A Post-Quarantine Catch Up!

Wow! I can’t believe that I haven’t written anything since April 2020, but to be honest, I haven’t even thought about doing so either, as I’ve been preoccupied! And, really, “preoccupied” is an understatement! When I last wrote my husband and I were for the most part, “homebound”, due to stay at home orders our State was under. My husband, was more “homebound” due to his health condition and being immune compromised. We did everything in our power to prevent him from catching the COVID-19 virus and, for the most part, we were successful. I worked from home for several months and we made the best of the tough situation we were in. It was great that we had a nice spring, summer, and fall, so we did a lot of things outside. We were able to meet with family and friends until the fall brought too cold of temps to do so, then we did many virtual activities, like birthday parties, holidays, all via virtual offerings. We did many video chats and did so regularly with family so we could remain in as much “personal” contact as possible. A very special young fella in my life doesn’t even really know how to do a “regular” phone call, he will only “do” video chats because “he needs to see your face”!!! LOL! I appreciate that he’s so passionate about that at his tender age and I hope he keeps the desire for that personal contact as he grows.

In early spring of 2021, as the vaccine became readily available, we got my husband registered so that he could get his just as soon as it was available. He was so excited to get his vaccine because he knew it would get him reconnected with having personal contact with family and friends. I won’t share which vaccine he got, as it is irrelevant, but unfortunately five days following his second shot he got very sick and died three days later. Some said it was “inevitable”, but no it wasn’t! Yes, he had a serious disease that in time would take his life, but he had been maintaining throughout COVID and his death came as a complete shock! I feel grateful that in the second day of his hospitalization that he and I were able to see one another, talk, and ask to be transferred to Hospice. As hopeful as we were, once he was transferred to the Hospice facility, he had rapid decline, wasn’t able to talk, and only lived 24 hours after being admitted to Hospice. God’s timing was incredible though, as many facilities had begun to “relax” their COVID protocols and the very day he was admitted the Hospice facility had begun to allow spouses to remain throughout the night. While that night was agonizing, because it was just us and I was basically watching him slowly transition, it was an incredible blessing to be allowed to be together. After all, it had always been just the two of us for 34.5 years! I had on-going dialogue with God throughout that night, as I held my soul mates hand and allowed my heart to be shattered and vulnerable, while completely dependent on God to carry me, hold me together, and download strength that can only come from Him. God blessed me with answered prayer, as well. Fear was brewing about COVID back in early spring of 2020 and I was very scared. I had been hearing the horror stories on the news about people suffering and dying alone ~ something that I was afraid would happen to him and I fervently prayed that would not happen. On April 1, 2020, I wrote the following in my journal: “I just want his life to end beautifully and filled with love and care”. THAT prayer was granted! He was cared for, well, at Hospice and every staff person that he and I encountered treated us lovingly and respectfully. But, that’s not all! God granted my sister, a Hospice nurse, and me with a divine experience that would only come from Him. As my husband began to transition and death was near, while his favorite hymn “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” played, he began to move his legs (as in walking up stair steps), and as “my chains are gone” came out of the speaker he lifted his hands toward the ceiling (HEAVEN!!!), and passed while we were worshipping over him singing along with the hymn playing (I hope we sounded angelic!!). PRAYER ANSWERED!! “I just want his life to end beautifully….”…. I don’t know how more beautiful his last breaths could have been! That answered prayer gave me such peace ~ truly peace that surpasses all human understanding. Yes, my heart was (is still) shattered, but the peace God blessed me with is unquestionable and, honestly, unexplainable. I have never known such an elevated level of peace before in my life.

In my blog of April 18, 2020, I referred to the following verse as my “go to” verse for the season I was in at that time: Philippians 4: 6 & 7:  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine) I never imagined that my “go to” would become so vividly illustrated in my life as it did in Spring of 2021. I’m grateful. I’m amazed. I’m shattered. I’m rocked to the core. I’m incredibly blessed. And, as I write this thirteen months later, I’m healing. Very early stages of healing. Still broken, that sometimes still feels shattered, yet peace still remains. I have peace that still exceeds anything I will ever be able to understand.

I have to admit that I now have an additional “go to” verse that has carried me through the past thirteen months and “coincidentally” (nah, there are really no coincidences!!) on the cover of my journal that I started writing in late 2019, right before the pandemic hit! Joshua 1:9: “be strong and courageous! the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. (emphasis mine) This verse that I had seen on the cover of my journal for over a year before my husband’s homegoing came to me as I prayed over him immediately after his passing. I prayed to my Jesus with thanks…..thank you for the years of amazing love with my soulmate, thank you for bringing him to me nearly 35 years before, thank you for the blessed life we had, thank you for not allowing him to suffer, thank you for answering all of my prayers perfectly. I remember at some point that prayer turning to a little “pep rally” for myself and telling God that I would share my husband’s beautiful death story, that I would honor my soulmate and my God by continuing to serve for God’s glory, and I recall ending with saying these words out loud, then, and in my head nearly every day since: “I can do this! God, I can do this with you! Holy Spirit infiltrate me with God’s purpose for me! Jesus, take the wheel! For your glory, God!”

I’m really not all that comfortable sharing all of this deeply personal experience, but for months I have felt God nudging me. I hear “tell the story” often. I do NOT enjoy being vulnerable, nor do I enjoy admitting my vulnerability, but if even one person hears the story, or anything else I have to tell, and solidifies a relationship with Jesus …. well, it will all be worth it. ALL FOR HIM!

So, it is my intent to share more often than I have the last several years. When God calls me to it, you’ll find me here! Otherwise, I’ll just be a “Jesus girl trying to do every day life”! I’m sure even if you can’t relate to being a widow, you can relate with that….right?! So, stay tuned….there’s got to be more to come, as I figure out my purpose in this calling, but for now, how about meditating on one of the verses I shared above. I’d love to hear your “go to” in the comments.

If you relate music, I have a “go to” song that you may enjoy meditating on, too: “Truth I’m Standing On” by Leanna Crawford. I pray it touches you, as it has touched me.

Thanks for stopping by!


So, how are you doing during this pandemic quarantine?  I hope fine and I pray safe!! I haven’t written in so long that I decided maybe now would be a good time to.  After all, I think it would be good to “log” some sort of “something” during this very unique experience!  One month ago, today, I packed up my office and headed home for an undetermined amount of time to work from home.  It is possible to conduct my particular job duties from home – and technology has made it even more doable.  For the first few weeks I video conferenced every day with each of the individuals I supervise (6).  That really filled up my day, but since everyone seems to have gotten into a routine I’ve cut the personal conferencing down to twice a month and as a team we meet two times a week.  So, the COVID-19 virus has put the State in which I live in a quarantine state of operations.  We are under a “stay at home” order in which only essential travel is to take place (ie. grocery shopping, supplies, etc…).  In the last month I have driven my car only a half dozen times.  I haven’t filled up my gas tank since March 18 and have barely used a half a tank.  Rationing of supplies began well before I began working from home because people were panic shopping and stockpiling many items – especially toilet paper!  I made a trip to a local box store around the 10th of March and was in disbelief!  I couldn’t believe what I saw:  absolutely no paper towels, toilet paper, peanut butter, or sugar on the shelf!  NONE!  I purchased one of the last five or six sacks of flour!  I was amazed! – and, a little creeped out by the sight!  In the weeks to come, I intend to write about some of the things that I’m learning in this quarantine, and as the last four weeks have passed by with church services only being held via on-line – including last Sunday on Easter!; my pastor and friend has challenged us to share during Bible study what verse has been our “go to” each week.  Mine hasn’t changed – the verse I have been and am clinging to is Philippians 4: 6 & 7:  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  I have a trinket that sits on my computer stand that reads “Prayer Changes Things”.  That is so true!  I have always felt like I was a prayer warrior, but before July 2018 I didn’t have a clue as to what prayer can do.  So, for now, I leave you with a challenge to meditate on Philippians 4: 6 & 7; tell God what you need and thank him for all that he has done.  We’ll pick up there in the next blog!  🙂

And, that’s a wrap!

Yep, just like that – in just a few hours we will celebrate the last minute of 2018 and the new minutes of 2019!  I just finished reading my last post from in July, wow!  A LOT has happened since that post and now that I have finished reading over it, I’m so very grateful for the quiet time I had just a few days leading up to that.  God knew I needed that time, and He knew what was coming – and WOW!, what was coming was BIG!  Just three weeks after my last post, on July 28, my husband went into the hospital for a routine heart catheterization in hopes of discovering information that may have qualified him for some alternative medicinal therapies for his progressive lung disease.  In turn, what was discovered is that he had a “false positive” on his previous stress tests and, in fact, had some very serious blockage – so much so that he was transferred to a hospital with a cardiovascular surgeon.  On August 1, he had open heart surgery and was listed in serious condition in CVICU for four days following.  Four months later, he is much better – praise the Lord!, but still struggles with his lung disease.  I’m so grateful his life was spared, but even more so I’m so grateful for the journey we have been on.  It’s been the most tough thing either of us have experienced, but I firmly believe we are better – not bitter – and, stronger personally, as well as a couple.  God has been so good throughout this journey!  He immediately placed people in our path that He knew we needed – good people, caring people, helpful people – family and friends, as well as complete strangers!  He immediately began opening doors that no human would ever have been capable of opening for us.  HE did this for us because HE LOVES US THAT MUCH!  He gave me “peace in the chaos” and met every need.  I can’t even imagine how many people were supporting us in prayer!  It’s almost mind-boggling to think about, yet not, because I’m so, so grateful.  I knew God was amazing before this occurred, but the way He reveals His awesomeness in this journey is truly spectacular.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say this journey has been all glamorous – there have been so many down right ugly days, but in the ugliness there has been peace which may only come from our heavenly father.  So rather than rehash the journey, cuz really what IS the point in that!?! I’m looking through the windshield of hope for 2019!  Oh, we have many unanswered questions going into this new year, but that’s what give us the drive to have HOPE – we must have HOPE and we must TRUST that whatever is brought our way will be OK!  So, as I prepare for the new year, I’ve selected a word as I have in the past…… SAVOR!  Yep, my word for 2019 is SAVOR!!  I want to slow down in 2019 to intentionally savor each and every moment.  I don’t want rush and busyness – well, I KNOW there will be busy times, but I am committed to having “white space” in my schedule each and every week for reading truth, praying, reflecting, and truly savoring every minute of every day.  And, it is in this that I desire to intentionally become more comfortable with being vulnerable and have great peace in this chaos called life!  I want to completely live each and every day as Psalm 34:8 instructs:   “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (ESV)

So, what is your word for 2019?  Tell me, I want to know – I want to pray for you.  And, will you please pray for me and my husband?  Please pray that our medical team finds an alternative to make him more comfortable for a greater quality of life AND that we SAVOR each and every minute of our time together.  Happy New Year!

Unbalanced, yet hopeful…

….yes, you can be both!  How do I know this?  ‘Cuz, I am living a life that is completely unbalanced as life I’ve always known it, and yet, hopeful!

I recently fought with a blanket while attempting to launder it.  The blanket is large and during the spin cycles would become heavier on one side making the washer get unbalanced and eventually stop….until I’d readjust the blanket and the machine would start again only to repeat this at least twice during each spin.  Frustrating!  I just wanted the damn blanket to be washed so I could throw it in the dryer and get on with the rest of the mounds of laundry!  (how do two people create so much laundry?!!, but I digress!).

After the blanket was finally in the washer, and I sat down to look over some social media, in the background I heard playing a song by Tenth Avenue North that I hadn’t heard for a bit.  Or, rather, hadn’t paid close attention to it.  It’s entitled, “I Have This Hope” (check it out on YouTube!).  It’s been out for a few years and I remember that I’ve always like the melody, but I’m not really sure I have allowed the lyrics to resonate with me as it did today.  Here’s the lyrics:

I Have This Hope  by Tenth Avenue North
As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?
I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
But sometimes my faith feels thin
Like the night will never end
Will You catch every tear
Or will You just leave me here?
But I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
Yes, I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
So, whatever happens I will not be afraid
Cause You are closer than this breath that I take
You calm the storm when I hear You call my name
I still believe that one day I’ll see Your face
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go
Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Michael Donehey / Jeff Owen
I Have This Hope lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

As I’ve shared, my husband has a progressive, terminal illness.  There are days when I don’t think about it, then wham – he has a rough day or I stub my toe on the oxygen machine, or we have an appointment in which I kind of hold my breath hoping for good news, all the while trying to prepare my heart and head to hear bad news.  It’s kind of hard to explain.  There really isn’t any explaining, but as I’ve spent several days in a lot of quiet time while my hubby was on a trip, I’ve been led to read over notes in my journals, notes I’ve taken while attending church and trainings the last several years and I feel God encouraging me to be “ok” with being unbalanced while  having hope and to get comfortable with being unbalanced and vulnerable so that I may grow closer to Him, as well as my husband.  Oh, I’ve wrestled with God over this.  Yesterday while tending to my flowers and enjoying some time outside I was just arguing with the Lord!  Saying things like: “why, Lord, are you leading me/us on this path?”  “what is our purpose in this?” “how can we honor you and bring glory to you through this?”; which led me to reading over some notes I took at a retreat I had several years ago at the Inn at Honey Run in which I wrote: “I want to encourage other women so that they may feel the love and acceptance of the Lord in a way that makes them reach their potential and more”.  Reading over that, again and again, it kind of took my breath away!  It was kind of like God just sitting right beside me having a conversation and a “parental-like” discussion.  So, instead of making excuses, I continued reading and pouring over notes in which I read things like “use me mightily Lord”, “help me to shine your light”, “lead me to whom you want me to help”.  Mind you, it was now like 1 am, I’m still pouring over notes, reading scriptures, listening to music, and at some point I fell asleep.  When I awoke this morning at 5, my light was still on, the dogs were snoozing (one snoring!), so I took some time to just lay there and listen to the quiet and prayed which led me to looking at where I left off….. interesting where that was and why my heart and mind must have felt so peaceful and comforted that I drifted off to sleep  and slumbered on this verse:

     “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him”. ~Psalm 62:5

and, my phone had gone into sleep mode on the YouTube video of “I Have This Hope”.

So, while it was a short night, 4 hours of sleep!, I awoke refreshed and calm in spirit.  THAT is a true gift!  I have many days that I have to intentionally reach for “calm in spirit” and fight the devils temptation to allow my feelings to be driven to chaos.  So, as I began my day, humming some hymns, feeding the dogs, taking a short walk with them in the yard with the heavy morning dew chilling my bare feet, I smiled both inside and out.  I’m grateful that I’ve had a few days of reflection and I know it has been God designed.   I haven’t worried one bit about hubby while he’s been gone.  My heart is glad that he had time with family and friends to make memories for himself and them.  And, I’m grateful that I’ve had time to have some spa treatments, soul reflection, time with family and friends, and time to just “be”.  And, now, I’m declaring that I will continue to work on being comfortable with unbalance and demonstrate that in the flood or the fire there is grace, humility, peace, and love.  But, before I draw this to a close, I want to also go on record regarding a few things (not justifying, just want to be on the same page here as we do life together!) :

1.  I’m NOT an angry woman!  I am heart broken!  I am failing at becoming “ok” with being vulnerable and showing sadness, but I’m trying!!!  I have always felt that by crying, saying I’m sad, or being vulnerable was a sign of being weak – and I am by far weak….I’ve worked damn hard to be a strong, independent woman.  Yet, I’ve become very aware that in my attempt at becoming strong and independent I have often come across as angry and/or intolerant/disagreeable.  To those who felt that from me “I’m sorry”!  I never want to appear intolerant and please know that it is not intentional.  However, I vow to be very intentional in trying to be more graceful and comfortable with being vulnerable.

2.  Please don’t tell me how to feel and/or think you know how I feel.  Perhaps you have experienced a loss of a relative, friend, pet or had a near death experience with one… that does NOT in any way equal what I’m going through.  I acknowledge that any loss that any of us have ever felt prepares us for another loss in the future, but please hear me, nothing can prepare you for the loss of your soulmate.  It’s hard.  It’s sad.  It’s gut-wrenching.  It’s humbling.  All the while it’s a gift to capture more moments – it somehow makes all the moments shared sweeter.  And, as I read over this paragraph I realize it’s probably going to come across bitchy. Sorry for that!  All I’m really trying to say is:  please don’t tell me to look for the “silver lining” when I’m sad, please don’t tell me to put my game face on and be strong for my husband (trust me, I’m doing that, but there are snippets of time that I just can’t!)…..in other words, just please WALK BESIDE ME!….don’t judge me, don’t pretend to know how/what I’m feeling, don’t try to be my cheerleader…..just hold my hand, give me a hug, sit in silence, be present.

3.  And, finally, know that I know you, our family and friends, are experiencing a loss too.  So, there may be times (a lot of the time) in which I don’t share because I truly do recognize this is a loss for you, too, and I’m trying to be considerate of you.  So, it’s ok for you to not be strong each and every second, too.  Now is the time to just be authentic.  Don’t be shallow or pull back…..just LOVE!

And, finally…..really, finally this time!  I’ve opened my blog back up to being public.  I believe God gave me the gift to gab/write and is leading me to share this experience to bring glory and honor to Him.  Which is my hearts desire.  While reading over notes and things last night I came across hubby’s and my 25th wedding renewal vows and sermon notes.  I’m so glad that I found them and I plan to keep them close by to reread for encouragement.  I find great comfort in the following words shared by our pastor:  “it is evident that love has brought you together, and it is love that will sustain you. Love is an eternal triangle.  God is at the apex, and you two are at the base of the triangle.  When man and woman are joined together with God at the top, they will not be separated from each other at the bottom.  In genuine love, two persons look out together in the same direction and direct their lives together toward common ideals and goals”.  And THAT gives me the hope of today and has given me hope with this man I call my husband and best friend for the last 32 years.  I am a lucky, lucky woman.  I am loved and adored by my heavenly father, my earthly father, and my husband!  That is so comforting.

God does not promise that our lives will be without pain, but He does promise to never leave us.  He will carry us and continue to give us hope, as we have the hope of spending our eternity with Him.  I have this hope….do you?



Change ~ it ain’t easy!

It’s been several weeks since you heard from me.  There’s been a lot going on!  My husband’s health has declined some which has had me perplexed, focused, and prayerful.  This is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.  I don’t like seeing him struggle.  And, don’t get me wrong, he has not worsened to the point of hospice or even hospitalization, for that matter, but he has declined.  He’s at a point where he is noticing the change and struggling emotionally with finding a new “norm”.  Which means, I am struggling for finding our new “norm”.  We have had many in-depth conversations about what is happening.  To remind you, he has a progressive lung disease, that is terminal.  Currently, he is going through tests.  He has the next test in a few weeks which will hopefully give the medical team a clearer insight into how to treat him so his quality of life may be improved, or at the very least, maintained for some time to come.

Several year’s ago I stepped out and made this blog public.  That just changed!  I’m sorry, but from in the future you will need to be an “approved” viewer/follower.  I hope that doesn’t discourage any of you from reading.  Actually, I’m hoping it will encourage some of my closer friends to become a follower.  My reason in changing the security setting is I want to share this journey with you, I need to and I need you!  I want to remain creative in this way and hope that one day and I may have courage to open it back up for public viewing – at which time other’s will be able to read all of this from an archived stand point.

Have I mentioned this journey is hard?  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.  Don’t mistake my mention of how hard this is and jump to the conclusion that I’m worrying and not relying on our God for strength.  Or, don’t go thinking that I’m not remaining hopeful – there’s always HOPE in JESUS! And, don’t go thinking that I’ve already got him dead and buried just because I’m a little fearful of that – ok….a lot fearful of that!  Just please don’t judge me in this.  I invite you to do two things:

  1.  PRAY!  Oh, please pray for me.  Pray for him.  Pray for us!  Pray that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.  That we make decisions that will glorify Him.  And, that we continue to be strong, yet honest, and get comfortable with being vulnerable.
  2. WALK!  That’s right….walk BESIDE me….don’t try to lead me, don’t try to be a cheerleader, don’t try to tell me how to feel, don’t tell me that I should/shouldn’t feel a certain way.  JUST BE!  BE with me!  Walk beside me.  Hold my hand.  Hug me.  JUST BE!

I’m blessed to have a friend that has walked this road I am currently walking.  My heart broke for her during it, continues to break for her as she learns her new normal without her spouse, but marvels at her strength, courage, and grace.  While I hate she had to go first in this, I’m blessed that she’s willing to share with me, encourage me, sometimes sets me straight, and sometimes is just quiet.  That’s God completely!  He shows me daily how He is leading this journey.  And, for THAT, I’m so grateful.

So, please come along….but know that I understand if you just can’t….it’s o.k.  One thing I’m learning on this journey is to give grace….grace for other’s and grace for myself.  And, to spend A LOT of time on my knees and in the word….that’s what carries me – HE carries me!


Living Loved…

As I sit here this morning, the day after my birthday, I’ve read over cards, texts, and social media messages that have touched me and made me feel special.  As I begin to read my devotions and write in my journal, I pause and think to myself, “what a wonderful life I have”.  That takes me further into thanking God for the life He’s given me ~ a truly wonderful life!  No, I don’t have an easy life, but I, also, do not have a hard life either.  I have a home, plenty of food, a good and fulfilling job, a network of amazing friends, great family, awesome husband, pets that are my children, a wonderful church family, and have all of my needs met.  Especially the need for love, which makes me a bit frustrated with myself!  Why?  Honestly, because I’ve wasted a lot of years not feeling completely loved, not really loving myself, and not truly embracing the amazing, unconditional, unending love Jesus gives me each and every minute, of every hour, of every day.  I think I chose not to feel loved as a defense – maybe to reduce being vulnerable?  Not sure!  Oh, in my brain and some of my heart has felt “the love”, but not until the past year have I truly felt it completely.  And, I honestly believe it is because I am now completely loving.  Loving without expectation, judgement, and condition. Aha….I think I’ve finally achieved being authentic!  PRAISE JESUS!  It’s about darn time!!  I can just imagine Jesus smacking his forehead thinking just that “it’s about darn time, Jacqueline!”!!!  LOL!  Does this mean I’m perfect at it?  Uh, NO!  Does this mean that I don’t get honked off or cranked up about things?  Uh, NO!  I’m not a perfect person, but I am honestly enjoying living and walking in the presence of God and feeling completely loved and accepted.  Which doesn’t mean I’m completely satisfied with life….I still have things I am working at changing and have goals, but working toward those goals is so much different than ever before.  Does this mean I’ve lived as a hypocrite all this time?  No, I don’t think so – what I feel is that I’ve grown into a deeper relationship with Jesus – more authentic relationship – maybe reached a level of spiritual maturity, if you will?!  I’m still a work in progress and hope that I never stop growing, but am so, so thankful for where I am today.  Do I still have fear?  At times, yes!  Do I still doubt?  Unfortunately, yes! But when I read scripture about how wonderfully designed I am – I actually believe it and can smile and feel fulfilled, not less than.  And, with that comes increased self-confidence – which has energized me in serving others – which is even more fulfilling.  I am grateful to be the daughter of a King who expects me to stumble, yet knows how many single hairs are on my head and is patient with me.  I’m now going to go back to my journal and write out some of my goals for the next year to achieve.  One will be to continue writing and sharing, as I hope with my “sharing” that one woman will feel the love of Jesus and come full circle as I have.  Sweet Jesus Sister’s – embrace His love and trust that He is Good – good.all.the.time.  Until next time, keep shining! 🙂

Philippians 4: 6-7 ~ Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (The Message; emphasis mine!)

1 Corinthians 13:13 ~ 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)



Can one be angry and have God’s peace at the same time? A lot of folks that I have asked this question say “no”, but I feel the answer is “yes” and here’s why…
I’m experiencing both God’s peace and anger at the same time now and I’m not bipolar, therefore one must be able to have both! lol! (and, that’s NOT a pun or stab against anyone that does have bipolar!….just my sick sense of humor!!).
I do have God’s peace – I trust Him completely and see Him working miracles on a daily basis in my life. However, I do get angry – not bitter, just angry at times.
I see the hand of God – more importantly – FEEL God in my life. He brings me great blessings, comfort, and hope on the daily. Yet, do I get angry that my hubby has a terminal illness? Yep! Do I get angry when I’m feeling judged? Yep! Do I always handle it well? Nope! Sometimes I’m a big jerk! Other times, I withdraw so that I don’t offend or lash out at anyone. I don’t mean to get angry, but life is hard and sometimes life stinks! And, I sometimes forget to thank God for the “speed bumps” and get a little mad…ok, sometimes a whole lot mad! So, what makes me mad? Well, for instance, my hubby’s illness requires him to wear oxygen during activity, which has resulted in him having a handicap parking pass because it fatigues him to walk a great distance. Yesterday was sunny, so we headed out of town to a home improvement store to look at landscape rocks/pavers to get ideas for a new project. The garden area entrance/exit wasn’t open yet requiring folks to enter another door. When we went to park we noticed that the store has now added “in” and “out” signs which required us to enter the building in the complete opposite end of the store than the garden area. Hubby stated he was up for a little jaunt anyway so we decided to enter. We pace ourselves and get into the garden area all to discover folks are not permitted into the area yet where the landscaping rocks are. Mad? YES! I was mad at the inconvenience for hubby and grew even more mad when attempting to exit, one must have to wait in line at a check out to gain access to the “out” door. I’m thinking this store must have a lot of issue with shoplifting, but what an inconvenience – and it caused hubby much unnecessary fatigue! I greatly struggle with folks who are “complaining” about their mate.  While it’s none of my business, yet they kinda make it mine when complaining, but I typically reply, “sorry you’re having difficulty” or “I’ll pray for you”, but what I’d really like to say is “huh, sorry you can’t see the good in your mate….mine has a lot of flaws, so do I, but funny how those flaws really don’t interfere with my life when I think about him dying”!  Another example is when someone says, “well he could call me”, when referencing he or she hasn’t talked to hubby for a bit. HELLO?! Did you forget the man struggles with feeling good on the daily? There are often days that he doesn’t do much of anything because he is suffering from fatigue. Fatigue is NOT being lazy – it is a physical incapacity to complete what one would like to do because they simply do not feel well. Pick up the phone to place a call to say “hey” or send a text. Let a person know that you love and care for them. Oh, I’m well aware some of these things are trivial and really shouldn’t be a big deal, but one of my identified strengths is caring for others – therefore, when my loved ones are inconvenienced or hurt, I want to fix it and make their world all better. Unfortunately, when someone has a terminal illness, fixing isn’t possible! Therefore, day to day we get to make the most of the day, savor the moments, and continue to treasure one another. So, there’s where the peace of God comes in! I trust. I rely. I praise. I’m grateful. I’m thankful. I’m sometimes very sad. However, I must realize that in the gift of all of this, I’m learning to be more authentic, forgiving, and grace-giving. Do I mess up? Oh, yeah! All the dang time, which is why I pray all the time for strength, for God-honoring speech, for grace-giving — and grace-receiving. And, let me side-bar here….before I get another email or comment from a loved one who feels I’m focusing on the hubby dying…..well, do not judge me!  Unless you have walked in these shoes just SHUT UP!  I don’t focus on the end of his life.  However, when he has a bad breathing day or there’s another medical test/appointment approaching it kind of just smacks me in the face….so, yeah, I do focus on it from time to time, but not every single day!!  I read a quote from Nicki Koziarz, of Proverbs 31, today that really captures how I’m currently living/feeling…. “God doesn’t meet us at perfection. He meets us where we are in our process toward receiving His promises.” Life is messy! I used to try hard at keeping the fake facade of looking like I had it all together. I surely don’t! Life is messy. Life is sad. Life is chaotic. Life is in and out of balance, at times. Life is good. Life is happy. Life is opportunity. Opportunity to live life large, open, serving, and loving. Is it sad that my hubby has an illness? Yes. Would I change my life for another journey to have lived? NO! I’m blessed and I’m committed to living life out loud – large – loving – and for Him!


Music has always been an integral part of my life!  I was in the church choir, which I absolutely loved!  I played clarinet from 5th grade through sophomore year of college and played piano for my high school years.  I excelled at clarinet and it’s what got me through school, well what got me through school was the influence of a special band director, piano teacher, and the opportunities music opened for me.  I love to dance, sing, and listen to music.  While I’ll admit ELO, The Eagles, BonJovi, the Bee Gees are still some of my favorites.  I don’t really listen to much secular music anymore.  I haven’t for several years.  I just find worship music feeds my soul.  However, I still MUST listen to Jim Brickman very often – I just find the piano music to be so soothing.  Of course, I listen to a lot of classical music too, but only if it’s a recording of one of my nieces performances!  A song that came out several years ago by Matthew West entitled “Forgiveness” has completely changed my life!  I loved it from the moment I heard it.  I love the lyrics and the tune, so much so that I would catch myself humming it often.  About the time the song came out I lost a very close friend due to hurtful words and actions on both of our parts.  Looking back now, to have a fifteen year friendship severed of two supposed Christian women is just really sad – sad because both got an “attitude” with the other and sad that we didn’t turn to our Father in heaven for guidance; which is actually a largely missed opportunity.  While I still believe that relationship ended because of actions on both sides, I see now that I was not giving grace – forgiveness – or acceptance to all who were in my life.  I was a hypocrite!  I was being, especially, very judgmental of my sister and other “sisters” in my life.  If someone hurt my feelings, instead of turning the other cheek as God instructs, I got an attitude.  If someone hurt one of my loved one’s or someone I cared about, I got an even bigger attitude.  And, yah, I’ll admit, while I was quoting biblical instruction, serving other’s, attending church, and singing worship songs I was not living out grace, mercy, acceptance, or forgiveness.  I am so very thankful though that God got a hold of my heart and changed that.  I am grateful that God didn’t give up on me and that He kept orchestrating opportunity after opportunity for me to hear and learn about forgiveness.  And, yes, then I had an “aha moment” and it was while listening to “Forgiveness” that it all finally “clicked” and the Holy Spirit guided me into forgiving and letting go of the score card I kept that “justified” my “attitude”.  I prayed on my knees that day and asked Jesus to help me not to be a hypocrite, to give me courage to just let the hurt go away – really let it go and not stuff it, and to grant other’s forgiveness as my heavenly father gave to me when I accepted Him into my heart AND gives to me every single day when I sin – cause I do!  I makes tons of mistakes, bad choices, say the wrong thing and am basically an unfinished mess of a work in progress every single day!  And, you know what the really cool thing about forgiveness is – it’s so dang freeing I want to “Denozo slap” myself for not doing it sooner in my life!  I wasted a lot of time and have had a lot of missed opportunity because I copped an attitude and didn’t forgive someone, therefore I didn’t get to have an authentic relationship during that an entire time with the person.  Dumb!  Just dumb!  As the song says:  “it’ll clear the bitterness away, it can even set a prisoner free, there is no end to what its power can do, so let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace – THE PRISONER THAT IT REALLY FREES IS YOU!  Do you get that?  When being unforgiving I was a prisoner of my own bitterness, hate, anger, etc….. but, when I chose to forgive – truly forgive I became FREE!  And, please don’t misinterpret this….I’m not on a high and mighty kick here….and, I don’t do this perfectly….I still get an attitude and don’t always give grace when I should, I was born with sassy britches on!….but with the help of Jesus, I’m getting better!  And, living FREE is so worth swallowing the big monster fur-ball of unforgiveness – the monster of bitterness, anger, resentment….just.let.it.go!  Easier said than done!  But so worth the work of doing so!!  So, I’m going to leave you with a challenge….in two weeks we’re celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.  He died on the cross for me…..for you….for all of us – the sinners that we are.  He wants you to come to Him.  So, google Matthew West’s song….listen to it, read the lyrics, and open your heart to let.it.go!….whatever you’re holding on to just let it go!  And, then google another one of my faves….Crowder’s “Come as You Are”…..in which it says “lay down your hurt, lay down your heart, come as you are”.  It’s a powerful, powerful song – life changing, yet all so easy – lay all of it a the foot of the cross and let Jesus take it so you may be FREE.

Used Mightily…

July 2017 was my last post.  OK, so I’m not a serious blogger!  I really don’t like that term…I really see myself more as a “sharer”!  I like to share with other’s!  I like to be an encourager.  I like to be a prayer-er!  I like to be a leader.  I like to be a cooker….as in serve meals for others.  I like to make people feel good.  I’ve sat down to write a post more times than I can count, but I really don’t have much to say….or, do I?!  OK, yah, I always have a lot to say!  I did have a friend recently ask me to write more.  She thinks I have great wisdom!  She must be very sheltered! ha, ha!  So, where do I start?  Well, since my last post talked about my husband and his illness, I guess an update is a good place to start!

He’s doing “ok”!  As I mentioned, he has a progressive, terminal lung disease. So, by “ok”, I mean he is not worse, but he is not better either.  He hasn’t had any hospital admissions, no upper respiratory infections, and no episodic flares, so in all he’s in pretty good shape for the shape he’s in!  It’s been a long winter for him, though.  I see him getting down from time to time with not being able to just go do whatever he’d like.  We’ve avoided a lot of public crowds, restaurants, movie theaters, etc due to the influenza season being a large risk for him.  Therefore, we’ve had a lot of quality time at home together.  That’s been a good thing – we really like one another! 🙂  However, when my job gets busy and extra time is required, I tend to have a big dose of the “guilts” when I need to work longer hours and leave him at home, alone.   He’s looking forward to spring when he can get outside more and enjoy nature.  He has lung function studies in April and a check up in May (the check up comes every three months!), so more information may come, or not!  It’s like you can’t wait to get a check up over because you wonder what news is going to be shared, yet you dread it all at the same time!  I used to have a lot of anxiety leading up to the appointments, but I’ve developed a pattern now – the week leading up to the appointment I leave a lot of white space in my schedule so I have more concentrated time with God and my hubby.  In addition, we now build in a stop for coffee or a meal immediately following to talk and process with one another and we PAUSE in prayer to thank God for a dedicated medical team and ask for continued strength on the journey.  In my last post I shared how fixing my eyes on Jesus has made such a world of difference in my life, and that remains so true, but I have also found such comfort in serving other’s.  I have a family that God connected me with that I just adore and love to help.  I really don’t do THAT much for them, just a meal a few times a month, but they always seem so excited to see me.  I adore the children – especially the one little boy who refers to my meals as a “complete meal”! lol!…I suppose because I always take dessert?!  I just feel so joyful and elevated after blessing them.  I have a dear friend that has a standard line that I have adopted (well, honestly I’ve stolen it from her!)….she prays “use me mightily, Lord”….. “for your glory”….. I pray that daily – sometimes multiple times a day and the more He uses me, the greater I feel – the stronger I feel – the more “complete” I feel.  It’s my identity….helping other’s.  So, while I’ll admit, my “blogging”…. Sharing!…. may be a bit forced right now, I do feel called, lead….I pray that this, too, will help other’s – or, at least ONE other!  I’m beginning a new Bible study in a few weeks that I’m so excited about it, and with the sign up came a few free downloads.  One of the download “quotes” that has no reference, so I’m just going to share it with you:  “I want to be used by God, more than I want to belong to this world”.  Wow!  That’s now hanging in my office, in my home office, in my bedroom and in my phone to remind me of the Joy and Peace that comes from serving and fixing my eyes on Him, not of this world.

I must sign off, for now, as I have my usual Sunday-getting-ready-for-the-week things to do! But, please don’t misinterpret any of what I’ve just shared.  I by no means have it all together!  I do have it more together than I did one year ago, two years ago, etc…., but I’m still a mess and I’m still a work in progress.  I still have days where Satan finds a way to worm anxiety, fear, and terror into me.  I still have days when choosing joys is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard!  I still have days that I want to pull the covers over my head and not face one single person – cuz if I did I’d probably rip their face off or not be very “light” shining!  TRUTH!  Yet, what I am learning, is to be kind to myself. When I have those days, I’m not honest with myself and those around me.  Oh, I may not share the intimate feelings I’m having, but I remove myself from a situation in which I don’t feel I will be fed, or where I will leave a positive deposit.  I give myself permission to just “BE” and when I choose to do that, I get into the Bible – the WORD is where I will find the strength to choose joy and choose to shine my light for Him the next day, or the next day after that (yah, I’m not the sharpest crayon, so sometimes it takes me a couple of days to get back into the game!).  So, for those of you who really enjoy hearing me ramble, I leave you with this….Fix your Eyes on HIM!  And, BE ONE for someone else….it’s helps put that “feel good” into you AND it shines your light for HIM!

Until next time….. SHINE! 🙂


Several years ago I promised myself that I was going to stop hiding my real thoughts and/or feelings when faced with being uncomfortable, yet I’ve found myself wanting to hide, even ignore, some very pertinent and true feelings.  And, before we go any further, I’ll warn you this is going to probably get lengthy and uncomfortable!

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been good at ignoring my emotions/feelings and learned how to “stuff” them so that I didn’t have to deal with them.  Even after I accepted Christ as my personal savior as a child, I still “stuffed” things.  Heck, to be very honest (authentic!), I still do from time to time, but I’ve gotten a lot better at not doing so.   So, a year ago last spring when my husband was diagnosed with a progressive and terminal disease I did what I do best…. I was a cheerleader, encourager, nurturer, and stuffer!  I am very good at taking care of others, so being a cheerleader, encourager, and nurturer came easily, automatically, and I have been successful at it. Unfortunately, I’ve been very successful of stuffing a lot of my thoughts and feelings about this particular subject, as well.

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So, does that mean that the last past I wrote in April wasn’t authentic.  NO!  I was being very authentic and in the midst of dealing with some of what I’m about to share with you, but I wasn’t at a place to really discuss our current situation.

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So, when this diagnosis came, it also came with a huge lifestyle change, as my husband was prescribed continuous oxygen for during sleep and intermittent oxygen during exertion.  Basically, he wears oxygen all night long and when walking or doing something physical.  It was presented that the oxygen was probably a temporary treatment and would not be needed after a few months.  Well, here we are, well over a year since and we have been fully informed that the oxygen is not temporary.  He has a progressive disease that will become worse.  At several of the medical appointments with his pulmonologist referring to “life expectancy”.  That term was very unsettling to me, actually fearful, and I prayed to have the courage to ask exactly why the term was being used and what it meant.  So, earlier this year, I did just that and was told, “this is a progressive disease, it is terminal, and given your husband’s age of early 70’s, he will mostly likely live another 5 years”.  Five years, huh?  Wow!  This has me a little freaked out!!  OK, A LOT freaked out!  Actually, I’m all over the place in emotional status when it comes to this very subject.  Most days I go without thinking about this subject at all, but then there are days that overwhelming sadness is present.  Sometimes to deal with the sadness, I become very “gruff” and grouchy.  Other times, I just want to “hide” and wallow in it.  I’ve been praying for God to lead me to deal with this in a more appropriate manner and He has answered my prayer beyond what I could have imagined.  Praise Him!!

God has helped me realize that this journey my husband and I are on is a gift.  A lot of people don’t get to know in advance they’re going to lose a loved one and later live with regrets of not sharing feelings or thoughts with the person.  My husband and I have been married for nearly 31 years and have always tried to show appreciation and love toward one another, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job of it. Yet, when you have a period of time hanging over your head, it changes things.  Intellectually, I know either of us could die at any time, that’s always been a real possibility, but who really ever thinks much about that?  And, because I didn’t want to think about it, I’d been stuffing my feelings and fear about this subject.  After all, we don’t have children, so one of my biggest fears is that I’m going to be very alone some day!  That thought makes me incredibly sad!  And, scared!  Like, who will take care of unplugging the spouting some day?  Or, checking the air in my tires?  Or, mowing the grass?  All things HE does for me.  OK, I’m not stupid….I know I can get someone to do those things, but it’s not the point….the point is HE has always done those things and I don’t want to think about him not doing them!!

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I generally write very well, it’s a God given gift, but I want to warn you that this post, and possibly future posts, will not be as entertaining, nor as orderly because I’ve decided to just use this blog as a way of sharing this journey to:  (1) honor my husband- who is one of the best in the world!; (2) to bring Glory and Honor to our God, who gives me the strength to put one foot in front of the other every.single.day; and (3) to express myself in hopes that it may help another woman in a similar situation.  So, this post, and future posts, may be “all over the place”, just like I often am these days!

** return from side bar! ** (told ya!, not very orderly!!)

So, all of this kind of came to ahead for me while on vacation last month.  It was mentioned by a  family member to have family portraits taken on the beach by a professional photographer so that we may capture the memory, “just in case it’s the last time we ever get to do anything like this again”. Wow!  Whoa!  Wait just a minute!  What was just said, “just in case it’s the last time we ever get to do anything like this again.”.  Immediately, I was in tears….really?  In case this is the LAST time we do this….wow!  Struck a nerve BIG time with me!!  Satan used my stuffed emotions and that comment to worm his way into my heart and create anger, tears, and emotion that I didn’t want to face in ANY.way!! Thankfully, I have great prayer support friends, so I reached out to them immediately with a request for prayer!  Within a few hours, I was able to turn my thoughts to being more gracious, grateful, thankful, and insightful.  I am grieving!  No, he’s not dead yet!  And, yes, I realize I could die at any given moment, which I’d welcome!!  Yet, I’m grieving with anticipation of what is to come.  And, I remained “stuck” there for a few weeks until I met with a dear friend for dinner recently, who is a new widow, and she helped me to see that I need to find JOY in this journey.  “Don’t let Satan rob you of the remaining days/years of joy”, said my friend.  That resonated deeply with me.  And, so I’ve been reflecting and praying on finding the joy!  In the meantime, this last week hubby went away for his annual male-bonding vacation!  I was left alone for three nights and four days – more than enough time to do a lot of soul searching!  I decided on the second evening to watch “The Shack” movie (it was only my fifth time!!) and suddenly I came to realize how selfish and unloving it is for me to not want my husband to die.  (NOW, JUST WAIT A DARN SECOND, DON’T JUDGE ME HERE!!).  Yes, I said, it’s very selfish and unloving of me NOT to want him to die!  After all, as Christians are we not living every day to die?!!  Actually, I’ve said for years that I’m ready to die any.minute….”take me Lord”!  I can’t wait to get to Heaven!  SERIOUSLY!!  So, if I can’t wait to get there to be with my Lord, then why would I ever want to rob my husband of that? For example in “The Shack” there’s a scene where Mack sets at the dinner table with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  The first bite he takes complete satisfaction and the biggest “MMMMM” comes over him and at the end of the meal he says it was the best meal he ever had.  For 30.50 years I’ve cooked some darn good food for my husband, so why would I ever want to rob him of having THE best meal EVER?  I’ve dedicated my life to being a great wife, but if Jesus can give him something more, which I know He can, than I do NOT want to stand in the way!!  I know my husband loves Jesus and is looking forward to going home, too.  And, that’s where I can do just what my friend advised, I can find JOY in this journey because I’m getting to live each and every day to the fullest with my best friend and love of my life, choosing not to take any second for granted; living in a manner of grace, with forgiveness, and apology always on the tip of my tongue, and dedicating every.single.second to being loving.  I want the next five, more or less, years of his AND my life, to be the best years of our lives together.  And, now, the only regret that I live with is that it took me this damn long to choose to live this way.  After all, does it really matter that he didn’t change the toilet paper roll when it was empty?  Or, left a drip of milk in the milk jug?  Or, left his socks lay on the floor instead of putting them in the laundry basket?  Not really!  Not in the big scheme of things!!

So, there’s my authenticism!  The ugly, the sad, met with great opportunity.  The opportunity to live each and every day with my eyes fixed on Jesus – without His strength, I wouldn’t be able to face another day.  The opportunity to live with joy and peace in the midst of complete and utter chaos and a big ball of mixed emotions.  The opportunity to live like I’m dying!  You know, just like Tim McGraw’s song so many years ago said, “I loved deeper, And I spoke sweeter, And I watched an eagle as it was flyin’.
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,To live like you were dyin’.”.  Yep, I’m choosing to love deeper and speak sweeter, ‘cuz I’m not sure how many days/weeks/months/years I have to do it, so TODAY I’m putting one foot in front of the other, eyes fixed on Jesus,  loving my husband and embracing the journey of life – all with the prize in front of me which is to bring glory to God and join Him one day in Heaven – whether that be before or after my husband gets to do the same.

Closing:  Lord, thank you for the courage to share this.  I’ve done so because I felt your calling to do so, so I’m trusting that you want me to be this transparent and this authentic so that it may help another woman.  Please let that woman/women read this, turn to you, and fix her eyes on you as well.  May we all choose joy in the journey of life and fix our eyes on you!  Thank you Jesus!  I bow at your feet and praise! And, I can’t wait to sit down for my first meal with you.  Amen.