Tuesday, August 30, 2011

where I’m from

I am from rich black soil, homemade raspberry jam, baseball after school, apple fritters, spaghetti o’s and Beagles.
I am from the warmth of wood burning fireplaces, smoky, crisp air in the fall, dirt roads and a house on a hill. I am from walks in the woods along well worn paths.
I am from Grandma’s lilies of the valley and screened-in porch, Easter hyacinths and Mayflowers for mommy in the springtime. From bacon and egg sandwiches on Sunday, crumb buns and poppy seed cake.
I am from fragrant cedars and piles of presents in December and sleepovers on floor mats after pumpkin pie in November. I am from hardworking and strong. From loud laughers who all talk at once, generous and devout. From the Wittmans and Okkers, McCormicks and Kerteszes.
I am from the lovers of home, clotheslines and fresh ironed sheets. I am from strong women. Margarets and Martha. Good men. Richard, George and Cornelius.
From “you can be anything you want to be” and learning times tables at the kitchen table. I am from summers knowing I belong with hot tea and bologna sandwiches on Garret Drive.
I am from church on Sunday mornings and reading the funnies. From looking at pictures in the big Bible on Dad’s bedside table. I am from finally seeking and finding.
I'm a country girl from Jersey, Hungary, Scotland and Holland.
From the starry-eyed and committed high school sweethearts who went to a dance and raised a family faithfully with wild and pleasant sandy beach vacations without a dime left over.
I am from pictures and albums in the attic at the top of the stairs, diaries and journals. Treasures of enormous worth.

Monday, August 29, 2011

these days….

Days march on.  And we live them the best we can.  We love.  We find things to rejoice over.  And we simply just keep keeping on.

We adjust.  Time and time again.  We do.  We will continue to.

That’s the way it is. That’s the way it HAS to be. That’s the way we all need to be.

Today Edd’s work announced he will go to a part time schedule and will serve as consultant and mentor in the Product and Test Engineering organization instead of being the guy in charge.   Another person will assume responsibility for Product and Test Engineering now.   He has been a successful leader…

When he got home and I asked how he was and how it went, he simply said, “It had to be done.”  There is much up in the air now.  Many uncertainties.  Is the company going to be bought?  Swallowed up by another?   Probably so.

I have wondered if I will get through these times and still be whole.  Sane.  If there has ever been a time for courage, it is now.  During these days.

I find courage knowing I’m not the first to have walked this road.  Nor will I be the last.

But I have made a decision.  Though I feel fragile and want so badly to grieve at times I have decided to have courage.  I have decided to show strength.  I will not have a pity party very often.  I will love as best I can.  Though I feel weak, I’ll be strong when I need to be.  There are still good things to think on.  Good days ahead.  God will carry me.  Carry us.

One of the most valiant things we can do for another human being is to love them through times of pain or challenge or struggle.  And I’ve made a decision to do that.

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong. When you let go, I’ll hold on. When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes.  When you feel lost and scared to death, like you can’t take one more step.  Just take my hand, together we can do this.  I’m gonna love you through it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

hard decisions

Edd is going on disability because of his cancer.  It's a big deal.  He's worked for the same company and with some of the same people for nearly 30 years.  He recently had to pass up a dream job because of his health even though it was offered to him.  I'm so proud of him.
He is the most faithful and loyal person I know and committed to doing the right things.  I don't know how many times I've heard him say after making a difficult decision, "That was hard but I feel good.  It’s the right thing to do.   Doing the right thing gives me strength.” 
Especially when the decision costs something.
Sometimes my heart would break as I watched him wrestle with the process, but he'd always come out the other side at peace because he thought it through and then acted on the decision he made.  He'd live with it, and accept it.  That’s what a good man does.
So often today people don't make decisions.  They don't realize NOT making a decision is a decision too, but usually not a good one.
It takes courage to make a decision, act on it, and see it through.  Live with it.  Not look back, complain or whine about it.

That's something I've learned about him.  And I want to be more like that.

Friday, August 19, 2011

the legacy of the Garden

I read some passages from a popular book, 1,000 Gifts, that many have urged me to take a look at.  I am intrigued.  If I don’t read it at the present time I must admit I have already been touched.
These words could all be mine, but the author, Ann Voskamp, penned some of  them.

Is this the toxic air of the world, this atmosphere we inhale, burning into our lungs, this No, God? No, God, we won’t take what You give. No, God Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess and can’t You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I’ll take it from here, thanks.  And God?  Thanks for nothing.
Isn’t this the human inheritance, the legacy of the Garden?
Yes, I believe it is.

Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives.  We hunger for something more, something other.

If I’m ruthlessly honest, I may have said yes to Christianity, but really, I have lived the no.  I have.  Infected by that Eden mouthful… 
Losses do that.
I also am beginning… just beginning… to accept that there are things we don’t understand, but God does.

There’s a reason I am not writing the story, my story, and God is.  He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.
I don’t.
Trying to find the way back to trust.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

love… and courage

Most of us do better when we understand and have answers to our questions. God has been gracious to help me grow. My faith has seemed easy and comfortable. For the most part life made sense. My faith made sense. There were very difficult times I've experienced, like my divorce, that were confusing and painful, but I still was able to eventually make sense out of it. Most of it anyway.

But the last few years, especially with Edd's cancer, I haven't been able to make any sense of it. It's been a mystery and even with all the pain I feel as I watch the one I love suffer, the pain has increased by feeling God's silence. I have no answers .... still.

Slowly...very slowly I’m beginning  to accept that. I cannot wrap this up in a neat package. Some things in life are messy. Some experiences are raw and harsh.

I know what is feels like to grapple (funny word) with my faith.  To struggle with it.

I'm gradually realizing I may never have answers. Maybe that's not what I should be seeking in order to find peace. Maybe that's not what I need. Maybe that is for another time and another place...

What I need is courage. Courage to be strong.

But, ah, what else do we need to combat this darkness? What is there that meets the fear and the confusion, the uncertainty and the lack of knowledge?

Love. In abundance.

I need love....and courage.  All of us do.


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu

Friday, August 5, 2011

not a bad beginning….

Spent the night tossing and turning.  WHY can’t I get a good night’s sleep?  Lots of reasons actually.

Dog sleeping next to me licking his … well, everything, these days….   Pick up dog and his little bed and close him in the laundry room where he also likes to sleep at night.  Sweet dog.  Nighty-night. Go back to bed.

Hot flashes.  Just yuck.  Throw off blanket.

Shoulder and neck pain.  Get up. Get an ibuprofen. Back to bed.

Thirsty. Get a sip of water.

Thinking.  Hmm…. do we really need to get all that roof-work done now?   Try to shut off thoughts…

3:00 am…. Get up, bring pillow… and a blanket… and move to the couch….. Sleep till husband presses coffeemaker’s “on” button at 6:15 am…

6:30 am… Bring coffee to husband.  Have our usual morning coffee in bed chatting about the day ahead… or chatting about anything and everything.

Another Coffee Cup Clip Art


He: “You’re  just so beautiful.”

She: “Huh?”

He: “You are.  Every time I look at you I get inspired.”

She: (slight burst of laughter since I thought he was kidding… but he wasn’t)  “ That laugh didn’t mean I want you to stop saying things like that, it’s just that I don’t feel very inspirational this morning.”

He: “Well, it’s true.  Isn’t it amazing that I am still smitten with you?  After all these years…  Still.”

All this occurred as Edd gave me a kiss goodbye on his way to work this morning.

I can think of worse ways to begin the day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

one of those days

My neck and shoulder ache badly tonight. I feel the weight of grief and sadness. I feel the hollowness of loss. I'm finding it hard to keep my chin up so to speak and nothing brings any satisfaction. 

When I backtrack through my day I stop abruptly at the moment the nurse practitioner told us Edd's numbers were inching up again after having fallen during the last few weeks. She wasn't concerned saying that the scans tell a more accurate story of what the cancer is doing, but we tend to get discouraged when the numbers go anywhere except down.  

I had a bad dream last night. The kind that, upon waking, a deep peace eventually sweeps over you when you realize none of it really happened.  I wish this cancer stuff was a bad dream.

I'm good most of the time. I am strong and hopeful. But often I just wish I had more faith, more love, less fear, more trust.

The worst thing about days like this is I find it hard to give of myself. I find it difficult to find the strength in me. I'm close to empty and have little to contribute.

I find myself silent. How can I even complain when I have a husband who doesn't? How can I whine and feel sorry for myself when he himself refuses to?

We do need to be patient with and good to ourselves on the less-then-perfect days. They come...and go. I really want to learn the lessons God has for me in these times. I want to accumulate a heart that is rich...and full of wisdom.

Even so I accomplished a lot today in spite of myself. That messy pantry got cleaned out and I put a package together to mail to my son-in-law in Iraq. I wrote cards to a few friends... a birthday card, a thank-you card and a get-well card.  Kept busy with numerous chores putting one foot in front of the other and kept going.

So I endure the occasional days that find me down in the dumps knowing that the next one may bring new hope, fresh thoughts, brighter moments, and increased faith... and a new supply of love to give.