Thursday, December 31, 2009


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


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;


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


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


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...


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...

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... 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!