Creating Hope and Shining Light

Be joyful in hope, 

Patient in affliction,

Faithful in prayer. 

Romans 12:12, NIV

 

I love that verse.

It is an instruction manual for navigating through difficult times. Even during our darkest hours; when we have faith, we have hope.

Set your mind on things above.

And even in the midst of our trials; with hope, comes joy.

Count it all as joy.

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Look, Mom

We took a trip to Lake Erie this weekend, squeezing the last drops out of our fleeting summer. My kids were older now and invited friends along for the trip. They took a break from the water to build in the sand. I watched them from my beach chair, working together to dig a deep hole and build a moat around it. Their structures were more sophisticated these days. My daughter was nearing 13 and I was surprised that she readily joined in building with her brother and their friends. She didn’t enjoy doing much other than hanging out in her room these days.

“Look, Mom, …” my daughter said happily waving to get my attention and then pointing to the wall she built. I smiled and told her it looked great and commended them all on their awesome  job. I looked at my daughter. That familiar quiet smile momentarily flashed across her face, the one that made her eyes light up; then she looked away, but not so quickly that I missed it … Continue reading “Look, Mom”

Yep

The clouds were thick and heavy when I went outside to go for a walk, but I chose to go ahead. The rainy, dreary day matched my mood, and misery loves company, right? I considered staying close to the house, just in case those clouds dumped out all the rain they were holding inside, like the emotions I was holding in my heart. Still, I chose my usual walk through the neighborhood. Looking up at the swirling gray ceiling above me, I sent a quick text to my husband.

“If it starts pouring, can you come get me?”

In less than a minute, I got a reply,

“Yep”

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Dear Dad, …

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

(Psalm 73:26)

 

Dear Dad,

I don’t come here often. It is a pretty peaceful place; but, honestly, I don’t like it here. I don’t believe you are here. I don’t have to come here to visit you. I feel you all around me, all the time.  I know you are in heaven. Coming here makes me sad. Coming here brings back memories I tucked away and don’t want to revisit. I remember that frigid day in February, when I shivered next to that gaping hole in the earth that was as dark and empty as the one in my heart. As I sat there, still and quiet, my heart broken, my soul crushed; I wanted to yell and scream and make it all stop. I wanted to wake up.

But it was real, Dad. You were gone.

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Along the Way

My husband knew I loved sunsets.  I would pull over on the side of the road, or drive a few miles out of my way to find the perfect spot to view God’s daily grand finale. I had so many pictures saved on my phone but still didn’t want to miss the opportunity to stop and capture the moment. My husband was a man of few words, but he showed me how much he loved me all the time, in a million little ways.  Last week, he was out of town for work for a few days. One night while he was gone, he pulled over to take this picture of a beautiful sunset over the water and then sent it to me. No words, no text.  Just the picture. It made my heart smile.

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Keeping His Memory Alive

Every month, I take gift bags to my local cancer center, the same place where I had treatment the first time I was diagnosed, and where I go for monthly bloodwork, injections, and appointments.  Although I would love to do more, I can’t take bags for all the patients, but I take a dozen bags each month and pass them on to the wonderful oncology nurses who distribute them to those who could use a little pick-me-up as they go through treatment.  I have taken everything from comfort items to lipstick to Bibles and cake mixes.  Each month, I plan the gift bags around a theme.  I typically put these bags together myself or with the help of my loving mother; but, over the last couple of years, generous people have donated money, time, or materials to help fill these bags.

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