Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon!"
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's holy people. Revelation 22:20-21

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram's horn;
praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with the strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing
praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150:1-6


As we move oh-so-quietly from 2009 to 2010, my wish for this upcoming year is that you and yours will know love, good health, happiness, security and the peace that surpasses all understanding, which is HIS gift to us all. Be safe and above all, know you are loved and prayed for!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Forever...then Rome


Happy Anniversary sweetheart...I was blessed to be your wife and I can't wait for the day when I can once again look into your sweet eyes and say, "I love you."

Always,
Your True
xo

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him."
Genesis 2:18
NLT

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And a little child shall lead them...

**Please scroll down and pause my player**

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7 KJV




Luke 2:8-14 KJV


Merry Christmas...from my home ~ to yours.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh for just one more moment...

The actual song begins at the .40 second mark on the video...

**Please scroll down and pause my player before watching the video**





But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. Psalm 3:3 NLT

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Can it be

**Please scroll down and pause my player before watching video**





And now may God, who gives us his peace, be with you all. Amen.
Romans 15:33
NLT

Friday, December 18, 2009

Then and now...

This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision.

How long, O Lord, must I call
for help?
But you do not listen!
"Violence is everywhere!" I cry,
but you do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber
the righteous,
so that justice has become
perverted.

The Lord replied,

"Look around at the nations;
look and be amazed!
For I am doing something in your
own day,
something you wouldn't believe
even if someone told you about it."

Habakkuk 1:1-5 NLT

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lover of my soul

My Bride ~

There are many things I have to offer you as your eternal Husband. I offer you everlasting life, I give you anytime access to Me. I give you unspeakable joy, an abundant life, and an eternal home. As My Bride, your prayers reach the heavens and people's lives are changed forever because I hear your every word whispered to Me. But there is more, My beloved. I command My angels to stand guard over you. There are many things you have been spared of without you knowing. Just be blessed in knowing I have covered you wherever you have gone, and I will continue to cover you until you are finally home with Me once and for always.

Love,
Your Prince and Sole Provider
excerpt from His Princess Bride: Love Letters from Your Prince
by Sheri Rose Shepherd


Praise the Lord, you Angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.
Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels,
who serve him and do his will!
Psalm 103:20-21

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Uneven exchange

What can we bring to the Lord?
What kind of offerings should we
give him?
Should we bow before God
with offerings of yearling calves?
Should we offer him thousands
of rams
and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn
children
to pay for our sins?

No, O people, the Lord has told
you what is good,
and this is what he requires
of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with
your God.

Micah 6:6-8 NLT

So little asked; so much given...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shame and pain

Today I'd like to request prayer for 6 people I've never met. A family. Husband, wife and four children - 2 boys, 2 girls. The woman is a professional acquaintance of mine although I've never met her face to face.

In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, violence exploded in this family's home. Apparently not for the first time. Violence against the youngest son and then against the mother. The oldest child, a son, 17, called the police.

The husband and father was taken away - leaving behind emotional, physical and financial devastation.

There is more than violence involved, much more. This family could certainly use our prayers. In fact, the wife and mother - Denise - has asked for them.

So, on behalf of Denise, Brian, Haley, Gage and Maggie would you pray for healing, for peace, for comfort and however else you feel led?

I would also ask for prayer for the husband and father, Steve. His story is a tangled, convoluted, ugly, sordid mess...one that only the Father will be able to make right. So I will be lifting him up too.

**UPDATE** I've just found out that Denise is suffering from nightmares (how sad...understandable, but sad). And if she is, I can only imagine what the children's sleep must be like. Would you add restful and restorative sleep to your prayer list for this family? Thank you!

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This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19 NIV

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Forgiven and Loved

Because it never hurts to hear it!

*Remember to pause my player before watching video*


But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."
John 8: 1-11 NASB

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 NASB

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Treasure hunt

"A woman's heart should be so lost in God that a man needs to seek Him to find her."

I don't know who is responsible for the above quote, but I love it!! And the same is true of a man's heart. Beautiful...

Ladies - is your heart lost in the Lord? Men, how about yours?

I can think of no better time of year to lose ourselves to Him than now...as we prepare to welcome our newborn King! In your quiet time, immerse your heart in the knowledge of all that GOD gave up in order to become man and live amongst us. As humans we can't even take it in! Yet He gave it up willingly. For you and for me. If that's not love, then I don't know what is.

"A woman's heart should be so lost in God that a man needs to seek Him to find her."

Yes. Amen.

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 NIV

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Something to tuck away

I have received a number of emails over the past year asking how to reach out to friends who have lost a loved one. I know it is not easy...I've been in your shoes, wondering what to say - feeling bad when I say something and they start to cry.

But having worn the shoes for the past 13 months today, I know some things now that I didn't know "then." And when I come across something helpful, I want to pass it on so that you, in turn, can help others. Death is something that will visit us ALL, in one way or another; and as is true with all of life's hardships, the more prepared we are - the better we'll fare. In the case of helping someone who has lost a spouse, I offer the following "letter." I do not know the name of the author, so I can't give credit...but I can tell you, it's a bulls eye. This is one to tuck away in your Bible to have at the ready. Maybe even reread it occasionally...I'll thank you now on behalf of "them."

HOW YOU CAN HELP ME
Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.
Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.
Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You can't catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don't know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."
Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.

I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.

I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our children and grandchildren grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.

I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable.

When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that my loved one is dead, so please don't make it worse by telling me I'm not doing this right.

Please don't tell me I can find someone else or that I need to start dating again. I'm not ready. And maybe I don't want to. And besides, what makes you think people are replaceable? They aren't. Whoever comes after will always be someone different.

I don't even understand what you mean when you say, "You've got to get on with your life." My life is going on, I've been forced to take on many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry.

I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.

Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:

(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.
(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.
(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may so no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up then I really will be alone.
(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely. Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.

Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be with you.
~author unknown


To the (b) I would add send a card on your friend's wedding anniversary. If you don't know it, ask. Trust me - that date is very meaningful to them.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pieces

They're not always pretty, these lives we lead.

Times are tough these days and so many struggle financially. People deal with addictions of all kinds. Marriages crumble. Loved ones get sick. And sometimes they die. Life is hard...people are sad.

But one truth I know, probably better than I know just about anything else in my life. Through it all, God is faithful. He is constant. He is rock-solid. You can lean on Him. You can cry to Him. You can fall to your knees in anguish wondering how you will ever get up again...and He is there.

And little by little, as you begin to pick up the pieces, you will find that He has been holding them all in the palm of His Hand...safe. Waiting to help you build something beautiful. To Him be all the glory...

**Please scroll down and pause my player before clicking play**





Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More to follow


Sorry for the blurriness...this was taken on the last K-Love Friends and Family Cruise my Sweet Hubby and I went on in January 2008. It's from the last night, which always sweetly closes with an informal late night gathering in the main atrium...just a good old sing along with some of the leading names in contemporary Christian music. Recognize this man through the blur?! It's Aaron Schust, and if memory serves, he was singing his #1 song (Dove Awards 2007) - My Savior My God...it was an awesome time of fellowship and worship. And a beautiful memory.

"My Savior loves, my Savior lives, my Savior's always there for me.
My God He was, my God He is, my God He's always gonna be..."

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanks Beth!

I love when you really "connect" with a Devotional. Beth Moore writes such Devotionals. In fact, pretty much everything she writes speaks to me. So, you'll understand if I think that she was writing just for me today, won't you?! Here's what Beth had to say to me...ahem...

Self-made fortresses not only keep love from going out, they keep love from coming in. We risk becoming captives there.

*
***
*

Faithful, loving Lord, according to Your Word, two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12).

Help me to form healthy relationships and find support in those who encourage me to get back on my feet and walk with You when I fall. Between You, me when I'm willing, and a good friend to hold me accountable, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

You warn us, "He who separates himself seeks his own desire; He quarrels against all sound wisdom" (Proverbs 18:1, NASB). Help me to be very careful not to isolate myself.
From Praying God's Word Day By Day by Beth Moore: A Year of Devotional Prayer

I love that she put that line in there "me when I'm willing"...that one line will resonate with me all day, I just know it. So thanks Beth, I really needed this one today!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sugar and Spice

You were...you are...you always will be.

Happy Birthday Jennifer
We love you
Always.

Dad and Mom
xo

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Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
Zephaniah 3:14

Monday, November 30, 2009

Crazy

I've had my little blog for going on a year and a half now...and I've never had one bit of trouble with it.

A few minutes ago I received a phone call from my son that ItTR had been hit by a spammer. I have removed the comment. And for the time being have put my blog comments into moderation. I hate having to do this. Everyone who has visited me over the past 16+ months has been absolutely lovely. Until today. Hopefully it will prove to be an isolated event and I will be able to remove the moderation status and things will go back to normal.

Whatever that means.

I wish you all a blessed week.

Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who insult you. Luke 6:28

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A breather

The past few weeks have left me a bit battered, so I think I'm going to take a bit of a breather. I'm doing fine, so don't worry - just need to take a little bit of time to get it all together again. And I will...I am. So don't go anywhere. Promise? I won't be gone long.

~In the meantime, I wish you and yours a most blessed Thanksgiving.~


I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

Monday, November 16, 2009

5 letters

One BIG word.

f a i t h


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What Faith Can Do ~ Kutless


And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you. Luke 17:6

Friday, November 13, 2009

Clear as crystal

In my effort (and believe me, it IS an effort) to remain transparent concerning this journey my Sweet Hubby and I began over a year ago, and now my solitary path, I just wanted to say that I began grief counseling today with a Christian therapist.

It has been 369 days since my beloved was called Home and I have cried each and every one of them. Hard, sobbing tears. I prefer to be alone, I don't reach out, I don't do a lot of things I should do. I haven't seen my doctor since my Sweet Hubby's diagnosis and the medications I'm supposed to be on daily are long since gone. And my health is affected. I'm a nurse and I know better. I just haven't...cared.

The therapist asked me today if I'm trying to speed my own passing. And honestly, I had to think about it for a minute. But no...I'm not. At least I don't believe I am. I just don't care about 'me' the way I used to. Because that part of 'me' left 369 days ago.

Many things hurt more now than they ever did before. My Sweet Hubby was a wonderful and willing shock absorber. Who do you turn to when your confidante is gone? Who wraps their arms around you at the end of a bad day when you're all alone? I feel like I'm just one big, exposed nerve ending. To have people ask "when are you going to get over it?" or "when are you going to get on with your life?" is just incomprehensible to me. This IS my life, now. To lose people - friends - from your life that you never expected to lose - people you just knew would be your 'rock'...well...pain on pain.

So, I'm floundering in this sea of grief. And as independent and stubborn as I am, today I asked for a life jacket. I'm embarrassed that I can't seem to "do this" on my own. I'm disappointed in myself. But I'm putting it all out there anyway because we're called to be crystal clear.

And it is my prayer that your love may be more and more accompanied by clear knowledge and keen perception, for testing things that differ, so that you may be men of transparent character, and may be blameless, in preparation for the day of Christ, being filled with these fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ-- to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Monday, November 9, 2009

365 days

...since the Lord called you Home.

And still I wonder how you can be gone. And if I'll ever stop crying...


My Prince. My Sweet Hubby. My Everything.
11/9/08


Missing you.

Loving you.

Always.

Forever.

Your True.

~Forever...then Rome~


So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What if it's Jesus...

and I walk away...?

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The Twenty-First Time ~ Monk and Neagle

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40 NIV

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fragile

More sad news today. And I'm just left reeling and feeling...

~fragile~

"The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace." Psalm 29:11 NIV

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To sleep...

perchance to dream...

The sadness comes in the waking.

Last night was a gift. Thank you, Father.

"'We both had dreams,' they answered, 'but there is no one to interpret them.' Then Joseph said to them, 'Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.'" Genesis 40:8

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update

Well, I made it...




And I was able to make it to the car before I melted - thank you, Lord.

From the poll I went to my studio and found the sweetest letter and pictures awaiting me. More tears...

I just got home a while ago and due to the time change, it's already pitch dark here. As I pulled into the driveway, a light was shining brightly. And for the first time since I lost my Sweet Hubby, my mind was a bit behind reality as I thought, "oh he's left the light on for me..."

Reality hits oh so hard.

I haven't stopped sobbing.

Oh...

Remembering...

As I sit here, after midnight, thinking of where I'll be going in a few hours...I can't help but remember.

One year ago, we got these:




and these...




Oh, what a difference a year makes...

My prayer tonight is that I not fall apart in public as I go to cast my vote for Virginia's next Governor.

And Cissa...thanks again for those flowers. And your friendship over the past 365 days (and more).


"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cry on my shoulder

My Beautiful Bride

You are never alone, My Beloved. When you hurt, I hurt, and it breaks My heart to watch you cry without Me. I am here with you, desiring to be the shoulder your tears fall on. I too walked the world broken, My love. We will work through any and all things together, My Bride. I can and will heal your broken heart. Call out my name, Jesus, in your dark hours, and I will hold you. Will you give Me a chance to love you back to life again? I promise that you will see the light of a new day and joy will come again.

Love,
Your Prince
Who will wipe away your tears

"He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21


My Prince of Peace

You truly are the love of my life and Your Bride is crying out to You now. Yes, come hold me while I cry. How it comforts my soul to have access to You anytime. I love knowing I am not alone in the dark. Thank you, My Prince, My Lord for reaching down from heaven with Your loving hand and wiping away my tears. Hold me until all is well with my soul again. Remind me when I hurt that you are just a prayer away.

Love,
Your Bride
Who longs to be in Your arms always

"But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears." Psalm 18:6


All excerpted from His Princess Bride: Love Letters from Your Prince by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Madness and beauty

It was madness!

Madness, I tell you!

And it was everywhere!!

Phillies madness, that is!

I was in Philadelphia this past weekend for an esthetics conference. It's a fun city; a busy, bustling city. And in the days leading up to the World Series - it was all about baseball! Fun!

But...


It was also about beauty...

And just like baseball, it was everywhere...


It was about smiles...

Are these not the cutest little things??!!


It was about some great food (Philly Cheesesteak, anyone?!)


Fabulous train rides...


It was about education...


It was about memories of two years ago...walking those same streets with my Sweet Hubby.


And because Matthew and his girlfriend, Stefanie, went with me - it was also about...


Thanks for a Phast, Phurious and Phun weekend in Philly!

"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open." Revelation 3:7 NIV

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saved by the bell


A story is told of two horses in a field. From a distance each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car or are walking past the field you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse’s halter is a small bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow. As you stand and watch these two horses, you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting that he will not be led astray. When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, it stops occasionally and looks back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have unconventional problems or insurmountable challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the ringing bell of those whom God places in our lives. At other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.

~author unknown~

Thanks to my friend Mickey for sending this to me today.

"Each helps the other and says to his brother, 'Be strong.'" Isaiah 41:6 NIV

Monday, October 19, 2009

Just too much

Sorry everyone...this one is for me to process through some feelings.

Too much loss lately, too much emotion all day, every day. So much sadness, so little joy. How do you find your way back to the surface when you just keep sinking, sinking, sinking...















One Moment More ~ Mindy Smith


"He replied, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?' In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." Job 2:10

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This is for us

For Marsha, Shonda, Colleen, Sheila, Mickey, Debbie, Susan, Carolyn and all whose names I can't recall at this moment...and me.


My Princess Bride

May I invite you to let your heart dance with Me today? Only I can turn your mourning into dancing. I will give you the beauty and grace needed for the world to see that you are My Beautiful Bride. When you dance with Me, you will feel yourself move to the beat of My heart. It is time, My Bride, to put on your dancing shoes. Now allow me, Your Prince, to play a song, a song for your soul. A song that will make your heart beat with Mine now and throughout all eternity.

Love,
Your true Prince Charming
Excerpt from His Princess Bride ~ Love Letters from Your Prince
by Sheri Rose Shepherd



"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!" Psalm 30:11-12



Again

Bob, your battle is over. May you rest in peace in the arms of our Savior.

Sheila, my love and prayers for strength and comfort in the coming days and months.

"If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection."
Romans 6:5 NIV

Thursday, October 15, 2009

So young and yet so wise...

Grab your Kleenex and prepare to be witnessed to...

**Remember to scroll down and pause my player before clicking link**



Sky Angel Logan


"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them." Isaiah 11:6

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From my Prince, with love

Last week I had reserved a book at Barnes and Noble (To Dance with the White Dog - anyone read it?) and while there I decided to browse a bit. I found myself at the Devotionals section and I got this feeling that I should be there. So I said to myself, "OK Lord...I trust that if there is something here that You want me to see, You will make it known to me."

And my eyes fell on this:



And I knew this was what I was meant to see...

My Sweet Hubby always called me his Princess. And I called him my Prince..sigh...

It's taken me a few days to work up the courage to sit down with it. I knew it was going to be an emotional experience and truth be told, I am really, really tired of crying. But today was the day. And right off the bat, I get this:

My Eternal Bride

I want to reveal a sacred secret to you, My beloved. Although I am your God, I am also your eternal Husband. I will come soon to carry you over the threshold of eternity. My desire is to lift the veil from your eyes so that you might see who you really are, My Princess, My Bride. I am the Lover of your soul. I long to get close enough to give you a glimpse of My eternal love for you. If you will seek me with all your heart, I will reveal Myself to you in extraordinary ways. If you will come before Me and ask, I will give you a new hope in your heart that will change your view of Me, of yourself, and of the world around you forever.

Love,
Your Creator and Husband
Excerpt from His Princess Bride ~ Love Letters from Your Prince
by Sheri Rose Shepherd


I just feel so...loved. Thank you, Lord. What a precious gift You put in my path.

"The Lord All-Powerful, the Holy God of Israel, rules all the earth. He is your Creator and Husband, and he will rescue you." Isaiah 54:5 CEV

Monday, October 12, 2009

A little mountain air

I was not looking forward to Friday. In fact, I was dreading it...so.........

I packed Thursday night and Friday morning Lulu and I jumped in the car and headed northwest. Spent a few hours with my baby boy (!) and then checked into my hotel room and tried to get some rest.

Saturday morning we headed northwest again. To the place my Sweet Hubby and I loved the most...Charlottesville, Virginia. Home of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, the University of Virginia and so much more.

My beloved Blue Ridge mountains

Easy to see how they got their name, isn't it?!


But we had come with a specific purpose. We had one thing on our minds and one thing only...

That's right...apples. From Carter Mountain Grove specifically.

The vineyards leading to the groves.

Yes it was overcast and yes we got rained on. But we didn't care because we got

lots and lots of these!

Fujis, Romes, Red Delicious, Jonagolds, Winesap, Braeburns...ahhhhhhhh!

And I haven't even mentioned the fresh apple cider that we brought home.

Nor have I mentioned the warm apple cider donuts that we enjoyed along with a cup of hot apple cider. And yes, we enjoyed them in the rain. I think it made them taste better!

And just so you don't get jealous, I'm not gonna talk about the other apple "stuff" we got...like Carter Mountain Grove apple butter and apple cider vinegar. Nope, not gonna mention that!

But I will tell you about the apple cider slushies we slurped on the ride home! They were the bombdiggity!

Here are a couple of Charlottesville memories of happier times:

Taken on our last trip to Monticello




My Sweet Hubby and I at Barboursville Ruins
Sorry for the scrunched up face - that day the sun was shining brightly!

And so...

Matthew and Stefanie ~ thank you for sharing smiles (and tears) with me this weekend!


No, I didn't forget that it's Music Monday! I heard this song on the drive up on Friday, so here it is - from me to you...

The Words I Would Say ~ Sidewalk Prophets

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" James 1:2-5

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another mile marker

The days pass by and somehow they add up to another month without my Sweet Hubby. Today marks eleven months without him. Without his gentle smile, without his warm hand in mine, without his wonderful voice saying, "Hi Sweetheart." And it just doesn't get any easier. I'm beginning to think it never will.

Please, don’t ask me if I’m over it yet.
I’ll never be over it.

Please, don’t tell me he’s in a better place.
He isn’t with me.

Please, don’t say at least he isn’t suffering.
I haven’t come to terms with why he had to suffer at all.

Please, don’t tell me you know how I feel
Unless you have lost a spouse, it’s not possible.

Please, don’t ask me if I feel better.
Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.

Please, don’t tell me at least you had him for so many years.
What year would you choose for your spouse to die?

Please, don’t tell me God never gives us more than we can bear.
Please, just tell me you are sorry.

Please, just say you remember my husband, if you do.
Please, just let me talk about him.

Please, mention his name.
Please, just let me cry.

-author unknown

"You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it." 1 Corinthians 10:13


Monday, October 5, 2009

Difficult Days

Remember the old saying, "Don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins?"

When my Sweet Hubby was first diagnosed, I spent a LOT of time on the Internet as he slept...researching the disease and ferreting out potential treatment protocols. In the midst of my search, I came across an organization called CancerCare. By their own definition "CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services for anyone affected by cancer." I highly recommend them.

Support. That sounded good to me...I checked it out. And found that they offered an online Pancreatic Cancer Caregivers support group. All CC groups are facilitated by Licenced Social Workers specializing in oncology. The groups are closed to the public and applicants are screened to ensure that they meet the criteria for "membership." I did...and spent the next 4 months with the most amazing group of people. Most of us were wives caring for our husbands, but there were also brothers caring for sisters, daughters caring for mothers and daughters caring for fathers - all of them suffering from the beast known as Pancreatic Cancer.

We shared things with each other that we couldn't share with our loved ones. Mainly our fears and sorrow. For our loved ones we were strong. But with our CC group we were able to fall apart and fall into the "arms" of others who understood and that was a great blessing. I truly came to love the people in this group. And then came November 9th. I was the first in our session to lose my spouse. Oh, the love that poured out...indescribable.

I have since transitioned to a CC partner's bereavement group. It's not the same. It doesn't need to be, couldn't be, I guess...

But I'm still in contact with my former group. Those bonds are strong and the roots are deep. My struggles are theirs and theirs are mine...then and now.

On October 1st, one of my closest friends from the group lost her beloved husband. He fought long and hard...but this disease always wins in the end.

And so, these are difficult days. Another woman joins a group she never wanted to belong to. Her pain is fresh. Mine is refreshed yet again.

My youngest son (how did he get so wise?) lovingly reminded me in an email of a recent sermon given by my pastor.

"Remember the sermon pastor Tommy gave a while back discussing why we suffer and one of the reasons was to guide others through their suffering? Well, I'm sure God knows that it's painful for the "helper" to go through that suffering with someone else, but knows we're strong enough for it."

Reading that, I'm reminded of how my son helped a friend through the loss of his father just months after my Sweet Hubby had passed away...and how difficult that must have been for him.

So, my friends - these are difficult days. Yet another group member has just brought in hospice for her precious husband. Deep breath...

I'm here for them, as they've been present for me. You see, we've been wearing these moccasins...








Let the Waters Rise ~ Mikeschair

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah." Psalm 68:19

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thursday night blessing


This past Thursday night Dr. David Jeremiah came to town. I have been looking forward to this event for months now and what a blessing it was!

Dr. Jeremiah is the Senior Pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church in the San Diego area of California. He is a gifted teacher, author and speaker and my Sweet Hubby and I enjoyed watching his televised "Turning Point" every week. I still do...

Here is a snippet of what he delivered Thursday evening:

**Remember to scroll down and pause my player before clicking links**
















Dr. David Jeremiah at The Ted, 9/24/09

The focus of Dr. Jeremiah's talk was how we should be living as we wait for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  1. We are to watch vigilantly!
  2. We are to war valiantly!
  3. We are to walk virtuously and...
  4. We are to wait victoriously!

He spoke of salvation...

PAST salvation ~ I have been saved (from the penalty of sin)
PRESENT salvation ~ I am being saved (from the power of sin)
FUTURE salvation ~ I will be saved (from the presence of sin)

He spoke of sin and how the Bible tells us to RUN from four things:
  • idolatry
  • youthful lusts
  • materialism
  • sexual immorality

Two natures beat within my breast;
The one is foul, the one is blessed.
The one I love, the one I hate;
The one I feed will dominate.


He advised us to "Pray to God, but row away from the rocks!" In other words, avoid the things we know will hurt us! Rely on God for our strength in all things, but especially when we are being tempted!

I could have listened to his counsel for days and days...the event was "sold out" (even though the tickets were free) and there was literally standing room only. I arrived early and was so thankful I did...as the time to begin drew near they announced that traffic was backed up for 20 minutes in all directions! Dr. Jeremiah graciously extended the worship music to allow as many to arrive as possible! Hallelujah!!

The evening kicked off with wonderful praise and worship music led by Charles Billingsley who currently leads worship at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia as well as Joi Bolling from Shadow Mountain Community Church. We were introduced to a new song - written by Liberty University student Travis Doucette. It's a beautiful song based on the first chapter of Colossians...and it's today's Music Monday feature. I wish I had a better video to offer, but it's new...so please bear with this one!




"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." Colossians 1:15





God of the Ages ~ Charles Billingsley

And here's one that Joi sang...

Through the Fire ~ Joi Bowling

What a voice! Dr. Jeremiah said she is working on a CD - that's one I'll buy for sure!

I wish I could have packed you all up and taken you with me...it was quite a night.

"And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."
Romans 13:11

Monday, September 21, 2009

The beginning of it all

Yesterday was the anniversary of our first date. We began as friends...and praise God, we remained the best of friends throughout our marriage. At some point, my Sweet Hubby asked me out. I told him it was not a date, rather an outing. Crazy, right?! He said he didn't care what I called it as long as he could pick me up and take me to a movie! And so it began.

He truly was my best friend. Outside of work hours, when you saw one - you usually saw the other. Rarely did we do anything apart. We just preferred each other's company over all others. Which makes all of this now so very difficult. But you know? I wouldn't change one second of what we had. It was a great love and I'm so grateful, so thankful to the Father that He blessed us with the life we shared. The love we shared...it was a gift.

It was the best "outing" of my life.

*Scroll down and pause my player before clicking the link*














I Will Be Here ~ Steven Curtis Chapman


"The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes leaping on the mountains, skipping on the hills." Song of Solomon 2:8

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Special Delivery

Finally. After months and months of looking and planning. Followed by yet more months of waiting...it's here. Finally.


This is a view of the reverse side...I'm not comfortable posting a picture of the front since my blog is open to the public. But I can tell you it turned out beautifully.

I was at the cemetery for the installation and the two gentlemen who installed it couldn't have been more painstaking. I had no idea what was involved, but it was alot and they were wonderful - through my tears and all! Once the stone was in place they stayed to be sure I was satisfied with everything. I was. I am. Except that it has to be there at all. I would so change that if only I could...

One thing I can change - and that's my mind! Here's a little peek at a bit of the front.



Forever...then Rome. I'll save that for another day.

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised." 1 Corinthians 15:12-13