Posted in Devotional, Family

Thankful

Are you thankful for the time you have with your family or do you take it for granted?

Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s right in front of us. We get so busy focusing on what makes us unhappy we abandon all the good staring us in the face.

It has been a demanding 96 hours. Each day I have hoped for sunshine, but there is forever a storm lurking. That black cloud constantly seems to be chasing me, and I always seem to be running.

It’s an arduous journey with me continuously looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. But sadly, that is the way of my life.

Today, I had a long chat with a dear friend, who I can always trust to be honest with me, spare me the sugar-coating and admit the hard truth to me. I appreciate her, the knowledge she has of my situation, the compassion she expresses and even the words she needs to say despite they are hard for me to hear at times.

I value our friendship because I realize, no matter what, I can depend on her to be real with me. The medical advice and knowledge she shares, the personal trauma she has experienced and how she can relate to what my children are going through. Everything I get from her comes in the form of a blessing.

She is sort of a soul sister to me, one I feel a connection with that I cannot explain. She gets me, and sometimes shares her thoughts and feelings that are already entertaining my mind.

And, on the days I feel like constantly crying, her honesty, her genuine heart is just what I need to make me feel better and acknowledge I have so much to be thankful for.

Today, it was no different.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

She gave up some of her precious family time this afternoon to console me. That’s a true friend. And, she made me realize, portions of my storm are blessings I will one day look back on and appreciate.

We are in the midst of the country being shut down, social distancing with limited interaction between people and staying home to avoid exposure.

On top of all that is the chemo treatments, the complications, the fevers, the fear of going to the hospital, the traveling, the worrying, the stress, the sick puppy, having to put my child on a plane…this week has been emotional and stressful and too much at times.

It’s a challenge, and I’m feeling weak even though I force a cheery smile. But, I’ve been thinking about it, and in the back of my mind and with a sweet reminder, I know this is a blessing in disguise.

Having my children home, eating dinner as a family every night, no rushing out the door to get somewhere, no worrying about leaving a child or a dog home alone while we are at the cancer center. Quality time with my children before they go off to college in the fall, sharing memories of the past and making new ones for the future.

All blessings.

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

It’s true how sad of a time it is for my senior and all the other seniors who don’t get the traditional graduation, but in hindsight we will appreciate all the memories we were able to make with just our family. All the quality time we shared and the togetherness we had.

Those are the times we will remember.

And, what if we never have another opportunity like this again? What if there’s not another season we are all together?

What if these memories are all we have?

Sometimes it’s hard to see the picture when you are in it. But, like my friend reminded me…what a blessing this quarantine is for us.

Another silver lining in the most unexpected place. No matter how hard life is count your blessings. In spite of everything, they are all around us.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28
Posted in Devotional, Self Help

Wonder Why

Ever wonder about the reasoning behind why things happen or why we choose to focus on the thoughts we do?

Lately, I’ve been catching myself asking the why in everything. Not that it’s necessarily bothering me, but rather providing me a sort of peace of why some things just have to happen.

Today, after reading my devotion I started to wonder why all the situations happening in my life are a surprise to me. A flood of questions filled my mind, but I know there’s only one that holds the answers.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

James 1:5-6

Of course in these times, when so much is going on around us, I can’t help but include cancer in the equation. And, I cannot help but think perhaps somehow this is all connected. One thing always leads to another.

Lives are intertwined, I do believe that, and only God could produce such a complex masterpiece.

Even in these uncertain days, we have enjoyed the togetherness. Still, that is transparent because deep down I know, in the middle of all of this, there is something else.

I would like to imagine our family meals, hours spent with each other and slower pace of life comes without strings attached; however, in the back of my mind I know that cannot be true.

As the calendar turns the page, it reveals a new treatment timetable, billing cycle and appointment schedule. Time doesn’t stop and neither does life, nor the roles it holds.

For every thankful moment we have, another one is taken from us, and there are some we simply cannot get back.

Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, proms and graduations. Those days will come and go and be lost forever. However, time lost in some situations is time gained in another. No matter what the scenario, we will never regret what we acquired with those we love.

And, I am reminded these days will be made into memories my children will cherish as a period spent with their dad which otherwise they may not have had.

The treatments will continue, the bills will pile up, the monthly appointments rescheduled, the occasions lost, but the impressions will always remain.

Call it a catch-22 or call it a blessing, but for my children I will call it a silver lining.

My heart breaks for all the lost events and celebrations, the unfairness of it, the selfishness, the choices that have cost so much.

Every family is going through their own uncharted waters, manuevering our way the best we can, leaving a sort of emptiness behind. In a sense it is unsettling, but I am careful not to overlook the blessings before me. There are two sides to every coin.

Don’t be naïve and ignore the grace of God. We have it in our life every single day. In every bad situation, we can all find a silver lining if we just look for it.

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6
Posted in Family

Memories, Fear Not

2/23/2020

Tonight, I lie in bed alone with my eyes fighting sleep, but my mind is racing. All sorts of thoughts running through my head, reminiscing about my life when I was a child. Why is this on my mind tonight?

I don’t know why I am reminded of running around barefoot in the cold blades of grass, out to the garden where my Pawpaw drove the tractor, where I ran behind it with the cold dirt sifting between my toes as I picked up potatoes. Why tonight do I remember that so clearly?

And why is it on my mind?

I look back at my life and the vision is just as if it were yesterday. But, for some reason today seems blurry, and I can hardly see right in front of me. I close my eyes and imagine I am right there outdoors at this moment. I never thought I would be here where I am now. It’s not the image I had embedded inside my memories, it’s not what it’s suppose to be.

This is not the way my story was supposed to go.

I close my eyes and try to focus on the moment, the present, but it’s hazy, hidden in the darkness.

Lost.

I remember the nights I would sit on my bed and stare off into the blankness, focusing on the tiny blue flowers on my wallpapered wall, so deep in thought I didn’t know if I was real or not.

Maybe I was lost then, too.

10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

That was another one of my sleepless nights, and I don’t know why I was thinking about my childhood. It’s ironic how we are reminded of particular moments when we have certain situations going on in our life.

I guess most of us don’t really end up living the life we envisioned in our childlike mind. I’m not exactly sure how I expected my life to be, but I know I didn’t expect what it is right now.

I find it interesting, sometimes funny, the memories my mind chooses to pick out and remind me of at specifc times in my life. I often wonder if I suppress individual memories, saving them for another time, or maybe not at all.

Perhaps, I am protected from some, or maybe they are just savored for another day.

I frequently stare at the family picture above the fireplace, when my children were young, and wonder what filled their minds. All the smiles, the cuteness, the innocence. I speculate they have memories of that day like I do, but different ones stick out in their mind.

Sometimes I think about what their dreams were, what they thought their life was like and would become. I know for me I thought many situations would be something other than what they are. I didn’t think I would worry so much about them, have some of the conflicts we have, or even the wounds as a result.

Many variables have made today what it is. Numerous situations that life has dealt have affected us all in a way that will go unchanged. Many conversations, good and bad, never forgotten. Many situations lodged forever in our mind.

I gaze at that picture hanging, and I pray they will all find their peace within this life. They will all keep those smiles they donned that day, the glimmer in their eyes will never fade and they will manuever their way through the roadblocks they encounter. I pray they will find a state of happiness that will endure and overcome the hurdles that may haunt their dreams.

Whether or not they thank me or blame me for problems they have endured, situations they have faced, or the life they have been dealt, I hope they will know I am their mother who offers unconditional love and support that only comes with the price of respect.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

Ephesians 6:1-3

Being a mother, although not always the best one, has been my greatest joy and reward of my life. Being a family, being one another’s best friend, and knowing we have each other’s back ALWAYS has been a wonderful bonus.

In spite of roadblocks and twists and turns ahead, I hope my two pair, my four corners of my world, know that I will always be their mother no matter where their journey takes them. A part of me that is woven into my soul, they will forever be in my heart, even at times when it may be broken. xo

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3



Posted in Family, Self Help

Family Blessings

The days seem to run together for us lately. It’s like we are just living one day to get to the next, not thinking about what we are doing or what our purpose is other than to just get from one moment to the next.

I asked my dad if he ever thought he would live through a time like this. He said he never thought he would.

I think about the events my grandparents lived through, depressions and wars. They didn’t know much if anything about computers, and my grandmother was amazed with FaceTime not long before she died. She lived through so much, yet our lives hardly touched when it came to ways of living. She grew up and lived in a world I barely know, and my world outgrew her long before she died.

It almost makes me sad. When my grandmother died we all gathered at her home, and my children loved listening to my dad and uncle talk about when they were kids. It was hours of rehashed memories, listening to them talk about the fun they had growing up, and their unpretentious life.

It makes me yearn for simpler times. I’m so thankful my boys knew their great grandparents. Their knowledge of living is something you cannot just learn in a history book. And, it’s a tale never to be forgotten.

I relish the times I have with my family. I am thankful for my dad and my uncle and the relationships I have with them as well as the ones they have with my kids. Family bestows all the joys in life.

I will never take the memories I have for granted, nor will I ever regret the close relationships I have kept. I will welcome time spent reminiscing, and I just pray my children will do the same. I will continuously be thankful for all the family who I have been blessed with in my life.

More than ever I want my children to spend time with grandparents and uncles and aunts and their dad and me making those precious moments that will later become the highlights of their life. One day, that is all there will be.

This week, more setbacks were thrown at our feet, and tonight, I find myself more sentimental than yesterday. I can’t help it, things always seem to weigh on my mind.

It’s difficult not to focus on the truths lurking around you. It’s hard to constantly be positive when there’s so much negative flooding your life. I have learned it takes mental strength and an abundance of willpower. Some days I simply don’t have enough of either.

It’s two in the morning, and my mind is heavy. The effort of sorting through my thoughts helps clear my head. Despite being overtired, I haven’t been able to find sleep tonight. There’s more in my mind that needs digesting.

I may not have solved the world’s problems, or totally found the peace I need, but I have reminded myself of all my blessings and those I am most thankful for tonight.

In this time of uncertainty we should take the time for ourselves. Search our souls for our inner peace and find all that is good in our lives. In times of despair we are so vulnerable and quick to focus on the negative. Stop and pray, focus on our own being and don’t let the pandemonium of the world steal our inner peace.

Radiate humility, meditate, and count the many blessings every minute of the day.