Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quiet Seasons

 As I sit here with fingers on keys,
words seem to fail they have been lately.
Instead of words and stories and creative projects that I normally share with you,
a huge void has taken up residence in my heart.
I've pushed this computer away time after time.

Time seems short.
The desire to write, sorely lacking.
My camera collects dust.

But I needed you to know that I am still here.
Still moving through life....though in a slight fog.
Still consumed with my parent's estate and paperwork....but making progress.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The bumps in the road are gradually smoothing out.
Comfort is found in quiet routine,
and old photographs reflecting a simple, content, happy life.

My parents and me on Port Sheldon beach at Lake Michigan where my grandparent's cottage once stood.

It's a bittersweet season.
A season of many firsts.
A season of extreme heartbreak;
a season of letting go;
a season of remembering and understanding;
a season of discovery and growing;
a season of trust;
a season of love.

My favorite watercolor painted by my father.

A reprieve is found in my garden.
Moments spent with the sun pouring warmth onto my back.
Green beans fall into my bucket.
A pail of cabbage, squash, and broccoli wait at the garden gate.

My thoughts wander to the months ahead.
More seasons of firsts....of change.
I let my thoughts linger and I hold them close.

I've watched two hatches of bluebirds hunger in their nest, grow, and fly away.
I've heard tiny wren babies in the red bed tree out front chirp as their momma brings them food.
They too will eventually spread their wings and fly away.

 I stood in awe at the strong determination of a mother turtle laying her eggs by the arbor in my north garden.

I've watched wobbly legged little turkeys follow their parents through the yard,
pecking at the fallen birdseed by the old pear tree.

A family of rabbits have taken refuge in my garden 
and scamper through the roses each evening.
Ears standing tall.
Noses quivering.

Farm tractors rumble by pulling trailers of freshly cut hay.
People glide by on their bicycles.
The mail truck putts down the road.
Pickles are canned and beans frozen.

Life quietly goes on with slippered feet.

I lift my face to the starry heavens each night and wonder what my parents are doing -
how they are doing...
wishing they could tell me what it was like up there.
I thank God for the faithful life they had lived here on earth,
and for raising me up the same way. 
I am blessed by the family who lived before me;
traveling from the Netherlands, France, and Scotland...

My mother's parents ~ and the car my grandfather was killed in.

My dad and his brother traveling out west with my grandparents.

and the family I still have around me.

To everything there is a season.
I will learn to live the seasons with a tangible void now.
I will learn to carry it, embrace it, tuck it away and go on.
I will discover more,
understand more, 
trust more,
and love more...

in these quiet, blessed seasons of life before me.

~  Eucharisteo  ~

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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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