Tag: reflections

mom Christmas 2016

The first Christmas without your loved one

These next couple of weeks are going to be very hard for a number of people, those who have lost a loved one this past year.

I am one of them.

At least with my mom, I expected it. She was ill and in her nineties. But even with all that, this Christmas will be kind of “hollow” if you know what I mean.

There’s an echo where there used to be a voice.

There’s a spirit where there used to be a presence.

There’s one less person at the table.

There’s one less person to buy a gift for.

Loss is hard and especially at Christmas. I think of all those who lost family and friends due to violence, drunk drivers, natural disasters, etc.; that’s even harder. I hold them up in prayer.

Later this week I will be posting about my cookie baking over this past weekend. Last year at this same weekend, I was frosting Christmas cookies with my mom.

Can you believe this is a ninety-two-year-old woman? She was something else.

mom Christmas 2016

(I still have the tablecloth.)

When we were baking this past weekend, I found a plastic container to store some cookies. The lid is written all over with notes about what was once in the container. I hand-washed the lid, told hubby to do the same. I have very little in my mom’s handwriting so I’m hanging on to this. I kept her recipes as well for that reason.

Christmas container 2017

One less person to frost cookies with and to laugh about what a bad job she did. She laughed the hardest.

“Hey, mom, I know you hated decorating cookies, but you did it every year because I asked you, too. Thank you.”

The snow is blowing hard today as we are under a winter storm warning. I would be calling her today and we’d be talking about this terrible weather and how glad we both were that we didn’t have to go out.

One less person to talk to about the weather.

But I have more as well. I have people I love and who love me. I have the assurance that I will see my mom again someday. I know she is in God’s arms and is totally at peace. I wouldn’t take that away from her. Not for a minute.

I have the more of God’s grace that we can’t imagine until we need it. I have the more of God’s presence. I feel God’s love more.

 When there is the less, God always provides the more. In ways we couldn’t imagine. He has for me.

It’s just a hard day. Hope I didn’t bring you down. This wasn’t going to be the post for today but all of a sudden, there it was. Hopefully, someone is helped by these words.

God bless and have a wonderful day with the people you love.




What a week-end. You HAVE to read this!

Today’s post is all about hope.


Most of you know that the last two weeks have been rough. My mom has been very confused and delusional. She has been diagnosed with dementia. Read that carefully, “diagnosed with dementia”, and we all know how a single diagnosis can be inadequate to explain all aspects of any condition. While I don’t deny that diagnosis, I don’t buy into it one hundred percent as an explanation for these past two weeks. I believe there is more going on.

Did you know, for example, that urinary tract infections (UTI), can come and go without medical intervention? Did you also know that UTI’s can cause confusion, delirium, and hallucinations in the elderly? So-o-o-o, an elderly person can be confused, etc, because they have an undiagnosed UTI. We had my mom checked out for that and it was negative but, of course, it might have cleared up by the time the test was done. Here’s the google page where I found some great links about UTI’s in the elderly.

Now to the weekend. My daughter and her five-year-old son came home this weekend. (Hubby and other son had a “guys” weekend skiing.) She wanted to see her grandmother again because of her failing health. Not only was my mom one hundred percent better, she was back to her “before-the-last-fall” better. We took her for a ride down to Lake Michigan because we had an unusually warm day for a Michigan January. We even got her outside to sit on a bench. She was conversant, funny, even taking the initiative in the conversation.

Thank goodness it was sunny and I was wearing my sunglasses because I was tearing up a lot with gratitude. And now to the point of this post today.

The two or three nights prior to Sat I woke up in the middle of the night feeling very sad because I was worried that my last memories of my mom would be what I’d seen the last two weeks. I so wanted to see my “real” mom again. And then it happened.

But God answered and one glorious, beautiful, warm Saturday, I was able to imprint some kinder memories in my mind. There are some days you just know you won’t forget. This was one of them. My daughter will never forget it either.


I had been praying hard for this to happen but was starting to lose hope. But I reminded myself once again that “God is able to do more than we can even think of or even ask….”


I’m smart enough to know those two weeks could happen again. Sunday, for example, she wasn’t quite as “sharp” as she’d been on Saturday although she was still able to converse fluently.

But that Saturday was my “more than I can imagine” day. Everyone needs one of those.

God bless and don’t give up your hopes. God can do more than you can even think of.




A good day in Paradise and how you can feel good

As I wrote yesterday, this will be a very random week of posts and thoughts.

Mom’s doctor’s visit yesterday revealed nothing more about her mental state that we didn’t already know. We just wanted to make sure there was nothing “medical” going on with her. She is losing weight, however. That has me concerned.

In case any of you suffer from depression, I want to let you in on a couple of things that we are doing for her that will also work if you are mood is in the toilet right now. (Sorry, for the “toilet” part but sometimes you just shouldn’t sugar coat things.)


First of all, turn on all the lights in the areas you will be in for most of the day. OPEN the drapes. Doesn’t matter if there is sun or not; there is light. And it reminds you that there is life out there.

BUT when it starts to get dark, CLOSE the drapes and continue to keep all the lights on.

We did this yesterday at my mom’s and she had no confusion last night.

Which brings me to this point:

It is the most simple and “natural” approaches that often work to manage and sometimes even cure many emotional and mental issues. Things like getting enough sunlight (and taking vitamin D supplements during the winter), getting enough rest, getting enough exercise, limiting sugar ( a big one for me.)

I’m going to say something here and I hope you understand that I’m coming from a place of love. (Plus the fact that I’ve walked this path of  “depression”.)

I’ve read countless blogs and talked with many, many people as a hospital chaplain, and Bible teacher. I am nothing short of amazed that people will continue their miserable state of affairs without even trying to get better.

Oh, they say they are trying to work on some issues when what they mean is they are taking their pills and feeling sorry for themselves. When they are pressed about whether they’re exercising, getting enough sleep, watching their sugar intake, monitoring their thoughts, finding companionship, etc, they’re not.

I have a number of family and friends who have suffered from depression or are now. The ones that are managing it and actually carving out some contentedness are those who do more than just take a pill.

Didn’t mean to go on a rant, but remember this is the week, I don’t edit myself too much.

Back to my mom. Do you see that we have initiated many different approaches to caring for her? We could have sat back and let her continue to slide downhill and continue to pump her with medication. At this point, we still have hope, not she might get a lot better but that she might not have to get any worse.

Readers, so very much of our feeling of well-being and peace depend on the choices we make.


Last night my hubby and I saw “Hacksaw Ridge”. It’s a story about a young conscientious objector in the armed forces who refuses to even carry a gun. Upshot to the story and not to give anything away that isn’t already published, this young soldier ends up single-handedly rescuing seventy of his fallen comrades. To watch the determination and choices he makes throughout this battle are such that the entire audience got up and clapped when the show was over. I had tears in my eyes most of the time, and wondering what I would have done given the choices he was given.

So this was my “rambling” for today. Hope it helped some of you.

God bless and have a god day.



cooking making

Making good memories even when we’re sad

I’m feeling a little sad today.

I am a follower of Christ and I believe in praying in faith and confidence that God answers prayer.

But let’s be clear. People get sick. People die. Circumstances change.  In other words:

Life goes on. Life changes.

My granddaughter and I are baking cookies with my mom today.

Christmas cookies

I will have a hard time choking back the tears, because I’m almost certain I won’t be baking cookies with her in her own home next year. That  would be a miracle and I pray every day for exactly that. But recent events almost certainly guarantee this won’t happen.

I’m not being pessimistic. I’m not not showing faith.

It isn’t faith to ignore reality. Faith is praying in the reality that surrounds us while clinging to the fact that God can exceed our wildest requests. It can seem like an oxymoron at times.

Of course, there are times we pray outside what we see. I do it all the time. I pray that God will do what seems impossible. And he often has.

But my mom leaves me more every day. Can I be frank and say that sometimes I don’t want to visit her because it’s such a vivid reminder of how much I’ve already lost.

I know there are many of you that find Christmas hard. This year, I do, too.

But I will bake cookies and take pictures today and try to carve this time into my memory forever. I will be grateful I still have a mom to worry about. So many of you don’t. I will be grateful that my faith is being stretched to the max these days (not to mention every other part of me.)

So I’m thinking of all of you today for whom Christmas means sadness as well as the gladness. But remember, no matter how sad a time it is for you, peace can be yours because of the sacrifice God made my bringing his son to earth.

For me, the message of Christmas is all about peace, joy, and hope.  We can be sad and still have peace. We can be sad and still have joy. We can be sad and still have hope.

God bless and have a good day.


Christmas mugs

How two Christmas mugs opened the floodgates

Right after Thanksgiving, my husband and I start drinking our morning coffee from these cups.

Christmas mugs

They’re not antiques but they’re at least twenty years old. I bought them shortly after the Hobby Lobby in our local area opened.

One of them broke a few years back but we couldn’t bear to part with them so I did my “hot glue thing” and they’ve been fine ever since.

Christmas mugs

There is one drawback. They don’t hold a lot of coffee so that means multiple trips to the coffee maker and in this old house that means walking just about the length of the house. We watch the morning news in what we call the sunroom, which was once the porch. The kitchen is at the back of the house. Do you get the picture?

Hey, here’s a pic. Can’t believe I’m showing this to you as I’m in a mess with decorating and such now.

But it’s a good visual.

houseI’m standing at the doorway to the kitchen when I took this pic. Behind the curtain is the former porch.

But the one good thing about this kind of floor plan is you have to move more. And if  you’re going to use the bathroom, well, that’s a continuation past the kitchen through a small entryway and through a larger room that serves no purpose. It’s kind of like a mud room on steroids.

Can you imagine what I go through when I’ve had foot surgery? Let’s just say I avoid liquids.

Anyway, I digress.

Back to the Christmas mugs. (Yes, I have a brick wall in the kitchen. As I said, this is a very old house.)

Christmas mugsMy hubby and I actually thought about getting new ones this year, ones that hold more coffee. We just couldn’t do it.

These mugs represent how special Christmas is to the two of us and they represent many, many memories.

Christmas mugs

You see when we first got married, we declared two things.

  • Divorce was a word, a concept, we would never use. No matter what. (We never have and like all couples, we’ve had our “moments”)
  • Our Christmas’s would be special.

Our Christmas’ as we grew up were traumatic. Neither one of us had even one good Christmas memory as children.

But we can’t remember one bad one since we’ve been married.

That’s because we decided day one of our marriage to keep those two earlier resolves.

The Christmas mugs sit across the room from me as I write and I’m getting a little teary-eyed just thinking about those two young people so many years ago. By today’s standards, we were very young. I had just turned twenty-one and my husband was three months younger. Yes, he married a “younger woman”.  (Did I really say “younger”? I meant “older”.)  He never lets me forget it either.

Neither of us dreamed the paths our lives have taken. Neither of us dreamed we would face some real medical challenges. Neither of us dreamed we would visit many countries around the globe.  Neither of us dreamed we would have such amazing children and grandchildren. (I think we thought that because of our histories, we would be the worst of parents. We had no clue how to be good ones, and while we definitely made some mistakes, as all parents do, we are grateful those mistakes did not permanently “damage” our children.)

So when I look  at those mugs, I don’t see inanimate objects. I see two lives represented. We are as passionate about each other today as the day we were married. No, that’s not true. We are more passionate.

I really don’t know why I’m writing this today. Usually, I’m very focused. Seldom do I write at the last-minute like I’m doing today. But just seeing those mugs brought back such memories, such love.

As a married couple, we are no different from any other couple.

Except for one thing.

We decided early on that we would make this marriage work.

And we did. We fought through many issues, faced many challenges, will face some more, I’m sure. But we will stay as determined as we are now.

I’ve written a lot of post about determination, decision-making, and choice-making on this blog. I truly we believe that much of our lives, much of our happiness, is determined by the choices we make.

Anyway, hope this post was an encouragement to you today. When you have your coffee in the morning, just imagine me drinking mine from one of my Christmas mugs.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

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