Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Small pile of Christmas cards neatly stacked for the postman... table cluttered with the remaining. Trees decorated in winter bliss while my kitchen looks like it's been hit by a spring tornado. Christmas gift list tackled while the Gospel of Luke remains unruffled.
This year's Christmas looks nothing like the previous. Knowing that I would be celebrating solo, I focused on nothing but Jesus, but this year, filled with family and friends, I've slipped back into the temptation of should.  I should send a Hallmark to everyone, I should have wrapped the very last present weeks ago with Pinterest execution, my house and front yard should invite friend and stranger alike with twinkling lights and wafts of cookies baking in both ovens. 
The joy I felt last year is replaced with tension and guilt, emptiness and longing. 
I've failed; I can't serve two masters: the Christmas of expectation and the Christmas found in a feeding trough.
I hope I've learned my lesson, even if only a few advent days remain.
I'm packing up should, unwrapping linger.
Sit a long spell with Jesus who shines throughout the Holy Scripture, write that long letter to my late husband's frail aunt, pray for the friend who can't call her Christmas merry, share the story of great rescue with a lost soul.
Linger with one Master.
It just so happens, I write this reminder to myself on the winter solstice, the very day of the year with the fewest hours of sunlight. Light increases with each day forward. That's my desire for the rest of the season.
May the Son increase.
 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV

Saturday, December 3, 2016

On the eve of Rob's third year in Heaven, I've been thinking about how much he loved Christmas music. How fitting that tomorrow my church will be filled with carols from young and old. Rob accompanied the littlest voices to some of the finest soloists I know. Our home was filled with the wonderful sound of his piano throughout December and he made sure the students took time to carol for nursing home residents and staff. He'd drag an old piano or keyboard to each wing to make sure the kids were accompanied. I was in charge of making sure he remembered his readers, but really, he knew them all by heart. I don't know if he is playing an instrument (I hope so!) but I know he's singing with the choirs of angels, singing in exultation! Make a joyful noise, my love.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Music wove through our relationship like a golden thread. 
Like many couples we had our special song while dating: Rob, the musician, deemed it Chicago Transit Authority's Beginnings. To this day, I can't help but smile when I hear the brass chime in.
We'd spend hours in my parents' basement, listening to Rob's Columbia Record collection; we almost wore out the grooves of Deja vu and Abbey Road. My mom would finally yell down, "It's a school night!" and Rob would pack up his vinyls...and my heart.
We were married in 1976 when contemporary Christian music was still obscure, so we had to search for a current song that complimented the likes of Trumpet Voluntary. That was no easy task for two 21 year old's with unsophisticated taste, but we were pleased with Cousin Kathy's rendition of Here, There and Everywhere. Would I ever guess the line, "watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there," would send chills through me today?  

As poor newlyweds, our date nights usually found us in the aisles of Sound Warehouse on Westheimer and Voss. Rob studied the back of record jackets for hours, polishing his trivia skills, while I grooved, much to his embarrassment, to whatever was playing in the background. Then, we'd cap the night with a midnight run to House of Pies, where he'd try to dazzle me with his new repertoire of bass players and backup vocalists.
We were always late owls. Some nights we lay in bed until wee hours, playing our own form of Musical Jeopardy or Name that Tune, all the while laughing and robbing each other of much needed sleep.  "Just one more song," he'd say and I would give in.
In the later years of our marriage and with the onset of texting, we found ourselves a new love language. Rob would frequently send lyrics to express his affection or communicate whatever was on his mind. I soon began to deliver back my own, although, they were never as deep as his or as plenty.
 I might have texted the following much too many times.
They don't know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I'll wait for you I promise you, I will.
I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend...
(They did score me birthday tickets to the songwriter's concert, though... Mraz on a hot August night.)
Yes, sweet texts bridged the many miles when he was working far away and we sorely missed each other. Sometimes, they spoke deeper than the nightly phone call.
 There are still things we shared that I can't enjoy ...some restaurants and other places are taboo to date, but music keeps Rob's memory and our love alive. There are few Saturday nights that I don't turn on Austin City Limits or pull out an old vinyl, but I also try to broaden my playlist with new artists because...well, that's what's Rob would be doing.
Grief is a very individual thing; each of us must find a cord that keeps us connected to our loved one. For some it's travel or sports or a particular hobby; for me, it's music.

Today, I miss Rob insanely! I'd give anything to shoot him lyrics and wait for him to respond with the correct group or the next line.

To Rob from Robin
"We sat on a roof, named every star, shared every bruise and showed every scar. Hope has its proof, your hand in mine. Life has a beautiful, crazy design. Can there be breaks in the chaos sometimes? Oh, God must have heard when I prayed cause now I always want to feel this way."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"People will be able to tell where our hope is by how we react today.  If you celebrate Trump more than you’ve ever celebrated Jesus, both online and in person, people will know which is more important to you.  And if you act like all is lost, people will suspect our confidence in Christ is more of a coping mechanism than an anchor for the soul." 
 John McGowan
I confess; I give most of the credit for this post to John McGowan, the lead pastor of Restoration City Church just outside of my beloved D.C.
But he got me thinking...
Perhaps most of us are still waking up from the long election night, the shock of the victory is softening. My guess remains that all parties were not expecting the outcome. The streets and news feeds have filled with First Amendment chatter, emotions still run raw, and the peaceful passage of power has begun.
It's a historic time for the world, so how do I, as a believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ, react?
In Kindness
I honestly can't fully identify with minority groups. I've lived a safe, privileged, "in the box" life, but because of Christ's love inside me, I can show empathy for those who fear the future. I can respect the passion behind another's platform.
I will look outside of my tidy life and offer a hand, a smile, an encouraging word. 
Speak words of life; someone may be dying to hear them.
 My social media must be filled with hope and love!

In Prayer
If this election season has taught me anything, it's that repentant prayer undergirds everything!
I will pray for the incoming as well as the outgoing.
Not occasionally, but daily.
Change will be difficult for everyone.

In Unity
Throughout the weeks leading to November 8th, I heard many comments linking our worth to a party, to a particular race and gender.
Our worth is found in only One! No president defines me, only my identification with a Savior.

Did you catch 'in only One?' Unity in One!
People are watching; do they see believers unified or will fragmentation over a fleeting presidency cost souls?
 So I will speak good news that binds every tribe and nation, every tongue and people.
"Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."        John 13:35 NLT

How will you respond in the days to come?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A friend messaged me this morning, "Don't tell anyone, but at the last minute I voted for Trump."
I whispered back, "It was a really hard decision." 
Yesterday, I confessed to a friend that I was feeling less than love for friends with conflicting values. I needed love to overwhelm me.

We are a broken people!
No time for celebration, gloating, blame...
We are a broken people!

Recently, trusting God over my bank account, I chose not to enter a financial agreement with a company that tithes their profits to a church I consider dangerous and very misleading. One of my advisers treats me differently now. He sees me as bigoted; I see him as blind...a friendship stands in the balance. 
We are a broken people!

We whisper our concerns of unborn babies, dead end poverty, crippled economy and healthcare because we fear transparency and the backlash of our complicated humanity.
Oh courage and compassion, where have you gone?  

Yet hope remains...
I stand on the promise that
My God reigns on the most high throne.
His truths are unshakable.
He sheds his Grace.
He is the Way.
He heals.
He is love and a powerful teacher of it.

We hurt today. We hurt big.
We pray today. We pray big.
We hope today. We hope big.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I mentioned in my last post that it was not my first or even second choice of how I wanted to live my life. 
It got me to thinking...Does God keep switching the plan? 
I think I almost immediately heard God chuckle, Oh dear daughter, there is only one plan, MY PLAN. Stop counting, get up, and join me as I unfold it.
Somewhere along the way, I decided this season of loss would result in a greater me, maybe even a new me and yes, a new improved purpose. POOF! One day I'd awake and realize that all this rotten pain culminates in some grand, glorious calling, an earth-shaking destiny. 
What if the real calling is long, faithful obedience to his one perfect plan? And what if this calling draws more attention to Him than me?
Beware! Me always wants the starring role.

Singer/songwriter, Babbie Mason, suggests "living to please God is the primary reason you were born." I would add the words of Isaiah 26:8 to this highest calling: "Yes, LORD, walking in the ways of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of our hearts." Born to please and make God famous!
In both declarations, GOD/me. GOD over me. GOD is whole, I am fractional.
A long, pleasing obedience of making Him, not me, well known, while He reveals his plan to give me hope and a future...worth repeating.

Can the earth shake in the unfolding?
It sure can! 
A few months ago, I began serving in the newborn ministry at my church again. We no longer make home visits, so my role is less defined and visible.  I'm the prayer warrior for our new babies and their families and oh, boy, have I had a front row seat to God's seismic answers. 
He's called me to intercede for my own children and young grandchildren on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Knee-wearing work with rippling effect!  
Encouraging young families as they dedicate their homes to our loving Father may seem mundane, maybe non-essential in the grand scheme of things, but don't be mistaken; it's gloriously pleasing to God.

Remember your first chapter books? 
Did you enjoy watching the plot develop or did you race through the chapters to see how it ended? Maybe even now, you read the last page first, robbing yourself of the dramatic twist and turns.
I'm choosing to stop counting, to get up and take the next small step of obedience while He turns the page. 
How about you?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

You ask where the blog posts have gone.
I'm walking through a season of sadness and frankly, just weary of words.
I'm sad that our country is polarized, but even sadder that the values I hold dearly seem to be wasting away in the hearts of our people.
I'm sad that my life is no longer filled with children and grandchildren. The loss is so devastating that I can't risk spilling it on paper.
I'm sad that my children grieve harder than me.
Sad that Plan A is erased, Plan B-unlikely, Plan C-still to be determined.
So I cling to the wise, healing words of others for a while.  Courageous women and men, having also walked the road of suffering, lend a stronger voice than I can muster.
Listen in...

You don't think you'll live past it and you don't really.
The person you were is gone. But the half of you that's still alive wakes up one day and takes over again.  
Thanks for hope, Barbara Kingsolver
Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.
Interesting, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
No matter how deep the pit into which I descend, I keep finding God there...he is vulnerable to pain, quick to shed tears, and acquainted with grief. God is a suffering Sovereign who feels the sorrow of the world.
Very comforting, Jerry Sittser
There is no straight path leading you out of the valley of that shadow. That shadow world became home to me, just as it has to anyone who loses a partner. Partners without partners understand; partners with don't.
I understand, Rob Gieselmann
I wait expectantly for a bumper crop of fresh thoughts.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I've stared at this box for months. 
Today I will purge...organize...consolidate!
After managing to part with another bag of Rob's clothes and tackle a box of papers I'd brought home from his office, I'm ready to let go of some more of Rob. 
But, how do you place a lifetime in a couple of drawers?
My plan: With cup of cinnamon coffee and stash of Lorna Doones in hand, I will read each note written during his illness one more time, thank God for the sender and place only a few in the keep pile.
 Seriously, it's proving impossible to discard so much love!
Funny, how I read each card through a new lens. No more more blur. This time your words permeate and supply new and necessary strength.
This journey of grief may morph, but it still wears at my soul. 
The first prayer note I pick up is from dear Eddie Whittenberg. He recalls some fond memories of our friendship and ends with "Keep the faith!" I can hear his voice.
Janine Morrell recalls some words from our Bible study of Esther: "Christ is calling us all to something we will need courage to complete."
Personal words of affirmation... Rob, "You are a good man!" Allen Potter... Rob, "Your calm, confident, wise demeanor is always wrapped in warmth and welcome." Cyndi LeForce...Rob, "I've loved every moment of our friendship." Tom Trigger.
I could fill paragraph after paragraph with the kind words so many of you took the time to share. I'm reminded of a great man's legacy, but more importantly, of a greater, ever-present God. 
Somehow I've managed to whittle down this massive pile of love and corral it into a small, tidy box of powerful encouragement.
I'm sure I will need to visit it from time to time and one day my children will open it to find the rich love of the Church at its best.
There is power in a handwritten note!
Even a couple of personal thoughts bring encouragement on the darkest of days.
I will mostly treasure the memories you thoughtfully shared with us, the men who were not afraid to tell Rob that they loved him, and the written prayers covering the smallest details.
Seeking to learn from even this, I'm reminded that any lengthy wisdom, accounts of my past suffering and the normal chatter that fills most letters may be wasted on exhausted ears. Handmade preschool drawings heal better than articles outlining alternative therapies.
Yes, simple, life-giving notes keep on healing.
Keep them brief, personal, and real!
It's okay to address the elephant in the room when life looks short.
None of us understand the whys.
We are all sad.
We can't fix the mess. 
This may be the last time we have an earthly conversation.
Always err on the side of love!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I have loved you 16644 days!
♥ 45 years 6 months 26 days ♥
Today we would have been married 40 years,
but our love story began 5 1/2 years earlier, sitting side by side
in a pie-shaped room, pounding on old typewriters.
          The most wonderful thing I decided to do was to share my life and heart with you!
We planned a celebration for today. 
Cake (one always needs cake)
family and friends
new vows       

Plans fold
and now faith, hope and love remain. 
The greatest of these are love.

  I listen to Beginnings, our song, with new ears. It was not until today that I realized how very painful it must have been for my husband to write these words.
Rob Moore to Robin Moore
When I'm with you, it doesn't matter where we are, 
or what we're doing
I'm with you, that's all that matters.
Time passes much too quickly when we're together laughing,
I wish I could sing it to you.
It's only the beginning of what I want to feel forever...
Robin--I'm afraid this will have to serve as your card this year. Thank you for 37 lovely years we've had together. I love you always and forever, 

I look up and send love to others...

Always and forever...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I knew it would eventually happen—the pictorial directory update. Thankfully, I had the option of sending a digital photo to the church; there was no way I could stand before a photographer all by myself. 
A wave of great sadness settles over family photo full of kids and now, not even a husband. Just single alone me. How could life have come to this? 
No ambush this time; just an unsettling reminder that time spent with my children and grandchildren is but a rare treat and now I walk hand in hand with only memories.
But I'm walking! I must move forward, one small obedient step after another. 
Like the old familiar hymn, trust and obey for there's no other way!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Could I really find happy in the hard?
A mountain load of losses and difficult challenges in recent years...
I wasn't even sure happiness fit in my life anymore.  

Jennifer's invitation to join the launch team for her new book sparked something deep inside. She had me hooked with "You carry the DNA of your happy and holy God." Just as I had fought to choose joy in deep grief, I truly wanted to find something extraordinary in this new season without Rob. Happiness might possibly be the gift I could offer God. 
Oh, I was not disappointed—a great read!
 Well-researched and organized, The Happiness Dare explores five different happiness styles as well as practical ideas to foster our unique wiring. 
Just think, even our happiness is tailor made by our God! Jennifer not only shares her own honest pursuit of one of God's greatest gifts, but encourages her readers with exceptional stories of others finding their happiness in difficult situations. 

The Happiness Dare is not for wimps!
Oh, it's a delightful poolside read, but be prepared for God to change your life.
I discovered that The Experiencer is begging to emerge and it's going to take a lot of courage to open that door.
Are you ready to take The Happiness Dare?
Won't you join me as we find ourselves some happy? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

 I love walking through marinas, enjoying the calm rhythm of waves lapping against docked of my favorite sounds. I also love the serenity of ocean waves spilling onto shoreline. The lull of each ebb and flow hushes my soul. 
 But there is no such peace in the constant pounding of life's anxieties and irritations; those waves can beat down our weary souls.
I've had my share of frustrations these past weeks. I've battled one by one: insurance re-certifications, shaky social workers, leaky faucets, giant-sized walkers. I've fought loneliness, pain, a pile of medical bills. But yesterday, one too many waves spilled and all came crashing down.
My driver, a good friend, stood by helpless. I limped out of the Fed Ex lobby and three years of grief and exhaustion overflowed. 
You see, just like the ocean's rhythm, life can lull us into believing if we just try hard enough, fight long enough, we can put on a brave front and make it through life on our own might. I'd surely convinced myself and perhaps most others, that I was winning the fight.
It was an ugly breakdown yesterday; I even cried for God to just take me Home. But ultimately, surrender is beautiful.  I lost my battle with pride and self-sufficiency! 
My current therapy assistant has hinted that I might have a life-long limp from my injury. Thankfully, with more therapy, my surgeon disagrees, but the image is not lost on me. I'm reminded of Jacob, the heel grabber, subdued in his wrestle with God...a dislocated hip, a limp, a blessing. Was it the surrender or the limp that saved Jacob's life?
I'm learning it's not my fight. 
Paul wrote to young Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 
It wasn't Paul's fight either.
Faith! I almost overlooked the connection. Paul surrendered his difficult race to his God. Faith...putting the fight back into God's hands.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  
2 Corinthians 12:9-10NIV


Saturday, July 2, 2016

My friend, Laura, is a giver according to the #TheHappinessDare assessment.
After a packed day, she bopped into my hospital room with Eagle Scout cake and cookies, a Scripture coloring book and these glorious gel pens. Her gift was the conversation starter of every employee and guest; the pen tower just made everyone smile! 
I have a lot of friends whose happiness style appears to be givers. If you could have only seen the carryout cart full of flowers and balloons, a beautiful new nightgown mixed in with perfectly folded, clean laundry, and even Lorna Doones! 
What I've discovered is that I am a terrible receiver! I immediately started the "you shouldn't have" and wanted to bounce out of bed (on one leg) and buy each kind giver a present.  I would have flunked GIFT GRACE if it too had been part of the Happiness inventory
Why do I feel so uncomfortable being the recipient? I scored fairly high as a giver, but I'm not at all sure that would be the reason. It's probably wrapped up in my flawed I don't deserve it self-worth, like most things. What I have discovered is that I rob my friends of their happiness when I get all clammy and awkward about being on the receiving end; I'm afraid my genuine delight and gratitude gets lost in the moment.  Considering I scored off the charts as a happy THINKER, wouldn't I feel cheated if the givers and relaters rolled their eyes at all of the thoughts that flow from my musings? Yes, this has me thinking—no pun intended.
In all seriousness, Jennifer Dukes Lee's new book is stretching me; it's freeing me to accept my happiness style and venture into the others. I actually find I feel quite content when I cross off an item on my (well, pretty short) to do list. I might never score high on the doer profile, but I'm not ignoring the satisfaction of being productive either. But just as important, her book is encouraging me to embrace my friends and family's expressions of happiness. 
I can't wait for you all to get The Happiness Dare in your hands so we can continue the discussion. Until then, I'll go back to daydreaming....  

Monday, June 27, 2016

"Sounds like you love him very, very much,"
Big Picture Education
Gary writes to a grieving wife six and half years after her husband's death.

Present tense...
It makes all the difference in the world.
Not loved...
Often older grief experts deem us stuck as we work out our affinity to remain attached to the one who has gone before us. They urge us to push through stages until we finally let go and get on with it. 
Love doesn't work like that. Paul was so right; three things will last forever-faith, hope and love-and the greatest of these is love.
I still love my parents, my in-laws, my Rob. Love remains!
Love allows me to oscillate between memories and new beginnings. Love lets me find my own way forward.. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

First day at the skilled nursing facility...May I have some towels to take a shower?
Nursing assistant replies: Oh, your next shower day is not until next Tuesday...and trots off! I won what would be one of many battles. I got my towels and relished the first hot water my skin had felt in over a week. 
Dignity! I almost lost it along with my independence during my 14 day stay at one of the best facilities in the city. 
God, what are you teaching me?
Many lessons... some through tears and frustration.

  • People who have worked hard, served their country deserve respect and the right to retain control over their environment!
  • The ill and injured need an advocate to preserve the above.
  • Those in long-term care may need more visits than when hospitalized.
  • Even 93 year olds want to go home.
  • Kindness is a healing balm, easing pain and stress.

On a more personal note,

  • I must accept the help of others.
  • I cannot always repay those acts of kindness but I can pay them forward at a future date.
  • A stash of goodies for the nursing staff makes for a pleasant stay!

The anger I mentioned in my earlier post surprised me at first. It wasn't really about the fall; it was the brutal realization that I was alone. Of course, I have friends that will do most anything for me and they did, but this loneliness was about family waiting for me at home. That's all I wanted in serve and enjoy my husband and family. That lost dream hurts worse than any broken bone. Unfortunately, I'm still wrestling with that angry grief. 
My stay forced me to stare at what the last season of my life might look like and it frightened me to the core. Even so, I saw a resiliency in many of my senior residents that I greatly admire and want to model as I age. I've been forced to look at my health habits, realizing fitness must move up my priority list. 
The Lord only knows what impact He made through me in the time I was there, but I hope the administration and nursing staff was reminded about both the big and little things that make a facility outstanding and my attempts to encourage others made a difference.

Weekends in any medical unit can be sub par, so as the first Saturday approached, I prayed for the gift of caring staff. My prayer was answered with this beautiful nurse who chooses to work double shifts every Saturday and Sunday. We've become friends who share the loss of our husbands. God is a good gift-giver!
I've been home for a week now; it's hard, but I have a renewed sense that I can get through anything if Christ is the center of it. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wednesday, I'm sailing through life, working on several fun projects and even finding time to update Larksong. Two days later, I take a short break from a big stage project for my church's vacation Bible school. I shuffle off to a matinee before the holiday weekend crowds, but two steps off a soaked mat changes my life for months! My feet fly from beneath me; I try to catch my fall with my right hand, but my leg slams the floor first. Alone, sprawled on the floor in the worst pain I've ever experienced, I know immediately all my well laid plans for the summer have daily laps at the pool, no sitting on the floor with my grand boys building towers and train tracks, no trip to Disney Land!
A trip across the street to the ER reveals the head of my thigh bone broken clear through; emergency surgery awaits me.
Life really can change in an instant!
The physical pain was one battle, but the emotional trauma was something I didn't anticipate. A tsunami of grief enveloped me once again. How can I endure this without Rob? Who will take care of me? Nobody cares for me like Rob. Who's going to deal with the insurance claims? The questions and fear nearly overtook me. I awoke from surgery asking for him and then I remembered.
I spent one whole week in the hospital and then two in a skilled nursing unit to rehabilitate...and for someone to watch over me. I was reminded once again; there is no one waiting for me at home.
I was the youngest resident by 25 years, suddenly entering the world of scheduled shower days, finger exercises in the sun room and hallways filled with rollators adorned with quilted tote bags and vinyl seats. I quickly sunk into the deepest pit and battled overwhelming anger for the first time in decades. 
To be continued...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

These are a permanent fixture in my kitchen.
It seems like I always have a wipe in hand, constantly running one over the crumbs and spills that collect on my counters. They are an easy fix so things look nice on the surface.     Today, my hand stuck to the underneath of my countertop! Yes, literally stuck! I'd been so busy wiping away the grime that was noticeable to the eye, that I'd neglected everything else.
My spiritual life is a bit like this. My friends see someone who appears ready to live out her love for Jesus and his Word, but I wonder what they might think of me if they swept more than the surface. Would they flinch at the selfishness, the judgement, the unforgiveness...the lack of faith, the false idols?
I never want to get stuck in my walk with Jesus. I am reminded, wipe in hand, of the importance of constantly guarding my heart and asking God to create in me a new one, renewing a right spirit in me. 
How deep am I willing to let Him test me and examine my heart and mind?
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8
I want to be the one with clean hands and a pure heart, oh God. I want to see You in all of your Glory!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

It's been almost three years since the Beast invaded my family's life...
Cancer.  As the third anniversary of Rob's diagnosis looms over me, I find myself battling the toughest depression to date.  
From the very beginning of this journey, I promised God that I'd let Him use my transparency for his purposes. I struggle with this as I prefer the closet. Who wants to be labeled: Stuck in Grief
Yet, too many of us stuff deep our private battles with pain, preventing our circle the privilege of real community and embarrassing others into quiet suffering. That's simply not God's plan for his children.
  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 
Galatians 6:2 NIV
I'm guilty as charged; the casual observer sees my functionality but not my daily paralysis. Friends laugh with me, but I rarely let them hold my buckets of tears. Is that your modus operandi, as well?
Truth heart hurts and I think I'm in good company. If you aren't relating, we worn warriors cheer your tidy lives—but for many of us, life is more than messy. We trudge through emotional mire: impossible marriages, broken children, crippling fear and anxiety, chronic illness, devastating loss—it's a fierce battleground!
The good news—Paul reminds us:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
It's my daily battle cry!
I am weak. I have no other place to run, but into the strong arms of my Savior.
Peter Blackburn says it better than me...thoughts from Psalm 84:6.

Valley of Baca

I do not choose
the valley of Baca -
place of dryness,
place of tedious
without my choosing,
has a way
of taking me

I do not enjoy
the valley of Baca.
I have no desire
to linger there
or to revel
in its desolation.

Yet my Lord
has promised
to be with me
all the way,
even when
I must pass
through this valley.

Because he is here,
even the valley of Baca
can become
to me
a place of springs -
from strength to strength
with him!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Funny, how my perspective on Mother's Day has changed with passing years. I must be honest; it used to be about me! I cherished the crafted love of little hands, a day off from kitchen duty (oh, those glorious trips to the Blackeyed Pea and Wyatt's cafeteria,) and even the orchid corsage from Randall's floral cooler. 
But life has more hand prints to liven up refrigerator doors, no more reminding little boys that one dessert from the cafeteria line will more husband!
 Instead of dining out, I cooked a BBQ feast for two, spicy St. Louis style pulled pork with all of the fixings to share with my oldest son. I held vigil over the roast throughout the wee hours of the morning; I wanted it just perfect! 
Bobby arrives with flowers and dessert, just like his father.  We lunch over small talk laced with a few pinches of advice. A chance to mother again; that's what I really wanted on this Sunday in May, an opportunity to make my son's day filled with served on Grandmother Moore's "fish dishes"!

Two adults, who shared the darkest moment of our lives, sit at a table built for eight, but not large enough to hide the elephant in the room. Our best friend is missing; he's always missing. 
Two hours later, I sit alone. I look to see if my elderly neighbor is by herself; no, her daughter's car is still parked in her driveway. I suppose daughters find more stories to retell. 

I reach for a vintage baby doll perched in the corner, a present from my grandmother decades ago. I hold on to it much too long; cloth and stuffing make empty arms survive in some quirky way. 
I hold on to love sent from far away...

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I just wanted to say "I love you and I'm sorry we are apart. I hope you have a fantastic day. Thank you for always thinking of me and always coming up with fun ideas for the kiddos to keep in touch with them. They appreciate it and we appreciate it and we all love you very much.  Alex via WhatsApp

To my mom this Mother's Day:

Thank you. Thank you for showing me kindness and compassion for others in action. Thank you for teaching me acceptance for all people.

Thank you for making me finish that forever-long term paper on our typewriter. Thank you for the balloons on the mailbox when I made the dance team in high school. Thank you for introducing me to strong coffee and sharing many a Saturday shopping marathon.

Thank you for sending me into the world with confidence, and letting me cry on your shoulder the night I before moved to New York as you stroked my hair and said "You're gonna be great. You're supposed to do this."

As a mother myself now I truly get how hard it is to raise three young children. You sacrificed so much to make sure we were well take care of. You gave it your all in ways I'm not sure I know how to.

And now you are both Mom and Dad. Thank you for keeping Dad alive for all of us. He would have loved this picture.

Wish I could give you a big hug today. So much love, even if virtual.

Lindsay via FaceBook