Friday, November 20, 2015

Ishtar’s Odyssey {A Review}





I am so excited to be sharing this review of the newest book in the Jotham’s Journey series by Adnold Ytreeide, Ishtar’s Odyssey! Oh my! When I was given the opportunity to review this book I jumped!  Our family just loves these books. They are so good!

We have read quite a few books for Advent over the years that were very good, but hands down these books are our favorite!

Ishtar is a ten-year-old son of a Persian wise man. He is part of a caravan that is trekking across the desert following a bright star.  Ishtar is a bit of a spoiled boy.  He soon finds out that there is much adventure and danger on this trip through the desert.  Ishtar has much to learn about life and finds that some lessons are only learned by experience.

As with the other books in this series Ishtar’s Odyssey, readings begin  on the first Sunday of Advent (November 29th for 2015) and concludes on Christmas morning. Each days reading ends in a cliff hanger-where you have your children begging you to continue reading and asking you if you read ahead!

After each days reading there is also commentary on what happened that day and the lesson or point that is being taught. 

Before beginning the the actual story, Mr. Ytreeide has shared some wonderful information about Advent and the customs of Advent and a section called Making Connections where you can learn and even create some of the food that Ishtar would have eaten.   You will also find a pronunciation guide for the cast of characters in the story.

In addition to these resources there is a website you can go to see maps of the holy land and map out Ishtar’s journey.

Each of the books in this series are stand alone stories, but are all intertwined, so you do not have to read these stories in order.  They are truly a wonderful way to observe Advent as a family and prepare our hearts for the birth of our Savoir, Jesus.



**Contains affiliate links**

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from Kregel Publications. No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own in this post and on this blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Celebrating Thankfulness. Waiting on Christmas.


So this has been in my mind. Listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies before Thanksgiving. Before anyone gets defensive hear me out. I have seen various friends online posting how they are listening to Christmas music and watching a Christmas movie well before Thanksgiving. Just today a friend of mine mentioned it and I replied in a kind in joking way, I hope. I poked fun at my own rules about not watching Christmas movies before Thanksgiving.

In our house, even way before the boys were even thought of Larry and I never listened to Christmas music or watched a movie until Thanksgiving night. After we come home from being with family, sharing a meal and enjoying the day, we were always excited to watch our first Christmas movie of the season-usually National Lampoon's Christmas vacation. I still keep that tradition and I admit that last year I wanted to change that tradition and watch a Christmas movie well before Christmas. My boys were having none of that. I was breaking the rules!

You see I believe there is that wonderful feeling of anticipation, you know like getting ready to go on that special date or do something you have been really been looking forward to doing. In our area our local Hobby Lobby has had a full section of Christmas decor out since the beginning of August! I readily admit that I bought a Christmas tree back in August. I have been wanting a pencil tree for many years and they were on sale and I bought one. I knew that they would be difficult to find once November rolled around.

In early October I read an article that basically stated that those who were complaining about Christmas decor being out earlier and earlier were missing the big picture. By decorating early and pulling out the Christmas music and movies earlier gave us Christians that much more time to spread the word about Jesus. Point taken. But are we? Spreading the word about Jesus I mean? Or are we just pushing for things to be earlier and earlier. I sometimes wonder.

You are free to decorate your house inside and out, listen to Christmas music and watch your favorite Christmas movies well before Christmas. Who am I to say you shouldn't. But I have to wonder whatever happened to savoring the holiday that is before us? Thanksgiving? I know that putting up your Christmas decorations does not mean you are not thankful, I get that. I just wonder if we aren't loosing something in pushing ahead so quickly to the next holiday.

I love Christmas music and I want to watch every Christmas movie I own (more than once!) and I own a lot of them! But I also want to stop and appreciate being thankful without the distraction of another holiday mixed in the to the current one.  Yes I said it. Christmas decorations are a distraction.  Just so you know I love Christmas decorations too! I am not convinced that all the décor of Christmas is really sharing Jesus.   Remembering why I am thankful and thanking the Lord for all I have been blessed with is. Showing thankfulness to others shares Jesus with those around me.  I have had a lot happen to me in the last year and my losses are not exclusive just to me. I know many people who have had losses as hard as mine. Some may be harder. I don’t know, I am only walking in my shoes.

Maybe it is that I am getting older. I just told the boys today that the coming Christmas season feels very different. It’s not just because Larry is not here. There is something different. Or maybe I feel different. Maybe it is only me who feels this way. Time seems to be going at light speed and one day seems to blur into the next.  Our local radio station was saying this evening while I was fixing dinner that Black Friday is going to be a thing of the past. Black Friday or whatever they were calling it is starting this weekend through the end of November. It just makes me wonder if we are on the right track. I feel we are not. For Christmas this year the boys and I have decided to do something different. To keep it very simple. But that is another post for another day.  I want to focus on being Thankful. 

Christmas is coming. I want to anticipate it and prepare my heart.  I don’t want to blend it in with Thanksgiving. I want to savor this feeling of thankfulness, embrace it, enjoy it. Share with others what my Heavenly Father has done for me. Has given me. My life, my two loves, my family, my friends. 

You can put up your Christmas décor, I won’t try stop you or try to convince you that you should not. But for me, I want to wait,  to look forward with anticipation to that time that will come shortly, the greatest birth ever celebrated. For today though I am focusing on what Thanksgiving truly means. Listening to beautiful worship songs of Thanksgiving, using this 30 day scripture writing plan and just being thankful.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 24, 2014 {The day my life changed forever}




(just a little warning this is long and probably a bit rambling)


One year ago today we had a change in our lives that will effect the boys and I forever. We lost Larry. My husband. Their father.  It is a day that will live in me and them always.

There have been several times in my life that a major change has occurred in my life. Several come to mind. Some were joyous and some were sad.  Our wedding day: May 19th, my brother passing in 1990 at the age of 17, November 2001 the day Justin joined our family, August 2005 the day Kaden joined our family. My grandmother’s passing a few years ago and more recently December 2014 my cousin passed and June 2015 my dad passed.  I know you all have significant dates in your lives both happy and sad that mark changes in your own lives.  It changes us. It makes up who we are.  It breaks us and gives us great challenges.

October 24, 2014 though was the day that just came crashing down around me in such an unexpected way. I felt like I was blind-sided by a bus. I truly didn’t see what was coming.  The results were devastating and far reaching.  I felt as though someone pushed me off a very high cliff and there was no one to catch me.

Sometimes I go back to that day.  I try not to, but my mind has a will of its own and there are some days when I head back there. Back to that Friday. We had just celebrated Larry’s birthday the Saturday before.  I had not spent the entire day with him on his birthday. I was at a bazaar sitting mostly by myself. He had encouraged me to go. I thought maybe I shouldn’t since it was his birthday and he was off from work. (I wish I hadn’t) but he was always my encourager.   He ended up spending the day with the boys and they went out to eat breakfast together and then stopped at the local flea market. In the afternoon they came to the bazaar and stayed until it was over and time to pack up. Then we headed to  our church hayride.  We went on that same hayride tonight. Without Larry.

On that Friday, Oct 24, the boys and I had just finished taking  my dad to his first week of radiation for the cancer in his lungs and brain, that had been discovered just a couple of weeks prior.  As we left the hospital, little did we know that at about that same time the EMS was bringing Larry to the very hospital we were leaving. As we were driving home Justin commented from the back seat “wouldn’t it be great to know the future?” My answer was no. How ironic was his comment in that moment.

Not knowing what was happening with Larry we came home, dropped dad off and mom and the boys and I went to the grocery store. In the meantime dad received a call from Larry’s co-worker saying that he had had a massive heart attack.  Dad was distraught and upset that he could not remember where we had gone. When we returned I honestly thought that dad was mixed up. This could not be happening, could it? For some reason unbeknownst to me, my cell phone was off. They had been trying to reach me for an hour. 

I was taken to the hospital by our friend and fire chief.   When I arrived I knew it was very bad. They took me right back.  The ER doctor would not let me see Larry while they we were working on him.  Then the doctor came out and told me they were were so sorry. They had done everything they could.  He didn’t even finish his sentence and I knew.  I knew he was gone.  I didn’t get to say goodbye. The boys didn’t get to see their daddy again.  I know everyone on that floor could hear my cries of anguish.  I could not believe he was gone. I still can’t.

The rest of my time there was surreal.  I was brought home by my pastor and her husband ( I love them) I had to tell  my boys that their dad was gone. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  EVER.

You know I have such regret that I was not there when Larry needed me the most. I have had a difficult time with that. I SHOULD have been there. My phone should have been on. I wonder sometimes if he wondered where I  was and why I was not there with him. I regret it oh so very, very much. I try not to dwell on that very often, but it is there reminding me. I know it was not my fault, but my heart hurts so much knowing he was alone and I was not there. I know that he had very good care from the doctor and nurses that attended him. I have no doubt about that, but it still does not help me much.

I also realize that had my phone been on I would have had my parents and my boys with me. I know my dad could not have handled being there in person. He was so devastated when I told him Larry was gone. I know too that I could not have handled my boys and myself. But still I regret not being there for him. I know God’s plan is so much better than mine. But you know what I still regret it.

My grandma died a few years ago and she was so special to me. She was someone I looked up to and loved deeply. ( I  still miss her and wish I could talk to her) I asked her one time how she managed to go on after my grandfather died. She said she did what she had to do.

You see my grandfather died when my grandma was 55. I was 52 when Larry died.  I never in a million years would have ever thought I would be in the same position as my grandma. I never thought I would be here without Larry. But here I am.  Sometimes in a deep pit of despair.  I have family and I have friends who love me. But sometimes I feel so utterly alone.

Now here we are today October 24, 2015. An entire year without Larry. It has  been the longest year of my life. Without his smile, his laugh, his love. Just emptiness and loneliness and a deep, deep longing to see him again.

I do go forward. I get up each morning and do (mostly) what I need to do. What’s expected of me. But I don’t want to. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed.  I want to cry and I do. A good friend shared with me about crying in the shower. No one can hear me in there. I cry myself to sleep some nights. Some days I don’t think I can do it. Face what I need to face. Raise these wonderful boys who God felt I was capable of raising. I worry I am not doing a good enough job. I don’t say that for you to praise me. I get told all the time what wonderful boys I have (and it is true I do and I mean that sincerely) Not because of me, but because of God. Just tonight at the hayride someone kindly told me how wonderful the boys are. I thank God that they are in spite of me. Because I know I make mistakes. 

But I am thankful too. Thankful for all the years I did have with Larry. I am so sad for my boys that they got cheated out of time with him.  I’m not sure what the point of my writing is tonight, but I feel I need to say these things. I hope that in some small way, it helps someone else.

Loss is hard. Grief is hard. It never goes away. Ever. It is always there. Lurking and waiting. I never know when something will trigger a memory or feeling. The fall weather makes me keenly aware that Larry is gone. It reminds me of him.  I don’t know why. I miss him. I will always miss him. I wish he were here. I know he is not and I know I need to move forward. I try. But some days are so hard.

Sometimes what the world sees on the surface is not what is really happening on the inside. Take the picture at the beginning of my post. It is a lovely picture of an early  fall morning. It was taken on October 30th of last year while we were waiting for the fire company to bring Larry past our house on his last ride on the way to the church service to celebrate his life.

It gives the picture an entirely new meaning doesn’t it?  Some days when I feel I cannot go another step, I am reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus made for me and I go forward. Some days I may have to crawl but I’m moving.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;   My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:2 (NKJV)


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Celebrating Larry


So how do I start this? Today October 18th is Larry’s birthday. He would be 55. He is celebrating in heaven. We are here.  Missing him.  With all of our hearts.  We were not sure how to celebrate this day? There is no guide book on how we are supposed to do it.

The boys and I have gone back in forth on what to do? How do you celebrate without the guest of honor’ the one you love, present? How do we navigate this oh so hard road of celebrating his life while we are missing him so deeply. Celebrations are happy and uplifting. With fun and laughter.   I’m not sure? I’ve never done this before. I wish I didn’t have to do it now. I wish my boys didn’t have to celebrate their dad without him! I wish he were here. But no amount of wishing will change our circumstances…this journey we are on.  It’s a long road that seems to have no end.

One thing I do know is that I want to celebrate. I want Larry to be remembered.  Always in all ways.  I want his memory to live on in the boy’s lives and my life. I want him to be remembered for the wonderful dad he was. For the great husband he was. For the friend he was.   It’s important we don’t forget.  Ever. So today we are going to celebrate his life.   With a visit to the cemetery, with flowers and maybe a balloon or two.  With a meal out.  With laughter and  tears.  With sadness. With JOY. With memories that will live on in us.  With the hope that someday when Jesus comes there will be no more tears and no more sadness. Only JOY and LOVE.

We love you Larry.

Each and every day. Always….we will never forget. Ever.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Fatherless Father’s Day


So here we are June 21, 2015. Our first Father’s Day without Larry. Our first Father’s Day with out my dad.

There is silence.  Do you hear it? It looms over me every day. The silence of these men who were such an integral part of my life is deafening.

There is emptiness. An aching and deep, deep loneliness. A vast empty space that cannot be filled.

There are tears.  Tears that I barely allow to be shed, because if I give them free reign, I will completely fall apart.  But they are there lurking at the surface just waiting for an opportunity to make an appearance. 

Picture or Video 637

Father’s Day is a day to honor the men in our lives who love us and whom we love. Who have nurtured us and taught us helped to mold us into the people are today or will soon become. 

My boys have been cheated of their dad. Cheated of time they should have had with him. Time with him to grow and learn and become the men they are meant to be.  I cannot fill Larry’s shoes, although I will try and help my boys to the best of my ability to be good men, Godly men, gentlemen.  I remind them that their dad taught them so much even in the short time they had with him. He taught them to love, to laugh, to mourn, to show respect, to love and help others.  To love Jesus.  Larry was truly a great guy and a gentlemen through and through.

I can only hope that the men in their lives will step in and help to fill that place that Larry left behind in teaching them what I cannot.  That has already started to happen. I see it in the support system I have in church, the fire company and friends and family. I am thankful and blessed that I have such support. Words can never express my deep love and appreciation I have for these men.

My own dad taught me many things as I shared here. I MISS him.

I do know that while the boys and I no longer have an earthly father, here with us, we do have a heavenly father who loves us more than even our earthly fathers could.  That seems hard to believe but I know it is true. He gave up HIS son so we could have an eternal relationship with Him. That is love.  

Sing praises to God and to his name!
Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds.
His name is the Lord—
rejoice in his presence!

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

Psalm 68: 4&5

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Saying Goodbye to Dad

On Tuesday, June 16th we said goodbye to my dad. The service was beautiful and many came out to celebrate dad’s life. This is the third family member in less than 8 months we have said goodbye to. It has been a difficult few months, but we are persevering and trusting in God to get us through each day.  Below is what I shared about dad at his service on Tuesday.

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The first man I ever loved was my dad. I guess for most little girls their first love is their daddy's

Although I didn't know it at the time, dad set the foundation for the man of my future. Someone who would be very special in my life. Dad's have a way of doing things we are not always aware of.

My dad was great at so many things. He could build or fix just about anything. He built most of our house. He was a hard worker and I thought he was pretty amazing.

Dad had a great sense of humor. He was very ornery and loved to tell jokes. I recall many jokes he and I would share back and forth at the supper table over the years. Some were very funny and some were pretty corny.

I would like to share with you just a few memories that stand out in my mind:

When my brother Jimmy and I were growing up we always wanted to go with dad to the firehouse for the weekly siren and radio test. This always involved pulling out all of the trucks and testing each radio. I could not wait to get to ride on the fire truck! You may be thinking we went somewhere, when in reality we only went a few feet, just enough to pull the trucks out of the bay, but to me it was fun and exciting to be able to go along with dad.

When we were waiting for my youngest brother Bill to be born, I decided that I had enough brothers and it was time for a sister (sorry Bill). Dad and I made an agreement that if it was a boy I would move out and if it was a girl he would move out. The day mom went into labor I called home every hour the hoping for the news of my little sister. It was not until I got home that I learned the gender of our newest family member. There was a suitcase in front of my bedroom door. I quickly realized that I was happy with another brother!

Memories are so important. They seem like such little things when they are happening, just little bits of everyday life, but when you look back you realize how precious and important those memories are and they were truly the big things in life!

Dad taught me many things. I don't know if he realized what an impact he had on my life. As parents we can only hope that we are instilling good values and morals in our children, but I think sometimes we are not sure if the values and morals we hope to instill are reaching them. As a daughter I don't think I told him how important those morals and values ended up being in my life, but they have shaped me and helped me to become the person I am today.

Another thing he instilled in me was serving community. He was a volunteer firemen ever since I can remember. He got up at all hours of the night and there were many times in the middle of dinner he would leave to go out on a fire call. I can remember the pager (or plectron for those of you old enough to remember those) going off and dad racing out of the house to answer the call. I thought it was all very exciting and I was proud that my dad was a firefighter! I recall one particular time just after he built a new partition in the kitchen and was racing out the door to a fire call and ran right into it forgetting it was there!

When Larry and I first started dating there was a fire call. Larry got to experience first hand dad jumping up and racing out the door to his truck! He had no idea what was going on. I explained that this was a frequent occurrence nothing out of the ordinary! I guess it must have impressed or rubbed off since not long after we were married Larry too joined the fire company and learned to jump up and run out the door and into his truck, although I don't think he was ever quite as fast as dad was!

The most important thing that dad taught me was faith in God. Growing up we always attended church as a family. I remember very few occasions that we missed going. I have not always been faithful and have strayed from the path over my life, but I always went back and in the last 10 or so years my faith in God has grown tremendously and I have a personal relationship with Jesus. Dad laid that foundation for me many years ago. It is that faith that has gotten me through these last eight months and to this moment. I cannot imagine going through all of this without that faith and knowing I'm spending eternity with Jesus and seeing my loved ones again.

Our family has had it's share of hard times too. All families do whether it is public knowledge or not. We like the world to always see the good times, the happy family, but in reality none of us are perfect, but we love each other in spite of our imperfections, arguments, disagreements and brokenness. We are a family.

Eight months ago my life changed very dramatically in a way I never imagined would happen to me. Dad was diagnosed with cancer and not two weeks later Larry was gone. GONE, just like that. God never promised that we would not face hardships and challenges nor did he promise not to give us more than we can handle, but he did promise to always be with us.

Over these last months I have watched dad slowly fade away and become a shell of the man he once was. Our bodies will fail, whether by disease, or trauma or natural death. There is no escaping it, it is a journey we all will take one day. I am thankful that I have had this time with Dad to see him and spend time with him and tell him I love him. I am thankful for all that he taught me. I will hold his memory in my heart always.

Today is a celebration of his life, to know he is not suffering or in pain.

Death is not an end it is just the beginning. I love you dad.

And finally I would like to leave you with this from Isaiah 43:2

When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19th 1984

(I know it has been a long time since I wrote here at My Blessings From Above if you are still here and reading, thank you. There have been big changes  in my life in the past 7 months. My plan is to get back to posting regularly. Probably not daily, but maybe once or twice a week..I hope you’ll stick around)

You read the year right….May 19th 1984. The day two young people stood before God, family and friends and vowed  to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.

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I was almost 22 and Larry was 23…we were young and looking back did not have a clue about what those vows truly meant. On the surface we understood them, but you know being young and in love and ready to conquer the world we knew everything and had it all together. Ahem…..not quite!However you could never have convinced my almost 22 year old self of that! Fast forward to today 31 years later and here I am alone on what would have been our 31st wedding anniversary.

A little bit of back story for those of you who may not know. Almost 7 months ago on October 24th, Larry had a massive heart attack and passed away.  Just like that. He went to work early that morning and by 3 pm I was at the hospital listening to the emergency room doctor utter the words no one ever wants to hear. “I’m sorry Mrs. Gerrells we have done all we can for your husband”. NO! NO! NO! This was not happening to me.  I didn’t get to say goodbye! We have two boys to raise! They were 13 and 9! They needed their dad! I needed my husband! I’m only 52. How could this happen? It was all very surreal. I had just earlier that afternoon returned from taking my dad to his first week of radiation for his recent diagnosed lung and brain cancer just a week prior.  This just could not be happening! But it was and it did. There was nothing I could do to stop it. It was like being blindsided by a bus. I did not see that coming! We were parted by death.

Oh that I could reverse time….go back just a little bit. Just for a minute.  So I could say goodbye, tell Larry that I loved him just one more time give the boys just a little more time with their dad. But it was not to be.

So here I am in 2015 on May 19th remembering my wedding day and wondering how I got here. My situation is not unique…I am sure there are many widows my age and I am certainly not the first woman to become a widow.

Still…it seems a bit unfair…but God never promised fairness or an easy life. I’m no different than you are. I’m not so special that bad things should never happen to me. But still…it is unfair. Unfair to my boys who need their dad. Unfair that I don’t have my husband…..however life goes on….as I have seen in my own life. We have been moving forward, each day just a few little steps at a time.

Let’s go back to 1984 for a minute to our wedding day. It rained in the morning, but by noon the sun was shining. (the wedding was at 1) I got dressed at our church parsonage along with my bridesmaids. My in-laws were separated at the time and my mother-in-law swore she would not attend the wedding. She did and between her and my father-in-law we had an interesting couple of minutes at the church.  At one point during the ceremony the entire wedding party sat down. I went to sit down and could not. Larry was standing on my train of  my gown and I said as much in what I thought was a quiet voice and the entire church heard me announce that he was standing on my train! There was some laughter over that!

The car we used was my Uncle Sam and Aunt Elaine’s. When they dropped my cousin off at the church (she was my maid of honor) the car would not shut off. So when they returned later for the wedding the car ran during the entire service!

During reception my mother-in-law caught the bouquet and Larry was kind enough to shove cake in my face! I wore cowboy boots with gold boot tips under my gown and my grandma made sure everyone in attendance knew it! I spent quite a bit of time showing guests my boots!

 wedding 001

After the reception we stayed and helped my parents clean up the hall we had rented as there was an event there the next day. There is a picture somewhere of me in my wedding gown pushing a broom! Don’t all new brides sweep up after their reception?  After we left the hall we spent a romantic evening at the grocery store getting some items to take with us on our honeymoon. We were poor and in love and had a frugal honeymoon planned! We spent our honeymoon at the beach in Wildwood, NJ. It rained while we were there…we didn’t care. We walked the boardwalk with umbrella’s which of course I got my hair caught in.

We had a great marriage. Was it perfect? NO did we fight? YES! But you know what I married a great man. I really did. He was flawed just like me. We loved each other in spite of our flaws or maybe because of them. I told him numerous times that I don’t know why he put up with me because there were times I could not put up with myself. But Larry did. Always. He always told me he loved me.  Even when I didn’t deserve it.

Larry was kind and giving, generous and faithful. He would help anyone in need and always took time for people.  He left me a note just about every morning of our married life. He was a pure romantic and  loved happy endings, especially those sappy predictable ones.  He was also very stubborn-I don’t want you to think he was perfect, but he was perfect for me. I like to think our personalities complimented each other. He put up with my crazy sense of humor.

There are so many things I miss about him. He laugh, his smile, his sense of humor. His yelling at hockey and football games on television. (I tried explaining to him many times that they could not hear him, but he seemed to think they could?) His unfailing love for me, in spite of me. He was quick to forgive (I can’t always say that about myself) and quick to compliment. He always complimented and encouraged me. I swear I could have worn a bag over my head or cooked a horrible meal (I can recall a really bad meatloaf I made!) and he would always say it was wonderful!  Larry was a hand holder. I miss that. Oh how I miss that! One thing I thought about the other day was that he never called me Michele, he always called me Shell. I miss that so much and no one calls me Shell much these days. Isn’t it funny the things you think about and remember.

Larry was an awesome dad. He loved his boys so much. He was worse than I was the day both of them came home.  He sure loved a happy ending!! And Justin and Kaden made his life complete!

I think of him a thousand times a day. Remembering…..

We were married for 17 years before we started our family, that in itself is a story but I’ll save that for another time. I think of things I want to tell him. What I have learned, what the boys are doing and what is going on in our lives. I miss his comforting presence.  I do journal and write down my memories and current feelings.

We had 30 years together, that is a long marriage. I thought we would see our kids grow up and see those milestones so many families have. Their children graduating from grammar, high school and college, seeing them get married and start their own families. Growing old together. It was not meant to be. I don’t know why. Only God knows that.

So here I am today, May 19th. 2015….we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Kaden’s 10th birthday.  Justin is graduating 8th grade and summer is coming….so many milestones we have celebrated with out Larry, in just about 7 short months. My beautiful cousin Carolyn passed away 2 months to the day that Larry did on Christmas Eve and my dad is fading away in a nursing home from this cancer that is taking his life. My boys have suffered so much loss in these short months since last October, with more suffering to come, and the changes in the world since Larry’s passing are staggering. 

My boys are learning to live life without their dad and I am learning that I can do things I never thought I could do.  My heart is broken for myself, but especially for my boys.  They need their dad. But life does not stop for my wants…it goes on. 

I am so thankful for the continued support of many dear friends, my church and fire company families, I could not do this without that support.  There have been some men who have placed themselves in my boys lives to give them what I cannot and for that I am more thankful than they will ever know.

So I celebrate alone. Remembering a good marriage and a wonderful man. I won’t forget him or our time together. Even though I wanted much more I am blessed with the time I had. Many people don’t get 30 years or decide their marriage is not worth it anymore. I will do everything in my power to help my boys remember their dad and to teach them what he wanted them to know.

I have to admit that when I see a couple together young or old I am envious of their relationship, their obvious love for one another. I miss that so much. But I try to remember that I was (and still am) so blessed to have had a wonderful marriage.

One last thing, I do have hope…hope in Jesus that someday I will see Larry again. We will be together again in heaven. In the meantime I guess my work here not done. I have boys to raise and God to trust in.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity