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!


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.

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


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.

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

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 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