somebodylovesmeblog

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


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Love Always Remains

Today’s post is one that is truly difficult to put out there in words…in black and white…which will suddenly make it all real.  My oldest sister, Patti, of whom I have written about on a few occasions, passed away on December 6, 2021, at the age of 79.  

For those of you who do not know her story, Patti was stricken with polio when she was 12.  She experienced a severe case, and almost died.  Her prognosis was not good at that time, and she was given only about 10 years to live in her condition, even after treatment in an iron lung and then physical therapy.  God had another plan in mind…she lived a full life, touching  countless hearts of all that came into her life.  Patti lived the remainder of her life as a quadriplegic, with only the use of her left hand and neck…and a brain filled with intelligence, love, trust in God, and an incredibly feisty and grateful spirit.

It’s hard to describe what Patti meant to me, and to my family.  “Back in the day,” there were no government programs in place for her or for any families that were caregivers for their loved ones.  There was no financial help, and no respite help.  Come to think of it, as far as I know, there were never any offers to help our family back then.  I am sure that most friends and family members were intimidated by the scope of what was needed for her care.

With that said, from a very young age, my other two sisters and I learned how to help care for all of Patti’s needs.  Bathing, hair washing, skin care, bedpans, turning her and changing her position so she would not get bedsores.  We also were “on call” for anything that she needed or help with the things she desired to do. We assisted her, and made sure that she had her writing tools and papers, books to read, the telephone to visit with friends and family, cups of cozy coffee, among many other things.

Patti was the center of our existence, and her role in our lives is so intricate that it is impossible to explain to others, even to other family members and friends. We grew up in a volatile, abusive, confusing and uncertain home. The kind of home where you never knew what was going to happen hour to hour, or even minute to minute.  There were wonderful times, that felt loving, lighthearted and fun.  However, those comforting times could change in a fleeting instant…and we lived in a home that the “spirit” of the day ahead of us could be felt in a palpable way. Our life was confusing, filled with the stark contrast of darkness and light.

That is one of the ways that Patti was a grounding for us.  She was a constant source of light, love, nurturing, connection, and positivity.  We spent a lot of our time as babies, toddlers, and teenagers, in her room.  She was there for us when we came home from school, to listen to whatever needed to be shared or discussed.  We watched special movies together, in her room.  (remember…there were no dvds or streaming back then so it was “a big deal”) We listened to record albums in her room, as a family.  This would include Shakespeare plays and most of the musicals.  I especially remember listening to Macbeth, all together in the dark.  Very memorable and scary!

My most precious memories spent with Patti, when I was a child, was laying next to her, listening to my favorite stories and poems that she would read to me for hours.  She most probably is the reason for my love of reading and writing.  As a little one, I experienced the stories of Poppy, Heidi, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Happy Prince, and The Selfish Giant.  I also learned about the love of Jesus and His Precious Mother…and countless stories of the lives of the saints.  She read me beautiful story poems and also whimsical, silly ones.  She was the one who helped me with homework, and also helped with special projects for school.  She offered much encouragement when I practiced for a speech or presentation…which absolutely terrified me.

Somehow, Patti knew how to touch my soul. Or shall I say that she was an open vessel for The Holy Spirit to work through.  This was evident in our family, and each person that she came in contact with.

Although she lived her life with a disability most of us can’t even fathom, she never complained or cried about her condition.  She chose a different way…the way of gratitude, love, and trust in God.  As I have said before, she was the least handicapped person I have ever known.  She forged through life, and viewed it as an adventure.  There was not much that she wouldn’t be open to, if there was a way for her to do it.  I remember the time in her life when she painted miniatures using a mouth stick.  That amazed me!  I also remember when she was strapped to the back of a motorcycle for an exhilarating ride. Yikes! (remember…she could not hold on or sit up on her own)

Actually, everything about Patti will always amaze me.

Patti, I know that you are in heaven, and are part of a world that I can not see.  But I know you are here.

You are here in my heart.  You are here when I enjoy the newness of each day and what it will bring.  You are here when my heart explodes with love for those that God has blessed me with…for your heart exploded with love into me when I was a confused little girl.  My fears and anxieties have kept me from many experiences throughout my life…everytime I am able to break through those fears and try something new or creative, you are right here with me.  You always encouraged me and loved me where I was at.  I am learning to do the same with myself and others.

Thank you for all that you have given to me and to the world. Thank you for showing me what a blessing it is to open myself to the love, forgiveness, peace and mercy, that only God can give.

Thank you for teaching me what it means to be truly grateful for all that God has blessed me with in this life.  You always focused on the beauty around you and that meant that your focus was always outside of yourself.  That is where your secret of happiness resided...it lived in the beauty of God’s creations and blessings, and especially in the hearts of those that He placed in your life.

Thank you for the love that you share(d) with me…I feel you so strong right now, that my heart is overflowing.  Thank you for being there for me throughout my life.  Your love and spirit  will be carried in my heart until my life has ended…and hopefully, will then be passed on to my loved ones and those souls that God places in my life.

God is love, and we will be connected in His love forever.  Thank you for teaching me that.

Your physical presence here on Earth is missed in so many ways.  It is not the same place without you.  However, the light that you shared will always be here to comfort us. Love always remains. I love you.

Patti’s Obit https://www.dispatch.com/obituaries/b0057891

Past Post about Patti  https://somebodylovesmeblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/patti-your-life-is-a-prayer/

 


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Blessings Through Barrenness

Thought you might enjoy these thoughts that I posted a few years back:

This is the time of year that I used to dread.  Most of the Christmas decorations have disappeared from our neighborhood’s homes, the warmth of holiday music has dissipated, the air is bitter cold, and the trees are dark and seemingly devoid of life.

Blessings Through Barrenness

My husband and I commute to work together, and lately I have been struck with beauty that I haven’t noticed before.  One thought has been swirling in my mind for a few days now.

There is great beauty to be found in barrenness.

This thought strikes me as my eyes take in the awesomeness of those trees that in the past I would describe as cold, dead and dull.  What I see now is entirely different and enlightening.

As we drive home after work, the winter sunsets are almost overwhelmingly gorgeous.  Last night there were deep shades of indigo, violet, magenta, pink and blue.  The colors were layered beautifully, and could be viewed through the intricate patterns of lace and latticework formed by the branches of those “dead” trees.

All it took for me to notice and see the beauty of barrenness was to look past it, and focus on the beauty through it.

Our lives are like that.  We tend to focus on what is lacking, and sometimes just can’t understand why a loving God would allow certain things to happen in the world.  We look at our own lives, our sufferings and weaknesses, and we feel barren and sometimes even abandoned.

We are called in faith to look through the barrenness and focus on the perfect beauty and love of God.

He is the beauty that calls, amazes, humbles, and overwhelms us with love.  He is The One that works all things toward good for those who love Him.

Do you love Him that loves you?  Are you willing to look through your weaknesses, persecutions, and sufferings and focus your trust and whole being on the saving love and grace of Jesus?  Will you open your heart to His Divine Mercy?

Only then will your eyes be opened to the intricate beauty of barrenness… for only Our Lord knows the full design of the tapestry that is being masterfully created through what we view as unacceptable.

Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:8-10

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28


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Feeling Hopeless and Empty?

In the last few years, I have personally experienced a roller coaster of emotions and issues, which were brought on by circumstances that I did not fully understand…and probably will never understand. Trudging through the thickness of my own private internal battles, I have managed to learn a few life saving gems.

These gems are not the sparkle and glitz types that are flashed at us through clever, and somewhat deceiving marketing ads.  What I am talking about are true nuggets…the kind that are hidden in plain view.  The kind that summon and invite us in, and once these nuggets are discovered, accepted, polished and lovingly cared for, will actually sustain us for life.

I have found that when I am at my lowest, feeling hopeless and empty, there are two areas that need to be acknowledged and developed. This is true in all of us… I witness it through all of the sadness, depression, confusion, anxiety, hopelessness and despair of those around me.

At this moment in time, there is much darkness enveloping our world.  There is much that attempts to bring fear and despair into our hearts.

However, at the same time, there is always love to be found…goodness that finds a way to radiate from difficult or dark circumstances.

The nuggets that lead us to truly see and and experience goodness and love are the virtues of gratefulness and humility.

Humility is understanding that God is everything.  We are alive because God wills it…every grace and blessing in our lives is gifted to us by God.  It does not matter what the world thinks of us, or how human eyes view us.  God created each one of us, and He alone knows our souls, and knows our true purpose.  He loves us with a love that we cannot comprehend.  

Humility is understanding and accepting that we are nothing without Him.

Gratitude, naturally flows from humility.  Once we know with our minds and hearts that life is truly a gift from God, and that all good things come from Him, we can’t help but to thank Him for every blessing and grace in our lives. One way to develop gratefulness is to thank God every night for each blessing that we experienced that day.

I once read something profound that posed a question to my heart.  “What if you lost all the things that you did not thank God for?

I try to thank God for everything in my life…starting with the fact that I am still alive. Listing out each of my senses, and how they are a blessing to myself, and can also lead to being a blessing to others.  I can walk. I have clean, running water. Hot showers. A cozy home. Food. Drinks. My husband. Friends. Family. Heat. Air Conditioning. We all have different blessings.

Once you get started thinking about all the goodness in your life, and know that God is the provider of all that is good…you start to see the world in a different way.  You start wanting to align yourself with God…and you learn to look up toward God for your joy and happiness, rather than continuing to search in all the wrong places for peace, joy and love.

Life is not easy, and never will be.  We are here to learn how to know, love and serve God.  And until we truly understand what it means to open our hearts and souls to the perfect love of God, we will struggle.  We must keep our faith in God, and know that we are saved through Christ Jesus. No matter how we continue to fall, and no matter how much we struggle and suffer…our hope and joy is in Him.