Saturday, November 30, 2019

My God, I Thank Thee

November has been full. The every-day challenges were surrounded by special days spent with family and friends.

I hosted a group of fourteen writerly friends for a delightful day of sharing words and books.

Our annual family hog-butchering day.

A day trip to DC with the high schoolers in our homeschool group to visit the Museum of the Bible. The collections and multi-media displays were fascinating and informative.

Eating lunch on the top floor within sight of many of the famous landmarks of DC.

Making Christmas cookies on Thanksgiving Day.

We wanted to have an authentic early American Thanksgiving meal, but the hunting was unsuccessful. We had to pull out some wild game harvested on previous weeks to enjoy a meal of venison, squirrel pie, and cornbread.

Of course, the joy of every fun experience and special day is dimmed by the inability to share them with Ed.

On Wednesday evening at church we sang "My God, I Thank Thee." This hymn put into words my thoughts this month, though I admit that often my heart fights against these words. It is one of those songs that is hard to sing honestly. I'd like to stay on the first and second verse, and not go on to verse three.

My God, I Thank Thee
by Adelaide A. Proctor
Hymns of the Church #683
My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.
I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.
I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.
I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before.
I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blessed,
Can never find, although they seek
A perfect rest;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus’ breast.

Thanksgiving two years ago. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Six Months Walking

It has been six months since Ed's death.

If you are someone close to me who is thinking, "Oh no, I forgot." Don't feel bad. Every month on the 18th at least one friend has called or messaged me, and often I had not remembered the date. I think of May 18th every day, but I'm not often aware of dates and anniversaries.

In many ways I feel as if I've lived a couple lifetimes in the last six months. I'm living a life I never dreamed of and walking a road I never wanted. I'm not surprised at the grief, but I never imagined I'd find joy even here.

I've enjoyed the fall weather this year more than usual, possibly because I've been enjoying regular hour-long walks in the roads around our home. After a challenging morning of homeschooling, to walk in the sunshine several times a week feels like a gift.

I always enjoyed walking, and before I married I had a job that I could walk to across farm fields. But with babies I was too busy for walks. But last fall Ed needed exercise, and we started walking several days a week. I did it for him, but enjoyed it for myself. I learned that I could leave for an hour, and all my work would wait until I came back. And I might have renewed energy to tackle it.

If you asked me last fall, I would have told you that I enjoyed walking with Ed. I know we talked and laughed and watched the birds. But now I only remember how slowly he walked, completely unlike his usual six-foot stride that made me trot to keep up. I remember how I worried when I saw him decline week by week. How I feared that our options to keep fighting his tumor were dwindling.

This week, as I walked the familiar stretch of road as I've have dozens of times in the last months, I had a flash of memory from sixteen years ago. That fall I was pregnant with our first child, and we woke up early enough to walk together before Ed went to work. 

I had not thought of those days for a long time, and instantly that memory brought back a rush of that heady time of life when we were relishing new love and new life and our days held the promise of a million dreams. 

It is rare for me to think about days such as those. My mind circles around the days last fall and winter, watching Ed lose his personality and control of his body to the monster in his brain. 

I wonder if subconsciously I'm pushing down memories from those happier, hopeful days to protect myself. As long as I remember Ed struggling in a cancer-ridden body, I can't wish him back to earth. But remembering Ed before, in the days when cancer and surgeries and seizures were unknown, brings back too many what-ifs and whys. 

So I watch the clouds scuttle over blue fall skies and the golden leaves dance in the wind. I relish equally beautiful words of an audio book. I chat with friends and make plans and dare to paint new dreams.

I wonder if it is okay to feel happy. To hold my face to the wind and feel joy. I know that Ed is happy. Unspeakably so. And I think that he's want me to find joy too.

That knowledge doesn't take away suffering. Seasons continue to move on. The golden leaves fall and crunch under my feet. 

Now the tree limbs are bare, making their own kind of stark beauty. The cycle of seasons continue.

We survived the first six months without Ed. We leave the busyness of summer to join the quiet of winter. I look forward to sitting by the fireplace with a book as snow falls. But I know that motherhood in winter means finding profitable activities for children without losing my own sanity. 

I suspect the neighbors will continue to see me walking, watching the sky, my ear buds turned to a fun book, my nose red from the cold, and my heart searching for joy. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Captain Garrison winner

I enjoyed hearing about the people from history who inspire you. We are so blessed to have people of faith who have showed us how to live in faith and victory.

I pulled one name to win a copy of Captain Garrison. The name was Mary Burkholder, who had donated books for an earlier giveaway this fall. 

She wrote...

"My children chose George Bauman, a character from the Martyr's Mirror, who is written about as 'Joyful George' in the Fruitful Families devotional book, written by Howard Bean."
I hope your children enjoy learning about Captain Garrison and will add him to their list of favorite characters. 

Thanks, Katrina, for this giveaway.

To purchase your own copy of Captain Garrison go to TGS International.


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