No Greater Joy

No Greater Joy

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Look Back at My 2011

Honestly I am the person that does not like to rush time by. I know that life is short, but I am ready to kick 2011 to the past. I've been waiting for a long time to see this year go. Perhaps this has been the most challenging year for me, but I also am going to note the positives.

Another birthday came and went for me. I really didn't look forward to ringing in the new year knowing what would lie ahead.

GEM celebrated her 4th birthday! Sean and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day. 3 days later I lost my grandmother and drove myself to GA.

EMM celebrated her 9th birthday! I was blessed to go to Hearts at Home with friends for the 3rd time.

We had bad flooding here with much of downtown submerged. We celebrated the resurrection of our Savior!

Mother's Day was rough. :( School kept me really busy though. EMM sang her first solo in the spring program! She also did her first big project on penguins for Academic Night!

School's out!! HEM and I went with my school through American Christian Tours to Washington, DC. It was incredible (and hot!). My husband celebrated another birthday!

I directed my last Vacation Bible School (for now). My husband left for Ft. Rucker for his Warrant Officer school.

My husband graduated at Ft. Rucker! The girls and I (and Sean's mom) were able to go and I even got to participate in the pinning ceremony. Another school year began with a wonderful class!

HEM celebrated her 13th birthday! HEM began participating in marching band and volleyball.

I attended the Emmaus 75th reunion and enjoyed seeing friends from many years ago! I said good-bye to my mentor as she and her husband moved (but not too far).

My grandmother would have been 86 on the 7th. Our family enjoyed Thanksgiving with my Dubuque family this year.

Shopping, Christmas programs, and lots of yummy treats! Blessed with Christmas, but sad that for the first time in my life I could not tell my grandmother 'merry Christmas'. After being unemployed for a while, my dad got a job!

I look forward to what 2012 will bring for me and my family. There will still be some hard times ahead, but I trust the Lord will bring me through it and give me back some of the happiness I've lost. Thanks to all my family and friends that have helped me through 2011! Many blessings to all of you and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

While You Are Sleeping

While you are sleeping I often reminisce of days gone by.
My memories hold you in high esteem.
The world will not stop for me to to prolong any time
I continue on my path that is now without you.

My journey is not yet complete
I will continue to leave my mark just as you left yours
So that when my time comes to rest
Someone will remember me as fondly as I remember you.

When my time comes to sleep as you do
I look forward to waking up and seeing you, sweet lady, and so many more.
Until such time I will work hard to make you proud
Of what I continue to accomplish were you not sleeping now.

"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed..."
1 Corinthians 15:50-51

Monday, December 26, 2011

The View From Here

An emptiness remains where you use to be.
The conversations
And memories shared

I do not wish to fill the void.
Nothing can fill it.

Your celebration must be grand
with no more trails of sorrow or sickness.
No more longings for what you yourself lost.
Your reunions are spectacular!
Your dreams come to full realization.
Surrounded by holiness and majesty.

Someday I will reunite with you as well.
I know you'll be waiting
but my time is not now.
Until then the void will remain.
I will walk this journey with those I still have.
The conversations
And memories shared will be passed on.
Always accompanied by tears
but never with regrets.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Being Mom to a Teenager

This is a record for me! Blogging two days in a row!

I just had to share how funny I find it to be a mom of a teenage daughter.

1. Her time in the bathroom has increased tenfold!
2. She can't pronounce "mom" the same way anymore. It comes out more like "moooom".
3. She has forgotten how to clean up behind herself.
4. Suddenly the opinion of how I dress has changed. I used to be beautiful. Now I need to stay in style.
5. She is worried that I purchased matching pajamas for her and her sisters this Christmas.
6. Her Christmas list is half as long now, but everything on it costs twice as much.
7. She has to look good everywhere we go now.
8. She makes these weird distorted faces when I tell her my opinions.
9. What's cool to her is patterned duct tape and colored pens.
10. I can't kiss her in public anymore.

What's really cool about being a mom of a teenage daughter:
1. She tells me everything.
2. I know I'll look good leaving the house if she sees me first.
3. Being silly together.
4. Enjoying the same movies together.
5. She can cook and clean!
6. She's a great big sister.
7. She still likes to hug me and cuddle up on the couch with me.
8. Seeing her grow into a beautiful young lady.
9. Watching her grow in her faith and love for Christ.
10. She is learning how to earn and spend her OWN money. :)

I am enjoying this stage! I'm so thankful for each of my girls and the lessons I learn in parenting along the way! God has blessed me so richly.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

And Life Goes On...

I wish I thought to blog just a part of the thoughts that come to my mind. Yet in this season of life I find it difficult to take time away from my kids to do so. Since my last blog (WAY back in July) I have celebrated my oldest becoming a teen, been part of the pinning ceremony for my husband, now a warrant officer, almost come half-way through another school year, and continued to struggle with the grieving of my grandmother.

I prepare to finish wrapping the gifts to place under the tree tonight. My children seem to be my only motivation these days as Christmas approaches. Many days I feel like I'm in a dark and lonely place. It feels like the pain will never end. I've had so few people in my life that I completely trusted and loved with all of my heart. I am trying to stay focused on the real reason of the holidays. My 4 year old is the one constantly commenting about Jesus' birthday and how important it was for Him to be born a baby so He could save us. I love to see the world through her eyes.

I don't know many people who have dealt with grief. I wonder how fine the line is between grief and depression. So few know my battle, I can't believe I even mention it here. Sadly, no one even mentions her much anymore. I guess I look fine from the outside. The most unfortunate thing that has come from my loss has probably been realizing how self-focused everyone really is. I have truly appreciated those that have been there for me, and I know I was very clear about my relationship with my grandmother to all that were around me but people forget. I have a friend that lost her mother this year. I know she also will have a hard Christmas. The holidays are hard without the people you love. This year I plan to stay in my home with my family. I don't care to venture out or celebrate with anyone else. Maybe next year will be different, but right now I live one day at a time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lessons from Wallpaper

Most of today was spent removing wallpaper from my bedroom walls followed by painting a layer of primer. As I was doing so I was listening to Christian music on my ipod. As I worked I had several thoughts and found myself spending time talking with my Savior as I worked. It may seem a bit cheesy, but as I removed the wallpaper, I was thinking of all the sins in my life and even the lives of others. I thought about how much I disliked removing this wallpaper and having to prime the walls to cover the unsightly appearance. I kept thinking toward the end result when it would be what I finally wanted. How painful was that experience for my Savior to have to die to remove and cover the unsightliness of my life. I am so ugly at the core sometimes that I cannot believe He still loves me. Yet it is because I can recognize that ugliness that His beauty can cover me. One day I will be the finished product He wants me to be if I surrender myself fully to Him. I must be willing to keep taking off my own sinful layers and replacing them with His beauty. His beauty is reflected from me when I obey Him, study His Word, and fulfill the destiny He has placed within me. My destiny holds more than I am aware of right now, but I do know it includes being a witness and testimony to others, being a godly wife and mother, and using the spiritual gifts He has given me. If I can continue seeking after Him, I will be fulfilled and receive my eternal rewards in glory. My ugliness will be completely stripped away and the finished product will be worth it all.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
Ephesians 1:7

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Never too late

I've really spent a lot of time reflecting and praying the last couple of months. I have struggled with failures and not measuring up for so long though much of it is not justified. I have really been feeling so down because of so many marriages I've seen falling apart, especially among people I know. I begin wondering how Satan wants to attack my marriage. I've decided I will not let that happen.

I have really rededicated myself to my marriage. I love my husband with all that I am. I know I haven't been the wife he needs and I am working actively to change that. It is so easy to get caught up in day to day routines and being a mom, working full time, volunteering, etc. However, my first responsibility is to my husband.

Even after we've been married for over 13 years I find I am able to start some things new and lay down the weights that have been holding me down. I have truly enjoyed more time and conversations with my husband. We feel we've reconnected, something we've long needed.

We're in this marriage for the long haul! Till death do we part. I realize I am fighting a battle for my marriage. A battle against Satan and the world. We have 3 beautiful daughters that remind us what's important too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Some days go by so quickly that I'm without time to go beyond the daily expectations. Other days are quite the opposite, brief moments turning into long mental events. I've always been a very emotional person. I laugh with people and cry with people. My mom tells stories of my Lassie watching days and that I just couldn't watch Old Yeller. Pathetic perhaps, but I never have liked the fact that I'm such an emotional person.

It seems as I get older that the emotional roller coaster only worsens. These days it is further compounded by my grandmother's death. I hate dealing with emotions. They're like an added weight to my body, a weight I'd like to lose.

Maybe someday I'll be the victor over my emotions. Maybe not. Either way, I continue the battle, and yes it is a battle.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dealing with loss

February 16, 2011 I am home very sick for a second day from school. I am sitting in a clinic hoping that I will get some relief from the sufferings in my body. As I'm waiting there my phone rings. It's the call I've dreaded for so long. My mother tells me how things have gotten really bad for my grandmother. The Hospice nurse said she would not likely make it through the night.

I lost my beloved grandmother in the early morning hours of February 17, 2011.

The funeral service was a great tribute to the godly woman she was. Here's what I wrote that was shared at the service.

Do not grieve long for her
Her battle was fought well and with great endurance
She was a living testimony of God’s hand in action
3-6 months the doctors said
That was 20 months ago
She was not defined by the battle with cancer
She IS defined by the legacy she leaves
She was a woman of great faith
With a heart for orphans, widows and the hurting
A faithful wife
Devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother lovingly referred to as “Granny”
She did not require blood to be in her family
Vanity was not in her nature nor idleness in her hands
She is a “woman who feared the Lord and is praised”

My lifetime memories I have to pass on are…
The biscuits we made
Scaring her from behind (she ALWAYS jumped)
Walks around the neighborhood to recycle cans
Tending the garden
Canning seasons
Licking the beaters
Back rubs and jokes in bed
Cold washcloths to the last one up for school
Special treats for us grand-children (and the great-grands)
Burnt potholders
Seeing her at my college graduation IN IOWA!
Her countless hours of Bible study and hand written Scriptures
The stories she shared with me and with my girls of her growing up
Listening to her reflect on her life and how much she loved her daughters and her grandchildren
My last good-bye…

So do not grieve long for her
Her faith is now sight and she is finally home.
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I also added this verse of a great hymn:
All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way

I wish I could tell you that the weeks since have been a healing time and a time of rejoicing in her homecoming. As much as I know I should look forward to seeing her again someday, I can't seem to get past the idea of not seeing her here. I don't know much about grief. The only other loss I've ever had to suffer was that of my grandfather in 1997. That loss was devastating as well. It took years to even talk about it. This feels worse. I guess it's because I was even closer to my grandmother and had more years with her. Maybe it's also because my children were able to know her and I get to watch them suffer through a loss as well.

I write down thoughts here and there. I don't know how long this journey of dealing with her loss will be. I just hope that by the end I will be stronger and be even more confident in my faith. That is the better alternative to just being depressed and plain crazy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

View for the New Year

I've never liked making New Year's resolutions. I suppose I know I won't keep it well so why disappoint myself. I have enough failures in my life. With each new year I find myself longing to enjoy each day more. As the days of my grandmother's life draw to an end, I am reminded of just how temporary this life is, and I do not want to look back with regret on what I missed out on. What I have been thinking a lot about lately is how to not miss out on things.

I think many of us have the wrong idea about taking advantage of every day. I know that many times I feel I have to participate in everything I am invited to or that I must enroll my children in endless opportunities whether it is sports, church activities, school get the idea. God has been speaking to my heart lately though about this particular matter. What I've come to realize is that many times, filling my days up with numerous activities, attending every social event, and looking for ways to make my children "happy and successful" really has nothing to do with making the most of every day. Instead I am filling a void. That void only becomes larger the more I try to fill it! Instead of making the most of my days and my life with earthly things I should be filling them with heavenly things. Instead of a night out with the girls, why not a night out with my Savior? Instead of finding a new sport or extra-curricular activity for one of my children, why not spend the time with them growing our relationship with Jesus? My kids don't need to play soccer, they need to understand the basis of their faith. It is NOT a Sunday only job, nor is it the responsibility of a church to turn my children into faithful followers. The church should be coming along side of me, not filling my place. If I only demonstrate a life of busyness, then that's the only life my children will know.

So instead of making revolutions I hope to keep, I need to actually make life changes that reflect my heart and that also reflect the will of God. Allowing myself to be consumed with things of this world (activities, appearance, etc.) are only making me a slave to this world rather than an ambassador for Christ. Imagine, if everyone gave as much of their time, energy, and money for God's purpose and work and we do for ourselves, how much better would our world be? How much better would our witness be?