somebodylovesmeblog

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


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Real Love and Valentine’s Day

From My Heart to Yours   From My Heart to Yours

Valentine’s Day is a sweet reminder in our daily lives of the love that we are blessed with.  For me personally, the day touches my heart in a special way with gratitude for all the people that have touched my life… my family and friends, and especially my husband, Joe.

The special love I speak of is not the kind that requires red roses, diamonds, or chocolates.  Those things are nice and always appreciated, however, this is much deeper than any of those types of gifts can convey.

So Joe…this is my Valentine thank you for the real love you show me each and every day; the way that you help me to see the beauty in myself.  That true love can only be inspired and sourced in the Holy Spirit…thank you for your faith and openness to be a vessel of His love.

Some of the ways you show me that I am loved:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not  proud.

You have a quiet confidence that allows you to be happy and supportive toward others.  Even when I am off track or floundering…you are my “even keel”. 

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Your deep, thoughtful desire to help, honor and respect all the ones God places in your daily life amazes and inspires me.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

When I get overwhelmed with the negative of an event or situation, you always help me to see past it and focus on the good.  Many times you help me see past my own flaws and weaknesses, and help me to see the goodness within myself.

 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

You are my safe haven in this life, and we are united in hope and perseverance to become the people the Lord intends us to be for his divine plan.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The Lord has blessed us with Himself, and through his love, mercy and grace, the love we share will never fail.  You will always be in my heart… in this life and the next.

I love you, Joe!  And by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day!


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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.

 

 

 

 


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A Box of Treasures

Yesterday, something rare happened here in San Luis Obispo, CA.  It was overcast…no sun at all, and lightly rained all day.  We desperately need the precipitation, so it was a very good thing!

The peaceful sound of the rain, and the cooler temperature brought calm to my spirit, and I decided to use this cozy time indoors to go through my box of old greeting cards.

Do you save greeting cards, notes, and letters that are sent to your family?  I always have, because I treasure all of them.

When we made our big move from the East Coast to the West Coast, I needed to do some major downsizing.  This was a painful process for me.  Layer by layer, I was able to sell, donate or give away more than half of our possessions.  It wasn’t easy, and I had a huge job ahead of me when I went through my cards and all the papers/drawings from my two sons that I had saved.  I managed to dwindle it all down to one box…which I haven’t gone through until yesterday.

Now I know that some of you completely understand what I am talking about, and some of you just can’t understand why greeting cards or letters from years ago would be so treasured.  Some people believe that cards are a waste of money and meaningless, and others believe that cards are a waste of resource and bad for the planet.

I believe that cards and letters can be life changing and sometimes even life savers. 

There is a specialness about receiving personal cards, notes, or letters, whether it be through the Post Office or personally delivered.  There is the immediate feeling of happiness in knowing that someone is thinking of us, and the anticipation while opening.

Any greeting is wonderful and appreciated…whether it is an email, text, or a card or letter.  However, a physical card that has been lovingly made or chosen for the recipient…or a letter written and actually signed by the giver…becomes a treasure. 

Those treasures actually touched the senders’ hands and remain a tangible reminder of their love and concern for us. 

I consider a box of old greeting cards and letters to be quite like a diary.

It is a timeline of a life.

When my mom passed away, I had the privilege of going through her cards…she kept EVERYTHING!  I learned so much about her and my dad, as I read all of the cards and letters that she had kept through the years.  The ones that really touched my heart were the sympathy cards she received from so many when my dad passed away.  I felt a reverence as I read each and every card and letter that she had kept.  I kept only a few, however, felt that I respected her memory by reading about her life through the words of concern and love from those who loved her.

Yesterday turned out to be an enlightening day for me.  I reread all of the sympathy cards sent to me after my mother’s death.  When first received they were comforting, however, at that time I was kind of going through life in auto-pilot.  Yesterday, the pouring out of love and condolences from friends and family’s correspondence, literally warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

Sometimes it is easy to forget the great love that is present in our lives…there is so much darkness in the world.  These little, tangible reminders re-ignite the flicker of light and love in our hearts.

There were cards over the years from my friends, family, and husband that fill my heart just thinking about them.  Old love letters from my hubby before we were married…and then personal notes and cards from him that document our growth as a couple. Wow!

Cards and notes from my mom and dad, and my mother in law, in their handwriting that I will never be able to see from them again.  Words of love, appreciation, gratefulness, and wit, from my sons through the years.

You can’t put a price tag on those things, and the memories and feelings they evoke.

I have also saved thank you notes.  You know, when I feel the call to send a note or card to someone, or gift them in a particular way, I just send the love, and then put it out of my mind.  Reading the thank you notes helped me to remember all the times that God has led me to send a gift, letter, or card, only to find out that it was a time when they truly needed to know someone was thinking of them.

Isn’t God amazing?  And isn’t it amazing to be blessed with the opportunity to become a vessel that He works through to touch someone in our lives?

We are all interconnected in and through Jesus.  We are all parts of the same body…the Body of Christ.

It is a privilege to reach out to others, and a blessing when others reach out to us.  That privilege and blessing has One Source…Our Loving God.  May we always be open to His Presence, Love and Mercy.

 

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.”    Romans 12:9-16

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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…

 

 


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Welcome to Our World!

Brayden1

Yesterday our first grandchild was born, and our little world was once again changed in a way we could not imagine.    Little sweet Brayden opened his eyes after a very long labor, to finally break through into the sights, sounds and feel  of this world.

I thought I already loved my son and daughter in law as much as humanly possible.  I thought wrong.  After sharing in their experience long distance,  the intensity and scope of pain that  my daughter in law, Melissa endured, and watching my son, Joe, being there for her, my heart is just overflowing in love for them and for this sweet baby who will change their hearts and lives forever.  The struggle and pain of the labor that Melissa suffered through was evident.  However, sometimes, we are never fully aware of the pain and helplessness that is felt when one  is called to watch a loved one suffer.  Joe was there to support and help to make his wife as comfortable as possible, however, he was unable to take away or lessen her pain.

Melissa was the chosen one for this particular labor of love.  She was the one who said yes when she received the news of pregnancy.  She was the one Brayden3who chose to be more aware than usual of what she ate, drank and participated in during her pregnancy.  She was the one who sacrificed each day…to assist God with the miracle growing inside of her.

She said yes to this divine purpose for her life at this time.    Joe said yes to being her husband; to being there always to love, honor, respect, and protect her and this new baby, in any way that it took.  And yesterday, that meant saying yes to being helpless as he watched his wife suffer so much pain.

Little Brayden has already started the change that will occur in all the lives he touches.  When my husband and I look at the pictures of our new grandson, we see a miracle.  It is almost overwhelming that our son now has a son.  We also know how the Lord will use this little one to mold and teach all of us…but most of all, his parents.  They will learn love in a way they never thought possible.  They will learn what it truly means to be selfless.  They will experience joy like never before, but will also experience doubts, confusion, frustration, and the ups and downs that life brings.Brayden2

Each one of us has a unique purpose, and must journey down the individual road that God has paved for us.  We all have our own vocations and gifts.  For Joe and Melissa their journey is starting with their newborn son that God blessed them with.  For others it might be a different path.  However, the path that the Lord paves for all of us is in love and through love…and is meant to draw us closer to Him. 

Will we choose to say yes?

Welcome to our world and to our family, baby Brayden!  We thank God for you and look forward to being a part of your life, watching you grow, and learning from your innocence and wide-eyed wonder!

 


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Spirit…Not Just Personality

Out to Dinner Bernadette and Mom

Out to Dinner
Bernadette and Mom

God always answers prayers, although sometimes they are in ways we could not have imagined. I am learning to trust His ways, especially when we cannot see the answers, because He knows what we truly need, not just what we think we need or want.

When my dad was experiencing a decline in health twelve years ago, I prayed that he would pass away before my mom so I could get to know her. In my mind, I would be able to forge a “true” relationship with her, and get to know her as a person. I imagined long heart to heart talks over coffee and lunches, enjoyable shopping dates, being there to help her with household chores, and do all the things I fantasized were things that close mothers and daughters did together. I wanted to know her true personality, and I wanted her to know me. This was my prayer.

The Lord knew what my true prayer request was, even though I didn’t know the fullness of what was needed to fill that spot in my heart that was longing for my mother’s love.

He knew that I needed to know her spirit…her heart; not just her personality.

So the Lord placed my mother with Joe (hubby) and me, and she made her home with us for the past eleven years.

I wish I could say that all those years were a breeze, and that every moment spent together was quality time. I wish I could say that my heart was always right and that every thought I had was loving and peaceful. I wish I could say that we had long, intense mother to daughter talks that allowed me to know about her life, and that we chatted endlessly about mother/daughter things. Because those were the things that my mind had the capacity to wish and hope for.   I was looking for an illusion of what true love is.

God, in all His mercy and love, revealed to me what true love is all about.

He gave me eleven years of snippets and moments of love with my mother. He helped me to love my mom through our interactions, especially when my mind and heart were not in it. He showed Himself through her smiles, her patience, her love, her gentle spirit, her ability to take life as it was given to her, accept it, and offer it to God each day. I watched her as her health declined through the years, and she was able to do less and less. I watched her struggle to walk a few steps to the bathroom, then struggle to move in bed. I watched her struggle to just breathe. I knew in her last week on earth, that her suffering was united with Jesus, and that I was privileged to share in that beauty. That beauty was manifested in a love that permeated my whole being…an all-consuming love that was almost overwhelming in its intensity.

You see, God answered my prayers, although in a way far superior to what I requested.

I asked that He allow me the time to get to know my mother’s personality. What He blessed me with, was the opportunity to know her spirit. And her beautiful spirit is what will be a part of me, and all who knew her, forever.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so completely, that you know our hearts and needs more than we do. Help us to always trust in your mercy and love, knowing that your desire is for us to find peace and true joy in your presence forever.


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Treasure the Moment You Are In

Many of you know that my eighty-eight year old mother lives with my husband and me.  If you would like to know a little about her, and our life together, here is the link of a past blog I wrote about her.

When my mom first came to live with us, (eleven years ago) she was walking with a cane.  She got around pretty well, able to shop with me, walk unaided around the house, go outside, etc.  That progressed to her using a walker.  In the last year, her walking has become much more labored, and her shortness of breath has increased with any exertion or activity at all.

A week ago, she experienced a very scary breathing episode, that led her to be admitted into the hospital and then to rehab.  When she was first admitted, she was extremely weak and very afraid for her life.

After a very stressful week for her and us, we are very happy, because due to medication, oxygen treatment, and physical/occupational therapy, she is more energized and is responding well and regaining some strength.  It is her hope, and ours, that she is able to do the simple things that she was doing a little over a month ago.  The basic things…like walking with her walker to the bathroom, being able to join us at the dinner table, or to watch a movie or go out for dinner as a family.  These simple things are our prayer for her.

I have learned so many things through this experience with her.  The main thing that keeps going through my mind is how many times Mom was so upset that she wasn’t able to do some of the things other people her age were doing.  I tried to reassure her, and reminded her to not compare herself and what she is capable of, with others.  That she should focus on what she is blessed with, and what she still CAN do, instead of her limitations.

We all tend to do that at times…not fully appreciating or acknowledging the blessings, and focusing on what we feel is lacking.

All that my mother is focusing on right now is the hope that she will once again enjoy a “normal” day.   That she will not be bedbound…that she is able to breathe normally, and get around “a little.”

“Treasure the moment you are in.”  I opened my notebook this morning that I am keeping about my mom’s hospital/rehab stay, and those words jumped out at me.  When I attended a Woman’s Conference, a few months ago, I jotted that thought down.

“Treasure the moment you are in.”  So appropriate for me to think about at this time.

What moments will you treasure?

For me, those moments are my “normal” day…the little things that often go unnoticed or taken for granted.  Those are the moments that we will learn are the true blessings that we all have received from our heavenly father.  Some of those blessings are the same for most of us, some are unique.

 

Some of the moments I am thankful for in my life, and will savor as treasures:

Having my husband next to me, being the last face I see before I go to sleep at night, and the first face I see when I wake up.

All of the people in my life…my family, friends, and all those that God places in my daily life.  To appreciate all they are to me, and all that I can be to them.

Waking up in a comfy bed, in our cozy home, and having a hot shower or bath to enjoy.

Being able to enjoy a cup of coffee and breakfast with my husband, each day as we commute to work together.  Even going a step further – to simply be physically able to eat and drink.

Feeling the warm summer air on my skin, and taking in the beauty of nature in what I see and hear.

Having a job that helps to attend to our basic needs, and also allows us some of the little pleasures that we enjoy together.

The ability to breathe…to just be.  To enjoy the world, and the presence of God, through my senses –  being able to see, hear, taste, smell, feel.  To be able to walk, and do the things I need or desire to do.

When I am totally aware that none of us are alone.  God is with us at all times, and when we stop to listen, He is always right there with us, all around us.  He is our strength, our heart, our soul…he is the reason we exist.  His love flows around us, in us, and through us.

Treasure the moment you are in…it is a blessing and will work toward good through God that loves you more than you can fathom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Tribute of Love

My father passed away twelve years ago today. My heart is filled with many emotions, especially as I experience this day with my mom, who still grieves for him. I wanted to repost my tribute to him. Love you daddy!

somebodylovesmeblog

31824_1483460607859_5366974_nEleven years ago today, on Divine Mercy Sunday, my father passed away.  It was very touching that his life ended on that special day, because he was a very conflicted man who was much in need of mercy…as we all are.  Through conversations with him later in life, and also through the enlightenment of my own personal journey of faith and forgiveness, I know that he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and I also know that he felt humbled by the love and mercy of  Jesus.  He felt small and knew that he let his God and his family down in many ways…as we all do.

This is a tribute of love to the man that God blessed me with…to be my earthly father.

I love you, Daddy, and miss you so very much.

My father was born to a large family.  He had six brothers…

View original post 1,046 more words


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Real Love and Valentine’s Day

From My Heart to Yours From My Heart to Yours

Valentine’s Day is a sweet reminder in our daily lives of the love that we are blessed with.  For me personally, the day touches my heart in a special way with gratitude for all the people that have touched my life… my family and friends, and especially my husband, Joe.

The special love I speak of is not the kind that requires red roses, diamonds, or chocolates.  Those things are nice and always appreciated, however, this is much deeper than any of those types of gifts can convey.

So Joe…this is my early Valentine thank you for the real love you show me each and every day; the way that you help me to see the beauty in myself.  That true love can only be inspired and sourced in the Holy Spirit…thank you for your faith and openness to be a vessel of His love.

Some of the ways you show me that I am loved:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not  proud.

You have a quiet confidence that allows you to be happy and supportive toward others.  Even when I am off track or floundering…you are my “even keel”. 

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Your deep, thoughtful desire to help, honor and respect all the ones God places in your daily life amazes and inspires me.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

When I get overwhelmed with the negative of an event or situation, you always help me to see past it and focus on the good.  Many times you help me see past my own flaws and weaknesses, and help me to see the goodness within myself.

 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

You are my safe haven in this life, and we are united in hope and perseverance to become the people the Lord intends us to be for his divine plan.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

The Lord has blessed us with Himself, and through his love, mercy and grace, the love we share will never fail.  You will always be in my heart… in this life and the next.

I love you, Joe!  And by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day!


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The Christmas Chair

untitled

As I get older, I realize that true joy is found in the blessings of “moments.”  I would like to share one of those moments with you.

Twenty one years ago, my husband, our two sons, and I moved from Northeastern Ohio to the Northern VA/DC area.  It was a traumatic move that happened rather quickly.

My husband and I were in dire need of employment, and the Youngstown area did not offer much opportunity.  Through friends of friends, we were made aware of available positions for both of us, in Springfield, VA, at the same company.  We would be starting at entry level positions…with room to grow.  When I called to inquire about the positions, I was told that we would need to be there on Monday, ready for work.  Did I tell you I called on a Wednesday?  That gave us two and a half days to pull some of our belongings together, and make the drive to Virginia on Saturday.

At this time in our lives, we were pretty much broke.  It will take a very full post to share all the miracles and all the ways that things just “fell into place” regarding our move…that story will be shared soon!  The four of us drove to Virginia  in a car we borrowed from my dad, with as much “stuff” as we could shove in the trunk and around the boys in the back seat.  We had enough cash for gas, some food, and a little to carry with us.  We were moving and living on faith.  We knew the Lord would carry us through our journey.

Coni is the woman who opened the door for us by offering us both a position in the company she worked for.  Not only did she offer us jobs, she offered, and insisted that our family of four stay with their family until we got on our feet.  Coni, Kevin (her husband), and their son, opened their beautiful home to us for what turned in to two and a half months.  Although we helped as much as we could once the paychecks started coming in, they never asked us for anything at all.  Jesus was definitely working through them.

We made the initial move to Virginia on December 4th, and then needed to drive to Ohio for Christmas and to pick up more of our belongings from our home.  That Christmas was a very lean one…we were unable to buy any Christmas presents at all.

What we didn’t know, was that Coni and Kevin had snuck some wrapped gifts into the trunk for all of us.   Our thirteen and ten year old sons knew, but were told to keep it a secret.

When we pulled up into the driveway of what still was “home” to us, my heart filled up and I had to just swallow the emotions I was feeling.  I kind of turned off my feelings, because I didn’t want my sons to know how much I was missing “home.”  Since we would only be there for a few days,  there were no Christmas decorations.  The thought that it was the last time we would be sleeping in our home was hanging heavy in the air.  None of us articulated what we were feeling.

What we didn’t know, was that Michael (our youngest) snuck into the crawlspace and pulled out our twinkle lights.  He then proceeded to wrap them around and around our recliner by the front window…where our tree usually stood.  The decorated, lit up chair was in the “laid back”  position, with the gifts that Coni and Kevin had sent for us laying underneath.  It was such a sweet, joyful moment, that I have tears in my eyes as I write this.

Needless to say, after experiencing the “Christmas Chair”, we realized how important it was to enjoy our last Christmas in our home.  We all dragged some decorations from the crawlspace, hung the wreath and displayed the Nativity Set.

I thank God every day for my husband, and my sons who teach me time after time  what is truly important in life.  I also thank God for all of the special  friends He has blessed us with over the years.

And we will always have a special place in our hearts for Coni, Kevin, and Robbi…who as “casual friends” that hardly even knew us at that time, chose to open their hearts and their home to our family, to help us on our journey.

My wish for you during this beautiful Christmas Season, is that you keep your hearts open to all the simple, beautiful moments that are presented to you and your family each and every day.  These moments are the true gifts that the Lord blesses us with.