I love to read, write, take photos, take walks, ride my tricycle, and wonder about everything. This blog allows me to share my thoughts on a variety of subjects. I wonder as I wander. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me. I'd love to hear from you!
Each Thanksgiving, I like to share my Grandpa’s Thanksgiving Prayer. He wrote it many years ago and it still touches me to ths day. It is all about family and being a parent.
Hope we are all blessed to celebrate with loved ones. May we celebrate our family and friends. May we be thankful for our blessings. May we treat one another with kindness and love.
“Our Father-God we thank thee…
• For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies • For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps • For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries • For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky • For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises • For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars • For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra • For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together • For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful • For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite • For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark • For parenthood we thank thee. • And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace. If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come. Amen.”
Have you noticed that on soap operas, no one stays dead? People come back, even if they were shown dying on screen. They always seem to eventually come back and no one really loses the ones they love.
One of the shows I watch has a character coming back. It is so nice for the other characters – the spouse, the children, and friends, etc. They are stunned but still get their person back. I have to say that I wish that was possible.
Sadly, we who have lost loved ones cannot get them back. When they go, they are gone to another place. As much as we don’t want to accept it, there is no way for them to come back. If only that were different.
I wish I had another chance to say goodbye to my late husband, to hold his hand, to talk with him, or to share a laugh. I wish he could see our son grow up — in person I mean. We do, after all, believe that he is always with us. Still, it isn’t the same.
So, as I watch these episodes, I cry for what I wish were actually possible. I cry because a part of me is jealous that they get to do something that I can’t. Yet, I still want to watch and see what happens. I enjoy seeing the happiness. I look forward to the news traveling around town. So I watch with both emotions.
My late husband died suddenly so there was no time to plan for his loss. There was no gathering around the bed to say goodbye. No final words of wisdom to our son. No chance for one last story or laugh or hug.
On the other hand, he didn’t suffer at all. He is no longer in pain and will never have any health issues again. As hard as it has been, that is a blessing. He is in a better place; but I do wish he was still with us.
In the years since his death, I have gone through several stages of grief. I haven’t had much anger, but I do have a lot of questions. And, I have guilt. I feel bad about the disagreements that we had before his passing. We were both strong with our own opinions so this did happen. I hope that he knew how much I loved him and how much others loved him. I believe that he did, but doubts do creep in sometimes.
I also question if I was truly a good partner to him during our years together. Sometimes I let the little annoyances get to me and I am sorry for that. I hope that he’d forgive me where I may have failed him. I have tried to forgive him too and not be angry at him. That is part of the grieving process, which I am still in.
Other guilt I have is survivor guilt. I had to say goodbye when I didn’t want to. I had to be with our son on the day he passed rather than staying with his body until it was moved. I have had to move forward and keep living. There is still some guilt for doing that. And yet, I know it was what I had to do. Such an odd combination of feelings.
We are the ones still here. As much as I want to fight it, he is not. We have had to find a way to carry on. We have to find a way to live. I have to find a way to be there for our son. I have to be there for myself and take care of my health and mental health.
I have heard people say that I could never live without my mate. I was forced to do just that. I didn’t want to and it wasn’t what we’d planned, but I have now lived without him. I have survived. We have carried on. We are living again. I never knew I had that strength until it was there. Prayers, our faith, our family and friends, our neighborhood, our schools, and church family helped us through it.
My son lost his father, I lost my spouse. But his parents lost a son, his siblings lost a brother, his aunts and uncles lost a nephew, his in-laws lost an in-law, cousins lost a cousin, and friends lost a friend. We were all blessed to have known him. He was a lot of fun, made us laugh, was great at his job, was complex, and full of life.
He is not the only person who I have lost. Friends and family who are dear to me have also passed away. Those losses have been hard as well. Also, my friends and family have lost ones they love. My thoughts and prayers are with them. I know the pain they feel but realize that everyone has his/her own journey of loss and grief.
My prayer for those grieving is that you be comforted by memories of your loved one. I also pray that you can smile and laugh at a happy memory along with the tears. I pray that you have support from others. I pray that your faith comforts you during this hard time. Blessings to you.
I also pray that we can let others know that they matter and that we love them. Let’s apologize if we need to, let’s mend fences, let’s say what we want to, let’s forgive, let’s share, let’s talk, let’s laugh, let’s love. Let’s do it before we no longer can.
It is amazing to realize that I haven’t written a post since May. That can’t be right. Can it? The last few months have been so very busy. I haven’t had much to say and have been enjoying life and time with my son and family. I have also seen a few friends.
So, no blogs for quite a while. Did you miss me? I have missed sharing thoughts, ideas, struggles, and wins. But, I haven’t taken the time to write them and share them. I want to work on that again now. I plan to work on these items again.
We traveled a few places during both June and July for work. It was good to see people we hadn’t been in touch with for a while. Also, we went to the beach in July and had a fabulous time. We enjoyed a week with family and friends who we haven’t seen since 2019.
After so much time at home during the pandemic, getting out was so very nice. We have had issues and obstacles, as I am sure many people have had. Life has been challenging but seems to be getting better for us. Hope it is for you as well.
Now, school is back and the busy work schedule is continuing. Along with that, I have been savoring time with my son and friends and family. Also, I have been taking pictures, reading, and taking lots of walks. Since I am a writer, it is time to turn my experiences over the last few months into stories, anecdotes, and lessons that I have learned.
I am still trying to learn the new format on this blog page. It is different and I haven’t quite gotten used to it yet. I will have to work on that to see how to move forward. Anyone used WordPress to know what to do?
Here is a lovely photo to enjoy. I may do some photos of the day, or thoughts of the day. I will now think about it. Just wanted to say that I am still here. Blessing to you and yours.
A while ago, I was given a list of quotes and thoughts that I really have enjoyed. So, I decided to write a little bit on them. So, here is the first of a few shorts blogs on items that move me. The one for today is “Chocolate won’t solve anything but it’s a fine place to start.”
I have to agree with that. I really like chocolate — especially dark chocolate. My favorites are with mint or with sea salt. Ghirardelli is the best, at least in my opinion. For milk chocolate, I like Hersey’s — either bars or the kisses.
When I was a teenager, I was allergic to chocolate and a few other foods. That was tough but I found alternatives instead. I liked carob, well, sometimes. My favorite dessert back then was vanilla ice cream with strawberries.
Now that I can have chocolate again, I tend to like vanilla ice cream with hot fudge sauce. And, on rare occasions, with strawberries. I also like chocolate mint ice cream. Not being able to have chocolate was tough but I somehow managed. Not sure if I could do that now.
Chocolate can be a comfort food for me — with a favorite piece of cake or a cookie with a cold glass of milk. Or fun with s’mores made with loved ones over a fire. Or a cup of hot chocolate with popcorn while watching a movie.
Or it can be a small slice for a job well done on the food I have eaten/or not eaten during that day. Or it can be a birthday cake that you enjoy with family and friends. Or a sweet treat out with a loved one.
From the movie Chocolat, the lead character guessed each villager’s favorite. She was usually correct. That is a lovely movie with great treats and some themes about life and how to treat others.
What is your favorite chocolate? Is it comforting to you? Is it something you have to avoid? Or is it something that brings up fond memories for you? I’d love to hear from you. Blessings to you and yours.
This weekend is part of Holy Week when we celebrate Christ’s suffering and death and then His resurrection. For some reason, the day of his painful and awful passing is Good Friday. Good for us, but certainly not for him. Then three days later, he rose again so we might have life.
Wow, that’s huge, right?! The fact that someone agreed to die for me and my loved ones and those I don’t know is mind-boggling. And, such an immense blessing. Christ loved us enough to suffer and deal with pain worse than I can imagine. He died and rose so that we might live.
The promise of that has helped my son and me as we’ve dealt with my late husband’s death. It has been hard at times but knowing where he is makes all of the difference for us. We know he is not in pain. We know he is not struggling. There is hope in our pain. There is joy in the morning. And, there is love everlasting.
Before the pandemic, Easter weekend was a time for large family gatherings. We had Easter Egg hunts, prayers in a circle with hands held, potluck meals, and church services with amazing music. I miss those times with my family and friends. I miss the gathering and the celebration of new life, of spring, and of Easter.
This year will be different but at least we can be with my parents to have lunch and enjoy the service via an online link. We will be careful and mindful of masks, distancing, etc. Being with them is a real and true blessing. I am so thankful for that. The little things and the times together are truly the best.
There are other things to be concerned about as well. Illnesses, sickness, accidents, hunger, loss of home or business, and more. I have been troubled in the last few weeks about the multiple mass shootings at a variety of locations and in several states. Today, there was an incident at the Capitol that resulted in the death of an officer and the suspect allegedly causing the problems. Sad news for their families and friends.
So despite all the negativity, I am trying to focus on the good things. I am trying to focus on what I am thankful for. It isn’t always easy to do but we try. Each day, we try to live life to the fullest and make the most of our time. Some days that means rest, others days it means a lot of work, and other times, it may mean time to wallow in the bad feelings before moving on. Or means fun or doing something we enjoy.
A few items that I am thankful for are: flowers blooming, breakfast with my son before our day starts, hearing about a new idea or project, birds chirping, celebrating the life of a loved one, favorite songs, photos of special memories, a favorite meal, prayers, walks, the sound of the ocean, our family, our friends, our church, my son’s school, our community, and our freedoms.
Blessings to you and yours! May you have hope and be comforted by what this weekend is all about. It is about more than just candy or bunnies or new outfits. It is about love and life. Happy Easter to you!
(They have changed the formatting of this blog, so it looks weird. Sorry about that! I will be working on the new format and hope to learn it soon.)
I don’t know about you but I am ready for spring and spring break. Virtual school has been tough this year and my son and I are ready for a break. Not yet sure what we will do, but having some down time will be most appreciated. Perhaps time to sleep in, time to see some family and friends (I hope), and time to spend the day reading or on a fun hobby.
Spring is a lovely time of year with the trees budding, the birds chirping a lot, the day being longer, and nature coming back to life. I enjoy how it looks and feel positive. I like the sun and days being longer. But on the other hand, my allergies always kick in. They have done that today for me and it hasn’t been exactly the day I planned to have.
The seasonable allergy meds help, the hot drinks help, the soup helps, and so does rest. I have found I have to take time to rest, relax, and perhaps take a nap in order to get better. Every year, I have a flareup — at least once in the spring and once in the fall. I have been taking medication that does help but still, the pollen, trees, grass, etc. still seem to get me. Sheesh.
Spring is a great time to walk where I live. There is often a chill in the air. Or there is just enough warmth to be comfortable, but not yet humid. So, I am trying to do that a lot. I joined a virtual running/walking group and have walked 12 1/2 miles so far. I still have a long way to go to meet my goal but this amount is big for me. I haven’t exercised as much as I should and am trying to change that.
Also in the spring is one of my favorite times — Holy Week and Easter. It is a time to reflect on what our faith is all about. It is a time to be reminded of life after death. It is a time to remember my son’s late father/my late husband. Well, we think of him all the time, just Easter was a big family time with egg hunts, early services, breakfast, special music, and dressing up. This year will be different but we will still enjoy it.
After nature and many animals are dormant, spring is the time that life blossoms and blooms again. I went on a walk last week on one of our first warm days. I developed a major case of spring fever. It was nice to be outside when it was sunny and warm. The sky was clear blue with no clouds and it was beautiful.
Here are a few quotes about spring:
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” — Robin Williams
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” — Margaret Atwood
“Exciting spring smells waft through wide open windows.” — David J. Beard
“Spring translates earth’s happiness into colorful flowers.” — Terri Guillemets
“Spring is here! I’m so excited I wet my plants.” — Internet meme
“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four-and-twenty hours.” — Mark Twain
There is an advertisement airing now on TV in which a woman says you cannot be full of fear if you are full of faith. It is supposed to be uplifting and positive but I think that is incorrect and misleading. I think it is possible to have fears despite having faith. I also think it is normal to have doubts and fears.
I do have doubts, insecurities, and fears. I had many of them after my husband unexpectedly passed away. At the time, I was worried that the other shoe was going to drop, or that something was going to happen to me or our son. I wasn’t trying to live without faith. However, when your entire world is rocked, it is normal to have doubts and not know when all be again be okay.
Throughout my grief journey, I have developed a stronger faith. For me, without it and our loved ones, I don’t think we would have made it. I remember the struggles of the early days, of feeling like I was in a fog and couldn’t think. I couldn’t answer a question in the first few days when asked. Part of me was broken. Part of me was lost that day.
Now, two years later, those broken pieces are healing. The light is coming back in. The part of me that was his wife is gone and I am a widow. However, I am blessed with memories, photos, and a son who has a lot of his dad in him. I expected to grow old with my spouse so those expectations have had to change. It has been a challenge, but I am feeling more positive and hopeful. That is a blessing.
Another thing I have heard that troubles me is when preachers say you can just claim what you want and the Lord will give it to you. Also, that if you are truly in God’s will, no harm will come to you. These are not always the case. The expectation that all will be right if you desire it enough can be very painful when reality sometimes sets in.
As my husband went to the hospital and the paramedics, doctors, and nurses worked on him, I prayed that he would survive. I didn’t want to lose him. I didn’t want to say goodbye and I wasn’t ready to do so. Despite my earnest prayers, that was not the answer. Instead, my husband passed away. I did get to say goodbye, but he was already gone. He was already in Heaven.
I don’t always understand the ways of God, but I truly believe that He is loving. I believe that He cares for us. I believe that He will be there for us. He promised to be with us during the trying times in our lives. Like the Marines, He is always faithful. Despite my questions, that helps comfort me.
Speaking of faith, let’s remember Job from the Bible. He believed in God but lost everything — his wife, his children, his property, his animals, his vocation. Even in his loss, Job still worshipped the Lord and believed that he would be okay. He had questions and doubts. He also had faith and knew that despite all the losses, the Lord would stand by him. His life certainly was full of tragedy yet he still believed. Job’s faith is a comfort to me.
Have you noticed that there are quite a few scriptures about not being afraid, not worrying, not doubting, but instead putting our faith and hope in God? It seems that He knew we would have struggles, fears, questions, and doubts. He knew we’d need Him. (Graphic and fear image are from Power Point clip art)
Here are a few of the scriptures that have helped me:
“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” — Isaiah 43:1
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:10
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” — Romans 8:38-29
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11
These days it is hard to find the inspiration to write and then post a blog. I only wrote one in January and this is the first for February. I have been thinking about what it is that is making it so hard to turn to this outlet that I so appreciate.
I suppose it boils down to the stresses of everyday life, concerns about the health of loved ones and loved ones’ pets, losses and deaths that are unexpected yet still happen, lack of hugs or physical contact, and both school and work at home. Also stresses that we hear on the news, how adults are acting and treating others, and so much more.
Also, I have been busy with projects around the house, laundry, general upkeep, dishes, and taking care of three meals every day for the two of us plus snacks. After all, I have a growing teenage who eats a lot. My son does help out but many days his focus is on school. We all have to do this, but some days it is hard.
We also truly miss seeing our friends and family. We are staying home from pretty much everything and that has been really tough. We are doing our best to be careful and help our loved ones stay healthy. So the visiting times have had to be creative and out of the ordinary. We are homebodies and do love being home doing our own thing. Still the lack of interaction can be a challenge.
I regularly remind my son that this is not how the teenage years are supposed to be. And yet, this is reality for him and his generation. They are dealing with depression, frustration, self-doubts, and loneliness. For the most part, they cannot do the things together with their friends that I remember doing as a teenager — sporting events, theater practice, hanging out, concerts, and dinner and a movie out.
Thankfully, there are the Internet and Zoom meetings. My son and I do calls with our friends and family. It is not the same as being in the same room with them, but it is better than no contact at all. We also do online church and school and work meetings online. There is a lot of bad in the online world, but we are doing our best to focus on the good. We enjoy the positives of the contact we can have with others.
All of this negative is often hard to deal with. Yet, we try. We get up each day to try again. We try to finish work projects and school assignments. We work on the chores of the house, including laundry, housework, and the groceries chosen and purchased. We also make a point to have time to do fun things, have a chance to talk about everything, laugh, share a good memory, read a book, watch a movie or TV show, savor down time, and exercise.
We also make sure to get enough sleep and enough rest. My teenage son needs so much sleep these days. He is growing each week and so plenty of sleep is very important. Many days we have a late start. I try to have that be okay since we are doing our best. We often work later to be sure enough time is given to our work.
My family has lost a few loved ones due to this damn virus, as many others have. I hope and pray that no one else has to suffer that fate. We also have friends and family who have lasting effects of COVID-19. It is tough virus and sadly is very real, as much as some may want to deny it.
My prayer is that we will soon be healed from this. In the meantime, I hope and pray that we can do what is necessary to take care of each other, to be kind to each other, to wear our masks, to social distance, to avoid large crowds, to wash our hands, and to be aware of what we are doing and how we are acting.
We can make a difference if we can truly love one another. We can take care of each other, even if it is at a distance. We can bear each other’s burdens. May we do just that and always, always love.
My heart is heavy today with the suffering, trials, loss, and pain of so many. The only thing that I can do about it is to pray, read my Bible, and write about what I am thinking and feeling. Perhaps then, I can have some comfort. Another thing that always helps is a good cry and a nap or great night of sleep.
Philippians 4:6 states, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
I have been comforted by prayer during the storms in my life, but know that they aren’t always answered in the way that I would have liked. In those cases, I then pray for comfort, peace, wisdom, and understanding. Those can be very hard to come by, but are something that I am trying.
I also want to be sure to include the thanksgiving portion of that scripture. I am thankful for so much that the Lord has provided for me and my son. We may have lost my husband and his dad, but we know where he is. We know that he has seen our Lord face to face. I have to tell you, each time I think of that, I cry happy and sad tears.
We have been comforted and sustained by our faith and our loved ones. We have suffered and still don’t understand the loss. I am not sure when I will, but, there there is light now more than darkness. For that I am truly comforted. Now, we can remember something good along with the sadness. Okay, so here goes.
“Lord, so many of us are in pain, are dealing with tremendous losses, and are suffering. Please watch over us, help us through these storms, and provide us with the peace and comfort that only You can give us.
“In Your mercy, hear our prayers about:
Deaths of our loved ones whether suddenly or by a long illness – including spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle, cousin, and friend
The long suffering of a loved one
Illnesses and viruses, including COVID-19
Cancers and tumors and the treatments
Dementia or Alzheimer’s
Mental health issues
Heart attacks or transplants
Surgeries and the recovery
Violence and hate
Bullying and threats from others
Uncertainty of our loved one’s safety
Health both physical and mental of our military
Safety and health for our law enforcement, first responders, nurses, doctors, military, and all trying to help those who are sick or dying
Losses of our lives as we knew them prior to COVID
Racial strife and injustice
Treating others poorly just because they are different than us
Eviction from home and homelessness
School and learning challenges for our children and young people
Stress of teachers and all educators in finding the right balance
Our leaders and the ability to govern again with healthy debate that isn’t threatening or hateful
Freedom and our democracy
Our clergy and religious leaders in this very different time
Hunger and not being able to have enough food for families
Losses of our beloved pets who truly are part of the family
Uncertainty of life
Suffering and challenges of daily life
“Lord, may we know You are always there for us. May we reach out and help each other through these hardships. May we provide comfort and love and listen when someone needs to talk.
“May we bear one another burdens as You instructed us to do. May we treat one another with kindness, respect, compassion, honesty, and empathy. And, may we always, always love.
Just a few hours left of one of the hardest years we have had. 2020 is winding down and we will soon be on to 2021. Amazing, right? Not the hardest, but it does rank up there. Not being with loved ones for most of it has made for a challenging year. We also have worried about loved ones who have been sick and dealing with so many challenges.
Still, there are good things and it is time to almost say Happy New Year. As I have read, tomorrow, January 1, will be the first day we can say hindsight is 2020 and have it apply to the year that just ended. Truly strange, but there you go. I just wonder if we have actually learned from all of these changes. I sure have.
Today, I have had many mixed emotions, about endings and beginnings, about losses, and plusses in our lives, and those that I am missing; some who I will see again and others I will not. I am also happy to have some lazy time at home with no projects that have to be finished; just be worked on. I am enjoying a really good book and will have some time to color in my new book with quotes.
We will have time with my parents this weekend as we did over Christmas. They are the only people in our pod. They are the ones we have seen in person this year. There have been a few others but very short visits, usually outside, and wearing masks. It will be good to see them, but tonight we are at home.
My son and I will take it easy. We will enjoy pizza, a favorite movie or tv show (depending on what we decide), something for dessert, perhaps some hot chocolate, and watching the ball drop — if we can stay up that late. We will also talk and laugh, which I truly love.
What are your plans? We recommend being careful, social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and staying home. We are all for that and feel at times that we are part hermit.
On this last day of the year, I am thankful for:
My son who loves to learn
Brunch as well as a Christmas roast with my parents
Opening presents — whether in person or over a Face Time call
Zoom calls with family
Online or phone contact with friends and family
My son’s chats with his friends
Christmas cards from friends and family and sending out our own
Hot chocolate and hot tea
Staring a new book “My Dear Hamilton” — really good so far
Laughing at a favorite show
Watching White Christmas and singing along with each song
Watching The Post with my son and talking about the importance of the 1st Amendment and newspapers
Long chats with my son
Hearing the fart machine that I gave my son for Christmas and us cracking up together
No alarm clocks over our break, which we know will change very soon
Walks around our decorated neighborhood
Take-out food or delivery from a favorite restaurant
Chats with my siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other family
Being able to shop online at home
Having the two of us be happy at home
Peppermint bark given as gifts (yummy!)
Photos and memories
Nightly Bible reading with my son
Happy New Year to you and yours. We wish for you blessings, hope, peace, good health, safety, and much love.