Father’s Day Feelings…

dad and girls

Writer’s Note: My dad was on the receiving end of a robber’s bullet many, many years ago, when I was just a little girl, robbing me of the opportunity to grow up with a father in my life. I have since forgiven the one who took him from us, but it still hurts, even all of these decades later…

I sit and stare at the photograph. Like my memories, it is faded. I just don’t seem to remember much. Black and white, shades of gray memories. I know you once existed in physical form, but, unfortunately, our life together was way too short; pretty much just a foreword, a preface to my own story.

Sometimes I wonder if I have blocked memories of my childhood, just because your untimely departure hurt so much. Because I know if I remember the good times then I will also have to remember how those good times ended. Those were dark days, even for an 8-year old whose most pressing decision was whether or not to climb the tree in the backyard. One day you were there and the next you were gone.

And even though my present mind sees our days together as a mere outline, like the beginning of a sketch without the details filled in, today, on this Father’s Day weekend, I sit here and FEEL a flood of memories. I FEEL your warmth as we cuddled up on the couch and watched Elvis movies AFTER my bedtime.

I FEEL your strength when you’d catch me as I leaped into your arms when you came home from work. Please forgive me if I ever hugged your neck too tight as I searched for that ever-present piece of gum in the pocket of your starched white shirt.

I FEEL your gentleness and compassion as—after being banished to my room to “just wait until your father gets home”—you arrived to lovingly correct me and, with the fluffy wallop of a pillow, forgave me of my transgressions.

I FEEL the pride I felt when I was up at “daddy’s work.” Yes, that was me that was always rummaging in your desk drawers for change for the coke and snack machines, and no, I still do NOT want a piece of the fruitcake you sold for the Civitan Club.

I FEEL thankful for all the family times, the vacations in Clearwater, Florida at the Sandlewood Hotel, the holidays, the dinners around the dining room table and all the moments for the eight years that we were together.

For though I don’t remember many of the details, I DO remember the FEELINGs of LOVE—feelings powerful enough to help me navigate through your most devastating and tragic departure; through the difficult years that followed as we tried to put our lives back together; through the many years and many milestones that would have been so much more with you there; all the way through today as I spend this Father’s Day weekend feeling memories made five decades ago; memories that turned into a life time of love.

Thank you, God, for my earthly dad and for this walk down memory lane.

But, most of all, God, I thank you for YOU and for your promise that one day my stroll down Memory Lane will bring me to Heaven’s Gate where I will once again have the chance to jump into my Daddy’s arms.  Make sure you have Juicy Fruit. It was always my favorite.

Happy Father’s Day to you both. Amen and Ehmen!

Every Cloud…

every cloud silver lining artwork created

Just the other night, I stood outside and looked up at the sky.

There were no stars; just a slight glimmer of light riding upon a low hanging cloud. Not sure where it came from, whether a moon beam that had somehow broke through or maybe even a stray beam from a nearby street light. Regardless, it was pretty; made me think of the metaphorical cloud with a silver lining. You know, I think every cloud really does have a silver lining. Why? Well, because I think it’s just another way of saying what His Word already tells us in Romans 8:28:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”

Yep, God is busy right now sewing a silver lining in the clouds of our lives. Believe it. Believe His Word. Believe Him. Thank you, God, for loving us so. Amen and Ehmen.

But, memories don’t breathe…

I can’t lie. Today has been a tough and tearful day. I guess because I’m back toamen and ehmen screen shot banner some semblance of a routine. It’s just hard to believe that I won’t be able to see or talk to my brother again, at least this side of heaven. And that really hurts.

Sure, there are plenty of memories, but memories don’t breathe, laugh, smile and talk. They don’t hug or call on the telephone. They don’t tell jokes. They don’t love or advise. They are made up solely of days gone by. And that, too, really hurts.

I just have to remember, while memories may be past tense, God’s grace and promises are alive and present and the very ingredients of our future in Heaven with all of our loved ones, most especially the Almighty Father.

Abba Father, thank you for your grace and promises. And for reminding me that it is okay to grieve and cry. I know that you feel our hurt. In fact, at Gary’s memorial, as the rain fell onto our tents and umbrellas, I couldn’t help but imagine that You and all of the Heavens cried with us. I love you and praise you, dear Father, with all that I am. Please continue to comfort my family and all of those who loved Gary as well as anyone else who is grieving today. Amen and Ehmen.

Happy Anniversary: Celebrating Love. Past. Present and Future.

holding handsWriter’s Note: This was a note  wrote to my friend on the first wedding anniversary that she had to celebrate alone. Neil’s death, just seven months prior, usurped the life and love that she knew and, at least for a long while, it looked like she might not survive his death. But, she did, and, today, three more wedding anniversaries later, she is doing very well. God has ushered in a new life and a new love and, while she still misses Neil everyday, she is learning to keep moving forward…just as God intends. Happy Anniversary to my Friend. Enjoy the love. Past. Present. And Future. Amen and Ehmen!

To my friends who mark their 20th wedding anniversary today, one from heaven and one from here on earth. Thank God you had each other and that the heart is the one connection that will never go away; the place that heaven and earth meet and you will remain united until you are once again in the same place at the same time. I love you two with all my heart and I’m praying for your peace and comfort today, Denny.

I can still see his eyes—as beautiful blue and as comfortable as a favorite pair of denim jeans. I see them light up every single time you walked into the room. Even after more than two decades together, just your presence made him smile like a young schoolboy falling in love for the first time. And that cute and jovial little chuckle. The Neil chuckle, I call it. I can still hear it every time you’d say or do something silly, which, thankfully is often.
I’m sure your marriage wasn’t perfect. No relationship is. But, your love; well, your love was perfect.  And as you mark this anniversary of your matrimony with a saddened and clouded heart, just know that your Neil is just on the other side of those clouds smiling like a young schoolboy falling in love for the first time. He loves you, this I know, with a love that transcends all time and space. He loves you. Past. Present. And Future.

Simple Obedience Can Turn an Ordinary Day Into an Extraordinary One

Writer’s Note: I believe that God loves to show up and show out in the lives of His children. Sometimes it’s in a really big and dramatic way and sometimes it’s in a quiet, subtle way, a little wink from the Creator Himself. I’ve experienced both as I have learned to listen for His voice and both are undeniably exciting. The following is a page from my personal “God Journals” documenting what happened on an ordinary day when I slowed down long enough to listen. I hope you enjoy and that it perhaps grows your faith a little just by reading. It sure grew mine! And, please feel free to comment, I’d love to hear from you. Have a happy day! 🙂

There was a time in my life–in fact, for probably most of my life–that I would pretty much tune out when someone claimed to hear the voice of God. I actually remember thinking how crazy one must be to really think that God would talk to a mere human. Until, that is, I started hearing the voice of God for myself.Goodwill and Purpose Driven Life Book

Now, while it is true that some people sometimes hear an audible voice, I must admit that I have not to this point in my life. For me, it’s more of a knowing deep in my spirit, that beautiful, still small voice as described in scripture. Why a still small voice, I have wondered. Why does our Big God not have a big booming voice? The answer, I think, is that He does have a booming voice, but He only uses it when He really needs it. He prefers to use His “inside” voice, the one that is reserved for those that are the closest to Him. Do you remember how Christ often took the disciples away from the busyness and noisy world, such as when he took them to the upper room for the Last Supper?

I believe that it is God’s desire that we retreat with him into the inner room, away from all the noise so that he can commune and talk with just us. You see, we live in a very loud world, a world that is filled with bustling busy-work; a world plagued by noisy battles. But, in the “inner room” all of those noises are muted and God’s voice permeates our heart and soul and, if we are paying attention, we just “know.” The key is paying attention and learning to recognize those sweet, sweet moments. In fact, it is my hope and prayer, that next time you have one of those moments where you feel God is prompting you; where you think you hear His voice, don’t doubt it. If a scripture address crosses your mind while praying to God, stop what you are doing and look it up. God has answered so many questions and enlightened me in this manner so many times in recent years. And, trust me, it never gets old.

If you feel God is prompting you to do something and that something does not defy scripture, do it!  This, too, has happened to me many times in the last few years with some crazy and amazing results that have left myself and others in awe. Things that seemed small, when done in obedience, turned out to be quite profound, awe-inspiring and, quite frankly, potentially life-changing for those involved.

One such experience happened to me on a recent Sunday afternoon. After church, I went on my usual Taco Bell lunch run. As I enjoyed a quick bite in my car, I made a mental note of my schedule for the rest of the day. It was going to be a tight one as I had many things to do before being due back at Church for the new Sunday evening services. First, I had to go to the bank, then the pharmacy, the grocery store and back home to do a few chores before returning to church. The more I thought about it, the quicker I chewed. I had to get going if I was going to fulfill all on my schedule.

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Why Me, Dear Lord?”

Writer’s note: The following is a written account of an experience I had July 25, 2014 while visiting my friend in Camrose, Alberta, Canada. I have no doubt that God has called me to write a story which began unfolding from the very moment she and I became friends over an internet scrabble game almost seven years ago. The miracles have been many as He continues to lay out His will and purpose for me, and, yet, the clearer it became, the more I struggled and fought it. Truth be told, I still struggle, but I want nothing more than to please Him and to complete this God-given assignment. And, I will, one step at a time. This website and these posts are one of those steps. Please pray for me to keep putting one foot, one word in front of the other until I get where He wants me. Thanks for reading.

As I sat on the couch in the sunroom of her new little old house, I watched as the trees swayed violently in the wind, her backyard framed by the darkest and most menacing clouds Camrose had seen in quite some time.

My thoughts began circling the very reason I had come to be in this very place at this very time. A call from God that had started some five and a half years ago; a beckoning to be His instrument in transforming darkness, tragedy and sadness into goodness, light and eternity for those who know and love him now as well as those who have yet to discover Him; for those, such as myself, called to fulfill His purposes on earth.

On a spiritual level, I was more than honored to have been chosen, but on a human level, I was completely overwhelmed. I quickly felt a storm—a storm of the same proportions of what raged outside –begin to rise up from the deepest reaches of my soul. Inside and out, the darkness mounted up from the horizon as if all the demons in hell were readying for battle.

From the genesis of time, Satan has always had a knack for knowing just when to attack. And—sensing that the doubts and insecurities he had planted within me had begun to take root— the time had apparently come. Rapidly, he and his band of demons advanced into the heavenly realms causing the world beneath and within to grow dim.

“Why me? Why this very difficult story and journey? Surely, there is someone else that is far more able? I am not worthy. I don’t want to let you down; please, please help me to understand. Show me what to do,” I pleaded to the heavens as the clouds continued to loom darker and darker.

Finally, the sounds of battle began. Thank God, I thought to myself, the enemy has obviously met resistance. Deafening thunder rolled and echoed as God’s angels hurled lightning bolts at our demonic aggressors, setting the dark sky on fire with flashes of hope and promise. It wasn’t long before I realized that the good guys were already winning, just as they always do. And, just as He has always promised, from the darkest of circumstances, the living waters of Heaven began to rain down on the earth and inside my very soul.

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