She was only about twelve inches tall, but she spoke to me, and I bought her. Placing her atop my writing area, I hoped that perhaps my words would flow like her long flowing robe.
I loved that she held her heart outside her chest, evident that she held nothing back. She offered love to all who came her way. And as she gave it, her heart enlarged making room for more love.
And how my own heart lurched when she teetered and fell, breaking into pieces. So many pieces… I wasn’t sure she could be repaired. Life was busy then; I placed her broken form back above my writing space and shoved the pieces aside. There she sat for five years until I noticed her again today.
One wing missing. Her base broken and leaning against the books there on the shelf. Missing pieces. What to do with my broken angel? With so many broken places in life could I just let this broken thing go? I looked at her again… she was beyond repair, yet I still loved her.
Now grounded, she could only touch those nearby, but her spirit wasn’t compromised. In her leaning, she found strength in those nearby that supported her. Somehow, in her fragmented state, the bonds of friendship grew stronger.
I lean closer, I see that her heart hasn’t been touched… still complete, unchanged. Out in the open, holding all that she loves close to her chest.
I took her down off her long-standing spot… and dusted her off. Then gently replaced her on her perch, overlooking my words. She is a reminder that there is beauty no matter how broken. And if you can no longer fly, you can still love.
Remember to love…
What a difference ten months can make. I decided late in 2020 to start letting my hair go natural. I lightened my brown tones each time so it wouldn’t be such a harsh change. But for those who weren’t around for the process and compared my appearance to the photo on the back of my book, I’d hear, “Wow, I wouldn’t have recognized you.”
So, I had a new photo taken for the back of Book 2 (due out this summer). I’m amazed at how much I’ve aged in the past year. Yeah, I know, gray hair means I’ve lived and apparently, I now have wisdom. Quite a bit of it actually!
But when I see the first photo, I recognize that I was in a state of grieving, almost a numbness. My husband and his beautiful momma had passed within a few months of each other, and I made a decision to just press on. This photo was me shouting to the heavens that I was going to complete what I had started, the book I had begun ten years earlier. I stood on the shoreline of the river we had both loved, in an effort to let my husband know I was ‘letting the baby fly.’ (a reference to my continuing to stall on moving forward with my novel)
Now, months after its release, I face new challenges without the numbness of that initial grief. I don’t have my handy computer tech to bounce things off of. No wisdom on what computer applications to add or to avoid on my webpage. I can personally attest that the adage is true, you don’t truly appreciate all the ways someone is a blessing until they’re no longer there.
In sharing this journey, I know it will help many get through their own season of grief. Some days I can focus on doing the next thing, and on others I simply crawl back into bed for a nap. Honestly, it helps.
So today, I wonder about the ‘wiser looking Debbie’. (I refuse to call myself old- yet!) Learning to do things alone again. Changing the wording of ‘we’ to ‘I or me’. Adjusting your eating, sleeping, and working habits, it all takes time. Just like any other season of life there are trials and errors. Over it all, I try to give myself grace. I’m heading gently into this new year. I wish you all wisdom to fully show your love to those dear to yourself, and the grace to start over gently when necessary.
~ Debbie G
#Grief #ForwardJourney #GivingGrace #GoingGray
Highlights of the late day’s sunshine on my trees kicked me into high gear. Quickly, I grabbed my camera. I started my day with some sunrise pictures now it’s time for some evening ones.
As I jog down my stairs and out the door, I realize that I will be standing in last of this day’s rays, and when I see the stump of a tree in my front lawn, I am reminded that these rays will never touch my husband again.
Grief slips in unannounced, and I battle back tears as I snap the first photo. The red tones were already deeper than I anticipated. I focus on getting the right foreground for the next set of shots.
Then it’s as if a voice whispers, ‘Remember this morning’s sunrise?’
I pause and recall the hint of pink I caught on the topside of a cloud through a break in the gray expanse.
Yes, my mind answers in response to the prompt. There was no glorious burst of color, but I did catch the wisp of pink.
Right now, in my evening sky, the sun is shining above the clouds. And not everyone has gray skies tonight. Anyone in an airplane can attest to the beauty of breaking through a dark sky into the glory of the sunshine above. It’s breathtaking.
I continue to walk and snap photos, almost on autopilot, capturing the beauty of my given sphere. Tears seem to ease and then a great sob of sadness again washes over me. He was a good man who loved me. Yes, I am thankful for the gift he was. I remind myself of these truths and am grateful that one of the gifts he gave me was the camera I was holding. I grip it tighter. It somehow reminds me constantly of his love.
Another internal whisper and I am halted by the thought that although my husband will not stand in the shadow of the sunshine here on earth, he is currently enjoying the full light of heaven’s glory. Oh, the thought to never have to face any kind of shadow ever again is pure bliss.
The diversion of capturing tonight’s sunset has worked its magic. From morning to sunset sky, I am not alone. My internal Comforter walks with me reminding me of these truths. I discover that my heart is more at peace each time I let myself grieve a bit. Gratefulness and sadness have become my friends as I journey to wholeness. And the light above guides me on the path ahead.
Peace and blessings, my friend. You are not alone.
Feel free to drop me a line.
#sunrisetosunset #notalone #notSidelinedbyGrief #JourneytoWholeness
Room to room, notes on my phone, sending myself emails. My brain overflowing with impressions, parallels, searching for wisdom beyond myself. Surprised to discover new truths. Age old adages come alive in the light of this day. Heavenly whispers that mark out a new path.
Highlights of light on the treetops – the birds swoop between them without care.
A squirrel slips down a trunk- all that remains is a bouncing twig as he makes an acrobatic leap to a branch on the other side of the ravine.
I sit observing the changes in the defused light as the sun climbs in the sky.
Holy Spirit is opening a way for me. Constantly changing, yet always forward.
The thin pine swayed and bent in the violent wind gusts pushing her against cluster of fir trees behind her. She was fully exposed to all the elements now that her diseased southern neighbor had been removed months prior. She looked so weak and alone. I thought she might snap from the pressure. I watched spellbound, scarcely breathing, until she bounced back aright after each harsh blow. On one side her branches were stunted from their years in the shadow her neighbor had cast. Now, off-balance and without protection her handicap evident as she tipped.
Suddenly, I realized why I was so concerned about this tree’s ability to survive through this raging storm; we were fighting similar battles. I too had lost my front man, my covering. The death of my husband a few weeks prior, and the challenges of this past week had me leaning heavily on my spiritual family.
I found myself staring out my window, rooting for her, as she bobbed back and forth throughout the day. So grateful for the strength of those behind her preventing her from a fall. I was sure those trees were the primary reason she didn’t break. What a relief it was when the wind finally eased to see that she was still standing.
As I closed my shades for the night I thought ahead to the coming spring. Surely sunlight would help her stunted side to grow even again, giving her better balance. Like me, she needed to lean a bit now, but would soon grow strong again. Perhaps even someday becoming a sturdy buffer for those who were now supporting her.
Storms are meant to challenge us, to grow us, in new directions. This tree’s struggle brought an awareness of just how important support people are in one’s hour of need. I’m sure if the tree could speak, she’d add her thanks to her fellow fir trees for the strength of their entwined roots; and an encouragement for people everywhere to rise up and stretch out to the hurt and needy with hands of love.
A side note: I’m so glad to be back in my writing chair.
Blessings always, my friend.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Seasons change and boy, over the winter my body did too! I had to get back to working out. I overheard an older woman at the health club tell a friend she hadn’t exercised in years. Watching her copy the stretches of the young instructor, I could just imagine how she’d feel later. A beginner trying to keep up with this trained mass of muscle is in for a world of hurt tomorrow. The key is in taking baby steps. That trainer didn’t get toned overnight. It took slow, daily growth. And that’s the key to staying healthy and fit. Start slow, keep building, and when you reach your goal maintain it.
Building internal qualities takes time and practice too. Today I’m focusing on my inner spirit. I’m taking a few minutes to read a short devotional and some scripture. Like regular exercise, I plan to increase my quiet time with the goal of gradually reaching an hour a day. I need to be prepared to push back against busyness. To hold firmly the value of time management. To sit up and recognize a holy nudge. And to run the race especially marked out for me.
I may not ever become a super athlete, but I can be a healthier one. I have a firm foundation. Watching my words, my thoughts, and actions are great building blocks. So it’s essential that I know what the Word says so I can battle better.
Whether you’re facing a physical, emotional, or a spiritual challenge, meditation on scripture helps us dive deep and lets truth ripple forth. Basking in His light warms our spirit and prepares us for flight. And like the butterfly enjoying nectar we can taste and see that His words are sweet for the soul.
Are you facing a challenge today? Have you overcome one? If so, please consider sharing it in the comments. You never know whose life your story will inspire. And we’d love to join you in prayer. After all, if faith comes from hearing the Word, I believe we can find hope that way too!
#Change #Growth #Strong #Health #Hope #inspiration #Time Management #Challenge
I love this time of the year. Winter has exited. Spring has sprung and a vast array of colors dot the landscape. And oh, so many fragrances. So many sounds. Bees buzzing, birding chittering, and children out of doors squealing. Yes indeed, this is a most favored season.
I’ve spent the last few weeks cleaning out winter’s remnants in preparation for all that summer offers. Boating, swimming, picnics, walking in the park, nature hikes, and camping. For me, being out of doors is invigorating. Contrasting blue sky against chalky cloud formations. Gentle breezes. Nature sounds, usually muted by the insulating cocoon of busyness. Time to quietly rest in the sun’s blessed rays streaking through the trees as a small animal pauses in your presence.
It’s as if by focusing on beauty, on the sounds of earth, that somehow pressing concerns are erased. That being simply present and aware is a gift that this day offers. Being grateful for the simplicity of shade. For the gentle refreshing rain. For the life cycle of the winged creatures. Remarkably, appreciation helps wash away the cobwebs of accumulated worry. And when we move from our place of observation our hearts are so much lighter.
The days ahead are filled with possibilities, uncertainty, and hope. Isn’t stillness a perfect way to prepare for a season budding with change? Peace for this moment. Grace for this day. Hope for tomorrow.
I love reading cozy mysteries with a little clean romance thrown in. I mean, the term ‘heart flutters’ is something I can relate to. It’s the feeling similar to the movement of a butterfly on your finger. A soft motion that may cause you to catch your breath. I love it. There’s a similar term in the medical journals called palpitations or in layman’s terms a flutter. It can be a bit unsettling to notice that your heart is doing something different. With me, it also caused the perception of a shortness of breath.
The good news is that my heart is fine, my lungs are clear, and my blood levels reveal no problem. Later today I get to wear a 24 hour monitor to see if they can catch these palpitations, seeking to discover if there is an underlying issue.
I am amazed that there is a device that can hug you and monitor every heartbeat. One that can detect a need for further medical care. Technology has surpassed my ability to understand much of how it works, but I appreciate the brilliant minds that have created this tool. I’m sure it has saved many lives.
Like a romance novel, don’t we all long for someone to pull us close? One who can sense when we aren’t okay? Someone to help discern a problem?
I’m so glad there’s Someone who’s known me forever, who holds me close on my hardest days, and points the path to peace. I trust in my faith journey, and His plan for my life even when facing hardship. I run to His safe arms and He holds me close to His heart.
Perhaps my internal ‘butterflies’ are just me, drying my wings, and preparing for flight. All I know is that there is a breeze, and sweet nectar ahead. Trusting that He will carry me exactly where I need to go.
How’s your faith journey, my friend? Praying for you in your challenges.
Isaiah 40:11 He tends the flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Have I enjoyed a soft ice cream cone? You bet! Barbequed on the grill? Yup, a couple of times. Eaten a meal on the patio? Of course. I cleaned the yard from the dregs of winter weeks ago. And I have even made reservations for a summer family gathering. (Deep sigh.)
There’s something I’ve noticed, and perhaps you have too. People seem to be making an extra effort to connect. My elderly neighbor has stopped over to visit several times this week. Bumping into a friend at a store led to a half hour delay in my schedule as we caught up with one another. Plus I’ve had several text messages, and two phone calls this week from people I haven’t spoken to in months. It is so revitalizing to connect with those you care deeply about.
My roses haven’t bloomed yet, but some of my other flowers have, and I guess this is a reminder to take a break. Enjoy the beauty around you. Call a long-time friend. Visit a neighbor. Swing in a hammock. Listen to the bird’s song or steal away and experience a sunrise. Let’s appreciate the last days of spring while we can. You know, if May is here already that September is just around the corner. The advantage of slowing our pace today is that it can bring us memories to enjoy tomorrow.
I found a bird’s nest. How was your day?
The heaviness of winter has melted into a glorious early spring. The birds sing of their love as nests are woven. And I have shed my winter wear to don lighter, more cheerful fabric in solidarity with my feathered friends to announce, “Yes, SPRING is here!”
Fragrant, colorful blooms broadcast festivities and all manner of flying insects join in carnival games. The lawn is cleared of fallen debris in preparation for the mower’s maiden tour around the property. Much like a birthday party, anticipation has now exploded in a crescendo of sun, heat and busy revelry.
Today I’ve opened my back door several times to shoo away a pair of birds. It seems atop a light fixture positioned under our eaves is the perfect place for nesting robins. Perfect for them, alas is not perfect for all. This door is used frequently throughout the day, and a momma robin with hatchlings would be disturbed very often. So I dutifully remove the gathered straw and twigs and place an aluminum foil ball there as a deterrent. She has removed it three times today. Eventually she will decide another spot is better suited, and we’ll both be happier.
My writing has suffered much this winter. Fits and starts. Set-backs with much, much journaling. Indeed I, like my warbling minstrels, needed winter’s respite to regroup. To face harsh trials. To prioritize and to re-family after months apart.
In transitioning into this new season, I too must be aware of closed doors and be prepared to seek another solution. Perhaps the reason something isn’t working is because it’s not a good answer. It may be that a safer and wiser choice is already on the horizon and I haven’t seen it because my heart is set on something else. Like this winged pair I must be open to changing my plan. So today, I’ll journal my thoughts here and not hide them away in my notebook.
Is there something that is holding you back? Take a look around, perhaps the answer is waiting in the wings.
Dreams! It was my 3 or 4th baby dream… in this one I was solo parenting. I walked into my bedroom and was surprised to find a baby. If you know me at all, you will understand that without hesitation, I picked up this unknown child and attended to its needs. The real twist came when I left my room. There was another hungry baby at the bottom of the stairs. In fact, I found myself running room to room feeding babies. So many babies!
So what does ‘feeding the baby’ in these dreams represent? In real life I’ve raised my share of children and meeting needs comes naturally to me. My kids are now grown. I’ve moved from raising children to writing stories. I call these stories ‘my babies.’ So when I awoke this morning after caring for another hungry child in my nocturnal slumber, I knew I was being prompted to feed the baby. Today’s ‘baby’ is this blog.
Normally, I’d save this post until Mother’s Day as it’s about moms, but this is on my heart and it’s pressing.
I am unconventional. I first noticed this as a single mom. As a lover of children, I discovered a way to satisfy my desire to nurture more children through the foster care program. You see, I’ve led a blessed life. I was raised by two parents that loved me. Both of my grandparents raised a gaggle of kids. (That means there were a lot of kids in the families!) I admired my grandmothers and aspired to raise my own gang. So it’s not surprising that I not only had a couple of kids, but I also babysat for the neighborhood. I provided before school care and watched a few more young ones during the day. That’s when I realized just how deep my love for kids went. These children were beautiful, unique, and also very entertaining. I’d laugh at their silliness as easily as I was awed by how quickly they learned. Somewhere along the journey I decided that if I loved my neighbor’s kids this much, I might be able to make a difference by loving kids who really needed it. I became a foster mom.
These littles came to me one or two at a time. My first two lived with me for fifteen months before returning to natural mom. It was heart wrenching to see them go. I had to evaluate whether I was strong enough to continue. When I decided to go forward, I begged God, “Please, only bring me kids that I can keep.” Without promises or guarantees I stepped out in faith trusting that God knew my path and theirs.
From a variety of backgrounds and life circumstances, they arrived. A mere phone call could change not only my day, but the course of several lives. Within hours my doorbell would ring and I met the child I had heard described. Some came injured, some were only days old, and not one arrived with extra clothing. The common thread was a need for a safe place to live and to be loved. That was easy. Taking them in and loving babies… easy!
I don’t want to romanticize things, these were children with needs, challenges, and tempers. Real life 101. I had two kids already when I started so I had a clue of what to expect. It took a lot of energy and prayer. And in exchange I received years of hugs, kisses, whispered secrets, and for some reason noodle necklaces. If you mix those with trips to urgent care, late night illnesses, too many messy diapers to count, and house visits by caseworkers it’ll give you a snapshot of what those years were like.
As time passed these littles officially became my littles. God honored my heart’s desire and brought me children I could keep. Three different adoption days. Five beautiful children were added to my family.
Now to the mommas behind the scenes, the mothers of my children. I hold you in the highest regard. Their little lives began in you. You had the intimacy of hearing their heartbeat and feeling them move inside of you. Your expanding waistline evidence of your hidden treasure. It was your body that nourished theirs nestled beneath the safety of your ribcage. They were lulled to sleep by your heartbeat. Nine long, expectant, hormonal months you waited to meet them. Hearing their first cry. Holding their soft form to yourself. Counting their fingers and toes. It was your voice they recognized at birth. These were your moments. Moments, that as a mother, I treasure.
I cannot fathom what internal fortitude it takes to surrender a child. I can only imagine the emotional struggle you endured. I pray that meeting your now adult child and the relationship you have with them will bring you much happiness.
You, dear woman, you are precious to me. You grew a child that I love with all my heart. Your sacrificial act has forever changed my world. I am grateful. Your child changed my life and brought me joy. Oh, so much joy. The Bible says that children are a gift from God. I thank you so very much for sharing your gift with me.
Forever in your debt, ~Debbie
PS- Dear Reader, if this will bless someone you know. I’d ask you to share it with them. Thank you.
I’ve graduated from raising children to having grandchildren. The bumpy path of maturing teenagers can take its toll on parents. How many teary prayers have been quietly shared or scratched between the pages of our journals?
My child’s self-sufficiency did not always arrive in a timely fashion, and there came a time that I had to step back and assess how best to parent my adult child. I admire people who are able to just let go. Some children mature and make life choices that sustain them, but what happens when everyone else’s kid has moved forward, but yours is still lingering in immaturity? What if they don’t fly or get a job? Do we consider ourselves a failure? Can we just let go and move on hoping that they’ll figure out life some day?
In raising seven kids, it’s been my experience that the answer lies in evaluating each young adult for who they are before we think about where they are in their life journey.
My style of parenting is what some may call hard or tough love. My kids were given their own laundry basket at a young age and taught how to wash their own clothes. I encouraged them to help me cook and do chores. And they were expected to get a job as we were teaching them how to drive. Allowances just didn’t work for us, but we have paid our kids to paint a deck or to do other jobs.
Our situation is unusual in that we had several children who saw therapists and took medication. Some developed at a slower rate emotionally so that even at 18 they were not ready to live independently even though they may have desired it. Each one was different. So, what’s a parent to do?
We found solutions according to their unique bent. One moved in with a grandmother. One moved in with a friend. Another one dealt with severe anxiety so when the transition came, we practiced alone time by renting a hotel room for a few days. * Our adult child learned a lot and so did we, about abilities and areas needing more focus. *Note: we did this alongside a counselor.
Several times our adult children bounced back home for a season. We always had the expectation that they would find work of some sort while living home. We’d help them move out when they had enough money saved up or when they found a roommate. And if they weren’t making progress in saving money, I had no problem charging them rent. Not a lot, but some money due each month. I saved every dollar they gave me in a separate account and when there was enough, we’d help them find an apartment with money they didn’t know they had. We’d help find furniture and household items to get them set up. Some people may perceive this as hard-hearted, but we knew that we weren’t going to be alive forever. We did what we felt was best for each unique child. Our goals weren’t to get rid of our children, but to teach them how to live without us.
It’s been a long journey. There were days when depression hit so hard that I staggered. Times when I was called to the ER; when I thought my kids weren’t going to make it. Times when their choices broke my heart. And occasions when I’ve been physically threatened by my child, but love continues to surround our family. We’ve gotten through each challenge one baby step at a time. Our journey has not been easy, but it’s been oh so rewarding to see our young adults mature and learn to do life on their own– their way.
Maturity isn’t just for our kids, it’s for us too. In life, we grow and learn alongside them. I’m pleased to be able to point out things they’ve accomplished that they never knew they could do. I am their biggest cheerleader. Hey, my kid rose to the challenge and grew… and so did I.
Peace and blessings my friend,