October 16, 2016 | My Jottings
Many of our leaves have fallen now and we are past peak, as they say around here when referring to our gorgeous autumn colors. There are still a few trees waiting for the next blustery day to help them let go of their leaves, so I took a couple of photos today at the cemetery.
Our old, beloved Schnauzer Edith died in July, and we decided to spread her ashes on Michael’s grave. We were waiting for a lovely Sunday to do it, and today was the day. Sara, I, and one of our Fosters had a little memorial graveside service for our pooch, thanking God that He dreamed up dogs, for giving us Edith and increasing our joy through her life, and for the thought that she is with Michael now.
Here are some shots looking toward Michael’s headstone (dates obscured because you know, weirdos lurk — you should see the spam this unknown little blog gets), and also from the headstone looking over the cemetery and one of its ponds. Aren’t the colors stunning? You can click to enlarge these if you like.
And this tree was just begging to be noticed.
Who would have ever thought that one of my happiest, most peaceful places would be a cemetery. Certainly not me.
And here is a recent picture of Miriam Loretta, my ninth grandbaby. She just turned two years old, and is the sweetest little girl!
Lastly, I thought I’d share a picture I received by text last week from my dear friend Tauni in California. She and I have been friends since before Kindergarten. She has visited me in Minnesota twice, but she took this picture during her first trip in 1987. Michael was 38, I was 30, Sharon was 10, Carolyn was 8 and Sara was 5.
Well, Sara is calling me to come watch something on TV about Hillsong NYC, so I guess I’ll make this short and wish you all a wonderful week!
Before the election
October 13, 2016 | My Jottings
I will be glad when the elections are over in a little more than three weeks, but I also know whoever is our next President, I will be deeply concerned.
Here are two articles which couldn’t state better how I’m feeling about things. Not that my opinion matters at all, but hey.
This one is so articulate and hits the nail on the head.
And this one is the best comfort I’ve read regarding this whole election issue in a long time.
Have a peaceful weekend,
On being stretched
October 12, 2016 | My Jottings
I’ve grown allergic to busyness in the last few years. Having a seriously ill husband who required some kind of care sometimes round the clock, made me crave quietude on the most visceral level. Then, when his cares were finally being done at a skilled nursing facility (Silver Bay Veterans Home), a new kind of stress set in. The crushing weight of trying to care for Michael at home while Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia took firmer hold in his body was lifted, but now I carried a different burden: guilt and sorrow in such scraping depth I had no way of expressing it or dealing with it, except to weep and cry out to God every single day. And to be almost a bystander outside of my own mind as I constantly tried to figure out how I could bring him home and have it work this time, or how he could stay there and both of us not be losing our sanity.
So for one year after Michael’s death, I did as little as possible.
Perhaps no one else would have thought that. The house was still in order, laundry done, meals cooked, Community Bible Study attended, birthdays celebrated. With the help of my friend Carey, I even took my foster gals on a cruise to Alaska during this time, so I didn’t actually become a recluse. But whenever I could, I rested. I sat in my bedroom chair and thought. And cried. And read my Bible, and prayed as I could. I spent a lot of time writing in my gratitude journal. I sat in my living room recliner and watched TV, especially my favorite show, Life Today, with James and Betty Robison. I walked in the cemetery. Slowly. Breathing in the fresh air and intensely observing the beauty there.
I don’t know if that season is coming to a close or not. This year I have taken on a responsibility I take very seriously, a Core Leader at CBS. This means that on Monday mornings and Tuesday mornings I’m gone now. For those of you who work 40 hours or more outside the home I realize this sounds like nothing, but for me, after having felt hollowed out by Michael’s terrible and beautiful journey, this is a lot. Because I am still working in my home, providing foster care to two women with developmental disabilities, and all the paperwork that the state requires with that.
I also began the fall term at University for Seniors recently, and am taking one class — Great Books. It’s the continuation of the same class I took last spring. I haven’t loved the stories we’ve read so far, but I do learn when I go to the discussion group made up of around 25 people sitting around a large table.
So I’m feeling a bit stretched, and I’m still trying to figure out if this is a tiny waving red flag in my peripheral vision cautioning me to slow down, to restrain myself from jumping in with both feet, to intentionally keep taking time for healing and rest, or if feeling this way is a good and growing thing.
And, I have lost my brother Steve. He died alone, on October 1st. I cannot talk about it yet. I might someday.
These are just ramblings. And this photo is just the view looking out of my living room window. In between the two neighbors’ houses across the street, I am blessed to see our inland sea, Lake Superior, every day.
I hope you are taking some time for yourself too, and resist busyness if you can.
God’s peace to you, dear family and friends,
Overflowing With Gratitude
October 2, 2016 | My Jottings
One of the joys of my life is to sit in my plaid bedroom chair in the mornings and write in my gratitude journal. I’m in the 6500s now, which for a glass-half-empty kind of gal, is truly miraculous. I spend a few minutes listing the things I’m grateful for, sometimes making them into a prayer, and then I put it aside and open my Bible. And/or do my CBS lesson, which is on Matthew this year and is blowing my mind.
When something in my life becomes difficult or painful, I still try to sit and write my thanks. I might write,
“#5903 – Thank you Lord, that you are with us today, and that no matter how things look, you are at work in ________’s life”
Or when I’m afraid I might write,
“#6228 – You hold the future, Lord. Thank you.” Pretty simple, but very sincere.
I record all the time about how He has lavished such grace and beauty on my life.
“#5091 – Louisa’s eyes, Lord! Thank you! You have outdone yourself with her.”
Or “#6544 – Hot breakfast this morning while looking at Lake Superior.”
Or “#3120 – The way Millie’s stubbly tail wags – you made her Lord. Thank you!”
Or “#6539 – A text from Sue, Lord. Thank you for her life, please bless and help her.”
And “#4597 – Your promise in 1 John 1:9 that if I confess my sin to you, you will forgive and cleanse me.”
I thank Him for the big things, like His love, for Jesus’s willingness to die on the cross for MY lies, my cheats, my laziness, my pride, my anger, my lack of love. I hope I never get over that, that Jesus did this for me. And for you. I thank Him for prayer, that we have an audience with the King of the Universe at any moment, and don’t have to grovel and crawl to come to His throne of grace.
And I love to thank Him for little things, like a book in hand, the voice of a friend, the color of a pillow, clean water, dental floss, pain relief, handwriting, and more. And of course those are really big things too, when we think about it.
Do I ever despair and feel ungrateful? Yes! But I find that making myself sit down to write out my thanks to the Lord makes a difference. On good days, it brings me joy and strength. On bad days, it keeps me going.
Yesterday Sharon sent me some photos from the week of Michael’s dying that I had never seen. She’s a professional photographer, and she was cleaning out some space on her hard drive and came across the pictures she took 20 months ago, and she sent them all to me. I gasped when I saw the dozens of precious pictures of our family and friends as they all poured their love out on Michael and said goodbye to him in their own personal ways. I’ll be posting some of those photos now and then, even though a year and a half has passed now. Being without my beloved is still my reality every day, and even though the waves of grief are definitely coming with less frequency, when they do hit they take me under. Which is normal, I have learned.
So here is another thing for which I’m so thankful…
The beautiful and heartbreaking memory of my oldest grandson climbing up into Michael’s hospital bed in our bedroom, two days before Michael flew to Jesus. Mr. McBoy’s love for his grandpa. And even though by this time Michael wasn’t able to speak or even open his eyes, I believe he heard and felt and knew. He heard our songs and prayers and our thousands of I-love-yous. He felt our hugs and kisses. He knew he was a deeply loved man. And he was secure in what was waiting for him on the other side of that deathbed.
I think I could fill up an entire journal about God’s mercy and faithfulness, just regarding Michael.
Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7 HCSB
Laughter and Longing
September 22, 2016 | My Jottings
Almost two weeks ago I took one of my fosters and three granddaughters to see Christian comedian Tim Hawkins in concert in Minneapolis. I’ve seen him three times now and he just keeps getting funnier and more worth seeing. He usually comes to Minnesota each fall, so I told my friend Su that she and her husband Danny should come down with us next year, because they like Tim too. I think spending an entire two hours laughing is time well spent. I honestly don’t see a lot on television or in the newspapers these days that make me want to bend over at the waist and howl with laughter.
We had premium seats, which meant that we were a little closer in the huge church to the stage. It was a packed house, but we got there a little early, and here’s a picture of my granddaughter Vivienne taking in the digital wizardry that’s part of the pre-show.
I took the kids to IHOP the next morning where everyone ordered different kinds of pancakes (red velvet?) along with sausage or bacon, and then we made the drive home, singing off and on to “G.T. and the Halo Express” for most of the almost three hours until I dropped them all off.
I’m still walking (sometimes strolling is a better word, considering a recent mysterious injury in my left knee) in the cemetery a couple times a week, often with my friend Su. This is the time of year when it seems almost transcendent to be there. I walk through the quiet paths overhung by huge, old trees that are beginning to turn color, and the fall wind hints of winter as it blows through my hair and makes my eyes water. I see squirrels hurrying around with their winter preparations, and watch the geese eat the grass and squabble at each other before taking off in unison into the sky to go investigate the next pond over. At the cemetery and during this time of year, it almost seems like I can hear the whispers of heaven, but just not quite. Do I think this because my beloved’s body lies beneath the earth in this place? Is it because in a place of the dead I’m reminded that this earthly life is only a preview of what is to come? I don’t know how to put the right words to it, I only know that when I’m there in the cool mornings, it feels like the unseen veil between this life and the next gets thinner and thinner.
I’m often intrigued by the headstones, and I took a few pictures last week.
Su and I walk by this grave all the time and it always makes me want to chuckle. I wonder if Mr. or Mrs. Terryberry ever got teased for their last name? Did kids do that sort of thing a century ago? Or was Terryberry a normal last name and it was no big deal? I wonder if there are any Terryberrys today? And could there possibly be a married couple out there somewhere named Barry and Terri Terryberry?
In July the fierce storm that ripped through our city and downed thousands of trees really hit the cemetery badly. There are scenes like this all over, even though the cleanup is still ongoing:
And I can never resist taking some pictures of how gorgeous things get in our neck of the woods every late September:
Are the leaf colors changing where you live? This is one of the things I love most about living in Minnesota.
I think Alma and Herbert Krause say it well:
As I get older, Christ is my ever increasing hope too. When I am completely stuck day after day on what I’ll say at the women’s retreat in October, Christ is my hope. When my older grands are losing interest in being with their grandma (which I know is so normal), Christ is my hope. When relationship troubles baffle and depress me, Christ is my hope. When prayers seem to go unanswered, Christ is my hope. When some days seem full of promise and others seem interminably mundane, Christ is my hope. When our country is broiling in violence, Christ is my hope. When friendships founder, Christ is my hope. When Michael’s absence seems too much to survive, Christ is my hope.
I realize that might sound a bit one-dimensional and simplistic to some, but it’s the truth I cling to. And perhaps more accurately, I believe it is the truth that clings to me.
Wind chimes in early autumn
September 2, 2016 | My Jottings
Today feels like fall, even though astronomically it’s still summer. Last night was the first night in months that we’ve slept with our windows wide open instead of keeping the central air conditioner on. It was glorious. The sun is lower in the sky these days and the light coming in the windows has that tell-tale golden glow I love. Why, oh why, does autumn seem to last six weeks, and a Minnesota winter can sometimes last six months?
I attended a foster care meeting this morning, and since my original late morning/early afternoon plans were rescheduled, I came home to work on something quite daunting that I’m trying not to be daunted about.
I’ve been praying and reading, journaling and praying, avoiding prayer and study altogether, eating peanuts, studying hard and pleading-praying….all in preparation for my speaking at our local Community Bible Study retreat in October. I have never spoken at a retreat before. I really wonder how in the world I am going to teach on Corrie ten Boom’s life for three sessions to a group of very spiritually mature women. But I keep going back to the comforting knowledge that if God has something He would like to impart to these ones He loves so deeply, I can trust Him to help me know what that is. I do trust Him, I just don’t trust my own ears and heart and eyes to catch it all sometimes.
After some study time in my comfy plaid bedroom chair, I moved to my office to start pecking away at the thoughts and notes I have. I opened the sliding glass door in my office so I can hear the lovely deep wind chimes that hang on a bird feeder pole right outside, and I can also hear soft strains of Bob Bennett’s CD “Lord of the Past” playing in the dining room. Millie the Schnauzer is schnoozing on my bed, someone in the neighborhood is mowing their lawn for possibly the last time this year, and I have no idea what’s for dinner.
Here’s a distorted panoramic picture of what I see in my office right now. You can click to enlarge it if you’d like.
I took my foster gals to the Minnesota State Fair a few days ago. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive south, and the fair is said to be one of the best in America. We spent the night in a hotel the night before, so we could arrive at the massive fairgrounds when the gates opened and before the heat became mean and punishing. I think my gals had a good time; one had never been to our famous fair before and the other hadn’t been in decades.
There are a zillion foods on a stick there. Corn on the cob, deep-fried Snickers candy bars, pork chops, peach-glazed pig cheeks, teriyaki chicken, stuffed Italian meatloaf, and cheesecake, to name a few. All on a stick. I had a Gizmo Sandwich because crazy food man Andrew Zimmern said it was the best sandwich of the fair, and it was pretty good. I also had some fresh squeezed lemonade.
Throughout the day, my fosters had mini-doughnuts, Gizmos, foot-long hot dogs, pork chops on a stick, cheese curds, cotton candy flavored blue ice cream (gah!), and more.
We walked what felt like seventeen miles in the sauna-like heat to the Pet Building on the f-a-a-a-r side of the fair, so we could pet the dogs of the day, which were Samoyeds, German Shepherds, and Schnauzers. My gals got their caricatures drawn, drove go-carts around a track while the theme song to “Happy Days” played, rode in round, twirling water rafts, went down the undulating giant slide, and bought shockingly priced souvenirs. We loved The Miracle of Birth Building, and were able to see chicks hatching, gently pet newborn pigs, sheep and goats, and stand around a huge pen full of straw while a poor, straining Holstein mama tried to bring her calf into the world with hundreds of people watching.
We spent five hours at the fair, and if my knees had been better behaved and the temperature not 90 degrees, we would have stayed longer. We ended up missing the sculptures of the State Fair Queen and her court (sculpted out of huge blocks of butter), didn’t go to the building with the quilts and cakes, nor the one with the newest innovative household tools and gadgets. In the late 1990s I bought the best broom I’ve ever owned at the state fair. Had we stayed later we could have heard the Lovin’ Spoonful perform too, but when one is approaching sixty and has screaming knees, concessions must be made.
And we’ll be heading down to the Twin Cities again soon, to see our favorite comedian, Tim Hawkins. Michael and I have seen him before, and I’m taking my foster gals and three of my grandchildren this time. I so look forward to seeing Tim in concert. I don’t laugh at his jokes and antics merely because it’s a comedy show; I laugh because I can’t help myself. I think he’s hysterically funny, and I need the medicine that laughter is. If you’re not familiar with Tim Hawkins, here’s a link to initiate you.
Well, the wind chimes are still softly sounding outside my office here. The curtains are moving the slightest little bit with each whispering breeze that brings the lovely cool fall air into our home. There are a few leaves here and there that are turning orange.
I hope your Labor Day weekend is a peaceful one…
Wednesday’s Word — Edition 131
August 31, 2016 | My Jottings
Present is choosing to believe that your own life is worth investing deeply in, instead of waiting for some rare miracle or fairytale.
Present means we understand that the here and now is sacred, sacramental, threaded through with divinity even in its plainness. Especially in its plainness.”
~ Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect
Reading and Routines
August 23, 2016 | My Jottings
My alarm clock this morning was Millie’s borborygmi. She was sleeping in a schnauzery circle near Michael’s pillow, and around 5:00 a.m. I heard the high-pitched gurgling sounds of her intestines, which, frankly, sounded like I needed to get her outside immediately. A couple of days ago we ran out of her special grain-free Blue Buffalo dog food and she had to eat Beneful, which has lots of grain in it but seemed to be the best available at our neighborhood grocery store. Her good stuff arrived last night, so hopefully her tummy settles down now.
I just finished the book The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and enjoyed it. It was tragic, but reminded me what a person is capable of if they just keep going in the face of unspeakable sorrow.
My next read will be quite different. I have had this book sitting on my nightstand for months now, and it’s almost like I’ve been circling around it over and over, looking at it, taking its temperature, gauging its potential to effect lasting change, and then averting my eyes and picking up something else. I started the book a while back and was so deeply struck by the first few pages I almost couldn’t bear it. And the impression that I must read it never leaves. It has almost felt like a directive from the Lord, a firm and gentle pressure from a huge finger between my shoulder blades, steering me toward the book several times a week. Why I would resist something like that, only God knows. I suspect that the enemy doesn’t want any of us reading about prayer and then praying, so the thought of opposition is reasonable.
I have an evening routine that settles and moves our home toward bedtime, as I expect most people do. After making sure my fosters are ready for bed, I usually load the dishwasher and start it, get meds ready for my foster gals for the next morning, lock the doors, turn out the living room lights. I cover the cage of our parakeet Phoebe with a large navy blue towel and smile at her little birdy grunts when I disturb her. I let Millie outside one final time, making sure to put on her bark collar so she doesn’t go nuts at a nighttime dog walker or a deer trotting through the yard, and wake up our elderly neighbors, then after she comes back in I close the shades over our French doors. As I move down the hall toward my bedroom, I stop in the office and turn my desktop computer off. I close the door to my bedroom, adjust the air conditioning for the night, turn on my nightstand lamp, and watch Millie settle on the bed for the night. I fill the reservoir of my blessed, wonderful, miraculous, treasured CPAP machine with distilled water, turn it on to warm, brush my teeth, clean my Invisalign trays and snap them back on (I’m on the 5th set of trays now), put on my plaid nightgown, and once I’ve plopped my head on my very soft down-filled pillow, I play a few moves of Words With Friends with my sister-in-law Christy and my friends Ginny and Vicki. I have been listening to Nightsounds by Bill Pearce on my iPhone each night as I drift off, something that brings back memories of when Michael and I used to have our clock radio play Nightsounds softly as we went to sleep each night. Do any of you remember that late-night radio program? Click here to listen to the moody, transporting theme song. I almost feel like I’m being lifted to the galaxies when I listen, and of course I probably don’t need to say that tears fall because it all reminds me of life with Michael.
What are some of your evening/nighttime routines?
Before I turned out the light last night, here’s a portion of what I read in Tim Keller’s book on prayer:
“Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self-knowledge. It is also the main way we experience deep change — the reordering of our loves. Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things He has for us. Indeed, prayer makes it safe for God to give us many of the things we most desire. It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God. Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life. We must learn to pray. We have to.”
The reordering of our loves. I need that desperately. I’ll bet deep inside most of us know there are things we love too much, and things and people we don’t love enough. Not to mention our love for God needing to increase…
Have any of you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts if you have.
Yesterday my friend Su and I walked in the cemetery where Michael is buried. A few weeks ago a terrible storm ripped through our city, and 100 mph winds uprooted thousands of trees and shut off electrical power for days, in the middle of some of the hottest weather you can imagine. The cemetery was hard hit. Huge, majestic, decades-old trees have been uprooted or snapped in two, and lay criss-crossed over toppled grave stones, and block roads and paths. Su and I tried to walk our usual path last week, but we couldn’t get through, so we’ve started walking in an area of the cemetery without so much damage. We both have knee issues so we aren’t power walking, but it’s a lovely time as we process what we’re each going through in our lives, share our prayer needs, and enjoy each other’s company as we have for over 30 years now.
Well, the sun has come up and a beautiful magenta glow is coming through the curtains of my bedroom windows. Time to start my day.
Lord Jesus, I ask you to touch each person reading these words today. Make yourself real to them and to their loved ones, strengthening them to walk out the lives you’ve blessed them with, giving them joy and hope in the midst of their daily challenges. Reorder our loves, Lord. Help us to love you and love people, and cast aside the things that distract us. Teach us to live humble, thankful, praising lives, and give us your peace, I pray. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
You can never get it back
August 18, 2016 | My Jottings
Here is an endearing photo of my two oldest grandchildren, when they were still my only grandchildren. This was taken in late 2002, I believe. Mr. McBoy is Sharon’s oldest child, and Clara is Carolyn’s oldest. There are now many more in the clan. They all refer to each other as The Cousins. (We are slayed by their originality.)
And this photo was taken yesterday, when Mr. McBoy and Clara attended their freshman orientation for high school, with their two mamas there in the background. Do you see any resemblances from their baby picture?
At age 14, Mr. McBoy is now 6′ 1″ tall, and Clara is 5′ 10″. I think they were happy that they have one class together (Science), and they also signed up for Drama Club. (Mr. McBoy for acting, Clara for set design, stage managing, etc.)
I wish I could ponder the passage of time without feeling like wailing. I want to hold each of their days in suspension so I can revel in the beauty and treasure God gives us with life. Our life, their lives, His life.
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” — Harvey Mackay
Toilets and Tears
August 12, 2016 | My Jottings
Friday felicitations, everyone. We love TGIF in this house, because it means that for the next two mornings, we can sleep past 5:43 a.m. I sound like a broken record, but I am a creature of habit and the rhythms of life are pretty basic for me these days. Adventure is not my game and Spontaneous is not my middle name. Although if I had better knees this might not be the case.
It’s nearing the middle of August, and it’s already starting to be dark in the mornings when my fosters and I have breakfast. Turning on the lights in the kitchen and dining room in the morning seems to signal the approach of winter to us. I’m already thinking about how our outdoor hoses will have to be put away, the spigots drained and shut off for the next six months, deck furniture stored in the garage, snow shovels brought out and leaned against the house. You know you live in American Siberia when you just keep your snow shovels leaning against your house for six months out of the year.
I’ve been helping with driving my grandson Elijah to or from his summer tennis lessons this week. When you have grandchildren between the ages of 22 months and 14 1/2 years, they can change in a matter of weeks. If I don’t see one of them for a month or so, they might grow an inch or talk differently or add words to their vocabulary or just do that dreadful thing called growing. I’ve seen that in Elijah this summer. He has grown much taller, and he doesn’t look like a boy anymore. He looks like a teenager. Which he is. My go-to word for these situations is gaahhh.
I’m reading Shauna Niequist’s new book Present over Perfect and love her writing. I also just finished a book a friend recommended called The Spirituality of the Cross by Gene E. Veith, and I was blessed and challenged by it. I’m about 1/4 of the way through Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale and am hoping it will grab me soon. I have talked to so many people who loved this book, people whose recommendations I trust, and so far it’s good, but not compelling. If any of you have read it, does it reach a point where you can’t put it down? I love those kinds of books, where you’re inwardly plotting as you’re loading the dishwasher or writing out bills, for a time when you can sit down and grab that riveting book again.
Have any of you been watching the Olympics? I have not watched one second of them. I am almost ashamed to admit that, but I am just so bored stiff about sports. I don’t know if growing up the daughter of a high school basketball coach did that to me or what. I enjoyed sports in high school; I played basketball myself in GAA (Girls Athletic Association), I played softball, tennis, volleyball, badminton, and I loved to swim. But tell me there’s a football game on TV or the Olympics are starting, and I’m sure to find anything else to do.
Today will be a blessed day at home for me. No foster care appointments, no tennis lesson for Elijah (although I don’t mind driving for that), no prescriptions to pick up or groceries to buy. I’ll probably don my baggy black sweat pants and an old paint-spattered black t-shirt, and scuff around in my Acorn slippers all day. Dinner is already made — hallelujah! — since I made a huge pot of homemade spaghetti yesterday and simmered it on the stove most of the day. This morning when I got up (in the dark) and headed down the hall to the kitchen, I could still smell the garlic in the air from yesterday’s cooking.
Speaking of garlic in the air, here’s a great air freshener I use. An online friend named Jill told me about it, and I love it. It doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals in it, and it smells clean and cheery. Yes, I think something can smell cheery. 🙂
I’m alternately chafing and praying about something right now. I was asked to be the speaker at our Community Bible Study leader’s retreat this fall. And they asked me to tailor my (possibly three) speaking times on the life of Corrie ten Boom. I think this was because of the study on Corrie’s book The Hiding Place I held in my home earlier this summer.
My initial response was willingness, along with gratitude at having been asked. I promised to pray about it, and starting asking for guidance and confirmation from the Lord, and I also began taking some notes as thoughts came to me. But then as always happens, I started fretting and thinking there is no way I can do this. I am 58 and much of my audience will be much younger…what could I possibly say to keep their attention and impart something lasting to their hearts? I am too tired for this. I am unqualified or disqualified or too this or not enough that….gahhhh.
So last night before bed I wrote in my journal about all of this, and decided to stop taking notes and just pray. Just keep lifting this possibility up to the Lord and try to listen to what He impresses on my heart.
The topic (the life of the Ten Boom family) would bless anyone. Whether or not I can do it remains to be seen. I’ll keep praying.
We sure miss Edith around here. Millie still acts like she’s unsure, and wonders what happened. I have Edith’s ashes in a container near Michael’s clothes in the closet, and when the air is crisp and dry and the leaves are blazing with color, we will hold our little ceremony and spread Edith’s ashes over Michael’s grave.
It has been 549 days since I have seen my husband. That is way too long. It seems absolutely too hard and too sad some days. My friend Vicki is a year behind me in her grief journey (she lost her husband to a disease caused by Agent Orange too) and she told me recently that she’s functioning pretty well, but is always about 30 seconds away from tears. Oh, how I understand that. I have felt God’s grace under-girding me and I do not grieve as one who has no hope (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). But all I need to do is hear a song on the radio, look at the shirts hanging in the closet, prepare a meal Michael loved, see a TV show he watched, sing a hymn he boomed, or see whitecaps on Lake Superior (which he called “sheep on the Lake!”), and my eyes fill with tears and I’m overwhelmed with how much I miss him.
Sara and I were laughing at breakfast recently at the memory of how Michael sang love songs to me. If he heard a song on the radio with any line he thought pertained to me (or us), he would turn toward me, gaze at me with those huge eyes, and sing it to me loud.
And for my last little bit of fascinating Friday trivia, I have a new toilet. There was a really fancy, dual flush, space-age shaped Neptune toilet in our master bathroom when we bought this house in May of 2012. Here’s a picture of it.
Well, this expensive toilet stopped flushing properly, and for weeks we had to use a pitcher of water to get it to empty. I ordered new innards from the Neptune company in Canada, and the plumber installed them and it made no difference. So I decided to buy a new toilet and get rid of Ms. Fancypants. The one I bought is a “comfort height” toilet, which means it’s 2 inches taller than a standard one. Which means relief for people with groaning knees. Which means me.
I told my daughter that you know you’re getting old when you get super excited about a new toilet. I felt like having an open house so people could come in and gaze at it, and rejoice with me. A toilet that flushes! A toilet easy on the knees! Come one, come all!
Well, I’m off to start my day. Thanks for stopping in… I hope your toilet is flushing and God’s grace is abounding to you.
May you have a very blessed and peaceful weekend,