Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Secret Side of Me

So . . . did any of y'all readers of the feminine persuasion grow up prim and prissy but, later in life, decided that being a tomboy is kinda fun? Me too! I love diggin' in the dirt, fishing (I'll even bait my own hook, thank you very much), would love to go huntin' (actually took the safety course, just got to buy the license now . . . and learn to actually use a firearm), and all that kinda crazy redneck stuff that I didn't have a clue about until I moved to Georgia.

I guess I'd to call my alter(ed) ego Bertha Mae because it sounds like such a good redneck name. She's the side of me that those who actually know me may be surprised to learn about. Let me show you why.

This is what I drive:

I love my vehicle! Except. I'm so short that the Chick Magnets tell me I look like a midget trying to get in and out of it! It's a pretty sweet ride, even if it is a hog when it comes to gas. But one thing I found out is that mini-vans are not for moms with five teenagers, especially when four of them measure 5'6" or taller. Good grief! They're all legs! I actually drove a mini-van for about 16 years . . . {shudder}. Now, here's the catch. Bertha Mae would like to drive something like this:

. . . so she can do tricks like this:

Or fly through the air like this . . .

Or almost tip over backwards like this:

Woooo-hoooo! Ain't that cool! When I . . . I mean Bertha . . . went to the Monster Truck Rally in January with Mister, she was happier than a tick on her redbone coon hound! What a thrill that was! And now she's threatening to trick out the Expedition to a Monster Truck when it's worn out so she can get out there with all those other trucks. She's just got to come up with a sweet scheme . . . you know, like Grave Digger has his whole theme going on. Any suggestions?

What's more, Bertha just seems to have this thing for trucks. Just guess where else she likes to go! That's right! Atlanta Motor Speedway to watch the NASCAR Truck Series! She just thinks she's so very lucky to live only 45 minutes from Hampton, Georgia! I mean, how fortunate can a girl get! Watching the cars race around the track is alright, but those trucks are something else! Especially when there's a big crash . . . but only if nobody gets hurt. But, she's not been there in a while.

Now, for those of you who know me, you might realize that I'm more of the big-night-in-downtown-Atlanta sort of girl. For instance, just a few months ago I won tickets on the radio to my choice of several restaurants in Atlanta. Earlier in March, Mister and I chose to eat at:

All I can say is 'whoa'.

We had passed by here many times, and I was curious what kind of place it would be. Well, let me just tell you. First of all, when you arrive there is someone to park your car for you. Someone with an accent. I think that must be a requirement if you work in downtown Atlanta. Anyway, once you arrive and get a table (after you give them your name, serial number and rank), they place your napkin in your lap for you. I noticed that while the waiter was helping me get settled in, Mister quickly seated himself and placed his own napkin on his lap. You know, he's the manly-man. He didn't need any help.

Now, there is something that you must beware of if you ever dine here: if you have one of those 1/2 pint bladders like the people at church and have to go to the bathroom during your time there, they fold up your napkin again for you and lay it beside your plate. Okay. Well.

Now, when you first sit down, there are no utensils. This little guy comes around setting up your table for you. Utensils, a plate of vinegar and oil, a basket of bread, and whatever else needs to be there. Very interesting. And he comes back later. It seems that his sole purpose is to equip you with whatever you need for the evening. I wonder . . . was he supposed to be tipped too? Oops.
This place is an upscale Italian restaurant. Johnny Carino's it ain't. Olive Garden it ain't. And, unless you speak fluent Italian, even the waiters struggle to tell you the names of the dishes. I just used the pointer-finger method of telling him what I wanted to eat. But that's okay . . . the food was absolutely delicious . . . and not terribly overpriced. Except.

We decided to share a dessert. Oh my! For $6.50 I was expecting a HUGE chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream. Yummy! Right. It was the size of . . . . of . . . . of . . . . one Little Debbie snack cake (Berhta would've been happy). And we had to share. Good thing I was pretty full from dinner and didn't mind sharing the scrumptous little thing. I guess most of their guests are snooty rich women who are watching their figures.

After our filling dinner at Vini, Vidi, Vici, we used the tickets I had won on the radio to go here:

Have you ever seen this play? I am speechless! It was so hiliarious! If you haven't, then high-tail it, sister, to the ticket booth! Grab some girlfriends along the way. Just beware if you decide to take your MISTER! OR if Mister decides of his own free will that he wants to go. I was going to be nice and not subject him to the tragedies of what happens to women when they hit menopause, but he decided that it would be funny and wanted to go! Poor man. He's got a wife, three daughters, a mother, a M-I-L, two sisters, two sisters-in-law, five nieces, and an abundance of female co-workers! And we're all NUTS! And you'd think he'd want to stay far, far away from such entertainment. Well, all I can say is that it came back to bite him in the rear! During one of the songs, the woman who acts the part of the movie star in the play came off of the stage and proceeds to run her fingers through his hair! She then tops it off with a big, red kiss on his forehead! Here's the evidence:

The play on words in every song is just hilarious. But . . . just a word: in case you do decide to go see Menopause: The Musical, there are a few parts thats some might find offensive or objectionable, and there are a few curse words as well. I was rather surprised about this, but it really wasn't any worse than anything on the television. Please use your own judgement.

Now, even though I had a great time that night dressing up and eating at a fancy restaurant in downtown Atlanta, I don't think that this was Bertha Mae's kind of night. She's more into:

. . . and eating glorified burgers, naked dogs walkin', onion rings, and french fries. Oh, and a frosted orange drink. You know, one of those places where you can actually pronounce everything on the menu. Of course, her last visit there was after going here . . .

Yes! A really good friend gave her and Mister tickets to go see Tennessee duke it out with LSU in December at the SEC game at the Georgia Dome. She'd never been to a college football game, and you could have probably guessed it, too, had you been there to witness her behavior. I'm tellin' you . . . you just can't take that girl anywhere! She's loud, rowdy, and really gets into things. GO BIG ORANGE!

Lest you think that either Bertha Mae or I are loaded with ca-ching, let me assure you that, for the most part, all of the events that we . . . I . . . she . . . whatever . . . have attended over the last several months have not costed anything.

As I've been thinking over the last year or so since my dad died and my daughter graduated, I have been given many opportunities to do things I've never done before. For example, last summer I was able to attend a conference with my husband at the Evergreen Conference Center and Resort at Stone Mountain. Our accomodations for that night were paid for. In October, we attended a concert featuring Loreena McKennitt at the Fox Theater. I've lived here since I was twelve and had never been there. It is a beautiful place! Even though I did have to pay for my ticket to that concert, it was still a new experience for me. And then you've just read of the opportunities I've had since this past December . . . an SEC game, the Monster Truck Rally, seeing that musical, and eating at a fancy restaurant.

I'm just amazed at what doors are opened to us sometimes when we need them most, and I am so thankful for that. It's funny now that I think of it . . . both sides of 'me' were given many new memories to help me through some trying times.

While it may seem strange to some to thank God for allowing me to watch football and monster trucks, well, it goes much deeper than that Him allowing me to do something I think is great fun. The truth of the matter is that I am thankful . . . for a little distraction from a hectic life, spending time with Mister, and seeing more of the great city down the road from my little world.

I hope that you enjoyed a little peek into a little piece of my life and the 'other' me. I hope that you'll leave a comment to let me know about the 'other' you!

Talk soon!

J.L. and Bertha Mae

P.S. I don't use Bertha Mae's initials because, well, just look at them and you'll see why. She's very sensitive about that. Please be understanding and don't ever call her by her initials. I can't be held accountable for her actions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sweet 'n Tangy Lemon Muffins

Here is a great recipe for perfect spring muffins. The original recipe, from a cookbook I've owned for 15+years, called for using a loaf pan, but my daughter and I altered the baking time and made muffins instead. She won 1st place at the 4-H Favorite Foods contest last night in the bread category!

The muffins themselves are sweet with a hint of lemon flavor. The tangy comes from a glaze added to the muffins as they come from the oven. These are great with breakfast, for a snack, or, made in a mini-muffin tin, wonderful for a Mother's Day brunch or bridal shower. If you make them, let me know how they turn out for you.

Sweet 'n Tangy Lemon Muffins

1/3 cup melted butter
3 Tbsp. lemon extract
1 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 cup granulated sugar (We used turbinado sugar instead of white)
2 eggs (Fresh from the hens!)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Substitutions: use Orange Extract in place of the lemon

Lemon pour - Mix the following ingredients in a small bowl and set aside:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 c. granulated sugar

Mix the melted butter, sugar, and lemon extract in a large bowl. Beat in eggs to this mixture. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk to butter mixture. Stir just until blended. Fold in grated rind.

Grease and flour muffin tin. Fill each cup about 2/3 full with batter. If you use large muffin tin, you should be able to make six; regular size muffin tins with yield about 12; and small tins will give you about 24 muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of your tin. The large ones take about 35 minutes, so please set your timer for less time if using a smaller tin.

Remove muffins from tin and place on platter. Carefully drizzle the lemon pour over the muffins before they cool. These can be eaten shortly after they are baked but taste taste better if allowed to sit cover in foil for about a day.

These'll make you wanna pucker up and kiss your man! You'll love them!

Look for a new post soon. I am working on a post about communicating with your spouse. It looks like I might be a hopeless cause in that department.

Your friend and sister,


Monday, March 24, 2008

Here's a Secret About Me . . .

Ready? I hope you can handle this 'cause it's something I've never confessed to another human before, although I must say I've had to confess it to the Lord many a time. So, what's the secret?

Here it is: I'm a BONEHEAD Christian!

There, it's out. I've said it, and you know my dirty little secret. If you're shocked and disgusted about it, well, how do you think I feel? Ick!

Okay, so I had to go look up the word bonehead just to make sure I wasn't saying something that was really going to embarrass me or offend any of my readers. Hey, I believe in complete honesty, but, you know, you gotta be sensitive to others sometimes.

Anyway, a bonehead is somebody who is stupid, thick or muddled headed, and bondheaded is someone lacking fundamental skills. Yeah, I think that would pretty much describe me as a Christian some days. At least that's the way I feel about myself when I mess up, which seems to be with astonishing frequency. Take yesterday, for instance . . . a situation arose that showed me two reasons that I am a bonehead Christian.

Easter Sunday. A day not for chocolate, eggs, and bunnies, but a day to remember that Christ, an innocent man, died for His Father's enemies, for sinners, for all mankind. Except that this Easter was also a day at our church when all the ladies who are participating in the Secret Sister swap brought gifts for their sister. Now, I have to tell you that I have not had a good experience with this ministry in the past, and that's exactly what it is supposed to be, a ministry. The whole point is to be a blessing to someone else, either through cards, little tokens of love in the form of gifts, and especially prayer for that person. I tend to get all caught up in the gift part, forgetting to pray for my secret sister. But I do atleast remember to show that person I care by putting a lot of thought into and picking up gifts that I think will be a blessing to them. On the other hand, I seem to always end up with partnered with someone who, in the gift-giving department, is a little, er, clueless. See? There is that boneheaded thing creeping up again.

So, this time, before joining in the fun, I had to think about it a few weeks. I did not want to end up feeling like I did in the past, all disappointed and frustrated . . . . and jealous of the other people who got really, really good stuff. I decided that I would not allow myself to feel that way and signed up, determining that the really important thing is to be a blessing to others. I received the name of a person that I had had the opportunity to get to know better over the last few months. To be perfectly honest, I was glad to have her name and excited to know that I had the power to brighten a sometimes otherwise discouraging life. So, not so boneheaded that day, huh?

Need I say that my good intentions did not last long? Yesterday, that was not Christ's glory eluminating the sactuary. What people were witnessing was my boneheadedness shining brightly thoughout the morning services. It seems that I have issues with the fundamental skills of true Christ-likeness. So here's the whole sordid story . . .

All of the secret sister gifts were laid out like booty from the Pirates of the Carrotbean on the table in the foyer. I immediately spotted all of the loot as I passed by on my way to Sunday School. Oh, wow! There was some awesome stuff there! I just knew that there was something amazing waiting for me! I quickly glanced over all of the gifts and the names on the cards. I did not see my name anywhere but was not immediately disappointed. Hey, it was only 10 a.m. Maybe my secret sister hadn't made it to church yet. You know, Baptists are notoriously late for everything, even Sunday School . . . and especially on Easter Sunday, because you've got to be decked out in those new Easter outfits. Yes, nothing like new outfits for the whole family to get your mind on spiritual things. Right. Anway . . .

Then, I spotted a small plastic Eastery bowl in the back with two little chocolate bunnies and some plastic, candy-filled eggs. It looked rather sad sitting there amongst the potted azaleas and lilies, overflowing baskets, and beautifully wrapped boxes. My first thought was to feel bad for whoever was receiving that compared to what else was on the table. The next sickening thought was for my bonehead self . . . I knew in my heart that it was mine, though it lacked a name tag. I quickly looked away and made my way to Sunday School, trying not to be disappointed.

Forty-five minutes later, my suspicions were confirmed as my mom pointed to the little plastic bowl and told me that so-and-so had told her to make sure I got my gift. It took about two seconds for some negative comment to come tumbling from my wicked tongue. I'm surprised it didn't turn black and fall out of my mouth. And I'm surprised my ungrateful heart didn't shrivel up and die right there for all the jealousy and unappreciative feelings I had. The very reason I had hesitated joining the fun was unfolding with increasing disgust on my part.

At first I was going to give my candy away to my husband and kids because I was, after all, trying to lose some weight. But I decided against it for some reason and took it down to my seat beside mom and behind my brother and his wife. See, I'm a front-row Baptist while my husband and kids are back-row Baptists. I used to be a back-row Baptist but decided too many people have pint-sized bladders and have to use the bathroom too much during services. Too much of a distraction for a girl who finds herself more often than not doodling during preaching. Yeah, that's pretty frustrating. The older I get, the more I think I'm ADD or something. Anyway . . .

During choir my sister-in-law with the growing abdomen (she's expecting in July) commented that she was so hungry because all she'd had for breakfast was fruit. By then my conscience had chastised me pretty good, and I was beginning to feel pretty bad about my stinkin' attitude. So, I offered to give her some chocolate from my little plastic bowl after we came down from the choir loft. I decided that the little plastic bowl was already making a difference to somebody, even if it wasn't me.

All through the services I really kept thinking about how stupid it is to get upset over something like this. I mean, there are prayer requests for people who are dying with cancer, eleven-year-old car accident victims who need spinal surgery, a family I've known for 20 years whose husband and father died from complications from liver cancer, and who knows what else! There are people in my church who have lost jobs and do not know what's next. There are marriages in trouble, families being torn apart, and souls who, if they died right that moment, would be eternally separated from God. My stinky attitude was making me challenged as a Christian. If there was anything like Special Olympics for Christians, I'd probably be a member.

Then came the ultimate realization of how thick-headed I am as a Christian. You see, just last week God had allowed me to come across Acts 20:35 during my Bible study last week. The latter part says "...remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." I'm surprised that people did not hear an outward groan when the Holy Spirit brought that little bit of information to the fore-front of my boneheaded thinking. The truth of the matter is that I had already received my blessing by picking out something for my secret sister that I knew would make her day. My blessing had not come by receiving but by giving.

So, in short, what makes me a bonehead Christian is the fact that I am thick-headed and often seem to lack the basic skills of someone who is supposed to be like Christ. This most often happens when I allow my flesh to take over, which is way too much. And this happens because I do not "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5). It seems that I have two choices as a Christian: walk in the Spirit and be more Christ-like, or walk in the flesh and be a bonehead. Being a bonehead is painful. I do not like it one bit nor do I recommend it to anyone.

I am remembering something I read a while back about the stuff that we own or want to own. God tells us in James 12:15 to "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Being a secret sister really is about more than just stuff! It's about reaching out to women who are not just members of my church; they are my sisters in Christ. They are part of my spiritual family, and I am to show them Christ's love and care.

So, if you're reading this and you think think it sounds an awful lot like yourself, just be mindful that you are not alone. Maybe, as we grow and mature, the head will get a little softer, the attitude a little sweeter, the heart a bit more tender, the neck not so stiff, and the flesh will disappear as the Spirit is given full reign. As I close, I am reminded of the fact that I am the very reason Christ had to die. For every bad attitude, ungodly thought, and every sinful act, He chose to take my place and my punishment. He was the ransom for my soul. He paid a high price to redeem a sinful, undeserving person like me. He loves me, He loves me, He loves me.

Your bonehead friend and sister,


Happy Easter from the Zoo

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Circus: Our day with Little E

So Thursdays are usually pretty busy days for us anyway, but Little Sister called this morning asking if we could watch her youngest, Little E. My sister had been in bed for a day or so with terrible stomach pain and was on her way to the doctor over in the next town. For that reason I couldn't possible refuse, and I never pass up an opportunity to watch over The Circus (my sister's kids). Only, today it would just be one of them and that's plenty enough to keep The Brood entertained.

Little Sis is over ten years younger than I am, putting her kids about the same distance in age behind my own. Her oldest, Little Miss Drama Queen, is ten years younger than Miss Independent. Her son, the one who swallowed a NICKLE and put an airsoft BB up his nose because he wanted to save it for later, is about tens years younger than The Chick Magnets. Little E is about ten years younger than Baby Girl. She is pretty much beyond description!

Anyway, in some ways I feel like a grandma to her kids. Even though they are "just" my nieces and nephew, I love having them over, whether to spend the night or just for the day. Once, I kept them for two nights in a row while she and her husband went out of town. I can't really remember much about those two days . . . it's pretty much a blur.

I think one of the things I love most about Sis's kids is how crazy they are! People call The Brood the zoo crew, but Sis lives in a CIRCUS with her three. You just never know what they will do or what will come out of their mouths! For instance, Sis was explaining to Little Miss Drama Queen about having to take her standardized tests with the local homeschool co-op, like The Brood does each year. She promptly asked if she would be going to take them at the EXTINCTION OFFICE! I'm supposing that she has heard us talk so much about going to the extension office that she assumed that that's where ALL homeschoolers go for any kind of activity. Oh yeah, and did you know that buttons fit into BUTT HOLES? Yeah, so glad to inform you of that little tidbit of information. And did you know that the real title of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is Pirates of the Carrotbean? And Capt'n Jack really says "arrr, me hinneys"?

Remember how I said that Little Man likes to put things back to save for later? Well, it seems that his nose isn't the only place he'll put things. His other "storage" area is the little fly/opening on his undies, something he calls his "peter pocket". Yeah . . . so . . .

Of course, there are a million little stories about those little monkies, but I can't think of them right now. If my sis doesn't write a book about all of their antics, she'll miss out on making a bundle of money!

Just a quick prayer request for Little Sis. She is suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease right now. Please lift her before the Father as she has been in a lot of pain lately. Hopefully her meds . . . and The Circus . . . will ease her pain and help her get well very soon.

Until next time,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wow! Such a long time . . .

. . . since I last posted. So very much has happened since last March. First of all . . . my, ehem, little brother was married just about a year ago. It'll actually be a year ago this Sunday. It was sort of a whirlwind thing . . . he had been single for about fifteen years after being married for only a year or two. For a long time he waited for God to send the right one, and his faith finally paid off . . . quite suddenly! Not only did I gain a sister-in-law but also a niece and nephew. We're all learning each others quirky ways, but I'm sure we'll all work out the details soon. It's just one of those patience things.

About the same time that L.B. (little brother) was married, we found out that my Dad had some sort of growth on his lung. He had not been well for several months and finally Mom talked him into seeing his regular physician. At first the doctor thought the pain was coming from acid reflux or some such thing. When the pain persisted, Mom got him back in to the doctor. Two days after my Dearest Daughter turned 18, we found out about the growth after Mom showed Doc a picture of Dad taken at Christmas. His health had so declined from December to March that Doc was taken aback and realized what was likely going on. A tumor. All of Dad's other symptoms (pain, sleeping often, loss of appetite, etc) suddenly made sense.

I tried not to cry and was fairly successful. Even when I told The Brood (my five kids). I just couldn't cry when I didn't know for certain what was happening. Plus, there was just too much happening. The Chick Magnets (my twin sons) were turning 16, Dearest Daughter's prom and graduation were in the very, very near future, and there were scores of other activities to think about.

To make a long, drawn out story as short and painless as possible, I'll just go ahead and tell you that Dad had non-small cell cancer. It is likely that it was caused by smoking, something my dad had done since he was 14 years old. It took both a lung and liver biopsy to get a definite diagnosis. There were also a few scans. In the end, the cancer had spread to his liver and the exterior of his stomach. His oncologist, a very kind and compassionate man, gently explained to Mom, L.S. (little sister), and me that there was no cure for Dad, only chemo to ease his pains and improve his quality of life for the few months he had left. Hospice was an option as well. Dad chose the chemo that Wednesday, but on Thursday morning his pain had increased significantly, causing him to ask Mom to call in hospice instead.

So, we called them in and got Dad everything we thought he'd need for what we had concluded would be about a two-month ordeal. They brought a shower chair, a potty seat, portable oxygen, a wheelchair, and a hospital bed. The only thing Dad got to use was the bed, and that was only for one night.

That Friday was the baccalaureate service for Dearest Daughter's graduation, but L.S. called that morning to ask if I could come over because Mom thought I needed to be there because Dad had had a bad night.

After going to a hair appointment, I headed over there with enough outfits to last through the weekend's activities. Namely, my daughter's graduation. I had no idea what would happen that weekend, but when I got to my parent's house things were worse with Dad. His breathing was labored, and his pain was intense. We called hospice for oxygen, which Dad had refused the day before, but clearly needed now. If nothing else, it would help him relax and rest a bit better.

I had left my boys with Mom the night before because Dad was having a hard time getting around. I knew that if he had to get up, she would never be able to help him in or out of the bed. L.S. and one of the boys had gotten Dad up that morning and could not get him back in the bed. If it was not enough to tear my heart out seeing Dad nearly immobile, hearing my sister tell me that my 16-year-old son had tears streaming down his face because he had to help his granddad out of the bed . . . well, it's just not something you ever want to experience.

I had asked Mister (my husband) that day to pray for God to spare Dad through the weekend. When he asked why I didn't want my dad to live longer than that, I told him that I knew in my heart it was Dad's time, but I could not possibly choose between my oldest child's graduation ceremony and being with my family at Dad's side. And my prayer's were answered, though not in the way I thought they might be. At exactly 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2007, one day before my parent's 43rd wedding anniversary and two hours before the homeschool co-op's baccalaureate service, my Dad went to be with the Lord. Although Dad's immediate family were there, two of his sister's and his only brother arrived about ten minutes after his last breath.

I can't even really begin to tell you all the emotions that flooded over me during that time. In some ways, it is all very vivid, even a year later. In others, well, I just don't remember. Even though there were many emotional situations happening within about a month's time in my life (kids turning 18 & 16, oldest child graduating, a dad who might die), and, more specifically, within a three or four day period, I think it helped to have something to focus on other than Dad's illness and sudden death.

That weekend was an odd mix of jubilation and deep sorrow. We made it through the baccalaureate service that Friday, visited the funeral home that Saturday morning to arrange for Dad's viewing and service, rejoiced with the other parents at the graduation that evening, visited and served guests at Dearest Daughter's graduation party, and sat through homecoming services at church Sunday morning. Monday evening we held Dad's viewing, and Tuesday was the day of the funeral services.

One thing my Dad wanted was for all of the family to ride together in a limo from the funeral home to the cemetery. The company he had worked with for fifteen years paid for us to have that, and I must say that it is a memory I'll keep forever. All of the adults were in the front car, and my brood rode in the second car with my brother's and sister's children.

Life has been a constant change since that time, but I won't bore you with all the details of all that's happened. Though we all really miss Dad something terrible, I would never wish him back. He knew where he would wake up and was ready to go. God answered Dad's prayers . . . and ours . . . by not allowing him to suffer month's of constant pain . . . and days of being doped up on morphine.

Not many people understand that sometimes God's mercy is allowing someone to leave this life a little earlier than we'd like them to leave. But you could never convince me to try to get him back, even for a minute. I know that one, someday soon, I'll see him again.

One thing I learned during this difficult time is that God's grace truly is sufficient. Losing a loved one to death is something I have dreaded my entire life. Up until that time, it was difficult to imagine what it would be like to live through something like that. Well, I learned that you can live through it, survive it, and grow from it. The day Dad went Home I came across a verse that has stuck with me since that time.

Psalm 73:28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Three important truths jumped out at me in the verse:

  1. Drawing near to God is a good thing; to make it though all that we went through at that time, I had to!
  2. I was not in charge then, nor have I ever been in charge of my life. The sooner I learn to trust God in every area of my life, the sooner I will be able to live in peace.
  3. Even in the hard times, God is at work in my life and I will tell others!

If you are going through hard times, draw close to God (it's a good thing, Martha Stewart!), trust God, know He is at work in your life, and tell others about it!

Dad, I love you and miss you.