If you’re in need of a planner, you might want to click this link.


IMG_6774
Need to organize your life? Need a personal assistant?

I know I do.

But unfortunately, the closest I have to a personal assistant is my six year old daughter who is somewhere between 6 and 25 and routinely refers to herself as a diva. With all of that said, as a single mom, (widow) and mother of five children and two dogs, I need help staying organized.

Erin Condren planners really help on this end.

The planners are well organized, bright and colorful and basically make me happy. She offers much more than simple planners and calls them Life Planners… Not only that, but there are IMG_6775notebooks, and stickers and things for your home…

Oh my, it just all makes me happy. It almost makes me forget about my crazy life.

So even though life can be tough, (because let’s face it; we’re busy mammas…) the LifePlanner that I have helps me to organize the cray cray and makes me feel happy when I gaze at the beauty of the planner itself.

They are not cheap, lest you pass out and wake up on the floor angry with me when you see the prices, but they are worth every penny… (And while I’m not cheap, I was a bit hesitant to spend that much) I will admit that it hurt to pay the steep price at first, but when my planner came in the beautiful box, well, I’m almost sure I heard angels singing. (okay, maybe it was me, but still)

In case you fail to believe all of my assertions, click the link below and check the site out. If you don’t see anything you like, I’ll come clean your house for free… And by that, I mean I’ll come over and sit on your couch and show you my planner while we talk over coffee. 🙂

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/gretchendeveaux0627

Advertisements

Surviving when Life kicks you in the buttocks…

IMG_0296

I know that my title is strange, but my husband always used the term buttocks, so it seemed fitting.  And really, that’s what it has felt like for the past four years.  Like life kicked us in the buttocks.

Like really hard… 

You’ve heard of sucker punches?

Well if there’s a sucker punch for the behind, that’s what it has felt like for quite some time.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I have to tell you a little more about my husband first.  Then maybe the title will make just a little more sense to you and you won’t think that I’m weird or inappropriate.  Or maybe you will; it could go either way.

 He was my best friend.

Someone I could talk to and share my heart with.

He was literally my only guy friend at the time

that didn’t try to push for something more than friendship.

I felt safe with him.

He knew my heart and he got me.

I never imagined that one day that he would become my husband.

But he did. 

It was like a fairy tale.

We never dated.

We never kissed.

                              He was my very best friend and one day he asked me to become his wife.

And I did.

One practice kiss before the ceremony, and a few hours later he was mine.

I was his.

And it was beautiful.

We shared our life and the children came and glued us together. Jobs came and went and a few gray hairs popped up here and there but his beautiful smile still melted my heart, and I seemed to melt his…

He encouraged me, he pointed me to Christ, he loved me, he believed in me; and we were happy.

Happier than I’d ever been before….

Life was good.

We were good.

The kids were getting older, and we grew even closer…

We dreamed together of our future…

A house in the country…

A huge front porch where we would watch our future grandchildren play

as we sipped sweet tea in our matching rocking chairs…

And then he got sick…

A stomach ache…

Which turned out to be colon cancer…

And I got scared.

And he told me to trust God.

So we prayed.

And we believed.

And he died.

For fifteen years, eight months, twenty-nine days,

two hours and fifty-two minutes I was his wife and he was my beloved.

I thought that in the end, our story would be our testimony of God’s goodness.

Instead; it is my testimony of his goodness and faithfulness.

It’s been almost two years since my husband passed away.

Two years.

Two years without hearing his voice, or feeling his arms around me.

Two years without his advice or encouragement.

Two years of being alone without my best friend.

If you’re married; close your eyes right now and imagine that for a few minutes…

Really think of how that would feel.

It’s not a good feeling, I can assure you…

I’m not sure how I’ve survived aside from the grace of God.

You see, He (God) was front and center in our relationship. He was the entire basis of what we were as a couple. He sustained us through a two year battle with cancer that ultimately took my husband home to be with the Lord.

Our five children were part of the equation that got me out of bed each day…

The other part of equation was that still quiet voice that spoke to my heart in the depths of my grief.

People kept telling me that I was strong…

That I was “amazing…”

I felt anything but those things.

I wasn’t strong at all.

I wanted to scream and cry and just disappear from my life.

I wanted to hide from the pain of living without my husband.

How was I supposed to live without the love of my life and my best friend in the whole world?

I’ll be honest… I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to live without him.

It just hurt too much.

The pain was unlike any pain I’d felt in my entire life and I was no stranger to pain.

It was hard.

There were lots of tears during that first year…

And I’ll be honest when I say that I wasn’t always up to wiping their tears when I felt empty and broken inside, myself. But I pushed myself, encouraged their hearts and often cried along with them.

I remember one day while I was cooking, I just broke down in the kitchen… The pain was just too great to bear… This was not supposed to be how things turned out. He should have been walking through the door soon and greeting me in the kitchen with a kiss hello as he did every day since we’d been married. I broke down into tears and slid to the floor… I was no longer the person watching an emotional scene on television; somehow I had become that person…

Because surely this was a movie and not my life…

It couldn’t be…

This couldn’t be real.

And yet there I was, in a crumpled mess on the floor in my kitchen living out every melodramatic crying scene I’d ever watched on tv. Except this was real. There were no commercial breaks or actors involved.

This was my life.

And I was falling apart.

I couldn’t hide my tears anymore and

I couldn’t pretend to be brave any longer…

It wasn’t very long when I felt several sets of arms encircling me… “It’s ok Mommy…. We’re going to see him again.” “Don’t be sad Mamma,” another voice said. “We love you Mom,” yet another much deeper voice urged. “We can get through this together Mamma,” my little one added. I opened my eyes and saw that my children had encircled me… They were repeating all of the things that I’d been telling them. They had listened and they were now encouraging me. They all sat around me on the kitchen floor and we all began to weep. It had been about six months since we’d lost him and the pain was still very fresh.

It was then that I made my decision to live.

I was still here and God obviously had something for me to do.

I had to make that decision to live. I had to decide what kind of life I wanted to live. Was I going to be bitter and angry or live in a constant state of depression? I didn’t want to do either. My children had already lost their father, I didn’t want them to lose me as well.

It hasn’t been easy, but God has been faithful. He has surrounded me with friends who have supported me and my parents who have been there for us as well. He has provided for us financially and emotionally. He is the reason that I get out of bed each day.

I have to be honest.

I wouldn’t have chosen this life.

I still miss my husband. He was and is still the love of my life. But I know that I can survive without him because I know who God is. He has given me the strength to go back to school and work on attaining my Master’s Degree in Counseling. He has given me the wisdom to love these five kiddo’s through their own grief while working my way through mine.

I’m a widow.

It’s still an ugly word to me.

I don’t like it at all.

But I’m also an overcomer. (Thank you Ms. Mandisa) I’m a child of God. I’m a mother. A student. I’m a teacher. I’m a friend. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister. I am so much more than the word widow allows for… I was his wife and now I’m not.  But I’m also so much more now.  I am a person who knows that people die and bad things happen.  I am a person who knows that life isn’t always fair and that you don’t always get that happy ending that you see in the movies.  But I’m also the person that knows that even though all of that is true that it does not take away from who God is, or what he is capable of…  He is still good, and true and real and merciful.  Because of what I have experienced in losing my husband I am a person who loves harder, feels more, believes more and trusts in God more.

I have survived because I refuse to let my husband’s death be in vain.

God had a purpose in it.

He has a purpose in all that he does.

He has a purpose for me and my children

and his death has birthed some things in us that we didn’t realize existed prior to his death.

How do you survive tragedy?

One day at a time.

Moment by moment…

Each moment; hanging onto God for dear life.

Because no matter what it looks like, he’s always in control. As my husband told me when he was diagnosed with cancer, “Baby, this didn’t catch God by surprise.” “It’s not like he was up in Heaven saying, ‘Oops! Robert has cancer! What am I gonna do?’” “The bottom line babe; is that He knows everything and he doesn’t make mistakes. I trust him. You have to trust him too.”

I don’t think he could have imagined how much I would think back on that conversation.  It has sustained me through some very difficult times.

Whatever it is that you’re dealing with;

good, bad, or ugly;

it hasn’t caught God by surprise.

The reality is that we put God in a box and look at him through our own failings and shortcomings.

Today, almost two years later, I can smile without crying…

Look at his pictures without crying….

And almost begin to dream again.

It’s still not the life I wanted or planned for, but I’m trusting that God knows what he’s doing… Life may have taken me by surprise, but I’m happy to know that God isn’t IMG_6357surprised by any of it.  So while Life may have kicked us both in the buttocks, I’d like to think I’m kicking back now, and that God is here with me, guiding my foot. 🙂

Be blessed friends…

God doesn’t need my help and other general realities…

IMG_0161
It’s been almost two years… Can you believe that?  Two years that my husband has been gone, and yet it still seems so new to me.  It seems like last month, not almost two years ago.  Time has passed, and the seasons have changed (as much as they can in Texas) and yet, here I find myself still grieving.  It’s changed, morphed if you will, into something different, but it’s grief none the less.  It’s a realization that  unlike what some of my friends may have thought, I have no interest in pursuing a relationship with someone simply because I should be over my husband by now.  Believe it or not, I am still very much in love with Robert.  I don’t know if that means we had an amazing love for each other or if I’m just obsessed.  I don’t think I am.  I think I was just loved very well by him, and while I am lonely at times, it is not simply for some random guy, but for my husband.

Tonight, as I tucked my twelve-year-old daughter in, (yes, I still tuck her in per her request) she began to cry, saying that she missed Daddy.  (I’ll be honest, I was worn out from working with little sleep and then going to a school planning meeting after work and I just wanted to goto bed)  My initial thought was, couldn’t you have missed him earlier?  I know.  Mother of the year award here.  I’m just being real with you.  I’m tired.  I’m just honestly kind of exhausted.  Grieving is draining.  I’ve dealt with some other emotional issues this past week as well that I won’t go into, but it brought up a great deal of pain.

So, she was missing Daddy, and her brown eyes were just brimming with tears, her nose was red, and she began to sniffle.  I knelt down and hugged her.  I told her that I missed him too.  That he was such a good Dad, that it was impossible not to miss him.

Bear started to cry…

Then I started to cry…

Then we all cried…

I felt an arm go around me and saw that Bobby D. had come into the room to console us and he had tears in his eyes.  Thankfully little boy was already asleep in the other room…

And so the four of us cried.  And then we cried some more.

And then Bear said she needed some tissue because she “had snot,”

and Bobby D. got her some tissue, and yes, we cried some more…

I talked to them all, I recited scripture, and I prayed over each of us.  I thanked the Lord for our time with him and I asked him to strengthen us…  To be the Father to my children that I couldn’t possibly be…

It’s hard y’all.

The hardest part of Robert’s cancer was seeing him in pain.  I could deal with anything but that.  When I saw him shed tears for the first time in our fifteen years of marriage, something inside me broke.  I prayed for God to heal him and take me as if God was in the business of making deals…  I could be strong, I could fight cancer and death and anything at all; but Lord; to see my husband in pain killed me.

I think that has been the hardest thing to see with my children.

Much like with Robert, I can’t take their pain away.  

There is no magic wand that will magically make everything better.  They are well-adjusted for the most part, and they are surrounded by their friends who walked with them during Robert’s cancer and subsequent passing, but there are those moments like tonight that come unexpectedly every so often like an unwelcome guest in your home.

I’m trying so hard to be a good mother to them. To find ways to say yes, to nurture them, to love them, to encourage them and to be their biggest cheerleader.

But I won’t lie and say it’s easy.

It’s hard.

Especially when there are days when I’m just wishing Jesus would come back already and take us all home.  There are days that I don’t want to get out of bed.  Days when I wake up not remembering that he’s gone.  Days when I’m asleep and dreaming of him and awaken only to be reminded of the cruel truth.  Days when I’m just plain exhausted.

But….

There are also the days when we laugh so hard we cry.  Days when I really get how blessed we truly are and how things could be much worse…  Days when a friend reminds me of what fun is…  Days when I remember how life used to be before cancer…  It’s not all bad.  It’s not all good.  It just is…

This is our life.

I was reminded tonight as I prayed for my sweet kiddo’s that I can’t possibly do this alone.

I’m a single mom who is in graduate school, leads a home school support group, leads my daughter’s bible/girls group, teaches classes in my home, teaches classes in my home school co-op, sells various things for extra income including jewelry and also has a part-time job to boot.  Oh, and I home school my children.

And yet, while I said that I can’t do it alone, that’s exactly what I’ve been attempting to do. Because I’m self-sufficient and I’m able. (at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself)

Except that I’m not.
At.  All.

I serve a mighty God, who is more able than I will ever be on any given day to raise my children. I serve a God who can take care of all of my needs. I serve a God who knows exactly what my children and I need at any given moment.

So why do I act like I have to have all of the answers?

(Because I don’t; and I don’t have to…)

A few days before my husband passed away, he sat us all down and talked to us about what could possibly happen to him, and he gave us some instructions on what to do in the event that he should pass away.

He said, “I want you to remember that no matter what happens, that God loves you.  I don’t want you to be angry with him, because he knows what’s best, and we have to trust him. He can heal me, but he may choose not to, and if he doesn’t that’s ok. I trust him, and I need you to trust him as well.  We may never understand what he’s doing on this side of heaven, but he has a perfect plan for all of us.  He’s going to take care of you and Mamma.  Y’all need to stick together and stay close to God, and remember that he’s in control, no matter what it may look like.”

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day.

It was the worst and best day. It was the worst, because I never wanted to think of living without him. It was the best because I fell in love with him just a little more… He had such faith. He was the one. My one. My person. And he was telling me to let him go and trust God.

He knew me like no one had ever known me in my life, and because he knew me, he made me promise to keep homeschooling the children.

(It was his idea originally; I thought he had gone crazy)

He also made me promise to finish my Master’s Degree that I had just started.

(because he knew I’d want to quit; which I did about ten times last semester)

Like I said; he knew me well.

I guess if I want you to take anything away from this, it’s that it’s still hard at times. I loved my husband. I really liked my husband. We talked everyday, about everything. We shared everything. We finished each other’s sentences. We were one; and I’m still trying to figure out how to live with a piece of myself missing. It’s as if someone came and tore a limb from my body. Of course, there are bandages in place, and the bleeding has stopped, but the arm is still missing. It’s healing slowly, but much like an amputee, I’m having to learn still, how to live and function without that limb.
The passage of time couldn’t possibly make the arm grow back, though it’s not as gory and messy as before. It’s still missing. And there are the pains associated with that limb no longer being there.

That’s the best analogy that I can think of to express how it feels to lose a husband.

My kiddo’s miss him quite a bit of course. Bear was two when he became ill and four when he died. At six, as she grows, she now realizes just what she’s missing in not having her Dad here. Little boy, who is nine has a hard time not having his Dad around and gets very emotional when he sees his friends with their Dads. Big girl, well, I honestly worry about her a lot, because she’s much like her Dad and holds it all inside. She has cried four times in two years. Bobby D. has his moments and wishes he could talk to his Dad about “guy stuff” and sports, as he’s quite the sports fanatic now. My oldest son, just has a sad look in his eyes when we mention Robert… I know he feels like he missed out on a lot because he didn’t live with us when Robert became ill.

We’re all trying… Trying to make a life without him.  I’m still trying to figure it all out.  We had an argument once and I remember telling him that I didn’t “need him” but that I wanted him.  I can survive without my husband; I just don’t want to.  He was kind of awesome really.  He was annoying too, lest I give the impression that he was perfect.  (He wasn’t)

He was just perfect for me.  He said the same about me. 🙂  

That’s the update….

I’m doing too much, on my own, when I need to rely on God.

That’s about the gist of it.

There’s no grand theme here, except that you know as I do

that God can do things way better than we can.

So if you’re struggling with letting go and letting God handle whatever it is in your life, I think we both know that we both, all of us really, have to let it go and rely on God.

If you’re still doubtful, google the Grand Canyon.

Can you do that?

Didn’t think so.

I told you so, he can do it better.

He sooooo doesn’t need our help.

Be blessed friends.  

IMG_5038

My crew…

You’re never alone, even when it feels like you are…

If you’ve never heard the song “Never Alone” by Barlow Girl, take a minute to listen to it in the link above.  That’s what this blog is about today…

Being alone.

Except that we’re not.

The song so aptly describes how I have felt at certain times in my life.

Alone; not heard…

Abandoned by people, and more importantly by God.

As a widow, it would be easy for me to fall into the trap of being bitter from feeling let down and alone by family and friends.  But we’re so not alone.  He’s with us.  He’s right here.

In our joy, in our sorrow, in our pain and disappointments…

He’s here. 

God. 

Creator of the Universe…

We are truly never alone, even if we feel like we have no one to turn to…

I have a part-time job now at a women’s retail store, (you know I love clothes, and I like the discount that I get even more) and I came across a woman the other day while I was working.

I greeted her as I do all customers, but she just looked so sad.  She then told me she was depressed…  I was busy and wondered if I should inquire… After all, I was at work, and I had things to get done.  But there was something about her that compelled me to talk to her.

I asked her if she was okay, and she said,

“No, I’m a widow.”

Imagine that…

She looked at me as if challenging me to make some flippant remark or give her my condolences.  I looked at her and simply said quietly, “I’m so sorry, I am too.”  Her eyes locked with mine, and there was a moment of understanding, of sisterhood, of pain, and loss and the gut wrenching sadness that comes from losing a husband too soon.

She came a little closer to me and shared the story of how she’d lost her husband of thirty-two years.  It was an embolism, and he died in her arms.  I immediately began to pray, asking the Lord to tell me what to say to her.  I needed to help her, I felt compelled to help her, but I had no idea how.

She then told me that she’d attempted to take her life four times.  She said that her life was pointless and my heart ached for her. She said that she couldn’t get out of bed, and said she was useless and no one was really there for her like they said they would be, and that she was alone.

There’s that word again; alone.

In a world absent of Christ, it can really seem as if you’re alone.  Even as Christians, we may go through times when we fail to feel the presence of God.  We feel like we don’t hear him, we feel like our relationship with him is dry or distant….

We feel alone.

“I waited for you today,

but you didn’t show 

No. no. No. 

I needed you today,

so where did you go? 

Told me to call,

said you’d be there,

and though I haven’t seen you,

are you still there?” 

(Lyrics from Never Alone: by Barlowgirl)

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever wondered if God was there?

I have. 

I felt it when I was in the emergency room and the nurse told me that I was likely having a miscarriage and to go home and wait to lose my baby.  I felt it when the mysterious stomach pains that my husband was having turned out to be cancer.  I felt it when my oldest son; my introduction to motherhood,  rejected me, moved in with his father and refused to talk to me for almost a year.

I have felt alone.

But here’s the deal folks…

Feelings don’t dictate absolute reality.

God tells us that we are never alone.

Ever.  

“It is the Lord who goes before you.

He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.

Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 (Deuteronomy 31:8)

There’s a lot going on in that passage.  “He goes before you…”  What does that mean exactly?

I would imagine ( though I’m no theologian) that if God goes before you, he’s in front of you.  He’s in front of the situation, or problem.  He goes before you, and prepares the way.  He knows what’s going to happen already, but he goes before you to prepare it for you.  He will be with you… He won’t leave you, and he won’t forsake you.  According to my trusty Siri, the definition of forsake means to “leave someone who needs or counts on you, to leave someone in the lurch.”

We’re not alone folks.  Because he’s here.

He’s preparing the way, he’s walking ahead of us just as a Father would to make sure that the passage is safe for his child.  He won’t leave us… Because he wants us to count on him and he will never betray our trust.

Never….

“And though I cannot see You

And I can’t explain, why….

Such a deep, deep reassurance

You’ve placed in my life…

We cannot separate,

cause You’re part of me, 

And though You’re invisible, 

I trust the unseen.  

I cried out to with no reply

 And I can’t feel You by my side

So, I’ll hold on to what I know, 

You’re here, and I’m never alone…”

(Lyrics from Never Alone: by Barlowgirl)

The lyrics to the Barlow Girls song is so succinct and true.  We may not feel Him, we cannot see Him, but we are never, never alone.  We have to hold onto what we know and not what we feel, because our feelings can deceive us into believing something that just isn’t true.

So what did I say to that poor brokenhearted widow?  

I stepped away from what I was doing and I asked her name, I looked into her eyes and I said this…

“Your husband, wouldn’t want you to be sad.  He wouldn’t want you to try to take your life.  He’s gone, and it stinks, and I’m so sorry for that, but you’re still here.  You have a purpose.  You have to persevere and discover what that purpose is and live in a way that your husband would be proud.”

She was now in tears and I put my arms around this virtual stranger, that I saw just a little bit of myself in.  I told her it would be okay.  Because someday it would be.  I encouraged her to seek some counseling, and I told her what days I worked and to come back and see me, and that I’d be praying for her.

I hope she comes back.

I’d like to take her to lunch or out to coffee and share with her more.  I’d love to tell her about Jesus and offer her the opportunity to grieve with hope.

She felt alone.

We all have at some point.

But we as Christians are never alone, even in the darkest times of our lives.

I thought I was alone when my son rejected me, but God used that situation to allow me to truly trust him for the outcome of that relationship.  It hurt and it was hard, but he’s turning eighteen next week and he asked that we spend it alone, just us…  He wanted to have some quality time with me; and this mamma’s heart is full… I never thought we’d get there.  God was there…

I thought I was alone when I was told I was having a miscarriage, and I wasn’t happy about being pregnant if I’m honest.  But through that scare, the Lord allowed me to see how much I really wanted that baby, and she is one of the greatest joys of my life today.  I don’t even know what life looked like before her.  I love my Sara Bear.  She makes me laugh when I want to cry at times.  God was there… He knew I’d need her.

I thought I was alone when we received a cancer diagnosis and then ultimately losing my husband after fighting it for two years….  But God used the illness to give me the courage to share my writing with people; something I would never have done prior to that.  He has given me a voice through my experience and pain to minister to and to encourage others… God was there…

 At different points in my life, even though I knew better, I thought I was alone…

But I never was.

Not once…

He was always there.

I can see that now.

He’s still here…

Whispering to me…

Teaching me…

Loving me…

He loves you too.

No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’ve been through.

He’s there.

We need only to quiet ourselves to hear him and to trust him; even during those hard times.

We have to believe what the Bible says about Him, and not what we see or feel; 

because our feelings can’t be trusted, but God is worthy of our trust.  

You’re never alone.  

Be blessed friends

20140215-162908.jpg

My oldest…

.IMG_4447

Bear

Bear

Why you shouldn’t drop kick your spouse and other reasons to hug them instead…

IMG_6357

**Note**                                                                                                                                         Time hop is an app that you can use that pulls your personal photos from other sources of media and allows you to see it anywhere from a year to up to five years ago.  While it may sound a little creepy, it is actually pretty cool.  Unless you’ve lost a husband, then it can get a little scary if you’re jarred by seeing pictures of him from five years ago.  Today, I saw a post on Facebook from three years ago.  Something I’d written to him on fb and shared with friends.  Today, it blessed me.  It was a reminder of our love.  (Maybe I’ll blog the actual post later.) 

Pretty cool, when you look at the time hop app and it pulled a post from three years ago when you were writing about loving your husband. (On valentines day)
I remember writing it…
We were in the hospital I believe…
Soon after his first surgery.

Even though he’s gone, it was kinda awesome and took me back to that moment of writing it.                It made me feel closer to him for a minute and reminded me why I loved him so much.                          It encouraged me, because he truly was my biggest cheerleader and believed in me in a way I’d never experienced before.

I feel very blessed and thankful to God.                                                                                          It felt like a Valentine’s Day gift from Him to be honest.                                                                            Hug your hubby or wife closer and longer tonight.

We were just ordinary people and in one instance everything changed.

He was sick, and it was cancer…

Two years later, he was gone.

BUT….

God was there and we had an awesome run.
We had a great marriage and close friendship and bond.
He was my husband, lover and friend.
I wouldn’t have traded what we had for all the tea in china…
(A saying he used to say)

So, remember when you’re mad, or frustrated,
or you want to drop kick your loved one, that in the end…
You’re only promised today.
So be mad for a minute and forgive him,
be frustrated for a little bit and then get over it,
drop kick him and then go hug him.

I’m thankful that we didn’t waste a lot of time with foolishness.
Thankfully we were on the same page most of the time.
It wasn’t perfect, but we always said that we were perfect for each other.

Today.
Love today.
Not tomorrow.
Not next week.
Today.
Right now.
This moment.
This second.
I keep saying it, but in the end, all you’re left with is memories.
Make then amazing memories to hold onto and cherish.  Your kids will thank you.  😉

Be blessed y’all.

Messages from God

It’s 11 pm…

I’ve had a great day for the most part. A few bumps in the road in terms of my temper tantrum boy.  My perpetual frowner of the family keeps me on my toes and on my knees in prayer most days. I taught some writing classes to some amazing kids, (kids that are not mine, but I’m blessed to be able to teach) got to see a friend that I haven’t had spent much time with lately, took my littles out to ride their scooters, cooked a pretty good dinner that four out of five kids actually ate, permed, straightened and styled my daughter’s hair, and had a tantalizing conversation with my five-year old wherein she expressed her concerns that I was, “Just too busy and she wants to spend more time with me.”

Big sigh…

It’s so hard to get it all done.

It took a little five-year old to remind me that maybe my priorities are out of whack; that maybe I should concentrate less on my clean house and list of things to do and just get on the floor with her and color and play.  Maybe I should skip that night out with friends here and there and build a tent in her room and eat pizza by the light of a thousand glow sticks.

She was speaking from her heart.

She wants more time with me.

And I’m a stay at home mom…

It made my heart ache.

And then I thought about God.

What about him?  How much time am I really giving him?  Is he feeling neglected?

Does he think I’m too busy?

I think I know the answer to that question.

I know that all we have is right now. 

Right here. 

This moment. 

I realized that when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and our lives were forever changed.

Right now, I’m going to take the time to slow down and enjoy the craziness that is my life.

I’m going to jump on beds, and camp in the backyard and spray my kids with silly string until they laugh so hard they’re in tears.

I’m going to make every moment count. 

Because what I’ve discovered is that in the end,

it’s the memories that you’re left with;

and I would like to leave my children with really good ones.

I’m going to give the first fruit of my time to the Lord and ask him to order my steps.  I’m going to not worry about getting it all done and instead enjoy whatever the Lord happens to bring my way.

I’m going to trust that God knows what he’s doing, and honestly, I don’t think he really cares if my house is spotless or if the laundry is done…

But I know that he cares about the heart of my baby girl

and that he used her to send me a message tonight. 

It’s late…

My kids are literally still awake and chatting away with each other in bed.  If I were a good mom I might reprimand them…

But I think I’d rather just go make a memory…

Excuse me while I go grab my silly string…

Tomorrow’s list of things to do: Make doc appointments, Pick up packages, Type syllabus for class, Call and get quotes on remodel, Finish lesson plans  Go buy glow sticks and order pizza…  (Because that little girl is so much more important than any other thing on my “list” of things to do.)

Message received God…

Message received.

Be blessed y’all. 🙂

My little messenger...

My little messenger…

Reality…

He walked up behind me in the kitchen as I chopped up the lettuce to put in the salad, it was our normal routine….

He wrapped his arms around my waist and gently enveloped me as his lips touched the base of my neck in a tender kiss hello. I smiled. “What are you doing?” I asked. He kissed my neck again, tickling me, making me giggle. “I’m kissing my wife,” he replied. “What are you doing?” He responded, in his deep melodic voice that I so loved. I turned around to face him, wrapping my arms around his neck and kissing him on the lips. It was a deep kiss, a tender kiss, a prelude if you will, of things to come…
I pulled away, my lips lingering close to his and held his face in my hands, “I’m kissing my husband; that’s what I’m doing.”

He smiled that beautiful smile that melted every part of me and held me close. We stood there in an embrace for a long time, my head leaning on his strong chest as I listened to his heart beat. It was as if nothing else mattered; because in that moment, nothing did. There were no bills to be paid, no kids to referee, no family members to interfere, no stresses of life… It was just us. Him and me and what we felt for each other.

“Mom! Mom!” I looked up; alarmed at the steak that I was grilling; now charred and burned. My son stared at me with a puzzled expression. “What are you doing Mom?” “The steak is burning.” “Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry,” I said, as I turned the burner off and moved the pan off of the stove. I wiped my hand on my apron and rested my hand on my neck as a tear silently fell ever so softly down my cheek… “Are you ok?” He asked. “I’m… I’ll be fine.” I responded quickly. I smiled at him with the best fake smile that I could muster, “Why don’t you go get your homework done? I’ll be fine.” I patted his shoulder as he walked away and smiled again, as if to reassure him that I was indeed okay. But I wasn’t.

I could still feel his lips on my neck; his arms around my waist. But it wasn’t real. His deep voice was now only heard in my dreams and his laughter was only an echo of a dream.

He was gone.
I longed for those hugs at the end of the day. I craved those lingering kisses that reminded me of the infancy of our marriage. The ones I so often took for granted. I only had to close my eyes to see him here with me. I only had to breathe and I could feel his lips on the nape of my neck once again.

The reality of our love was now only a dream. A dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. The reality of a life without him was too much to bare. “What are you doing woman?” I heard him whisper in my ear. “Missing you, boy.” I responded to the air. “Live baby.” He said. “You’ve got to live. Let me go.”

The tears fell in streams now, ignoring my silent pleas to stop. “I can’t,” I whispered back. “I love you too much.” “Let me go woman.” He whispered, his deep gruff voice haunting me. “Let me go.”

IMG_4415-0

A Life of Simple Joys

Living forward into who we will be.

Living Life Upside Down...

Kids, Life after Cancer, and other general craziness...

JLV College Counseling

Free college admissions and financial aid information and advice

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Sandy Fecci

finding beauty in the simple things

The Neighborhood

society online's social conscious

Delightfully Directed

Homeschooling Mom!

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips)

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Fetching the Wagon

and hitching it up for another big trip!

%d bloggers like this: