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!