It is 2:43 a.m. this morning as I write this post. I woke up and could not get back to sleep so I decided to get out of bed, light a virtual fireplace, and do some work on this blog.
There is a new page on the menu – “Holiday Helps.” It is filled with various articles, websites, music and book recommendations to help you get through the holiday season. There is something on this page for everyone, whether you are grieving or just stressed out from all the chaos.
There is also a sub-page, “Joy Filled Recipes” that contains links to unhealthy but extremely delicious recipes.
I will add to the pages as I find more resources or recipes that you will enjoy.
I did not start Ann’s book until several years after it was released. I thought it was just another fluff piece of chick-flick type literature. However once I turned the first page, Ann’s words hit me hard. I realized this was definitely not going to be a fluff piece of work but was going to have a lot of weight and substance to it.
Ann makes me think, and think deeply which satisfies the introvert in me. Always looking inward to see how I can better myself. I’ve even had the pleasure of being on her book launch teams for The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into The Abundant Life and The Way of Abundance: A 60-Day Journey Into A Deeply Meaningful Life.
I can’t think of a better way to get through the Christmas season than to do this Bible study – especially since I am in retail. I need all the help and encouragement I can get.
This is my gratitude journal – well one of them. I have a smaller one on the side table in the living room that has over 800 entries.
These 2 pages in my red journal were completed this morning. Entries were also highlighted and washi taped because that’s just what I do – make my journal colorful.
I have been working on this book a long time and will admit to not being as diligent as I should be in writing down moments for which to be thankful. The color of the pen I use varies throughout my journal.
You might be wondering what was #1,000 on my list well, it was a driver at work rescuing a lamb that was stuck on a fence.
The people he was delivering to were not home and the lamb had been there awhile. He unstuck him and the lamb immediately started eating some grass.
So rest assured, the Lamb of God is alive and well.
Quotes About Giving Thanks
The quote I have inside my journal.
Lest you think this being thankful and counting gifts is some New Age thing, it is not. I also have this reminder on my computer.
So are you asleep or are you truly woke to a thankful life filled with wonder and joy?
When I attended GriefShare there were two videos dedicated to counting down the top 20 lessons one learns while going through grief. God’s sovereignty is their number one lesson and it is that lesson combined with a few things going on in this wild, wacky and wonderful world that inspired this post.
Contrary to popular opinion, it does not take two to make a baby. It takes three – man, woman and God; a different type of Holy Trinity.
If God wants there to be a baby, then a couple will have a baby. Just think of how crowded the world would be if a man and a woman had a baby every time they made love. That does not happen because God does not want it to happen. He wants men and women to experience the pleasure of love making and not always have a baby.
When Joe and I married we decided to leave the decision about having children up to God. If He wanted us to have them then we would. However God knew our future, He knew the marriage would only last 14 3/4 years. So He decided we should not have children.
Instead, He blessed us with a golden fur child we named Rommie. We had some great times together as a family before Joe passed away. Rommie and I had some wonderful times together before she joined Joe in heaven 4 years ago. We were so thankful God brought her into our lives.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16 New International Version (NIV)
He also knew you, the moment you would burst forth in this world and how your life was going to fit into the the grand plan He had set in place.
He knew your trials and tribulations, your highs and lows and your successes and failures. All this He knew long before you were born.
Not only did God know everything about you before creation,He LOVED and STILL LOVES you despite your shortcomings.
Since He knew us and the moment of our birth, it also means He knows the exact moment we will move to heaven. We can not do anything to lengthen our lives.
There is nothing I could have done to stop Joe from moving to heaven. His move was predestined – just as the date of my move was written in stone before God created earth and heaven.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
Psalm 116:15 New International Version (NIV)
Thy Will Be Done
So often we rage against God for thwarting our plans. We act as if we are in charge and God is our personal genie at our beck and call. He is to do as we say and not function according to His will.
But that is not the case.
There is a reason the Lord’s Prayer contains the line
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.(Matthew 6:10)
It is because God is in control. His will is perfect and better than ours – always has been and always will be. Even Jesus knew His Father was in charge.
Our birth and death are not the only things God alone controls. He also reigns supreme over the climate and the weather.
Weather is defined by m-w.com as: “the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness.”
I am writing this on a balmy October morn here in Northeast Ohio. Balmy is not a word we use to describe October weather. When this post publishes the state of the atmosphere will be fall-like and not balmy.
If I Ruled The World balmy weather would continue till January (need 6 weeks of 32 or below to keep the insect population under control).
But I do not control the weather. Temperatures will fall, as they normally do this time of year resulting in windows being closed and wearing long sleeve fleece tops instead of my silky sleeveless ones.
The falling temps will eventually result in scenic views such as:
If humans could change the weather us Northeast Ohioans would turn a steering wheel and send all the Lake Effect Snow to Michigan. The folks at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) would turn a steering wheel and drive all hurricanes out to sea.
But we can’t send our snow to Michigan and hurricanes can’t be driven out to sea by humans. Only God can steer snow and hurricanes. He is exceptional at controlling the weather because He created it.
24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Matthew 8:24-27 English Standard Version (ESV) Emphasis Mine
Climate is defined by m-w.com as: “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.”
Any climate change is a result of God, not man.
If God wants Ohio to be an arid zone, then He will change it. If he wants Texas to be covered in ice, then so be it. The climate is His and His alone to control.
Ever since God created the earth, it has gone through heating and cooling cycles. Cycles that last longer than our life span.
Nothing we do will stop Him from implementing His plan. He is weaving all our light and dark moments (both individually and collectively as humans) together and one day we will see His finished project.
The Only Climate We Can Change
We can only change the climate of our hearts. How? Pray, Love God, and Love your neighbor.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22: 37-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
Under New Management – Not New Ownership
This world was created by God and given to us to manage. Have we managed it well – sometimes yes and sometimes no.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Genesis 2:15 English Standard Version (ESV)
Do we pollute the air more than we should – yes. Do we litter more than we should – yes. But God already knew how we would manage the world.He already knew about our use of petroleum, coal and natural gas and knew we would raise cows for our dairy and meat needs.
He knew because He gave us the knowledge and talent to be creative and invent technology that would help us thrive and prosper generation after generation.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
Psalm 119:90 New International Version (NIV) Emphasis mine.
Quit trying to put yourself on the same level with God. We answer to Him, He does not answer to us. He owes us no explanation for anything that happens including earthquakes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, and untimely deaths.
The Bottom Line
We will be fine despite littering, polluting, farting cows and other things. The climate will continue to go through cycles and we will live the exact number of years God predetermined before creation.
So work on changing the climate of your heart, taking care of the planet and all of God’s creatures great and small but remember
Yes, you read the title right – I got a “love note.” It has been over a decade since my last one from Joe.
However, this is one I NEVER want to get again.
Last week I found a “love note” from my city taped to my door. The note stated I had 15 days to replace my broken sidewalk.
I am not able to pull that kind of money out of thin air. Who do you think I am Jeff Bezos? Warren Buffet? President Trump?
My neighbor is a contractor and last evening we discussed the situation as they got a “love note” too. There’s is in better shape than mine and they still got a “love note.” He will fix theirs and the 3 broken spots on my sidewalk.
So all is under control.
Check with your city and see who is responsible for the sidewalk.
Then save up thousands of dollars in a sidewalk fund so if / when you have to replace it, the money is there – especially if you happen to be a one-income widow when a “love note” is taped to your front door.
By the way, they even used red tape. 😀
Hey!, wait a minute…what’s my city doing using my hard-earned tax dollars to buy colored tape? Plain old grey duct tape should be sufficient and cheaper.
Shortly after I first started blogging, I found Ferree Hardy’s website – Widows Christian Place. GriefShare was listed as a resource so I knew this was a good site. Ferree and I became friends and have corresponded with each other throughout the years.
Most recently she was writing about and sharing other widow’s butterfly stories, so I submitted my butterfly story and she published it today.
Here are the links to the other butterfly articles:
Today is the 10th anniversary of becoming a new creation. Ten years ago this morning Joe suffered a stroke caused by a blood vessel rupturing at the base of his brain.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
I went kicking and screaming into this transformation. It is the day I came home from work, pressed the button on the answering machine and found out what Non Sum Qualis Eram truly means.
The History Behind Non
My coworkers and I were sitting at our desks working crossword puzzles on a winter day when I worked for a savings and loan. I do not remember the clue for the answer, but I looked up “Non Sum Qualis Eram” in the dictionary (this was BG – Before Google) and I discovered it meant
I am not what I used to be
I cracked up laughing. I told my coworker that is what I want on my tombstone – I am not what I used to be. It is true. When you die you are not what you used to be. You are a new creation.
Well, that is not what is on our marker out at the cemetery.
Putting This Post Together
When I started putting this post together, I thought it would be how I summed up the last 10 years of being a widow instead of a wife.
Instead, it begins a series of lessons, opinions, and observations based on my experiences during the past 10 years. They are a mixture of good, bad, and ugly. They are intended to prepare you a teeny, tiny bit for what you mayface if and when you become a widow. Because that is what I do best, educate, inspire, and train – just call me your Grief Cheerleader.
So come along with me on a journey of looking back and fondly remembering while moving forward with life as a new creation.
Oh and if Non Sum Qualis Eram is not on our marker – what is? A line from Joe’s favorite song from The Phantom of the Opera:
Think of me, think of me fondly when we’ve said goodbye.
The devotions are not geared towards any religion. There are quotes from authors, scriptures from the Bible and proverbs from other religions. After each quote, there are thoughts from the author and then at the end a one-sentence thought/prayer. I enjoyed reading this book and my copy is now in 2 pieces. It fell apart at April 17th, which is the day I started reading it.
Time For A Re-Read
Since this year is the 10th anniversary of his passing and our 25th wedding anniversary, I decided to read this book again. Now for some reason January – March is much neglected. I do not know why and I’m kind of wishing I did not have this brilliant idea to read through it again because God showed me a different perspective on remarriage.
Today’s devotional is very brief but powerful and deals with the hole left behind by a loved one’s passing.
The quote is:
It is the nature of grace always to fill spaces that have been empty.
Whitmore-Hickman’s thought is:
Not that we can’t tell the difference. Not that we are being disloyal. But if life gives us something else to do with all those impulses toward the one no longer with us, how can we not be grateful? It’s like an extra inheritance -a blessing even- from the one we have lost, going to someone else who needs what we have to give. So we are refreshed by the memory of the loved one, and at the same time offering a gift, creating a new relationship.
The thought/prayer is:
Keep me on the lookout for someone who needs me now.
So the love and commitment I gave Joe in our marriage, needs to be given to someone else, a new relationship, with a new man. I never thought of remarriage that way until today.
Remarriage scares me. I am afraid I would get hitched to a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type of person. He is sweet and loving until we are pronounced husband and wife. Plus, blending two households is a lot of work. Houses would have to be sold and a new one bought. He would have to get along with Joe’s family as well as mine, then I would have to get along with his family. UGH! Too much work, too much stress.
Yes, I know if the right person came along, all the work would be worth it.
This devotional can be applied to any relationship and not just the loss of a spouse. If you lost a daughter, as Whitmore-Hickman did, then you find an opportunity to “mother” another child. Whether it is through a mentoring program such as Kid’s Hope, teaching Sunday School, or spending more time with the single neighbor lady’s child.
But obviously, I see this from the perspective of a widow and remarriage.
It’s almost 10 years since I first read this book. I loved it then and I still love it and still recommend it. My suggestion is when you give this to someone, keep a copy for yourself and read it together. You could email each other daily or meet weekly to discuss the devotions. I know the grieving person would appreciate having someone walk through the devotional journey with him/her.