Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Sweetness of Life

"Sometimes we need the salt of tears
to remind us how to savor the sweetness of life."
~ Lysa TerKeurst

Walking a rough road brings realization.
It's not easy.
 The salty tears burn your soul.
The burden is heavy.
The pain deep.
You weep.
You grieve.

You stumble.
You fall.
You crumble to the floor in a ball of utter sadness like a lost child.
You lose yourself completely in the heartbreak.

as the waves of pain crash around you,
tossing you like a seashell in the ocean...
God stills the storm to a whisper


you learn.

You learn that your brokenness can become something more beautiful


God is the sweetness of life;
rising from the darkness of pain.
His Presence is strong and clear.
He's right in front of you.
Lifting you up.
Holding you close.
Showing you the goodness of grace.
Assuring you of hope.
Washing away the pain and heartbreak.
Remolding you.

There are so many things that I've learned while traveling this path during the past month.
So many things that I wish I had done better
said more often
embraced tighter
realized quicker.

I always told my parents how much I loved them.
Every time I saw them or talked to them.
In cards, in notes.
Uncountable times.
Over and over again.

I always hugged my parents.
Warm, loving hugs that melded hearts and buoyed spirits.
Hugs that lasted minutes instead of moments.

I spent many hours and days with my parents.
Talking, walking, listening, laughing, crying,
traveling, shopping, eating,
worrying, caring, loving,
and always praying.

The piano my dad used to play for my mom while she napped.

I wish I had loved them even more ~ if that was even possible...
hugged them even more
spent even more time with them.

I wish I could tell them I love them
could hug them
could spend one more day with them

just ONE more time.

So, I plead with all of my friends out there who are blessed to have your parents yet...

don't waste any time.
Don't procrastinate.
Don't put it off any longer.

Use every single day the Lord gives you
loving your parents as much as you can.
Right now.

Sit down and talk with them.
 Encourage them to share childhood memories and write them down so that you won't forget.
 Reminisce about your grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Sort through the old photographs stored in those boxes stored in the attic,
 and write the pictures' stories on the back.

Talk about your parents' finances, where they have investments, and who their financial advisor is.
Write it down.
If they don't have an advisor, get one.
Visit their attorney with them and write up a Living Trust.
If they don't have one, get one.
A Will doesn't mean much at all, neither does a Durable Power of Attorney at times.
Know where they keep their important papers.

Have them pay for their funeral expenses ahead of time if possible, and
write down their funeral wishes (scripture, hymns, pastor, cremation or not).
Assign a Representative Payee and sign the legal paper for it.
File it all in a safe place.
During a painful time of grieving,
it will make your life a bit easier and will be one less burden for you to carry.

And then...
do the same for yourself so that your own children have an easier time when you are called Home.
Please don't wait.
Do it now.

And most of all ~ give thanks.

Get down on bended knee and thank God for the sweetness of life that He's giving you
right now.

Even through the saltiness and pain...
there IS sweetness.
He promises that.
So, expect it.
Count on it.
Thank Him for it.

Live gracefully.
Live lovingly.
Live like it's your last day.

That may sound like doom and gloom statement,
but trust me....

you never know when that warm hug or whispered "I love you" will be the last one.

Count your blessings and thank God for them.
Right now.

...and finally...

devote yourself to live a legacy of

~   Eucharisteo  ~

P.S...I have no idea how to even begin to thank each and every one of you for your words of comfort, your prayers of strength, and the constant love you continue to surround me and my family with.
I thank God for you all.
May He bless you and keep you...


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Monday, June 9, 2014

When Peonies Bloom

God's timing is always perfect ~
even though our minds don't always understand it.
Even though it may be painful to us mere humans.
It stretches us.
Grows us.
Makes us stronger.

Snowflakes make the world slumber.
Rain provides a much needed drink.
Clouds cool the earth.
Sunshine brings the blooms.
All in God's perfect timing.

And every person's life is a story written by God's hand.

As roses and peonies spill into the garden back at her farmhouse,
she sits by her mother's bedside in the nursing home.
Twelve days have passed since her father's entrance into heaven.
Still dazed.
Heavy hearted.
World still reeling.

 Remaining simply and humbly in the hands of God,
clinging to him and surrendering herself to his love,
she is still.
Hands clasped.
Words whispered...
"I love you, Mom."

Uncorking the bottle of memories carried deep in her heart,
floating like a sweet fragrance through her soul...


Up on tiny tiptoes helping her mother hang laundry by the big old lilac bush in the backyard...

   standing shoulder to shoulder with her mother slicing apples for the pot of simmering homemade cinnamon applesauce on the stove...

walking hand in hand with her mother in the warm sand along the lake shore by the old cottage,
searching for ladybugs...

watching her mother help patrons select books at the library ~ her smile a constant jewel...

As the years passed, the moments changed.
She was the one assisting and lending a hand now.

Helping her aging mother apply her always present lipstick after lunch...

guiding her to the bedroom for an afternoon nap...

lifting her from her chair onto unsteady feet,
her smile ever present.

Threads of life woven into a quilt of forever love.

And now,
she bent her head in prayer over her mother's unresponsive, sleeping body.
Praying for release.
Praying for God to take over.
Sitting in the silence of His Presence.
Breathing deep draughts of His Promise.
His peace guarding her heart and pressing close to her mother.

Her hope.
Her song.
 Angels present and hovering near.
Tears fell.
"I will miss you so much, Mom."

I believe in Jehovah God who created the whirling galaxies, the birds soaring in the sky overhead, the endless crashing waves and all that dances within them. I believe in Father of all who knits together life, made in His very own image, in the secret quiet of our beings.
I believe in Jesus Christ, the One with no earthly Father, with the dust of this earth between His toes, and with our names etched onto the palm of His hands, right beneath the nail scars…Who now sits at the Father’s right hand making endless intercession on our behalf. I believe in the stone rolled away, in the Body being raised, in the first fruits of the dead…and us all following soon, very soon.
I believe in the Cross as our only Hope, our only Claim, and our only Foundation. I believe that in the pounding surf of life we have only one thing to cling to: the feet of our Lord, hanging on that tree, His lifeblood flowing down, washing us whiter than snow.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, moving, whispering, indwelling our very skin. I believe in living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, and producing fruit in the Spirit…in the Spirit who helps us in our weakness with groanings that can’t be expressed in words.
I believe in the infallibility of the Bible, God’s Word – a sure Word, a pure Word, the only secure Word. I believe the words on those pages are breathed from the very throne room of heaven, are the love letter penned from the heart of the Lover of our souls; a beacon of light for stumbling feet to find sure footing on a dark path.
I believe there is more than believing. There is living what I believe.

~Ann Voskamp

Minutes ticked.
Hours passed.

And when God's timing was perfect,
he swept her mother up in his strong arms and carried her tired body,
to be renewed and refreshed,
through the heavenly gates.
His loving embrace warm and healing.

She joined her beloved husband ~ both now made whole.
Experiencing the incredible joy, beauty, and wonderment of heaven...


“Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”
Psalm 72:23-26

God's timing.
Always perfect.
Always beautiful.

She will always remember her mother....and her father....
when the roses and peonies bloom.

~  Eucharisteo  ~

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