Monday, November 30, 2015

Advent ~ a repost from 2014

Advent ~ what it means to ME

Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV) “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

The season of Advent is upon us and while many believe this is a season for the Catholic faith to celebrate the coming of Jesus’ birth, they are sadly mistaken. While the Catholic Church does celebrate through rites and rituals such as burning a colored candle each week as they focus on the coming of the Lord, many Christians such as myself celebrate Advent as a spiritual renewal.

This was a time in history documented and prophesied about in the Old Testament and came to fruition in the advent of the New Testament. The weeks leading up to Christ being born into this world are a pivotal proclamation to every single Christian. Our faith in Jesus Christ is solid proof, to ME, that the Advent of Christ is true to the biblical word.

Granted I don’t believe December 25th as the exact day He was born. But it is the day that man has chosen to appoint and celebrate as the day of Jesus’ birth. Advent to me is preparing for the coming of the Lord instead of getting all caught up in the commercialization of a sacred Holy Day.

We’re living in a world where people make up their own choices and minds with how to honor the King of Kings. Christians everywhere claim to be Christian but shrug off Lent and Advent and other spiritual expectancies that the very bible they claim to read speaks of and are happy just declaring they’re Christian’s. To me, that’s a mockery of Christ and the Holy Bible.

Yes, claiming to be a Christian is all well and good but it is more than just words, you have to put physical and spiritual ACTION behind those words for them to be believed. Even through my computer screen I can tell which friends are spirit-filled and which ones put on a show. When sitting in Church I can physically see who is there just to show people that they’re there. I am not judging people; I am confirming that I have eyes to see.

THIS is why a spiritual rejuvenation is needed throughout the year. THIS is why Advent and Lent are so dear to ME. Yes I spiritually reflect throughout the year, but these two seasons take on special meaning to my spiritual growth.

I watch as a globe erupts in turmoil; races against races, wars against innocent, death to believers, fear in the loving. Satan is standing at the threshold of corruption, rising in great power throwing swords of fire at the earthbound physically and spiritually weak.
The flames have reached every corner of the earth, blades of fire have licked the spirit of all as we sit and watch, waiting, just waiting to understand.

THIS is the season for true Christians to fully understand the biblical elements at work. This is where we gather our spiritual strength and prepare for the coming of Christ. We can’t shrug off what we are called to be; we can’t ignore and draw a blind eye of what is to come. We can’t walk and pretend that we’re doing everything in our power to prayerfully heal a nation in the throes of an uprising while we're too busy to reflect even once on the spiritual growth of our being. We’re not called to ‘just’ believe.

This is not a time to wear a mask and delight in the show of the Christmas spectacle; this is the time to be spiritually awake in the depths of your soul. This is not the time to look around at all you don’t hold in your hands; this is the time to be grateful for every little thing you DO have. This is not the time to walk in confidence knowing you have a faith and belief in God; this is the time to meditate on all you are, all you hold true and all you hope to one day become THROUGH the blood and power of Christ.

THIS, my friends, is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. Pss.118:24 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I'm Thankful! Happy Thanksgiving!

1 Chron. 16: 8 “Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.”

HappyThanksgiving

It is with joy and not sadness that I approach Thanksgiving this year. I’ll probably be filled with sadness the closer we get to Christmas when I get the blues because I can’t share yet another Christmas holiday back home with my family. I’m okay with that, it’s just the songs bring about a melancholy spirit that hovers around the Christmas trimmings.

I’m an optimist so I do try to see the good in everything. For some reason that gives me a sense of peace that washes over me like a soft summer rain. So this Thanksgiving I have to reflect on what I am thankful for. I know, I know, I just lost my father and CAN I find something to be thankful for? Yes, yes I can!

Yes I’m thankful for all of the normal things: a home, a roof over my head, food in the refrigerator and heat for the house. I am also thankful for more:

*I’m thankful that I had the years I did with my dad.
*I’m thankful that we shared the stars, the storms, and the rain.
*I’m thankful my dad stood by me for so many years, then allowed me to spread my wings and move far far away from home, knowing full well he’d never have the chance to see me again.
*I’m thankful my dad loved my mother so much and instilled in her the strength she would need to get through his death.
*I’m thankful my dad found God!
*I’m thankful my husband finally decided to marry me!
*I’m thankful for my son who has grown to be his own man.
*I’m thankful for shooting stars as a way to communicate with my dad.
*I’m thankful for my dog that has a wonderful loving family surrounding her on cold nights.
*I’m thankful for Facebook as a form of communicating with my family back home and the chance to watch my nieces (and nephews) children grow without ever meeting them.
*I’m thankful for my spiritual friends, the writing ones and the ones that I met through God’s leading them to me or me to them, who in a virtual way, wrap their loving arms around me and comfort me in amazing ways via Facebook.
*I’m thankful for Auntie Sue & Papa John and for Ben, for showing me their love extends past the virtual screen!

Let me just say, I didn’t need to do the 30 days of thankfulness because I am thankful 365 days a year; for being alive, for sharing God’s word and my faith, and for friends and family!

May each and every one of you have a safe a Blessed Thanksgiving!!!

I Give Thanks

For all we are and all we do
we give our thanks each day.
We live, grow, change and mend
I give my thanks and pray.

I thank my mother and father
for all the things they gave.
Within their hand they held my life
but only One could save.

I led the life He wanted for me
although the road was rough.
I never look back with any regret
the rocky roads were tough.

The path was laid before we were born
the forks were all in place.
Which we chose was a cosmic bend
that altered time and space.

I found a cross in my walk
as I wandered through each year.
Whimsical times and frenzied mind
He made it all seem clear.

The crystal shell lay in shards
glass was torn to pieces.
He put them all together again
my love for Him never ceases!

I thank the Lord for carrying me
through my most daunting days.
I’m mended now because of Him,
a path of new-found ways.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Do We Know the Future?

Luke 21: 21: 9 “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.”

Sunday’s sermon touched on the false prophet who claims to know when the end of the world was near. We hear it all the time that these are the end times but keep in mind that during Jesus’ time the apostles and people all thought that they too were living in the end times. Every generation and false prophet claims that they hold the truth and know when the end times will be.

Matt. 24: 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

I realized many years ago that focusing on these false prophecies were only doing more harm than good. It kept me from focusing on God and by allowing myself to be led into this false prophecy satan is achieving his goal and that goal is: “The more lies I feed them, the more they believe what I’m saying and not listening to the truth that God has shown them.”

Let me ask, if you knew they day and hour that you were going to die, would you do anything different? Of course you would! But knowing that the Lord has a set day and time for the day of earth to end, you do nothing?

When a blizzard is said to be coming, people rush out and stock up on food, snacks and toiletries preparing to be hunkered down for days on end. Then the day arrives and not even a flurry lands on the grass, making you realize you prepared for nothing. 

That is exactly what false prophecy is, it gets you thinking the end is near and you prepare for it in fear and then it doesn’t come to fruition. Your fears were based on lies. Yes we can rest assured that God does not lie or instill fear in us, and the end WILL happen and we should only be preparing for our entry into heaven, not wandering about looking to see if the end is upon us so that YOU know (or think you know) when the end will come. God will let those who see, see and those that hear, hear.

There’s a terrorist group that is doing this same thing, instilling fear in people. I’m not going to name them because of course that showers more attention on them and I see that they get enough attention so I’ll let you think about it for a moment. God does not instill fear or terror and anyone who does instill fear is nothing more than a cowardly bully.

Think about it, satan instills fear. We fear death, we fear not measuring up, we fear losing our job and we fear everything and nothing. To live in fear of impending terror you give power to fear.  I hear people cursing God for creating them as worthless to society. I hear people cry in desperation for some kind of anything to help them get through trouble but note, they WON’T give power over to God. They would much rather allow satan run their lives into the pits of hell than admit they NEED God to reign in their life.

I know quite a few atheist (and no, it isn’t you because you’re reading me for the inspiration you seek) an atheist doesn’t have time for inspiration, I assume they only have time for living in fear. I’m not here to judge them because if they are happy, truly happy living that way, well more power to them.

I wonder why so many people are obsessed with when the end will happen. You know what I say? Live every day like it was the last day on earth and you won’t have to live in fear or worry when the end will come.

One of the things that I feel at peace with is that my dad didn’t fear death. When he went into the hospital he knew he wasn’t going to go back home. As much fighting to live the man did, he didn’t fear death even on his last day. With one of his last breaths he told my mother he loved her and I know he was at peace in going to his heavenly home.

No one can predict the future. Not even Jesus knew when the end was going to happen so listening to a minister say HE knows when the end is, you are just feeding his ego of lies. No one knows!!! When it ends, we should all be prepared, not in a panic state, not in a fearful state but in a peaceful state.

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching and many people traveling the highways, the railroads and the skies, instead of going in fear of what MIGHT happen, go in love and be thankful for a family to go home to on the holiday. Be grateful for the time spent on this earth and cherish every last second because one never knows, it might be your last.


Matt. 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm Back... With a Purpose

Micah 6:8  “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

I’m Back... With a Purpose

In the midst of my grief I found something. It was there all the time I just needed to grab hold of all that I knew I had in me and that is my FAITH! One to never let me down, God set upon me a new mission, one that I had strayed from but He brought me back through my faith.

Yesterday’s sermon was about the future and knowing your purpose in the here and now. It really touched me because I was snuggling up to my grief and looking for a promise in my tears. As usual I found it in a sermon cradled among truth.

Sometimes people feel scared, afraid they’re not doing all they can in the Lord’s eyes whether a florist, a doctor, a gardener or a janitor. Sometimes people feel that between resting on Sunday and going back to work on Monday is just a mundane chore they do to keep food on their plate. Really? You feel so unworthy that that is all you feel your purpose is in life? To put food on the table and pay bills?

If in the mundane you see purpose, your inner essence and being will come to life like a newly planted spring garden. The florist feels like it is just a job organizing and arranging the flowers while making money, but in essence of completing her purpose she is touching the lives of other people. How you might ask? When you’re lying in the hospital and a flower arrives, how does that make you feel? You’re not thinking of the person who is serving a purpose in bringing that arrangement to life. Instead you’re smiling and feeling good! This person was touched by the florist and didn’t even give her a second thought. At a funeral, the florist is reaching into your realm and making you feel love and beauty surround you in a dark moment of despair.

How about the nurse? Are you thinking of her dedication to serving her purpose in life? No, I imagine all you are thinking about is her poking and prodding and how annoying it is to lose control of YOU and YOUR faculties. The nurse is serving her purpose in bringing you your medical needs and see that you are comfortable on this, as you see it, demeaning journey.

How about the janitor? Are you thinking of their job as fulfilling a purpose? Of course not, again you’re thinking of you and how you’re just glad that there is toilet paper on the TP holder after you’re done your business. You don’t think of anyone as fulfilling a purpose but as I see it, we’re all here fulfilling the purpose that God has set for us.

Sometimes people feel that they’re not doing enough in fulfilling their purpose and get emotionally drained thinking what next? What will I do? They worry needlessly when they should take their need to God and He WILL fulfill your need in serving His purpose. Remember, He put you here for a reason and that is to serve His purpose.

When people get distracted from their purpose they begin to lose faith. They don’t want something higher than themselves controlling what their purpose is so they wander into selfishness and hold tightly to materialistic views and they go on in life serving nothing but their ego.

MY purpose is to write. Even when I feel like my writing isn’t reaching out to someone, that one person will let me know that I’ve reached into his or her heart in some way and thus fulfilling my purpose. I lost sight of that for a while thinking there was really no reason to write but in the layers of grief I found my writing to not only be essential to the my healing but to be substantial in finding my purpose while helping others.

I serve God through my writing. He blessed me with the talent to write. He had me training on many levels all of my life in my cleaning houses for those who were often too disabled to do it for themselves, taking care of the elderly when they couldn’t nurse themselves, tending to the lonely widow who just needed friendship. God used me so my heart would know and understand compassion for all and then my writing would be used to relay a message of the promise that He had shown to me.

I’ve spent enough time in my grief and now it is time to fulfill my purpose in serving God. You do know that if you are not serving God, you are only serving yourself? We live in the ‘all about me’ generation and people are not so happy with the sun not rising for THEM! The world should turn and bow for THEM. They seek ‘things’ outside getting lost in pain and sorrow and never look at the healing that is right there on the inside waiting for them to embrace.

We all have a purpose in this life and until you understand what the purpose is and that EVERY single person has one, maybe the world would change. We can’t let evil scare us into not seeing a reason for everything under the sun.

Jesus was a carpenter for most of His life. Do you think he sat there twiddling his thumbs asking God what his purpose was in life? I don’t think so, he knew God was shaping him into a man who would carve out a nation, build a world of love out of the sands of time, hammer into the people a voice that would be heard for millennia, seal the message and purpose with nails so that the blood would set us free. Once Jesus understood His purpose, His life was fulfilled.

Luke. 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Poetry Sunday ~ Come To Me

Matt. 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Come To Me

Come all who are heavy laden
The burden too strong to bear
Come one come all you sinning men
In My arms feel no despair.

Rivers of living water flow
I see the streams in you
Come all who are heavy laden
The cross is the least I can do.

Come all who are heavy laden
A shadow veils your face.
Come to me you restless spirit
Be free of this sinful place.

Come all who are heavy laden
To rest your weary soul.
I am the Lord your Savior
Through me you can be whole.

Isa. 59:1 “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:”

Friday, November 20, 2015

Epiphany

Pss. 109:15 “Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.”

An Epiphany

It has been an interesting ride into an epiphany or intuitive insight into the essential meaning of something. In this case, I know why I’m here in Nebraska!

As a kid growing up, my mother and I were the best of friends. We share a birthday so I was considered special from day one AND the fact that that I was the baby helped that position along.

Living in the city without a car left us shopping in the locality best known to unknowns as Light Street. No seriously, that was and still is the name of the street lined with shops and stores. As we would walk past the glass lined buildings with the picture window shops and apparel, my mother would always reminisce of what that store was many years ago; it was a quite nostalgic trip on weekends for my mother and I.

We’d often go into Epsteins, (locals pronounced it Ep-stines while non-locals called it Ep-steens). Epsteins was like an old day version (only smaller) of WalMart. They sold everything from clothes to curtains, carpets to furniture, vacuums to hardware; Epsteins was the weekend hubbub of Light Street. We’d pass jewelry stores, a fish store that sold bunnies in their front window, the more expensive clothes stores for men, shoe stores, café’s and diners.

We’d often (and I do mean often) go to George’s Lunch where they had orange padded booths and a few tables lining one side of the wall and the streaming aroma of the grilled onions and Coney Island hamburgers, steamers for buns and hot dogs along with fresh baked pies where slices sat perched in front of a mirrored shelf! Their specialty was a rice pudding with a cream on top with a dash of cinnamon that I would get every single visit!

I loved the old time look of the place with the individual spinning stools that separated the cooking being done, the waitresses and the small aisle where the booths sat always filled with hungry patrons. Often we’d have to wait for a seat because the place was the highlight of Light Street and everyone just loved the food.

In the summer months, I would always meet my mother for lunch and George’s is often where we’d dine. Sometimes we’d head to Polock Johnny’s or The White Coffee Pot but there we were off doing stuff together.

My sister and brothers resented my closeness with my mother always claiming that she gave me everything. I won’t deny it, she DID! She gave me anything and EVERYTHING I ever wanted. BUT, to clarify, I did everything FOR my mother. Whether it was cleaning, cooking, washing dishes, painting or hanging wallpaper, I was an actual participant not an observer feeling neglected like the rest of my siblings.

The way I see it, it went both ways. She didn’t give me everything because I asked for it, she gave everything to me as an appreciative act for all I did for her. There IS a difference.

As years would pass I was now dragging my (ex) husband into the mix and had him doing all sorts of handyman work for my mother and father. I lived next door to my mother in my grandfather’s rental house for thirteen years. When the rental house was sold, my parents sold THEIR house to move right around the corner from where I had moved.

They just wanted to be close to me and near to my son. I surely didn’t mind because they were basically my best friends at this point. We continued with taking mother shopping on weekends, I always cleaned her house, and she was always giving me soup, spaghetti and whatnot.

I was close to my siblings too, helping my sister out with her six kids; when she went away I would clean her house spic-n-span! My brother would invite me to his house, much to the chagrin of my sister who was now HIS neighbor.

My sister and brothers all longed for the relationship I had with my parents but none of them were willing to put any effort into the rapport. No, they just wanted my parents to show THEM attention but as always, I was the only one who received the attention they longed for.

Then I left Baltimore and all of my family behind. Quite suddenly I might add. A two-week notice and I was well on my way to happiness. My sister invited Steven and I to dinner the night before we left for Texas and she invited my brothers but no one showed up. My mother and father did!

With me gone, they could have my parents all to themselves but no, that wasn’t the case. Weeks would pass before my sister ever called my mother and often it was my father who called and told HER to call my mother sometime. The only time they showed ANY attention to my parents was when my mother would tell them over and over again how “Joni calls me every night and twice a day on weekends!” It irked them into caring!

Back to the epiphany I began with, the why I am here and not there? It was not meant for me to be there. My siblings had to step up and actually DO something for my mother and father. When my father was in the hospital I literally had to goad my one brother into going to see my dad before he died.

Had I been back there, they might have seen too much love for me and not enough attention focused on them, they needed that. My sister is now calling my mother every day, taking her out of the house, inviting her to dinner, taking her to the doctor, you name it; my sister is now sitting at a diner (not the same one that me and mother frequented) and is now being given the attention that she needed all those years; the attention that both of them needed.

My brothers are paying attention, my sister is paying attention and it sure is sad that it took my father to die for them to notice that time on this earth is not guaranteed it is precious! With me out of the way, they can now focus on what needs to be done and that is to give my mother the attention she so richly deserves!


Pss. 145:7 “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Time

Mark 13:33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.

Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about death this week. Who can blame me after you read my previous posts. I’ve realized something I’ve never given much thought to and that was life support. I informed my husband and son that if I’m ever on a machine to keep me alive, to please oh please pull the plug!

I personally think that people on machines are left there for selfish reasons. The family is holding out hope that the person they have loved for so many years will come back to them whole. My dad didn’t want his defibrillator removed because he said it was God’s decision when he goes. And my peace comes from knowing that it was God not man/doctor/sister/brother that took my father when it was his time to leave this earthly shell.

Time, it’s all about time.

Ecc. 3:1-8 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

My sister had said something to me recently, “You CHOSE to be where you are.” What she might not understand (or maybe she does) is that it wasn’t a CHOICE it was TIME! It was my time to heal. My time to get and my time to lose, my time to LOVE and my time to have PEACE!

While my family was back home struggling with the burial necessities, bickering and tugs of war that are a natural part of my family, I sat here out in the middle of nowhere left to mourn on my own. This is NOT the time for dissension; this is the time to pull together! I have been writing this all not for myself, but to share with others who might ever go through this. It is not a morbid fascination for me; it is my way of mourning and grieving.

It’s not really a bickering back home going on, it is more of maybe misinformation? Miscommunication? My dad wanted one thing, my mother wants another thing, and siblings, they want what THEY want. Me? I’m just sitting here 1400 miles away from them and literally out in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting back home. It’s just not meant to happen that way and I accept that with no guilt or remorse.

Let me just say for all of you who WILL have someone die on them sometime in your life and it WILL be up to you to get the tedious things out of the way.

One: Cremation or burial?
These are facts that NEED to be known! A cremation is cheaper than a burial as the burial can cost up to 10 grand! With limited funds, money will play a big part of your decision; unless of course you have a great life insurance policy that will pay for everything.

Two:  Know who is in charge.
You may want one person to be in charge but someone else might come in and take over your burial. KNOW who is in charge!
Example: My mother is of sound mind so she should be the one in charge of what happens to my dad. My mother wants his ashes in an urn and a keepsake necklace for her. She wants him with HER!

Three: Make a list... of special material things and where you want them to go and to whom.

Four: A Living Will: Keep in mind that after you’re dead, none of these wishes are bound by a law or have to be met, so be reasonable and understanding and let the one in charge know you understand that all of your wishes might get tossed in the wind but let them KNOW. Get a notarized will if you want your wishes bound by the law. Still not guaranteed.

Knowledge: It is hard on a family to make decisions based on knowing nothing!

Reasoning: During the grieving process, emotions are at an all time high. One person will want one thing, another a different thing but only ONE thing can be done so there is bound to be the clashes of wants. I see ego and pride standing tall, while loneliness sits her peaceful self in the corner facing the wall wanting it all to go away.

It all boils down to one thing and that is TIME! It eventually runs out and the choices are left up to those left behind to do what they will to make peace with themselves. You might THINK you have TIME to get these things in order but know you very well might NOT have time.

I’m thanking my lucky stars that God saw to it that I was placed out here in the middle of nowhere to spare me all the dramatics going on back home. Because when you think about it, it’s not all about love, love, LOVE as it should be it’s all about TIME!

The time we laughed
The time we cried, the time we lived
And the time we… died.

Rom. 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

And The Beat Goes On

Rom. 7:10 “And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.”

And The Beat Goes On

Every day gets a little bit easier and every moment of the day brings about memories and not tears. I’m being very strong for my mother so that she too can be strong. I think we’re feeding off one another to be the strength when we are weak.

My calls to my mother are back to once a day since my sister is there and calling her daily, as are her sons (all except one). Yesterday she told me that she inadvertently found the military discharge papers that she needed last week to have my dad buried at Crownsville Military cemetery where his brother is buried. It wasn’t meant to be at the time but she has up to two years to decide if that is where she wishes his ashes to be placed for his final resting place. Now with the Military discharge papers, she might give him his final wish.

It takes time to sort through a life and a death. While I’m here grieving in my own way, my mother is letting go of the physical remains in the form of papers, bills, meds, and a mountain of other things that need to be taken care of during this time.

The beat goes on for us kids, we’re trying to go about our normal routines but in the back of our minds, he’s still there, my dad, lingering in our thoughts. I cry a lot less and yes I know it will get better with time but this is all still so fresh to me, I’m allowed my time of grief. I imagine the holidays are the hardest part of the grief process, muddling through and putting on a brave face, answering questions and drinking in all of the love and compassion that people offer.

Tomorrow will mark three weeks since my dad passed and sure enough it has felt like the earth has stopped and I’m in a bubble waiting to breathe in the springtime air once again. No, instead I’m sitting here in the middle of autumn with Thanksgiving closing in around me waiting for Christmas to smother me with all its lights and hoopla.

Just yesterday my mother had my dads remains returned to her. Her and my sister had to go and pick up the ashes, purchase an urn and get the Death Certificates that she needs to tie up loose ends. In death, everything seems so tedious but I know… the beat goes on.

A friend’s husband has been suffering with COPD and another friend just lost her father this week. While I know that death is a part of life, it doesn’t make death any easier knowing. Death isn’t just taken lightly because you know God and are a Christian. Death isn’t something you just ‘get over’, no, death is something you live with day in and day out. It becomes the sunrise and sunset. It becomes the spring and the winter; it is perched in the ups and downs; it is fed daily by life itself.

I’m not saying death is consuming my life but the reality of it is that life is death and death is life. Now I can honestly say that if I didn’t have my faith I would never be able to endure such pain. My faith is my light, life and breath. I carry my faith around and I find strength to continue this life no matter what comes my way.

Every day gets easier, every day the breath of me gets stronger. Every day the beat goes on. La-dee-da-dee-dee, la-dee-da-dee-da


May God bless each and every one of you with the Light and love needed to get you through life… and death.

John 6:47-48 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
I am that bread of life.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Reasons...


Job 17:7 Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.

A Reason

As you can imagine in the depth of my grief, I search endlessly for reasons why things are the way they are. My dad was in the hospital for three weeks when he finally succumbed to COPD in the same hospital room that my grandmother had passed.

I’ve gone over the WHY’S:

Why did he die?
Why was I not there?
Why am I here (in Nebraska)?
Why didn’t I make it to the funeral?
Why didn’t my poem reach his ears?
Why, why, why?

Then I went over the reasons behind all the WHY’S. I wasn’t torturing myself I was more like self-analyzing all the reasons there are for the way things happened the way they did.

Let’s go in order:

Why did he die?

Well, he didn’t just die. For twenty years since his first heart surgery my father had sought out God. He had become closer to God in his final years, not saying he attended church or anything but in his own way he embraced his religion, what it meant to him and where he’d go in the final chapter of his existence, heaven.

My father suffered for many years with heart problems and the last few years it had gotten worse. He was a survivor of throat cancer and watched his sister succumb just this year to the deadly colon cancer (among other cancers she was hit with), and he’d watch from afar his brother-in-law fight with lung cancer.

Over this past year my dad would need more and more oxygen. It got to the point he barely made it to the car with the heavy tanks he had to carry with him. He struggled to breathe on a daily basis. Something we too often take for granted, he was relinquished to begging for more.

Why did he die? Because his heart and lungs couldn’t take it anymore. There was not enough oxygen on this planet to fill his lungs so he had to go to the place where he could breathe easy without any struggles, heaven.

Why was I not there?

It just wasn’t meant to be. I carry a smidgen of guilt but am relieved when I go over the reality of not being there. Reality, something no one wants to hear, they just want to play the point-the-finger-at-the-lousy-daughter game. Yeah, my brothers are back there in Baltimore pointing fingers and wondering what kind of daughter doesn’t make it to her own fathers funeral. I’ll tell you what kind, the kind that lives in the REAL world!

Had I had $3,000 dollars hanging out of my pocket I surely would’ve hightailed it back to Baltimore disability and all. The reality of the matter is, I don’t have $3.00 hanging out of my pocket. I have a roof over my head, I have food on my plate, the house is heated and I have a wonderful husband! Can anyone say they really want more? Then you my friend are a prisoner of a false reality. I don’t live for WANT, I live for NEED and am provided for my needs daily! I WANTED to  be back home but apparently I wasn’t NEEDED.

Let me let you in on another reality. I have two brothers that could’ve very well paid my way back there with no skin off their nose! Did I WANT them to? No! They have their cable bills, their new cars and trucks to pay for, their season tickets to football/baseball games, goodness, where would they EVER find spare cash to help their sister?

My one brother from Tennessee drove eight hours back home but allowed my mother to pay for his hotel for three nights? I forgive him for that since he is the one who paid my mother’s $150 a month garage fees to park their car for the past five or six years. My other brother is a drugee, and my sister has a rental place with her three kids living there.

Why was I not there? 
For the plain and simple reason, MONEY. Sad but true. The reality of life is, that EVERYTHING boils down to money, remember that.

Why am I here in Nebraska? 
Because a man saw a wounded soul 1400 miles away from him and just like a puppy in the middle of the road, he saw to it to rescue me from death.

Why didn’t I make it to the funeral? 
For the reasons above of why I wasn’t there in Baltimore. If you read into the picture I painted of my family, they are who they are and I am no longer a part of them; that bothers them to no measure. I’m happy with nothing (but everything) and they are miserable with everything and more.

They didn’t want me back there because they love me, they wanted me back there to relieve their conscience and so they’d have something and someone to talk about.

Why didn’t my poem reach his ears?

My sister had my last words to my dad on her phone and she was ‘going’ to read it to him but didn’t find the time. Did she read it at his funeral? No. Why? Because she was taking care of other matters that were more important than my last wish to my father.

It wasn’t meant to be. My poem finally made it to my mother via snail-mail and her words were somewhat hurtful, “I’m glad your father didn’t hear this before he died, because it was SAD!”

I’ll tuck that one under my belt.

So again I’ll ask, why am I here in Nebraska?

Because the Lord saw me worthy to be loved! To know what love IS! To feel HIM wrapped around my heart and to bless ME!

While my mother and father were the only two that truly loved me (back home), my siblings claimed to love me but I say to you, to KNOW love is to SHOW love, and in thirteen years I have not been shown love by any of my siblings.

Granted, if they read this, they’d spew that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and * I* never SHOWED THEM love. It’s a tit-for-tat game with them, a game I quit many years ago, out of LOVE for my self and my sanity.

Also granted, that if they knew I was writer, they’d read my words. They love me so well. (Yes I gave them a link to my writing but they lost it somewhere over the years.) Remember, if I’m not making MONEY, then I’m not a writer.

All my WHY’S and REASONS have been answered and now I search for PEACE in the midst of my grief. I go with faith in my hand and God in my heart and I move on to the next phase of my life. I feel the wind beneath my wings…

God bless you all!

Pss. 38: 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Quotation Saturday ~ Healing Through Grief

Prov. 18: 24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Quotation Saturday will be a little different this week. Since I lost my father last week and he was put to rest this week. My emotions have run the gamut; I wasn’t there and that is tearing me apart. I will find healing in my grief.

HURT

“Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word.”
― George R.R. Martin

~ This is so true! I realized what kind of family I have when old wounds to my soul resurfaced this week.

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I've learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can't be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.”
― C. JoyBell C.

~ Hurt equals pain and this week the pain hasn’t ceased. I’m working on it though and I’ll find that wind in my face called healing!

EMOTIONAL

“There are some things in this world you rely on, like a sure bet. And when they let you down, shifting from where you've carefully placed them, it shakes your faith, right where you stand.”
― Sarah Dessen

~ I relied on my family to actually care for my pain. Knowing I had no means of seeing my father in his last weeks or as he was laid to rest, no one cared, except friends that I’ve never met! My spiritual online family got me through what would turn out to be one of the hardest things in my life.

“So the fact that I’m me and no one else is one of my greatest assets. Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent.”
― Haruki Murakami

~ I’m paying for my independence and my freedom but I WILL heal!

ANGRY

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”
― Plato

~ I cannot help that I have a selfish family. My heart and prayers are with them. 

“Do not allow yourself to be blinded by fear and anger. Everything is only as it is.”
― Yuki Urushibara

~ I’m going to remember this every single day!

“Speak when you are angry, and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.”
― Laurence J. Peter

~ This is why I write. My writing has healing properties.

“If you're angry at stupid people, you're tempted to join them.”
― Toba Beta

~ I’m sure not going to allow myself to go there!

GRIEF

“You will lose someone you can’t live without and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up and you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
― Anne Lamott

~ This is true. It might hurt for a little while but my heart is filled with the love I carry for my dad, so he will be a part of my healing too. I may walk with a limp, but I’ll dance like a pro for my dad!

“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.”
― José N. Harris

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

~ I can attest, I’ve never felt closer to God than this week with my unusual amount of shooting stars. Thanks Dad.

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
― Leo Tolstoy

~ AMEN!

HEALING

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Rumi

“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
― Rose Kennedy

~ I feel as though I am one big scar but the only good thing is the beauty of my light will shine through and no one will see the scar, they’ll only see the Light that I emit.

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
― Cormac McCarthy

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

~ I choose to transform! I’ll use writing to help in the healing process.

I’d like to thank all of my spiritual online friends who are there for me, helping me and honestly doing all they can for me. They’ve lost a mother or father and understand the pain that I’m enduring and it is only with their love and support that I’ll find the healing transformation that I need. God has truly blessed me!

Acts 4:22 “For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”


Thursday, November 05, 2015

Mixed Emotions

Ecc. 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

Yesterday was not a good day, not a good day at all. It would be the day of my dad’s funeral. The day that family all gathered ‘round sharing tears, memories and love. There would be brothers and a sister, aunts, nieces and nephews, maybe cousins who I haven’t seen in ages all gathering to show their love for my father. There would be something missing from the family gathering…namely me. A series of mixed emotions would encompass my entire day.

Steven was very sick yesterday. Well, seriously he’s been sick for two weeks, first with a nasal infection but it seemed to have cleared up but by Monday something was running amok in his chest. He has asthma and breathing had become very tiring for him and by yesterday when I woke he announced, “I have to go to the doctor!” I scurried to get dressed in record time and we were at the doctor by 9:30.

I had first called my mother to make sure she was okay on what would be the hardest day of her life, putting her husband of sixty years to rest. I tried to keep it together but by the time we returned home from the doctor, I was once again on the phone to my mother seeing to it that she was going to be okay. She assured me that she would be, she had loving family surrounding her and she’d be okay.

After the phone call I broke down sobbing like a child who lost her puppy. I run the gamut of emotions from sadness, anger, guilt, shame, hate, love, sorrow, grief, concern despair and sympathy. No wonder the tears flowed by the bucketful.

At three o’clock (four o’clock eastern time), the time the funeral was to begin, I lit a candle for my dad, placed my little angels around the emanating light and sat a picture of my mother and father there and then I mourned. I was once again crying like a fire hydrant at full throttle. I was feeling all the pain that my family was enduring rush over me, as I looked at memorial pictures of my dad at the funeral parlor’s website.

Why am I not there? Why am I not grieving with my family? Why did nobody see to it that I was able to make the trip? I threw a pity party for myself and it felt okay, it felt like the right thing to do alone out in the middle of nowhere. The answers would come one day, but right now I just wanted to be alone to cry, to let the floodgates open and mourn.

Last night for some reason I wanted to watch It’s A Wonderful Life. I wanted to see Clarence, I wanted to see George, I wanted to see family and friends rally around him to make sure his Christmas would be a memorable one that made his life worth living. I wanted to see Clarence get his wings and leave George the message from beyond, “No man is a failure who has friends.”


If it were not for my friends rallying around me to offer me comfort and support, the death of my father would be unbearable. I received a condolence card from a dear friend whom I’ve never met in person, yet she reached out, took her time out of her day to think of ME! Nothing touched me more than that moment of knowing, someone out there, cared for ME. My spiritual friends have been a welcome comfort where my blood family cast me aside and sent me out to sea.

After the movie ended I once again placed a call to my mother, not thinking she’d be home yet, so I’d leave a message reminding her to take her medicine. To my surprise she answered the phone and said she had just walked in the door. She went on to tell me how it was good seeing my father with no tubes in his nose, no mask on his face and not being hooked to wires. She felt a peaceful feeling knowing that she had family surrounding her during one of her darkest days. As we parted words I would go to bed in a sea of mixed emotions.


"Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" says the angel Clarence to George Bailey.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Blessings


Eph. 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

Blessings

In the midst of grief, blessings arise. Can you imagine laughing and smiling less than five days after your father passed away? Believe it or not, I’ve even shed some happy tears along the way this week.

I have traveled down memory lane and clung to all the happier times and the dimmer days don’t even seem to be in my memory base. As I sit out here in the middle of nowhere, I find myself being a light in a tunnel where darkness might try to seep in.

Last week my brother was shying away from visiting my father all because of earlier disagreements with his brother and sister. I’m too far away to slap him upside the head but what I did say encouraged him so much that the next day he walked in the hospital, head up, and spent three hours with our mother, father and siblings. He came home and called me right away and thanked me.

The next day my father passed away. My brother again called me and thanked me. He said had I not told him what I told him he may have never had those last moments with my dad. There are blessings in death.

Last week on October 29th when the news of my dad dying smacked me upside the head, I struggled with thoughts of not being there by his side. I went outside and looked at the night sky as tears leaked out of my eyes like a faucet. I talked to my dad and said how sorry I was for not being there, in that moment the brightest star I’ve ever seen fell from the sky. A smile replaced the streaming tears and I said, “Thank you, Dad.” That is why when I saw the shooting star dance across the sky the other night I called him a show off.

I imagined my dad, dancing across the sky in happiness that there would always be a way to communicate with me. He was happy, breathing easy and knowing not only would we all be okay but that my mother would be fine. He is dancing in the eternal sky and the heavens are now his home.

Many people, not just me, see their loved ones in one form of communication or the other. Some see them in fluttering birds who land in odd places and chirp or butterflies who show up at odd times of the day and land right in front of you or on your hand even, some see their loved one communicating in something as simple as a frog appearance where frogs/toads wouldn’t normally show up but deep inside they KNOW, it is their loved one communicating. They see what others don’t want to see and they acknowledge it as just what it is; they are blessings, communication from beyond.

Then there are different blessings like the one my mother received yesterday. As you can imagine she has the new worry of living alone and paying rent and bills. My mother paid her rent for November while my dad was in the hospital. My dad always took care of that stuff but he wasn’t home or able to at that time so my mother took charge. The landlord called her yesterday and announced that my mother had paid too much rent for November! Since my father passed on Oct. 29, and she would be living alone, her rent would be reduced by almost $400 dollars!!!

As you can imagine my mother cried her eyes out but finally in all the dismal weeks these were happy tears. She called me right away and told me, I then unleashed some of my own happy tears! It felt good that my tears were not for being sad but were comfort in knowing this blessing, and that’s just what it was, coming a day before my father was put to rest.

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes and each of us needs to be open to see the spiritual blessings that reside in every thing. Today, November fourth, my father’s funeral is taking place back home. I need to reflect and see what blessings come on this grim day.

Gen. 49:25 “Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:”

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Middle of Nowhere

Pss. 147:4  “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.”

Middle of Nowhere

It hit me and it hit me hard when I realized I’m out in the middle of nowhere, especially when the urgency to get back home became some kind of fantasy trip never to be had. I suddenly felt alone, alone and wandering like the couple in the Children of the Corn movie, where every road that they turned down basically led to nowhere.

I remember being back in Dallas when the panic call came that my mother had a stroke, my dad wanted me home and he’d pay for everything just to see me back there consoling my mother. In less than 24 hours we boarded a plane and landed at BWI airport. It took us 20 minutes to get to the airport where we’d board a three-hour flight bound for the east coast. Easy peasy!

When the call came in that my father had passed, I wrestled with what had to be done. I thought another easy flight plan was in store for my near future but no, it just wasn’t meant to be. The cheapest airline tickets ranged from $337 – $557 round trip. That is not including hotel and car rental and of course the food we’d need to eat. We’re talking close to $2000 - $3000 trip for the three of us to get back to my hometown. That doesn’t include the gas that we’d need to make a three-four hour trip to Omaha to catch the plane.

It’s not like people have money just lying around waiting to help a poor soul, they have lives and needs themselves. My dilemma is my dilemma and as it would be, it just isn’t meant for me to go back and see my family during one of the hardest times in their lives.

When my brother looked at the google earth map he realized something and exclaimed, “You live out in the middle of nowhere! Literally!” Tell me something I DON’T know! I look at the map and it looks like a simple straight line from Nebraska to Baltimore but there is more than meets the eyes there!

We have an airport 3-4 hours away. We don’t have bus stations or trains that could just whisk me away on a trip to Baltimore as easy as it was when we lived in Dallas. We literally live out in the middle of nowhere! We don’t even have a place to call to deliver food out here, that’s how far away we are from the main town.

My only connection at this time is facebook via computer and my phone. I don’t have one of those ‘Smart  Phones’ that everybody uses to surf the worldwide web; I don’t have the luxury of ‘facetime’, whatever that is, and no one back home has a way to allow me to SEE the family I long to be with at this time.

I have to sit here out in the middle of nowhere and grieve in my own way. It’s hard but I’m muddling through, writing every day whether it’s something to post or not to post. I clean, I rake, I do whatever my back will allow. I know my limits.

I call my mother just to hear her voice in the morning and at night to make sure she takes her medicine. That is what my dad did and she tells me that sometimes if I hadn’t called, she would have surely forgotten to take her meds. She sounded really good last night as opposed to the other tearful three weeks; she laughed and I know I heard her smile right through the phone. She sounded as if one-thousand pounds of stress had been lifted off her shoulders. Yes she’s grieving but she is also accepting that this is what was meant to be.

I walked out the back door and looked up at the billions of stars in the sky out in the middle of nowhere and said to my father, “Dad, she’s going to be all right.”

Just at that moment a shooting star danced across the sky. I whispered, “You show off.”

1 Cor. 15:41 “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.”

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award