Thursday, July 31, 2014


The rhythm of the year always reminds me, even if my mind seems unaware at first.  Getting ready for school (which begins this week) and the winding down of the summer break tells my brain that August 2 is rolling around again even when I am not looking at the calendar.  It always starts with the recognition that the day is approaching as we enter our summer break, and concludes with an abrupt awareness that the day is almost upon us.  This year finds me remarried to a wonderful man, who ironically enough, has his own heartbreaking memories connected to early days of august…but that is his story, and not mine, to share. 

What I find myself reflecting on today is that Todd would HATE August 2 to trigger these reminders of him.  He would want to be remembered for his life and not his death. And thankfully that is true…we do think of him 365 days a year…mostly with smiles and joy for the gift, but also with unavoidable sadness for the loss. So it is with August 2.  And thankfully, the new man in our life—Alan—totally gets that and doesn’t think any of  this takes anything away from our love for him.  He understands that love multiplies…it is fear and selfishness that constrain.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Restored (Happy New Year)

I had a, to be accurate, I had a MAJOR come apart tonight.  Stomping, raging-through-the-house come apart.  And the words that came out of my mouth as I was raging were hateful and mean and so not pretty.  I am not proud of any of this, in fact, it is pretty embarrassing to share.  I felt such anger and rage as I have not felt in a loooooonnnnnnggg time.  It had been brewing for about a week (okay, more like 4 -5 months), and I anticipated it would have to have an outlet soon.  My kids were not here tonight, so this could be the night it would all come out...I almost looked forward to a good, therapeutic, cleansing cry...but this was beyond ugly.  I mean it was U-G-L-Y.

Here's the good news.  Some friends came and rescued me. At first I thought it was best if I just stayed by myself...trying to minimize collateral damage.  They persisted.   I didn't answer. (I was busy downloading free Beth Moore books on my Kindle...but too angry to actually read any of them at the moment.;-) One friend then texted that she wanted to come get me to join them for some worship...ugh...drat...that hooked me right there because my spirit new that is really what it needed.  With resignation, I texted back that I would come, but that I would need to do some crying and screaming before I would get in the car...she said that would be fine.  And true to her word, she let me rant, curse and cry while she hugged me, before I got into the car.  Another friend was waiting in the warm and cozy vehicle, and she let me yell too.  We laughed (good and hard) before we even got out of the driveway. 

Here's the really awesome part.  In the complete mystery (and irony) that is God, one of these friends is a recent widow, having lost her husband just a few weeks ago.  I had actually tried to contact  her earlier today thinking  she could use some encouragement today from a seasoned further down the road, you know.   LOL!  Me, encouraging anyone?  Ha!  As we sat in her living room, singing songs about God's goodness and love and faithfulness, I felt my anger and rage let go of its hold on me.  Almost like a summer rain washes away the dirt on the hot pavement.  I shared a chair with my newly widowed friend--pretty much sitting in her lap--and she scratched my back.  Her face shone as we sang...radiant.  We laughed. We listened as her brother-in-law played the piano.  We sang more. Kids ran in and out of the room.  We ate chocolate cake...lots of chocolate cake.   The psalmist's words kept coming to my mind:

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
Psalm 18:16

That's exactly what it felt like God did.

When I got home, I looked up the rest of this section of the psalm:
(verses 17-19)
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes who were too strong for me.
They confronted me on the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

As I looked around the room at all the people, I was acutely aware of the fragility of life...plenty of representatives in the grief and loss department...and those are just the stories I know. Yet so much joy.  That He would delight in rescuing a foul-mouthed, ungrateful sinner like me from the midst of my rage and anger--confronting all my rage with such gentleness and kindness (administered through these friends) and showing me the only salve strong enough to soothe my angry soul was worship...Wow...that is beyond amazing.  I couldn't have planned a better way to let go of the old and bring in the new.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
Psalm 23:2-3

Happy New Year

Friday, December 6, 2013

(Not So) Strange

A friend sent me these two texts a few weeks ago.

"Strange isn’t it? Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" – Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Todd could've played the part of George Bailey beautifully!! Such a generous man!
I sat with her words…and then I cried. The tears were all mixed up, love and grief, sweet and bitter…mostly thanksgiving for what Todd shared of himself, but of course there is still so much tenderness there.  I asked God to remind me of some of the times I got really mad at Todd, so I wouldn’t miss him so much. (Didn’t work, but it made me laugh to think it might.) 
She quickly apologized when I told her I had cried that night-- but I didn’t want her to apologize.  I agreed with her words.  I told her it would be much worse if no one ever remembered him.  I need my friends—our friends—to remember him to (with) me.  I need to cry about the good (sharing  life), the hard (sharing  life) and the bad (the loss) from time to time.  It’s cathartic.  I hope it always will be.  Strange, isn’t it?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Super (stinky) Powers

This conversation took place in my kitchen last week.
Luke to his buddy Sam:
"Would you rather fly when you fart or go invisible when you burp?" I was cooking and trying hard to look uninterested and NOT burst out laughing.  After all, this was not said to me...there was no intended audience...just two boys discussing the big issues of life.  A somewhat serious discussion followed which included the statement, "Well, I would really like to fly, but I burp a lot more than I fart so I could go invisible a lot more."

Every time I recounted this story last week, I would start laughing--tears streaming--before I could even get the first words out.  God made boy children to add laughter to all creation. I just know it. ;-)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Greaaaat Day!

Well, I got my first "hater" comment the other least it is the first one I've read.  There may be more, but I just missed them ;-)   Anyway...It did make me reflect on a few things...but probably not in the way this person intended.

Jump (in thought)

Kids and I have been having a really relaxed summer.  It is almost time to get back to the grind of school and work.  I know those of you who work year round have absolutely no sympathy, so I won't ask for any!  It has really been nice though. 

Jump again

The beginning of the school year is always the reminder.  It is so hard to believe it has been almost 4 years.  A long time and a moment ago all in one.  I have no idea what I am supposed to have learned these past 4 years.  I do know we have two choices:  move forward in our circumstances (toward joy) or die (living dead).  Some days we take a step backward, but mostly my kids and I are moving forward--not because we always feel like it--but because Todd would want us to.  Even more,  I know God wants that.

I just had a happy, sweet memory come back to me.  A lot of days, we would stand in a tight circle and put all our hands in a pile in the center of us like we were some sports team and yell "Greaaaat Day!"  Todd started it probably because one or many of us had a bad attitude about something we were going to have to do or one of the kids was sad because he was leaving for work.  It was a reminder to put on a good assume you were going to have a great day.  It never failed to leave us with smiles on our faces and giggles in our hearts.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Giving Thanks Too

Again and again, I give thanks that my children have a wide and deep net of people who love them.  I am listening to them bicker (with each other) and laugh and play outside with one friend they have known since right after Luke was born.  This friend just told them if they didn't quit arguing she wasn't going to play the game anymore ;-)

It reminds me, once again, of the blessing of family and friends who love us in life-giving ways...who we can count on to bring out the best in us by encouraging the beautiful and not indulging the ugly.   

I am thankful that God holds me accountable in the same ways.  Although He can be quite tender with my stubbornness, He never shrinks from telling me what I need to hear when I am having a fit...or when I am hurting deeply.  Always speaking truth.  He does this to bring out the best in me, even if initially, I don't want to listen. 

He who ignores discipline despises himself,
but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
Proverbs 15:32

This next one makes me laugh because it says it like it is.  I am sorry to say I have "been there and done that" on more than one occasion.

...he who hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 12:2

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Giving Thanks

Today is Todd's birthday.  I give thanks for the man he was and the beauty and strength of him that is in my children and that I carry in my heart.