Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Catching up

Apparently I am in the catch up mood. I have once again attempted to e-mail a few old college friends, and past acquaintances. I have felt for some time that I needed to make contact with these people. So far I have heard from a few, but I am still waiting to hear from others. Hmmmm.

I have been writing like crazy again. It really takes time and effort to do these things, so hopefully I will be able to sell some of my articles and Devotional contributions, not to mention my book. It seems that I have so many ideas, and sometimes can't take the time to write when the thoughts come. I find that really frustrating. I tend to be driving the car, or doing something where paper and pen are not available. Then just as quickly as the thought comes, it disappears! Bummer!

My heart is all a twitter when I think about the writers conference. Two weeks from tomorrow! Yippee! I continue to find things that I need to do to prepare for this, and am hoping that I am able to get a more organized and edited copy of my book to take with me. I mentioned that a friend is reading and making editorial suggestions. I most assuredly need prayer for completing this!

I have GriefShare tonight, and am looking forward to seeing everyone. Tonight's topic is "The Uniqueness of Grief". We have been having some very good times of sharing, and the healing that comes with it. The pain that seems to be so evident when people walk in, seems softened by the time they leave. People have been sharing with each other after the meetings, and not rushing off. They are sharing their experiences, and helping each other. What a blessing!

I think we will be making a collage in one of the last sessions. It too is a time of remembering and healing for the participants. For me as well. Just because you lead a group, doesn't mean you don't still have issues about grief and need a touch form the Lord. It is such an amazing and healing thing each and every week.

I'm now down 16 pounds and 11.5 inches, I'm thrilled. I tried on some clothes yesterday, some of the things I found I am grieving that I cannot fit into as of yet, others are fitting with ease! Only 34 more pounds to reach my first attainable goal. I may go beyond that, I may not. I have been the route of anorexia (borderline) so, I do not desire to go through the pain of that again. I am doing a lifestyle change, not a diet. I eat all the time, so I am not starving myself! In this I have learned from my past mistakes.

I think having discipline is a key that I threw away a long time ago. I am just now getting another key made for that thing that I locked away for so long. I am trying to remain true to what I believe that Lord is showing me and teaching me about me, and about what He wants for me. I have many issues that God has been pointing out that need attention, and dealing with them can be painful at times, and frustrating as well. Just when you think "I finally have that one handled" God shows it to you from yet another angle, and says "Not quite, now let's do this". Whew!

I need to get my letters and proposals typed so I better get busy with that so I can start cooking. I have to cook about 4 hours a day just to keep up with Jeff and Chris and myself since the three of us are doing the ProVida thing... But, it's working!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Homework for old folks like me...

My boys are now home from college, Woo-hoo I am pretty happy! I am done with laundry for Jordan, and Chris brought home CLEAN CLOTHES! Bless his heart!

I have a lot of my spring cleaning started and am waiting for the strength to complete the remainder. It smells so nice with all clean curtains, bedding freshly laundered and hung outside to dry, and windows thrown open to catch the balmy breezes. Yes, I said balmy! It's mid 70's and sunny, low humidity. Perfect! Unusual for April in Ohio.

My youngest son, Chris was just chuckling about all of the "homework" I have to do concerning the writers conference that I will be attending. I am LEARNING to write queries, and book proposals, as well as letters to find an agent. I have been working for the past five hours on that, and I mean writing, with a pen and paper...whew, writers cramp! Some of these things are very overwhelming, and my inexperience weighs heavily on my shoulders...

Speaking of weighing, I have now lost 14 pounds! I am almost 1/3 of the way to my goal. I have been doing very well and not cheating at all! That is a real testimony. I realize that I would only be cheating myself, and I don't want to do that. My current goal is to have 25 pounds off by the time I go to the conference in Colorado on May 14. If I happen to be down more than that I would be ecstatic! Hmmm, I may need to dig out some of my size 10's from years ago yippee!!!!!!!!!!!

It is so nice to see our doggie feeling a little better. He has been pretty "owie" the past few days. In typical beagle fashion he decided to eat something while he, (Buzz) Jeff and I were walking around the farm the other night. He does this about 3-4 times a year, and then he really suffers for it, he can't climb up into his favorite chair, he has a hard time climbing the stairs (he follows me everywhere I go all day long)... poor puppy!

It's going to be so nice having most of my family around the table for dinner for the next four months. The boys have agreed to eat healthy like Jeff and I are doing, so tonight I will be making the Chicken Luau Kebobs complete with chicken breasts, fresh pineapple cubes, onions, and green pepper in a marinade of lemon juice, ginger, garlic and black pepper! Ummmmm.

I better get busy this needs to marinate for a while!

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's working!

Woo-Hoo I've lost 10 pounds since Monday! The Pro-Vida Life System is working! I only have to stick with it now!

This is going to be a great week! My boys from IWU are done for the year and will be returning home! Can't wait... except for the extra food, dishes, laundry... UGH! Oh well it is definitely worth having them home!

I am so excited about the Conference in Colorado. Only 23 more days until I leave. I hope I can get all of my "stuff" together to take with me. I have so much (I mean stuff for the publishers/editors etc...) I have to take samples of my writing, whew that stuff is gonna be heavy to carry!

Jeff and I are going to be visiting the Smokey Mountains in May. The boys gave us a gift certificate for Serenity Falls cabins for Christmas, so we will be there May 23, and 24. That is over the 8th Anniversary of losing Liz. Then we will drive over to Micah's in Leesburg early Sunday to attend church, and stay with him for Memorial Day. It'll be nice! Gee, I'll be in Colorado, Tennessee, and Virginia all in a weeks time! I feel so special! Considering most of the time I am a slug at home, just slowly meandering my way around here. Our boys will be holding down the fort, or rather farm while we're gone , that will be interesting.

God has given me so many opportunities, I feel as though I need to "walk in them".

It has been such a busy week for me, cleaning out my laundry room and part of the basement. Garbage galore! Yeah, it's gone!!!!!!!!!!! We had a blazing fire on Friday night to burn all of the personal information stuff, our shredder is broken, so we burned it to "smithereens" nothing left, even the ashes are gone! Now, I only need to wash bedspreads, blankets, and sheets and hang them on the clothes line, ummmm they smell so good after that. I want the house to be a haven for the boys to come home to, and for Jeff and I of course.

This blog doesn't have anything deep in it, but it is something to read, and something to write (practice, practice, practice)... It's a beautiful spring day and my Magnolia's are in full bloom, they smell heavenly!
Soon, the Forsythia and Lilacs will be flowering. I
love spring again. For a while it didn't bring a lot of happy memories, but it makes me feel better to be surrounded by life, and not dull browns and grays.
I need to be able to breathe fresh air, open the windows and air out the winter blahs! It's such a nice refreshing thought.
I better get a move on, laundry to do, I need to go work out, and go grocery shopping. I am preparing dinner for our Pastor's family tonight. Please continue to pray for Marie Mason as she is approaching the end of her battle with cancer. Pray for her husband Jim as they have been together forever. He doesn't want to leave her for even a moment. Pray for their family members too. They have been so supportive, and a true testimony of God's grace. If you would like to see an update on Marie you can go to
http://www.caringbridge.org:80/visit/mariemason. It amazes me all of the visitors that have signed onto the site. Wow so many people love and respect that family. I am one of them! We're praying for you Marie! And send our love.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Expect an answer

In my last blog I commented about how I reacted to a telemarketer that was asking to speak to my deceased daughter. When I read the comment I was a bit concerned about how my comment was being read by others. I went back and re-read what I had written and I can see how that could have been seen. What I failed to write in my last post, but what had been in my head and mentioned in our meeting was that this was something I HAD done. It was not something done recently. This was a call that I received within the first year of grieving. Matter of fact it was the first time anyone had called asking for Liz. It came as such a shock, that I responded with the retort that she was dead. From my past experience, and from current experience, I need to watch how I say things. I do not think that my response was a good one, matter of fact it was a rude and cold response.

It was WRONG!

Yes, I am still getting calls and mail for Liz after 8 years. I am still not happy that I am getting calls from telemarketers for anyone in our household, for any purpose. (I have been on the National do not call list) However, my response has changed when it comes to people asking for my daughter. I may tell them she is not available, that she has passed away, and occasionally they will ask about the circumstances, so I tell them. I realize that the actual caller has no idea. I also ask (sometimes) if there is someone that I can speak to that could make sure that her name is completely removed from their lists. But, the majority of the time I will simply hang up.

Yes, I do agree with you that getting beyond the anger and unforgiveness is important!!!!! I have gotten past that, by the grace of God, just as you have been able to overcome the loss you expressed. I apologize if this post offended you. I am glad you wrote of your concern for me, and if I was holding on to my anger. It is NOT HEALTHY to do that, and we all need to be reminded that we have tendencies toward anger and unforgiveness.

I had no plan to cause any upset, and I did pray about this comment before I posted. I wanted to make sure that I explained without sounding smug or rude to you (whoever you are). Again, I thank you for your concern, as well as for the challenge to check my own heart. We all need that. I wish I could say that I received this comment with grace and finesse, but at first I did not. I was hurt that someone would think that I had a problem. I wanted to let whoever wrote it know that. Then I listened to my heart and understood where the comment was coming from.

Just because we have the right to express our opinions on the world wide web, (via the blog) so do others. This comment was not written with malice, or a pointing finger toward me, it was meant as help. I receive that! We all need to be willing to hear what someone tries to tell us, especially if it is something that will HELP us and not HARM us!

So, understand that I will try to be more clear in my writing. Sometimes I get so much in my mind that I can hardly keep up with my thoughts partly because I am a terrible typist. I know excuses, excuses.

My husband, my family and I have been strong supporters of forgiveness. That is a large part of why we have been able to go on, and have expressed to others that it is one of the most important things you will ever do. That is why I felt it important enough to go ahead and make the comment public, and expound on it. If I appear to have an unforgiving spirit, I hope God will bring it to my attention, (I may not always be happy to have something like that pointed out) I hope that I don't allow it to bring bitterness and anger in my heart. That is something that is very difficult to
get beyond. Unless you surrender it to God.

Perfection... it's a word I have often read, thought of and wondered if there really is such a thing. I only have to look to Jesus for that answer. I will probably never reach that point in my own life, in any area, but it's a good thing to strive for. I want to have the character of Jesus be visible to all that see me, hear me, or even read what I have written. My deepest desire is to look in a mirror and see Jesus looking back at me. I want to be able to see people the same way that God sees them (including the telemarketers, that I have been rude to) I am sure they did not see or hear anything from my mouth that would have been pleasing to God. I still do not want to receive those calls, but I will in the future try to be Christlike in my conversations.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I'm so excited

Yesterday, I told a couple of friends that I was so excited I can hardly stand to be around myself! The reason is: I am going to the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference! I made my reservations, sent in my registration, and booked my flights! So cool!

I have been praying about going for the past month, and things seemed to come together for me yesterday. I also have been praying for help with my book, and God has provided someone locally to give me some advice. I think it's finally time to get this book published. It's been a long road, but I hoped and prayed that God would help me, and give me the right people to talk to that would be able to give me direction and encouragement. He has, and I am forever grateful to Him!

Open doors seem to be something that I struggled to find for so long, and I simply felt the Lord say "My time is not yet", so amidst tears, and going in circles I finally surrendered. It's been four LONG years since my writing began, and I felt then that it had been to long since the actual incident that sparked this book had happened. What my timing is and what God's timing is is most definitely different!

I want to let all of you know that have been in contact with me, and some of you that haven't been, that I appreciate your prayers and the words of encouragement from you! It is truly something that means the world to me, and to the rest of this family! It's because of the prayers of many that we have been able to come this far. THANK YOU!

Moving on...

We had our GriefShare group last night, and God was there! It's so exciting to see God touching the hearts of those in attendance, and you can see from week to week how that healing process is going simply by the looks on their faces and the discussion that follows! We all still have a long way to go before we are completely healed, but we all trudge on. We have some days where we feel like we are sitting up and taking nourishment, and other days where we can burst into tears at the drop of a hat. We discussed what we say to people when they ask us if we're doing OK. Sometimes we get angry because we are tired of people asking us "if we're OK" other times we know that people really don't want to know how we are, they just feel they need to make a comment to act like they care, when they really don't!
It's out of kindness sometimes, and other times just to make them look good. It has been a long time for Jeff and I and the rest of our family, but grief sometimes ambushes us, and it feels like we're fresh in it again.

It is so easy to get mad at people. Particularly with people that are calling to sell you something. I have been rather cruel at times particularly when they ask for Liz. For Pete's sake she been dead for almost eight years, why in the world are telemarketers calling and asking for her? I have been so upset when that has happened, that I get angry and tell them "NO you can't talk to her she's dead!" That really throws them! I know it's not very nice, but they'll never know how many times I wished I could pick up the phone and call her! It's impossible of course, but the thought is certainly there.

Have you ever made contact with a person that is grieving? Don't know what to say to them? Afraid to bring up the deceased person's name? Here are some suggestions for you.

People that are grieving don't think badly of you if you ask them how they are, they just get tired of being asked that same question so frequently. It is hard to be honest with how they feel at that moment.

People that are grieving usually don't mind talking their loved one. It tends to be something they want to talk about, it's actually healing to be able to talk. Don't be afraid it's make them cry.

People that are grieving don't always need words from you, sometimes a HUG is just the right thing! We need to know you care even if you don't have the "right words". Even if you just cry with us it helps.

People that are grieving can actually have more than one emotion at the same time. No, we are not a Jekyll/Hyde person, we are simply going through the motions (or emotions) of the day.

Here are some of the reactions that people had last night when we talked about this:
  • Some feel like their props have been knocked out from under them,
  • They are devastated.
  • It is the saddest thing they have ever had to go through.
  • Some people will say they are OK, just to give you an answer, but they really aren't OK.
  • Some will get angry and give you "what for" and will take out their frustrations on you.
  • If you think you're confused, just imagine what we feel!
  • Don't think you have to give us answers, just love us and don't forget us!
  • Allow us to grieve. There is NO TIME LIMIT ON HOW LONG GRIEF LASTS!
  • You will meet people that use grief as their identity.
  • It can't make them feel any worse, they have already been devastated.
  • Their world will never be the same.

I hope that maybe this may give you a few things to consider when you see someone that is grieving. We will not ever be NORMAL like we were before, because our world is not NORMAL. We will come to a NEW NORMAL. It may not be something you understand, but bear with us!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Editing... re-writing...editing...

I am always so amazed when I feel God's go ahead to work on "Through The Tears". I have done so different times in the last few months,however; today was an amazing day. I started at about 7:30 this morning and completely lost track of time until 12:05! I was absolutely lost in my editing. As I read through the 130 pages all ready written, I was so surprised to find what I had written there. I simply do not recall writing some of it. I did add several more paragraphs within the body of the story, and am waiting to hear from a friend that is now doing some editing for a christian publishing house. He may be able to do some editing and give me suggestions as to how to make this more readable. All I know is that what I have written has been something of a miracle to me. It has flowed out of my finger tips to the computer keyboard almost with out any effort by me. I believe that God is inspiring it.

Yes, I am very inexperienced when it comes to this ability, but I believe if inspired, anyone can write. After all, I am. I have prayed, and prayed, along with worry about how this would be accomplished. I guess those two things don't belong in the same sentence. Pray and worry I mean. I have always wanted to write a book since I was a child. I have such a vivid imagination. I used to tell my little brother some of the stories I would make up. My mother used to tell me "Becki you should write your stories in a book" I was in about the third or fourth grade, so I had no clue how to do something like that.
I thought I'd like to write something that I could "dream up" I could create the characters, and the towns. I could create the entire story not having to be concerned with accuracy, because It would come from my imagination. As I read about writing (I am currently reading six different books consecutively) to learn how to tell our story. I have found the need for accuracy to be extremely important. Yes, It is a story about a real experience, so people cannot refute it or say that's not true. It certainly is true, we have lived it for the last seven years, ten months and twelve days!

We have been "ambushed" by grief so many times it is hard to count, but I know that we have grown each and every time. Yes, It is very difficult to open the newspaper to find articles relating to the tragedy, or about some of the people involved. Over the past years that has happened several times, and the shock and disbelief that we had no idea some of the things were happening or had already happened was difficult to deal with.It's something you have you have to try to build up a tolerance to, because news is news. We have been told a couple of times about things that Brandi was planning, and that helped to soften the news, but nevertheless, as newsworthy as it may be, it is still very difficult to hear the story recapped. It opens wounds, and makes us relive some of the horrific moments we've had to go through as a family.

People may ask how I can write the book if it's to difficult to talk about? The book does recount the actual story, but it is more about how we have coped, and the things that God has shown us to help us get through our grief. My hope is that it will speak to the hearts of others that have gone through rough times, and don't know where to look for help! Jeff and I have gone to many churches both locally and across this nation to share our story. And yes while it is difficult, it helps others to know that this is what we've gone through, and this is how God has touched us and healed us.

It may sound strange to say, but it does help to see lives touched and changed by the recounting of our testimony. We have seen thousands of people hear it and come away with something good in their hearts. It has made a difference for our family. It helps us to know that while Liz may have touched many lives during her life, there are countless more that have been touched because of what she went through at the end of her life. I would never wish Liz back to this earth. Of course We all miss her desperately, but who in their right mind would want someone to leave a life in heaven, to come back to this sin filled, dangerous world? I would love to hug her, and hear her wonderful giggle again, to have those special mother daughter moments, but that will have to wait for a while, until my time on this earth is done. I now long for heaven. I have a much better understanding of it. I want to see Liz again of course, but I want to be there with my Lord, knowing that what He appointed me to do here was accomplished! Oh, how I want to see His face!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Jesus knows me this I love

I read that statement in one of the thousands of catalogs that I receive, and it really stood out to me. It is a "switch " of the wording to the song Jesus loves me this I know.
It takes on a whole new meaning when it's worded that way, and I like it just as well or even more than the song. It makes me appreciate the fact that no matter what I do, good, bad or indifferent, that Jesus knows me this I love. Then I have to realize that just because he knows me, doesn't give me the right to make the mistakes and simply excuse it because I know he'll still love me because he knows me... was that confusing?

I realize that because we live in a sin filled world we will have to "face" things, and choose to do the right thing, or fall into the oh well, it's okay, Jesus knows me, he'll forgive me anyway so I'll go ahead and do this one little thing, it's not a bad sin or anything....

No, it's a matter of obedience.

As children we would push our parents to see just how far they would let us go. They would tell us "No, you can't do that because..." and we would go ahead and push the envelope simply to see how far we go against what was originally spoken to us. As adults we tend to do this in similar ways. It doesn't seem like anything bad. It could be something like driving to fast, or not wearing your seat belt. Minor right?

As far as the word of God is concerned, sin is sin. It doesn't have to be anything major (as we measure things) it can be as small as a lie, or making an excuse for not doing something. I have most certainly fallen into this trap in my life. Probably more times that I can count, but it is something we will have to answer to God in the end.

God is not a hard task master, chasing us around with a whip. No, he is a loving Father, and He has given us a set of rules to follow. I have often thought I could picture God watching me do something that is on the "brink of disobedience" looking at me shaking His head, just like we do with our children. Watching to see if we will go ahead and take that cookie we were told we could not have before dinner. I know that I have been one of those children. Pushing to see how far I can go before actually sinning.

Yes, God will forgive us if we ask Him to. He is always watching (we can NEVER hide from Him) He won't force us to do the right thing. He has given us a free will. A will to choose right or wrong. Oh, how I wish I was perfect. It certainly would make life easier, or would it?

Did you know that there are 148 scriptures on obedience? And an additional 20 on disobedience. Hmmmm. Makes you wonder why there are so many. Could it be that we may have problems with obedience?

Did you know that there are 109 scriptures on forgiveness?

One of my favorites being: As far as the east is from the west, so far has He put our sins from us. Psalms 103:11-12

Psalm 103 (New International Version)
Psalm 103 Of David.

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

He doesn't hold them over our head after He forgives us. WOW am I ever thankful for that!