ramblings on feeling alone

She was great at making you feel like you were not alone. We had entire text conversations in middle of the night….from bed. She was always there. If something tough was happening or if something big was upcoming in your life, she was available. We could always call Mom and (usually) she would come to be with you. All she needed was a plane ticket and she would come and stay with us for a few days or even weeks. So selfless.

I sit tonight and wonder how all of the Mama’s before me have done it. How did my Sister do it? How did my Mom do it? How did they Mother without their Mother being right there.

Such strength.

I was so excited to raise my daughter with my Mother near. From the very beginning, I knew we were lucky to have her. She died twelve days after she moved here. Twelve. She came over once the week before she died and watched Lainey for an hour or two. I thought, “man this is great, we aren’t alone”. Lainey adores her Grandma (geez….adored, not adores). But here we are. Alone. My amazing brothers and their families are near, yes….but we are still alone. Somehow, I think they probably feel alone, too. I’m sure my sister does. There’s something to be said about having someone that always has your back and will come at the drop of a hat to help out and when that is gone….well, life doesn’t feel as good.

Please don’t misunderstand. I realize I am blessed. Immensely so actually. I have a gorgeous daughter and kind Husband. But, I don’t have a Mom. And, right now that is all I want. I want someone to swoop in and be like my Mom. Someone to tell me that she will help me in three weeks clean two homes from top to bottom for a total of 4,900 sq ft. Someone to tell me that she will help me paint and unpack the dozens of boxes that have been stored away for over a year. I don’t even know how to paint cupboards. That was my Mama. She knew how to do it. She was a helper. To all of us.

There were many blessings surrounding her death that maybe soon I’ll share but the selfish side of me (the human side) just wants to know why? Why, Jesus did you take her. We were just getting started. Why?

When I tucked Lainey in tonight I asked her what she was going to dream about. She said Hattie (her bff) and Grandma. All I’ve wanted to do is sit down and make my sweet child a Grandma book of all of her pictures with Grandma in a hard back book from Shutterfly or somewhere similar. I know she’d adore it but I just can’t do it. I see her pictures on my computer and scroll faster by.

A new life without Grandma

If you still have your Mama, kiss her and remember that you did. I don’t remember when I kissed mine last. Save a voicemail from her. Just one. Maybe tuck it away on your computer for some day. If I could just hear “Hi Shana, it’s Mom” one more time…

I want to share real quickly my fingerprint charm. There is a company out of Iowa that I learned about from a patient back in Nebraska several years ago. It is common to be able to order fingerprint jewelry from funeral homes but they aren’t as unique as from this company. We had to have the kits overnighted and it was a risk. I guess our fingers dry out with time and it wasn’t until five days after that we were able to get these molds. I want you to know that my Husband, my amazing wonderful Husband, hand pressed 14 of these charms from my Mama’s left ring finger. He said it was hard but he did it. For us. I cherish this. I love feeling the grooves against my fingernails when I rub across the top of it. Thank you, Adam. 

“Why I Hate Religion”

Adam showed this to me several months ago and I forgot about it until someone just posted it on facebook today. We both really like this as it is how we roll; the crux of what we believe. A church is simply a building—four walls with a roof. What happens inside it is what counts. Anybody can be a “Sunday Christian”. Anyone can “repeat after me”. It is how you live your life that truly counts. If you have Him in your heart.

 

The least crappy bag of crap EVER!

ANOTHER bag of crap! But, this one is different, folks….it was a GIFT from our wonderful friends Jason and Missy. We received a heavy priority mail box in the mail last week and to our surprise it was a box full of goodies….for BOTH OF US! As Missy wrote, “This package is a custom made box of crap and other important things…”. She went on to write, “I’m sure you will be able to distinguish the “crap” from “the important things” as well as you will most likely be able to determine who sent the crap and who sent the important things”. Ha ha. I hope to be able to elude to more of what is happening in our life in a near-future post but Jason and Missy are a couple of the select few in our lives that know what is truly going on. As things have been tough recently, they decided to send us a box of crap!

First there was a beautiful card and letter….addressed to the “love birds” (that’s us, I guess!).

Next was a stack of magazines/journals from several different sources such as Joyce Meyer and the Word of Faith. While outdated, the material in these journals DOES NOT EXPIRE. Ever. God’s word is forever.

Then there is a beautiful book titled Jesus Calling. I LOVE this book already. It is a devotional type book with a VERY BRIEF reading for each calendar day. I like the VERY BRIEF part because it also gives me the time then to read the 2-3 recommended scriptures with it. Each night since we have received this Adam has read from the book and then I read the scriptures before we pray. My favorite so far was from 10/17 where it started out with “Anxiety is a result of envisioning the future without Me”.

We next have a $25 gift card to Scheel’s Sporting Goods. We LOVE Scheel’s! For those of you that don’t know, Scheel’s is like Sportsman & Ski Haus in Whitefish-only on steroids; ie: 10 times bigger!

There is also another book. One that Missy has personally used for years that she is now gifting to me for my benefit, titled Prayers that Avail Much.

Then we get to some of the “fun & interesting” treasures in the box. My guess is that these are special items directly from Jason and Jason, each item has touched our heart. Seriously. While we may not understand them, they are beautiful in their own way and fill us with happiness. Ha! We’ve got a broken ol’ toy helicopter thingy, a bottle-opener from the Texas State Aquarium and a lovely gold leaf in a baggie with multiple pieces that I believe were once attached to it. I like to imagine it was a real leaf….from someone’s yard that they covered in REAL gold and we are just lucky enough to have it!

Here is a photo of our prized gifts:

Now, all I want to say is thank you, thank you, thank you Jason and Missy. Your bag of crap blessed us at a much needed time. It lifted our spirits which were down, made us laugh when there has not been much laughter and made us cry good tears, not the bad ones. It made us feel “not so alone” at a time when we were and the reading materials have continued to do so each and EVERY day. Thank you. We love you both and miss you dearly.

Women of Faith

For months my friend Missy and I had tickets and planned to go to WOF in Omaha in August. Having never been, I had no idea what to expect. I think, though, in hindsight I had this vision of WOF being like my yesteryear experiences at youth camp as an adolescent. I envisioned I (we) would experience raw emotion and certainly would shed some tears.

Missy & I being "dropped off" at WOF by our Husbands. We were blessed to stay at the hotel that is actually attached to the Qwest Center by a sky walk.

I was surprised. Missy, too. This is good because otherwise I would feel like a nut job~like it was my fault WOF wasn’t what I expected. Don’t get me wrong…..there was PLENTY of wonderful things experienced during the two days~it just wasn’t what I expected thats all. Not that this is bad. It just is.

Worship.I was hoping (counting on) experiencing amazing worship. WOF has a 4-person worship team. They were charismatic and had beautiful voices but their “organized, intentional” criss-cross the stage movements reminded me of watching cheer-leaders. Honestly, I think the real challenge for me was that the team sang to all pre-recorded music. I’m a band girl. Give me a good band during worship and I’m on fire. I actually put this on my comment form that I turned in. I think this is why I really enjoyed Mandisa and Amy Grant’s concerts because they had live music accompany them. I felt like a kid during Mandisa’s concert when everyone opened up their cell phones (so they were lit up) and waved them in the air.

Mandisa was so "fun"-yeah, that is a good word for it...."fun". Here she was jamming barefoot!

Sandi Patty was amazing as I mentioned in this post. In reference to the whole worship experience, what happened while Sandi was singing and signing at the same time is what I think I yearned for. While Sandi was singing, God was literally palpable in that arena. His presence was soooo strong. I’ve second-guessed myself since WOF and am as I am typing this very instant, too that perhaps it was all me. Perhaps my heart wasn’t open enough during worship to truly “feel” it. Maybe it was all me and had nothing to do with the WOF worship format/presentation.

Amy Grant. Ahhhhh, amazing. This was her first WOF. I had mixed emotions about her before her concert. She hurt my feelings when I was a teenager. Ha! I know how odd that must sound but when she crossed over from Christian pop to secular music my heart broke. And, then she got divorced and that cinched my hurt feelings. Ridiculous, I know. I had (have) no right to put her on a pedestal prone to standards above the rest of the living, eating, breathing people of the world. But I did. No more, though. Now that I am old enough to think back to when she crossed into the secular music world I now believe it all happened for a purpose. God used Amy in such a way to introduce Christian music to the secular world because think about it…..it is nothing now-a-days to hear a Christian song on a regular plain ol’ radio station. This used to not be. I think Amy Grant played a huge role in this. Did you know she is the one of only 2 Christian singers with a star on the walk of fame?

And, she was so for real. If that even makes sense. During her concert between songs she would kind of talk to herself, even saying at one point “Ya all can talk amongst yourselves you know”. And about her divorce….I think WOF was good for her, too! Right before her concert there was a skit about a 9 year old girl who’s parents divorced and their lives “went on” but she was stuck in the middle. Amy actually commented during her concert how this struck her, saying that when she got divorced her girls were only 9 and 6 and she said she realizes now how true that skit was. Both she and her ex’s lives went on (remarried, etc) while the girls were stuck and pulled in between still. When she was done she came back on stage for an encore and while singing invited Sandi Patty up to sing with her. Sandi’s mic wasn’t working so they had to share a mic. It was totally impromptu and fun. Afterwards, the WOF hostess (as they refer to her) said that it was the first time Sandi and Amy had ever sang together and that they weren’t even going to charge us extra! Too cool, it was.

Sandi and Amy together....for the first time EVER

So, the jist of my WOF experience thus far centered around the live music, no surprise to me. My favorite speakers were Patsy Clairmont and Andy Andrews. Knowing nothing of these two prior to WOF, I had no expectations what-so-ever but I LOVED them both. And, learned from them, too.

Andy was hilarious. Full of ADHD, the camera crew had a hard-time keeping up with him. Some of the things I took home from Andy:

  • Good things in our lives happen because of how we act. Great things will happen because of how we act when things are unfair. All too true.
  • There might not be a lot of jobs out there~but there is a lot of work to be done.
  • Today I will choose to be happy. I will choose to be grateful. It is more tough for seeds of depression to take hold of my heart if I make these choices.
  • He talked about different dialects that we all have as men and women. The puppy dog, kitty cat, canary, goldfish. He goes into this more in his book, The Noticer which I very much want to still read. I think Adam is a puppy dog and a little bit of a kitty cat. He needs to be told he is a “good guy”-that he does “good” for us but he also likes to be loved on (meow). I’m kind of like a goldfish. Please keep my water clean and straighten my castle occasionally. I don’t need a whole lot of touchy-feely lovin’ but I do like me a nice clean house!
  • He challenged us to smile while we talk. He challenged us to do this 90 seconds everyday in the mirror.
  • Greet each day with a forgiving spirit. Forgiveness is a decision; not an emotion. Your emotions will follow your decisions. This is tough for me~I think I’m good at forgiving but not so hot at forgetting…
  • Do not let your past control your destiny
  • There is a big difference between a choice and a mistake. “I’m sorry” will work when you make a mistake but “will you forgive me” are the only words that will work when you make a bad choice. 

Patsy Clairmont is amazing. She is a hoot. She started out our first day and told us that she likes to think of herself as “not weird but rather a limited edition”. LOVE IT! We are all limited editions after all. Some of my favorite highlights from Patsy:

  • We make the most drama for ourselves.
  • Knowing=knowledge; while Living=wisdom.
  • Change can be good. Word.
  • Put boundaries on your emotions so your feelings don’t unreasonably rule you. A fool vents all her feelings. A wise woman holds them back; keeps her boundaries in place.
  • Harness your thoughts. My mind can create a problem that isn’t there. “Refuse the negative thoughts in the name of the Lord”.
  • Do not be a defensive person.
  • It is safe to be still and know that He is God.
  • Remember to control your words. So true, isn’t it? Words can hurt.
  • We are never too old to take steps towards maturity. I, for one am going to be taking steps FOREVVVER.
  • Fear has friends: anger, guilt and shame. If you are fearful the others will occur. Guard your heart against fear! This reminds me of the fear-tension-pain cycle I teach in Births R Us. The more fearful of the labor process we are, the more tense we will be and therefore, the more pain we may feel.

The WOF hostess was Lori Robertson. She seemed really sweet but also very scripted and not very charismatic. And, I love me some charisma! I think one of the main things I need to remember about my WOF experience is that they (WOF) are trying to target multi-denominations. It takes all types. While I, personally, do not enjoy worshipping from a hymnal there were (for sure) some women there that do, etc. It kind of reminds me of during Amy Grant’s concert there were some ladies behind us that wanted us to sit down. It frustrated Missy and I because we were there to party! Party with Amy Grant! Sitting was the last thing we wanted to do.

Marilyn Meberg and Lisa Welchel also were speakers. For some reason I didn’t feel very connected to Marilyn and Lisa. I did more so to Lisa only because I know her, I think. Blair, from Facts of Life, it was fun to see Lisa in person. And, she truly looks the same as I remember from the show!

My girl Missy & me...

The one thing that really bothered me about the conference was that they really didn’t have an alter call. It wasn’t until the second day an hour and a half before it was supposed to end that they talked about salvation and asking Jesus into your heart. They did the whole “pray this prayer with us” deal and then announced where the room was that we could go to if we needed prayer or wanted someone to pray with us for our salvation. An hour and a half before the END of the conference. I sooooo wish they had that room open and had announced it throughout the entire two days because I am sure-I KNOW– there were women there that probably needed it. I received a follow-up email from WOF saying that 747 women checked the little box saying that they asked for Christ to come into their heart for the first time during that prayer. IMAGINE how many more women could have been reached if there was an alter call or if they had at least had the prayer room open earlier! I was disappointed and bummed about this.

There you have it. My WOF experience. There were some fabulous moments, for sure. Will I go back? Well, that is a loaded question! Initially on the second day while visiting with Missy I actually said I didn’t think I would but God has other plans for me, folks. I was the sole recipient-the ONLY winner- of two tickets for life to WOF. I’ve never won anything! At first I thought-oh my goodness it is my lucky day~I should go to the boats and play craps (since the boats are literally right next door to the Qwest Center). Quickly I thought, no….that isn’t very Godly. Ha! Then when I filled my tank up with gas on the interstate on the way home I thought~I should buy a lottery ticket (I am lucky right now!) but again, I decided~not Godly so I didn’t! 😉

So, yes….I will be going back to WOF. And I will be able to bless others, too on the years that I cannot go. Because, obviously God wants me to go back…As always, He has plans for me and who am I to argue with Him?