Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Jesus! Happy Birthday Daddy!

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Radles.



(it's not easy to get six kids and a dog to cooperate for a picture...this is the best as it gets)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Parents are Coming! Parents are Coming!


Have to go to the airport and pick up some V.I.P.'s: My parents!

I feel like a little kid again. It all floods back. Suddenly I feel like Dad's in control again. I love my parents. Yet without Todd, well, I feel like a teenager again. Sometimes it's a good feeling; sometimes very bad. I hope it's a good feeling for this trip north for Christmas. Here we go... Countdown to leaving for airport for parents has begun!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

First heard "cancer" for Todd's pain

Five years ago tonight. I had written this to a friend in an email:

Todd's in the hospital. They admitted him this evening after he came home from work in terrible pain and unable to stand up straight. All the dr said to me was that they do not suspect a stone, but the right kidney was significantly swollen. One nurse told Todd it was a blood clot, the dr told him he thought it was cancer. They're running more tests tomorrow am. I'm scared. Thanks for the prayers, Wendy

It still doesn't seem real. Other people get cancer. It never happens to you or your husband. Weird. I can still remember us denying it that evening and for weeks afterwards. Couldn't be cancer. Just couldn't be...

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Blessings of Being Sick!

Christmas brings with it many, many, many tasks. At times it can be overwhelming. With six children and painful memories, I found myself having difficulty just knowing what to do next. Everything hurt: the memories, the tasks, being alone, responsibilities mounting, decisions...it seems endless. Then suddenly everything stops. I got sick. Not sick, sick, just sick. Unable to move, sick. I soon found it to be a blessing....no, really!

There was another time during this journey that I remember being thankful for being sick (that was nearly 2 years ago). Moms don't get sick. Everyone knows that. And if we ever do get sick, our husbands, the other parent, the other guardian, the "go-to guy" as it were, steps in and nothing ever skips a beat. At least that's how it used to work with us. But since Todd is no longer with us, I've come to realize that God gives incredible stamina to me now. I rarely get sick. Even when all the children get something, God seems to allow me to stay healthy. He is clearly my strength and my stronghold!

So at the end of last week I got sick again (that's only been the second time in nearly 5 years that I can remember). When I say sick, I mean sick as in can't move, can't think, complete body shut-down. It's scary to know you have six children to be responsible for, but all you can do is listen to "buzz," see figures in a distant daze, and know you are helpless to help them.

While in this state, this past weekend, while in bed, I begged God to help me. He kept saying, "Be still." I needed to get things done. God said, "Be still." I couldn't lift my head off the pillow. God said, you got it, "Be still." So I was still. I was still for a very long time.

As my head began to clear, I was able to utter some short prayers. Gradually I was able to think of verses and parts of verses. Then little voices became more clear. I know, it's unreal. It was like I was in a dream, living it, but so hazy and foggy. Very weird, but true! Finally I was able to stop being still! God allowed me strength and wisdom to move and think again, and it didn't hurt as badly to do so! I still feel wobbly as I write this, still miss Todd and cry at the memories and not having him here, but stronger and truly amazed at the blessings in being sick! God is so good. He knows when I need to be still. He provides comfort and rest, and I am so thankful for the blessings of being sick. One step at a time... or now it's back to one baby step at a time...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Soccer, Fall Clean-up, Thanksgiving: Missing Todd



The final soccer game and awards ceremony was last Saturday. Todd loved embarrassing the kids when they got their awards. Actually, he was just so proud of them that he couldn't help himself...but it was embarrassing (not just for the kids). Winter had a great season. It was her first long season, and I know Todd would have been proud of her. She played every game, all games, with all her heart. It was a blessing to see our little girl out there running around after so much that she's been through. It was a good few months, but every Saturday I missed Todd. I could hear him screaming, see him running up and down the sidelines, and even cry when one of the children scored a goal. Awards Ceremony was quiet without Todd.

I was so surprised when Nathan pulled up with the landscaping crew he works with and cleaned up our lawn. I was so proud of him, although a little nervous to see him riding around on that big mower and working that huge leaf vacuum! He's a hard worker, just like his Dad. I remembered when we got our first riding mower and Todd was teaching him how to work it. Todd stayed outside the entire time. He was there to push him up a slippery hill, or help him when it stalled, or move branches and other obstacles out of his way. Todd loved watching his son riding on that mower, and he never left him alone. I remember once when he had to come inside, he told me to stand outside and tell him if Nathan had any trouble at all. I hope Todd could see Nathan now. Watching Nathan made my heart ache for Todd and for his presence.



Thanksgiving was a little crazy this year. My sister and her husband, my brother and his girlfriend and her son, and Kimmie all came over for dinner. However, I didn't have to cook anything. nothing. Kimmie orchestrated the kitchen, and my sister and brother's girlfriend brought food, and we had a feast. I felt manipulated into having dinner here, but thankful for all the help. I missed Todd so much. Thanksgiving will never be the same without Todd lighting candles all over the, cleaning for two days before, seeing to every detail, calling his Mom and talking for hours, helping in every way possible, and always, always checking on me and seeing what he could do to make my day go easier. I miss that. No one cared or does care for me like Todd did. I know, you'll say God does! ..and that is true, but still, not in person. Not the hugs from behind when I was in the middle of something, not the whispered words, "I love you," not running out to get last minute things, not taking the baby from me....I miss Todd.

People say time heals and that it will get better. I wonder. Thanking God for Todd this weekend. I don't know when the ache will stop, but thanking God for my best friend in the whole world...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Toby!



Toby turned SIX years old today. She had a great day, telling me tonight as she was getting ready for bed, "Today went flying! It was a great day!" Praise the Lord!



We started out with balloons, then tutoring at the library with her teacher where Toby got a "Happy Birthday, Biscuit" book, then making a birthday cake, then out to Chuck-E-Cheese, then home to open presents.



I think this was the best birthday celebration in 4 and a half years. We all enjoyed watching Toby today and trying to make her day special in every way. She even got a ride in Nathan's Jeep on the way home from Chuck-E-Cheese! It was fun to watch her older siblings take such great care of her. Even though we missed Daddy, we had fun. Even I was happy and rejoicing with Toby today. Todd and I shared her first 18 months of life, then I have been privileged to watch her grow over these years. Six precious years. Happy Birthday, Toby! I'm thanking God for our precious Toby Faith tonight, for these six years, and for being able to enjoy the day with her. God is good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lessons in Life

Today has been an extra difficult day. Lots of tears, more questions, wrestling with difficult memories, going through life and it's changes and problems without my partner....just a tough day all around.

This afternoon I received an email from a dear friend. Her and her precious family are going through difficulties of their own. They were in the process of adoption, when God led in a different direction, and after spending the first 8 months with this special baby, he was adopted by a friend of theirs, who left the church and cut off all ties with them. Their family is grieving the loss of what they thought was their son, to another caregiver. It's a tough time for the entire family.

With this painful news, my friend said God was teaching them a lot. She wrote these words, which I hope will be a blessing to all of you, as it has been to me this day and this evening:

that He is our comfort:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction . . . For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (II Corinthians 1:3-5)

that He is our strength,
“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b)

that He is powerful,
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:1-2)

that He sees,
“But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14)

that He is perfectly wise in what He is doing,
“This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? (Psalm 18:30-31)

that He is near,
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)

that He has a purpose,
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2)

that He is watching over Isaac when we cannot,(or in my case, my children, when I cannot)
“Father of the fatherless . . . is God in his holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5)

that He is enough,
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. . . . For me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” (Psalm 73:25-26, 28)

that He is sovereign,
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3)

that He is always good,
“├Łou are good and do good; teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:68)

that He is gracious to teach us through this,
“He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, „This is the way, walk in it, . . .” (Isaiah 30:19-21)

that He is working,
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good . . .” (Romans 8:28)

and that He will ultimately end the pain.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning or crying or pain anymore . . .” (Revelation 21:4)

*******

I sure needed to read these Scripture verses today! Trying to rest in Him, putting my trust in Him, and ultimately learn these same lessons... Praise the Lord for godly friends who share their lessons in life!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Rock

Psalm 18:2 says..."The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."

Admittingly over the last 4 and almost half years without Todd in my life, I haven't felt very sure-footed. Every step, when I began even taking steps, felt as though I was stepping into thin air. I have learned, slowly, that even though I can't "feel" the solid Rock, it is there. So I begin to take more "steps." They feel squishy. I recently thought I felt something firm, but then this week again slipped off and could not feel the solidness that I knew was there. It's not a good feeling. It's actually a horrible feeling. I know what God's Word says. I know it is there. I need to take more steps, trusting my Father that the Rock will hold me. He's never failed before and never will. Go, Wendy, keep taking the steps, even though they feel squishy! (I need a "pep-talk" for myself today.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Not as difficult a goodbye as I thought...


OK, so we are saying goodbye to Chauncey this Friday. Part of me feels relieved, and part of me is going to really miss this guy. I know when I doubt my decision to let another family adopt him, all I'll need to do is look at this picture. Lovable? ...yes. Destructive? ...very!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

uncomfortable....out of comfort zone!

I had to have three teeth removed this week. I went to an oral surgeon and was under anesthesia for these (very infected and painful). So, I needed a driver. Asked my wonderful sister-in-law (thank you, Joy), but as wonderful as she is, she isn't Todd. Got home and couldn't stop sleeping, but when I finally woke up, there was no glass of water beside me, there was no one curled up next to me asking if I was ok or needed anything, there was no one asking if I was in pain....just unattended children and work to be done. Moms aren't allowed "down time," unless they have a Dad to step in. This has been a difficult week. It has been a lonely week. I'm so used to having Todd here, telling him all about my pain, having his compassion and care...now there is no one. Yes, God is here, but it's not the physical attention I am accustomed to. I long for the comfort, to hear someone ask how I'm doing, and wouldn't mind if I told them the truth. To care for the children, even the older ones. Just hurting tonight...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Busy Week!

Although it's been busy, we have seen many blessings from our good Father! We started school and even though it's been challenging, we are thanking God for a good start. Toby has been thanking God every night this week for her school, so that has to be good. Our oldest son is doing fantastic at his first "real" job. We are praising the Lord for his new responsibilities and how well he is handling them. Nathan finally was able to purchase the Jeep! What a blessing to see how God worked out every detail for him, and even more of a blessing to see Nathan experience and know God's love, care, and power! I'm a bit jealous, my first car was a 1963 Dodge Dart with a push button transmission (we had some great times in this car!).



Nathan got a 2006 red Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in excellent condition with low mileage. I'm thankful that he lets me drive it sometimes! I love it and can't wait to go off road with the top off!



Our first daughter turned 17 this week. I'm so proud of her, and I know Todd would be too. She's a senior this year, and has grown into a beautiful young lady.



My parents left for The Keys this week as well. I'm thankful that they have had safety so far, stopping to visit with friends, as far as Georgia. They have a way to go, but so far, so good.

A lot happening, but many blessings and much to be thankful for. God is so good to us.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

September 6th

It sure doesn't feel like 52 months, but that's how long it will be since Todd went to heaven, tomorrow, the 6th of Sept. I'm thankful that it doesn't feel like 52 minutes, 52 hours, or even 52 days. It feels more like 52 weeks. I think that's progress, or at least I hope it is.

Our Katrina will be turning 17 on Tuesday. She'll be a senior this year. The two boys are both working full time this year. I'm so proud of all our children. They are all handling their lives with wisdom and great faith in God, their heavenly Father. They talk often of their Dad and the life-long lessons he gave them.

Yes, it's been 52 incredible months; however, I have decided to keep trusting in God, to keep praying for our children, and to keep thanking Father for working in our lives.

It's not easy living this "new" life, but I'm learning as long as we keep trusting Him, "It Will Be Worth It All!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Smile Through Tears!

Something strange happened to me in church tonight. I can't ever remember this feeling before. It was a mixture of great sadness, but incredible joy. ??? That's what I think, anyway.

Our missions team was giving a report and some of them began singing "I've Got A Mansion." Immediately when I heard the introduction, before the words were even sung, a sharp pain shot through my very being. I tried to look up and watch, but knew the tears would be flowing soon. Todd sang this song around the house all the time. I mean, he shouted it! It was one of his favorites, and he sang it with all his heart. Whenever he could, he would pick this song to lead the congregation at our church. Everyone knew it was dear to him...he would be smiling and singing, almost shouting, the words. Sometimes even he would get teary eyed as he sang the words, "I've got a mansion, just over the hilltop..."

So as the group began to sing, I got ready for tears and a tremendous ache in missing Todd yet again, for this has happened many times in the past four years. But tonight, as I closed my eyes and the tears came, I could picture Todd standing up there, smiling, and singing this song with them, and out of nowhere, out of the depths of the pain, came a smile! I smiled at the memory! Strange as it may sound, I felt a joy I can't express, despite the ache in my heart. They were together this time. Side by side. Pain and joy. How does God do that? Amazing.

I'm truly thankful for the tears and the smile tonight; it was a great feeling! I pray many more would come...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Laminin?

Got this in an email. Amazing. Love it. Hope you will watch and worship...

Laminin

Saturday, August 1, 2009

sometimes memories still hurt

Some things can still catch me off-guard, and unexpected tears just seem to come from nowhere. Winter hurt her finger last week, and the doctor taped it in order to keep it protected and immobilized. He said she should have it taped for a week or two, and that if it came off, to just put more on, and he showed me how. As usual all I heard was "bum, bum, bum-bum-bum..." so when it came loose today, I was lost. Fortunately Winter said she remembered how to "buddy tape" as the doctor termed it. Thing is, I didn't have any of that kind of medical tape....or did I?

Trina and Nathan remembered "Dad's tape." We still had a box of medical supplies that NIH told us we could keep. Nice stuff...actually the best of the best coming from NIH! So, we're using "Dad's tape" tonight. It brings it all to the present again, so fresh, like it was yesterday when we were using those supplies.

I miss him. Hurting again, missing my love...

Monday, July 20, 2009

What Am I Learning?

I was asked in a devotional I read today to step back and ask myself what I've learned over these past 4 years since Todd died. I've learned a lot, but here are a few that stand out tonight:

I've learned to kill spiders all by myself.
I've learned where to put the oil into the van and what kind of oil to buy.
I've learned to fill in that empty space at the table with one of the children, or with a guest.
I've learned it's ok to cry in public (even though I don't like to).
I've learned how to call and/or talk to strangers on the phone over business matters.
I've learned I put way too much trust in Todd for everything.
I've learned that life continues on for others "normally" and that mine never will.
I've learned how to wash deer poop off our dog all by myself.
I've learned how to answer Toby when she asks when Daddy is coming back.
I've learned there are some friends who stick with you no matter what, others who still act like they don't know what to say.
I've learned that God answers prayers according to His PERFECT WILL, and not my desires, and according to what's best for me...which may mean He answers the same prayers for others in a different way.
I've learned God is totally trustworthy, and that with His strength and guidance, I can get through this!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Best Buddies??


We had fun with Chauncey and Rocky with yesterday's beautiful weather. We were outside a lot and I think everyone had a good time...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Introducing: Chauncey!


OK. We have 3 weeks to decide. Right now I don't know how this is going to turn out. Rocky is very jealous. I know it's the first night, but it's been a LONG night! Chauncey is a big boy, and he makes me nervous, but we're praying for God's clear leading. Another adventure awaits us...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another Dog?


Well, we were officially chosen to adopt another dog from Lab Rescue. We got Rocky from this organization and have been very happy with our new addition over the years. The kids and I thought it would be nice to get another dog for Rocky to have a playmate. We are supposed to be introduced tomorrow night to Chauncey, a chocolate lab, 1.5 years old, who has been in a "foster home" and has had all his shots, is house broken, and looks adorable.

Todd and I had prayed a lot before getting Rocky. We wanted to get a dog for Winter, who had a very difficult first year of life. When she was almost two, we got Rocky, and he immediately became a lovable part of our family. Rocky has been loyal and protective over the years. I will never forget how he laid by Todd's bed when he was so sick, and followed him everywhere. He stayed very close to him...all the way to the end. He still looks for Todd at times.

So, what about a new dog? Two dogs? There's a part of us that is so excited to have something new. We seem to be in such a rut. There's another part that says, "What are you doing??" The practical side says this is INSANE. The adventurous side says this is going to be GREAT!

....praying for God's leading yet again. I wonder what Todd thinks of this?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

I'm sure this holiday holds many special memories for all of us. Perhaps it was picnics in the park with your family, going to fireworks at night, heading down to the beach....whatever it is, this summer holiday holds special memories. On this day, as we remember our freedoms and especially those who have fought so hard to keep them, let us also remember to thank God for it all.

Today I'm thanking Him for our nation's freedom and great heritage,
thanking Him for all of our service men and women who sacrificed all for us,
thanking Him for the Armed Forces fighting today for our freedom, and
thanking Him for all the precious, precious memories this Independence Day holds for all of us.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Fourth of July!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Memories Last Forever

Today I saw two friends from the past who I hadn't seen for years. It still feels strange to see them continue on with their lives, when things are so different for me since I last saw them. It's difficult to describe. Life goes on, and pretty "normally" for most people. Sometimes I want to scream, "Todd died! Does anyone remember or care?" I know they do, but life seems so normal for them.

It was pretty awesome, however, to hear our former neighbor talking about her two year old twin boys, and saying how she remembered Todd doing things with our boys (she was a teen and spent a lot of time with us at the condo, our first home) and teaching them different things, and how she was doing the same things with her boys now. That was pretty amazing. You never realize what an impression you have on people. Obviously Todd made a big impression on her, and I'm sure countless others.

As life continues on for everyone, I have to realize that mine will never be the same as it was. Accepting the new "normal" is not easy. I'm thankful for Todd. I'm thankful for the lasting memories. I'm so glad he was a part of our lives. I think I will always miss him, but I'm trying to accept life as God has it for me now. Not easy, but God's grace is sufficient.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clear Day For "Launching" Balloons!

My precious 5 year old made a card for Daddy on Father's Day. She asked me, "Can we send this up to Daddy with balloons, or should I wait until he comes back in the clouds with Jesus to give it to him?" How does a Mom answer that one?

We decided to send her card up with balloons, but Sunday was cloudy and rainy. She told me we couldn't send her card up that day, "because the rain will make the balloons come back down."

So, early Monday morning, a very excited little girl woke up yelling, "It's sunny! Look at the sun! We can send Daddy's card up today!" So we did...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all you wonderful fathers out there. Found some pictures yesterday that I wanted to share of one of the best Dad's ever...




Friday, June 19, 2009

Loneliness Hurts

Have you ever felt alone? I mean totally alone? The room could be crowded with people, or you could have family members all around you, but yet you felt alone? I’ve felt this way countless times since Todd died. It’s an empty, sick feeling….to be totally alone in this world. Many times accompanying this loneliness comes an ache in your gut, in the deepest part of your being, that makes you feel like you are literally going to break in half. It hurts. Your stomach hurts so badly that you want to throw up (and sometimes do). Those are the times when we MUST remind ourselves of God’s Word and His promises. God will never leave us. God will never forsake us. He is always here, standing beside us, and walking us through, even through the darkest, deepest valleys in life.

Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

I never want to be disrespectful to our Heavenly and Most Holy God, but in the words of Rascal Flatts, “He Ain’t the Leaving Kind.” I love this song, so I decided to put some pictures to the words and music.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Congratulations?

Well, I labored for weeks/months on a video for Nathan's graduation in anticipation of this monumental event. Hopefully, congratulations are in order soon. He's "working" on self-pace courses that need to be completed by the end of the summer for his official graduation and diploma from high school. Anyway, in great anticipation and much prayer, here is Nathan's graduation gift from me. You all get a sneak preview before he even has seen it! But Lord willing, he will see it soon and another Radle child will have graduated. phew. Here's is Todd's "special boy!" :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Awards!

Both Winter and Toby received their year-end C-Club awards at church tonight. I am so proud of them.



Today the girls went to an orientation for enrollment at another cyber school, and both Winter and Toby had to be tested. I had no doubt about Winter, who did very well in 5th grade, and easily passed her tests to enroll in the 6th grade, after my home-schooling attempt this past year. However, I was a little more concerned with the Tobster, after I failed so miserably at home schooling her in Kindergarten. I wish you could have seen her smiling from ear to ear, when she learned she is officially enrolled in FIRST GRADE! Yay, Toby!

I'm still deciding what will be the best for the children in schooling next year. I don't like decisions...especially such huge ones. I know God will lead. He always does. I pray I am tender and open to what HE wants us to do next year! Right now, I am thanking Him for a successful year of school, despite my short-comings! God is good.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today's Devotions

I recently came across a great new Website entitled: I Stink at Devotions Here you are able to track your devotions and be held accountable to others for having them daily. They have prayer requests, and what I like the most, is their section on Devotions, which give you three choices of daily devotional reads. I usually end up reading all three!

Anyway, today's 3rd reading was great. It was taken from Strength For Today: Reassurance In The Midst of Trials and one paragraph said this:

Trials are inevitable, and the pain associated with them can be very intense, but when compared to what we will enjoy in the future, they hardly matter. Paul saw them as light afflictions, or literally “weightless trifles.” He knew that their real significance is only in how they contribute to our eternal glory. That contribution is anything but trivial. Rather, it produces “an eternal weight of glory.” Concerning this expression, it’s as if Paul envisioned an old-fashioned two-sided scale that was being tipped in favor of the future by the cumulative mass (“eternal weight of glory”) of his individual sufferings. Paul could endure the pain of present trials when he was certain that they contributed positively to his life in Heaven.

The verse given was II Corinthians 4:17 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"

Great stuff! Looking forward to heaven tonight, and thanking God for these wonderful truths.

And by the way, if you stink at devotions, or just want to be more consistent....check out this site! I Stink at Devotions

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oldest turning 20 tomorrow

Our/My oldest will be turning 20 years old tomorrow, May 20th. He recently finished his second year at Penn State. I can't be more proud of my kiddos. They have overcome so much, and I feel like they have grown up with the support of each other and God alone. As I look at them now, especially our soon-to-be 20 year old, I am amazed at how mature and wise and balanced they have become...all seemingly on their own. God has been good. Looking back, Abe was just 15 years old when he lost his father (and the majority of his mother as well). He and Dad were looking forward to seeing the new Star Wars movie, and Todd was especially anxious to get alone with Abe as he was reaching this milestone in his life. He would tell me what he wanted to say to him, how he wanted to make things right between them (there were some tense times lately with Todd not feeling well and Abe's adolescent ambivalence towards life in general), and how anxious he was to just spend time alone with his oldest son, whom he loved so very much. Unfortunately Todd died 2 weeks before that special date. Now Abe is turning 20, another birthday without Dad, yet he has become a strong, wise, godly young man. I'm thankful for the right choices he has made. I'm thankful that he has not shown any bitterness in losing his father at such a young age. I'm thankful for his love for God. I hope and pray that I can be a better mom, and that my children continue to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, and minds.

Happy Birthday, Abe. I love you and am so proud of you, son.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good memories

I went to the shore today, despite several concerned friends and family members. I'm glad I went. I asked God to help me think of the good times. He provided strength, and although there were many memories, I think there may have been more smiles today than tears, or at least close. I am thanking God for Todd and these great memories, and thought I would take some time to share them with you...



Todd and I both loved the ocean. Todd was always fascinated with the strength of the waves and it would remind him of God's power and greatness. No matter what the temperature of the water, Todd would always run in to meet those waves head on, diving under the crash, and coming up smiling on the other side. I was too chicken; I would smile and wave.



I wish this was open. Todd would get me a chocolate cone with chocolate jimmies. yum! He never got anything here. Just watch me eat.



One of Todd's favorite spots. I still think he spent way too much money in this store.



Does this seem clear enough? Here is where Todd nearly crashed our surrey (he was driving the entire family!) while trying to turn around. The kids thought it was funny. I wasn't laughing. Very embarrassing with him yelling, "Look out! I can't steer this thing!"



Yes, I bought fudge. Todd always let me.



Todd's favorite pizza in the whole world. Sorry it was closed, or I would have eaten a slice in his memory.



Todd would not be happy to know that they replaced his favorite donuts with this store. We stayed at the Harris House, just so he could get those fresh donuts in the morning. oh well...



Todd loved to take the kids here to eat....they had everything and everyone was happy!



When we were at the very top, Todd would tell the kids that the man was going to unhook the chains, and that we would roll down the beach. The kids, of course would start screaming, "No, Daddy, we don't want to." And he would lovingly reply, "It's all part of the ride, you'll see." ugh. Yet every year we had to ride the ferris wheel.



Here is where we were enjoying a picnic on the field, watching the kite festival, and the sprinklers went off. Again, Todd laughed as he helped me save the food. I didn't see the humor in it (until today).



We sat on those bleachers on the top left when Todd proposed to me in the middle of the 4th of July fireworks.



This is the 24 hour diner we stopped and talked until 3am after he asked me to marry him. We dreamed and planned our future... surreal.


On the way to the shore pics:

Story Book Land....the kids' first trip to an "amusement park" ...just for them! We only had three then. Great day.



Ok. Todd loved this. I don't know why. He thought it was cool. I still think it's stupid.


God granted many victories for me today. This was a big step for me. I miss Todd so much, yet I am so thankful for him and the time I had with him. He left us with many, many GOOD memories! Thank you God for today. Thank you God for Todd.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dr. and Mrs. E Allen Griffith



One of Todd's favorite portion of Scripture was Psalm 1. The first three verses say this: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

An example of this godly man in these verses, both Todd and I agreed, was Dr. E Allen Griffith. Todd and I met at church, and Dr. Griffith was our pastor. We grew the most spiritually during those years. Todd learned much, and would often refer to the pre-marriage counseling we received before Pastor Griffith married us, and would repeat much of it to me over the years. Pastor Griffith's advice, knowledge of the Scripture, and example he gave helped us both to build our marriage on God's Word and instructions, and pray together often.

I am sure as Todd grew weaker and weaker, these are the reasons why he insisted that our beloved former Pastor officiate his funeral.

The Griffiths have been through a lot over the years. They have endured many trials and disappointments, yet they have always remained steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Their testimony speaks volumes.

Tomorrow, May 6th, will be four years since Todd died. Four years ago today, May 5th, the Griffiths came to visit us. I will always remember and be forever grateful for that visit. Pastor G prayed with Todd, and I can remember the tears. Mrs. Griffith's kindness and helpful insight changed the entire atmosphere of our home from a sense of fear and doom to one of blessing and love. There is no way to adequately thank them for that, so I thank and praise God for them and for that visit.

God works through the Griffiths' lives daily. They have five children who are all serving the Lord and love God with all their hearts. They have eighteen grandchildren who are being taught God's Word, and have a wonderful example to watch and follow in their grandparents. Currently they have a ministry called Biblical Family Ministries, where they preach and teach God's Word as the absolute truth that can solve the growing problems of broken and divided homes with all the accompanying heartache.

I am so thankful to the Griffiths for the godly impact they have and continue to have on me and my family. Today, with all the memories of Todd's sickness and Homegoing, I am praising God for the Griffiths. May God continue to bless them and their ministry as they continue to delight in the law of the Lord.

Biblical Family Ministry Website
Christianity Pure & Simple
The Cultural Collapse Project
STANDpoint

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interesting visit to the dentist

This morning I had to take the two youngest to the pediatric dentist. Praise the Lord, there were no cavities! But while in the waiting room, I witnessed the most horrific case of verbal child abuse I have ever seen. All of us waiting were disgusted, saddened, and some were ready to attack this "mother." I prayed for wisdom, but kept silent. We all did. She was a big lady, and not very kind. I can't get that young child out of my head. The whole incident made me physically sick to my stomach. So sad.

Later, when I was called back to talk to the dr, a kind nurse filled me in on the details. She was authoratative, and I found myself instinctively saying, "yes, mam." After hugging Toby, the nurse touched my arm and said I looked familiar. She told me her name, a name from that past. Have you ever met someone years later from school days whom you thought yourself much better than? This was one of those "friends." I never liked her. I treated her badly. She was younger, and at the time, just a pest to deal with. Talk about a complete change in veiwpoint! I hope I didn't look as stunned as I felt when hearing that name.

When she asked about my family, I couldn't tell her Todd had died. It was strange. I talked as if he were at work..."we have six children"..."I met Todd at church"...we go to Chadds Ford Baptist now" ...it felt so natural to say and it felt good too.

This morning's visit to the dentist was certainly interesting. My heart aches for that little boy. My heart aches to be close to Todd again. One day it will all be "right."

I am comforted by these words from I Thessalonians 4:13-18, and pray you are as well!

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

update

Winter had a great time at her friend's house last night. No problems. God granted me a peace that I can't describe. I'm so thankful for His goodness and that Winter is sleeping here tonight! Even with all six of the children sleeping here, in their own beds, under the same roof, I still feel lonely. I miss Todd sleeping under this roof, yet I know he is in a far better place than here. I am so thankful for God's comfort and for His love and care for me...and Todd...and for my children!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Winter's First "Sleepover"

Wow. This is a big night for our family. Tonight Winter is spending the night at a friend's house. But for Winter Hope, this is not your average, run-of-the-mill sleepover that all little girls enjoy. For Winter, personally, this is a huge step. She's growing up, becoming more independent, and was excited to go. For Mom, this is a huge learning experience...again. You may remember Winter's story. She still requires medicine to assist her with her breathing problems, although we have not had an "episode" for seven months now. I left her tonight with her medicine, friends, lots of prayers, in the capable hands of a great Mom, and ultimately in God's all-powerful, all-knowing Arms of Love. Now comes the hard part...waiting. Waiting and resting in the knowledge that she is in God's Arms tonight, not mine, until I can pick her up tomorrow morning!

Even though I have five children here at home, I feel lonely, incredibly lonely. The other kids know Winter's history, but Todd was the only one who truly lived Winter's history with me....the sleepless nights, the fear, the panic when she would turn blue and purple, the heart-pounding "rescues," the long days and nights spent at childrens' hospitals. I can see Todd's smile tonight, but I can't hear his words, "She'll be fine." It's lonely here. I can only pray. God is here, and He is with our precious Winter Hope. I know she is having a great time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Friends...

I'm having a difficult day today. Several years ago when I had a similarly difficult day, a friend shared with me how she combats these days: she wrote miraculous things that God had done in her and her family's lives on small rocks, and placed them in a bowl in the center of their dining table. She shared how the kids would frequently pick them up and read them, and even tell their friends about the different "neat" things that God did for them. Thinking this was a great idea, I gathered the children together, and we, too, have been writing on shells (Todd and I had been collecting shells from our vacations at the shore since we met) the things God has done for us. I needed to read them again today. One of the shells simply says, "friends."

God has given me some great friends. I am privileged to have several who I know regularly pray for me, and what's really neat about these few, is that they are not afraid to speak the truth in love. Everyone needs at least one friend who is willing to do this; I am blessed with several!

OK, so the reason for my difficult day? I'm dwelling too much on what I don't have. I've been missing Todd. In the grocery store, every aisle had some reminder of him. At home, the kids have been talking and talking about Daddy. Decisions had to be made. I continue to feel so incredibly alone and lost in this world without Todd. But that's not the real problem...I don't think.

Driving home I heard these words to a Rascal Flatts song: "What hurts the most, is being so close...and never knowin' what could've been..." You may remember Danny singing this on Idol the other week, but anyway, I began to get upset with "what could've been..." and could feel the anger growing inside of me.

Several years ago one of those extraordinary friends wrote me an email, saying she could sense an anger in my words and then she asked, "How dare you get angry at a God Who loves you and is caring for you and Who created you?" Of course I denied being angry at God. Not me. Then last year another friend wrote me an email almost identical to the first. She "accused" me of being angry with God. Me? No! I love God! Yet today, well, I wonder if those friends were correct afterall. I admit, today I feel angry. It comes and goes. It comes when I focus on "what could have been" and on my great loss. It goes when I read those shells and remember that God is in control and loves me and cares for me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My kitchen nightmare!


I'm not sure what Chef Ramsey would say, but this is what happens to my kitchen, in just a few short hours! I didn't feel like cleaning up after dinner tonight. I'll get it tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In God I Trust

Over the last almost 4 years now, I have found that God never changes and is completely trustworthy. People fail. Humans mess up. God doesn't. I would have told anyone that I trusted God for things when Todd was here, but the truth is, I trusted Todd for a lot of things as well. I trusted him to meet our finances. I trusted him to help care for the children. I trusted him with secrets. I trusted him to keep us safe. I could go on and on, but the fact is, I lost my rock. I am now learning that Jesus is the Rock!

Lately I've been noticing that our government and our society appears to be rewarding bad behavior and punishing good behavior. It was subtle at first, but last week a lady who worked for welfare actually told me that she was sorry, "We don't have any programs for people who are trying to do things right." This shocked me. I was silent for awhile. Yet we see it happening more and more!

When my son comes home from college and talks about the cheating and how the professors turn away or even encourage this, and he asks me, "Why do I even try to do it the right way?" I find myself wondering... Then we remember what Daddy always said...."It doesn't matter what other people do, you DO RIGHT!" He would remind us that we are accountable to God.

I miss Todd more and more as our society seems to be ignoring those words, "do right" and "in God we trust." I only pray our children choose to do right, and trust in God as our country begins to ignore these principles. I encourage you to pray for your children and to pray for our country...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Surprisingly Sad Saying Goodbye to "Big Red"


As Nathan and I stood there watching them tow away our red van, I was surprised at the tears. I thought I would be happy to see that go. The opposite happened. All the memories...it took us 3 times to the Key West to visit my parents, 3 times to Disney World, and countless shorter trips to the Jersey shore. I looked one more time inside at the spilled juice stains (that Todd nearly had a heart attack over!), the worn seats and broken seat belts, and large gap between the front seats where Todd and I would hold our out-stretched hands as long as possible. I looked in the back, where we all took cover during a thunderstorm when we were camping one summer. That was a long night!

"Bubba" has even more memories, but the blue van is still here until tomorrow, when they will come for that one also. The end of our era with the vans. We're all thanking God for those vans. They've given us many miles and tons of fun together.

Now we're looking to making new memories and having even more fun with our new van! Still thanking God for our "miracle van" and enjoying it very much, but saying goodbye to our old vans is actually quite emotional. I know...pathetic.

Big Red left us a reminder in the driveway...



...thank you again, God, for our NEW VAN!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Knowing AND Feeling God's Love

The last two weeks have been tumultuous, yet truly a blessing as well. Losing both vans in two days was very difficult, especially with a large family. We had only Abe's little Toyota to get everyone every place for 2 weeks. We thanked God often for that little car!

We were careful to give God all praise and to trust Him for whatever He had for us through those two weeks. I'm so thankful that my son bought a whiteboard and bulletin board for our kitchen. We have been using the whiteboard for a prayer/praise list and we pray together after dinner every night. It's been a special time for us, but with the "van issue" it has proven to show not only me, but the children, God's special love and care for us....us, the Radle Family.

There have been so many literal miracles that have taken place, and praying together as a family for specifics, has helped us all to see those miracles and has made God even bigger in our eyes. He is in control. Yes, we know God loves and cares for us, but to SEE and FEEL this has been an incredible blessing that is difficult to describe. God cares for ME. He truly wants the best for me.

Well, He provided the best and beyond what we could ever have dreamed or hoped for. So many "little" things worked together for us in His perfect timing, and now we are rejoicing and basking in His love for us. The details are exciting, but I'll need to share them at another time. I just wanted to thank those who have prayed and give God praise for His wonderful and amazing works on our behalf. The end result:

OUT WITH THE OLD (and completely useless at this point):



and IN WITH THE NEW!!!

...when I say NEW, I mean NEW! This is a 2006 and is fully loaded and hardly used with very low mileage! The best part: it has heat and airconditioning!!! :)!