Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009...A Year In Review...Through Pictures

This is my honey on our last fishing trip together earlier this year. He was so excited to get me back on the water. I fished him under the boat that day...he couldn't have been more proud of me. That was a very good day.
On July 12, 2009, my baby went home to be with the Lord. One day I will see my Love again. I cling to that promise. Thank You, Jesus!
In between the time that Jay passed away and my birthday in November, Jay's brother and Sister-in-law gave their lives to the Lord because they wanted to receive the Lord's promise of heaven and so they could know in their hearts that they would see Jay again. And, Jay's Mom and Dad rededicated their lives to the Lord in August as well, and began going to church in Henderson, NV on a regular basis. Praise the Lord!! I don't have pictures of all of this, of course, but they are definitely significant events that happened this year. I am so happy to be so close to Jay's family now. It has been a blessing.
This series below is from my 40th birthday party in November...

Jay's nephew Josh, sister-in-law Irene, and brother Robert...and me.



Gotta love this beautiful homemade German Chocolate cupcake made just for me for my birthday. 40 is an amazing age!!


Jay's Mom and Dad...and me.

This next small series are photos that my friend took of me...I've never had pictures taken of just me. Jay was always there with me. But this is a year of doing a lot of things on my own for the first time. This was a good day for me. I am encouraged that I can still move forward given my circumstances.









These next pictures below were taken on my actual birth date...I met with family before I went to Disneyland to celebrate #40 with my niece and Mickey Mouse.

Me and my Daddy...



Me and my niece Alyissa...funny faces! Gotta do it! LOL





That's my pretty girl, Aly!! Gotta LOVE the Mouse ears!


My step-mom Erin, my beautiful 89 year old Grandma who is my heart...and then there is me.

This one is out of order, but it's from my birthday party and I just adore my niece. She is my precious girl.

There are no photos from Thanksgiving...
But here is Christmas 2009...

Me, my beautiful Grandma again, and my Mom.

This star is the tree topper that Jay picked out last year...you know the story...

My Christmas tree of God's promises to me.

It has been a year filled with many blessings. I have no regrets. God is faithful to bring His plan to fruition. I have seen and felt the Lord in a tangible way this year, and He has shown Himself to be Mighty and wonderful! I cannot believe all that He has done for me. His grace and mercy are overflowing. May this next year bring about glory to my Father in heaven; and may His will and His work be made complete in me. In Jesus name!
Here is to a new year filled with all that God's promises hold for all of us. Open your hearts to receive his gifts! Happy New Year to Everyone!! May God bless you and keep you!!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Future and A Hope - My BIGGEST Promise From God...

Well, I made it....[BIG SIGH]...I made it through most of the major "firsts" in my year of firsts after Jay's departure to heaven. I can't help but look forward to the new year because God promises a future for me. Through Jeremiah the prophet, I have been given a promise of a "future and a hope..." Jeremiah 29:11 has been my life verse since I first discovered it about 10 years ago. I didn't know until this year just how much this life verse would speak to me in my circumstances.

God doesn't just promise me a future, but He promises me HOPE in that future through restoration and a new start. Will I see trials again in my new life? YES. There is no doubt in my mind that I will face more trials but as I lean on the Lord for strength He will navigate the way and I will follow until His plan is brought to fruition. My future and my hope come from being in the will of God. This new start brings about the strongest desire to be closer to the Lord, to be in His will, and to serve His purposes. I don't want to make a move unless it is of the Lord.

Do I have specific dreams and hopes for my future? YES. But, I lift those to the Lord to be sure that they are in His will. There are things I would like to experience, places I'd like to go, changes I'd like to make; but if they are not in alignment with God's plan for my life, then I do not want them. It's nice to daydream, but if the Lord doesn't have a use for those daydreams; I will let them go.

As I ring in the new year, I look forward to letting go of much of my pain by surrendering it to my God so that more room can be made for His blessings and healing. I am ready to surrender all of the sadness and pain. I am ready to surrender the loneliness. I am ready to surrender my grief. None of that will just go away by me surrendering them to the Lord once...I will need to continually surrender them as they enter my heart. That is the only way to receive more of God's blessings and healing.

I am ready to begin looking forward to my life to come. Here is to the year 2010 and what it holds for me.

Happy New Year, Everyone. May the Lord's blessings be abundant in each of your lives.


Lord, thank You for the hope I have for my future. May I never forget what You have brought me through; what Jay and I went through together...those are the circumstances that brought about surrender for BOTH of us. My husband resides with You as a result of those trials; I cannot complain about that one bit. I rejoice! My faith was made even stronger as You showed Yourself so mightily to me in those difficult times. I am grateful for who I have become in You. I pray that this new year, 2010, will bring me closer to You still. I give myself to You. Help me to walk in Your ways. Help me to have Your vision. Help me to have Your heart. Reign in me, Lord. I love You so much. In Jesus' precious name. Amen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Restoration...The Promise

I have been told by a lot of people that I am an "inspiration" because of my attitude throughout Jay's illness, his salvation, and then his eventual passing...and now in my new life after all of that. I really don't know what to say to them when they say that, except to say that what they are seeing is not me; it's God.

I can't take any credit for surviving some of the worst days of my life. In my eyes, I should have died because watching someone I love so much be so sick and then die from his disease is so devastating that a person should just perish from the pain. But God...ahhh, don't you just love those two words...BUT GOD makes anything and everything possible. And not just that he makes things possible, He promises full restoration.

You want proof? Read the book of Job in the bible. Job was a man after God's own heart. He had everything - wife, children, stability of life with property, cattle, etc. He was a truly blessed man and gave glory to the Lord at all times. Then, in the blink of an eye, everything but his wife was taken away.

All of Job's trials were sifted through the hands of the Father. God knew what was happening to Job; He allowed it! All of it was a test of Job's faith, to see if he would curse God. And guess what? Through the death of his children, loss of all property, illness, being criticized and judged by his closest friends, and even being ridiculed by his own wife - Job NEVER cursed God. As a matter of fact, he repented! Check out this scripture:

"I have heard of you by hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:4-6

WOW! Powerful reminder to remain humble before the Lord and never have a sense of entitlement because we've gone through a trial and come out on the other side.

And then the scripture goes on to say this:

"Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning..." Job 42:12

Job was restored to an even better life than the one he lived before all of the trials came his way. His disease was healed, his family rebuilt, and he lived a long life...140 years to be exact! And the last scripture in Job says this, "So Job died, old and full of days." Praise the Lord for His love and faithfulness!

The story of Job is proof to me that the Lord is faithful to restore what has been taken away; and not just restore, but give back more than what was originally taken.

I have lost my best friend, and in the coming months there will be some other major changes happening in my life that could be considered more loss...BUT GOD is faithful and I know for a fact that I will be just fine and the Lord will meet every single need even before I ask.

It is difficult to imagine what a fully restored life looks like, but I fully trust that my life will be better than it has ever been because my God promises me in His Word and He is faithful to complete His good work as long as I remain humble before Him and give Him the glory in everything.

It is my hope that we will all be reminded that although some not-so favorable circumstances will come our way, we need to be emptied of ourselves in order to allow God to complete His work in us and through us. God is SO faithful to fill the void to overflowing with His love and blessings.

I am not an inspiration. God within me is my inspiration to do His work and be His vessel. That is what you see. Praise the Lord!

Father, I thank You for Your goodness towards me. YOU are my inspiration to do good. YOU are at the core of me and may that always be so! May I never make a move without You. Thank You for the testing of my faith that produces the fruit that others see. I heard of You with my ear, but now my eye sees YOU. I am nothing without You. I praise Your holy name! Amen.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The REAL Story Behind My Christmas Tree...







Needless to say, this has been a tough year. And the past five months, especially, have been the hardest I have EVER been through. Coming into the Christmas season I had the mindset that I just wanted to close my eyes and not open them until it was all over. Watching everyone get excited for the season...shopping, eating, and celebrating...I just couldn't get into it.

Having a broken heart and missing Jay so much, I would see everyone being happy and joyful; made me want to come unglued! And why is it that when you are suddenly single, it seems like everyone has someone? Walking through the mall would drive me crazy because all I could see were couples. It was then that I started really losing my focus for the reason why I celebrate Christmas in the first place. I made up my mind at that time to skip decorating altogether and not really celebrate anything and just try to get through to January.

Well, God had other plans for me...

In a staff meeting this month, my pastor gave a message that I will never forget. Pastor Paul spoke of what our attitude should be for what the Lord has done for us in Psalm 103:1-5. Here are the verses:

"Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's!"

Well THAT'S a shot between the eyes! Or should I say to the heart? Thank YOU Lord!

After receiving the message from Pastor Paul, I felt a bit convicted regarding my attitude and knew that I needed to do something about it right away. The Lord impressed upon my heart that I need to put my Christmas tree up, and that I shouldn't decorate it as I would normally, but that I would print out a bunch of His promises and decorate the tree with them so that I can look at my tree and be reminded that He is with me...He encourages me...He heals me...He renews me...and above all else...He has saved me. THAT is the reason I am to celebrate this season.

So, yesterday I put my tree up. I attached all of the scriptures that I printed out...added a decorator plate with the one word that sums up what the Lord ultimately gives me...'HOPE'...and then I topped the tree with the star that Jay picked out last year for our last Christmas together. What a blessing to be given the insight that it would be our last...it was important that Jay pick out the topper so that I can be reminded of him for every Christmas to come. When I look at it - it reminds me that he is with our Savior, singing joyful praises to our Abba. Thank You Jesus for Your faithfulness!

Praise the Lord God Almighty for sending His Son to be born, to die, and to ascend to the right hand of the Father so that I will have eternal life. YOU are the reason I celebrate Christmas. May I never lose sight of that!

Merry Christmas, Everybody! May the Lord show Himself to each of you in a BIG way this season! My love to you all. God bless you.
















Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In the Lord's Care...

Sometimes I just need to step back and let some time go by in between writings. It is too easy to get caught up in writing for the reaction of people as opposed to doing it to glorify God.


I write because it helps me to express what it is that I am going through, or how the Lord has ministered to me. I pray that the Lord can use my writings as a way to encourage someone else who may be going through a trial of any magnitude, but my bigger prayer is that I don't just make this about ME. That is why it is good to step away for a time of refreshment.


I can tell you that the one thing that keeps me going...keeps me taking one step in front of the other and persevering...is the Lord's promises. The bible has thousands of promises for us to cling to in our time of need. I hold tight to the promise that my God will take special care of me. Being a widow, a title that I still struggle with, the Lord is faithful to let me know just how special I am to Him and the lengths to which He will go to protect me and care for me. Check out this scripture promise:


"Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless." Exodus 22:22-24


Wow...that is a powerful scripture promise to me, and warning to anyone else that might do harm to me. Even in my deep sorrow, JOY resides in my heart knowing that I am covered, sheltered and protected by His wings. I praise YOU God!


I can't tell you that I have walked perfectly upright, but even in my struggles with moving forward, the Lord has been faithful to meet me where I am at and help me to take those steps of faith. When I have been unable to pray; Jesus makes it known that HE has interceded on my behalf. When I have not been faithful to get into the Word, my ABBA, has brought scripture to me. He never allows me to be alone. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Thank You Father!


In this season, my Christmas season...I have found it difficult to set my eyes solely on the things from Above and to remember that the ONLY reason I celebrate Christmas at all is because Jesus CHRIST was born. It has been all too easy to look around and focus on the busyness of gathering presents, putting up decorations, and all of the holiday baking that happens...and the TRUE meaning of Christmas is quickly forgotten.


In addition to the madness that is commercial Christmas, I have suffered the loss of my Jay. That makes it very difficult to even grasp the desire to celebrate anything. As a matter of fact, my grief brings about the desire to hide more than anything else.


Sometimes it seems like life would be a lot easier to deal with if I could just go hide somewhere until enough time had passed that I could face everything and everyone with some ease. BUT, where is my lesson in that? If I hid from everything, the Lord would still minister to me where I am at, but how could He really use that situation to show me what He is capable of, as well as speak to others and encourage them that they can make it through their trial too, and not only make it through, but receive true healing in the process? How does hiding glorify God? Bottom line: It DOESN'T!


So, where Thanksgiving was the holiday where I hid myself away almost that entire weekend; my Christmas will be dedicated to Jesus. I am choosing to be seen. I am choosing to allow the Lord to move through me. Speak through me. I may not "feel" like I'm in the Christmas spirit, but what I feel does not matter. The truth of the matter is this...CHRIST was born! And on December 25th, HE is to be praised, thought of, prayed to, and thanked for all that He has done for us and given to us.


Let this be my focus:


"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:11-14


It is through the birth, death and resurrection of this Savior that my husband was saved and is spending this Christmas singing praises directly to God, the Father. And although I grieve, I cannot help but have the most beautiful visual of Jay in his perfect heavenly body, singing praises with the choir of angels to the Lord Who SAVES. That is where my focus needs to be! The birth of my Savior brings about HOPE in my heart. Without Jesus, there is NO hope.

Forgive me, Father, for my lack of focus on the real reason why I celebrate Christmas. I turn my eyes and heart to You now and ask that You refresh my soul as You are faithful to do so. Thank YOU for loving me so much that You sent Your son Jesus Christ to be born and to die for me, so that I may be forgiven of my sin and receive eternal life. Thank You for protecting me, guiding me, providing for me, and carrying me through this time in my life. Thank You that I need only to give my grief to You and You are faithful to exchange it for YOUR joy. Thank You for helping me to dream again. Thank You for Your HOPE. I commit my life to You and I commit this Christmas to You. In Jesus' precious name. Amen.

Monday, November 30, 2009

First of the Firsts...BIG Leaps and Baby Steps

I've been searching for words this past couple of weeks. It seems that if you have a blog, you must have SOMETHING to say, but for me, the words haven't been coming very readily.


I have experienced three "firsts" in the past two weeks and it is all a bit overwhelming. The Lord is faithful to get me through these firsts in my "year of firsts" but honestly, at times it feels as though all I am doing is "getting through." I have endured Jay's birthday (11/15), Thanksgiving (11/26) and then my birthday (11/28)...and it seems to me that a person doesn't normally experience them back to back like that, but I guess for me it's "go BIG or go home." LOL It was like the proverbial ripping off of the band-aid. There was pain and anguish before and during, but once it was over...a measure relief.

Thanksgiving was proving to be a source of anxiety for me in the week leading up to it. I didn't know what I wanted to do. There was a part of me that wanted to share that day with my family, and then there was a greater part of me that just wanted to do my own thing. Well, the "do my own thing" part won out. It might be a bit selfish on my part, but I just wanted to take that day and make it my own. I wanted to spend the time with the Lord and give ALL of my emotions to Him so I could receive a measure of healing. It would be easy to go somewhere and spend the time with loved ones, but that only delays the inevitable. I really needed to be alone with God.


It takes a BIG leap of faith to enter into a holiday by yourself, especially a first holiday without the one you love there...the enemy was certainly waiting to place depression on my heart...I could feel him breathing down my neck, but the Lord was faithful to protect my heart as I read His Word and sought Him. The Word tells me that I am to "Seek first the kingdom of heaven..." So that is what I did.

The "BIG leap of faith" was that I trusted God would make everything all right in my heart. He told me He would never leave me nor forsake me...and true to His Word...He was there for me. But with big leaps of faith come baby steps of obedience on my part. I can go into these things trusting that the Lord will pull me through, but unless I do as He has called me to do...pray, read His word, and give my minute-by-minute life to Him - my healing and growth will only get me so far. This is the process that He has called me to go through.


So, with big leaps and baby steps I made it through. Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Delete vs. Save...

I spent the better part of this morning standing in line, and then sitting in line at the DMV with Jay's Dad. He has Jay's truck, and we needed to get it transferred into his name as the new owner.

The longer I sat, the longer I had time to think...not always a good thing. I have had to remove Jay from my car insurance, remove him from life insurance, medical/dental insurance, credit, bank, etc. Now I am removing his name from his truck, and although it is exactly what he specified that he wanted in his last will and testament, I am still having a bit of a struggle with it. I almost feel like I am removing or "deleting" him from my life now. It is just a very strange feeling. It feels like no one, outside of friends and family of course, will even know that he existed.

It is just a very strange place to be right now.

But, God is in control, and He is faithful to meet me in my emotion of this moment and I give it to Him and keep moving forward. I know that my Jay's life was not in vain, and I KNOW that he not only existed, but he LIVED, and I will continue to speak of him and keep his memory alive. Computers may be able to delete him, but I cannot and WILL NOT do the same.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Faith, Faithful, Faithfulness...

Yesterday was a very tough day for me. It surprised me at how deep I was feeling the loss of Jay because it was his birthday and he wasn't here to celebrate it with me. I cried probably more than I have cried to this date. I believe that it is the Lord allowing the anesthetic to wear off a little bit more. I can feel it so intensely now.

I kept myself busy all day with planning my birthday party (which is this Friday), choir rehearsal, and then a special church service with Steven Curtis Chapman. The Lord was so faithful to show Himself to me all day long through His people who showered me with my Father's love. There is nothing like being in the center of the Lord's love. There really is special favor for widows, just as it is written in the Word of God.

And "faithful" was the word that kept getting whispered to my heart all day long. The Lord kept saying, "Watch and see how faithful I am to you, Jamie." Every moment that I was having a big struggle, He would send someone my way with a word, a hug; people just ready to encourage me to push beyond that moment.

And at the concert at church, Steven Curtis Chapman shared his testimony of losing his 5 year old daughter, and he spoke of the Lord's faithfulness to meet him where he was at in his grieving process. As he sang a song from his new CD...the song's title..."Faithful"...I began to reflect on the Lord's faithfulness to me throughout my grieving process as well. He has been with me every step of the way; even when I can't see Him or feel Him, I know He is with me. It was wonderful to rest my head on the pillow last night having that assurance from Him spoken straight to my heart.

And then this morning, as I was getting ready for work, I was in my bathroom listening to Steven's CD and that song, Faithful, was playing, and then I heard this loud crash in the kitchen so I went to check it out and I found a plate that I display in my garden window had fallen down...the plate says, "FAITH." Now I don't want to ascribe too much to this like "messages from beyond"; there is probably an explanation for why it fell off of its little rack, but I just found it interesting the word that is written on that plate.

So, I choose to allow that to be a little reminder for me that I have a part to play in this process too. I must hold onto my FAITH that the Lord is ever present, that He loves me beyond measure, and He carries my burdens with me. If I am faithful to give my circumstances to Him in prayer, He is faithful to see me through to the other side...but not just for the sake of getting me through it, but making me a better and stronger Christian so for the next set of trials, whatever they may be...and there WILL BE more trials...I will be able to reflect on this time and know in my heart of hearts that GOD...IS...FAITHFUL.


Father, GREAT is Thy faithfulness. I praise Your Holy name for taking the time to show me who You really are. You are REAL. I feel You. I sense Your nearness. Forgive me for not always crying out to You in my darkness; but thank You for being faithful to shine Your light on that darkness so that I may gain new perspective...YOUR perspective. I praise You for filling me afresh with Your Holy Spirit. I proclaim Your goodness and mercy! In Your precious Son's name. Amen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, My Beloved...


My Beloved,


Happy Birthday my Beautiful Love. Today, you are in Paradise and celebrating with Jesus. I am so grateful to know that. I anxiously wait for the day that I will see you again. I miss you so much my precious baby.


You told me to be happy; to think good thoughts, and while I know I told you that I would do those things...I am trying...but the "happy" part hasn't come yet. There is a joy in knowing that you are with our Savior, but there is a deep sadness in my heart because you are not here with me. I don't want to say that I wish you were here...because that is not so...I would never want to rob you of the glory of God. I am so excited that you get to see Jesus face-to-face everyday...I guess I'm just wishing that you would send me that proverbial post card that says, "Wish you were here..." but one day, that will come. I will wait for that day.


So, on this day, know that I am thinking of you every moment and thanking God that you are still and always will be, my Beloved.


Happy Birthday, Baby. Sending ALL of my love your way.


Your Sunshine

Friday, November 13, 2009

Raw and Random Emotions...

Wow...if you ever want to know just how alive you are, go through the grieving process. I thought I was on a roller coaster when Jay was still with me! I'm finding that those days were just the practice run...the REAL roller coaster ride starts now.

I've read tons of books on the grieving process...which actually does begin before your loved one dies...but there is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for what you will go through when they are gone.

I've felt every emotion, every single day and let's just say that it is an education on how to function everyday. Sometimes you have alcoholics and drug addicts who can "function" from day to day even though they are modified to a certain degree. Well, I'd like to add that there are "functioning grievers" around us as well, who are modified by the multitude of emotions that reside within them.

Yesterday I mentioned a "mud puddle of emotion" and I think I even surprised myself with that description because I thought about it for the rest of the day. I called it a mud puddle because the emotions of grieving are sticky, raw and dirty and truly soak your mind and cloud your good judgement. How appropriate for how I feel most of the time these days.

It's so easy to get caught up in the emotions and let reality slip away. Emotions really are normal, as all of the literature says, and that is so comforting to know. God gave us our emotions. BUT the enemy - in his cunning little way - uses those emotions to weasel his way in and lie to those of us who are vulnerable.

I have found that the real truth in my emotions is this; I trust the Lord to lead me through this, but if I don't continually surrender my emotions to HIM; I leave myself laid wide open for the enemy's tactics to bring me down completely.

Let's just say that I lived through that last night. I left myself vulnerable when I knew that I was emotional about yesterday being the 4th month since Jay passed away, and I didn't surrender those emotions to God and I just let it flow, and sure enough - Satan was waiting to come in with his lies. I allowed the enemy to shout his lies in my ear and there was a point at which I just fell for it and grabbed onto those lies in my anger for the situation. I took that anger out on someone I love very much...which is totally out of character for me, but unfortunately is starting to happen more often these days.

Not good...and certainly NOT pretty.

But praise the Lord that HE was able to eventually break through the wall of my emotional meltdown and penetrate my heart with HIS truth. I felt the sting of conviction that I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing as a believer in God, MY Father, and that is that I am to be broken before Him. Satan doesn't pick up the pieces! Satan shatters my existence...but GOD alone is the One that not only picks up the pieces, but supernaturally puts me back together and makes me even better than before!

While the promises of God were getting whispered to my heart, Satan was shouting his lies in my ear so my attention was drawn away from Him for a time. But praise God that He loves me enough to continue to seek my attention in love and not condemnation. I did eventually get to the point of surrender and began to hand each emotion over to Him so I could receive my healing for that moment.

I have to remind myself everyday that I am a child of God and everything that I am and everything that I have is HIS...that includes my emotions. I cannot do this on my own. It is only through the love of Christ that I will survive the pain and heartache of missing Jay.



NOTE TO SELF: Never think that it is ever okay to do this on your own, or that you've got it handled. Bottom line...you can't and you don't. Let go and let God.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Four Months...

Wow, hard to believe that it has been four months. It seems like just yesterday Jay went to heaven...and here I am four months later, still being surprised that he is gone. There are just times when I have to really look around and make it real for myself. I knew it was coming for a while before he died, but I guess the shock is still wearing off and I'm still coming to the realization that he is gone...for now.

The confusion from the mud puddle of emotions is overwhelming at times. And everything that my mind and body are going through is apparently normal. Normal...what is that anyway? I don't even know what normal is anymore. A term that I once found comforting is now beginning t0 grate on me. I feel sad...oh that's normal. I feel angry...oh that's normal. I can't eat...that's normal. I can't sleep...normal. I'm beginning to find it comical because, what if I dyed my hair hot pink, got a nose ring and a tattoo and began hanging out in bars...NORMAL??? It seems like there is carte blanche with grief, and suddenly everything is acceptable. LOL

I don't know what normal is anymore, but I am discovering that the Lord is not interested in making my life normal. He is interested in taking the "normal" ordinary circumstances of my life and using them for His extraordinary purposes. Do I know what His plan is?? NO. But am I willing to endure a pain that NO ONE should survive to serve my Almighty God? Absolutely! God alone has suffered the ultimate pain for ME so why wouldn't I be willing to allow my pain to be used for His purposes. He is the God of all Comfort, so I rest in the knowledge that even through this pain, He is with me. He is healing me. He is loving me. He is carrying me.

I cling to His promises that are all throughout the bible. I cling to the promise that I will be reunited with Jay one day and that everything that the Lord promises us in the bible will be right before my very eyes as evidence that He was telling me the truth all along.

I've been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's new cd Beauty Will Rise this whole week and there is one song in particular that really touches my heart to the core. He wrote the songs on this cd after losing his little daughter last year to a tragic accident. These are the lyrics that sing straight to my heart.

SEE
by Steven Curtis Chapman

Right now all I can taste are bitter tears,
and right now all I can SEE are clouds of sorrow,

From the other side of all this pain,
is that you I hear? Laughing loud and calling out to me? Saying SEE,
it's everything you said that it would be,
and even better than you would believe,
and I'm counting down the days until you're here with me,
and finally you'll SEE,

But right now all I can say is,
"Lord, how long?" before you come and take away this aching,
this night of weeping seems to have no end,
but when the morning light breaks through,
we'll open up our eyes and we will SEE,
it's everything HE said that it would be,
and even better than we would believe,
and HE's counting down the days 'til He says,
"Come with me" and finally...He'll wipe every tear from our eyes,
and make everything new,
just like HE promised,
wait and SEE,
just wait and SEE,
wait and SEE,

And I'm counting down the days 'til HE says,
"Come with Me" and finally we'll SEE,
wait and SEE,
Oh taste and SEE that the Lord is good,
the Lord is good,
the Lord is good,
Oh taste and SEE that the Lord is good,
The Lord is good.


Amen. The Lord is good. I praise His Holy name!

Thank You, Lord, for Your goodness, Your grace, Your mercy, Your faithfulness, Your LOVE. Father, only You can heal the deepest of wounds. I trust You for Your healing touch on my heart. Some days it doesn't seem as painful, and that is your grace and mercy washing over me. Some days feel all too painful, almost as though I cannot survive, but You are also faithful to meet me on those days with a special dose of Your love and comfort. Thank You for carrying my burdens for me. Thank You for loving me so much. Please fill my heart today. Refresh my spirit. And, Abba, kiss my baby for me. I miss him so much. In Jesus precious name. Amen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reminders, Reminders, Reminders...

Everything is a reminder right now. Everything makes me think of Jay, but not exactly in a way I want to remember him. For instance, tomorrow is the four month anniversary of Jay's passing. The 12th of every single month is an anniversary for me. I am trying to think of it as "the day my husband went to heaven" and not just the day I watched my husband take his last breath here. It's difficult to change my thinking sometimes though because I miss him so much.

I gauge time by the date of his death too. It's the strangest thing. The mere mention of a date and I immediately think of whether that date was before or after Jay dying. And even before that, I used to think about things as before or after his cancer diagnosis. B.C. didn't only stand for "Before Christ" for me, it was "Before Cancer." Now it's "Before Death" or "After Death."

I'm sure someday all of that will change, but for now...it is a momentarily, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly reminder to me of just how much I miss him.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Faithful Promises...

How faithful are the promises of God? Well, let me tell you...

I woke up at 2 o'clock this morning after having had the very first WONDERFUL dream about my husband. He was in his whole body...no scars or other modifications from surgery...just my beautiful man. It was such a beautiful reminder to me that my God is so faithful to heal my broken heart and heal the memories of what I watched cancer do to my beloved's body. I was able to see Jay complete and whole; the creation that God had made.

As soon as I woke up from this dream, (I was so overjoyed at the sight of my husband that it woke me right up out of my sleep) I noticed that the little light on my cell phone was blinking, indicating that I had an email or text message or something. When I turned my phone on, I saw that I had an email. It was from my childhood friend and Sister in the Lord, Christine, who blessed me with this scripture! "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4 OH...MY...GOSH! Thank you Lord!!

What a glorious reminder that God is with me, and that one day, I will see Jay just like I saw him in my dream...only it will be for real then. What a treasured gift...I call those "kisses" from the Lord. As soon as I realized that I woke myself up from the dream, I tried to go back to sleep and continue the dream because sometimes I can do that...but to no avail. The gift was just a momentary glimpse into my future with my honey.

Praise the Lord for His assurance that I really am going to survive this. Praise the Lord for His healing of my heart. Praise the Lord for the promise of a new life.

When the Lord promises you something...HE WILL DELIVER! Hallelujah!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just Keep Swimming...

Sometimes I feel like Dory, the quirky little fish in "Finding Nemo." When she frantically asked what to do when things got to be too much for her, she was told, "Just keep swimming." So, with all enthusiasm, she kept reminding herself to "Just keep swimming...just keep swimming...just keep swimming." And she even turned it into a catchy little tune that I now sing to myself every single day.

The emotions that flood my heart are sometimes too much for me and I have to remind myself to just keep swimming. Because if you keep moving forward in some capacity the pain, the sadness, the depression can be felt, but can't overtake your life. This is my way of facing my grief...wade through it all, but somehow manage to just keep swimming.

This past weekend, Jay's family came over and we all took the time to go through 20 years of memories that were housed in my garage. I wanted to give everyone a chance to grab some memories before I go through and get rid of stuff either through garage sale, ebay, or give away. It is very soon after Jay's passing...this I know...but it's time to downsize before I move, and I have as much time as I need to go through stuff and figure out what to keep and what to do away with and I don't feel rushed into making bad decisions. I can take my time and sift through things for as long as it takes for me to feel as though I made the right decisions for me. It felt organized and methodical and I was at peace with it.

I did pretty well, I think. I wasn't a total basket case for having relived 20 years of my relationship with Jay. I only really lost it when I found my bridal veil. That was difficult. But the Lord was faithful, and I was surrounded by family. We all took turns breaking down and shedding some tears. All of us miss him so much.

I couldn't believe all of the stuff that we had accumulated over the years. And for all of the grief that he had given me over the years for all of my shoes when he had WAY more fishing stuff; I just laughed and thought to myself that if he were here, he would be in big trouble. LOL

We had piles and piles of stuff all over the driveway and front lawn. People thought we were having a yard sale. LOL But we managed to each keep what we were emotionally attached to and for everything else, we either threw it away or placed on a shelf for sale or giveaway at another time.

After a long 2 days and everyone was gone, I took some time to reflect on the weekend and allow myself to really feel the grief of my situation. I felt in my heart that I need to move towards letting go of the hopes, dreams, and plans of the life I had with Jay, and start moving towards the new dreams, hopes and plans that the Lord has for me. After all, if I can't let go of this life, I can't receive the beautiful gift of the brand new life that the Lord wants to give to me. I am willing to let it go, but in due time. I'm in no hurry. While I don't like the pain I feel everyday, I try to remember that in the Lord's time my heart will be healed enough and I will be able to completely release this broken life so I can live a new restored life. I praise the Lord for His love for me.

So for now...just keep swimming...just keep swimming...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A "Single" Moment...

I am trying really hard to embrace this thing called "being single" but, for some reason, when I get in the grocery store, suddenly my singleness is never more evident! LOL I used to watch people as they would purchase their groceries and I could tell immediately if they were single or not.

1 melon, 1 half gallon of milk, sliced cheese, sliced meat, and half a gallon of ice cream = SINGLE!

Well, here I was, shopping for miscellaneous food items the other day...getting things I think I will be hungry for later on. Walking down the frozen food section...picking up a few things...stopping just short of the Hot Pockets because that, to me, is just a truly pathetic sign that I am single and I just can't go there! LOL So I pick up a couple of single serving pizzas instead. (like that makes a difference) So here is my grocery cart:

1 half gallon of milk, 1 package of grated cheese, 2 single pizzas = SINGLE

Nothing like still feeling married but having the reality of being single slap you in the face! And as I walk down the frozen food aisle, I see an older woman probably in her 80s all alone walking with her walker that has a cute little basket that she is stuffing full of frozen dinners, and I think to myself, "Lord, please don't let that be me." And as I'm lifting that quick little prayer to the Lord, I turn to the vegetable aisle and an adorable old couple, probably in their 80s, picking out vegetables and the cute old man does all the work for his wife by putting the veggies in the bag and putting them in the cart. Witnessing this mutual kindness between them, I quickly lift another prayer to the Lord...one of my heart's desire, "Lord, THAT is what I want!"

While I can't imagine being married to anyone else but my husband right now, I believe in the institution of marriage and I long to have another companion if or when the Lord sees fit. Hopefully it would be a life long relationship so that when I am 80 years old someone will look at me and my future spouse and think, "what a blessing."

But for now, I have to accept my singleness and more importantly, remember that I am now married to Jesus. I couldn't ask for a better spouse than Him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Face Time...

I miss "Face Time." That's what I used to call it when I would spend time just looking at Jay's face and in his eyes. I miss staring at him for hours and studying every feature on his face. I got to the point where I knew his face so well that I could tell when he was in pain or sad just by the way he wrinkled his eye brows. He didn't have to say anything at all. He would just move his face in a certain way and I knew...

A number of years ago it wasn't that way for us. Before Jay got sick, we got into the habit of not even looking at each other. Not because we didn't love each other, but because we just took our time together for granted. We would have conversations around each other, but not really talk TO each other or LOOK at each other when we would be speaking.

Have you ever done that?...get so busy in your daily lives that you manage to just exist around your loved ones and not invest a whole lot of "face time?" If you find yourself saying that you don't know what your loved one's face looks like when they are truly happy, sad, angry, hurting, content...can I just tell you this...take the time now. Invest in "face time" because it is a treasured gift.

I can close my eyes right now and envision every single emotion on Jay's face and how I knew exactly what to do without him saying a word. I can remember how we cherished studying each other in our quiet time together so we could get to know each other on the most intimate level.

Face time is priceless...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cleaning and Healing...





















Well, today (with the help of my best friend) I cleaned out the closet in "our" bedroom. I didn't really want to do it, but I think I needed to do it. It was tough. I kept smelling the clothes to see if I could catch a scent of my honey, but the clothes were clean and they just smelled like detergent. I think I was just trying to grab on to a memory. I miss him so much.

My closet is now clean in MY bedroom and I love it and hate it at the same time. 'Nuff said...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Timing Is Everything...

As I journey from grief to healing and everything in between, I find myself getting in the Lord's way all the time. It is a constant surrender to the Lord's plan for my life and a constant stepping back in alignment with His will for me.

There are so many things happening that as I try to wrap my head around it; I begin to take steps that are out of His timing and further away from His plan. I won't be staying in my house very much longer, but I don't need to move out until around the first of the year...but I find myself apartment/condo hunting "just to see what's out there"...but the Lord keeps pulling me back to where I am at.

There are things that need to be done at my house now that will prepare me for the first of the year when it is really time to consider moving. I still need to go through the house and make sure to give the things that Jay wanted to go to certain people to those people. I need to decide what I will be keeping/selling/giving away so I can downsize to an apartment or condo without exploding at the seams from the time I move in. I need to go through the emotions of boxing up our stock of old photos, and folding up his clothes and storing them. I'm not ready to get rid of his clothes yet.

There are good and bad emotions that need to be dealt with in this home, so that I can heal from them and continue to move forward in my new life. In order for me to heal correctly and be a whole person when I reach the other side of this trial, I must allow myself to feel the pain and emotion. I will only be able to gauge my progression of healing by basing it on the pain and whether it is decreasing. Either way, I have to feel it to tell how I am doing.

So this weekend is the beginning of allowing the true pain to come in so I can receive the Lord's healing as I confront all of the emotions that come with it. Praise the Lord for His healing, His time, His plan, His will for my life!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Anniversary of a Different Sort...

Today marks the three month anniversary of my husband's passing. It is very strange to me that I can be going along "moving forward" and the realization of a date can pull me back into "stand still" mode.

Three months ago today, more specifically at 11:45 am, my honey passed into his eternity. What a weird feeling to know that three months have gone by already, and yet it seems like a long time ago too. *sigh*

This is a different kind of anniversary for me...I'm ready for the first year to be over with already. Just rip the huge band-aid off already!

I miss Jay terribly...but still grateful for where he is at now. No more pain or suffering for him...it's just my turn now. All the while, I receive my comfort from a Lord who loves me beyond measure today, and always. Praise the Lord.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Surprises...

Today was a very up and down day emotionally. Early on today I found myself being very focused (something that seems to evade me most of the time now) and my productivity level skyrocketed...until after lunch.
I've been rearranging my desk at work and trying to get the "flow" of my desk to better serve me in my work day. As I was cleaning out a drawer, I found what I thought were a stack of blank cards for me to give out to people on special occasions...nope...this is what I found on top of the stack...






Seeing this card again knocked the wind out of me. GOSH, it made me miss him more...but I am so blessed to have found it...just a reminder of how much we really loved each other. Of course I cried and broke down for a moment, but the Lord is faithful to give me strength not to be devastated when I find special things like this, and instead, rejoice that my husband and I WILL see each other again in our eternity.
When I read what he wrote in the card, I thought to myself that I may have been his "ray of light" but as I think about where he is at right this moment; he is experiencing the greatest Light of all...our Lord and Savior. There is no greater blessing than to know that my Jay is filled with peace, light and a love overflowing. Praise the Lord.
My heart is happy...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Seasons...

Well, the weather is FINALLY starting to cool down here in California. I'm sure in other parts of the country people would think I'm crazy to think that 68 degrees is cold, but when you're used to 80-100 degree weather...it's not just cold - it's STINKIN' cold! LOL

All that to say, the season is changing; not just in temperature either. The season of my life is changing too. I'm starting to become used to living alone and pressing on in my life without my husband. That's not to say that I don't miss him...on the contrary...I miss him tremendously. But my tendency to think about him every minute of the day is beginning to taper off and I have pockets of time during the day when I can concentrate on something other than missing my sweet husband.

When I first realized that I had some periods of time when I didn't think about him being gone; I got scared. I thought that I was a terrible person because it has only been a few months since he passed away and I should still be constantly thinking about him and missing him. But then I realized that this was the Lord's healing upon my heart that I have been praying for. Am I completely healed? NO WAY! But, honestly, I believe that I can feel the Lord gently sewing together the seam to my torn heart.

My pastor, Greg Laurie, said this past Sunday in his series on "Why Does God Allow Suffering?," "Your loved one isn't "gone." They are only "gone for now." It's just a reminder to me that I will be reunited with Jay one day. I will just have to be patient and live my life as the Lord wants me to until that day comes. The idea of being reunited with Jay in heaven isn't anything new to me, but hearing my pastor say it that way just helped it to sink down into my heart and house itself as a promise from the Lord in the walls of my healing heart.

This new season of my life is still very sad, but as I hold onto what the Lord promises me, I am able to slowly begin to LIVE again.


Thank You, Abba Father, for Your faithfulness to begin healing my heart. I hold onto You and Your promises for my life. Thank You that You have a plan for my life as Your word tells me in Jeremiah 29:11. I desire to begin living my life, not just as a widow, but as Your disciple. Thank You for placing dreams and visions in my heart again. Help me to walk in Your ways, Lord. I love You. Amen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

His Laughter...

My house is so quiet now. It was never a super noisy place, but if it's possible for a quiet place to become completely silent; that's my house. Jay was home for a long time as he went through his treatments. I think in the three + years that he was sick, he might have worked a total of four months, so he was home all the time. The TV was always on...24 hours a day...there was some sort of noise in the house. Before he got too sick to get out of bed, Jay could be found at all hours playing video games, cooking in the kitchen, playing with the dogs or just sitting and watching TV. Now that he is gone, none of that is happening and the house is just deafeningly quiet.

I was thinking last night and this morning about how much I miss his laughter. He used to watch these stupid TV shows on the BBC (sorry, I don't get that humor...or is it humour? LOL) and he would laugh so loud that I could hear it from a mile away. I used to just sit in the other room and listen to him gaphaw and roar to whatever was being said. I loved to hear him laugh. In a time when he was so sick from the meds that caused nausea and in pain because the tumor was growing; he could still be heard laughing as if nothing bothered him. That can only be a gift from God. I treasured those times.

I received a "gift" this morning...I closed my eyes and allowed my memories to take me to a place where I could hear Jay's laughter again. With my eyes closed, I could envision him sitting in the living room relaxing in front of the TV. He usually had some sort of snack in hand, so I could smell whatever it was that he made. I love it when the Lord gives me the gift of being able to get submerged in the moment and He washes me over with the love in the memory of that moment. But it is always only for a brief moment that I am able to do that because I know that the Lord doesn't want me to get lost in the abyss that is the past, but rather, He wants me to cling to Him and His plans for my future. Eyes opened...back to reality. Quiet.

He lightened my heart this morning, if only for a moment. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that my honey is with my God that is so loving and caring and faithful. I close my eyes again...Jay is in heaven, being loved beyond measure; beyond anything I could ever have given him. He is filled with joy. There is no greater gift. Thank You, Jesus.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Tears...

Well, here it is...I've hit that stage where all you can do is cry. Everything reminds me of my beloved and I miss him SO much that it makes me physically ache all over. I feel a constant heaviness in my heart and feel as though I am carrying 100 extra pounds of weight everyday; all day long.

You talk about a change! I wasn't sure if I would get to this point. As a matter of fact, just about 4 weeks ago, I asked another friend of mine (who happens to be a recent widow as well) if it was weird that I feel okay and don't cry much. She said, "Oh, you will. Don't worry." And sure enough...here I am. My pillows are soaked every night with tears. I cry out of nowhere now. The tears just come...I don't even have to be thinking about Jay at all and the tears just flow like a river.

On Sunday, all I did was cry. I didn't even go to church because I didn't want to just sit there and cry the whole time and draw attention to myself. I received a couple of calls from my best friend checking up on me. We were scheduled to go for a pedicure and I tried to cancel because I knew that I wouldn't be able to suck it up so I wouldn't look like a complete dork sitting in the chair crying, but true to my beautiful Karen's style - she wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. She is always looking out for me. She knew that if I sat at home, all I would do is sink further into a depression and that wouldn't serve any purpose in my healing process.

So off to the salon I went...and sure enough, in the middle of me getting my feet overhauled, I cried like a baby. I had to cover my face so people couldn't see my "ugly cry." You know, the cry where you scrunch up your entire face and look really scary?! LOL Anyway, the tears were free flowing. It stopped after a little bit, but I had to just let them flow.

Each day since then has been the same thing. Tears just flow when they want to. But, with much prayer and crying out to the Lord for His comfort, I was reminded of the scripture in the bible, Psalm 56, about how the Lord keeps our tears in a bottle. Meaning that He takes all of our sorrows that we give to Him in prayer and He holds them in a bottle. He cares for me and loves me so much that He takes every tear that I cry and keeps it safe in a bottle. What an amazing and loving God I serve. I never cry the same tears twice. Each one serves a purpose, and that is to heal my heart as I turn to Him and give Him my hurts. Psalm 126:5 says, "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." My joy will be made complete one tear at a time.

My happiness comes from God alone. Nothing in this world will ever give me fullness of joy. It is the Spirit of the Lord that fulfills my life. I am a treasure to my Father in heaven and He comforts me in my time of need. I may not always be "happy" according to the world's standards, but I will always have the joy and hope that the Lord gives me each second of the day. The hole in my heart is being healed by the Lord one tear at a time.

Thank You, Father, for keeping my tears safe in Your bottle. No one can do what You have done for me. Thank You for Your Word that comforts me so. Thank You for surrounding me with Your love. I praise Your Holy Name! Amen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time Is A Healer...

I'm praying that time really is a healer as I've been told by many people. Saturday, September 12th was two months since my honey went to heaven. It seems like a lot of time one minute and then the next it feels like it happened yesterday. I don't know how long this process takes...for some it's months and for others it is years. I have no idea which category I happen to fall under but all I can do is pray that with each passing moment the Lord is healing the big hole in my heart.

I keep myself busy enough to pass time, but I still feel the sense of loyalty to keep my husband's memory alive by thinking about him, talking about him, and just reminiscing about our years together. There is a part of me that says, "Just keep moving forward." Then there is the other part of me that says, "Do anything you can to remember him." I know that if Jay were able to communicate with me, he'd say, "Don't worry about me. I'm okay and I will see you again." He would never want me to sit around and grieve for him. But anyone that knows what the grief process is like; you understand that this is just what your body and mind have to go through.

The best thing about this process is that I can share Jay's journey of rediscovering and rededicating his life to the Lord. I can also say that the second best part of this process is that I don't have any regrets of how I cared for and loved my husband. I was his primary caretaker; partner; teammate; and I journeyed with him through his life with cancer and we always had an agreement to do whatever we could humanly do to try to beat that disease. The Lord led me to my church for employment and the provisions came one after the other from there and I was able to care for Jay with everything I had. That allowed me to be able to live without regret now in my grief. That is a God thing. Praise the Lord for His unending provision.

So I continue to pray for the Lord's guidance through this process...two months have passed and I miss my honey like crazy, but I know where he is at and I will continue to push forward; always keeping him in my heart and mind.


I don't suppose there is a "www." address that reaches heaven? *sigh*

Honey, I miss you. I pray that you are better than I imagine you to be at this moment. I know that the Lord is taking good care of you. He promised me that He would. I look forward to seeing you again someday, Baby. Until then, I walk this road knowing that you are supporting me and cheering for me from on High. I love you, my Precious Love.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I remember...

I remember....

I remember......

I remember the surrender that came after the tragedy of 9/11. I remember that the churches were filled to capacity; and even overflowing, with people trying to understand and simply GET RIGHT with our Father in heaven. We were a powerful nation; we were a PRAYERFUL nation; getting back to the TRUTH on which this nation was founded. We drew close to the Lord and lived HIS ways and lived for HIS purposes.

I remember the spirit of a truly UNITED nation. It was a time when people turned to one another and actually looked in their eyes...recognizing their humanity. People were HUMANE to one another. We all had Brotherly/Sisterly love.

I remember, and memorialize the people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. May their families receive the Lord's peace and comfort on this day and every day.

I challenge everyone at this very moment...remember the tragedy on this anniversary, but also remember how strong our nation IS when we all draw close to the God Who created us and lets get back to living our lives boldly for Christ as we did back then and allow the Lord's love to overflow from our hearts making us a UNITED nation once again. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the repuplic for which it stands;
ONE NATION UNDER GOD;
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Little Home Makeover...



This entry will be brief. The pictures are all out of order, but you will be able to see what I did. I just wanted to share...
Blessings to all this Labor Day weekend.


















Saturday, September 5, 2009

Changes...

"They" say not to make any changes within the first year after your spouse dies. Well...for me, something needs to change. I need to feel more at home in my home. It has been a long time since I felt that I could LIVE in my house...and I certainly have not felt at home since Jay died...so I have decided to paint my bathroom and bedroom to add a little bit of "life" to my life. Obviously painting is not going to take my grief away, but I have this need to feel a bit more settled in my day to day living. I have no clue if this is even really going to help me at all, but I'm going to give it a try. It's worth the effort.

If you ask me, the biggest CHANGE in my life has already happened so making a few cosmetic changes in my house are not going to have any significant detrimental impact on my life. If anything, I'm hoping it will help me to feel a little more like I actually belong in my house. Having Jay here was what always made this house feel like a home and now that he is gone; I feel like a foreigner in this house that we purchased together.

So, here is to making small changes. They don't fix everything; they may not fix anything; but for right now, it is making me happy. I'll take that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Me" vs. "We"

Everyday it seems that there is some new discovery on my part of what is an emotional trigger for me...I'm sure that it is totally normal...everything is "normal" when it comes to grieving the loss of a loved one, so I'm told. Absolutely nothing FEELS normal, but I guess that's normal too! LOL

Today, I discovered that it makes me a little bit sick to my stomach when I mistakenly say, "We" this or "We" that. I was talking to someone about making over a couple of rooms in the house and I said, "We are changing some things..." We?? No...I am making some changes. It's still a shock to my system to know that I am no longer a "we". WOW...it's just me now.

It is a very strange feeling to now be living as a single woman when all I've known for half of my lifetime is being my husband's partner. What on earth do you do when half of you has been cut away?? Everything just feels so very foreign.

Amputees suffer from what is called, "phantom pain" when they have some part of their body cut off and they imagine in their head that they still have that limb or extremity. Dare I say that what I'm going through is...similar? If I may be so bold...YES! Where there once was someone at my side for 20 years, now there is nothing, but I still feel like I can look at my side and Jay will be standing right there holding my hand. Phantom pain! When I lay in bed at night and only sleep on my side and I let my foot wander over to the "other side"...his side; I still think that I will be able to feel him there. Phantom pain!! I still look at my watch at 10:00 and 2:00 while I'm at work because those were the times that I would call Jay every single day and remind him to take his medicine. Phantom pain!

I am no longer a "we." I am just "me" now.

Phantom pain...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Memories...A Continual Slide Show

It has only been six weeks since Jay passed away so memories are flooding my mind and heart as an internal slide show. Someone will say something that reminds me of him or something he once did and a picture of that moment will enter my mind. Sometimes it is comforting to me...sometimes it is just added torture to the gut-wrenching mourning that I'm already experiencing.

Today's "slide show" of memories were of him getting his staples out at City of Hope last year after what we believed would be the surgery to cure him (if only...)...and then the other picture that pops into my head nearly everyday is of his last moments with me. I think that one won't go away for a while.

I actually still have nightmares that he died that Sunday morning when no one was around or paying attention. I know for a fact that I was there with him, lying in his hospital bed cuddled in the crook of his arm and neck, stroking his hair and face and telling him that I love him and that it's okay for him to go be with the Lord, and yet, I still have nightmares that he died when I wasn't looking. I was so fearful of that for months before he passed away. I guess it is just my mind's way of processing those fears...or the enemy's way of trying to convince me that I didn't do enough for him. But my God is bigger than the efforts of the enemy, so when I do have those nightmares I just hand them, and the feelings that come with them, over to the Lord.

One memory that I'm having right this minute (just because I'm consciously thinking about Jay's last days) was one of my best friend Karen leaning over the hospital bed singing to him...so softly and sweetly...singing in his ear. I don't have a clue what she was singing because there were many people around but I just know the peace that I witnessed in him as she sang to him. He wasn't too responsive that day, but I know he was in there and he was listening. That memory is one of the sweetest that I carry in my heart of that weekend. It was a precious and treasured moment for Karen too, I'm sure.

I know that the days of me soaking my pillow with my tears at night are not over, but I am thankful for the days that I can receive the Lord's peace and enjoy the memories that flood my heart. And for the days that the memories feel like arrows piercing my heart; the Lord is faithful to heal my wounds and I will receive his healing one day.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:33

Thank You, Lord, for saving me when I feel faint of heart. Thank You for Your continued healing touch. Help me to keep moving forward. Amen.

My Beloved Jay, I miss you so much. It hurts more than I ever could've imagined. I will see you again one day, Honey. I long for that day. I love you endlessly; eternally.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Running In Place

"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14 NKJV

A whole new chapter has begun in my life. On July 12, 2009 at 11:45 am, just six weeks ago, my husband...my beloved Jay...passed away from this life and became a citizen of heaven. I was there, in his arms, when he took his last breath. That was the moment my life changed forever.

I have spent the past three and a half years caring for this man, my husband, my mate, my best friend...taking him to doctor appointments, treatment appointments, surgery appointments; not to mention all of the time at home caring for him and making sure he took his medications and ate something to go with them...every minute filled with something to do for him...and now what do I do???

I am somewhat lost because I don't know what to do for myself. It's time to take care of myself...that's what everyone says...even all of the grief books out there say that...but how do I do that? Where do I start? I've spent so long making sure that I don't put myself first that I don't have a clue what to do for me. I know what "sounds good" but when it comes down to doing what "sounds good" I don't want to do it. I'd rather just go home and sit. Sometimes I feel like I'm running in place. I want to get away, but every time I begin to make plans to get away, I suddenly feel in my heart that it doesn't feel right and then I stop in my tracks. But I have to press on...

The scripture up at the top, Philippians 3:14, is something that stuck out to me because I must now figure out how to get back to "pressing toward the goal," which is serving the Lord. My husband was my first ministry and now he is gone, so my first ministry is serving the Lord. I have no clue what ministry to start serving in, but I'm sure the Lord will show me in His time. He is still healing the huge hole in my heart left behind by my husband's departure.

Being a widow is a very interesting thing. You really find out how good the Lord is and how he really does have a heart for the widows. His provision is abundant. You also find out very quickly who he doesn't want in your life. Being a widow is one of the most vulnerable states of being that you can be in...and the Lord really goes out of His way to protect those of us who are in that state. He has surrounded me with wonderful people who have stepped up to be of help. Praise God!

This transition into my new life has brought out many emotions, but it all comes down to trusting the Lord to restore my life to its fullest...and beyond. My joy has not been lost, but I definitely feel the deep sadness in my heart. Someone recently told me that the "smile in my heart is gone." Wow...I don't even know what to say to that.

Better days are to come. I will continue to press toward the goal and I know that the Lord will be faithful to meet me each step of the way, and when I can't move...He will carry me. Thank You, Lord.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Looking Forward...

Hey All,

Here's a quick update on Jay...and then I'm going to talk about something completely different than CANCER.

Jay received his first round of the new chemo and did rather well. He had minimal nausea, but for some reason that day he had a ton of pain. I think we've gotten it under control for now. One minute, one pain pill at a time. Please keep praying for him.

I have decided to take a chance and begin to LOOK FORWARD instead of just living one moment to the next, as I have sort of gotten stuck in that mode while in the role of caretaker for the last 3 years...and not that I am leaving Jay behind and forgetting about what we are experiencing together...BUT...I do have something that I am so excited about and looking forward to and I really want to allow myself to experience the fun anticipation...

In 295 days from today, I will be turning 40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am looking forward to the age that is a true milestone...at 40, I am a real woman...no one can call me a "Kiddo" (unless they are twice my age)...I can express myself and what I want without the fear of what people may think of me...and I can actually go to my doctor and request a mammogram without someone telling me, "You're too young for that." Life changes at 40...yes, I understand that the physical stuff all changes...gravity takes hold, memory is lost, vision goes down the tubes...blah, blah, blah...I am just in a good place in my life and I am excited about the possibilities. Praise the Lord for possibilities!

I am already beginning to feel the shift in my attitude about myself and what my life means to me. My internal dialog is no longer shouting in my ear, "You're ugly, you're stupid, you're nothing, you have nothing to contribute to this world." Now my internal dialog tells me, "I love you, you're worth something, you make a difference, your heart is beautiful, your legacy is important." That Internal Voice is, of course, the Lord! I have finally grown enough in my faith to allow it to mature me and I have started allowing the Lord's voice to drown out the lies of the enemy. And spiritual maturity has nothing to do with an age group or anything, but I am encouraged by the changes the Lord has made in my heart and the amount of confidence He gives me that I can now look forward to turning 40 years old...because I desire to do it with grace...the Lord's grace.

I desire to make a difference, and I truly believe that the Lord is using me as a vessel to do just that. He is faithful to show me how it is that I am making a difference in people's lives. Please don't get me wrong...I am not boasting about myself...but I AM boasting about how the Lord has transformed my heart to share His love, to see more with His eyes, and to speak more with His words and not my own. He receives all of the glory for the person that I am and the person I will become.

So, MARK YOUR CALENDARS EVERYONE!!! November 28th...please pray that the Lord will show me how He wants me to celebrate my birth...and my rebirth.

Thank you, Father, for creating me and for continuing to love me no matter how much I falter. Shape me, mold me, and use me how you see fit. May you receive the glory! Amen

Friday, January 30, 2009

Exhaustion

Okay, here is the latest...

Jay had an appointment with his oncologist on Wednesday. We came up with a more comprehensive pain management plan...thank the Lord! We will see if it works. So far, he has still had a ton of pain. Also, we found out that his tumor in the pelvic area has grown to twice its size since August 2008. That means that the chemo drug that he has been on since September is not working. So the doctor changed him to a brand new chemo drug. They have never given it to their patients, it's that new. We will be the guinea pigs. This new drug, Vectibix, has just been put out on the market. We are waiting for it to arrive and then Jay will have chemo next Wednesday. I am a always a bit nervous about a new chemo drug because Jay's body doesn't always react well to them. I am praying that he will be okay and his body will be able to tolerate it. Time will tell with this one.

Jay and I are both extremely exhausted. He is tired of being in pain and not feeling well enough to get out and be active, and I'm tired of this disease robbing him of the ability to get out and live his life! I am drawing strength from the Lord...that is how I am able to work AND take care of Jay. The Lord has been faithful to give me the exact measure that I need to take care of business. But, my body has taken a beating from all of this and it is feeling the need to crash. I can feel it happening. It feels like all of my energy is being sucked out of my body through my big toe. I've lost so much sleep that I am having trouble recuperating. Even when I am able to sleep for several hours straight (which doesn't happen often) it is not enough for me to feel refreshed by it.

These are difficult times, but we are both hanging in there with each other. Jay is still my hero. He is amazing to me.

Love to you all. Pray for us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A New Year...Same Circumstances

Hello All,

I am sorry that I haven't posted in a while, but I've been concentrating on spending time with Jay and making the most of our holidays together.

We made it to 2009! Wheeww! The sad thing is that nothing has improved for my beloved. Unfortunately, the results from a scan that we just got this week revealed that Jay's tumor is on the move again. As far as I know, it is the same ol' tumor, but it has grown; thus causing some pretty uncomfortable side effects for Jay. The tumor is putting pressure on the nerves at the base of Jay's spinal cord, which in turn is now causing his right kidney to receive a lot of pressure. We made a trip to the ER just a few weeks ago, but it was only through the scan this week that we could actually see what was going on.

That's the bad news...the GOOD news is that with some changes made in medications and learning how to manage the pain better, Jay has been sleeping fairly well, and is reasonably comfortable now. He has managed to regain some of his "perk." Praise the Lord!

No, we don't really know what all of this means. We are just "riding the wave." This is definitely a journey...it's not a brief walk...it's long, arduous and exhausting, but OH SO revealing of our own character. The Lord lives at the core of me, and HE is the One who sees me through the difficulties...but I also give my honey credit for being such a strong, strong man. I admire his courage...even in his vulnerabilities...he is my hero. I don't know that I could be so strong.

In the meantime, we just keep plugging along. February 1st will be the 3 year anniversary since Jay's cancer was discovered. I never imagined that three years later we would still be in the battle of our lives, but this trial has been sifted through the fingers of my Lord and Savior and HE alone can use this disease that was meant for bad and use it for HIS purpose. No, I am not mad at God...nor is Jay. We both understand that this is what happened, but it's what we do with it that makes the difference. We are choosing to allow this disease to make us better people...with the Lord's help.

I will try to post again soon, but Jay has an appointment January 22nd with a urologist to see about relieving the pressure from Jay's kidney so I have no idea what to expect. Know that I love each of you that keep up with us and pray for the best for us. I thank the Lord for each of you. It is nice to know that I am not alone.

Please continue to pray for Jay's comfort, for wisdom for the doctors, and over all that the Lord would continue to meet us where we are at.

Blessings to all.

Jamie