somebodylovesmeblog

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


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The Christmas Chair

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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.


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Eye Hath Not Seen

It’s a funny time of year for me…it’s almost autumn.  The hot and humid days of the summer have disappeared, and for now, here in Virginia, we’ve been enjoying weather in the seventies and low eighties.  The sun is still shining brightly, however, there is that unmistakable crispness in the air.  The nights are cool.

All that is missing…is what I love the very most…the colors of fall.

Why do I love fall?  Let me count the ways.  The smell of campfires, and hot dogs roasting.  The beautiful color palette that spreads so beautifully right in front of our eyes.  The crunch of leaves under our feet as we walk.  Pumpkins, apple cider, beef stew, a big pot of chili with friends, apple cake.   Either a cup of warm cocoa or a cold mug of craft beer in my hand…there is a time and place for both, depending on the occasion!  For me, nothing touches my heart and senses like the autumn season.

When I think of the beauty of fall, and nature in general, my thoughts always drift to one of my favorite Bible verses:

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9

How could anyone doubt the existence, power and glory of God when witnessing the beauty all around us?  When I am outside, surrounded by the creativity and majesty of God, I feel so blessed and grateful.  Who really needs the artificial pleasures of this world, when God has gifted us with His holy and majestic creations all around us?

And let’s take that a step forward…according to 1 Corinthians 2:9, we cannot even FATHOM what the Lord has planned for us when we are in heaven with Him.  Perfect joy, perfect peace, basking in God’s perfect light and love.  Colors, sounds, feelings that we are not even capable of conceiving in thought, are being prepared for us right now!

Even more beautiful than fall?  Isn’t that exciting?

Dear Lord, please help me to always trust in your Word and your Love for me.  Help me to open my heart, mind, body and soul to your Holy Spirit, so as to fill me with the pure joy that only comes from you.  That joy is so complete, that I will not be able to contain it…help me to share your saving grace with a world in need. 

Help me to see that for me, the world is encompassed in my daily life.  Lord, please open my eyes to all the ways I can serve you today through reaching out, in your love, to the people you place in my life.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.           Romans 1:20


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How Can I Help?

How many times have you wondered how to support a friend or relative who has taken on the role of caregiver? Or maybe you would like to offer your assistance or friendship to that special senior citizen that just can’t get around like they used to? Every time you see them, the same thought swirls through your heart and mind – “how can I help?”

Sometimes it’s so hard to know exactly what to do…even when your heart is in the right place.

I’ve been thinking about this, and would like to provide you with some concrete ideas that would be helpful and much appreciated to both the caregiver and the one who is being cared for.

Just so you know where I am coming from, let me give you some background of my current situation. I can only offer thoughts based on my personal experience. However, I believe that most, if not all of the suggestions, can be applied to most scenarios.

My husband (Joe) and I have been married for 35 years. We have two grown sons, who are now married and out on their own. This was to be the time for us to enjoy our “newfound freedom” and revel in our alone time. After all, our marriage had its ups, downs, and struggles, and we made it through, victoriously! Our sons are the joy of our lives, and we are so proud of the men they’ve become and happy that our relationship with them and their wives is still strong. However, when they  moved out, they were ready to be out on their own, and we were looking forward to some long awaited “alone” time.

Plans have a habit of changing. About 10 years ago, my father passed away after many years of fighting heart disease. My parents had been married almost 50 years, and were inseparable. My mother lived in Ohio, and we are in Virginia. Joe and I traveled back and forth for about a year to help her as much as possible, but it was obvious that she could not live on her own. Mom was getting weaker, she did not have a driver’s license, the neighborhood they lived in for most of their married life was no longer a safe place, and my sisters were unable to help. The decision was made – mom would sell her house and live with us in Virginia.

My husband and I are very blessed to have my mother with us. I am learning things about her life that I would never have known if she was not here with us. We have become much closer than we’ve ever been.

However, the stress that I feel as her caregiver is a feeling that I’ve never experienced. I am responsible for my mom’s health, social life, emotional well-being, physical care, finances, doctor’s appointments and medications. I am also her personal assistant for anything that she might need. We’re talking extra things like buying and mailing cards, shopping, wrapping and shipping gifts, scheduling and providing transportation for hair appointments, and trips to the library, etc. I feel completely stressed and worn out, and at the end of the day, there is not much left for myself or my husband.  Sometimes it feels as though my life has ceased to exist, and now everything revolves around my mother’s care and what she may need.  And, yes, we both work full time jobs.

 I know there are many other caregivers out there that are struggling with these same issues and could use some help. After a lot of thought, I came up with some ideas that I feel would be helpful.  These are ways we can all help each other, to brighten someone’s day by sharing our hearts.

• When offering assistance or respite help, don’t leave things as “let me know when you need help”. It is extremely difficult for the caregiver to ask for help. Instead, give your friend the times and days you are available and plan for the time.

• A homemade meal or dessert would be much appreciated. Be sure to ask if there are any special dietary needs/restrictions, and let them know when you will be providing the meal.

• The caregiver could use some encouragement. Finding personal notes and “thinking of you” cards in the mailbox are a great pick me up!

• If possible, offer to take their loved one for an outing. She (he) will enjoy the time out with you, and the caregiver will relish their time alone.  Some ideas: Bingo, shopping, lunch, ice cream cones, hair appointment, manicure, pedicure, senior center, Church events, walks

• Schedule some time to visit one on one – play a favorite card or board game…just the two of you. Or bring over a few favorite movies. Plan in advance so the caregiver knows she will have some time to herself.

• The elderly often feel alone, and especially miss getting personal mail. A warm and friendly note, some family photos or a small gift mailed to them periodically will brighten their day!  Find out if there is anything they may collect or need. (It’s fun to see the look on my mother’s face as she unwraps a new Barbie or Beanie Baby to add to her collection! And she also LOVES Word Search books…she never has enough) It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to lift spirits!

• Much of the time, when caring for a loved one, money is very tight. A gift basket, gift card, or movie tickets would be very much appreciated by the caregiver.

• Maybe you have a friend, relative or church member that feels drawn to ministering to the elderly. Let them know of your elderly friend that could use a visit or card. You’d be surprised how networking can work miracles!

• Listening is one of the most powerful and loving ways to show your support. Listen with love, compassion and a nonjudgmental spirit.  Every heart has a story to tell!

Every day the Lord is whispering ways to show His love to a world in need.  May He continue to open our eyes, ears and hearts so we may touch the people He places in our lives.

James 1:27 – Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.

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

John 13:34 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.