After the Frenzy

This is my cat, Templeton. When he doesn’t get the attention he wants, he creates his own entertainment. He will sit quietly, slowly turning his head to watch the end of his tail flick up and down. He is very sly, not wanting his tail to know he’s watching.

Then he leaps into action and chases his tail around and around in circles until he captures it. He then lays on it quietly until the urge to chase again consumes him.

When watching him the other day, I was reminded of how much I’ve been like him since my beloved husband was called to be with Jesus.

In a desperate frenzy, I moved furniture, heavy furniture that I could never have budged prior to this. I vacuumed, cleaned closets, sorted clothes for charity, tossed things that have been sitting around forever. Even when I spoke on the phone I was looking for something that needed cleaning…a wet sponge to wash walls, straighten pictures, dust, always busy…always chasing in circles.

When I was busy, I didn’t have to stop and think about the reality of being in a home where there had been so much activity. A home that had known the laughter and tears of all the years we’d spent together…raising children, dealing with the deaths of parents, struggling with finances, and always finding strength in our togetherness.

No more noisy oxygen machines, no television playing from morning to night, no quiet talks, laughing together, crying together.

There are days when I’m like Templeton, running in circles with no goal in mind except keeping busy. There are days when I don’t feel like moving. Days when I just sit and stare at the blue skies, watching the clouds move by, let the sun warm my chilled skin.

I stare at the walls that need painted, think about all the repairs that need to be done…

Sometimes I open my laptop and share my thoughts in a blog, like this. Sometimes I’m motivated to pour out my emotions into the book I’m writing.

Just like Templeton, sometimes I chase in circles.  Other times I curl into a ball in a patch of sunshine to rest.

I bow my head to pray and hand over my burdens to Jesus. I thank our eternal God for His blessings which are too many to count.

And always I know that I’m not alone. For the God of the universe is with me. Always.


Hugs from Heaven

There’s a picture hanging above the sofa taken a year ago May for our Church Directory. My hubby’s chair used to sit where the sofa is now. Each time I walk up the stairs I’m greeted, not with him smiling from his chair, but from the picture on the wall. I take a moment to tell him I love him and sometimes when tears burn, I see his smile a little wider and the love reflected from his eyes.

Yesterday a song came on the radio that reminded me of him…a song we danced to long ago. “Could I Have this Dance” sung by Anne Murray. I looked at our picture and sang along with the words. I could almost feel his arms holding me as we spun across the dance floor…almost. I saw him smile, saw the love shining in his eyes.

Today I folded the sheets and carried them from the laundry room to the bedroom. My hubby built me a chest to store bed linens. When I open it, I see his signature.

Every day I get hugs from Heaven.

Thank you God for all the years you gave us. Thank you for the memories. Thank you for the hugs from Heaven. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Legacy of Love

Some people can’t understand why I share such a deep, personal look into my emotional journey after losing my beloved husband. They don’t understand how I can post inspirational words with my friends on Facebook. Shouldn’t I be lost in grief, suffering, angry, and so broken that I withdraw into a ball in a darkened corner to grieve?

My beloved left me a legacy of love. Thirty-three plus years of love. Together we cared for our blended family, learning together each of their individual needs. We laughed a lot and we loved a whole lot more! We worked hard for the little money we earned, but we always trusted God would provide for what we really needed. And He did. Time and time again.

My husband loved to work with his hands, whether building something out of wood, or planting bushes and flowers and tending to their care. Over the years our yard has taken on many different “looks” with the addition of new gardens.

I can sit on the swing hanging from the grape arbor…all built with his hands…and listen to the sound of water from the fountain in the koi pond. I’m surrounded by beauty in a peaceful landscape. This morning my journey showed me a beautiful hibiscus bush covered with blooms and two beautiful flowers. The middle of the flower is filled with tiny other beautiful flowers. The rose of sharon blooms with white blossoms. And the cycle of life continues with the bumble bee gathering nectar from the cone flowers. I feel the touch of my beloved in every leaf, every bloom, every blade of grass. And my heart overflows with joy, peace, and the knowledge that I am not alone.

God and my husband created this legacy for me. A legacy of love. A safe haven where I can sit and recall memories. As I walk around and look at the kaleidoscope of colors, I feel both Jesus and my beloved walking beside me.

Sometimes I have to shed tears. I hear it is part of the grieving process, so I let them flow. And I share those emotions with the world.

There is a reason I’m still here on this earth. God has a plan for me. Perhaps that plan includes sharing my journey with others to help them with their own personal struggles.

The time will come when we all must leave our earthly home. This is nothing to fear. It is simply a moving from this life to our eternal life as our Lord and Savior has promised. A receiving of our true inheritance. Until then, I have turned my life over to God. I ask for Him to open my eyes and my heart so that I might see where I can be a blessing to others.

The journey I’m taking has some hills and valleys. My feet faithfully follow, sometimes needing the cleansing of tears, followed by a joyful uplifting. There is no sorrow in a legacy of love.


Sunshine After the Storm

When grief squeezes my heart, there is comfort near. Templeton jumps into my lap and gives me a loving, sympathetic look. He purrs and butts his head into my hand, arm, and chest. When I’m over the tears, he settles nearby and keeps a close watch over me.

With the support and understanding of family and friends, my life is settling into a new kind of normal. This week I babysat for three of my grandchildren. Children bring laughter, love and a unique perspective on life. I experienced many moments of belly laughter as we played and talked together.

Today storms are predicted and already we had one pass through bringing thunder and rain. The sun is shining again now, but there are more storms expected.

Life brings ups and downs and storms…some last for a short time and others are harsh and bring unexpected changes. God created each of us to be adaptable. Faith, hope, and love will bring us through. No matter what happens, we are never alone.

There are so many blessings in my life. The Lord has been gracious and merciful. Even in the midst of the latest storm, He didn’t abandon me. As the sun breaks through the clouds, dissipating the rain, I see hope in the day. Each day brings a new hope, a new opportunity, a new blessing.

In the still, quiet moments, He speaks to me. I need only to have my eyes, ears, and heart open to receive His message.

Today I’m sitting here with my laptop writing from my heart to yours. God has given me a gift to write and  I am placing my trust in the path He has provided. There are stories to tell, new characters to meet, and opportunities to share God’s heart in written words.


Finding a New Normal

“…He leadeth me beside the still waters, he restoreth my soul…” (from Psalm 23)

These are the words of comfort that have kept me strong in these days since saying my farewell to my husband and soul mate. The Lord is with me. He calms my fears and brings hope to my soul.

I attended Church services last Sunday, just six days after burying my beloved. I needed to go. Where else would I be? And God reached out and blessed me.

During my Sunday School class, our leader, a dear friend, shared something with not just me, but with the entire group. He was choked up and fighting tears as he said, “On Monday, I prayed for forty five minutes. And God spoke to me. He said, ‘Ron has received my promise.’ ”

Oh, what comfort that brought! Although I knew in my heart Ron was with Jesus, the joy that filled me with the confirmation is beyond words. Losing a loved one is difficult, even if you think you are prepared. It’s the time after the funeral, after everyone has gone back to their normal lives and you are left alone to try and learn a new “normal.”

I begin each day with a prayer of thanks and a plea for strength and guidance. One day at a time. As He leads me beside still waters and restores my soul. I don’t know what my new normal will be. I only know that the Lord will provide and I stand on the promises He has made through his Word.

I found a marker in my husband’s Bible at this scripture. Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” — before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then man goes to his eternal home; and mourners go about the streets. Remember him — before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may he make his light shine upon you. Amen.