Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


One Year of Life Since…

Mom with Baby Bernadette

Mom with Baby Bernadette

Today is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death.

Much has happened in that year’s time, including the birth of our first grandchild, and our move across country to be near him. There has been pain, suffering, fatigue, intense stress, confusion, and grief. However, there has also been a deepening of faith, excitement, joy, and a closeness with my mother that I never experienced before. I feel like her spirit, her heart, is one with mine. I can feel her presence all around me and feel her love for me, my sisters, and our whole family every day.

A few years ago, a friend of mine who lost her mom, told me that when you lose your mother, she is just “gone.” This friend did not have a close relationship with her mom before her death, however, when she shared those words with me, she had tears in her eyes. She was communicating her feeling of emptiness, and the reality that there would be no more stories, no more chances to ask her mom questions about her life and her experiences, no more chances to physically feel her mom’s love or to have the opportunity to show her mother how much she appreciated and loved her.

Sometimes we focus so much on ourselves and our own needs and pain, that we forget that our parents are human beings. They had a life before we were born, and had struggles and weaknesses to overcome just as we do. As we lived our lives and became more mature and “educated”, it was sometimes easy to overlook the lives of those closest to us, the ones who brought us into this world, and who loved us the most.  Many “eye-rolling” and “here we go again” moments…and many times, for legitimate reasons.

The love our parents showed us was the best they had to offer. Just as the love we showed them and to our own children, family and friends, was the best we had to offer at the time.

For we are all flawed. We are sinners.

I believe that when our loved ones die and are united with Jesus in heaven, and when our hearts are also open to Jesus, a connection is forged. The Communion of Saints.

That is what I am feeling very strongly from my mother. Especially today.   I know that sin and weakness no longer affects our relationship. We are joined in perfect love now, and nothing can take that truth away.

During this past year, many truths about my mom have been revealed to me. I would like to share some of them with you, in the chance that they may be of help to you. Such simple things that help to keep my heart filled with love and a smile.


How would I know:

That when you repeated the same stories over and over, you were sharing with us that these were some of your most treasured memories. At the time, it was frustrating to actively listen to those repeated stories over and over. In fact, I could repeat them word for word. However, now I feel so close to you when I remember those same stories, and imagine the scenes you described to me over the years of my life. You are helping me to know you and myself more and more each day, by understanding your life experiences.

That when you called me into your room each morning, or for special occasions, when I was rushing out the door, just to look at what I was wearing and how I looked for the day, that you were missing those “good old days” for yourself, and that it brought you much joy to see me “dressing up”, wearing make up, getting my hair done, wearing jewelry…and going out into the world.   You were living your memories through me and my life, and were sincerely happy for me…always telling me that I looked beautiful. Even when I didn’t feel beautiful, I saw my beauty through your eyes.

That when you requested certain foods or things during holidays or seasons, and they sat uneaten or unused, that you were reliving a time and season way past…from your growing up years, to your times with dad and our family life. It wasn’t the things themselves that were important to you; it was the connection, the memories associated with those things. Many things come to mind. Ribbon candy, Easter peeps, filled chocolate Easter eggs, jelly beans, candy corn, embroidery kits, Barbies, baby dolls, beanie babies. Also jewelry, red lipstick and nail polish, and your favorite fragrance, “White Shoulders.”

I have been wearing “White Shoulders” all week in memory of your last week here on earth. The connection between us, and the beauty during that painful and precious time will always astound me and fill my heart. I never thought that death could be beautiful, however, your passing from this world to the arms of Jesus was inspiring to me. You grew older gracefully with humility; and with a trusting heart, let go of us and the world to reach out to your next adventure.

Thank you for trusting me with your life during the time you lived with Joe and me, and thank you for loving and trusting me with your very life at the end.

It is an honor and privilege to be your daughter. I will always feel you with me, and will always strive to have your faith, humility, love and forgiving spirit.

Rest in the peace and light of the Lord, Mom! I love you.





Our Journey Continues

Sometimes there is no other explanation to where life takes you, other than God is leading and intervening to make it so.

Journeying Together

Journeying Together

In early February, Joe (my husband) and I were looking at the kitchen and tile selection in our local Home Depot.  At that time, we were considering refacing our oak kitchen cabinets, and maybe updating our counter tops and back splash.  Since my mom passed away, and our sons and their wives lived across the country in  Colorado and California, we knew that sometime down the road we would sell the house, because it was much bigger than our current needs, and we had no family near us.

As we looked at the selection of gorgeous tiles and cabinets, we started talking with the couple next to us.  It turned out that the woman was a realtor, so we asked for her input on what she believed would be the wisest investment regarding updates on our kitchen…because we knew eventually we would be selling.

She offered to come to our house to take a look so she could assess and give us some suggestions.  Somehow, that initial conversation, and then her visit to our home, led to listing our home for sale.  Looking back, it is an amazing thing that transpired, because even though we knew we would be moving some time in the future, we were not planning a move.  We decided to list the house to see if we would receive any offers for the price we felt the house was worth, and if it didn’t sell, we would just take it off the market and stay in our home, which we loved.

That initial meeting with the realtor that we “happened” to meet at Home Depot, started  a chain of events that led to us moving from Virginia to the West Coast!

We started deep cleaning and “de-cluttering” so the house could be staged for prospective buyers to walk through.   Which really meant we needed to paint, repair, and part with at least half of our possessions, which had been accumulating for 38 years of our life together, and also cherished, sentimental  items from our growing up years.   You see, we are at the stage in life of downsizing, and we would be  moving into a place less than half the size of the home we grew to love.  The stress of parting with so much of our “stuff” from our life, and the physical, intense work that needed to be done, while we were both still working our full time jobs, was overwhelming.

While we were working through the house part of the process, we still didn’t know if our move would even be feasible.  We knew that if it was possible, we would want to move to California, to be near our son, his wife, and our new grandson!  However, a move all the way from Virginia to California, along with the uncertainty of job situations or the high cost of living on the Central Coast of California seemed nearly impossible.  Even while we were going through the motions of the needed tasks, we really didn’t believe it would happen.  Too many things needed to “fall into place.”

Which was exactly what happened.

Looking back now, I still cannot fathom how we physically and emotionally accomplished  everything that was needed for our move.  Because, added to the stress of all the tasks was the emotional pain of leaving our home, neighborhood, friends, and our family that lived close enough to travel to by car.  A move to California would mean seeing them even less than we already did.

However, the pull of being closer to our sons and their families was our focus.  We did not want to live out the rest of our lives without family nearby.

We prayed and placed it in God’s hands.

So our home was listed in the beginning of March.  We went for about a month without any real offers.  We didn’t feel that our realtor was marketing our home in the proper way, so we decided to end our contract and the house was taken off the market. The next morning, at about 7:30am, we received a call from another realtor, who said that he would love to sell our home.  To make a long story short, he listed the house on a Friday night, and we had 3 offers on Saturday.  One offer was our asking price and no closing costs.  When our realtor called to inform us, he asked my husband, “How fast can you move?”  After the call ended, Joe and I just looked at each other…with unbelief, and I must admit, a little fear.  It was becoming real to us!

Joe spoke with his managers at work, and the next blessing was that he was ok’d to work his job remotely.  Which meant we did not need to worry about his employment as we continued on with our plans.  We decided that I could look for employment once we were all settled in our new home.  The company I worked for in Virginia is a family owned business, and they were wonderful and supportive regarding our move.  It warms my heart to think of the going away party they surprised me with, some very unexpected gifts and the kindness and love offered to me.

Each step of the closing process went smoother than the realtor or we could even imagine.  We were able to sell all of the furniture that we could not use, and the few pieces that were left, along with odds and ends, were either given away, sold or donated.

We will never forget the support of all of our family and friends.  The unbelievable help that was offered, the cards, gifts, prayers, and good wishes.  All is a sweetness that will live in our hearts always.

Our new home in San Luis Obispo was waiting for us…sight unseen.  Of course we saw some pictures of the little condo online, but never physically saw it until we arrived there.  It is perfect for us!  And the amazing thing, is that we found a special place for each and every piece of furniture that we chose to bring to our new home.

So, hopefully, I will have many stories of our journey that continues here, in California.  God brought us here for a purpose, and we are open vessels to all of the experiences and people He places on our path.

And it goes without saying, we are feeling extremely blessed to be able to enjoy our Grandson, Brayden, and our son and daughter in law.  And an extra bonus…we are also closer to our other son and his wife!

Thank you Lord for each day you gift us with, and for all the people you are placing in our life now and in the future.  Thank you for our whole family, and also for our dear friends that are further away in distance, but will always be close in our hearts.

Our journey continues…




Be What God Created You to Be

After all the rain and gloomy weather we have been experiencing in Northern VA, we are blessed today with a glorious, sunny, warm day!  I took full advantage of it, and just returned from my lunchtime walk.

God always finds a special way to communicate with me, and today was no exception. As I walked, I looked over to the quasi-pond (drainage ditch/reservoir filled with rain overflow) in the front of our building.  My eyes first took in the sight of muddy, dirty water.  Then I noticed the paper cups, garbage and pieces of wood and cardboard floating by.  All I could think of was “yucky, dirty mess.”

When I looked closer, I saw a turtle sitting on top of the floating piece of wood. Since I rarely see turtles in my day to day life, that sight made me smile.  The next thing that my eyes were directed to was a few ducks serenely swimming, oblivious to the dirt and garbage scattered around them.  Then a movement in the tall grass caught my attention, and there was a regal heron, standing proudly, partially hidden from view.  Who would have thought I would see such beauty on my walk through a parking lot, in a filthy little pond?

So, of course, this scenario got me thinking.

Those beautiful creations of God, were smack dab in the middle of ugliness. However, they were not screaming in defiance, or questioning why God allowed them to be there.  What they were doing, was simply “being what God created them to be.”  They were swimming in the water, looking for and receiving the food that God provided for them, basking in the sunshine, and feeling His breeze gently cooling their bodies.  Instead of fighting and questioning every aspect of their life, they accepted the reality of their surroundings, and continued to be the beings that God created them to be.  They radiated their individual beauty, from the midst of their unclean environment.

We, as Christians, are in the midst of some serious unclean circumstances. There is much garbage floating in our world, and the dirtiness and muckiness of evil and perversity, surrounds us at every turn.  Although we are quite aware that we are also sinful in nature, we confess our sins and ask God for His forgiveness.  We are called to find refuge and live a pure life in Him.

At times the evil of this world is overwhelming and we forget that we are in His care. We forget that Our Lord’s peace is not given to us as the world gives…and no matter how hard we scream and shout, and attempt to fight the evil around us through our human ways, some evil will always remain until Jesus’ second coming.

The key is knowing who we are. Who we belong to.  When our hearts, souls and beings are safe in the love of Jesus, we are free to be ourselves in this unclean, evil world.  We are free to live the Divine Purpose our God created uniquely for each one of us.  We are free to simply just be…to thank God every day for the blessings He gifts us with, and to be happy and peaceful in our innermost being.  When we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts to fill us with His love and light, our natural God-given beauty will shine brightly as a beacon to others…our hearts that are one with Jesus will shine and illuminate the world around us, exposing the evil for what it is.  And drawing in those who are living in darkness, and searching for the one true light.

Don’t be afraid to be the light in the darkness. Don’t be afraid to be the beauty among confusion, ugliness and despair. Find your true identity in the love and mercy of Jesus, and feel the freedom of simply “being what God created you to be.” 




This World is our Cocoon

Yesterday, while relaxing with a cup of coffee, I read through many of my past journal entries.  I would like to share this one with you, entered on September 8, 1998.

If only I had a shell to retreat into

Where no one could hurt me

And life would be safe and secure.

Or maybe a web, so I could trap

And contain all of the worldly things

That are dark and menacing.

Ah…but now I wonder…

Maybe God has allowed us to be placed in this hurtful world

To serve as our cocoon.

The world forces us to change and grow (which is a painful process) until one day (the day He has planned) we will emerge beautiful and victorious…flying to the freedom of His perfect love.


Listening for His Voice

IMG_2728Being that it’s a gorgeous sunny day today…in the eighties, I decided to take a walk during my lunch hour.

As I stepped outside and breathed in that amazingly warm and comforting air, I asked God to speak to me.  You see, usually I pray (talk!) the whole time I am walking, so I asked the Lord to do the talking today.

And I was listening for His voice.

For a few moments I was hearing the common drone of cars humming down the main road, and those sounds gave way to the gentle whirring of the breeze around me.  All of a sudden, there was the sound of a bird squawking.  The sound was getting nearer and nearer to me, and I looked down.  The bird was running in circles right in front of me and making all sorts of crazy sounds.  Then I saw it.  Her baby was off to the left of me, running toward the grass.  I realized that the mommy bird was protecting her baby!

Seeing the natural instinct of a mother protecting her little one really warmed my heart.  I thanked God for showing me such beauty, turned the corner and stepped up to the sidewalk.  Then I saw something I wish I hadn’t.  I saw two little furry baby birds, all soft and downy, lying dead on the ground.  I asked the Lord why He allowed me to see that?  Why did I need to see those sweet little birds that looked as though they just died?  And why did they have to die in the first place?

He answered, “there is beauty to be found through both life and death.”  After a few more steps, once again I looked down, and I saw it.  A bookmark had flown over and landed on the side of the path I was walking on.

I saw the words…Jesus is Alive! And I understood that because of Jesus, death holds no power over us.  In Christ Jesus, we are saved.  He is waiting for us to invite Him into our hearts and our lives, and accept the precious gifts He offers us.  Love, mercy, and salvation.  These are not merely words to bring us comfort.  Jesus is truly alive…He is right here with us now!

Lord, there are so many times I don’t understand your ways.  I don’t understand why some people suffer more than others, why some seem to attract the good things of the world, while others struggle just to survive.  Help me to understand that you are present in all of our lives, and in all circumstances.  Help me to trust that your grace is sufficient in all things, and that suffering, even death itself, can bring us closer to you.  All we need to do is open our hearts to you, and ask that you fill us with your saving holy presence.



Searching for Miracles

Hello World!

Hello World!

Many people are on a never ending quest for miracles… looking for evidence that the Lord is working in their lives.  They wonder why God is not revealing himself to them, or to the world in general.

I see things much differently.  Our Lord communicates and speaks to us constantly.  He reveals himself to us in many different ways, and if we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts, and ask that he open our eyes and ears to him, we will discover the never ending  miracles and blessings of each new day.  The miracles are always there, we just need to expect and be open to them!

This is a little miracle that God blessed me with today.  If I didn’t keep a journal, I would have missed it.  The knowledge that the Lord is ever so close, and sometimes chooses to reveal himself through unexplainable events in my life, just overwhelms me!

So, here is what happened:

My husband and I have been re-watching the old series “Lost.”  Although I know it is not biblically correct, there are many interesting characters, and the story line is filled with symbolism and spirituality.  This series is making me think even more than usual about how our lives all interconnect, and how the Lord is always working all things toward good.  While I was thinking yesterday, I remembered a dream I had in the past about my son and his wife. My curiosity about the dream led me to pick up my journal to investigate.  I randomly opened the notebook to the correct page.

The entry was written on February 4, 2015, and I described the dream I had the night before.  The dream was kind of silly…my son and his wife were telling me excitedly that they were being sent baby powder every day for the rest of their life.  At the time, I remember knowing in my heart that the dream meant a baby would be coming soon!

I had the dream on February 3rd, exactly one year from the date little Brayden was born into our world!  Wow!

This is just a little reminder from God that he is with us always, and there is always more going on in our “unseen” than we are aware of.  The dream was a gift to me, and I would have missed the significance if I did not write it down, along with the date.

Dear Lord, help us to open our eyes of faith, so that we can see, hear, and feel your presence in our lives.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit so that your love touches all the hearts that we encounter in our daily lives.  Help us to always believe, even when we don’t see, hear, or feel you in our lives…for you are always with us.



What Love Really Looks Like

Lately the words “What Love Really Looks Like” have been going through my head.  Probably because of our recent visit to Central California to enjoy some time with our son and daughter in law, and to meet our first grandchild, Brayden.  Watching their family bond together, and all that goes into the care of an infant, etched into my heart the reminder that love does not usually look like the love that is marketed to all of us on a daily basis.

Yes, there are times of carefree romantic bliss, and those moments of angelic babies surrounded by an aura of sweet white light.  Like the moments  that are portrayed by Hallmark and on social media.  Do we even remember anymore that most of the photos we see now are the result of careful staging, that depict perfectly put together couples, adorable babies, and trendy families?  Whatever happened to the uncomfortable, and many times unflattering pictures of old?  The ones that truly show life as it is…spontaneous and messy.  I must admit, I am the first one to delete “bad” pics of myself or anyone else that I feel would not be flattering.  Why do we desire to show the happy “perfection,” and not the struggle?

Sometimes, in trying to make our world “look good” to ourselves or others, we kind of forget what love really looks like. 

As we get closer to Jesus, we realize that through the suffering and struggle of our daily crosses, when we open ourselves up to His love and healing mercy, we begin to experience His Divine Love.

What does love really look like?

There is beauty in love that is revealed through joy, happiness, and contentment.  We all have known moments of great love and happiness…when we are so filled with love that we feel our hearts will just burst.

However, there is a deeper love…a greater joy that unites us with Jesus.  That unfathomable joy is shown in ways we don’t expect. Some of those moments don’t “feel” like love when they are happening.  The love is shown when we experience those moments, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through them, and work through us.

What does love really look like?  It looks like…

Hearing your newborn scream incessantly no matter how you try to soothe him; living on a few hours of sleep, and feeling overwhelmed. Changing dirty diapers that look like an explosion took place…how could all of that even come out of that tiny baby?  Then your baby focuses and gazes straight into your eyes, and smiles with his whole face.  Your heart instantly melts.

Doing what needs done as a couple to run your household and raise your children.  Getting up everyday to go to work, when you’d rather stay home or do something much more interesting.  Or maybe you are the one who is staying home to raise your children and manage your home…and the day to day “drudgery” sometimes feels as though you can’t do it one more day.  Then, through the little things of daily life, through a smile, a hug or a special moment, you are once again reminded of the big “why” and your spirit is renewed.

The misunderstandings, arguments, and pain that happen in your marriage.  The times when you bite your tongue when your spouse says something that hurts you to the core.  Or the times you are the one who lashes out with angry, biting words.  Then, through a miracle, the both of you once again work through the issues and difficulties, and become even closer through the struggle together.

Being the caregiver for someone in your life.  The daily care, responsibility, and the pain of watching the one you love suffer, and then pass away.  The grief.  And then the joy of knowing he/she is with you forever, and no longer are you separated  by sin, but united in love.

The pain of a mother, hearing that her daughter was killed while on a date with a boyfriend, who was driving drunk.  That mother’s grief and pain in losing her daughter was overwhelming.  However, the love of Jesus allowed her to stand up in the courtroom to speak up for the young man that was responsible for her daughter’s death.  She was able to hug and love him, through the fullness of the Holy Spirit working in her heart.

The look of anguish between a husband and wife, as one of them confesses to infidelity, and the forgiveness that is offered from the heart to the offender.  The grief, the pain, and the days, months and sometimes years of suffering together to restore the marital trust.  And then the joy of discovering that the journey of healing miraculously built a truly happy, whole marriage relationship that is their greatest gift in life.

A well known country singer, who was diagnosed with cancer, and knew that her days on earth were coming to an end.  She allowed her final loving days with her family to be shared with the world, in order to share her faith and love of God with those that may have needed to see through her eyes of faith.  Beautiful.

What does love really look like?

It looks like Our Savior, sacrificing Himself to suffer and take on full  punishment for our sins.  It looks like a man, bloodied, scourged, tortured, mocked, hanging on a cross, and uttering the words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and then dying for us.

Then there was Easter Sunday!  Triumph over death!  Alleluia!

Thank you, Jesus, for showing us what love really looks like.  I ask that you work through me, allowing your love to reach those in need of your mercy.