Wednesday, December 29, 2010
she's right. it's not.
i have been saddened this holiday more times than i can count about how it's just not right. he's missing out on watching his son play trains and his girls twirling in their new skirts. they are missing out on storytimes with him.... just ask them about Eunice the Unicorn. her story needs another chapter.
unfortunately, his story on earth ended.
but, you know, God knows why.
hopefully, someday, i'll know fully why, too.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The Story of My Father’s Heart Quilts
In September 2009, my husband Brian passed away. Being the mother of three young children, I wanted to give my children something that would be a physical symbol and memory of their daddy. I asked a friend if she would help me make a quilt out of my husband’s clothes, even though I had never even touched a sewing machine before. She said this was a bit ambitious to do by Christmas, but assured me that we could surely fashion something for the kids by way of a quilt. I made four of these quilts last Christmas -- one for each child and then one for a friend who helped me immensely after Brian’s death. On each child’s quilt, I cut out a heart from 3 different shirts of Brian’s – one for each of them. My brother’s girlfriend digitized my husband’s handwriting and embroidered a special message on the back of the panel containing the heart. And thus My Father’s Heart Quilts was born.
I love making these quilts and do so with care and creativity, making sure that each is unique, just as God made each of us unique. Each one is a Big Hug and the heart is a symbol of God’s love for us as the Ultimate Daddy.
well, dear friends, what an incredible day. my friend, M, absolutely fell in love with one of these quilts.i cannot tell you how much joy and fullness i feel in my heart at this moment. why? i am absolutely thrilled that she loved the quilt so much, as i believe God had me make it with love just for her. it was one i knew would go to someone very special and deserving; i can see that it 'fit' her perfectly.
the thought just came to mind that i should tell about it's creation [God's prompting perhaps?]. every time i would go to the store or online and see a fabric i liked i would buy some. my mentor told me that this was a good practice if i was going to do this, as often times good fabrics don't stick around. anyway, as i was planning to come to today's boutique, i wanted to make a quilt out of material i already had -- not to buy more. so i dug around in my stash, as they say, and pieced together that work of art. i guess it's how God made us and/or community -- lots of different pieces that are out of place on their own, but a thing of beauty when put together :)
oh, how i look forward to hearing her stories from the telling of mine and the new stories that will unfold for her just from having it :)
the other thing i was there to vend was Scentsy. yup, that's right, i decided to become a Scentsy consultant... i tend to be very sensory, so along with touch [my quilts], i enjoy smells very much. a smell for me can bring back a memory so quick... it's amazing. in fact, i am recalling my post office experience when i smelled Brian's cologne on someone else and i immediately started to cry. deep breath in -- release. aaahhh. the tears don't flow so easily now as they first did, but sometimes...
anyway, i am proud of myself for taking the plunge and doing that boutique today. scary considering what God may want me to do... um, no. he wants me to do it. there's no maybe in that equation. but you'll just have to find out in my next post..
hey -- will someone out there keep me accountable to writing more often that i have been? oh, how i need to do it. thanks!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
so, dear friends, take comfort in this vision, for if we trust in Christ and accept all he did for us, we too will be able to partake in such a festive occasion for all eternity. also, read on and take these words of my dear friend as my own, speaking directly to you.
"Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:16-18
On the eve of my favorite holiday of the year, I want to express my thankfulness for you. In a year of major transition, to say the least, my heart is overflowing with a joy that comes only from the Lord. He is molding in me a heart to understand His love and purposes in ways that I did not know before. He has opened my eyes to so many things that before this year I could not fully see. And, He has reminded me time and time again that in this life here on earth- there should not be a single day that I don't stop, sit very still in His presence and reflect on the bounty of blessings He's poured out.
So, as I reflect on those blessings, I am reminded of YOU and all that you mean to me. In hopes of not sounding too cheesy, or like a greeting card- I hope you know both in my word, and in my actions how much my heart is truly thankful for you.
May this holiday season be one of a rising hope of encouragement in your heart as you too reflect on the goodness and greatness of our God who can be fully trusted even in suffering. Eternity with Him along with those beautiful Saints that have gone before us is ours...coming sooner than we know- May we keep our eyes on that glorious future and while still here, make the most of everyday that the Lord gives.
may you have a joyful and blessed thanksgiving, giving thanks for the greatest Gift of all -- Jesus.
only because HE is able--
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
i've been remembering B lately when we ministered together. some of the Farm folks headed up to the monastery in valyermo. had no idea about it so looked it up on the net. poking around the website, i came across the Lectio Divina tab. reading it, my heart began to long for the days of sitting around with friends, reading scripture and sharing our personal insights given to us by the Holy Spirit. days in pomona and venice of “Listen…attend with the ear of your heart” in regards to scripture.
the other day, i had a meeting at work and K suggested i read Isaiah 58. i looked it up via the internet on my phone instead of using my Bible because it was late at night and the boy was sleeping. talk about going in a back door and being caught unaware. had i read it in my Bible, i would have recognized it right away, but i think God wanted me to read it instead of running away... in B's last weeks, i read this scripture to him over and over and over again. my heart is torn, broken. O DEAR GOD, WHY COULDN'T YOU, IN YOUR MERCY AND DIVINE POWER, HAVE SAVED HIM AND PROVOKED OBEDIENCE WITHIN HIM? i realize his death was likely a merciful 'saving' act, but i want HIM back and what was before the end! but since i can't have him back or what was before the end, fill my heart up with your love and peace and restore me! show me where you want me. give me the strength to look ahead, though all i see is... little or nothing at all. help me to acknowledge you in EVERY moment of EVERY day. give me peace. calm the unrest. i surrender. "here i am down on my knees again, trying to find air to breathe again. and only surrender will help me now. i love you... please help me to see and believe again."
be my miracle worker.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
friends-- there's been so much on my mind that i have been overwhelmed with the absolute need to write... kind of like donald o'connor and gene kelly in "singin' in the rain" -- GOTTA DANCE! only for me it's writing.
i'm tired tonight so i'm off to bed, but i hope to post a few entries this week.
Monday, October 11, 2010
tonight i was perusing facebook and decided to bob around the "in my sleep" page. i clicked on the link to the website and came across a pre-production video. and guess what... Brian was on it. i know i shouldn't be surprised. but heck, i never even knew it was there. there he was, doing what he did well... talking sets, color palette, effects. seeing this just intensified what i've been feeling all week.
you see, the devil got me going by enticing me, i guess one would say, to look back and think about what could have or should have been different in those last months of Brian's life. well, that just tripped me down memory lane with hopes of altering what already has been. this was the first of a series of events that put me in a funk. dreams, personality, relationship and strengths tests (these caused me to see just how well suited we were in certain areas -- we loved the same things, had the same interests -- whereas before i thought we weren't). thank God i had to work so that I had to get out of my own head.
whatever. i can't change the past. i can't bring him back. i need to grieve him, as i will likely continue to do throughout the coming months and years, and appreciate what i had while i had it. cherish the memories of the good times (of which there were so many) and heed the bad.
it's funny (i think i have said this before) -- just when i think i'm done grieving or at least i think i'm not as sad, a new wave comes and knocks me down.... i think i should know this by now. it has happened time and again over the last year. it's only been little over a year! it seems like an eternity and just yesterday all in the same breath or moment.
God, i need a dream. a good one. a conversation with the one i loved so much. reveal to me again the good he is experiencing with you in heaven. i need the reminder. thank you, o Lord. you are good for you know what we need and you give it freely. Amen
Sunday, October 10, 2010
1. The best way to get even is to forget...
2. Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.
3. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts...
4. Some marriages are made in heaven, but they ALL have to be maintained on earth...
Friday, October 1, 2010
robin took me to a tea at a tea house in meridian. [a funny aside -- the last time we went to tea, it was at the british emporium in upland and there, i lost my original wedding ring! i was devastated, but to make things worse, i didn't even notice until the next morning when i was getting ready for work! phht]
afterward, we had our toes done at a local salon... boy, did i feel pampered. no kids! woohoo!
when we got back to her place, the kids had decorated the kitchen with birthday decor and they were all fancy for tea, too!
shortly after, steph came over and took me for coffee at rembrandt's, a cool little coffeehouse that is inside of a renovated church.
when we were finished, we headed back to robin's for dinner -- falafel with balsamic salad and hummus... so yum!
the cake for dessert was carrot... really cute with sunflowers and bees.
it was a great birthday filled with love.
thanks, girls! i love you both so much!
shortly after that, Brian called me and said he'd be joining us at the Fair after all. you see, it was my birthday [9/25] and he had initially promised to go with us and then work came up and he couldn't. i was sad and disappointed, to be sure, but then with a surprise call, he was able to keep his promise. i can still see him coming towards me, looking handsome and charming with that amazing smile of his, hugging and kissing me. almost immediately afterward, he thrust a small envelope into my hand. it was a gift card to a very nice local day spa. [i still haven't used the gift certificate]. after a short time with just me & the kids, he called up this friend and we ended up spending the rest of our time there with him and his girlfriend.
today all the memories and good thoughts from that day swept over me. that was a good day.... a really good day. one that was truly a gift and one i will always remember with fondness.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
today in church, 2 songs were sung for worship -- "hungry" and "breathe" -- that i listened to constantly during those tough times we had. why today? those songs are ancient history in the timeline of worship in the church. so, why? **sigh**
if you are reading this -- please, please, please remember us all in your prayers. Brian's parents and siblings are struggling. the kids and I are struggling. pray that our great God sends down his Holy Spirit like a flood, that all of us would be unable to deny His presence and existence, along with the assurance that Brian is in heaven resting in the arms of Jesus, communing with the saints.
my heart is hurting. my mind is mush. it is completely and unbelievably overwhelming to think that in a few days i will have been a widow for one year.
Friday, August 13, 2010
First let me start by saying that I love you. And I miss you terribly. Especially tonight. Tonight I did something I have never done... I went to the movies by myself. Honestly, I liked it a little because I was totally in the movie and no one could distract me out of it. But mostly I liked because I sort imagined us on a date together. God, you would have loved this film. The DP was amazing right from the start and the production designer? Guy Dyas... I knew it had to be someone with big shows under his belt... really good. You know, a couple of holes with unanswered questions (as usual) but overall a great movie. It kind of reminded me of The Matrix mixed with a bit of The Bourne Identity, and maybe slight residual from Charlie Kaufman. Oh how I wish you were here to talk about it with me. So much conversation from this film!
Well. I'll just cut to the chase. Bawled my eyes out twice -- 1/ when Dom and Moll are in the 4th dream level and he says, "we had our time. It's time to let you go." OMG. When it comes to you, I don't want to let you go. I want you in my dreams. I wish you'd visit me more within my dreams. I remember one time I even told the kids to be quiet because I was talking to you and I did everything to hang on to you there. Oh how I wanted you to stay!
I have actually been dreaming a lot more, especially this past vacation. Almost every night. Why is that? It was lovely to be with you there when you did show up.
So 2/ at the end when Dom reunites with his children and they yell, "Daddy!" What I wouldn't give to hear our three yell that out again as you walk through the door. They miss you so much.
I guess these things shall only happen in my dreams....
And one last thing... I realize, too, that sometimes you would take a misconception at its simplest level and perceive it as truth, which eventually became so much the truth to you that you could no longer see what was truth and what wasn't, just like what happens in this film. These misconceptions were not of God, but of the Evil One. What should have been your totem? God's Word -- not just reading it, but BELIEVING it. How I wish now you could see and know the impact you made on the lives of so many because when you held on to the simple truth of God's love for you... when you did, it grew. like the sunflower, one could give/share LIFE with many... you did.
I love you, my sweet. Visit with me.
Until we are in heaven reunited --
If you have seen the movie and are reading this, i'd love to hear your thoughts/ideas/opinions about this film!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
while shooting the garden pics, i caught site of three bees on one of the sunflowers. this brought joy to my heart. if you want to know why [if you don't already], search my blogpost on "the significance of bees".
I AM SMILING TODAY!
Saturday, August 7, 2010
i can't even put into words how desperately i want him back. i want to scream and let my heart and mind explode with the words that might possibly describe the feelings but i fear i cannot. like something you see with the naked eye that you try to capture on film but the picture just doesn't compare -- the words just don't do it justice. the tears streaming down my face are mere reflections of the feelings and a small river-let flowing from the ocean of emotion.
things may not have been perfect between us. we both had faults [some more glaringly apparent than others] but i loved him so deeply... and still do.
so this sadness culminated over the course of days all stemming from events and triggers from then til now -- spending time with my brother-in-love and his family yesterday, and another birthday party today where i was just hit with a wall of sadness and desperation. all this then erupted into a mad/frustrated/angry-as-hell spree tonight, my emotions running the gamut.
Brian told the girls the night before he died that if they misbehaved while he was gone, i would call him and the consequences would not be good. i can't do that now. he's gone for good.
the girls' behavior over the last few days has been taking me to the edge and i felt like tonight i looked over the edge down in to the deep emotional canyon below -- the place i could fall easily if i let myself: self-pity. the evil one is tempting me to check out, sleep, be depressed, flip out, do things on my own, let my circumstances get the better of me because i am in a seemingly hopeless situation and if i let my pride get in the way, i will sacrifice all that Brian and i fought for and what i have believed so strongly in all along the way.
well i stand firm and say, "NO." God is my protector and provider. he knows why i am here now in these circumstances and he will "lift me up on wings like eagles." emotions cannot be trusted. i must stand firm in the truth of God's love and his Word.
I, the LORD your God,
will make up for the losses
caused by those swarms
and swarms of locusts
I sent to attack you.
My people, you will eat
until you are satisfied.
Then you will praise me
for the wonderful things
I have done.
Never again will you
be put to shame.
Israel, you will know
that I stand at your side.
I am the LORD your God--
there are no other gods.
Never again will you
be put to shame.
God will restore what the locusts have eaten. Brian shared these verses with me prior to his death in light of his struggles. and i believe it is true. i am clinging to these words everyday as i watch my children grow and experience life. i can do nothing but. i pray for continued healing and restoration of my broken heart and the hearts of my children.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
another sad thing today is that 2 very dear families to me are walking a treacherous path. divorce seems extremely possible for both and this saddens me greatly. the men in these families are making poor choices and frankly, if a married man leaves his wife to be with another woman, the other woman should say, "hell, no!" to any of that because he has shown himself to be unfaithful in the first and most important place... in marriage! [jesse james and sandra bullock are coming to mind about now].
so my heart is heavy and i am feeling a bit verklempt as i write this.
SOAPBOX [if you don't wanna hear it, don't read it]:
gentlemen: step up and take responsibility. if you have the Holy Spirit within you, then call upon his name and ask for some help! you can only change yourself and you need to be the best man you can be for the sake of your family. get into the Word, stand strong, get accountability and make positive changes in your life for the betterment of yourself. and you know what? you will see changes in your wife! your kids! your friends! and they will be good changes.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself
ladies: unfortunately, it does take two to tango. if you are blaming your husband for all wrongdoing... stop. take a look at yourself first. we all contribute something, even if it's sarcasm, bitterness, bad attitude or indifference. it sucks and it's hard but it's the only way YOU can make a positive change, too. we like pointing fingers and blame, blame, blame [it's been that way with women from the beginning -- read Genesis 3! nothing but "the blame game" going on.] ladies, you too need to get into the Word, get on your knees [daily!], get accountability and make positive changes in your life for the betterment of yourself. and you know what? you too will see changes in your family! and i think you will like what you see.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything....the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-24, 33b
the American family must be preserved and the Enemy is aiming for the men, the women not far behind. since Brian's passing this has come to the forefront of my mind as i watched Brian's struggle and now watch the struggles of other men against many vices. i was a woman of control, sarcasm, indifference at times, blame and bitterness. God showed me a higher road. i made choices, many of which were difficult, but i had to stop blaming. and honestly, Brian became stronger in many moments because of those choices to take care of my own sickness instead of his. we must all turn from our vices and embrace the virtues, especially in marriage, such a delicate balance: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
and only with God's help can we do it.
Friday, July 2, 2010
My heart longs for Brian to be here with me, to talk about ministry and just be here to play with the kids. That's where their memories lie. The last time we were here with him there was 6 feet of snow on the ground and it was a massive playground and they played together, built snow houses and sledded and snowboarded to their hearts' content. I love listening to McK describe her time with him and the smile that comes over her face when she talks about it.
A toothbrush, a book he embraced and became passionate about, a coin, a message on a phone... all things left here by him. Almost 10 months ago and within reach, feeling like it was only days ago. He was the favorite... the one everyone loved, full of charisma, but yet so much hurt and pain. DID YOU EVEN KNOW? Tears being shed and a feeling of longing for him to come back to us so deep and intense.
Blessed beyond words... that's me here in this place.
I need to sleep and rest now. I feel myself in the arms of Christ. Deep rest and peace.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Now we are here in Weed, CA, and the journey here from Sacramento has been a grievous one. so many memories of very poignant moments in our lives, especially the last few years.
Along the way there was field after field of the most beautiful sunflowers.
Comforting in many ways but an intense reminder of him and his love for us.
Monday, June 28, 2010
We are in Sacramento now where it was a blazing 111*F! When we got here we went to the Blue Diamond almond factory and then checked in to the hotel and went swimming. I could hear Brian's voice as I watched the kids in the pool. His warnings and laughter, his teasing and stolen moments with the kids. Oh, how my heart aches. Oh, how I wish he were here enjoying this time with us!
We had such a wonderful time with our friends on their Ranch. So fulfilling and so needed. I pray that our time tomorrow will be peaceful and full of joy!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
As I lie here in my bed, the moon spills it's gentle light on to my pillow. It illuminates enough to see but not like the overpowering light of the sun. That is exactly how things have been here on the ranch in Fresno. Areas in my life being illuminated enough for me to see them. Recognizing their existence and being reminded of their presence but not having them be under great magnification... just gentle reminders.
The past two years have been filled with trying times, more significantly the last ten months. I have a passion for Jesus -- this is being renewed. I have a passion for homeschooling my children and helping others along their own homeschooling journey -- this is being restored.
The hand of Providence led me here to this place with these friends that I might begin this incredible adventure with passion and direction, learning once again about my mission and what God has called me to do and what he has called our family to be about.
Thank you God for that subtle illumination. May things be revealed in the soft sun of the morning with great fervor and ignited to flame in the heat by midday. Let not the sun go down on us before we have seen all there is to see for the ways we might glorify you.
As Jewish tradition states, 'the day begins the night before.' Thank you. O most high God!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
We made it to our first stop in Fresno. We are visiting the Nicholsons. Such an awesome family. We are blessed to have them in our life as family in Christ! Stacie and I struck up a friendship spontaneously one day after American Heritage Girls in Pasadena and the next week they moved. 2 months later Brian, the kids and I drove up for a visit and felt the power of the Holy Spirit moving among us, having the best time... not wanting to leave. But we did leave and faced so much... both families. Now these folks live on a 5 acre ranch ready to take on the world and seeking God's direction all the way.
I am so blessed to be here. I couldn't think of a better way to begin our journey as family... literally and figuratively.
Hey you guys.... you are loved!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Thinking about the date, I realize my intense emotions about June 9. If Brian were still alive, we'd be halfway back to normal. Maybe. But no. Now it is the "new normal," as they say. A life void of one's companion. My longing for Brian and my sadness of losing him has been so deep and so intense these last few days that I cannot even begin to describe it, except that perhaps I feel it to the deepest parts of me. I want to talk to him, touch him, hold him tight. But I cannot. He is not there.
I think I'm going to cry.... yup, I am.
9 months. It feels like no time has passed, but yet an eternity. OH HOW I WISH YOU WERE HERE! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO GO? I miss you!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Boy, am I tired....
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Anyway, when we arrived at our old stomping grounds, specifically our old place we realized that it was gone! Our former landlady tore the old house down to build anew. When we saw this, McKenna's demeanor totally changed. She became withdrawn, silent, and introverted -- completely the opposite of how she typically acts/behaves. At first I didn't understand, but then I knew...
Every early memory she has with her dad was in that house. It signified her memories of him. Now the house has been torn down, much like her daddy's life -- gone.
It did not affect Av the same way. She seemed almost indifferent to it, like the change would be good.
God continues to show me how different they are...
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
As I reflect on anger in general, I wonder specifically if I have it. Am I angry because Brian went to heaven and left me here to be alone; to raise three kids by myself?
I have to say no, I am not angry.
My circumstances are different than this acquaintance of mine, meaning the death. Brian left this world by suffocating, being found face down in his pillow. A few weeks prior, we had an amazing conversation about our past together and he apologized for things he had done that hurt me, intentional or not. He had never intended to hurt me but certain choices he made and actions he took did just that. And he apologized for those things -- specifically by name. There was nothing left undealt with between us.
The night before he died, I told him to keep his eyes on Jesus and he did... all the way home to heaven. There are things I won't know until I get to heaven, but right now I know what I need to know.
I know Brian loved me with everything he had.
I know he wanted to serve God and do what was right, even though it would have been difficult.
Tonight, the girls went to The Attic, the bereavement group for kids at our church. They did an activity where each person wrote on a plate all that they were angry about and then threw it on the ground to break it. Get that anger out! Turn it over to Jesus! I was asked if I wanted to take a plate and do it and I declined.
I am really not angry.
Everyone deals with loss and grief in their own way and EVERY person's experience is different. I hope that others anger will subside and that they will feel peace as I do.
Father God, help me to understand and be empathetic toward others who have experienced loss. Use me for your glory and let your light shine brightly through me.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
My dad lost his battle with merkel cell carcinoma [MCC] yesterday morning. what an intense time it was. Thankfully mom and I had a friend here with us to keep watch over him through the night as his passing hour drew nearer. We rested, Dad struggled with his breathing, our friend prayed, and the nurse on duty desperately wanted to help my dad in those final hours.
Looking back, I cannot see that my dad would have ever been feeble and week as some elderly folks get. No, he was strong, really, to the end. Even though he could no longer eat or drink, his physical body, mental energy and heart were strong. The MCC didn't become invasive to his body but rather just took over his neck and face area, eventually closing off his esophagus so he could no longer breathe. If he had to have cancer, MCC was really the best for him. He saw it growing everyday, not worrying about where else it was going. He liked to be in control of things, and though he could not control the cancer's growth, he had a handle on where it was. Typically cancer grows on the inside and one cannot see it. It's slow and painful oftentimes. In Dad's case, no. It grew quickly [overtaking his throat area in less than a week] and painlessly [except for pressure he felt on his jaw bone and the occasional pain spike in his neck near the spine].
Really, God was so good. I shake my head as I write because I just can't believe i even write this stuff sometimes. But the feeling is real and genuine in my heart. Just like I believe Brian's death was a merciful one, the same rings true here.
Well, Dad, I miss you. I've got no one to help me out with the car now and I don't know who I'll turn to for those big bear hugs you gave. But you know, God is good. I am sure you see that now that you are with him for eternity. I love you, Dad. And I WILL see you later.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I hesitate to write this as it is difficult for me, but here goes.
My dad has been told by his doctors that there are no more treatments that he
may receive. No more radiation. No more chemotherapy. The reason for this is because the treatment has become ineffective. It's no longer working.
And it's true. He would receive treatment and the tumors continued to grow, as
they do now. They are growing very quickly. The kids and I went away for an
overnight stay at a friend's and when we got home, I noticed a significant
amount of growth from the tumors; even new ones had formed. Also, the older
tumors have begun to weep and bleed as the cancer is eating through the skin.
The large tumors beneath or near his jaw have begun to displace it, making it
difficult for him to eat or drink. Honestly, my father looks very little like
his former self. His voice is changing, too, as the tumors encroach upon his
esophagus and throat area.
Dad's mood is melancholy as he worries about the coming days. I pray he looks to
the skies for the hand of God to bless him and the arms of Jesus to comfort him.
Though he does try to keep a good attitude for us sometimes, he is depressed and
emotionally and physically exhausted a lot of the time.
And so, family and friends, I write an honest account of the happenings here. It
is not easy. Mom is his 24/7 nurse, while dr's and nurses from hospice care have
now begun to visit at least once a week. I try to help when I am home, as I have
a new job that allows me to continue homeschooling the kids.
Please pray for us all here and give Mom or Dad a call or email to encourage. We
will let you know further in awhile, if more help is needed. Thank you for your
Saturday, April 10, 2010
kind of strange though, i was driving home from my evening and i sensed that Brian was 'there'. 2 songs came on to the radio successively and both were songs that had been special to us. i was overwhelmed. i felt his presence strongly. i don't typically believe in that type of thing, but man, the sense was strong.
you know what else? Brian's dad came back in to town and the morning he arrived, there was a single bee hovering around his truck... not kidding! i haven't seen bees around here for awhile...
thank you, God, for the reminders and the triggers for memory...
Sunday, April 4, 2010
i find that Holy Week is draining; no matter how many times i have lived through it, my anxiety about his crucifixion is undiminished -- i am terrified that, this year, it won’t happen; that, that year, it didn’t. anyone can be sentimental about the Nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. but Easter is the main event; if you don’t believe in the resurrection, you’re not a believer.
"if you don't believe in Easter," owen meany said, "don't kid yourself -- don't call yourself a Christian."
john irving, a prayer for owen meany, pp 250-251
this above quote comes from one of Brian's all-time favorite books. i can remember him laying in bed at night reading this book and just breaking out in unadulterated laughter. he would try to describe to me what was happening but it just wasn't the same as reading it for myself. and i never did. we never laughed about the incidences in the book together because i just hadn't read it -- experienced it -- for myself.
i kind of feel that way about Easter in prior years. this year, Easter takes on a whole new meaning for me and for Brian. before Brian's death, Easter was only a symbol of the fact that Jesus was my salvation. i don't think the reality of it had truly taken hold in my heart. yes, i believed. but did i live under the truth of it?
and for Brian, he is now living out his relationship with Jesus, his salvation, in a real way... he is with Him, celebrating new life.
this Easter day, i believe i am living under the truth of Christ's act and God's miracle because it is my umbrella of hope for my salvation from sin and certainty that i WILL be with Brian again some day in a heavenly place, free from all the pain and hardships of this world. my heart is holding on to it. Jesus conquering the grave is so profound, i fear i am unable to fully describe the intensity of feelings i have experienced today. Easter has become my new favorite holiday because of my life circumstances now. i believe it and i want my life to show it. i pray that all people will come to this realization and that God will make himself known to all...
...and he is, even today! a 7.2 magnitude quake hit Mexicali today. we felt it all the way up here! wake up world! Jesus has risen, conquered the grave and WILL return some day... SOON!
what a wonderful comfort knowing my Jesus can make the earth tremble, move mountains, calm seas and rise again... all for me [and for YOU!].
i pray that all will come into relationship with Him... he is our hope and salvation. and He is the One who has gotten me through the past 7 months and will continue to help me in the coming days, weeks, months, years... until he takes me home.
Happy Easter everyone!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Well, I haven't even told you what the job is. I work on a farm. Yes, a farm! I can't hardly believe it myself. It's in Ontario, about 23 miles from my house. And what a fantastic place to work.
Reasons why it's fantastic:
1/ several amazing people work there and i get to hang out with them everyday. they have become friends.
2/ i get to be in the out of doors [with sun protection, of course] enjoying God's creation.
3/ i get to hang out with my kids and large groups of other kids while showing them all around the farm.
4/ i have had opportunities to milk a cow, wrangle a chicken or two, move a goat with horns from one pen to another [interesting!], harvest vegetables daily, take home farm fresh eggs and vegetables for my family's consumption, make friends with a cow, buy a sheep and hold newborn goats. Bixby the mare will be having her foal soon!
5/ activity on the farm stops roughly at noon so we can take time and acknowledge our great God for all he has given and taken away and made new.
6/ my kids can be kids.
7/ so much more...
learn more and see photos here: http://www.amysfarm.com/
it is just a wonderful opportunity. and i can see God connecting the dots with so many things... more on that later!
just know that i am praising God for his provision in my life here and now...
Thursday, March 4, 2010
the night before Brian died, he dressed nicely, shaved himself clean and smelled heavenly in that cologne [no pun intended]. that smell did what i believe colognes were intended to do -- it made me crave him. well, what do you know if today that didn't just happen again. hello! i couldn't do anything but cry and try not to breathe for fear it would intensify my weeping.
it was the first time i smelled that smell outside of my bedroom since Brian died. i have his bottle of cologne in my room and i smell it sometimes. but i have never smelled it on anyone or anything outside of that room until today.
the sense of smell in so intense. it evokes so many memories.
what a day...
Sunday, February 28, 2010
phenomenal. i am so excited to see the girls and hear about their experience. i better hit the road now and go get them!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
These last few mornings, I have been waking up dreaming about you.
On Valentine's Day, I felt the weight of my blankets and believed it was you hugging me and cuddling up as you used to do on sleepy Sunday mornings. In fact, it was you in the form of the blanket made for me containing swatches of your shirts in the shape of hearts.
This morning, I woke up at 5:30 but chose to return to dreamland with hopes of seeing you and when the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button continuously so I could visit with you and not wake up from my faint dream of you.
Now the kids have awakened me and will soon be waking the entire house as they sound like wild animals running through the place.
So, good morning, Sunshine... I miss you.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
and even more symbolic: those bees on the boat were "going home"!
For the last 16 years, Brian and I have spent Valentine's Day together. This year is clearly different because he is not here. My heart is broken; there are things left undone. Moments I wish I could take back, things I said that I wish I hadn't. If I may be frank, I wish I had made love to him more passionately and been an initiator more often, following my heart when it prompted me.
There are broken places in my heart... I need my Jesus to heal them.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
...did not go as expected. we had all the wonderful foods that Brian loved so well and would always eat to celebrate his birthday: alaskan king crab, shrimp, salad, garlic bread, asparagus, and the yummy yellow cake with chocolate frosting. but other than that, there was nothing representative of him. the girls and i tried to talk about him but no one else would. such a sad disappointment. his first birthday without him here and...
...nothing. my heart breaks.
but i celebrated with him in my mind and with our kids and his mom just by being together. hopefully the next 6 months of "firsts" that come along won't be as painful as this was...
Monday, February 8, 2010
but i have hope. hope for an eternal future with the one i loved [and still love] -- he was my first earthly love. but now, on this earth, i must put my trust in Jesus that he will take the place of my earthly husband and the place of my children's earthly father. and i feel his presence daily, holding me up to take another step, to experience life alone, to teach my kids how to play baseball [which i did today].
i was talking with Brian's dad and he worries about the kids. what the exact worries are, i don't know. but i am not worried about them lacking a father, though i wish it did not have to be so. i trust that our Father in heaven will be with them every step of the way. God will provide somehow. really, he already has been.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but, in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path." -- Proverbs 3:5-6
this is why I am hope-filled. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will be cared for, that my children will continue to be homeschooled [as long as God leads me to do so], and all will be right somehow. i was reminded of the worship song that says, "You're my glory; You're the lifter of my head." yes, my head is lifted; God is my crowning Glory. I have hope in God's promises of heaven and eternity with Him. it gives me strength; it helps me go on, even though some days are REALLY difficult.
tomorrow is Brian's birthday... if you are reading this, would you please pray that we would acknowledge and/or celebrate this day in the right way? it is the day that God decided Brian should grace the earth with his presence, affecting so many lives for God's kingdom after he met Jesus. it will be the first of his birthdays that we will be without him. i am soliciting your prayers...
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
why should I tremble?
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Well, the elephant is going to be smackdab in the middle of the table on Tuesday because the girls want to throw a birthday party for their daddy. They want to make his favorite meal and favorite cake, say a prayer and tell some stories. I wonder how it will be? I think I'll put them in charge [yup, this is what I have decided].
Overall, though, other than that darn elephant, our trip east has been a pleasant one. We spent the first 4 days in Nashville, staying with dear friends of ours whom I met when Brian and I met. We did everything together in the early years and had fun. La Bufadora in Mexico, Superbowl parties, date nights, birthdays, just hanging out. It was like home being with them, and sharing memories of Brian together was comforting. I wish we could have some of those times back, but time marches on...
Our time in Atlanta has been sweet (and cold! Not over 38*F), as Brian's mom and I drove to Atlanta from Nashville together. We have reminisced and shed tears, wishing he were here. But with others it seems the elephant sits, large, heavy and ignored... but not for much longer. Other than that it has been a great time for the kids to spend time with their aunt, uncle and cousins, Papa and G-ma too. Ian has been a blast and the girls are exploring with their older cousin and tumbling, spinning, singing and pretending with their younger. Really fun to see them play.
we've even been having fun with the dogs and their lab Savannah has taken a likiing to me because I'll take her in the backyard and throw the ball for her. She's not as much fun as Lucy [whom i miss terribly!] but fun nonetheless :)
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The hard part will be telling the girls because they have had close interaction with these goats recently -- we all have.
This is especially difficult today as I have been grieving Brian so intensely today -- music brings back memories and images; our things recall days together... I went through some of our things today in preparation for our upcoming trip to TN and GA.
What a day. Again, God is bringing me to my knees in utter dependence to him.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
i don't know if it's obsession, but i have come to LOVE bees. we are studying bees and now are considering this new endeavor... whoa! have a gone crazy? no... just have a bee in my bonnet.
so the dude in the picture is kirkobeeo... a regular guy that loves bees and wants to see urbanites such as myself help revolutionize the bee kingdom -- keep those bees alive!
i'll post more on this as i know more about what i am doing or not doing...yo.
my "sweet" boy eating a cookie...
Saturday, January 23, 2010
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Friday, January 22, 2010
God has a way of showing me safe people to be and share with. and i did share. and it was difficult. but i sensed love in the hearing of the story thanks to a victorious and loving God with mercies that are new every morning as they are revealed.
thank you, dear friends, who look on and feel love in your hearts for us.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
So how is this God's challenge? Basically this: will I be willing to be truly authentic about myself, my marriage and my journey in a face-to-face confrontation with someone who only knew Brian at his best?
This was the topic @ church today and here I am smack dab in the middle of that challenge for real.
Last week I spent some time with J&B and really shared from the depths of my heart about my feelings regarding Brian, his death and the pending results of the autopsy. It was really healing for me. After sharing these awkward thoughts and feelings that have been swirling in my head and heart, I felt so much lighter and my mind so clear.
Eleven years ago, I went to a conference where Larry Crabb spoke debuting his book Connecting. His theories about the role of the church (if the church was doing it's job, therapists, counselors and psychologists would not be necessary) came true that night for me. (I highly recommend this book - an excellent read). I wonder if I will be able to provide that safe space for this friend?
So, yes, God is challenging me....
Thursday, January 14, 2010
wanting to revisit this and read it in full, i did. but instead of reading Psalm 23, my eyes were drawn to some verses on the opposing page up in the corner. it was this:
Your victory brings him great honor,
and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.
You have endowed him with eternal blessings
and given him the joy of your presence.
Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.
With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.
what an amazing picture of Brian's new life in heaven. God's victory has brought honor to Brian and he is clothed with splendor and majesty -- eternal blessings and the joy of God's presence... Brian spent Christmas -- Jesus' birthday -- with the King himself! and in church on Sunday we sang "mighty to save" -- a celebration of the fact that Jesus conquered the grave and has offered eternal life and salvation to us all.
speaking of heaven, my uncle, who lost my aunt to a hemorrhagic stroke right after Brian's death this past september, publishes a blog as well and on it, he posted this beautiful poem:
A few days ago my pastor sent me an anonymous poem from the Seattle Times, which resonated with me because of the timing—this is Nancy’s first Christmas in Heaven:
CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
I’ve had my first Christmas in Heaven, a glorious, wonderful day.
I stood with the saints of the ages, who found Christ, the truth and the way.
I sang with the heavenly choir, just think—I joined in to sing!
And oh, what celestial music we brought to our Savior and King.
We sang the glad songs of redemption—how Jesus to Bethlehem came;
How they called his name Jesus, so all might be saved through His name.
Again we sang with the angels, the same message they sang that blest morn
When Shepherds first heard the glad story—that Jesus, the Savior, was born.
Oh, I wish you’d have been there, no Christmas on earth could compare.
With all the rapture and glory that I’d witnessed in Heaven so fair.
You know how I always loved Christmas, always such a wonderful day.
With loved ones around me, the children and grandkids “singing all the way.”
But now, I can see why I loved it, and just what a joy it’d be for you,
When you and other loved ones are with me, to share the glories I see too.
And all on earth, follow me—look not for a babe, for our Savior appears
For that greatest Christmas Day awaiting—ending all our fears and tears.
my unc has published some other great passages and thoughts, but those will have to be shared later.
Lord God, you are powerful and victorious! i praise you! thank you for the picture of my loved ones praising you and knowing your eternal peace.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Avery is very concerned as she really wants Papa to know Jesus so that when it's Papa's turn to go to heaven, he will go there and he will be with her daddy forever. And then one day we will all be together in heaven with Jesus.
Please be praying for health and a real relationship with Jesus for Mike.
Monday, January 11, 2010
i do not know what i would do if i didn't have the belief that i would see brian again -- or anyone i know who believed/s Jesus is the way, truth and life -- when it's my turn to be with Jesus forever.
but actually, this story was encouraging to me because the testimony of our belief in eternal life was shared that day like never before.
JV, may you come to believe that you will see those you love in heaven someday -- with great confidence.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
it was so fun because Ian had not been there before -- well, at least not when he would remember. it was kind of like disneyland, seeing it through his eyes, full of wonder, for the first time. and this is how far away he liked to be form everything that moved... behind glass, far away.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
please feel free to leave a comment. it won't post til i read it and publish it first. comments make me feel like 'somebody's out there'! LOL