The Day of Regalia

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A day we were waiting for for 16 years!!! Taylor and I went to pick up her Regalia for graduation at Grace College. I took pictures of her going into the building, just like I did her first day of school. She grinned and put up with me because she knew I was struggling to focus through the tears.

She finally got to the front door and opened it for me. Just inside was a computer screen with the count down of days, hours, minutes and seconds, until graduation. More tears. Archie would have been so proud and excited. He took her first picture at Grace when she signed up for her class as a junior in high school.  Her name flashed on the computer screen in admissions. He had that as his phone screen savor I think until she graduated from high school. Now I am taking the picture at the end…. .

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Legacy

a carn with dad

When Archie and I decided that water “hiking,” aka kayaking, sounded like the next right step, we were wise enough not to just assume we would like it. First we found a local guide who gave an all inclusive tour down one of our local water ways. That way we would see if this was something we could do near home, check out what kind of kayaks would be best for us (we were introduced to the sit on top), and learn the basic technique.

We next borrowed sit in kayaks from one of Archie’s friends/a vendor he spoke with and lived near us, and practiced to see which kind we liked better. Soon after, we scheduled an all day kayak trip at the end of one of Archie’s business trips–taking an extra day off for vacation–during the year of our 25th anniversary (We did things through out the year in celebration. It took us 25 years to get there, why not celebrate for a year?) We did an 8 hour float with a guide in southwestern MO, it was a blast. We watched a bald eagle soar, fought through some whitewater, and made some amazing memories. Definitely an anniversary to remember.

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A….B….C

Today this post popped up on Taylor’s fb from two years ago. Archie and I would have a lunch date via telephone every day. I thought I’d share what our “lunch dates” consisted of. If you read this on our fb two years ago, there are new thoughts at the bottom….. :

Thoughts for today….
Yesterday Taylor and I were discussing why negative things/physical aliments either happen or why God doesn’t heal everyone who asks.
Today @ lunch while chatting w/Arch the subject came up again. These were some of our thoughts…what are yours?

What if God came to you, like actually came to your door, and said He had something extremely important to talk about with you. He said there is this tool He has to reach those that are hurting, feel betrayed, are lost, or are hopeless. He shares His intense desire to comfort and give peace but He needs you.

Wow! God needs me! What could I possibly have that God could use? Why did He come to MY door? What could possibly make me that special?

God continues: He explains, this tool is vital to His work. People are hurting and He wants to comfort and encourage them with the use of this tool. You can see the pain in His face when He speaks of the discomfort in the world, but His brow softens and His face is peaceful as He shares the hope and reassurance the world is about to experience with your help and reliance on Him.

My heart palpitates! Help others in need? Give hope?!!!! Me?

He warns that there will be pain and sacrifice on my part. Change that….GREAT pain and sacrifice.

….what would you say?

The truth is the tool is unique to each one of use, what is yours?
Is your tool cancer? Can you relate to an unbeliever in a way that someone not going through it just couldn’t understand?

Is your tool sympathy? Have you grieved the loss of a child…a parent…a spouse…best friend? Can you cry with someone because you genuinely feel their pain?

Is your tool diabetes? Can you give encouragement to those that are just beginning this journey and express that God loves them just they way they are. Can you explain with empathy God has created them for a purpose and this disease is not a punishment, it’s a purpose?

Is your tool depression? WHAT? That CANNOT be a tool I yell…ever so reverently, of course…. . Yes, He explains. Can you teach and model complete dependency…moment, by moment, by sometimes agonizing moment, on Him? Can you can give the weight of the world to God and trust that He is big enough to carry it, even if that means giving it to Him over and over and over again?

Sometimes I feel so helpless in a world full of pain and suffering. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself because of my shortcomings and physical limitations.

What if….what if I took the focus off of me…? What if I looked for someone else who is at the beginning of a difficult journey that I just finished? What if I got up enough nerve to seek out someone who successfully completed a journey that has stopped me dead in my tracks.

What is my tool?

Then people commented so I responded:

I had one comment asking about unconfessed sin. I agree that there are natural consequences to our poor choices. I also agree that sometimes God allows nastys in our life to get our attention and get us back on track. My concern with that train of thought is sometimes we fall into an unhealthy fear/terror of God. When Arch was going through cancer I thought I had done something horrible and was being punished. Just about every step I took I was apologizing for, in case I had sinned while stepping. I wasn’t loving God, I was terrified of Him. It caused soooo much resentment! My pastor’s wife tried reaching out to me. She kept reminding me how God had gotten me through trial after trial before, loosing two children, job losses, and so on. That wasn’t helping. I was angry. Angry at myself for not being perfect enough. Angry at God for the pain my best friend was going through. Angry that I had the fear of being a single mom. I was angry. At that time my sister Trina invited me to a Wednesday night Bible study. I don’t remember what it was about. I just remember everyone got up and left and I just sat there….and I’m not sure why. Trina’s pastor’s wife, I don’t even remember her name, came and sat by me. She just sat not saying a word. I cried…and cried….and cried. She held my hand and told me I needed to write a letter to God. I could yell and scream and carry on all I wanted in that letter because God already knew I felt that way. He wasn’t going to strike me down with lightning, He wanted me to be honest with Him, and (sigh) myself. God made us who we are. He knows I can’t be perfect no matter how hard I try. I am grateful for grace: the gift we don’t deserve. In short (too late), I continue to ask God for forgiveness, but realize that sometimes as our heavenly father He needs me to go through things, feel things, in a personal way so I can put my arm around someone else and cry with them.

Now:

Crap. I’ll tell you right now the going through what ever this tool building process is….sucks.

Have I changed my view…..? No. I am empty beyond words for my best friend that completed my thoughts and was the encouraging force that caused me to move forward but I know, without a doubt, I will see him again. Can you say the same?

I hope that through the lunch date you can see we were both saying we were ready to be with our heavenly Dad, especially if it meant others would come to know him. So, I’m asking……do you know Him?

Would you like to? Just speak to our heavenly Dad, he’s only a whisper away:

A: Admit to God that you are a sinner (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23) and repent, turning away from your sin (Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9).

B: Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and accept God’s gift of forgiveness from sin (Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13)

C: Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Romans 10:9-10,13) Choose to follow Him….. .

Whether this is my last blog or one of many, Archie was ready for the day he died far more that I was ready for him to go. Can you say the same? You can be. It’s as easy as ABC.

 

 

Point of View

IMG_20160326_171406How do you keep someone grounded yet give them wings? I don’t have the answer but Archie did.

When we were dating he went with me to visit my dad, step-mom, and brother. It was then that Tom learned he and Archie shared the same birthday, just two years apart. I joked I had to look really hard to find that one quality.

At a rest stop on the way home I pulled out a map. I was flipping through it and flippantly said,”So, where should I live after I graduate?” I was living with my step-dad and mom and he said I wasn’t welcome there after I graduated from high school. Archie got really angry. I had not even entered him into the equation. Hmmmmm….I hadn’t thought of that.

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Saying Goodbye

The fury kids had their annual check-up today. We had a discussion with the vet about how they are handling not having Archie home. He explained that animals grieve, too, but we already knew that.

Molly is just Molly. She is so self focused I don’t even know if she realizes Archie isn’t here. Max is uneasy. He chews on everything, casings around the door, the door, blankets, he is always nervous.

Dash, Archie’s dog is….perfect. It’s almost like he doesn’t want me to hurt so he listens to every command. He wants to sit either on my lap or beside me whenever I’m home. He follows me from room to room, just in case I feel like petting him. He’s always there, as if trying to make up for the loss of someone who isn’t….. Continue reading “Saying Goodbye”

God’s Intended Purpose

Archie and I planned everything together, down to our future meals we were going to develop, when work slowed. Even the dishes on which we were going to showcase our concoctions. Those were mentally on the schedule for purchase. There was an agenda for everything.

We had the quintessential five year financial plan. The physical plan of getting back to doing 5Ks, as the last two years he didn’t have time. There were the kayaks we purchased two years ago and the group we joined last July but never had the opportunity to kayak with, because of all the fires to put out…..next year he said.

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Unnamed Disciples…or are they?

What does supper look like at your house? How’s your appetite? It is such a chore at out house. Archie and I LOVED Chinese stir-fry veggies every night. We’d then add whatever sounded good to him, for meat. Chicken or pork with various seasoning, sauteing onions and…stuff :), or marinading. It was always an adventure because you never knew what he’d be in the mood of. Rarely was it ever the same thing twice.

We haven’t even starting on the topic of smoking! Arch LOVED the taste of smoked food–meat, cheese, corn on the cob, potatoes, ohhh…the smokey flavor. He started getting serious two years ago about dry rubs and various kinds of wood for distinct flavor definition. He bought a little charcoal smoker, but couldn’t keep the heat up. Last year for Father’s Day Taylor and I surprised him with a gas/charcoal smoker. He was at work a lot so we were sneaky: we put it on the front deck. It was hidden in plain sight for weeks. He was shocked when we finally pointed it out to him and he realized it had been in front of him for such a long time :). He loved it but only had a chance to use it twice. Next year he said….. .

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Baby Step Moments

Last night when Taylor and I were going through Nappanee we saw the theatre was playing Batman vs Superman–Archie was pretty excited about seeing that movie. My heart sunk when I saw it: his movie, his theatre….the theatre where we saw the movie on our honeymoon…. .

I was talking to one other widow (I am still not comfortable with that term). One of the things that’s hardest is the realization that this is,  “another thing he missed… .”

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Grief Share Part 2

Our second night of Grief Share. I could tell this last week I was seriously being lifted up in prayer because last week’s anger was inexpressible. Much better, seven days later. I haven’t even slammed any doors–lately ;).

This week the most interesting topic came up: fear. What are we afraid of? One lady summed up my feelings as if she stepped into my soul. She said her fear is: people will forget her loved ones. Others stop saying their name, or won’t talk about them in front of her. Bingo. I teared….again.

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The Journey Into Cancer

The nightly battle continues. I lay for two hours, pretty much the norm, finally deciding to be obedient and write what our heavenly Dad is laying on my heart.

I told Taylor about my outing with Dash. Her first question: “How’d the truck smell, Mom?” For the last couple of months Arch had a….unique smell. He said it was from sweating, but for 26 years I recognized his “sweat” smell, and this was not it. The truck retained this odd odor. She has been spraying it pretty much nonstop for the last month.

A number of years ago an unfamiliar phrase was conveyed to me,”the smell of death….. .”

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