month: April 2017

yellow metal chair

Sometimes life offers up something that makes you giddy

It seems like all I’ve done is cry lately.

But that’s ok.

My husband and I were taking our walk the other day and I was feeling sad when all of a sudden we turned a corner and then I spotted it. I think my husband was trying to get my attention so I would be looking at him instead of said object because he knows me so well. Garbage pickin’ for “treasure” is one of my favorite activities.

And this is indeed a treasure.

We hastened home. Picked up the truck and hurried back. The route we took that day was our “high-end” route. It’s a peninsula that juts out into the lake and so the homes on this particular cul-de-sac are expensive. In other words, not a lot of vehicle traffic. And remember, it’s a high-end area so what are the chances any of the neighbors would pick it up?

We took bets on whether it would still be there. Fifty-fifty was what we were figuring.

I asked my husband, “Are you going to help me put it in the truck”?

He said no but secretly I knew he would, of course. He always does.

We turned the corner and there it was! I was so excited. We took it from next to the garbage can and put it in the back of the truck and went home. Actually, my husband agrees it’s a great find. But now I wish I would have taken what was next to it. It was some sort of “treeish” thing with lights on it. Just the skeleton of a tree. But I think it might have been cute on my deck.

Buyer’s remorse.

Anyway, I hope I’ve peaked your curiosity.

Here it is.

 

As you can see, the seat is rusted through in some spots. But a little sanding and some fresh paint and a chair cushion are all that’s needed. The holes might actually form a pattern as this was typical of these types of old metal chairs, a way for the water to drain off.

Have no idea what color it’s going to be but it’s going to be great.  Hope you’re as excited as I am. yellow metal chair

Anyway, God bless and I hope you have a good day.

How do brownies and tears work together in grief?

Monday was a hard day. My mom is nearing heaven’s door with every breath she takes. I see her footprints getting closer all the time. There are times she reaches with her arm outstretched as though she is, in fact, searching for a door knob.

In my selfishness, I want to tell her to stay just a little longer. I’m not ready yet.

But instead, I come home and move bricks and broken cement blocks. I spread bark and pull up weeds. I take up old landscape edging, crying through it all. It’s my way of dealing.

It felt good. The work and the crying.

Then I thought about brownies. My mom loves brownies. This was one of the last things she might enjoy.

I used to always bake her special desserts. If I saw something yummy at the grocery store, I would buy it for her. She has not enjoyed food for a couple of weeks. But I thought maybe, just maybe, she might enjoy a brownie.

Besides, I had to do something her. It was the only thing I could think of.

A last gift from me to her.

I don’t know how many tears ended up in the brownies.

Isn’t it strange the things grief compels us to do? Like baking brownies for someone who probably isn’t going to eat them, who probably can’t eat them.

But we all handle our grief differently. Is there such a thing as pre-grieving? If there is, that’s where I am.

My husband is scheduled to go on his annual spring fishing trip with my son, grandson, and some other fishing buddies.  They go every year and have a ball.

He’s balking about going but I am insisting. I know me. I know that I’m ok with my tears. I’m ok with grieving. He’ll come home if needed and it’s only four or five hours away.

The cycle of life. Death and birth. Since the beginning of time daughters have grieved their mothers. My grief is no different except that it’s my grief.

I think part of trusting God means we learn to accept heartbreak as a part of life as much as joy.  Even now God is preparing me for this unwelcome journey.

I do not look forward to missing my mother. I think my tears this past week, (and there have been many of them)  are God’s way of letting me know her homecoming is soon. I’m releasing some tears a little ahead of time so when I am needed to think clearly, I will be able to.

God bless.

What does grief “look” like on a Christian?

How does a Christian wear their faith and what does that faith look like when one’s journey is painful?

Here are my thoughts based on years of studying the Bible, reading books by the great authors of past and present, prayer, and my own trials. Faith isn’t necessarily:

  • A smiling face though your heart is breaking
  • Displaying no tears.
  • Saying the right words
  • A lack of questions.
  • Acting brave

It is through tears, heartbreak, and questions that we become more aware, not less, of God’s all-encompassing love.

How can we know a God of comfort if we’re never been in a situation to be comforted? How can we know a God of strength if we’ve never been held up by “divine arms”? How can we have a will to survive when it seems as if God has abandoned us if not by experiencing that “quiet, still voice” during the tough times?

I was a hospital chaplain for about ten years and I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen grief expressed ways you couldn’t even imagine, from screaming to fainting, to stroking the deceased from the top of their head to their feet, to family fist fights, to stoicism, to anger, to not caring at all.

The time we should least judge anyone’s faith is when they’re experiencing grief.  “There but for the grace of God go I“, is never truer than at a time like this.

Besides our time will come.

Guaranteed.

I think sometimes that’s why we judge. We don’t know how to separate what has happened to them and what may, no, will, eventually happen to us. So we project on them all the ways we hope we will behave but aren’t the least bit sure we will. We foolishly imagine we would handle it better.

But we don’t have a clue.

If we don’t want others to judge us during our darkest hour, we’d better not judge them during theirs.

That has been true for me as well. During my darkest times, I’m sure I haven’t acted as others might expect but I’ve walked in the awareness of the presence of God and, frankly, that has kept me from caring too much about what anyone else thought.

As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of what I read not too long ago:

We get through the tough times by learning to walk in the continual awareness that we’re walking in the presence of God.

It’s kind of like walking in the woods. You don’t see a path, but as you walk the branches move back, the ground is swept away, and a   path appears. You don’t see who is clearing your path but you know there is a Presence walking ahead of you preparing a way. It’s kind of mystical and magical and yet Scripture promises that God will, in fact, always prepare the way. But I like to visualize my scriptures, so this works for me.

If my mom’s behavior this past weekend means anything, her passing may be sooner than I want. I grieved for my dad but I will grieve for my mother even more. There’s something about losing a mother.

Will I act the way people think I should? I don’t even know if I will act the waythink I should. I only know I have been grieving for a long time now.

Have you seen some of those commercials that advertise meds for dementia? They present a romanticized picture of an illness that is anything but. Maybe in the beginning of the illness but let me tell you, it’s not sweet and lovely as they make it seem. Dementia is a horrible, degrading illness and watching a loved one deteriorate in unimaginable ways is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to watch.

I will grieve and miss my mother but I will not grieve her escape from this nightmare. I will grieve my loss but will rejoice when I think of her in God’s presence, whole and beautiful once again.

Whatever you’re dealing with today, whether it’s grief, depression or any number of other life’s assaults, I hope that you are aware of God’s presence in whatever way He has chosen to make Himself known to you.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

A cute wall decoration from Hobby Lobby

I found this cute wall “thingee” at Hobby Lobby last weekend so thought I would share it with you. I had a coupon so I think it was only about $20.00. I’ve so been needing to get something for this wall. I really like it.

 

This is a close-up. I’ve had these antique books for many years. They are easily over one hundred years old. I love how the older writers had such a command of the English language.

 

My daughter gave me these little “change” purses from an estate sale.

 

Here’s another purse. (I’ve hung all kinds of things on this vase. )

antique purse

 

You can see the other tiny purses here.

The single old shoe you see on the second shelf is from a woman I got to know through a volunteer agency. She was about eighty-five at the time and I was about thirty. We became fast friends so I quit the volunteer agency because it didn’t seem right to be reimbursed for gas mileage anymore. We remained friends up until her death. I have never forgotten her and this little shoe always reminds me of her. It was her son’s baby shoe. She had no idea where the other one was.  🙂

The pair of shoes you see here were a present from my mom. I think we were from an antique store. She knew I liked them but they were kind of expensive. Imagine how pleased I was when she gave them to me as a surprise. She was always “treating” me like that. 

I’ve been reading a book about feng shui and clutter. One of the definitions of clutter was unfinished decorating. That’s was so where I was with this wall. I just never got it right, you know? Now I think I have.

God bless and have a good day.

change

What do you do when people won’t change?

Did you ever have an epiphany? I do and usually through experiences that do not lend themselves to such a thing. I mean shouldn’t there be bright lights or a flash bulb somewhere?

But still, you feel like someone has finally found your switch and turned on the lights.

A conversation I had with a friend once was such an occasion. I learned that a situation in her life that she had just told me about had been going on for three weeks. I realized right then that despite our conversations in the past around this very subject, she wasn’t likely to change even though I didn’t like it.

I’m ok with that.

We are to love others but we are also to love ourselves. I think sometimes that means we let some people stay where they are even if we know it would be better for them to change. I used to think that I had to “woo” people. Do you know what I mean?

“Wooing” is when you are always the one initiating, making the phone calls, sharing your life, reaching out. It makes one feel a little too “needy” and I think we do better when we give ourselves and others some space. Christ often gave people their “space”.

When you accept that some people just aren’t going to change and grow, you are freed from that burdensome feeling of responsiblity. And when you become free of a responsiblity that was never yours to begin with, you find yourself growing in areas where YOU need to grow. 

change

Maybe we sometimes try to help others in an effort to take our attention away from ourselves. Just sayin’.

When you realize you can’t make others behave the way they should and no amount of effort on your part is going to change them, it frees you to get on with your own life without apology or explanation.

I’m not suggesting that we become hard and uncaring.

Never!

Only that we think a little before giving away all our emotional energy on people and situations we can’t change and have no obligation to change. Some people are quite content to remain “stuck” all their lives in destructive habits and behaviors.

Real change can only come from within anyway.

change

We spend so much time trying to “fix” people and situations that we ignore the “fixing” we should be doing for ourselves. I think my mom’s ongoing dementia and failing health has brought this home to me in a very real way. I can’t change what is happening to her. I can’t “fix” her. But I can work on me.

In a way, this journey with her has helped me get off the”white horse” that I use to ride to rescue people. It feels good to be on solid ground.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

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