Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Gift of Words from the Heart on Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day I was having a pity party for not being with my Mom or any of my kids and grandkids. Grieving the loss of my son and knowing so many other friends who are living with the same grief, some for the first time this Mother’s Day. Going to church and spending the day with Ronnie B. got me out of my funk. My sweet, insightful Natalie had just the words to melt my heart.

Natalie- I really do love you so much. It might not seem like it, but you, Dad. Tanner, Cam, Grandma and all the memories we’ve had are what fills my mind all day. Instead of creating new moments I get stuck in the nostalgia of the past and then frozen because it feels like things, “Will never be the same again.” We’ll never all be squished into the yellow camper van again yelling at each other about how much space Dad really does have in the back before he hits something.

You are my Mom. And if you hadn’t chosen me, well I would have chosen you. Failure and Barbara don’t fit in any sentence in my mind. Yeah sure, maybe some lady’s kids have never gotten their dad’s truck stuck on a stump and maybe they even have a couple kids of their own with a college education. I got Barbara Ann Barber as my mom though. That means that you always get to swim laps even if you are too little to swim and you have your chubby arms around your mom’s neck. (And you are so amazed at how she can swim, hold you on her back, and gracefully turn her head left and right for breaths every once and a while) It also means being taught how to be silly, using spoons as microphones, and how the value of shock and the unsuspected are some of your comedy 101 back pocket tools. You are generosity and grace.Nothing is yours because it’s all a gift to you anyway. You give because your heart is probably way too full. You wouldn’t lie and say that someone else’s eyes lighting up for a moment doesn’t make yours light up too. Everything I learned from you came not just from your sound advice and loving words (both of those are off the charts) but mostly it came just from watching you. At first, absorbing the world in part through watching you and then on my own with you always in my mind. Who you are has rubbed off on me and I’m gonna go on record and say that that is a GOOD thing. That is a powerful thing. You are not boring.You are the mom who advised us to spit or cuss but never do both at the same time. Maybe both now that I am an adult.

My prayer for you is that you would feel confident in who you are in every realm. You are a priceless wife, a rare daughter, a special mother, a future weaver and the most loved teacher. All of the thoughts in your head, they’re not coming from a creditable source and if you flip them on their head then you’ll find the truth. Because the enemy attacks our strong points because those are the most threatening.
Depressed? More like full of joy.
Broken family? Good luck! Try a family with a transcendent love.
Orphaned? Nah, more like loved and welcomed with warm, wide arms.

I love you. I wish I could be writing this sitting next to you. It would sound sweeter and I would be so ashamed of my grammar.

Natalie’s words from the heart were the most precious Mother’s Day gift. When I am feeling inadequate her love and this gift will lift me up and give me just the confidence she prayed for me.

In Him,
Joyful
5-13-18

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Running in the Rain to this Weekend. 26.2

This weekend our daughter-in-love is running a marathon. WOW! Last summer she started her journey to fulfill this dream. She has been dedicated to all the hard work it took to get to this point. What an incredible example she is to each of us that if we set a goal and commit it can be attained. Each place has challenges for training but in the Northwest she ran through the rain with a smile on her face. I am glad my grandkids can witness their mother getting to this weekend and her goal. It is clear that the smile on her face as she takes each step will be joined by our smiles.

Way to go Brittney Barber. You are a rockstar.

In Him,
Joyful
4-21-18

Friday, April 20, 2018

Cool To Ride A Dragon

We had so much fun when our granddaughter, Kayla, was here for her tenth birthday. Rock climbing, horseback riding, and roof walking were on the agenda. So after riding horses at the McClellan ranch, Ron asked Kayla what it was about riding horses that made it one of her favorite things to do. She thought a few minutes and then explained.

It would be so cool to ride a dragon but there are no dragons. So riding horses is almost as cool.
This clear explanation was followed by their in depth discussion of what it would be like if you could raise a dragon, hybrid a dragon, or hatch a dragon from a long lost dragon egg. A half hour later Kayla got quiet.

You know, even if we could get our hands on a dragon. It would probably be too much work to train it. I think I will just stick with horses. But still, it would be so cool to ride a dragon.”


In Him,
Joyful
4-20-18



Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Fire, A Bloodclot, and the Gifts That We Recieve

This is a week that makes me wonder how people survive in life without the three Fs. Family, friends, and faith are what get me through the difficulties of life. Even in the what seems like the worst case scenarios we can see the upside and how even this could be worse.

Saturday-Natalie called to tell me how wonderful it is to live in our vintage 1977 motorhome. She and Nate had it all organized and set up just right. Their plan was to leave San Diego Monday for Washington state to begin school and new adventures. Nate just got out of the Navy after serving 8 years as a submariner. My sweet daughter was so excited with the next steps life has to offer with her perfect man by her side.

While she was driving to meet Nate about noon, she smelled a disturbing smell, then saw smoke followed by flames. She was just off the freeway and 2 blocks from Nate. She knew she couldn’t wait so pulled over and she and our granddog, Shibby, got out moments before the whole thing was engulfed in flames.

Wednesday-Natalie and Nate were able to get into the burned out RV to see if anything had been spared. They found a few pictures, some pages of her journals that weren’t lost. She also found her Nana’s Bible without the cover but the pages were intact. Precious gifts that are not lost.

Monday- Out of order! Ron was recovering splendidly from shoulder surgery the previous week. In the middle of the night he began having excruciating pain just under his right ribs. After spending the wee hours of the night in the emergency room they discovered a blood clot in his lung.  We came home on blood thinners and stronger pain medications.

I am beyond thankful for living with access to medical experts to protect my Ronnie B.
I am beyond thankful for all the prayers and support we have received from family and friends.
I am beyond thankful for a staff that steps up to be there for my bitty students when I can’t be there with them.
I am beyond thankful my girl and granddog got out of the inferno with only smoke inhalation.
I am beyond thankful that we share pictures and memories in this technological age so some irreplaceable treasures are not lost.

In Him,
Joyful
4-19-18

Monday, April 2, 2018

Butt Plunge

The promise of a new and improved home space is what makes remodeling worth enduring. Ron and I are 6 months into a 4 month remodel. We have been gifted  by so many friends who allow us to shower, sleep, cook and share internet at their houses.  Brilliantly,we purchased a 19 foot 1977 RV last spring which housed us until it began to freeze. I was always a bit skiddish stepping out in the early morning since our town had hungry bears roaming our neighborhoods. There was bear poop in our yard but I never met up with one coming out of our backyard home.

Today we moved back into our house and the Prairie Princess. There is no toilet, faucet, tub or sink in the house yet but between our RV, showering at the YMCA, a rented PortaJohn, and a makeshift kitchen complete with microwave, instant pot, toaster oven and bottled water, we will get by.

Unfortunately, there is no light in the PortaJohn and it is a bit chilly outside. I have never been that wife that complains about Ron putting the lid down. My thought has always been~why should he put it down when I don’t put it up for him. HMMMM. My thoughts have changed since stumbling out in the dark to use our outside commode. You have to laugh so you don’t cuss.  I am now coining the term   Butt Plunge. That is what occurs when my sweet Ronnie B. leaves the lid up and I don’t check first.

Our home is going to be gorgeous and we will be so spoiled and blessed by the finished results. But today I am whining about the chilly reality that is a home without running water.

In Him,
Joyful
4-2-18

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Just a New Keyboard, Really?

I have been away from blogging for far too long. It has been almost 6 months without my therapy blog. The only thing I can say is that during our remodel I have been exhaustingly busy, displaced from my home, had a lot of emotional upheaval and was overwhelmed with two jobs. But the truth is in the past all of these would cause me to blog even more. Bottom line~my iPad keyboard broke. With everything else going on in my life I just didn’t replace it until now. Pretty ridiculous when I admit it here. How many moments did I let slip away? How much healthier would I be emotionally if I had been blogging through the harsh moments of the past 6 months? I have been posting for over 8 years. Preserving my heart, my life stories and my faith is important to me but the main gift of blogging is the emotional health it brings me. So I am back with a new keyboard and a renewed need to write. I am convinced God brought me to blogging to heal my heart and keep me connected to Him. So here I am humbly pressing the keys once again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Joyful, Prayerful, Thankful, It Takes Time to Get There



How is this even possible with the heartaches and heartbreaks that life includes? Be thankful in all things? Thankful for unbearable loss, for excruciating pain, for life's most horrible circumstances is that even humanly possible? It seems like a command that is beyond possible. Yet, as we get past the storms in life we get to choose how we move forward in life with our new realities. 

Losing our son to suicide seven years ago seemed like one of the most impossible moments to be thankful for. Don't misunderstand. If I could go back and have my precious son back I would at all costs. But our life includes this loss and always will. That moment forever changed our lives. Nothing will ever be as it was before we lost our Ryan. So with our broken hearts how are we thankful? Not thankful for our loss but for the opportunity and understanding to reach out and be there for other families going through similar loss. My prayer is that we don't ever need to use this connection with others but the reality is that too often over the last seven years we have been there to hug, hold onto and understand the grief that is drowning families. 
JOY for me is Jesus first, then Others, then Yourself. It is one of my goals to live my life this way. There is no way I could endure the pain that others are going through on my own. Only walking toward them with prayer and hand in hand with Jesus makes it possible. Others~putting others first always brings me more comfort than I could ever give them. In both putting Jesus in the center and others before myself, I actually have healed enough to be grateful for the loss of my son. Not grateful for the loss but for the opportunities his loss has opened for Ron and me. What I am joyful for is that I know that Ryan would be filled with joy that his love and heart for others is continuing even through his death.
Prayer has always a big part of my life. The quiet conversations with Christ through the good days and bad are my favorite part of the day. My prayer for others is that they don't blame Him for the heartbreaks of life but that others turn to Him for their comfort and strength. 
A pastor said 'Jesus is not my crutch but my stretcher. I don't lean on him but lay my whole life on Him.' 
I know that I could not have survived the loss of my Ryan without the friends that surrounded us with their love, the family who held us up, and Jesus' wrapping us in His arms. My life and my heart will always have a painful tear where Ryan's death tore out this huge hole. My life and my heart have also expanded with the love and connections to others because of our loss.
Our purpose in life is~
To know Him and to make Him known.
To build our relationship with Jesus through prayer and reading His Word/ the Bible and to share His love with others. I know that through our loss of our son, Ron and I have spent more time in relationship building with Christ and with others who need Him in their lives as they move through their life.
Thankful In Him,
Joyful
10-17-17