Tuesday, February 26, 2008

20th Wedding Anniversary

I can't believe it myself, but tomorrow, February 27, 2008, would have been our 20th wedding anniversary. We had 17 fantastic years together. Even though our last anniversary together was spent in the ICU at National Institutes of Health, miles away from our family and friends, it was one I will always cherish. We used to try to be the first one to say "Happy Anniversary," which eventually led to setting alarms, getting each other distracted, trying anything to be the first who said it (I usually won), so our last anniversary was no different (at least for me).

Todd was in the ICU, only 10 days after major surgery, still very critical, and I repeatedly reminded him that our 17th wedding anniversary was the next day. The nurses would get involved and ask him, "What special day is tomorrow, Todd?" (the neurology team would ask him questions daily like "What is your name?" and asking if he knew who I was...some days he would know and others he wouldn't). Every time he was asked about the 27th, he would smile and say, "That's the day I married the most beautiful lady in the world." (that was me) :) He never forgot the "right answer" to that question. (when he was unsure of an answer for the neurologists, he would look at me and say, "Was that the right answer?" It was precious, but so sad too....during surgery he had had a stroke.)

Anyway, I couldn't sleep when I left him on the 26th. Of course I waited until one minute after midnight, called the ICU, and asked the nurse to tell Todd I said Happy Anniversary. I also asked her to mark it down on his chart that I said it first, knowing he would probably argue that point in the morning. The nurse thought that was funny, and she laughed and commented that we acted like we were newlyweds or something.

The next morning, Todd greeted me with the biggest smile. He said, "Happy Anniversary. You beat me this time."

I wish we were celebrating here. Happy Anniversary my love. You gave me the best 17 years of my life. Thank you. I miss you more than words could tell.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Trina's New Look

Last night my friend took Trina to get her hair done. I've always cut it for her, but it's never been cut "professionally." She looks great. It's times like this when I long for Todd to be here to share in these milestones, and it makes me miss him all the more. It may not be a big deal to most people, but for our family, it's huge. Our kids are growing up and I hate that they are doing so without their Dad. I know he would be so proud of our little girl. She's turning into the young lady we had prayed for, one who loves the Lord and seeks to serve Him. I pray she continues to walk in the right direction all the days of her life.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day

Thursday was a tough day. I did something crazy. When I stopped at the store to buy the kids something for Valentine's Day (I was trying to ignore the day, but my younger ones were too excited for me not to get them something), a bouquet of orange roses caught my eye. I love orange roses and Todd would always buy them for me whenever he would find any. I stared at them in the store. I knew Todd would have bought them for me, had he been standing there. So I picked them up and bought them. crazy. I cried all the way home.

I was greeted with a home-made card from the Tobster. It had pictures of her and I, and green and orange little pom-poms glued on the heart. She said, "This is for you" pointing to an orange one (my favorite color), "And this is for Daddy" pointing to the green one (his favorite color). Another Valentine to keep forever. The kids like to dig out one of my favorite Valentines. Of course it's from Todd, but it's one of those goofy singing cards (and it still "sings!") I'm a choco-holic, and when you open the card it "sings:" "Sugar, sugar...you are my candy girl, and you've got me wanting you."

Alright, enough about Thursday. I'm learning to thank God for all those memories, and to thank Him for a husband who never, ever had me doubting or wondering about his love for me. I was truly loved. Thank you, God, for Todd and his love for me. I will always treasure it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Good Name

"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches..." Proverbs 22:1

Today I had a thankful heart for many reasons. We had a special missionary speaker at our church today. Mark and Connie Mandarano recently returned from Ireland, where they have been faithfully preaching God's Word and sharing the Gospel for 8 years. Mark and Todd worked together when Mark and his family were on deputation, visiting churches to gain enough financial support for their ministry.

Mark spoke this morning with authority from God's Word, a powerful message that encouraged me by seeing Noah's faithfulness to God, despite the sinful, wicked world in which he lived. My children seemed impressed, but especially my boys.

After the service, Mark and Connie gave me a hug and expressed their sorrow and sincere love for our family. There were tears, but good memories of Todd. Mark was "re-introduced" to "Todd's boys" (they've grown a lot in 8 years). As he shook their hands he said, "I was a friend of your Dad's. I loved your Dad, good name, good man, He was a good friend." What better thing could they have heard from Mark?

Thank you, God, for allowing Todd to be used of you while here on this earth. Thank you for allowing his boys to know of his "good name." Please let those words, along with the message from Pastor Mark, be an encouragement to Abe and Nathan to stand for you, follow their father's good name, and stay faithful to You in all their days.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Third Auto Show

The Philadelphia Auto Show is here again. Todd never missed this, which was to him, an exciting event. I can remember trying to be the good wife and take the little ones to accompany him to these shows. Todd had a way of making the day exciting, even if it was just to look at cars, lots and lots of cars. As the years went on, Todd could tell (I don't know how) I didn't enjoy them, so he made the day a special time to take the boys. They loved it.
The first year Todd wasn't here, a friend took the boys. The boys hated it. They said it wasn't the same without Dad. Last year I totally ignored the event. Now this year will be the third time coming, and I don't know what to do. The boys are quiet on the topic, because they know the emotional drama it will cause me. Do I offer to pay for their tickets? Escort them? Make it a "family outing?" I don't know. I'll probably just ignore it.

When it came time to "design" Todd's marker for the cemetery, I was lost. Nathan came up with a great idea and helped me with the design. I must say, he did a great job.
It's still so difficult for me to look at, but the kids always start talking about Dad and how much he loved cars when we're at the cemetery. Good job, Nate!

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Good Day!

These don't come very often, and I wanted to publically thank God for a GOOD DAY today. I knew the day would be full, so I forced myself to get up early. Laundry got done! The kitchen sink is empty! (wait, I just heard someone put a glass in there....oh well) I got a lot of errands done. Sure, I thought often of Todd and memories are everywhere, but I felt good as so much was accomplished! God is good.

An added blessing was what I heard on the radio while running errands. I heard a devotional from the late Dr. Cook, one of my favorite preachers of all time, from "Walk with the King." He was saying how there are times when we just say, "I can't." He reminded his listeners that everyone feels this way from time to time, but as believers, realizing this fact can actually be a good thing. In admitting "we can't" shows us that we need help. Our help is found in God, and in the working of His Holy Spirit that indwells us. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit tonight. Dr. Cook also mentioned how all we need to do is ask, and God will work in and through us for His good pleasure. Think about that. God is all I need! I don't need Todd to get through these days, I need God. I was also reminded in a comment today that God is holding me as well! Now think about that. God helps me. God is my strength. God enables me. And on top of all that, He is holding me in His Hand!!

Rats, another child just set something else in the sink. I think it was a bowl and spoon after a cereal snack. ugh. Honest, the sink was empty earlier tonight!

Anyway, I cherish these kinds of days. I pray they come more frequently and there are more of them strung together. God is so good to me.

Thank you, Father, for today and the goodness I have felt in it.

Giants beat the Patriots?

How can this be? I'm sure this question is being asked by many tonight. When I was pondering this same question, it reminded me of a question I asked this week when talking with a friend. I was telling her I can't do this any more; I can't keep living without Todd here to help me. She said, "But you are." Then I asked, "How?" It seemed/s impossible to keep going, but yet here I am, nearly three years living without Todd. How? Then a friend sent me this verse from Psalm 63: "Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me."

It's God! That's the only way. I can say like the psalmist, God is my help. His right hand upholds me. What an awesome thought!

Thank you, God. I know you are here with me. It's just hard when I can't see or touch or feel you as I could Todd. I need to strengthen my faith, and learn to trust you more. Thank you for not leaving me or forsaking me. I love you.