Tuesday, December 30, 2008

found in you

The song, Shadowfeet, by Brooke Fraser has spoken to me in the past few months. These are the beautiful words:

“Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet
Toward home, a land that I've never seen
I am changing: less and less asleep
Made of different stuff than when I began
and I have sensed it all along
Fast approaching is the day
When the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees,
When time and space are through,
I'll be found in you.”

It is so good to find out that when my world is absolutely upside down, and all I thought was “sure” is broken…God stays the same. He won’t leave me. He’ll be here, and I can find my true self in the surety of Him.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

our hope endures

As Natalie Grant sings in “Our Hope Endures:”

“Sometimes the sun
Stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky
Rains night after night
When will it clear
But our hope endures
The worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Our hope is unchanged
Emanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
We never walk alone
This is our hope
Our hope endures
The worst of conditions
It's more
Than our optimism
Our hope is unchanged.”

Lamentations 3:21-23
“ Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

God is with us. He is all sufficient. He never changes. This, and only this, is the hope that we have. This hope endures forever.

Thank you, Father,

Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas, sister

Merry Christmas, Sister. We miss you so much.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

decorating for christmas

Today we collected boughs of pine, sprigs of cedar, and various kinds of holly from the woods. Deb put them all together with a big, beautiful bow, and we placed them on Kathy’s grave. We were honoring the lovely, creative, and giving spirit of our sister. She would love it! We were decorating for Christmas.


Monday, December 22, 2008

sorrow will end

Isaiah 60:1B,20B
“Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. Your God will be your glory…and your days of sorrow will end.”

Friday, December 19, 2008

hold my heart

“One tear in the dropping rain,
One voice in the sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breakin' heart?
One light, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Won't You come close and hold my heart.”

“Hold My Heart”
Tenth Avenue North

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I love light! I always have. As a child, I can remember how much I looked forward to walking to the top of our driveway to look down on our decorated, lighted house at Christmastime.

These days, I drive through our downtown area, which is alight with beautiful holiday lights, on my way to the gym every morning. When it rains, the lights are especially beautiful, because of the reflection of light. It seems there are two or three times as many lights.

It reminds me of how God’s light has been reflected around me in these past five months. His light has multiplied…grown…glowed into unexpected places…lit up days that would otherwise be dark and lonely.

It also makes me think of my own life’s light. As Malcolm Muggeridge answered to the question of what he most wanted to do with the rest of his life: “I should like my light to shine, even if only very fitfully, like a match struck in a dark, cavernous night and then flickering out.”


Monday, December 8, 2008

giving comfort

Reader’s Digest has an article in it, this month, written by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She is the daughter of Robert Kennedy, and if anyone knows about death and grief, she would.

She gives four things that one can do to give comfort to someone who is grieving the death of a loved one:
1.“Go to the funeral.” She says: “Death opens an enormous hole in the heart. A funeral service brings together those who can help fill that hole.”
2.“Call or write your friend when someone close to her or him has died.”
3.“Never say, ‘You will get over it.’ People rarely do.”
4.“Embrace the person who suffers. (The death of a loved one rips us apart, shakes us up, hurts terribly.)”
She goes further to say:
“Make it clear in the letter or phone call to your friend that she or he is wonderful. The outstretched arm, the warm embrace, the freshly baked cookies, or the fragrant flowers do not replace the life. Not by any means. But they do say to the grieving friend, ‘You are loved. You are cherished.’”

I will never forget the wonderful acts of love that we have been shown in the past five months. Just this past week, I was having a hard time, and I got out my “Kathy” box…it includes all the cards and letters I have gotten in the past months… the words and thoughts warmed my heart all over again.

It is good to feel loved and cherished.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

welcome to our world

Deb is showing the Utube video for one of my favorite Christmas songs, “Welcome to Our World,” today. I always think and write about it at Christmas-time. It goes like this:

“Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome, holy Child.
Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited holy stranger
Make yourself at home…

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
World now breaking heavens silence…

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born…

So wrap our injured flesh around you
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect son of God…

Welcome to our world.”

The words, “wrap our injured flesh around you,” takes on a new meaning this Christmas. I continue to see Kathy’s broken body laying on that hospital bed…we didn’t realize she was already gone, and it seemed she was struggling to grasp at life…

What a price God paid for us…to come to this earth and take on the “flesh” of our lives. ..the flesh that is so torn and broken down by sin…the flesh, that in me, is in the process of dying. The flesh, that in any newborn baby, is already well into the process of dying.
What a wonderful Friend we have in Jesus, He who chose to take on the lives and deaths of all humans, whom He loves more than any of us can understand.

Welcome to our world (such as it is),

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I sound like a broken record…but, this has been another hard week. The beginning of the week was full of tears and sadness.
Several things contributed to this, I think. Last weekend, the Texas sisters and Loyd did most of the Hiebert Christmas shopping in Houston. So tiring, but we got most of it done. We all felt God’s help in it. It really seems to have been an impossible task…but most of it is done. I even have friends at school and school who volunteered to get the gifts for the tree wrapped. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, friends.
We celebrated Todd’s birthday on Wednesday. I think he had a good day. His school was very gracious to him. Todd is hanging in there. He does a great job caring for his children. We had a family meal Wednesday evening. It is always good to have the family together…especially in celebration.
Kathy’s grave marker got here, too. I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it is beautiful. Who would have thought that would be the big purchase made in Kathy’s behalf this season? Life has a way of delivering some surprising twists and turns to us.
In this sadness and grief, I am continually reminded of David’s words in Psalm 54:4:

“Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.”

God’s help is the only way we’ll ever make it through these hard times we find ourselves in.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

it's all yours

I’ve been hearing the Curtis Chapman song, “Yours,” on the radio at the gym every morning. The song I’ve been hearing is perfect for the road I’m traveling right now. The problem was, though, I couldn’t find the exact lyrics. I’ve just realized that an extra verse has been added. I suppose it has been added since Mr. Chapman lost his five year old daughter in a tragic accident last May. The words tell me that our particular pain is very similar. It goes like this:

“I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky
To the depths of the ocean floor
And its all Yours, God, Yours, God
Everything is Yours
All the greatness and power, the glory and splendor and majesty
Everything is Yours
…it’s all Yours
We are Yours
The glory and honor is Yours, everything is Yours”

In my everyday life, it is hard to remember that God is in control. In the middle of the gut-wrenching pain and the bone-searing tiredness, I forget. But when I look at the color streaked sky at sun-down, or the bright falling leaves of autumn, or witness the uncensored joy of a child…I see the hand of God again, and I know in the depth of my pain and exhaustion it is all His…and He is in control of it all.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

live in each season

I have always loved fall. The colors, the temperature change, the smells…I love them all!

This year is difficult. I am dreading the holidays…and fall has always heralded the holidays for me. I’m not ready for them… but ready or not…here they come! Time continues…life continues…and even though ours seems to have turned inside out and upside down…the seasons are coming and going…the holidays are on their way.

Recently, I’ve been reminded of the words of Henry David Thoreau:
“Live in each season, as it passes;
Breathe the air,
Drink the drink,
Taste the fruit.
Resign yourself to the influence of each.”

And this reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”

My prayer today, comes from Psalm 90:12-17,(The Message):
Oh! Teach me to live well!
Teach me to live wisely and well! …
Surprise me with love at daybreak;
then I’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
I've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you're best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

crooked places

This has been a hard week for me. I’ve been sad, and I’ve cried a lot. I’m overwhelmed.

Todd started basketball this week so we need someone to help with the three little ones. Also, we are starting to think about the holidays (just the logistics of preparing Christmas for five kids overwhelms me…how did Kathy do it all?!) Like I said, it’s been a difficult week.

I tend to looking ahead and worry, and it has always given me stress. In my heart, I know that God is taking care of me; but in the ins and outs of daily life, I get caught up in trying to fix and control…and when I take things out of God’s hands into my own, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

God has sent several sweet reminders of his love my way this week. Several friends have volunteered to buy and wrap gifts. People are praying (and I have felt those prayers). I’ve got telephone calls and emails from those who care about me.

A friend sent something that her cousin emailed to her. It gave me so much comfort in this hard week.

“Fortunately, we serve a God who is not restricted by time or space, and Whose love holds us securely right where we are. We are not immune to the difficulties of this life, but we can move confidently from day to day knowing that we are not alone. We still have to walk through our days and feel the feelings, but we are not alone. God is either everything, or He is nothing. He is interested in everything, big or small, that is happening in His children's lives. And the great thing is...He's already been where I'm going and already knows the outcome!”

1 Peter 5:7 further reminds me: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

This is a special prayer, written by Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook. I’m praying it today, and I need to remember it next Monday and Tuesday.

“I have crooked places that need to be made
straight and rough places that need to be smoothed.
I’m facing mountains I can’t climb and valleys
I can’t cross, I need help, I release into your hands
All the worries and anxieties and struggles of life.”

Saturday, October 25, 2008

my life is in your hands

I heard a CS Lewis quote this week. He said this: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.” When you love dearly and without reserve, you place your heart in a place that is outside of your control…you become vulnerable. We spend our whole existence trying not to be vulnerable. We want to be in control. We want to protect ourselves from hurt (and ultimately from death). And as good as we get at manipulating and controlling…we fail…because some of life is about hurt and loss and death (this is the part that we don’t want to accept).

Well, my heart has been wrung dry and broken into a million pieces…and that brings me back to the same place I find myself going a lot lately…to the foot of the cross…where the ultimate demonstration of love and vulnerability took place. It is at this place that I am reminded that my life is in His hands…and that he will continue to help me in this place of great loss. This song, “My Life is in Your Hands,” sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, is one of my favorite songs:

You don't have to worry
And don't you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don't last always
For there's a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh, I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands.”

And, as Isaiah 41:13 says:
“For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.”

Thank you, Lord, I’m staying here with you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

he hasn't left me

We have had a difficult month. It is hard to believe that it has just been three months…in some ways, it seems like three years. I just read that the third month after a traumatic occurrence is particularly hard. I believe it. This has been a hard month.

Today I was reading the last email I received from Kathy. It was sent the day before she got sick. She sounded so “normal.” How could we have even guessed that life was going to take such a turn…that it was going to be turned upside down and inside out? I remember reading one time that if we knew what the future held, we would not be able to enjoy the present. I suppose that is true, but I would have liked to have had a chance to tell my sister what she means to me…how much she has helped me…and how much I miss her…how much I love her.

I pulled a scripture out of my Bible that Brookie gave me at the beginning for the summer. She wrote it for me by hand. I planned to use it for my promise for the summer. At the time, I had no idea what that would mean....The scripture is Deuteronomy 31:6 It says:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified …for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Thank you, Lord, for this promise. You sent it to me before this horrible thing happened in my life, but now I have it to remember…you have not left.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Last week, at Java Jack’s, we discussed John 16. In verse 33, Jesus says these words: “I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world." I don’t know why I have been so surprised by trouble and difficulty in life. If I listen to the words of Jesus, and look at the example of his life, I see a lot of suffering and trouble and difficulty. I know that all of human life is lived in a godless world. I also know that there is faith, love and help for this time on earth…and the hope of eternal life. The pain and difficulty of this life has been overcome by the life and death of my Savior.

What this means to me is that even in the middle of pain and grief and difficulty, Jesus is here. I have a deep peace that is with me no matter how I feel or what I experience. I know He has never left my side…I feel his presence and his help. His life and words are always in my mind. I am constantly aware of his Spirit who lives in me. As the words of a gospel song say: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”

Yes…in this world, I have problems and sadness and pain and suffering….but, the One who has conquered it all lives in me…and He is with me for now and forever.

Thank you, Jesus,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

happy birthday, mom

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. We had a wonderful dinner which mom prepared for us last night…yes, she made her own birthday meal. It was a delicious fish dinner…my mom can really cook!

My mom is gifted in lots of way. She’s a master cook, teacher, gardener, researcher, theologian, and political pundit. Most of all, she’s a servant… and she exercises that gift daily.

All this brings me to why Mama misses our Kathy so much. Kathy and Mom had a long history of serving others, together. They were the “dynamic duo.” They were always putting their heads together to plan and scheme, and get some big “happening” together. The night Kathy got sick, she and mom talked about all the food that was to be purchased and prepared for our family’s beach trip…no small undertaking…with 20 something hungry people (most of them kids and teens) to feed.

It wasn’t unusual for them to make meals for many more than are in our family, and they did it superbly with grace. They loved it!

I think that Kathy and Mom were each others’ best friends. They helped each other and supported each other in a lot of ways…their lives were lived closely…both in body and in spirit. My mom has lost a big part of her life and herself, and this is heartbreaking to me.

All that I know is that God has always promised to help us and stay close to us during these times. I know this because my mom has lived it before me.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you. Thank you for the wonderful example of selflessly serving and helping those around you. Thank you for the ways you have always served me. You have added so much sunshine to my days.

I pray for you daily and I love you,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

happy birthday, daddy

Today is my daddy’s birthday. He is celebrating a life of hard work, trusting God, and many beautiful blessings.

My dad is so special to me. He has taught me a lot about life with his words and his actions. I was reminded of his loving and serving heart this past weekend when I saw him help serve lunch at church. He also knows how to help if someone is in the hospital. He knows just what to do, and he does it in the kindest way.

My heart hurts because my daddy’s heart is hurting today. His has an exquisite sort of pain because he and Kathy had a special bond. They spent a lot of time together in hospitals with the twins. There was a lot that Daddy understood about Kathy’s life because he was there…so close.

Happy birthday, Daddy. I love you. I’m so sad because you are so sad. I’m praying a special prayer for you today. Remember our song…”Hold on my child, joy comes in the morning…”

Saturday, October 4, 2008

praise you in this storm

We gave Todd a Casting Crowns CD for his birthday one year. It was during Brett’s ordeal (which followed close on the heel of Brooke’s ordeal). He told me the song, “I Will Praise You In this Storm,” made him cry…because it was about the place where he was at that time. Todd’s life has gotten even stormier since then, and every time I hear this song I think of him. The chorus goes like this:

“And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm”

Psalm 56:8 states:
“You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”

I’m lifting my hands in praise to our Father. He is with us in this storm. He is who He is…He does not change. He has not forgotten us. He knows about the sleepless nights and the tears and the aches in our bodies and spirits. He understands. He has never left us.

I praise Him in this storm!


Monday, September 29, 2008

hey, sister

I talked to Kathy most evenings. If she called me, she always started the conversation with “Hey, Sister!” One of the saddest days for me, was when her cell phone had to be disconnected. I called it several times, after her death, just to hear her voice. I miss her voice.

When we talked on the phone, Kathy always had all sorts of news and information for me. I can vividly remember her saying: “You’ve got to check out the really-good-deal I found at Wal-Mart today;” or “I talked to so-and-so today,” or “You are gong to love this new recipe I tried today….” She was a connecting force in my life, and I was barely aware of it until she was gone.

So…when we meet again…on the other side of eternity…I think she will flash that big smile and greet me with “Hey, Sister!” …and I think she will proceed to tell me about all the bargains and people and connections and recipes she’s found, and she’ll be so excited to be in the big middle of it all…loving it all…sharing it all…

Hey, Sister….I really miss you….

Saturday, September 27, 2008

somewhere down the road

This has been a hard week. Joy lost yet another friend (she has lost 3 friends and a sister in the past few years), and we just found out that our dear friends, William and Diane, lost most of their earthly possessions in Hurricane Ike.

The song, “Somewhere Down the Road,” has played over and over in my mind these past days:

So much pain and no good reason why

You've cried until the tears run dry
And nothing else can make you understand
The one thing that you held so dear slipping from your hand
And you say
Why, why, why
Does it go this way
Why, why, why
And all I can say
Somewhere down the road
There'll be answers to the questions
Somewhere down the road
Tho' we cannot see it now
And somewhere down the road
You will find mighty arms reaching for you
And they will hold the answers
At the end of the road.”

In FIRSTLIGHT, Sue Monk Kidd tells of a tremendous storm that awakened her one night, at her seaside home. In the morning, she went walking on the beach and found a beautiful seashell…a kind that she had never found before. Her observation was this: “I carried the speckled pink shell back to the cottage-a reminder that in every squall there is a gift, in every upheaval a redemptive moment.”

I’m searching for the gifts and the redemption. I have to admit it is hard to see them at this time, but I also know that I have to hold on to the promises of God. He tells me in Genesis 41:52 and Isaiah 61:3:
“I will make you fruitful in the land of suffering, trading beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for despair…”

Somewhere down the road….


Monday, September 22, 2008

walk on

I have been listened to the words of the song, “Walk On,” that Kathy quoted on her scripture cards, on UTUBE. A group called 4Him sings it. The words are beautiful, and they speak to me right in the place that I am in now. These are the words:

“The wind blows hard
The climb is slow
Shadows are dark
I stumble on these stones
But my Lord,
You are near
I will not fear
I chose to take this road called faith
I will walk on
I trust that You will lead me through
I will walk on
No end in view
At times I feel alone
and the signs are few
But at least they all say home,
And You my Lord,
You're the hope I hold
Strength of my soul
Because of love
There was an awful hill You climbed
And because of love
I'll live my faith
One step at a time
The course is set
Life's hard but yet
We will walk on Around each bend,
until the end
We will walk on”

When I first started, I didn’t know life’s journey was going to be such a hard walk. Jesus, though, has shown me the way (all the way to the cross), and he helps me every day…I just have to put my eyes on him, and keep walking.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

message from kathy

Mom found a little packet of cards that Kathy made (probably during Brooke’s transplant). It had some of the words of the song “Walk On,” on a sticky note, stuck to the top. These are the words she wrote:

“I chose to take this road called faith
I will walk on.
I trust that You will lead me through
I will walk on.”

On the cards, she wrote these scriptures:
Psalm 61:2:
“…when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Deuteronomy 31:8:
“ It is the Lord Who goes before you; He will be with you; He will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed.”

Psalm 139:5:
“You both precede me and follow me, and
place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Isaiah 26:3:
“Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Philippians 4:6:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.”

Psalm 63:6,7:
“I lie awake thinking of you-of how much you
have helped me-and I rejoice through the night beneath the protecting shadow of your wings.”

I told Mom and Dad that is was like Kathy had left us a message…. It is a message of hope that encourages us to “walk on.”

Thank you, Sister. I need these words today.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

be still

Deb gave PawPaw a tiny hymnal. He is always reading and singing from it. He has been thinking about this song this week:

Be Still, My Soul
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.T
hy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shall thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

It’s funny because this was one of the songs sung at our wedding. In a way, it was a strange wedding song; but in another way, it was perfect. Life is full of pain and uncertainty…many times we have had to rely on the promises this song extols. Lately, it has become even more meaningful.
These things are sure: I can trust God…I can be still in the darkness…I can wait on him. He is always there… waiting for me with all that he is. It is in pain that I can “better know his love and his heart.” In chaos I can wait for his order and provision to set things right. Most of all, from the overflowing fullness of Himself, he always gives me all that I need.

As He tells us in Psalm 46:10:
"Be still, and know that I am God...”

I’m still today (I’m too weary to move). I’m waiting on you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The sisters have been on a voyage together. Actually, we have been on several voyages lately. Last weekend, we got on a boat and traveled out into the ocean. There was lots of water, sun, laughter, and talk (and food). We had so much fun together!

These past months, we have been on another sort of voyage. Physically we may have gone nowhere, but our spirits have traveled to the depths. The depths are dark and cold and lonely. The beautiful thing is, though, God always knew where we were because He never left us even for a second. He has always guided and helped us…He has held us fast.

It seems as though our Kathy traveled from us, and went to a cold, dark, lonely, place…but she didn’t. God has never left her side. He has guided and helped her…and He has held her fast. She has flown, on the wings of God, to a beautiful, light-filled place.

Psalm 139: 7-10 says it this way:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold my fast.”

Lord, please continue to help us on the voyage called life. We need your help every day.



We have just returned from our second Sisters’ birthday trip. We celebrated Deb’s 50th birthday on a cruise to the Bahamas (we went to New York City, for my 50th, two years ago). We were missing one sister this trip, and as we did talk about our Kathy a lot, it was such a joyful experience to celebrate the special life of our “beautiful” Debbi. I thoroughly enjoyed having time to spend with five very special women in my life: Deb, Joy, Crystal, Mom and our Mom 2 (Kathy and Joy’s second mom from Bakersfield).

How I need significant relationship with other ladies who give me advice, example, and inspiration for this sometimes arduous journey, called life. I don’t know what I would have done without these special relationships in my life these past stormy months. They have picked me up when I have fallen, cheered me on in the race, and have held my hand to help me travel a few steps more (when I really wanted to just give up).

As Christina Rossetti wrote:
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

Lord, please bless my “sisters” today. Be close to them, and help them with all the ups and downs of life. Help us to keep our memories, of our special moments together, close to our hearts…they are wonderful gifts for all of eternity.


Saturday, September 6, 2008


One thing I have discovered in my “adult” life is that there are givers in this world and there are takers in this world. It doesn’t matter if I am dealing with rich people or poor people; church people or unchurched people; children or adults….there are givers and there are takers… and there are many more takers…always.

Our Kathy was a giver. She gave until there was no more to give. One of the greatest stresses in her life, was when she needed others to help in the giving, but they did not want to cooperate. I wonder how often God feels that way about me.

These words of one of my favorite authors, Frederick Buechner, speaks to me today:
“The world says, The more you take, the more you have. Christ says, the more you give, the more you are.”

I pray that I can leave this world a better place because of my living here. I want to give more than I take.


Monday, September 1, 2008

father to the fatherless

Our family has been together this weekend, and we have cried an ocean of tears. We are sad. We are sad for ourselves. We are sad for Todd. We are sad for the five children who have been left motherless.

Kathy’s birthday was this past week. The card her family made, and left on her grave, broke my heart. I can hardly look at Todd without thinking, “this man has five children, and no wife to help him. I can’t look at Nick and Haden without thinking, “these teenagers need their mom, right now.” I can hardly look at the three little ones without thinking, “these babies have no mother.” I can’t imagine life without a mother. (All that said, though, Todd is doing a wonderful job. He is faithful and diligent, and watchful over his family. He is weary to the bone, but he is pressing on.)

Today is the twins’ birthday. How excited Kathy was about the birth of those two babies. How she took care of them all through these past nine years…through sickness and near death….how she loved them. They had unusual ties to her because of the one-on-one times they spent in hospitals (or on the way to hospitals). They had lost a very significant part of their lives.

But, you know, our Father in heaven is aware of all of this. I believe that He, too, cries bitter tears for our sorrow and loss. He is aware of all the husbands and wives and children who have been left by the most important person in their lives (through death or abandonment). As Psalm 68:5-6, 19 says in the NIV Translation
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, ....
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

I am especially comforted by the fact that He “sets the lonely in families.” Whether it be a biological family, or the family of God…we need each other….and we need our Father in Heaven.

Father to all, thank you for watching over us and for bearing our burdens.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

this world won't do

Michelle Obama said these words this week: “The world as it is won’t do.” I totally agree with her. Where we are misled, though, is that there is some way, in this life, that the world can be “fixed”… that a political party, or a religious persuasion, or an earthly power, or all of our silver and gold can solve the problems of mankind… this just isn’t possible. Yes, I, with the help of my merciful God, can make my little corner of the world better…but until Jesus returns, and brings the new earth He has made for us, we will never have what we were made to have. As C.S. Lewis wrote: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

As John said in Revelation 21 (The Message):
“I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband. I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: "Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone." The Enthroned continued, "Look! I'm making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate."
Then he said, "It's happened. I'm A to Z. I'm the Beginning, I'm the Conclusion. From Water-of-Life Well I give freely to the thirsty. Conquerors inherit all this. I'll be God to them, they'll be sons and daughters to me.”

In this world, there’s too much pain and suffering for a human to comprehend…too many tears to be cried. That’s why I look forward to a Better Place…a Place where my God resides…where He is the light for my darkness and the water for the never-ending thirst of my soul….a Place where the focus of all beings will be on Him…in praise and adoration.
This world just won’t do.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

tasting and seeing

Stephen Curtis Chapman’s family had a horrible loss back in May. Their son, who was a high school senior, ran over their adopted five year old daughter, Maria Sue, in the family driveway. In the past weeks, the Chapman family has been on Larry King Live, Focus on the Family, and Good Morning America sharing their story; there was also an article about them in “People” magazine. The only thing I can think of that is sadder, at this time, is what my family has been through.

They found a picture that Maria had drawn just before her death…it was a picture of a flower, and the word, “see.” It made them think of this verse in Psalm 34:8:

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

They shared how Maria loved to eat, and that now she was in the presence of God tasting and seeing the most wonderful things imaginable. They also said that this was a message to them to look ahead…to the future…and that now, one of their six children was perfect and whole…happy in the arms of Jesus.

All this reminds me that the people I am sad about are those of us who have been left behind: Todd, the children, Mom, Dad, sisters, brother, nieces, nephews, and many, many friends. There is no reason to be sad on Kathy's behalf. She is in the most wonderful place that she has ever been …she is tasting and seeing in the presence of her God and Savior.
What a blessed place to be!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

happy birthday

Happy birthday, Sister. I miss you. I love you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I think that many of us Christians have the mistaken idea that because we are “Christian,” bad things will not happen to us. It’s like if we have enough “faith,” if we can just pray enough, if we believe enough, if we live a good enough life, that we will be protected from pain and sorrow and loss. This simply is not the truth that I have seen in the past few years. Bad, horrible things happen to everyone…the only difference is that as Christ followers, we have Christ living in us and going with us through all the “mess” of this world…He holds us…He abides in us…He doesn’t leave us alone.

I heard the song, “Held,” today, by Natalie Grant. These are the words that made me think about this:

“This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
And you survive”

Everything has fallen in our lives…and the truth is that we are being held…the sacred has been torn form our lives, and we are surviving…we have fallen into a deep, black hole, but we have been held through it all. God is so good.


Friday, August 22, 2008

unwrinkle me

School starts on Monday and …a new class comes… the possibility of major stress sets in. If I want to “enjoy the ride,” stress has to be managed.

I found the following prayer a few years ago, and I’m saying it today and in the days to come:

“Lord, unwrinkle my tired soul
unsnarl my garbled thoughts and words
unwind my gnarled nerves
and let me relax in Thee.”

Marian Wright Edelman


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

enjoy the ride

I have been working at school the past two weeks getting ready for another group of kinder- garteners…lots of work…but I love it!

I put something up in my room that we got at inservice last year, and it is timely to what I am thinking about lately. The title is: “Enjoy the Ride.”

Number one: Check your passion…love what you do, why you do it, and who you do it with.

Number two: Cure your destination disease… happiness is found in the journey, not at the destination.

Number three: Refocus your attention…decide what is important and never take it for granted.

The journey, at it turns out, is much shorter than I ever imagined…I need to remember these ideas…that’s why I’ve put it where I can see it every day.

I’m determined to enjoy the ride,


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

i'm blessed

Deb and I were talking about how hard it is to know how to answer when a person asks us how we are doing nowadays…especially if it is a complete stranger who is just being polite to ask. How can we tell how we are really doing… that we are sad… heartbroken…that we have certainly had better days…

So…Debbi came up with a solution to our dilemma …a stranger said it to her one day, and it is a perfect answer…we simply say, “I’m blessed.”

It’s like Habakkuk in the third chapter, verses 17-18 says in the New Living Translation:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”

Truly I am blessed!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

this is the day

Psalm 118:24 (NIV)

“This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Today is Sunday. A day of worship. A day of rest. A day of reflection. A day to rejoice in and a day to be glad in.

What about Monday, though…or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday, or Saturday (OK, so Saturday may be OK by its self)? These are the days I have more difficulty remembering to rejoice in and be glad in. But who knows…maybe one of these days will be the last day I have in this life…. It might be the last earthly day I have to give to my family and to my fellow man…. my life’s song may come to its’ end…

This IS the day…it is the only day I’ve got. May I be faithful and obedient…may I rejoice and be glad in it.


Friday, August 15, 2008

something to say

Each of us has a life, and our lives sing a song. I have never been more cognizant of this fact than since Kathy ended her earthly life. I wish Kathy could have read and heard all the wonderful words which people wrote and said about her. I wish she could know how much she would be missed, and what a lovely song others thought her life sung. I think she would have been surprised (and embarrassed)… she never knew the song her life was singing. These thoughts lead me to two conclusions. Number one…I need to be aware of the song of my life. Number two…I need to tell others when the melody of their lives are adding sweet music to my days. I have something to say.

“Something to Say,”by Matthew West

… I got a question here
“Would anybody miss you if you disappeared?
Well your life is the song that you sing
And the whole wide world is listening
You got something to say
And no one can say it like you do
God is love and love speaks through
You got it, you got it
You got something to say”

Thursday, August 14, 2008

press on

Since I was twelve years old, I have always had “inspirations” of songs that I wanted to share with others. At times, I have put songs together for programs for children or adults to sing, or sometimes I would sing a single song at church. I haven’t had these inspirations recently, until this past year…I had a song I wanted to sing with Kathy. It seemed perfect for us. The song goes like this:

Press On
When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall

When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all

In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on.

So…even though I didn’t get the opportunity to sing this song with my sister…it speaks a special message to me these days: even though this road has gotten considerably more difficult… keeping my eyes on Jesus…on the eternal prize…is my objective, more than ever.

Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Lord, help me to keep my eye on the prize.,


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

lump in my heart

We’ve all had a lump in our throat…the throat tightens, you can’t swallow, tears come to the eyes…panic.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been having a lump in my heart. It sneaks up on me. All of the sudden a thought triggers a tightening of my heart. I feel like I can’t breathe, and tears comes to my eyes…panic. My heart feels like it will break. Can your heart literally break?

My greatest help, in this great time of broken heartedness, has been the great mercies and promises of God. As Psalm 34:18 says: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

How could my heart survive the day without Him?


Tuesday, August 12, 2008


There was a blood drive, held in Kathy’s memory, at our church, last month. Kathy was to be the coordinator of it, but it was another event she missed.

It has made me think about blood and the life-giving properties of blood. I’ve always known I had to have blood to live, but I didn’t really understand the intricacies of our need for blood. Kathy had first hand knowledge of this, and that was why she was so passionate about donating to the blood center…she gave platelets regularly. Also, she and the twins were poster children for our local blood bank. Kathy told her family’s story publically several times (Wasn’t she amazing?).

Blood tells my body’s story. When my doctor takes a small vial of my blood and measures my blood pressure each year, it gives him all kinds of information…Am I eating nutrient-rich or artery-clogging foods? Are my organs healthy…able to do their jobs? Am I exercising…enabling my heart to pump my blood to the places it needs to go?

Believe me…from this dark place we have been… when your body gets in trouble, it is imperative that it has reserves on which to draw . Your body needs to be in top-notch working order.

I’ve got one body to get me through this life…I’m determined to take care of it!


Monday, August 11, 2008

live a good life

So…today is my birthday. I’m feeling rather old (52). If I live an “average” amount of years, I only have about twenty years left…not very long.

I can’t get away from the thought that I need to be mindful in the living of my life. This is more important to me than ever. Today is all that I have (and maybe not even that). I’m trying to love more and better, exercise, eat good food, complain less, and take time to relax (remind me of all these a month into the school year).

My family has talked about how our Kathy seemed to be trying to pack a whole lifetime into the past few years. It was almost as if she knew she didn’t have much time left. Her leaving us, and the comments that others have made about her life, have made me understand these words:

“Live a good life…in the end, it’s not the years in a life, it’s the life in the years.”

Lord, help me live a good life.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

the music

My family loves music. We love to listen to music and we love to sing. I know that Kathy feels right at home in heaven because of the music.

Many years ago I read everything I could find written by Bob Benson. I was sad when he died an untimely death. Before he died, however, he wrote some beautiful things about life after death. They were some of the first words that helped open my thinking to new ideas about death and heaven.

These are some of the insightful words he wrote: “I used to think, loving life so greatly, that to die would be like leaving the party before the end. But now I know that the party is really happening somewhere else; and that the light and the music escaping in snatches-to make the pulse beat faster and the tempo quicken-comes from another place. And I know, too, when I get there, the music and the love, and the praise will belong to Him. The music will never end.”

Won’t it be wonderful?


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

south chicago

We spent the day yesterday in the community in which Emily lived this past year. I love it! It reminds me a lot of the community I work in at home.

People, no matter where they live, who have few economic resources, have a more difficult time. But the urban environment brings different challenges…it has made me more tired than I was to begin with.

I sat on Em’s stoop, one afternoon, and watched a young mother with five small children as they struggled to get their baskets of clothes down the steep stairs, to get them to the washeteria. How I would love being able to give her my washer and dryer, that I am disposing of because PawPaw is giving me a used one from Mike’s house. Think how much she would enjoy having that in her home…something I take for granted.

Then there’s public transportation…the network of buses and trains that enables inhabitants of the sprawled city to move about. I just rode and hopped off at my destinations….but I am sore, have blisters on my feet, and dread hitting the schedule again today. If you want to go somewhere, you have to drag in and out of various modes of travel, above and below the ground. What if I had several children to drag with me?

I also think of the logistics of feeding a large family in the urban environment. It would be so difficult to gather the supplies you need to prepare food…walking…stairs…buses…more walking and stairs…. Like I said…it just makes me tired.

Later, we found ourselves on the “Magnificent Mile”…it’s a long way from South Chicago. is Starbuck’s, Mercedes convertibles, and Ophrah’s favorite things…and my place in rural Texas.

This comparison makes me want to do a better job in the place God has placed me in our small community. It doesn’t matter if I live in South Chicago or South Nacogdoches or near the Magnificient Mile…I have the opportunity to share my blessings with others. What a great privilege!

I Corinthians 16:14 (The Message)

Keep your eyes open, …, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping.”


Monday, August 4, 2008

so many people

We are staying on the tenth floor, of a lovely hotel, looking out over beautiful downtown Chicago. All day long we have been surrounded by a great throng of people…all going somewhere…FAST (I think they were hurrying to catch the train).

I keep thinking, “How could God not only know all these people…but how could He possibly know and LOVE all these people?” I know He does…because I know He knows me and loves me. If that is possible…anything is possible!

So many people…no problem…God has the whole world in his hands, and He’s got it under control.


Thank you, Christian, for the wonderful room! We enjoyed spending time with you today.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


My family loves to gather. We love to gather for meals. We love to gather for holidays. We love to gather to celebrate. We love to gather.

Most recently, we gathered to surround our Kathy with love and music and prayer. I would like to think that she was able to feel all of it, because we are all so connected in that way.

Joy and Kathy’s friend, Dave, came for the funeral. He stayed at a friend’s house, and would come over to Mom and Dad’s each day. The first time he came, he walked to the back…where the outdoor room and pool are…and he said it was a quintessential “Steel Magnolia’s” moment…we were sitting in a circle, shelling peas, and singing gospel songs. Yup…that’s us…we were “gathered”…

As I write this evening, we are in a small town in Illinois. We are headed for Chicago to get Em. I am so excited about both Amy and Emily being closer to home (Amy will actually be home for a year), but I am a little sad tonight to be so far from home and from my family. I have the need to gather.

It makes me think of what one of the best things about Heaven will be…we’ll be gathered…and we’ll be gathered forever.

I can hardly wait.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

does it matter?

“Does it really matter?” is my new mantra.

Life is so short…just a wisp of air…fleeting…. I toil and fuss and worry over many things that have no eternal value at all, and I have been thinking about this in the past month. A dear friend sent me a speech made by Tony Snow, President Bush's former Press Secretary, who died recently of cancer. This is what he had to say about things that do and don’t matter:

“… even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity, - filled with life and love we cannot comprehend, - and that one can in the throes of sickness (and death) point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms. Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do? “

Paul put it like this: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. “

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (New International Version)

Lord, help me to know what is temporary and what is eternal…Help me know what really matters, and let that fill my thoughts, my plans, and my days.


Friday, August 1, 2008

hardest place

“Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.”

Eric Liddell

So…July, 2008 is finally over…the hardest place I have ever been in my life. I’m glad to be starting school again (though God will have to send the extra grace and energy that I need to make it through the long days). How thankful I am for the help God gave for last month…I know he’ll be with me in the coming months.

Psalm 31:14-16 (New International Version)

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands; …. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”


Thursday, July 31, 2008



“In the midst of the sorrows is consolation, in the midst of the darkness is light, in the midst of the despair is hope, in the midst of Babylon is a glimpse of Jerusalem, and in the midst of the army of demons is the consoling angel.”

Henri Nouwen

I felt joy last night. I was swinging in PawPaw’s hammock, with some of my family gathered around me, looking at the beautiful post-sunset sky, feeling a lovely cool breeze, and I felt joy!

Psalm 30:11-12 (Amplified Bible)

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, to the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

God is so good.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

faithful one

There is one thing I can tell you for sure… if you have a crisis in your life, you want to have the One who has experienced what you are going through… the One who will absolutely be what He says He will be…

From the beginning of this sad journey, in the car racing to Houston…the following song would not leave my mind…Kathy introduced me to the group, Selah, who sings it. It has reminded me continually that I am not alone, and that the Faithful One is guiding my steps in this unknown, dark place I find myself in.


I find no hope within to call my own
For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
But deep within my soul is rising up a song
Here in the comfort of the faithful one

I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
In search of higher ground, on mountains steep
And though with feet unsure, I still keep pressing on.
For I am guided by the faithful one.

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Thank you, God, for being faithful to me,


Monday, July 28, 2008

giving flowers

I have related this “Kathy” story to several friends in the past month; it makes me smile every time I think about it.

I always try to cut some fresh flowers from my mom’s garden whenever I go by her house. I love to have a tiny “MeMaw” bouquet to admire and smell beside my sink in the kitchen. It is a little thing that makes me happy.

One day, in the spring, I cut a lovely bunch of daisies, as I left Mom’s house. I popped by Kathy’s house, as I often do, on my way home; and I took the daises in with me. It was hot in the car and I didn’t want them to wilt. When I walked into the back door, Kathy was “rocking and rolling” in her usual place of activity …behind the island in the kitchen. We had barely spoken when she grabbed the daisies out of my hand. Before I knew it, she was arranging the flowers into a cute little glass jug that she pulled from I-don’t-know-where… all the time she was talking away. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the flowers weren’t for her, and I was wondering why I hadn’t thought about bringing her flowers.

I wish I had brought flowers to my sister every time I stopped by to visit with her. I would do it now if I had the chance.

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In my ordinary life, may I give more “flowers” to others to show my gratitude and love.


Saturday, July 26, 2008


I knew it was truly vacation yesterday when I saw Drew Beaver, at the beach, with a ring pop in his mouth! We had a wonderful time!

The sun was brilliant, the waves were huge, and the gritty lunch was delicious! Most of all, it was sweet being with some of the people I love most in the world jumping through killer waves, feeling like, “I don’t want this to ever end.”

I thought a lot about what Mrs. Ivy said on CaringBridge about how the ocean is constantly regenerating and renewing…isn’t God good to have thought about how all that would work for us?

I thought about how I needed shells for our first science lesson on observation, at school, so I collected a bunch.

I thought about how last year at the beach…we didn’t know that would be our last family gathering in which we would all be there.

I thought about how we had Kathy’s funeral on what was to be the first day of our beach trip this year.

I thought about how we just don’t have any idea how life is going to turn out. How, like yesterday at the beach, we need to savor the moments…love the people we are with…do our best toward each other…

Thank you, Lord, for days of vacation and regeneration…help us to delight in these times.


Friday, July 25, 2008


We had a great time yesterday…even though we had to drive through the back splash of the hurricane. We went to Incredible Pizza (and it really is incredible) and bought school shoes (that was an incredible experience, too…now I understand why Kathy just bought clothes and brought them home…)

We laughed a lot, ate a lot, and played a lot…just what we all needed to do. We didn’t, however, sleep a lot…these kids don’t sleep!

Today we are headed for the beach. Continue to remember us as we have another memorable day…I know I won’t be forgetting any of this any time soon!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Today I am taking four of the five Hiebert children to Deb’s house to do some things that Kathy had planned to do with them the week she got sick.

My heart is heavy, but I know a little vacation…doing something fun…may be just what we need. Our sweet Haden is going too! The little ones are so excited! They have had their suitcases packed for days, and Brooke has a schedule written out in a little notebook.

Pray that we will have a good time…that we will thoroughly enjoy each other…that we will make some good memories…and that we will celebrate life and God’s goodness.

Psalm 67:1 (Amplified Bible)

“ God be merciful and gracious to us and

bless us and cause (your) face to shine upon

us and among us…”

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

i miss you, sister

I went to large mall in Houston with my sisters and nieces last week. I ended up sitting out in the middle of the mall people watching…something I love to do.

People were caught up in their lives (aren’t we all?)…talking, laughing, yelling at their kids….holding hands, shopping, and just enjoying (or not enjoying) the moment.

The thought struck me, “How could life keep going on as usual, when my life has been changed forever?!” The truth of the matter is, though, the earth is still moving in its various patterns; there is birth and death and living continuing around me; and I still have to get up every morning, and “get it done.”

But how can my life ever be the same? I have lost one of the best friends of my life…one of the keepers of my heart…one of my sisters (sisters are supposed to have the ability to share the closest relationship on earth). I cannot tell you how much Kathy added to my life…especially to the comfort of my life. Hardly a day passed that I didn’t get a telephone call, with Kathy on the other end, greeting me with the words: “Hey, Sister.” Then she would proceed to listen to how my life was going…and Loyd’s life, and Amy’s life, and Emily’s life… I might look up during my day at work, and there she would be with my favorite coffee that she had gone by to get me…just because. If I was giving a party, she was always in the middle helping me every bit of the way. The last gift she made me was a funky flower arrangement…at a time that she really didn’t have the time or extra energy to make it…but she made it for me because she knew I would enjoy it….and I am looking at it right now, enjoying it. I’ll be moving back into my classroom in a few weeks, Kathy would have been there helping me…no matter what she had going on in her life (and believe me, she had a lot going on in her life).

What I am trying to say, is that the world around me keeps going on…as usual…but I know that my world will never be the same without my Kathy to share it with. There really is a hole in my world that will never be filled again in this life. “I miss you, Sister.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Grief…what to do with it? There is no “Grief 101”, no manual, no online degree. ? It came unwelcomed and it won’t go away. With the first nightmarish call from Houston, grief flew at me, in my face, clawing and squawking. I fought it off with all my might, but it kept at me.

I took one change of clothing to the hospital with me. As the days crawled on, I stayed. I had to buy more clothes. I told Loyd that I was staying until I saw Kathy’s eyes again. That never happened…I never saw those snapping brown eyes, heard a saucy retort, or shared a funny story. My baby sister was gone, and grief hung on my shoulder making its home in my life.

It’s odd how I can forget about it for a very short time. But then I feel its steely talons digging into me, and a cry bursts from deep within that is as primal in nature as anything I have ever experienced. It doubles me over and shakes my whole body, and I gasp for the breath I can hardly find within me.

Grief…what to do with it? Isaiah saw the coming cure for those stricken with grief and sin and pain, and his words are recorded in Chapter 53 of Isaiah:

“…a man of sorrows, …familiar with suffering.…Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows …. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. “

So, as I crumble under this load, the name I cry out over and over can only be: “Jesus.”

Monday, July 21, 2008


I love words…pudgy, fat words…skinny, reedy words…square, perfect words. Words have the power to create pictures in my head and feelings within my being. Sometimes words leave me breathless, and sometimes they seem to give me the next breath I need for the journey.

I’ve studied a lot about the different love languages that people have. Mine is definitely words of affirmation…written words of affirmation. Anyone who has ever written me encouraging and loving words, would probably find them displayed on the window ledge above my kitchen sink for a few weeks. Later, you would find them in my “happy box” (a beautiful, decorated box that Emily made for one of my birthdays). My happy box is full of wonderful, loving words. It is one of the treasures of my earthly life.

I’ve been thinking about this after these last traumatic weeks in my life. I’ve been marveling at the healing power of the words that were published on Kathy’s website. As soon as I could get an internet connection at the hospital, I knew I had to start writing about our experience. First, I set up a blog, and then I remembered CaringBridges (which some friends and family were currently using), and I knew this would have to be my vehicle for expression. Little did I know what a lifeline it would become for me, my family and a whole community of people.

All that said, I’m going to start blogging on this site. I have blogged before, and I loved it. I am hoping that this is a way I can begin to sort through my current thoughts and feelings and come to a place of healing.

I invite you to come on this journey with me. There may be days that I am unable to post, but I will try to write most days. Leave comments, or just read my thoughts. Either way, you are welcome here.