Monday, June 29, 2015

Thoughts from Mayberry

Someone recently mentioned to me about having a "Mayberry family."  There is some truth there. My future son in law tells us we are like a sitcom family and he always wanted one of his own.  So there you have it, but we do not live in an idealized world.

As we were having dinner tonight with both of our children, the future son in law, and the son's girlfriend, I thought a bit on the idea of a Mayberry family.  Thinking is hard to do with this group because everyone is talking at once and there are a lot of stories and laughing.

Here's some of what I pondered:
Eating dinner with your family is some of the best teaching there is.  At our dinner table, no topic is forbidden. We discuss religion, politics, education, the day's events, tomorrow's events, and veggie tales.  No really.... We do.    All those and so much more.  It is our time to relax and reflect on our days and doesn't happen nearly frequently enough.  Many of the world's problems are solved at that table.

Time at the fishing hole helps you think and ponder.  We all enjoy fishing (and catching and eating) but it is the solitude we crave.

Sometimes a piece of pie and a cup of coffee in the middle of the day with a trusted friend is necessary.

We all need an aunt Bea in our lives to make us  feel safe and comforted.  Comfort food doesn't hurt either.

Ending the day singing together and listening to crickets and watching lightening bugs can be all the entertainment you need.

We all need a cousin Goober.  Mine was named Earnest Earl and he also fixed cars.  He kept my 73 Maverick going for a long time.

 So I guess I do have somewhat of a Mayberry family.  I like the routine, the traditions, and the comfort.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wrapped in prayer

In moments of sadness and loss or joy and praise, we all need prayer.

There are a group of women in our church who make blankets for such occasions.  Death in a family, surgeries, illnesses.  This is mine and while it is 95 degrees outside, I felt the need to wrap up in it for a little while.  While this blanket was being made, they prayed.  Before it was brought to me, it was prayed over.  Sometimes you just need to be wrapped in prayer.

This week, this group of women will be sending these blankets to the families of the Charleston shooting so they will know there are people in Georgia praying for them.

My blanket stays in my sun room, in plain sight, as a daily reminder to me that prayer works and to pray daily.

So, tell me, loyal readers, what helps you remember to pray?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Reminder

This morning I opened my YouVersion app to the daily Bible verse to find Romans 8:37: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."

I have been clinging to Romans 8:26: "In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans." Honestly in the struggle with my prayer life lately, those words gave me comfort and peace, knowing that God knows.  Really knows.

So today I have decided to re-read in between those two verses:
 "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

I'm just going to leave that for today.  It pretty much says it all.

Monday, June 22, 2015


The bubble burst last night in spectacular form.  Goodbye happy place.
I was reminded that I still needed to forgive regardless of how hurt I am.

Let it go.

Jesus hung on a cross and forgave. In his human weakness on that cross, He was still God. Those who crucified him did not know what they did.  Zacchaeus made amends to those he wronged.  In my human selfishness I want amends to be made. What is wrong with that?

*****Edited: I just had a talk with a wise friend who has an amazing capacity to forgive about what it means to forgive.  To forgive is to cancel debt and not expect repayment.  It does not cancel feelings or pain or anger.  Those will fade in time.  It cancels the expectation of anything in response to the debt that was owed.  And it is between me and God.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

It's bubbling, bubbling in my soul

As I think about how joyful (yes I actually said joyful) this day has been, I cannot ignore the shadow of knowing this is the day of Natalie’s graveside service.  But this post is not about her - it's about me.

I’ve been having serious voice troubles and having figured out why my voice is now restored.  No, it wasn’t psychosomatic – it was physical and is now being properly treated.  So I was able to really sing today without any pain or discomfort and had so much fun doing it.  To me – that is a reason to be joyful.

I have been married for 29 years to a wonderful wonderful man.  God has blessed me.  That is a reason to be joyful.

My son made it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Those are all reasons to be joyful.

I have felt a very large release in feeling some obligation for my sister.  The weight which is dissipating, for it is not yet gone, does not feel like it is weighing me down.   I think I am now able to let go of some of this baggage.  That is a reason to be joyful.

I don’t know when it hit me today that I was feeling more than happiness – it is a deep bubbling joy.  I haven’t felt that very often in my life but it is so welcome.  So welcome.  So overwhelming.  I have so much to be thankful for.

I’m going to think about the joy today and enjoy it.  I know the doubts and sadness will come back for grief is a process, but for now, I want to ride the wave of joy given to me today by the Holy Spirit.

Day to celebrate

Today is my 29th wedding anniversary with this man.  He has been the most steady, reliable, encouraging, loving husband I could have ever hoped for.

I know this is a bit mushy but that's how I am a lot of  times with Greg.
Happy anniversary!  Let's do at least 29 more!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday factoids

I'm getting my hairs did today :)
But I almost went to the appointment 5 hours too early.  Don't you love middle age?

My daughter made bacon for me today.  So good.

I have started M. Scott Peck's "People of the lie."  Hard book and a big trigger if you have trauma.  It will be a good read but I don't think I'll be reading it at my usual speed.

I had the privilege of seeing Os Guinness and Ravi Zacharias speak last night.  Very thought-provoking and inspiring.  Also got to meet some really neat people.  Leah can't wait to be part of that world in a few years.

My anniversary is Sunday - 29 years!  And campmeeting starts also.  An even better way to start the 30th year, I think.  It is also the one year anniversary of the graveside service for my sister.  I think I will have made it full cycle through all the firsts.  Thank God.

And finally, my son is on Mt. Kilimanjaro as I type.  At midnight on June 20 (5 Pm today for us) they will make the final attempt to the Summit at 19,430 ft.  They expect about 1/3 of the boys will not make it up due to altitude sickness.  I pray they ALL make it.  He is coming home next Thursday from this once in a lifetime trip to Africa.  Can't wait to see him.   We all are missing Andrew right now.

Here's a picture before they headed out for Mission work at the Maasai Village where they dug the foundation for a kitchen.  Andrew of course isn't looking at the camera but he is sitting directly across from the boy who IS looking at the camera :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Occasionally, I journal.  Well, lately I am journaling on a daily basis.  I think it is really good for me as I process feelings, events, and the future.

I have mentioned before I was writing about the day I found out Natalie had died and all the details with it.  I have moved beyond that day and moved into our relationship and frankly, how I am feeling about all of this.  This journal is something I will never publicly share, but it helps me remember and then also focus on some of the specifics.  It has been very hard and very healing to type about this on a daily basis.  Being able to focus has been the biggest plus in the last week.  I have even come up with an action plan, which as a task-oriented person makes me feel like I am moving forward, instead of spinning in place.

I am no longer feeling rage but a healthy, righteous anger.  One that will propel me and will eventually dissipate.

I am currently reading a book by M. Scott Peck, "The Road Less Travelled."  It is a psychotherapy book and very academic.  I'm really enjoying it and relating a lot to the people and especially to the concepts.  The next book lined up is also by Peck, "People of the Lie."  I expect that one to be more taxing on me emotionally, but when it was mentioned to me, my ears perked up.

On a lighter note, I finished restoring some furniture for my daughter and it looks amazing.  I also packaged some rosemary from my yard we had allowed to dry.  So I also smell wonderful at the moment.  haha.  So if you were wondering if I were just lying around and being mopey - I'm not.  I'm actually really, really good and pretty happy.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Letter writing

So I've started (from the encouragement of a friend) a letter writing project to members of my family.  There are things which have been left unsaid because they left this earth before I had a chance to say them. I've considered it before and decided against it but an assignment is an assignment, so I did my homework.

Honestly, I struggle with this on a number of levels.  First, being in Heaven with Jesus really trumps looking down on us here below and checking out what we are doing.  I just think they are way too busy praising God and worshiping Jesus to care about our earthly problems. Second, letters need recipients and they aren't here to receive them.  Third, I'm really not into mysticism and the whole "send it into the universe" concept.

But, I've written the first letter.  It really is more of an essay and of course, I wrote a conclusion page.  Very collegiate.  My sociology professor would be proud.  It was very difficult to say some of the things that have been left unsaid for many years - and by "said" I mean write.  It was cleansing and cathartic and no one got hurt.  In fact, I am better now than I was two weeks ago.  I feel lighter and brighter and pretty, I feel pretty, .... oh sorry.  Maybe this isn't the place for Broadway tunes.

I'm not sure if some of what needed to be said could have been accomplished while they were alive.  I'm not really sure it would have gone over so well, so I suppressed a lot.  You know, that is really pretty crushing to an ego.  Suppressing things, that is.  I don't recommend it.  But I do recommend being honest whenever possible while still not hurting people.

To end: love the people you are with.  Be kind.  Be gentle.  Laugh a lot.  Show them how to love Jesus and to serve like Him. If we all did this, it would be a much better place on this earth we call home.

Friday, June 12, 2015


This is my sister.  I post her picture because one year ago today was quite literally the worst day of my life, full of despair, anger, confusion, and sadness.  It was, unfortunately, a day I had predicted would come many years ago. 

One year ago today, it was discovered she had died in her locked bedroom several days before.  She did not commit suicide but she did probably die of a massive heart attack.  My father had to have the sheriff come and knock down the door.  She was very protective of her privacy - and with good reason.  I will not go into details about the condition of the house and especially her bedroom but it was bad.  Very bad.  I cannot take back seeing it.

Normally, when I blog I withhold details about events so know what I am saying is still very raw and it still hurts very much.  I loved Natalie so much.  Our childhood together was fun and lighthearted, but our differences became very obvious as we headed into our teenage years.  I worried about her health.  I worried about her not getting more education.  And that was only the surface.  I worried about her salvation.  She never wanted to talk about faith at all - so I am in the dark here.

So, here I am, a year later and still seeking answers.  Like Dr. Sheldon Cooper, I am a problem solver; it's what I do, but I can't solve for "x" or even quantify this situation.  Unlike the problems I love solving, I can't answer the question because I'm not really sure what I need to be asking.  It's exhausting and frustrating.

But - I am a Christian and I do not live as one without hope. I know I am one loved woman by our heavenly Father.  He is hearing my woes and letting me cry on his shoulder while He holds me in silence.  I am waiting for His voice, His words of comfort, the release that only He can give.  I know I am the one holding all of this up - that in truth He is waiting on me.  But I have great comfort in knowing I am not alone.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lightening Up

Sometimes bloggers use their writing forums (our blogs) to think in writing.  It helps to clear our minds and we just choose to let the world in to share those thoughts.  Some bloggers write DIY tips (and thank you SO much - I am rehabbing furniture with my daughter right now) and some write their heartaches.  I'm in the heartache category - but I do sometimes write about celebrations.

DD and I are working on my making some old furniture new for her to use in her apartment once she is married in August.  We are learning the importance of stretching dollars and appreciating some of the free treasures found in life.  A bucket of paint can be a lot of fun. We also learned not to apply primer in front of a fan because it gets stringy and in your mother's hair.

My mother loved a good (or any) garage sale, so there were a lot of treasures and some junk in my house growing up.  Unfortunately, my parents were not very good at managing money - something I am very glad to not inherit - and garage sales were necessary.  I have only had one garage sale in my adult life and I pledged NEVER to do it again, but if someone else finds value in my left overs, perhaps I should.

I have learned some important lessons about "things":

  • Don't accumulate them for the sake of having them.
  • If you decide to replace something, get rid of the old thing.
  • Things are way less important than people, and if that old thing you refuse to give up is getting in the way of a relationship, get rid of that old thing.
  • There is a lot of value in repurposing some things but you can't repurpose people.  Don't try to make people what they aren't supposed to be.
So, today I am going to continue to try to make something beautiful out of someone's old junk.  It is a process, much like trying to find God's purpose in our lives. (Let me tell you:  it's not a secret.  Accept Jesus Christ and love God and each other.)  Sometimes it is messy, but it is always worth it. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 9, 2014

What I am writing is very personal and my way of processing this anniversary of Natalie's death. If this is going to bother you, please move on and don't comment.

The date on her death certificate and on the headstone says June 12, 2014.  That is the legal day my sister died.  However,  it is not the actual day.

Since no one was with her, we don't know for sure.  See, my dad was in the house.  Probably in the living room.  It was customary for her to be isolated in her locked bedroom.  Not unusual at all.
But it was the 12th when he called me, saying he hadn't seen her for a while - at least two days - and her car was in the carport.  So, she was found on the 12th and so that's what was put on the death certificate.

You may wonder how I know?  The police and coroner were called and acknowledged her death occurred several days before.  Other evidence made it undeniable.  I listened to two days worth of voice mail messages from my father begging her to open her door.  Looking for clues, I logged into her facebook account and read messages, comments, likes, activity logs - anything that may help me narrow down the why and the when.  Some of what I read hurt me to the core.

One thing I know for sure: it was an accident.  The other things I know for sure: it was not before 3:22 pm on the 9th.  It was after that when her activity on facebook stopped.  In my head and heart, I know it was when her heart stopped.  So I have the when. And I probably have the how if my theory of sudden heart failure is correct.  We didn't ask for an autopsy but it makes the most sense.

If you knew my sister, then you can suspect the why.  The why part of the question is so complex and multifaceted we may never get it answered.  It is kind of disturbing how much I ponder these things.  Maybe it isn't.  Maybe it's natural for me.  The why doesn't really deal with her death.  More with her life and how she lived it.

So here I am - almost a year later and no more answers than I had before.  The questions swirl in my head and my heart like an unending hurricane.  Sometimes I am in the eye and it is calm.  Sometimes I feel like the worst part is about to pass over me and sometimes I just want to see that rainbow.  I know there will be more storms in my life and peace usually follows.  But this storm is different and it keeps raging around me and somehow it is confining my unexpressed rage.  Maybe that surprises you - that I have rage.  Today has been the first day I've expressed my feelings as rage, but I guess that's what it is.

I am praying for the peace and I know it isn't within me.  I know it isn't within my own strength and power to summon up.  I know only God can give me that peace which passes all understanding and I know, without a doubt, it is there waiting on me.  So what am I waiting on?