Sunday, October 25, 2015

I sit in the balcony most Sundays. This vantage point affords me a wonderful picture of our diverse congregation worshipping together. Today was no different, however, this morning I received a double portion of blessing. There it was, Rob's ski jacket, draped over the shoulders of a beautiful woman.  Can you imagine my surprise when I saw it?  In the midst of my grief, I forgot I had donated several of his winter coats to our church. Yes, my eyes filled with bittersweet tears, but I wish I could put into words how right it felt to see her wearing something of his.
There we were, all gathered to study from Romans 12, yet, God added his own private lesson, just for me, from the fourth chapter of Acts. 

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. Acts 4:32 NIV

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A photo of Rob and his good friend, David, finds its way onto my newsfeed. He shares it and several friends comment; I smile through the sadness.  My fear that Rob will be forgotten is staved for a little longer.
I, too, fear I'll begin to forget bit by bit. 
I need my I move on, please remain near for I need somewhere to hang all this love.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

 Beth Moore writes some of the most encouraging  commentary in Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent.

Christ is both Alpha and Omega.
When our lives are immersed in Him, every ending, everything we believe to the death of us is instead
a hand-engraved invitation to a new beginning.
God is so much better than He has to be.
The kinds of things God chooses to do in our lives that are "immeasurably more than we ask or imagine" (Eph. 3:20, NIV) are not out of obligation.
 They gush from unbridled affection.

As I continue to struggle with loss and loneliness, I will trust Him with both beginning and end...

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's October! Can you believe it? Fall has always been my favorite season; it's now bittersweet. This was the season of watching the leaves fall from our big oak while we counted days until our final goodbye. What kept our joy? Gratitude! Counting the gifts God had given us. We recorded them on scrapbook paper and hung them on the walls to keep us focused on God's goodness, even in suffering. For years, I've kept a gratitude journal, but this year I decided to get a little more creative with my thanksgiving. 
My Gratitude Tree

I bought this metal tree several years ago at Tuesday Morning.  I cut and distressed paper leaves from inexpensive manilla paper. I know I have a lot more free time than most of you; thankfully most teacher supply stores sell die cut leaves that save time! A simple branch in a mason jar works great as well. I can't think of a better way to teach children to count their blessings. How do you record your gratitude—journal, phone app, photos?
Gratitude tree on the palliative care floor at MD Anderson photo credit: Lindsay Webdell