Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanks........Giving

Thanksgiving seems to be a time of reflection. We look back at our lives and visualize the events we’ve experienced or…..survived and count our blessings. We even look at those things that were not such a blessing, because that experience is now part of our past, has molded us, and changed us to a wiser and smarter person…..at least in the respect of not repeating these things.


For me, the blessings have come in the shape of friends. Friends who will listen to you and hear your joys and sorrows. Friends to give you that hug and physical affirmation that you still are loved and cared for. Friends who will come to dine with you at the last minute to fill that loneliness that calls at your door. Friends who are wonderful traveling companions to share the beauty of life and excitement of seeing new things and places in the world. Friends to share and re-inspire one in creativity and handcrafts. I am so thankful to God for these people. Wow! It sounds just like a family….and that is what it is….a Christian family.

Since this was originally a knitting blog, I feel ready to resume some discussion of my projects here. Over the past year my friend Dona has inspired me to knit again. We have made multiple pairs of Slipper boots for Samaritans Purse which collects boxes to give to Needy Children for Christmas. These quick slippers have helped me feel I am accomplishing something. It is also reducing my stash, although, I must admit it has not cured my yarn addiction. This weekend was the year Yarn Sale at Michaels Crafts, and I just couldn’t say no. Is there a Yarn Addiction Anonymous meeting I can go to?

The stories of people suffering from the cold after Hurricane Sandy has inspired me to make hats and scarves. I am trying to knit as fast as I can to send these items to World Vision, who is collecting warm clothes for the East Coast. The cold weather has just started and there are many months of cold weather left to survive.

So as my life is in transition (a state of moving on) in life, I still struggle emotionally, but I have some rainbows to celebrate along the way. God gives me some joy and small purpose to keep me going. I have learned to appreciate solitude more. Although with two grandchildren living with me, it is not so easy to have that golden silence. Nevertheless, there are moments I can hear my thoughts and pray for God’s voice to speak to me.

Open my eyes, that I may see

glimpses of truth thou hast for me;

place in my hands the wonderful key

that shall unclasp and set me free.

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!



Open my ears, that I may hear

voices of truth thou sendest clear;

and while the wavenotes fall on my ear,

everything false will disappear.

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!



Open my mouth, and let me bear

gladly the warm truth everywhere;

open my heart and let me prepare

love with thy children thus to share.

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!

(Hymn by Clara H. Scott)



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Search for Inner Peace

As I travel through this tunnel of grief from my recent and not so recent losses, little did I know that it would feel this way. I have looked from afar at others who are grieving, and somehow I was oblivious to the internal sorrow and pain of memories one experiences….until now. I am reading all the grief books. I am forcing myself to be among people to support me and keep connected. I am seeing a life coach to help me make goals for myself…..but…..how long does this feeling of emptiness and sadness last? Is there an end in sight? I used to be so strong and able to get past the challenges I encountered, but now I am feeling my life is no longer the familiar entity I once lived and thrived.

The longer time passes the more I seem to feel deeply what is missing. I didn’t think I would have any regrets. I have tried my best to be a good wife, a good mother, a good daughter and good friend, but now I do have regrets. I keep thinking…..if I had done something different, would my life have been better….happier? Time was so preciously short and I regret not having had more time with the people I lost or made that time even more eventful than it was. However, it takes two people to try to make something special. Why are relationships so hard?

As each day passes, I see more things that trigger memories and mourn that I cannot share the joy of that memory with that lost person. Is life going to be this way from now on?

Ok….so perhaps you are thinking, as I used to…..”If life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”. In other words….”If old memories are painful, make new ones!”. Sometimes, this is not so easy as it sounds. There are internal obstacles to conquer and self confidence to restore. I feel I am no longer the same person I once was. Its all about baby steps. I feel the need to slow down, appreciate and contemplate the world around me. Right now, it is difficult to fit into the fast paced world we live in. I search for answers and coping in God’s Word. I will let him speak to me and show me how I now fit into his plan or not. I will take time to knit and crochet to help me feel productive and calm my heart and mind. I will listen to my new Gary Bonner CD called “Whatever is True” from Phillipians 4:8,9…

”And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me---everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (NLT).”

PEACE and LOVE……that is what I want.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life is a Challenge!

A Spring Flower found on my Walk to relieve stress
Life is a challenge. This is the first line of a book I read called “A Road Less Traveled”. How true this is!!! Whenever I feel like I’m in a comfortable place and coasting along, life puts another hill to climb, another obstacle to cross and life becomes very complicated.

Yet, I think we grow and learn more about ourselves with each experience. It is up to US, whether we conquer and succeed, or succumb to failure. If there is one thing I’ve learned in dealing with challenges, it is you don’t have to be alone. There is love and support out there if you will only have the courage to accept it.

It’s all about choices. As a person, responsible for our individual lives we have a choice how we are going to act, and how we are going to feel. There is no one who can make us do this or that. I pray constantly for the guidance of the Holy Spirit that dwells within me, but it is my choice to act or not and I must be responsible for it. No sense in blaming others for mistakes. Blaming others doesn’t solve anything and is a waste of emotional energy. Have you ever seen anything solved when people blame others? Of course, it is nice to vent your frustrations and one might feel better, but it doesn’t solve the situation. It doesn’t move it along to find solutions. It might give one a sense of power and control but what good is that if the problem is not fixed. We might be having a feeling of anger at someone or something but we “choose” to feel this way, or we “choose to let it go”. And honestly, I am not perfect and sometimes feel I need to vent, too. I try not to dwell on anger too long. Frankly, I think people would have less problems with high blood pressure and stroke, if they would just learn to let go and let God deal with it.

In my life, when things get so overwhelming, I just have to give it to God. This means REALLY letting him handle it or letting him speak to you in his small voice. I find this can come in a strong feeling or a miraculous solution in my mind that has great impact. It can even come through another person God sends to help me solve the problem. I have faith in his promise that “All things work for good to those that love God and are called according to his purpose”. This is my favorite verse and God has never let me down.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Still hanging around

I know I haven't blogged in awhile, but I am still alive and somewhat well. It's been a very stressful few months. I really haven't felt up to sharing yet. I hope to get myself together soon and share more with you at a later time. "Life is a challenge". Im reading a really good book called "The Road Less Traveled." It has alot of good insight.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grieving: The Lowest Point

 My Husband and My Father buried side by side. Both Marine Vets.
No matter how one tries to steer their course of destiny in life to avoid the hardships and the consequences, there comes a time when things just seem to fall apart… and this is my time…I have hit my wall….my lowest point…. In my grief journey….


After my husband passed away a little more than a year ago, I felt I was coping very well. I continued to engage in life and keep myself busy with work, with my family and friends. I found a purpose in including my friends in my interests and enlightened their lives as well as mine. Getting adjusted to a new boss and new management style was a challenge, but one that I dealt with one step at time. I missed my husband dearly but felt at peace that he would want me to carry on and be happy in my busy pursuits. I had made it past all the first year anniversaries, birthdays and special holidays without him by my side, with my mind and heart intact. I felt triumphant as a survivor. The word “surviving spouse” had a real special meaning and I was proud to say “that is what I am!”

So as the time came near the 1st anniversary of his death, I felt it time to do my final duty as his surviving spouse and bury his ashes, which was done in July, days before the anniversary of his death. Little did I know that all the strength and confidence acquired through the year of grieving would disappear and make it feel like I was at ground zero. Even taking the month off during this difficult month, just made me feel behind in my work, and playing catch up, which mangled my confidence even more. It became harder to focus and concentrate.

So then over the next three months, a series of grief and losses bombarded my life…changes at work, adding responsibilities, the layoff of my only assistant and other clerical staff because of budget loses, the decision by administration to take on more work without hiring enough staff to support changes, and then…….my dad died. My mentor and “compass”, whom I always went to for direction and guidance was no longer there….I was still reeling from the stress and losses when the straw that is breaking the camel’s back revealed itself…..just hanging by the slimmest of thread…the real possibility of my job position reduced to nearly nothing. Twenty years of working for the same place seemed like a new world now. Time to get rid of dinosaurs. I am feeling adrift and lost at sea.

So this is what the low point feels like?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Father's loss

My dad and I on father's day 2011
My blog has been rather silent since we buried my late husband. The days have been lazily passing us by as Fall enfolded in leaves turning colors, cooler weather approaching and days becoming darker. Little did I know we would be coming back to the same beautiful spot at Rose Hills to bury my beloved father, Raul. My 84 year old father passed away on Sept 25 from a massive stroke. We had a very lovely and memorable memorial service on Saturday. It was just as I wanted it to be….shared with family and friends sweet memories of the wonderful man he was.


As my dad had aged over the years and had grown increasingly uncomfortable with his physical health, I knew that time was short. And yet, I always thought we would have one more month everytime I saw him. He was so sharp and intelligent, even to his last day, as evidenced by his completion of a newspaper crossword puzzle.

I feel the loss of my mentor, my wise counselor, almost more than that of my husband. Perhaps it is because with Walter gone, I still had my father to be my “compass”, giving me direction and guidance. And now, I’ve lost both and feel somewhat adrift. The other day, I needed an explanation of “next of kin” in regards to how it is defined. I needed my father to explain to me the legal interpretation of this. We would always have wonderful talks. His intelligence and wisdom was always there for me.

So now, I feel alone and searching for a source of guidance. It causes one to strengthen faith in the Lord. Matthew 28:20 says “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” What comfort this is to me. I have to listen to that inner small voice of His Holy Spirit that dwells in me for guidance and strength.

I can feel all of those grieving thoughts come back to me, just when I thought I was ready to move on. Well perhaps this is a little different. The loss of a parent is different from a loss of a spouse. One you grieve the loss of security and stability and the other in addition to the others, you grieve the loss of romantic love and partnership. And yet….there is still hope on the horizon. There are others in the shape of people there to catch you from falling. Love and comfort is still out there waiting in the wings for when you are ready to accept it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11

As we draw closer to the 10th year anniversary of 9/11, I peruse the LA Times and the question is asked all over the newsprint pages….”Where were you on 9/11, 10 years ago?” As I reflect on this I cannot help but feel the emotion that horrifying moment brought me upon hearing the event unfold…


I had just climbed into my car to drive my 14 year old son to school. The news station had been set on my car radio to alert me of traffic on the way. As we settled in the car, there was an announcement that the World Trade Center was on fire, and then a report that an airliner had crashed into it. Moments later the second tower was hit. My son and I sat horrified frozen in our seats, the car idling in the driveway, thinking, “OMG! What is happening?” Then came an announcement that the Pentagon was on fire. We sat there in stunned silence in fear and shock.

I started praying at that point hoping that people were being evacuated quickly. I finally was able to drive to my son’s school listening for updates and then the unimaginable happened….one of the towers collapsed. I prayed that people had got out safely knowing there were thousands of people in that huge building just arriving to work. I learned later that many had not evacuated safely and the brave firemen and emergency personnel, who were so dedicated to their mission of serving people had become victims too.

I cried for the loss and wondered how did this happen? Who was responsible for this? We must have been attacked. This was the first time in my life that such a large attack on US soil was successful. Was the US ever going to be the same? Our safe little sanctuary called the United States of America was no longer safe.

The world has changed since, and we mark the day with other significant events of War along with D-day and Pearl Harbor attack. We now fear for everything…our environment, our security, our neighbors, our identity, and yet something good has come because of it. Americans sought and turned to God.

It resulted in a united spirit of the people in hoping and believing that only God could save us through this disaster. The renewal of the Nation’s faith in God and love for each other continues to keep us grounded and together in remembering that our forefathers built this nation on faith in God. Only He has the power and gives us the inner strength to persevere in times of tragedy. We are not alone. Wherever there is tragedy, people come together in a common spirit of love, that our American freedoms allow us to express.

I think God was trying to get our attention. Many renewed their faith and turned to Him for comfort. Even now, when difficulties come, we know we can always rely on God to be there for us and put people in our paths to comfort and guide us. He has a plan for us and wants us to trust Him. Let us hope that these terrible memories continue to keep us focused on God and what is really important…to share love to others, just as he loved us and gave His life for us.