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Yes, I DO realize that I’m about exactly two months behind the rest of the world in the festivities of painting autumnal pumpkins.

BUT, there is a reason for it! A very good reason.
You see, my sister Ervina was coming to visit and we wanted to wait until she was here with us. [It's been a childhood dream of hers, never before accomplished, and we wanted to be there for the Big Day].

So, she arrived, we were having heaps of fun visiting our other sister Jana, missing our yet other sister Claudia [missing her not included in the 'heaps of fun'], sitting and drinking coffee and eating quiche just like we’ve always dreamed of doing together [except 360 days of the year we're too far apart from each other to do that].

And then, it was the

Day of Painting Pumpkins.

The children were so very excited, it’s true. And what even truer is that the big kids were even more excited. It’s a way of bringing out the inner artist you didn’t realize you had, and feeling extremely happy with the result.

The ‘Punkins,’ as Zoe says.
[Or is that 'Pungkins'? Something along those lines. Definitely without the 'Pump' part.]

the pumpkins

Unfortunately, by the time I went to purchase some, everyone else around here had bought out nearly every single pumpkin. The result was a great scarcity, resulting in very cheap ones in those I could find, and of pulling out pretty much every plastic pumpkin I had around as well.

Let the painting begin!

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I’m on a gold fetish right now. [More on that another time.]
But I bought a gold and gold glitter paint in the craft section at Walmart,
and that was what we big kids used the most of.

Also, we couldn’t find more than one white pumpkin, so we painted some of the orange ones white.

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There are just so many fun options!
Of course, you can’t expect children to stay with a neutral pallette. Oh no.
The rainbow assortment is the very best kind, of course. :)

kiddo painted pumpkins

 

The different styles we made…

The polka dot.

This would also be so pretty on a white base…

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The scallop.

scallop pumpkin

The stripe.

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The glitter.

This was fun, but I think it would have turned out better if I would’ve painted the pumpkin white, and used gold glitter instead of silver.

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The leaf # 1.

leaves 1

The leaf  #2.

leaves pumpkin 2

The white & glitter.

[yes, this was a green pumpkin!]

white & glitter pumpkin

These now so festively adorn my home for a few more weeks!

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First all, I want to say a huge THANK YOU for all the kind words & comments & messages & helpful advice on the previous post. I cannot even tell you how blessed I felt by every single one! Time hasn’t allowed me to respond to each of you so far, but know that I so appreciate you all. Wow. I know surgeries like this happen all the time and I was feeling like an over-protective mother, and your words encouraged me SO much. You will really have no idea!!

*****************

Zoe said something the afternoon of her surgery that pretty much sums up how this week has been for all of us. We had come home, but she was still too weak to walk around alone. But in the middle of all of that she said,

“Mommy, I was surprised by Jesus today. You told me this would be a time when I would know how much Jesus will take care of me: AND HE DID!!”

I don’t think my mommy heart has ever swelled so big. Tears splashed out of my eyes, and we hugged each other tight.

That is just our Jesus: to take something scary and unknown, and turn it into something beautiful. Jesus didn’t just help her be brave through it all; He showed her Himself, and His great love. I was blown away.

Just a bit of surgery recap, for those who are interested…

// the night before the surgery, another journal entry by Zoe:
“I am having surgery tomorrow. I am trying to be brave.
I hope I will know that God is with me!”
// hashtag meltmeinapuddle //

Zoe, Ben, & I arrived at the hospital at 6am Tuesday morning. Zoe took along her favorite little stuffed animal (yep, she’s a stuffed animal lover), and we were in various waiting & hospital rooms for the next about two hours, with nurses in and out.

// 6 o’clock A.M, in the hospital //

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// the cutest little kid i ever saw in a hospital gown and cap //

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We prayed together, we read stories , Zoe & I painted our nails together. We talked about how Jesus would take care of her and be with her,even when we weren’t there. “Jesus is inside of me, and that’s really close to me!” she laughed. It was a calm feeling, and Zoe had not one trace of fear. It was amazing. I thought of the people who were praying for her and realized again how powerful prayer really is.

// painting our nails a matching color //

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// a little gift from the hospital which was immediately loved upon by Zoe //

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Then came the hard part: kissing Zoe goodbye, ME – not her – trying to hold back the tears as we watched the four nurses roll her little bed down the long hallway, her little blonde head bravely peeping over the top. *deep breath*

In that moment I thought of the many mothers & fathers that I know that have done that – and often in much harder situations than this. Yes, there are risks with a tonsillectomy, but it’s still SO minor compared to say, open-heart surgeries, or brain operations, or surgeries because of legs not growing properly, or… Wow. Letting go of your child in that moment is so difficult!! I have new sympathy for parents like that.

Then Ben & I waited another 45 minutes, watching the screen that said “Number _____ in surgery.” It’s a surreal feeling.

A super neat thing during that waiting time was when a dear friend of ours, a nurse, came out and let us know she would be there for the surgery and helping in the recovery room.

We were allowed to be with Zoe almost as soon as she was out of surgery and in the recovery room. She was still out from the anesthesia, and had an oxygen tube right by her mouth. Within 10 minutes she was waking up, and I was so glad we could be there for that!

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The nurses showed us her tonsils in a jar, and said they were some of the largest they’ve ever seen. Not gonna lie – seeing my daughter’s body parts in a jar was a little too much for me to handle. I have a vivid imagination, and just picturing what her poor throat must be like  after slicing those giant-marble-sized tonsils out…. Well, it wasn’t one of my finest moments! Yikes. Enough about that!

She drank some juice, ate a popsicle, was transferred to another room, and very soon we were being discharged and headed home!

The rest of this week has been so much better than I ever expected in many ways.  There has been no hemorrhaging so far, something I was really scared about. She is on pain medication every four hours, day & night, ever since we brought her home, and if I’m late giving it she started hurting pretty bad. But while on schedule with the pain meds, she really isn’t in pain. Discomfort and some weakness, yes, but not pain. It’s amazing.

We’ve read lots of books, watched just a few little movies (Anne of Green Gables is still on hold at the library :( ), and really spent a lot of time with each other. Zoe’s love language is quality time, and is she ever loving all this one-on-one time! :)

Although she’s pretty much been on the sofa since Tuesday, she’s been able to drink well and has been okay eating soft food, still mostly cold (thanks for all the great suggestions with food & drinks on the post before this ~ that was SO helpful!).

Little Sis Olivia is really milking the system too… Ice cream whenever Zoe wants it?
Well, of course she needs some too!
And applesauce for supper? Yes please, I’ll take some!
Yummy juice drinks & protein shakes? Don’t forget about me!!
:)
And so she’s included in it all too, because I want it to be a fun week for everyone.

// ice cream has become nearly as common as drinking water :) //

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And we have been BLOWN AWAY by the kindness of people in our life. Blown away. They have been the loved of God with skin on! Zoe has loved the visitors, and had ice cream and balloons and a little stuffed princess bear brought to the door, and the mail delivery almost every day since then has brought more surprises than any little girl would ever dream of! Olivia thinks having surgery sounds like a blast, and has made wistful comments about wishing she could have HER tonsils removed. Ha!

// we decided this would be home-ecky-becky week 101 //

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The recovery time is two weeks, which is longer than I realized it would be. That means no running, no hard playing, nothing that really gets the heart-rate up and pumping fast. That will be the hard part, because this little girl is a tomboy! And sitting still that long won’t be easy. She can return back to school studies next week, and people have given great gifts for a long recovery – a puzzle, bead set, coloring books, little cooking projects, writing activities & art projects. I’m not even joking, we have the best friends anyone could ever ask for!! It is so humbling to be cared for so very much. I’m so wowed. And Zoe keeps saying, “They are just SO KIND! I can’t believe they gave this to me!”

// Grandma came over with a sweet package of fun little games //

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// special delivery: balloons and a bear from our church ♥ //

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// fun glasses make smoothies taste even better //

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It has been so very precious to see how God has used an experience like a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy to boost the faith of a six-year old little girl. He has taken something that could have been terrifying and scarring into something that has instead been huge building blocks of her own little walk with God.

This week it seems like her walk has gone from believing that Jesus loves her to experiencing that He really does. Soon after the surgery she asked me, “Mommy, can we thank Jesus for helping me be so brave?” She doesn’t take credit for the bravery ~ she knows it was Jesus.

And I love that He didn’t just help her be brave: He showed her more of Who He is. He showed her that He takes good care of her! I love that!

Before I had kids of my own I never would have known that a little child can have a relationship with Jesus. Now that I have children? I’m completely amazed. It is no wonder that Jesus said we must have the faith of a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Thanks again for all the love, prayers, & care! It has meant so much. The family of Christ means more to me all the time!

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These children? They are actually the real teachers.

One of the first times I realized this was when Zoe was around two years old. I had specifically been praying about how to teach her to pray, because I felt that I was very weak in that area. And how do you teach something that you are still learning?

I was outside one morning, hanging out laundry (yes, those are by-gone days), and I heard a little voice talking, but I couldn’t see her. Walking around, I saw my little daughter sitting on the grass, hands folded, praying with words that weren’t even all intelligible. “I pray, Mommy,” she lisped, and I stepped back softly. This was holy ground, and I didn’t want to interrupt a sacred time.

My eyes filled with tears, because I remembered my prayers, and realized that God was filling in the cracks for me. I’m not a perfect parent – I never will be a perfect parent. And it’s for that that we need Jesus – because we cannot do it on our own, and we cannot turn the heart of a child to her Savior. Only the Spirit of God can do it.

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Since that day several years ago, she still challenges me in prayer. If she has a bad attitude, often all I need to say it, “You need to go talk with Jesus, Sweetie.” And she’ll go into her bedroom, and soon I’ll hear a little voice with tears in it, words tumbling out on top of each other, sometimes angry, sometimes upset, sometimes sorrowful, but talking with Jesus. And most times when she comes back out, her heart is calm and peaceful. Sometimes I need to still talk something out with her, but many times, that’s all it takes. I’m so amazed at how the Spirit of God can work in a heart so young.

[post interrupted because of a case in point :) ]

Recently she’s taken to journaling a bit. My sisters and I are all the journaling type. Not necessarily every day, but often a few times a week. So if she sees me writing in mine in the morning, she will often sit beside me with her own little journal and pen.

Looking through that little book feels like snooping to me, but she doesn’t seem to mind. This particular entry blessed me so much, because I know it’s not something I can manufacture in her. Her little heart is so fully trusting in the goodness of God! It is such a privilege to be taught by these precious little children.

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God is my God. He will not harm me, but He loves me.”

Tomorrow, Zoe is having surgery for a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. From the time she was a wee girl, she’s had such trouble with strep throat and awful allergies, among other things. Doctors gasp at the size of her big tonsils. I know the surgery is one that will help her in the long run, but today, I have a queasy feeling in my stomach at the thought of a knife being taken to my baby.

She’s being so brave, but this morning we sat and cuddled for a long time on the sofa, she talking and asking questions, and me trying not to cry when she says she’s scared. Truth is, I’m scared too! I wish it were me instead of her. The hardest part is not being able to be with her until she’s sleeping, and being scared about hemorrhaging afterward…

So, if you could pray for Zoe [okay, and her mommy!] on Tuesday morning, we would be grateful! It’s an out-patient surgery, so we will be back home sometime tomorrow.

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The rest of the week I’m just expecting to lay low, read lots of books, introduce Zoe to “Anne of Green Gables”  and any other idea you may have to keep a six-year old occupied on the sofa for a few days??

Also, the nurse told me to feed her popsicles & ice cream until she can eat food with texture again. And while I’m not a health nut, that just sounds like a tummy ache to me! Do any of you know of other smooth textured-foods that would be safe & at least somewhat nutritious?

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Thank you in advance for your prayers, your helpful advice :) and care! I wish you all a lovely week!
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Will someone please tell me, what is it about this autumn that is absolutely intoxicating nearly everyone I know??

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[via pinterest]

I mean, autumn has always been a lovely season. But this year? People everywhere are crushing all over again on Autumn and its beauty.

Autumn is such a gloriously regal time. Sometimes showy and flashy and shockingly beautiful [at least, in the northern areas], and other times it’s the weather that is a great reprieve from the high temperatures of summer and we just want to live outdoors [here in the south].

We don’t have breathtaking maples or any leaf change, for that matter, and I really do miss that part of living in the north. But there are still pumpkin things to make and bake and eat, and decor that I putter around with and arrange, and we can at least pretend it’s cold!
I adore this season, more than ever before.

Our little cottage has been in autumn attire for about a month now, but just put on the final accessories. She’ll remain like this until after Thanksgiving, and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed seasonal touches like I have this year. It ranks up there real close to Christmas decor, which is saying a lot, folks!

In decorating I am passionate about homemaking – not to be confused with housekeeping. I want to create an atmosphere of warmth, of love, of rest. I want anyone to be able to walk into our home and know that Jesus is Lord here, by the beauty and purity that reflect Him.

So here’s a little look into the cottage.

the kitchen

The kitchen gets just a little touch, next to my faaaaavorite sign by Aimee Weaver.

autumn kitchen

[silver urn: thrifted]

dining room

The dining room gets a simple display as well.

This quote came from Sally Clarkson’s blog, I’m quite certain.
I love having this written in my dining room chalkboard, with the giant fork beside it :)
~ reminding me that nourishing my family is more than just with food.

autumn chalkboard

[a little fyi i recently learned: if you dip your chalk in water before writing, the finished product is a brilliant white, not a muted chalky look. i like both looks, but it's nice to know different ways]

For the first time in seven years, I found heirloom pumpkins in my area!
My excitement was so high. :)

autumn dining room

[silver tray: thrifted
giant fork: yard sale
linen runner: my sister's wedding
glittery gold pumpkins: fun little paint]

living room

The living room receives the most seasonal change in any decor of the cottage.
It’s a challenge to keep it fresh and new, without just repeating last year’s design!
But I do love how a new look on only the mantel can change the entire look of the room.

Also, the living room is very neutral in color, so the mantel can handle a fun pop that isn’t throughout the entire room.

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We have very high ceilings, so sometimes it can be hard to do justice to the space.
This year I pulled out the paper flowers from last year - they add texture & create height well.

And I searched throughout the house and found glass candlesticks & little jars with small openings, and twisted taper candles into them. It gives a bit of a primitive look, but I like the collective look of them all together.

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Because of the number of things on the left side, I kept it very simple on the right side.

I’m not normally a fan of fake foliage, but ya know, I was a little bit desperate for autumn leaves!! :) Hobby Lobby had these springs of autumn-looking-somethings on sale, so for $15 I had my leaves. Other than real pumpkins, it was the only purchase I made for decor.

autumn mantel

[old frame: thrifted & dry-brushed
chalkboard: canvas, chalkboard painted
tall white vase: clearance at Target
collection of vases & jars: thrifted & gifted
fire place: yes, um, we are hoping for a cold day, and until then, pretending]

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“Gratitude turns what we have into enough”

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I put a few little pumpkins on the coffee table, which makes my 17-month old son shout
“Ba(ll)!” and he fires away at his big sisters. One day ball-throwing will be off-limits in the house, but for now, he’s just too cute.

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master bedroom

Just a little touch of autumn. A mixture of real and fake spray-painted-white pumpkins.

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hallway

I’m kind of into candles this fall. And silver trays [this one thrifted also].

autumn hallway

the front porch

These pictures I showed before, but not much has changed since then. :)

The chair was marked “free!” at a yard sale because of a busted seat [which I thought I'd get fixed and never did] and I loved the design and thought I’d paint it white [and never did] and it’s sat up in our attic for 3 years.

I very nearly sold it gave it away at our yard sale this fall, but wanted a change for the front porch and it worked perfectly.

First White Pumpkin

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I love Anne’s quote from L.M. Montgomery, and I’m just a little sad to see it end.

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are octobers - anne of green gables

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the last little sip of October!

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{one year ago i received a phone call that forever changed my life. one year later, i am still learning how to live life without a beloved friend who was by my side for so many years,
and who continues to make me a better person because of who she was.

what i write in the following paragraphs is a reflection of the grief-walk of the past year.
 it’s not what i typically write about on my blog, but it’s been part of my life every day, nearly every moment, for the past year. i am so privileged to have been one of many friendships Ruth shared with in this life. 

i wrote this on the day of the one-year anniversary, but it felt too raw to publish just then. a few days and edits later, i feel ready to share it. most of us have either experienced grief of our own in various degrees or walked beside someone who has. my love to each one. ♥}

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I walked out the door this morning with lipstick and my nails painted a lovely plum color.
I’ve not always been a big fan of purple nail color, but since October 20, I am.
Ruth wore it and loved it, and now? I do too.
I love anything that is a reminder of her beautiful, inspiring life.

I told my daughters that I was going to spend the day with Jesus, and talk to Him about Ruth.
“It’ll almost be like talking TO Ruth!” said Olivia, “because Ruth is WITH Jesus!”
And even though it doesn’t seem nearly the same to me, I laughed, because it does bring me SO much comfort, knowing that she IS with Jesus, not one single doubt otherwise.

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Today is a huge mixture of celebrating her life, and missing her so fiercely.
The ache still hurts worse than open blisters from a new pair of shoes.
The tears still come like a sudden rainstorm in July.
The reality is that there is still so much sadness at the one-year point.

When I woke up this morning, I thought of Ruth immediately,
and of her first “birthday” in Heaven.
Do they have parties for things like that up there?
Because Ruth sure loved a good party, and I sure want her to be celebrated well.
Heaven is so lucky to have her.

One year later, this quote says it so well for me:

“People ask me, “How are you doing?”And I say, “Wonderful.”
One moment I’m sobbing uncontrollably – I carry Kleenex around in my pocket – and the next moment I’m so exhilarated with joy at all that God is doing in my life.”
[Jim Conway]

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I went to the ocean today. I sat there for hours, behind oversized sunglasses to hide the tears streaming down my cheeks.

It was a perfect day to be there – a high tide, waves crashing just a few feet away from me.
But I wasn’t there to be in the sun: I was there to be with The Son.
It was just me, my Bible & journal. God was there, so present.

My husband was so kind to understand my need of being alone and quiet on this day.
It’s been a month busier than ever before, and I needed time away on this day,
to remember and reflect.
For me, there is nothing like the ocean to be reminded of how big God is,
and how sufficient He is for me, for everything I need.

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There are certain dates & events that are etched upon my memory like engraved stone.
Some happy things: like my engagement, our wedding, the birth of our babies.
And some are etched in tragedy: the death of people I love.
Certain dates in October, in November, in December.
At each of those things I can still remember exactly where I was,
and the incredible shock and pain I felt upon hearing words I never wanted to ever hear.

One year later,

grief is such a long hard road.

It’s so much more than attending a funeral and crying a lot of tears.

It’s the long hard process of learning to live life without someone that was a part of me,
who was such a part of what I knew and experienced in life,
and while learning to do life without them, never forgetting them.

A friend of mine, Hannah Rose, wrote these words about the grief of losing her daughter.
They descibe so perfectly how I feel in remembering my dear friend, Ruth.

There are lots of myths about grief. But, today I want to address something in particular. 

Quite often, well-intentioned people subtly say something along the lines of me needing to put “what happened to me” (losing my child) in the past and step forward into the future.
What I hear when people write/say something like this is that I need to “get over” my child. You see, I will never get over loving Lily, therefore I will never get over losing her. I will never be the person I was before having and losing Lily. And you know what? I wouldn’t want to be.
This is not something I will “recover” from, as if I have the flu. I don’t ever want to forget her or “move on” from her.

 To move on from her would mean to forget her which would mean I don’t love her. That isn’t possible. To move on would mean I don’t embrace the calling God has on my life, to be her voice. To move on would mean forgetting everything God did in me because of her.

God gave me the gift of her life. A brief, yet beautifully brilliant life that has changed my own forever.

Just because I grieve “out loud” and write and speak publicly does not mean I have not stepped forward into the future God has for me. I step forward and carry her with me every step of the way.

I am not crying all day in my bed every day, lonely and depressed. No, quite the opposite.
I have a passion and purpose to embrace my LIFE and all God has for my LIFE.

Feeling the loss of her has taught me how to love more deeply than I ever did before.
I would never want to be who I was before.
I am stepping into the future, with her always in my heart.

[end quote, emphasis mine]

Walking through grief is so unique to each person.
I figured out I’m a slow griever, and change comes so hard for me.
Some are much faster, where moving on is simply a reality of life because the person isn’t coming back.

Sometimes I’ve felt like this quote:

sometimes

Grieving is such a vulnerable and sensitive time.
It intensifies feelings, and the one grieving is so susceptible to being hurt, or being loved.
Walking through this year has made me realize how insensitive I’ve been in the past to those who’ve lost someone they’ve loved. Never have I intentionally hurt someone; but I see now, with much sorrow, how I’ve added hurt without even realizing or intending to.

It’s a time when so much mercy, and grace, and forgiveness must be extended:
for the one grieving, and for those walking alongside.
Because of the acute sensitivity a grieving person feels, there is potential for anger or bitterness to form, and that only makes the grief worse.
The grace and forgiveness of God must be applied as liberally as a aloe lotion on a sunburn,
covering every offense and wound.
It must be given as freely as water flowing down rivers,
covering the rugged stones so there is no danger of injury.

Grief is surely an awkward thing. There isn’t a perfect thing to say or do.
There is no handbook to grief; not for those grieving, not for those wanting to help.
There is no map or outline.

I’ve also been the one watching people grieve, knowing they are in pain,
but feeling absolutely helpless to know what to say or do to bring comfort.
Saying things can feel awkward, and not saying anything also feels awkward.

But walking through grief has also been a time when I’ve been
overwhelmed by the power of God through other people
.
I’ve seen & felt grace and love extended in huge ways that are mind-blowing,
in ways that can only be explained in terms of Jesus Christ.

I’ve seen beauty in places where anyone would expect darkness and ugly.
I’ve seen & felt Jesus in people like never before.
I’ve seen them extend love and grace in ways that are superhuman ~
only because they go to Jesus in brokenness & emptiness,
and come back filled with Who He is.

anchor of the soul

I don’t know this girl at all, or even how I came across her writings, but this was written
by someone who also lost a beloved friend.

I want it to hurt when it hurts. To feel numb when it feels numb.
To feel happy when I feel happy.

And I want all of those honest emotions to drive me back into God as deep as I can go,
so He can heal the gaping wound Himself and show me how to walk through the fragments of my broken heart strewn all over the place.

The emotions change. He doesn’t. I want to dig as deep into that as I can.
I want to learn about Him in the ways you can only when He’s carrying you,
crushed and broken.

If the pain is there, why not press into it and find Him in it,
and come out whole on the other side?

After all, that’s what He did when He went to the cross on our behalf on Good Friday.
 He took the horrifically painful cup that was handed to Him by the Father
and drank it to the dregs, knowing that life was waiting for Him at the bottom.

Even if that meant that Friday was excruciating,
and Saturday the world was still shrouded in death.

Sunday was on the other side,
and when He arrived, all was made whole. And it was worth it.
[end quote]

Sorrow and grief have the potential for deep cleansing of the soul.
and pressing hard to Jesus.
It can purge a heart of so much flesh, and so much earthly, temporal focus.
It can reveal how much we’ve been living for ourselves,
or how much our Life is truly Jesus Christ.

My own heart has gone so much deeper this year.
In many ways I feel so different from the person I was one year ago.
I would never wish to go through such sorrow and agony, but if it was given to me,
then I don’t want it to be lost and worthless.
And I don’t want Ruth’s life and beautiful legacy to be forgotten.

The only way to go on has been to cast myself upon Jesus.
To grab hold of him with both hands and all my strength and not let go,
in brokenness and desperation and neediness like never before.
And to stay there, holding onto Him with everything I am.

Because, truly, He alone is the souce of Life.
He can use the agony and loss to bring us to a place where we just want JESUS,
more than anything else in the world.
More than healing for my broken heart,
more than I wanted life to be happy and okay and pain-free,
more than anything I wanted circumstantially.

In grieving, we can either turn in anger from God,
because He allowed this pain, this injustice, this affliction, didn’t He?
And He could have prevented it.

Or, we can run to Him as the God of all comfort,
the One who tenderly cares,
the One who weeps over the effects of sin in a broken world,
as the One who is everything I need.

My outlook on my time on earth has shifted dramatically.
At 20 I was a relatively naive girl who looked starry-eyed into the future,
expecting sunsets and rainbows and castles in the sky.
I thought even if hard times come, eventually it would all be okay
and life would be beautiful again.

Now, ten years later, I feel like an old soul. :)
I feel like I’ve aged decades in the last year especially, and you know what?
I still love to see beauty in life,
to notice beautiful autumn days and pretty pumpkins
and enjoy biscotti and kiss my children even with their terrible morning breath
and celebrate my friendships:
it’s all a little glimpse off how He originally created life to be (without the bad breath).
I love to worship Him in that beauty.

But now I also know that there are things that won’t ever be “okay” again -
that the “perfect ending” won’t even come in this life.
That each day I have with the people I love is truly a gift,
and I never know when my lease on time will be over,
or when someone else’s will be over.
And in that instant the lease expires, life forever changes.

And I also realize like never before,
that JESUS is the ultimate prize.
Not just in Heaven, but NOW.
Knowing more of Jesus, becoming more like Him,
being transformed into His image sometimes through suffering,
this is all that really matters.
JESUS.

October Friendships 267

[precious words of Jesus about his death, and eternal life, from John 16:20,22
and that could also be seen as words from those who have gone to Heaven before us]

“I tell you the truth, you will mourn and weep over what will happen to me;you will grieve, but your grief will be turned to wonderful joy!…So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and then you will rejoice,and no one can rob you of your joy!”

These things serve to remind me that I am not made for this world, not really.
They are daily reminders that this is just one short little stop until I get HOME,
and HOME is where everything will finally be okay.
Where the perfect, the happily-ever-after will be reality.
That is where Christ will be the completion and perfection of all I long for.
HOME is where I’ll be reunited with the ones I love,
and there won’t even be a question of how much time we have together.
And that Jesus is LIFE, and He is enough.

not the end

And I think this is Ruth’s experience. I can’t wait to join her!

first chapter

I miss my friend Ruth so much. I miss her every single day, and so do many others.
I will always miss her, and love her.
Her legacy lives on, and continues to inspire others to live fully, as Dawn wrote so beautifully.

But I pray this grief is redeeming.
That I would live with a heart more fully alive than ever before.
That I would forgive more deeply, and love more freely.
That I would savor little things,
and delight in simple gifts.
That Jesus would live in me like never before.

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