Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So long '08

This has been a bittersweet year. The first half was positively wonderful! My Sweet Hubby and I kicked off the year with another K-LOVE Friends and Family cruise. We traveled, visited family and friends at will...We joined a wonderful new church that gave new meaning to the term "church family." I was focusing on my esthetics business and we were just enjoying life in general.

I truly understand now what it means to have your life - everything you know - change in a heartbeat. On July 10th, our world turned upside down when the reality of "Stage IV pancreatic cancer with mets to the liver" entered the picture.

The second half of 2008 was filled with illness, hospitalizations, blood transfusions, oncology appointments, chemo and briefly, hospice. And then a funeral as we said goodbye to our husband/father/grandfather/son-in-law/brother/brother-in-law/best friend/co-worker. My Sweet Hubby slipped ever so quietly away.

And then, as I was trying to come to terms with Christmas and our anniversary without my Sweet Hubby, my Mom was hospitalized. Critically ill with an internal injury that has a tremendously high mortality rate. Suddenly, all thoughts of Christmas are gone and my days and nights are filled with life in the intensive care unit.

But God is good all the looks like my Mom will be going home tomorrow. We met with the palliative care team this morning and there is nothing more they can do here that I can't do for my Mom at home. And hopefully, she will recover better and faster in her normal environment.

So tomorrow night, New Year's Eve, I hope to be in my own home preparing to sleep in my own bed for the first time in a week and a half.

My son-in-law left for a job assignment out of state on Friday. Today, my daughter and grandsons left to join him. Matthew will return to Richmond tomorrow to spend New Year's Eve with his girlfriend and their best friends.

And I will experience another "first." Alone...

Somehow, it seems fitting.

I pray that 2009 brings God's blessings of peace, laughter, love and much happiness to you all. Thank you for sharing this "journey" with me.

"And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry." Genesis 8:13

Monday, December 29, 2008

There will be a day...

Well, let me tell you ~ this has been a week.

My Mom is still in the ICU and I am staying with her. Some days I am able to run home for a quick shower and change of clothes. Other days not...

So I need this song today for Music Monday...I hope it ministers to you too. **Remember to scroll down and pause my player before clicking the link!**

There Will Be A Day ~ Jeremy Camp

And something extra straight from Jeremy...

One other thing...should you have a friend or family member that loses a spouse and you don't know if you should acknowledge "special days" like an anniversary or birthday - I can tell you YES, please do. Your card or call may cause tears, but they will be tears of remembrance. More bitter are the tears from feeling that the special day is forgotten or no longer important...

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4

Friday, December 26, 2008

Forever...then Rome

Today is my anniversary. I have no words for how I'm feeling. Raw and broken aren't even close. Somehow I keep getting up in the morning and putting one foot in front of the other.

No, not "somehow." God.

I loved being married to my Sweet Hubby; loved it (and him!!) every single day. He was honestly and truly my bestest buddy...there was no one I'd rather spend time with - be with - just hang out with! We talked, we laughed, we enjoyed each other's company above all others. So unusual in this day and time when so many couples lead independent lives while living under the guise of "marriage."

He almost never called me by name. He called me "sweetheart." He called me "princess." He called me "true." When he spoke of me to others, he said "my sweetheart" or "my wife." It was something quite a few people mentioned at the visitation and the reception after my Sweet Hubby's funeral. They loved how he spoke of me - always with love and respect. I had my storybook love with him. He was my Prince...

We took our vows seriously; we meant them when we said them. If I live to be 100 years old, I will never know that kind of love again. Ever.

I wish we were celebrating our anniversary together today. My Sweet Hubby always planned our special was a surprise for me. A gift. How many husbands do that?

Instead, at some point today, I'll leave my Mom's room in the ICU and head to the cemetery to sit at my Sweet Hubby's grave. I still don't know how this can he be gone?

Happy Anniversary sweetheart. I love you so much. I miss you more than I can bear.

Forever...then Rome.

"What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Mark 10:9

Thursday, December 25, 2008

From me, to you...

May you all be richly blessed with love, laughter, good health and peace this Christmas Day and through the New Year.

"And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

My Sweet Hubby, Christmas 2007
I love you honey. Merry Christmas...
Always, Your True

Monday, December 22, 2008


I heard this song again the other day...I've loved it since it first came out. The artist was onboard for the last K-LOVE cruise this past January and my Sweet Hubby and I looked forward to hearing her in person. She didn't disappoint!

As I listened to the words, I was reminded once again how the Lord is holding me right now. How He continues to use the music I love so much to minister to me. Thank you, Father.

I hope you enjoy today's Music Monday selection...have a blessed week! **Remember to scroll down to pause my player before watching and listening**

Held ~ Natalie Grant

"Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with his hand." Psalm 37:24

**Just a quick note to add that my Mom is in the hospital...admitted in the wee hours of Sunday morning. She is in the cardiac intensive care unit. Please keep her in your prayers if you would...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I have been counting down the days until Matthew comes home for the holidays...

Today is the day! Finally!

The upcoming week will be hard - of that I have no doubt. But with the help of the Lord, we'll get through it together.

And I'll have my 'baby boy' home with me as we celebrate the birth of God's own Son.

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, " which translated means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What do a hot water bottle and a dolly have in common?

The answer is found in Isaiah 65:24...
"And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."

My Sunday school class meets one Monday a month to have an extra prayer service in addition to the weekly prayer service at Church on Wednesday evenings. Last night was "the" Monday for December.

I can't tell you what a blessing this group was to my Sweet Hubby and I. And what a comfort they continue to be for me. Before we knew we would need a Sunday school class, the Lord was lining this one up for us. So I can claim that verse in Isaiah for myself. But that's not the reason for this post...

I want to share an email I received from my Sunday School teacher's wife shortly after I returned home from the prayer service. We serve such an awesome God!! Read on...

This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa:

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities.

Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates).

And it is our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles.

They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

'All right,' I said, 'put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God' she prayed, 'Send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.'

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?'

As often with children's prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say 'Amen?' I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large
cardboard box.

From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked, 'Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?' 'Of course,' I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it 'that afternoon.'

'Before they call, I will answer.' (Isaiah 65:24)

When you receive this, say the prayer. That's all you have to do. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever you want - but do send it on.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue praying for one another.

This awesome prayer takes less than a minute.

Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal Your love and release to them Your courage. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask You to do these things in Jesus' name. Amen

P. S. Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something Christ would do.

So, what do a hot water bottle and a dolly have in common?

Answer: Comfort. Courtesy of a Sunday school class. Like mine.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for providing for our every need long before we know they exist.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Feeling the love

I have such awesome friends! Today I traveled to Williamsburg to receive a facial from a fellow Master Esthetician friend. She pampered me to the max and I felt like a new woman when I got up from the table.

When I got home, a package was awaiting me from another friend (also an Esthetician) in Ireland. Inside I found this:

I can't wait to read it and listen to the CD. The card accompanying it brought me to tears...

"My dearest Gigi,
I hope you have a lovely Christmas and look forward to a wonderful New Year full of hope, happiness and love. Thank you for being such an inspirational friend and for truly being a mirror of God to me."

I am so richly blessed...

"Dear friends, we are now God's children, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been fully revealed. We know that if Christ reappears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Always ~ Never ~ All

I awoke this morning with a hunger for God's Word.

So, I tended to LuLu, made my coffee and then settled in to pray, read and seek the Lord. I felt the overwhelming need to lift up the pastoral staff of my church, especially Pastor Tommy. What great responsibilities he has - caring for this flock so faithfully...

As I turned to His Word, I asked that I find all I needed for today within its pages. I get by a day at a time right now. And some days it is literally a "moment to moment" existence. But that's OK as long as I make it through.

I read something not long ago about giving thanks to God for everything. Everything. Good, bad, happy, sad, joyful, tragic...everything. That has been on my mind quite a bit lately. This morning, the Lord helped me.
"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The message is very clear; the language is strong: Always. Never. All. God's Will.

Wow. You have to love a passage that requires no deep thought for there can be no misinterpretation here!

If you've ever read anything regarding grief, then you know it's widely accepted that there are five stages in the grieving process - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance - and that the process of moving through them is fluid. There is no order to them and a person may experience more than one at any given time for any length of time, many times over.

Since I lost my Sweet Hubby, I have heard a number people refer to the "anger" stage. And each time, I reflect on my own circumstances...this path I've walked that ultimately led to my Sweet Hubby going to be with the Lord. I have felt many emotions - the main one being profound sadness. My heart is broken. But never anger. Never, not once. How can I possibly be angry that God relieved my Sweet Hubby's suffering and called him to Paradise?

Which leads me back to those verses in 1 Thessalonians. If I am to always be joyful and give thanks in all circumstances because I belong to Jesus, then there is no room - no place - for anger. And I'm glad, because that means I can stop looking over my shoulder, like it's going to creep up on me from behind and catch me unaware. From the moment we received his diagnosis, my Sweet Hubby and I vowed we would find some way to honor and glorify the Lord while dealing with his illness and all it brought. We had no anger then and I hope to continue living that way now.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances.

Sounds like a wonderful way to live. To God be all the glory...always.

Friday, December 12, 2008

This one's for you Sweetheart...

My Sweet Hubby loved (and I do mean LOVED!!) the holiday snowmen offered each year by Hallmark. He had to get the new one each and every year and would get the biggest kick out of making them sing/dance or whatever...I can sit here and remember his joy, his wide-eyed smile as he watched them. And it's a great memory!

So when I walked into Hallmark a couple of weeks ago to pick up some cards, it just about broke my heart to see this year's snowman offering there on the shelf. Yet one more thing...I walked out and cried all the way home.

Fast forward a few days and I'm back in Hallmark for gift bags and tissue paper. At the register, I'm once again face to face with - you guessed it. The snowmen. But this time, I decided that instead of leaving the store in tears, I would leave the store smiling. Because that day the snowmen came home with me. Did I say how much pleasure they gave my Sweet Hubby?

So honey - this is for you. How can something so cute make me miss you even more?

"You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth." Luke 1:14

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The suspense is Fat Albert!

"Fat Albert" Colorado Blue Spruce, that is!

Christmas was my Sweet Hubby's favorite time of year. He loved it all...the sights, sounds, decorations. And most of all, the reason behind it all ~ Jesus.

I hadn't planned on decorating in any form or fashion this year. It would just be a hard reminder of all that is forever different now. But one thing that I took away from the GriefShare seminar on December 1st was to not forget the true meaning of Christmas, to not let the holiday pass by without taking time to celebrate the birth of our Lord.

Still, I knew that there was no way I could put up the two trees we always had - one live 12 footer in our living room and one artificial 7 footer in the family room. No way I could unpack all of our ornaments lovingly collected through the years. No way I could break out all the decorations we loved to have throughout the house for the holidays. All of that would break my heart right now; tear off the scab that is trying to form.

So I decided that I would do something different this year. And that's where Fat Albert comes in. He is a living variety of Colorado Blue Spruce and once Christmas is over with, he will be planted in our yard as a memorial to my Sweet Hubby. I look forward to watching him grow over the years and know that every December I will decorate him in honor of the man I love and miss so terribly.

This year, Fat Albert is my reminder of a Savior that willingly gave up His Godhood to walk among us knowing that He would eventually lay down His life for all of us. No greater love...
"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people...'" Luke 2:10

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I have plans

I'm not going to post any details right now, but hopefully tomorrow everything will have come to fruition. We'll see...
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, December 8, 2008

I got the real thing!

It's Monday, so you know what that means! What song shall it be today?

This is a new song, from this artist's latest CD. I hope you enjoy it! **Remember to scroll down and pause my player first!**

One True God ~ Mark Harris

And here are the lyrics:

One True God

I don't have a God I can put on a stand
Or a God I hold in the palm of my hand
I have a God that's holding me
And I don't have a God that I can create
In the place I live with the money I make
I have a God, He made everything
So I don't need a temporary man made deity
When I got the real thing
I got the real thing

He's the Lord of all the earth
The maker of all things
He alone is the one true God
Kingdoms rise and fall
But even through it all
He remains
The one true God

I don't have a thing that I got on my own
I don't have a care that I carry alone
But I have a God who's carrying me
I don't have sin that He doesn't forgive
And I don't have a heart that is worthy of His
But I have a God who still loves me
So I don't need a temporary man made deity
When I got the real thing
I got the real thing

Who is this King of Glory
The Lord strong and mighty
Who is this King of Glory
The Lord strong and mighty
Who is this King of Glory
Who is this King of Glory

Great song, yes? Just makes you smile and want to tap your feet...perfect for a Monday!

Yesterday was the one month mark of my Sweet Hubby's Homegoing. It feels like forever, so I really need a God Who's carrying me right now...and He is. Thankfully.

I hope you all have a blessed week.
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10:27-30

Friday, December 5, 2008

My girl

I thought maybe it was time for a Marloo update...I can't believe I've only had Miss LuLu for 3 weeks - it's as if she's been here forever!

Our days are quiet, nights even more so. She is so laid back and ever at my side. I'm grateful to have her in my life.

And then there's this one that melts my heart every time I see it...

"A friend loves at all times..." Proverbs 17:17

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A little devotion time with Beth

This afternoon I sat in our living room re-reading some of the daily entries in my Beth Moore Praying God's Word Day by Day devotional. I started from the day my Sweet Hubby went to be with the Lord, November 9th. The following is the devotion for that day. Amazing, isn't it?

"When our hearts are hemorrhaging, never forget that Christ binds and compresses them with a nail-scarred hand."
"You, Lord God, are with me, You are mighty to save. You will take great delight in me. you will quiet me with Your love, You will rejoice over me with singing!" Zephaniah 3:17
And November 15th:

"Completely surrender your hurt to Him, withholding nothing, and invite Him to work miracles from your misery."
"Lord God, I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. I always carry around in my body the death of Your Son, Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in my mortal body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
And the very next day, November 16th:

"Perhaps the most profound miracle of all is living through something we thought would kill us."
"Father, help me to be confident of this, that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6
November 19th:

"Christ never allows the hearts of His own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes."
"Glorious Lord God, one day I will hear a loud voice from Your throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.' We will be your people, and You Yourself will be with us and be our God. You will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will pass away. You who are seated on the throne will say, 'I am making everything new!' These words are trustworthy and true!" Revelation 21:3-5
"Lord God, help me presently believe, then one day see, that my present sufferings cannot be compared to the glory that You will reveal in me." Romans 8:18
And then this on November 24th:

"If God has allowed something difficult to happen to one of His children, He plans to use it mightily, if the child lets Him."
"Praise You, my God! Let the sound of Your praise be heard; You have preserved my life and kept my feet from slipping. For You, O God, tested me; You refined me like silver." Psalm 66:8-10

I'm clinging to the God and my salvation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I've decided.

There is no "W" in Mrs. I was my Sweet Hubby's wife and that did not end on November 9th.


The End.

Thank you all for your uplifting comments to yesterday's post. Each one made me feel better and I'm grateful to you all...
"Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband." 1 Corinthians 7:3

And by the way - Jennifer loved her newest Santa!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The "W" word

Last night I attended a special one night seminar held at our church. It was conducted by the GriefShare facilitators and entitled "Surviving the Holidays." The purpose was to give those mourning the loss of a loved one tools to get through the Christmas season - a time wrought with so many memories and family traditions.

And it was during that class that someone referred to me as the "W" word.


Oh no...they couldn't have been referring to me, could they?

I can't quite get there in my mind. I don't want to be a "widow." Oh sweet Jesus...sometimes it's almost more than I can bear.

"Then she got up and went away and took off her veil and put on her widow's clothing." Genesis 38:19

Monday, December 1, 2008

What to do?

I've heard so often over the past 4+ months these words or some variation thereof:

"Let us know if there's anything you need."

People truly want to help...they really do.

My Sweet Hubby and I always told them that prayer was the best "thing" they could offer us and we were very, very grateful for every prayer offered up.

I am still asked that same question. So, in response, I would like to offer this Music Monday song: **remember to scroll down and pause my player before listening**

Love Them Like Jesus ~ Casting Crowns

My Sweet Hubby and I loved this group...we saw them in concert many, many times. Good memories.

So, the next time you have someone in your life where you feel the need to ask, "What can I do for you?" Just know that the BEST thing you can do is to love Jesus.

God bless.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34