somebodylovesmeblog

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


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One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, my mother in law, Velma, left this earth and returned to her heavenly home.  As I sit down to write about the blessing that she was (and always will be) in my life, my heart is completely filled with love and many emotions are welling up inside me.

After knowing her for 39 years, and being her daughter in law for 35 of those years, it is easy to see the transition of our relationship, although for some years it was difficult.  Words can never express what I feel for her, and the empty place in my heart knowing that I will never again see her face, hear her voice or laughter.  I will never again feel her hand holding mine or her arms around me.

However, I will always feel her love.

Pulling a line from one of my favorite romantic comedies, “Sweet Home Alabama”, Velma was “a complicated woman.”  She struggled through a horrendous childhood, one that she spoke of often to me; however, she never fully acknowledged or released the evils and pain she endured.  Instead, she focused her entire being on raising her six children…5 sons and a daughter.  She loved them intensely, and wanted to give them a secure home, in the only way she knew.  That was through homemaking.  She kept house like no one I ever knew, and her cooking and baking were her shining glory.  That was how she showed love…by nurturing.  Velma had her flaws, as we all do.  Deep in her heart, she knew she had these flaws.  She compensated by DOING for people…in so many ways.

When I first met Velma, I was dating her son, Joe, and I was just 17.  She nurtured me…helping me to feel accepted and loved, by inquiring about me and my family, and always feeding me something special.  I remember, she would sit me down, and ask if I wanted a steak.  Then she would reach in the freezer, pull out a steak, and fry it for me. I never had my own steak before…my family always ate “family style”, so that impressed me.  She made the most awesome sausage and pepper pizza I have ever tasted…her pizza dough recipe was the best, and the tomatoes and peppers were home canned.  Simply delicious.  And her cookies, Swedish tea log,  bread pudding and pizzelles.  Yum!

Remember… Velma had six children.  That lead to crazy unforgettable Holidays, filled with her children, grandchildren, food, love, laughter and lots of noise!  The whirlwinds of activity were overwhelming, but how I miss those times!  Those were the years that changed the “in-law” relationships to “family” relationships.

Velma’s greatest gift to me is her wonderful son, Joe.  (my awesome husband) All of my brothers- in-law, sisters-in-law, and their families are also a blessing to me.  We are a family of heart…separated by circumstance and miles.  But we are always there for each other, in mind and spirit.

When I was a very young newlywed, Velma was very intimidating to me.  Since her cooking, baking and cleaning were the best (her favorite line…”that’s the way I do it”), and my self-image was zero, that was an uncomfortable time for me.  In my own mind, I could never live up to Joe’s mother, and I felt inadequate as a wife.  This feeling continued through the birth of my two sons.

I always felt I had to be “perfect” in every way…clean house, perfect wife and mother, perfect food, etc.  And I knew I wasn’t perfect, so I had a real dilemma in my own mind.

Two things happened that changed and molded our relationship.

The first thing was something that probably shouldn’t have happened.  Joe and I were experiencing extreme pain and difficulty in our marriage.  I went to my mother-in-law in despair, and shared what was happening. (through the  years I learned not to share those kinds of things concerning our marriage)  I later learned that while I was at work, my mother-in-law showed up at our front door, and confronted Joe.  She let him know that he had a good, loving wife, and in no uncertain terms, gave him a piece of her mind.  When we talk about it now, Joe gets a chuckle out of the memory.  I feel the love; in finally being aware that she loved me, and thought I was a good wife to her son.

The next thing that changed our relationship was mortifying to me at the time.  I had been a stay-at-home mom, and then had to work part time.  With two young sons, I just could not get it all together.  My house was a mess, and I left it that way when I left for work one morning.  A few hours later, my mother-in-law, who had our house key, had decided to drop over to bring us a few things. Oh, did I tell you how many times she stopped over with bags of food and “supplies”?  So she called me at work, from my dirty house!!!  I had never felt so exposed and embarrassed.  She let me know that the house was now clean, and there were some groceries she brought and put away for us.

At that moment I realized, I never had to pretend to be perfect for her again.  She loved me no matter what.

And I learned to love Velma no matter what.  Because through the tense times, hurtful words spoken, and all that occurred due to human frailty and weakness, I was able to feel her love.  She loved her whole family immensely. And because of that, she left a legacy in her children and their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

On the morning of her death, she was found, peacefully unresponsive, with hands still holding her rosary.  Although my  family did not arrive in time to hold her hand to say our last good byes, she was surrounded by other loving family members.

She will hold our hearts forever.

We love you, mom.

We know you are in heaven with Jesus and the angels He allowed you to see while on earth.  We know that you are enveloped in His pure love, peace and joy that can never be felt on earth.

We will carry you in our hearts until we meet again.


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Shooting Stars and Miracles

Sometimes I am not sure who really does the most “teaching” in families…the parents or the children.

In my own family, I know that my two sons taught me some awesome truths.  They helped to stretch me out of the confined box I had unknowingly built myself into.  As all you parents will identify with, the love and connection that my husband and I felt for them was something that we never felt before.  However, even where there is great love, there is always more to learn about what love really is.

It feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago, our family had the opportunity to camp out at a friend’s beautiful property, which included 110 acres of wooded land and a lake.  We had a wonderful time there…it was the kind of place that was so far away from city lights, that the night was intensely peaceful and black.  When you looked up, you could see a sky filled with beautiful stars.  It was breathtaking, and so peaceful.  It was like heaven; our family being together in that beautiful setting, just enjoying the stars and the sounds of crickets and frogs.

My youngest son, Michael, who was about 10 years old at the time, was excitedly telling me that he just saw some shooting stars.  I said, “Are you sure that’s what you saw?  Have you ever seen a shooting star before?”  He answered, “Mom, I see them all the time.”

I told him I never saw a shooting star.

That’s when he uttered words that stay with me to this day.  He said, “Mom, you never see them because you don’t look for them.”

And guess what happened.  I looked upwards, and I saw a shooting star!  My heart was amazed!  From the mouth of babes, a spiritual truth was revealed to me.

God is all around us.  He is in the air we breathe, the sun that shines on us, the flowers and trees, the oceans, the rain that falls from the sky, the sounds and beauty of the birds in the air and all the animals, the moon, planets  and stars in the sky.  He is in our children, spouses, parents, friends, relatives, neighbors, and all the people of the world.

The Lord’s Holy Spirit and his miracles are always around us…why don’t we see them?  Why do we think miracles do not exist on a daily basis?

Because we are not looking for them.

Today, when I was walking and praying with my Lord, He spoke to me.  He told me to always keep myself open to Him, and I will be amazed at what is revealed.  There will always be a new thing of beauty to see, there will always be a new beautiful song to hear, there will always be a new opportunity to love.  God’s creativity is endless.

Are you ready to really look for God all around you?  You will find Him everywhere…starting right in your own heart.

And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?   Matthew 21:16

Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.   Isaiah 48:6


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Your Normal Day

Once in a while, I get a craving for what I consider a “comfort food”, and yesterday I really felt like having an omelet for lunch.  I work about 5 minutes from a Bob Evans Restaurant, so you know where I headed!

I’m not sure what caused it, but I had a horrendous headache…my head was pounding.   The hostess led me to my table, you guessed it, right next to a large table of children (6 to be exact) with their mother.

As I read the menu, I could hear one of the kids behind me rapping one of their eating utensils on their table.  It was going bang…bang…bang and it seemed as though it would never stop.  On top of that, the kids were loud (not misbehaving, just acting like kids!) and my head was about to explode.  My eyes started to scan the restaurant looking for another table for me to sit.  Just as I was starting to feel really negative toward the whole family  for “disrupting” my peaceful lunch, an amazing thing happened.

Across from the large table there sat two women who were enjoying some wonderful “girl time” together.  You can tell by their conversation and shared laughter, they were old friends.

One of the women started talking over the noise to the mother across the aisle.  In a casual, very friendly voice, I heard her say, “what beautiful children…are they all yours?”  When the mother answered yes, the friendly lady told her what a great job she had done.  She said that it is rare to see children so loving with each other, and she admired her for the love and discipline it took for her to brave the elements and take all of her children to a restaurant.  Then the two ladies started talking to the children, and it was heartwarming to hear how sweet they were.  When the little boy said, “Guess what I can do.  I can spin around and I don’t even get sick” I laughed out loud.

Guess what!  My headache went away.  I sat there, alone at my table, with my heart filling up with love for the family, and especially for the two ladies who not only shared love with the mother and her children, but also shared love with me  and opened my heart.

Momentarily, I felt very guilty for the negative feelings I had, but I quickly realized that I am human, and we are all here for each other.

See how God uses us all to edify and love each other?  These things happen all the time.  We just need to stay open to the source of the goodness.

Anyway, the family left, and the two women were getting ready to leave.  I went over to their table and shared with them the story of my headache, how the kids were hurting my head and annoying me, and then how their simple act of love toward the mom and her kids completely turned my day around.  I thanked them.  One of the ladies (Deborah), introduced herself and her friend, Carolyn, to me, and then took my hand in hers.  She had tears in her eyes as she squeezed my hand.  We talked a little, and then parted ways.  They thanked me for coming over to talk with them.

Because of their simple act of love, my day was changed, and my heart was once again filled with Christ’s love.

Don’t ever think that little acts of love and kindness don’t make a difference.  You don’t know the ripples that happen because of the ways you show love every day through your “normal” day.  Not only is the recipient of your gesture affected, but also people around that are watching you.

You can be the reason for changing someone’s day, or life…and never even know it.  When the love of Jesus resides in your soul, don’t be afraid to reach out and share it.

He will bless and magnify your efforts in ways you will never be aware of, to build His Kingdom!

May God bless you and bless your “normal” day!

 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8


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The Gift

One of the first things you will notice upon meeting my mother are her beautiful, clear blue eyes that are complemented by her silvery white hair.  When she laughs, her eyes sparkle.  When I look into her eyes, I don’t just see her at her current age…I see a lifetime. I also see her as a child, teenager, young woman, complete with the hopes and dreams that lived in her heart and spirit.

Mom’s current life consists of her love for God and the Blessed Mother, family, Barbies, Beanie Babies, all children, and all animals.  She is very selfless; always looking for ways she can help people, or little gifts she could give them.  Time with family, praying, reading countless books, word search, card games, movies, shopping, and dining out, fill her days.  Mom’s mobility isn’t what it used to be, so she depends on me and my husband for her outings and social life.  Being that we both work fulltime jobs, plus the responsibilities of home and a home business, we don’t get her out of the house as much as we would like.  Mom is a very social person, and I know she is lonely for friends.

Mom has lived with my husband and me for the past nine years.  At 85, she has lived through lots of life.  There has been joy in her life, and also a great deal of pain and struggle, which culminated with my dad’s death ten years ago.  After almost fifty years of marriage, her life’s love and best friend was taken from her.  To this day, she hasn’t gotten over the pain of losing him.  Although she is happy with us, I know that she misses him every minute.  I definitely understand that, because if I lost my husband, I would miss him every minute, too.

My mother raised four daughters.  I am second to the youngest, and was daddy’s girl.  Although mom took care of my needs, I never felt a close relationship with her while growing up.  She was always “my mother” and I never knew her as a person.  Everything in our home revolved around my dad…it’s hard to describe the person he was.  Let’s just say he was full of life, and everything usually revolved around him and his moods.  Although my relationship with him was confusing at times, I knew who he was, and some of what he had gone through in his life.  During good and bad times, I had a close relationship with my dad.

When my father’s health started to go downhill, and he was no longer able to do the things that brought him joy, it was difficult and painful  to see him so vulnerable.  My mom told me she used to go in a room by herself, pretending to play solitaire on the computer, and just cry.  We lived states away from them, so we didn’t know the extent of his weakness.  Her stories of how he would fall and she would struggle to get him up are just heartbreaking….the last time he fell, she dragged him with a sheet to the couch where he finally was able to hoist himself up.  Mom would never go anywhere without him, because she was afraid that he might pass away, without her being there.  He wanted to die in his own home, not a hospital, and she wanted to be there for him.

It was the Sunday after Easter in 2003, and Mom was in their kitchen preparing a roast for the crockpot. (she retells this story a lot) She heard my dad call her name twice, “Mary, Mary”.  She ran into the bedroom, and he was half off the bed – kind of caught between the bed and the wall.  He must have hit his head on the dresser, because he was bleeding.  From what she says, I think he was already gone.  She ran into the other room to get the phone, to call 911. She will always be sorry for not just staying with him and holding him.  No matter how many times I tell her that Daddy knew how much she loved him, and her name was the name he carried with him to meet God, she still feels that guilt.  I believe her inner life is filled with memories…mostly good, with bad and guilt swirled in.  Isn’t it the same for all of us?

There are many experiences Mom has never shared with me.  I know she goes much deeper than she has revealed so far.  But one of my prayers was truly answered.  When my dad was getting weaker, and his health diminishing, I would pray that God take him first so I can get to know my mother.

When we first took my mother into our home, I did it out of honor and respect for her.  I was happy that we were able to give her a safe and happy place to live, and felt that we were presenting her with a gift. 

What I have finally figured out, nine years later, is that she is the gift… to me.

I am learning so many things about my mom.  I have always known that my temper is from my dad, but my ability to forgive and love, came from my mother.  My mother sees the good in me, and although she also sees the rough spots, she mostly overlooks the negative.  It makes me sad, because every now and again I will lose my temper with her (always because of politics), and afterwards, I feel so bad.  When I apologize, she just says, “sometimes things just build up and things have to come out”.  I appreciate her words, but still feel bad that it happened in the first place.

Because of those moments with her, I now understand how she and my dad filled each other’s lives so perfectly.  My dad was very hard to live with sometimes, and she was able to let that go.  She knew and understood his heart…and forgave the actions.  BIG LESSON for me.  I have also learned many little things about her life, which help me patch together a feeling of the struggles she went through.  However, when I ask her what she would change….she says that she would change nothing.  She did the best she could with the circumstances that she was placed in.

And she does what she has always told me to do…she offers it all up to God.

Thank you, Mom…for such a beautiful gift.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  Ephesians 6:1-3

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  …  1 Corinthians 13

 


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The Revelation

This morning, I woke up with the same thoughts that go through my head every day, in the same order.  First, I thanked God for another day, and for all the blessings in my life.  That led me to thank Him for my most precious gift, my husband of 35 years, who was fast asleep next to me.  At that point, my heart is filled with love,  leading me to my life’s big question.  “Lord, what is my purpose…how can my life glorify You?” I have been waiting for God to reveal to me the BIG mission of my life for years, and today I had an enlightening revelation.

I believe we are meant to know God and share God’s love through each person that we interact with every day.  Each person, whether it be a spouse, family member, friend, or someone we pass casually as we go through our day, is an  opportunity to share love.

How many times have you seen a mother who is having an especially difficult time with her children and might need some tender words of support? Or maybe a family shopping for groceries who appears to be in need?  You see their shopping cart with just a few items in it…when it is apparent  the family needs much more.  A friend is depressed or an elderly neighbor is lonely…your heartstrings are tugging at you, but what can you do?  So many people are quietly suffering in their daily life, and you feel powerless because you don’t know what you can do for them.

What was my revelation?  It was as simple as this.  I heard God speaking to me.  “Are you ready to see?”  To me, that meant  “are you ready to really see the people around you?”

Don’t let the bigness of the world’s issues weigh you down and cause you to feel powerless.  Really look at the people around you.  Take the step toward DOING SOMETHING, no matter how small the gesture seems to you.  Say a prayer, then send a card or call your friend and let them know they are being prayed for and that someone “has their back”.  When you see someone who is looking sad or depressed, smile at them or stop to talk with them, and really listen to what they share with you.  If you know someone is in financial need, if you are able, send them some cash.  I have come to learn that sometimes the best way to help someone may be to help him or her anonymously.  If you handed your friend or family member cash, they would feel embarrassed or in debt to you.  If they receive it anonymously, they receive hope, and they cannot repay it to the giver!  Hopefully, they will pass it on to someone in need once they are back on their feet.

This blog is meant to open eyes and hearts to the little things we can do each day to share love, one heart at a time.  Sometimes, the only way a person can learn that God loves them, is by knowing that somebody loves them.  One little gesture just might be the key that is needed to open the door of a heart in need.

1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God