April 26th, 2021
Life bites hard sometimes.
It has been a whirlwind since the last blog I wrote on the 11th of April.
: I received a phone call from a company in Graham, replying to my request for information about a job back in February. A request that I do not remember making. But we talked, and she wanted me to come in for an interview. So I did, Monday the 12th. Filled out the application, had the interview on the spot, and was told that they would get back with me.
I explained 2 things.
1. I do not want to work full time. I don't mind working, but I have things to do that aren't part of the job, too.
2. I cannot make more than what my allowance is with the widow benefits.
The next day, April 13th, I received the call that I had been hired! With my first day scheduled as Thursday, April 15th.
I am working for a company called Seniorly Yours, out of Graham, TX.
It is an in-home caregiving service. With 2 assisted living residential houses as well.
I cook for the clients. Clean the house. Make sure they take their medications. Insure blood sugar is checked, if needed. And be their companion while I am there. We talk, we laugh, we watch TV. And I watch over them while they sleep.
My shifts are from 6 hours once a day, to 24 hours with 2 or 3 days at a time.
The job comes with a monthly salary that is just below my limits, so that is awesome!
It also comes with a small apartment! All utilities covered! Even more awesome!
This will not only allow me to be closer to work, greatly reducing fuel costs ... but it also allows me to be a bit closer to my son and his family, as well as in a position of being more available to them.
And it puts me about 30 minutes closer to my daughter as well.
Now, I am living in disarray! LOL
Boxes, totes, garbage bags (is there anything better for bedding and pillows?!?) surround me in this apartment at PK Lake.
I am going to be moving what I can today and tomorrow, then on Wednesday afternoon, my son and grandson are supposed to come over and help me finish the moving.
Thankfully the company gave me this whole week OFF so that I can get moved, settled in a bit, and take care of some errands before starting the new schedule on Saturday, May 1.
I will be co-manager at one of the resident assisted living homes.
2 precious ladies will be my clients there.
I have stayed with them 3-24 hour shifts since I started work.
They are absolute treasures!!!
I also stayed with a gentleman who has adamantly requested me as his ONLY "day girl", lol - simply because he likes my cooking! LOL I promised him that even if they did not send me back to stay with him, that I would go visit with him, and bring him some homemade foods ;) He's a mess! Not hard to have fallen in love with him!
I've said for a good many years now that a good day always follows a bad day ... and a bad day follows a good one. It's the cycle of life.
These last 12 days have been absolute proof of those words.
I was hired on April 13 by Seniorly Yours.
April 14 was my son's birthday.
I drove over and spent the afternoon with them. We talked, we laughed, we enjoyed cake.
And I came back to this apartment so that I could rest up for my first assignment with Seniorly Yours.
Thursday morning, 2 hours into my first shift, Joshua called me. 3 times. Back to back.
All the kids and grandkids know that if I do not answer on the first call, give me some time and I will call you back.
But they also know that if it is an emergency, call me 3 times back to back.
My heart froze. And I held my breath as I called Joshua.
Just his voice told me something was dreadfully wrong. My mind was racing. My heart knew it was a death call. But who? And what had happened?
A moment of silence ... and then I heard.
"CR had a wreck last night. He rolled his truck. He didn't make it. Momma, CR died."
My mind crashed as my heart broke. I swear you could have heard the pieces of my heart falling if you had been there.
13 years ago, my son and his wife adopted a small boy who had a terrible home life. They tried to formally adopt him, but it didn't work out that way. Yet, CR became OURS. Fully and completely OURS.
And we had watched that boy grow up into a fine young man. He graduated high school against all odds. He was enrolled in college. He had hopes and dreams. He had the passion for life.
I wonder where he was going at 9'ish on the night of the 14th? We think he may have been coming over to Joshua's - because it was Joshua's birthday, and CR loved him with all his heart.
Why did he swerve as he was driving? Was it a hog like they think it was?
He over corrected - went down an embankment, thru a fence, hit a tree, and rolled many times.
At some point he was ejected. Did the seatbelt break?
Official report is that there was no alcohol involved, and that he died on impact.
The one thought that I have to keep pushing away - did he know what was going on? How long did he know? At what "impact" was he killed.
My heart is broken.
The pieces will eventually be pulled back together.
But the scars will forever be there.
Etching my grandson's name.
The family night was brutal.
The funeral even more so.
I am so proud of my grandchildren, they way that they loved CR. They way that they showed their love to him.
Not one of us will ever be the same.
Even though life goes on,
and this world doesn't stop for my broken heart.
Friday, April 23, 2021 -
6 years since that last kiss with Rick.
6 years since I looked into his eyes.
6 years since I have heard his voice.
How is that even possible?
We rarely went 6 hours without talking - for 35 years.
- even when he was working, before the advent of cell phones ... he would find a pay phone, or use the office phone, just to call me and say, "I Love You"
We never went 6 days without seeing each other.
So how is it possible that 6 YEARS have passed?
How does life go on?
How does the world keep turning?
One moment at a time.
One breath at a time.
All thru these last 15 days, I have written in my journal, spoken the words, had the words spoken to me - JUST BREATHE.
Some days ...
Some nights ...
It's all I can do!
A Widow's Dare to Love
There are times when life moves along one step in front of the other. And honestly? That seems to happen only on occasion for me these last few years. For me it is more like 1 step forward, 2 to the left, 1 to the right backwards, 3 straight back, 4 going in a circle, and maybe on a good day, 1 more forward. I have learned different ways of coping, the main one being to Just Breathe. No matter where I am, no matter who I am with, no matter what I am doing - Just Breathe. This moment will pass, too. Look for the reason, or maybe the lesson. And especially look for the blessing. More often than not, there are secret treasures hidden all along the day's path, and it is up to us to find those treasures, so that we can appreciate them.
I remember when our kids were little. We didn't always do a big Easter egg hunt. Oh, they always got a basket of goodies. And they always had an Easter egg hunt. But depending on where we were living, and what was going on that day, there were times when we would hide the treasures in the house - and when we did that, sometimes those treasures were not all found in that one day. The first time it was such a joy and blessing to hear their squeals several days after Easter when they found a treasure, that it became something to be done on purpose. Hide things in unexpected places. A new pencil or pen. A bookmarker. A small toy. A special book. Maybe a candy treat, if I was sure it would be found before it was too late, lol.
I learned that from God.
God, does that. He hides treasures all in our days. He knows the end from the beginning. So it is no surprise to Him where we will be on a given day, or what we will be doing. But just as it gave Rick and I great pleasure and joy in hearing the kids laughter and squeals ... it gives God great joy when we do the same. The Bible says that God takes great delight in us.
Psalm 149:4 - "For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation."
Psalm 147:11 - "But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in His steadfast Love."
I don't want to deprive God of His pleasure. There's too much hatred and ugliness in the world as it is. Even God should be allowed to smile, to laugh out loud, to find pleasure. May He in me.
I am working my way thru writing a book.
It is not the book I thought I would write. But, I am working as the Lord leads my heart.
Only He knows what He wants to do with it beyond me writing it.
There is much thought and prayer going into it. And I know there will be much more before it is finished.
Thought I would share the Introduction here.
A Widow's Dare to Love
- by Margaret McCoy, with God's help
A journey into loving myself the way God does.
Dedicated to my Sweetheart.
Rick, you taught me the real meaning of loving and of being loved - every day.
Not just on holidays or special days.
This is the book that you always wanted me to write.
- well one of them ;)
I love you.
Forever and always - to infinity and beyond!!!
- your Beloved Megan Lee.
Chapter 1 (or Introduction)
I just watched the movie, "Fireproof", again. First, let me say what an excellent movie it is! I have read blogs and articles that attacked it as being "unBiblical" or detrimental to relationships. But, done right? With the right heart and spirit? It WORKS!!! Rick and I learned that. We proved that.
Before I pushed "play" this evening, I stopped a moment and asked God one question, well, more than one really ;) - "Lord, what can I learn from this tonight? Why even watch it? I am no longer a wife. I am a widow. But surely there is something here for me, or the urging to watch it would not be so strong."
Push play. Watch the movie with an open mind and a seeking heart.
In the last few minutes of the movie, the tears began to flow hot, sticky and heavy down my cheeks. I miss Rick SO very much.
So, did I take away anything for ME, as a widow? Yes.
A 40-day challenge to love God, who is now my Husband. Isaiah 54:5 - "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called."
And to love myself, Rick's widow, as God loves me.
First, I must answer this question: WHO AM I?
*I am a Christian
*I was Rick's wife
*I am Rick's widow
*I am momma to Angel and to Joshua
*I am Grannee to Elijah, Brooklyn, Shell and Kyla
*I am mother in law to Dessie
*I wear a lot of different hats with family and friends
But thru the years, my roles have changed, my life has rearranged. I am no longer needed like I was once. Sometimes I have even wondered if I am any more wanted.
So, I sit here this evening, asking myself, "Who are you, Margaret? Really? Where is your identity? What is your worth? What is your value?"
These are hard questions any time in life. Near impossible questions to answer in the emptiness of the night, with tears streaking my face.
I know it's time to answer them.
WHO AM I?
I am a bruised reed.
A faintly burning wick.
Holding to my promise from God: "A bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not quench." Isaiah 42:3
"Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you." Isaiah 43:4
Part of the Holy People, Redeemed of the Lord
"And they shall be called The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord." Isaiah 62:12
I am Blessed. Ephesians 1:3
I am Chosen. Ephesians 1:4
I am Holy. Ephesians 1:4
I am Blameless. Ephesians 1:4
I am Predestined. Ephesians 1:5,11
I am Adopted. Ephesians 1:5
I am Redeemed. Ephesians 1:7
I am Forgiven. Ephesians 1:7
I am to the praise of His Glory. Ephesians 1:12
I am Sealed with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13
I am Called with a Hope. Ephesians 1:18
I am part of the Body of Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23
I am Alive. Ephesians 2:5
I am Saved. Ephesians 2:5,8
I am Raised up. Ephesians 2:6
I am God's workmanship. Ephesians 2:10
I am Created in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:10
I am Near to God. Ephesians 2:13
I am Reconciled. Ephesians 2:16
I am no longer a stranger or an alien. Ephesians 2:19
I am a Citizen in the House of God. Ephesians 2:19
I am a Dwelling Place for God. Ephesians 2:22
I am - all of this and so much more!!!
Not because of who I am in myself. Not because of anything I have done. I do not deserve God's Grace.
But I am because of the Great I AM!
Because of what HE has done. Because of Who HE is!
I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God. Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:7
That is WHO I AM.
That is my identity.
That is my worth.
That is my value.
I am a Child of God.
And as a child of God, I am loved.
If God has loved me enough for Jesus, His Only Begotten Son, to die on the Cross, then I am enough to be loved by me, too.
Jesus said that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Matthew 22:39
If we don't love ourselves, then how do we love others?
Not fully and completely as God wants us to, as God commands us to. And not as God loves them.
This is NOT about the whole "ME" generation we see so prevalent in our society these days.
God loves us first. We love Him back. And we show our love to HIm by loving others.
But how can we say we love God, we love others, and yet hate (or detest) ourselves?
Do we not know who we are?
I am a child of God. Romans 8:15 & Galatians 4:7
We take care of ourselves, sometimes spending a great amount of time, energy and money on ourselves.
Is it because it is expected of us by society?
Are just trying to keep us with the Karen's or the Jones's of our world?
Are we compelled to do this because of TV, movies, and advertising?
Are we trying to make a good impression on those around us?
Are we trying to fix an inward problem with an outward solution?
Dig deep into your heart, and answer this for yourself.
What does it mean to love ourselves as God loves us?
So that we may learn what it is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
This is my journey in daring to love me like God does, and like God wants me to love others.
"A Widow's Dare to Love"
It is loosely based on "The Love Dare". But with personal inward applications. Interspersed with some stories of my Sweetheart and our Loving Life together.
Perhaps there will be another book, I can feel the stirrings of the words deep within me as I write the words for this one.
I do not know what I am doing in writing, Lol - but God knows.
He wrote a Bestseller, so I figure He has the wisdom and direction I need to get this in print. :)
All I can do is to do my very best, and then leave the results up to God.
I resolve to give it all I have.
Then simple trust in Jesus and Just Breathe.
Monday evening thoughts ...
Sitting here with a lot on my mind this evening. Wondering what to write, where to start. And praying about how much to share.
One of Rick's last requests was that I continue with this website and blog, and that I make sure I am being brutally honest - even if it is out of my comfort zone. Every time I hold back much at all, I hear his voice pleading with me, and encouraging me by saying, "Honey, if by being brutally honest, you being out of your comfort zone, just ONE person is helped, inspired, strengthened or encouraged, then all of this will not have been in vain."
It would be easier if he were here to read these words and give me his approval. Just saying.
But here goes, yet again:
At 6 years out, I often feel far removed from the overwhelming intensity of the pain that I once knew.
But, sometimes, I pull myself back into that pain.
*When talking, or praying, for a new widow/widower, or one who is having that gut punch in this new reality of life alone.
That one needs me to remember how I felt in those darkest moments.
When I was on the floor sobbing so hard that I was afraid I would die, or rather afraid I would not.
When I was absolutely convinced there was no way I was going to make it to my next breath, let alone the next hour, the next day, and forget about the next year!
When I couldn't think straight.
When my vulnerability allowed me to put myself into a compromising situation that took God Himself to intervene and get me out of.
When the best I could hope for was to Just Breathe.
Someone needs me to meet them where they are in their moment.
Letting them know with absolute assurance that this is only a moment in their time, and it shall surely pass.
They need to know that there is Hope, in their nightmare, in our nightmare - someone before them has survived the worst.
And so shall they.
*I also pull myself back into that pain in order to feel closer to my Sweetheart.
Yes, I can now feel close to Rick during moments of laughter and joy, but there are times that I want to feel that pain again.
As weird as it sounds to someone who isn't on the journey, it's real.
Maybe it's just for reminding myself of that love and bond that we shared, in sickness and in health, in being richer and in being poorer, in the bad times as well as in the good times.
Maybe it's to in some surreal way remind myself that this really happened, it's not just a nightmare that I can't wake up from.
Maybe it's to feel, at least in my memories, that surrounding of family and friends in those first days.
*I pull myself back into that pain to remind myself of how far I have come in these 6 years.
Because in those first days, weeks, months, there was no Hope, no Faith, to even begin believing that I would survive such unimaginable pain as losing my heart and soul.
To even think in those hours that I would somehow survive the pain that we both endured in those last 4 months was impossible.
And yet, here I am. Day after night. Night after day.
Sometimes thriving with the kids and grandkids.
Sometimes enduring loneliness.
Sometimes enjoying the fellowship of family and friends.
Sometimes with the raging emotions that are raw and sore.
But still here, and still fighting my way thru it all.
To everyone on this widow's walk, no matter how long you have been on this road, when you are overwhelmed with that horrifying intensity of raw grief?
You are stronger than you know.
You can do this.
When you cannot see the light in your darkness, look to those who have come before you as the strength you need to just breathe.
And remember, there is always someone farther along that you are, but there is always someone coming up behind you, too.
You are NOT alone.
You are LOVED.
You are NEEDED.
Yesterday was my 6th Easter without Rick.
Easter was a day of celebration because the remembrance of Jesus rising from the dead. But again, Rick was not all about holidays. He said so many times thru the years that if we could not celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord every day of our lives, then he was not going to be a party to the once-a-year-putting-on-a-show.
So, the hardest part of yesterday to me was in seeing all the family photos, and missing mine.
I was blessed to be with our son and his bunch for a cow working, though.
Not that I work cattle. I cook.
I can work cattle. Have done it. But these days, I serve as the cook.
And yesterday was simple hot dogs, chips and drinks. Cookies and cupcakes rounded out the break time for lunch.
I didn't get a lot of pictures, but here are the ones that I did get:
Next Saturday is a Youth Ranch Rodeo, I will get more pictures there! ;)
I am working hard to get some things caught up and done.
Been going thru stuff at hand, and on the computer.
Trying to get things a bit more organized and into a format that I can handle no matter where I am.
I know that my time in the apartment is coming to an end. Most likely, 56 days left here at the most.
This apartment has been good for me in some ways, allowing me time to pray, to seek God with all my heart and all my time. It has given me some sleep and much needed down time.
It has kept me cool on the hotter Texas days/nights ... but also warm on the colder Texas days/nights.
It has also drained every penny of my savings.
And I can no longer afford to be here.
I was concerned when I rented it. But I had hoped there would be a job, that somehow it might work.
There is nothing.
I have applied for financial aid thru the state, but have been denied because I make $55.50 too much to qualify for help.
Being told yet again, "I'm sorry, but you are one of the unfortunate ones that falls thru the cracks of our society."
I have also applied for food stamps (The Lone Star card). If approved, after jumping thru all their hoops and forms, she said that I would be getting $19 a month.
I know that God is my Provider, but it's hard not to get frustrated with a system that rewards liars and cheaters and punishes the people who live by honesty and integrity. Sigh.
God has promised to take care of me ... meeting all my needs according to His riches in Glory thru Christ Jesus. And He has promised to set the lonely into families. As well as establishing the boundaries of the widows.
In Him I trust.
However, I'm a little trepidatious, wondering how things are going to go.
But holding to the promise in Psalm 56 - "When I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord."
I know that the Bible tells us 365 times "Do not fear" ... but I think this verse is one of my favorite concerning fear.
Because of that first word, WHEN.
God knows my heart is trusting Him. He also knows that my mind is afraid. He understands the conflict between being a human, and being a child of God.
How does He understand?
Think about it. Jesus was ALL God. But Jesus was also ALL man, human.
Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, He had to be in order to be our Great Savior.
So, yes, I am afraid. Change is scary to me - especially these days without Rick's arms around me.
But, I am trusting in the Lord. Because He holds me, tighter and more secure than Rick in all his love ever could.
Not sure at this point what I am going to do, nor where I am going to go.
Still praying about it all.
Waiting to see what direction God will take my life.
I know this above all things though -
I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.
And the desire of my heart?
Whatever brings Him the Glory.
I would love to have an RV.
Rick and I lived in our 3 different ones for about 15 years of our marriage. And I loved it!
I love the lifestyle. I love what he called my "little shoebox".
I have found several jobs that are in the area of my son and/or daughter. Close enough to still spend time with them and the grandkids.
BUT they each one require an RV.
I have been looking for an RV, too.
And I have found several between $3000 - $5000.
- some are ready to move in to, which would allow me to begin a job sooner.
- some are needing to be worked on, mainly cosmetic issues inside. While that would be interesting and fun (done it before ;) ), it would also delay getting a job. But it would allow some personal time with my kids and grandkids as they have all said they would help me do whatever needs done to one.
I have been questioned about my fear of tornadoes when considering living in an RV.
I understand the questions. But look back at the tornadoes that have hit Texas and other southern states just this year.
Were only RV's destroyed?
No. Brick homes that had been there for years. Houses made of wood destroyed. Mobile homes were ripped apart.
When a tornado strikes? Little to nothing is safe, unless it is underground.
And living underground poses its own set of risks and hazards.
No, I do not like the "t" word when a storm is brewing.
Yes, I will sit wherever I am, staring at the radar screen and praying with all my heart!
And it doesn't matter what kind of house I am in!
One year, Rick and I waited out a tornado warning and hail storm for 3 hours in a storm shelter! I was just as afraid. I prayed just as hard.
So, yeah, when I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord!!!
I still would like to have an RV.
I have committed this to the Lord, and I believe if it is His will that I have one, He will work it out.
Nothing is impossible to the Lord. He is able, more than capable, to do exceedingly abundantly more than I could ever hope for or imagine.
So, as His, I am in His Hands, for whatever He wants me to do, wherever He wants me to be, and whatever He wants me to live in.
It's hard sometimes to live in Faith.
I long for roots, while wanting wings.
And more than not, I feel like I am stuck in mud that is eyelid deep, just spinning my wheels.
Again, that struggle between being human, a woman, a widow ... and being a child of God.
Good night for now.
I have a long next few days.
Should prove for some interesting writing ;)
Thank You for reading.
How has it been 6 weeks? ? ?
I find it so hard to believe that about 6 weeks has passed since I last wrote.
How? I shake my head at the wonder of how quickly time passes when you are almost 60 years old.
I look back at the pictures I have of our children and our grandchildren, and what seems to my heart and mind to only have been a few days ago ... years upon years ago.
And when I look at the pictures of Rick, he still seems so alive and vibrant.
I treasure pictures, don't get me wrong - they are my touchstones!
But, at the same time, they are almost wicked in the games they seem to play with my heart and mind.
So, what has happened in these 6 weeks ... a little catching up time here.
Gall bladder and colon attacks.
I feel confident in saying that all of this has been about 90% stress induced.
I am feeling better, most times these last few days.
There are still moments of pain and/or discomfort, hours where I can't find that sweet spot of comfort to rest and sleep.
Of course we had the big freeze here in Texas, where all 254 counties were under a winter storm warning - for the first time in history!
The power here at the apartment went off for 4 days.
I went over to my son and daughter in love's house, stayed with them thru the worst of it.
Came back to frozen kitchen pipes, a frozen shower, and a refrigerator of freshly bought (before the epic storm) groceries that were now ruined. With no money to replace them. Leaving me with cans of soup and a couple of packages of ramen to make do with.
It's been a LONG time since my refrigerator only had 2 eggs, a 1/2 bottle of ketchup and a few dill pickles in it! (And it has been this way for over a month now.)
I remember years ago when I was a kid, that Momma's frig got empty once, stayed that way for a couple of days. Momma did not handle it well, to say the least.
It's a good thing that 1. I am alone & 2. I needed to lose some weight anyway.
All of that being a lesson in learning to trust in the Lord.
To read my Bible.
To do some wrestling with my mind and heart.
Spring has finally sprung here in Texas.
The birds sing loudly from morning till night.
The sun shines warm against these old bones.
The breeze still has a cool bite to it at times.
The wildflowers are beginning to pop open.
The trees are turning their spring green.
Easter is this Sunday.
What a wonderful, and almost magical, time of the year!
The only thing I do not like about Texas spring?
No matter how much I pray
No matter the reasonings I work out in my head
No matter what -
Once that word is spoken or written in the news and weather forecasts?
I'm over the thunderstorms and rain.
Rick knew how terrified I was.
I miss him.
He allowed me to be afraid. Without judgment or condemnation. Without trying to change me.
He would simply hold me. Pray over us. And wipe my tears away with his sweet soft kisses.
Yeah ... I miss him.
Our oldest grandson, our Marine, is now deployed.
This is our first. (Another vivid reminder that whoever said all the firsts as a widow happens in that first year, did NOT know what they were talking about!)
My heart has been in constant prayer over him, and about all this for his momma (my daughter) and his sister.
This world is crazy, and in an extremely volatile state of affairs - which doesn't do one thing for giving us comfort, just saying!
I pray Psalm 91 over him every morning. As well as over all of us. And I will continue to do so.
I know that Greater is He Who lives in him, is greater than he who lives in the world.
I know that God is the God of angel armies, and He is always right by his side.
I continue to pray that God will be Merciful and Gracious to us all, and that He will bring my grandson Marine home - safe, sound and healthy, when this deployment time is done.
I am already aching for his arms to embrace his Grannee!!!
Life here in the apartment is not what everyone said it would be.
Mostly, it is more like what I tried to explain to others what it would be like. (I'm not as ignorant as others have treated me.)
Day and night.
Too far out, and no extra money for fuel, to go anywhere.
No one around to get out and see, talk to.
Even my stupid "smart phone" doesn't have good signal here for a phone conversation. The only way it really works is to make sure my left pinkie is pointed south and my right big toe is pointed north, and my butt doesn't move at all while on the phone. UGH UGH UGH
No jobs available, at least none that I am qualified for - for one reason or another, I have been told "no".
There are no jobs around PK Lake. The closest town is about 20 miles away. Which would be do-able, IF I had a job that would pay for the rent and fuel.
The rent here is expensive, as it is everywhere.
But when I live on a very small widow's benefit, and the rent is 1/2 of the amount I get per month?
It makes it seem even more expensive.
By the time I pay the other bills, there is maybe enough money left for one tank of fuel in my truck, and little to nothing for groceries.
Again, it has been a lesson time in trusting in the Lord with all my heart.
As well as the focusing on "this day".
Having the manna for "This day".
I've been going thru pictures, clothes, books, memory stuff, odds and ends.
Sorting out what I don't really want, even wondering why on earth did I keep this, lol.
And I have spent some time working on the computer - looking for cheaper housing, looking for a job.
Even applying to different programs.
All to no avail.
Being told time after time, "I'm sorry, we can't help you." "You make too much." "You don't make enough." "You are too old." "You aren't old enough."
Just as it has been since Rick died, "You are one of the unfortunate ones that fall thru the cracks of our society. I'm sorry."
Which is why I had stayed with kids, family and friends for 5 years after Rick died.
The money I do get helps when I am staying with someone, but not enough to live on.
I have looked into house-sharing. But still on the fence about that. Who can you trust these days? It's hard to know.
And I have looked for live in positions, whether elder care, or child care, or even a cook for a ranch.
I am exhausted from looking.
My heart is too weary.
I read something the other day, 7 words that have changed my outlook, my perspective.
“Prepare for what you are praying for”.
It took about 3 days for those 7 words to really take hold of my mind and heart.
But when they did! Wow!
*I have long prayed for Peace. Not the peace of the world, but God’s Peace that passes all understanding.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- and now have begun to simply cry out to Jesus, calling His Name, every time an unwelcome, unpleasant, toxic thought comes at me.
- dreams have assailed me these last several weeks. Some are terrifying. Some are troubling. Some are disturbing. And some, well, they are simply confusing as all get out! But when I wake up from them, “Jesus help me”, as I breathe in and breathe out.
*I want to weigh less, and be in better shape.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- changing the way I think and feel about myself NOW.
- digging deep into the reasons why I want to lose weight and be in better shape.
- changing the way and what I eat, and drink.
- no more clothes shall I buy until these are hanging off of me, and I have taken them to the sewing machine for the very last time
*My heart’s desire is to have an RV. I loved the RV lifestyle when Rick and I lived in ours for about 15 years. I really believe I would enjoy it now, too.
I have regretted greatly selling our last one. At the time, I thought it was the right, and only, thing to do. But now, regret almost overwhelms me.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- going thru stuff and downsizing.
- organizing what remains.
- reminding myself of all those RV tricks to making a small space HOME.
*I do not want to just make it check to check. Always wondering if there will be enough money for rent and bills, and if there will be any left over for fuel or groceries.
Prepare for what you are praying for:
- trimming down the bills as much as I can
- curtailing the spending greatly
- changing even the way I buy groceries, when I can.
- looking for work, especially what I can do from home, so that it doesn’t add fuel costs at this time.
**These are just a few of the ways these 7 words have impacted my life.
I’m sure that as time goes forward, there will be more!
I have given myself to some intense prayer this week.
And in that, I have learned much.
I am still processing those answers, and the revelations I have received.
As soon as I can formulate words that make some kind of sense, I will be sharing.
Perhaps some of it will encourage and inspire you, as much as it has me.
Ok. That's not everything for the last 6 weeks, but it is a pretty good outline. LOL
And enough for right now ;)
I will be back ... and this time, sooner than 6 weeks!
Rick would LOVE this!!! :)
To all you of SINGLES out there!
You don’t have to feel alone!
This one’s for you!
Valentine’s Day is coming! 🥰❤️
Here’s our story:
How’d you guys meet? On the front porch, under a starry night
First Date: A long conversation in an old porch swing
How long have you been together: 35 years
Married: He still calls me His Bride • He’s off building our dream home. He’s coming back to get me very soon! No one knows the day or the hour though, only His Dad.
Kids: Yes, many spiritual sons & daughters
Age difference: It’s an eternity
Who was interested first: Him
Who is taller: Definitely Him
Who said I love you first: Him again!
Favorite tv show to watch together: We prefer reading together (the Bible).
Most impatient: me
Most sensitive: Him - He’s full of compassion
Loudest: Him! He preaches without a mic and even His whisper can be heard.
Most stubborn: me
Cooks better: Well He knocked it out of the park with the loaves & fish that time. 🐠
Better morning person: Him
Better driver: Him! Jesus take the wheel!
Most competitive: Me. He’s already won every battle He’s ever fought.
Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Hello...!!!! Chick Fil A, of course. Isn’t that God’s chicken!?!?! Like... that’s His Dad! LOL
Who is more social? Him
Who is the neat freak? Him again, He's building me a mansion so I know it will be spotless! ;)
Do you get flowers often? Yes! I find them everywhere I look (in season).
How long did it take to get serious? About 6 years.
Who plans date night? He does! “Where He leads me I will follow.”
Who picks where you go to dinner? He let’s me choose, and He goes with me no matter where I pick!
Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong? Trust me, He’s never wrong!
Who has more tattoos? Him • He has my name engraved in the palm of His hand!
Who sings better? Him! He has the whole heavenly host backing him up!
Hogs the remote? We’re not into tv.
Spends the most? Him! He gave his whole life for me.
Did you go to the same school? He was with me at school everyday and I called His name out a lot, especially when I was taking a test.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together? Been all over the USA, took Rick along too ;) <3
Post a picture/picture(s) of you and your valentine 🥰
Stars & Stripes
Stars & Stripes
We listen often
we listen well
to the stars
on the screen
to the tales they tell
and enduring romance
we are lost
in the magic
forgetting our reality
their stories we repeat
about the stripes
upon the chest
of the one who bled
who gave his life
on a foreign field
that we may watch
the fancies of the stars
where was this one born
with stripes to carry
who is left behind
to bear the pain
in their name
while the stars
play the game
make us free
in who we are
to give power
to the stars
the tears upon our face
when a star falls from grace
the stripes that lead
that we may not bleed
to another memory
in our empty heart
a cold white stone
once upon a time
a love lived
in the stripes
than any star
could ever tell.
I didn’t want to wake up this morning and face this day - Sunday.
Sundays have been long and boring for a while now.
Being a widow alone.
Add to that all the Covid-19 "stuff".
Growing up Sundays were long and boring unless someone came over - which was most Sundays, thankfully.
But those where no one came, oh those stretched on for months in a day.
Sundays with Rick were mostly good.
Church. Time with family. Or a lazy Sunday afternoon nap. Watch a football game. Go for a long walk. There was always something going on.
Well, until the later years of his life.
Then those Sundays become more of the long and boring kind, or the kind where he was irritable and just picked an argument to have something to do.
And now, since I’ve been here in this apartment?
Long, boring, and dreadfully alone.
But as I was beginning to get dressed this morning, I hear that still small Voice:
- Stop expecting.
So, me being me with the love affair for words, I look up what is the difference between hoping and expecting - because they seem, at first thought, basically the same.
Therefore, if I don’t expect, I don’t hope.
Granted, hope deferred makes the heart sick - so if I don’t hope, I can’t get heart sick.
And I find this:
Having hope means you are trusting the process.
Having an expectation means you are trusting the results.
Having a hope means that the future is uncertain.
Having an expectation means that you are predetermining the future.
Having a hope is an action of humility.
Having an expectation can be an act of pride.
Having a hope does not disappoint.
Having an expectation often falls short.
Having a hope helps us acknowledge that God knows best.
Having an expectation often indicates that you know best.
All I can say is WOW. What a Light! What a Blessing!
So, I can Hope today is a good day, filled with laughter and blessings.
But not expect it to be filled with busy-ness or people.
Not expect to see anyone, but Hope I get to hear from others.
Hope knows that God has the best day lined out for me, one that will have me in my place for helping to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Not expect that I know what makes a good Sunday.
I am so thankful for those 2 words: Stop expecting.
I’m so glad that God loves me and He cares even about the little things.
I think that’s the one thing I have learned so far in reading the later chapters of Exodus and these chapters of Leviticus -
- God, is IN the details.
- God detailed everything then about the building of the Temple and the clothes the priests were to wear, to the way the offerings were to be presented, and more. Every detail of life was laid out.
- God is the same God today as He was then. Because He never changes.
- So ... He is in the details of our lives, too. He cares. He cares about what’s important to us.
- just like Sundays are to me.
And therefore I stop expecting.
My Hope is in God.
That He knows best, even for my Sunday.
Even if it is to be here in this apartment alone.
He knows best.
I need to keep my heart in Hope, not expectation.
Wait, watch and see what He will do with this day.
Migraine from Hell!
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!
I survived ... with God's Grace
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
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.
Christmas 2020 ... part 2
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!
Widow thoughts with God and Coffee
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
First day of Thanksgiving Week
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.
Coffee & Sugar Cookies
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
The War Room - movie to life
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
Some words just mean more
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
Riding the waves
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
I fell stupid
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
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here