To Change or not to Change: That is the Question

Maybe it is just my imagination; however, it seems that as I get older change is becoming a regular interruption to my life. Learning to face change is always difficult for me. I suppose you could say I can get in a rut rather quickly. I thought I had to relearn how to live my life after Clyde died, but I am finding out that learning possibly will not be over until they close the lid on my coffin (or shortly before that)! I was given the advice to not make any major decisions during the early stages of grieving. I must say that was relatively good advice.

When I decided I was ready for a big change, I discovered quickly I really was not ready. I busied myself with cleaning out, throwing away, and trying to declutter my home. In retrospect, I quickly realized it was not going to be an easy task. Realistically, I knew that all my “treasures” were not anything but clutter and junk to my family. Looking back, I wish I had been wiser about buying “things” that gave temporary pleasure. All my collectibles made me happy for a while, but now they are a burden. Oh, I know a few pieces will make someone happy for a little time period, but I realize now that time spent purchasing, arranging, and dusting them could have been better spent.

The legacy I want to leave for my loved ones is that helping others, spending quality time, showing love, making memories, and valuing family and friends is more important than things money can buy. For the last several years, I have lost loved ones at an extremely rapid pace. So many dear friends, family members, and loved ones have gone on to their eternal home! My biggest regret is the lost opportunities to just be with each of them. I have tried to live my life in a manner that helped others feel and understand that I truly loved them.

Clyde often told me I used the word “love” too much. However, when I say I love you to someone, I am very serious. When I was a child, the words, “I love you” meant care, affection, safety, and protection. The only thing that has changed about the word love for me is that love also means a wish for the person to whom I say it to know that they are important to me. I care about their soul and future. I want them to know the feeling is real and extends to life after death. Even though, people disappoint and hurt me, I still want them to know the kind of love God has for us. I am far from perfect, I sin every single day; but I will never close my eyes at night without asking forgiveness and praying for another chance to make things right. My fervent prayer is when I meet my Savior face to face, He will say, “Welcome Home My good and faithful servant. Well done!”

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To My Daughter from Another Mother, who also became one of my dearest friends!

Dear Sweet Deborah, you became my daughter by another mother the day your daddy and I were married. Your precious mother allowed us to share so many treasured moments and make years of cherished memories. Even though I was only ten years old when you were born, I worried that she would see me as “the other woman!” She welcomed me with an open heart and open arms. Your mother trusted me with the opportunity of learning what true love is really all about by becoming one of my dearest and lifelong friends.

Nana Pat, as your brothers and sister lovingly referred to her, had a heart for others, which included everyone she met. I cannot begin to tell you or remind you of all the times she proved it over and over. One that will always stand out for me is when she was my sponsor on the Walk to Emmaus! WOW! What a blessing! If I had not already loved her, that act alone would have sealed the deal. The love she showed to me, Benny, Chris, Heather, and our grandchildren was incomparable to anything I have ever encountered! I loved your sweet mother with a love that is indescribable. She was a beautiful blessing that kept giving and giving.

I can only imagine the grief you are feeling now. I know how much I loved my parents and your daddy, but your love for her was very special. I just want you to know I am grieving her loss, too (not only for me, but also for you, Scott, Emily, Eli, Ellie Scott, Connor, Gabby, and her multitude of friends and family). We have lost a giant of an angel who lived in a tiny little body filled to brimming with a heart for others and God’s work.

My promise to you is to be here for you just as you have always been here for me. I see the gentleness and love for God in you that your mother’s legacy was to you. Make her proud by standing strong and leaving that legacy to your children and grandchildren. She is smiling her beautiful smile on you and thanking you for the love and care you showered on her.

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God Is Always With Me

“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew‬ ‭28:20‬ ‭

Last night, I was thinking about different things that have happened over the years and how close God felt during those times! When I was younger, I suffered with terrible migraine headaches that would completely incapacitate me! It really made it difficult when I had three small children to take care of and Clyde was working long hours! I would have to turn off all the lights and go to bed to get any relief. God had to be present because nothing bad ever happened, and conditions were really right for all kinds of things to happen. The children somehow knew to be on their best behavior during those times. However, they made up for it at other times, but that is an entirely different story, which I will have to share later.

Seven years before Clyde died, he had been sick and in the hospital for almost a month and part of that time in ICU. He had to have surgery after having radiation for his cancer. The night after his surgery, he coded, and I was alone with him. The staff rushed me out of his room, and I was filled with fear. One of the nurses led me to a chair which had been placed facing the nurses station and away from his room! All I could do was pray to God, and I remember telling God I was not ready to lose him! I begged Him for more time! The staff rushed him to the ICU, and I called my children to tell them what was happening. God Gave us seven more wonderful years that we were able to enjoy our children and grandchildren and ourselves! While I was praying, a peace came over me like I had never felt before and haven’t felt since.

My children and grandchildren seem to know when I need them the most! Out of the blue, they will call, text, or come check on me, and it makes things better! God does this, too! He gives me the assurance that He is always by my side, in my heart, and making my path clearer. I have realized, lately, I am not an island, but I am part of the larger picture including family, friends, and even strangers. The more I read and study God’s Word, the clearer my path becomes!

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” Psalm‬ ‭73:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God Is Always With Me. At times, I am more aware than others; but I can always feel His Precious Presence! When I look into the eyes and faces of my children and grandchildren, I am fully aware that God is reminding me of His Presence!

Until next time,

Hester

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#NorthernLightsBook Blog

For over 24 hours, I have been trying to compose a review for a book by Cathy Parker. I have never felt as inadequate and as lost for words! She has written a book that will rock your world in a way that will leave you wanting to get up and get busy helping others! The manner in which she tells her story will light a fire in the depths of your heart and make you want to know God the way she knows Him!

She describes the process she went through to ensure the community of Barrow, Alaska and their young people were given a field on which they could play football. The problems she had to face and fight through would have made most businessmen and women throw in the towel time and time again. It took faith, perseverance, and lots of stamina, strength, and willpower to see her dream through to a successful and wonderful beginning for Barrow, their youth, and their football program.

Northern Lights is a true story of a wonderful woman’s dream, her willingness to get out of her comfort zone, and the awesome group of people who joined her and worked to change the lives of a community and their young people. I read the book in one afternoon because I could not put it down. I laughed, cried, and even felt the closeness of God as I read of the miracles that occurred during the fulfillment of one woman’s dream. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves football, learning about the Alaskan culture, or hearing about God’s Miracles!

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Dilemma— What Should I Do?

Truth!!!! I am faced with a real dilemma! I went through my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator! I try not to be wasteful; however, as I took inventory, I realized I truly have a “sugar” problem! In my refrigerator, I had almost a full gallon of peach lemonade and three six packs of 16.9 ounces of Pepsi. I also have plenty of water.

In my pantry, I won’t even begin to list the sugar filled items; but based on the refrigerator, I will allow you to imagine my pantry (at least three packs of peeps reside there)! I love orange slices (not the fruit ones), circus peanuts (not the roasted or boiled ones, although I love those, too), and various chocolates! I suppose one would say I am a junk food addict!

The freezer is a whole subject of its own. Ice cream, oh my goodness! It looks as if they announced a coming shortage of snicker ice cream bars and nutty buddies! A 10 layer chocolate layer cake greets me each time I lift the freezer lid. I am sure if I searched further, I would find many other sugary items.

Now, for the dilemma! After reading several articles about the effect of sugar on my body, I have decided I need to eliminate sugar from my diet. Since I don’t want to be wasteful, I am sure it will take me years to eat my stockpile because I don’t want to poison someone else’s body. However, I don’t want to continue poisoning my body either! Do I eat my sugary bounty or do I wait until the expiration date and discard my spoils?

All this thinking about what to do about my dirty little habit has made me hungry. I think I will get a Pepsi, a package of Peeps, and a nutty buddy and consider my options a little longer.

Until next time, Hester

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A Pathway

I was contemplating some of the paths my life has taken. At times, I have allowed myself to drift away from goals and plans, and I have had to work at getting back headed in a direction better suited for my life. Those times cause me to have to hewn out the weeds and thorns which have blocked my journey.

It’s odd how we get the idea that doing good things causes God to give us good things. It is generally true that when we live life God’s way, things go better. Abraham is an example of how God keeps his promises even when we lack faith. I’m thankful for God’s faithfulness, love and mercy, even when I deserve the opposite.

I believe Jesus is waiting to return because he wants more people to have time to trust him. Maybe God delayed the birth of Isaac to give Abraham the chance to become the man he should be before becoming a father. God’s timing is perfect, and he considers things we don’t even know about.

One example is when the angel tells Hagar that her son will live in constant conflict with his relatives; a prediction that is fulfilled in the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors today. Everything that occurs is a part of God’s plan even though it is sometimes difficult to understand. The safest place to be is doing what God says. It doesn’t always feel that way in the moment, but it is true.

When I redirect my steps and actions, I experience more success, joy, and happiness! The peace I find is so much sweeter. The realization that my Heavenly Father is and has been right there all the time through my sadness and struggles gives me an abundance of security and an amazing feeling that one day I will join all my loved ones who have already entered an eternity in paradise that God has prepared for us.

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One Person’s Junk Can Become Another Person’s Treasure

As I begin to assess my belongings, I realize I have spent a lifetime collecting material things that have no real meaning. If, for some reason, I had to gather the most valuable possessions to hold on to, I would not take anything that cost money! The most precious things would be memories that I hold close to my heart. For that reason, I am cleaning out my collections of “junk.”

As I search through treasures I have stored up, I vow to rid myself of things that are binding me and keep only mementos that hold precious memories! For over fifty-five years, I have weighed myself down with possessions that are of little value to others, who will have to dispose of them when I leave my earthly home and reach my heavenly home! As a gift to my loved ones, I am disposing of my junk, and I pray that they will become someone’s treasures.

Books were the first things I started collecting. A few years ago, I donated several boxes to libraries and groups who helped people who were struggling. However, the books seem to have multiplied like rabbits. I have so many that need a new home. They will be the first to go and extremely cheap.

Through the years, I have amassed a lengthy collection of VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs, and Albums. I know, these are outdated, but there are some real “jewels” among this collection. They are in “mint” condition and just begging to be adopted. All they want is a new home.

Furniture fills my personal space, and I truly need to downsize. Also, I have collections of angels, Santa’s, toys, and miscellaneous other items that clutter my home and my mind! Why did I do this to myself? I have been retired from teaching for nine years, and I still hold on to materials for some reason I cannot fathom. I certainly won’t be going back to my beloved career!

I have all of my yearbooks from my years in school and for every year I taught – over 30 years of memories! What does one do with all of this “stuff” now? It is definitely difficult to dispose of, but I certainly can’t take it with me! I don’t want my children and grandchildren to have to be burdened with the task of going through and tossing my “junk!” Well, I can see I have at least one more important task to complete! Lord, help me!

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Letter to Clyde in Heaven

For the past five years, as March begins to end and April 1 approaches, I have a hard time facing each day, struggling to make sense of your death. I cry before bed each night. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry you had to leave so soon. I didn’t want you to leave, but please know that although you had to go, I know you are never far away. Those chills I get when I am all alone, it’s you giving me a hug. You are still here. That is why I find it so difficult to leave our home! You made it our home! At times, I can hear your laugh and feel your presence! Those beautiful rainbows that stop me in my tracks are you saying hello. Those butterflies that flutter around me are you reminding me I am not alone. I hear you say goodnight to me as I drift to sleep each night, and I whisper “goodnight” back. I wish you could hear me saying, “I love you” every day.

You would be so proud of our children and grandchildren! Although they miss you, too, they are doing exactly what you would want: taking care of me and their families, helping others, serving God! Our children have made sure I am happy. Our grandchildren are maturing into wonderful young men and women. They are all beautiful, handsome, talented, and caring people. They all love you and are carrying on your legacy. You gave them a wonderful foundation!

I miss you with every breath I take, every joyful moment is also filled with sadness and wonder. The wonder of what you are like, what you look like, what you have become. I know you are happy, free, and well now. I know you are at peace now. That knowledge makes it a little easier to make it through the days. I know how much you loved me and our precious family. We can still feel your love, it reaches us all the way from heaven. Although there are days that I think I can’t keep going, days that I can’t wait to join you, I realize that my purpose here on Earth is not finished.

I am doing some of the things we said we would do together. I have ventured out and taken trips, gone to concerts, attended shows at the Fox Theater, and ate at so many different and interesting restaurants. I have even done some things you would never have thought I would do. I went zip lining with Heather and Spencer. I went to IFly with Cason and then again with Debbie, Emily, Ellie Scott, Connor, and Cason. It was exciting, and I somehow felt like you were smiling and saying, “You, go girl!”

I have created a “bucket list” of things I want to do that we talked about doing! At the top of my list is a trip to Graceland and a trip to Niagara Falls. I plan to do as many of the things we talked about doing as I am able. All my adventures would have been so much more fun if you could have been here to enjoy them with me! I love you and will join you when God says “Come Home, My Child!” Until that day comes, I want to help others and be the person who would make you proud. ❤️❤️❤️

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We Are The Church; We Are America!

When I started this blog, it was originally a means of sharing my memories with my children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends! Lately, I have visited and revisited the idea of the country I am so proud to call myself a member – The United States of America. We have always had problems of division in our country, but nothing like we are experiencing now! It can be likened to the time of The Civil War. We are faced with things that could seriously be our downfall from within our society.

While we are fighting against each other, our enemies are fueling the fire and preparing to end the freedoms that we have enjoyed. We are becoming the fodder for their jokes and enjoyment. Have you ever witnessed a schoolyard fight? The ones involved in the fight are not the ones who are enjoying it. Those on the sidelines, who are not brave enough to take a stand are the ones who are benefiting from the entertainment. We need to step up and join hands so that we can bring our country back together and fight the real enemies. The truth is politicians benefit from war and unrest within. It is the means to keep being re-elected.

There is an old saying that the church is not the building, it is the people who make the church. The same thing can be said of our great nation. America is not just a country, it is the people who make our nation. With all the diverse ethnicities in our country, we have to be tolerant and accepting to the different beliefs. That does not mean that any group should be favored above another, but it also does not mean that any group should be persecuted because of their beliefs.

Our actions and reactions to laws, rules, and regulations causes the hatred, unrest, and negativity that is being perpetuated in our country! Our opinions don’t make us better people, but our behavior does! One man, neither Obama nor Trump, caused all these problems. We have a government with checks and balances that assures us that we are not ruled by a dictator. When our government is functioning properly, it protects us. However, when our politicians have their own agendas, they get in the way of the process! Some of our politicians need to retire and let change begin to happen. The greed, hate, negativity, and lying needs to be replaced with the ideals for which our country was founded. Term limits would solve most of the problems. Then, we would not have comfortable politicians who are just taking care of their own agendas. However, having said all of the above, this is just my opinion and that doesn’t make it better, but my behavior will be such that I am determined not to stoop to criticism of those who disagree!

Until next time,

Hester

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Cry Me A River

Tears have always been a large part of my life. I cry when I am happy, sad, and nostalgic. However, tears can be healing, cleansing, and motivating. Tears are caused by many types of emotions. I have felt them all: Joy, grief, fear, depression, stress, frustration, laughter, empathy, anger, pain, sadness! I have ridden the merry go round or ferris wheel of all emotions during my life.

For the past two weeks, I have been binge watching the series, “This is Us.” I have cried a river of tears watching each episode. The characters and the incidents brought back memories of every stage of my life. At times, I felt like my heart was being ripped right out of my chest. I believe I chose a time of the year when I was most vulnerable, but I imagine I would have felt the same way regardless of when I chose to watch it. I am just glad I watched each episode alone because I did some “ugly” crying. I read somewhere that God collects all our tears, and I know during the past few years He has collected enough for a flood from me. I stopped wearing mascara because I was getting permanent black marks on my cheeks and under my eyes.

Holidays make me very emotional, and I am sure this is true for many people. If you have been a person who usually spends holidays with a special someone and they are no longer with you, it can be a difficult time. My precious family tries to make up for the fact that my soulmate is no longer physically with me. I try to explain to them that I am okay. The statement that misery loves company is not necessarily true. The thing is I cannot simply replace fifty-one years with new traditions and memories. It is not that easy. As time slowly passes, I make small changes, but I do not want to replace all the memories. I am not being melodramatic or stubborn. Some things just cannot be replaced, and I do not want them to be. Therefore, at times I will cry me a river, and that will allow me to plant seeds that can grow into something beautiful. After all, that is what life is all about: the ups and downs, ins and outs, highs and lows, and even the old and new!

Until next time,

Hester

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