FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

tl-from-my-heart-to-yoursFebruary is a rough month for me – I’ll just admit it.  It’s a time when I remember a lot of happy times that I’ll never get back.  My mom’s birthday was the 15th and my dad’s birthday was the 21st – just a week apart!  I always baked a heart-shaped cake for my mom – and put pink or red icing on it with little red-hot candies.  We never had fancy celebrations, but we had each other and that’s what really mattered.  I can’t remember any of the gifts I gave her, but I remember the love in the room while she opened each of them.  ❤

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My dad loved German chocolate cake – and I’m not a baker – so to the boxed cake aisle I’d go to pick up a mix and some icing – although I’m not sure you can call that icing – I suppose it is…  that coconut concoction.  LOL!  Dad’s cake was a simple 9×13 sheet cake – I never made a cake that had to be stacked – I’m practical – and if that puppy had to ride in the car with me – it was going to be a sheet cake!  ❤

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Dad’s Birthday 2-21-85

I have memories recorded on 8mm film – which a few years back I had put on DVD.  There’s no sound, but I can read lips just fine.  I remember every word, even though I can’t hear their voices.  I can’t hear their voices…  but I will hear them again.  I’m not without hope – nope. 

I’ve made a sort of study out of this grief journey.  This blog is one manifestation of my grief experience.  I hope it’s made me more empathetic to others, if nothing else.  When people you love die, you don’t have anywhere for that love to go anymore.  This month I went out to the cemetery and replaced the flowers – but there were no hugs, no smiles, no warm greetings.  Thankfully, there was no snow, or it would have been colder still.  There’s nothing quite so cold and, well, dead…  as a cemetery.  Without faith to sustain, it would appear that it’s all over and there’s no hope.  Ah, but there is faith – there is hope.  I’m not without hope – nope. 

One of these days my Savior will come for me and all who have asked Him into their hearts and lives.  Whether I have the opportunity to live out a full life and die – or get snatched up and fly away…  it really doesn’t matter because I’m going to see Christ face to face.  These memories I hang on to for now…  well, I won’t need those anymore.  I’m not going to pretend to know exactly what lies ahead – but I trust God, through my Savior – and whatever it is…  it’s okay by me.  ❤

Here’s what I do know.  I will see my family again – and it’s going to be great because there will be hugs, smiles, and warm greetings – and we will never have to say good-bye again!  ❤

A Prayer for the Grieving

Lord, please come sit with me today. I need you now as I’m so sad. My heart can’t take much more. Just let me feel again. God, please heal my broken heart. In the quietness, I feel closest to you. Help me to serve others despite the pain. Let peace and love surround all who grieve today, tomorrow and always. I trust you to carry me through this long journey of grief and pain. Thank you for allowing me to share the life of my precious loved one. Please give me comfort in my pain, your love to see me through, and your strength to keep me going. Amen.

When they died, I thought I might too.  But somewhere along the way, the memories took over where the pain was once so raw I thought I couldn’t stand it.  ❤

You know, everyone in school was a bit jealous of me because I was an only child and didn’t have to “share” anything with siblings when I was at home – but let me tell ya…  there’s a flip side to being the only one – it’s lonely when you realize you’re responsible for everything.  I relied so heavily on my parents, not only for moral support, but for spiritual support.  I knew they prayed for me every day.  I miss those prayers so much.  ❤

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.  – Matthew 18:3-4

Do you remember being a child?  Remember learning to tie your shoes?  Remember the first time you rode your bike with your dad helping you stay balanced, even though there were still training wheels on the bike?  We are so dependent on our parents to help us every day when we’re growing up.  We’re not only innocent, but we are in need of their love and guidance every single day.

The point here is that a little child ‘knows he can’t do it’ … he needs God to do it and he actually believes He will.  – Dan Johnson, Pastor at Grace Church of Ebensburg, PA

I had the utmost confidence in my parents when I was little, so it’s easy for me to translate that security and confidence to my relationship with God through Christ Jesus.  How difficult it must be for those who did not have that loving and trusting relationship with their parents, though.  They would surely have a more challenging time as they put their trust in the Lord, not knowing that in the human realm.

I pray for those folks – that the Lord will show them how to lean on Him as they couldn’t lean on earthly parents.  God bless them as they make strides to be that child.be-that-child

Humility and dependence on God along with a real belief that God will come through with His best for us is key in developing true child-like faith.

When we trust that our God has all the answers to all the nagging questions that pop up in life, we’re well on our way to a happier and more contented Christian walk.  He really does have your back…  you just have to believe it!  🙂

MOTHER’S DAY

MOTHER'S DAY

There are times only when a mother’s love can understand our tears,

Can soothe our disappointments and calm all our fears.

There are times when only a mother’s love can share the joy we feel

When something we’ve dreamed about quite suddenly is real.

There are times when only a mother’s faith can help on life’s way,

And inspire in us the confidence we need from day to day.

For a mother’s heart and a mother’s faith and a mother’s steadfast love

Were fashioned by the angels and sent from God above.

I’m at the point in the grieving process where I look at this day as a day of tribute to my mom.  It’s taken a long time to get to this stage, but I’m finally figuring out that my life will go on – it will just be so very different without her in it.

Last year, Lucinda wrote a poem for a lady who lost her mother.  She asked me to make a design for it and said this lady referred to her mother as her diamond.  I wish I could say I had a lovely name for my mother, but I didn’t.  My mom was my best friend, my confidant, the one I trusted more than anyone – but no, I didn’t have a pet name for her.

My first thought was, HOW PERFECT IS THAT?  It says it all, doesn’t it?  Diamonds are the most precious gem (and happens to be my birth stone)  😉

MY DIAMOND

If I could give you diamonds for each tear you cried for me;

If I could give you sapphires for each truth you’ve helped me see.

If I could give you rubies for the heartache that you’ve known,

If I could give you pearls for the wisdom that you’ve shown;

Then you’ll have a treasure, mother, that would mount up to the skies.

That would almost match the sparkles in your kind and loving eyes.

But I have no pearls, no diamonds as I’m sure you’re well aware;

So I’ll give you gifts more precious, my devotion, love and care.

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                                         Mama said this is the night daddy proposed.  Awe…  what a precious photo for me to have!

I know that when she entered heaven, it became a brighter place.  God provides the only light that is needed in heaven, but I believe it gets brighter every time a saint goes inside – each saint sparkles like a diamond.  I believe that she was so happy to see my daddy again.  Based on information from the book “Heaven is for Real”, I also believe that they are both 20 something and feel fantastic!  I imagine they look so happy together like this photo.  I hold it close to my heart because it brings me comfort.

My mother no longer has arthritis and has been made whole – she doesn’t need her 2 total hip replacements and will never have to take any medicine.  Bliss for eternity… how can I mourn that?  I can’t.  If and when I cry these days, it’s for myself.  I still miss them. 

 

LUKE 11:13 ON 11/13

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 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  – Luke 11:13

Right away we are reminded that we’re evil by nature.  Indeed we are, but we still know how to be good to our children.  As parents we do our very best to make sure they are well cared for, yet our heavenly Father gives His precious Holy Spirit to His children because He loves us even more than we love our kids.

Do your children have to beg for you to feed them?  Did you know that you don’t have to beg God to receive His Holy Spirit?  He wants to give His Spirit to you – and He will give it to you gladly! 

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What a timely post since we are just weeks away from the largest gift-giving time of the year – Christmas!   We do give good gifts to children, but just imagine how much more God wants to give to you.  It boggles the mind to imagine how much the Father loves us and wants to help us every day!

Whether we know it or not, we need God’s Holy Spirit in our lives to guide us down the narrow road.  In this day we think we need fame and fortune, but we need to count those crosses along the way – Amen! 

So today, with God’s Holy Spirit living in our hearts, we have all the help we need to face our challenges.  We don’t even have to be afraid of Friday the 13th…  yes, that’s today.  No worries…  God’s got this!  😉

 

MEMORIES OF HALLOWEEN

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When I was a kid, we had so much fun at the church Halloween parties!  One year I even helped the youth group set up a haunted house in the parsonage!  It wasn’t really that scary – but the old Victorian-style house lent itself to become a haunted house – and we did a good job making some interesting vignettes using pumpkins and black lights.  OK, we bought some of those really gross masks to use too.

It was a different time then – it was unheard of back then to think anyone would insert a razor blade into an apple – or other horrendous things that happen in today’s world.  I was blessed to live in a time when Halloween was just fun!  The world today is crazy and sick, but today I want to go back in time for just a little while.

We in NO WAY gave glory to the evil one…  quite the opposite!  When people came into our “haunted house” which was not really haunted – they left with a lovely tract that talked about the Savior of the world – Jesus Christ!  We will not know this side of heaven how many people may have actually been helped by us – but it’s not our job to keep track.  It’s our job to find opportunities to minister in any creative way we can.  It’s much like the popular TRUNK OR TREAT that many churches participate in today.

In 1967 I was Raggedy Ann.  The costume was not too bad, but who remembers those masks???  You couldn’t see or breathe – both of which come in handy, even when you’re six years old!  My dad and I were clowns in 1968 – and again, I wore the weird, suffocating mask!

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The black dress I wore with the witch costume belonged to my mom.  Granny LaVella made it for her, and with her blessing, she passed it to me for the costume!  The red skirt I wore as gypsy Lou was made of a very heavy material and blocked the night air beautifully – that and I wore long johns underneath it.  Granny also made it for my mom.  Funny thing is, when mom wore this dress and skirt, they were knee-length on her – on me they were floor length!

Of all the memories I hold dear, the best one is of my parents being involved in my life.  They always made sure I was  warm underneath those costumes because sometimes it got pretty cold out there.  And we walked around the neighborhood – house to house.

When we got home and dumped out our bags, we found some good stuff!  Mrs. Guffy down the street always made homemade popcorn balls for us.  Mrs. Hale made sure we all got a full size Hershey bar – a full size one!

The Verboom’s made sure we got to go trick-or-treating in a neighborhood in Valley Center, a small town about 5 miles north of Wichita.  Our parents were involved in our lives – big time!

Here’s a cute cartoon from 1929, directed by the great Walt Disney himself.  Enjoy!

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What was your favorite costume???  I liked being a witch – but only because I got to use make-up instead of wearing a mask.  I also liked the cool fake fingernails – long and scary – but hardly practical – LOL!!!  Have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISAIAH 8:19 ON 8/19

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 When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?  – Isaiah 8:19

PRAYER WITH LAKE

I’m not making excuses…  okay, maybe I am.  Once in a while, as I’m flipping through the channels (all 150 of them), I land on the popular TV show, “Long Island Medium”.  I’m fascinated and get sucked in as I watch the sage burn and the talk of “spirit” and the accuracy with which this woman reads people and their pain.

Then it dawns on me – I need to find something else to watch and put my faith in God and not a human being who may claim to speak to my departed loved ones.  It’s a struggle for me because I so want to believe that someone could actually communicate with them and tell me what they think and how they are doing.  Most of the living who have lost loved ones wish that could happen.

But it can’t – it really can’t.  As sad as the realization makes me, I know that my parents are doing well because they are in heaven with Jesus.  I also know that there is no remembrance of things past – they do not remember me, but they are no longer in pain and they are young and happy.  I have that assurance from God’s Holy Word.  That’s good enough for me because that is truth.

Sometimes when we miss our loved ones so much, we want to believe that a gifted psychic or spiritual advisor could speak with them and be a translator of sorts – just so we could hear from them just one more time.  But according to God’s Word, once our loved ones go to heaven, they don’t remember the former things of earth.  We who are left to live on should have hope because we know they are happy and free of sorrow and pain.

God weeps for those of us who are still stuck here because He is taking care of our loved one(s).  We need to trust God and His promises.  Just have faith in Him.  If we can trust God for our needs and remember our loved one(s) are alright, it will help us to be alright too.

You know, sometimes when I pray to God, I ask Him to pass along messages to my mom and dad.  I like to think He does that for me – because He knows that I’m still stuck down here to keep living and struggling on without them.  It’s not easy, but when I think about God passing my messages along – it makes me smile.  🙂

 

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

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Today I wish my parents a happy wedding anniversary in heaven.  My folks were married at a judge’s office here in Kansas.  My mom’s brother and sister-in-law stood up with them.  It goes to show that the expense and fanfare of a big wedding is not necessary to ensure the marriage is a success.

The things we do outlast our mortality…  They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs.  Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.  – R.J. Palacio

We used to celebrate together.  I used to take them to dinner or take a cake to the house.  In 1976 I bought them an anniversary clock – for their 30th anniversary.  We made some precious memories and they are more precious now.

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Mom & Dad’s 27th Wedding Anniversary

When their anniversary fell on a Sunday, we went to church and then to the Bonanza restaurant for lunch.  Truth be told, most Sundays we headed for the Bonanza for lunch after morning worship service.

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Mom & Dad’s 33rd Wedding Anniversary

 

I hope they would be pleased with me today.  They taught me so much about living and loving.

Thank you mom and dad for all the lessons you taught me.  Thank you for giving me a model for marriage and showing me how it should work.  In a time when people choose to walk away instead of work on relationships, thank you for teaching me how to compromise and love another person more than I love myself.

Thank you for showing me every day that having purpose and meaning in life increases well-being and satisfaction.  To love another person completely will ultimately make me more happy than expecting love from him.

Thank you for instilling Christian values in me because God is the source of love.  I know if God is in the midst of marriage, it will be successful.  🙂