Just Me

Monday, June 29, 2015

The NEW has come...

It has been quite a while since I blogged...life has been insanely busy for me!! Preparing for a wedding, getting my house listed (much sooner than planned), then selling my house (a WHOLE lot sooner than expected) along with the buyers wanting possession at closing, has thrown life into a tail spin of activity. Plus, I'm still a mom with normal mom stuff! To say that I have been non-stop is an understatement! It has been stressful! Good stress, but still very stressful to say the least! Thankful that I am seeing the light at the end of that tunnel though.

Selling the house has brought on a lot of reflecting...a lot of thinking. As I began the packing process, it brought up 9 1/2 years of memories. This was the home I shared with Dave. We spent time in his house in Michigan, but this was where we lived. This was where we spent our marriage...the "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health...till death do us part." So, as I started going through things, many memories surfaced. It stirred lots of emotion. Many thoughts...and it's time to share some of those things.

Anyone who has read my blog or knows me personally knows that my word for last year was "NEW"...and though it was the 11th hour, God came through! I just had no idea how new life was about to get. And now, that new is all staring me in the face. 

Dave and I had a hard marriage. We went through a lot...the hardest being his 3 1/2 year battle with cancer. This was the house that we walked through 6+ months of testing and the roller coaster of "he has cancer, no he doesn't, he has cancer, no he doesn't"...it was an emotional, very hard time not knowing what the future held for us. 

This was the house where we finally got the definitive word that he did have cancer...then we began the surgery process...several surgeries and procedures. I watched the man I was married to endure so much...I nursed him and cared for him...here in this house. 

This is the house that we got the word that he was finally "CANCER FREE"!!! We had some good scans and all looked like life was finally going to move forward! We put it behind us and trusted that God had healed him.

This was the house that we were told "there is nothing more that we can do outside of attempting some experimental medication...you decide!" And he fought. He tried to beat it. We prayed for healing...people around the world prayed for him to be healed.

This is the house where Dave received eternal healing...my room is the room where I first sat as a widow. 

This is the house that I walked through grief in...along with my kids. I learned so much about grief and that insane process it takes a person through. I was given a new, more sympathetic understanding for those walking out that process. 

This was the house where new came in...the promise God breathed into my heart and mind for 2014...I saw it take place right in front of me!

This was the house where I heard I was going to become a Gi-Gi...and my sweet granddaughter is due any day now! I can not wait to be there when she takes her first breath and hold her and kiss her and love her!!! I can't wait to make memories with her as she grows!!! Exciting days are ahead for me!! 

This is the house where I logged into my Christian Mingle account...and got a smile sent to me that would change my life...it's the house where he walked up my steps to meet me for the first time...it's the house where I started dreaming of him...and it's also the house that I am leaving to join him in the life we will have together!

I have lived in or around Urbana my entire life. In the past few weeks as I have been running errands, I have looked at this town with different eyes. Eyes that knew my time here was coming to a close. "Bittersweet" is an understatement!!! Part of me is torn knowing who I am leaving behind...but I also see who is waiting for me!! There are times that I feel like I have had to "choose" between those who walked with me through my darkest days and the man who offers me a life like I never dreamed I would experience! Bittersweet indeed.

As we loaded up the truck Saturday and I watched my house empty out, it was surreal. Though this house holds many good memories for me, it also was the place of the hardest days of my life. Days I will never forget, but also don't ever want to relive. The thought that keeps running through my mind with every box, every piece of furniture that went through the door was 

"...to bestow on them a crown of beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of  the spirit of despair!"
Isaiah 61:3

I reflected on the verse I held onto through terminal cancer, Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I clung to those words when my future truly seemed hopeless...when I didn't know if I could keep my house...when I didn't know if I would have to get a job or who would even hire me with my resume' (or maybe more like the lack thereof!)!! When I didn't know if I could go on one more day.

And God came through!

And He will always come through.

I walked out the door and headed to the place I will soon call home...as I pulled into our neighborhood...emotions filled, thoughts flooded...I never dreamed I would experience the "American Dream"...not with facing life as a widow. We will live on a cul-de-sac in the all American neighborhood. I wanted a motorcycle a year ago and actually considered saving money and buying one...my man has a Harley and we LOVE going out on rides together!!! I prayed that he would have a son about my boy's age so Trevor would have someone to grow up with and enjoy...his son and my son are so much alike it is scary!! They laugh, play, joke, thoroughly enjoy each others company!!! And they are in the same grade and 6 months apart in age!! My hearts desire has always been to be a stay at home mom...and not have to worry about bringing in money...his job will allow that for me! God is so good to see the desires of our hearts, that in the realm of eternity, don't matter...but they matter to his kids and so they matter to him! He's a good Abba Daddy! 

I am blown away, not just by my circumstances...all those bonuses God has given me, but by the man I am joining in this life. I could not have asked for more in a spouse! He is wise, funny, hard working, loving, considerate, a gentleman, a great dad, a man of prayer, giving, compassionate, strong, supportive, encouraging, handsome, and he is mine! I have been so blessed by HIM! If you took away the bonuses that he brings into my life, I still got the prize when I won his heart! I am blessed!!!
I would be amiss if I didn't include some words to those I am leaving behind as I move. My church, my friends, and my family.

Though I know the Lord is the one who got me through the journey of cancer, I could not have done it without His gift of you! You were "Jesus" in human form in my life. I walk away with deep mixed emotions. I am thoroughly excited about the life ahead of me, and at the same time, incredibly sad to say good bye to daily life with you all. 

My church- you have been a rock in my life. I could not have walked through that process without all of you. The cards, prayers, visits, words, gifts, meals, and most of all your love and support meant the world to me and I will always hold you all dear to my heart!

My friends-thank you for the laughter, the times I complained and whined and you still listened, your love! I have so many wonderful memories that I will always cherish! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep in touch!!! I love you all! 

My family-I am thankful that distance will not keep us apart. 

As I close out this blog...there is a song that is very fitting for where I am and it happens to be by one of my all time favorites-Steven Curtis Chapman...ENJOY!!! 

I am so thankful for the beautiful things that God has blessed me with...He redeems and restores and does it in exceedingly, abundantly, greater than I could have imagined ways!! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

He popped the question!!!!

It has been a long time since I last blogged...life has been keeping me very busy and a certain someone has kept me very preoccupied! I actually started this blog post almost a month ago, but am just now getting around to posting it...we have been extremely busy!!! 

It did not take me long after meeting Chris, to know that he was the one. As a writer, I struggle with a strong enough adjective to describe him! Amazing, respectable, loving, hard-working, driven, strong, secure, wonderful...you get the picture...

We have been talking about a future together for a while. We both knew we would get engaged and married eventually, but "when" was the question. We agreed to wait until at least March 1st before he asked me to marry him...and so from that date on, I knew every time I was with him, the potential was there for the big question! There were a couple of times that I thought he might and he didn't. One was when we had our Chicken Enchilada Night with several family members being there. It was the first night that my parents met his dad and step-mom, so kind of a big evening! I even told my cousin that I could see him proposing during the prayer-which he admitted to me yesterday, that he had considered! He and I tease each other a LOT!!! Earlier that day, he was telling me I hadn't earned enough "Bling Points" for the ring...he also let me know that Wal-Mart had a great cubic zerconia for $29.95 and they even had an extended service plan for only $4.00! That night after everyone left, he asked if I wanted to go look at rings at Wal-Mart...so being the brat that I am, took him up on the offer! And we actually went to Wal-Mart! We laughed and joked and had our typical fun time together! We went back to his house and he then says, why don't you go look in my jacket pocket...there might be something in there...my brain started to spin..."Could my ring be in there?? What if it's empty and he is just joking??" I refused and told him if there is something in there for me, he needs to go get it. I went home with an empty finger, but a lot of laughter from the fun evening!!

After that weekend, there has been much joking and fun...I earn bling points, then I lose them (when I dish what he dishes...so unfair!) and he often reminded me of those points!! I knew each time we were together it COULD happen, but never knew for sure when. I am a very hard person to surprise, so he really enjoyed that challenge and I know he was very careful in every word and action. 

Well, last week was my birthday. I didn't expect it on my birthday-too obvious! But I thought MAYBE sometime around then. I kind of thought he would propose on Saturday when we went out and celebrated my birthday together...but no popping the question. He took yesterday off work. We decided since the weather was so supposed to be so nice, we would take our first real ride on his Harley! ANYONE close to me knows that one of my "wishes" in what I wanted in a man, was a motorcycle...and he has a HARLEY!!!! (See, God cares about the little things in our lives and gives us exceedingly more than we could ask or hope for!) We sat down on Sunday to decide where to go and decided on Old Man's Caves! He had not been there in years and I LOVE going there! I enjoy a hike and the beauty of it all. And the ride would be great on a bike...so we decided that would be our destination choice! 

I am very observant and since I was anticipating a proposal anytime we were together, I was kind of watching and listening for clues. Nothing. Not a single thing made me think this was the day. So, I resolved that we would enjoy this day, the beautiful weather, a great first long ride together on the bike, and a whole day together alone! Making sweet memories!! It was going to be great!

We went to Old Man's Cave first...there was still some ice and it was a tad slick...we both about wiped out a few times and didn't stay there long. I would have enjoyed a longer hike, but there is always next time. I kept telling him that I had a favorite area there, but couldn't remember the name of it...so after looking at signs, we figured out that it was Ash Cave! It is an easy walk with a paved sidewalk ( no ice) back to the huge cave with a water fall! It is just beautiful and awe inspiring...at least for me! 

We arrived at Ash Cave and made our way slowly back to the cave. It was a nice leisurely stroll, just enjoying each other and the scenery. We got back there and I think he liked it as much as I did. We took a couple of pictures and made our way over to where we were somewhat behind the waterfall. He commented that this was the kind of spot you could just sit and soak it all up...and I agreed! There was a large rock there and so I took his advice and sat on the edge of it, soaking in the moment and the beauty! 

He looks at me and says, "You know, I had some big plans for asking you to marry me, but I think the to-do list that is in front of you is really getting to you." As he handed me his coat, he asked,"So, do you want to reach into the pocket on my jacket and see what's in there?" My brain immediately started spinning-"this is it!! He is going to propose!! Is he really going to ask me to marry him?? Maybe I am wrong and he is teasing me again...is this REALLY happening right now??" pitiful I know... I was afraid to reach into his coat pocket and was also dying to at the same time! I leaned over and put my hands on my knees and my head down in disbelief that this moment was here! I looked at him, grinning the biggest grin I have had in a long time and reached into the pocket of his coat...there was the little felt box. I pulled it out and stared at it, grinning...I couldn't stop. He opened the ring box up and there was my GORGEOUS ring!!! He then gets down on one knee and says, " love you with all my heart, will you be my wife?" And I, of course, said "YES!!!"  We hugged and shared the sweetest kiss ever! He placed the ring on my finger!! People there in the cave applauded and cheered and we asked a lady to take our picture. It was the sweetest, most perfect proposal I could have asked for!!! I could have stood there for a long time, just enjoying our moment!!! 

We walked in as a dating couple and left as an engaged couple!!!  I am over the top excited and blessed that this amazing man loves this girl!!! I could not ask for more!!! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year...A Gift...

Here I sit, 8 days into 2015. I have been very reflective lately. Doing a LOT of thinking and processing. Thinking about things that have happened in recent weeks in my life. Things that have happened during the 2014 year. And of course all that transpired in the few years before that. 

I use the Timehop app and it has been bringing up lots of memories and thoughts. Just this past Monday on Timehop was the reminder of the day that Dave first went to the doctor. The appointment that led to many more appointments, tests, surgeries, a life altering journey. A spiritually altering journey. One I wouldn't want to repeat, but am truly thankful for...all I learned and how I grew through that process.

I have thought about last year. The pain. Lots of deep pain. Faith rattling pain. I saw what I thought would take years to restore. And I sit today with so much restoration! I am blessed and so thankful for God's mercy, love, and grace. I remember the journey changing words the Lord gave me..."No matter how today's page in your book of life looks, the enemy does not get to write the final chapter." And that "My ways are not your ways"...and I wonder if I had my way, what would today look like?? I don't think I would be where I am in restoration. I would have written the story completely differently...what would I have missed? Sometimes, we just have to CHOOSE to trust His plan...Romans 8:28 is still as powerful and true as it was when it was penned. I am thankful!

And then there is the very new adventure of this man in my life. In November I took my kids to the zoo for the zoo lights and I told them numerous times, "Next year, I will be walking around here with a man!" Joking, but not. Hopeful that by then God would send someone into this lonely woman's life. I had no idea, I would be there a few weeks later with a wonderful, loving man. I had no idea the adventure that was embarking when I started talking to him. I sit today with a mind spinning and trying to wrap itself around the gift that is in front of me. He is funny, loving, and kind. A hard working, driven, successful man. A devoted, wonderful Father. I can see the bond between he and his kids is a strong one! A man of prayer. He's attentive and pampering. Gentle and sweet. Giving. (and he has a Harley!!!!) And he's mine!

Yup...mine. Ahhhhh...

I have spent much time praying for the man that God would have for me. I have prayed about the moment that God knew he would walk into my life. I have prayed that I would have no doubts at all and I would know, that I know, that I know. Right now, God keeps confirming that this is the way for me to go and I am to continue to walk this path...and not only walk it, but to enjoy every moment of this gift in front of me. And I am. My life has changed drastically since he walked into it. Everything is different. New goals. New thoughts. New hopes. New dreams. 

Yup...there's that word again...NEW!!!

So much new I am overwhelmed. I always pray about my word for the year...and I believe the Lord just gave it to me today...
James 1:17
"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows." 

I feel God is pouring blessing over me this year. I am embracing what He has in store for this woman. I see a lot of good ahead and I gladly receive every good and perfect gift He sends my way! In July, I will receive a precious gift in the birth of my grandbeebee!!!! That is a monumental event and I am so excited for all that is in store with this precious life! I love how God has used that baby to restore what was so broken! He is so good!!! And then there is this new man he has sent my way...only God knows for sure what is ahead for us, but it looks really, really promising!!! I am over the moon blessed to know him and have him in my life. More on that later I am sure!

One of the things that helped me through some of the tough things I faced late last year, was enjoying my moments and knowing they were a gift...that word and verse fit well! 

So...now, what will I do with the "GIFT" of 2015?? 
What kind of gifts will He send my way this year??
What gift will I leave those I impact with by the end of 2015??  
What will I do with the gift of my relationship with the Lord?? 
How will I grow that gift this year?? 
Every day is a gift...what will I do with the gift of today?? 

And then there is the end of that verse..."who does not change like shifting shadows". It makes me wonder what changes are ahead for me this year...and it is so reassuring to know that my Rock doesn't change. He is immovable, dependable, stable. Always there no matter what we face or encounter. 

Thankful for my word for the year...it is exciting and I am ready for all He will do in my life and the GIFT of 2015!!!