Friday, December 31, 2010

One last post for 2010!

I had to write tonight, because it will be the last one for 2010! Do you believe it? Another whole year has gone by, and now we are headed into a brand new year. New Year's Eve celebrations were always so much fun with Todd. Tonight seems quiet. However, I am so thankful for my kiddos...they make me smile and Nathan now reminds me so much of Todd in his looks and mannerisms, that it is scary sometimes! I love them all with all my heart and can't even imagine life without them.

Trina (18) and Tiffany (16) both got their driving permits yesterday. I am trying to be patient and calm, but it must be the ice and snow on the roads that is making me want to scream, cry, freak out, lose control, and slam on the brake! It's not really that bad...Tiff barely missing a mailbox, Trina nearly side-swiping the guard rail and driving through low tree branches (I hate that sound, btw, it reminds me of finger nails on a chalk board!). Today Tiffany took out a cone while trying to parallel park. That was fun. If I make it through without a heart attack or nervous breakdown, I want someone to throw a party for me. A BIG party!

Speaking of a party...Tiffany turned 16 this week. Thus, the learner's permit that I'm questioning already. Just kidding, I'm sure she'll do fine. I'd much rather have Todd teaching these girls, you know? Anyway...

We are all totally enjoying our new puppy, Nader. He is so much fun to watch. He's not so much fun when he pees and poops on the carpets, though. I think I'm the only one who knows how to clean that kind of stuff up! But we all love watching him pounce on his toys and growl at Rocky, who is five times his size, with the confidence that he can actually cause fear in our faithful, old puppy! Rocky just shows his teeth and gives a growl, and Nader usually takes one final pounce at him before deciding to leave him alone.
Here's Grenade and Eban after a fun afternoon of sledding together.

I'm truly praying that this will be a HAPPY New Year for our family, and for all of our friends and relatives. This was our 5th Christmas without Todd, and he would have turned 50! It was a tough time the last several weeks, but God has given strength for each day, and has given us that hope of His return at any moment! I'm resting in these precious verses from John 14 tonight: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” This was from the NIV. I am holding tight to these words tonight and want to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Puppy!

Introducing......(drum roll, please).....GRENADE! Or Nader for short. We picked out our new puppy tonight. All 10 of us! My brother and parents joined the seven of us in all the excitement of picking out a puppy. We had a choice of four puppies that still were not picked. The entire litter was adorable,

but we all think Nader was the cutest (formerly known as "Punchy" from the original owners).

Toby loved holding the puppies. We couldn't believe how soft they were. And how tiny they are! They are 5 weeks old today, so we will be able to bring Nader home on the 20th of December, just in time for Christmas!

(Grenade is the one who found the most comfy collar in the middle)

I have to say, even with all the excitement and happiness, I wished Todd was with us, and I was wondering what he was thinking as he watched us picking out Grenade. I'm pretty sure he agreed with our choice. Grenade/Punchy was named after a special Uncle, so he's a special puppy already. I think he was their favorite, too. It will be hard for them when all the puppies get picked up, but I know they will especially miss their Punchy, our Grenade.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for this special gift at Christmas!

I know you are smiling at how cute he is! Aren't you? Admit it! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Toby's Pneumonia

The last couple of weeks have been crazy around here. Then again, with six kids, life is crazy all the time around here! There's always something happening and by the end of the day I wonder how in the world I could possibly raise six children without Todd. That's easy, because looking back over the past 5 1/2 yrs, it's been miracle after miracle for us....whether financially, sickness, accidents, house woes, or life and death! God has been our only strength! But that doesn't mean I don't still miss our earthly leader and provider, my greatest love, Todd.

So we've been going to soccer every Sat for the past months, and the last game for the season is tomorrow. The last several weeks have been COLD, with wind blowing across the fields and making your bones ache. Toby has insisted that she wear only her short-sleeved uniform, despite my pleadings for a jacket or coat. "But Mom, they can't see my shirt and number if I wear a coat." I tried something underneath (like the other girls), but still, "It makes me too hot. I'm fine." Toby's older sister has always been like that. Never liked coats and rarely is seen in one, so I figured she was like her sister.

Then the cough started. Then the sore throat. Then the headache. Then the fever. The fever spiked to 105.4 last Saturday, and I noticed she was breathing funny. She was breathing a lot like her older sister used to do when she struggled to breathe, nearly every night. I asked Toby if she was having trouble breathing..."sort of" was all I needed to take her to the ER. They took her right back, despite a waiting room half-filled, with even children who were bleeding! This made me even more nervous, and the nurses seemed to swarm her, taking vitals and asking questions. I don't like hospitals. I don't like ERs. I don't like the ER we took Toby to. It was the same one Todd went to where we heard that word "cancer." The memories just kept flooding back. It was like it all happened yesterday, but yet I had to focus on Toby and the NOW. After 5 hours of ER time, medications and X-rays, we took her home with a ton of instructions. We have to go back to her pediatrician next week again for another follow-up visit and possible X-ray. My seven year old has pneumonia!

I feel horrible about this. I feel like I let it happen. It's a mom's job, isn't it?, to keep their little ones healthy? I'm thankful she is doing MUCH better, no fever, breathing fine, with just a cough left.

So how does a single Mom of six children get everything right? I guess they don't.

So thankful for my heavenly Father. What would I ever do without Him?

I have come to love these verses from Psalm 116:

I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.6 The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Care In Grief

It's been almost a year now that I've had an incredible burden for people who have lost loved ones....believers and unbelievers, but especially for unbelievers. I can't even imagine going through the pain of losing a loved one without my heavenly Father. At those times when I feel like it can't hurt anymore, when I'm at the lowest points, when all I can do is cry....I find comfort in knowing my Father is here with me. Even though I don't always feel His comfort and love, I know He's right beside me through every agonizing day I live without Todd.

This burden has grown into a near obsession. I keep getting ideas and write down proposed "plans," and I have finally come up with Care In Grief. I have gotten our pastor's permission to begin a group at our church, just to share our feelings with each other, that would meet every week. I'm not a counselor, nor do I have all the answers, nor do I even feel ready for this, but Father has clearly been leading and opening doors.

The other part to this is taking videos of people who have lost loved ones. I have gotten an incredible acceptance and willingness from those who I've asked, and even some "references" to ask others! There has been NO negative feedback so far, but I imagine if God is in this, then there is certain to be some ahead. But for now, all signs are a "go."

I've done my first two videos for a lady in our church who has had several losses in her life. She did a video on the loss of her daughter, and one on the loss of her husband. I was so nervous! Yet when I got to her home, there was a peace I could never describe. However, editing the videos was not an easy process for me. It took many hours, and even days, to get through the one about the loss of her husband. Lots of memories. Lots of tears. Lots of heartache. Lots of pain....all over again. I had her over for lunch the other day, and she gave me the "OK" to show these. Here is the first one I have completed:


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Signs of Fall

For some reason that I don't know or understand, the changing of the seasons always brings back tons of memories of Todd for me. Todd loved the fall (I think he loved all the seasons, but they each had a special characteristic he loved), especially the leaves and beautiful colors.

Fall begins a new school year. Toby is now in 2nd grade, Winter in 7th, and Tiffany in 10th! Trina is in college at Lancaster Bible College, doing classes online. The boys are still working and doing well.

Fall brings another birthday for Trina and Toby. Katrina recently turned 18!

Fall begins another season of soccer. Today Toby and Winter played their first games. It was a beautiful day.

Fall brings a new wardrobe. I love my hoodies! They make me feel warm and safe. I especially love wearing Todd's old ones.

Fall brings new challenges and lots of memories. I'm actually looking forward to this fall. I am so thankful for the wonderful memories I have, that can never be taken from me. I plan to hold them close through this new season. Fall also begins the holidays...always have been difficult since Todd died, but this year I pray I will remember the good things we shared, and not spend as much time missing those good times. God is good. I still am awestruck with God's creation and the clouds. The clouds. They've been beautiful. Here's another picture I took just yesterday.

Almost forgot....on Labor Day I was privileged to be together will my sister and brothers. It's the first time we have all been together in over 10 years! I don't think Vicki was ready for this picture...

Signs of fall are a blessing for me this year. I pray they will be for everyone...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So much FUN!

My first bike ride! wow. There's nothing like riding on the back of a motorcycle, other than driving it yourself, I guess. But if you don't know how to drive one yourself, then the next best thing is riding on the back! So awesome... all I can do is share the video clips. Haven't gotten them into a movie yet (I'd like to play some music in the background like "Born to Be Wild" or something), but here's the "raw footage" from a great ride last night~thanks to my nephew, Joshua.

NOTE: The last two I almost lost my camera...we were flying! Check the speedometer (it was close to 90!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Hard to believe, but another school year is almost here. Toby will be starting 2nd grade, Winter will be starting 7th grade and is now in the youth group at church! and Tiff will be in 10th grade this year. It's hard to believe that we have three children who have graduated high school. That makes me feel very old, and makes me miss Todd even more. I still can't get through a day or even an hour, without thinking about him or what things would be like with him still here. There have been a lot of big decisions that have had to be made, there are a lot of changes in our family and home life, and at times I still spend hours crying and wanting to talk to Todd. How can a house, full of loud, active, crazy children (and adults!) be so lonely? I wonder about this often. There is still a big hole missing.

So now Trina is beginning college, and the two oldest are working full time. My older brother is coming to stay with us for awhile. My parents have been here for the "hurricane season" (they live in the Keys), but are planning on going back to the peace and quiet paradise they call home. But there is always something going on here, always busy, always loud, always a bit crazy. I guess that's what keeps me going.

Tonight when I was praying with our youngest she told me she wanted Daddy to come back down here. She does this every so often, but tonight took me off-guard. She is six, and so innocent and honest. She wants to give him a hug. She wants him to hold her. She wants him to read her books. She lost a tooth last week, and then pulled the one next to it out. I need to take an updated picture, but she keeps me smiling!

I can only end this post tonight by being thankful for my children. They are all wonderful and such a blessing to me, each in their own special way. I love my family. So I am trying to focus on all that God has given me today, not on all that I am missing. (it's not working...but I'm trying!) Looking at the clouds helps...

I can't get this song out of my head....I Sure Miss You, by Jason Crabb, probably because it sums things up pretty well.

If life could only bring again, the days I took for granted when
To hear your voice was just a call away
Oh what I'd give for just some time, to say the things that slipped my mind
There's so much now I'd really like to say
But I can never go back when we did the things we did back then
I'll store those precious memories in my mind
I'll take what you've instilled in me; I'll try to be all I can be
And walk the path that you have left behind

I sure miss you; life will never be the same with you not here
Each passing day has brought much pain
But with God's grace my strength remains
I sure miss you, but heaven's sweeter with you there

The little things that seemed so small are now gold in a memory vault
I cherish every one I have of you
Now I can see and recognize the part you played to shape my life
I often see you in the things I do
In God's design and master plan He saw the hurting hearts of man
As we would say goodbye to those so dear
So with our family and friends we'll be together once again
We'll view all heaven's splendor hand in hand

Saturday, July 17, 2010


This has been an interesting summer. So many things are bringing back lots of memories and seem to be making everything "fresh" again in my heart and mind. The void Todd left seems to be getting bigger as the kids grow older. C.S. Lewis talked about grief being a spiral, then questioned for himself, is this an upward spiral or downward spiral? Good question. I'm not sure, but I'm definitely coming back again to all the pain and missing Todd so very, very much.

Lately I've been fascinated with the clouds. Maybe because that's where my heart is? I long to see Jesus and heaven and be re-united once again with Todd and so many others that have gone before us into heaven. I've been taking pictures of clouds for weeks now and my kids think I'm crazy (especially when I take them while we are driving!). Late last night I put together this slide show. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Despite the pain, the missing, the void, the longing to talk with Todd again and see him again, things truly are "Well With My Soul" through it all!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Well, now we can rejoice that all six of our children have made professions of Jesus as their Lord and Savior and, as of today, all have been baptized to publicly stand for Him.

Today was very emotional. But wait, I'll let you see for yourselves. You may have to turn all your volumes up to hear their testimonies, but they both mentioned their father. It just stinks that he was not here with us today. He was very missed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wild and Crazy Days!

This past Saturday Toby played her last soccer game for the spring, and her team won! It was exciting to watch her play and enjoy the game of soccer as her other siblings did.
It was fun, but it lacked the excitement that Todd would bring to the games, screaming, shouting, etc. But Toby had a great season, and I am sure Todd either was told about her or even witnessed it!

Then I had an unexpected blessing. One of my favorite singers ever is Steve Green. I found out he was doing a concert in our area, so after church on Sunday night, we went to see what was going on. I ended up getting a ticket, and then afterwards even got my picture taken with him!!! . I've gone to several of his concerts, and I must say the crowd wasn't nearly as previous ones. Maybe I'm getting old? Whatever, it was a blessing to hear him sing, although this was the first time without Todd, and it made me miss my buddy more than anything. Todd was not as big a fan as I am, but he loved to hear Steve sing "God and God Alone." ...and that's what he ended his concert that night singing. Awesome. Just such a blessing.

Now, ever taken a long trip in a car? van? ...more than just a few hours? Last weekend I drove in a van with 8 kids to South Carolina!! Why? We went to pick up my friends' son from Bob Jones University. My friend was too sick to drive that far (don't know where we would have fit her anyway), so driving that far away from home without any other adult, was, well, interesting. We put together a short video:

So, it's been one crazy or wild thing after another lately. Even with all the fun, all the pain in missing Todd during the fun, all the near heartattacks and all the heartbreak, I am so thankful and praising God for the family He has so richly blessed me with. He is way too good to me.

In Jehovah do I take refuge:...If the foundations be destroyed,4 Jehovah is in his holy temple; Jehovah trieth the righteous; ... For Jehovah is righteous; he loveth righteousness: Psalm 11

Monday, May 10, 2010


I used to ask this question way too much, but am learning that I do not need to know why. I do not need to understand. I need to rest in knowing that God DOES know and that He does have a plan, and that He is in control! It's called trust, and it's not easy to do. I have found a lot of comfort in knowing God's Word and His promises and in knowing God personally. I also find comfort in the words to this song, Love Will Find A Way.

Love will find a way
To follow where you run
Love will cover you
And shield you from the sun
This will all be done
Just to heal you, to heal you
Love will lift the veil
You try to hide behind
Love will kiss your tears
And turn them into wine
This will all be done
To reveal you, reveal you

Love will take your shame
Love will lift your head
Love will take the blow
That was meant for you instead

Love will never leave
No matter what you say
Love will look beyond
Your brokenness today
This will all be done
Just to name you,
This will all be done
To reclaim you, reclaim you

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mourning to Joy....

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Isaiah 61:3

Toby's bestest friend is moving to CO this week, so to answer her many questions, we keep telling her that she will be with her Daddy who has a new job there. Now all she wants is to be with her Daddy. She keeps saying, "Why can't I be with my Daddy?" and things like, "Why can't I just die now?" She told me it was not fair that her friend could see her Daddy this week, but that she has to wait "forever." How do you answer such things? Well, I'm thankful for this verse. One day we will be re-united FOREVER, and our mourning will be turned to JOY! Can't wait for heaven....just sayin'...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Moment by Moment

Or day by day....this song is what I must keep singing over and over and over again...

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He Whose Name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
Ever to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Going It Alone

I haven't really been able to find the words to write for quite some time; however, I was blessed in reading what someone else wrote, so I thought I would post it here.

Going It Alone

I hope you get a blessing from this as I did.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Living in Reality

This past Saturday would have been our 22nd wedding anniversary. This was my 5th anniversary celebrating alone. It's difficult to live in the reality that I will never again celebrate that day with Todd here on this earth. It's difficult to live in the reality knowing I will never see or hear or touch Todd again on this earth.

This anniversary was extra difficult. I spent last week helping a friend take her son to the hospital for surgery on his foot, waiting there with her, and then taking him home the next day (supposed to be a one-day procedure, but due to complications, he had to spend the night). The memories of being with Todd before his major surgery, waiting, then visiting each day, came flooding back. They were not good memories. I found myself crying a lot, and feeling the pain of watching someone you love suffering without being able to help. It was one of the most difficult weeks since losing Todd.

I also realized what it was, however, to live in the reality of knowing I could lean on God, trust Him, and collapse in His Arms, fully trusting Him with every emotion, every hurt, and every difficult memory. I've heard those words countless times, "Trust in God" or "Lean on Him" and even, "God loves you," but I think I experienced close to the full reality of those words for the first time. I don't know that we could ever fully understand those words. We say them so nonchalantly, but have you ever, ever truly lived in that reality? It's an amazing feeling. I'm so happy to say that truly, like David said in Psalm 18:2 "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"

Saturday, February 6, 2010

57 Months Ago Today...

It may sound like a long time ago to most people....5 years ago on May 6th, Todd went to heaven. Still feels like yesterday. One of the biggest snow storms we've had in awhile hit this weekend. I had trouble getting to sleep last night. I used to love the feeling with a big snow storm when everyone, including Todd, was home. It was a great feeling. It was a safe feeling. It was a warm feeling. I couldn't find that last night, or today. All the kids are here, safe and sound, but Todd is not. It's difficult to describe. Just really missing him today. I don't feel safe. I don't feel warm. I feel lost and very alone. Even my rose bush is covered in this snow! I'd do anything for a rose from Todd today, or better yet a hug from Todd!

I keep thanking God that He promised He will never leave nor forsake me. I'm so thankful for Him. "Gotta keep singing..."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter is now 11 years old!

Our last birthday celebration for Winter with Daddy was when she turned six years old.

It's hard to believe she turned 11 last week. Birthday celebrations are still difficult without Dad, but this one was multiplied for several reasons. First, Winter is a very special kid, being born with infant acid reflux which caused sleep apnea, she would frequently turn blue and we never knew how long God would allow us to have her. (see Weathering Winter for more details) Todd went through those scary, long nights and difficult days, right beside me. He was the only one who understood how very precious each birthday celebration was with Winter. I felt lonely without him here with us.

Then, we decided to take Winter to ChuckECheese with her friend, and then to the archery club. These were two of Todd's favorite places to go. He loved taking the kids to Chuck E Cheese for bday celebrations. He also loved hanging out at the archery club watching Abe shoot for the club there. We went to both places.

Praise the Lord, the kids had a great time, and I made it successfully with minimal tears. Sure, we missed Todd very much, talked about him a lot, but God gave a peace and provided the strength I needed to have fun with the kids and even smile a bit.

I long to see Jesus face to face and to be reunited with my very much loved one. I pray the day is near, but until that I have to keep singing....have to keep praising His name!

Oh, and Happy Birthday to our precious Winter Hope!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Where was this song 5 years ago?

One of the dearest and most precious friends I have used to tell me in my darkest days when Todd was sick and in the days after he went to heaven, that I need to learn how to "climb up in God's Lap, and just rest, feeling His love..." She would also constantly be reminding me to keep praising God and keep praying, even when I didn't want to or feel like I could. I found the times when I would climb up in God's lap to be the most comforting and the most refreshing times of my life. It was a quiet place, a place close to Him, but where I was totally numb...I couldn't feel anything, just 'In His Lap!" ...what precious words.

Anyway, I never heard this song until my daughter asked for the Undone CD from Mercy Me. It brought back many memories, this time good ones, even when my heart was breaking and broken!

Thank you, God, for always being there. I love you so much!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I have some really GREAT kids!

I'm so proud of my kids....every single one of them! But my oldest four astound me with their wisdom and encouragement. I only would share my very deepest thoughts and feelings with Todd. It has been so difficult with no one to share these things with, and gradually I have been going to my older children for advice or their thoughts on some things that I was struggling with. Yesterday, after a sermon that was a bit confusing for me, my children told me this:

Mom, you used to tell us that Daddy was your rock and almost everything you did, you did for him, but when he died, God was showing you that God needed to be your Rock and one and only. Your entire foundation was broken when Daddy died, and now you are re-building that foundation. It takes time to build a new foundation, but you are, and you're doing well. Just keep making God your "new" foundation and make Him the center of everything. That way, you know you can't go wrong.

Coming from my children, this meant more to me than anything. I thank God for my kids. I praise Him for their wisdom. I pray that they, too, will make God their foundation in life. God will always be here. God will never leave. God is solid, like a Rock. God doesn't change. What better foundation could we have for our lives?

I love my kids.