Understanding All the Things

Faith, grace, grief, hope, mercy, Peace, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom

Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all – Emily Dickinson

Recalling Mercy

I misplaced my mustard seed, the tiny glass enclosed actual seed that jingled on my wrist, a charm on my bracelet.

I’ve resigned myself not to find it again and decided, someone else may find it and it will be the thing they needed that day and days to come.

They would need the thing called faith.

They would need hope that demands little and remains like the song of a morning bird.

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I prayed for mercy yesterday, at least five times. I lost another thing, much more valuable and important, a necessity.

My morning was a panic, I searched in the most outrageous places, the last one was the refrigerator.

I cancelled one morning thing and then decided to carry on, to stop searching for my “dental appliance”, the most embarrassing thing, and do the other.

The other being get dressed, let it go, stop searching, do the important thing.

Take the coral colored roses on the kitchen counter to your friend who has lost her husband, choose what’s more important than your crazy searching.

I prayed again. I told the Lord, I don’t deserve to find this, I don’t deserve your mercy yet again.

Walked away to get myself together and you most likely know, I found my partial in the place I’d left it, on the bathroom counter, safe under a hand towel.

I left the roses on my friend’s front porch, not knowing if they’d be found before the rain.

Just knowing in whatever state or whenever they were discovered, they’d be what God intended,

A thing God told me to do.

Later, I thanked God for finding it and I thought two things.

One, why was I so convinced I’d never find an object in my very own home and more important, why was I so convinced that God would not, yet again, be merciful?

Things I understand more each day.

God is loving, the giver of hope not harm. God is the open arms of grace to the guilty and bent by shame.

God hears every prayer I pray.

God is good.

I’ll never be good enough based on my weaknesses, forgetfulness, haphazard or hurried behaviors.

I have a helper who hears when I call.

To say we’re not deserving is true.

To know that God made a way called mercy is the quiet answer to all our crazy prayers.

Continue and believe.

Let mercy in.

Linking up with others on the prompt “Deserve”.

Deserve

Morning Paused

confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, fear, grief, marriage, memoir, Peace, rest, Salvation, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

“Here he stands! The Commander! The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side! The God of Jacob fights for us!

Pause in his presence”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:11‬ ‭TPT

I woke to a pleasant voice on my phone and then a message that alarmed me and led to surprise then chills followed by a pause. ‬‬

It’s almost noon and I’m numbed and lazy by the absorption of the truth of someone’s passing.

Sadly surprised.

I hear the hum of yard work in the back and front yard of the neighbor. Curious, I step outside.

a shower overnight
abundance
everything passes

Last night I looked from the window and thought how happy it made me, the limelight hydrangeas my husband decided to plant in a new place.

Twenty years married tomorrow and we have our first legitimate garden. Our granddaughter helped plant the tomatoes. The growth of zucchini has been outrageous.

I check it every day, a rectangular space near the fence.

Full of growth

And still growing.

I haven’t told my husband of the friend’s passing. They were close in a way I don’t know, seems he saw strength in him and I believe it was mutual, most likely unspoken.

Strength, yes.

Strength.

We’re not able on our own. The tiny plants become tiny tomatoes. The transplanted hydrangea dug up from my husband’s mama’s home is flourishing. The butterflies on the porch that enthrall us don’t last long.

Leave reminders though, reminders of the joy of their presence and the flutter of their wings.

A beautiful song.

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭118:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God is with you.

Sing along.

Still There, Promises and Songs

Angels, Art, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grief, hope, memoir, Peace, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
morning balloons

I’m ushered forward by the sunrise a few days a week. The road is often mine alone, I’m on schedule for my arrival and with low songs surrounding me, I notice the changing borders, green growth, fields becoming food and trees dotted with coral peaches.

I’ve been tracking an object since I first glimpsed it on Monday. Celebratory balloons, a star and two others, silvery white and deflating, drifted to rest in the high grassy border.

I wondered where it had been, how it ended up here, how long it may be before it’s flat in the ditch or whether the wind might miraculously lift it to cross the road and be found in a better place.

It stayed in the same place and by now it’s likely flat, deflated and hidden.

The happy gesture of someone for someone on their birthday drifted away and deflated.

Maybe there was laughter when the ribbon escaped the grip of a little hand. Maybe the one who tied them to a porch rail tied them too loosely and, oh no they got away.

I wondered about the faces turned towards heaven that smiled as the balloons met the sky and then left them.

Left to wonder what happens now.

I thought of what waiting feels like, waiting for God to take our prayers and hold them for a bit as we long for permission to go safely in another direction or we linger in that place we’ve been kept with no answer, no escape, no clear resolution.

Waiting, I thought feels like hope slowing deflating.

Or it feels like rest.

The choice is ours.

Each day I write “trust” in the spot above the date in my journal.

I hope it sets my tone, positions my soul to be satisfied although waiting. Waiting to see if my words sent to another might be shared, waiting to see if the works of my hands, brushed on paper and canvas might move someone to purchase and move to their home.

I move a new painting into my living room, I want to get a sense of the colors, whether they welcome or comfort. Are there places I missed? Does it tell me the story I hope it tells others.

The Promise

Will someone see “The Promise” of an unclouded day in the same way the hymn came clearly as I decided the sky should be brilliant and cloudless?

Every picture tells a story.

Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies
Oh, they tell me of a home far away
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day…(a hymn Willie Nelson sings, my mama’s favorite.)

Everything comes together, God brings all things together.

A verse comes to mind.

The soul at rest is peace.

Like an estate set aside for someone later, a trust to secure a child’s future, God must have things securely waiting for the right time in His sovereignty for me to hold them in my heart, see the reason for the waiting.

Trust is rest.

evening balloons

Like the birthday balloons trapped in the overgrowth and slowly deflating, I can choose the place I’m in as a place of settled trust.

I can wait for the next place God takes me.

I can see waiting as God knowing me.

I’ll take the country road again. I’ll glance with expectation towards the field to my right, the place with the resting balloons.

I’ll be expectant that I won’t see them, that they’ve been caught by the warm breeze of weekend and they’ve caught the attention of another.

Someone like me, feeling deflated by waiting and realizing there’s purpose in pausing and rest never means stopping.

To rest is to trust.

“Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭143:8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Continue and believe.

Unimaginable Things

Abuse Survivor, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, grief, heaven, hope, Peace, rest, Salvation, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder

“We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:19‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Hope is the thing that gives us permission to imagine, more than imagine, be sure of when there seems so little clarity, even less certainty.

Hope does not, cannot disappoint us, the hope of things not seen, heavenly things.

Hope is not a visible thing and at times makes little sense. Hope is internal, it is God planted, it is that tiny idea of a seed that begins with believing.

Then it grows when God comes close through His Spirit in our soul.

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:24-26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Hope, like God’s Spirit in our souls is an advocate, a guide, a loyal friend. We question the worth of our hope in tragic or trying times.

We catch ourselves falling into the trap of despondency, dismay, anger, doubt or heavy grief.

We stay there maybe, it’s okay. Hope never leaves. We gradually find it, it finds us again.

Because hope does not disappoint.

“And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I’m not sure we can make it without hope. I’m certain actually, that I could not.

We cannot see hope, can’t put it on the calendar, hold it in our hands, display it in our homes.

It’s visible only to the soul tethered to God. It’s visible in sometimes secret ways. Other times it holds hands with others and we join in our feeble grips in being anchored together.

We are hopeful. We’ve been promised eternity. We believe it.

Wonderment

Abuse Survivor, Angels, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, daughters, Faith, family, grace, grief, heaven, memoir, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

What are you wondering? What are you waiting for, wondering if you’ll ever get through or over it?

What are you waiting to experience, the wonder of a promise that comes true when you weren’t quite sure it would?

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭62:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The begonia in the pot was an afterthought, an extra in the little plastic container, now growing towards the sun.

I wonder why its blooms are fabulous, the others with the caladium have dried up.

I wonder why the women who found the empty tomb, who’d been so grief stricken were scared, uncertain, even seen as crazy.

Were met by skeptics.

Jesus had told them that after three days, you will understand even better the purpose of my violent crucifixion.

It seems as if the women and the disciples had forgotten.

I get that. I’m very much prone to forgetting the promise of good when I’m caught up in the malaise of my waiting.

Or when I don’t see any evidence of just around the bend arrival of it. I act as if pending will never end. I grow weary in waiting.

“…Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭24:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Then, like the women bent over by their waiting beside the tomb of Jesus, I’ll get a sense of God’s nearness akin to the angel who told the ladies…

Remember. Remember, God will.

God will bring good again.

What are you waiting for? Is it for grief to subside or to change its grip on your life and your soul?

Grief will change over time. It never goes away, it does change its emotion and the emotion it stirs in you.

What at first and for years and years is bitter, will become sweet.

Here’s why I say this.

A few nights ago, for the first time in decades since she’s been gone, I felt happiness over my memories of my mama.

A Netflix series, “A Chef’s Table”, the first episode, a story of a strong Texan named “Tootsie”.

I was enthralled. I felt I’d never heard a story so like my mama’s. I happily watched the whole show and later told my children, “If you want to watch something that will literally feel like being with your grandma, watch this show.”

I don’t know if they will. But, I will again.

So, here’s to the undeniable mystery of God. Was God aware there’d be a woman named Tootsie who would at last turn my grief to a sweeter thing when I watched a documentary?

I don’t know.

I’m simply accepting that God is good and makes good on His promises.

Promises we only have seen just a glimpse of here.

We are known.

Already known.

We can wait well knowing, the sweetest days are coming.

We can wait in wonder rather than worry.

Because God said so.

Continue and believe.

What are you waiting for?

What, to begin or to end?

Wait in wonder, knowing God knows.

Wonderment, such a pretty word. I’m holding onto it.

Take Courage

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, grief, heaven, memoir, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder

The crescent moon reappeared after a week of enormous full one. Its beauty is subtle, causing the eye to be discriminant towards the heavens, the evidence of cycle, of God in a quiet and sure way.

If courage had an expression I wonder what it would be.

If someone had the inability to hide their thoughts from their facial expressions.

What would the face of courage reveal?

Would courage look like tragedy, would the countenance of courage be downward glances, forlorn faces or broken distressed mouths formed in a grimace to convey the pain that courage represents?

Would it be like the joy of a love for another that’s met in an equal exchange or like the glee of a surprise causing a wide and spontaneous smile.

Not that way, I don’t think the expression of courage would show in that way.

Courage has a countenance more solid, more settled, more internal.

Steady, a secret formula.

Courage keeps a record of profit and loss and has tallied up the cost.

The value is underneath the layers, immeasurably personal and for the most part.

Courage is secretive.

Is a secret.

I sat on the pew marked for friends of the deceased. Family on the right side and us on the left, we were a sparse group.

Five of us spoke. The summation?

Courage.

Each of us in our individual ways remembered this individual as courageous.

If courage had words to share, I wonder what it would say.

Not very much, I’ve decided.

Courage is just that way.

Not a braggart or an instructor.

Courage is more.

Courage is a quiet conqueror who given the chance will tell of the agony, the distress that brought them to bravery.

Give its testimony.

Otherwise, courage stays quiet.

Stays quiet as a way to cherish and guard this inner resolve and immeasurable source.

Courage is the evidence that we know and believe in God’s love.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:35-37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The cost of courage?

Impossible accounting, irreplaceable, its value and the places from whence it comes.

Individual trials, personal triumphs.

Take courage.

Take love.

Continue and believe.

I’m linking up with others, prompted by the word “cost”.

Join us here: Five Minute Friday

Be Well

9/11, Abuse Survivor, bravery, Children, contentment, courage, depression, Faith, freedom, grace, grief, heaven, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Stillness, suicide loss, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

For a long time, very long time, we all remembered and talked about the time.

I’ve never been to New York City nor D.C.. I’ve never travelled by plane although I’m beginning to entertain the possibility, romanticize the big “6-0”.

I do remember the morning of 9/11. I remember I was at DFCS in my little square office with a window on a hallway with other “welfare” workers who I considered friends.

I loved working with these people. I did.

My mama called, the children were in school an hour away and I cannot remember whether we closed the office and all of us went home.

Eventually, I was with them, home and safe with my husband.

Changed, not because I knew anyone there nor remotely understood their trauma, fear, tragedy. I had no idea.

I have no idea.

Yesterday evening, social media informed me of the death of a popular young pastor and mental health pioneer,

By suicide.

I felt afraid because of his story, suicide and its occurrence is to me “scary”.

Because it’s happening more and because I’ve been with those who have been knocked down by the tragic reality.

I find it scary.

I’m following the journey of a child named Eva, in an induced coma now and it all started with a tumble to the ground, a simple fall.

Her mama wrote about hope this morning in her Instagram.

I began to think about life and hope.

About tragedy interspersed with triumph because it seems to me this is life in this world, in most of our worlds.

I remember my mama calling on 9/11.

I remember the morning my brother called to tell me my mama was gone.

The loud moan that came up from my belly that morning must have frightened my admin, the others in the office next door.

She was gone.

I had prayed so very hard she’d be healed. I had talked with her about faith and hope, brand new and uncomfortable things for me.

Things I thought were real, my mama’s death like a test I failed, my hope was either wrong or not enough.

I stopped believing.

Because, she was gone.

Mornings like that, losses and tragedies linger.

Tragedy is interspersed with triumph though.

This is life.

I believe it.

So, how did I continue, they continue…the ones for whom today brings fatal remembrances?

I believe we must choose as best we can with God’s help.

To be well.

Be the one who is able to say.

It is well. Even so, it is well. Even though, it is well. Although and even if, it is well.

I have this hope in God, in Christ Jesus.

It is evident.

Hope that says despite the very worst scenarios…

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:21‬ ‭ESV

Not a vacant or mystical hope, there are reasons for my hope.

A baby I call “morning glory” because it fits, evidence of long and woeful answered prayers and a new sense of God being near me, of Jesus being personally acquainted with me, in spite of tragedy and triumph and every mistake , silly or serious misstep in between.

It is well.

Be well.

Decide to fight for yourself, to believe without the full understanding of why.

That God is sovereign.

And so.

It is well.

It is well with you.

And me.

All of us often out of rhythm, rocked by loss of life, out of kilter because of uncertain outcomes,

We are dwelling between two spaces, tragedy and triumph.

Reality.

But, glory, new glory comes every morning and often if you notice, it’s interspersed in the midst of moments.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Job, the 5th Chapter

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, grief, heaven, hope, memoir, mercy, obedience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, surrender, Teaching, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability

I forgo my regular pattern of following my daily Bible guide and I go back to Job.

I am curious as to whether I’d have been as intrigued by Job twenty or so years ago as I am today.

An Old Testament book that reads like a novel to me, not one with lengthy lineage lists of unpronounceable names or one that details all of the practices and laws, I love the emotion of Job.

The emotion of God in this book.

Would I have felt the same many years ago, years when I felt forgotten by God and others?

I don’t know.

Because God knows, I didn’t really know God back then.

But, He knew me.

He surely knew Job.

In Chapter 3 Job laments. Chapter 4 and then 5 are the first of the attempts to comfort, redirect, to talk about the perceived unfairness of God by Eliphaz, his friend.

Life includes the expectation of trouble he told him then told him to complain, God would understand, would intervene.

“For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭ESV

Eliphaz is confident of Job’s innocence and so he tells him essentially, tell God how you feel and since He knows you’re a godly man, He’ll come through.

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.

For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭5:17-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And so the chapter ends on a good note, a friend hopeful in his advice to a friend.

Chapter 6 of the Book of Job is 30 verses in the words of Job, a valid and lamenting complaint to God.

A plea for redirection, for rescue.

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭6:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As far as the rest of the story, (after a long while) God restores Job in new ways. Job’s old days of integrity, of blessing, of beautiful things, those no longer remained.

But, God gave more and He gave even greater understanding to a man who stuck with Him.

I suppose this is why I consider the Job story so important and uplifting in between the lines of damage, death and destruction for no reason other than one.

Trust God.

Trust God in smaller ways.

Trust God in your present day, your past is only a reference for all the goodness, the rescue from what could’ve, should have killed you.

Trust God in your unknown.

His hands hold your beautiful future here on this evil tainted earth and your unfathomably sublime and peaceful heaven.

Job, Chapter 5, a chronicle of the advice of a friend who eventually tossed him aside, named his “wickedness great” and joined in with Job’s wife saying throw in the towel, “curse God and die”.

Leaving Job with one sole friend, advisor and listener, God.

Lord, thank you for Job, thank you for his trials that were unmerited and for his decision to stay aligned despite confusion with You.

May I learn even more from him and from you. Because of mercy, I pray, Amen

Linking up with others here, prompted by “Five”.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/08/01/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-five/

Happy Anniversary, FMF!

On the Day Marked 29

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, fear, Forgiveness, grace, grief, heaven, memoir, mercy, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Serving, Teaching, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

“You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you.” Hannah Whitall Smith

Work is in progress behind my window.

Heavy machinery harvesting timber.

The wide field that welcomed a spontaneous “capture the flag” adventure on a memorable New Year’s Eve is becoming more empty day by day.

The place where the cousins cavorted, that’s a memory nothing will take away.

Memories, such beautiful yet onerous things.

We discussed the motivation behind the new landowner’s intentions.

My husband added “Yeah, they’re raping the land.”

He paused for a minute when I gave no reply and I saw in his eyes that he regretted the word.

The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O’ bring Thou me out of my distresses. Psalm 35:17

And that’s progress.

That knowing of me by him.

That’s progress.

This morning I opened my devotional to read and felt seen and known.

He made you and understands you, and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it. Hannah Whitall Smith

I move to put my books away and see I’ve been moved by words for the 29th of August rather than July.

There are no accidents with God, the truth meant for a month from now is what is needed today.

The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. Hannah Whitall Smith

Smith was an author, a Quaker, a fighter for women. She was a mother to seven children with only three who survived. Something she fought for resulted in “scandal” and I am thinking it had to do with women.

She wrote about God as a God of comfort and one to be trusted.

She died in 1911. I’m glad she left her footprint through words.

For me by accident this morning.

The lot across from my home is changing. The place that kept me feeling like I was still back home in Georgia will be nothing but vacant and leveled soon.

Empty space for consideration.

A place for new. And it’s not up to me what it becomes, only how I decide see it.

Same with struggle, with grief, with open wounds waiting to be healed.

Grief must be complete before life can be full.

Oddly, I’m grieving what’s happening with the strong and lovely trees across the way.

I love someone who’s dealing with the same, an unwelcome change in the space she felt still, felt safe.

Causes me to consider and to welcome that maybe hard consideration.

What is it that you’re not allowing in?

What is it that you’ve not fully grieved.

What do you harbor that’s only been allowed God’s peeking in for a sort of intake session, pre-intervention, taking from you?

What are you avoiding revisiting because you abhor the ugliness and truth of what it includes?

What are you not inviting a closer and clearer look at and in doing so, only prolonging the splendid healing?

Allow your knees to hit the floor, tell God your secret sorrow.

Let the tears flow.

Welcome the clearing.

Welcome the hard seeing that feels so achingly self-destructive of your wounded soul.

No one likes to cry.

But, if we’re honest it leads to better.

Embrace the joy that is waiting but cannot arrive til you’ve let the sorrow begin and be done.

Not happenstance that July 29th would also include a HWS quote and a verse about God as our maker, the Father we can trust.

And a question from Isaiah about to whom we belong and who He is…

“This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭45:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One worthy of my trust.

Maker of heaven, earth, tress and me.

Continue and believe.

Thoughts on Heaven and Mamas

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, birds, Children, courage, daughters, family, Forgiveness, grace, grief, memoir, Mother’s Day, Motherhood, Peace, Prayer, sons, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, writing

This morning I cleaned out my “Saves” on Facebook, stuff I thought I may read later, there were over 50 various things I considered useful at the time.

Same old same, healing from trauma, posts about family, even more expert recommendations to grow my blog, have my voice heard, write the book, don’t give up…

I deleted almost all. I have to be honest, I am on writerly advice overload.

At the bottom was a note, the Facebook kind, I suppose my idea of blogging before I blogged and it was called 30 Randoms…things I’ve learned since mama died.

It is a list compiled 10 years ago come November.

Much of it is the same.

I suppose the ache began when someone said change your profile pic to your mom’s, one of those FB things that make you either go along or rebel.

I rebelled in a kind of pitiful, mulling over pondering way, my way.

I don’t have a photo I haven’t shared before and the one I have is dated and it doesn’t portray the mama I want to portray.

Grief changes its hold on you over time.

I miss my mama, see the cardinals all the time that say she is near.

I’m afraid though it’s simply not enough. Well meaning people will say oh she sees you, she’s looking down and you stand silent like a big dumb block not replying to their little kind words or something to say remedy.

I believe my mama is in heaven; but, I do not fully understand what it’s like for her there.

Possibly her spirit still lingers near me, possibly it’s my memory and longing for her involvement that manufactures this comfort and assurance for me.

Here we are over 10 years and there’s so much she should know.

Updated here are 30 randoms I’m offering up as prayers to heaven in hopes that someone else up there runs out to find you and you sit together and you laugh and cry happy heavenly tears over what is going on, how we’re doing without you and daddy down here:

1. The grandchildren are something else altogether and individually, they are just enough you to be stubborn and outspoken and often irreverently rebellious in being themselves!

2. We are all still married to the ones you saw us with before you passed away.

3. Baby Brown is due any moment of a very soon day. This will mean three great grands. Our home has a baby room.

4. Your grandsons are strong, just enough cockiness of your daddy cushioned by the gentle handsome ways of our daddy.

5. I left my job that was destroying my health. I am an artist. I get “pissy” and I’m sure have a certain look when someone says a painting is “cute”.

6. I am a writer. I will be going by “grandma” just like you and I will be helping my daughter with her baby, just like you.

7. I am less afraid but still prefer to stay hidden.

8. I left the church that made me feel I’d never be enough.

9. I sit every morning with my Bible, a pencil and a memorandum book.

10. When I’m sad or angry or anxious, I clean the whole house, rearrange stuff.

11. People call me an open book. I reply with only certain stories.

12. I reunited with Melanie and revisited the times I fell apart and she helped you and daddy hold me together.

13. I regret going home the night you passed away.

14. I understand you probably wanted it this way.

15. I love Jesus the way you lived it, love everyone the best you can, not more than you should to those who love themselves so much they don’t need yours.

16. Be kind to your husband, as he ages you become everything to him.

17. Love a dog, this love will sustain you.

18. Love food, not its control over you.

19. Delicious things are only delicious if savored not embellished or used to satiate empty bottomless places.

20. Accept God’s grace.

21. Being pitiful is not pretty or permitted.

22. Wear more red. Paint your toenails red, learn to wear a hat.

23. Don’t stress.

24. Stress will kill you. (I’ve told you before, Lisa Anne).

25. I’m going by Lisa Anne now mama, occasionally “LT”.

26. I sold three paintings last week and I gave one expensive one away.

27. One painting found a new home, it was inspired by your high school photo and I called it “Heaven Meets Earth”.

28. Today, I will believe there are better days ahead, I’ll not long as much to have you here to have your hand touch mine, to see your face when you see ours.

29. Today, I’ve decided I’ll ask again and if you’re listening, maybe you can soften the way. For Mother’s Day, I want a dog.

Yes, how fitting, how perfect, how precious it will be. A puppy or a rescue, a new home with me to represent and honor you. Yes, I’ve decided, I’ll ask again.

Don’t you think it’s time, Greg? Time for us to get a dog? If not now he might say soon and I’ll let it go, trust it’s just not a good time.

30. Better now, I’m better. Grief is a mystery and an unexplainable thing. Words from others who don’t truly know are better left unsaid.

There’s really no right response other than remembering.

When Mother’s Day is without a mom, a mother, an outspoken and gone too soon mama!

The greatest gift is to allow all of the remembering you can stand!

P.S. I joined the Artist Guild and there’s an exhibit tonight I don’t think I’ll be attending. One, possibly two of my pieces will be displayed. Some artists will have ribbons on their works. I’m not going because I still don’t care for spotlights or attention.

Remember the time you and daddy drove four hours because a piece I created was chosen for a blue ribbon?

I remember it well and the years that followed dulled my shine and the gift of your being there.

So, if I didn’t say so then, thank you for telling me back then that it was possible,

I could become an artist according to you!

I finally believe you.

Happy Mother’s Day. I feel you near, do not fully understand it, I do believe you have become an angel.

Lisa Anne