Good Grief

Good Grief

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Closing out 2015

Closing out

I always like to close out the current year with a few thoughts to later look back on as I welcome a new year. 2015 was good to me and my 3. We continue to survive and actually thrive. 5 years of living through and learning from grief is something we 4 should be proud of. As memories continue to fade a bit more  and grief is slowly losing it's harsh sting and grip on us, we continue to learn and grow from it all. As time slowly takes away certain things it can never take away the love, pain and suffering that makes us who we are right now.
I claimed 2015 as a time to move forward instead of constantly looking back. I think God agreed that it was a good thing, it was time. He's brought so much more healing, He's provided a job for me that I absolutely love, he's allowed me to add to my friendships with some great people I get to work with each day. He has allowed my heart to continue to mend by giving me tons of children to love on,  their sweet love and hugs are the best band-aids.
I hesitate to mention (only because I don't want to jinx it) but here goes  - God has brought joy and laughter and hope to me through a someone. 😊 As I type those words-my smile couldn't be any bigger. Laughter comes easier, days are brighter, and it's easier to look forward instead of back. Thank you.
The kids couldn't be better. Jake continues to grow upward instead of out. His sweet girlfriend has changed him for the better in some areas. He still takes out all his anger on his mom but that's ok-I'm all he has to do that on and I've been told that one day, one day he will come around and love his mama for it. Fingers crossed and prayers said.
Sam is Sam. My middle one-the one who strives to do the right thing. I hold my breath because with growth changes happen. 13 in February. He's not like his brother and hope that holds true through the changes. He makes me laugh daily, still loves his mama. Y'all his heart-his heart reminds me of his dads. Good thing, very good thing.
Molls-her growth stops me in my tracks. She is a 19 year old in a 9 year old body. She needs to stop growing.  Her smile continues to be infectious. She's my lil bestie and continues to want to stay under her mamas wing. I'm good with that because soon, like her brothers, she'll be wanting to leave my nest.
My 3 are the reason I get up, the reason I cry, and reason for my heart to continue to break and mend all at the same time. I love them with my whole being.
As 2015 has brought change, more healing and lots of joy I have to hope that 2016 brings more of the same. I continue to be thankful for what I've been through because it's given me a perspective that most don't have. It helps me appreciate people and feelings, appreciate time, and moments. All the yuck has helped me to appreciate how fast things can change and how precious people are. Learning through all this just how sweet grace and mercy truly are.
As you close out 2015 and you look back -my hope is that whatever has happened, good or bad, your perspective has been changed. That you can learn from what's happened and use it. My prayer is that 2016 is even better than the last. That God continues to plan out our days according to His will. That He continues to heal us, use us for His Glory and let others see Him through us.
Thanking Him for so much, for laughter, joy, time, new people, new experiences.
Closing out yet another year and opening up what a new one has.
Blessings to you and yours.
Happiest of New Years!


Monday, December 7, 2015

Different, Strange and Good

This year, as the Christmas season has hit me square in the gut, I've realized things being different aren't always bad. Don't get me wrong, I've struggled and complained about less time to shop, less time to decorate, less time to enjoy,  just less of everything . Working full-time has allowed me to, once again, change my perspective of life and all things involved. While I do miss the time to think and shop and just be in the season I've realized that with or without time or the most perfect gifts Christmas will still arrive even if DeAnn is ready or not. As Ive listened to our 3 year olds bible story for the past few days, I've heard Mrs. Edwards remind our  11 princesses and have them echo, "Christmas is a birthday. Who's birthday? JESUS!" When they say it they say it with gusto and excitement. Just as it should be said. Clearly a reminder of how excited believers should be about this day and not the gifts, the decorations, attempting to make it all perfect. Every. Year. I struggle with being letdown because I didn't decorate as I use too, my house wasn't as clean as I'd like for it to be when company comes over, I didn't buy the perfect gifts, I didn't get my Christmas cards sent to everyone on my list. Im sure this year will be no different--Ill still have regrets, I'll still feel like I slighted someone or something.
Then there's that perspective thing. As time is scarce and things are different I'm finding that things just don't matter. As I look at my garland that decorates my mantel and see that half of the lights are not burning (literally half the garland is lit) and this is clearly not a Pinterest decor worthy mantel...I just don't care. The other half is still beautiful and in the grand scheme just doesn't matter really. Yea, yea-I may get around to fixing or adding lights then again I may not. As my shopping is more online than actually physically picking things out I'm discovering again, that it just doesn't matter-the thought is still there, time spent doing it and the same love for the person. My house is never as clean as I'd like it to be, my tree is not magazine worthy, and my b'fast casserole will probably be a lil dry again,  but this year, as the last 5ish, have all been very different. Making me realize that different is not always bad. Different changes perspective, different can be actually very good. Different is remembering this is all about the King of Kings BIRTHDAY. The very man we celebrate this time of year was very very different. Different in such a good way.
This year, whatever is different in your life, take a moment to embrace what that is. If it's the absence of someone, if it's different living arrangements, if it's a new work schedule-try to see different as good and different as a time to grow. Hard? Yes!! Just know that nothing good ever stays the same. Embrace the changes, strangeness and differences around you. Let the changes and differences surrounding you change you...for the better. Merry Christmas and remember -"Christmas is a birthday. Who's birthday? JESUS!"
Happy Birthday Jesus and thank you for being different and loving us differently.

Thursday, July 16, 2015



So I posted a huge question that's been bothering me.

If change is suppose to be so good then why is it so hard?

I've never done well with change-ever. I like things to stay the way they are and unfortunately we all know things don't stay the way they are-good or bad. I like my ruts, routines, habits. I get comfy and cozy and then if something happens to change my comfy-cozy it disrupts my whole world. You'd think after a life changing experience 5 + years ago I'd have gotten use to change. I haven't. I'm a comfort seeker. We all are, aren't we? Why jump ship if it's not sinking? Why fix something if it's not broke?

When I asked my friend/mentor the above question, her answer was what I needed. Her answer in her too-the-point way was::: "because God wants us to face challenges WITH him, not in independence."

We all know change is inevitable in life. Always something happening to make life a little bit uncomfortable. One of those changes is a new job/career. Especially when you are extremely happy in the one you have. Most of you know I'm an assistant at a pre-school. Love my kids, love my co-workers, love my hours-especially my Fridays off. However, as change has it- so do finances, family needs, the fact that your son is about to be driving which causes huge changes to a moms budget. I was told by my advisors that it just may be time to look for something else. I didn't want to. But I also didn't have to "look." A position became available at Unity, where my kids attend. It all worked out and I start August 3rd. I've been in turmoil about having to leave a job I absolutely love. Asking why am I having to leave when I didnt really want to. This place has been therapeutic to my heart. I started a year after the dynamics of our family had changed. These children, the ladies I work with have been my salve for a wounded, broke-wide open heart. This little school has loved me and my 3, especially Sam and Molly because they went there. Gina,  gave me an opportunity to give and receive something my spirit needed. The school understood Molly's little broken heart and how having her mom close by made it easier. They've prayed for us, given to us. The families of this preschool have done the same. My brown bag Wednesdays always reminded me that we were loved. I've fallen in love with these children as if they were my own. On my worst days id walk in and a child would make the worst days my best. So why would I want to leave? Why leave a job you love--I really don't want too but...

I'm getting to go to a school where I'll be doing the exact same thing. Loving, encouraging children. Letting them love and encourage me. As I cried in my kitchen about some of the children that would have been in my class this upcoming year (that i had when they were 2) sweet Sam placed his hands on my shoulders, looked my square in the eye (yep, he's that tall) and said, "but mom, you now get to be with your 3 kids everyday." Wise boy. I'm being allowed the opportunity to work alongside so many that carried us in prayer during the darkest moments in our lives. They've loved us long and well as a school family and now I get to be a part of that same family. I get to be under the same roof with my 3-which they all, even J, seem to be very excited about. I continue to be able to have their schedule, go home with them at the end if the day, spend Christmas vacation and summer breaks with them. I get to fall in love with some new families, love on their babies as my own.
So as much as I've fought leaving and changing I'm also feeling very blessed. So blessed to be given this opportunity. An opportunity to help my family more financially. As hard as it is to give up those part-time hours I'm feeling blessed that it's not office hours where I will be away from them after school and summers. As much as I hate changing my routine I'm reminded all good things come to an end. Seasons change-so does life. As much as I hate thinking of not being with my old coworkers daily I'm excited to work along new ones, make new relationships while maintaining my old ones. I thank them all for walking alongside of me through this season of life. For loving me through. I thank the parents that have let me pour into their children if just for a little while. It's healed me. There will always be a special place tucked away for my Rome First family. Thank you.
I thank Unity for giving me this great opportunity for me and my 3. I get to be a part of growing the Kingdom. I've sacrificed to keep my kids here because it was important for Shane and I, important to him to keep them here. I'm excited and hesitant all at the same time. Change is hard.
The friend/mentor that I mentioned earlier gave me the best reminder, encouragement of all. When I texted her that I had an offer from Unity she texted me and told me that she knew something like this would happen-that very morning she woke up from a dream in a cold sweat. She explained that in her dream she was in her old office with Shane. They were talking and Shane told her, "Gina, you have to remind my wife that change is good." She said it was so eerie, she couldn't explain it---until I texted her about the job, then it was very clear.
So as I prepare for a new chapter, a new season I ask for yet, more prayers. Please pray that I find peace in it all. That I, along with my 3, find our balance, our new groove. Pray for endurance as I get use to a longer schedule, pray God helps this scattered mom/dad of 3 to manage time wisely. Pray that my heart heals from leaving friends, families and children. Pray that my heart is wide open to love more children, more families, more co-workers. Pray for the teacher I will assist that we may have a great relationship and pray for my class. Especially pray that I see this change as good and from God, that I continue to see it as a blessing.

And yes Shane---you won again. I remember him saying shortly after Molls was born- "DeeDeeBo will have to go back to work full-time when Molly's in school." I shook my head no.  Yep-Shane-you won and yes Shane, CHANGE is good.

~3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

Monday, July 6, 2015

What Was, What Is and What's Yet to Be

Things that were, are and what's yet to be!

I've told several people this week that July 4th is almost as depressing to me as New Years. As a kid I loved the 4th-always meant a day with family, homemade ice cream, watermelon, fireworks and a late summer night. Always knew that the 4th meant the heat was unbearable so the attic fan went off and the big ole window a/c unit we had came on. These were the days before it was the norm to have central heat and air. I always remember right before bedtime the air was turned off and the attic fan came back on. Windows up at night meant laying there listening to frogs, crickets and summer sounds. Also meant the worst feeling in the world -sticking to ones self-you know-putting the cotton sheet between your legs so your sticky legs stay separated as not to "stick to yourself." Great memories. Those nights I remember thinking myself to sleep of what life as an adult would be. Never dreaming of what real life as an adult would entail, really.
Now the 4th just reminds me that summers almost over-and with that school begins again. The 4th reminds me now, as it use to, that my birthday is just 10 days away and then that was huge, now? -not so much. Just reminds me now how fleeting time really is. Reminds me of how much things change, that I have NO control over.
I went to our neighborhood pool (usually frequent the Murphy compound country club-members only;) for the first time this year yesterday with my longtime friend and neighbor, kindred souls we are. She has 3, I have 3, we've struggled through some yuck together and came out better I think and we both love us some Jesus. As I walked to the pool the silence was deafening, no kids. As I sat down beside her ready to bask in some sun I told her how different it felt without kids underfoot. Use to it was tons of toys, swimmies, snacks, sunscreen, cooler. Lots of "Mama's!" Yesterday it was me, a towel, my phone and a drink. No kids, no "mama's" no swimmies. I lay there remembering how there was once a time I couldn't wait to put the youngest down for a nap and run, I mean run, for just a short hour with just 1 or 2 of the kids for some pool time.  If the boys would rather hang back with daddy--even better.
Today? I have to about pay them to go anywhere with me. Jake's been drifting for a few years now-uninterested in the family pool, rather ride atv's at the compound and ok to stay home alone. This year-the other 2 are only satisfied for a bit to play pool wiffle ball together before they are tired and ready to go. Yesterday, with no one around you would have thought I had lost my right leg. Thankfully me and my friend filled the time solving all of our problems and before I knew it we'd spent several hours-just us ladies doing nothing.
All that alone time got me thinking about life today. This year, this 4th was the first time in 15 years that Jake has not been with me for a holiday. He's always stuck close to home-I always did as well. This year, however, he's gotten himself the sweetest girl friend, Girlfriend? He was invited to spend the 4th with her and her family. Thankful it's her because I love her and her family. I do admit, it was weird not having him around even though he's a distant 15 year old. Which got me reflecting something I mentioned in my last blog post-the fact that I only have a few more days, literal days with him. Before he ventures out into life. Coming right up behind him is Sam. He's always been the social one-going going going. So I've grown use to his short absences. I know that his absences will become more frequent which leaves me and M. I've recognized changes in her as well. Use to, she was always right next to me but now she seems to be growing wings that takes her away more. She doesn't think I hung the moon, stars and sun any longer. Instead the eye rolls and shrugs have already begun. With each passing day--they grow a little bit further away from me. You'd think I'd be ecstatic to have a little alone time.

 I'm not.

 Contrary-I'm dreading it.

I know it's inevitable that they grow, mature and leave but it's all happening way too fast. Would  i feel different if their dad was here? Probably so.
 You see, he and I had big plans. He'd planned to be close to retirement at age 55-in time for us to be able to take road trips to colleges, travel abroad(if I could've persuaded him to fly), and then be full-time grandparents. I always knew that our relationship would be stronger after parenting, growing closer even after they left because we were such good friends. Didn't foresee any of the growing apart that sometimes happens as empty-nesters. Think we'd have had a rekindling of sorts.
Now? Now it's just another #widowprob. Loneliness. While pouring all of your time, energy and love into your children-at the end of the day--they move on. I want them too-I want them to have lives of their own. I don't want them to have to worry about their mom, being lonely, aging. I want them living the life they were meant to live. No, I'd prefer to not be alone in my later years-but it's not looking good. Haven't lost hope but waiting on God. Who knows maybe it's meant for me to be alone so that I can be that full-time grandmother (DeeDee) maybe they'll make me a mom-in-law suite so I can assist in their busy lives.
Or better yet, maybe they'll set me up at the beach with many bedrooms so they can visit for free anytime they want-I promise to cook, I promise not to have  too many rules, I promise to not hover, or insist on time, but promise to love them with unbridled, non-judgmental grandmom love.
So as I wrap up another day by the pool-watching 2 play, dive, laugh and love life and hear the other one take many miles on the bobcat listening to the music I try to like, I think of what was, what is and what's yet to be. Praying I live in each moment, soaking up every bit of time I have with them, remembering I'm never alone, and pray for full, complete, wonderful lives for my 3 and their families one day.  Oh and Lord I'm thankful for central heat and air so that I no longer have to stick to myself. It's the lil things.

Happy What's Left of Summah!!!


Monday, June 29, 2015


I love conversations that make me think. Conversations that make me keep thinking about what was asked or said even a day or so later. The other night I had one of these chats.  I was asked, "What scares you?" My answer was shallow at the time, but later when it was just me, myself and I, i really had a chance to think about that question and my answer to it.

What scares me::: other than the usual--snakes, really bad storms and things that go boom in the night there's some pretty deep stuff that scares me. Here's a few::

Raising these children of mine and not totally messing them up.
Raising them until the time I watch them leave this mamas bird nest. I just read a book and the character was describing how she was a single mom taking her son to leave him at college. How it felt to walk out, leaving him to a new life and knowing that he had been her reason to live and how it felt to walk out of his dorm room...alone. Terrifying.

Terrified of being in control of providing for my 3. Doing the mundane house repairs, car purchases etc. I've got some wonderful people to help out but when it gets right down to it...left to me. Decisions scare me.

I'm terrified of not finding a love like I've had. The kind of love that I never have to question, never have to feel insecure, never feel unloved. A love that totally fills me up.
I'm terrified of never trusting someone else with my WHOLE being. Trust is huge- it's the biggest most important part of love to me. To know that no matter what-no matter how ugly I can be, no matter how big of a B I can be, no matter how unloving I may be that there's a person that will  never leave me. That no matter how many temptations come along-I'm their number one. No matter if things aren't always perfect in all areas that he won't. walk. out. Someone that I can tell my deepest darkest secrets too and I can trust that they will continue to love me anyway.

Not having someone that will stand up for me, even if it means hurting some feelings. Someone that's always got my back. The willingness to sever relationships if that relationship hinders ours.

I'm terrified of dying without finding love just like I've described. Of dying alone.
While I know I'm blessed beyond measure to have my children and family surrounding me no matter what-there's something to be said about another loving  you with unbridled-butterflies in your belly-crazy-mad-wonderful-passionate-faithful love. Seriously, I just want The Notebook kinda of love. Someone that will stick it out even if I don't remember who they are. Someone that would bathe me when I can't bathe myself.

Thankful that I have had something wonderful to measure it all too.  Thankful that there's been a few loves in my life to know what I want and need and can have.

Thankful to recognize that when I read over my list of things that scare me that there is someone that loves me with most of these qualities and can help with my scaredy-catness. He's pretty amazing. Never let's me down. Loves me like no other, even loved me better than Shane. If you don't know Him, I'd love to introduce him.

His name is...Jesus.

However, one thing about having been blessed with some sweet past relationships is knowing what human touch, and affirmations feel like. Maybe a curse or a gift-not sure but tangible love and the lack thereof is another thing that scares me.

Thankful to have been asked this question, to have had time to reflect, to ask for Jesus to continue to be all I need so that I can lay my list of "things I'm scared of" down at the Lover of my soul.


Friday, June 26, 2015


Another afternoon pool day has been blotted out by dark clouds and thunder. As much as I love the pool and sun I do love me some summertime storms (preferably on the beach balcony and not my perch at the house on the hill) -not real sure if it's the storm itself or the anticipation of the storm. As I sit outside listening to the rumbles and now the storm sirens going off in the distance I get that weird feeling deep inside. You know what I'm talking about. Unsuredness (that a word?) is this gonna be like some before? Is this the one that may threaten one of my 5 oak trees? Will it bring the much needed cleansing rain?  Or is it just going to pass over like most do? Ironic that I have time to thank about all this now, today. This is not a political-get-on-my-high-horse-post but what my post are really for---me and my kiddos. Hopefully, one day we can look back and read some of these posts and remember what the feeling was of that day. Last week my heart was burdened with the Charleston murders. Today, a Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriages. Again, not going political and voicing my views but voicing the feeling of my heart. Right now-at this moment-watching a storm brew I feel like I'm watching a storm brew in a America. My heart aches at the pain, hate, and just an unsettled feeling of the RIGHT NOW. In case you've had you're head in the dirt and hadn't noticed, things are nasty and they are not going to get better anytime soon. Pardon the pun-but the stuff gettin' deep up in here.
-Things are being accepted that are clearly not scriptural.
-People are killing each other because of their skin color and not remembering all of our blood is red. This has been happening for years but today it just seems to  get closer and closer to home with more and more occurrences.
-deaths from crazy diseases.
-deadly flooding
...and this is the short list.
While I'm all about tolerance and accepting others that are different-I do stand firmly in my beliefs of Gods Word which also enlightens us all of what the end will entail. Are we there? Are we at the beginning or middle of the end? Is it just moments from when we all are relieved from this? I'm happy to say-"Come Quickly Lord Jesus."
 While the storm brews I can only wring my hands and wonder what I can do. I can take shelter as I do in a real storm, I can lean in to my Heavenly Father, depend and know that He's got this too. He knew of all of this- it's clearly in His Word. He knows.
But as a mama, I'll continue to wring my hands in anxiousness of how much worse it will get and how will it affect my 3. I'm human so doubt creeps in and fear takes hold of my thoughts and this mamas heart frets and worries about her children and her future. Satan likes to remind me that some of my prayers were never answered, and reminds me of storms that don't always turn out so well. However, I have a bigger God that reminds me that I've weathered one of the biggest storms a wife and mom can weather and I will weather these times of uneasiness as well-because He's got this. He's got me. He's got my 3. He told us that this would happen and he promised us goodness after all. So I'm thankful-that as bad as it may get, as far away as our country turns from Him-He will consistently take care of those of us who believe and trust in Him.

As I finish posting this while sitting on my balcony-the sirens and thunder have stopped, the wind has settled and as always....the Son is shining. I'm reminded that today-love did win and will continue to win because...GOD IS LOVE.

"When the dark clouds of doubt, anger or worry begin to move upon you, steady yourself in the knowledge that in time, the storm will pass."~Bryant McGill

Saturday, May 30, 2015

...and just like that, it's over

...and just like that, it's over.

One of my favorite ways to end my day when everyone's doing their own thing-is too scroll through Instagram. My new favorites to stalk are style blogs and I especially love summertime Instagram because of vacation pictures, memories being made, more family-less school. The style blogs take me to faraway places that I can only dream about in some cases. Others are just close to home and cute clothes. They are all in shape, dressed to the nines and sitting in some fabulous locales. I have to remind myself that these 20 something's lives aren't as perfect as the pictures portray, nor are their children. Even "friends" I follow sometimes look like they may be living a storybook life, again, reminding myself that most of the time it's not all beaches and prettiness. Other times, since life has shown me a sort of glass half empty way, I wonder what the future holds for some that seem to portray perfection. I wonder will these subjects have kids that stray and will the loves of their lives, smiling and giddy, in the photos leave them for another? Will someone get the dreaded diagnosis of cancer? Call me jaded-I can be-the cards I've been dealt aren't the best-but we-the Richardson 5 were those subjects once. My people made wonderful memories on the beach, each year we dressed us up in white and khaki and we made picture perfect memories on the beach. I snapped images of a loving, almost perfect dad with 3 loved kids. Every now and again there would be a picture of me, mom, smiling from the tips of my toes to the top of my head because life was near perfect. Dad, he had a wonderful job that allowed mom and kids to enjoy "country club" memberships, 2-4 vacations a year, the clothes we wanted, nice things when we wanted. We had good friends, great family time. Life was a story book and often I would pinch myself once I crawled in bed and smiled knowing that this was my life. I was one of those that never dreamt of what real life can bring. If Instagram had been around then I'd be posting my perfect life with all the perfect #hashtags.
Life was good
...and just like that, it was over.

Tonight, I don't feel like scrolling through Instagram, I don't want to see perfect lives because tonight my heart is heavy. My eldest sister had a childhood friend that always stood out to me. She was full of giggles, curls and joy. Even as a young girl I noticed her.  She ended up teaching me piano. I loved going weekly for her grand piano, her joy, her illustrations in my books and the smell of her moms cooking while I learned my notes. She went off to college, life took her away from Rome. Thankfully Her mom and Facebook has kept out families connected. She married, had kids and from what it looks like had a near perfect life. She and her husband love God and serve Him well. Her kids grew up, graduated and it was back to her and him. Doing life together. As couples do they were vacationing, enjoying time away, probably taking photos of their time at the beach. A place that he and I agreed-was nearest thing to heaven. Yesterday, she left the beach to head to their condo
...and just like that, it was over. He was gone. Drowned. Not sure if it was a real drowning or heart attack-doesn't matter. He was gone. Another perfect family-shattered.
I messaged her trying to convey my heart-words just aren't adequate at times like this. Thankfully, she knows that I get it, she responded telling me she knew I got where she was. She knows life is broken without the love of her life but has hope and peace knowing where and Who he is with. My heart breaks for her tonight-because this is just the beginning of some of the worst days of her life. I can not fathom being on vacation, at the waters edge
...and just like that, it's over.

Same for the lady that lost her life to the hands of man that once loved her and her kids-with one gunshot
...and just like that, it's over.

I can't say it enough-time is fleeting. Perfect lives are shattered daily, in seconds by sickness, tragedy, deceit, lies. Forgive my jaded eyes when I scroll and see smiles and joy depicted on Instagram because I know that life can be perfect
...and just like that, it's over.

Thankfully one day we will hear a trumpet blow, we will realize that this brokenness, suffering, and pain of earth will be swallowed up by our Savior
...and just like that, it will be over.

Prayers and love for the Alexanders.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015



Complacency means a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements. Security in the way things are. Being content with almost smugness.

 When I said this word to a man I just met this weekend while explaining how Christians seem to become complacent  in their walk-I did not know that the word and what it means would keep coming up in my heart, spirit. Then again, isn't that how God works? In mulling over the word and the meaning I need to admit that I've been complacent in my Christian walk. I've said before that since my encounter with sickness, death and the true and real presence of the Holy Spirit during that time and during a long season in my life that I've longed for that feeling again and again. I've said before that I hope for a way to be able to feel that again but without experiencing the hurt and pain I had to endure with it. I've become content with life and the way things are-I may not like it but I would say I'm content. I can say that in the past 5 years since that special season I haven't had those life/soul/heart/spirit encounters with Jesus. Partly because I've withdrawn, partly because I just didn't feel like I could ever truly experience that closeness to Father again. So life, both everyday and spiritual, has become complacent. I'm so not proud to admit that. Not proud that my children have seen their mom become complacent/content with life the way it is. I'm not happy I realize that  the more withdrawn I become from the Word, from fellowship, and even prayer I'm not disappointed when I don't have those mountaintop, come to Jesus experiences. But I've become content. Not my proudest moment.


This past weekend.

This past weekend made me realize that God is still as amazing as He was 5 years ago. He is still the same sovereign, righteous God today as yesterday and thousands of years ago. He is still the one that can and will do miracles. Yes, I still question why He will miraculously heal one and not the other, why things happen to good people and not bad. I was reminded that the hands and feet of Christ are still at work through those that love Christ and are willing to pour out Christ-like love on others in need.
As I sat in a hospital waiting room while realizing the news seemed bleak I remembered how in a season of my life that God was all I had, and pray is all I did. I was reminded how it was to only have Him to depend on. No one else, just God. As I prayed and surrounded my dear friend,  as she was left to wonder what else she could do, I remembered having friends surround me doing the exact same thing. Holding me up when I didn't have the strength to do so myself. Having reminders whispered in my ears of Gods goodness drowning out the words of doctors ringing over and over in my head. Wondering how I would make it the next minute much less the next day. Worrying, worrying about my babies-how would they handle this, how would they handle me not being around. I looked at her tear stained face and realized she was experiencing Jesus like she's never experienced Him before. Then I found myself being joyous-she was allowed to experience this. As sorry as I am that she and her sweet husband are enduring all of this at the same time I'm joyful-they will never be the same.

But thankfully, their story doesn't end there. A bleak situation that usually has a bleaker ending changed in a matter of minutes. As we sat there receiving news of results after surgery, still wringing hands, still thinking what-if-in literally a matter of minutes things changed. The doctor returned and said he was awake and told the doctor his name. We all were speechless, mind-blown and speechless. We had just been in the midst of one of Gods miracles. I couldn't help but think about all of the miracles I've read about in scripture and how amazed those people surrounding the bleak stories must've felt, they were feeling exactly what I was feeling, they were allowed to witness something bigger than words can explain, they experienced God. I was able to experience God like that again. Will I ever get use to that? I hope not.
The next day as I texted my friend to get an update I thanked her for allowing me to be a part of all of that. I was just a bystander but I was there for a purpose. God allowed me to be there to have a rekindling of my spirit of sorts. No-this wasn't at all about me-but all about them-their story. Their miracle, their mountaintop experience but I was able to witness it. I was like Mary, Martha and Lazarus' neighbors, just looking on but forever changed. Sunday morning as we sang How Great Thou Art in church-I sang it differently than EVER before. I cried knowing how complacent I had become. I hate that it took something so tragic to revive my spirit but God promised to use bad things for good. I know My friends will never be the same and I pray that years from now they will not grow complacent in their walk. That others there, looking on with mouths wide open, at the miracle that just happened will have rekindled spirits, rekindle their love for our great God. If there were those that question if there is a God -that this, this story will change them, open their hearts to our Father and His goodness.

Father, forgive me for being complacent in my walk with you, for becoming smug and thinking others haven't experienced You as I have. Forgive my content heart-help me to continue to strive for mountain-top experiences in the mundane, in the everyday, in life. Thank you God,  for continuing to perform miracles. Thank you for your healing hands. Thank you for the body of Christ that strengthens, restores and renews when needed most. Be with my friends-allow him to heal and continue to amaze us. Allow him to use what he's lived through (PTL) to bring Glory to you. Be with his wife-continue to give her strength, peace and allow her to continue to experience You through all of this. Be with their boys as they adapt to changes in schedules, life in the next few weeks. Use this Father to bring others to you-don't let all of this be in vain. In Jesus name--
"Comfort lacks motivational traits,it breeds complacency; hardship is the greatest motivating factor in life."~ Scottie Somers

Friday, February 13, 2015

An Open Letter to Shane

Open Letter to Shane

Apparently "open letters" are the in thing these days. I constantly see "open letters" on social media. Also, just read an article from a grief site that says a letter to the loved one you miss this Valentines is healing and I'm all about some healing, so here goes::::


Well, celebrating our 5th Valentines separate....again and 5 years later it still stinks. Every year when this 14th day of February rolls around I think about one of the sweetest things you ever did for me. Molly and I, and maybe Sam, joined you at Chick-fil-A for lunch. Being hands on parents and busy that was about as romantic a place we could eat:) Anyway, we were almost finished eating when 2 gentleman (one longtime friend and one friend/neighbor) and a 3rd man walked up dressed in tuxedos. Come to find out they were a barbershop quartet. They started serenading me. I'll have to get Danny or Tony to remind me of the sweet song. You had arranged for them to show up and sing to me, present me with a rose. Priceless, sweet moment you provided for me. Another sweet romantic moment I remember was when I was expecting Molls and we were at the beach at our favorite Italian restaurant. We were celebrating our 10 year anniversary. You and Sam went to the bathroom and when you came back 3 year old Sam said something like, "mama got a new ring." You laughed your infamous laugh that I miss SO MUCH and looked at me like you didn't have a clue what he just said. In a few minutes our waiter brought me a piece of cheesecake with...what else...a new ring stuck on top. You had picked it out and purchased all by yourself an anniversary ring for me. 3 diamonds-"past-present and future"--or as you said "Jake, Sam and soon to be Molly." Loved that moment. First because it was my first diamonds from you, because my engagement ring was an emerald. Second, because you did this by yourself, and thought of our past-present-future and our 3 children. That thought and gesture encompassed all that was the most important to you. You, me and our three. Priceless, romantic but most of all the fact that you adored me and our three. You were never selfish. You only asked for small moments of just you and me. You willingly and lovingly allowed me to put the kids before us. You never felt slighted, never jealous of my time I devoted to our children.  Maybe that's one of my regrets. We did carve out us time, but now, knowing what I know now-I would have carved out so much more of just me and you time. What I wouldn't give for a quick lunch date, a night to dress up for cotillion, a Valentine's date, a night of just watching a movie together, just you and me. Instead, my days are filled with loving our 3. Knowing that's exactly what you'd want me to do. Sometimes it's unrequited love, especially by the almost 15 year old. However, I think they know my love for them overflows from the love we shared. My hope is that they remember and know the love we had/have for each other and that they will never settle for anything less than that. Never settle for someone that doesn't love with their WHOLE heart, whole being. Like we did. Though you are no longer here, your love is felt, shared. So as Molly and I were driving back from dropping the boys off at school (donuts with dad equals hang-out with mom for m-another open letter sometime) I looked up and saw clouds that looked like lips-and I had to wonder if you or God had sent me a kiss emoji??!! Because I know you both love me and you both know I need sweet reminders of the love you and I shared.

So while I often say Valentines day is wayyyy overrated-today I'm thankful for a day that I have an excuse to write a letter to you, an "open letter."
I'm also thankful that I know without a physical husband-I still  have a "lover of my soul" and that is my Savior. So the "kiss" emoji is considered a reminder that I was loved by you in a way most may never know and that I'm loved by the One that created love, sacrificed in the name of love. Thankful. Blessed. Loved. Healing. 💋💋

Miss you,
Love you more,


PS-that hug you wanted me to have that you shared in a dream with H-I received it Saturday night from her. I also dreamt of you last week--you were walking toward me-my heart jumped like it  always did when I saw you. Then I woke up and remembered. DangIt.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Encounters of the Very Best Kind

Very thankful that God allows me to recognize a moment. Thankful that sometimes in my crazy life I have an encounter that changes me. An encounter that I'm pretty sure was set up by Him.
Ordinary, hurried morning, but today was the day that rolls around once a year where 18lbs of pressure squeezes the girls. Of course there's always anxiety and thoughts no matter how many times you've been through it. Today while waiting, I encountered the sweetest, strongest little lady I've ever met. I came upon her talking with another lady about all of her volunteerism. Busy lady. As others trickled in and out, thankfully i was allowed to wait a bit longer (God saw it as a time I needed) so I could talk to her a but longer. Somehow she ended up telling me how she ended up in Rome. No family, or kin, as she said. She told me she left her husband many many years ago. Apparently he was abusive and after 36 years she'd had enough. She'd raised 2 daughters, built a life, but after the daughters went off to college she was done. She told me she'd been asked before what triggered her leaving after staying for 36 years. She said she thought about that question for a few days and decided that the reason was, "not feeling safe in her own home, afraid to go to sleep at night." As she was telling me this, and others that came in, I sat in unbelief. Living with a man that you were scared of, living with someone you despised. I shared with her a blog I just read last night about a women and her cousin that met up in their  granddads hometown  to dance on his grave because of the abuse they endured by his hands, how they ended up going to the police department there and filed a report, knowing there was nothing that could be done since he was dead. How the the simple act of validating it by having a report made them seem lighter, relieved from the burden. How the kind policeman actually drove them to the cemetery but they decided it wasn't time for dancing. My new friend seemed to understand the bloggers feelings by the look in her eyes. She continued on by telling me how she started planning her departure, how she told her girls she was leaving. How one day as they both left for work, business as usual, she told her boss she had a doctors appointment at 10am and left. Left. Left with only the clothes on her back and that's all. Can't even fathom it. Wanting and desiring to leave so bad that you leave with nothing. She came to Rome and ended up at the battered women's shelter, aka Hospitality House. She told me how she went to the Salvation Army and they gave her 10 items to get started with, those 10 items included a belt?! Seriously? Only 10 items? She continued on with a little laugh about how blessed she was that one day she ended up with 2 jobs. Blessed?! She informed me that her working allowed her to rent a place in 2nd ave and life went on. Eventually, she had to face her demon in court but in doing so was granted a divorce and 1/2 of everything they had built together. Probably the longest 9 months of her life, but most freeing living at the battered women's shelter. I  asked hesitantly her age and she proudly told me 87! Seems her daughters are successful, but I have to wonder about them since they endured their fathers wrath for many years. My 87 year old friend is a giver. Volunteering fills her days. Her smile and sunny disposition touching many lives. Somehow her smile, after hearing her story, was even more beautiful knowing it obviously covers years of pain, hurt, fear.
Upon leaving, I told her how much of a blessing it was to have met her and to hear her story. It truly was. As I was telling my boob smashing friend goodbye, my newest friend walked out to head to her next hours of volunteering...this time with special needs adults. I was dying to know if she found love again so I asked, "did you ever remarry?" Her smile gave way to seriousness and she said, "No way, who needs a man, I'm too busy, I go when I want to go, do what I want to do and I don't have to ok it with anyone." I told her I had just read of a lady who just turned 104 and her secret was that she didn't deal with men. Obviously, there's something to longevity and lack of drama/men. As we departed ways when the elevator doors opened,  I bid her goodbye not sure if she was even aware how much she touched my heart in just the short time I'd been with her. I left feeling empowered, less worried about being man-less, thankful for being loved by a man that I didn't have to be scared of, reminded that we all have an inner strength to survive.  Hoping that at 87- I have the spunk, drive, heart, knowledge that a man doesn't define me and a beautiful smile that covers some deep hurts, different hurts than hers but deep. Thankful that God allowed me to have an open heart, spirit and ears to hear what He had for me today. Feeling somehow my new friend could actually be an angel. Thank you God for encounters-big and small, old and new.