Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thankful and Not

Things I am thankful for:

  • my awesome kids
  • my awesome job (I love it!)
  • my awesome family
  • many dear friends
  • my comfortable home
  • ability to provide for my children (emotionally and monetarily)
  • my children's friends
  • my children's school
  • the beautiful weather we're having
  • my Mississippi State Bulldogs beat Georgia…and I was there to see it ;-)
  • I have hope

Things I am not thankful for but I am trying to accept:

  • I won't grow old with Todd (and all that goes along with that)
  • My children will not grow up with their daddy (and all that goes along with that)

I know lamenting these things is not productive...but still I acknowledge that I absolutely HATE it that he's not here to share life with us. We will survive this—are surviving this—the kids know it, and I know it…and for that, I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine

I had a pretty rough night last night, and this morning was a little shaky--but the day finished out pretty well. I had something happen this afternoon that made me laugh myself silly AT myself. I am not going to share it, but suffice it to say that I am sure even God was laughing (although I am sure it was "with" me and not "at" me..okay, maybe not ;-) Let me tell you...in case you don't already know...I am one goofy chick. And guess what? I have goofy friends too ;-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This week I seem to be dealing with disbelief that he is gone. I really keep thinking/imagining that surely he will walk through the door, walk up behind me, and give me a big hug any minute now. Tonight I asked Caley if she ever imagines Daddy walking through the door...and she said matter-of-factly "you asked me that last night momma." :-( I didn't remember doing that. Then she came over and gave me a hug...really too much to ask from my sweet baby girl...she is old and wise for her years. She has always been this way (although she also has a silly streak a mile long.) I love her beyond words.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Can't Pay My Tab

I started this post on February 18 (which is when I last went went to see my counselor) but didn't come back to finish it until March 2---for some reason I never posted it...maybe the last part was too revealing for me at the time. I think I have blogged about this issue since then, but I decided to go ahead and post this one too. I have come a long way in this area since February. In fact, I can pretty easily ask for help these days...my friends in town will tell you I don't seem to have any difficulty asking ;-) Just yesterday, a girlfriend and her husband took my two children (along with their 4!) to the fair because the kids had a half-day of school, but I needed to work. I know that I can never pay my tab, but that doesn't worry me so much anymore. I want continue to grow strong so that I can care for those people God places in my path...because there is always someone, somewhere close by, who can use the gifts (our time, skills, or money) we have to offer.

February 18
Well I went to visit my grief (trauma) counselor today. I hadn't been since late September or early October. I really thought when I went in that I wouldn't be there long--that I would just update her and we would chat and that would be that. Ha Ha on me. It is amazing to me how she can zone in on just what the real issues are. She is so helpful in helping me understand things for what they really are instead of the veneer I would like to paint them with. She immediately picks up on every nuance. She is goooooood.

I cried a lot, but I think overall that's a necessary part of this healing process...and anything that works toward healing is really a good thing. I can't stand a wimpy cry...if I'm gonna cry, I want it to be worth the effort. I have had several of those (good crys) this week. I am thankful that even though most of these occurred when I was by myself, that I also know my friends don't scare that easily. I still have issues about being hugged when I am upset, but hopefully that will get better with time. My sweet momma--who, of course, wants to hug me when I am upset--just lets me cry and scream and stomp around (if I happen to be doing it around her) and waits patiently for me to get it all out. Some of you may not know that my mom stayed with me for almost 3 months without once going home...and my sister was also with us for a good bit of that time. I honestly don't know how they did it. I can only imagine it is HARD to be around someone you love who is grieving so deeply and doesn't know how to begin to function like a "normal" person. They were always there, waiting patiently--ready to do whatever needed to be done for me or the kids.

In addition to those above I have already mentioned, there are so many people who have helped me carry this load...in fact, if you are reading this you are probably one of them. God used so many people to minister to the kids and I during those initial months...and although the intense and immediate needs have subsided a bit, most of you continue to help care for my kids and me even after all these months have passed. I almost hate to start a list because sooooo many people helped us and I am afraid I will leave some out, but here goes...

My brother and his wife and children also came and stayed that first week and a half. I don't know what I would have done without them. It was such a comfort to me to know my children were playing with cousins and enjoying themselves as much as they could under the circumstances. They put together a photo album full of pictures of our visits to them in Chicago and Michigan...that was such a gift to me...and they also were just so willing to pitch in and do whatever needed to be done.

My brother-in-law (sister's husband) made several week-long trips to help at Todd's work and around the house. Once again, patiently waiting to do whatever needed to be done.

My in-laws were also awesome. The kids and I lived with them for the first month when I didn't have a clue to which way was up. They took me and the kids in and gave us the best of everything they had to offer...the best bed, the best bedroom, etc...in the midst of their overwhelming grief they still found a way to give and nurture and care. Todd's mom helped me with the kids, and his sisters took off the first two weeks from their own work to help their dad close down Todd's business, and that was a job. If it had been up to me, I am pretty certain I would have locked the doors and never gone back. Once Todd's sisters returned to their own jobs, every evening when they got home from work, we would all sit around and talk and there was an understanding of grief that didn't come from words but shared experience.

Our friends, John and Shelia, housed my mom, sister and other family for almost two months so they could be close to the kids and me. They have definitely been given the gift of hospitality. People were always coming and going, and John was cooking great meals every night and often had no idea who would (or would not) be there for supper...sometimes the entire gang, including the kids and me, and sometimes their would be things that kept everyone late and so no one showed up...we always felt they were so happy to see us when we were there and never upset when we didn't make it back at supper time. Shelia keeps a tidy house, but with all the extra guests not once did she ever make us feel we were putting her out in any way.

My doctor (aka my gynecologist ;-) and friend came daily to clean and doctor my wounds so that they would heal properly. Many, many days she made the hour-long drive (each way AND after putting in a full day at work) to tend and care for me. She always tried to make me feel like I was doing her a favor by letting her help.

Thanks to all the friends who just kept texting to let me know they were still thinking about us...how you expected nothing in return for your vigil...just patiently waiting until I could reach out and receive help. There were friends who let me yell and scream and rage in those early days...they knew it wasn't directed at them, but I still think it must have been unsettling.

Thanks for all the cards and letters and thoughtful gifts I received in those first weeks...I have saved every one of those notes.

Thanks to those people--many of whom I will never meet--who prayed for us...many who still continue to pray for us...how awesome you are.

okay...now on to the ugly underside of my thankfulness...it must be acknowledged.

Although I still recognize my need for help in some areas, in lots of others my pride keeps me from receiving the help that would make things go more smoothly--especially areas that have emotional pieces. I say "pride" because I have a stubbornness in me that I don't necessarily acknowledge with words (because I still make sure to say "thank you so much for all your help, friends and family" ) but my actions sure acknowledge it (like I have my hand stuck out in front of me as if to say "don't come any closer--you can help with 'that' but definitely not with 'this' ").

I don't want help in certain areas because

a) I want to prove I can do this (implying "I can do this by myself") which is ludicrous because I CAN'T --it is simply not how we are created, and

b) I want Todd here to help me, and if I can't have him I just don't want anyone--also ludicrous, because I am biting off my nose to spite my face when I won't receive help from those who desire to care for me and are equipped to do so. (What do you bet that Todd wouldn't use the word "ludicrous" -- he would tell me straight up that it was plain stupid. )

It almost seems to me like I act as though there is a time warranty on receiving help, and my warranty has expired...or I know that I can't begin to repay what I have already been given, so I am trying to keep the tab as low as possible. Do any of you ever feel this way?

Most mornings I do start out with a thankful and grateful heart, and it is easy for me to feel hopeful about the day. Now that I have acknowledged this oxymoron status that is at work in me perhaps I will be better at not playing that game. It is a slippery slope in that I do need to do my part so that I don't play the role of the life-long victim, but I also shouldn't stubbornly leave unopened the many gifts that have been bestowed and will continue to come my way.

love you guys,


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


(Before I begin the main part of this post, I want to emphasize that I see righteous anger as a perfectly appropriate response to people and things that have caused much pain. Righteous anger can lead to change...but change that comes about from right actions and not from those of the "two wrongs make a right" variety. )

Life is full of difficult choices. Some decisions are easily reversed, but many are not. We can never take back hurtful words and actions. We can forgive those who hurt us, but we may not so easily forget...and to be clear, I don't believe that "forgiveness" means saying "that's okay" or in anyway releasing someone from the responsibility of their actions...I think it means letting go of my desire to make that person hurt like I hurt.

There is that saying "Once a fool, shame on you. Twice a fool, shame on me." I think that "not forgetting" helps us avoid repeatedly being the fool. When I am the one who needs to be forgiven, I must remember that "not forgetting" is not the same as living under condemnation. If I have sincerely and humbly apologized--and done what I can to right the situation--I must let that emotional baggage go. I don't however have to forget, because that may just be the road map that saves me from repeating that mistake...or at least catching myself before I drive off the road completely. I am so thankful that God forgives me so lovingly, and it is only from His great love that I am able to forgive those who have hurt me, and to forgive myself when I have hurt others. Some hurts obviously take longer to forgive, but I am sure that God understands that. I heard or read that when we don't even have the desire to forgive, we can start by asking God to give us that desire. If we allow Him to work in our hearts, He can help us move from where we are to the peace that forgiveness brings. There is just no peace in holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness.

I don't write these things flippantly or casually. I am trying desperately to live them, but I fail quite miserably at times. I am, however, getting quite good at letting God pick me up, dust me off and put me back on the horse again.

Monday, September 6, 2010

God's Peace

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

I heard Joyce Meyer speak this morning on being thankful. I know that often I make my situation worse because I only want to acknowledge the loss and that which I don't have. I know that on my own that is all I will ever do…I may have moments when I am able to "pull myself up by my bootstraps" or brief periods when I am thankful (mostly because things seem to be going my way at the time), but without allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work in me, I will not have any kind of real and lasting peace or a truly thankful heart that continues to love others the way I am called to love them. Without this deep work of the Spirit, my pain and I (me, me, me ) will remain the center of a very sad and lonely life. I don't want to be someone who grumbles and complains (even under my breath or in my secret places behind a fake smile). I want that peace which passes all understanding and does not depend on outward circumstances. I have experienced it in spurts, and I can truly say that it is beyond my understanding. I want to abide in this Peace instead of just visiting from time to time.

Philippians 4:6-7 is actually the very first scripture verse I ever memorized as an adult. I have followed its prescription and claimed and received its promise many, many times throughout the years. Unfortunately, it is usually not the first thing I think of when my thoughts or circumstances begin to spiral downward…so many times it is only after I have exhausted my own list of failing solutions that I get quiet and still enough to hear it being whispered in my heart. I also have to remind myself that this verse does not promise a change in circumstances or the answer that I am looking for—it only promises the peace of God will be at work in me. But in my experience this Peace, this manna in the wilderness, sustains me even in the darkest of times. Thank You, God.