This has been a tough week!
Sometime Sunday afternoon a headache came against me.
I fought it best I could. But to no avail.
The night came and I laid on what felt like a block of concrete.
Then, a migraine headache from HELL overwhelmed me on Monday.
I have headaches a lot, always have. I don’t remember a time before having headaches.
Mostly due to sinus/allergies, or stress.
When I was about 18 I went to Six Flags over Texas with a church group, and we rode The Shock Wave. Which messed my neck up horribly! I spent a week in the hospital with all kinds of specialists working over me, tests were run, I was sent to a brain specialist in Dallas. Suspected brain tumor, or brain cancer. But, it was all because of severe pinched nerves in my neck.
And those nerves flare up ever so often, making me have horrendous headaches.
I am also highly allergic to cigarette smoke, since I was a little girl, and when I breathe it in - well, a sinus infection sets in.
Even though I have had some #10 headaches in the last few years, it has been a LONG time since the wavy spot and bright lights.
Sitting at my computer Monday morning, writing in my prayer journal and enjoying a cup of coffee -
There appeared a spot about the size of a half-dollar that was like looking thru a glass of water.
It was on the left side of my left eye, and when I tried to look directly at it, it would move up.
It grew larger and larger.
When it was about the size of the top of a coffee cup, the broken and brightly colored lines appeared all around the edges.
It continued to grow.
This lasted about 30-45 minutes.
Then, it just went away - as quickly as it had come.
A breath of relief.
Because then the absolute WORST headache I have had in the last 7 or so years hit me.
The nausea began as well, with a mouth of what tasted like hot salt water.
(I don’t throw up very easy, takes a LOT to make me. But oh the nausea HURTS!!!)
I made it the 5 ft from the computer over to the futon.
No noise at all in the apartment. I could not take even the heater on, too loud.
I have a neck pillow that I now am in love with - and I put it behind my head.
Gingerly got the blanket I made from Rick’s t-shirts and covered up with it.
And I forced myself to swallow carefully and slowly.
As well as to breathe deeply in and let it out as slow as I could.
At some point, I fell asleep.
A couple of hours later I woke up, cold and shivering, yet feeling hot.
Temp was 98.9 - so that’s ok.
Headache was down to about a 10 at this point.
And most of the nausea had subsided.
I opened a can of cream of chicken soup, heated it and ate it slowly with a few crackers and cheese.
The rest of the day was pretty much spent on the futon until my back was hurting too bad, then set in the desk chair with the heating pad on my back until I felt like I was going to fall out of the chair
- so back to the futon.
Bedtime came early.
Just too exhausted to make it past 9 p.m.
Tuesday I just felt weak and weary.
Did go over to son’s house and help with granddaughter getting connected to the Wi-Fi for remote learning.
- it was good to get out of the apartment, and REALLY good to see them!
Wednesday I was feeling better, but the headache was a dull roar.
Literally a roar that I could hear when the apartment was all quiet.
So, I tried to sit still more than move about.
Grew agitated by the evening, and exhausted.
So bedtime last night came at 8 p.m. - practically unheard of for me, so I knew I wasn’t feeling good.
Today, I felt like taking a shower, hoping the hot water on my head would make it feel better, and that soreness from the headache was gone enough that I could enjoy the shower.
So, at least I am clean now, LOL.
Feeling some pain and pressure when I move certain ways.
Ears are still hurting, especially the left one.
And I feel like there is a band around my head that is tight then loose, then tight again, oh wait, it’s loose.
No - tight.
Today I have worked on the website and blogs, a few emails and chat messages.
Of course the daily Facebook posts and comments - but of course ;)
Just not a lot of movement, and being careful when I do move about.
Not wanting the bad part of it to return!
Tried to take a nap, but the cigarette smoke from neighbor is somehow leeching thru to my apartment, and it is making it more of a challenge to get rid of the migraine and the nausea keeps cycling back around, too.
So, I sat on the futon with my face buried in the blanket of Rick’s t-shirts for most of 2 hours.
I’m sure the cold, rainy weather with wind blowing more hard than not, hasn’t helped any either.
But it is Texas, and it is winter time.
It’s been a doozie of a headache this trip around!
Christmas Eve alone.
Waking up Christmas morning alone and to a bare tree underneath.
New Year’s Eve alone.
Waking up New Year’s Day alone, with no one to say “Happy New Year” to, or back to me.
Spent the rest of Christmas Day with my son and his family.
- so thankful for that time with them.
Spent the rest of New Year’s Day with my son and his family.
- we laughed so much while playing dominoes that night!
My daughter and her kids came down to my son’s house on the day after New Year’s Day.
- oh the hugs for my Marine grandson that I had not seen in a year!
- and the laughter that we enjoyed, and I will hold in treasure to my heart!
I learned something thru this holiday season.
I can survive the alone times, the lonely times.
And while I crave, and need, some alone time - the lonely times make me cry out with sorrow and grief to God.
I also learned that God comforts in ways that we don’t always understand.
- sometimes it is thru a movie watched, or a book that is read
- sometimes it is thru a game of solitaire where the mind is not really occupied
- often thru a meme shared on Facebook
- or a particular Bible verse that comes to mind
- a song that is heard. Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone - by Chris Tomlin - became the mantra for getting me thru those hardest moments of the holidays.
- perhaps a perfectly timed message, just when the tears are falling the hardest and hottest.
- maybe a phone call that is unexpected, but very much welcomed
- even a nap
- listening to the birds singing in the trees
- or watching the snow falling
- catching the glint of the sun off the waters of PK Lake
- watching the wind blow in the trees
God comforts us in ways that we need.
Not always the ways we want.
I want to FEEL Him here with me.
Not just to KNOW that He is here.
I want to FEEL His arms holding me.
I want to FEEL Him breathing on me.
I want to FEEL His heart beating as I lay my head on His chest that I can FEEL.
I want to FEEL Him.
God is sometimes hard to feel because He wants us to know Him by Faith.
I get frustrated with Him over it. lol
- but He's stubborn!
And I know He is right, it's just easier to feel than to have Faith.
I keep trying to get Him to understand that if only I could FEEL Him, then I would have Faith to believe He was there.
And I keep hearing His voice of patience, "Margaret Lee, you know it doesn't work that way." LOL
To which I answer, "Yeah, I know. But You are God and You can do anything - so You could make it work that way!"
And He says, "Don't start with me!" lol
I am also learning to listen more than I talk.
Which has proven to be a hard lesson for me
- because I have always loved to talk. Lol
But there comes a time in life when it’s better to listen
Learning to listen more and talk less with people has helped me to listen more and talk less with God.
And listening creates a learning space in the heart and mind.
Spending a lot of time alone has helped
- maybe that is my “classroom” of learning.
I listen to the music more these days.
Not just the notes, but the lyrics.
I often listen to my play list in the phone .
Whenever I listen to the worship and praise songs, it makes me feel more like I am being held and sang to
- like I used to hold my kids when they were little and I would sing to them until they went to sleep, or when they were just oofie.
And that is a good feeling ... even if it is only in my heart and spirit.
I’m going thru some stuff, working on downsizing my “collections”, lol
Seems I have collected emails, and pictures, and memes
Books on the Kindle, hard copies of books
Files with documents, both on the computer and in boxes
Along with coffee cups (holding on to those with the hope and prayer of perhaps one day having a coffee shop 😉
- it may never happen, but I truly hope it does. Only God can open doors that no one can close, and make the way where there is no way.)
I have also collected clothes, without even meaning to
- some of them I went thru the other day and wondered why on earth I had held on to them! Way past time to let them go!
So, going thru all these things and taking a hard thought look to see what I need, what I want, and what I am going to do with what I decide to keep.
I have decided to make each of our kids and grandkids a quilt for Christmas 2021.
I’m excited and looking forward to watching these quilts take shape
And hoping they enjoy seeing them, as well as using them
I have told them not to expect perfection
- because the quilts are being made by hand, just the way my Momma made her quilts.
But there will be LOTS of thoughts, memories and prayers going into each one.
I started with my own prayer quilt that was made and given to me when I had cancer.
It has some wear on it - because I have used it just about every day for the last 8 years!
So, I took an older blanket that was also showing wear, used it for the filler, and put a back on it.
Pinned it all together and am now quilting it together.
When I finish with this, I am going to put a border around it.
It will make the prayer quilt just a little larger, and will increase the use of it to some degree, too.
Makes me smile remembering what Rick used to say:
“ Honey, I’ve never seen anyone that can use something til it’s done its due, then reuse it, and use it one more time!” lol
So, that is how my 2020 ended, and 2021 has begun
I think the greatest lesson I have learned has been -
God is God over the storms, and I am His.
That absolute knowing
And the Peace that blankets me because of the Truth -
not such a bad way to end a year and start a new one ;) !!!
And it SNOWS!!!
I love snow!
Yes, I know
It tends to make the roads slick to drive on
And it is sometimes treacherous to walk on
I know it’s miserable to have to get out in and go to work
I know how hard it makes it for those who work outside
And what a mess it makes when tracked into the house
Or the horrible slushy mucky mire it is when it starts to melt
But I love snow!
Thru all the years of Rick being grumpy when it would snow -
I still love snow!
I know when it snows I will get “that” phone call from my son -
(He’s like his daddy, you know, lol)
He will complain
And I will laugh
He tells me how crazy I am for loving the snow
And I answer with “It’s so pretty!”
Doesn’t matter if we get a snow once a year, or once a week!
The same snow-call ;)
And yes, I love it!
I love the snow-call more than I love the snow!
So many memories flood my mind on days like this
: living on that acre in the Brinker Community, when we lived in the mobile home on the backside of Rick’s parents’ place
- one year we got so much snow at one time that the kids were able to go out and build a snowman!
- I had hot chocolate ready for them, with extra marshmallows
- potato & broccoli soup cooking with cheese added
- fresh bread baking in the oven
- cookies were on the table
- another “kid” came over and ran our kids thru the snow till they looked like snowmen!
- Rick was not so grumpy that day. But he was hovering over me in the kitchen. A hug. A kiss. A pat on the butt. Sharing a cookie. Teasing. Laughing.
- and all the while old rock and roll playing in the background.
- oh what a wonderful day that was!!!
: living on Dickie Prairie Road out of Molalla OR
- when it snowed there it meant time for the woods!!!
- bundle up, hats, gloves, boots, coats and scarves
- pile into the old truck and lumber up the mountain
- find a grove of trees and take a long walk until our noses were so cold we couldn’t feel them
- pile back into the truck and go to the house
- undo ourselves while we stomped the snow off on the porch
- hot chocolate was made and enjoyed
- and then we would play a game, or watch a movie
- treasured memories of wonderful days!!!
: when Rick was driving a truck and I was his navigator, we found ourselves in New York on a cold & snowy winter’s day
- and since the roads were too bad to be driving, we were on lay-over at a truck stop
- I do not remember the town we were in, but I remember clearly the time with Rick
- just to sit in the warmth of the restaurant and enjoy a meal, no rushing needed or required
- then the snowy walk back to the truck for a nap, a conversation, a little time on the computer or watching a movie
- walk it back to the truck stop and do a little shopping
- 36 hours of laying over in the 12” of snow!
- good times, good times!!!
: then after the kids were grown and on their own with their families, and we lived in the old family house in Brinker Community
- Rick was gone off on the truck delivering milk
- I was at the house alone
- the heaviest snowfall that we had had in years, the winter of 2011
- I kept the wood brought in, and the fires fed
- not so much laughter then, lol
- but Rick was glad to walk into a warm house, with the potato soup ready to eat
- and I was so glad to see him walk in that door, stomping his feet on the back porch, unwinding from the coat, hat and gloves
- I still can feel his cold nose on my warm neck, hear my squeals, and know his arms holding me close.
- oh Rick! I miss you on the snow days.
: and then, when we lived in Homedale, Idaho, in our RV.
- the RV was 8x26 ft. It wasn’t big enough to have everything Rick wanted, lol - so he contracted with a tent maker. And a 10 x 20 ft elk hunting tent was added to our RV. The canopy was removed and the frame for the tent was set in place. The elk tent was then attached to our RV with the snaps and pulled over the frame. The front of the tent was in 3 sections, independent of one another so that we could roll up one or all 3 during the summer. We had a window in one end, and a man door in the other end.
We could open the 2 doors on the RV and it was just a step up into the RV from the tent.
Rick put a camp stove (oven included) in the corner. We put down 3 room size rugs for the flooring. Added a swing that also made a bed, and a chest of drawers.
Rick called it our “redneck double-wide”, lol. When going into the RV he would always say I’m going “upstairs”. LOL
We LOVED the whole set up!!!
The only problem we had with it was when it either rained, or snowed. And the top of the tent, in between the frame, would stretch with the weight of the rain or snow. We would have to take a broom each and work the rain or snow off the roof to the edges so that it would not cave the tent in. It snowed A LOT in Homedale, Idaho. Just saying. LOL
Spring, summer and fall we kept the front sections rolled up more than not, so we had this huge “canopy” that we lived under.
One morning it was 4*, so Rick built a fire in the wood cook stove and went outside the tent to feed our dog. In about 20 minutes it got so hot - 91* - in the RV that I had to call Rick on the phone and ask him to come open the tent door and window to allow some of the heat to go out!
Maybe the reason I love the snow so much is because of the memories.
I can remember when I was a kid growing up, we were poor.
So poor that when it would snow, we didn’t have boots to wear, and our socks were kept for “special occasions” - like church, or for me, school.
Momma and I would put the plastic bread sacks on our feet, then wrap our feet in old towels, and she kept large rubber bands to go around the middle of the foot and the top of the towel on our legs.
Off we would go to the barn.
Hog still needed slopped.
Chickens needed fed.
And cow needed milked.
Besides, we had an outside toilet for day time use, and pee-pots for night time.
There were times that Momma’s heels were so raw and cracked that they left tracks of blood in the snow.
Yes, bleeding so heavily as to soak thru the bread sack and towels.
I used to walk behind Momma crying for her.
But she never uttered a sound.
Often I would try to cover over the bloody tracks so Momma wouldn’t have to see, nor would anyone else.
I remember when we would get the chores done and back in the house, we would undo our feet and hang up the towels for the next time.
I would wash Momma’s towels out while she put water on to heat at the wood stove.
Once the water was warm enough, we would wash our feet
Then I would take a slimy concoction and rub it on Momma’s feet,
Looking up at her, I could see the tears streaming down her face, but never a grunt or groan did she make.
I would then take a warm towel that had been hanging beside the wood stove, wrap it around her feet so that it helped the concoction to soak in.
Momma never complained about a snowy day.
She always made potato soup on those days, and after we ate, before the next set of chores, we would quilt.
Oh the stories she would tell while we sat around the quilting frame!
Before dark set in, it was time to do the chores again.
Even those memories are treasured now.
I learned a lot just watching my Momma live her life.
Snow day memories flood my soul.
3:53 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, 2 days after Christmas 2020. And only 3 days & 20 hours until the beginning of 2021.
Christmas Eve was spent alone.
The first time in MY LIFE that I have been alone on Christmas Eve. It was not horrible, but it wasn't good either. I did a lot of thinking, some praying. Watched a movie, and went to bed early. Didn't sleep worth much, guess my mind and heart were too busy trying to sort thru some emotions. But I guess the important thing to remember is that I survived.
Christmas morning was just as different.
I have spent Christmas Day alone more than once due to Rick working that day. And once, because he and our son decided to go hunting after opening gifts, and our daughter went to a friend's.
But NEVER (again) have I woke up alone on Christmas morning.
NEVER have I drank coffee alone on Christmas morning.
This was the first Christmas that there was not one gift under the tree.
So, yeah. Different - that's a word, right?
I did drink my coffee and wrote in my journal.
Read my Bible and devotionals.
Brushed my hair. Got dressed.
Gathered the things I needed for the day.
And drove over to our son's for Christmas.
Watched the grandkids open their "big" gifts.
We laughed and talked.
Ate some pie. Laughing and talking around the table.
Then, we all went to the corral and watched my son and grandson start a 3 year old colt.
And ... laughed some more.
I had a good day with them. Different, but good.
A good supper of steak, salad, deviled eggs and rolls.
More laughter as stories were told and the BS got deeper by the sentence!
Daughter sent me some priceless pictures thru the day of her and the grandkids.
Marine grandson is in on leave.
I have not gotten to see him yet, due to distance between us, and the sad fact of lack of $$ for fuel for me to get down there.
Hopefully, they will be able to come up here to see her brother and me before time for our Marine to fly back to base, and then to be deployed in February.
It's already been a year since I have seen him, my heart is aching pretty bad now!
After the activities of Christmas Day, I drove back here to the apartment.
Just as I walked in, the sight of the Christmas tree hit me square between the heart and my breath.
A vivid and poignant reminder of just how alone I am most of the time these days.
I put the tree up with a hope (silly, I know) that some how, it would draw some one to come see me HERE.
To come, see the tree, and sit to visit with me here in this apartment.
Seeing it Christmas Day evening, made all the alone hours come crashing down on my memory and mind.
So, I started taking it down.
Packed up all the ornaments.
That about broke my heart - just the thought of it all.
I then decided to wait until the next morning to take the tree itself down.
But the decision was made that unless life changes for me in 2021, there will be no Christmas tree put up next year.
My heart can only handle so much hope deferred.
The tree is down.
Rest of apartment decorations are down as well.
Just the every day stuff remains.
The only tell-tale of Christmas here are a few candy canes that I had bought for anyone who came.
And I still hold on to them in hopes that yet someone will visit.
Yesterday and today have been spent resting my heart, watching movies with meaning, took a nap yesterday (that was refreshing and good), and trying to wrap my mind around what I need to do, or what I want to do, in 2021.
I don't have a firm plan yet, but I know this.
I do not want to be in the same place this time next year.
Oh, being here at the apartment is just fine. As long as God wants me here, He will provide the rent for me. And I have been praying since the first night here that when God is ready for me to move, He will make it as clear to me as though His Hand was writing it on the wall. I don't want to screw up!
But I don't want to be in the same place in my life.
*I know that I want to lose weight, and I am going to work my butt off - literally!
*I know that I want to increase my learning, and I have already signed up for a couple of learning courses.
*I know that I want to continue with this website, not just maintaining it, but adding to it, and figuring out a way to draw an audience to it.
*I'm already working on Christmas gifts for our kids and grandkids for next year. Handmade by Love.
*Down-sizing. I didn't really think I could down size anymore, but in looking around here, in my closet and such, I know there is room to do just that. Let things go.
*It's also time to let some people and memories go. Those that no longer serve the good in me. Those that make me feel much dread and anxiety.
*And it's time to reach beyond myself. Still trying to figure out the "how" on this.
These are NOT New Year Resolutions.
These are LIFE Resolutions.
Already begun, and it's not the New Year, yet.
I am soon to be 60.
In 127 days from today.
I will be 60 years old.
What do I want to be when "I grow up"?
Thinking it's time to not only decide that, but to do it!!!
Christmas Eve 2020
The first time I have been alone in, I guess, 40 years.
That very first Christmas as Rick’s wife.
He had chosen to work a double shift Christmas Day, because that meant better pay - and he was giving those with children the day off to enjoy with their family.
I spent that whole Christmas Day, from the time he left, until just a few minutes before he returned, sitting on the floor in front of the Christmas tree -
- remembering the Christmas time past with daddy and momma
- wondering what our Christmas future would be like
- and crying my heart out for the Christmas that I was enduring
The following year, we had a brand-new baby, less than a month old
And all the next years were spent laughing, baking, cooking, having all those hours shopping & wrapping be torn into in just a matter of minutes with squeals of pleasure, hugs and kisses, movie watching, Christmas light looking, decorating, cleaning ... and a hundred other Christmas activities.
When the kids were grown and were making their own families and memories, Rick and I did Christmas a bit different every year.
But he always made sure I had the tree and decorations, the movies were watched, the drive was taken to look at Christmas lights, cookies were baked, food was cooked.
He made sure there was the Christmas Eve kiss.
- Oh that kiss! I still believe it was one of the BEST of each year!
- I would stand facing the tree. He would come up behind me. Softly move my hair to one side. Wrap his arms around me. Lay his head on my shoulder. We would both take a deep breath, letting it out slowly and softly.
- Then those words, spoken huskily filled with emotion and love, those words that my heart aches to hear even now: “You done good, girl!”
- He would gently turn me towards him. Look deep into my eyes. Like he was searching for some kind of hidden treasure. Then, ever so gently, he would place that wonderful, tender, most perfect, forehead kiss.
- Afterwards, I would turn my head and lay my cheek on his chest. We were wrapped in each other’s arms and time stood still. I never knew how long we stood there like that. But I can tell you now - it was never long enough!
- He would take one hand and stroke my hair. Then, he would tenderly kiss the top of my head.
- His next words always made me giggle. “You smell like cookies and ham! Smells good enough to eat!”
- He would let me go and turn towards the kitchen, with me hot on his heels! “DO NOT cut that ham, Ricky Lee!”
And every year ... he cut the ham on Christmas Eve.
This is the 6th year now that he hasn’t cut the ham ... and I do believe I miss him more than I ever thought I could.
Oh he was something else!!!
So this Christmas Eve, 2020 -
I sit here with a river of tears streaming down my face, as I remember our Christmas Eve kiss
And I am so thankful that Rick was the way he was
He loved God with all his heart and soul
He led me and the kids by example
He made mistakes, he took missteps
He said things he shouldn’t have said
He did some things that he deeply regretted
So, he wasn’t perfect - but perfect for me
He wasn’t perfect - but he was forgiven.
And I am so thankful that he was mine, and I was his.
It’s different being alone
I don’t need the cookies, cakes, or pies - so no baking
- well, I did make 2 pies for my son. His favorite. Jeff Davis Pies.
I have been invited over for a Christmas dinner with my son and his family, so tomorrow I will be with them for a few hours.
- and I know there will be laughter and love, and it will feel good. Different, but good.
But because of this invitation, there is no ham cooking today - which is really ok, Rick was the "ham-aholic" not me. lol
And due to a shortage of money, there have been no presents bought, so none wrapped.
Being alone, also means not a present under my little tree.
Just my memories.
I know that there are many people who are spending this Christmas alone.
Not just Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day as well.
My heart goes to you - and I pray that you will know peace.
For whatever reason that you are alone, my hope is that you know you are not alone
- there are many who are traveling this way with you
- and God is always by your side.
Oh I know, way too often in this life, those words seem just that - words
But I am here to tell you - they are MORE than just words
In these last few weeks especially, I have come to know the very Presence of the Living God in my life.
And while I ache and long for that human touch - just a hug, a forehead kiss ...
I would not trade this Presence even for that.
Cry out to Him - He is listening
And He has an almost magical way of filling your soul with Peace, and your heart with Joy.
Cry out to Him today!
So to all - Merry Christmas!
May you know the Blessings of the Christ child.
After writing and sharing the post about Christmas 2020 and all that I am missing,
I wanted to share this one, it’s kind of like the “flip-side”:
(mostly written several years ago, but again, very relatable to my life today ... perhaps to yours as well)
I am thankful, yes.
But after this year of 2020, I am learning to be thankful to God with the same intensity as that in which I pray and ask for something.
Yes, we are "missing" a lot of THINGS this year ... job, money, Christmas tree and presents and cards, groceries, money to even pay the bills ...
But we are SO BLESSED!!!!!
We have a God and Father who loves us - John 3:16.
We have a Saviour who died for us.
As well as a Spirit who raised Him from the dead and makes Him to live forevermore!
We also have a Spirit who is our Teacher, our Comforter.
We have the Word of God to read, and to draw wisdom, insight, understanding.
- I have learned in a fresh and new way that what was written thousands of years ago has direct meaning to my life today.
*God has given me a good man in my husband.
We have been married for 30 years.
We have seen a lot of good times, and some hard times.
We have enjoyed plenty, and we have endured little.
(we had 34 years, 7 months, 17 days and 11 hours together ... in love from the beginning till the end.
He kept his word - till death do us part.)
*God has blessed me richly in my 2 children.
My "favorite" daughter.
My "favorite" son.
How I love them both!!!
They have given me laughter, and tears.
And they have made my hair grey! LOL
If I could have chosen my children - I would have chosen Angel and Joshua!
*God has opened the windows of heaven and poured a blessing out on me that I cannot contain by giving me 4 precious and "perfect" grandchildren.
They are the wind beneath my wings.
Oh how I love them!
How I thank God daily for them.
*God has blessed us with family - past and present.
Some have gone on ... some are lingering.
But all are blessings.
Some we have seen and been in contact with.
Some are near strangers to us.
But all are blessings.
ROOTS ... that is what we have.
*God has increased our friends ... seems every day either a "new" friend, or a deeper walk with one already, takes place.
*God has brought us food that we did not buy.
*He has given us health that we did not earn.
*He has even made a way for some of the bills to be paid.
With money that we didn't have a job to work for.
It is so easy to get our eyes on what we do not have ...
and so much harder to stay focused on what we are blessed to have!
Open our hearts Lord.
Open our eyes.
May we see the blessings you have poured out on us.
May we never take them for granted again.
"The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!!"
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us
Some have endured the Covid-19, suffering thru the symptoms, and surviving
Sadly, many have not survived, and our hearts are hurting as there are more empty chairs around the tables
Due to the Covid-19, there are many who are in quarantine/isolation and will not be gathering with their loved ones
There are those who have been laid-off work because of the down turn in the economy, thanks again to Covid-19
The business owners who have had to close their businesses, not just for a time, but for all time, due to Covid-19
I realize that not all problems are as a direct, or even indirect, result to Covid-19, but for this Christmas of 2020, it sure feels like it.
I wrote this several years ago, but it applies even more to my life this year
And after reading a lot of social media posts, comments and talking to some thru messages,
Well, I think there are many, too many, who can relate - at least to some of what I wrote then:
I have changed in all of this – and I hope for the better.
~I don’t think I will ever complain again about how crowded the stores are, how crazy it all gets at the holidays.
This has been such a still and quiet year for me.
No baking – no grocery shopping.
No presents – no shopping, no wrapping.
I have been so caught up in it all for all these years … now this.
I heard last night – “You don’t know what you miss until you lose it all.”
How true that is!!!
~I miss buying groceries – making a list, finding a parking space, walking into a busy and noisy store, even the feel of a grocery cart under my hands.
Walking down the aisles, seeing the products – trying to make wise choices, finding the best buys.
Even waiting in line to check out.
Then, the drive home – wondering how well I really did … did I get anything we didn’t need?
Did I “beat the system”? LOL
Getting home, unloading the truck, unpacking and putting away the groceries.
That feel that comes with knowing that we will eat for the next however long till it is time to do it all over again.
And just knowing that all the ingredients to a wonderful Christmas celebration meal just waits for the cooking.
Tired, accomplished, satisfied … and not knowing what to cook for dinner!!! LOL
~I miss buying the Christmas presents.
Walking into the stores with little or no idea of what to buy.
Only a list of those to buy for.
Trying to match gifts to the desires and personalities of those on my heart and list.
Bringing them home, wrapping the presents and imagining the look on their faces when they open them.
~I miss the smell of baking in the house.
Cookies. Cakes. Pies.
I miss the mess in my kitchen!
I miss being covered in the spills and splatters.
I miss going to bed exhausted but knowing that my heart and love has been poured out for that day.
I miss having the joy of giving it all away – in my home, or to some one else’s home.
~I miss the expectation, the anticipation, the preparations for the get togethers.
Trying to figure out what to cook … what to wear … balancing the time to get it all ready and be there on time and in the right spirit and mood.
~I miss a Christmas tree.
Getting it put up … the ornaments unpacked – and all the memories that come with them of past Christmases.
Dressing the tree.
Then standing back and looking when the lights are first turned on.
I even miss being tired of the tree and taking it down, packing it away with all the memories of this year.
~We have received some Christmas cards, and with the joy of getting them there is also a pain in my heart –
knowing that I cannot sign a card, cannot mail a card.
No cards, no stamps, no money.
~I miss those that will not be with us this year.
Those that we have said that final earthly good-bye to
Those that remind me yet again why I do not like to say “good-bye”
To see the empty chairs
To see no presents with their name on them
To hold a card neither addressed to them, nor from them
Yes, there are many things that we have “lost” this year that I miss.
And I pray with all my heart that when they are returned to us, that I will do better with them than I ever have in my life!
Not to complain as much.
Not to take them for granted.
Just to enjoy and relish every moment of LIFE and those that we LIVE it with!
God, here we are, full circle again ;)
Where it all begins -
I am Your woman,
And Rick’s widow
Living this life
A heart’s desire to do better, to be better
But with the reality of my life seeming to be like the movie Groundhog Day
Over and over and over
Not really growing
Not really changing
But not going backwards either
Just here - always “ok”
Nothing majorly wrong
But not a lot whole lot right, either
With the whole ALONE thing screaming at me constantly
God, I want to pull myself up - but it’s hard.
- just as hard as it would be to reach down and grab hold of my boots, then lift myself off the floor, both feet at the same time
God, I sit here this morning with the realization yet again -
- I am Alone.
- I have no one to call
- no one to be accountable to
- no friend to reach out for when my heart is hurting
- no one to listen to my heart, my mind, when the thoughts, the ideas, the dreams, and the memories assail me from every side
- no manual for living this life
- no one to help me navigate these waters
It’s a lonesome feeling, God
God, I know You have me,
And I have You
You are holding me
You are guiding me
But sometimes I miss the steps, and I don’t make it right
I question what I hear in my head - is it You? Or is it me?
Yes, there’s a lot of information in our world, most of it accessible by the Internet
- but how much of it applies to me?
- how much of it is real?
- how much of it is solid truth? Even from those who declare they are Christians
God, I need YOU to show me the way thru all of this
- I’ve never walked in a mine field, but I have seen TV shows and movies where people did
- and this is what I imagine it feeling like
- believing in getting to the other side
- but not sure
- with every word spoken, is it too loud, will it vibrate the earth too much under my feet?
- with every step taken, is it too hard, will my foot land on an explosive mine?
- with every thing done, God, is this the one mistake away from You leaving me this way?
God, will You help me, please.
In Jesus’ Name
Thank You, God, for loving me completely, understanding me fully
I love You!!!
Blessed be Your Name!!!
El ha-Gibbor - God the Hero, God the Strong, God the Warrior
El Shaddai - Lord God Almighty, the All-Sufficient One
Migdal Oz - Strong Tower, my Stronghold
God, every area of my life, every point of prayer
It all seems to begin, and end, making that full circle
Around being Rick’s widow, and Your woman.
I can thank You for sparing Rick this year of 2020,
- I know him good enough to know that all of this would have driven him crazy!
I can thank You for what You have done in my life, living this alone
- I have seen Your hand in my life, and felt Your comfort in ways that makes it hard to describe
I can thank You for the healing of my hurt and my heart that you are doing,
- now knowing that the ultimate healing will only be when I get there with Y’all
And I thank You that healing in any degree does not mean our love never existed, or that it died with Rick.
On that thought - “healing does not mean our love never existed”:
I talk to a lot of widows and widowers, and I hear the questions and the ache within their hearts, time over again.
So between my own experiences, and those shared with me, it all got me to thinking of a badly mangled/broken leg:
- how as it heals it progresses from a cast to a brace to a wrap to then nothing is needed for support
- and the person moves from a wheelchair to a walker to crutches to a cane to just walking on their own
- then begins the rehab time, of strengthening the muscles that have not been used during the healing
- and once that is complete, perhaps it looks and responds as though nothing happened ... but let the weather change, and the person is reminded of the injury
- or perhaps it healed, but leaves a limp in the walk, a different way to get dressed or move about
How we all accept it, whether it happens to us, to our loved ones, even to our fur-babies, or the animals under our care
- we don’t rush the healing
- we don’t beat them about with our words to hurry up and get well
- we listen as they recount their injury, time and time again, so often that sometimes it is though we are feeling the injury in our own bodies
- we pray for them for however long it takes to move along the healing journey
- and when the healing is complete, we do not tell them move on and forget that it ever happened
- nor do we deny, or insist that they live as though, the injury never took place
- we do not insist that they no longer speak of the injury or the healing
- we do not ask them to give the performance of a lifetime as though they had never been thru the injury and the healing
- we actually expect it to change them, mentally, emotionally, physically, even spiritually
But, wait! Isn’t that a picture of grief as a widow?
We are walking just fine, living life, loving one another, laughing and planning
And then BAM! Death happens to one.
The other is left broken, mangled.
- there is no cast or brace or wrap to put around a broken heart
- and even if there was? It could not be seen by anyone else
- we progress in our healing, but again, it’s not seen by others around us, except perhaps in our actions or words
- we must “rehab” ourselves, learning to love again, learning to laugh, learning to live
- we have to teach ourselves to be just “one”, not a “we” or an “us”
- we learn lessons that we never knew existed
- taking and passing, sometimes failing, tests that we didn’t study for
- hobbling around trying not to upset anyone with our tears
I know that people cannot truly understand without the experience
- and not one of us as a widow, or widower, wants anyone else to experience the nightmare that we are living and learning our way thru
- but just as people show compassion on those who have an injured leg, without having an injured leg themselves
My one question is: Where is the compassion, the understanding that compassion brings, for the widow?
- why are we told that all the firsts happen in that first year, so after that very first angel-versary, things are easier?
It has been 5 years & 7 months for me, and still I face FIRSTS time after time after time ... alone
- why are we told to “get over it” when it has been 2 years or 5 or 10 or 20? What difference does time make when it’s your heart that is broken?
- why are we told to “just get a life” when we are struggling to just breathe, to live? When our “life” was torn from us, and the wreckage that remains is shattered beyond what we can comprehend.
- why are we pressed into another relationship when we still are so attached to the one just ripped from our hearts? If there is to be another relationship, we need space (and just for the record? There is NO time for grief, it’s just a word) to accept what has happened, to give our hearts and souls the chance to breathe deeply of life once more, to convince ourselves that it is “OK” to be alive.
I do not want anyone else to know this by experiential knowledge.
I know they will.
Simply because death is a part of life.
The real sucky part!
But there is so much in life that we have no experiential knowledge about,
yet we are compassionate, caring,
reaching out a hand to help someone up from the pit of muck and mire that life throws them into.
- has your heart been touched by a starving child that you have seen on a TV commercial?
- have you ever given money, time or supplies to a disaster relief fund?
- have you ever given toys to a Christmas project, even though you did not know a child involved?
- have you ever prayed for an accident victim that you heard about, or read about?
- have you ever reached out and opened a door for someone struggling?
- the questions are a thousand or more of the kindnesses you have done, the patience you have shown, the love you have given, the mercy you have shown.
And yet, have you ever thought -
- goodness it has been 3 years since her husband died, why isn’t she dating again?
- oh my word! It’s been 10 years since his wife died, and he still misses her?
- really? She has been a widow for 5 years and she’s still alone? She still can’t figure out how to do things for herself, such as work on a vehicle, change a light bulb, etc ...
We have all lost someone close to our heart.
A dad. Mom. Brother. Sister. Uncle. Aunt. Child. Cousin. Friend. Co-worker.
Do you still miss them?
How long has it been since they died?
If they have been gone over 1 year, have you forgotten about them?
Do you ever wish you could pick up the phone and call them just one more time, to tell them a stupid joke, to share good news (or bad)?
Do you think about them when you eat their favorite foods?
Or when you go somewhere without them, that you went with them?
We all show comfort and compassion to one another for this type of grief.
But we so often fail to extend the comfort, the care, the compassion, to widows and widowers.
We just want them to "get it fixed".
God, life moves forward
And I am forever changed
But that’s not a bad thing, right?
I am different now alone than I was with Rick
And isn’t that the way it should be?
That Rick’s absence makes a difference in me -
- doesn’t that prove that his presence made a difference too?
For I have heard it said many times, mostly speaking from the point of view of a break up:
- If my absence makes no difference in Your life, then neither did my presence.
So why should I be beaten about for being different now?
And why am I told time and time again what to do, how to do it?
- not in a way that is encouraging or inspiring
- but in a way that, at least seems, to come from a point of frustration from those saying it
**Rick, I’m going to make it.
I miss You like crazy.
And I love You with all my heart.
Please do not let go of my left hand
God holds my right hand
I am held on both sides!
Walk me thru this life
And wait for this woman of yours ;)
I’ll be there
But I have a job to do here first.
A thousand years is as a day unto the Lord
And there is no time where You are -
So, in Your world, I’ll see You soon
In my world?
God hasn’t told me yet ;)
I love You Rick
Oh how I love You
I am sorry for all the mistakes and missteps I have done these 5 years & 7 months.
- I really hope You will forgive me, and still long to take me in Your arms when I get there.
- please, forgive me and do not push me away. I could not bear it.
Oh Rick, I am sorry. I screwed up! When I lost You, I lost my anchor for a while.
- And I didn’t mean to put all that on You in the first place!
- You were just so strong and good to me
- You loved me with a passion
- And You were so easy to get wrapped up in!
I have a new anchor now - Jesus
- learning to live this life without You, Rick, has been a challenge
- and to be honest? I still don’t like it!
- I much prefer being Your wife, instead of Your widow!!!
But I am trying now to only Honor God with all that I am, with all that I have - and with all that I am not, all that I don’t have.
- Trusting Him to carry me thru these storms
- After all, He is the God of the storms, and I am His.
Rick, if You can, love me loud today.
I have learned a lot about me, especially in these last 90 days.
I know now, I’m ok with just being me, Your widow, and God’s woman ;)
Whatever He wants to do with me,
Or in my life.
I love You honey.
And I will never stop missing You, or wishing for life with you.
Always and forever.
To infinity and beyond!!!
Several weeks ago, I began a new tradition for me.
On Sundays I will only allow myself to watch inspirational movies.
I am limited on the movies I have at this time, so I find myself watching the ones I do have over and over again.
Each time I watch one over again, I catch something I didn’t before.
I learn a new lesson.
It was that way tonight.
I watched “Amazing Grace”, again.
From the first time I saw it, years ago with Rick, it became one near to my heart.
William Wilberforce’s dedication and commitment, his passion for what was right, against the evil and wrongs in his world.
Tonight the message to my heart was a reminder that:
Yes! One person CAN change the world!
One person with PASSION!
One person with God on his/her side.
One person who is willing to step out and lead.
So often I have been told to be quiet, to settle myself down
To keep my passions quiet
To act like a good-sensed woman!
However, God has been speaking to my heart, especially of late, about passion
There is a time to be still, be quiet - and that is before God in prayer, listening as He reads His Word into our hearts
My focal reading the last 3 months has been the book of Isaiah
And as I only have one chapter left to read in the morning, I know that God has indeed changed my heart from the reading
This movie tonight has solidified within my spirit the change,
That I have heard the Voice of God these 3 months
That I am where I am supposed to be
And that He is leading me to use my voice (perhaps my writings) for His honor
I do not know the plans God has for me, for my life
But that’s ok -
Because I know Him, and He knows the plans
So I rest in His promises
And I trust in His Amazing Grace
This is Sunday, the first day of Thanksgiving week ... this year, also the first day of Rick and Mandy’s birthday week.
When Rick and I got married, he told me that he was not a “big holiday person”.
He wasn’t a “Bah-hum-bug”, but he just wasn’t into the commercialization of the holidays.
But he told me that I could do whatever I wanted for any of the holidays, or for none of them.
That he would help - and taste ;) ,
and that he would make sure I had the money and resources to do whatever I could dream up.
He was absolutely true to his word.
We decided together that Thanksgiving would be an open door to anyone who wanted to come,
and that we would invite - “the more, the merrier”!
And that Christmas would be our little family day, we would not go anywhere.
It would just be a quiet day at the house.
If someone wanted to come over, they were more than welcome to, but we would not have a big cooking day.
We also decided that instead of celebrating birthdays just on the day of birth,
we would celebrate the whole week that the birthday was in for that year.
The only “holidays” that Rick truly celebrated was May 3, in his words, “The birth day of my Beloved”;
and September 5, the day of “his greatest gift besides his salvation” - our wedding anniversary.
He nearly always managed to be off work on both of those days, often taking a day of vacation.
We never had a lot of money,
but we were both creative and somehow always managed to buy the kids presents, decorate the house,
and have the food we chose for that year.
My memories are working over time today.
Remembering all those years together.
The different menus.
The baking, and how he loved to lick the beaters and bowl.
Then as the kids got old enough, they wanted to help -
so there was plenty of laughter in “helping” clean the bowl!
The music playing in the kitchen.
How he would come up behind me, wrap his arms around my waist and dance to the music.
- I at first thought it was so sweet, but I quickly found out that it was his way of sneaking a bite! Lol
The look on his face when I would scoop him out a taste of whatever I was cooking and hand it to him.
The smile and the “mmmmm...that’s good!”
The long walks we would find the time to take on a back country road,
or if the weather didn’t permit a walk, the long country drive -
- just to get me out of the kitchen for a little while.
The smell of cleaners as we worked together to get the house ready for our guests.
And that moment when all the baking was done,
the dinner was ready,
and I would step outside to the porch for a breath of fresh air -
- he would wait a few minutes letting me breathe and get centered ...
Then he would come up beside me.
Put his arm around me.
Pull me close to him.
The sweetest and most tender forehead kiss.
And with a husky voice filled with emotion: “You done good, girl.”
I would look up into his eyes,
and see nothing but pure love and acceptance there.
God in Heaven - I miss that man!
I miss everything about our life together.
But this day, on this first day of this week?
I didn’t think I could miss him more ...
But. I. Do.
I love you Rick.
Thank you for these memories.
I read these words of a prayer the other day,
Words that came across my Facebook feed -
From Janene thru www.awidowsmight.org
They spoke volumes to my spirit when I first read them,
And since that first reading, they have become a prayer from the depths of my being
Lord God, Savior and Shepherd to my broken heart,
I am found in You but feel lost in this world.
It is altered by a single absence - my husband, my love.
How could I be ready?
There is no readiness for the amputation of two made one in marriage,
the knife of death in this life
and the grasping for hope in the aftermath.
I lean into You in the boat in which You have me.
You carry me forward.
You care for me.
Your compassion surrounds me and I am swaddled as Your child.
You look ahead for me.
You know the thoughts and treasured love behind every tear that drops.
I am fully understood and completely loved.
I am secure.
I am Yours.
The lost that I am continues these 5 years 7 months after Rick died
Complicated grief is what I have been “labeled” with
Every one processes grief in a different way, at a different pace -
Just as everyone had a different love story, and depth of love
I have tried to stay around people more than to withdraw and isolate myself
(although I must admit that the isolation has been more since moving into this apartment, for one reason or another)
Couples have been a painful reminder that I am not one any longer
- but I am learning to smile as they hold hands, or give that knowing look to one another
The struggles of raising kids serves to remind me that my nest is empty
- but I am learning to rejoice in the memories of those sweet days, and to enjoy the blessings they are enjoying now ;) lol
The voices and busy-ness of life when around people tends to drown out the cries of my own sorrow and sadness
- and selfishly? I have let it.
But now, living alone -
And being alone more hours each day, more days each week, more weeks each month ...
That has brought about a change in the grief
It has made me face the fears
Listen to the sorrows
Acknowledge the anger, the hurt, the frustrations
Look deep into the eyes of worry
Question how am I going to handle this life - alone
So many questions
Not enough answers
There has been a letting go of those I have held on to
They have their lives
I need to find mine
I think the thoughts that wander and wonder have been some of the greatest struggles in this quietness, so far at least
Those that take me to a time past
- forcing me to admit that there is nothing more I can do about the regrets I must bear
- leading me to believe that God knew my stupidity when He created me, and when He called me. So, nothing has caught Him by surprise, nor shocked Him.
And more especially those that take me into an unknown future
- where the song, “Trust In Jesus” takes on a much deeper meaning and comfort than I can explain
- it’s ALL I can do
Oh I’m still lost
But my roots are going down into His Mighty Name with every passing day and night
His Promise is that He will not break a bruised reed
And bruised I am
But He knows that
He is God over all these storms in my life
And I am His.
So, when it’s all been said, or written, it’s just that simple -
I. AM. HIS.
I. AM. HIS.
I. AM. HIS.
So what shall I do?
The next thing
Whatever is in front of me
The next thing
Laying down the burdens of this life
So that I may go undistracted into the night, and then the day -
Listening to His voice as He sings over me, quieting me with His Love
Feeling His arms around me, holding me - just holding me
Smelling His coffee and sugar cookies ... cause that’s what I believe God smells like. ☺
And that makes me smile -
When nothing else can
That makes me smile
Thank You God for understanding me completely ... and loving me anyway
You sure have Your hands full with me, don’t You?
I love You.
All for Jesus
I watched The War Room again a few evenings ago.
If you have not seen this movie - PLEASE! Watch it.
But I offer this warning: It will change your life.
Lord only knows how much we ALL need our lives changed in these days.
My take away with this watching:
- I wrestle not against flesh and blood ... not even against my own.
I never once thought about it like that.
I have prayed that verse in the Bible for years - reminding myself, reminding others
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood”
But not once have I prayed that verse over my own life, for ME
- I wrestle not against my own flesh or blood
God, the battle is Yours
For my mind, my thoughts
My body, my very life
The Victory in the Battle belongs to You, God
Just like I do
Teach me Your ways to pray over me
Teach me Your ways to live this life
Rising above the circumstances that life has placed me in
- a widow, alone
God, teach me how to let You love me dearly
And teach me how to love myself - like You do
So that I may learn to love others the way You already do
God, you know the thoughts that I have wrestled with for oh so long
- some for longer than Rick has been gone. Those were the ones that only You and he knew about.
- others I have shared in the words of my blog, and at different times with others
- and then there are those kept in darkness and secret, that only I know ... well, You and I.
God, I am oh so tired and weary of the struggles
There is nothing good in me, of my own self
Galatians 6:14 - May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
The only good in me is You, God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But no where in Your Word does it tell me to beat myself up - on any level
God, You have forgiven me of my sin
How can I do less?
Romans 6:1 - 2 - What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
This is true repentance
And it is a gift of God’s Amazing Grace
With the Faith You have given to me, I accept the gift of repentance
Teach me Your ways to live it out in my day to day life
Teach me Your ways of Honoring You with every word I speak, every move I make, and every breath I take
God, I love You.
Oh how I love You.
In Jesus’ Name
And for Your Praise
I had these words printed and they now are on the wall in front of my computer -
So as I sit here writing, I can raise my eyes and see them
“A day will come when the story inside you will want to breathe on its own. That’s when you’ll start writing.”
I cannot remember a time when I did not write
As a kid growing up, I was always writing - mostly poetry at that time
I gave almost all my poems to our pastor, Bro. John.
Not long ago, I saw Bro. John.
After hugs, he told me that he still had all those poems.
And that one day soon, he was going to have them all printed and bound into a book.
What amazed me the most was that he had kept them all these years!
One of my poems was published in a book of poetry in the UK several years ago.
After Rick and I got married, I wrote in bound journals.
I wrote poems, stories, thoughts and ideas
I wrote as I studied the Bible, things that were just “wow” to me.
Many of those I read out loud to Rick as we sat over coffee in the mornings
He asked me to write a book
Just a book of all these thoughts and emotions, as well as memories
He would often tease me, saying, “Are you working on that book? I’m ready to retire and ride my Harley!”
He was convinced, or so it seemed, that I could write a book, sell enough copies to buy him a brand-new aqua blue and white Harley Soft-tail.
When we lived & he worked in Idaho, he bought me a website to write in -
Simply because 1. It was easier to keep family and friends updated as to where we were and what we were doing; and 2. We were living in a small RV and did not have a lot of room for storage of all my journals.
So, www.kamelotrose.com was born - the thought of my Sweetheart.
I had no idea how to create a website, much less what to call it.
Rick worked with me on it. We bounced around ideas and thoughts for days.
Then, one morning we were sitting there over coffee and he said,
“I know what to domain to use for your website.”
I just looked at him, and waited.
“kamelotrose”, he said
When I asked him why, his answer made soft tears in my eyes, and they found their way down my cheeks. He stood up, came over to me, lifted my face, and kissed those tears.
“Kamelot - because you not only love King Arthur so much, but you have the heart of Camelot. Rose - because you love roses, your Momma’s middle name is “Rosie”, and you my love - you are my precious Rose.”
The name of my website has often changed, depending on where we were, and what we were doing.
Currently it is titled with “Coffee Love” - which I do not think is hard to figure out, lol!
My little website has grown in these years since that day.
I have many pages, and several sections.
Lately, I have been tweaking it.
Sometimes taking things away.
Sometimes adding other ideas and areas.
I will continue to do this - even more in these days to come.
Every day that I open my editor, I ask God for the wisdom and creativity to work on this.
- that the words of my mouth and fingers, as well as the meditations of my heart, will please Him and honor Him, my Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
When we first began the website, it was a way to share stories and pictures of where we were
Then it became a way to share the stories and life of our kids and grandkids
When our health began to change, Rick came to me one day and said,
“I want you to get out of your comfort zone with your blog. I want you to share our good days, our bad days, and all the days in-between. Be brutally honest. Perhaps just one person will be helped in some way.”
So as difficult as it was, I did as Rick requested.
Some people said I shared too much. That I was too honest. But to every one of those comments, Rick would answer for me. Defending me. Standing behind me. Always having my back.
After Rick died, it was hard to write in it at all, or do anything to it.
Rick was my reader. Everything I wrote. Everything I did.
He would look at the website. He would read my writings.
And he was the one to stand for me, when others came against me.
When he was no longer here to do that, it became almost impossible for me to write.
Yet, just a month before he died, he had pulled me into his arms and made me promise to keep on writing, no matter what.
I remember his every word, just as though he had said them this morning:
“Honey, I believe in you. I believe in your ability, talent and gift to write. I want you to promise me that you will keep writing, no matter what. If just one person can be helped, or encouraged ... or just one person can read of our struggles and trials and be inspired to make the changes needed, thereby being spared our fate - then all of this will not have been in vain. We will go thru a lot between now and my final breath. Then you will go thru a lot more without me here. I want you to continue to be brutally honest, sharing your thoughts and feelings, the good days and the bad nights. Be real! Be YOU! Promise me that you will not stop writing.”
With many tears I promised him.
And every day that I did not write, I felt the weight of that promise.
I came back to the website, and I wrote some.
I wrote about being a widow.
I cried a river of tears with some of those writings.
Then I began to share some of our memories, stories of Ricky Lee & our life, our love.
Still I struggled with the writing
- just because he was not here to read the words
And then, I found these words that are printed and on my wall ...
I realized the truth of those words
And how that the story in me is breathing
Gasping for air
Wanting so much to breathe on its own
I’m finding my way to let the story write itself
I would rather ride the waves of life
Than to know those extreme highs and lows
Give me the waves any day
Momma taught me to be thankful
To always have the attitude: it’s better than nothing!
Life in the extremes is a hard way to live
But as long as we have ups and downs?
We know we are breathing, alive
Think about the EKG’s that show the ups and downs of our heart beating
Ask your doctor what extreme ups and downs mean to the heart
Even physically it is so much better, easier on the heart and body, to go with the waves
How many times have I been told in these 5+ years since Rick died that I need to:
- not wallow in the grief
- not be so down
- stop being so discouraging with my words
- smile more
- cry less
- think positive
- and the comments go on ... and on ... and on
No one, much less a widow or widower, can live at all times on the mountain tops
I remember Rick preaching about this very thing - often
And he would ask what kind of growth is on the mountain tops?
Not a lot.
Take a good look at a mountain - not a hill, but a mountain
But then, look at the valleys that surround that mountain
The lush & green growth
Some of the best soil in the land is at the base of a mountain, in the valley!
That’s where we grow - in the valleys
We can go to the mountain tops ever so often, but even experienced climbers will tell you, you don’t want to go to the mountain top often - it’s hard on the body!
Now, look at the rolling hills in our land
There is growth on the hills and in the lower places
I want to ride the waves, the hills, the lower places, in this life
To be able to grow as I need to
I enjoy the mountain top experiences of life as much as anyone else does
But the waves ... that’s where my heart and life are, that’s where I want to live!
So to anyone who feels led to say, “don’t be sad” ... that’s in my lower moments - I will be sad!
I will spend those moments being sad at all that I have lost
I will spend those moments being sad to not have my Sweetheart here with me now
I will spend those moments breathing in the sadness
Knowing that there is a hill ahead of me, a rise to make
And rise I will
I will rise above the sadness, the loneliness, the storms of life
Then, I will dip back into them again
I choose to ride the waves!
To experience every high, and every low
To gather and glean all the learning and growing that I can in each moment
Do not deprive me of this
If you don’t want to ride your waves, that’s your choice
- but try to find growth and life on the mountain tops!
- try to keep your breath, and your heart pumping up there
I don’t judge you
I just know for me I can’t live on the mountain top
And if you can’t handle me on the waves?
Have a good life without me -
I will have a good one with me!
In these 5 + years since Rick died,
I have talked to many widows and widowers
We all have our unique “worst times” of the day and night
For me, my worst day time is between 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
The whole evening is lonesome
But those 3 hours
I guess because that was always when I was finishing up my day and getting ready for Rick to be home
Oh I know that many say, “After 5+ years you ought to be used to it by now!”
After 35 years of looking forward to him coming in the door between 4 - 7 p.m.?
5 years and a few months is not enough time to stop the thoughts and emotions tied into those hours
Especially now that I am living alone
The worst night time is between 1 a.m. - 4 a.m.
Going to sleep isn’t all that difficult, most nights
Staying asleep, that’s a different story
I have woken up around 1 a.m. for as long as I can remember -
- either to check on one of the kids when they were growing up
- or to check on Rick after his health turned and we were doing home dialysis
- and if insomnia is going to hit me, it will be somewhere in those hours
- even as a kid myself, my wake up time was around 4 a.m. because of chores that needed done before school
But in all the years of being married to Rick,
Whenever I would wake up in those hours, those were the sweetest times with him
He would wake up and sleepily ask if I was ok
Then he would stretch out his arms and tell me to come lay back down
He would take his other arm, and wrap it over me -
Then holding me in this soft and gentle bear hug
I would lay my face against his hairy chest
Feel his beard on the top of my head
And without fail,
He would give me a forehead kiss and say,
“Do you know I love you?”
Then he would begin to breathe that deep sleep breathing
Sometimes I would go back to sleep
Often, I would lay there for a long time, just feeling him holding me
Smelling deeply of him
Listening to his breathing
And I would thank God for allowing me to be his wife
So now, even after 5+ years, my mind and heart still wake me up in those hours
Only now, I wake up to emptiness and aloneness
Every widow or widower has their own times that are the worst
These are mine
Bittersweet moments frozen in my memories
Gentle smiles and soft tears
It’s my life
A year ago I was in Kentucky
Begging for someone to remain in my life
Wanting to be loved, and accepted, just for who I was, just as I was
Supported and encouraged to grow and to be better, stronger
It was a mistake
The worst mistake of my life
When I went to Kentucky, I honestly thought I was doing what was best for everyone
- including me
Rick had died a year before
The kids and grandkids seemed to be doing good - at least a LOT better than I was!
Their lives were moving forward
My life was in shambles and pieces
And I had no knowledge of how to pick all of it up and make something out of it
I was lost
Going to Kentucky was intended as a time of giving the kids and grandkids a break from my grief and tears,
As well as a time of something new and different to me
A time of helping a friend who was in a difficult position as well
The intentions were for about 6 weeks
Life got in the way
And those 6 weeks turned into 3 1/2 years
Years without seeing my children or grandchildren
Years of losing one family member after another, and no way to get back to Texas for the funerals
Years of struggling to keep it all together
So many times I almost called my children to come rescue me
But I was raised, and had raised our kids with Rick, that once “you make your bed, you lie in it”
You rescue yourself
3 years, 7 months and 18 days ... and I rescued myself
I cried torrents of tears from Paris KY to Lebanon TN
By the time I reached my confidant, I was exhausted and empty
An early supper
And an early bedtime
A hot shower the next morning and that sweet drive to Texas
Renewed faith building with every mile closer to my beloved Texas
Crossing into Texas was the greatest blessing of those 3+ years
I knew that it would be difficult to come back
And to try and pick up the pieces of a broken life
It has been all that I thought it would be
Laughter, and tears
Good times, and stressful moments
And a LOT of hours for me to reflect, to think, to pray
To dig deep into my heart and mind
And trying to keep myself breathing in the present
The greatest mistake of my life was in going to Kentucky
It will be a regret that I will carry to the grave with me
I am thankful for the people that I met along the way, one in particular
Bill has been the one constant in my life these last years
Whether I was there in KY, or back here in TX -
He has been my confidant, my friend
I will forever treasure that man!
I find myself gravitating to movies, shows, and stories about people who made grave mistakes and have come back from those mistakes
I pray every day to take another step away from my mistakes
Reminding myself that God has forgiven me, and that I am not greater than Him - so I confess forgiveness to myself
Many years ago, God showed something to Rick and I about forgiveness.
It’s a lot like getting grungy with working, you know when you are sweaty, stinky, grimy and just plain dirty
You come in, strip off, and step into a shower
Oh how good that water feels, and how sweet the soap and shampoo feels
You lather up and then just relax, letting the water wash it all away, take it down the drain
You don’t argue with the soap and water
You don’t fight against it
You don’t try and hold onto the grime because you aren’t worthy of being clean
How many times do we do just that with God and His gracious forgiveness?
We hold onto our mistakes, our failures, our sin -
Fighting against His grace and forgiveness
Because we aren’t worthy to be clean.
Just let it go
Easier said than done I am finding out
The ghosts of those 3+ years haunt me ... no! Torment me!
I think of all that I missed with my children and grandchildren
I think of all that I missed with my sister now gone
I think of not being here with family when other family died
I think of all the advice, wisdom, and counsel, I received telling me to not go, to not stay ... and how I dismissed all of those words
God, forgive me of my sin!
God, forgive me of my grave mistakes!
And help me to forgive myself
May others forgive me in time.
I do not have all the answers to my life yet
But I know God is working in me, and perhaps even thru me at times
Life is hard -
And it’s more harder when you’re stupid
I was stupid
I pray to never fall stupid again.
Years of counting the hours before Rick gets home is a habit proving hard to break
after 5 1/2 yrs of him not coming home
and after less than a month of me living alone
My mind still thinks in terms of 5 p.m. being the “cut off” time to do anything
That it is time to put things away for the day
Look forward with expectation to an evening of conversation
yet for me, it’s not
at this point in my life I have no “time”
days follow the nights
nights follow the days
the only difference is whether I can see outside when I look out the window or not
Until I get a job to work away from the house, there really is no time
I wonder if there will be a job for me
There are limitations to how much I can work - due to the widow benefits
There are limitations from my body as to what I can do
No longer am I able to kneel, or squat
- a knee that is pretty much blown just doesn’t work that way
No longer can I lift 50 pounds or more, and certainly not repeatedly
- a shoulder and hand that doesn’t cooperate in those terms any longer rules over the desires
I do not see well enough at night to do much driving after dark , blasted astigmatisms
- in case of an emergency I can and will drive even after dark
I haven’t been in the work force much in my life
- being Rick’s wife, the mother of his children, the keeper of his home ... that was my career and I loved every minute of it!
- working with him thru the years in his jobs, doing all I could to support and encourage him, even to going with him helping him
- worked for a short time (without pay) as the ‘unofficial’ office manager in KY
- worked for the Census, really sad that that job is only every 10 years!
Oh I know what I can do
What I would bring to the table of a job
I know my value and my worth
But in the eyes of employment
I am not a “hire-able” candidate
Not one who is highly sought after
59 years old, and only able to work part-time
And with limitations
I understand that few companies (if any) will want to invest time and money into training me -
- because they look at the bottom dollar: what will be the return on their investment
- if they hire and train someone who is under 30 years old, no matter their limitations, or experience - they have the potential of getting 30 years of work from them as a return
- if they hire and train me, well ... they know at the best they are looking at maybe 10-15 years return.
I have started the search for something to do from the apartment - online perhaps
- the scams over-run everything!
- I know there are legit work at home jobs, especially with Covid-19 this year. But trying to wade thru the searches and find one is proving a headache of monstrous proportions!
- I’m to giving up though! Too stubborn for that!
But until something comes along that requires a clock
There just is no time for me
It’s weird actually.
I sit here and wonder how long it will take to re-wire my brain with these thoughts and realizations
Rick, I always tried to appreciate the time you gave me in the evenings -
- our conversations before supper
- our conversations after, while we cleaned up the kitchen, or sat in the porch swing, or perhaps while we walked
- the times we discussed TV shows we were watching
- or had a lively talk over a movie we just saw
- but never have I appreciated all those times with you as much as I do now
- and just so you know ... I miss you
Nights are tuff when I can’t sleep much
When I lay there, can’t get comfortable enough to go to sleep
But not uncomfortable enough to get up
When the thoughts won’t stop no matter how much I say, “Enough!”
And when the tears fall unbidden, making my pillow soaked
I am beginning to think that the years of sadness,
The last few weeks of sickness
Combined with all the changes of the last 10 years of my life
Have finally caught up to my mind and emotions
And depression looms, fighting for a hold on me
This battle started on this past Saturday,
And it has felt like I was in a tailspin ever since then,
With no way to control it
No way to stop it
Overwhelmed last evening with loneliness and feelings of isolation
A realization that I have no one to talk to who will listen without judgment or criticism
Which only serves to make me more vulnerable and weaker
I feel like I am on super-overload right about now
In every area of my life
Just more than I can physically, or mentally, handle
I’ve never felt such a shut down of my heart, my mind, and even my body, as I have felt the last 3 days
I know that my ONLY Hope in all of this is for God to have absolute control -
As Psalm 131 says, “It is too much for me!”
For all of my adult life I had 3 g0-to’s:
My Momma ... she is gone now
My Rick ... he is gone, too
And my sister, Bettie Sue ... who is also gone
I think perhaps it is not right or wrong, maybe just “normal” to be so very sad in missing them all at once
Selfishly I suppose, I miss having a go-to person that I know I could call up at any time day or night -
Or several times a day
Someone to enjoy a cup of coffee with, even just over the phone
Conversation about anything ... everything ... and nothing at all
Just a presence in my day
A moment in time that seems to stand still and lets me catch my breath
I realized this morning that in all those years of traveling around with Rick,
In all the moves we made,
No matter what -
He was my roots
He was also my wings
He gave me stability to know where I belonged
And he gave me freedom & support to do whatever I wanted to
Now, it is like I have neither roots nor wings
How do I get those again?
This time different, because they aren’t to be with him
How do I put down roots?
Where do I put down roots?
How do I find my wings?
I read this meme sometime over the weekend,
It was one of those that you FEEL:
See this dark time as cocoon time, darling
Your new wings are emerging
Every butterfly is made by this fight
Even surviving and holding on
And finding a reason to meet the dawn
Your continued breathing is a holy part of this fight
The dark will turn to dawn eventually -
It has no other choice.
~ SC Lourie ~
God, I want so much to believe these words,
That this darkness, this isolation, this aloneness
Is simply my cocoon time
May I hold to these words and hope?
God, I ask You for creativity,
And for clarity
To make this life for me
One moment at a time
One step at a time
God, I really need You in this
Take my hand, and teach me Your ways
Do not leave me alone, without You
Humbly I ask,
In Jesus’ Name
Thank you for understanding these words
As well as all I cannot yet say
Bless Your Holy Name!
Jehovah Uzzi - The Lord my Strength
Life has changed on me so many times since I was born in 1961.
I grew up under daddy and momma - long story in that, to be told another time.
When I was 10 I fell in love with a boy, and decided I wanted to be his wife, and the momma to his kids.
9 years later, he agreed to that.
We were married just shy of 35 years.
Not a perfect life, but perfect enough for me.
I was loved with a passion, and cherished every day.
The only comparison was the passion that I loved him with, and the deepness of my cherishing him.
We absolutely spoiled each other rotten!
And of course, as we lived and loved, our lives changed often.
From having kids, to moving, to job changes and church changes.
Family and friends were born, and they died
Or perhaps just moved on and away from us
But always we had the unique ability to hold to one another in those changes,
and rather than the stresses of change driving a wedge between us,
those stresses only served to draw us closer to each other.
Then, our bodies decided to turn against us
High blood pressure and diabetes for Rick
Cancer for me
Then kidney disease with Rick
Every thing that came against us, we met head on, together
We adapted to the different diets and routines
We took the medications and did the whole doctor "thang"
My life was spared
Rick's was not
Many questions remain in my heart over all that, and believe me, one of these days?
- I am going to ask for an answer!
But until that time comes, I find myself in the midst of a life alone
Not sure of where I am supposed to be
Nor what I am supposed to be doing
Every day seems to bring more questions, and fewer answers
I love words, always have
Not just to read them, nor to write them
But to dig deep into the meaning of them
I was reading about grief a while back, and the life after loss
2 Words were used in describing what life is like now
"Repurposed" and "Reimagined"
So, I dug
And this is what I found:
- adapt for a different purpose
- to have a new purpose
- typically done with items considered to be junk, garbage, or obsolete
- the use of a tool being re-channeled into being another tool
Then carrying the digging just a little deeper:
- aim, idea, dream
- goal, aspire, design
- the reason for which something exists
- to rethink
- to reinterpret
- to recreate
- to imagine again
- to form a new concept of
- to think again and change
- to remake an earlier version which approaches from a fresh or new viewpoint
And to take it that one step deeper -
- to believe
- to conceive
- to comprehend thru the intellect something not perceived thru the senses
And the last one:
- this is Latin for "again and again and again"
When considering life after loss and reading these dug definitions for these words -
All I could say was "WOW! WOW! WOW!"
The life I lived before Rick is never coming back to me
and I cannot go to it again, either.
Nor is the life that I lived with Rick coming back
and even when it is my time to go to him?
It will not be the same as it was.
So, what I am faced with is a repurposed and reimagined life
Changes the perception of my reality
I've made so many mistakes these 5 years since Rick has been gone
Easy to do when there has been no manual for navigating these waters
It's hard sometimes to look back on these 5 years and see so clearly now what I should have done,
and what I should not have done
But I'm learning to forgive myself every day
- how can I not?
- I am not greater than God, and He has forgiven me.
I hope to make less mistakes as I go thru the rest of this life
I think that's why I find myself praying so much these days
God knows what's ahead of me, He's already been there
So, Lord, take my hand and lead me on!
I'm choosing to look at this as an adventure now -
- one that will end with Rick opening his arms to me, taking me to himself and saying those words I long to hear:
"You done good, girl!"
I sat here in the quiet apartment last evening,
and wrote these words:
"Trying to work things out in my head about living alone ...
It's all so weird, God
So very weird
Not sure I'm doing it right
But not sure I'm doing it wrong, either.
I miss people
Seeing someone else
Talking to someone else
Being in someone's way
Someone being in my way
I miss laughter
I miss the bad days almost as much as the good ones
I miss wondering what someone else wants to watch -
- and not liking their choice, lol
I miss hearing someone chew their food -
- and it annoying me
I miss being an annoyance to someone else, too
I hear the noises of my neighbor,
and I hear his times of silence as well.
I wonder if I am listening to my movie too loudly
but then, I think maybe if I am, he would knock on the door and ask me to turn it down -
- at least it would be a moment of people interaction, right?
I enjoy moments of being alone
but I am a people person
This living alone is a different time of my life
And I realize that having been so very sick since moving in here hasn't helped one bit
Isolation is a terrible thing
It messes with your mental state
and causes all kinds of emotional distress
It physically hurts not to have people interaction
Touch deprivation is a real thing
I think this is the worst of Covid-19.
I believe there is coming a better day -
one where I feel like getting outside
To sit on the porch
To take a walk along this back road
Hopefully there will be a time of meeting people
but at least being out in nature once again
I know that this has taught me a valuable lesson -
how important a phone conversation can be!
God, help me find YOUR way for me in this living alone
and help me continue to heal and recover from being sick."
With the Census 2020 being over and done now, I am starting the arduous task of looking for work.
I really enjoyed the Census work.
Driving the back roads and searching those addresses out.
Meeting the interesting people along the way.
Being right there to catch the perfect shot of the day on my camera.
I will miss all of those moments greatly.
And yes, I would do it all over again!
Having been out of the work force for so long, and at 59 years old - there is not a great demand for my particular set of skills. A company weighs their amount of time and training into someone with how much time and work they will get on a return.
I get that. I understand the thoughts.
I also know my value and my worth.
I would like to work 3 days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Make enough money to pay my rent here, cover my fuel cost back and forth to work, and possibly pay for having high-speed Internet here at the apartment.
I know that I need to get "more well" and "stronger" before going to work, but I think now is the time to look for work, to make applications.
I have thought about working from here.
The saddest part to those thoughts?
The scams that are so prevalent and play on the people who live alone, or are needing to work from home.
So, let the challenge begin again!
I have watched more movies in these last 2 weeks than I have in the 5 years since Rick has been gone.
Those last 4 months of his life, we watched movies a LOT because he really did not feel like doing anything else. Movies that we had seen a dozen times are more, but we enjoyed them just the same.
These last 2 weeks have brought a lot of those memories back to my heart.
I have caught myself smiling with the memory of a certain line from a movie that Rick loved and would say many times after watching it. "Spit it out!" (from the movie Crossfire Trail)
And I have found myself dozing off in relative peace and comfort with a movie playing. With that old familiar feeling of being safe and protected. Then waking half expecting to see Rick's smiling eyes upon me. Taking a deep breath when all I can find is his picture.
Making a list of movies now that I would like to see, will be checking with the kids to see if they have any of them.
I do not have TV service, and do not expect to have it. That is an expense that I simply cannot afford at this time. I would prefer to have high-speed Internet here than to have TV service.
This has become my morning prayer:
God, this day is Yours
It is the day You have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!
It yawns and stretches before me -
A day yet untouched
Moment by moment to be lived, to be felt, to be experienced
Secrets that lie around the bends of the day
Treasures waiting to be discovered
God, breathe on me - Your life
Open my heart that I may know
Open my ears that I may hear
And open my eyes that I may see
God, I don't want to miss a thing!
Thank you for loving me
I want to spend my time today loving You back!
In Jesus' Name
Blessed be Your Name O God!
Migdal Oz: Strong Tower, my Stronghold
In the weeks since writing last, I have moved into my very first place.
I grew up in Daddy and Momma's home, then married Rick.
Rick and I had our first place ... and so many others that I have lost count thru the years. He was a self-proclaimed "gypsy" and did not want moss to grow under his feet.
But I have never lived alone.
I've been looking and praying and thinking for over 5 years about a place for me.
Ever since Rick died, and I lost the house (along with 99% of our stuff) I have stayed with kids and family and friends.
Looking around on Facebook Marketplace one day in September, I found this cute little apartment at Possum Kingdom Lake. Contacted the lady who had listed it, and she said that her very good tenant was having to move due to a job change of location. She made an appointment with me to come look at it the next day. I did, and fell in love. I know Rick would have loved it, too! So, I paid my deposit and waited while the tenant was moving.
Then, with my granddaughter's help, we cleaned this place, and moved my things here.
It came furnished with a futon, a table & 4 chairs, frig, stove, microwave, a night table, and a chest.
I was blessed with a wardrobe, also found on Facebook - which started out more than I could afford, but I watched it carefully for several days and she came down on the price. When Kyla and I drove to Mineral Wells to pick it up, the lady gave it to me.
I was blessed to find a couple of tables to use as a desk and a coffee bar. Covered each with an old quilt and they look like they "fit" here.
I haven't felt like putting my wall things up yet, but hopefully that will be happening soon. I have some really good pictures to enjoy seeing up.
My plants are thriving and growing, thinking they must like their new home, too.
There are 2 things I would like to have -
1. a recliner. I am thankful to have a bed to stretch out in, but I also miss having a recliner for when my back can't find that comfort anywhere else.
2. a small table with a couple of chairs to put on the porch. What a blessed place to have a cup of coffee while reading my Bible.
I read an article a while back about how a salmon swimming upstream fights against the channel and becomes exhausted. Rather than give up and be swept out to sea, the salmon will find a rock larger than it. Fans the sands behind the rock, making a type of nesting place, and then becomes still and quiet. Resting and gaining strength for another leg of its journey upstream. Often the salmon will do this multiple times before reaching the destination.
Little by little this "apartment" is becoming our "Rock of Rest".
Working with the Census 2020 kept me hopping the month of September.
Long drives on back country roads, searching out addresses, meeting people, asking questions.
99% of the people I met were very accommodating and patient - even if they were frustrated with having been asked the same questions multiple times.
Driving those back country roads gave me some of the most wonderful photo opportunities! And the resolve that just because the Census comes to an end, doesn't mean that the back roads do! Take the back roads! Stop and catch that sunrise, take the sunset! Look closely at what lies around us - there are secrets to the day just waiting to be discovered!!!
September also brought my grandson's basic training with the Marine's to a close with his graduation. Due to all the Covid-19 restrictions, we were not able to attend his graduation, but we watched via the Internet.
I am so very proud of him.
And yes, I worry about him - but I also know that he is in God's hands, just as all the kids and grandkids are. Every morning I pray Psalm 91 over each one. Trusting that God is greater than anything in this life. I believe that God will have HIS way, HIS will, and in HIS time. I also believe that no matter what happens? God is still God, and He is still good. I do not understand all of life, I have far too many questions to think I have all the answers. But I know God knows. And I trust Him.
After all the precautions taken this year - the gallons of germ-x, the soap and water washing to the point of painful, the masks that hinder breathing and conversations as well as making us to feel almost like a non-person, the not going places, events cancelled, self-quarantining, and the list goes on ... I got Covid-19.
Today is day 10 since the onset of symptoms, and day 4 without fever or fever reducing medication. So according to the CDC and my doctor - I am now considered "safe" to be around again.
I will say that this has been the worst I have ever been sick in my 59 years of life.
I have had the flu maybe 3-5 times in my life, my fair share of colds and tummy bugs, allergies out the waa-zoo and all the typical childhood illnesses - both as a child, and often again when my children brought it home from school. I endured having cancer and major cancer surgery. I've broken bones. I've had surgeries.
NOTHING prepared me for having Covid-19.
The body aches - clothes were not comfortable, there was no sweet spot to find sitting, standing, or laying. Every joint aching, the skin so sensitive to touch that I couldn't stand to even brush my hair, or touch my own face. The shower feeling like needles being hammered into your body.
The headache - imagine the worst headache ever, multiply it however many times your imagination says ... you aren't close!
- nothing could touch the headache. Eyes hurting so bad from the pain that you can't read, can't stand to watch TV or look at the phone. Even closing the eyes did not bring relief from the pain. So hours sitting and letting the tears flow freely.
The fever that would come up in the evening and rage all night long, tormenting whatever sleep there might be, breaking with a 10 gallons of sweat sometime in the morning ... only to repeat every evening for a week. Leaving you feeling dehydrated.
Nausea so severe that it was physically painful. My tummy became sore to the touch because of the nausea. I never did throw-up, just had the excruciating nausea. Sprite was the only thing I could tolerate on my tummy for days - and then, only a sip now or then.
Diarrhea that makes a tummy bug seem like child's play. Cramping to the point you can't stand up straight, you can't walk, you can't sit or lay. Burning guts like you have swallowed lumps of fire. You rock back and forth wondering if you will survive this onslaught.
Loss of appetite - due to the nausea mainly.
Stuffy nose and the worst drainage into the back of the throat - a thick white cottony mess.
Thankfully, I did not have the breathing problems that others have endured. My doctor did call something in for me just in case - but warned me not to take it unless absolutely necessary.
I was told yesterday (Day 9) - "Well, guess you believe it's real now!" And all but told that basically I deserved this because I didn't believe from day one. Really? NO ONE deserves this!!! And I have NEVER ONCE said that Covid-19 was not real. What I said, just for the record, was that the media was feeding the frenzy of fear - and I refused to be sucked into it. I would do, and did do, will also continue to do, my part in helping to not spread the fear nor the disease.
I do not enjoy wearing the masks. I do not believe they work as well as what some have said (especially now do I not believe). But wear them I will when appropriate, when required.
I will continue to wash my hands with soap and water, as well as use germ-x. Which just for the record, I've done for years.
I will even continue to practice a form of social distancing. Something else we have done during times of flu outbreaks. If sick, stay home. It's not easy, but really, it's not hard either. Be smart! Use common sense!
However, I will not live in fear of this illness, or any other.
I'm tired of being held hostage to the media and to the fear mongers.
I'm tired of being told I can't go somewhere that is good for the body, mind and soul ... while other events and locations that are toxic remain open and thriving.
I am better today on day 10 ... not good.
I realize that it will take a while yet (no one knows for sure how long) to feel "normal" again.
The brain fog is reminding me of the widow fog I survived after Rick died. I got thru that, I will conquer this, too.
I tire very easily, to the point of exhaustion. And if I ever sit down and find a sweet spot of comfort, I am ASLEEP for several hours. But that's ok - Momma always said the body and mind are healing when sleeping.
I am going to survive Covid-19 if only to spite the media!
I look at the date of my last post, June 5, 2020, and it's mind-blowing to me that that much time has past. Today is August 28, 2020. Where has this summer gone?
I will try to make this post not so much a "book" of the summer. LOL But there have been some changes and things taking place. So, yeah, this will be my catch-up post.
June 7, 2020, my oldest grandson, Elijah, went to Dallas then on to San Diego CA for quarantine under the Marine Corps. He is one of the newest recruits. After 2 weeks of quarantine where we could still talk with him once a day, hear his voice and know that all was well - he has been in Basic Training for the last 9 weeks or so. His momma and sister have gotten a few letters from him, he is adjusting to this new life he has chosen. He said it is hard and challenging, but he feels good about his decision. Grannee is both proud of him for his service to our country, and scared to death! I have been trusting God all of his life, so I will continue - but he sure knows how to put me on my face and knees before God! ;) I love that boy!!!
His graduation is set for September 18, 2020. Due to Covid-19 we will not be able to attend. The question remains whether or not he will be able to come home for leave before going to his next station. We hope so! It won't be for a long visit, but oh how sweet the hugs will be ... IF!
June 10, 2020, I was called by the 2020 Census for my phone interview. Not long after that I received my instructions for getting my fingerprints done and the background check run. When all of that cleared, I had 4 days of training - one day was in class, the rest was online due to Covid-19.
I have been an enumerator now for about 3 or 4 weeks. It has been interesting! I have met some really cool people. So far, everyone that I have had the privilege of interviewing has been cooperative, kind, patient and understanding. We have had some laughs, and connected on varying and unique levels. I have seen places in this part of Texas that I never even knew existed - and some? I don't think anyone knows they exist! lol Miles upon miles of open land, or ranches.
I am thankful for this opportunity to serve our country, meet the people, and do my part.
I look forward to the remainder of this time with the Census, sad that it is all to end on or before September 30, 2020.
A lot of this time driving between cases has made me think much of Rick. How he loved to take off and drive the back roads. HE would have been the perfect enumerator!
It has also been like a treasure hunt, not only to find the correct address and someone to talk to - but to find interesting things to take pictures of!
My next grandson took his driving test, and passed. So another legal driver on the roads! My oldest granddaughter also took her test and passed! And my youngest granddaughter has her permit, and should have her license before the end of the year!
Grannee prays more and more every day! ;)
They are all growing up so fast! Elijah in Basic Training with the Marines, Brooke is a Senior this year, Shell is working with livestock commissions and cattle ranches, as well as helping his momma in a horse business, Kyla is a freshman this year.
It is a joy to my heart to see the progress they are making in life. Growing up with traditional values of what it means to be an American, a Texan, and a human being. Something that is lacking too much in our world today.
The Lord has blessed me with a truck!!! Thru some trading between Joshua, Shell and a friend, Travis - I now have The Black Pearl. And yes, she is white! lol A 2006 Ford F150 with an FX4 package on it. I named her "The Black Pearl" thinking of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Me being me, I wanted to know more details about that ship, and if there ever had been one in real life. During my searching, I found that a true black pearl is very rare, but it symbolizes "HOPE for a wounded heart"!!! So, yeah, God was in this! Perfect truck, perfect name. She has been taken excellent care of, drives and rides very well, and has been perfect for going between the kids and grandkids. Besides - she is a TRUCK!!! ;)
And since Rick was a true blue Ford guy? He would be pleased ;)
On the trip to Sulphur Springs in June, Mandy and I went to garage sales. It had been years since we have done that! So much fun with her. And we found some good deals, to boot!
We also were blessed with a Sunday afternoon drive to Kaufman, and got to see Michael. My other son. It had been about 25 years since we had seen him. Oh the laughter, the hugs, the tears, the talking all at once! His precious baby, Moo-moo, my newest granddaughter. Oh what a wonderful day that was!!! We have promised one another that it will never be too long between visits again! It just cannot be!!!
I was also blessed at supper with 3 other SSHS girls. One of which I had not seen in 40 years!!! Oh what a wonderful supper that was!!!
Took a day trip with Mandy to Tyler for a biopsy on her thyroid. All clear - thank the Lord above!!! On the way back to her house, we stopped at a nursery and I spent too much money! lol But oh what a great time we had there!
When I left Sulphur Springs after that trip, Brooke came to Joshua's with me for the rest of that week. Mandy came out over the weekend, with MeMe, to pick her up. It was a good week and weekend! MeMe and I had some good conversations while the kids and grandkids were outside, and then off to the lake.
July brought some changes online for me. 4 years ago I was asked to help create, work on, and maintain 3 websites for businesses in Kentucky. One of which I transferred over to new owners while still in Kentucky. The other 2 I have been working on less and less, as the owner has hired someone to take it from here. While these websites were my babies, I have known for several months now that it is time to cut those apron strings and let them go. Still bittersweet. I am mostly out of them now, still have one more step to remove myself completely - and that day is coming. At this point, I believe it will come with a great relief. It is time for me to move forward from that period of my life, and this will help me do just that.
July 20, 2020, Kyla and I took a day trip to Abilene. The Storybook Capital of the World. We had 3 iced coffee's LOL - lunch that was in an old bakery, the old wooden creaky floors and all. Then we had supper at Olive Garden. We toured the statues around Abilene, went to the pet store, stopped at the mall (twice!), shopped for school clothes, and had a gajillion laughs!!!
The month ended with me going back to Sulphur Springs and seeing my new doctor. Dr. Coker. She was amazing! She actually listened to me! Labs all came back good, except for slightly elevated cholesterol and triglycerides - but not elevated enough to warrant medication. She wants me to work on it with diet and exercise. Which I have been doing. I have stumbled a few times since July 29, but hopefully I have stayed upright more!
I also had an MRI done on my left knee. I remember hearing the "pop" - it was in September of last year, when I was in Kentucky. One morning I went out to get in the Expedition, and just as I stepped up into the truck, as my left leg was pushing off the ground to lift me up into the truck - I heard what sounded like a gun shot. It hurt so badly that I thought maybe I had been shot, I immediately put my hand behind my knee, pulled it away looking for blood. There was none. But ever since then, that knee has not been right. I talked to Dr. Coker about it, and she ordered an MRI. Radiologist said there is a small tear in the knee, severe osteoarthritis (bone on bone) and a "rare fluid inside the ACL". Waiting to see the orthopedic specialist to see what he says and recommends. I have been babying that knee for almost a year now. But at the same time, I haven't stopped walking, or working. Hoping there is no surgery required.
While in Sulphur Springs, Mandy and I made the drive up to the Cotton Patch restaurant in Greenville one day to have lunch with 2 of my cousins. The stories were flowing, and it got mighty deep in there! lol We laughed, and it was hard for me to leave - it's been tough during Covid-19 to not see everyone.
The next day Mandy, Brooke and I went back road driving for several hours. How sweet and precious was that time, and the memories I hold close to my heart.
Before leaving Mandy this last time in July, we went to Canton TX - to the World Famous Canton Trade Days. That was a blast of a day, even if it was hotter than blazes! lol
I have become an "official" Texan yet again! Got my Texas driver's license. I don't think it has ever looked so good, or felt so right in my hands. I am proud and thankful to be a Texan - no matter where my license is, but oh how sweet it is now!
God has become more real and personal to me in these last almost 3 months now than I ever thought was possible.
I will be sharing more of my experiences in the days to come. I hope you will read those as well.
Learning and seeing a lot of new things and changes in my heart, my mind, my outlook, and my life.
Also, leaving Joshua's again in the morning going to Sulphur Springs. Next week has me in a doctor's office at least once every day - except Thursday, so far. My insurance is waiving all doctor and specialist co-pay's until at least the end of September, so what better time to get checked out from head to toe - inside and out. Literally!
- Monday is a hearing exam and a foot exam
- Tuesday the girls are getting squished in my mammogram
- Wednesday has me meeting with the orthopedic specialist to find out his results of the MRI
- Friday has me being screened for skin cancer
I will be meeting with a nutrionist October 7.
- that is a BIG change in my life.
- I am on a quest for getting rid of this excess weight, toning and being in the best shape I can be in for 59 years old. And for anyone who may be struggling with their weight, if I can do it - you can too! Be encouraged. No, it's not easy, but it is so well worth it! After losing 40 pounds so far, I can already tell the difference in the way I am sleeping at night, in my breathing when I walk longer distances, and most of all - the difference in my mind, heart and emotions about food. I will be writing more about this later this weekend, and in the coming weeks.
But for now, I think this is long enough ... lol - and it's time to start packing once again.
I have sinned against God and fallen short of His glory.
And in the process I have hurt others in my life.
I am sorry.
Because I can do nothing to change the past,
with many a river of bitter tears and mountains of regret -
I have repented of my sin, and called on God
Asking for His forgiveness,
And receiving it moment by moment, day by day.
I have also asked forgiveness from those I have in any way offended,
If by chance I missed You - please forgive me for that, too.
Because of God’s Amazing Grace and Unending Love,
Because of God’s Hands of Mercy -
I have been forgiven,
And now will walk as one forgiven.
The Bible tells me that I am a new creation in Christ, old things are passed away, behold all things have become new!
I am going to live that to the best of my ability, with the Grace of God to help me.
I know there are those, and will always be those, who do not want to see me forgiven.
They would prefer I walk with a beaten down heart,
A spirit of contrition that is obvious - such as in sackcloth and ashes, or wailing for forgiveness
I will no longer do that.
No longer will I explain or defend my life - past, present, or future.
I am who I am.
Good, bad, or indifferent.
It has all worked together to make me who I am today.
Everything is either a blessing, or a lesson.
I do not ask for explanation or self-defending from anyone else in my life,
So therefore I will no longer be giving it from mine.
If someone has a heart to pray with me, or pray for me, about a particular “issue” in my life -
Then, yes, it will be an honor to talk with them, and be honest.
But for those who are hell-bent on making me live in misery for past mistakes?
Well, I’m not going to play your games any longer.
Everyone has to make their own choices and decisions - and answer for them.
We all make mistakes.
In some way, large or small, every one of us have screwed up!
And if you haven’t yet?
Mark my word - YOU WILL.
It is to the honor of my God to walk in the victory of forgiveness
It is with gratitude that I humbly accept His Grace, His Mercy, His Love
Just because someone else cannot accept that I have been forgiven, does not make me unforgivable.
I am not living my life to please any person.
My heart’s desire is to live in peace as much as it depends on me -
But when that “depends on me” reaches the level of condemnation and judgment?
No. Just No.
Anyone doesn’t like the way I live my life?
Then they need to pray about it, and pray for me -
- that I may listen to the voice of God speaking thru His Word, and know the paths to take.
But while they are praying?
Pray for themselves not to be so judgmental and assuming!!!
Not wanting to cross any literary or sharing lines here -
but this article is so "spot on" that I must share it. I must keep it!
AFTER A HUSBAND'S DEATH, DREAMS MUST BE REINVENTED.
by Christine Thiele February 6, 2011
One of the hardest struggles I’ve found about widowhood
is that the life you had before pretty much dies with your spouse.
Well, at least mine did.
The hopes, dreams and plans that we made as a couple were buried with my husband.
Every morsel of my being was changed because he is no longer here for me to love or be loved by him.
At first, his vacancy left the obvious holes;
no more him, no more seeing, smelling, holding, or sharing with him.
As time passed, more holes appeared:
no one to help with the kids,
no one to help with the house
and no one to talk to in the intimate way I could talk to him.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so completely alone.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt the weight of loneliness like this.
Then comes my life, my hopes, and my dreams.
In the years prior to his illness, we were coming into a solid comfort zone in life.
We were happy with our jobs, our family life, and our marriage.
We were married for a good chunk of time and had been together for nearly 14 years.
We knew each other and miraculously were still happy with the each other.
We appreciated who we had become.
We were looking forward to a family becoming one member larger
and the joys that come with raising our two boys.
So, he dies.
I’m still here.
I am left to walk the earth without him and to carry on the plan.
Carry on the plan…
carry on the plan…
carry on the plan?
It took me several years to realize that I could not carry on our plan alone.
I think it’s taken me several more to come to grips with the fact that I need to create new plans.
I need to dream and hope without him.
I don’t like this.
And have only gone this direction kicking and screaming for my old dreams, my old hopes, my old life.
My future has been a very difficult thing for me to let go by the wayside.
I don’t think it’s fair that I have to do all this again.
I don’t think it’s fair that I have to do this alone.
I don’t think it’s fair that I am left with my hopes and dreams shattered in pieces on the floor.
Well, I also know that life is not fair.
Life is a gift and a struggle.
Life is not to be taken for granted or spent without meaning.
All these factors propel me into my new future.
All these factors give me strength to dream new dreams
and hope new hopes
and reshape my life into something I can live with
and hopefully thrive in day after day.
The problem is that the struggle is hard…
some months are just too much for me to handle.
These times leave me wondering why?
Why try again?
Why move on?
Why reinvent, re-imagine when so many of these days,
I only end up exhausted and overwhelmed?
The only answer I can ever come up with is…
drum roll please…
there is no other way for me.
I yearn for joy,
I yearn to be someone my boys will look up to each day,
I yearn to love and be loved.
Every day that I remember this,
I build strength for another day.
Every overwhelming moment at a time
that I remember how much faith my husband had in me to carry on without him,
I feel honored.
Every time I feel that warmth of his love flow through me,
that moment when I know I didn’t give up,
I become revived a bit more.
I am revived and strengthened for another moment.
I am revived and even given courage to take on my new dreams,
my new hopes,
no matter how much struggling lies before me.
I will dream a bit and hope a bit.
Every day I will try a bit more.
With each passing day,
I will realize that I have begun the new dreams,
the new hopes,
the new life that carries his love within me.
This new life may exist without him holding my hand,
but it will never exist without him holding my heart.
It will be a fusion of old and new.
It will be a mix of what we wanted and what I am capable of doing without him.
I imagine every day
that I have courage to be
and to live brings me one day closer to me,
--Thank you Christine for sharing this. It is so much my heart and my life now. God bless you and yours. Sisters in a bond that we never wanted.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here