Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

The year is coming to a close.  My late husband, Steve, was always big on us making goals for the new year.  He didn't believe in resolutions.  He liked firm measurable goals with a deadline.  I always choked out a few, but my heart was never in it.  He was the visionary.  I really liked that about him, but I could never be that forward thinking.

Now, I am the solo captain of my ship.  I can't depend on Steve to light the way for our future.  I have to make those decisions.  And I'll be honest, I don't want to make them.

However, I've given some thought to some goals, big and small...well, mostly small, and this is what I would like to accomplish this year:

  1. Every day spend 15 minutes de-cluttering my house.  (Yes, I believe I am just one box load of junk away from an episode of hoarders.)
  2. Do some sort of vigorous exercise three times a week.
  3. Sell my house in Tuscaloosa and purchase a town home for myself with the proceeds.
  4. Continue my ballroom dancing lessons and continue to try to find a partner (just a dance partner...please don't read more into this!)
  5. Take one exotic trip before the end of the year.

Five goals. That's about all I can handle.  But it's enough.  I hope Steve Would be proud of me.

Happy New Year, everyone.  May 2012 bring blessings to you all.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weak Heart - Strong God

It's been a tumultuous couple of weeks.  In addition to the stress of the holidays and the travel and gift buying, I've had some things come up completely unrelated that were shockingly unanticipated.

One step forward, two steps back.
Go ahead...kick a girl when she's down.
Merry Christmas to me.

I've been emotional, mad, a tad bitter, and now resigned to the fact that God knows a lot better than I do.

I've held this matter on my heart and laid it in God's hands.  This whole widow deal has taught me that I am in control of nothing.

Maybe that's a good thing.
I'd probably mess it up anyway.

Today someone remarked, "You are the strongest person I know."  I gave them a weak smile and thanked them for the compliment as my insides rang with "IF YOU ONLY KNEW WHAT A JIGGLING MASS OF JELLO I AM, YOU WOULD PITY ME RATHER THAN BE PROUD OF ME."

I am NOT strong.
I have a very strong God.
Thank goodness.


Monday, December 26, 2011

If the Mountain was Smooth...

I survived Christmas.

Okay...perhaps survived is a little dramatic.  However, I would be lying if I told you it was a breeze.  This is my second Christmas without my husband.  I thought it would be easier.  I was wrong.

At our church on Christmas Eve, we have family Lord's Supper.  Since two of my boys were at work, it was just son number three and me.  While large extended families went to the front to receive the cup and the bread, my family numbered only two.

Just us two.  My heart broke and the tears flowed.

The deacons administering the cup and bread knew the meaning of my emotions.  A large hand clasped around me and my little family was prayed for...lovingly, sincerely.

Christmas day services were equally emotional.  I thought I had shed all my tears the night before.  I was wrong.  But again, loving arms embraced me...and an invitation to Christmas brunch made the day brighter.

I was recently listening to a pastor on television and he shared the wisdom of an older woman in his church:  "If the mountain was smooth, you couldn't climb it."

God never promised us a smooth mountain.  He knew that an easy journey to the peak wouldn't bring out the best in us, especially me.

And so, I still climb this craggy mountain called widowhood...through every season.  Even though the going gets hard, I've got an expert climbing guide.  He knows the way.  I just need to be smart enough to follow Him.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Silence at Christmas

I haven't posted in a while.  Holidays always put my life in a whirlwind, and this year is no exception.

In 1995, I buried my father on Dec. 24th.  Christmas has never been the same for me, much to the angst of my children and husband.

Last year was my first Christmas without Steve.  It was a blur...only a few months after his death.  I took my sons and went away for a tropical respite.  It was what we be be be together.

This year, work schedules, commitments, and finances make a trip away an impossibility.  I've had to face this holiday head-on.

The tree...a live one as family tradition dictates...was purchased just after Thanksgiving.  However, it stayed on the porch for almost two weeks.  I finally got it up a week ago, but it remained naked (or as we say in the South "neeked") until two days ago.

My youngest son helped me put on all the ornaments.  My ornaments are not classically beautiful, but each is a memory.  It was like walking through a visual timeline of my life.

My late husband's ornaments were saved and put on a small secondary tree.  It has a place of honor...right by the nativity scene.  I have a rolled up note with Steve's gift...a tradition I started last year.  I take the money I would have spent on a gift for him and do for another in need.  He would have liked that.  He was that kind of man.

All my friends received gifts made by my hands...a first for me.  Making them made me feel useful...creative...and each gift was made with love.

The major gift buying for my family is done...I'm down to the stocking stuffers.  I only need a few more things to make everything complete.

It would be remiss of me if I said that I have "survived" getting ready for Christmas.  It has been tough...there have been tears...there have been low periods.  However,  there has been light in this season for me.


Because I took my eyes off of me and turned them toward others.  In giving to others, I fully embraced the true meaning of Christmas.  Jesus would want His birthday celebrated that way.

So forgive my silence these past few weeks as I focused on others.  Know that in doing so, I have worked toward healing me.

Christmas blessings to you all!



Saturday, December 3, 2011

The World is NOT Flat

In our not so distant past, people thought the world was flat.  Sailors believed that when you came to the "end" of the horizon you would simply fall off the earth.  This seems silly to us now because the space program has provided amazing pictures showing us the whole picture of this big round ball we call home.

Things unseen are always scary.  We fear what we can not see.

At the Strait of Gibraltar the Spaniards erected an enormous marker at the narrowest point as a warning to all sailors.  The marker had three Latin words engraved on its surface:  Ne plus ultra.

Ne plus ultra.  "No more beyond."  

For almost a year and a half, I've lived my life like the ancient mariners.  I have feared what I could not see.  I was afraid to move beyond my horizons because I thought I would fall off the edge.  I have believed there was no more life for me beyond the one I had with my late husband.  

In 1400 and 92 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered the Americas, those myths about the world being flat were shattered.  Even Spain, who erected the Gibraltar marker,  acknowledged its mistake by marking their coins with the slogan Plus ultra.  "More beyond."

There is MORE BEYOND for me.  God already has a perfect plan for me.  No, I can't see that plan, but I trust that the hands of the Master are at work making it unfold for me in His time.

Thank you, Lord, for MORE BEYOND.