Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Rose and the Storm

Well, the storm has passed. It was "unprecedented" for this area. It was big. It was scary. There were many warnings, and trips to the grocery store showed the evidence of this as shelves were emptied as people began to prepare to stay indoors for up to a week. Fortunately the storm actually turned and went around us. We had some high winds and lots of rain, but kept our electricity through out the storm as well as a dry basement. Unfortunately, many of our neighbors and our favorite vacation spots, did not fare as well. The Jersey and Delaware shores were devastated and those cities were flooded. It's unbelievable and even sickening to look at the pictures of what the storm did to those well-known and loved cities. Some lost their lives. Very sad.

It was very difficult to go through such a major event without Todd. He was my protection, and I always felt so safe when he was here (especially when he came home from work during a snow storm or other dangerous situations). It was so good to have him here. It was so safe. This storm made me feel so alone and so fearful, despite having our six children all here and knowing that I had a Heavenly Father who was watching over us and protecting us. God was VERY good to us. I am amazed and humbled by His protection and care for us and our home through the "Super Storm Sandy."

Today I noticed the rose. Todd had given me this rose bush before he died, because he used to give me roses all the time. He wanted to be sure "he" kept giving them to me even though he was not here physically. Every time they bloom, I think of his love and care for me and our family. I love him so much! After the storm, I noticed a rose in bloom, intact, healthy, looking beautiful. Thank you, Todd. Thank you, Father in heaven.

....such a beautiful reminder that Todd was with us in spirit through the storm, and that God, our loving Heavenly Father, was here protecting and caring for me like no human being could ever do!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Believers in Jesus Christ and Politics

In less than two weeks Americans will be voting for who they would like to be their next President. This is only the second time I have faced this decision without Todd by my side. We voted every time the polls were open, and we made it a point to bring our children and show them what it was like. We made those afternoons or evenings into a fun, family night. I will never forget walking to the fire station as a family to vote, and then waiting with Todd late into the night to see the outcome. We would talk, and we almost always agreed about our thoughts on politics and politicians and the media. We were a team. It was just part of life.

That all changed, as you probably know, and 4 years ago I faced the election for our President alone. I felt confused. I did my best to keep up with the latest news on the candidates and even watched the debates. I listened to other believers in Jesus Christ, and found myself listening and following their example. I did what they did and thought what they thought. And I missed Todd. A lot.

This year, as the election was drawing closer, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to stay away from the media (although I did watch the debates), stay away from political conversations at church, and just be alone. After all, I am alone. I prayed to my Heavenly Father a lot. I still am. I don't know what to think anymore, and as my children are now older and asking questions, I find myself confused and missing Todd more than ever.

Recently I re-connected on face book (big mistake) and began reading my friends' thoughts on politics. At first I was alarmed at the disrespect I heard for the President of the United States. I knew that was wrong, but these were believers! So I began questioning their thoughts. I responded to a friend's thoughts, against all reasoning not to do so, bringing up Scripture and some of the questions my children have been asking me, as well as my own thoughts on the matter. Well, I was apparently very wrong. I was mistaken. I was "ignorant" of the facts. I was told I needed to vote for someone who I don't want to vote a Christian. It was my duty to do so.

Now if any of you know me well, you will know that I don't like to be told to do something that I don't want to do. I tend to have a slightly rebellious streak, but very slightly. :) My first thought was to ask Todd, but I can't do that. So then I asked my Father, which obviously is not the same at all. I longed to hear His Voice speaking back to me, and I remembered that He communicates to us through the Bible, so I went to the Scriptures. I prayed a lot, read a lot, got confused, and now I'm not sure what I believe any more.

I was always told Christians have a responsibility to be involved in politics, yet I can not find anywhere in the Bible where God tells me to get involved. I realize there was no democracy like we have in the United States in Biblical times; however, there certainly are examples and teachings from Jesus and Paul about our involvement in government. We are to be respectful. We are to obey. We are to be servants. God established government for our protection. No where, however, can I find a command to "speak out" and vote just for the sake of voting another person out of office.

I understand our freedoms, but then again, I don't really understand them. Are these God-given rights truly given to us by God? God never told us we had the right to life, liberty, nor the pursuit of happiness...these are all given to us by a piece of paper that MAN wrote, not God. In fact, God told us we would have persecution and difficulties if we chose to follow Him.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am confused. I want to stand before the Lord one day, and have Him greet me with a smile and "well done." Why are we here? We are here to tell others the gospel. We are here to share our salvation with the lost world. Nothing else matters!!

Yes, I continue to pray for America, for our President and leaders, and hope and ask for God's blessing on this land. I love America! I am, however, not sure how followers of Jesus Christ should be reacting in 2012 at the polls. I pray we continue to spread the Good News, no matter what is in our future as a nation. May God, the Creator of it all, be our number one priority, and obeying His Words to "Go and tell every nation..." about Jesus!

I wonder what Todd's thoughts on all of this are he looks down from heaven and knows the "whole picture." Life is short. I want my life to count for eternity!

...please feel free to respond with comments, but know that this was written from my heart, in search of Truth. These words are not intended to cause strife or debate, especially among believers. Just so confused...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Almost school time!

It's near the end of August, and school is just around the corner! Yikes! It's hard for me to believe, but Tiffany will be a senior this year! That will be four out of the six children graduated from high school by the end of this school year. This is just incredible for me to believe, remembering my oldest was only 15 when Todd went to heaven. It was seven years and three months ago that Todd left his earthly home, and yet in so many ways it feels like yesterday. Seasons coming and going are so difficult without Todd with us. I miss him a ton.

Last night, as I was driving my son's car to church with my son and two daughters (because the others had already taken the van to a youth group meeting), I had a terrifying experience. I was approaching a group of high school cross-country runners, slowing down, and a kid on a bicycle was suddenly in front of me! I jammed on the brakes, with no where to really turn, and ended up hitting his back tire and sending him flying to the road. He was fine. Everyone was fine. The boy's bike and Abe's car were not fine, but that didn't matter much. If you have never hit a kid on a bike, then you probably will never understand the pure terror it is to have this happen. I couldn't sleep last night. I can't sleep tonight. All I can see is that boy's face staring at me right before I hit him. I can hear the sound of the crash and see him falling to the ground. I am so very, very thankful that he is okay, but that doesn't take this terror away from my very soul.

So, with school starting and this terrifying experience last night, I really, really wish Todd was here to talk with. Missing him so very much tonight...

Thank you, dear Heavenly Father, for your protection last night, and especially for sparing that young man's life. I pray this experience will draw me closer to You and that I will find comfort and peace in my soul soon! I love you, Lord. You are my Saviour and my Lord. Life is difficult sometimes, and I know You know all about that, so I pray and wait anxiously for Your return! Amen!

This helps me to keep wonderful family! (unfortunately our oldest, Abe, is not pictured)

...and love this guy! (my nephew, The Baaron enjoying his first freezy pop!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

June 10, 2012

One year ago today I heard that my cousin, Tommy Mills Jr, was killed in a motorcycle accident. I wasn't close with Tommy, but his Dad lost Aunt Phylis about five years ago around this same time. I have been thinking and praying for Uncle Tom all day. My heart aches for him. To lose a wife is extremely difficult and painful, and I know Uncle Tom had some very difficult years. And now, a year ago today, he lost his son. His only son. I wish I could give my Uncle Tom a big hug right now.

In other news, well, not much is happening here at the moment. I should be writing puppet scripts for my church's Vacation Bible School. Every time I start to work on them, my mind wanders. I can't seem to stay focused on the scripts! I am not sure why, but I think of Todd a lot recently. I mean A LOT! Every night I wish we could talk. I miss that "catch-up" of the day's events and how we were doing, etc. "Daddy and Mommy Time" is sure missed! Nathan found a new job working for UPS. He loves it. I'm very excited for him and so proud of him. He looks and acts just like his Dad. The uniform he wears, the way he takes off his boots at the end of the day, his mannerisms. It's almost eerie.

Keeping Uncle Tom in my thoughts and prayers and missing Todd all day today can make writing puppet scripts seem so minor. I need to make it more of a priority, but am not sure how to do that. Oh well. Back to work on the scripts (or praying for Uncle Tom or dreaming of Todd or talking to Todd...).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Todd's Testimony of Faith in Jesus

I left the best part out of that's ALL of what he said that day, and one reason why I long for heaven!!! (couldn't help but add the first part with the Allens! Miss them and Todd so very much.


Tonight we had communion at our church. We sang Calvary Covers It All, and this is all I could think about. At our reception, we each gave our testimony after my sister-in-law, Sandi MacKay, sang our favorite songs. This was Todd's.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grandmom's Dollhouse!

I almost forgot....we were privileged to get my Grandmom's dollhouse! Grandmom worked for years on this house. Every detail, many years of hard work and collecting, and receiving help from so many different family members.....and I have it here in my home! The girls are loving it. We started by taking all of the furniture out and cleaning every room as carefully as we could. There are several shutters that came off and lights that need to be repaired, but here is what it looked like yesterday, for Memorial Day:

The only thing we added to Grandmom's house was the flag!

After some more work, Trina made the outside decks look beautiful, and here it is so far:

Next we need to work on the shudders and other broken lights. I forgot to mention, I can still remember Grandmom putting on each brick on that chimney, Uncle Tom putting in the dormers for her in the attic rooms, and Uncle Andy making more windows for her because Grandmom said there were not enough windows! I love my Grandmom and I love her doll house!!!

Time just keeps going and going and going...

I am amazed at how time can get away from you. I missed over a year of tales about my children! This past year our youngest, Toby Faith, turned eight years old! Winter Hope turned 13 and we had a great "Friday the 13th" birthday party for her! Tiffany Grace turned 17, Katrina Joy is now 19, Nathan is now 21, and Abe is 23!! I know, it's hard to believe. I am so thankful for my children. God has blessed us way more than what we could have ever imagined. As far as I know, all of my children have asked Jesus to be their Savior and have been baptized. All of them love Jesus with all their hearts, and as far as I can tell, they are all exactly where God wants them to be in their journey through this life! I am so proud of every one of them. What a real blessing each are to me.

This has been a difficult year. A good friend of ours passed away suddenly a few months ago. Todd's Mom had several strokes, then went to heaven on the same day, May 6th, only 7 years after Todd. It was and is surreal. It's so hard to believe that both of Todd's parents are now in heaven with him and our "baby."

Last week my Grandmother, who was 99 years old (5 weeks from her 100th birthday...born in June, 1912), also went home to heaven. She had been wanting to go for many years, but I am thankful for the years we had to spend with her. What a blessing and testimony her life was to us. I still love listening to and remembering her stories. What a legacy! I miss my grandmom so much, but again, it's neat to know she is now with Pop-pop and Todd! I am so grateful that heaven is a real place and that I will one day be there as well!!!

Last week I bought a motorcycle. I love it. What a difference riding a bike alone from driving a van full of children! I often picture Todd's half-smile, like he is saying, "I love you, I can't believe you bought a motorcycle, but I love you." (I got several of these kinds of smiles and I would always ask, "What?" He would respond with a hug and a whisper in my ear, "I love you.") So here it is (please note that it is ORANGE!!):

Grenade is still a little unsure of it. It's a little too noisy for him, and he still doesn't recognize me when I'm wearing a helmet! Poor Nader still seems lost without his buddy, Rocky. Rocky died this year as well. We all miss him, but I think Grenade misses him the most!

I think that about brings everyone up to date. There are a lot of things I could've said about this year without Todd. It's been interesting, but I can say with confidence that Father has taken good care of us! He has shown His love and grace every day and brought us through some really difficult times. I don't know how I could have gotten this far without Todd here beside me, had it not been for Divine Help and Grace! Thank you, Jesus!