30 November 2009

The technical staff has been working overtime, I now have my own domain and this rambling blogger has been learning the ins and outs of wordpress. The end result?


The blog can now be found at www.teishknits.com

It is still a work in progress, but with the help of my ever devoted technical staff (Aaron) it's coming together nicely!

25 November 2009

Ever Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that all of you will be spending it with people you love.

I've got two pans of rolls in the oven right now. One pan will be going to a friend's house with us tomorrow. The house is starting to smell really good!

When I was a kid, we always had Thanksgiving dinner here at the house that I live in now. I have wonderful memories of those moments. I even remember looking out the window to a pond covered with ice and snow on Thanksgiving Day! We used to have snow by then pretty much every year. Last year, when we moved in right after Thanksgiving, I had planned to begin that tradition again and have dinner here at my house. But I had not planned for Mom not being here to spend it with us. In truth, I just don't have the heart to spend the day here, in a house filled with memories… reminders of what was, but never will be again.

Thankfully, friends of ours invited us to Thanksgiving dinner at their house. I will be fortunate enough to spend the day with not only my husband and children, but also with friends who really are like family to me. I am actually looking forward to tomorrow. My biggest concern is how my three little kids will behave!

In spite of the fact that I'm sitting here in tears, I can still find so much to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for what I had. I'm thankful that I had her for as long as I did. I'm thankful that she was here to hold her three grandchildren the day that each of them was born. I'm thankful for the tears, because it means that there were far more wonderful memories.

I'm thankful for what I have. I have a husband whom I love so much. I have three precious little ones who give me many reasons to laugh. I have a sister who is closer to me than ever before. I'm thankful for the other family and friends who I've been blessed beyond belief with.

I'm thankful for what is to come. I don't know what is in store, but I do know that I will be given the strength to endure it. And I've read the end of the story. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He's preparing a place just for me. Could anything we suffer in this short life compare to what is waiting for those of us who follow Him? If that isn't a reason to be thankful, than I don't know what is!

I don't understand how joy and sorrow can co-exist, but I know that they do. One of the mysteries of grace I suppose.

23 November 2009

Happy Doctor Who Day!

Today is Doctor Who's 46th anniversary. For those who don't know, it's a British science fiction show. I was introduced to it by my Dad.

I used to watch the Original Star Trek and Doctor Who with him. I grew to appreciate the shows in time, but mostly, I just wanted to spend time with my Dad. Those are some great memories. Just sitting on the couch with him watching the strange TV shows with terrible effects, but utterly intriguing storylines. Perhaps that in part is what inspired my facination with astronomy and space exploration.

I don't have anything profound to say today. But it was nice to remember some of the good memories that I have from my childhood.

09 November 2009

Daybook for November 9th

Outside my window... turkeys yesterday, but none today.

I am thinking... worrying actually, about my test tomorrow.

I am thankful for... Camo's second birthday on Wednesday!

From the learning rooms... sorting out how to make this work when life gets in the way.

From the kitchen... Jello for supper!!!

I am wearing... jeans and a black cable sweater.

I am creating... finished Camo's birthday sweater and cast on a new sweater for me!

I am going... mad. The raving lunatic kind.

I am reading... I have too many books going at the moment.

I am hoping... that things come together for Camo's party on Thursday.

I am hearing... my kiddos discussing the alphabet over breakfast.

Around the house... the house has rather gotten away from me as of late.

One of my favorite things... my children's birthdays!

For more information about the daybook, please visit: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

06 November 2009


The following entry is from my journal. I pour out myself onto paper through my pen. If it is rambling, I apologize. If it makes little sense, please bear with me. I've written much about hope and grief this year. I want to give you an honest glimpse into my journey. It's easy to write about hope, but so hard to hold on to it.

"Here I sit, LORD. Once again in the same place. Why do I return to this stronghold of darkness? Why do I allow this misery to consume me? Is it because this is familiar?

Oh God, this is not what I wanted! This is not what I planned! To be without her now, is too unfair. I didn't want this, not now. Not so soon. The time we had was too short. So many questions that I never asked. The hole left in my life is eclipsed only by the one in my heart. Like a piece of me is missing.

Holy One, my strength is gone. I fell to my knees, unable even to stand. Here I lay, in my very own Slough of Despond. Cold and alone. Crying out to You, because I HAVE NOT THE STRENGTH.

Savior, my faith has been tested. I believe, truly I do. My mind knows the truth and holds fast to it. But my heart hurts. My black heart selfishly refuses to accept Your will.

Creator, break my heart. Shatter it if need be. 'Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.' Mold my heart. Make it true. Purify it by fire. Let it long for You.

Great Physician, break me that I may be healed.

Prince of Peace, rule my heart. Guide it. Let in find peace only in You."

28 October 2009

Legacy of Love

I was seated at the table, sipping a hot mug of tea and paging through Mom's quilting books for Christmas ideas. Lessons were finished, the boys were playing and Munchkin was drawing. It occurred to me that sitting at the table with my tea and quilting books, I was the picture of my Mother. She used to sit at her table with her cup of French vanilla coffee; looking through her books or magazines and finding more projects that she would like to do than she would ever have the time for! Sometimes I would sit with her, and we would both point out the prettiest quilts, or the one with colors that looked perfect for one of us. Those were good times. Nothing spectacular, just the ordinary. I find that is what I miss the most, the ordinary things. Things that I never thought to really appreciate until they were gone.

Mom taught me how to quilt. The first quilt I sewed was for her. Looking back I think how horribly ugly it was. The colors were just whatever I could find, and none of the seams were straight! My hand-quilting was even worse than it is today. (I know, that's REALLY hard to believe!) I quilted a heart in every block, because Mom always said that every quilt had to have at least one heart, since it's made with love. It was a truly awful quilt, but that didn't matter to her, she loved the fact that her daughter's first quilt had been made especially for her. Fortunately, my sewing skills have improved quite a bit since then due to the amount of practice I've had. But she was still better than me. Whenever I had something that just was not working out, I'd call her. Mom would know how to fix it, she always did. If she didn't know, she'd figure it out.

The old treadle sewing machine that Mom learned to sew on is still at the house. It belonged to her grandmother, and when it was passed on to her she treasured it, and the memories attached to it. I have my great-grandmother's treadle machine and Aaron's grandmother's treadle machine in my care. I seem to inherit these sorts of things, just like Mom did. I love the beautiful antique sewing machines, but even more, I love the memories, the legacy that they remind me of. I think of the strong, Godly women who passed on their skills and their passion for making something beautiful and useful to show their family how much they were loved.

I think that was the main reason that they sewed, quilted, knit, and cooked for all of us. Yes, they enjoyed the process, but they also saw it as a way to express their love for us. I'll never forget the mittens that great-Grammy Lila knit for each of us great-grandchildren each year at Christmas. I'll treasure the baby blanket that Lillian made for her great-granddaughter, and one day Munchkin can wrap her own babies in it. I smile at the piles of socks that we found, knit by great-Grandma Millie, who I never met, but I can see her love for her sons by the wool socks that she knit to keep them warm. Every night, I sleep under a quilt made my Mom and my sister. I sleep under an expression of love.

These women lived their faith. It was evident because they loved. They were loved by so many because of the love that they had for everyone. They knew what it meant to be loved of God, and because of that their compassion and love for others was remarkable. I aspire to their legacy in so many ways. I miss all of them, most of all, my Mom. She left me a legacy. A legacy of love that makes me miss her desperately, but also a legacy of faith that sustains me in my grief. I remember her trusting God, and asking Him for grace and strength. So, in this very small way, I can begin to follow in her footsteps.

14 October 2009

Nervous Knitting

I fidget. A lot. That's one reason why I knit. My hands HAVE to have something to do. If I did not knit then I would drive everyone near me crazy by tapping my fingers or clicking a pen. Knitting is good for those of us who tend to be fidgety.

It's also good for those of us who are the nervous type. Like me. I'm knitting up hats for gifts right now and making excellent progress. When I'm nervous I knit faster.

What had brought about my case of nerves? I have an appointment with the dentist tomorrow afternoon. I'm a nervous wreck! I have not been to the dentist even once in the past 12 years. Yes, I know! I've just had other things to deal with than my teeth. Not to mention how freaked out I get at even the thought of dental work. I had three homebirths and yet the thought of a mere filling makes my knees wobble. Makes absolutely no sense, I realize this. I'm still nervous...

Do you suppose that I could knit while they fix my tooth?

30 September 2009

Thanks Mom…

I woke at three AM this morning to words that make every parent want to hide their head under their pillow.

"Mommy, I got sick on my bed."

I got up, changed the sheets and got her settled back in bed with a bucket close by. She was sick again a few more times before morning, and each time I got up with her. I wondered how many times that Mom had gotten up with me in the middle of the night when I was sick. I can't even begin to count.

I never thanked her for that. It didn't occur to me. I know that I thanked her for many of the things that she had done for me, but not that. There are so many little sacrifices that a Mom makes, and we don't fully realize that until we have children of our own. I am just beginning to grasp what it meant for Mom to homeschool us. Did I ever thank her specifically for that? For making that choice and putting in all of the time and effort that it required? I honestly don't remember.

There are so many things now that I wish I could thank her for. So many sacrifices made for me. Did she know how grateful I was?

I said a lot of things to Mom. A lot of really important things. I thanked her for the big things. I told her that she was the most wonderful Mom that anyone could have. I said the most important things. Things like, "I love you." I don't have any big regrets, just little ones. Because I never thought to thank her for so many of the little things.

She knew that I love her, and I really hope that she also knew how truly grateful that I am, for everything…

29 September 2009

Pumpkins, Peace and Praise

Is there anything that says autumn like a pumpkin? Aaron's parents brought out some pumpkins for the kiddos yesterday. Munchkin LOVES pumpkins! She agreed to let me cook one of them so that we could make a pie. I found a recipe for a Pumpkin Maple Pie that just looked too good to pass up! I baked the pumpkin and pureed it last night, but didn't mix up the pie until this morning. I used my grandmother's secret pie crust recipe. (Pillsbury ready-made pie crusts!) It's in the oven right now, and smells wonderful! I'll try to wait until Aaron gets home tonight before I have a piece, I'll try anyway…

Mr. Q has been glued to the window in the living room this morning. They are replacing culverts in the road across the street from our house. A dump truck and excavator are just too much for any little boy to resist! They were so alluring that when I set Camo in his high chair and doled out his cereal, I heard a little voice calling to me from the next room, "I'm not hungry Mommy." This is utterly unheard of. That boy is ALWAYS hungry. I took in a cup of dry cereal and asked if he would like something to snack on while he watched the tractor. He readily agreed! He stayed there for nearly two hours, content to watch the construction. It was really an adorable picture.

It was the type of thing that would make me call Mom and say, "You will never guess what your grandson is doing!" I'd have related the story to her and we would have both laughed because no one loves trucks and tractors more than our little Mr. Q. Then I'd have told her about the pumpkin maple pie in the oven, and she would tell me that she'd be down for a piece later. I'd tell her that I still had some of her coffee in the cupboard to go with it. I still do have her coffee in my kitchen cupboard. I've not had the heart to move it yet. I like having the reminders, little pieces of her life around me. It still seems like a dream at times. Nearly seven months and there are still days when I can't believe that she's really gone. The ache in my heart reminds me that it's true.

Oddly enough, I've been humming the hymn "Nothing but the Blood of Jesus" this morning. I looked up the lyrics, and found hope…


What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

This is all my righteousness, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I'll overcome – Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

Now by this I'll reach my home – Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing – Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

All my praise for this I bring – Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

28 September 2009

Daybook for September 28, 2009

Outside my window... the German Shepherd is enjoying a nice fall day.

I am thinking... about what to munch while I wait for lunch to finish.

I am thankful for... a nice bookshelf for all of my cookbooks.

From the learning rooms... I love the days that we have music class!

From the kitchen... Baked Potato Soup inspired by Sara's facebook post.

I am wearing... jeans and Aaron's black turtleneck.

I am creating... a shawl for Aunt Lois for Christmas.

I am going... to stay home today.

I am reading... The Scarlet Pimpernel yet again!

I am hoping... to catch up on dishes at some point.

I am hearing... Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Around the house... Kiddos playing and coloring, and a load of dishes going in the dishwasher!

One of my favorite things... A cup of hot tea. Earl Grey of course!

For more information on the daybook go to http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

16 September 2009


I am obsessed with knitting. I'm sure that my friends and family would tell you that. I can't really disagree. I do love to knit, and if I'm sitting down, you will usually find needles and yarn in my hands. In an ideal world my yarn budget would be a little more… robust. Since I have to make the most of every dollar that I spend on yarn, I frequent the clearance racks whenever I have the chance to shop at a store that sells decent yarn. (I'm also a bit of a fiber snob, which makes yarn even pricier…) Imagine my delight when I found the most gorgeous teal blue wool in 284 yard skeins for only $2.50 a skein. I snapped up all four of the remaining skeins. At home I sealed them carefully in a Ziploc bag to await the perfect project for my 1,136 yards of beautiful blue.

I am also somewhat obsessed with the Interweave Press magazines. I really should subscribe to Knits, Knitscene and Crochet since I buy all of the magazines as soon as they come out anyway. The Fall/Winter issue of Knitscene contained a sweater named Carnaby Street Pullover. I HAD to knit it! It called for 1,160 yards of yarn. I figured that 24 yards would not make too much difference as long as I was careful, right?

NEVER knit a sweater from clearance yarn when you think that you have JUST enough to complete the sweater. I have a bit less than two skeins left after knitting the back and one sleeve. I have the awful feeling that I won't have even close to enough yarn to complete the project. I should just frog the whole thing and knit something else with this lovely yarn. I really should… I know that if I keep knitting I'll run out, be frustrated beyond belief, and have to rip it all out anyway. If I was smart, I'd just frog the back and sleeve right now…

I'll post a blog rant in a few weeks lamenting the fact that I really don't have enough of this perfect yarn to knit myself the perfect sweater. No one ever accused an obsessed knitter of doing the smart thing.

08 September 2009

First Day

Today was our first day of lessons. The kids did really well, and due to their young ages, we kept the lessons short. We started reading a chapter a day of the book Little Pilgrim's Progress. It's a truly wonderful story, and this adaptation of John Bunyan's classic is quite readable for young children. I remember reading it myself, and have fond memories of my first introduction to Christian and Christina. I hope that my children will have such memories of our time spend reading it together!

As with all milestones lately, it was bittersweet. Mom would have been thrilled to see the legacy she began with my sister and I, continued in her grandchildren. I will forever be thankful to her for investing the tremendous amount of time, energy and money that she did to teach us herself. It was truly a labor of love for her. I pray that I will be able to accomplish half so much as she did!

Throughout the last six months, God has sent many things my way. Scripture, poems, books, songs and even blog posts! So much has been a comfort and encouragement to me. A recent song that is not new, but was new to me, is by Matthew Ward, "I Will Worship You."

The line, "And when my life's complete, I'll place my crown at Your feet," reminded me of her from the first time that I heard it. I can see her now doing just that. I don't know if she ever heard the song, but it's one that she would have liked. A beautiful reminder of who our God is, and why we worship Him.

So, I will continue my journey through grief, and continue Mom's legacy. I'll keep teaching my children, and telling them every day just how much I love them.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

07 September 2009

I Pledge.

There is a four minute video that will be shown in schools across America tomorrow. Take a moment to watch it here. Some of it sounds rather nice, some rather dubious, and some downright evil. At the end we are all encouraged to make a pledge of some sort. I reflected on this, and decided to adopt the slogan from Michael Peroutka's 2004 Presidential Campaign as my pledge.

"I pledge to honor God, defend the family and restore the republic."

Sounds like a simple little pledge, but let us stop to ponder for a moment all that is contained in those twelve words. That is the essence of what it means to be an American and a patriot.

Our nation was built upon a foundation of honoring God, and giving thanks to Him for our innumerable blessings. We thrived and prospered, because we honored Him as a nation. What should we expect now? Now that we no longer honor God. We should certainly expect His judgment, and like Thomas Jefferson, I fear for my country when I realize that God's justice will not sleep forever.

How does one go about defending the family? That is a tall order in today's society. Political activism is not enough. We must not only look to the defense of the family in general, but also to ours in particular. One way that I choose to go about protecting my family, is by teaching my children myself. It is my God-given responsibility to teach my children according to the Scriptures. I trust no one else with this sacred duty.

Restoring the republic is partially becoming politically active. We must elect only men who above all, fear God and seek to do His will. We must also ensure that they are statesmen, rather than politicians, and that they truly understand where our rights come from, and the proper role of government in protecting those rights from infringement. But that is only part of the picture, for the republic will never be restored until the hearts and minds of the people are changed.

William Wilberforce sought to make the slave trade illegal, but he realized that his work must be twofold. The laws must be changed, and the hearts of the people must be changed. They are synonymous.

I challenge the American people to read. Read the Bible, study it, and search it. You will be changed. Also, read the great classics that the early Americans read, and the ones that many of them wrote. Read the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. Read your state Constitution. Read The Law by Frederic Bastiat. It is a short pamphlet and the text can be read freely here. I'll quote Jefferson one more time, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

I was rather appalled by the people in the video pledging to serve the de facto president of the United States as if he were a great king. In response to that, I'll borrow another slogan, this one from Rev. Jonas Clarke from during the time of the American Revolution, "We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus."

24 August 2009

Come September

I've been busy gearing up for starting lessons with the kids come September. When I stop to think about this task that I've undertaken, I'm rather overwhelmed. OK, scared to death may be closer to the truth. I know that I'm up to the challenge, I just have to convince myself of that fact!

Mom made it all look so easy. She made being an amazing mother look as natural and effortless as breathing. I have a tremendous example to follow, but by the same token, it means that I have some very large footsteps to follow in! Dare I hope that someday my Munchkin will be saying that I made it look easy? Parents have heavy responsibilities, but the struggles are more than offset by the great joys.

I'm thankful to have help and advice from some really wonderful moms and teachers. Still, there are so many things that I'd thought to ask Mom. I feel a little more lost without her a phone call away. I guess this year will be a learning experience, for both the kids and me! As frightening as this all seems at times, it's a wonderful adventure that I face with anticipation, and a LOT of prayer!

(PS – Points for anyone who can tell me who starred in the movie with the same title as this blog post!)

20 August 2009

Ocean of Tears

I miss her today. I miss her so much. I can't say why today in particular.

Perhaps grieving is like the ocean. The tide goes out and you walk the sand by the edge of the water. Suddenly, the tide comes in and the waves overtake the shore again. It can take you by surprise the first time you visit a beach. Perhaps our grief is like that. Some of it almost seems to fade a bit and we walk on, unsuspecting. Then the wave of grief swallows us up again, just like the tide reclaiming the sand.

Maine has her share of sandy beaches, but much of her coastline is quite rocky. Watching the waves crash against the rocks, constantly assaulting them is quite the sight to behold. Perhaps the beach analogy is not entirely accurate for where I am today. I feel more like the rocks. I've stood against the battering waves of the ocean for so long, but they are beginning to wear me down. The unending attack of the salt water eventually has an effect. I've cried what seems like an ocean of tears over these past months, more tears than I've ever cried over any single event in my life. The sorrow threatens to overcome me.

But I think of what the ocean does to fragments of glass. Smoothing out all of the sharp edges, softening and shaping it, into something remarkable and beautiful. Have you ever held a piece of beach glass? There is just something about it that fills you with a sense of wonder. Perhaps I am a piece of glass.

Maybe the relentless waves of sorrow and raw grief are serving to polish and mold me into something better. I'm finding this to be a long and terribly painful process. One that I could never endure by relying on my own strength. I could never survive it without His strength to hold me firm.

For today anyway, rather than requesting grace for the day, I'll pray to God to give me grace for the moment.

16 August 2009

Bright Orange Crocs

When Munchkin was just a little toddler, Mom started wearing Crocs. They are those plastic foam shoes that have holes and come in bright colors. Not the most attractive footwear, but even I have to admit that they are comfortable! Mom discovered that they had introduced kids sizes. Well of course that meant that her little granddaughter just had to have a pair of her own. The only pair she could find in Munchkin's size was bright orange. I have photographs that I took of Mom and Munchkin on the lawn between the two houses, walking hand in hand, wearing those bright orange Crocs. It's a sweet picture, and a wonderful memory.

Those same shoes were worn by Mr. Q, and this summer by Camo. I was walking with my youngest little boy on the very same lawn last night. There we were, hand in hand, and he was wearing those bright orange Crocs that Grammy had found a few years ago. It seemed to me like an echo of that photograph, and reminded me of that day.

It continues to surprise me the little things that can trigger a memory. Remembering is such a bittersweet thing. The memories are sweet, and I am so thankful for that! At the same time, the realization of what we've lost is a bitter thing to swallow. Perhaps it is the worst when I think of Camo. He will likely never remember anything of the Grandmother who loved him so dearly. He won't remember, but I'll tell him just the same.

I think that life in general is bittersweet. We can't have one without the other. Consequences of a fallen world I suppose. Even so, as bitter as life is sometimes, there is still hope. Always hope. My hope lies not in myself, nor in anything on Earth. My hope is eternal, because my hope is in Him.

02 August 2009


I feel like a kid again. I had two birthday parties (and two cakes!) this year. The second was last night at the home of friends that have known me for so long that they qualify as family. They all got together with Aaron and Joyce and managed to find me a spinning wheel! I cannot tell you what a surprise that was! I've spent last night and all of this morning researching antique spinning wheels online and looking for books to help me get started spinning!

My wheel is the precursor to what the modern wheels today are. It's called a walking wheel. Walking wheels have a larger wheel, and you spin while standing. They are also a much simpler, very elegant design, and in my opinion, more beautiful than their modern day descendants! Of course, I've got a bit of a soft spot for anything historical, and my wheel was made in New Hampshire in the 1800's. It's steeped in history! Wouldn't you just love to get a peek at the stories it could tell us? I've found a few videos on the internet of people spinning with their walking wheels, and now I'm just ITCHING to get started myself!

I've also decided that I can count it as exercise. When spinning on a walking wheel you take a couple of steps back and forth as you spin, hence the name "walking" wheel. So, the next time that the doctor asks me if I exercise, I'll say, "Why yes, I spin every day!" Hmmmm, if I'm going to spin that much, I may need to look into buying a couple of sheep…

You know, I may have lost Mom, but I'm still richly blessed with friends who love me as if I was part of their family. And that's the real treasure.

30 July 2009

Next Year…

Today is my birthday. I'm twenty-nine. No… really, I am twenty-nine! Honest!

This is my first birthday without Mom. Last year, we went camping with Aaron's parents for my birthday. When I told Mom that I'd be gone on my birthday she said, "That's a bummer. I was going to make you a cake!" I smiled and told her that she could make me one next year. Today it's next year, and she's not here. I don't regret going camping last year, not at all. The kids had a wonderful time, and it was great to have the opportunity to spend the time with Aaron's parents. I wouldn't change that weekend at all!

I guess that reflecting on that short conversation with Mom reminds me that none of us know what tomorrow will bring. It's like I thought that Mom would always be here. I had no reason to think that. She'd had more than one brush with death. I knew better than most young people how precarious life can be. Yet, life without her was still a shock. It's still sad, and I still miss her even more than I'd have ever guessed. For nearly twenty-nine years, she was so much a part of my life. Who I am today, is in so many ways, due to her influence. I can only aspire to be half the woman that she was. She set the standard high, but did everything that she could to equip me to aim for it. For that I am thankful beyond words.

If I had to make a birthday wish, it would be this: That we would never let a day go by without telling those we love, just how much we love them. Do me this one favor today, if you can, give your mom a hug, and tell her just how much you love her.

Mom never got the chance to make me that cake this year, but my sister and my daughter stepped in to do it themselves. I'll be honest; it's the most beautiful cake that anyone has ever made me. Tonight when I blow out the candles I'll give them both a hug, and tell them how much I love them, because we never know what next year will bring.

25 July 2009

It Will Hurt Until Heaven

I'm still managing to go through things of Mom's that have found their way to my house. I have the pillow that I made her years ago for her arm. Since her car accident, she always felt more comfortable if she had a pillow to rest her elbow on while she was sitting. The one I made was sewn from two hand towels, making it washable, and the perfect size. She used it for so many years. It looks ratty and worn, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. So, it sits in the chair in my dining room, a gentle reminder of the Mom who so shaped my life.

It still hurts. Nearly five months later, and it is still an open wound in my heart. I've thought of a new way to look at it though. "It will hurt until Heaven." Perhaps that sounds rather depressing, but bear with me. I've said many times that I'll miss her every day for the rest of my life. That is true, and denying it won't change the fact that I miss her terribly. The hurt from missing my Grandfather has not faded away in nearly 25 years, so why should this be any different. Reminding myself that it will hurt until Heaven is a way of reminding myself to have hope, to have faith. It won't hurt forever. Someday, all of our hurts will be healed, never to bring us pain again. Heaven seems a long ways off right now, but none of us really know do we? Until then, we can live with the hurt, because we know that it is not forever. We can continue on in the journey of life, and know that the hurt doesn't have to become our life, because it's only one small part of it.

There is a line in a song that asks, "When does the pain become a friend?" I think that I'm getting closer to that point. Certainly, it's become a companion on my walk through this world. Perhaps the pain does become a friend, because it reminds us of how utterly weak that we are. We are shown anew how much we must rely utterly on the God in whom we put our faith. Pain reminds us of where our trust must be, not in ourselves, but in Him. It reminds us that we do have hope, eternal hope. And we remember, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18) It's right there in that verse, hope. Until then, we have grace, His grace, and it's enough…

09 July 2009

Jalapeno Jelly

There's this jalapeño pepper jelly that I've made for the past few years. I don't care much for it, but I use it as gifts since some of my relatives and friends enjoy it. Mom was a big fan, and I'd have to make a couple of batches a year to keep her supplied. She used to put it on her toast.

A few days ago, I had to take Camo out with me and left the two oldest kids home with their Dad. He gave them PB&J for supper. (It's their favorite meal, go figure...) He used what he though was apple jelly. In fact, it was a half-empty jar of the jalapeño jelly that I made for Mom. She had left it down here when we made sandwiches for everyone on the day that we moved into the house back in November. She just forgot to take it home, and it got lost in my fridge. Surprisingly, the kids loved it!

Today, at lunchtime they requested more of the jelly on their sandwiches. Once again, they told me how much they loved the jelly. I guess I'll still be making it on occasion. Perhaps they have some of Mom's genes in them. They must, since Aaron and I won't eat that flavor of jelly!

That's one of the things that I love about having kids. I see something of everyone I've loved in them.

Munchkin was wondering aloud if they have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in Heaven. I told her that I didn't know. She thought that if they did, Grammy would be having the same jelly on hers. Perhaps it's fanciful, but the thought does make me smile, even if it is through the tears...

07 July 2009


I feel like I've been packing up pieces of Mom's life. Going through her things, deciding what to do with them, and sometimes just boxing them up for now has been a physically and emotionally draining process. It has surprised me some of the things that I just can't let go of.

Today, it was Mom's lipstick. I came to that, tried to throw them away, but I couldn't. With tears in my eyes, I put them in a box to take home with me. It seems a little silly, even to me, that something as simple as lipstick would be such a trigger point. But, that was Mom. A thousand and one times that I watched her at the bathroom mirror, putting on the only two cosmetics that she used, Oil of Olay, and bright fuchsia lipstick. It was just so Mom. I'll never wear the same color that she did, but for some reason, I have to keep those little tubes. All I have left now, are little bits and pieces like that. Sure, I have so many great memories, but the memories aren't tangible. Physical beings that we are, I think we just crave some sort of physical connection with those we love. Love doesn't die when our bodies do. My love for Mom is still as strong as it was when she was here. I don't think that will ever change. And that's just fine.

I see so many things of Mom's that make me smile. So many things that meant something to her. So many things that remind me of the million memories of her that I cherish. I'm sure that with the perspective of time there will be things that I can let go of, but for now, there are some things that I just have to keep. Sometimes it's the books that she read to me when I was a kid. Sometimes it's the crazy things like a tube of lipstick.

They say that time heals all wounds. I don't know that it's true, but I think that in my case, time will dull the ache somewhat. Someday, I'll wake up, and it won't hurt more than it did the day before. For now, I'll just rely on God's grace. Grace for the moment, grace for the day…

29 June 2009

Grace and Gratitude

I wrote previously about the idea of an "All's Grace" list, wherein I would list the many gifts that I am grateful for. I began mine just a few days after Mom died. Since reading a chapter about the importance of gratitude in the book, "10 Keys to Wellness", I've decided that it's past time for me to add to my list…

All's Grace…

…music. Simply the sound of beautiful music.

…green sprouts in my flower garden.

…the comfort of a hug from a dear friend.

…curls framing the face of my little girl.

…the infectious laugh of my redheaded son.

…the serious yet smiling little boy of mine who is nearly three.

…reading a book so familiar, that it's like a visit from an old friend.

…writing again, ideas flowing like the rush of a spring river.

…forgiveness. Incomprehensible forgiveness, that I never deserved.

…holding the hand of the one I love.

…a hot cup of fragrant Earl Grey.

…sewing, surrounded by memories of Mom.

…smiling over my Aunt's first quilt. Mom would have been thrilled.

…such lovely flowers growing by my home. How many years have you grown by this house?

…four little ducklings, swimming with their mother, right outside my window.

…falling asleep to the sound of many frogs, with the window open to allow the crisp night air in.

…the most perfect and clear starlit sky, with every single star still there, right where it should be.

…grace for the moment.

26 June 2009

I Must be Getting Old…

The wedding quilt is done!!!! Actually, it has been finished for a little over a week now. Good thing, since the wedding is tomorrow. I feel like I should include a certificate of authenticity because, yes, this quilt really WAS hand-quilted, by me. Seriously. The really crazy thing is, I've started hand-quilting a quilt for Munchkin. This may become an obsession on the same level as knitting. I've had to take a short break from the hand-quilting because of a quilt-related injury. I can't quilt with a thimble. I've tried, and I just can't do it. So, I poked the eye of the needle rather deep into my thumb. Trying to quilt only pokes the needle back into the injured spot, and tears and shouts are the result. So, I will have to let my thumb heal up a bit. In the mean time, I'm sewing on another quilt top, and knitting Mr. Q's birthday sweater. J Plenty to keep me busy!

My sister and I took the kiddos to visit our aunt, one of Mom's sisters, yesterday. It was a wonderful visit, and we both enjoyed seeing her. She showed us her first quilt! She pieced it and is in the process of hand quilting it! Mom would be so proud of her!!! It is a beautiful quilt, and I have to admit that her hand-quilting stitches are smaller than mine! It makes me smile to think of how excited Mom would have been about her sister's first quilt.

I've discovered that I'm getting gray. I'm really going gray! In just the past couple of months, I've started going gray! I had no idea that I was quite so vain, but the white hair thing is really bugging me! I'm going to go find a box of hair color and have my sister color it for me. OK, stop laughing now. Really, I mean it, stop laughing, it's not funny… Maybe there is a bit of my grandmother in me after all. She was gray by the time she was 30, and she colored her hair too. Can anyone recommend some good red haircolor???

I had a moment during this past week when I put the kids down for their nap, sat with my head in my hands and thought, "I really wish that I knew what I was doing!" I began to wonder if Mom ever had those moments. Moments when we don't have a clue what to do. I think that perhaps all mothers have these moments, at least, I hope that I'm not alone in this! I wish that I could go back to the time when I was little, and perhaps Mom felt discouraged and tired, and just put my arms around her and tell her, "You're doing great. Don't worry, you're the best mom that those two little girls could ask for. And one day, they will tell you that themselves."

One of Mom's friends said something to me earlier this week that has really stuck with me. She said that even though I only had Mom for 28 years, Mom gave me more in those 28 years than some daughters get in an entire lifetime. There is so much truth in that. Mom gave us so much of herself. I guess that means that there is that much more to miss. Still, I would not trade one second of my life with Mom for anything. The grief is deep, because the love was deep. The irony of life. The more we love someone, the more we are affected by their absence. It makes me long even more for the day when there will be no more good-byes, no more tears. And until that day, grace. Grace for the moment.

19 June 2009

Apple Pie

I'm sitting here contemplating a hot cup of Earl Grey, and an ice cold slice of apple pie. I think it would go perfectly with the book I'm reading.

I decided on Tuesday to make an apple pie. That may sound unremarkable, but for me, it's not. I am TERRIBLE at apple pies. Apple crisp, not a problem! Homemade applesauce, easy! Apple dumplings, coming right up! Apple pie… not so much. I have absolutely no explanation for this phenomenon. Mom made the best apple pie. She'd make one, call me up, and say, "I've got a fresh apple pie up here that would go good with a cup of coffee." I'd sit at her table with a cup of coffee (or tea this past year or so) and we'd chat over our pie and steaming mugs. I miss her pie, but I miss the chats at her kitchen table even more. The day I married Aaron, Mom and I sat at her kitchen table before leaving the house, both with a hot cup of coffee in our hands. I can't remember what we said, but I remember how good it was to sit there, at the table with her.

My kiddos all have colds, but they are on the mend. Camo did not have an ear infection, and I'm very thankful for that! Aaron got hit the hardest this time around, and I seem to have a ridiculously mild case of it. Not that I'm complaining!

I've inherited a huge number of books that were Mom's. Lots of novels, and a good selection of books by Max Lucado. I've read a couple of chapters lately in his books that have been rather hard-hitting for me. One in particular about forgiveness. Forgiveness comes hard for me. I can be civil towards just about anyone, but simmering beneath the surface is still that bitterness. Bitterness has no place in the heart of a follower of Christ, I realize this. Forgiveness sounds easy, but practicing it, is VERY hard! In his book Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado speaks of Christ's forgiveness. He washed the feet of the very disciples who would abandon and deny Him in just a few short hours. He showed them mercy and love, even though He knew exactly what they would do. Did they deserve it? Certainly not! Do I? Definitely not. Yet He forgives me all the same. I'm the guilty party, He is not required to show me an ounce of mercy. But He does, freely forgiving me, just because I asked Him to. If I am to follow His example, how can I do any less? There is a quote in the book that I should keep in mind, "Relationships don't thrive because the guilty are punished but because the innocent are merciful." Even if it's not my fault, I still must extend the love, forgiveness and mercy that He has extended to me. Grace for the day, grace to forgive.

The apple pie? I took it with me to a friend's house, and after sampling it, we all decided that it was delicious. It's not Mom's apple pie, but it's a start…

14 June 2009

Quilt Through All Sickness!

It's days like this when I really miss Mom. All of us woke up with a cold this morning, so none of us are feeling great. I'm a bit worried about Camo, since the last time he had a cold, he wound up with an ear infection. He's got a fever and is terribly fussy. I know that they typical question is, "Is he pulling on his ears?" In my Camo's case however, that isn't much of an indication, since he tugs his ears anytime that he's tired, upset, or feels poorly. I so much want to call up Mom and say, "What do you think?" She would just know. She gave me great advice when it came to the kiddos. That's something that I REALLY miss now.

I'm quilting away on a gift quilt. (Read: Quilt that must be finished in two weeks.) It's not terribly big, but I had planned to quilt it by machine. I don't do hand-quilting. Yes, you sense a "but" coming… I decided to hand quilt a few hearts on the quilt. Mom always said that a quilt must have at least one heart, because it's made with love. OK, I'll just quilt a couple of hearts and then do the rest on my sewing machine, right? Yeah, well, not so much… Once I got started, I kept going, and going, and the whole thing is going to be hand-quilted, by me. This is unheard of. I should issue a certificate of authenticity with this thing, because no one will believe that I actually hand-quilted a quilt. (OK, they might start to believe it when they see how horribly uneven my stitches are.) Anyway, I've got almost the whole quilt quilted, except for the border. Then Joyce and I have to put the binding on. Joyce would help me quilt, but our hand-quilting stitches do NOT even come close to matching. Hers are tiny and neat, the way that hand-quilting is supposed to be. Mine are huge and uneven, and are not likely to improve anytime soon… So, I am quilting my fingers to the bone, or at least it feels that way at times! I'm going to finish it though, on time! I am determined to!!!! Of course, I did not count on getting this really nasty cold in the process. Elizabeth Zimmerman said to "knit through all crisis" so I'm going to "quilt through all sickness"! I'd better get back to the quilt… right after I find some tea...

28 May 2009

Graves and Grace

Joyce and I stopped at the cemetery today. We wanted to check on some of the flowers that she had placed up there for Memorial Day. They were digging Mom's grave when we drove in. She'll be buried there tomorrow.

I know that the body is not really Mom, not everything that made her the Mom that I loved so much. The thing is, I'm still stuck in the physical world here. Even though we are spiritual beings, we are so rooted in the physical world while we are alive here. I know that the body is not Mom, but it's how I related to her. So, even though I know that she's gone, I still have a sort of attachment to the physical form she had. Perhaps that's why gravestones mean so much to us. Here we are, with no way to relate to the spiritual realm that Mom now inhabits, but that marker, that particular spot, is proof that she once lived among us. It is a reminder of a million and one good memories, and a sharp reminder of all that we have lost.

Mom's gone, but the legacy, her legacy lives on. I mourn, oh, I surely mourn, but God promises that I will be comforted. Grace for the moment…

25 May 2009

Amazing Grace

Today I have to read something that I wrote about Mom. Her eulogy. Funerals are difficult for me. I try to avoid them whenever possible. One is bad enough. Two seems nearly unbearable to me. So, I pray for an extra measure of grace and peace. The only way that I'll survive today, is truly by the grace of God. Interestingly enough, that is the topic of Mom's eulogy. For those of you who are not able to be here today, I am posting the entire text here. It is perhaps, not my best writing, but it has certainly been the hardest for me to write out of anything. It is the best tribute that I could write for the wonderful woman who I was immensely blessed to call, "Mom".

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found;

Was blind, but now I see."

It's customary on such occasions to speak about how truly good that a person was. But, that's not what Mom would have wanted. Romans 3:10 tells us, "There is none righteous, no, not one;" She would not wish us to remember what a remarkable woman she was, without crediting it to the work of God in her life.

John 3:16-18 explains, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned;" This was the very foundation of Mom's faith. Above all else, she was truly a follower of Christ, and a woman of unwavering faith in Him.

    James writes, "Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." That was the key; that was what made Mom the wonderful woman, who we all remember with great love. Mom's faith was so real and vital to her, that it touched every area of her life. The result of her faith was that she was a Godly woman. Everyone who knew her loved her; they couldn't help but love her. She was kind and loving to all of us. Her faith is what gave her that great love and compassion for others that we all remember so well. All of this was the work of God in her life.

"Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come.

Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home."

Mom suffered through some very difficult things in her life. Through every one of them, she relied on God's grace. I remember one time in particular, when she was in tears, and she asked how much more we would have to face. With her next breath she quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9 "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'" Then she prayed that God would give her grace, and she finished by praising God.

God did bring her safely through many things. On more than one occasion He miraculously intervened, healing her and giving us a little more time with her here. I am so thankful for that. But on March 3rd, 2009, it was time. God called her home. His grace had brought her through all of her trials and struggles. Now, it was finally time for her to lay the burdens down for good, and go home. She finished her race. And I am convinced that her Savior welcomed her home with the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

"The Lord has promised good to me,

His word, my hope secures.

He will my shield and portion be,

As long as life endures."

Mom found great comfort in the scriptures, in God's word. She spent many hours with me as I was growing up, helping me to commit it to memory. Now, I find tremendous comfort in those very same promises.

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

John 14: 27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

2 Corinthians 1:3&4 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted."

And the verse she wrote in the front of nearly every Bible that she ever gave me, Isaiah 41:10 "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."

Mom left a legacy. One that I cannot hope to live up to, but one that I aspire to nonetheless. She taught me the most important things that I have learned. She prayed me through all of my own struggles. She left me with hope, because the legacy of her faith lives on still.

I shall miss her every day, for the rest of my life. I miss her even more now, than I did that night in March. I grieve, but I do not grieve without hope. My hope is in the same God who Mom placed her hope in. Her Savior, is also mine. That is why I take comfort in the knowledge that we will one day be reunited in the presence of our LORD.

I wrote a stanza of my own to the tune of "Amazing Grace". It is what I imagine that Mom might say to us now if that were possible.

"There's no more pain, and no more fear,

My Lord has made me whole.

So dry the tears; I'll meet you here,

When your Savior calls you home."

17 May 2009

A Woman of Faith

How do you write something for your Mom's memorial? I've been trying to for over a month now, and I only have a week left to do it. I usually enjoy writing, but this is one thing that I never wanted to. It is truly amazing to me how bittersweet memories can be. I have so many wonderful memories of Mom. Remembering makes me smile. But remembering them also brings to the surface how very much I miss her. Joy, grief, and hope are all warring for my attention. I feel them all. Hope and joy keep the grief at bay enough to keep me from despair, but the grief is still there. My heart still breaks, and I would give anything if I could just have one more hug from my Mom. I've lost count of the number of times that I've thought, "I wish Mom was here."

I marvel at the number of people who miss her. I realize that it was because of her faith, because she allowed the love of God to shine through. That was the reason why everyone who knew her loved her.

How do you summarize a life in a few short paragraphs? In Mom's case, I don't think that even a novel would be enough. If I had to write just one sentence, I think it would be this: Mom was a woman of such deep and personal faith in God, that it touched every area of her life, and truly defined her.

I think that's how she would want to be remembered, for her faith.

14 May 2009

Grace, Grace, God’s Grace…

There have been a few inquiries about how my sister and I did on Mother's Day this year. I want to thank you all for your prayers on our behalf, they are truly appreciated. Actually, I ran away. The two of us went to see a movie together. (The new Star Trek, GREAT movie by the way…) We had a really good time, and I forgot that it was Mother's Day for a while.

It's true; it gets worse before it gets better. I'm waiting to get to the better part. There are still good days and bad. Lately, I've had a string of the bad ones. Still, the God of all comfort is there. The stars still shine in the sky. And life goes on. Grace for the day. He gets me through the day. We will tackle tomorrow when it comes.

In a lot of ways, Mom was one of my best friends. I talked to her so much. I visited her all of the time, and we did so much together. We laughed a lot. So many times I'd say, "You've got to see what I've been knitting," or, "I found a great recipe for you to try!"

I finally sewed the curtains for my dining room this week. I hung them up and I just love how they look. Mom was with me when I picked out the fabric for them, but I just never got around to making them until now. My first thought was to call her up and ask her to come see them. But I can't. And I really, really, miss that. I miss her.

There is a big, empty hole in my life. And lately, it's felt emptier than ever. Grace is all that sustains me. Standing here, utterly helpless, weak and worn out, God steps in, and fills the gap for me. When I can't go on, His strength shines through. My strength was exhausted long ago. Without grace, I'd be lost, in so many ways…

07 May 2009


The pirate ship "Floating Ship" is seeking crew for conscription. It is commanded by the vertically challenged pirates-who-don't-do-anything: Captain Quinton, First Mate Arynne and Cabin Boy Camden. They have conscripted Daddy for the position of Second Mate, and Mommy has been conscripted as well, but her duties have yet to be defined as anything other than straightening the Captain's hat whenever it's askew. First Mate Arynne assures everyone that they are not bad pirates who will take you away from your home. Any interested parties may apply at the "Living Room Inn". No skills necessary other than a vivid imagination…

06 May 2009

The Right Tool for the Job

What's that old adage about using the right tool for the job? Whatever it is, they had a point. I've taken on yet another unfinished project of Mom's. It's a half-done afghan that Mom was knitting for my sister. I'm planning to finish it, maybe in time for her birthday??? (Sis, if you're reading this, don't hold me to that!) Anyway, she was knitting in on size 9 needles. I've worked my way through a few sizes down to size 6… The variation in our gauge was so bad, that I've ripped back all that I had knit on it, and started with the 6 needles. We will see how it goes from here. I kept holding it up, stretching and shaking it, hoping that somehow, magically, our gauge would match perfectly. However, it turns out my knitted strips were a couple of inches wider than Mom's. Since I picked up knitting a strip where she had left off, it was looking a little, well, wonky…

Trying to finish someone else's knitting can be quite the challenge. Every knitter is unique, and their work is filled with the idiosyncrasies of their individual technique. So, it will never be a perfect match, but maybe it will be close enough to work. I'll never be able to fill Mom's shoes, but maybe I can be a little like her. Maybe I can do a few things that she would have. Maybe now and then I can do something good because it's the sort of thing that Mom would have done. She may have left some big shoes to fill, but more than that, she left a legacy. I hope that some of who she was is part of me. She taught me so much, both with words and by example.

Right now, I'm going to go back to knitting. Hopefully, I'll find the right needle size soon, before I have to rip out my work too many more times…

01 May 2009

One Step At a Time

I picked out Mother's Day cards yesterday. I had Munchkin with me, and she helped too. I didn't think that I'd be able to manage it this year, but I had her with me and that gave me the courage to try. It felt like a small victory. One more step forward. At the same time, it was a really hard thing to do.

I took a walk that afternoon while the kids napped. I walked over to the field, and sat at the top of the hill. I've always walked the field whenever I need to clear my head. Things just seem to make more sense over there. I've had a lot of conversations with God in that field. Like the rain renews and refreshes the air, a good walk in the field does the same for me.

I've started knitting a cardigan for Munchkin. She was sad that we had to pack up her too-small sweaters, so I promised that I'd knit her another. I let her pick out the yarn, and it's so bright that I might go blind knitting it! She loves it, and even I admit that when I was younger, I would have loved it too! I've got the back knit up already, and now I'm starting on the front. I don't think it will take too long to finish. I'm working on sewing some summer clothes for her as well. She likes some of the fabric in my stash, so I've got plenty of options for dresses! I wish that they made more sewing patterns for little boys, but most of them seem to be for girls. Ah well, she is the one who appreciates pretty clothes anyway. The boys don't seem to care what they wear. Mr. Q does prefer clothes with cars or tractors on them, but really, he's not too picky! Camo is still too young to voice much of an opinion on the subject. Munchkin certainly is a girly girl. She LOVES dresses and heels and purses!

29 April 2009


I've found a barely started placemat and nearly finished sweater in Mom's knitting bag. I was looking through it to try and find a ball of burgundy cotton yarn for a gift I'm knitting. I came across these two unfinished projects. Something in me just couldn't leave them that way. I've made a bit of progress on them both today.

Mom kept knitted placemats on hand for the kids. They loved using them whenever they ate at Grammy's house. She probably cast on another one for them to use. She was knitting it on a pair of beautiful wooden needles that I'd given her for Christmas. She loved my circular ones, but preferred straight needles herself. When the company who makes them came out with the straight knitting needles, I knew exactly what to order for her! She had only an inch done, so the difference in our knitting will probably not be too visible.

I have no idea who the sweater was meant for. I don't even remember ever seeing her knitting it. It's pretty, and has just some finishing on the hood and button band for me to do. There isn't enough yarn to make the sleeves, so I think I'll just leave it as a vest. It will still be pretty. I hope that it doesn't look too strange. Mom knit much tighter than I do, so she usually used larger needles than me.

I can't explain why, but I just feel the need to finish these projects for her. It seems so strange to be knitting Mom's projects with her needles. Today has been a "ton of bricks" day. I miss her so much. It's funny how things will go on, and suddenly, something small will bring it all rushing back. I'm learning to take things day by day. 'I just need strength for today, Lord. Just help me get through today, and we can deal with tomorrow when it comes. I just need grace for today.' While I pray for strength and grace, I'll pick up Mom's needles and keep knitting.

27 April 2009

Fulfilling Prophecy

We continued with our study of John yesterday. John 19 was the particular chapter we studied. I picked up on something that I'd never really thought about. In several places John mentions that some of the actions of the Roman soldiers were the fulfillment of prophecy. When they divided up Jesus' robe and cast lots for the tunic, how could they have realized that they were fulfilling prophecy that had been written before the rise of the Roman Empire? When they pierced him with a spear, but did not break his bones, they had no clue that again, they were fulfilling ancient prophecies. I wonder if any of them became believers? What must it have been like to be living amidst prophecy coming to life?

I wonder. Then I realize that I am. There is still unfulfilled prophecy in the Scripture, and we are living in the middle of it right now! I stand in awe, that something written thousands of years ago, is coming to pass today. Truly, the Word of God is ageless, and timeless. Scripture is powerful, alive, and still utterly amazes me! Only He could have written something that incredible… It's humbling to me to think that God inspired men to write these things down, for me. Why, in this vast universe, would the very Creator of it all want to communicate with me? Someday, I will have my answer, and I suspect that on that day, I'll be even more humbled. I imagine that I will be on my knees before Him, absolutely speechless…

23 April 2009

You’re Doing WHAT With Those T-shirts?!

If you weren't sure by now, then you will be after reading this post. I am CRAZY!

I saw a video tutorial online that was demonstrating how to cut t-shirts into long strips to be used as yarn. Someone suggested using the t-shirt yarn for a rug. I thought that it was a FANTASTIC idea! I ran up to Aaron's dresser and pulled out the three white t-shirts in his top drawer. I asked him, "How many t-shirts do you need?" He told me that one would probably suffice since he doesn't wear button-down shirts often. I gleefully snipped two white t-shirts, and went looking for more… I discovered that I had a number of t-shirts that were worn or the wrong size. They quickly fell victim to my scissors. At that point, I had a basketball sized ball of t-shirt yarn. I remembered a pattern in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book for a spiral rug knit out of fabric strips, perfect! I cast on and began knitting away. I'm still not sure how big I will make this rug. I'll probably knit on it until I get sick of knitting t-shirts! It will be an easy enough thing to continue adding more strips of t-shirts as I keep knitting. Who knows, maybe I'll wind up with a nice room-sized rug. Maybe I'll wind up with a welcome mat.

22 April 2009

Potluck Post

I'm starting off my post with a prayer request. Kay, who is one of the co-authors of the Mason-Dixon Knitting books and blog, lost her husband this week. She has two children. My heart aches for them because I know how awful the loss of a parent is, and I saw how hard it was for my Dad in the aftermath of Mom's death. Please pray for Kay and her kids.

We had a bit of excitement around her on Sunday. There was a grass fire in a field across the street from Dad's house. We sat on Dad's front porch with the kiddos so that they could see the fire trucks. Several of the firefighters waved to us. Of course, I know many of them, and have since I was a kid. Dad was on the volunteer fire department for many years until he retired. I'm so thankful that we have such a great fire department here in such a small town!

We've had geese and ducks frequenting the pond as the weather warms. The geese keep wandering over to the garden plot. They will stay away from it once it's planted if they know what's good for them! Goose dinner anyone????

Mr. Q just informed us that, "Someone turned the coal stove off!" We reassured him that it was supposed to be off. "OK," was his reply as he wandered happily off to play with his toys. What an observant little boy!

I know that this post is a bit of everything, with nothing particularly profound. I just wanted to let you know that I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. I've just been busy with the kids and other stuff. It's been a strange year so far, and it's getting stranger still! But, I'm not going to ask, "What more could happen?" I made that mistake a month ago, and I found out! Perhaps God is teaching me patience. I wish that I could learn it faster…

13 April 2009

Chocolate, Lots of Chocolate…

Sunday was our first holiday without Mom. It was different, but all in all, we had a good day.

It's been a tradition to have Easter dinner with Mom's family for quite a few years now. This year, we had dinner at her youngest brother's house.

One of my cousins hid candy and Easter eggs around the house for the kids to find. Munchkin had great fun finding the candy, but her brothers were more interested in eating all of the candy rather than hunting for it! At one point, Mr. Q had a plastic egg with three or four Hershey Kisses in it. When the kids asked if they could have chocolate before dinner, I replied, "One." Apparently, Mr. Q figured that one plastic egg of candy fit in that restriction. He decided to unwrap all of them before eating any, and proceeded to do just that. As he unwrapped each Kiss, he carefully placed it on the coffee table and began unwrapping the next one. Then Camo came along… He stood next to his brother and watched him unwrap each piece of candy, as Mr. Q placed one on the table, Camo picked it up and popped it in his mouth. When he was finally done unwrapping the last one, Mr. Q turned to the spot where he had placed all the other, and they were gone! For a moment, he looked quite bewildered. Then Camo spied the last Kiss in Mr. Q's hand and made a grab for it. At this point, Mr. Q figured out that it was his brother who was responsible for the disappearance of his painstakingly unwrapped chocolate. The tears commenced… Mr. Q's because he had only one chocolate left, and Camo's because he wanted that last chocolate. I couldn't help it, I HAD to laugh!

A bit later, Camo amused himself by finding stray chocolates and popping them in his mouth, foil wrapper included. Interestingly enough, he managed to somehow swallow the chocolate, but chew on the wrappers like they were bubble gum. There is no telling how much sugar he ingested…

Us "adults" were taking turns bowling with the Wii. It was actually quite fun. I got a better score than I ever have in real life! Golf was also tried later on. That was a bit harder… I can almost imagine Mom laughing at how silly we all must have looked, but still jumping in and trying it herself. Still, we had lots of fun, and it was so nice to see everyone. It really was a good afternoon. Different, but still good.

I guess that's where I'm at now, things are different, hard, but still OK. People give me a look whenever I say I'm OK. But it's true. I'm always OK. I joke that knitting and writing keep me sane, but really, it's God that keeps me sane. Even when the entire world seems to be falling apart, I can be OK, because He's still in control. I'm OK because of what we celebrated yesterday. Happy Resurrection Day everyone!

10 April 2009


I've been going through photos recently. Mostly looking for photos of Mom. I have some, but I wish now that I'd taken more of her. She hated having her picture taken even more than I do. It occurred to me today while looking for photos that perhaps I shouldn't mind so much. I love the wonderful memories that looking through photographs of friends and family bring back. I especially cherish the photos of those no longer with us, like Mom. Someday, maybe my kids will get the same feelings looking at photos of me. Maybe I'll let Aaron take a few more photos of me.

Of course, trying to get photos of him will still be challenging! My mother-in-law and I have often joked that future generations won't believe that we actually had husbands because they are never in the photos. They are usually the ones behind the camera! I think all photographers must be "photophobic" because they all seem to dislike having their own picture taken.

We have so many great photos of the kids. Of course, they are so cute that it's hard not to take many photos! But perhaps we should include ourselves in the photos a little more often. It's true that even without the photographs the memories are still there. Still, sometimes they capture a moment, an expression, something that is so special and unique that you just have to smile whenever you see it.

04 April 2009

Afternoon Baths and Faith

Munchkin needed a bath this afternoon. She is (finally) potty trained, and somehow, when she got up from her nap to go to the bathroom, she dunked the ends of her hair in the flush. There were little bits of toilet paper stuck all through her hair. Yuck. So, she got a nice bubble bath. She didn't particularly want her hair washed, but Auntie and I convinced her that she REALLY need it done! I still don't know exactly what happened, and I'm not totally sure that I WANT to know. All of the moms out there will totally understand that.

I wanted to pick up the phone and laugh about it with Mom. I used to always talk to Mom. We would laugh over everything. And if I just needed someone to talk to, well she was it for me. I'm a bit at a loss now. One particularly rough night this week, all I could think was, "I want my Mom." Because, no matter what, she would have listened, and even if she didn't agree with me, she would still understand where I was coming from. And regardless, she'd still give me a hug and tell me how much she loved me.

The last month it's been one thing right after another. It's been really hard! I'd be lying if I didn't admit to wondering if God really knows what He's doing. Mom would tell me that of course He does. I know that. But I also know that Scripture is full of people who questioned why God allowed things to happen. We all hit a crisis of faith at least once in our lives. I've hit a few, and I have a feeling that more are in my future. I think it's human nature to question. I don't believe that there is anything wrong with having doubts and questions. If our faith is real, we will come to the conclusion that there are just some things we have to take on faith. Some days, there are a LOT of things we have to take on faith. I love what Hebrews 11 says about faith.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.

By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.

By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

That's the kind of faith I want. The faith to stand the test of time. Being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I can't see. I want to be like one of those who were still living by faith even through to the day they died. Perhaps it's the testing of our faith that develops it in us. I hope so. I know that something good will come of all this, maybe stronger faith will be part of it.

31 March 2009

Surviving the Moment

"When does the thorn become a blessing?

When does the pain become a friend?

When does the weakness make me stronger?

When does my faith make me whole again?

I want to feel His arms around me,

In the middle of my raging storm,

So that I can see the blessing in the thorn."

Listening to this song tonight, it seems like the songwriter was writing it for me. Today has been hard, inexplicably so. A dozen insignificant things made me miss Mom terribly. In this moment, it hurts so much that I can hardly breathe. So, I turn for comfort to my Bible. It's one that Mom and Dad gave me for my 12th birthday. There are so many underlines and highlights in it, and probably more than a few tearstains. It's like visiting an old friend, and that is what it's been like reading anew the passages that I've turned to for comfort over the years.

"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5 NIV

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26 NIV

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 NIV

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 NIV

As you can tell, I've been reading Romans tonight. I've found so much comfort in Romans over the years. I've found comfort in all of Scripture. Revisiting some of it this past month has been good. It helps. The only prayer I can string together tonight seems to be "God, help me." And He does. The hurt is still there, oh, it is still there! But He gives me enough strength to survive the moment. And then the next one. One step at a time, one breath at a time.

"To whom will you compare me?

Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one,

and calls them each by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing."

Isaiah 40:25-26 NIV

This God of all creation, the God of all comfort is with me tonight. He calls the very stars by name, and yet, the Mighty One cares for me. God is still in control; the stars are still there. The stars are harder to see tonight because of the clouds, but they are still there. I checked.

27 March 2009

Only by God's Grace...

Yesterday was a rough day. I went to my uncle's funeral. My aunt lost her sister and husband in the space of less than a month. My heart breaks for her and my cousins.

I start to thinking about the age-old question, "Why does God allow suffering?" But I think we have it backwards when we ask that question. See, the consequence of sin is death. The reason that bad things happen in this world is our own doing. We truly live in a sinful and fallen world, far from what God intended for us. God has provided a way for us to be forgiven, but there are still the consequences of our sin to contend with. That's a rather humbling thought for me. I can't honestly ask God why He would allow bad things to happen to me, or why He allows the death of loved ones, because it's just the natural consequence of sin.

At the same time, this also brings home the significance of living in a place with no sin. I have a better grasp of how truly wonderful being finally free of my sinful nature will be. The thing that causes all of the death, pain and suffering here on Earth, will not even exist in Heaven. I will live in a holy place, in the very presence of the Holy One. That truly is humbling. I'm amazed all over again that God would care enough for one such as I, to go through everything He did to secure my salvation. Absolutely incomprehensible. Who among man could ever begin to comprehend the grace of God? Certainly not I.

Joni Ericson Tada once said that the thing she most looked forward to was not a new body, but a new heart. I am beginning to understand that statement. I too long for a new heart, one free of sin. I strive and struggle against my own sinful heart daily, and I am ashamed to admit how often my flesh wins the struggle. It truly is only by the work of God in me that there is anything good in my life.

I've seen a t-shirt with the caption, "I am the wretch the song refers to." It references the line in Amazing Grace, "Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound! That saved a wretch like me." That line is gaining a deeper meaning for me as I grow.

Too often we hear about the importance of self-esteem. However, I think it is better for us to take a realistic look at ourselves and realize how great the work of grace is in us. That's the sort of thing Mom would have said. Reminding me that it is only by God's grace...

25 March 2009

Frail Humans

"Frail humans we are, fumbling with the eternal."

I read that in a book a few nights ago. Something about that one sentence stood out from all of the other words on the page. Funny where we find words from God. I found this in a novel of all places. Of course, God also used a candy wrapper to speak to me once, but that's a story for another day.

We are frail. Earthly life is so small, fleeting, just a vapor.

Yet, some small part of us is eternal. Our soul is made for eternity. That's quite a thought.

This frail body is so rooted in linear time, in our Earthly existence, that we can't grasp even the concepts of eternity. It's an endless mystery to us, one we stumble over.

As I Corinthians 13:12 explains, "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." When this frail flesh is left behind, my perception will finally be clear. I will see everything in light of eternity.

That's how Mom sees it now. None of the pain, none of the hurt, none of the sadness, none of the grief. Everything finally in perspective. Viewing the tapestry as a whole, rather than just one or two stitches.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." Hebrews 12:1-3

Christ lived for a short time on Earth, but He had the eternal perspective in mind. Shall we follow His example? Live with the eternal in mind.

18 March 2009

Pecan Kringle

From time to time, a white priority mail box will show up. Inside are the most wonderful, absolutely delicious pastry that you could imagine. It's called a kringle. They are made at the Danish bakeries in Racine, Wisconsin. Aaron's grandparents mail us some on occasion. Every time a white box that size shows up in our mailbox, I am VERY excited! Whenever on arrived, I would usually call Mom and tell her what had just arrived. Once I told her that one of them was pecan, well, she would say, "I'll be right down!" She would stop in and have some pecan kringle and a cup of her favorite coffee.

We got a white box in the mail just last week. I've been happily munching away on them and some of our friends have been introduced to this very tasty treat as well!

I opened the last kringle today. It was the pecan one. It seemed strange not to have Mom sitting there with a cup of coffee waiting for a piece.

I keep thinking of things that I want to tell her. Every time one of the kids says something funny I reach for the phone to call her up, and then I remember. I really, really miss her. I miss her even more than I could have guessed. God is still faithful, though. He still gives me the grace and strength to keep going, even when the hurt is more than I can bear.

I imagine the reason why I miss her so much, is because she loved me so much. I guess that's why there is a little hole in so many people's lives right now. They all miss her that much because she loved them that much. That's what happens when we love people the way that God tells us to. That kind of love, it's an amazing thing. It's the kind of love that touches everyone in a profound way. That's what God can do through someone who yields their heart to Him. She did, she really did. That's why she was the kind of person she was. That's what God does with yielded hearts.

13 March 2009

You’re Doing What With The Sweater?

I've started a project that Mom would call me crazy for attempting…

I have a sweater that I bought before Camo was born. I LOVE this sweater. Sadly, after only about six months of use, it started to come apart at the neckline. Now, I'm a pretty competent seamstress and knitter, but this was beyond my ability to repair. Still, I love the color and fiber in this sweater, and I can't bear to throw it out. It has sit, ignored, for almost a year now. Then, I had an idea…

It started when I read a blog post about how to unravel and re-use yarn from a sweater. Apparently, buying sweaters at yard sales and thrift shops, then unraveling them to use the yarn in a new project, is quite the hobby for some folks. This intrigued me. I began to think, what if I unraveled that sweater and made a new sweater or maybe a shawl out of the yarn? Brilliant! Now, the yarn in this sweater is REALLY thin. Sock yarn weight or smaller, maybe lace weight. Tiny, really tiny. That alone might confirm my insanity. But let's take this one step further. I have to painstakingly pick out the stitches in the seams before I can even begin to unravel. At this rate, I may have the darn thing unraveled and ready to knit into something else in time for Munchkin's wedding…

If Mom was here, she would laugh when I told her my plan, tell me I was crazy, suggest that simply buying yarn might be the easier route to go, and then pick up a seam ripper and help me pick out the millions of stitches that must be on that sweater. Then, when it's finally in pieces, she would grab a sleeve and start unraveling, pausing to laugh and tell me how crazy I am, and how crazy she must be for volunteering to help.

I find reminders of Mom everywhere. I've gotten through the first week of shock, and now the ache seems to be setting in. The realization that there is a huge hole in my life where Mom used to be. Life goes on, and truly we don't grieve like those with no hope, but the grief is still there. It's not more than we can bear, God promised us that, but it's still there. I'll always miss her. I'll always feel like something is missing. I'll always laugh and cry when I think of her, when I think of what she would be doing or saying if she was here now. Really, I can't bring myself to wish her back. But now, more than ever, I hope Jesus comes back soon. I'm ready to go home, are you?

09 March 2009


Do you ever think of Heaven? I do. I've always longed for Heaven. With each day that goes by, I long for my true home even more.

"So I'll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown."

I long for the day when I'll lay down every struggle, every burden that is synonymous with our life in this fallen world. I long for a new heart. Not having to constantly struggle against my own sinful nature; that will be a burden that I'll be glad to lay down. I long to live peacefully for all of eternity in the place that my God and Savior has made for me. From my perspective, it will likely be quite some time before I enter into the dwelling place of my LORD, but from the perspective of eternity, it will be very soon. Such a short time we live here. It seems like it will go on forever, but thankfully, it does not. My husband has said that death is really a great blessing that God has given to us. Can you imagine living as a sinner in a fallen world for all of eternity? God showed His great love for us by granting that we live here only a short time. God has shown great love for us in many ways, and continues to show it to me even now.

We observed the ordinance of the Lord's Supper at Mom's family memorial on Saturday. I'd never seen that done at any funeral or memorial before, but how fitting it is! I found great comfort in the reminder of Christ's sacrifice and what it means for us.

Saturday evening, after the kids were in bed and I was resting on the couch, the phone rang. It was just after eight and my first thought was, "Oh, that must be Mom." If the phone rang in the evening, it was quite often my Mom, calling to check on one of the kids if she knew they were sick, or calling about any of a dozen little things. Moments like that are sad, but they are also comforting in a way. I miss her desperately, but I'm glad that I'm surrounded by so many beautiful memories.

07 March 2009


Sleep was not on the agenda last night. Not much of it anyway.

I watched the sunrise this morning. Standing in the dining room, golden light spilled through the windows. It was beautiful. It was bittersweet. Mom loved the sunrise. A few minutes later, the sun slipped behind the clouds and it was dark again. The last few days have been like the sunrise this morning. Filled with moments of beautiful memories of Mom… And filled with moments when it hurts to even breathe. I was reminded of another song that Mom loved this morning.

"Then came the morning, night turned into day;

The stone was rolled away, hope rose with the dawn.

Then came the morning, shadows vanished before the sun,

Death had lost and life had won, for morning had come."

I have hope. Some moments I hang on to that hope by a tenuous thread, but it's still there. I have hope for the same reason that Mom would if the situation had been reversed, because of my faith. Mom was a woman of incredible faith. I pray that someday I'll have even half the faith she had, but for now, my tiny mustard seed of faith is enough. I survive moment by moment, only by the grace of God. Mom would remind me that God told us "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 2:9) She was right, His grace is enough, and when the next moment without her seems like more than I can bear, God will grant me more grace, and I'll take another breath.

06 March 2009

My All’s Grace List

Ann over at The Holy Experience, http://www.aholyexperience.com/ , has a list of 1000 gifts that has been ongoing for some time. Perhaps this is the perfect time to start my own.

My son sitting in my lap while I type…

The memory of Mom putting up the curtains in my kitchen because, "you have to have curtains up in your home"…

The amazing people who are loving us through this time…

Hugging Gram and Gramp last night…

Munchkin asking for a picture of Grammy for her dresser…

The love of God…

Pictures of Mom holding her grandchildren…

The smell of unleavened bread baking in my kitchen…

The cold snow, painting the world white...

05 March 2009

Because He Lives

A friend brought us supper last night, and she also brought one of her kids' books for me to read to my children. It's titled God Gave Us Heaven. It's a wonderful book for explaining the concept of heaven to kids. Arynne and I read it this morning. I cried through part of it, but she didn't mind. Afterwards we talked a bit about heaven and Jesus. I told her that Jesus had said that He was going to prepare a place for us in heaven, and we read John 14.

John 14

1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

4And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

5Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

15If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

25These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.

26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

28Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

29And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

31But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

What a wonderful chapter of scripture. I cannot tell you the comfort it brought me to read it to Arynne. Jesus was right. The peace he gives us is not of this world. It does not depend on circumstances. It comes straight from the God of all comfort, from the Prince of Peace Himself. Because He lives, we live. Because He lives, Mom is more alive now than ever. Make no mistake, this in no way diminishes the grief I have, but the Comforter that He sent will be with me forever.

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." 1 Thessalonians 4:12-13 NIV

Please understand, my heart is truly breaking. I have no idea what to do, now that Mom is gone. I can still hardly believe it's true. And there is one terrible hole in our lives right now. If I did not have this reassurance from God, the despair would be crushing, and I would not be able to bear it. I will grieve, for a very, very long time. But I will not grieve like one with no hope. The Source of that hope is the only reason I am able to face another day right now. "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow."