Focus Point

>> Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dick Button had a birthday a few days ago. His name brought to mind the many times I watched ice-skating with him as the announcer. I’ve actually seen some wonderful skaters perform such as Scotty Hamilton and Underhill and Martini. Their motions are so fluid and graceful as they glide across the ice.

But sometimes they spin like a top while staying in exactly the same spot. 

I researched how they could spin like that and then skate off in a straight line. It seems they choose a focus point and keep looking at it each time they come around. And the more centered they are the less likely they are to feel dizzy. A good spin also requires the skater to have a strong core.

Right now my life is in a spin, with me wobbling and moving from my starting spot.

Paperwork, decisions, new pattern to my day, empty bed at night, sorting through my husband’s clothes and property…all lead to me spinning. But just as the skater improves with practice, so do I. The first few days it was hard to focus and my starting spot kept moving.

My focus point is Jesus.

So even though I’m still spinning, my focus is certain and my core is strong. Each morning I turn to Him as my starting spot. I’m not exactly skating off in a straight line, but I experience fewer wobbles.

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 (MSG)


Death Certificate

>> Thursday, June 18, 2015

There it was…in black and white…my husband’s name, birthdate and many details about his death.  It seemed surreal. But the raised seal representing the state of Washington and a “CERTIFIED” stamp completed the form at the bottom. It was his death certificate.

In my naivety, I had not realized how many businesses would need to see that piece of paper.

I started with phone calls. A few companies took my word for it; removed his name and entered me as the account holder. But at the end of that first day of calling…from 10:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon, I had a list of places I needed to go to show them the death certificate.

Then there were the ones who said, “We will send you a form. Just have the current account holder fill out the top portion of the page and enter the new account holder at the bottom.” What part of dead did they not understand?

It was unbelievably draining to repeat the words regarding my husband’s death.

Yesterday I headed out…death certificate on the car seat beside me…to convince certain businesses that his name no longer belonged as the account holder. The average length of time at each company was one hour. The initial person I spoke with did not have the authority to do anything, so I was passed up the line.

In my robot-like state, I did it without tears.

The last place was a credit union. After explaining the situation repeatedly, I was taken into a separate room to meet with an officer of the establishment. He made several phone calls. The death certificate lay on the desk in front of him. The final word was that since we had a loan through them, even though my name was also on the loan, his name could not be removed from the account until the loan was paid.

“I’m the one responsible for making the payments. What is the rationale for leaving it in his name?” I received no satisfactory answer.

Tears filled my eyes. Profuse apologies were extended. I climbed in my car and proceeded to suffer a meltdown. It was several hours before I climbed out of that pit and could focus on the promise below.

Praise songs are filling the air as I type these words.

“You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song….” Psalm 30:11-12 (MSG)


He Has No Need for Them

>> Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My husband, John’s, wallet and money from his pants pocket now lay on the kitchen counter where he placed them several weeks ago. His special sunglasses that made him feel so cool as he drove his red Cadillac are close by.

He has no need for them.

Our garage was designed to hold two motorcycles, his car and mine. The motorcycles are no more and the car now sits on a car lot…for sale. Even the handicap placard that allowed him to park closer to buildings has joined the unused symbols of a busy life. 

He has no need for them.

The double towel holder that was installed when we built this house now holds a lonely towel. I will never need two. And he is far too weak to take a shower, so his towel has been washed, dried and folded.

He has no need for it.

His clothes and shoes are just as he left them the last time he wore clothes.

He has no need for them.

John is going on a journey without me. Sometimes his eyes see right through me. Occasionally his comments are not directed to me. Yesterday I heard him talking and hurried to the bedroom.

“What did you say?”

“I wasn’t talking to you.”

Should I have asked with whom he was conversing? An angel perhaps.

Even though I can’t go on this journey with him, we both know Someone who can. We’ve placed our trust in Him.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;….” Psalm 23:4 (NASB)


Sorry for Your Loss

>> Saturday, January 24, 2015

My husband and I are members of a large church, which explains why we didn’t know Lisa.  But we soon learned this young wife and mom of three young children had stage four breast cancer and not doing well. Even though we did not know her, our hearts were broken for this young woman and her family.  If you follow my blogs then you know my husband has renal cell carcinoma and lung cancer, with a terminal diagnosis. So we are familiar with cancer situations. For some reason God had us praying harder for Lisa than we did for my husband. We shed many tears for their family.

God chose to take Lisa home a few months ago. Our hearts were broken for her family. But knowing she is with Jesus and out of constant pain, the grieving was not without hope.

Lisa has a twin brother Lynn who, until recently, was one of our pastors. He transitioned to become a family counselor, so we had not seen him for a while.

In December I made a decision to start the Ideal Protein diet, which requires a weekly visit with a counselor who measures your weight and inches lost (or gained) and body mass, etc. At the end of your session, you pick up your “food” for the next week.

As I was leaving my counselor, I noticed a somewhat familiar face. I know this person I thought, but I can’t place him. Then it dawned on me… it was Lynn, Lisa’s twin brother. It was the first time I had seen him since her death. He was a mere shadow of his former heavy self. I gave him a big hug and said, “So sorry for your loss”.

The look on the counselor’s face was priceless.  Lynn had lost 71 pounds and was slim and trim. Why would I be sorry for that? Of course I was referring to the loss of his sister, but the counselor didn’t know about her.

When I realized how that came out, I knew God had given me laughter among the pain I still feel for her family.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…..a time to weep and a time to laugh…..” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 (NIV)


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