Thursday, April 22, 2010

Press On

So not quite a week ago (Saturday afternoon) I was having one of those really hard moments. Elizabeth wasn't with me and I had been by myself for a little too long. The phone hadn't rung in awhile, hadn't gotten a good piece of mail in awhile, hadn't gotten a good email in awhile and I was struggling. I was driving to the softball field and I was telling God that he needed to be ever near because I could see how depression could easily worm it's way into me. I had a few tears and just told God to watch out for me, this is harder than I expected.

God did an amazing thing - he responded quickly. He loaded my van full of 12 year old girls to go to a movie late that night. A van full of 12 year old girls will bring a smile to anyone's face as they are chatting away. He sent that scholarship letter. I have two lunch invitations. I have heard from friends that I don't hear from too often. I have gotten texts from people out of the blue. I finally had to have another talk with God today and say, "Alright! I really want to feel sorry for myself, but you are pounding your love for me home and I get it."

Last night, Elizabeth and I put down the book Heaven and I picked up our Chronological Bible and continued on where we left off weeks ago. We read from Philippians 3:1 - 4:23 where Paul is taking about how he had everything in the "Jewish religious world" or the perfect pedigree. But he counts it all loss compared to everything he gains with Christ. He says that he is not perfect yet, but he is pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. He says he is pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me. Then he ends encouraging his brothers to stand firm in the Lord. As we all know, I am not a Theologian but I do love Christ and this is what I got from that ... Press On. I mulled over those words as I tossed and turned last night. I spent some time crying on the couch where Mike last was in our house before we went to the hospital. AND God heard me and gave me a visual. Press on means to walk forward when it is hard to take a step. It means put your head down and your shoulder forward and use everything you have to keep from falling back against the force that is trying to keep you from going forward.... like a really nasty South Dakota blizzard or a really hard wind storm. (Like the reporters that are trying to stand in Hurricanes!).

I am really searching for what is supposed to be next. When people asked how I am doing, I either say fine (lie) or lost (truth). Not lost from my Savior or beliefs. Not lost in my roll as a mother. Not lost in the day to day things. BUT lost with the future. We didn't walk through everything to go back to the way things were. I am praying God will make things clear. I know He will. He is ever present. So I will press on and know that as I do God will make is clear the path He has for me (and Elizabeth).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Amazing news!

I just have to post this. I am so proud! I just know Mike is so extremely proud as well.

We arrived home late tonight after seeing a movie with some of the girls from Elizabeth's softball team. I got the mail and we got awesome news...

ELIZABETH WON A $1,000 SCHOLARSHIP from Raytheon's MathMovesU program.

AND Raytheon is awarding her school, Faubion Middle School, a matching $1,000 grant. Can you believe it? 150 Middle Schoolers were chosen out of 2,700 from all over the country and my precious, sweet girl was one of them! We both were jumping up and down in the bathroom and being very nutso together!

She submitted a PowerPoint presentation that answered "How Math puts action into my passion". Her subject was Marine Biology and how math is important in tracking animals. She used mx+b formula and then she also used percentages and proportions for tracking Sea Turtle Hatchlings. Truly, she did this all on her own and the package was submitted back in January. We had really forgotten about it. Thank you Lord Jesus for this joy tonight.

She has the option of using $1,000 for a summer camp that revolves around math or science OR she can use it her first year at college (Mom is leaning toward that option! We will see what she decides).

Now we get the joy of going to school on Monday and showing the Principal the letter. How cool is that?

Jesus... you know what we need when we exactly need it! Thank you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ups and downs... but ok.

It has been awhile part because I didn't know what to type and part because things started getting a little busy here. I want to first assure everyone that both Elizabeth and I are in grief counseling weekly through our counseling and ministry center at our church. I know I sometimes pour out my heart on the blog and it may look concerning. We are doing ok and we are getting help to make sure we continue to do ok.

But I will tell you this, you can never prepare for the fullness of grief. It is such a shock to the system when you try to get a grasp on the full picture. It hits you when you don't expect it and it is the smallest things. But when you think about it, life is about the smallest of things. It is not about the big trips, the perfect car, etc... it is about the time together and moments that only two people share. The other day I was dropping of the kids for school and it was a particularly quiet trip to school on a Tuesday. The kids pile out and I said, "Have a joyful day!" in my best up beat voice possible. I got a "rolling of the eyes", 2 grunts and silence. I laughed and wanted to tell Mike. He would have laughed too. I miss my "I get you even though no one else does" partner.

There was a pause in the paperwork, but I finally got insurance so I could continue on with the process. I have finally been able to pay all the bills and that is a huge load off my mind. The SBP has started and social security has started for Elizabeth as well. God is so good and I don't take it for granted especially after the struggle the past 18 months. I paid the funeral bill and I am completely in love with Turrentine Jackson and Morrow here in McKinney. Words can not express how awesome they are. I have had a dealing once or twice with a funeral home before and I went in there with my armor up and a body guard (Scott) expecting what happened the last time I dealt with someone passing away. It was a complete 180 and I would never chose anyone else if I have to do this again. I think I would want to know this to have in the back of my mind, so I am going to share this. The funeral cost around $15,000. I am sharing this because I would want to know a ballpark figure for planning purposes for myself or just to keep in the back of my mind if situations were reversed.

I am now getting things together to file the last of the VA paperwork for the funeral expenses and working with a new financial planner. It is funny, because now I need to make sure things are concise, easy, and together in case Jesus calls me home for Elizabeth. It is weird being out here on a limb without Mike as my back up. In the back of your mind, you think if something happens to me, Mike will take care of everything. That is not the case anymore and I need to cross all the t's and dot the i's for her.

Elizabeth and I continue to have good moments, bad moments, restful nights, and bad dreams. Though I can honestly say nothing that is out of normal for what we are walking. We have started reading Heaven by Randy Alcott together at night. I have had it for awhile (since Tucson) but I thought it might help both of us to really understand Heaven and what is there and not just that it is a good place to go.

We are both excited to go to Abilene at the end of the month for the B-1 25th reunion. We want to have fun, see old friends, and do some official AF paperwork/ID's. We are also full swing into softball season and that takes up so much time. But I love it!

Interesting side note here, my wonderful counselor told me to make sure I do something fun every once in awhile like get a pedicure, etc. to remind my brain how to be happy. I really liked that idea. Now I am wondering if I can get a prescription and write off things like a massage, facial, trip to the beach, all in the name of good medicine!

Prayer needs:
Financial wisdom
Please pray for Elizabeth, her heart, her walk, her relationship with Christ

Mike's financial planning
God being so near
My church family
My family and dear friends!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Yesterday was an eye opener for me. Mike has been living with Jesus for one month. I had two revelations about that event yesterday. The first one is that time is not keeping correct time. How can it be a month already? It seems like it was just yesterday - literally. I have been running around but if I stopped and close my eyes, it seems like I was just yesterday. I remember every detail, every breath, every tear. Will that fade over time? In that same thought, time hasn't made it easier either. When does that happen? Will that ever happen? I don't mean to post that we have stopped living, we are getting up every day and we are planning future events and we are praying for direction. But it is not easy. AND I still hate forms... mostly because now I am filling out forms for summer camps etc, and under parents I put my name. The spouses employment section I skip. I have checked widowed. (which by the way, in my mind I am still married). I am technically a single mom.... life can turn on a dime that is for sure.

My other thought is that I am no longer counting down but counting up. Mike has been gone a month, which we have done many times before. But you always count down to when they will be back from some TDY, Deployment, etc. I would say it is one month, only 3 more to go. Now I am counting up... Mike has been with Jesus for one month and it may be 40 years before I join him or before Jesus comes back. Life has such a different meaning now. Life means living for Jesus and watching Elizabeth grow up, go to college, get married, etc. Death means living with Jesus and seeing Mike again. But I am praying that God will protect Elizabeth and I and allow me to stay on this earth to watch over her and guide her. I love that little girl (who is not so little anymore!).

Prayer needs:
Protection, wisdom and direction
God is be near and hold us tight
Elizabeth's dreams to be good

Wonderful friends and family
Planning for the future

Thursday, April 1, 2010

All is well

I know my postings are hit and miss right now. My only explanation is that that describes my life, emotions, and day right now...hit and miss. It is already April 1st and it seems like Mike passed away only a week ago. Part of that has to do with running away to see the Prices' in London, but part of it has to do with how much we are struggling to define our days as well. I talked to Robin today (briefly) on the phone and I told her that I thought the carpet had been pulled out from underneath us when Mike was diagnosed with cancer and everything changed in an instant ... job, health, finances, home, etc. But I was mistaken. That better describes our life now. Day to day, we are ok. But when you start to think next week, next month, next year.... tears just flow. When you are married, you just don't understand how much you dream together, plan a future together, intertwine your life's, who you are, how you react. It is as God design - what you are supposed to do, and here is the kicker... you don't really know you are doing it. It just is. The funny thing is that we have been living day to day for over 18 months now, but I now realize even though we were living day to day, we still talked about the future.

Elizabeth came home with her report card today and it was incredible. She continues to amaze me and make us proud. But again, Mike is not here for me to say, "that is your brain power not mine for sure" or " we are so blessed".

I also found out late yesterday that Elizabeth and I should have been receiving Social Security Benefits from the moment Mike was determined 100% disabled. We should have been receiving an extra $1,000 per month which would have been huge for us (as many of you know that have followed the blog for so long). We were at first told we would be getting retroactive pay of $12,000, but then they said they sent us a letter in Jan 09 and we had 6 months to respond so we forfeited that money. I said I didn't receive the letter, but the SSA said it shows they sent it so we don't qualify. I would have never ignored that letter if I received it. So know I am waiting and asking questions about an appeal process or I may have to get a lawyer. It is so frustrating, because now on top of the HAP appeal that I need to finish and get in the mail, I might have to do another process with Social Security. It should be automatic... at least for the minor child you would think. But I guess the good side is that it gives me something to be angry at...right?

Another thing that is really hard is that Mike is everywhere. His handwriting, his notes, his computer, his clothes, his medicine, his computer.. and he should be. Today, I cleaned out a grocery bag and came across one of his devotionals. I opened it up to a page that had been flagged and this was the devotional (book is called GOD calling by AJ Russell)

Thrill of Protection

Turn out all thoughts of doubt of trouble. Never tolerate them of one second. Bar the windows and doors of your souls against them as you would bar your home against a thief who would steal in and take your treasures.

What greater treasures can you have that Peace and Rest and Joy? And there are all stolen from you by doubt and fear and despair.

Face each day with Love and Laughter. Face the storm.

Joy, Peace, Love. My greatest gifts. Follow Me to find all three. I want you to feel the thrill of protection and safety now. Any soul can feel this in a harbor, but real joy and victory come to those alone who sense these when they ride a storm.

Say, "All is well." Say it not as a vain repetition. Use it as you use a healing balm for cut or wound, until the poison is drawn out; then until the sore is healed; then until the thrill of fresh life floods your being.

All is well.

My dear sweet husband... knowing the journey he was on, I can see why this was flagged. But just as the prophesies have dual meanings that relate to the coming of Christ 2000 + years ago and the coming of Christ again (hopefully) in the very near future, this devotional I feel is sent to me from him. He would always tell me, don't worry. God will take care of it. His precious hands that turned down the page in this devotional are once again telling me.. Don't worry. All is well.

Prayer needs:
For all the paperwork and business of Mike's passing
Sleep, rest... healing

Birthday lunch with girls today
To Doug, Dena, Wendy, and Jeff --- chicken spaghetti all to myself!!!!!!
Meals being delivered this week and next
Our precious Elizabeth.. I am so blessed.