Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Making Dinner

Ever have a meltdown? When you just want to give up because the pain and hurt and brokenness feels too much to handle anymore? And you just want to give up? And quit? This happened to me last night while I was making dinner.

While preparing I began a head count, as I always do, and realized there would only be three kids eating that night. Tiffany, of course, is now married. Nathan works late and I never know if he'll be home for dinner, but lately he's been stopping by his new house and doesn't get in until late, so he eats leftovers or whatever he can find in the cupboards. Abe had texted me telling me he wasn't going to make it for dinner because he needed to stay late for work. That left the three remaining girls. I looked at the dining room table and thought we might as well eat in the kitchen. Todd had always loved eating at the dining room table, so for several years after he passed, I hated eating out there. It left this big gap at the end of the table where he always sat, and I just didn't like staring at the empty seat. So we began eating in the kitchen; there was still an empty chair, but it was somehow more manageable for me. Until I discovered the kids liked eating in the dining room because it reminded them of Daddy and there was more room, etc., so I decided to start eating out there again. Eventually I got used to it and eating in the dining room once again became the norm. But tonight we would eat in the kitchen.

I tried to cook less food as I could feel that knot in my throat and tears forming in the corner of my eyes. I knew it was inevitable, but it all happened so fast. From eight, to seven, and now to four. I began to open a can and my can opener stopped working. It was the portable kind...the one Todd bought me because we didn't have the counter space for the normal kind when we lived in the condo. Over the years, I came to love my can opener. It was unique. No one could use it correctly except Todd and I, and now only I could master it. But right now, it wouldn't turn. I unplugged it and started working on it. I wanted to call out for Todd and ask him to fix it. It's been over 13 years since I called him to help me fix anything, but that's the first thing that came into my head. I missed him. I always seem to be missing him, even 13 years later and especially when things change and I feel I need him. I tried to open the can again. Nothing. I couldn't ask Nathan or ask Abe; they were both at work. "Why?" I asked out loud. I may have been asking God. This wasn't fair. This was my cherished can opener and now it wasn't working. How was I going to open the can? Dinner was ruined. Why even bother? The girls can eat cereal. I wasn't hungry. No one cares anyway. Leaning against the counter in utter dismay, I wanted to walk away, crawl under the covers, and quit. Making dinner wasn't worth it. Just living wasn't worth it without Todd and the kids. I asked God directly this time, "Why? What lesson do you want me to learn from a broken can opener and ruined dinner with no one to cook for anyway? What do you want me to do right now? I'm lost and hurting and don't want to go on. I just can't take anymore. I've been missing Todd for too long now. Every. Day. For over thirteen years! I can't do this parenting thing by myself anymore. I want heaven. I'm done."

I looked at the can opener on the counter. I looked at the unopened can. I decided to try one more time before throwing the can opener in the trash and going to bed. Guess what? It worked! It started right up and did it's normally perfect opening job! I began to cry. No, weep. Alone in the kitchen I suddenly realized that God heard my prayer, my call for help, and saw my hurting heart. He was right there with me! Todd may not have been there, but God my Father most certainly and obviously was!  And then I started thanking Him.

"Thank you, my precious God and Father! It was something so small, yet You fixed it for me! Thank you for this can opener. Thank you for the incredible gift of a man who bought me this can opener. Thank you for all those years we had together and how wonderful he was to me. Thank you for my kids. Thank you for Brad. Thank you that Tiffany found a godly man she could spend the rest of her life with! Thank you for Abe and his job and his hard work. Thank you for Nathan and for his new house. Thank you for Katrina and the job she has and for all of her help around the house. Thank you for Winter and for allowing her to be here with us, healthy, after so many medical issues and life-threatening concerns through the years! Thank you for Toby and her sweet personality, contagious smile, and love for life and care for others. Thank you for my kitchen and for my dining room! Thank you for the many, many blessings you have given to me! Oh, thank you, my Heavenly Father, for loving me and taking such good care of me. And forgive me for those crazy, unchecked thoughts, that seemed to go out of control just a moment ago."

Then I noticed this on my window sill. I'm certain it was my Father's gentle reminder.
I know, I know....what is it? It's supposed to be a thought tree. A couple of years ago I went on a ladies retreat where we made these silly crafts. I'm not a craft person, and I did not enjoy trying to complete the craft, especially when everyone around me was doing a fabulous job. Yes, I know. I wish I had a picture of how it is supposed to look, but the idea was to make a craft that would remind us of the our thoughts. Make good thought roads or tree branches. Stop the wrong thinking, and begin making and creating thoughts that would lead to other good thoughts so that it will become a pathway in our brain. Because, let's face it, typically our thoughts keep going wrong until we totally defeat ourselves, like I almost did while making dinner last night. It's so easy to do.

I remember a book my Mom made me read when I was a teenager called Telling Yourself the Truth. It basically had the same principles, and it all boils down to Philippians 4:8 which says: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  

Keep a check on your thoughts today! Make good thought roads, and keep telling yourself the truth of God's Word: Father God loves you. Father God will never leave you. Father God wants the very best for you. Father God is so very faithful and so very good. 

May God help us to watch our thoughts. Do not allow them to run out of control and into wrong thinking! Think the truth! ...and be thankful. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Tales of Seven Kids!

It's official!  Time for a name change for my blog!  My daughter got married this weekend, and although I don't have any official pictures yet, I did manage to get a few. But first, look at the thoughtful gift my daughter and her new husband gave me...
                                                   ...a new charm!  Todd had gotten me a necklace with the charms of each of our kids birthstones.  Now I have seven...they added the one in the middle, next to Tiffany's.  They are in age order: Abe, Nathan, Katrina Joy, BRAD, Tiffany Grace, Winter Hope, the baby in heaven angel, and Toby Faith!

The wedding was beautiful, and all of my kids did such a wonderful job helping and making this wedding run smoothly.  From the days before setting up, through the rehearsal, the morning of the big day, the wedding ceremony, and the reception, my kids were my heroes!  They each stepped up and made me proud!

   Of course we missed Daddy very much, but God's grace was abounding and His love was felt so very much, that there was more joy than sadness this day.  Tiffany went down the aisle solo with one of Todd's favorite songs, Edelwiess.  It was beautiful!

So, welcome to my seventh kid, Brad! I am so thankful that he loves the Lord and wants to serve Him.  I am blessed beyond words. Thanking God for my newest addition tonight, and anxious to share more tales of my seven kids!