Good Grief

Good Grief

Friday, December 31, 2010

So long 2010

I posted on FB the other night that I have always thought that New Years Eve was way overrated.  Even when I was single and young, I would have much rather have been home curled on the couch watching Dick Clark's New Years Rocking Eve.  To this day Dan Fogleberg's (no idea how to spell but you know the one...Met My old lover in the grocery story...) Same Auld Lang Sygne will bring me to tears.  When I was single it was always a little depressing not to have that significant other to ring in the New Year with .  After Shane and I got married we agreed on this just like we agreed on most everything when it came to life and family.  When it was just he and I we would grill out and hug the house, and I had someone to kiss me at 12 and tell each other we loved each other.  After the kids joined our life we never wanted to leave them on this night, they always joined us, we kissed each other then kissed our babies.  We enjoyed our babies company and they would join us for any New Years get together to ring it in with us. 
New Years has always been a little depressing for me.  I think it may have something to do with the holiday season coming to an end.  Regrets of things past, uncertainty of things to come.  Last year was no different, my sweet friend Whitney provided dinner for us along with New Year hats, horns the whole works.  I remember taking pictures of us all with Shane and I with our hats on and the kids enjoying each other.  I also remember wondering what this new year would hold for us.  I never dreamed it would be a year that would forever be etched in my heart and soul.  I went into the new year knowing Shane would be healed of cancer and he would have a wonderful testimony to share.  How different things turned out.  I can't say we made it till 12, but I do remember kissing Shane and telling him I loved him.  If I only could turn back time for this night again, to have Shane to kiss, tell him I love him, and look forward to a new year with him.  But as our story goes, that's not the case.  So my New Years depression is understandable this year where as in years past it wasn't.  I have to say 2010 was not my favorite year, so I can say I am ready to bid it farewell. 2010 will always be remembered and marked as the year Shane passed.  I will always treasure 2010 because it will always be etched in my heart as the last time I held, kissed,  and spoke with Shane.  2010  will be marked for me as the year I experienced the love of God like never before, the presence of His Spirit and the love of so many like never before.  So saying goodbye to 2010 is bittersweet for me.  I have to say it has been a year of significant spiritual growth that I will be forever thankful for.  At the same time, I look forward to a new year, one with new hope, faith, and promises from my Saviour.  I don't make resolutions but I have set a goal, that is-to continue to grow spiritually.  I want to surrender my all to Him, I want to continue to experience Him and His presence, I want bathe myself in His word.  I am setting a goal to start memorizing 2 verses a month (big stuff since I don't memorize anything but PIN numbers, etc.)  I want God's word to effortlessly spew from my lips, I want it to be in my heart, in my very core.  You see, I had a great mentor to show me what having the Word living inside of you could truly do in your life.  Shane, taught me so much about having His word dwelling inside of you.  Seeing it in action is quite contagious, so I want to experience it as he did.  With all of this being said, I get a little excited about a NEW year, unlike past years.  Excited to see God's continued blessings in my life, my children's life.  He has promised new bring it on 2011 (please let it be better than 2010.)
"This is what the Lord says, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43: 16,18,19  Happy New Year to you and yours, may 2011 be full of many many blessings. As for me, I will try earnestly to not dwell on the past and look for His new things, knowing He will continue to make a way for me. 

Friday, December 24, 2010


Well, its CHRISTmas Eve and here I am.  Dreaded this moment for months but you know what?  It's not too bad. This is Shane and my most favorite time of the year so it is hard but it has been good. I say that because today the only way I can explain how I am feeling is "peace."  The kind of peace that only my Heavenly Father could give to me and my children.  Don't get me wrong, there is an absence that's unexplainable too, but my heart feels joy.  I have had several fellow widows say that the first year without your spouse at CHRISTmas is hard but the second one is even harder.  So this year I will enjoy this peace that He is providing for me and take comfort in that, I will worry about next year, next year.  I just visited my aunt, the wife to my only uncle that suddenly passed last week.  She was surrounded by children and grand-children and there seemed to be that same "peace" present there also.  I chose to fill my house last night with family, on being asked why? (since I am known not to be the entertainer) my reply was I wanted to fill my house with joy instead of sadness.  There was laughter, running, giggling and of course eating.  I have said often that if it wasn't for the children I would have left town.  OHHHH how happy I didn't do just that, because you see, my family has been so vital in this healing.  This year we are making a new normal for me and the kids and the rest of the family.  Our new normal is an empty seat at the dinner table, name tags with a missing name, and things to be done that parents do as a team to be done by me alone.  Its a normal that I don't think I will ever like or get use to, but I have that same presence that was present on the night Shane left.  Oh how thankful I am for the presence of my Jesus.  I've praised Him today because I know this will be Shane's best Christmas ever, it may be a silent night here, but I guarantee its not silent where Shane is.  There is rejoicing, and more rejoicing and continued praises of Hallelujah.  My soul will be rejoicing tonight too, that the man I love is getting to experience that and that I get to rejoice here on earth for a Saviour.  A God that sent Himself to earth to save us.  Oh how he loves you and me.  I will rejoice in the fact of my continued blessings in Jake, Sam and Molly and so many others.  I will rejoice in knowing this is all temporary here.  I will rejoice that my Saviour that laid in a simple manger, lived a simple life is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords.  Just because Shane is not here doesn't mean its not Jesus' birthday, so I will choose to celebrate no matter how hard it may be without him. So Happy Birthday Jesus, Merry Christmas Shane (celebrate for the rest of us) and Merry Christmas to you all, may you all feel the presence of His Holiness and experience Him in every way this CHRISTmas. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Shane!

This time last year we were hopefully and fearfully celebrating Shane's 38th Birthday.  This year we will be celebrating with hope, tremendous love, comfort, joy and deep deep sadness.  Today would be Shane's 39th birthday.  We are celebrating with hope because we have hope in Jesus Christ and we have a promise to be with Shane again in eternity.  We celebrate loving Shane more today than we did yesterday and less than we will tomorrow and knowing how much he deeply loved each one of us.  We celebrate with comfort because God continually comforts our family through memories, rainbows, people and stories and his legacy.  We celebrate with the joy of knowing that Shane is celebrating in a new way with his Father in Heaven and the joy that he brought to us here on earth.  And we celebrate with deep deep sadness for the fact that he is not here in body, that we can't eat out with him as our family tradition, that we can't have Hot Molten Lava Cake with him and that November 21st will never ever be the same without him.  We have sadness that we won't be waking up with him and planning a day of activities.  However, this day will not go unnoticed.  We will be celebrating his life today.  We will celebrate by praising Jesus at church (cause Shane would have it no other way), we will celebrate with lunch with family, then we will plant a dwarf lacey leaf maple in a strategic area in our yard so that when we pull into the drive our attention will be on the tree planted in memory of him, instead of our attention being on the red truck that is parked more than moved.  Then we will travel to an out of town church to hear one of Shane's favorite preachers and my favorite Christian singer.  All in memory and honor of Shane and the life he lived here.  I recently spoke to an assembly and I told the crowd that while I would love to be miserable and wallow in self-pity I choose to be joyful.  Not only for the fact that I will be with Shane again in a place without grief, pain, death or sorrow, but also because I know that Shane would want me to choose joy.  He would want me to celebrate his life here with gladness and not sorrow. Shane's mom was here the other day and we were talking about his upcoming birthday, the holidays and she shared with me again about the day he was born.  She had him on a Sunday, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and went home on that Monday and it was snowing. Some how I know God had that planned out, just like he had Shane's days planned here.
   So today while I reflect on his birthday's past I would like to also reflect on his new life.  Jake and I were talking about how old we think Shane is in heaven and Jake said he thinks 17, I prefer to think of him at about 30.  One of those things we will not know until we are there, but for now I choose to think of him as 30 and full of life as he was at that age here.  I prefer to replace that thought instead of the memories of last year and what we were dealing with.  I was reading my journal from that time and had written my thoughts and  how we celebrated last year..."Shane's spirits were great today, a new sense of hope, I wrote that he was so unselfish that, again, today he said that this is not about me but about Him. I journaled how I wanted to be just like him so unselfish.  Then I wrote a prayer...Lord, I ask you to let me spend Shane's next 38+ years with him.  He just has so much more to do here on earth before he goes home.[Thinking God thought he would finish what he was suppose to in the next 5 months] Amen." We celebrated with dinner picked up at Longhorn's, and a candle in a fried apple pie.  I have a picture of him blowing out the candle making a wish.  I could almost bet you that the wish he wished while blowing out that candle had absolutely nothing to do with him, because he was like that.
 His gift last year was a call from the doctors telling him he had a confirmed malignancy, but this year his gift is a place in the Kingdom of the Most High.   I know that is the gift that Shane so desired, knowing he would never exchange or take a refund if given the chance.

Happy Birthday Shannon! We miss you like crazy!!

We love you!!  Deede Bo, Jakey, Sammy Fly Shookem and Lil Curl

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sweet Molls

Grow in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Get to know Him better.  Give Him glory both now and forever.  Amen." (2 Peter 3:18, NIrV)

It was 4 years ago that one of my 3 sweet blessings was born.  A few months earlier I remember waking up at 3am sneaking into the bathroom and taking a pregnancy test.  As I sat and waited and wondered everything was going through my mind.  As I slowly watched it turn to positive I remember saying to God before waking Shane, "Really?  What in the world? I can hardly handle the 2 I have."  I woke Shane up, carried him to the bathroom and showed him the stick.  He was ecstatic (even at 3am), I was crying for whatever reason.  I was scared of having 3 kids.  Don't get me wrong I had always wanted 3, I feel 3's a charm, seeing how I am a 3rd.  Later we were excited to find out that it was a girl.  Shane was finally going to have a "daddy's girl."  She decided to come early.  We called our doctor friend on a Sunday morning and told him what was transpiring, he told us to head to the hospital.  Got there and things started moving rather quickly.  We did all the necessary things and then Dr. Ray came in and told us he was going to break my water.  He did just that and little Miss Molly didn't like it one bit.  Her heart rate slowed to an alarming rate.  It was a scary situation and Ray told me that we needed to do an emergency C-section.  NOT what I wanted to hear.  I had delivered 2 boys and I was terrified of a c-section.  They wheeled me to the OR and started prepping me.  I remember looking into the light and asking God to please help me, help my baby and please let every thing be ok.  The nurses told Shane to take my earrings out, bless him he was so nervous and so cute in his cap and OR attire.  I could feel his hands shaking and he could barely get my earrings out.  He was with me every step of the way, trying to be encouraging and seeing how much he loved me every time he looked at me. All the sudden the monitor that was attached to Molly started beating a little faster.  Ray asked if I heard that and about the same time I told him I needed to push.  Needless to say, Miss Molly decided she didn't want to come into this world via c-section.  Shane was whispering encouraging words for the 2 short pushes.  She was delivered in the OR.  The significant difference in her delivery and Jake and Sam's was the fact that I was not the first to hold her...her daddy was.  Since we were in the OR and it was cold and she had been in a little distress they took her immediately to the warmer to assess her.  Shane followed over and they handed that sweet little girl to her sweet daddy.  He immediately brought her over and I could tell he was totally in love with her.  Nothing changed.  He adored her, he did the boys, but there was just something different about a daddy and a little girl.   I have so often thought back to that morning when I found out I was pregnant with her and asked God what he was I do.  For the past 4 years sweet Molls has been nothing but pure joy.  I almost enrolled her in preschool last year and something told me not to.  I truly think God nudged me to keep her home for she was such a distraction and joy to have her with Shane and I during his sickness.  She would sweetly rub her daddy's back when he was so ill, she would curl up with him on the couch and he would sweetly watch hours on end of Sprout, just to be with her.  She never minded curling up with him on his worst days and never minded sleeping right with him when he was in need of oxygen.  I remember this time last year on days he was too preoccupied to work when we were trying to get a diagnosis he would spend so much time with her when she would sweetly say, "Daddy, can you swing me."  He always obliged because he loved her and wanted to spend time with her.  His fear at the end would be that she would have no memories of him.  God has taken care of that.  He has allowed her sweet mind to remember things that I don't even recall about her daddy.  She remembers him teasing her, holding her and most importantly loving her.  I know God orchestrated her conception, He knew what was ahead and knew I would need her to sweetly remind me about "balance," to sweetly wipe my tears away time and time again, and sweetly tell me, "Momma, everything is going to be alright."  She's been a rock to me even at 3 years old.  So today, on your 4th Birthday I thank God for you, I thank Him for knowing that I would need you when I was scared to have a 3rd child.  I thank Him for the 3 years you had with your daddy.  I thank Him for allowing Shane to know what it was like to have a sweet sweet tiny female voice say, "Hold you daddy and I love you."  I thank God for allowing your Daddy's memory to be so vivid in your little mind.  I am sorry that he will not be with you in the flesh for the rest of your life but know that he is ALWAYS with you and watching over you.  I am sorry that your birthday is marked as the day that daddy found that stinking disease in his lung.  Please know that the date of your birth will always be celebrated and I thank you that we have you to celebrate on October 29th so that we don't have to dwell on this day as a day of bad news.  I love you Molly D, and I thank God for you and know your daddy is so very proud of you.  I always want you to remember how much your daddy loved you.  Happy Birthday Lil' Curl, hope your day and life is blessed beyond measure. 
Love Momma & always in our hearts DaddyO

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


All the leaves are brown, (leaves are brown) and the sky is gray.  I know, I know, I am WAY too young to know any songs by the Mamas and the Papas but I do know this one and that first line pretty much sums up the way I'm feeling right now.  I knew October was going to be a hard month, and that was an understatement.  I'm trying so hard to stay upbeat for Molly's sake.  This is her birthday month so I am trying to focus on the positive instead of all the negative that we experienced last year at this time.  We did make it through her birthday party without Daddy, although, she did break my heart by saying I wish my Daddy could be here.  I reassured her and told her that he was here, even though we couldn't see him or touch him.  I know its hard for her almost 4 year old mind to comprehend I find my 41 year old mind trying to comprehend it too.  Her party was good, thanks to our family and dearest friends helping us celebrate.  It was filled with fun, food and laughter, however, it was missing that infamous laughter and goofiness of her dad.  I'd catch myself several times about to tell him to do something, as I always did at these productions, we call parties.  I would always have to interrupt him and remind him of his daddy duties, of filming the activities or doing this or that.  On these days, I miss his flesh!!  I know his spirit is with us every step of the way but I just want something tangible.  I want him to be able to hold Molly on Friday and tell her "Happy Birthday my 4 year old lil' curl."  I want him to hold me and tell me everything is going to be ok.  I want him to be able to help Jake with his math homework, I want him to be able to be at Sam's first competitive race to cheer him on. I want him here to carve the pumpkin as he has for as long as I have known him in his meticulous way. I want him here. I know my sweet Molly feels the same way as does the boys.  I know all the people that love her and were with us on Saturday are awesome, but it doesn't erase the fact that the one man in her life she called daddy was not here.  My heart breaks for her almost  4year old heart.  Knowing she doesn't even know the magnitude of her circumstances.  Just thankful for those that surround us with unwavering love and support.

(this picture doesn't do it justice)
There is a tree across the street from our house that we watch turn from green to orange to vibrant yellow every October.  The day I brought Molly home from the hospital on Halloween 4 years ago my mom took a picture of me and her before we ever walked into the house.  That tree is so brilliantly beautiful in the background.  Its our families way of gaging autumn and the time of year it is.  Last year, on the 29th, I remember looking at that same tree while Shane carved the pumpkin with questions whirling in both of our heads about the news we had just received earlier that day.  I remember thinking that no matter what happens that tree always changes its color no matter what else is going on in the world.  This year I have watched it day by day slowly turn to its beautiful yellow.  I haven't got to enjoy it for very long this year.  It doesn't look like its going to be as vibrant as long this year.  With the wind, rain and storms it has lost most of its leaves.  Actually, it lost most of its leaves just yesterday.  The reason for this story is to compare that very tree to me.   One second alive, and living a great everyday life with my husband and family.  The storm came (cancer), the rain came and the winds blew and now I am stripped.  Stripped of my luster, my vibrancy.  Although I feel everything has been stripped, just like that tree, I know that next spring, it will be the first to bud its green leaves. I also know that just like that tree, I have roots.  I have roots that stabilize me and keep me standing even when the strongest winds blow.  The deepest root is my Father in Heaven and love for Jesus Christ.  The others that surround that root is my family and friends that hold me up when I feel I will break.   I know God has promised me that,  like the tree, I will bloom again.  I am not so sure I will bloom as fast as the tree, for I still have to make it through several seasons.  My women's bible study just went over the analogy of pruning.  Never has the verses in John meant so much to me than right now. "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.  He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. An every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.  You are already pruned by the message I have spoken.  "Live in me.  Make your home in me just as I do in you.  In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.  I am the Vine, you are the branches.  When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.  Separated, you can't produce a thing.  Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.  But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.  This is how my Father shows who he is-when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.  John 15:1-8 The Message Yep, I've been pruned down to a nub, to a point where I feel like I will never grow again but God promises me that I will bloom and flourish as long as I have Him.  The problem with that is the waiting.  Right now, I feel like that tree across the street, just trying to hang on to at least a few leaves, so I am not stripped completely.  I also know as soon as I lose all of my leaves that I will be ready to bloom again and again in Christ.  So dear God in Heaven, thank you for pruning me and stripping me to nothing and Father God I can't wait to see my season of vibrant blooming.  For through You God, I have that promise, prune me and make me what You will.  Use me in the way I can be used and dear God help me be patient in waiting for the growing, blooming season while I stand leafless. And thank you dear God for loaning me a little bloom  named Molly.  Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jeremiah 29:11

'I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’" Jeremiah 29:11  I know all of you have heard this verse over and over.  Frankly, when Shane was sick and then passed when people would throw this verse out to me I heard mostly-"yadayadayada" and my thoughts were something like-yeah whatever, how can the sickness and death of my husband prosper and not harm me and my children.  Honestly, I still struggle with this verse and still struggle with how Shane's death is a good thing for me and my family.  However, this verse popped up as my email scripture yesterday in just the right time.  I received some news that was not so good yesterday concerning some personal stuff (not health related just personal yuck.)  I received it on my way to my bible study, ironically.  Handled it at first, then when I saw my sister-lost it with her, (God has a way of putting people at the right place at the right time) before going in and it carried over into the study.  Our study leader always prays before we start and always has some awesome music to get our hearts and minds ready to study His Word.  During the song, I had to excuse myself and head to the restroom before I was a bawling mess.  I was not far so I could hear the music.  I spoke to God about the circumstances and asked Him to show up.  For some reason on this particular day 2 songs played before we studied when usually only one plays.  The second song was just instrumental but it has been my "song" to push through my circumstances.  "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" played throughout the house and through the door of the restroom.  I knew instantly that God sent that song for me, for it to permeate my being to know that no matter what the circumstance is, He is there.  My sister came in to check on me and gave me a much needed hug and told me she wished she could take it all away and asked God to take this all away.  Then a dear dear sister in Christ came in and squatted before me and said, "Do you hear what song is playing?" She also commented that the song was straight from God and from Shane.  She recited," Turn your eyes upong Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim..."  This sweet sister remembered that while at the womens conference I spoke at in July I stated this was my "song."  Then another friend reminded me after the study to dwell on the things that God HAS done for me and not on the bad stuff and all the bad stuff would not seem so big.  She was right.  Yesterday, I reminded myself of how the Holy Spirit has been all over me for the past year and how I have seen huge things from God and tiny things from Him.  Yep, I still struggle with His plans for me, but in the grand scheme of things I know He has my back.  I know all of this "stuff" is happening for a reason and that whatever happens He is with me.  I was reminded yesterday that sometimes God allows many things to happen at one time in order for me to totally surrender to Him.  Yes, when bad things happen, one at a time, we can probably handle them, but when many bad things happen all at once, we will tend to surrender to Him, because it is too big for us.  So today, I surrender it all...all of the questions, the circumstances and the fear to the One that can handle it when it is much too big for me.  I know His plans will prosper me and not harm me I just have to be patient and dicerning to recognize those plans.  If I could ask for you to pray that I can surrender it "all" to Him because I truly can't handle it without Him.  Thanks to all that continually pray for me and my family.  Thanks to those that bless us with kindness. Thanks be to God for ALL the things He has done and will do.  Amen. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Knowing You'll Be There - Gaither Vocal Band

I recently attended our church's homecoming and we had special guest singers, The Davis Trio, come and sing. They sang this song and on the first line I was in tears along with Jake. This song truly reflects how I feel about Shane. Enjoy. Listen closely when they sing about "You left so many Fishers of Men" so Shane. Can't wait to go Home so I can run into My Father's arms and my husbands arms, cause he said he'd be waiting, both have promised me that.

Friday, September 10, 2010


  Pride-I have never really thought about this word very much until the last year.  Cancer does not allow a lot of pride when it grows and flourishes.   Shane held on to his dignity until the very end but was never prideful.  I think the dignity that he displayed through his sickness and through his bodily death had lots to do with the grace he displayed.   This man was extremely gracious to me and everyone around us.  Always thanking me and telling me he was sorry for what I had to do for him, he was gracious to whomever was around helping.  He was gracious even to each person that stuck him with a needle, or pulled out a chest tube, or gave him extremely bad news. He was gracious even when he had his head in a bucket, and even when he just wasn't up for company.  He continued to hang on to his dignity through his graciousness. So I think that grace and dignity go hand in hand.  I, too, really try to be gracious, therefore, hanging on to my dignity.  Its rather hard being a widow with children and accepting things that are done for us or given to us.  I have been told time and time again to just accept my blessings without questioning or complaining.  Its hard to depend on others for things, things that ordinarily Shane took care of.  In no way am I saying that I am too prideful to accept blessings, I'm just saying it is hard.  Pride is something you have to swallow and put behind you.  Yes, I've said before that peoples expressions tell the whole story about me, being a new widow.  I just have to swallow my pride and push on.  I try and take lessons from Shane in this area.  When your body is riddled with this dastardly disease, pride goes out the window.  Frankly, there is no room for pride of any kind.  So as I watched Shane put pride on the back burner, I watched his grace explode.  You put pride behind you when you walk through the Social Security office to file for widow benefits and benefits for your children.  Looking around wondering what are all these other people here for.  Did they just loose the love of their life? Or has life just dealt them a bumb deal.  I have to remember putting pride behind me when I am standing somewhere for someone to take my personal information, as in at doctors offices, etc.  "Ma'am, is this information still correct...address, phone number, person to contact in case of emergency is Shane Richardson 706-346-****, insurance under Jon Richardson. May we leave a message with Mr. Richardson concerning test, lab results?" me:  "Address the same, phone number the same, person to contact in case of emergency needs to be changed (never thought about having to change that part), and no my insurance is in my name now. No, there is no one to leave a message with for my test results, just me."  All of this dialog being said where everyone can hear. Can I just hang on to a little dignity? I've been through literal HELL and would like to just not announce it to everyone.  Other times I would like to throw dignity out the window and be like Molly.  "Dang it, my husband just died and I have a right to cry in the grocery store!"  or "My husband just died could you just give me a small break today" or "Hello? Just lost my husband and I miss him terribly, so if I don't smile and be cheerful don't think anything of it." or "No, no one to call unless you call my mom, I'm 41 years old and you will have to call my mom in case of emergency."  Molly says it so matter of factly, "My daddy died,"  she throws pride down the drain.  She ddoesn't care if it makes someone wince when she says it, doesn't really care how the person accepts it.  Oh, to be a child again. 
I have to laugh at this story, I was talking to a very dear person the other day.  She and her family have been facing financial problems for about 3 years.  They finally resorted to getting food stamps just so they could feed their children.  Talking about swallowing your pride.  Applying and accepting food stamps should be bad enough but it gets better.  She and her children were at Kroger (out of state) and had a cart full of groceries.  She said its embarrassing enough to have to pull them out at check-out, but wait and wait.  She stands there and they won't go through on the computer system.  The cashier starts asking questions and another cashier screams out, "yea, I think the whole food stamp system is down."  This person said she wanted to just leave her cart and walk out but needed her groceries.  By this time in the conversation, I am laughing and she is too, to keep from crying.  Then, since the line is getting backed up, they ask her to move to the customer service desk.  A few more food stamp recipients are having the same trouble.  She stands for about an hour and by this time, there are lots of people in the same predicament and people coming in start asking whats going on.  I can hear it now, "Food stamps system is down."  All these people that are already embarrassed to receive food stamps now has it announced to everyone.  Luckily, she had told her children to go look at books so they wouldn't have to be so embarrassed.  I was literally rolling at the thought of this thinking it would have been a great sitcom.  Luckily, she knows I love her and we were laughing together. 
Although I try an hang on to my dignity I am truly humbled.  Now, I am not so judgemental of those I use to complain about when I am in a hurry and I am waiting now for each food stamp to be processed. Nor am I judgemental of single moms or dads just trying to hold it together for their kids sake.  I try not to judge the person that is obviously having a really bad day and is right rude to me on the road or in the store. I have to remind myself, that they too, just may be in a certain storm, they may have just lost a loved one, or they may just be down on their luck, blessings not so apparent.  So as I end this blog, I ask that you would not judge those less fortunate as yourself.  There is just no telling what is going on in their lives.  There is a fine line holding on to our dignity but not being too prideful.  So today I ask God to help me with trying to hang on to my dignity but not being prideful. I ask Him to help me respect those that are around me and allow them just a little dignity and respect.

 But He gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says:  "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

Thank you dear God for making me humble, and thank you for your constant grace. I pray I never forget this feeling. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beginning of a new season

Labor day has come and gone and so it begins the season of Fall.  I have dreaded this all summer long.  I know with each day that draws nearer to October dread will be my enemy.  I will be reliving each day of last October and with each day I will be faced with remembering what news we received on what day concerning Shane's diagnosis.  Fall was always one of mine and Shane's favorite seasons.  I always secretly wished we had gotten married in the fall but didn't want to wait any longer to be his wife so we chose spring.  We always loved fall for we knew with it came the holiday season.  This year I wish I could go to sleep and wake up into spring (after April 3).  With all the books and information that I have read on grief facing the first year is the worst.  So this will be a new first for the 4 of us.  We did make it through the first weekend of college football without Shane, whooping it up with Jake, but there was definitely a void here.  I am faced with remembering that last year about this time I started seeing a change in Shane.  He was very distracted with small pains here and there, he would be very distant.  I know in my heart that he knew something was not right.  I do not know when the stupid cancer took up residence in my husbands body but I feel it had started doing its cancerly things this time last year. These past few weeks I have had to relive some things that I didn't want to be reliving this soon.  Some of you know that I had to go through a CT scan.  I recently noticed some swelling at the base of my neck and proceeded with going to the doctor.  Of course, after what we have been through with Shane I immediately thought the very worst.  When I went to my doctor he reassured me, but suggested after what I had been through, to ease my mind that we should do a scan just to make sure.  Thankfully, my mom with with me that day.  When I heard the word CT scan, memories came rushing back of how Shane was terrified of each test, scan that he had to go through.  As terrified as he was he always "manned" up and went through them without complaints and kept his fear to himself.  I asked the questions that I had to learn to ask with Shane.  Would there be contrast? What else could this be? etc. I held it together until we got to the car and then fell apart.  I told my mom that I just didn't have the energy for this right now, that this was just too soon after Shane, why was I having to go through this right now.  Literally, I was having a big ole' pity party of why me's, again.  Satan started toying with my mind and made me start thinking of all things cancer.  Then I start thinking of my children, what will they think? Then I start thinking well, I may be seeing Shane a little sooner than expected.  Satan started dancing in my thoughts and was having his hay day as he often does.  He finds my weakness, and then goes to town.  In this case, it was cancer/sickness.  That day was pretty much written off, until I picked up my kids.  They have a way of distracting me.  Several of my "armour barriers"  gave me words of advice to fight the enemy so I proceeded with what they suggested.  One early morning I decided to visit Shane's grave, as soon as I pull in the very song that was sung at his graveside service came on the radio, "I Will Rise."  I took that as one of my God winks, feeling like it was one of His hugs for me.  Spent some much needed time with God, something about being on that hill that makes Him feel closer.  Read some scripture had a sweet friend pray with me on the phone and left there feeling like I was more empowered than I had been in a while.  Since the tv in the bedroom was struck I have been able to spend so much more time in the Word.  I have never read the whole book of Job, always found it a little depressing.  I turned to it read it from beginning to end along with the commentary.  I can so relate to this man.  No matter how bad things seem around me, I still find myself wanting to praise Him.  He has already done so much for me, starting with the death of His own Son.  I almost feel guilty asking Him for anything more.  I do feel very guilty for ever doubting Him or asking why He allows things.  God just being God is reason enough for me to praise Him.  I made it through the CT scan, thinking of Shane prior to the scan.  As I was preparing for the scan that morning I had some great time with God, just praising Him.  When I got there the tech told me to put my things down, I had Shane's small bible with me, and asked if I could hang on to it, she told me I could keep it on my chest.  So during the scan, while the automated voice is saying "Please lie still and do not swallow" I have God's word on me, while I am singing in my head, "Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus."  It was over in no time and was a sweet time with my Saviour.  Thankfully, my results were a prominent jugular vein??!! Vampires dream!!  Thinking there is a muscle that's spasming and pushing on the vein.  Anyway, thankful and still praying nothing more and it will go away as fast as it came. Dang Satan!!! He's as bad as cancer. Thankful that God continues to sustain me.  Knowing the "first" fall without Shane will be difficult but still praising God for His beauty, His promises and all of the blessings He provides each and every day.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9  His grace is all I need and I thank Him.  He continues to carry me through each day, even on the days I would rather run and do it myself-worry, anxiety, control. Thank you, God, for knowing me better than I know myself.  Thank you God for the ones that continue to pray and lift me and my family up. Thank you for being YOU!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


School has begun.  Boys started almost a week ago and Molly started yesterday.  I've always hated school starting back, think its just a carry over from when I always had to go back.  I dreaded it a bit more this year.  See, I grew accustomed to having my 3 around all the time.  Kinda filled the loneliness that I try and not think about.  The loneliness that really can't be described.  Plus it was just another first without Shane being here.  He was always the one that got excited about school.  He thrived on routines, me, not so much.  He use to get so excited when I would come home with the school supplies, he always wanted to see what the kids had and always liked to sneak a whiff of the new crayons, playdo, etc.  We're weird like that,  I still do it.  I knew the boys were dreading it too.  Knowing they were dreading it like every other kid, but also dreading it for other reasons. I decided to attend the UCS convocation but Jake was reluctant.  I told him it would be good, kinda get back in the swing of things.  His answer, "But mom, all those people will be asking us how we are doing."  I responded by asking if that was a bad thing.  His reply, "Dad?"  Sam had already mentioned that if they had a day for dads, he wanted to stay home.  When I thought about it, I understood, during summer we were surrounded by those we see everyday, for 2 months we really didn't have to face people asking how we were doing, they already knew the good and bad days, the days we were missing daddy and the days we didn't want to talk about it.  I still have that stigma about walking into a room of people, never sure of what the reaction may be.  Especially for those that I don't see often. Just one more thing to overcome.
During all of these new transitions I think sometime that maybe we can get a little break here and there.  Not true.  Everyday life continues on.  When Shane was here, we had our share of little inconveniences but seems like since he's not here things just keep happening. Knowing things are just magnified since he is not here.  Here is a short list... our cat ended up having to have emergency surgery (required a house cat again for 1+week), our dog ended up with heartworms (my fault, while medicating Shane for 6 months, I forgot to medicate the dog) he has had to be confined for 2 months which requires me to walk him several times a day.  I have endured a severe crick in my neck, thankfully that is gone, I've had to have a mole removed and have had to depend on my 3 year old to help bandage it, its smack dab in the middle of my back (she is very good, never misses.) Then, Tuesday morning, our confined dog woke me up at 4am barking, checked on him and he was standing in the pouring rain and wouldn't get in his house in his confined kennel. Since this was Molly's first day of school and I couldn't sleep I was praying for the day and a storm came up, literally out of nowhere.  The kids had joined me in my insomniac state by this time and at 5:20 am the biggest bolt of lightening and the loudest thunder hit right outside of our bedroom window.  Shook us all up.  I don't like storms, nor do my kids.  Immediately we tried to turn on the bedroom tv, that's what my junior meteorologist does during storms, to no avail.  Checked downstairs and that tv wouldn't work.  Long story-short.  Lightening came in to the house, hit my tv (Shane gave me for Christmas 2 yrs ago), hit the tv in the boys bedroom and the Wii.  We had just changed over cable, internet and phone so sweet technician guy came back and had to install all new boxes, modems etc.  He noticed the lightening had struck a tree outside of our bedroom, not bad just the barked knocked off.  So, while I was thankful the tree didn't fall on the house or lightening didn't catch the house on fire, I literally lost it on my way to pick up Molly from preschool.  I called a friend and asked her, in not so nice terms, when this stuff was going to end, when we were going to get a break.  I expressed that I didn't really know how to pray, she responded with -ask Him for help. I've done that, time and time again. While I was sitting in car line, I looked at all the cars in front and behind me and thought about each mom in each car and thought about what their worries were.  They have the same worries that I had 1 year ago and years before--whats for supper, how am I going to get this kid here and that one there, I really need to run to TJ Maxx and get that shirt I saw last week, should I paint the kitchen, was Molly dressed cute enough today,  I wonder if Shane will be on time tonight so I can get a break, how am I ever going to get all that laundry done.  Then I started feeling really sorry for myself, thinking why am I the one sitting in the car knowing my husband is not coming home today, that he won't be walking in for my kids to scream, "Daddy's home." That Molly will never have her daddy surprise her for lunch at school or out of nowhere pick her up, that it will be me watching football this fall with the boys instead of Shane.  That fall break will be bringing back a flood of memories from last year.  Then I start thinking God has abandoned me, no matter how faithful I am.  I can't help but think that all of this is of Satan, that He knows that I am faithful and more in love with God than ever before so he is going to do what he can to distract me.  He is attacking through minor and major inconveniences.  He is attacking me through self-pity and envy, envy of everyone else's lives.  He is attacking through people that claim to be lovers of Christ but are not acting as such. Satan just will never let up, and frankly it scares me to death.  I've said myself that if you have a relationship with Christ that its not if a storm hits but when, and that statement scares me to death.  I don't know what I was thinking, I just assumed that my husband's cancer then passing just sort of took me out of Satan's loop, that maybe he would give me and my kids a break.  I was talking to Shane's mom about this and she reminded me that I am a metal that God is shaping and refining into precious gold.  I told her enough already, I'm ready to be refined into that precious gold.  I literally feel like this piece of metal is about to turn to mash potatoes.  I am continually reminded, in my spirit, that this, what I am going through, is nothing to compare to what Joy is up ahead.  I'm not the most patient of people so this is very hard for me.  Today, while I was home alone, cleaning out the fridge, one of the songs on my play list came on and it reminded me of something so important, I'm not alone, while Satan is attacking through big and little things, I'm not alone, while my thoughts yank me away from God's truths, I'm not alone, while frightening lightening and thunder are crashing all around-I'm not alone, while the world tries to take advantage of me-I'm not alone, nor are my babies. 

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see him nor know him; you surely know him, for he abides with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you surely will see me; because I live, you also will surely live. 20 In that day you will indeed know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:17-20

No matter how Satan is attacking I  am still seeing Jesus.  I'm seeing Him through those relationships that Shane counted on and knew would be my support system.  I am seeing Him through little reassurances He continually sends me every day no matter what is crumbling around me, like a verse or a song.  I see Him through generosity of something being taken care of that I was worried about.  I see Him through friends and family who are taking the brunt of my fits of rage, of a pizza delivered from a friend, that has more on her plate than most, because she knew I was having a very bad day.  I see Him in a woman that is a rock to me that emptied my dishwasher, straightened my kitchen and lets me cry on her constantly and borrow her husband for odds and ends.  I see Him in my children, when they say things like, "I don't know how my mom has not lost it with all that's going on," and through one that quietly mentions daddy in the most tender ways in his sweet sweet voice, and a little girl that remembers the smallest things, when we worried if she would remember daddy at all.  Do you hear that Satan, no matter what you do, I'm not alone, my Father's got my back.  Take that evil one!! I will just wait (maybe not so patiently) on the Joy I know is coming.

Sorry this was lengthy, but I've got lots to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Haven't blogged in a while.  Reason being, I was saving my "insightfulness" and energy for my women's retreat.  I would have loved to have backed out a while back, but so glad I had a friend pushing me telling me it wasn't about me, but what God wanted me to do.  Of course, I worried about leaving the kids, but went anyway.  Had a BLAST!!!!  Got to spend some great time with some great women.  Loved being roommates with one of my most favorite people in the world...TD.  We ate and worshipped on Friday, stayed up way to late for 40 somethings but was too overjoyed for sleep.  Ate again on Saturday morning then my roomy took the mic.  I have told her before that she has contagious JOY for our Lord.  She loves God and  the Word of God and you can so see it all over her.  I always learn something from her and don't think she will ever know what she has done for me, pushing me to dig deeper and deeper into His word.  We praised some more then were suppose to eat lunch.  My mom and sisters(LG included in this), Shane's mom, and sweet Haley and Hannah, and some more dear friends came for the day, which made me feel good.  I couldn't eat, nerves, so settled for crackers.  My new friend ED took the mic next and revealed what God has done and is doing in her life.  It takes guts to get up and reveal yourself to women, and some strangers and share how God has carried you through.  Then it was yours trulys turn to take the mic.   I was extremely nervous to where my heart was literally beating out of my chest.  I knew I was covered because in a phone conversation with Jake a few hours before he said, "Wait mom, Holy Spirit come in and give my mom the words."  I was taken aback and beaming that my 10 year old would say this to me.  I thought I may need to potty before speaking so hurried to do just that.  Luckily, with women, there is usually a wait for the potty.  Just so happened that TD was waiting too, and asked if she could pray for me.  She did just that while 2 sweet Godly women joined us.  She prayed and the Holy Spirit showed up as we asked and my nerves disappeared.  I was asked to share my story of the last few months and did just that.  There were tears, laughter and an awesome presence of the Holy Spirit.  I shared what was on my heart and what had been on my heart, from the anger and whys to knowing I could not have made it this far if it weren't for my Heavenly Father.  He truly has sustained me through this.  During my story I had shared that on Friday before Shane's deliverance that I had given him a bath and thought it was appropriate for me to wash his feet.  When I was washing his feet with tenderness and love I had no idea that I was preparing him to meet Jesus.  I knew that it was a very special moment between Shane, me and our Heavenly Father but that was it.  When I finished my story, the music started and I went to decompress.  A longtime friend came up to me with tears in her eyes and said something about washing feet, and God told her too, before I even mentioned washing Shane's.  I was still a little frazzled so didn't quite understand.  I went to sing Amazing Grace and a few minutes saw her walk up front with a large pail and towel.  She proceeded to grab my hand and sit me down.  She had said God had told her to wash my feet.  I sat and she took my left foot and placed it in the water, and all the while was praying and thanking God, she then took my right foot and placed in the water, still praying and praising.  At this time, family members and very close friends surrounded me with prayer.  Most importantly my Savior was surrounding me.  His presence was so real to me, I remember asking, "Do you feel Him, He is here and I love Him."  While my feet were being cleansed so was my soul and my heart.  God used this sweet anointed friend to help begin healing for my soul and my heart.  I have not let go like that since the day Shane met Jesus.  At that point, I fell head over heels in love with the very man that took His place on the cross for me.  I have always loved Him, but my love for Him multiplied for Him 10 fold.  Yes, my heart still aches for Shane, but I know God's love will sustain me and I have hope in Christ that I will see Shane again.  Hardly can put into words what I was feeling at that moment.  We ended singing one of my favorite songs, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" it has a whole new meaning since Shane's deliverance.  Since I have been focusing on Him more, this world just doesn't matter.  The sweet ladies that allowed this retreat presented me with a very special framed print.  It is a print of Jesus caressing, loving a sweet lamb.  The lamb is in His nail scarred hands.  That lamb, right now, is DeAnn.  He holds me close and is loving on me constantly.  He hasn't forgotten me, even on the days I feel He has.  He still loves me, even when I question what He is doing.  He has been head over heels in love with me for a long long time, and He has been waiting on me to fall as madly in love with Him. 
They treated me to a pedicure and I stayed for dinner.  I was asked to pray with a lady for her brother-in-law that has been diagnosed with stage IV cancer.  Before that I saw the young lady that I sat next to on Friday night.  I told her I enjoyed sitting with her and she said, "I have to tell you something.  I was the one that did Shane's xray and CT scan in October."  Chills went up my spine.  This sweet girl was the one that was with Shane when he saw that dreaded mass in his lung.  She told me she had been keeping up with Shane and I and had started praying that very day.  God is great, and know each meeting is not coincidental.  I didn't want to leave for fear I may never feel that close to God again.  However, I knew that this experience with Him would only make me seek Him more and, that, I intend to do.  I also had 3 sweet babies that were wanting their mom home for the night.  So I left, with a lighter heart.  I had 45 minutes alone with my Heavenly Father and praised Him all the way home. I have since messaged the sweet friend that washed my feet and she told me she was just as blessed as I was.  She said she now knows that when Jesus speaks to her that she will listen and do what He says, even if it means stepping out of her own comfort zone.  She said Saturday, she definitely stepped out of her comfort zone.  That's obedience.  So thankful that I, too, was obedient and went through with speaking and telling our story.  It was sooooo out of my comfort zone, but what a blessing I would have missed just for staying comfortable.  I've come to realize that loving Jesus does take you out of your comfort zone more than not.  For instance, your husband being diagnosed with cancer, going through treatments, then leaving for HOME will so take you out of your comfort zone.  But by stepping out Shane and I both experienced a comfort from God that we would have never seen before.  I found this verse concerning obedience, ironically it is in John 14.  "Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.  And because they love me, my Father will love them.  And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them." John 14:21 See, if we obey He will reveal Himself to us.  And boy, did He reveal Himself on Saturday afternoon.  Thank you God for allowing us to see you, thank you for your constant comfort and grace.  Thank you for showing what it means to be obedient and thank you for the those that are "behind the scenes" that allowed me to go to this retreat, and those that stepped out of their comfort zone, so that we all could see YOU!!  He truly Came and Made a WAY.  Thanks Marsha and Jane for hosting such an incredible weekend and for being obedient.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tears (and lack thereof)

Well I made it through my birthday.  It was bearable all because of the kids and family and friends.  I got to celebrate a night early with some dear friends.  We ate, laughed and cried and laughed some more.  On the morning of my birthday Sam was the first to hand deliver a birthday card that his kindergarten teacher/tutor let him sign in cursive with a sweet gift, a deck of Go Fish cards.  Then I was greeted downstairs with a candle in a chocolate chip cookie while they sang Happy Birthday.  Then Jake handed me a typed letter.  It was a very sweet letter and was signed -Shane, then he added I know this is what Dad would say if he was here.  Barely could contain myself.  They went to spend time with their cousins and I got to go to the pool all by MYSELF.  What a gift, but honestly I missed them.  We ended the day with my parents, sisters, Murph, Shane's parents and kids for dinner and Hot Molten Lava Cake.  It was actually a good day overall.  The whole day I was recalling last years birthday.  Shane had asked  Trace to plan a surprise 40th party for me, and I was really surprised to say the least.  Can't believe that just this time last year Shane was here, healthy and so very happy.  We were even planning my 40th birthday trip to New York City in November, even though Shane was none too excited about that, but he had agreed to take me.  Its still so unbelievable to me how just 12 months ago he was so here, so well and so alive. 
I woke up the other morning with the horrific realization that I had not cried in a few days.  For some reason I feel extremely guilty about this.  I feel like I am letting Shane down in a way.  I spoke to a friend about the way I was feeling and she reassured me that this was a good thing.  She had spoken to Shane on many occasions about "after" he was gone and she reassured me that he would so want this.  She said it was a sign that I am going on with life.  I know the tears will come again, but for now I think I am all cried out.  I know they may start again tomorrow or the next day or the next and when they do it will be like the Hoover dam breaking.  I just wish I could shake the feeling of guilt for not crying all the time, every day.  I was thinking about this after dinner tonight when I asked the kids if they wanted to go for a walk.  We were going to walk to a friends house about a block away.  When we went out it was thundering in a distance and I was looking up to see if we should actually venture off.  As soon as I looked, up what did I see??  A rainbow!!!  It was not very bright but it was there.  The boys and Molly were looking at it and commented on how it looked like it was in our neighborhood.  When we arrived to the friends house we were going to, it disappeared.  Coincidence???  Thank you God for your constant reminders that you love me and that life continues through this horrible pain and when the tears do fall, thank you for wiping them away with your loving hand.

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of LIVING water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Rev 7; 17 (emphasis mine)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Making a Way

A few weeks ago a dear friend asked me if I would like to speak at a women's conference put on by Battlefield Ministries.  She informed me that it would be at  the end of July at the Summit in Fort Payne AL see and it is called "Come...and Make a Way."  At first, I was a little hesitant and then after a minute or 2 became a excited.  I took that as a prompting from the Holy Spirit.  You see, through this journey I have wondered what God wanted me to do with what He has shown me through this.  I'm not sure if this is it, or what, but I keep hearing Shane say, "Deedee, this is what we went through it for, you can do it."  When I first started posting on CaringBridge people would  share with Shane how I was ministering through what I was writing, I never intended it to be a ministry but was happy to find out that it was to some. Shane read a few of my post, then said he couldn't read them anymore, that my words touched him and he just couldn't read them.  Every now and again, I would share snippets out of a few.  Later, when Shane became really ill I recall sitting in bed with him and I think it was my oldest sister, Robin, that was sitting with us.  Shane said, "I thought all along that it was me being called into the ministry but I think it may be DeeDee."  I said immediately in response to that, "I don't want it to be me, I want it to be you."  He just gave me that look and said, "You may be the next Beth Moore."  My response, "But I want you to be the next Billy Graham."  First of all, I could NEVER be the next Beth Moore, those are some darlin' big shoes to wear and I don't have big enough hair (just kiddin' Beth.)  I use to struggle thinking Shane was being called into the ministry.  I remember my middle sister Tracey saying, "You are NOT a preacher's wife."  Never really knew what she meant by that??!!  I remember thinking "Gosh, I really don't want that responsibility, to be everything to everybody."  Little did I know, where Shane's ministry would take him and me.  Then I remember thinking, "Shane is going to come home one day and tell me he is putting up his calculator and going into the ministry full-time, moving me and the kids to Africa."  That thought didn't last very long, cause Shane hated to fly.  Our sweet preacher/friend has said more than once that Shane was a true evangelist.  That he had a way about him that many people don't have.  He could immediately start talking about Jesus but never make you feel uncomfortable, and he made you want to know more.  I pray that God will give me just a little bit of that gift.  Witnessing has never been my strong suit.  I'm always afraid I will say the wrong thing.  Shane, didn't care, he knew if he was talking about his Saviour he couldn't go wrong.  Anyway, I am anxiously, excitedly waiting to see what God wants me to do with this journey and my experience with Him.  I do want to share with people, His Grandness, His love, His sustaining power.  For if it wasn't for HIM, I would not be where I am today. 

I have shared my concerns with sweet Jane, that I may just get up there and have nothing.  She reassured me that it was ok if that happened.  I've also expressed that I may wake up that Saturday morning and it may be one of those days I am not real happy with God.  She reassured me that it was ok too.  I so want the Holy Spirit to fill me up to overflowing so that the words that come out of my mouth are not at all mine but His.  I remember Shane preparing for his sermons.  He would prepare, read me his notes, read them some more. He would later come from behind the pulpit and I would say, "that is not at all what you prepared for today."  He would smile and say, "those were not my words."  That is my prayer that it won't be DeAnn up there speaking but God using DeAnn as His vessel.  Lord knows, I don't want any glory, I so don't like spot-lights (except maybe on the dance floor).  But He knows I want Him to get all the Honor, Glory and Praise.  I haven't asked for prayers lately, so here goes...Please pray that the Holy Spirit would fill me up, that He will take away all hesitations, that He will give me each and every word that will only glorify HIM.  Pray that my God allows me to have "something" that day to share that would touch someone or many.  Pray that God will reveal what I am suppose to do with what He has given me.  Pray that I can live up to Shane's request that I "don't waste his cancer."  I know Shane is continuing his work at Home, now I need to finish what he started here.  Thank you God for allowing me to be a vessel for you, I sure don't want to let you down.  I want to bring Glory to you,  "I just want God to get the Glory."  Shane-March 30, 2010.

This is the verse that came up on Shane's phone through Christ notes, the very day he passed, But I don't place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Acts 20:24  Coincidence?  I don't think so, just another wink from my Dear Heavenly Father.  Robin and I were talking about, yet, another tragic event yesterday.  She was texting me after I had texted her a big WHY? She told me she is doing a Beth Moore study on Revelations and that just Tuesday night she stated that we do not leave here, until God is ready for us too...until our purpose is complete, even though we may not understand it.  Robin said immediately she thought of Shane, his testimony was complete and perfect in God's plan though not ours.  Now I just have to find the purpose God has for me so that I, too, can complete my testimony and go HOME!!!!  Thank you for the prayers. D

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Camping Out

As I clean up from our Friday Family Fun Night I realize here again its ANOTHER holiday to get through this weekend.  Last night we continued a Friday night tradition in the Richardson household.  For many many years the boys (Shane, Jake and Sam) would "camp out" on the weekends and for holidays.  By camping out I mean, we blow up the air mattress (on about the 10th one due to lots of jumping and a few cat claws) and set it up in the family room.  . Knowing this is a holiday weekend the boys would have been ecstatic to know Dad didn't have to work on Monday, so it would be a 3 night camp out weekend.  Whoopee!! Molly and I were not usually allowed, it was a guy thing.  Since Shane left, the boys have allowed us to join them for a few camp outs.  Actually, this was where the boys were sleeping when Shane met Jesus that early morning.  This mattress is the mattress that I crawled into and snuggled with my boys to tell them about Shane's run to Jesus. Where they cried over their daddy not being with us.  Where Molly's first of many, "My daddy died" statements came out. Same mattress where Sweet Sam told me that morning that he "wondered what the 2 bright white lights were he saw, and now he knew, it was the angel's coming to get daddyo."  Thankful God gave each of us our own comfort that early morning.  The boys shared lots of football, basketball, baseball, Whose Line is it Anyway, Tour de France recaps while camping out with Shane.  Some of the most profound conversations with the boys happened while camping out. The place where Jake shared with his dad that he had asked Jesus into his heart.  Where Shane asked his oldest what that really meant to him. The boys even camped out while Shane was hurling from chemo, even on his worst days, this was his highlight, to spend time with them, just them. He could no longer set the mattress up, that turned into my job, and I don't think I ever did it to his expectations. He had fixing the sheets, pillows, down to a science.  Jake can do it just like his daddy, me, not so much.    He's spot was right in the middle, with each boy laying on each arm, while he twiddled with their hair until sleepiness took over them.  He would share with me how he would watch them sleep, and just enjoy their sweet little stinky boys breath on his face all night.  Some occasions he would get uncomfortable and sneak upstairs only to have Jake and Sam feel his absence and they would head upstairs right behind him, usually while sleepwalking.  It wasn't till the very end that Shane's pain, and uncomfortableness didn't allow many camp outs. Jake requested a camp out last night so I obliged.  We ordered Papa John's (Shane's fav), finally watched Blindside, blew up the mattress and camped out.  It was, of course, bittersweet, Jake was awake last night at 12 and said, "Well Mom, it's been 3 months, at 3am it will be 3 months since Daddy left."   Yep, it has been 3 months, 12 weeks, 84 days, 2,016 hours, but seems like yesterday. Glad the boys wants to continue on with things that did with their daddy with me and Molly.  Glad that we are able to keep these sweet memories alive.  Asking for prayers to get us through the 4th, one of Shane's and our favorite family holidays.  Knowing fireworks won't be the same, or the homemade ice cream.  But so thankful to God that we have the freedom to celebrate.  Celebrate the freedom to worship Him the way we want to.  Freedom to speak about Him openly, and love Him in public.  Even though all of this is so hard without Shane, knowing life continues on for me and the children, just like Shane would have wanted it too. Knowing he would want us to celebrate all of these freedoms as usual, even without him.  **Happy 4th Everyone** 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Things I haven't thought of...

Thank goodness we got through another "first," Father's Day. Sorry to all the dad's out there, but I am so glad it has come and gone. Sick of seeing "Best Dad's" cards, commercials, even Sprout was dedicated to dad's this weekend. I'm like what about all the kids that are fatherless??? Give me a break. Needless to say I feel guilty saying that when I still get to celebrate having my own daddy with me. He will soon be 70 and I can't believe it. He is one special man and I couldn't even say enough about him here to do him justice. So, Virg, I am sorry if I wished Father's day away. But you of all people, I know, completely understand where I am coming from. The kids loved their scrapbooks, even though, Jake and Sam had a sneak preview Thurs afternoon. They kinda have a bad habit of opening other people's mail. Don't think they will do that again. I did get to surprise them Sunday morning though. I gave them each a necklace (I got one too) that is an impression of Shane's thumbprint. I told them if they just needed to feel Daddy, they can just reach up and rub it. So special. They loved it and so do I. Give anything to get a hug from him right now. I made Shane's dad a scrapbook also, he loved it too. He was extremely proud of it.

Shane had befriended a man about the time he was diagnosed. Now, he knew him, they went to the same college, actually we were neighbors for a while, our kids now go to the same school, they were acquaintances, but wouldn't say friends. This relationship started at the right time. They spent time texting encouragement back and forth, he even came and spent some time with Shane. Often could be found outside our home praying for us. Constantly was sending Shane notes of encouragement in his infamous handwriting. He has many talents and one of those talents is knowing how to play the bagpipes. He had hinted around that he had thought about playing them at the end of the graveside service, I was upset that he did not. Then he hinted that he might open up the Play for Shane Golf Tournament with the pipes, again, I was very upset he didn't. He had told Shane he would play for him one day, well, that one day was cut a little short. So he and my sister orchestrated a Father's Day gift to Shane, me and the kids. He met us at the cemetery at about sunset and blasted Amazing Grace for us. He was kilted in this awful heat and honored my husband for the father he was, the friend he was and the husband he was. It was one of the most meaningful moments. He was glad to do it for us, which made it even more special. He and his wife continue to encourage me even though they have sooooo much on their plates. They're lives do go on, but for some reason, I know that Shane and I are constantly on their minds. They even sent messages to me while they were vacationing with their sweet family. Forever grateful for friends such as these. Thanks guys.

Now to the things I haven't thought of. We usually go to the cemetery 2-3 times a week. We know Shane is not there, however, we feel close to him there. It is breathtakingly beautiful up there, there is constantly a breeze and those crosses are a constant reminder of Who this is all for. Today, we went by and as soon as we were getting out of the car Jake said, "Well, my kids will never know my daddy." Stopped me dead in my tracks, never really though of that. Never thought that my grandchildren will never have the wonderful privilege of knowing Shane. Never thought that Molly will not get to come off of a recital stage into her daddy's arms. Never thought of whenever one of my boys hit their first out of the park home runs, daddy won't be there to high-five them. There are so many things I haven't thought of concerning Shane not being here. Can't believe it, because I go over things constantly in my mind of what will never be, what can't happen now, all the things we looked forward to together is not possible now. I know Shane did think of all of these things that he would miss, but know that Heaven is all this and more. The one thing that made him sad was the fact that he was leaving us. I am sure to anyone dying that is at the forefront of their thoughts. I would assure Shane that we would be ok, but that I'd prefer that he be here for all of these things. Even though I know that God will continue to sustain us through each of these things and the everyday things, Shane will be forever missed. The thing I have thought of that is positive...Shane's legacy to my children. What a legacy he leaves. Shane would say, "its always good to get out while your at the top of your game." I would have to say that if any man was on top of his game, it would be Shane Richardson.

So as I continue to think of things that I have yet to think of I know my God has a plan, and I just continue to trust, even though its extremely hard. As I say that, I know God must think my children and I are very special to Him for allowing us to experience this loss and pain. Thankful for Him for allowing us to have Shane for the time we had. Thankful that He allowed Shane to be at the "top of his game." Shouldn't we all be at the "top of our game" for Him, hmmmm never thought of that??!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Going Guatamaulan!!!!

For some of you that know my family, you know that my eldest sister, Robin, and her 13 year old daughter Shannon, have been prayerfully preparing for a mission trip to Guatamaula. During Shane's sickness he knew all about this trip and I remember very clearly from the beginning when our family was questioning the money situation he said, "Nothing you do for God is easy, and if its God's plan for Robin and Shannon to go, He WILL make a way." My friends, He has made a way. So today this blog is so not about me, but a petition for all of you to cover Robin, Shannon and the rest of the group in prayer. Pray for their safety, their guidance, and pray that they come back from this trip changed. I have attached Robin's email she sent to me this a.m. She is reminding me that Shane is still working here on earth, even though he is not physically "here." I love you Robin and Shannon. Shannon, I am so very proud of you for deciding to follow what God asked you to do, not many 13 year olds have this kind of heart, a heart for missions. I know God has some serious plans in store for you. I hope when you are faced with the enemy that Shane's words will resound in your heart and soul to always remind you that there is nothing that can stop you. I know Shane knew what was in your heart and that is why he said those profound words to you. Robin, love you and so proud of you for following through with Shannon's wishes. I know this has not been easy at all, but gosh what a blessing, to see your child doing what she was intended to do. I know you both will be forever changed. Yep, Shane is smiling from ear to ear. WOuldn't be surprised if you didn't see a rainbow in the midst of this country. Watch for one.

I have asked Robin to journal while she is there, and hope she will, so that she can share her experiences. She has gotten off to a great start...

Here's a note I published on Facebook! I love you all, cherish our friendship, and covet your prayers!

So, here it is the day before Shannon and I depart for Guatemala. This past week I've found myself with a racing mind...a mom trying to get all the preparation and packing done, trying to get the house in order, trying to get all the family's needs met. Today, however, I awoke before the rest of the household with ONE thing on my mind...Shane!

For those that know me (and even for those that don't know me well, but have had access to my FB postings), you know that Shane is my beloved 38 year old Bro-in-law that left this earth for Heaven on April 3rd. While in the midst of the treatment and sickness, time seemed to drag. What seemed like a long battle at the time turned out to be just shy of 6 short months. During that time, I text messaged Shane frequently and visited with him often. I had the blessed opportunity of sharing in many a private conversation with Shane while he was bedridden. They are some of the most wonderful memories I possess. We talked about God, our faith, our doubt, our love for the Bible and it's power, our children, and his wife/my sister DeAnn. (More on her in future writings...Shane had felt the call to ministry just months before his diagnosis. He shared with me that he was coming to the realization that the ministry calling was actually going to be for DeAnn and that his sickness, cancer, and ultimate passing would be the launching of that ministry. I will write more on that later, but know I'm smiling as things are falling into place!)

Shane and I talked about this missions trip to Guatemala. We had his full support and blessing. Shane was a missionary himself...not through a church or an organization, not on foreign soil. But Shane lived his life and testimony openly bent toward evangelism and sharing the Gospel with everyone that came in contact with him. He was unashamedly bold in his witness. He was also a missionary in the sense that he had a keen eye and heart to recognize ways to practically minister to another's it to clothe, feed, or help. He had missions on his mind and had said "yes" to wherever God would send him. Instead, God chose to have him come home. I mistakenly said earlier that Shane WAS a missionary. Let me correct that by saying that today his testimony and faith legacy are still bearing "fruit". So Shane IS a missionary still.

Shane loved it when I shared with him how this whole trip came to be. Shannon (my 13 year old daughter...12 at the time) came home one day and said simply, "Mom...God is calling me to Guatemala. I'm underage, so you will be going too. Here are our applications, I've already got most of them filled out". Very matter-of-fact...not disrespectful or disobedient to my authority as her parent but very certain and obedient to her heavenly Father's calling to "go". Shane spoke blessing over Shannon on one of his last days. He said several things but one thing as it regards her faith and willingness to serve God stands out in my mind: "Shannon, nothing will hold you back but you!". Those words have come back to my mind in times of my greatest doubts and fears about this trip....about anything I'm dealing with in life, really. "I can do everything through Him that gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13). "

My calling to be a sold-out missionary came a little later, as I was among the 5 present in Shane's "Final 10" (minutes of life here that is). We all caught a glimpse of the awe-jaw-dropping glory of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We saw the undeniable power of the Holy word as Shane BEGGED for scripture to be read as he knew it was time to "go" and wanted to hear it as he departed (John that and imagine what we experienced though you really can't. You will still receive a blessing though I assure you). We saw the truth of the resurrection victory as we "watched" and witnessed Shane's transition from this temporary earthly life to life eternal! You cannot experience that and NOT tell about it! So there was my call..."Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Phil. 4:9)

So here's my dilemma. One I lay out before you, my friends, for your prayers and maybe even a word that might speak to my heart as it is troubled. The trip is here. We leave tomorrow. In all these months of preparation and planning, Shane was a huge part of that. Subtly from a sickbed, but a part nonetheless. Once we go and then return, it seems like one more "goodbye" to Shane. As long as we are planning, it still feels like we are a part of something that Shane's hand was in. While I'm excited to go and experience this with a fabulous group of my Strong Tower family, to meet and serve the people along the way, to experience God and what He has in store for us, and to be blessed with this special time with my daughter...I find myself a little sad. I find myself wanting to hang on to this connection I feel with Shane through this. Lord have mercy. Does that make sense to anyone?

Thanks to all of you...for your prayers, your words of encouragement, your financial support, and for your friendship. I even want to say thanks to that one nay-sayer that wrote us an anonymous letter that was a little rude and a lot negative as it pertained to our going. It drove us to our knees and humbled us. But it was a good lesson in perseverance and endurance when you know you are doing what God has asked of you. God has been all-powerful, all-providing, all-present. To Him be ALL the glory.

Thanks for your continued prayers...for God to receive fame (Habakkuk 3:2) through us & in spite of us, for the trip/safety, for the people of Guatemala, and for Jamie and Asher as we will miss them like crazy. Thanks for continuing to pray for Shane's sister and the kids.
I miss you, Shane. I know I go with your blessing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My blog tonight may come out really jumbled. I have so much to say I feel like its going to be verbal vomit. So here goes. I have been struggling probably since my beach trip with my feelings for God. I admit, I'm still not real happy with His decision. I wasn't at all happy with the fact that He allowed Shane to get cancer, was not happy with Him while Shane was suffering and was not AT ALL happy when He decided to take Shane home. I have struggled with my conversations with Him, just like I use to when I was upset with Shane about something. I can't put into words what I feel, nor do I expect most of you to understand at all what I am talking about. I know the question of why will always be there, and that's fine, for I know that I don't think I would ever be able to put my earthly mind completely around what God's reasons were for this story. My dear sister finds the best things for me and sends them just when I need them the most. Just yesterday I received an email from her and the subject line was, "You must read this." So I did, and I thank her for sharing it, I needed a good swift kick in the buttocks. If you would like to read what kicked my but then read this.. (sorry not so blogger literate yet to add a link.) For those of you that are too lazy to read this, I will give you the short version. The internet monk obviously was diagnosed with cancer in November and died in March (sounds familiar) and his wife has started posting in his place, she also has her own blog. Her latest post about it being sometimes plain hard, was about her husband suffering from the cancer. Not only that, but she said she is sick of hearing such wonderful stories of how people have passed. I know I will not be sharing Shane's last 10 with her anytime soon, because it is truly a glory story. She stated how she was struggling with God, first, about her husband getting cancer, but that he didn't even die a glorious death. She warns you at the first of the blog that it is pretty graphic and shares some of the details of his death. Nothing huge, but just basic death experiences. After reading this I realized that even though I am hugely disappointed in God's decisions that I am also extremely thankful for my experience with Shane's death. I do have a wonderful experience even in the midst of the ugliness of death. While it wasn't ALL wonderful, the good so much outweighs the bad of it all. I only have God to thank for that. I don't know why He chooses some to have a wonderful dying story and others to not have such a good experience. I so can't believe that I am even saying there is a "good" story about dying. Fortunately, I think God considered me in this matter, and knew that I needed this. One person commented on this ladies blog that some people fabricate death stories, like they fabricate birthing stories, to make them better than they really are. Well, thank God I have 4 other witnesses that were with me and Shane so that I know I haven't just dreamed it up. Again, I'm not sure why He allowed me to witness such a wonderful transistion from this life to the everlasting, but He did and I am thankful for that. I have struggled with the fact that maybe my prayers were just not strong enouch to help Shane, but I do remember the prayer I prayed out loud with Shane on April 2nd. We were upstairs by ourselves, and felt the need to pray with him. I prayed for that miracle that I kept expecting, then I told God that if that were not His Will then to please make Shane's transistion from this life to the everlasting, peaceful, beautiful and and painless for Shane and for me. I asked that He be glorified no matter what, for I knew that that was Shane's ultimate last wishes. So now that I think back on that prayer, maybe my prayers did have a little weight to them. Maybe what I prayed for was in God's plan anyway, who knows, and at this point don't think it matters. Again, I know it was one of Shane's last gifts to me, and one of God's ultimate gifts to me. Total assurance. I'm not sure why this lady didn't get to experience something beautiful but I do know my heart aches for her. I do know that that early morning wasn't all beautiful, and wished some images could be erased. However, I know God allows that to remind us that death was not His plan for us. I know that there is hope for those that believe in Him. That, my friends, is what gets me through each day.

While at the beach, while I was struggling with my feelings with God, my mom and I were sitting on the beach watching the kids play with Uncle Murph and Trace in the ocean. It was beautiful. I love the ocean for the sheer fact that it reminds me of how Great and how Big my God really is. My mom said, "Don't you know Shane is watching and smiling right now." I nodded in agreement and at the same time some guys were walking in front of us and one pointed up. Out of curiousity I looked up and this is what I saw... I know it looks like something the camera did, but nope, this is what we saw and continued to see for over an hour. The day was clear, no rain clouds around, but a beautiful rainbow circling the sun. My mom could only say one word, "Shane!" I pointed it out to the kids and they all were astounded as I was. Jake looked up, looked back at me and mouthed the word, "Daddy." It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I truly believe that it was from God. It happened again on Wednesday. Me and Molly were up at the pool and I looked up and there it was again. I told Molly to look, she borrowed my sunglasses and looked up and she said, "there's my daddy." It was almost like an eye looking down on us. Again, it was like a big comforting reassurance from my Father. I thought about it lots while there. Then one day I was checking my emails on my phone at the beach and I received a "God Winks" on facebook. Guess what it said? It said, "don't be surprised if you have recently lost someone very dear to you that God doesn't send a rainbow, its His reminder that everything is going to be fine." WOW! So much for even thinking anything different but it being from God. After we came home I looked up this type of rainbow on the computer and its called a "solar Halo." Anything less? Even though He knows I'm not realy happy with Him and the things that He has allowed or orchestrated, He continues to love me and continues to constantly wink at me, and continually sends me reassurances. He loves me even when I'm not so lovable. Thank you God for the simple reminders that you send me, especially the rainbows. Thanks for the beauty behind it. Through each storm there is always a "rainbow" at the end. While I am still right in the middle of this raging storm, I so know He is reminding me constantly to just hang on. I am Lord, I am.