Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Final Countdown.....

2011 is about to disappear into the record books and off our calendars. 2012 is upon us and there are the "usual" subjects that appear in magazines, on talk shows and in cyberspace...."What are your New Year's resolutions???

As an older citizen of this planet I have decided not, I REPEAT, NOT, to do a resolution list for 2012. Never having been very consistent in that department, it seems a futile attempt at being optimistic and "trendy."

Instead, I wish to move forward into this new year with hopes that I can: 1) Keep my head above water (meaning just keep up with tasks at hand), 2) Spend more time writing, 3) Celebrate in my heart those things that give me joy and comfort and less on worry (which is a complete waste of time and energy), 4) Improve family ties and relationships and 5) Take time to refresh and renew my personal walk with He who created me!

Okay, so you're saying, "Wait, this IS a list of resolves!" Yes, I guess it is! The difference is in the terminology! To-ma-to or Ta-ma-to!

Counting down to 2012 will be different from other countdowns....there are many things that happened in 2011 that are best filed or compartmentalized in their 2011 box and put away in the archives, while other items will be talked about with family and friends or notated in a journal (cyber or hard copy).

How about the new 3r's -- Instead of READING, wRITING and aRITHMETIC, whatever your 2011 was....the clock is ticking -- REVIEW and REFLECT then REPLACE with the new year's experiences as they happen!

Take time to give thanks for the blessings you received in 2011 and look forward to all the blessings that 2012 will present.

Psalm 100:4 -- "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise..."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Stockings -- What are they filled with?

Are Christmas stockings a tradition in your family? What items are stashed in those festive socks? candy? cookies? other items?

The stockings can be plain or fancy, decked with ribbons and gold, green or red, satin or felt.

For as long as I can recall as our family celebrated Christmas, we included the stockings in our festivities. Sometimes, we actually had a "fireplace" to display them, other times, they were tacked to the wall. They weren't filled until Christmas eve. (No peeking!) They always held BIG surprises!

Even the family cat and dog received a stocking full of appropriate treats!

That got me to thinking about what filled my "spiritual" stocking? faith? love? hope? or was it filled with sadness and loneliness? At this time of year, whether widowed or not, pressure to "give" surrounds us. Not the tangible gifting but the expectations of others to see us filled with "feelings of joy and happiness." No one should be sad on Christmas! No one should be isolated or alone during the holidays!

The pressures also of how much to spend on Christmas as become a real stress producer for most families. The stocking stuffers have gotten more expensive through the decades and the dollars don't go as far any more. I would recommend "sock simplicity" -- Whatever your family decides, try to focus on the get together and WHO it is that you are celebrating instead of how much everyone is going to "expect" to get. We are each blessed with a certain amount of income and I'm not a fan of credit so postponing payments on plastic is not an option -- therefore, I have what I have and not a penny more! (whew, got on my soapbox there).

Getting back to the stocking concept, in this new solitary life, my spiritual stocking seems as though at some point there's a hole in it. All the contents has spilled out and I'm left with nothing. Feeling tired and drained it's hard to imagine a stocking "full of laughter and celebration."

It takes prayer and acceptance of our situations (however different they may be) to move to a new place in our lives but we cannot do it on our own. The Ultimate stocking filler is Jesus! He will fill us with joy, comfort and peace in times of despair and loss. What a wonderful remedy for all that troubles us. Listen for that still voice and feel the goodness that springs out of His fountain of mercy!

Isa 9:6 "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given..."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A True Life Preserver!

Have you ever had someone throw you into a swimming pool and say, "Sink or swim?" -- Okay, maybe nothing quite so extreme, possibly you were taking swimming lessons and the instructor told you to jump in and swim or jump off the diving board. For those with a fear of water, that first leap can be extremely unsettling.

When you lose someone, you are "diving in" to a new life (one without your loved one). Whether it is from a sudden loss or a chronic illness that removes that special loved one from your life, it takes its toll on you and your family.

The deep waters that I've encountered since losing Gene have been difficult and I felt lost, as if in "uncharted waters." The memories come as a flood sometimes washing me away in waves of feelings and at other times as a fountain raining down drop by drop.

People experience various losses through their lives...friends, family members and spouses -- who can define how deep the wounds are -- they are at such depths of human emotion that there is no way to measure -- my heart goes out to those that have recently lost loved ones and to those who have lost someone long ago -- the triggers are always there waiting for the time to hit their target and bring on tears and feelings of despair.

There is, however, a Life Preserver waiting to rescue you, to comfort you and to restore your life. His name is the Most High, the King, the Friend....Jesus. Calling upon His name and praying has helped me through some tough moments. There were times when I felt angry at having to be alone, upset with having to do everything myself! But He found His way into my very soul and comforted me and wiped away those feelings....once in awhile they pop up again but He is only a prayer away and it is there that I find solace -- the peace of God.

He will throw you a life preserver and will keep you from sinking if you call upon Him.

Philippians 4:7 "...and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Today is one of those days when my fingers are too cold to move quickly over the keyboard, along with the fact that the thoughts don't always move through my brain with lightening fast speed! However, I got to thinking about how much time I spend in front of the computer. During the day I am frequently checking Facebook, emails and other important websites that involve one aspect of my life or another.

If I wasn't in front of the computer, what would I be doing? Reading? Cleaning? Shopping? Visiting? Exercising? Taking a class? or.......PRAYING?

How much time do I spend talking to God on a daily basis? Food for thought huh? Then I started thinking that through the day I am constantly talking to Him like He's here in person....not just the "out there in the cosmos" type -- but an "IN THE FLESH" person standing or sitting by my side. How much I adore that I can just talk freely to Him and not be hindered....oh sure if people heard me they would probably hasten me away to some place "where I couldn't hurt myself." -- But that is the way I communicate with my Heavenly Father.... by talking.

How do you communicate with Him? Do you have a formal time? Like when you arise in the morning or when you go to bed at night? Do you set aside a time during the day for some quiet moments with God?

We only have a certain amount of time on this planet and then "poof" we are gone! Make every day count -- God is my everything....without Him I would have given up many years ago.

So whatever you are doing, wouldn't it be a wonderful idea just to stop once in awhile and think and reflect yes, and EVEN TALK to God -- This is a very special season...but it's also very stressful and widows have an extremely hard time dealing with all the hustle and bustle of a full calendar or at the other end of the scale -- loneliness -- whatever your situation, tell Him how much you love Him and then give thanks to Him for bringing His Only Begotten Son into the world!

This post is a little more spiritual than most of my posts, but I felt it was important. Not everything that we do is meant to be in front of a "touch screen," or tablet, iPhone, or computer....

Just sayin'

God is our refuge .... Give thanks and rejoice!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bolts and Nuts

Sometimes it hits me hard that I'm living el solo -- I share a place with family (my eldest son and daughter-in-law) but I still do a great deal on my own. During these two plus years of being widowed, I somehow got a "wee bit" independent. Still like making decisions, taking initiative and ownership over things (except when it comes to items in need of repair). That's where I draw the line (hopefully with a ruler and No 2 pencil).

The majority of time when things break, I am lost without my "fix-it" and "go-to" guy. He could fix almost anything with duct tape, wire hangers and a little "know how." Off he'd go fixing this and that with confidence and the look of accomplishment on his face.

After he passed away, I gifted friends and family with most of his more elaborate tools, however, I had enough sense to keep a plastic bin of items that might help me in a pinch!

I took so much for granted while he was on this earth -- like; fixing hoses, changing light bulbs (although he was vertically challenged), oil changes, fixing flat tires, hooking up washers, dryers and moving furniture. We were a TEAM, me handling finances, most of the "foo foo" stuff, he did all the mechanical and "manly" stuff. He was my "Tim the Toolman Taylor" guy! I miss him so much!

For instance, I purchased my license plate sticker weeks ago and it still sits on my bookshelf waiting to be stuck to the windshield of my 2000 Toyota. The registration sticker has expired and I realize, with reluctance that "today" is five days into the next month and TODAY's the DAY to "get r done" or possibly get a traffic ticket. So in this cold weather, I will venture out to my car and affix the sticker to the windshield, finally at the last minute!

Oil changes (well when my car sounds like a lawnmower) I go down to one of those "quickie" places and get that done. Tires go flat, I go to the tire place. Auto inspection is a real bad one for me because my engine light has been on for years...I just go get the code read, they dis-engage the light, I go back have it inspected and the moment I drive out of the parking lot the engine light (my old familiar friend) illuminates the panel once again. It takes money to get the real problem fixed so I just nurse it along chanting my normal mantra, "Gene where are you? You always fix these things for me."

These things just keep happening and I just move along day-by-day hoping for resolution to my fix-it problems. My windshield has been damaged since an ice storm way back when...and there is a new "ding" in it -- hoping and praying it will not spread....another bunch of buckage to be spent to get a new windshield...not that my late hubby could fix that, however, that would be his assignment, not mine!

This isn't meant to be a gripe session, just another thing to "factor in" to the widow dynamic! We don't know what (or in this case) WHO we've got until we lose them!

Treasure your time with your spouse. He may not always be there and you will be faced with things you don't like to do but will be FORCED to do!

Note: If you can learn now to check and add oil, learn to rotate a screwdriver, remove a tire (I haven't been able to do this yet -- wrists are too weak), hang a picture, change batteries, etc. it's a good time to start!

God is merciful, He is gracious and He provides for us....He also expects us to function on this planet and be stewards of what we have to take care of.

Each one of us has areas that we are responsible for and whatever that is we will have to learn new things.

Whether you have a large home or a small apartment, what are your challenges? Will you be able to fix these yourself?

Help is on the way!

Have the name and phone number of a good handyman.

Gather some tools such as; screwdrivers (both phillips and flat head) in several sizes, duct tape, hammer, assorted sizes of nails, picture hangers, pliers (needle nose and regular), power surge strips, batteries (triple A's through D's), flashlights, screws, nuts, bolts, socket wrench, wrench, level, thumbtacks, etc.

Acknowledge that you are somewhat challenged and don't try to fix something that is over your head...for starters, if it is something to do with electricity, don't go there! Call an electrician!

Water problem? Remember to turn off the water! Call a repairman at once! Don't go any further on that one.

1 Peter 4:10..."as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Go ahead, take the plunge -- or plunger :)

That's all for now -- I must get out there and change the registration sticker on my car!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Purpose "On Purpose"

Purpose happens "ON PURPOSE."
Just a little while ago, I met my next door neighbor in the breezeway. She is moving out of the apartment complex. Having only spoken to her a couple of times, briefly, for some reason, it felt as if God was wanting me to linger there for a moment, so I did. I told her that I hadn't seen her lately and she told me she was sick. Not wanting to pry but feeling she wanted to share more, I stood there for a minute and she started telling me her story. She has cancer, first uterine, which they were able to take care of and then only six weeks later, they diagnosed her with bladder cancer, as well. She's having traditional chemo and radiation treatments. I asked, "Can I give you a hug?" She moved towards me with a comfortable step and hugged me. She has small children and has a caregiver that has been keeping watch over her and her children, which is why she has to leave her apartment. She said God will never give her any more than she can handle but wonders if she's reached her limits as far as what she CAN handle.

We chatted about loss and grief and she is definitely grieving....the loss of stamina, not being able to chase after her kids the way she used to. These are all triggers for a special kind of grief. I told her I would be praying for her and gave her my email address and phone number and said, "If you EVER need me, please do not hesitate to contact me." She started crying and said, "It is amazing that people can reach out and care even when they don't know a person hardly at all." But God knows her and cares for her and sends people into her life and every one's life that connect in some way or other.

Is there someone next door to you that is battling something? Is a friend or relative experiencing some kind of affliction or problem that they might need to talk about?

God is the Healer. He is the Connector. He is the one we call on in times of prosperity and in times of trouble, as well. Pouring out tears with my next door neighbor wasn't how I expected to start my day today, but God assigned that time for me to listen to this woman and pray for her.

What will you be called to do today? An act of love, compassion and caring speaks volumes of God's grace and mercy.

1 Cor 13:7,8..."Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...Love never fails"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holidays -- Solitary or With a Crowd???

He Puts the Solitary in Families….

Psalm 68:5-6… “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows…God sets the solitary in families…”

This time of year grief and sadness can come upon us like a mouse caught in a trap with a sumptuous piece of cheese. SNAP! No time to really prepare, it sets off a chain of memories, a flood of holiday nostalgia.

Since I’m still fairly new at being a widow, it doesn’t seem real that my husband has been gone for a couple of years. Though I’m not in the depth of the grief, it does take a toll on me through very strong associations with holidays past. Things like holiday gatherings, food, Christmas music, certain aromatic smells, decorations, photographs, etc. Whatever the trigger, I am the target for tears.

It is a time that needs to be addressed. You cannot “sweep it under the rug” or hide from it. There are numerous ways to get through it and still remember those special days with loving fondness and less depression.

1) You can postpone watching that "special" movie that you and your spouse used to watch together. Save it for another time. This is your season to heal.

2) If most of your holiday decor brings you to tears because it "has been displayed" every year since you and your spouse were together, it may be time to visit a department store and buy some new ornaments, etc. When you are in a better place spirtually and emotionally you can bring those special things back out. Note: Do not throw them may regret that later on.

3) If a certain holiday smell like apple cinnamin or pumpkin brings up painful reminders, see if maybe you could find another aroma such as berries, holly or some other fragrance for your home. Smells are a powerful trigger for memories.

It is a blessing if you are able to spend the holidays with family. God says He is a defender of widows. He doesn’t mean for you to be alone. If you do not hear from your family give them a call and tell them how much you miss them and would love to spend time with them. Let’s face it, our grown up children are extremely busy with their own lives, careers and their own families. You can remind them that you will be alone for the holidays but definitely do not dish out a heaping plate of guilt -- that is not the result you want to achieve...just realize that they all have their own things going on and be mindful of that when approaching them.

We were not created to be solitary. God made us to be in communities.

If your family is far away, it is a bit more complicated. In that situation, it is a good idea to seek out friends who may also be spending the holidays alone. Check to see if there are local organizations such as; senior centers or churches that have scheduled events, programs, as well as meals for those that have nowhere to go. Bottom line: Try to find someone to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with, either family or friends.

Sing and rejoice for He is good and His mercy endures forever!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Often we hear people say, "Someday I'm going to take a trip or start a new hobby." Well for you, today may be that someday! As our new lives in the single world move on through the calendar year, it is time to take a mental inventory of what we would like to accomplish now that we are alone.

What would you like to do that you haven't done in a long while? Take a road trip? Buy a new outfit? Go out with some friends for a nice lunch?

Have you made a list of things you would like to do? It's good to write things down. After I retired, I started keeping a calendar so I wouldn't forget things that are going on in my life; big things and little things. I don't want to miss an opportunity to enjoy what time God has given me here on earth -- I want to remember that I have a play date with my granddaughter, an important function at my church, or a tea with my special Red Hat friends. Keeping a calendar has saved me from embarrassment many times and will most likely continue to do so!

Road Trip:
If you have transportation, a short road trip would be a wonderful way to get out of those four walls that seem to keep you hidden from the rest of the outside world. It would be twice as much fun if you call a friend and ask that person to join you on your small adventure. Put on a cheery outfit, some makeup and go get em! This is also a nice excuse to have "lunch on the go."

Visit a Friend:
Always a good way to spend your time...visiting a friend. As we age, a lot of seniors do not own or operate a car any longer. Calling and scheduling a visit would be a perfect opportunity to lift their spirits and yours! Find an inexpensive gift i.e. maybe a package of tea, a biscotti from the local coffee shop, a card, just something to bring a little sunshine into your friend's life!

Find a Hobby:
Read a book, scrapbook, take up crafting i.e. needlepoint, crocheting or knitting, all great ways to spend your time. You never know what your "hidden" God-given talent or gift is until you search and pray for Him to show you. Chances are, you are already very aware of your gifts, however, because you have been in a sea of grief for a long while, the gift or talent may be hidden under those feelings and using that gift might just help brighten your outlook.

This is a huge help to others and will help you, as well. Find a group or organization that could use your assistance and "dig right in." Most churches love to have people volunteer for different projects throughout the year. Salvation Army has Angel Trees for the Christimas holiday. Pick an angel off the tree and help a child or senior citizen who is less fortunate. Offer your services at a local hospital or the library. A senior community center is another place to help. The possibilities are out there and it will help you move over those emotional hurdles that have weight so heavily on you.

Love one another....serve one for one another!

Not someday --- BUT TODAY!!
Galatians 5:13,14 "....through love serve one another" "....You shall love your neighbor as yourself"

Monday, October 31, 2011

You've Got a Friend!

Whenever I'm feeling really down, I call one of my friends and try to encourage them in some small way. Recently, one of my closest friends was having a very difficult day. She's a stroke survivor and is paralyzed on her right side and is sometimes very hard on herself. I could tell that day was not a good one for her, so as soon as I heard the familiar, "Hello" on the other end of the phone, my "actress" side kicked in and I said something comical, "I'm sitting out here on the veranda sipping a mint julep (of course, those who know me wouldn't believe that one). She immediately started laughing and almost choked. Of course, I said many other things, but the bottom line is it got her out of her blues and into a more joyful place.

There are so many times when we need a "pick me up" and someone else needs it worse than we do! In making my dear friend laugh, it accomplished two things: 1) It got the focus off my own blahs and 2) Cheered up my friend and caused her sadness to disappear.

Friendship achieves many things such as; we commit to that relationship, we listen and we cement that friendship with our loyalty and love.

It is often said, "I can count my TRUE friends on one hand." I think this might be accurate. Oh sure, we have many, many acquaintances, but only a handful of real friends. How many friends would be there to listen to you at midnight? Would you take a call at three a.m. from a distraught, hurting friend? It takes dedication, sacrifice and good old patience! But in the long run it's well worth it...

Hum, it sounds kind of like the "ultimate" friend....JESUS!

The old hymn, "What a friend we have in Jesus" -- He sacrificed, He listens to our prayers, He won't forsake us and He provides for us....

He only asks us to be faithful and incline our hearts towards Him.....

Proverbs 17:17 "A friend loves at all times...."

Are you being a true friend? Do people come to you with their problems and you put down whatever it is that you are doing right at that moment and listen?

Do you know someone recently widowed? Reach out to them and be sensitive to their hurt and grief. It may have been a long while since you walked this path but you can still touch others with your compassionate heart and a shoulder to cry on. We are servants of the Most High -- Look for opportunities in your neighborhood, church or wherever you are and I'm sure there is someone that needs a smile or kind word from you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

10-4 Good Buddy!

Many times, my late husband used to say, "The reason you have one mouth and two ears is because you need to talk less and hear more." Hard advice for a talker like myself. My father enjoyed teaching me words and encouraged a good vocabulary. Loquacious, I believe, is the word that means talkative. When someone is talking to me, I have often noticed that I'm already thinking about a good response. Sometimes I wonder how many others are in the same mental routine? Ask yourself next time, "Do I really have to say something clever or should I just listen to what the other person is saying....just listen?"

Connection to others is an integral part of our lives. That is one reason social networking caught on so quickly -- People love renewing old friendships, finding long lost relatives, etc. To stay connected, we need to have our human radar up and ready to receive.

Proverbs 17:22 "A merry heart does good, like medicine..."

People are always mentioning to me that I am funny saying things like, "You should be on television as a comedienne," or "You should become a columnist or write a funny book." To me, it can be both a God-given blessing or sometimes, a curse. God has shown me that it's not about ME, it's about HIM and as I try to balance my humor with my listening skills, sometimes I just have to "tone it down" and hear what is being said.

Widowhood is one of those instances where being funny is not always appropriate. The ladies and gentlemen that I have come in contact with that are widowed are still walking the journey of grief. It may be recent or long ago, but being respectful and listening to them share their feelings is important. To some of these isolation has become a way of life. This is an opportunity where God has taught me to "hear" and then "speak."

It's true that humor can be used as a tool in some situations, but only when it is discerned as appropriate. Be sensitive to those who are in your company. Listen and determine if a word is needed or a hug is required. People that are solitary need lots of hugs to get them through these valleys. Be kind, gentle and once in awhile, give them a dose of healthy humor.

Proverbs 15:13 "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance..."

Are you tuned into the right frequency? Are you hearing loud and clear what God wants you to do concerning a broken, hurting heart? As they say in radio, "Ten Four Good Buddy!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Comfortable Clothing – Cheerful is the New Chic!

Can we still be fashionable as we age?

With a bit of creativity and limited dollars to spend for clothing we can still be fashionable even when fighting it out with “gravity.” Aging is a mystery until it happens to you! My demographic (the 60ish and over group) are at both ends of the fashion scale. I see ladies dressed like they are attending a movie opening, and I also see ladies dressed in housecoats and muumuus. Let’s face it as we age it is a natural tendency to become more relaxed and not so concerned with our fashion choices. In advertisements, the designers are all about the “younger women” dictating what to wear and what not to wear. As a “mature” lady I definitely gravitate toward flannel, fleece and comfort clothing. But when I go outside my home I’m all about the “foo-foo” stuff. I love scarves, necklaces and other accessories. Not having a large amount of money to spend on the actual pieces of clothing I shop at Wal-mart, Target and upon occasion, Kohl’s and other department stores. This makes the social security and retirement dollars go a little farther. Be sure to watch for special sales and bargains. There are also some very upscale resale shops around town. Check them out, as well.

Recently, I attended a widows’ brunch and there was an informative presentation by a fashion stylist. Included were easy tips on how to “dress up” your wardrobe economically and by making a few small changes ladies could improve their wardrobes without depleting their purses.

Because most of us are out of the workforce and are now retired and our wardrobes most likely reflect that lifestyle. In my closet there are many remnants of my former “work life.” I just hang onto them because they still have a few miles to go!

What would keep a lady from dressing up?

For several years I resided in a local senior community and it was not uncommon to see ladies down in the dining room and recreational areas dressed in their housecoats and muumuus. Putting myself in their shoes I analyzed the situation to see how this came to be. There are many that are disabled and getting dressed to come down to socialize is a major accomplishment. Some are amputees. They wear a badge of courage and honor as they struggle through their days. Each one of them has a story to tell of how they arrived at their current place in life. Dressing up is for some easy and for others just buttoning a blouse or zipping a zipper can be a painful experience.
Our outside will reflect our inside!

As we make trips to the grocery store or just take a few steps out the front door to walk our dogs, we make a statement about who we are and how we feel about our lives in general. When we do a LITTLE extra with our outside, it somehow makes our inside feel better, too. (1Peter 3: 3,4) Peter talks about the outward adornment versus the inward attitude which reflects the hidden heart. The Glory of God shines through us and that is TRUE beauty. The Word of God isn’t saying it’s wrong to adorn the outward side just that we should be more concerned with who we are in God on the inside. Moderation and balance are important. We are stewards of everything and that includes our wardrobes, reflecting God’s joy and peace inwardly and outwardly because we are “Daughters of the Most High King.”

Conclusion: Go ahead, tie that scarf, put that necklace on, wear that flowered headband! You are beautiful! March down life’s runway with a smile on your face and God in your heart!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Simplicity is SIMPLE!

Philippians 4:19 "And my God shall supply ALL your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ"

I have become a fan of "SIMPLE." It's taken a couple of years to figure this out. Having to move several times, before my husband passed away and then twice since that difficult event. Every time I relocate my possessions become less and less. Things that I thought were priorities have either been sold, donated or thrown away. Of course, I love "things" but I am earnestly trying to buy less of them. Downsizing seems inevitable. As our children become grownups and move away, we are left with boxes and bins of "this and that" accumulated with a mental label, "KEEP THIS" or "REMEMBER WHEN...." It is stashed in our attics, garages and closets much like the National Archives but on a smaller scale.

As time progressed, I became accountable for so much "stuff" like some kind of family curator. Now that I've moved into a smaller space, these items are weighed, tested and proven to be either necessary or expendable. There is actually a great deal of freedom in clearing out clutter. My mind doesn't keep track of the item any longer. (I read that once about our mind keeping mental inventory of every possession we have stored, stashed and ferreted away).

I noticed that since simplicity has come to live in my home, I have more time. Being widowed and retired offers new opportunities for thinking, doing and living in general. Not so much concerned any longer with the urgencies of a hectic, boiler room job, I read more, write more, and volunteer. Service to others is essential and has been very fulfilling. Find something that brings you joy and do it!

What could you do to "bring simple" into your home?

What unnecessary items are stowed in your archives?

Could those unwanted items be "gifted" to someone who might be in need of them?

What could you do to serve others?

"Now where did I put that recital costume from 1950? Maybe I'll make a shadow box someday and display it." Yepper, see what I mean???

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Widow Warm-Ups

Ps 119:105 "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path"

One of the most difficult issues for me through which I have had to navigate is the "me" vs. the "we." Everything changed when I became a solitary in a world of couples. Let me explain further; Gene passed away and my somewhat structured world was rocked. Social aspects were impacted immensely. My frame of reference was geared toward couples and family gatherings for my social interaction. All of a sudden that was thrown upside down and both my body and my mind could not relate. I felt like a foreigner. That "third wheel" syndrome that people speak about came true for me. I no longer felt the same comfort level around those friends that were married. In my mind (perception), I saw them as ideally happy, content and having "everything." I quickly isolated myself and shut down some of the communication between us feeling very uncomfortable in "their world." This type of mindset still gets to me sometimes but God has shown me that it's not that my married friends have changed, but it is I that have put this limit on myself.

Here's a suggestion how to remedy this situation, humanly speaking, seek out others that are widowed. Join a group at your church. Become part of another kind of "we." There are many ways to become socially involved without being coupled up. If you notice a neighbor that is alone, take time to connect and communicate. Invite a long time friend over for lunch or tea. If someone is alone in the hospital, take time to visit them. Remember someone on their birthday with a card and a hug. There are numerous ways to "reach out."

A handy item is calling cards (much like business cards). These include your email address, name and phone number, they are a wonderful tool for introducing yourself to others. So many times hand-written pieces of paper get misplaced along the way, but cards can be stashed in your purse or wallet. The calling cards come in various formats, decor and are customized to your liking. Here are a couple of places online that you can check out for calling cards --

Remember, you are NOT ALONE -- In Him is your freedom, peace and joy -- think on these things as your "widow warm-ups" each day!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Starting the Journey

Jer 15:8 "Their widows will be increased to Me more than the sand of the seas..."

"Starting the Journey" is about all of us that have experienced either the recent passing of our spouse or a loss from long ago. No matter which one of these categories you fall into, this walk is likely the most difficult life changing event you will ever go through. My idea for this particular blog came from a dear Christian writer friend, Kathi Macias. She suggested while I'm completing my writing project on widowhood, I sit down and start a blog that might help YOU and others like you and your trip through the maze of concerns and questions that arise after becoming a widow.

This blog is intended primarily to connect widows with others and hopefully a tool for discussion, a place where you can find helpful information on relevant topics such as health, finances, social rebuilding, emotions, spiritual growth and faith, friendship, travel, etc.

It would be appreciated if you would forward this blog to others that you know are having difficulty walking this path. Together we can find our way through those dark days that hit at random moments which come to light such as; places that strike a sentimental memory, special photos and possessions. These memories are like a "life mine field" striking at the most unexpected times, not just anniversaries or birthdays but sometimes occurring while walking down an aisle at the grocery store or hearing a particular song playing in the background.

Please, if you would, do not hesitate to make comments. This is as much about YOU as it is about my experiences.

I welcome comments from anyone and would love to hear your stories.

Here's to US and our walking this road together! More to follow.....

Patty "Nana1945"