Thursday, December 31, 2009

good-byes

good-bye, 2009.

2009 will be gone forever, never to be relived or experienced. our future - 2010 - awaits.

one good-bye this year has left me with a Life After; but it was not a good-bye but a "see you later." my hope carries me. my hope makes me strong. my hope is in Jesus. i leave you with this for 2009 to remember the reason for our hope in 2010:

Think of stepping on shore and finding it heaven; taking hold of a hand and finding it God's; breathing new air and finding it celestial; feeling invigorated and finding it immortality; of passing through a tempest to a new and unknown ground; of waking up well and happy and finding it Home.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.”
I Corinthians 2:9 NLT

Lord, Thank you that you have given us, your children, eternal life here and now, and that we know that unspeakable joy is awaiting us.

from Corrie Ten Boom's Each New Day.


i know that my love is full of unspeakable joy, celebrating with our Jesus and God the Father in heaven tonight.... rather, every day from here on. oh, i cannot wait to be with him, celebrating eternity with Brian and those who are with him.

Happy New Year. may you find the hope that only Jesus can give...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

sharing

many times, friends will tell me of scripture that God gave them or that they were reading that reminds them of me. this from our dear friends in TN...

Psalm 34:17-19

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;

random

i was peacefully listening to some Christmas tunes on sirius radio and all of a sudden, the instrumental version of against all odds came over the airwaves.... what?!?!?!? i had no idea that one might think this was a holiday song...?

those things that make you go hmmm... a message?

oh, this Life After...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

postal service

back in the day, i loved to send cards [and could afford it]. i would always be sure to hit the stationery section of any store i went to in case there might be a card waiting for me to buy -- one that said the perfect message or word of encouragement. i sent many to friends and especially Brian.

well, i had to dig through an old box the other day -- one that brian never let me look through because it was full of his personal keepsakes -- and he kept every [and i do mean every -- there were a lot] card and letter i ever wrote him. he even framed the piece of paper i wrote my phone # on the night we met.

i found another box, too, that has cards in it that i picked out just for him. i even bought one for him just before he died. it's theme: "i believe in you."
i never gave him the card. i hope he knew that's how i felt about him...

he's perfect. he's whole. he's healthy. he's new. he's with our heavenly Father.

i love him. i miss him.




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a thoughtful gift

this little guy was a gift from a very dear friend who saw it in the store and was 'absolutely compelled' to buy it for me. [she told the friend that was with her about the significance of it and her friend said, "if you don't buy that for her, i'll be mad at you!"]. ironically, there were 3 of these little guys on the tree at the store and this was the only one that wasn't chipped.

this scuba diving bee [who would think to ever make such a thing?!] hangs in the kitchen, watching over our culinary practices. i love it... such a sweet reminder and a little 'guardian' in this Life After.

*if you are reading this and confused, read the post 'the significance of bees'.


best Christmas tree ever

so my 'humbug' from the last post is retracted... we got the best Christmas tree ever! and i got it from fresh & easy!

let me explain --

last night, i decided to 'get over it' and call every f&e in town to find the darn Christmas tree.... i had my heart set on it and so did the girls. so after calling every one in the area, one -- ONE! -- turned up... but that's all i needed was one! it was in the arcadia store being used as a display. the guy on the phone said it was a little dry so he'd sell it to me for $5... cool! even better than $15 and easier on my pocketbook!

the kids and i go to get it on this rainy night and yes, it is there. i tell the woman managing the check out that i want to buy it. she says, "are you sure? it's REALLY dry." i say, "i called every f&e store in the area. this is the very last one and i want it. i promised my kids!"

she and her co-worker take it down from display and prep it for us. she makes a 'today's special' price tag for it, and guess what? she charged us $.75! that's right -- 75 cents! woo hoo! this is getting better by the moment.

it definitely had that Charlie Brown quality to it...


[another of Brian's favorite holiday traditions, A Charlie Brown Christmas] -- so we put it gingerly in the car so the needles wouldn't fall off and sped home to give it some water and decorate it.

here is our final creation:

we made our own decorations -- red, white and green paper chain and white paper snowflakes -- and got an inexpensive string of lights from CVS and placed the tree right in the front window of our home.... so beautiful!

and my dad even wanted to keep the blinds open at night [which he never does] as to show off our creation to the neighborhood :).

memories and continued traditions are a joy in this Life After.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

the Christmas spirit -- denied?

today was an emotionally difficult day for me and i am finding this to be more and more true about every day as Christmas approaches.

why difficult today? i promised the girls that we would get a real Christmas tree in addition to the amazing wreath we got from our friends in WA so that the yummy smell of a pine and the glowing lights on the tree would fill the room and give the feeling of Christmas. we still have the living tree we had last year but it needs a replanting and some serous help...

well, my initial plan failed... you see, i found these great small trees at fresh & easy -- my favorite grocery store -- for $15. they were the perfect size for mom & dad's tiny little house on vernon. so i decided to be 'smart' and wait to get one closer to Christmas so it would last longer. well, as with all things, if something is seasonal and you really want it, don't wait. well, i did and they were all gone -- ALL GONE! i could have fallen into a puddle right there in the store [it's was raining, so it was already representative of how i felt :)]. so we walked around the store to get what we needed minus the tree and we went home.

so today i woke up sad. Brian's yearly insistence on getting a real tree which he has passed on to his girls was, well, not going to be a reality this year.

the girls did have me buy a preassembled gingerbread house at f&e so that they could decorate it.... i let them do it today despite my 'humbug' attitude.

maybe there will be a bright spot in this day.... we shall see.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Logan's

tonight we went to our favorite place to go during the holidays -- Logan's Candy Shop in downtown ontario with some of our favorite folks, craig and kellie and their kids.

what a fun time. the kids got to bend their own canes [thanks, lori!] and taste warm samples -- yum! i tell you, if you have never had a warm candy cane freshly made, you have got to try it sometime in your life. once you have a homemade candy cane, you'll never buy store bought canes again... yes, i am a candy cane snob.

afterward, we headed to P-town where paul and kieva joined us for some amazing Mexican grub from one of Brian's favorite places to eat when we lived there, El Merendero. try 10 kids and 4 adults... we were seriously outnumbered. but it was all good... every bit. i had chile verde, but it wasn't nearly as good as brian's.... maybe i'm a bit partial. **smile** we'll be making his version on new year's eve with tomatillos and peppers from his garden. i could eat that stuff for every meal... it's that good.

good friends. fresh candy canes. yummy Mexican food. these are blessings and a comfort in our Life After.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

yesterday

it was 3 months ago. seems unreal, really. an emotional day and memories abounded for more than just me. a couple of family members and a friend called to say they were thinking of or had dreamed about Brian. God... he is missed by so many.

Brian's dad, mike, flew in from GA to see the girls in their play, a Christmas carol, at APU and visit family and friends since he won't be here for Christmas. he begins intensive chemo and radiation when he returns to GA next week.

too much. i wonder what the coming weeks will hold for me/us emotionally with Christmas coming on like a freight train...? i can't even think about it right now...

later.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Go me... I got to keep the mask!

i spent time in the ER today because of pain in my chest from coughing so much -- 3 weeks of it! after IVs, chest x-rays, breathing treatments and blood draws, the docs finally decided i have acute bronchitis. they gave me two prescrips and sent me on my way after 3 hours in there. here's me:

don't i look pretty? :P and after all this? the pulmonary specialist let me keep the mask. hahaha. oh, and thank God i left when i did because the lady next door to me wasn't doing so well. i really didn't want to stick around for her results....

avery was really worried about me going to the hospital, even though it was just to make sure that i didn't have pneumonia. she asked me if i could die from acute bronchitis. i assured her that, no, i cannot die from it but i wanted to make sure it wasn't something worse. i am taking care of myself for these three little ones in my care. even moreso now in this Life After.


Monday, December 7, 2009

my dad...

today i am going to break from writing about brian and me and direct you to the blog i have been keeping for my dad...

http://donhays.blogspot.com/

now, i am going to sit back and enjoy my cup of hot ruby red chai tea and listen to some reminiscent carols of Christmases past.

good night ;)

funny response...

...to yesterday's post:

written:"i relish the sweet memories of my love..."
mckenna: "you pickled the memories of your love?"

this made me laugh! lol...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

13 years ago today...

...brian proposed marriage to me. have you heard the story? i have never actually written it down before so perhaps today is a good day to do so. i relish the sweet memories of my love...

in 2006, there was a couple in our ministry at the time who had recently begun dating. at a retreat we had had, they announced that they were getting married the coming friday night. what?!?!? this upset me greatly because here we were, a solid couple dating for almost 4 years, and there was yet to be a ring or anything for us to be married. we had talked about it quite a bit and had indeed committed to each other the we each were "the one" and i had accomplished all i had wanted to up to that point prior to marriage save one thing -- living on my own.

well, this couple had been unstable, arguing, together one day, breaking up the next and so on. i thought, "how can a couple like this get married?" i was sad, torn perplexed, yet i accepted it.

that week was crazy. brian was busy prepping for the wedding, as he was the best man after all, and i had parent/teacher conferences at the middle school where i worked on thursday and friday. on thursday night, brian had come over to my house all stressed out and we got into an argument because i didn't see why he was the one that had to do all the work for this wedding. the bride and groom should have been carrying on! ugh. i also told him that i wouldn't be able to be at the wedding until 6:30p because i was driving from orange county in friday night traffic. he was not pleased, as he thought i should at least be there to support him.

looking back, this was all so funny!

anyway, the night of the wedding, i show up and he is dressed in a tux that's a bit too small [he said that everyone had to borrow or buy from thrift stores because they couldn't afford to rent]. he's sweating because he is stressed out and things are chaotic in preparation.

i greet the people i know and sit down in the second row behind where the groom's parents should have been. [note: should have been]. i was told that their infant son was ill so they wouldn't be making it for the wedding. again... what?!?!? i just couldn't believe it... "see, they shouldn't be getting married. the groom's parents aren't even coming!" so i move up to the front row and sit next to the pastor's wife, kelly [yes, he was really a pastor -- our friend dennis. we had connections... brian was working for newsong at the time. this whole thing was staged in the back office!]

the wedding starts. the groom, pastor and the best man are sweating. the bride walks down the aisle. i see a white lacy prom dress from the 80's and bare feet. yet again... what?!?!? okay, heidi, get a grip! someone caught a picture of me at this point and, well, my face showed exactly what i was thinking at the time.

the bride finally makes it to the front and it begins. dennis begins recounting the groom's life... wow, he really has a similar past to brian. i had no idea.

then he recounts the bride's life... i turn to kelly, "hey, he's talking about me. why is he talking about me?!?" i listen quietly and aghast, not wanting to interrupt, with my chin gently resting on the floor. i am questioning so much, but only in my mind. [i still don't know why i didn't say something...?] dennis proceeds and asks for the ring. brian, being the best man, hands him the ring in a black velvet box. dennis briefly shares the significance of the ring and then gives the ring in box to the groom.

groom:"that's not my ring. that's not my ring!"
dennis: "it's not your ring? (pause, turning to brian) brian, whose ring is this?"
brian: "it's mine."

he comes over to me in the front row where i am sitting. i say, "are you kidding me?" over and over again. he gets down on one knee and says, "heidi, i love you. i want to spend the rest of my life with you. will you marry me?"

with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face, i said, "YES!"

at that point, after he places a most beautiful ring on my finger, he turns me around to face the doors at the back of the building and in come 75 of our closest family and friends to celebrate our engagement! everyone kept it a secret from me.... everyone! i couldn't believe it.

after greetings, photos and food [he had everyone bring a dish to share for a potluck], he whisked me off to puddingstone hot tubs, where he had reserved our own hilltop spot to reminisce, dream and plan for our wedding and our future away from the crowds we had been surrounded by. yummy hazelnut chocolate seashells, strawberries and champagne. candlelight and a view. so romantic.

he was really amazing that way.

he really knew how to sweep a girl off her feet -- really.

he had always said to himself that there would be two things to be sure of about our engagement: 1/ i would never know it was coming and 2/ i would say, "yes."

and he was right. i had no idea. and i said yes.

and the rest is, well, Life After ;)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

my special project -- ssshhhh!

i started a special project tonight, one of love, for my children in honor of my husband. i am so excited about it that i want to make one for every person who was near to him. i cannot share just yet what it is because sometimes little eyes read what i write, but i cannot wait for the big reveal on Christmas Day.

oohh! i am so excited about this!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

literary root and the fruit of questioning...?

PROUD of my broken heart since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee,
Proud of my night since thou with moons dost slake it,
Not to partake thy passion, my humility.

-- Emily Dickinson


my heart bursts with passion for my husband, what he loved. i long for others to find community, to find healing, to love and live fully. i wonder if he truly fulfilled his mission? can i adequately carry on his legacy? why have i experienced the things that i have?

what will i do to create an income for me and my kids so that i don't have to work for the establishment or place my kids in to it? with whom will i connect who have similar passions and desires? how will effect change for the better of the world around me? there are things i am certain of that God has directed our family toward, but now what?

my mind is so full of questions today, things i wish i would have done differently, and things i might make better for the future. phew. too much. but i did this before Life After. now there's just more... and different.

Friday, November 27, 2009

giving thanks

yesterday was thanksgiving and we spent it with friends paul and kieva along with brian's brother david and his wife and girls too.we ate and ate and ate. so much good food and good friends to share it with.

paul and kieva created a small centerpiece in honor of brian's memory that was really special. brian was a ceramisist and made many beautiful pieces. he gave two very special pieces -- a chip/dip bowl and a small plate -- the our friends. the chip dip bowl housed homemeade cranberry sauce and grapes. the small plate was dressed with a large votive candle surrounded by a pewter symbol of community, dried chiles, bean and sunflower seeds.

he was missed. he always made his turkey special for our thanksgiving day. he loved to cook. he loved good food. he shared his love through food. oh, how i wish he could have been with us, laughing and sharing stories. but i know his spirit was there -- the food, the laughter, the community -- and he was surely giving thanks to our great God for his goodness and mercy.

i am exhausted. words are not coming easy for me. words cannot adequately express how i feel for my love. we will be seeing people this weekend that were dear to his heart and are dear to mine. i need my rest... i'll be back after the weekend is over.

good night!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

the world doesn't stop

the last couple of days, we all have been sick. kind of a good thing because it has forced us to stay home and rest. we have been on the go [even though all of us were fighting sickness] and have felt rushed around and not stopped to just be. with all of the rushing, there have been moments that i have written about here where i have been reminded of Brian in some way in the midst of it all.

then, here are the last two days, full of rest and serenity. i have studied his picture, heard a few certain songs that he liked or that reminded me of him, seen a bee or two [there was one on the floor at the APU theatre the other day -- i'll have to tell Av], or any number of things and have not shed a tear. then today -- well, forget it! all bets are off because i was a faucet nearly all afternoon and evening. a house, a turkey, a toothbrush -- bring on the memories; bring on the tears.

it's funny that i am writing about this because i get together with friends or talk with people and some wonder how i am even functioning and wonder why i am not crying all the time. a new friend even asked me why i let the girls be in the play. "well," i told her, "life goes on. on the inside - in my heart - it feels like life for me has stopped in some way - but the world just keeps on going. as they say, 'the show must go on.' the world doesn't stop for me even though i want it to."

sometimes i wish it would stop and 'look' at me, my family, and pause for a moment but it doesn't. kind of like that song/musical, "stop the world... i wanna get off." but the world - people - are in perpetual motion. everything keeps going. it doesn't stop. it's the natural order of things.

when i am not shedding tears, especially when i go a day or two, there's not a guilt but a sorrow i feel when the tears aren't coming. like a friend whom one talks to everyday that just doesn't make contact. like Brian is slipping away from me somehow. like i am forgetting. in fact, when i have dreams about him, i ask him to stay or beg him not to go when i am on the verge of awakening. i want to talk just a few minutes longer or see him a few moments more. i have even told the kids in my sleep not to bother me because i am talking to Daddy. but i digress.

there's comfort in tears, oddly enough, but pain too. they often come out of the blue when i least expect them, but as strange as it may seem, i welcome them.

things are different that one might expect in a Life After.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

ian

my little bundle of joy running around...

"mommy! mommy! mommy!" ian calls as he comes running to me from the other room, so excited to see me home from my day with the girls at the renaissance festival. he stayed home with my folks napping while we went out.

"me. me." he takes my hand and leads me out to where his hot wheels cars are on the ground. he lays down on his tummy.

"hi." he begins a conversation with me via his cars.

such a joy to come home to this precious little man who reminds me so much of his daddy [his looks and his spirit]. just tonight while sitting across from him at a restaurant, i was overwhelmed by the precious gift that God gave to us and Brian has left me to care for... or maybe i should say that Brian left him to care for me. he notices when i cry sometimes and says, "mommy cry," while looking for something with which to wipe my tears, a then flashes me that incredible winning smile with twinkling blue eyes. he didn't notice tonight, and for that i was a little grateful.

he has been the calm in a raging storm inside my heart since he was born, a symbol of God's goodness and greatness in the midst of life. he is a tender little boy who loves me, his sisters, his grandparents, friends and Daddy so much. he talks about these beautiful people in his life all the time. he is carrying his Daddy's legacy of love for others.

thank you, God, for blessing our family and those around us with this precious boy. i pray, sweet Jesus, that you will protect him and use him to serve you and your kingdom all the days of his life. help me to raise him in a way that is glorifying to you and a blessing to others. give me guidance and wisdom and help me to teach him that You are his heavenly Daddy who will never leave nor forsake. amen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

balance

got the edited copies of the memorial service we had for Brian... tears

spent time and had lunch with dear friends in long beach... joy

unexpectedly revisited photos of a very special time with dear friends before Brian's passing... tears

saw my kids laugh and play with friends... joy

missing the sound of his voice... tears

knowing that Brian is with Jesus and that others may know Jesus because of the love Brian showed to them... priceless.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

frustration

i get frustrated with people when they dismiss something i say or "dash a dream against the rocks", so to speak, telling me how i or the kids will feel or what we will do, especially when they don't even know us! none of us have fit into the proverbial mold that has surfaced during this process. [note: there is no mold!]

last night i was talking to a woman at a group i take the kids to and she demolished my spirit -- at least it felt that way. i didn't realized how frustrated i was until this morning. i wish that people like that just wouldn't say anything at all and let me come upon realizations like that on my own, if they even become real. chances are it might not even happen as she said. she was just snapping me back into a reality -- her reality? -- before it was necessary, giving me timelines for feelings, etc.

i am being totally vague because i'd rather not remember the whole thing... but let's just say i'm frustrated and really would like to forget about that part of the conversation. it was great until the very end... ugh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Grief...

...good grief!

LOL

I used to call Brian my 'charlie brown'.... he had that attitude sometimes. Miss him...

word choice

since Brian's death i have become more and more sensitive to how people use words. this might also cross over in to semantics because the choices people make about the words they use may not necessarily reflect their true meaning or feelings.

"i'm so embarrassed, i could just die!"
"i couldn't do that. if i did she'd kill me."
"you're killing me!"
"i love you to death."

die.

kill.

death.

do people really mean these things when they say them? i have to admit, i used these types of phrases often. but now that Brian has died.... very much a reality for me and all who knew him... my sensitivity to these terms has been heightened. they are powerful and strong terms that our society has come to use casually and take lightly their use.

semantics.
denotation.
connotation.
metaphor.
hyperbole.
a whole new set of things to question, realize and think about in this Life After. i wonder if anyone else has felt this way?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

teardrops

i am crying too much tonight to write much of anything. a few triggers and some out of nowhere... a few tears for my dad too.
i'll write more tomorrow...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

life...

today was somewhat uneventful. McK had practice for Dickens' A Christmas Carol, while Av and i hung out in the courtyard outside the theatre with friends. afterward, we took ian and my mom over to the last hour of the Pilgrim Place Festival again, made swiggles, had faces painted and browsed. tonight was droll in that ian's antics in the tub made me smile and the girls were seeming a bit mischeivious.

tomorrow should prove to be a bit more exciting: our friends coming to church with us [remember the one Brian's dear friend?] and afterward a rearranging of the room so that ian might move to a big boy bed.... that just might call for a trip to Ikea for bedding :)

so i am off to dreamland where my thoughts can drift intentionally to my love rather than visiting when it is completely unexpected... :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

today

tired.

depressed... really. i wanted to sleep all day but the funny thing is, kids just don't let you do that.

thought about Brian A LOT today.

in an attempt to just get out of the house, we went to the Pilgrim Place Festival, a great craft fair that raises money for retired missionaries. we went there last year with B and reminisced over the memories. Av got her face painted and was a bumblebee...

she was on the hunt for bees all day long -- crafts, novelty items, you name it. McK was just into collecting rocks, eating cotton candy, making swiggles [melted crayon art] and doing the infamous glue-in [plastics/wood scrap/corks/etc. that we would all consider trash are saved all year by the seniors there and then put out in a special area for all the kids to glue to cardboard pieces in an attempt to do art.] the girls got to hang out with some special friends too and that was nice for them.

tonight had dinner with Paul & Kieva and their boys discussing a variety of things... good, thought provoking conversation.

i miss you, Brian. i love you. i wish you were here. there are so many things i want to share and discuss with you. i guess i need to give myself a day at the beach and just talk, write, cry. Life After is tough....

and in addition to all that, i feel like i am getting sick. phht.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a broken heart

a lot to process from tonight. i went to a Thomas Jefferson education seminar filled with thought provoking statements and ideas and then spent the last hour talking on the phone with my dear friend Beck. i am actually really glad she called so i could talk through and process some of the stuff i heard tonight, but i cried and went through a couple kleenexes....

a realization that my heart is broken over Brian's death hit me tonight... hard. he meant so much to so many because he loved them. i know in my head that God was merciful and Brian is in a better place, whole, healthy, and new, but my heart still hurts because of it. i miss his tangible moments of love, sweetness and tenderness for me and the kids, but we are left behind to go on. i don't know what will happen or what i'll do, but that's okay. it's only been two months. i need some breathing room to catch my breath and let God work as he will and always has.

tomorrow i will write about my musings about what i heard at the seminar, but for now, my head hurts... i must go to sleep. morning comes too soon :)

mystery solved!

i was wondering where the black and yellow striped sweatshirt came from....

our friend JD gave it to Brian one of the last times he saw him... Brian said he liked it so JD gave it to him..

a friend indeed....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

frazzled mommies

the title to this post is kind of funny because i posted it about this photo, taken at the end of our day today:

that's what i said we looked like. i am chuckling to myself because i only felt like a frazzled mommy when trying to [in]effectively communicate with my girls today. but i guess the photo showed otherwise. :) but our hearts were tended by being together.

honestly, i felt like a treasured friend, cared for and loved by someone i've known since we were 15, then inadvertently paired up as biology lab partners over a fetal pig. we've been through a lot together, encouraging one another through the years, staying connected though living miles apart. we are sisters in Jesus and i know i have a confidant and friend i can turn to in time of need and she will be there, especially in prayer.

as for our kids... they had a great time together. i think Av has found a new best friend :)

glam...

silly...

we love 'em!



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

forgetful...

in my mind, i had this whole blog post ready to be put to proverbial paper and now, for the life of me, i can't remember what i was going to write. that seems to be the way it goes lately. forgetting things; walking into rooms, unable to remember what exactly it was i was there for in the first place. my mind wanders, sometimes to a memory of Brian, especially when i am caught offguard by a photograph or something he thought important. one thing often leads to another.

i guess i'll mention that i bought a movie today. UP. the last movie that Brian and i saw together. on our anniversary. 12 years. when i saw it the first time, i cried through the whole thing. gosh, now i'll probably do that again, but for a whole different set of reasons. representative of so much. unrealized dreams and what's really important. **sigh**

oh, yeah... i just remembered what i was going to write about, but i guess it'll have to wait for another day...

Life After.

Monday, November 9, 2009

who would've thought....

...that:
  • a box of bills would make me cry?
  • seeing a bee today would comfort me?
  • my son would repeat the word "beach" every time we get in the car to go somewhere? [he is his father's son, after all]
  • people would actually want to trade places with me?
  • a friend dear to Brian's heart would actually want to go to church?
  • Brian's long ago friends would ever contact me?
  • two months could have passed by but feels like time is standing still?
amazing and hard for me to believe, but true...

Life After.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

today's devotional reading

it is possible for you and me to be ready for Jesus' coming. the surrendered self is dynamic since it is the branch that is connected with the Living Vine.

I am the vine, you are the branches.
John 15:5 RSV

our hope is in the living Vine through which your love flows freely, Father.
taken from Each New Day by Corrie Ten Boom

***p.s.-- i added video to a post published nov. 6. check it out... way cool!

Friday, November 6, 2009

profound

John 15:5-8

5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


Apart from me, you can do nothing.

Heidi, you cannot --

  • parent
  • be in authentic community
  • be a friend
  • grieve
  • heal
  • love
  • live life to its fullest
-- without Me.

i need to stay connected to The Vine and allow The Master Gardener to guide me, prune me, help me grow.

spent time with an old friend and came away from that time with the above thoughts.

Ventura

today we went to the beach. drove up to Ventura and had a great time hanging out on the beach all day. we just needed to spend that time together, with God, with Brian. the following photos and videos should tell it all:

mck on the zipline -- coolest thing ever at a park/the beach!

video

the girls @ the beach

we found a baby eel!

no... really!

ian...

...& his footprint


watch the following video. this is my first attempt at a meaningful memorial....

video
this was a little eerie, but comforting at the same time.
"miss me? no. remember me. it's better for me where i am. i love you."
this was confirmed by the fact that we found a lone bee, covered with sand, weighted down by the water on its wings, struggling to get to the ocean. the symbolism...

then i created this little video; it really surprised me and came out sweet...

video
she misses her daddy so much... they all do.

it was a good day for grieving.
remembering.
living.
loving.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

storage

went to the storage unit today. "stuff management" is difficult. our "stuff" is in three different places and i have to try to get all the stored stuff in these three areas together into the storage unit.

when it was time to move out of our rental house after Brian passed away, my dear friend Kieva stepped up and was so amazing. i am telling you, she was my brain! she organized a group of Brian's and my friends to come over and pack up our things and move everything in to storage. this happened over a period of about 8 hours on the saturday after my birthday. wow.

i wasn't there to help because my aunt had passed away the day before [my birthday] and i offered to pick up my cousin from the airport and drive her out to be with her dad and brothers. i still am so thankful that i wasn't there and things worked out the way they did because i think it would have crippled me emotionally to where i could not have done a thing and would have been of no help to anyone.

but now comes the time where i must face it all. "stuff management." the big things, like furniture, are not a big deal. it will be the boxes of things that will be overwhelming. i need to begin by selling some of the furniture in storage so as to make room for the other items in boxes that i plan to keep.

i think i need to stop writing now because i becoming overwhelmed and it may cause insomnia.

finding neverland



reminded right now of one of my favorite movies... beautiful writing, beautiful design. now it has so much more meaning to me. if you haven't seen it, you should.

Peter: It's just, I thought she'd always be here.
J.M. Barrie: So did I. But in fact, she is, because she's on every page of your imagination. You'll always have her there. Always.
Peter: But why did she have to die?
J.M. Barrie: I don't know, Peter. When I think of your mother, I will always remember how happy she looked, sitting there in the parlor watching a play about her family, about her boys that never grew up. She went to Neverland. And you can visit her any time you like if you just go there yourself.
Peter: How?
J.M. Barrie: By believing, Peter. Just believe.
the girls and i talked tonight about taking our family portrait. "will we take it at the beach?" "yes. do you know why?" "because daddy will be there. he'll be in the picture with us." "that's right."

imagination. belief. so essential in our Life After.

Monday, November 2, 2009

love all around

today we spent time with friends... katie and her daughter [one of av's best friends] met us for lunch in arcadia and then we went and played at jumpin' jammin'... a totally fun and wonderful time for everyone -- even us moms* :) . check out our cool video of a different kind of rain :)

video

afterward, we headed to a monthly sing-a-long with some dear folks -- the girls' adopted grandparents -- in claremont... they loved it! and so did the seniors! just lovin' on me and my girls. it made me smile. it made everyone feel good.

i hadn't seen any of these friends since Brian's memorial service, so of course there were memories, tears, hugs, laughter.... love. thank you for giving me and my kids an extra special day.

*to my out-of-town friends: next time you visit, we should go here!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

song for me

my dear friend whom i met with on friday said, "Brian was so lucky to have you." this statement caused me to think about and remember some love letters/notes Brian wrote to me that i have saved. over the weekend, this song played on my iPod and it was so reflective of those writings that i had to post it here.

For Once In My Life - Michael Bublé


For Once In My Life
I've got someone who needs me
Someone I've needed so long
For once unafraid
I can go where life leads me
And somehow I know I'll be strong

For once I can touch
What my heart used to dream of
Long before I knew
Someone warm like you
Could make my dreams come true

For once in my life
I won't let sorrow hurt me
Not like it's hurt me before
For once I have someone
I know won't desert me
I'm not alone anymore

For once I can say
This is mine, you can't take it
Long as I know I've got love I can make it
For once in my life
I got someone who needs me

At least for once I can say
This is mine you can't take it
Long as I know I got love
I can make it

For once in my life I got someone
For once in my life I found someone
For once in my life I got someone
Who needs me

Zephaniah 3:17

17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

these words were the main words in a worship song at church today. Brian quoted these very words to me in an email he wrote to me awhile ago. how even more true these words are for all of us now as Brian sits in the presence of our Jesus and we, his family, are left behind.

such comfort in these words.
my God is with me/us.
he can save me/us from anything.
quieting me/us, comforting me/us, rejoicing over me/us, his child/ren.

beauty in a Life After death...
beauty in a Life After loss.

sad

i realized today that i let a message on my voicemail be deleted. it was the last VM i received from Brian. i was so sad and heartbroken... my mistake.

i can no longer just listen to his voice on my phone whenever i want. **sniff...deep sigh**

"hey, it's me. i wanted to talk to you........would you please call me? **sigh** i'm so sorry.... i love you."

sweet. beautiful.

my Brian.

gone.

he's just gone now, isn't he?

even more real...

but i can still hear him.

halloween - 31.october

remember the significance of bees? well, i was Z Queen B for halloween. complete with antennae, crown, wings, and stinger. here's a little photo of me i took on my phone...


so, evidently brian acquired this sweatshirt sometime in the last 2 weeks prior to his passing. it's a very bright yellow and black stripe. the girls and i ventured to walmart and they found this lapel pin:


so needless to say, the costume just came together. it was fun to dress up with my girls and in remembrance of Brian.

we went t or t-ing in Pomona -- in the old historic neighborhood where we used to live and where i grew up having every holiday because my aunt and uncle lived there. i was in the mood for a bit of nostalgia and being with good friends. though the crowds were much larger than i remember them [we're talking like 1,000 people roaming the streets and sidewalks of this great neighborhood, lines of people and kids 20 deep?] crazy.

but it was fun. brian's brother and his family joined us and it was great. the girls had so much fun and even Ian, by the end of the night, was saying "trick or treat" in his cute little 2yo way.

thanks, P&K, for hosting a great night and thank LP for welcoming me back with open arms.

side note and a bit of irony:
Brian worked on a TV pilot back in 2005: Queen B

Friday, October 30, 2009

friends for all

today --

McK got to go ice skating with Jenny.

Av got to spend the whole day playing with Kharese.

Ian and I got to have lunch with Linda, a very dear friend that i have known since 4th grade.

tonight --

McK & Av invited their friends to join them at a Halloween party at my cousin's place.

Ian stayed home to play with Grammy and Grampy.

i got to have a yummy Thai dinner and then Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf with two dear friends.

today was a good day filled with friends, tears, laughter and sharing.

thank you, God, for providing us with good friends. may we continue to nurture our relationships with others and not take them for granted. amen.

"journeying in community is like walking with a safety net." --me

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the significance of bees

i said i would share this, so i guess now is as good a time as any to do so.

what is the big deal about bees?


on September 23, Brian's mom, dad, two brothers, sister and i went out on a boat from Marina del Rey to spread brian's ashes at sea. though we never talked about our burial arrangements [i guess we thought we were too young?], i knew immediately that this was where Brian's final earthly resting place should be.

so, under deep cover of fog with only about 100 foot visibility, we went out from the marina. when putting Brian's ashes in the ocean, which made a perfect serpentine in the water, Mom and Katie threw sunflowers and carnations into the ocean as well, which perfectly aligned themselves with the visible trail in the water. when our ceremony was complete, the fog suddenly lifted and we were ready to head back in to the docks. at that point, i noticed three bees hovering within the bounds of the boat. after pointing them out ["look! bee -- for Brian!], we watched as one landed on Mom's shirt, right over her heart; one landed on Dad's hand; and one was cruising on the mast. the three bees stayed with us all the way to dock and our captain said that once he got back to the slip, they stayed in the cabin and wouldn't leave [sounds like Brian and his love for the ocean and boats!]

afterward, we had lunch with all the family at The Cheesecake Factory and a singular bee visited our table [we were seated outdoors] and stayed with us most of the time.

since this time, bees have landed on me or been very nearby at significant moments in time: during a sad moment at a venue that we always went to together; selling his vehicle to someone very dear to his heart; picking up and putting away 1644; moving out of our home; playing with our son; our daughters' birthday parties; walking our dog; and others that escape me at this moment. i can say that never before has a bee ever landed on me. now, without fear but with great comfort do i [the girls and his family too] welcome these little creatures that nurture, pollinate and "spread the word" about the goods in the garden 'hood. they are God's way of bringing us comfort in difficult moments and reminding us of the one who is with us only in spirit.

so therein lies the significance of bees.

life's a hard road...

... and it feels like anyone who says God won't give you more than you can handle is full of crap!

my dad's tumors are growing, others are showing up and the chemo doesn't seem to be working anymore.

Brian's dad has bladder cancer that seems to have metastasized in his right lung [most of which he had removed two weeks ago]. bladder surgery no longer seems to be an option, according to his docs.

i am emotionally wrenched. i mean, seriously? seriously.

please be praying for these men.

please be praying for us. my mom and mother-in-law included.

Avery's birthday - 28 October 2009

my baby girl is 7... yup, 7! i can't believe it.... seems like not that long ago i was turning around in our kitchen ready to go get a classic b/w film for Brian and i to watch and my water broke. 7 hours later, i had a sweet replica of myself in my arms full of Brian's personality. what a girl. i love her dearly. she has heart, courage, sensitivity, need, want and a heart for Jesus so big that it can't stay within her. it shows.

today, a dear friend threw her the best doggie themed party any little girl could hope for. pin the nose on the dog, a huckleberry hound treasure hunt, a pinata as big as every kid there, dogs on the cake, paws and bones on the windows and tables.... even hot dogs for lunch! most of our homeschool park day friends came and wow... Av had a blast hanging with them and letting the whole day be for her.

after the party we went out to dinner at Islands with the folks and had fish tacos, a birthday tradition for Av. every year, Brian made his special fish tacos just for her because she loves them. i will tell you that these tacos do not hold a candle to Brian's... really, this just seems like a reflection of the fact that he is not here to celebrate with us. it makes my heart so sad and heavy. little things like this seem so much bigger now. he was meticulous as to how the batter tasted and how creamy and flavorful the sauce was and that the right undertones were in the salsa. now, those things are lost. well, maybe not totally lost but just not the same as we carry them out.

admittedly there was and undertone of sadness to the day, especially since Av didn't see any bees -- a symbol of Brian's presence with us. but i saw one. it flew out of the tree toward me, but then the strong winds we were having blew him away. Thank you, God, for that singular bee. like i said before, little things seem so much bigger now in our Life After.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

panic, irony, and comfort

panic -- my experience at the social security office was leading me to believe that Brian's and my marriage license was invalid and therefore our marriage was not recognized by the state. what a horrific feeling! thankfully, i was gravely mistaken. i merely had a complimentary COPY from the registrar recorder of the actual certificate. whew! i was a wreck for most of the day.

irony -- in helping my mom clean out some stuff, we came across He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado. in it, he wrote about Lazarus being raised from the dead and Jesus' response -- that which i wrote about last night. i love how God works, bringing things in our paths that allow us the comfort of knowing we are doing right and well, giving glory to Him who is able to do and be all.

comfort -- this from a devotional by Corrie Ten Boom:
Cast your burden on the Lord. Don't try to solve the world's problems with your mind. You cannot unscramble scrambled eggs.
I want you to be free from anxieties. I Corinthians 7:32 RSV

Crisis always demands spiritual qualities. None of us can refuse to face the storms. The tree on the mountain takes whatever the weather brings. If it has any choice at all, it simply puts down its roots as deeply as possible, getting ready to withstand.
That is why you need to put on God's full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. Ephesians 6:13 NCV
and that is what i am doing: trying not to solve problems that are bigger than i am or claim to know fully God's plan, but i am trusting God will care for me if i just take each moment as it comes and stand, ready to face this Life After.

John 11:35

the verse i reference here is one of the most famous verses in the Bible. most people do not consider it to be terribly profound, but i do. so profound that it compelled me to read the circumstances surrounding it. i never knew, but now i do. i am writing about it today because this verse represents how i felt today [by now what would be yesterday].

*
Jesus wept.

the circumstances surrounding this verse are thus: Lazarus has become terribly ill and when Jesus hears of it, he proclaims that there will be glory to God through it. he does not go to Lazarus, whom he loves very much, but stays where he is, trusting in God the Father. finally when they do go to Jerusalem where Jesus is hated and where Lazarus is laid to rest, they are told that Lazarus has been dead four days in the tomb.

he speaks to Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. both sisters tell Jesus that if he had been there, their brother would not have died. his response to each is different: to Martha he says: "your brother will rise again.... I am the resurrection and the life. he who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
to Mary, as he sees her and her fellow Jews weeping and becomes deeply moved and troubled. he says, "where have you laid him?" as they take him to the tomb, he weeps.

most know the rest of the story. when he gets to the tomb, the fellow Jews - full of doubt - roll away the stone and Jesus calls Lazarus out. he comes, alive and well, still wearing grave clothes and goes on his way. after this event then, Jesus was plotted against to be killed.

this fascinates me. my Savior, who I call Lord, wept over the death of a man he loved. he grieved unashamedly with the family and his friends. my Jesus knows grief and he knows MY grief. he knows how i feel; and, in turn, i know a bit how he felt. wow.

today was a very difficult day. the hardest one yet [i think]. thoughts of Brian swirled about me. his voice on my phone telling me he loves me. his sweet smile beaming in photos. the reality of his death printed repeatedly on pieces of paper in front of me, bluntly tying up business matters. it was overwhelming and somewhat emotionally crippling to where i got very little accomplished, at least from the outside perspective. but the inner perspective is different. i allowed my emotions to come out... i cried in front of my kids... i took the girls to a grief group for kids... I wept. and i am beginning to understand the implications of those two words and how healthy the action can be more so in this Life After.

*Jesus Wept by James Tissot (1836-1902)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

birthday trio


today after church we went over to Brian's mom's house to have a family birthday party for all three kids. i had a tough time getting my act together to throw Ian a party in July and both girls' birthdays have happened after all the craziness so i decided to make it easy on myself and do a three-in-one party... yay! McKenna picked the cake flavor -- vanilla with strawberry; Avery chose the design -- a sunflower with bees hovering around it; Ian just ate it up -- yum!

it was a really great party, though i wish we would have talked about Brian more. he was so missed by me, the girls, his mom.... everyone, i think, missed his laughing, teasing and joking. i know i did. wow, these are going to be difficult times. but we go on, right?

breathe in. breathe out. blow out the candles and make a wish. i wish you were here.... it's a birthday.

note to self...

never watch videos that friends send to you in the middle of the night. you end up drowning in a pool of tears.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

story time

today was a lazy day... we just stayed at home and rested. we really need that sometimes. i rather liked it. it does allow the mind to wonder and wander though; i found myself thinking about Brian a lot. my thoughts and questions ran the gamut -- from "why?" to beautiful memories of time spent with him to many difficult moments together. i am often surprised at what i find myself thinking about or wondering...

this evening we ventured to a story time in Pasadena with Melea Brock. we invited friends to join us. it was a wonderful time of storytelling, one that i think Brian would have enjoyed -- he always loved a good story. again i found myself thinking about him as a few of the stories touched on points of commonality of experience or situation. the thoughts were good and welcome; i let myself go to the place of remembering. and it's okay. this Life After requires me to move on and continue placing one foot in front of the other to go forward, but i can stop along the way and relish the moments of the past.

Friday, October 23, 2009

birthdays galore

today we stayed at home and did a few things around the house. what we were really looking forward to was tonight -- Lorelei, Clara, the girls and i went out to BJ's for our annual birthday dinner. all of our birthdays are within a month of each other -- from September 22 to October 28. so we decided a few years ago to do an annual dinner, celebrating all of us at one of our favorite places with delectable food -- yum -- especially that pizookie!

if you don't know what that is, well it's a yummy cookie [choose chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia nut, peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chocolate chip, or cookies n cream] baked in a deep dish mini pizza pan served fresh from the oven with a big scoop of yummy vanilla ice cream on top. okay, my mouth is watering again....

it was a wonderful celebration with good friends. the girls love spending time with Clara and i always enjoy my time with Lorelei. we have always said our lives paralleled each other's in so many ways [both English teachers, married in the same year, bought homes in the same neighborhood in the same year, daughters born within days of each other, birthdays so close], but we laugh when we tell people because others don't necessarily think that's parallel. Brian always thought it a little funny of us to make that connection, too. oh well, we like it and have comraderie. that's all that matters, right?!

tomorrow is Lorelei's actual birthday, so i will say it here: happy birthday, dear friend!

yesterday -- Oak Glen

yesterday we ventured to Oak Glen with Brian's younger brother and his family, some other friends meeting us there too. what a fun time.

we took the old colonial tour at Riley's Farm and we - parents included - got to do some fun activities: churn butter; learn etiquette; weave on a loom; dip candles; press cider; play old-fashioned games; and eat caramel apples. the girls loved spending time with their cousins and friends too. afterward we picnicked together and then went to the cafe to enjoy a wonderful apple crumb pie that i purchased from Riley's bakery for us to share... yummmm.

Av was sad today. she said, "Daddy would have liked it here." there were lots of bees around; both she and i felt comforted by that. [i haven't shared the bee story yet, but someday i will. there is great significance in honeybees.] she is on my heart all the time. she stuck close by me today. she is often who i am most concerned about in this Life After.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

a few words about our dog Lucy


she is sleeping in my room...

she is snoring loudly...

she is passing gas (the new food she tried tonight)...

anyone know what i am getting at here????

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Venice Beach

today we went out to Venice Beach to our old neighborhood. it was so nice to be back where we had lived for a little over 5 years. when we moved there Av was only a month old. now she is (almost) 7... her birthday is coming up! :)

we went out to lunch with two dear friends, neighbors of ours whom we have stayed in touch with since moving. we occasionally visit the area just to have lunch with them and play with their doggies -- the girls used to be fellow dog-walkers with these wonderful ladies! anyway, it was fun to visit there today. we went to Islands* for lunch and celebrated Av's birthday a little early with an ice cream sundae after our meal [it reminded me of another dear friend who celebrates her birthday for the 8 days prior to the actual date -- kind of like Channukah]. later we walked down to the pier and ventured to the end of it. the Pacific Ocean is Brian's final earthly resting place, as we knew it was the only place he really wanted to be; it is a wonderful memorial for his children to visit and remember him by: anytime the kids go to the beach and play in the water, they will be playing with him; when they learn how to surf, he'll be there teaching them; whenever we have our family photo taken by the water, he'll be in it.

it really was a great day. two things happened on the way home: 1/ i received a photo text from a friend. it was a picture of his daughter tending the sunflower seedlings grown from the sunflower seeds given out at Brian's memorial service. so sweet! and 2/ we were listening to the local christian radio station and i felt like God was speaking to me -- really about Brian being in heaven with our loving and merciful Savior who protects us and shelters us from the storms that life brings. one song in particular brought tears to my eyes [not a good thing while driving!]

Wish You Were Here - Mark Harris

[you don't need to sign up to listen... just press the "pause" button behind the sign up page]

words from a dear Father letting me know that Brian is well and well taken care of... as i and my children will be in this Life After.

*click the link to hear the waves lapping upon the shore ;)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

smile


i miss my love's smile and his funny idiosyncrasies.

tonight at dinner i could hardly stand it. ian did "cheers" with his cup and the memory came rushing in. and i didn't stop it. i let the tears roll at the dinner table and everyone was clearly uncomfortable. but what i felt was natural, normal and real. it's healthy to allow myself to feel. so i did. the strangest and most unrelated things happen and a completely unrelated memory will occur.

at this point, i need to acknowledge a book i have been reading that a dear friend, who also lost her husband, gave to me. it's called The Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman. amazing. i highly recommend it. what a tremendous help it has been to me in helping me to be more comfortable in the Life After.

i am tired today. trying to help my folks create "space" for us takes a lot of effort and energy. tomorrow we are taking a break from it all and heading to the beach. more on that tomorrow...

Monday, October 19, 2009

today...

...was a tough day because all three kiddos were clingy.
a friend of mine used a good word: barnacle.

this term has played itself over in my mind more than once in the last few days. whatever -- i love them. it's a season. it's all a part of the process. but it doesn't mean it isn't still difficult for me. i do have to say that God has given me a special measure of grace for them, though.

Av is the deep feeler and today... wow. the tiniest little things set her off and she just wept every time. but that's good, as it's been a bit of a struggle for her. again, she is a deep feeler and often times those feelings just don't come out with words. they are acted out. dramatically. guess she'll do well in APU's A Christmas Carol this december.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

pumpkin patch & friends

today, the kids and i headed out to cal poly pomona's pumpkin festival with some friends. the sea of people was unbelievable, but it was worth traversing it in order to see the beauty of a sea of pumpkins! for someone who's favorite color is orange, it was amazing to see those beautifully plump orange balls strewn over the hills and fields near the Farm Store with the upright sunflower soldiers as a backdrop standing guard over them and the people that were there. the gazebo was center stage for the kids to bring their goods over and narrow it down to the best pumpkins of the bunch they had chosen.


our family did not take any pumpkins for ourselves from the immense patch [though we did buy a spaghetti squash] because we have between 6 and 9 pumpkins already here at home. these beauties in our possession were grown in our very own garden, the one brian lovingly tended. in fact, these pumpkins [as well as many other fruits, veggies, and flowers from his garden] decorated the dais at brian's memorial service.

the girls and i are excited to carve a few for halloween and bake a few for some yummy homemade pumpkin pie! i have never done this before but am excited to try as baking is a tradition handed to me from all of my grandmothers, who were excellent bakers, each with their own specialties.

anyway, after taking way too many photos of sunflowers, chasing the boy around the patch for a bit, and then stuffing ourselves full of warm kettle corn [one of our favorite things], we headed over to Matt & Sharon's place for burgers and the fixin's [with our Dee-Licious meat, of course!]. it was wonderful, in more ways than one. the burgers were fabulous, the company divine and, really, the greatest part was that these friends freely spoke about brian, his memorial service and his life while the kids were there listening and participating in conversation. it's the first time that i can recall in the recent past that the girls have felt comfortable talking about their dad with other adults who knew him. they were comfortable sharing memories and good things about him because these friends felt comfortable talking about brian in front of them. it's difficult to put into words a worthy explanation of what happened/what i experienced, but it just felt.... good.

it was a great day -- being present with friends and hearing God speak to my heart in small ways, showing me he is there and that brian is with us in spirit.

1644 -- Dee-Licious!

last night, we went over to our dear friends' home in Pomona and had a delectable meal. i must tell you that there was something about this meal that made it extra special, for it had been a year in the making.

a little more than one year ago, the above mentioned friends proposed an idea to brian and me. "do you want to go in on an investment together and buy a red angus bull? it will be organically fed with no hormones administered and then butchered and wrapped for us to enjoy?" almost immediately brian gave an emphatic "yes! let's do it" as we had been talking previously about how awful the concept of hormones in livestock is and the fact that we, as consumers, ingest that stuff in to our bodies. we had come to agree in the belief that it leads to the premature development of young girls. so, we invested, along with two other families, in 1644 [otherwise known as Dee-licious!], the red angus steer raised at Amy's Farm in chino, ca.

on october 3, the three families headed over to the Pomona Food Locker to pick up our butchered and packaged 1644. this cow was something that brian truly believed was the right thing in which to invest. the thought of being able to have wonderfully healthy organic beef to prepare for our family meals was exciting to him because he was passionate about cooking.

this experience was really difficult for me because this was his "dream" - so to speak - and he was unable to see it truly realized. i cried telling the butcher's wife about it. it's really hard to even put here into words how i felt at that moment. but really, i was proud -- proud of the fact that my husband wanted healthy food for his kids and because of his excitement and commitment to excellence in this area, he has been able to provide that for us, even after his death.

anyway, tonight was the first night i have tasted that yummy meat. truly, the best meat i have ever eaten. it was accompanied by mashed potatoes [with onions from brian's garden], green salad with beets, pomegranate seeds, and feta cheese, and wonderfully sauteed shiitake and oyster mushrooms. for dessert, danae's delectable homemade turnovers [apple, peach and butternut squash with raisins].

of this meal, brian would have been proud! a wonderful reminder of him in our Life After.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

i have begun a Life After

after thinking much about writing and my intense need to do it, i have decided to keep a blog of life... Life After my dear husband's death just 38 days ago. am i counting? not really, but it still seems surreal. seconds turn in to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, and so on. life goes on... there is Life After. breathe in, breathe out.

i imagine that he will call me any moment as he so often did. how i long to have a conversation with my best friend. i keep thinking that i must remember what friends have said or done because their words and/or actions have been so amazing and comforting and loving towards me and the kids -- really because they love him so much and that has been extended to us. he would want to know. i want to tell him. i want to share with him the exciting things that God is doing because of the life he lived and his obedience to God despite his struggles. did he know how many people he affected? really, do i? i don't think anyone ever does realize the impact we make on the people we meet, know and develop relationships with, whether in years past or in recent days.

so, herein lies the documentation of Life After. Life After a tragedy where my husband, the father of my children, no longer dwells physically but only in spirit and memory as we, the ones left behind, go on. i wonder how the world can go on while i am wondering what went wrong or what i must do now. but we must; therefore, to help heal my broken heart, i will faithfully document the life of my family after this life altering event.

Here begins Life After.