Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Tiffany!

Another birthday celebrated brings another teen to the Radle family, which brings our grand total to FOUR teenagers. Todd and I talked about this day, and so far it is just as we had imagined it would be like....full of fun, laughter, and good times. I pray they continue, and I pray Todd could see his little girl becoming a teen today. God is good.

Kids had GREAT Christmas....and still are!

My heart is filled and overflowing with gratitude to our good and great God for His marvelous works. God used some special people and churches to allow the children a wonderful Christmas.

Toby was thrilled with her gift card for Toys R Us, even though she had/has no clue of the value of money. (all the children were given $100 gift cards from Fellowship Church!) Winter was even more thrilled with her gift card, as she was able to comprehend all the many things she would be able to purchase! Tiff, Trina, Nathan, and Abe were equally thrilled, as they were able to choose gifts that I could never afford to give them.

Yesterday we took a trip to Toys R Us. I wish you could have seen Toby and Winter (and even the older ones) picking out anything their hearts desired. I had to hold back the tears when they would ask me if it was ok to buy this or that. Toby, Winter, and Tiffany have only spent half of their gift card money, and this was after another shopping trip today!

Trina enjoyed picking out some furniture and other things for her dollhouse. She also got a few books she was wanting for several months now. Nathan has only spent half of his gift card money as well, but enjoyed buying more supplies for his pet turtles. Abe, well Abe had a great two days at Comp USA with their sales on computer things that I could never describe. He was almost as fun to watch as the Tobster at Toys R Us!

God has blessed our children beyond what words could express this Christmas. Pastor John reminded them of that, and I have reminded them of this truth countless times. God is good. Thank you to all who have given to help make the kids feel so blessed by our good God! We pray God's blessing on you and on your churches. Thank you.

Here's Abe, digging into the huge chocolate Santa given to us! (there's still a little left)

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I wanted to share just one of those moments where my whole insides feel like they are being ripped out. Today it was when Trina was getting Rocky all excited when Nathan came home from work. Nathan was driving Todd's van, and I have to admit, the sound of the engine coming up the hill still gives me chills. I loved when Todd came home. Anyway, Trina, trying to get the dog excited, succeeded in yelling, "Daddy's home!" Rocky ran to the front door, then to the back, then whined, then began Trina would repeat this over and over. (this had been a common scene in our home) We were all watching and laughing, until the Tobster came running down the hall and asked in an excited voice, "Our Daddy is home?" I keep hearing that sweet little voice over and over tonight. Oh, if only it had been Daddy coming home.

Everything hurts again. Christmas is only two days away. Todd's birthday is only two days away. I'm so tired of people wishing me a Merry Christmas. Merry? I try, for the kids, but I don't feel at all "merry" these days.

Thanks again to everyone for the prayers. God knows I need them so much. I feel like I'm losing my grip here, but God continues to be good. God continues to provide strength. Thank you, Father. Where would I be without Him? I don't like to think about it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

So Much BETTER to GIVE than to Receive

I don't like receiving. It makes me feel uncomfortable. For some reason I feel stupid, knowing there are so many other more deserving people than myself to receive things. Perhaps it's pride. I don't know. I just know I don't like receiving gifts. It feels funny to be receiving, especially at this time of year.

I can remember how Todd would come to me often, telling me about someone at work, or on his route, or a family at church who were in need, and would ask me what we could do. Make a dinner? Give them a little cash? Watch their children for an afternoon? Make them a batch of cookies or a cake? Anything...something, because we had so much and were so blessed. We were rarely necessarily blessed financially (when we were, Todd would immediately be thinking of others who were in need), but we were blessed with so many things, one of which was a great, loving, giving husband and Daddy.

I miss Todd's spirit of giving, especially this weekend...

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I tried to call him Pastor John, but it was just John today. He reminded me of some good memories we shared, as our parents were close friends when we were growing up. I thought of more as the day grew on. Playing nerf basketball with John and Buddy, leaping off their beds for the perfect slam dunk, trying not to break anything. The cool bumper pool table they had in their basement. Riding bikes up to the arcade down at the shore. Playing Rook. Spying on my older brother and John's older sister.....didn't they date at one time?

Anyway, a lot of years have passed since those days. I can't sleep again, and I can't stop crying since seeing John today. I honestly think this has been the hardest Christmas yet without Todd. The loneliness can be overwhelming as I try to pick out gifts and get ready for Christmas the best I am able. I feel like I'm falling apart in every area. I've even questioned God's presence and His love for us, wondering if He had forgotten my children and I. I want to scream, "Remember us?? We're still here, alone, without Todd!" The days keep coming, and the tears keep flowing. Life feels so empty and I feel so lost here without Todd. It stinks.

Seeing John today not only brought back some fond memories of growing up, but also allowed me to realize that God has not forgotten us. John repeatedly said he wanted me and the children to feel God's love and know we were not forgotten. Unfortunately, most have forgotten. Afterall, this is the third Christmas now without Todd. However, I didn't feel forgotten today. I felt loved and very blessed in having such a friend like John and for having Fellowship Church, most of whom do not know us, show such care and love to us in their many gifts. My kids were thrilled to unpack the basket and arrange things for me....they sincerely seemed thankful for me, if that makes sense. I'm still overwhelmed; these were special gifts from a special friend...

Thank you, John, and thank you, Fellowship. I pray God's richest blessings upon each of you!

My many thanks also to our Chadds Ford family, who have given much to us this time of year. I am continually amazed at how great God is. It seems when I feel the most down, the most discouraged, the most forgotten, God's people come along to support, uphold, encourage, and remind me of God's love for me.

Thank you so very, very much, John, Fellowship, Chadds Ford, but mostly, GOD. He is so good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Thanks

I'm having trouble writing lately. Just going over everything again that's happening right now in my mind to put into words, is not enjoyable nor is it helpful to dwell on how much Todd is missed around here.

I did want to thank everyone again for their prayers, however. God is good. I know many are praying, and for that I am so grateful and appreciative. It is through the prayers of God's people that God is able to answer and give strength to go through each day. The burden feels greater than ever, but our God is able. Thank you for your prayers. God is indeed very good.

I hope Todd is able to see the children singing in church Christmas programs, wrapping gifts for each other and for their friends and teachers, jumping up and down in excitement of the big day approaching quickly, and talking about him in nearly every conversation. I can't seem to stop the tears lately.

Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

31 Months Today

I can't tell if time is going by quickly or if it is going in slow motion. I can't believe it's been 31 months since Todd went to heaven, yet it feels like yesterday when we went to get our Christmas tree together for the last time, now 3 years ago. wow.

The kids decorated the house when I was at work today. I came home to Christmas! The girls did a great job inside, and the boys decorated the outside of our home just as Todd always had...with candles in each window surrounded by garland and bows. It was beautiful. I cried. I cried because they did a great job, and I cried because I was so happy I didn't have to do it. But I cried mostly because I miss Todd. Christmas without him doesn't feel right. A big piece is missing. The space left seems to be getting bigger. No one's singing goofy Christmas songs in the shower. No one is hinting how good my chocolate chip cookies are and saying how they can almost taste them. No one is eating all the hidden candy for the stockings. No one is asking where I hid their Christmas gift and promising they will act surprised when they open it Christmas morning. No one is buying me something special and telling the kids to keep it a secret. No one is betting with me which one of the kids will be up first and how early on Christmas day. No one is playing the Elvis Christmas music (thank the Lord!).

I just don't get how I can live in a house with six children and feel so incredibly lonely. I miss my "no one."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My New Favorite Christmas Song

Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Praying Friends

I have a great privilege in having praying friends! Tonight I have to take time to publically thank the faithful, praying friends God has given me. THANK YOU!

Today was a difficult one. I had to go back to work, and this is not an easy thing to do! I was physically sick today. My stomach hurt all day, and I couldn't eat. I was shaking, crying, and a total mess. Todd's absence seemed immense. Tears were just under the surface or spilling out over my cheeks through the day. I remembered the many who said they were praying for me, and emailed two for "extra" prayers. I was scared I wasn't going to make it today. I know for a fact the only way I got through this day was with God's almighty strength and goodness.

I received these verses in emails today. I praise God for His Word and for His promises. Before I left for work I recieved: Psalm 100:4 "Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually." What a timely reminder!

Then on returning home I was reminded of these wonderful verses:
Isaiah 43:2 &3a "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God." The praying friend who wrote this added, "you could easily say you're in the rivers but the Lord's promised not to let it overtake you." Praise the Lord! His promise was not broken, and the waters did not overtake me today! God is good.

Just as others have noted in comments and in emails, God is in control. He is control of even the waves and undertows. Praise the Lord for His goodness to us! And I am praising the Lord for praying friends!! Thank you...that doesn't seem adequate, but thank you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Undertow

The days are just moving along. Some days I feel like I am riding the waves with my head above the water. Other days I feel as though the waves are just pushing me through the hours. Still some days I feel like the wave has knocked me to my knees and sometimes to my face in the sand, and crash over me, making it difficult to stand again. Thankfully, those days seem to be getting farther and farther apart, yet they still come. I hate the really big waves. I can't wait to get to the "golden shore" and be done with all the waves! phew. One day...

Sticking with my ocean and waves analogies, I thought today how things were going ok, yet there is this constant "undertow" that never seems to leave. In the middle of a smile in watching Toby struggle to draw the letter "B," or in the midst of listening to siblings squabble over who got more cookies, there is this constant undertow of pain and missing Todd. It's always there. Everyday, all day. I'm afraid that sometimes it takes me off my "mark," and pulls me to where the waves are strong and overpowering. It's like a constant battle to keep those feelings of pain and sadness away, so that they do not pull me too far away from the shore. Sometimes when I get pulled too far out, I wonder if I'll ever, ever make it safely back closer to the shore where the undertow isn't quite as strong. I seem to always make it back. This must be God. He is still in control of the waves and the sea, just as He was in that boat with the disciples. "Peace, be still." Praise the Lord for the peace He can bring in the storms! He is so good. Thank you, God. You are my strength, my hope, and my salvation!

And yet some, dare I say, most people seem to think I should not be struggling anymore. Afterall, it's approaching quickly on 31 months living without Todd now. Shouldn't I be "over" this undertow, this pain, this missing him so much?? I try, God knows I try! But that doesn't change the fact that it is still here. I wonder if it will ever go away. I sit here typing this with tears in my eyes....I miss Todd, I miss his voice, his laughter, and his gentle and secure touch. I miss the confidence he gave me. I miss him so much.

We got rid of the pumpkins. The kids keep telling me, "Dad always started decorating the first of December, Mom." I guess Saturday we need to drag out the Christmas decorations. The undertow feels stronger than ever tonight. I pray it doesn't take me too far out to those big waves. I'm scared of those waves, but I need to find my strength to fight them with God's help. Help me, God. I need you more now than ever. Thank you for what I know you will do these coming weeks.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Riding the Waves

God is good. I can definitely feel the prayers from God's people for me and my family. Yesterday I felt like I was just riding the wave through the day. This is a good change, because when I think back to other difficult days (birthdays, holidays, anniversary...), I felt as though that wave had knocked me down and I was scrambling for air. But yesterday was remarkably different. I was above the water. I was "riding" along, hurting much, but surviving. This was surely God holding me up through the storm of the day. Thank you for your prayers.

Todd loved the ocean. We could watch the waves for hours. I remember one time watching the remnants of a hurricane from the boardwalk in Ocean City, and how we talked of God's power as the waves crashed down on the shore. The sky was dark and ominous, yet I stood there feeling very secure with Todd's arm around me. The wind sprayed our faces with salty water. We knew God was in control, and we talked of his great power. I miss my sweetie, but I am trying to rest in our good God's capable Arms.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Aaron Kilmer

I know it's Thanksgiving. I know I should probably be writing tonight about the things I am thankful for, or I should at least be thinking and thanking God for the things that I am thankful for. However, tonight, and all day, my mind and heart have been with Jackie and Bob. See, Jackie is my friend and today she publically said goodbye and buried her son, Aaron, who was only 18 years old. His homegoing to heaven was tragic. It was untimely, at least in all of our eyes. I can't help but wonder what he and Todd are talking about. I know they have had to have met in heaven. I know Todd and Aaron would have gotten along great here on earth, so how much better are they getting along in heaven, praising God together and getting to know each other now? I wish they had met here on earth, but I hadn't met Aaron until after Todd was in heaven.

Jackie was a wonderful encourager to me. This is not her first loss. She also lost her husband, Wayne, when he was murdered years ago, leaving her with five young children. Who else would I call when I was hurting so badly? I knew Jackie would understand, and she did. She prayed with me. She sent daily verses from Psalm 119, and she prayed for me. I know she did, because I could almost "feel" her prayers for me. She helped me to get out my deepest thoughts, then guided those thoughts to Scripture and to my Father in heaven. She always took me to the Father, and would remind me of His love for me. I could never thank her enough.

But this week, this Thanksgiving week when we are being thankful for our blessings, Jackie is again grieving. Wayne and Todd are rejoicing with Aaron in heaven this Thanksgiving, but Jackie and Bob are left here in anguish. All who knew Aaron are grieving, but none as much and as hard as Jackie, Bob, and his many brothers and sisters.

This Thanksgiving is, for our family, the third one where Todd will not be sitting at the table with us. He will be greatly missed again. Yes, we have much to be thankful for, but I am most thankful for my salvation. Because of Christ and Calvary, I am promised an eternity with Him, Todd, and so many others who are already in heaven. I am sure they are all thankful for Christ and Calvary as well!

So this Thanksgiving, I not only praise God for His Son and for Calvary and thank Him for the promise of heaven, but I also thank God for Aaron Kilmer. I thank God for Aaron's 18 years here and for all the smiles and kindness he gave to so many, especially to his family. Aaron will be missed. I pray for the hurting family and friends left here. All questions will be answered in heaven, so hold on to the truths you know and to a God who knows all. Thank you, God, for Aaron. Hold him tight till we see one another again...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Drivers

Abe got his driver's license today. Nathan is scheduled to take his test Dec. 5th, and Trina will be getting her's next September. That makes three new drivers in less than a year! yikes.

These are the days and times Todd talked about that he was certain would bring excitement to our family. Today wasn't that exciting with him not here to enjoy it with. While waiting to take the driver's test, the boy in front of us was escorted by his father, who seemed more joyful than his son when he passed the test. Both of them wore huge smiles. The boy behind us came inside walking on air and repeatedly telling his mom, "Call Dad! Call Dad! He has to know I passed!" She smiled (ok, beamed) and walked outside to call his Dad. I choked back tears as we waited for Abe's license. Abe wasn't smiling, but he was happy he was getting his license. I wanted to call his Dad and tell him. Instead I swallowed hard, prayed silently, and on the way home told Abe that his Dad was very happy and proud of him. Abe mumbled, "Yea, whatever."

It just stinks. I hate living here without Todd, without the kids' Dad. It just stinks.

Sorry for the complaining. I should be in "thanksgiving mode," but I'm having a difficult time this week. Thank you for your prayers. God is good.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I forgot my camera today, but this was taken a few years ago. Two of my soccer kids:

Another season concluded today with the awards ceremony, as we watched Tiffany play one last game for the season. Afterwards we all gathered and cheered for each team. We've been doing this for ten years now (wow, didn't realize it's been that many years!). Today seemed almost surreal. As the sun was setting quickly behind the trees, I swear I could hear Todd screaming, "Score! Shoot! Just kick the ball!" He was a very enthusiastic parent, and everyone: coaches, refs, other cheering parents, and players, all loved him. When the boys were playing on different teams, he would go from field to field yelling for them to "SCORE!" He never could understand why they just couldn't simply kick the ball into that big net, obviously so intent on his own child that he never took into account the opposing players, the keeper, and the distance his children were from the goal!

Tiffany played well. I could hear her Daddy yelling for her to score. I wonder if she could hear him. Shoot! It seemed to be echoing across the soccer fields today.

....just moving through another day without Todd. I don't like it. The days feel like they are in control now. I do what they have planned for me. I go where they want me to go....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Outward Appearances

A comment was made, "I am ever thankful for your strength (though you don't think you are), your courage (though you wonder if you have any), and your trust in the Father (though you may wonder about that, too). Your faith is amazing." This was from Mel's Mom, who is the Mom to an incredible young lady named Mel, whose inspirational story has encouraged me and uplifted me...check out her blog for a real blessing!

Anyway, this comment reminded me of similar words spoken from a dear lady who recently started coming to our church. She said, "Wendy, I really admire you. Every time I see you here at church with all your kids, well, I just think you are doing so well and are so strong." I looked at her and as my eyes filled up with tears, I whispered to her, "Do you want to know the truth?" She just stared at me. "The truth is, I am falling apart inside. I am empty and lonely, and if it weren't for the fact that my children are all watching me right now, I would probably be screaming in pain, because I hurt in places I didn't know I could hurt." The lady stared wide-eyed and then began to cry. So I quickly added, "Anything good that you can see in me, any strength, anything at all positive, is God. It's not me. It's God. He is what is holding me together." The lady asked me for a hug. She thanked me over and over. I'm not sure what the thanks was for. Perhaps my honesty? But what I do know, and what I want all to know, is that any "outward appearance" that is good at all, is God. Because right now, I am a total mess. I am nothing. I have nothing to offer anyone but tears and heartache.

God is good. He is my strength. He is my courage. He is trustworthy and faithful; I only wish I could be trusting and faithful in return to Him. Outward appearances can be deceiving folks! But God sees all and knows all. Thank you, God, for your goodness, strength, faithfulness, and LOVE.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Dear God... (Special Requests)

There is much about heaven that we do not know. God has chosen, in His wisdom, not to share many details with us. I find myself "talking" to Todd often. This is obviously different than "talking" or praying to our Father in heaven. We are told to make our requests known unto Him (God). So lately I've had some special requests.

Last night at church, the children played baseball. Watching the Tobster try to swing a plastic baseball bat for the first time, brought a smile and tears to my eyes. My request? "Dear Father in heaven, please somehow let Todd know and be able to see his little girl trying to swing at a plastic ball with all the "big kids" cheering her on. Please allow Todd a glimpse of her running to the wrong base, with shouts and screams from her team mates, "Go to first, Toby!" as she turned in confusion, yet with a a huge smile on her face." I pray Todd saw it all.

Today Winter received a certificate, a pencil, and two books in the mail from her teacher. It was a reward for reading the most in her class during the month of October. A note, "Excellent job, Winter" from her teacher brought a huge smile to her face (and to mine). My request? Dear Father in heaven, please somehow let Todd see and know of Winter's special award for all the reading she did last month." Todd was always reading to the children. He loved to read and encouraged them to do the same. Todd would have made a huge deal about this and made Winter feel even more special. Tonight I told Winter how proud her Daddy was of her. I pray he knows and saw it all.

Some friends took us to a restaurant tonight where we had never been before. It was one of those places that cooks the food in front of you. The children were fascinated. Nathan caught a shrimp in his mouth, and he hates shrimp! I couldn't help but make another request, "Dear Father in heaven, please somehow let Todd see us in this new experience and be able to laugh with us and see what his family was doing." Todd would have made the evening so much more enjoyable, as I felt awkward and out of place without him. I hope he saw us. He would have been proud of the way the children behaved so well and had fun. We would have had even more fun with Todd.

I've had plenty of special requests lately, and I'm sure I'll have more as the holidays come upon us. I miss Todd, but I pray he is able to see and share in some of these things. I'm certain he is busy praising His Father and rejoicing with the others who are in heaven, but I also pray he is able to see some of these things.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2 1/2 years

A friend wrote: "It seems so long, and yet it seems like time is flying. Don't know how it can be both ways." ...and she is absolutely right.

It's hard to believe that it has been two and a half years since Todd went to be with His Savior. I can remember every detail as if it were yesterday. I can still hear his voice. I can still see his smile. I can still feel his presence and see him in my dreams. And yes, I can still picture and remember all those horrible details of that last week, as he sufferred in terrible pain, as he grew weaker and weaker, as we watched him around the clock giving him pain all seems so fresh, yet it has been 2 1/2 years!

Psalm 23 has become very dear to me. It was given to us anew when a pastor came to our home to help us tell the children that the doctors did not think Daddy would live very much longer. (he lived for only 5 more short days after that visit) He shared with us Psalm 23, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me..." He reminded us that for those who believed in Jesus, there was no "death," only a shadow to pass through.

I remember my words to Todd on that Friday morning, reminding him of that verse and praying that Todd would fear no evil. Todd smiled. He wasn't afraid. It was only a few hours later when he passed through that shadow, knowing God was with him, and now standing in His presence.

I miss Todd and I'm "homesick" tonight...homesick for heaven, my home one day. Again, that song comes to mind and again I pray the words:

You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

I could never express in words how much I miss Todd and how much my heart still feels broken. As the holidays draw closer, I ache to see him again, to be held in his arms again, to share so many things with him, but once again, I face these days alone. Yet, God has promised He will be my Shepherd and will never leave me nor forsake me. "For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." I must hold those words close to my aching and broken heart. I must keep trusting my God, my Shepherd, and my Savior. Heaven has never felt so real to me, and my salvation never more precious... God is good. I can't wait for heaven.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My brother is a GRANDDAD!

By the way, my brother is MUCH older than I am! However, as of 10:30 last night, he has a gorgeous, healthy, adorable grandson. Mommy and Daddy are doing well, too. Congratulations Erica and Joshua!

Nathan and I went up to the hospital last night to wait for the baby to be born, and it was like a family gathering! It was good to see everyone, but it was difficult in some ways, too. It was the same hospital where all our children were born, same hospital where Joshua (Daddy) was born, and unfortunately the same hospital where Todd had some of his tests and his biopsy done. Lots of memories.

Today we took the new baby a teddy bear and a big balloon to welcome him into this world. God is good. A new life...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Toby Faith

Toby Faith turned 4 years old today. It was the third birthday she celebrated without Daddy. It's all so hard to believe. We missed Daddy so very, very much today. When the other kids were younger, we used to celebrate birthdays at Chuck-E-Cheese. I just couldn't do it the other years, but this year we took the Tobster to Chuck-E-Cheese for her birthday. Lots of memories. Toby loved it. The older siblings were wonderful. Toby's oldest brother bought her a Chuck-E-Cheese teddy bear. It's hard to imagine that in a crowded noisy restaurant, one can be so lonely.

Happy Birthday, Toby.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Yes! Can you believe it? Yes, indeed. There is joy.

Lately I've been living in another deep, thick cloud of sadness in missing Todd. I've been crying a lot more. My heart is heavy. I hate the nights. I can't sleep. The mornings come and I don't want to see another day. I have trouble moving through the next hour. Everything seems so overwhelming. I feel so alone.

HOWEVER, after hearing a message from God's Word in the book of I Peter last night, God showed me that there is still joy. How can this be? It lies in the fact that I have a hope, a security, and "home" in heaven. I pray these verses (I Peter 1:7-9) bring encouragement to whomever reads:

"That the trial of your faith, being much much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full or glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (HEAVEN!)

Remember that song from Mercy Me, Homesick? "I've never been more homesick than now!"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

No more letters

I can't. I was sitting here thinking of what I would write to Todd, but there are so many things that I just can't put into a blog. If I could truly write to Todd, the letters could not possibly be much to tell him, so much to share, so personal, so boring for anyone who doesn't understand.

I suppose the best I can do is write here the tales of my children, and unfortunately that may mean the inclusion of some great heartache and pain as I continue to try to raise these children without their Daddy and my best friend.

The last few days have been filled with conversations about Daddy and things he had done or said. I think it's because of the change in seasons and all that we did together as a family this time of year. We put our summer lawn things away: the swings, the porch furniture, the toys... "Daddy would always give us one last swing before he took the swings down." or "Daddy never put the chairs away without taking the cushions off first and putting them in a bag." ugh. I want to scream, "I'm not Daddy!" but I don't.

I was scrubbing the tub today, which used to be something Todd did for me all the time. I was tired, and I couldn't stop the tears, when Toby came behind me and asked what I was doing. I blurted out in frustration and exhaustion, "One of Daddy's jobs." She answered quickly in return, "But Daddy's in heaven, him can't do jobs." Her sweet answer to my complaint made me stop and thank God for Todd and for heaven. She is right; Todd can't do jobs here on earth, but he can praise His Savior and God continuously. He is enjoying our ultimate goal and hope in this life. He's finished his jobs on earth. He is so blessed. It makes me long for that day when we are all in heaven together praising our Lord and Savior, and the jobs on earth are done! Oh, what a day. I pray for it to come soon.

Dear Todd: God is good!

Hey, hon. God has been so good to us. I guess you know all about His goodness now, walking side by side with our Saviour, enjoying the ultimate of His goodness in heaven! I can't wait to join you some day. I miss you. We all miss you; you were in our conversation a lot today.

The kids are doing well. They've been asking me to take them to the zoo again. I hope to get them there sometime next week. Toby especially loves the zoo.

Speaking of the Tobster, I wish you could have been with us Wednesday night. She has started attending the club at church with the "big kids," and she has been so much fun to watch. She says her verses, and this week was "Do that which is honest." When the teacher asked if the children had ever heard someone tell a lie, Toby's little hand went straight up in the air. "Abey told a lie and said I was stinky. I wasn't stinky. Him told a lie." She's growing up. Next Friday will be so difficult without you here. Four years old, Todd. Can you believe it?

God continues to be so good to us. He is watching and caring for us in your absence. It's not easy without you, but God is faithful and so good. The kids are doing well in school, and Abe is having a good start to his college days. Love you so very, very much...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Letters To Todd

I think I solved my dilema of wanting to write "tales" about the children, yet constantly finding myself writing about Todd and how much we miss him. I'll write to Todd, telling him about the kids! Brilliant, I know. So here's my first letter:

Hey sweetie,

It's been 29 months and 3 days since we said goodbye here on earth. I know you are enjoying all the blessings of heaven, but I wanted to let you know how things are here.

The kids are growing so fast! Abe started college last month. He graduated from high school with honors and he even received an award for "excellence in mathematics!" He's adjusting well to college and getting excellent grades. Today he received a 108, the highest in his class, on an English assignment! He also received the highest score in his jazz appreciation class yesterday on another quiz...a 106. He's doing well.

The others are doing well in their school work too. Both Tiff and Winter scored high in their PSSA tests. We have smart kids, Todd! And are you ready for this? I started trying to homeschool the Tobster. She learned how to write her name! It's so cute. She's also learning the other letters (slowly) and how to count. She seems to be picking up things easily. Remember, her birthday is next Friday. She'll be four years old. She misses you and talks about you alot.

Today was a long day. I took Winter to see Dr. Paul tonight. She's been choking again, and he gave us another medicine (besides the prevacid he prescribed in the summer), and he also went over everything with me again. He said we need to have a plan worked out in our head so we don't panic. You were right again....he reminded me that it is important to stay calm, just like you used to say all the time.

I have so much more to tell you, but I'm going to end this one here for tonight. You would be so proud of our kiddos, hon. They are all doing well. There isn't a day, rather an hour, that goes by without us talking about you. We all love you so very much and miss you more than words could express. I'll write again soon! Wendy

Saturday, October 6, 2007

29 Months Today......and life goes on...and on...and on...and on...

Life goes on, yet in some strange way these 29 months feel like a dream, almost as if time has stood still. I can't describe it. Most everyone who knew Todd has continued on with their lives much the same way they had 29 months ago. Life goes on. So now what? I know the truths and promises on which I must stand firm on and cling to. I know God has not forsaken us when Todd died. I know God has a reason. I know God's ways are not our ways. I know God loves us very much and has promised us eternal life when we trust in Him as our only way for salvation. I know I will one day see Todd again. But what NOW? It's so hard to move forward, believing the promises and truths of God's Word, when you hurt so bad and miss someone so much. What does God want from me now? All I can do is trust. It should be easy to trust a God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, so good, and the Creator of the universe. But I'm struggling with it all tonight. One of my favorite songs is from the movie, "Joseph, King of Dreams," You Know Better Than I. If you have never seen the movie, the songs plays when Joseph is in prison, after being falsely accused. God knew the path He had laid for Joseph; God knew what He was doing; all Joseph needed to do was trust. I find myself in that prison tonight. Help me, God, to trust you more and keep moving forward.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Rose

Today I was feeling extra sad, missing Todd and praying my way through the day. Todd never needed an occassion or a reason for giving me flowers, especially roses. If he was passing a flower shop or a place that sold flowers and they caught his eye, he would bring me home roses.

When Todd knew he was going to die, without me knowing, he talked to my sister and told her that he wanted her to buy me a rose bush. He said he wanted me to continue to receive roses from him, even when he was not here physically to give them to me. On the Sunday after he died, my sister and brother-in-law planted that very special gift from Todd to me. It is a treasure.

I was walking slowly up the driveway today, thinking about Todd and how much I miss him, feeling extra sad, and looked up to see this rose in full bloom today, on a day I needed it badly; I had to take a picture.

Thank you, Todd. I love you too.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Changing Seasons

It's that time of year again. There's a crispness in the air. The leaves are changing colors, and many have already fallen, making the walk to the mailbox noisy as you crackle them underfoot. The stores are filled with candy and Halloween decorations. There are cornstalks and pumpkins everywhere. Pumpkins. Yes, it's that time of year again.

Todd loved the fall. To him it was the beauty and magnificance of God's creation, reminding him daily of God's love and power joined in force to bring awe to his heart. It also marked the beginning of all the special holidays for him....Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. These he held dear, each having a special meaning and celebration for the great things his God had done in his life and for his family.

So when the pumpkins started appearing, Todd would be certain to help us find the "perfect" ones to decorate our home. As our family began to grow, we allowed the children to each pick a pumpkin as well.

Todd would spend hours arranging and organizing the pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and corn to make our home the most attractive in the neighborhood. October 1st became a much anticipated day for pumpkin hunting for our family. Todd made this so much fun, as he would need to "inspect" each chosen pumpkin. The children always tried to find the best ones.

Our first October 1st without Todd, the children begged me to purchase the biggest pumpkin at the store on display for Daddy. That was fun lugging home, but we did it. Last year we stayed more low-key, and the boys decorated "just like Dad did." So here we are again, another October 1st. The children are excited. I thought each year things would get easier. The void left is even bigger this year. I'm "feeling" more, so every time I see the pumpkins, hear the leaves crunch, watch the trees changing colors, I ache for Todd's presence, for Todd's touch, for Todd's voice to remind us what an awesome God we have and the tears just flow. I miss him more as the changing seasons come. The chill in the air only serves to remind me of the coldness left in my heart and soul when Todd went to heaven.

I pray for God's strength. I need God's strength. I need to feel His love. As the seasons change....God, please help me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The "Supposed To Be's" In Life

I recently came across a blogger's story (not even sure how I happened to find it) and soon found myself captivated. Today her fiance was supposed to come home with his unit from the war. She was supposed to greet him with hugs and tears. They were supposed to get married and have a wonderful life together. I cried a lot today, praying for her, thinking of her, begging God for His grace to envelope her today.

Then my heart turned to our "supposed to be's." Todd was supposed to be here when our oldest turned sixteen. He was supposed to see him graduate from high school. He was supposed to sing with us at the birthday parties for our children. He was supposed to help comfort and calm us in the face of sickness and injuries. He was supposed to grow old with me. He was supposed to be helping raise these children! I could fill countless pages with all the supposed to's. It doesn't help fill the void; it only makes it greater.

I realized today that our "supposed to be's" are the dreams, the hopes, the wishes of our futures. It's wonderful when our dreams and hopes become reality, but what about the "supposed to be's?" or the dreams and hopes that never become a reality? People say that's what makes a person strong. God's Word tells us it is the trials that should draw us closer to Him. "In your weakness, I am strong." We can read of Daniel and Joseph, who had numerous "supposed to be's," yet they found their strength in God. Their faith remained strong, and they moved forward. The more they depended upon God, the more God gave them the strength and grace to keep going.

My prayer is that I would find my strength in the God who loves me and keep moving forward. I have six children who need me to keep going. Sure, the "supposed to be's" hurt. Sure, living without Todd is a horrible nightmare. But the reality of all of this shows me the need to fall into the Arms of God and beg Him for the strength and grace to keep going.

Another day tomorrow. One day at a time. Keep going.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who Am I?

I'm asking this question tonight, because as I sit here remembering who I was, I am wondering who I've become or who I am becoming. For more than 17 years I was living as one with Todd. When we were married God made two, one. I remember the words clearly, and I remember the pre-marital counseling as if it were yesterday. How does one then go back to being one?

We prayed together. We raised our children together. We slept together. We ate together. We did everything together. Now I'm, in every sense of the word, undone.

So who am I? I am still Mom. I am still Wendy. I am still the same person, yet I am not who I was when Todd was here. That's why I ask, "Who Am I?"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's Impossible

I tried. I wanted to create a blog and just talk about my great kids, without bringing the emotional hurt into the writings in missing Todd so very much. I love my kids and thank God for them often. But it is impossible to write about them without missing Todd. I see Todd in their little (and young adult) faces. I hear Todd's voice and laughter when we are gathered together at the dinner table. And when we're playing, Todd is so very present....not just in my thoughts, but in the childrens' as their comments and in their actions.

Here's an example. Today we decided to wash the dog. It was a nice
day and he was dirty. So we all went outside, coaxing the dog to the water. As we began washing him, we had to laugh. He looked so funny and so sad, too. Then someone said, "Did Dad ever wash Rocky?" Then the stories followed: "Remember when Dad would come home and Rocky would go crazy? All we had to say was, 'Daddy's home!' and he would go nuts."

Todd is everywhere. It's been 28 months and he is still everywhere, in our conversations, in our thoughts, and in our hearts. We all miss you, dear....even Rocky!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What happened to the tales?

Alright, I started this to tell tales about our kids, not to whine and complain about the hurt and pain in living life without Daddy. So, let's start again:

Abraham Frederick is the oldest. He just started his first year in college. Yes, college. It's hard to believe that. He's a college freshman. I remember when he was born....but all moms can do that. He's a great kid.

Nathanael Paul is our second born. He's a junior in high school. He loves driving Dad's van and loves the outdoors. He works for my nephew doing landscape work in the summers. He has two turtles which he spends way too much money on, but hey, it's his money and he loves his turtles. Nate's a great kid too.

Katrina Joy is our first girl. She is a sophomore in high school. She loves to write and does a wonderful job helping me care for her three year old sister. She enjoys working with young children. Trina works in the nursery at church a lot. She's another great kid.

Tiffany Grace is in seventh grade this year. She loves animals and we affectionately labeled her our "tree hugger." She adores our dog Rocky (a 7 year old yellow lab) and cares diligently and enthusiastically for the fish we have. In fact, she's named them all, including the snails and algae eaters. Tiffany is a great kid as well.

Winter Hope is in fourth grade this year. She loves animals like her sister and has a great imagination while playing with her stuffed animals. She loves playing games as well...ones she's made up or any game available. She is also a great kid.

Toby Faith is our youngest. She is the sunshine in our home, and always is making us laugh. At three years old, her blissful play and hard-to-understand pronunciation of words, gives us a reason to smile often. Toby is a great kid.

There's an intro to our six great kids. More tales soon...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How long does it hurt?

I remember when I first heard from the doctors that Todd was going to die. I remember that sick feeling in my stomach. I remember watching Todd suffer from the cancer, feeling helpless and desperate to make him feel better, and that sick feeling in my stomach again. But the worst feeling was when I found out that he was gone. Everything hurt. I had to either be held up by hugs or seated, because the world was spinning around me. I felt lost and suddenly alone.

28 months later and I sit here still in pain, missing Todd so very much, and feeling lost and lonely in this big world. People have said that "Time heals the pain," yet I wonder if the pain now is the same, or even greater, than it was twenty-eight months ago.

As I watch our children grow older, as the birthdays come and go, as the holidays pass, as the seasons change, my heart aches for Todd and the pain comes in waves, over and over and over again.

So I ask, how long does it hurt? Will life ever be happy again?

I love this song. I thank God and am reminded when I hear this song that I am truly blessed at having known Todd.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

You can tell how selfish I've become

wow. I just wrote my very first blog on September 11th and never even mentioned how much we appreciate our soldiers and those fighting for our freedom. Never even mentioned how grateful I am to be living here in America. Never even mentioned how sorry I am for those who lost loved ones that day and how I pray for those families often.

Since I lost my dear, wonderful, lovable, handsome, loving husband to cancer 28 months ago, I've become selfish. I'm sorry. God bless the United States of America and all those fighting for our freedom!

In a few months, we'll have FOUR teens!

I know, I can't believe it either. Our third child just turned 15 a few days ago, and I suddenly realized that our fourth child will be turning 13 in December! yikes....that will make four teenagers in the house.
If that isn't hard enough to believe, add to that the fact that I lost my husband 2 years ago to cancer. We were supposed to raise these kids together! I'm still having trouble with the reality that Todd will never again be coming home from work and eating dinner with us. I'm still in a dream, hoping that the nightmare will end.
Yet the birthdays keep coming. The kids keep growing. Everyone is getting older. Four teenagers at once. I can only hope it will be as exciting as Todd and I both hoped it would be.