Good Grief

Good Grief

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Grief---the every day, smack dab in the middle of life kind.

Grief-is defined as a deep poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. Cause of such suffering; an unfortunate outcome. 

When I started this blog a few years ago it was going to be about the ins and outs of grief.  The process of moving through grief and the different stages.  Needless to say, I am still learning about this process and the stages of grief.  I assumed that losing a spouse would be the most significant kind of grief.  I still believe that.  I started "grieving" long before Shane ever passed. I've said before that I started grieving our lives as we knew it before chemo, pain meds, catheters, puke buckets, doctors visits, needle sticks, hospital stays, bad news after bad news.  I grieved a man that was full of life and desired to be a part of every aspect of his kids lives.  I still grieve that.  The difference was I had him to grieve all of that with.  He grieved with me.  We were smack dab in the middle of the crappiest part of our lives...but he was with me to do so.  I guess that may be the hardest part of this whole grief process, having someone to go through it with me, that truly understands.  Yes, I have my 3.  They, as children, grieve differently than I.   They are responsible for their own grief, but me, I feel responsible for mine and for theirs.  I try to guide them the best way I know how to deal with it.  I admit, holidays are hardest.  Starting in November we grieve more because of Shane's birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I told a fellow widow the other day that I would have rather not decorated this year but with the kids, I needed too.  I explained to her that this year while unpacking the decorations it felt like I was unpacking one. memory. at. a. time.  Each ornament placed on the tree was an ornament that has some significance to our lives together or now our life without him.  As Miss M would bring home a homemade piece of artwork, ornament, poem how I thought about the desire to share it with her daddy.  Yes, 4 years later the grief is still raw, comes in waves, and you just never know when it will bring you to your knees, stop you in your tracks. I dread taking the decorations down.  Always have.  Always seems I am packing away such a happy time of year, getting ready for a new year.  This year I dread it even more.  As I unpacked one. memory. at. a. time. I will be packing them back up into bins for yet another year.  Ebbs and flows. 

For some reason I was thinking about how I have always hated the "new year." I blogged about it either before Shane passed or after, time runs together.  I've always fought depression at this time of year.  All the anticipation of Christmas- the love, joy, hope, family time, different routines, slowing down and especially the anticipation of Jesus.  Then the 26th comes and its back to normal, pack up the joy, hope, anticipation and the "new year' smacks me in the face.  I HATE change.  I even hate changing the date from 2013 to 2014 on checks, etc.  Hate it.  Always have, always will.  I find myself dreading the changes that come with a 'new year'- one more year closer to my kids growing up and away from me, a year of me getting older, a year of changes-good or bad.  I was thinking that in a way I have always been in a state of perpetual grief. Grieving change even as a youngster.  This past year I have grieved changes with my children, one growing into a man, one heading into puberty and my youngest going off to "big" school. I grieve each and every day she gets out of the car with tears in her eyes. I grieve the fact that she has now lived longer without her daddy than with him.  Each passing year takes memories a little further away, a little more distant.   I've grieved a new relationship coming to an end and with it relationships with a wonderful family, and the wonder of if I will ever be loved again.   I've grieved with others as they watch their marriages disintegrate. I've grieved the fact the babies in my preschool class are walking, giving up bottles, growing up.  Silly, I know, but I grieve these things.  I grieve for neighbors that spent Christmas in the hospital with their son, after what was suppose to be a surgery to help him but has changed him, even if for a while. I grieve for an old friend that has just received the news that there is nothing more they can do for her husbands cancer.   I grieve the fact that there is a tiny girl just beginning her battle with cancer.  I grieve for an acquaintance that has recently lost her husband, which was also her only family. Know it all sounds gloom and doom, and some days it feels that way.  Most days, however, the grief turns to joy. Somehow.  Somehow, the grief of the every day, the grief of the smack dab in the middle of life turns to joy.  The fact that I am able to watch the changes in my children-their growth, their tears, the changes they face brings me joy most days.  The fact the we even HAVE memories of Shane to share in the middle of every day.  The fact that Miss M had just a little time with him.  I find joy that for a short time I found joy in a relationship.  I found joy that God let me know that my heart was not in such disrepair that I couldn't feel love for someone.  That my heart is big enough to allow others in.  I find joy in knowing that I can talk to those who are hurting and let them know...I know how they feel.  I find joy in seeing a mom's faith play out while she watches her son work so hard at rehab to become himself again.  I find joy in knowing that a tiny girl will beat cancer and live to tell about it. I find joy in knowing that God allowed me to endure the past few years so that I can surely help my old friend facing the same that I've been through.  And joy that her husband knows exactly where he is going and finds joy in that.  I find joy that the acquaintance that recently lost her husband has reached out to me because she knows I can relate. Joy through grief.  It can happen.  I'm proof.  Yep, some days you can see me and I may be full of gloom, doom and yuck.  But most days you will find me smiling through it.  We all grieve. Some have big reasons to be in the process.  Some, like me, pre-cancer, pre-death of spouse, grieve the every day, smack dab in the middle of life stuff.  Some are grieving the big stuff, death, divorce, sickness, but we all do grieve.  Question is-- what we do with the grief. Do wallow, drown in it? Feel sorry for ourselves, feel helpless? Or do we pull ourselves up with the help of others and God?  Thankfully, I choose the latter- I grieve with the help of others and God. I pray that JOY helps you grieve even in the big and small stuff.  As you reflect on the past year and the upcoming year I hope you chose JOY in the every day, smack dab in the middle of life kind. Happy New Year!!
  " The Joy of the Lord is my Strength"(Neh 8:10)-- through my grief.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful for...

Thanksgiving 2009. Didn't seem to have much to be thankful for. Just a few weeks before a large mass showed up in Shane's left lung. We didn't yet have a clear diagnosis, we knew it was cancer of some sort but were not clear on treatments, prognosis the like. We moved through the motions of day to day life, as much as a family can, knowing things were not near as perfect as they once were. We continued to do "Thanksgiving" and found comfort in being with those that loved us the most. Thankfully, my mom (Mimi) wanted a "thankful" tree. We cut leaves out of construction paper and asked those there to write what we were thankful for. The kids had sweet things like-macaroni, sleepovers, God and family. The adults had things a little more, salvation, time together. I remember reading what Shane wrote-he required the BIGGEST leaf, we all joked that he wrote a book. I remember then being touched beyond words but time has away of erasing meaningful times. Fast forward to today, the day before Thanksgiving 2013. My mom brought out the thankful turkey we did in about 2006, with out thankful's written on the turkeys wings stuck strategically in a pinecone and then the thankful leaves from 2009 were on her kitchen table. I was flipping through them wanting to read what I wrote-found it. It was something like-thankful for God, thankful for the suffering we are experiencing thankful because I was feeling the presence of God like never before. Reminded me of my feelings then and how I truly was thankful for the suffering never really knowing where the suffering would take me. Never knowing the outcome, knowing in November of 2009 there was still hope. 
Then I spotted Shane's oversized leaf. I was sitting with my mom and a friend from church around her kitchen table and read it aloud. 
I just had told a fellow griever that this year was a year I didn't really feel like being Merry and Bright-how I wished I could close my eyes and wake up and the holidays be over. Then I read the leaf. A leaf that was a love letter of sorts 4 years later to my children and me. A reminder of what I was thankful for then and what I am thankful for now. I was blessed and still consider myself beyond blessed to be loved by Shane. He taught me much. He loved me much. That- I am thankful for. I have it written on a thankful leaf. A love story written by a dying man on construction paper. I am thankful for love letters, reminders, and written notes I can share with my 3.
If if you can't read it from the picture this is what it says::

Thankful for: 
My children as they are beautiful in all ways and allow De and I to understand the Father/child relationship,with God.
Thankful for the Body of Christ as they have shown me mercy, love, compassion and faith.
Lastly I am thankful for my cancer. It has shown me what really is important. It has shown me the love of my family and friends. But most of all it has shown me just how much in love I am with my wife. And how special the relationship with Jesus Christ is.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Angels Among Us

Pardon any errors- this is being typed on my phone

Don't you just love how God will confirm something? I sure do! Example---I've often thought a person in my life may just be an angel. I've known her for a bigger part of my life. I met her when I was dating my high school boyfriend~sigh.  She worked with and was good friends with his mom. We spent time together at the lake, going to watch him play football etc. She probably thought I was just a love struck silly teenager---I was. Anyhoo-he ended up breaking my young heart into a million and one pieces-cause that's what first loves do. She and I lost touch until a few years later. While I was attending tech school I started working for her sister as her shampooer, is that a word?? My sister also worked here. That was probably my most favorite job ever-I was working for the real live Truvie from Steele Magnolias.  It was hard work but you got to know and love most of the clients cause of processing times etc. This particular angel in question would come on our late nights and we would talk, catch up on life. We all always had a great time and even though it was for a short time I learned lots from these ladies and their experiences and our times together. Seriously-there were times when I felt I was living out a scene in Steel Magnolias--best summer job EVER.  My hands didn't like the job so much, so it was a short run. Luckily, since my sister worked there I would still run into this angel in disguise. Years later I became neighbors with her niece which has been a longtime friend of mine. Small world, same circles. Needless to say she's known my story, watched it play out and has been one of the ones that has kept me covered in prayer. She is one of those that during the darkest times a note of encouragement would arrive, a book was sent that I still pick up for encouragement. As years pass we communicate through Facebook, through our small circle of friends, sisters, nieces. She's just one of those, for lack of a better word, neat people. Always smiling, the perfect sense of humor and the right words always. She's continued to be one of my biggest encouragers, reads my blogs and nonsense on Facebook. It was not a surprise to see her pop up on my Facebook messages. But what I read was a surprise. She had sent me a link for an opportunity of a lifetime. Something I would have never dreamed of being able to do. She told me she thought I needed to look into it and she would help me anyway she could. She even offered to keep my 3 crazy kids for me to be able too. This opportunity would allow me to spend a weekend with one of my favorite authors, speaker, God-loving funny ladies, she is a favorite Women of Faith speaker. My first experience with Women of Faith mesmerized me and this lady was part of that. I laughed, I cried, and fell in love with Jesus all over again that weekend. This opportunity is for those that need to be encouraged to use what they have-for either writing, speaking, teaching, ministering. All things I am extremely interested in. Its a weekend at her home, doing what ladies do- chatting, eating, chatting, shopping, eating and the best part-talking about Jesus and what we can do for Him. I clicked on the link while the house was quiet, imagine that-a quiet house-one of the perks of school. She had a video explaining the title of the session. There it was---about the third clip--BAM--God spoke to me through her. She said something like, "God wants to use you right where you are, not later, not when you have time, not when things are better but right now." Tears filled my eyes-that's what I needed to push myself to go. As some of my bible study sisters know one of the things I struggle with is being stagnant. I say stagnant because I feel like I'm stuck. Stuck between wanting to use what I've learned, lived and been given and stuck knowing time is precious with growing children, do people care what I have to say, and would I fail? I've been told I would know when the time is to use what I've learned and His time would be perfect. So as I wait on Him for opportunities, for Him to equip me for whatever it is He wants of me I will be proactive and visit this wise funny lady for encouragement for when the time is right. Plus I get to do my favorite things with one of my favorite people. Excited!!
Back to my angel in question. I messaged her back and told her I had paid my deposit but the next session and the next session were all booked so I would have to wait until the second session of 2014.  Which is fine with me-gives me something long range to look forward too. She told me that she was glad I registered and that she would leave some money to help out when she went to see her niece the next day. Of course I said thanks but no thanks I could take care of it. Fast forward to this afternoon when her niece/my friend brought over an envelope. After I came in I sat down to open it. Yep, you guessed it-she sent me money anyway. More than enough to cover the weekend expenses. I read the card. She describes being nudged by God and how she needed to act on it and that she was upset that she ignored the nudge the first time or I would be going to the session that will be held in November She wrote that I too needed to pay attention to this nudge. As I held the money and the card the tears started and the kids didn't know what to think. I was able to tell them how sometimes blessings show up in the oddest of ways. I told them what the money was for and they could not believe someone would be so generous. I couldn't believe it either. See? I knew she was an angel long ago. She just has that way about her, I knew it even as a silly teenager. Lesson for everyone-you never know how god will use those we meet, years from now, tomorrow, today. I can't wait to see where this all ends up. But for now I'm able to fall asleep tonight that there are sweet angels that walk among us and sometimes it's someone you've known for a really long time. You just never know. I'm thankful for her heart, her acting on nudges from her Father. I have a feeling this is gonna be a life changer. I can't wait to sit on this ladies porch, soak up her wisdom and then come home and share it all with my confirmed angel. Thank you again-means the word

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Some Things I've Learned...

If there is one blog post that I hope you take the time to read of mine, or time to share with a friend -this may be just the one. I was asked not too long ago if I had given any consideration on speaking on the business side of things I have learned in the midst of losing a spouse. I’ve thought about it and if I am any kind of friend at all to those who read this blog I should share some of the things I have learned during the battle of cancer, the death of Shane and the aftermath. Some will be touchy, some will be personal, but all things I share are very important. So here is my list in random order, pretty much listed as they come to mind.

1. This one may just be the MOST important. I learned this at an early age, but didn’t truly live it… Have a TRUE relationship with Jesus Christ. By relationship, I mean, not just a church-going, sometimes praying, sometimes reading the bible relationship. I’m talking about total dependence on God. I still struggle with this daily, the total dependence thing, I continue to want to take my life by the reins and do it my way. At the time of all this- there was no inner strength but only the strength given to me by my God. Thankful I had a relationship with Him and knew He was the only way. I’ve shared before how I was convicted just a month before Shane’s diagnosis, by a Francis Chan book. He asked the reader to think of why you had never asked the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of you, why you had not if you haven’t. I found my notes after Shane’s diagnosis and the one that stood out that I had written was that I was scared of where the Holy Spirit may test me. Even though I was scared at that moment of conviction I did ask the Holy Spirit to truly dwell inside of me. I thank my Father for that day of conviction because I would have never had strength on my own to endure the next few months or the past 3.5 years. So friends---get that relationship straight and right with God, not tomorrow, but now. I love this… When you are a Christian it’s not IF bad things will happen but WHEN. If you’re not a Christian- God help you, I can’t imagine going through what we endured without the love, promises, peace, strength and comfort of my Heavenly Father.

2. Never take one single day for granted with the ones you love. Make every single day count even in the small things. Make sure you tell those you love you love them and make sure you show them in endless ways. The way you speak to them, the way you treat them, the way you look at them. Time passes fast. Make everyday count. You are never promised tomorrow so make every day as if it were your last. Thankfully, Shane and I had a short period of time when we knew what was inevitable so we were able to tell each other things that we knew each needed to hear. Thankful for that time, but so wished there had been more time to share…to this day I would love to tell him some things I didn’t get too. I know so many that have lost a loved one tragically, when they left that morning thinking their loved one would return home as usual, and they didn’t. MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT.

3. LIFE INSURANCE. Thankfully Shane was a smart man and had purchased life insurance. There is never enough life insurance. If your spouse is just covered by their employers---buy more. The premiums stink but the advantages are countless. I’ve had my financial advisor tell me that I would not believe the amount of people that don’t purchase life insurance; they think they will never need it. Some very smart business people in our town think they will not need it and it’s a waste of money. WHAT?? Ummmm, last I checked we all are going to die sometime. Be prepared. If you love your family, then take measures to make sure they will be taken care of when/if you have to leave. Hard to put a dollar amount on a person’s life but thankfully Shane loved us to pay those premiums and insure that we are somewhat taken care of.

4. Never think you will not wind up in the ‘system.’ By that I mean, Social Security, food stamps, government insurance for kids. I will never forget sitting in the Social Security office looking around thinking “what am I doing here?” just a few short weeks after Shane passed. Realizing how many times I had looked down on those in the “system.” There I was. Thankfully, there is such a thing (SSI) that helps me with monthly expenses with the kids. I’m also in the process of applying for government funded insurance for the kids. Insurance premiums for our health insurance are through the roof. If it’s there, and we are eligible why not?? As much as I hate waiting on that monthly check from the government…I am one of those waiting on that check.

5. Know your spouse’s business. When I say that I mean more ways than one. If you just know how much their income is, you don’t know enough. You need to be aware of EVERYTHING. Income, benefits, insurance, legal matters. Ask questions, have things in writing.

6. Chose an attorney you trust and get a Will…TODAY is not soon enough. Thank goodness Shane and I implemented a Will when Jake was a baby. I talk to so many that don’t have one. WHAT???? Again, if you love your family what better way to show them by taking care of them when you are not here and able to tell them what they expect. In this Will make sure you name someone that you love, trust and that they feel the same about you and your children. Chose someone that will raise your children as you would if God forbid something were to happen. Make sure they know they are being named and agree to do just that…love your children and raise them as you would. Tell those you choose important information- attorneys name, safe deposit box information, bank accounts, etc. Make sure you have a l living will as well. Don’t make your spouse make a decision like that. Sit down and talk about what is expected if the unthinkable should happen. Don’t let the lack of preparedness make you live in question of making a decision on your own when your spouse can’t communicate what they want.

7. Surround yourself with people you can trust. Thankfully Shane was thoughtful and smart enough to ask a dear brilliant friend to watch over matters with me. When he knew what may happen he set up several meetings with her. She is business savvy and he knew she would explain things to me in layman’s terms would guide me lovingly and help me with matters that I was not familiar with. I still depend on her 3 years later and I would not have made it without her. Those first few months when the world seemed to be spinning out of control she kept me grounded, made sure she reminded me of what needed to be taken care of. What banks to call, what accounts to close etc. Shane had shared with her what he expected. He knew if he told me that I would be way overwhelmed so he told her and she guided me. What a tremendous help!!!! Just another way he showed me how much he loved me even after he was gone. He knew Gina McD would take care of me and so he entrusted her with business matters. Have someone in your life that can do that for you.

8. Make sure you are co-owner of accounts. 3 years later I just went round and round with the credit card company about this. I had a question on a charge on the credit card that Shane and I had both used since 2003. They proceeded to tell me that I was just an authorized user. Even though I had continued to use this card for 3 years, charging and paying off balances and always in good standing – they couldn’t tell me about a charge?? No, they needed to speak to the primary owner, Mr. Richardson. What What?? Yep, when we opened the account, Shane not thinking in a few short years he would no longer be here just had me on the account as an authorized user. Good in some ways-I could not be held responsible for any unpaid balances etc. However, even though I was the only user for 3 years post his death I lost all credit for paying off balances and being in good standing. Stinks. Anyway, if you and your husband have a credit card together, be a co-owner, not an authorized user.

9. Have a support system. Can’t say enough about this one. Thankfully, most of my family leaves here. Don’t know what I’d do without them. Even though I have become more independent I still need them. Especially on those nights when mama’s puking, passing out in the middle of the night and my 3 are clueless on what to do. I continually call on them to help transport children when I can’t be 2 places at once. I can call them when I’m just having a terrible, horrible, really bad day. Always have someone you can call on…even in the middle of the night. This also includes KNOW your neighbors. They are always willing to help, if you don’t know them how are you going to call them when you may need them. Hence…when there’s a huge wasp nest that needs to be sprayed at 10pm. When you think there is a possum in your garage, etc. The list is endless. Know your neighbors and have a good relationship with them.

10. Install an alarm system if you don’t have one. We had one installed years before Shane passed, but didn’t use it too much when he was here. Now, it makes me and my 3 feel safe at night, just that little extra security makes for a better night’s sleep for all of us.

11. Trust NO ONE---- when it comes to money. All I’m going to say about that.

12. Learn how to do things on your own. I have to admit I was spoiled. I would call on Shane for everything. I remember calling him home from work just to kill 2 wasps when we first moved into the house we are in. He came when I called but now it’s up to me. I have learned to check oil, change air filters, fix garbage disposals, fix slow toilets, change garage door lights, put up Christmas tree, kill spiders, unclog drains. The list goes on. I still call on my dad for many things but proud to say I’m learning. Learn them now before you have to.

13. Go to the doctor. Get your boobies, ovaries, blood, head, eyes, teeth- everything checked. Keep everything checked out and running. What good are you if you are not in tip top shape?

14. Give it up!!! Yep, I said it. When they want it, give it to them because one day they may not be around. The less I say the better off I’ll be. Just do it!!!!!

15. Put your husband first. Oh my, how I wished Id listened when people would tell me that. Instead, I was like-Oh, he’ll be around when the kids are not. Well, he’s not. How I wished I could do some things over. Thankfully, he was like me and loved being with the kids as much as me, so we both were guilty- we put them before each other. We did do occasional date nights, but not near enough. Again, why put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Refer to #14!!!!! Guys-thank me later.

16. Take photos, videos like you never have. These things are priceless when memories grow dim. How we love to pull out those videos just to hear his voice and see his smile. Technology is awesome, so use it.

17. If you are in financial debt…GET OUT now. Thankfully my accountant husband always lived way below his means. When others our age were buying houses 10 X the size they needed we kept our modest one, when people were trading cars like baseball cards we drove ours for a while. Thankfully, we were both pretty frugal and I’m so thankful for that. No debt, no worries.

18. Have everything in writing….everything. Again, Shane and I had time to make plans for things others never dream about talking about. Luckily, he was able to tell me what he wanted for burial etc. He told me what he expected for his service, we picked out his casket, he asked to be buried in a certain place, etc. He told me who he wanted as pallbearers, who he wanted to speak at his service and what he wanted to be said. Do it together now, so you don’t have to do that alone. Can’t imagine having to do that without him. Never thought we would have had to have that conversation but we did. Last I checked one day you will too. Do it together and write it all down.

19. Make sure where your spouse is spiritually. If your spouse is not a Christian….work hard on that-never stop praying about it and seeking wisdom from God on how to open up those conversations. One of the ways I get through each day is the fact that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will see Shane again. If you love your spouse make sure they know Christ-if not their last breath will be the last you see of them. Same for kids. Start praying for their salvation today. What a tragedy if you don’t get to see your children again in eternity. Same for other loved ones, friends. You can’t save them but you can show them how Jesus can.

20. Do what you love, love what you do. I’ve already starting telling my 3 this motto. IF you love what you do, like Shane did, then it’s never a job, it’s always a joy. Luckily, I get to do what I love, and I now love what I do. Children, love em.

21. I’ve been known to say these horrible words, “Sounds like someone needs some cancer in their lives so they know what real worry is.” I know it’s horrible but when I hear people worrying about petty things- it literally crawls up under my skin and sucks me dry. Seriously, the things I hear people worry about and things that take up space in their minds and mouth really irks me. Sadly, it’s mostly moms with way too much time on their hands. I say that comment because, seriously, once you are faced with dealing with cancer on a daily basis those petty things are well, just petty. GIVE me a break. Try worrying about how many times your husband is going to puke in 1 hour. Try worrying about what the next scan is going to show, try worrying about how many days you may have left with him. There is a poem about what cancer cannot do, well I am here to tell you…Cancer can---put things in to perspective and cancer can make the things of this world petty. So while I hate the disease and what it has done to me and my kids—I am thankful that it has given me a new perspective on things in life. Are the things you are griping and complaining about REALLY that important?? Place yourself in the shoes of people dealing with deadly diseases---cause it can happen to you too.

22. Make sure your couple friends are just that…friends. I just texted a thank you to a dear friend just the other day telling her how I have never told her how I appreciated her and her husband’s continued friendship. I told her that death, like divorce, causes friendships to fade away. Once one part of the couple is gone friendships just disappear. Maybe it’s the awkwardness, the void, who knows. Even though the other half of the couple is not here doesn’t mean the one left is any different. If you are a friend to one dealing with death or divorce, be a friend even if the other half of the couple is not around. Don’t make the person grieve lost friendships too. This couple, true friends, have continued to include me and my 3. Even though it’s lopsided, they still invite us over, and seem to enjoy our company even though part of us is gone. IF they are truly friends, it won’t matter that part of the couple is missing. Choose your friends wisely.

23. NEVER think it won’t happen to you. Death, divorce, sickness, financial ruin---it’s an equal opportunity employer. These things don’t care how much money you make, what house you live in, what country club you belong too, where your kids go to school, where you go to church, who you are. Satan is out to kill, steal and destroy---- he is just waiting to destroy you too. I never dreamed my husband of 15 years would die in 5 short months of an unknown cancer, I never dreamed I would be a 44 year old widow and my children would grow up fatherless, not even in my worst nightmares did I dream this. Here I am!!! So I share these 23 things I’ve learned, there is sooooo much more I could share, and I may, but for now hope this helps and hope some of these are added to your to-do list. Don’t wait-thankful that God allowed me and Shane time to do some of these together but I have fellow widows and widowers, divorced friends that I think would tell you they didn’t have the time to prepare. So do it today, there is no time like the present.

Please share this with any and all. I hope my experience will help someone, anyone. Hoping God allowed me to go through this so that I may help someone find Him be prepared. Hope what I have learned is not in vain, but can be used.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Filling the Gaps

Filling the Gaps
Ever feel like your heart is in 1 million pieces?? I can't really describe it-just a feeling of discontent, confusion, aggravation, longing. There's just lots of things around me that are making me feel this way. Can't put my finger on just what it is. There's just "stuff." Stuff like---seems every day someone else I know and care for is being told they are about to start the battle of their life with cancer. For the last few months seems as if someone I know, not just distantly, has been diagnosed with this disease. Living through some of that battle-my heart breaks into some of those million pieces. One of these that has been given the diagnosis is one of my mom's oldest friends, not in age but in years. This lady was the one my mom depended on as a young mother to keep me when needed. She was probably the only one I would stay with--I was a little attached to my mom. I haven't seen her in years but when my mom told me about her recent diagnosis-my heart sank. Needless to say-on a recent trip to wal-mart who did I run in too-but her. Molly, as usual, had to check out the bathroom and when we were walking out we literally ran right into her. We started talking and of course the talk included her diagnosis and her surgery she would be having the next day. She seemed strong and ready to face it head on. Ironically, even with our age differences we have something in common...we are both widows. I asked her if she had someone to go with her to her surgery and she told me ALL of her kids were going. Love it. We both agreed, however, that going through something like this without the one you love--sure stinks. She reminded me that her beloved had been gone 23 years---23 years??? And she still had the sparkle in her eye for him.
Later, when I had time to think about our conversation I couldn't get the fact that 23 years had gone by. She, too, has 3 children, and those children, 23 years later were filling in the gap for their daddy. I pray that my 3 will continue to fill in the gap for Shane-even 23 years from now. Even in knowing her children surrounded her- a few days later, when the bandages are gone, her stamina is back-she will again, crawl in bed alone-with only her memories of him. She doesn't have him to tell her thoughts to, if she's scared, if shes in pain, those intimate conversations you have late at night, and she doesn't have him to wake up to in the morning. As much as family fills in the gaps there are some gaps that just can't be filled. I was talking to my mom about her dear forever friend-mom told me that in talking about the diagnosis, and her upcoming surgery she shared with my mom that she had the "Good Lord" on her side. He fills the gaps, even the ones our family can not fill and even the ones that our beloved can not fill.
I'm still in the place of trying, desiring and praying for God to be all I need. To know that even 23 years from now-should I still go to bed and awake alone that He is all I will ever need. I read a woman's post on a "widow" support group just yesterday of how it was the 2 year mark that her husband had been gone and how she wasn't ready for a relationship, when and if she would be-but how she desired one thing---human touch. That may be the hardest thing of all-just having your love to hold you and remind you that things would be ok. Even during Shane's weakest moments when he struggled to even speak-his reassuring touch could propel me through for just a few more hours-reminding me that we/I could do this. But that was when he was still here. Its truly amazing how just a touch from someone you love can be such reassurance. That may just be the hardest-the lack of human contact. When I know that God is and will be enough for me-I still miss the reassuring touch or hug. Don't get me wrong-I get plenty from 2 of my 3 children, one is just way too cool to even think about touching me-he cringes at the thought:)---but there's just something about the touch of the one you love.
For those of us that wake up alone, go to bed alone--whether its divorce, death, or just a loveless marriage--I pray that God fills the emptiness. That even though the intimacy of contact is missing-that He provides the love, peace and comfort to propel you through your day, another hour, another trial. That you feel His presence in the celebrations of life, the devastation's. I pray for you, and myself, that we know beyond anything --that Jesus is enough and even though we can't "touch" our Savior we can feel His love for us. I pray that knowing that once we finally make it to see Him face to face-His embrace will make up for all of the times without our beloveds touch. That holding His scarred hands will erase the loneliness that any of us have ever endured here. Allow us to feel You Father -touch our souls and to fill any and all gaps in our lives-reminding us that You are enough, all that we need. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I recently posted on Facebook how its all about to begin.... early to bed, earlier to rise this year (since my girls starting big school I am now being made to be a part of the carpool---the Getchell's are loving knowing my lazy mornings are OVER), homework, routines, uniforms taking up space in the laundry, no more days of the car not having to leave the driveway.  No more lazy days by the pool, or spontaneous outings.  Is this normal??? Is it normal for me to dread it sooooo much???  Most mom's are excited to send their kids off, relish in the routine of things.  Me--- not so much.  This year is even harder.  My baby, Miss M, starts 1st grade and will be there 8-3, Monday thru Friday.  EVERY. STINKING. DAY. You see, Miss M and I had formed ourselves an awesome little routine.  She was basically my sidekick from 1-3ish and more so on Tue and Thur when I joined her to work at her Pre-school.  Most Tue-Thu we would make a quick stop my McD's for a butter biscuit for her, sweet tea for me (may explain weight gain) do our thing at school then home at 1 for me and her time before all heck broke loose at 3:15 when the rowdy boys were picked up.  So now, its gonna be new for both her and I.  Guarantee there WILL BE tears as I drop her off. That first will definitely remind me of the first day I dropped the boys off---- when I literally cried ALL day. Couldn't wait to pick them up, couldn't wait to see how their first day was... but boys don't talk so much, so hoping the conversation with Miss M will not be one way but praying that she fills my ears FULL of all the happenings---ever last detail.  I remember telling Shane when I dropped Sam off and watched him walk to his room in tears and I drove off in tears -that I was done with first day of school drop-offs. Jokes on me!!!!  No one else to do it-but me. So on August 5th if you see me sporting my dark glasses just nod and walk on... cause sister will not be in a good state.  Matter of fact--- i may just wear them the whole first week, bear with me.  There will most definitely be 3 year old snubbing going on from this mama.
I'm really trying to be better. Sweet Sam reminded me after one of my "GOSH, we only have a few more days" followed by lengthy sigh that I was making it worse for them.  So I'm really trying to keep my sighs to myself.  Was trying to remember if I dreaded it before I was a single-mom--- answer is Yep, did then-still do did when I was in school. Some things just never change.   Just may be a bit worse now.  While I'm trying to see the good of having a little more Dee Dee time with the schedule -maybe start exercising some of the sweet tea weight gain off, have a cleaner house, more needed time with my Father--I still can't help but think that each school year that starts, is one year closer to my 3 leaving their nest.  I have a sweet friend that reminds me every year as the summer's over blues sets in, that I should savor this time and see each new year as a new season for me and my 3.  So this year, while I still am blue about the whole thing, I am praying for God to take the dread away, to remind me that this is a new season of learning- for all of us, opportunities for all of us to grow.  Praying God gives me discipline to manage my time, to be the best mom that I can be, that He blesses us with an awesome school year and that He helps me to hold it together that first week, that He will be with my children's teachers, administrators and all of the students.  That we all can reflect the love of Jesus Christ every single day.  Lord, help me to look forward to this new year, new season. Knowing You have each and every day planned according to your will. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

BTW Lord, can you let  Glenn Getchell get a bigger car so that I can be taken out of the morning carpool loop??

Now, time to go clean out the old school papers and make room for some new ones. Just a few more days...time slow down.   LARGE and LOUD sigh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Good Grief is RIGHT

If I haven't said "Good Grief" a million times this week I've said it 2 million.  Our family of 4 is currently getting in to the swing of summer.  Some "good grief" moments are as follows:  staying up till after midnight, waking up at 11, yes i said 11-yep almost 44 years old and i can still sleep like a teenager-definitely a good grief moment.  The amount of food 3 children can eat.  The mess that 3 children can make and the amount of trash a family of 4 can produce.  The amount of laundry there is, the times one mother can say put your wet bathing suits on the side of the tub, and yet still find them in a wet pile on the floor.  The times one 6 year old can say "Mom, Mommy, mother, deedee." The amount of times i have to tell them to wait for the sunscreen to dry and the amount of times i have to tell them to not jump close to the edge of the pool.  The amount of times this mom has said 'don't talk to me when I am ordering in the drive-thru' or 'turn the tv down none of us are that hard of hearing.' The times i have told my oldest to slow-down on the 4-wheeler, and turn the x-box off so the others can watch Good Luck Charlie.  The times I have to say "I tried to tell you."  The times this mom sinks into myself and wants to wrap her young ones into her arms and whisper, "I am sorry that God chose this path for us. I'm sorry that your young lives have been tainted by cancer, by death, by evil."  That may just be the biggest "good grief" moment for me.
Had an incident happen this week that made me realize that this mama is still harboring some major anger over the plot that is our lives.  Not sure who or what this mama is angry at but know that it will be dealt with much prayer, and work.   So this week a "good grief" moment is when I am in a heap of tears saying to several in my life..."Its not right, he needs his daddy."  Yes, the man-child that is 5 inches shy of 6 ft, deep voiced, shaving son of mine needs his daddy and I am one pissed mama.  I am beginning to see some things in his life that have been damaged hopefully not beyond repair.  Just a few... confidence, motivation, stability.  Some pretty big issues for a man-child.  This age is so unsettled anyway plus take away these things and its just disastrous.  My heart hurts for all of my 3 and the loss they have endured but most for J.  He is the one that had the longest relationship with his daddy, his daddy was his everything, the one he waited for daily to arrive home.  The one he constantly took shelter under his daddy's arm and on his daddy's chest every weekend of the "camp-outs."   The one that had his daddy always coaching him on and off the field.  The one that spent endless hours just daddy and son outside while the others were too little.  I knew that this would probably have the most negative effect on him, he was a mere 10 when he witnessed the one he saw as strength grow weaker and weaker.  He was a mere 10 when he awoke to his mom telling him his daddy was gone.  He was a mere 10 when he took his place behind his daddy's casket to walk out of his daddy's service and a mere 10 when he helped carry his daddy's casket to his grave.  10, TEN, X.  The boy has lived a life time in just a few short years.  They all have, but for a child trying to manage to find his place in the world, for one who is still a child in a young man's body, for a boy that gave up his passion because his daddy was not longer there to help coach him on the diamond. A boy that lost all confidence in who is is.  For a boy that chooses video games and music to escape...losing your daddy sucks.  No other word to explain it.

This week when I realized my anger I had some time with just him, about the only time he will actually talk to me is when we are alone.  13 is HARD!!!! I asked him if he thought he was still angry about his daddy passing.  His reply, "No mom, its just life, I know I will see him again.  I am angry at some things that daddy had worked out for us that hasn't worked out though."  My boy carries the weight of the world on his almost 6 ft shoulders.  He would never let on but I think he worries about the well-being of our family of 4. His daddy not knowing how this child would take to heart these words, whispered to him one day between labored breaths- "buddy, you will be the man of the house- take care of mama and Sam and molly." I've come to the realization that on the days he is most disrespectful to me, the days I mark it up to hormones, it may not be hormones at all.  It may be that he is mad at me, because i was the one that was left to raise them.  Maybe he sometimes wonders why it wasn't me instead of his daddy.  A boy, after all, needs his daddy.

I've also "good griefed" myself to death thinking i have totally dropped the ball with him, that I have failed him miserably the past few years, not only him but the other 2 as well.  That I haven't been the mom I needed to be which makes me angry yet again.  If I wasn't having to do this on my own, maybe I could be the mom I was intended and desire to be.  Instead, I am frazzled, drained, short-tempered, and I let things slide.  Now, I am seeing the fruits of my frazzled ball dropping.  I had someone tell me that God obviously thought I could do this, for He chose me to be the single-mom of three.  I beg to differ on most days.  I have so many times thrown my hands up in the shower and cried, "I can't do this! Why have you chose this for me?"  Was also reminded this week I am doing the best I can do, but Ive realized it hasn't been good enough for my 3.  I haven't pushed them to be and do their best, I haven't motivated them. But how does one do that for a child that has experienced maybe the worst thing a child can go through...losing a parent?!!  I've let things slide because I thought they'd been through too much, especially the oldest. I still think they all have, and I continually ask for a break for all of them and for me.  I know things happen in their lives to mark out and shape them into the men and the woman that God intends for them to be.  But I have to wonder how much they can take before totally rebelling against the ONE who loves them.  Needless to say, you can see why I have "GOOD GRIEFED" my fool self to death.

These 3 are my true blessings in life and I certainly don't want to mess up what God has loaned to me.  My prayer is for God to equip me in the "good grief" moments, to equip me to be the best mom I can be in the situation we are in and  to help me guide my 3 to make good choices, to help me motivate them to be all they can be and most importantly to help me show them Jesus in our day to day living.  The anger will eventually subside, the hurt never will, but I know God knows our hearts and will continue to navigate our lives.  I pray the other 2 learn from their brother and I and that all these "good grief" moments will propel them into God's strong, unwavering arms.  That their adversities, trials and sufferings will make them men/woman of GOD, that they will use their life story to direct others to HIM.  In the meantime, some prayers for the Richardson's are always appreciated.  Raising a teenage boy without a strong hand and some male hormones around is gonna be tough.  GOOD GRIEF!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Galatians 6:2

Three years? Three years! Three years. Still can't believe it's been three years. I have to say this third year has been harder to swallow than the last two. Not really sure why, can't put my finger on the why of it. Struggled some today and a few days prior and sure I will a few days in the future. You would think that after 3 years the hurt would be a bit duller, the memories not so vivid. However, three years still feels a bit raw.
I gave the kids the option to stay out of school today, more for me than for them. I have found and find extreme comfort with them around. Thinking its because each of them remind me of their daddy in a different way. S&M chose to stay out but J wanted to keep things normal and go to school. He is at the age where he is finding more comfort with his friends than with his mom, whole other blog. I woke him up this morning as any other day and when he came downstairs he asked about what time I told them that early Saturday morning, we remembered some together. He remembered details I didn't and vice versa. He remembered who was still here after all the early morning happenings, I still remember the surrealness and numbness. I told someone today how I felt like I was floating for several days and now that I look back I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that is when my Father was carrying me. How sweet to know He loves and cares for me so much that He carried me for days.  He is still carrying me. Today I have been reminded of how wonderful it was three years ago to see the hands and feet of Christ through so many that loved us. I've seen it again today through text, emails, phone calls and comments on Facebook. We are truly blessed to have so many to love us, to pray for us and think about us. Totally getting to live out Galatians 6:2 today as we did three years ago. I remember using this verse in the countless thank you notes I wrote. Seeing the body of Christ in action continues to amaze and challenge me to carry others burdens as others have carried mine.

I'm extremely blessed to be a part of a Wednesday morning bible study. Can't tell you how much strength I draw from our time together, digging deep into His Word, worshipping, praying and fellowship with these dynamic ladies. I picture these ladies carrying me on my mat to Jesus and dropping me down through the roof straight to Him. So many times they've prayed for me, with me when I didn't have the words, energy or desire. So many times have i heard words flow out of the mouth of our leader straight from my Father directed at me, feeding me, quenching my thirst for what my spirit needed. Today was no different. Since I had S&M home with me I chose not to go today, I truly hate missing but knew I could rejoin next week. When I was getting out of the shower Sam brought in a gift bag and said my neighbor that goes to same bible study said to give it to me and to give me a kiss from her. I looked at the bag, swallowed hard. On the outside was a verse from "His eye is on the Sparrow," ironically enough, a  song that Shane requested from a lady with an angelic voice that came to sing for him just a week before he died. There was a card that was signed by most of these women, with sweet words of encouragement, love and understanding. I buckled-knowing once again they had my back, knowing I truly am loved by my sisters in Christ, knowing they continue to carry my burdens. Then I pulled out of the gift bag a beautiful glass cardinal, buckling once again, tears of joy, sadness, overwhelming tears knowing I am loved. Not only by God but by these women that have been placed in my life for a reason. This cardinal is significant, significant because its a symbol of such a sweet "God wink." I thought I had blogged about it, but I'm tired and don't feel like looking for it, sorry. Anyway, that Saturday, April 3rd was a very long day, as much as I was "floating" and as tired as I was I knew sleep was not going to come easy that night. Especially since less then 24 hours ago I had witnessed the man I loved take his last breath in our bedroom, in our bed. I knew thoughts were going to be whirling, and knew the tears would be plenty. I remember sitting on the bed asking God to give me peace and help me sleep. It was 10 o'clock. My sisters were staying again for comforts sake, sleeping downstairs. At 10:00, right after I prayed that prayer a cardinal began singing right outside my bedroom window. If you know cardinals they have a distinct song. I still remember smiling. Immediately I remember texting Tracey asking if she heard that thinking I was finally losing it. Nope, she confirmed it and remember her word was "weird." I laid down and had the most peaceful, restful sleep sans whirling thoughts or tears. I'm  Not one that needs signs and wonders but love it when God gives me a clear signal that He is with me. So as I find the most perfect place for my cardinal I will remember His love and the love He has provided me through some very special ladies that continue to "carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. 6:2 Thanks to all that have prayed, and continue to pray---carrying our burdens and showing us Christs love. Brings me comfort, wonderful peace and unexplainable joy.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday's Coming!

Thankful for a great Holy Saturday, despite the fact that when I woke up this morning I remembered the unthinkable, unimaginable, heartbreaking task I had to do 3 years ago on this day before Easter. The one thing I hadn't prepared myself for was telling my kids that that day they wouldn't be waking up and seeing their daddy. I remember well, walking downstairs and crawling onto the blow up mattress with them hoping they wouldn't wake up just yet. I had lots of time to play out in my mind what I would say to each of them during the time I curled up with them just before daylight, while still feeling as if I were dreaming.  I still wasn't prepared. I know they woke up one by one, so I told each of them one at a time. I remember even little 3 year old Molly repeating over and over "daddy's with Jesus." Still didn't sound real as many times as she said it.  We discussed things that happened overnight, some things to intimate to share and some things I still haven't shared with my 3, but in time I will. I remember thinking before they each woke up that it would be nice if we all could just go back to sleep and either not wake up or wake up to it all being a very bad dream.  I know that children are given devastating news everyday...but these were my children. The 3 that I would do just about anything to protect their hearts from hurt. But this one thing I couldn't protect them from. I remember thinking how am I suppose to even function today, tomorrow or the next day or days after. I remember thinking how can I do this alone. I remember thinking the Easter bunny still has to come, we still have to be thankful for Jesus' resurrection-more so now. I still wanted to worship my Savior somehow. We did on a mountainside, at an Easter evening service. Sunday still came.

Fast forward to this Saturday-we've come a long way. We've made it through several Easters now, still praising God for His wonderful gift...Jesus! It's because of that gift that we have made it this for. While I hated telling my children about the death of their daddy-I love knowing that they all know how they will one day spend eternity with him and better ---with Jesus! They all know that He died for each of us so that we may live. They all know the sacrifices He made out of love for us. They love Him and have learned  through adversity, pain, suffering. Me?? I'm still learning too. Daily. Hourly. So as I rushed them to bed tonight I was thankful for the lessons hardship has brought us, thankful that I can one day explain just what the love of Jesus did for us in 3 years, 6 years, 12 years. How even as I watched them sleep, 3 years ago, with the dread of them waking up to the news I had to share-I knew Sunday was coming, Resurrection Sunday, and how much hope that Sunday brought and how much hope this Sunday still brings. Sunday's Coming-thank God Almighty!!

Happy Easter

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 23rd

Holy Week! Love love this time of year. Love the building up of all the happenings to the greatest sacrifice ever made for me. Better yet--next Sunday we celebrate our RISEN SAVIOR!!!  I've loved Christmas all of my life, but later in life, as my walk with Christ has broadened & strengthened, Easter is what it's all about to me as a Christian. It's so exciting every year to be reminded and to celebrate our Saviors sacrifice, His death and His resurrection. My kids have grown to love it as much-not the whole Easter bunny, eggs thing but we love being reminded when we do things like our resurrection garden or our resurrection bread. The garden is a visual of a tomb waiting for Jesus, and Friday as we cover the tomb, reflecting on what He did for us and Sunday the stone being rolled away-all the while seeing the 3 crosses. Rejoice!!!! We've been watching the mini-series The Bible for the past few weeks-what a great time with my 3. They are so excited that we are now watching Jesus' life, leading up to His resurrection, this week, Holy Week. The boys have been telling me what will happen next-what joy that brings this mama that her 10 & 13 year old have these stories deep in their heart. Love it when the 3 of them see the angels fighting and they all say, " bet that's what my daddy is training to do." Makes me smile. Holy Week and Easter took a new meaning 3 years ago. I was able to experience God's love like never before. I literally basked in His grace and mercy, dependent on both to get me through another day, another hour, waiting on a miracle, a healing. I continue to bask in that same grace and mercy even though things didn't turn out as I'd hoped and prayed. However, I was given the absolute certainty that God's love for me is perfect, even when circumstances don't always seem perfect. I was given answers to questions I've had since becoming a believe about suffering, death and faced a fear of losing someone I loved. I was given comfort in knowing that Shane truly loved God, truly trusted Him even though unsure of the outcome. What comfort that brought me then and now, 3 years later.
Ironically, 3 years ago today, after receiving devastating news, I was shown how Shane's trust and love for God would give him and me strength for the next few weeks...until God received his spirit on April 3.  I was looking back at some journal entries from that time.

Written Mar 23, 2010 2:38pm
Lots of things have transpired since my last post. I will spare some of the details but for most of you that don't already know here goes. Shane was admitted to the hospital last Wed for some complications that we thought were due to some pain medicine. In making sure this was the cause he had a CT scan performed on Thu morning. In the meantime we had received a text from our oncologist saying that Emory had said no to IL2, we had already felt that it would turn out that way, we or they not truly convinced that it was indeed a melanoma. So Shane was told that he could start his 2 new chemo drugs Friday or Monday, which ever one he chose. We were extremely comfortable with that. Feeling when we were on chemo that we were being proactive and getting closer to beating this cancer. We, along with most, assumed that there would be nothing really to show on the CT scan. However, as most of you have seen, that is not the way it has been since October. We had waited on the doctor to come in and he did about 4, I had walked out of the bathroom and he motioned for me to come over, patted the chair, and said lets talk. As I type this I get the same sensation all over my body as I did that day-hot, burning, sweaty sensation. I knew to my very core that things were not good. Shane and I were told that the complication that he was having in his belly was in fact the stinking cancer. In its cancerly fashion it had spread and invaded his small intestine. It was causing a blockage in his intestine. Not only that, his original tumor has continued to grow and the horrible disease has started invading the sac around his heart. This was shocking to us and I think to the doctors. None of us had any idea that this cancer was sooooo aggressive. Ironically, the doctor said he hardly ever saw a cancer metastasize to the small intestines, really the only one he ever sees do this is...melanoma. We were told that we could continue to do chemo if we wanted, but to do so would probably be just palliative care, meaning it would just be for pain management, etc. The doctor suggested focusing on quality of life now, and suggested calling hospice. As recalling that day and those words, I get physically sick all over again. Put yourself in our shoes. That is words you only hear on Lifetime movies. You don't hear these words at 38 and 40 years old with 3 kids under 10! What????? Luckily, Shane knows the doctor and it was a blessing that he was extremely compassionate. While the doctor was still there I look over at Shane, trying to hold back tears and say "I am so sorry Shane," he, in true Shane fashion said, "No, I am sorry for you, I get to go to Glory." The doctor left us with our thoughts and tears. I crawled in the bed with my husband of almost 14 years and wept like I have never wept before. God hears every moan and cry but He didn't have to listen very hard last Thu, they were audible all over the hospital I am sure. We had some time together and then Shane wanted OUT of the hospital, he wanted to be home. Then we had the daunting task of sharing this with our parents and children. Shane decided that we would focus on the quality of our time, and that does not include vomiting from chemo and running to and from doctors appointments. So right now we are focusing on keeping him pain free and comfortable. I will never know this side of heaven the "why" in all of this. I know there are so many of you that will never understand it either. At the same time, I know that my God is a bigger God than this stinking cancer and that He CAN heal Shane. If God chose to heal Shane now, there would be no question on Who or What healed him. There would be no doubt that it was His healing power, no chemo, no medicine, not anything but the healing hand of our Father. So, although the news seems bleak, I am asking you to please keep praying for that miracle. Most of you, like me, have never really witnessed a true miracle of healing. I know that they happen and would love to experience one right now. I'm not sure how God determines exactly who to heal in the flesh, but I am still praying that Shane would be one of those that He does choose to heal in the flesh. Shane has so much more he wants to do for the Kingdom but at the same time knows that whatever the outcome, God WILL receive the Glory. I feel like some of you are saying "oh, poor DeAnn, she must be in denial, still praying for that miracle." I can tell you, no, I am not in denial, I am seeing Shane's health deteriorate in front of my eyes, I don't like leaving his side, I don't like going to sleep at night, I don't want another tomorrow without him, and I can't fathom raising these 3 children without their daddy so, no, I am not living in denial, I am living in Faith. Faith that God, if He so chooses, can heal every stinking tumor in Shane's body as fast at they came into his body. I also have the faith that God's plan is sovereign, whether I like the outcome or not, God's plan is perfect for Shane, me, Jake, Sam and Molly. I was recently reminded that right now Shane and I are in our Garden of Gethsemane. We are asking God to take this cup of suffering away but at the same time we are saying "your Will not mine" but oh how hard that is for me right now. I want Shane here as my husband, my best friend, and the father of my children but also want God's will to be done, so that He will be glorified. Jesus, the very Son of God, asked God, while he was in Gethsemane, if there was any other way for Him to be glorified and I, a child of that same God,i s asking Him right now, isn't there another way for You to be glorified, any other way than this??? I am asking you to please pray those big prayers of healing, pray for that miracle we have all been waiting to witness, pray for peace to surround Shane, myself and the children and pray that God receives ALL the glory no matter what. We thank you all for all the prayers, thus far, and for your continued prayers. We feel your love, we feel your prayers so please don't stop now. So let us come BOLDLY to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16

Always nice to see where I was, where I am, and have reminders of Gods provision then and now.  When I read the words I wrote on March 23, 2010 I still get the sick feeling all over again. The difference??? I know the outcome. I know the victory! I know the beginning, the middle and the other beginning of this story-Shane's story and mine. I also know the past chapters, and know the upcoming chapters of mine and my childrens life story will continue to be blessed according to God's perfect plans for all of us.  Best part...through it all I have been able to experience so much of HIM. For that I am forever grateful, forever changed, and more in love with my Savior than I was 3 years ago. I'm also reminded that I will have that same victory as Shane---"I get to go to Glory." Can't wait.  Enjoy your Holy Week, take time to reflect on Gods love for you.

Remembering the Cross!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dancing with my Daddy

Guest blogger-The possible thoughts of Miss Molly Richardson-age 6

My mom just received a text message that the deadline for tickets to the Daddy Daughter dance was this Thursday. Oh how I'd love to dress up and go...with my daddy. I was asked to go last year by my daddy's best friend and his daughter. It was fun, except for the whole tornado thing and the fact that I felt like every one there probably noticed that I was there with someone else's daddy. I have a few questions about the whole Daddy Daughter dance fad. First, kinda stinks that this event became REALLY popular about the time that my daddy went home. My mom says that they NEVER had anything like this when she was little. I hear my mom talking about how she doesn't like them. I know she's really happy for all the little/big girls that get to go with their daddy's. I hear her say she wished they had these dances when she was growing up and how it's good for daddy's to have special time with their little girls. I hear her say my daddy would have LOVED getting dressed up  to take me to dinner and to dance the night away. She tells me how daddy would have been the first one to electric slide, Cupid shuffle at the dance. I hear her say how he would have had more fun than any daddy there. I also hear her say it stinks that there are some little girls, like me, that aren't privileged enough to have a daddy here, available to take their little girls to a dance just for daddy's and daughters. I've heard her say how she knows its good for daughters and daddy's need that time but it just seems to draw attention to the little girls that are unlucky, to not have a daddy. No matter if its death, divorce, or just an absent dad-it stinks for those. While its sweet when I have offers to go with other men in my life, there's just not a replacement for my daddy. I hope that these little girls that are getting to have a date with their daddy's know how lucky they are. Hope they never take a second for granted. Hope they always appreciate when their dads are at their dance recitals, ballgames, appreciate when their dad gets to kiss them and tuck them into bed. Hope they always appreciate when they want their daddy to push them in a swing -he is there to do just that. Hope they appreciate when it's time to take the walk down a long aisle to meet their soon-to-be husband that its their daddy that is holding their arm. Saying all this so that you can remind your daughters to appreciate their dads. I still know I'm a very blessed little girl--I had an awesome, love filled 3 years with my daddy. I am blessed because God gave me a wonderful ability to remember things about my daddy. I can remember how he would swing me for a long time, how he would put me on his shoulders facing him and dance with me then flip me backwards. I remember him being sick and being home with me and watching Snow White over and over and he never complained. I remember his nickname for me-lil curl. I remember how he loved me like a daddy should love his baby girl. My mom tells me how many times he covered me with kisses.

Just the other day on the way home from school, after a few dads eating lunch with friends, I said to mom, "I sure miss having a daddy." My mom, in  her wise way, reminded me that I do have a daddy---he is just lucky to be LIVING in heaven. She also told me that I have a Father in Heaven that loves me more than any daddy on earth ever could. So while I'm very thankful for all the men in my life that fill in for my daddy-I take the most comfort in knowing my Father has a special love for those that are fatherless. I am happy knowing that not only will i have endless daddy/daughter dances one day in heaven, I will be able to one day dance for and with my Father that loves me more than any daddy can. So for this year I have chosen to sit this dance out and hang out with my big bros instead. Got a feeling my mom will dance with me at home...she's a better dancer than dad anyway:) Daughters--enjoy your daddy's-dont take a single second for granted.