Old Plans and New Plans?

Old Plans and New Plans???

What comes to mind when you think about dreams?   As a small child, we all probably dreamt of what we wanted to become.  The dreams were endless!  A lot of those dreams were shattered due to reality.   However, as we grew older we became more realistic of what we wanted to do with our lives and we began to live our dreams.
 
So many things change for each of us over the years.   We often planned for our future.  Many went off to college or trade school.  Others got married and started their families.   Jobs often cause us to move away from family for more opportunities.  Christina Rasmussen said – “When the dream that was, no longer can be, you have to dream a different dream.” 

Many of our dreams did come true!   As we look back at those dreams, it certainly puts a smile on your face.   But for those dreams that did not come true, it can take quite a while to except what did not come true.  C.S. Lewis has said – “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” 

The life we had planned for our “golden years” are not necessarily golden.  What were your dreams?  How have you worked through your disappointments?  Life can be disappointing and we often wonder what we can do going forward.  In thinking things through, do you sense a new beginning?   We cannot change what has happened but we can rely on God to help us through this journey to hear/see what He has for us to do.

May I suggest you share with someone you trust to talk through your good times and bad times.   Philippians 4:14 reads: Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.  Perhaps talk through your new dreams and discuss what you may want to do going forward.

As you prayerfully seek what your next steps are, Psalms 25:4-5 reads:  “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

I have always been a dreamer…….   Sometimes my dreams are very unrealistic and other times, they are very driven by how I can help others.   Usually, I need to sort out was is realistic and what my talents really are.  Where does God want me?   Where does God want you?  It may be as simple as sharing your story with another widow.  Maybe just getting those out of the house for coffee, lunch or a little shopping may do the trick.

Augustine once said – Hope is a waking dream.   Maybe you are that person to give someone the dream of hope!

Blessings to each of you.   Dream small or big!   God has plans for you!!!!!

Reminiscing/Remembering


Reminiscing/Remembering

What does the New Year look like for you?   Are you dreading it or looking forward to it?  Do you have hopes or dreams?  What would you like to change?  This last question may be difficult especially if you have gone through a big change in your life. 

A few years ago, I attended a seminar on navigating the Seasons of Life.  Depending on your stage of life, you may have gone through several stages.  Some of the things we talked about were soul searching, looking back from our early years of life and thinking about each decade of our lives.  Towards the end of the seminar, we were encouraged to write a letter to ourselves as if we were 18 years old and base the letter on what we had learned throughout our lives – both positive and negative.  The one thing that helped me was giving myself advice as an 18 year old based on what I had learned.

As I was writing ‘my letter’ it has caused me to reflect on so many things in my life.  One scripture that says it all to me is:  Proverbs 27:19 reads:  As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. This certainly hit home to me. 

We certainly cannot go back and change what has happened.  However, we certainly can reflect and with the guidance from God, listen to what He has for us.  How can we help others based on what we have gone through?

For many of you this is a concept that may seem too difficult to even think about.  You may be in the depth of your grief or life is just too hard to imagine going forward with a new journey alone.  God promises in Hebrews 13:5b: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

Consider taking a look backwards to move forwards…….
  • Based on your early years and what you know now, what advice would you give yourself as an 18 year old?
  • Make a list of changes in your life since then.  Things such as moves, marriage, children, highlights from those you have lost.
  • Where are you at in your life within the last few years?
  • What positive things have happened since your loss?

Remember we cannot change what has happened!  However, with God’s help, we can become what God has planned for us in our future.  John 14:26 reads:  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Be patient with yourself and take one step at a time!  Before you know it, you will be helping someone who is going on this journey and looking for advice.  Luke 1:37 says:  For the work of God will never fail.  God’s timing may not be our timing but His timing is perfect.

Blessings to each of you……..

Changing Traditions???


Changing Traditions???

This year Thanksgiving is later which seems to put less time to prepare before Christmas arrives!  Normally I would fret about not being organized and wondering if I was going to get everything done.  For some reason, this year I am not fretting but looking forward to spending the holidays with my children and their families.

As a child, I remember Christmas being so special.   There was always the anticipation of having all of our family home.  On Christmas Day, my dad would harness up the horses, attach the sleigh to them and we would be gone all afternoon.  Below is a picture of my dad, one of my brothers, two nieces and a nephew.

As we all grew up and had families of our own, some of our traditions changed.  My parents moved from our hobby farm in Coon Rapids, MN to Minneapolis, MN and the horses were sold.  Our families grew and to try to find a place to get together was difficult.  Besides that, many moved out of Minnesota due to jobs.

For myself, I wanted to keep the tradition of having Christmas Eve in our home and we did.  However, that tradition changed with the loss of Dan.  What traditions do we keep and what new traditions do we try?

Our lives have changed and it will never be the same.   As difficult as that may sound, what would your loved one want you to do?   Would they want you to change things up?  Would they want you to keep things the same?  Probably not!  What they most likely would like is for you to remember them and not forget the love they had for your family.  One of the promises from the Bible that I have learned over the years comes from Psalms 34:18 (Good News Translation) which reads:  The LORD is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.

Over time our traditions have changed especially over the holidays.  Not all of my children live in Minnesota, so we often travel to where they live.  Unfortunately, not every year for every holiday are we together.  I will admit – that one was one change that took me the longest to get used to.  For those of us who are together, we still get together on Christmas Eve for dinner and gift opening.  Christmas Day is more relaxed than it used to be.   Our dinners have also changed from having a big dinner to appetizers or sometimes both. 

Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission to change things.  It may take a while to figure out what may or may not work for you.  Another one of the great promises God had for us comes from Matthew 11:28 which reads:  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Perhaps another word for rest would be peace. 

May I suggest a few options?  Below are a few possibilities for you this year or the coming years.   Nothing needs to change or perhaps you need a change. 
  • Break a tradition:
    • If you have been the host to holiday’s in the past, suggest to one of you children or other family member host these first few holidays.
    • Invite another person to your holiday who is also alone.
    • Perhaps this year is just too difficult to be with others, give yourself permission to spend it alone.
  • Remembering your spouse:
    • Put together a memory book of your spouse.  You may also invite others to add memories to this book.  This doesn’t need to be just for the holidays but can be for all year long.
    • Make or purchase decorations in honor of you loved one.
    • Continue to hang the stocking of your loved one.  Let your guests know ahead of time to bring a written note of your loved one and put it in their stocking.  Take turns pulling the memories out of the stocking and read them.  Hopefully, you will have some happy memories that will make you laugh and sometimes cry.
    • Donate to a charity of your choice in honor of your loved one.

  • What about you?
    • Perhaps schedule a massage, pedicure or manicure for yourself. 
    • It’s ok to turn down events that you are having a difficult time deciding if you want to attend.
    • Be open with your family and friends on what you are feeling.  Unless they have been in your shoes, they may not understand your choices.
God’s promise is to be there for us.  He gave us the promise of the birth of Jesus in Isaiah 7:14:  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and he will be called Immanuel.  As with the promise of Jesus birth from the Old Testament to the reality of the New Testament, we have the hope that we will see our loved ones again!

My prayer for each of you is to find peace in this Christmas season.  Those that have gone before us are always in our hearts!

Merry Christmas!

A little bit of heaven….

A little bit of heaven….
While shopping with some friends in Iowa over the weekend, we stopped in a craft store and saw a sign which said “Because someone we love is in heaven, there’s a little bit of heaven in our home.”  One of my friends said, “This applies to the organization you are involved with.”  It certainly does, but it also applies to other loses, not just the loss of a spouse.

These friends and I have known each other for about 40 – 45 years and there isn’t much we do not know about each other.  Our husbands meet in the military and we became friends quickly.  I love how we can share so many things together – the good, the bad and the ugly without any judgment. 

We often have some pretty deep discussions of faith, but I do not recall the conversation of heaven in our homes regarding those who have gone before us.  Even though I often think about those who have gone before me, I hadn’t thought of a part of them actually being in my home.  But what a sweet thought! 

There are many scriptures regarding those who have gone before us and the mourning we go through during a loss.  My thought goes to the Beatitudes which Matthew 5:4 reads:  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. For me there is so much peace knowing God promises to comfort us. 

When we think about those we love, they are always in our hearts.  When you think about it, as long as our heart is beating, they are always with us.  Just thinking of this, seems to help us get through this time.   For those who have children and grandchildren with your spouse, there seems to be things that always remind us of them. 

One of my past times is working on genealogy.  About a year ago, my daughter-in-law had sent me pictures of her sons (my grandsons) school pictures.  As I had been going through old pictures of my late husband’s family, I came across a picture of Dan at the same age as one of my grandson’s.  Oh wow – the resemblance was unbelievable!   In watching my son’s walk, and how noticing how much they walk just like their dad.  Also, my daughter will say a phrase that reminds me of something he would say. 

Knowing that we will see our loved ones again, is another comfort.  Another one of the reminders which God tells us of is:  1 Thessalonians 4:17 reads:   After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

I have been blessed with many special people in my life who have walked down many journeys with me.  Many times it has been a two way street for us.  However, the one who has had the most influence in my life is the one who I have put my hope and trust in, which is Christ.

If you are struggling with something in your life, I pray you seek guidance with someone who can help you.  Please contact someone you trust or can count on to help you along this journey.   Perhaps it is a good friend, a minister or priest, or a counselor.  

I hope and pray you have memories of your loved ones in your heart that puts a smile on your face and you sense a little bit of heaven in your home.  One more promise for you:   1 Corinthians 6:14 reads:  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

Blessings to each of you!!!!!

Dreams – Regrets

Dreams – Regrets
Over the last couple of weeks, I have had a few discussions on dreams and regrets.   Not in the same conversations, but it made me think of the dreams that were not fulfilled. It also made me realize I now have new dreams because the old ones do not exist. 
With that being said, it also made me question whether or not I have had regrets.  We all have had regrets, but how do we handle them? 
We certainly cannot change the past.  We all have had dreams and goals about the future with our spouse.  So how do we handle that?  We may need to come to terms with what has happened and except what we cannot change.  Psalm 37:4 states:  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
You may feel hopeless with the unfulfilled dreams.  However, as you look toward the future, focus on your dreams and the light which God will bring you through.  2 Peter 1:16 reads:  You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
May I suggest you remember the good times and memories you had!   Many of you had children together.   Perhaps you were able to do a lot of traveling.  Or perhaps you were great at hosting events together.  What adventures did the two of you do together, with family or with friends?
But what about the regrets?  We all have things we have done which we wished we would not have.  How and what do we do about those regrets is up to us.  I am one that believes we learn from our past mistakes.  Thank goodness we are forgiven.  Mark 11:24 reads:  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
With the life changing events you have had, what are some things you want to do?  What are your interests or things you put aside years ago that you may want to try?   Consider joining a health club, book club or a Bible Study.   Perhaps invite another new widow for coffee….  Psalm 37:4 says:  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Remember God has his arms wrapped around you and is there for you each step of the way.   We cannot change the past but there is light in your darkness and that light is God!
May you let go of your regrets and look forward to your dreams.  God has a plan for each of you! 

Beautifully loved……..

Beautifully loved……..

When thinking back to the days you were dating, the sparkle in your eyes when you were sure this was Mr. Right!  And then wondering when he was going to ‘pop’ the question.  Then he finally did….  Everything about that time in our lives was exciting.  We felt loved!  We felt beautiful! The wedding day arrived and all was well and we were going to live happily ever after. 

With God leading our lives, for the most part all was well.  But there were times when marriage was tough.  And many times life was good.  We learned to lean on each other and become one.  We would bounce ideas of one another.  We went to church together and socialized as a couple.  If we had children, many of the parents of our children’s friends became our friends.  We may have sat home on a Friday night and watched a movie or a sporting event in silence because we were comfortable together.

And then it happened……  Our days became numbered as a couple.  For some it happened immediately, and for others their spouse’s disease lingered.  How often during that time did we wonder who was going to be there to tell us we were loved or we were beautiful.  Jeremiah 31:3 reminds us:   I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Many of the lessons we have learned in life is to lean on Christ.  As we look back on where we were and where we have come, He is the one who helps us along the way.   Psalms 136:26 reads:  Give thanks to the God of Heaven.  His love endures forever. 
As many of us have walked this path, we have learned to accept where we were or how far we have come.  Meeting new friends has helped as we walk this new path and grow in our journey.  Our lives have changed with new activities and we have learned how to do things we never thought we could do.  Most likely we have all changed in our faith. We have had to rely more on God to help us in this new life.

While we know our spouse is in heaven, what’s next?  For each of us, we may have different answers.  A couple of things we may need to think about.   Things like what are our priorities now, and what is the meaning of our life?  We are constantly reminded that yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not certain.  We only have today.  The only one who is constant is Christ.  Hebrews 13:8 reads: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 It seems difficult to think about what our new life will be.  Many of us remember all the ‘Why’s’ we asked especially in the beginning.  And to be honest, we may never know the why. 

When I am down and out, it is so easy to think I am not loved or beautiful.  It’s amazing how Satan tries to tell us we are not loved.  But we are!   In the Song of Songs 4:7 God looks at us and says:  You are altogether beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you.  

If you are new to this journey of widowhood, I encourage you to meet with a seasoned widow.  One who can guide you along the way, pray with you or help you learn new things to explore to fill your time with. 

Remember – You are beautiful!  And you are loved!    Blessings to each of you.  

JUST IN TIME Written by Patsy Pearson

JUST IN TIME
Written by Patsy Pearson

All day long, I had been blinking back tears as I thought about Bob and how much I missed him. It had been more than six months since he passed away from complications of Parkinson’s disease, but some days the melancholy thoughts and songs just wouldn’t leave my mind. That day, after returning from my errands, I just needed to go down the hall of our condominium to get the mail and hoped that I wouldn’t meet anyone. When I stepped back into our apartment, I could no longer hold back the tears.
As I looked at my small stack of mail, I saw a blue envelope lying on top with my friend Judy’s return address in the corner. It was not my birthday nor was it a special holiday. Instead, it was just a friendship card with “happy fall” in Judy’s handwriting.
I have learned through the years to open cards from Judy carefully, as clippings of articles, confetti, humorous tidbits, photocopies of old hymns, and scripture verses often fall out. That day, there were 22 separate papers that fell out of Judy’s card, and it seemed that every one of them was just what I needed. God knew when I would need it and he prompted Judy to put the envelope in the mail five days earlier out in California. I felt a great sense of being loved—not just by my friend, but by God’s care for me—at just the right time.
There are times when I don’t feel like God is there soon enough. I’m influenced by our modern culture’s expectations of instant fulfillment, and I can be impatient for God to move more quickly. But as I look back on my experiences and my life, I realize that God always brings the answer in time.
One of the hardest things for me to do is to wait. If I think that I know what needs to be done, I’m ready to proceed. I like to get my ducks in a row, and often feel that the longer I have to wait, the more likely that the ducks will all go off in different directions!
Yet I have found that God never wastes the waiting time. It becomes a time when he does something in me that needs to be done. He helps me mature in the waiting time.
We read in Scripture of many who had to wait for God’s promises to come about. Moses had to wait 40 years to take the leadership role God called him to. Joseph had a vision from God but had to wait many years, even languishing in prison, before God fulfilled that vision.
Maybe you feel like God has you “on hold” right now. Ask him what he has for you to learn while you wait and, in the meantime, keep doing what you feel that he’s called you to in the recent past.
I King 8:56 tells us “not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave.” The God we serve is faithful, and he will be on time—just when we need him.

Written by Patsy Person and published with permission.  

Trust – Possible or Impossible

Trust – Possible or Impossible

Do you ever feel like there seems to be so many decisions that are happening in your life and you don’t know where to turn?   Some of these decisions seem easy to make and others seem difficult.  What if I make the wrong decision?  What if I trust the wrong person?  What if I do not have all the facts to make a decision?

As we go through different stages of our lives, we change!  The one constant we have is God never changes.  Luke 18:27 reads:  What is impossible with man is possible with God.  As we struggle to believe this and to move forward, we need to do what is possible and trust God with the impossible. 

Easier said than done sometimes right?  How can I truly believe that?  Do you ever reflect on what you have gone through and then realized you made it through those times that seemed impossible?  We have so many examples of things that are possible with God within the scripture.
  • Mary and Joseph escaped Egypt with their infant son Jesus.   Caesar had issued an order to kill all the infant boys under the age of 2.   Story found in Matthew 2.
  • Paul went to Jerusalem despite the likelihood of his arrest.  His calling to teach there trumped fear for his survival.  Story found in Acts 2.
  • Abigail struck out on a donkey directing a food caravan as a gift to her husband Nabal, avowed enemy, David.  She feared returning home to her husband but God was with her and she was protected.  Story found in 1 Samuel 25

How often do we think – well that was in Biblical times.   This doesn’t happen today!  Or does it?   I am one who likes to journal these types of things that have happened in my life.  As I look back as both of my parents died when I was in my early 20’s, my husband died at the age of 47, one of my son’s has had four tours abroad in the military and I was laid off from a job I loved at the age of 62.  With each of these events in my life, I wondered where God was and how was He going to bring me through each of these situations.

One of God’s promises that I love is found in Luke 1:45 which reads:  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!   He has fulfilled His promises to me and He will for you also.  This doesn’t mean we will not have tough times and have struggles along the way, but it does mean God is there for us!

I know I often talk about having someone in your court that you can trust to help you along your journey through life.   Sometimes those people change throughout out our lives, as some come in and out of our life.   It is important to have that person who is looking out for you, a prayer warrior, a trusted person with finances and that practical person who can give you that advise you need.

I hope and pray that each of you has someone in your life that you can share what is going on, and know they are looking out for you!   Remember:  “Do what’s possible and trust God with the impossible!”

Blessings to each of you. 

Blessed with memories…

Blessed with memories…

I don’t know about you, but do you ever have one of those days when plans do not happen the way you thought they would or should.  I thought I would have a short day, I would come home and just chill, read and have my own hang time.  To be honest, I was just looking for some ‘me’ time.   It sounds kind of selfish but sometimes it’s necessary.

Bear with me as I set the stage as I write this blog……  Saturday had been a busy day as I had meet former neighbors for an early lunch.  We had met these friend when Dan and I bought our first house.  Midafternoon, I headed to a wedding for a great nephew which was a little over an hour from my house.  The wedding was a beautiful outdoor wedding.  The bride and groom got up to thank everyone for coming and they were so sweet!  Come to fine out, it was the bride’s parent’s 25th wedding anniversary and the minister’s 12th wedding anniversary.  How cool is that!

The next day after church I headed over to some friends, who have been friends it seems like forever.   Another couple joined us for the afternoon.  There is one other couple that were not able to join us. The three men met Dan at Ft. Snelling as they worked together in the Army Reserves and were often referred to as ‘the four musketeer’s’.   One of the men has a dry sense of humor and started drilling me (all is jest) about how often I go to the Ft. Snelling Cemetery, knowing full well I am not one that goes very often.   Neither of these men go to the cemetery, so it was decided that the five of us would go to the cemetery.   We spent about 20 minutes there and felt we should leave because we were telling stories and were all laughing so much, that we were getting some weird looks.  We did realize on the way home we probably should have been more sensitive with those around us

This isn’t the way I had planned on spending the day but it was good for me.   However, to listen to them tell stories about Dan that I had not heard (some of them I had) was good medicine even after 23 years.  I thought there would be Army stories that would be a little out there, but there wasn’t.  Perhaps they were protecting me….   What I thought would be a 2 or 3 hour afternoon turned into 6 hours.

You’re probably thinking where I am going with this! 

On my way home, I could only be thankful for the laughter of good friends and be blessed for them being in my life.  One of God’s promises is Matthew 5:4 which reads:  Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.   I love this promise and how God brings those into our lives that stand beside us.  Those we cry with, laugh with and enjoy life with….  

Life isn’t always easy or fair.  Things happen that are truly game changers.  For those of you who are struggling with a game changer, God does promise to be by your side and walk with you through your journey no matter what it is.  Often times it is just the little things along the way that cause us to realize He is there for us.  It may be that butterfly flying by or a beautiful bird that reminds you of that special person in your life.    Isaiah 41:10 is another great promise which reads:  Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

My prayer would be that you find God’s comfort in your life.   If you do not have someone in your life to help you with your new journey, I pray that you find one to help you along the way!   May your good memories sustain you and bring a smile to your face. 

Blessing to each of you!!!!

Is Your Journey Unsettled??

Is Your Journey Unsettled??

Is it just me or do you find yourself unsettled?   I truly believe I am on the path that God wants me to be on.  However, I often second guess myself as I try to analyze whether or not what I am doing is right.  Do you ever feel that way?  I don’t believe I am alone in this.

For those of us who have had a journey from being married to widowhood, the one who was always our sounding board is no longer with us.  So how do we get beyond this?  Is this something that happens more times than we like?  Or does it?  Is just one of those days when we just need assurance from that friend or family member that we can we can count on? 

It may be some or all of that!  As we walk down this journey, we may have had the gift of having someone walk with us.   For those of us who have had the privilege of having women of faith walk we us, we begin to notice a few things that help our journey.

There has been a passage in the Bible which I have always believed.  Many times in my life I have found I have needed to rely on it more times than others.  It is from Proverbs 3:5 which reads: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  I will be the first to admit that this scripture isn’t always the easiest one to believe in when I am hurting or second guessing myself.  So often I think I can handle it all but in reality, I cannot.  However, when I totally take it to heart, I find God truly is there with me each step of the way.

What do you do when you are struggling with life’s challenges, a new decision on a job change, a possible move, or a family member going through a tough time that they cannot decide what to do?   May I suggest a suggestion or two?
  • Go to that friend who you can talk with in confidence without judgement.
  • Seek out a counselor to talk with.  If you do not know one, talk with your pastor or trusted friend for a suggestion.
  • There is a lot of great books to read.
  • Perhaps meet a good friend and do a Bible Study together.
  • For me, it is reading but also being in prayer for God’s direction.

We can rest in peace, hope and God with his promise found in:  Matthew 19:26 reads:  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
We have not been promised that each step is going to be easy, but we have the assurance from God in John 14:27:  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubles and do not be afraid.

As I reread this blog today, I may be writing it for myself.  But no matter what you are going through in your journey, this may be of encouragement to you.
Blessings to you my friends.   May you feel God’s arms wrapped around you each new day!