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The cockroaches are BIG, but the MICE are adorable in SC!

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I lived in the SOUTH (Gulfport, MS) years ago, when I was 13. I loved the coast ( especially breathtaking before Hurricane Camille that summer). I didn't realize how much LIKE Africa the south is in "critters". Now I know that's a bit of an exaggeration, but truly the south is so much more tropical in "feel", and therefore things like HUGE cockroaches have to be dealt with regularly. ( I don't know if FIRE ANTS are tropical or not, but ouch, they bite! Last fellowship meal I had Rebekah's girls here the night before and we made the "spaghetti and meatballs" cupcakes.......(THAT was from the "Hello Cupcake" cookbook, for whoever had asked! Several cute ones in there!) Well, this was Elizabeth's girls' turn, and I opted for making MICE cookies! We had great fun and they were a treat to many little children on Sunday. These projects are GOOD for me! Not to mention that the girlies are even sweeter than the cookies!!!

So now....do I need fear you'll think I'm being too silly? Denny blessed me for making life fun........seems that I sure can use some extra smiles these days myself! Now I said all that to say this in expression of a dilemna. In all honesty, I will really need to walk with God and go at whatever pace He leads me, probably sometimes out of sync with what some might say or expect. I chide myself often with my slowness, but it doesn't seem like the Lord is impatient with me at all, praise His name and goodness!

I would suspicion that others have faced similar feelings...........one of the first evening services that I went to I wore Denny's favorite dress which was lighter colored. "You SURE look BRIGHT and CHEERY!, someone said! Whoa,I felt NOTHING like bright and cheery, I wanted to run! I was TRYING to LOOK more pleasant with much effort! They meant it with an encouraging heart no doubt, but I felt horrid! Somedays when I have cried endlessly I wouldn't dare SHOW my face, want to only wear black and crawl in a hole! How can BOTH dwell in the same body in the same season? (Because God's grace carries us in different measures in varied situations??.......or maybe we respond to it more fully at times?!) Either way, each emotion is REAL! I appreciated reading somewhere that newly widowed people should always take their own vehicle to public events, so that they have a way of ESCAPE....because downpours, meltdowns, and waves of panic can strike quite unexpectantly and it is good to have a way to excuse yourself graciously and quietly, without inconveniencing others.

We've had record rains here this summer, just like many of you have. It has really extended the GREEN season. Once in a while there is a beautiful rainbow afterwards, and occasionally a DOUBLE one! I used to make a simple scrapbook page in times of loss or sorrow that showed a human eye with tears dripping down to a RAINBOW over a HEART..........with wording about "Sometimes God allows tears in our eyes to put a rainbow over our heart!" Phew! This quote came on Sermon Index today by George Mueller.........."The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials". Oh Lord, please don't allow me to WASTE all of this pain...........and grant me COMFORT like ONLY you can!
I pray the same for you if you're hurting,
Jackie
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"Tear Soup"

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Good evening friends,
Again, this is NOT either of the two entries I am in the middle of writing, but I felt compelled to SHOUT a couple of loud thank yous before it gets any later!
Mammal..........so thrilled to hear from you, and what a TIMELY word you had for me.............how it seems that GOD even BREATHS for us at times!!!!!!! That was sooooo beautiful. That is exactly how I felt yesterday........surely my ducts could not contain another droplet of moisture! My chest felt ten times it's size, my heart like it would explode from the inner pressure and heaviness...........can one hurt anymore? And please forgive my honesty......but I seriously questioned IF I WANTED to breath anymore! The Lord knows it all, and it sincerely seemed HE breathed for me! Amazing thought!
And Cynthia..........so wonderful to receive your lengthy letter from Ghana and weep through the early memories of Denny's ministry and then to catch up a bit with you family's whereandwhatabouts! :-) I had NOT ever seen the booklet you sent on Sat....thank you for sharing more of the history. Today then I received ANOTHER one! It was written by one who knows for sure, and the photography was beautiful.
Clora, thank you for responding to the Lord in remembering and caring, and carrying!
I wish I could make it "required reading" for everyone who ever hopes to understand another's grief to savor the book, "Tear Soup". Elizabeth Mong, I think I first read it via Christine, from you! I have purchased a few for others through the years. Ah, but NOW!!! Yes, I read it with FRESH understanding............I unpacked mine from a box and wept through it last week...............I recognized needing to purchase another for someone else......before I could even check on it, within a day or two, a sister from Maine sent me a copy! Such a confirmation! Thank you! Please tell your children I do NOT consider it a children's book at all :-) .......such tenderness within its pages.......I see so much more clearly how we need to give each other space through these processes. Oh, I have miserably failed others and "tried to help fix them prematurely!" I am sorry.
There are times when I am horrified to realize that I am sure I never properly thanked individuals or churches for their flowers or other expressions...........Cheyenne.....you especially come to my mind because that white bouquet was sooooooooo gorgeous, and we all exclaimed over it so many times. I think perhaps the unsettledness added to no regular life for months before and still afterwards, but I am trusting the Lord that somehow you know and can be blessed for blessing us! I have appreciated, and am still appreciating....I will recall and read sentiments for months to come!
I keep MEETING death everywhere! Are not we all finding it moreso these recent days? (Lynn, Denny, Pam, Karen.............Rachel W...did you read Jonathan's 5 yr tribute to Paul? Precious!) Perhaps we are all more in tune? I know I have my eyes more open..to the teller at the bank whose father just passed away, to the secretary at the medical office who suffered "post traumatic stress disorder" (her words) for 6 months ALONE after her husband died....no children or grandchildren to aid or comfort her! Whoa.........I see ministry opportunities surrounding it all, but do not FEEL like I'm the one, or that it's the time..........etc..............I want to be obedient, but whew! It's still so raw! Please lead me gently Lord.
My "family" (tell you the whos later) just arrived back, so I need to run.
Thank you for allowing me to share my tears so freely,
Jackie
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We really don't have a promise of living tomorrow do we?

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In the photos section you'll see a couple of pictures of a beautiful trestle style burgandy poly picnic table, benches with backs, some chairs and coffee tables. So what?!?

When we were in the midst of building on the property in IN, Denny was favoring a khaki color siding with brown trim for the house. I loved it also, but it seemed like the nice furniture that he had made especially for me (as a last business project gift before he sold much of the equipment and business) in P.A. might really CLASH with it. NOT really important, but when you're building new you might as well make it match/blend rather than clash, right?!!? Denny dismissed the thought easily saying that IF it didn't look right he could just make me ANOTHER !!!!!!!!!!! Of course he would never have gotten that chance, but we had no idea of that at the time. Picnic table are just THINGS and they do NOT matter an iota for eternity.............but would you SMILE with me when you SEE the color of the trim on Andrew & Elizabeth's house that I'm living in?!?!? :-) I will probably SMILE over that furniture a LOT! It is a treasure to me! Soooo glad that we "lugged" it here! Sooo glad to have it for picnics with the grands! Just soooo many special little details....hmmmm, seems God often even makes some provisions that are NOT needs, just to bless us, don't you agree?
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I am several paragraphs into a lengthy entry concerning details about the large trip to IN. to sort and load belongings........sorry it is so delayed in coming......maybe one nice thing in that then is that you can skip it once you see what it's about if you no longer care to read it this far after the fact! :-) Seems I STILL need to write it.....it is good for me.

I'm jotting this shorty tonight just to let you know I AM here, and that I am still sharing.....thank you for asking and caring!

Jill.....I'm thrilled about your daughter going on the SENT team! Praise the Lord! My physical address that you are asking for is 141 Cadle Crossing Rd.
Windsor, SC 29856

Have "unexpected" overnight guests about to arrive (BACK) again, so must run.....Dennis and Esther have been here since midnight Thursday and their transmission went out on the way home to VA.....thankfully not far down the road! And NO! I did NOT pray that they'd be detained, but I WILL make lemonade out of getting to love on them some more!!!! :-) Especially grandbaby # 16, who is sooo adorable by the way! :-)

Wishing you a good night, and thanking you for still caring about us....Lord willing I am looking forward to seeing several of you the end of the month in PA.!
Jackie
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How GREAT is our God?!!?

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This update was overdue before I started it AUg 27th, 2 weeks ago. I am sorry....I have 2 others started,will see what I can do here today by being more brief and finishing these up.....

***********************A little update and praise report for all of you who were so kind to carry me through my first return trip to IN. I certainly FELT your prayers! Joshua and I stopped at the Bank of Berne first thing upon arriving. I felt pretty desperate to get things moving in that direction so that I can deposit and pay bills. Before I could even get in the office I was greeted by the church brother who was going to transport this load of belongings for me. Now when you recognize that we'd travelled 12 hours after being delayed 1/2 of a day, had fuel stops, spent the night in Kentucky...etc..... you'll realize that we could have arrived anywhere between an eight hour time span. I have NO DOUBT that John wasn't sitting there all day waiting for us! He was going about his regular work day and "happened " there at that exact moment! I DO NOT believe in "coincidences" in the lives of God's people! The Lord is absolutely amazing how many details He delights in orchestrating for us for His glory and our good. Of course , this meeting touched my heart there in that public building, and was witnessed by our dear customer relations representative. It was all so beautiful. I then met with her, and bless her precious heart........she had gone ahead of me because of our prior phone conversation the day before and pulled everything up on a computer screen and showed me exactly what I needed to do after I handed her Denny's death certificate, etc. Sooo thorough, soooo kind.............when we were done (with business, fellowship and tears) she held my hand and prayed for me. I asked her point blank, "How often do you suppose a woman in my position gets THIS kind of care?" I was literally flabbergasted how POSITIVELY this NEGATIVE situation could be walked through! I have no doubt God intervened with mercy as you prayed...thank you. Indeed it was a stamp of "I'm going to walk you through this, dear daughter of mine!" We went straight to the storage warehouse area from the bank. The overhead door was open, but Claire wasn't in sight anywhere. I walked down an aisle, the task overwhelmingly more daunting with each step.............."I can't do THIS Lord!"..........then there on top of a box...was my sign (mentioned in last post) from Jesus..... I totally could not believe it. I mean, honestly, how many of us even have a sign that is as specific as that in our possession? (I cannot remember who gave it to me some years back...please tell me if it was YOU!) For such a time as this! I wept, thanking the Lord, and went into another part of the building and found Claire......she had discovered the sign just 15 minutes before and set it out for me! (Without having read my post about signs! Amazing!) So, I'd guess SHE got overwhelmed by how her simple follow through of a "good idea" ministered to me...you know the feeling? Not knowing HOW or WHY it will work out, but sensing something, then doing it.

Claire and Jenny had already spent several hours taking inventory of Home Fires books ( a story for another time), and making lists of Denny's personal book boxes. THAT was a tremendous jump start for us, and I bless them for all of those efforts. Josh and I hardly knew where to start, but began by making some work area to labor from. I texted the children asking questions, took pictures to refresh their memories on some items, sending weepy words with some items too tender to not take the moment to share. Josh was fantastic! I would have had NO IDEA where to start on tools and MAN stuff! We worked til a wonderful supper at Alan & Jenny's refreshed our weariness , then headed over to the property. Denny's office things had already been put in place there months ago, and I NEEDED to walk through the house and around the place a bit......phew! No fun for sure. (A separate post concerning "Now what do I do with Denny's dream?" will come soon). Josh has learned to catch a lot of his Moma's tears through this season, and this time was no exception. There's nothing in the world like the Lord's presence to comfort us, but a REAL strong physical shoulder to lean on certainly is a blessing, especially when it belongs to your son!
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THAT is as far as I got on the post, and so much of it is outdated now....but wanted to again express my GREATfulness for all who prayed us through those painful days. Ralph and Hannah came from Canada, Samuel and Elizabeth drove up together from SC (while their spouses kept the children so we could make more concentrated work efforts time wise). The children have endeavored to share the load around by taking turns on all of these big jobs, and it has worked out very well. Let's just say at a time like this EIGHT was GREAT, but those of you with a DOZEN children will not think it any too many to spread ithe load out a bit!
:-) I spoke to a woman in medical billing on this trip........she was so sympathetic asking how I was doing....I was touched and shared my appreciation for not just being a number on file. She said she was also a widow. We had a lengthy tender visit in which I heard about her "post traumatic stress disorder" following her husband's death.......ALONE! NO CHILDREN !!!!!! I cannot imagine the loneliness. I feel that my needs are waaaay more than enough for everyone to share.........I cannot imagine us trying to do it with with one less helper or supporter! Each adult child and spouse has different giftings and have filled unique roles for which I am so blessed. I had a whole post in my mind to center on this thought months ago. but never got it written. Please forgive me if this thought is a repeat.....but WHEN you get to know that lovely young lady or man that your youth senses is THE ONE............it would HARDLY enter your mind that THIS "in LOVE" will help decide your future and care for your needs bodily , physically (surroundings), spiritually and emotionally!!! No small matter! Phew! Thank you Lord for amazing & wonderful partners for our children who have loved BEYOND "reasonable"!!! And THANK YOU LORD for some "children" not by birth, but shared by other parents through the years at B.S. times, etc....Claire Rutler has been with me since IN, just now leaving this Sat.....what a help, what a companion, what a tear catcher! Maybe the Lord will use this time of compassion in her future medical pursuits!! Renita Chupp ended up being a "transmission casualty guest" :-) and spent a week helping, singing, being a companion for my companion (Claire ! :-) and MAINLY making curtains!!!.....how special to have this unexpected treat!
If I don't close this soon, I can't begin to get to the other posts! :-)
Jackie