Sunday, July 22, 2018

My Daughter's Getting Married! And My Son Bought A House!

And my world is changing yet again.  13 days before the wedding and 5 days before my son's settlement.  I know change is a part of life, but I don't understand why I don't like it very much.  Going from six kids to four in a week's time is not easy on my emotions.

However, I hope you don't mind if I take some time to tell you all the amazing "God" things that have happened these past few months.

Toby, our youngest, was diagnosed with scoliosis (see Good Friends) and had to wear a brace.  Her sister, Winter, also had scoliosis and endured surgery to correct her curves in August of 2013.  We prayed and prayed for Toby to somehow be able to avoid this surgery, despite the doctor telling us that the brace would hopefully "hold" the curve through her growth spurt and possibly buy us more time before she would probably also need the surgery.  Well, last year the doctor was very impressed with Toby's progress and gave her permission to only wear the brace during the night.  Then, earlier this year, he said she was doing so well that he thought she could go without wearing the brace at all!  He wanted to see her for her regular 6 month check-up to see if the curve changed at all.  Winter had her 5 year check-up the same time we went back last month for Toby's check-up.  Are you ready for this?  The doctor said, "It looks like Toby has avoided the surgery.  Her curve has only minimally increased, and we think she will be fine."   !!!!!!!  He didn't want to see her again for a whole year, and Winter is doing so well that she doesn't have to be seen for five years!  Earlier this year the doctor said, "When she presented five years ago, we were 100% certain of upcoming surgery for her.  We put her in the brace with a hope and prayer."  To which Winter responded, "And that's exactly what we did:  we prayed and we hoped!!"  Well, God heard our prayers, and God not only held the curves, but lessened her curves as well! Here's the latest Xray taken last month:

Tiffany is getting married on August 4, 2018.  She was accepted to grad school a few months ago at Virginia Tech and will begin the end of August!  Her fiance has been so gracious and was able to find an adorable apartment close to the school, and is currently looking for a job in Blacksburg, VA.   God has been directing and leading and providing for this couple already!  He is so, so good!!

Nathan began thinking about and casually looking for a house to buy just a few months ago as well.  He thought it was time to get his own place, and sought the Lord's direction and will for what was next for him.  To make a long and exciting story shorter (and perhaps a little less exciting than it was), he found a house and so many little details have been worked out for him to make settlement on July 27th!  So many prayers have been answered for him!

God has been doing amazing things for my kids!  Abe is doing well with his job for six years now!  Katrina has graduated with her Masters in Psychology and has been given the privilege to be a nanny for a 6 month old baby boy and 2 year old precious little girl, which she enjoys and thrives in doing!  Winter will be starting her third year in college in the fall!  And the Tobster will be a sophomore in high school.  She was on the Distinguished Honor Roll for all four of her semesters last year as a freshman, and has passed her Keystone Exams in Biology and Algebra in the Advanced category!  Blessings!!!

I marvel at God's goodness, love, protection, care, guidance, provision, and leading in our lives.  He surely has remembered the widow and the fatherless! Praise His Name and Glory to Him!

Sure there are a lot of big changes happening in the Radle home, but I am blessed.  I am thankful.  I am in awe of my awesome God.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Looking Unto Jesus!

Sometimes, as I had written previously, you really think God is directing your paths in a specific manner to lead you to a specific destination, but then He ever so gently guides you another way.  When this occurs, I admit, it is hard to understand why or where He is leading in a new a different direction.  You get your heart set on the other path, even dreaming of possibilities, yet you know that God knows best.  He sees the big picture, so why can't I walk with Him and not try to pull away  or run where my heart wants to run?

My heart needs to be closer to His heart.  I'm learning.  Although growing can be painful, I know His way is best.  I found this video I had made last year.  I had not watched it for many, many months, but as I was seeking to find my way again, I came across this video.  I watched again.  Of course, I cried.  When you are searching for new direction, or even any direction to where God wants you, it seems that is when the memories and missing those you love come back so strongly.  I sure am missing these precious folks who have been in my life.  I especially miss Todd today.  Life seemed simpler when he was here.  And more fun.

Just remember...keep holding on to Him, and no matter if you are seeking a new direction or just walking life's road, stay close to Him!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Staying Close

I know it's been awhile (in fact two years!) since I've last written, and I do apologize for that.  As time moves on, so has our lives here in the Radle home.  We currently have only one child in grade school, and she is now beginning her high school career as a ninth grader!  Toby was only 18 months old when her Daddy went to heaven, so I often picture him smiling and so proud of her!

The older children are all growing older as well, and each has found their way and doing quite well.  Our fourth child, Tiffany, was recently engaged to be married!  We are all excited about that, too.

Along with the many changes in our family dynamic and with all the changes that come with the children growing older, I have learned that our good God never changes.  Thus, the reason for this title, Staying Close.  Through it all:  the ups, the downs, the ordinary, the extraordinary, the mundane, and the awesome...our God is steady.  He's faithful.  He is good.

Unfortunately, there are many times when I want to run ahead of Him.  As a child sees something that grabs their attention and promises excitement and then pursues this new venture, so I, at times, run ahead, anxiously anticipating the glimmer of a new hope, a new venture.  I may even think it is what God wants me to do~yet I must walk beside Him, not ahead.

Unfortunately, there are many times when I want to linger behind Him.  As a child is enjoying an activity and comfortable with their surroundings and tends to linger in this pleasure, so I, at times, want to live in the past and wonder What would Todd do?  What would Todd say?  This often turns to despair and sometimes self-pity~yet I must walk beside Him, not behind.

As I learn to stay close to my Father, I learn that His way is the best way.  This is not easy.  I often feel like a child, pulling on His Hand to go back, or tugging to go forward or in a different direction.  But I'm learning that walking next to Him and staying close to Him is the best way.

Tales of Six Kids will return more frequently, but I wanted to share these thoughts with you first.  There is a lot of exciting news to share with you!  Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Another Fall

Yesterday marked 10 1/2 years since Todd went home to heaven on May 6, 2005.  It was a Friday, and yesterday was a Friday as well.  The next time a Friday is dated for a "6th" will be next May.  Todd loved the fall season.  Every fall memories fill my heart and thoughts with Todd spending hours outside raking leaves (and jumping in them with the kids), taking rides to see the beautiful scenery, decorating outside with pumpkins, hay bales, and corn stalks, and preparing the vans and the house for the winter months.  It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since those times. 

With the recent losses of friends and family members, this fall seems more difficult than previous ones.  Even the children do not seem as excited with the approaching holidays as they have been in the past.  Watching them hurt is tough.  But I was reminded tonight from a fellow blogger that being thankful, especially during the difficult days, places an invisible balm on your heart.  It's true.  I am so thankful for all those great memories.  I am so thankful for a husband and a daddy who loved us and loved God.  God is good.  Thank you, God, for Todd.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Ever think about the storms that we encounter?  Physical, spiritual, or emotional, storms are often a part of our human experience.  Today where we live there were physical thunderstorms, with the possibility of causing severe damage.  There were reported hailstones and gusty winds, with the possibility of tornadoes in some areas.  I don't know about you, but when I hear of the possibility of dangerous storms and the damage they can do, I tend to get a little concerned.  Most of us take precautions.  The "weather alerts" and watches and warnings, help us to know what some of those precautions should be:  go inside, stay away from windows, have batteries and flashlights ready in case of power outages, and on and on the list can go.

Today in the area where we live, we were spared the possible damages the storms could have caused.  However, we still needed to be and were prepared for the worst.  The opposite has occurred here as well.  Sometimes, no matter how well we are prepared, storms still cause damage, and sometimes very major damage.  It is totally out of control.  Out of our control, anyway.

Then I thought of the storms we face in life that are more spiritual or emotional. God's Word gives us the precautionary measures to take to prepare for such storms, and the Bible is filled with warnings of guaranteed "storms" that will come upon us.  It is wise to heed to these warnings and to be prepared for the storms, however, remember we have no control over them.  Thankfully we know that our Heavenly Father does have control and knows exactly which storms will cause damage and which ones will pass over with minimal damage.

But there are some storms that enter our lives that we could never be fully prepared for, and the damage can be devastating.  I don't think there is a more devastating "storm" that can enter a person's life than the loss of a loved one.  These storms pull your roots out of the ground.  They flip you over and over and cause confusion and loss of focus.  The "strikes of lightening" can be more painful than anyone could ever imagine.  The "sounds of thunder" can be deafening and knock you off your feet.  And your home....can be destroyed.  Completely.  These storms can also isolate you from others, making you feel abandoned and alone.  Others around you may not have been effected at all by your storm, and many times this can cause hurtful comments..."It's not that bad."  "You can fix all the damage or buy new things."  "You're just too sensitive."  ...and on and on the comments come. 

Thankfully we have a caring, loving, sustaining, understanding, and comforting Heavenly Father we can run to and hide in his Arms.  He is our shelter from the storms of life.  He is our Safety and our Rock.  Praise Him!

 "The Lord's our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm."

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nine Years of Lessons...and still learning!

Well today marks 9 years.  It's still hard to imagine.  Nine years!  Nine years since my world turned upside down.  Nine years since I've spoken to Todd.  Nine years since I held his hand.  Nine years since I've heard his voice.  Nine years since I've felt his touch,  Nine years.

Even with all that time, not one day has passed where we haven't thought about Todd/Daddy.  His presence is everywhere in this house...still.  Pictures on the walls, lots of great memories to share, and of course, he's in our children.  Mannerisms, physical features, habits--they're all present here in the kids.  Sometimes I hear his voice or his laughter.  It seems to be echoing still in this house.  Nine years.

Nine years of lessons being learned, and we're still learning.  Our Heavenly Father is still working in my life and in the lives of our children.  We're learning how faithful He is.  How good He is.  How much He loves us.  Amazing love, that will one day reunite us all.

I'm tired and hurting, so I have to stop writing for now.  There is so much more to share.  I'm exhausted and all I want to do is go to bed and cry.  God is good.  For nine years God is good.

Miss this guy so very much.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Todd's Funeral

When first asked if I wanted to record the funeral service, it felt a little weird and uncomfortable.  After I was told that the children were so young and that it would be good for them to see it again when they were better able to understand, I agreed to have the service videoed. 

For nearly five years I never wanted to go near that tape.  I couldn't bear even seeing the label, "Todd's Funeral."  Then, over the years, I began to attempt to watch it.  I never made it all the way through.  Never was able to watch the entire video in one sitting.  I was always overcome with emotion.

Well, last week, almost nine years later, I succeeded in watching the entire thing all at once!  ouch.  It was hard.  It was painful.  Yet, as the message was spoken, there were some incredibly encouraging things that were said!  I felt comfort.  I felt such thankfulness for having made the decision to video the service.  Much of it was difficult, but the message, the words from God's Word, were soothing.  So, this week I decided to begin a project.  I wanted to take excerpts from that message and share them with others to help them and to comfort them.  So far I have only been able to take the message and divide it in two parts.  I thought I would share them on my blog, here, first.  Please, be comforted, strengthened in our Heavenly Father's love, and encouraged! 




Thursday, February 27, 2014

26th Wedding Anniversary: Definitely more than I can bear.

I have often told people who were going through difficult situations that they must be strong, because God said He wouldn't give us more than we could bear, but they were going through incredible difficulties.  When people have said those same words to me, I always responded, either mentally or sometimes with spoken words, I am not strong.  I can't do this.  God DID give me more than I could bear.  Then the questions came about what God promised. 

What did He promise us?  Thankfully this week one of my children came back from a meeting at church where one of their peers made this statement:  God promised He would always give us an escape from TEMPTATIONS, that He would never put us in a situation where we would have no choice but to sin.  He has always told us that we would not be tempted beyond what we could bear.

...AND THERE IT WAS!!!  God NEVER PROMISED US THAT HE WOULD NOT GIVE US MORE THAN WE COULD BEAR IN BURDENS OR DIFFICULTIES!!!!  He wants us to see that we cannot do it alone.  There is no way.  Only He can get us through difficult times....NOT by anything we do or with our own strength!

This has given me such peace.  Let me explain.  Now when I said, fearing that I was saying things against God, how I could not go through this and that God gave me more than I could handle, I finally realize that is exactly what God says as well!  He wants us to come to Him, needing Him, with nothing of our own strength or ability.

So that's where I am today.  It's February 27th....26th wedding anniversary.  I miss Todd more than I could say.  I cannot go on another day without his presence.  I just can't.  I'm done.  It all hurts so much.  So I go to my Heavenly Father.  HE ALONE will get me through this day and the ones to follow.  Leaning heavy on Him today...    I miss you, Todd!  Love you still with all my heart.  I'd do anything to see you and hold you and hear you today.  Hard to believe this is the ninth anniversary without you.  We were supposed to grow old together.  So sad today, but resting in my Father's Faithful and Loving Arms, knowing this is definitely more than I can bear.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Everyone Home for the Holidays? ...not quite.

You know that warm feeling you get when everyone in your family is home?  Whether it's a snow storm, hurricane warning, or even when college kids are home from college for a holiday?  Well, when you have a lost a loved one, you never quite get that feeling again.  There's always one (or 2 or more) who is missing. 

Yes, it was great to have all our children home over the holidays.  But Todd wasn't here.  The difficult reality:  He will never be home here on this earth again.  Ever. 

Holidays seem to be a harsh reminder to this reality. 

It's true I am blessed beyond imagination with six great children, all who I am sure make their Daddy proud.  It's true our Heavenly Father has taken great care of us.  It's true there is much to be thankful for. 

Yet none of these truths change the reality and that awful feeling, especially around the holidays, when you are missing someone who now resides in heaven. 

I love you Todd!  Missing you this holiday season and always.  Until we meet again...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Good Friends

It's a blessing to have good friends.  One friend, who has been an extra special blessing, recently noted how she only gets updates on our family through this blog.  This is because I am not good at hand-writing letters or cards, like she often sends to me.  Actually, I'm just not good at communicating period.  I've gotten way too lazy with this important social skill, but besides all that, this blog post is for my very special friend who never hears from me, unless I am blogging!

A couple of weeks ago Winter got an excellent report from her doctor.  He was so pleased with her recovery, and we were encouraged because he was happy!
UNTIL...   he asked me to bring Toby with us to Winter's appointments, and he had been checking her every 6 months.  This time he asked me to bring her to Winter's follow-up visit, but also to get some x-rays.  He quickly turned somber and told me that Toby's curve had progressed past 30 degrees.  Toby is only 9.  She hasn't even started her "growth spurt!"  This news brought tears to my eyes, but he said he wanted her in a brace asap.  He reminded me that the brace would not correct the curve, but that it would slow it down and possibly even stop it from curving more.  We will see him again in 4 weeks to get more x-rays to see if it is working.

So, we got her brace this week.  Wow.  Did you know the process for that?  I know I should have called or emailed or communicated in some way that Toby needed a brace, because it was a total shock for both of us.  First they casted her entire torso!  She had to shuffle her way over to x-ray (she reminded me a lot of my Mom walking!---please don't tell her I said that!).  Then they cut the cast off and made a custom fitting brace for her.  Monday was one hour wearing the brace and one hour free.  Yesterday was two hours wearing the brace, then one hour free.  Today Toby wore the brace for a total of six hours and will begin to wear it to bed.  I feel so badly for her.  She's another trooper, though!  Praise our Heavenly Father for both Winter and Toby and their attitudes toward these trials!!  I can't thank you enough for all your prayers. Here is the cast they cut off:

 And here's the table they had her on to put the cast on.  Doesn't it look like some torture contraption?  ugh.
 They did let her put her hand print and sign the wall, which was pretty awesome.

So, this past weekend we got pumpkins (the youth group is coming over to surprise Winter tonight!).  I can't believe how much Nathan looks and acts and even sounds like Todd.  He, Abe, and Trina set them up....just like Todd always did.  We picked out pumpkins for those who were not with us (Tiffany, Grenade, the baby in heaven, Rocky, and Todd's).  For Winter we got one with a straight tall stem:  

We got Tiffany one that looked like a cupcake!:

We got Todd one that we KNOW he would have picked out for himself.  He loved these kind of pumpkins and was always particular about the stem!  Ha!

Here they all are in the back of the van:

 And here are some of them arranged with Grenade wanting to play with the tennis ball!
I have more to share, but I can't really say all that I want to on the blog.  Yes, that means I'm actually going to have to WRITE to you!  :) 
Thank you again for your many prayers and cards!  We are praying for all of you as well.  Thanks for the update on your family.  Love you and miss you lots!!!