Friday, December 9, 2011

Another Step in the Process

I've been posting lately on the passing of my Dad on Nov. 28th.
The previous 3 posts are about that, and what I am learning through it all.
This is about my last few days journey.

It was not as easy as I thought.
 I was so excited, (and maybe even proud of myself)  for the first week about how great I was doing.
Yes, I cried, but I experienced great joy also. Of course part of that joy was knowing my Dad was with the Lord, and singing those old gospel songs he loved so much. The ones he and my Mom used to sing at care centers for "the old people' (and he was one of them). =)

But it was also a joy deep inside me, the joy of knowing the Lord had brought me to a wonderful place with Him in the past few months. The wonder of actually being able to "count it all joy when we encounter various trials (suffering)...." as it says in James. My joy was so full I went around singing.
I thought I had this thing beat!! I was going to be a shining light for Jesus! He was going to use me mightily to help others.....

Well then it hit. I cried all day, except for when I slept. (worn out).
Then I spent hours on computer or watching TV as an escape from the feelings.
I was not only feeling the sad, but I was feeling so disappointed in myself.
What happened to being a light? How could I help others if I could not stop crying??

I did not count it all joy, I could not sing. I was hurting. . I had my quiet time with the Lord, but somehow we were just not connecting. I read the Bible, but the words just seamed empty, and I cried more. I knew He was with me, but I needed to feel Him. Instead I felt very alone.

Seeking Help and Receiving Blessings
I am blessed to have a Life Group who has walked with me through many things.
They are my life line when I feel things are more than I can get through on my own. I emailed for prayer.
And then there is Facebook, where I probably bare my soul a bit too often. But once again I bared it.

The great things is, that when you reach out, God honors that. It is humbling to have to ask for help, and God loves a humble heart.  He blessed me not only with notes of prayer, but also so many words of encouragement and wisdom. People who have been through it, and so understand what I am going through.
(I'll share those on another post).
But for today.....


Do not take pride in where you think God has brought you.(I had to repent of this)
God is with you even when you feel alone.
It's OK to feel Joy, and laughter, and tears. It is all part of the process.

Be humble; ask for help when you need it. God has a whole family of friends He has prepared to help you.

Blessings to you all, and praise to His name.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Change, Challenges

The two posts previous to this are thoughts just before,
and right after my Dad's passing on Nov. 28th.
These are some things I am learning, observing as a result.

We are not alone.
Ever stand in a crowd or a room full of people,
and feel like no one knows or understands the pain you are in??
Or maybe they know you have had a sad event in your life,
but do not know how to deal with it, so they ignore you?
Or that is how it seems anyway.

That happened Sunday at church, at fellowship time between services.
I received a few hugs, and "I'm sorrys"  which I know those
who said them truly meant. But as I stood by myself,
looking around the room, I wondered how many other people
were in deep sorrow over something, and no one knew. Or maybe
they had said something, but we are all so in our own world,
we did not really pay attention.

We have choices when things like that happen. (the feeling alone)
In the past, I might have closed myself off, protected myself,
gone into my little shell, where it is safe and I cannot get hurt
more than I already am. I would have felt even more alone.
Felt sorry for myself.

But this time as I looked around the room, I realized
there were probably others who were hurting,
over one thing or another, just as much as I was.
Others who felt alone.

I decided right then, that my sorrow would not be
more important than others needs, and I looked around me
to see who may need a kind word, a hug, or a prayer.
And there were some, of course.
And you know what happened?
When I reached out to them my pain became less.

Thank you Lord, for showing me that.
Please help me to see others needs before my own,
and please show me when I don't.

Blessings to all.
barbara jean

PS I will be sharing other insights as time allows.
Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Changes Continue

Last week when I wrote we were putting my Dad in a care facility.
I wrote about life's changes, and the choices we have to make as they change.


Monday my Dad went home to be with the Lord, and
he is now seeing this sunset from the other side of things.

   Alzheimer's had slowly taken his memory of  things, then of us,
and he was in a whole other world all his own.
Then his speech slowly declined, and he had some time ago
forgotten the words to the gospel songs he and my Mom
used to sing at care centers like the very one he was in.
He finally could not walk, or even know how to eat his food.
He became frail, and tired.

 I was with him for a couple of hours before my Mom came.
He was in that deep sleep he had been in before, but I
believe he heard all my words as 
  I told him how much I loved him. I sang to him,
(not nearly as on key as he could sing, but I know he liked it anyway) =).
I prayed over him, and told him he could go home whenever he was ready.

My Mom was there the last hour or so, and she prayed for him, loved him, and let him go.

Dad's breathing slowed....... till just one last breath, and he was gone.
He was with Jesus, and Dad and the angels were all singing together!!!

He was at peace, in the arms of His loving savior.

Mom and I comforted each other, as tears flowed.
We prayed,  and then left only the shell of a man in the room.
A shell that had housed a man who loved the Lord, and his family.

My Dad will live always in our hearts, till we see him again,
and we all sing praises together to the Lord who loves us so.

Lord, I pray for comfort and peace, not only for our friends and family,
but for the many who have lost loved ones. May they know your
comfort, support  and love.

Blessings in His name

barbara jean

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Things Change

Things Change....

This is a season of change for me.
Aging parents.....
Just putting my Dad in a care center.......the day before Thanksgiving.
The realization that he will not always be around, and with Alzheimer's has been leaving us for awhile already.
My heart is sad of late, and tears flow without warning.

Daughter and family moving out to the country....
Not a big change. They are still close......but my drop in visits do not occur often any more,
and I miss them.

A son who has moved to another country. Who is not here with family for Thanksgiving.
A granddaughter who is missing the dad who moved away and is feeling sad about change, too.

Changes, life is so full of changes.

In the midst of it all, realizing God never changes, He is forever the same, loving His children with a love we will never quite be able to grasp or fully comprehend.
And He uses the changes in our lives to change us, to draw us nearer to Him, to show a love and and peace that only He can give.

So yes, life changes. What will be my response??
Will I draw nearer to the God who loves me with an everlasting love???  Will I let that love touch my heart? Will I let Him change me? Will I be an example of His peace to those around me? Will I show the same grace to others as He has shown to me?? Will I use what I have learned to help others?

Lord, thank you for change. Thank you for using it help me grow.
I draw near to you, in this season of change.

Sweet blessings my friends, and His Love and peace in the midst of life's changes.

Barbara Jean

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Vacation Pics

 Huge hollowed out Redwood tree.
 It was really not very comfortable, but a great photo op.
 more of my gatherings
 This old guy watched over the entrance 
to the cabins where we stayed.
A very cool, old carved piece of driftwood. 
I think there is a dog laying at his feet, kind of behind him on left side.
 I know this looks sideways, but it is not. 
And it is not a  plastic mushroom as it might look.
 On one of our walks, this real mushroom was placed on this branch.
Someone had ofund it in the woods, I'm guessing,
and palced it three. Maybe to come back later and get it.
We have never seen anything like it.
Anyone know about it???
 This is an old water tower in one of the towns
I walked around while Scott played golf.
 And here are some really cool trees.
Scott said they are Cypress.
 He was showing me how these branches just grow up out of the ground,
or curve around and grow into the ground.
and we found lots of moss laden logs and trees.
I gathered lots for the sale in November at the store.

All for now. I think 1 more day of pics for you.
You will love what I will show you next time!!!!

barbara jean

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vacation Pics

We just got home from a wonderful weeks vacation in sunny California.
The area is called Point Arena and it is about 140 miles north of San Francisco.
I was going to tell you the above picture was our cabin,
but I knew you would not believe me....
So, here is the outside of our real little cabin.

And here is the row of the other 43 just like it!
 Our little kitchen.
 and living room. A total of 350 sq. feet.
Just right for two people who after 42 years have learned
to share quite well. =)

Here we are at breakfast.
 Miss frugal ( meaning me) tore the paper towels in quarters to use as napkins.
This is my sweet fella 'complaining' sweetly about it. 
"C'mon. Can't a guy even have a whole napkin around here?"
Sorry, hon, when you are frugal you are frugal, 
whether the paper goods were bought by us or someone else.
(I did relent, and gave him whole paper towels the rest of the time.
After all, my fella deserves the best!) =)

 Here are a few pics of the beautiful coastline.
In most of the area there were cliffs rather than beaches.
So relaxing to hear the waves hit the rocks.
We usually went for several walks a day.
 We did find a couple of areas where little beaches were accessible.

Tomorrow I'll show some pics of the gorgeous trees we saw, and
treasures we found..

Thanks for coming by.

barbara jean

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Outing at the Falls

Last week we went to Silver Creek Falls and hiked around.
can you see the water on the left?
I was actually in a recess behind one of the falls.
It was a perfect day.

My sweet fella helped fix a picnic lunch,
and after we hiked, and ate,
we did our Bible reading there in the park
with the sound of a stream in the background.
It was a wonderful day.

Beautiful falls....

and we even saw a giant lizard!
Isn't it great!!!

barbara jean

I'm joining outdoor Wednesday today.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Mini Coast Vacation

Yep. That's me, on a recent 2 day mini vacation.
We went to the coast.
Stood on the rocks watching the tide come in.
Splashing on the rocks.
Showing the mighty power of the Creator.
and that's me running away, when a wave got too close! =)
Here is my sweet fella enjoying the view too.
more waves. It was such a beautiful day.
Here is a whole pool of sea anemones.
It was a huge pool and I have never seen so many in one place.
My sweet fella being silly. =)

Even the simply Oyster shell fascinates me.
and little thingies attached to it.
Here we are going for a bike ride.
We had matching bikes. =)
Lots of sea gulls around....
till we ran out of crackers.

And here is my sweet fella again,
saying, thanks for coming by.

Blessings to all

barbara jean

This helped me, about my fear and anxiety

Courage is fear prayed for.

Everyone feels afraid many times during life. However, when the Bible instructs us to "fear not," it doesn't mean not to feel afraid; rather, it means to decide to press on even in the face of fear.

Several times, the Israelites were instructed to "be strong and courageous." For example, in Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses commanded Israel: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Even in the face of fear, we too must "be strong and courageous."

Indeed, we are encouraged in 1 Corinthians 16:13 to be men of courage; be strong. So, next time you feel afraid, overcome your feelings through prayer so that you can "be strong and courageous."

This is part of a morning devotional, Christ's Notes, that I read each day. It really helped me think about my fear (anxiety), in a different way.

That first paragraph, " Everyone feels afraid many times during life. However, when the Bible instructs us to "fear not," it doesn't mean not to feel afraid; rather, it means to decide to press on even in the face of fear." actually made me see I am a courageous person, a conqueror, because many times I have felt anxious, and I kept moving ahead with my day, my life.

I wake up anxious most mornings, and spend time trying to figure out why I am anxious, or trying to work through it, or beating myself up because the Bible said 'be anxious for nothing' and I feel anxious.

But, each day I do continue to get up, continue to function, continue to pray, continue to go on with life, continue to love and encourage and care about other people.

I do not take pills or drink to numb me, I do not just sleep the day away to escape the feelings I have.



I hope this will help you see yourself as a conqueror too.

barbara jean

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Life can be confusing

I'm sitting here this morning, with tears running down my face.

No, nothing horrible has happened.

That is part of what makes it confusing, hard.

If there were some big, sad thing, it would make sense.
It would make it.........OK? understandable? acceptable??

But there is nothing.

Then there is the soul searching.
What is causing the morning anxiety. The sad?

How much time to we spend on that? Trying to figure that out?

How many times we do claim the Lord's joy, and power, and peace, before we actually achieve it? Before we actually feel it?

How many hours a day can we work, how busy can we stay, to try to keep the feelings at bay?

Is there ever any understanding of what is going on?

Do we need to understand things in order to be healed?

If indeed healing is what needs to happen?

If there is wholeness at all?

Just wondering.

Tears have stopped, but emptiness? sadness? still there.

Time for my morning walk.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm seeing color again

I'm seeing color again.
For some time I have felt like I was under a cloud that was sucking the life out of me. As hard as I tried to focus on the Lord, it was like I just couldn't connect with Him. I either felt nothing, or felt like crying. I was going through the motions of life, but there was no joy.

Well, every moment was not like that, but the times of joy were fleeting. My grandchildren: they bring me joy. My sweet fella brings me joy. Serving others at the store brought me joy. But all in fleeting moments.
Anxiety overwhelmed me every morning when I got up, but waned as the day went on. Busyness would fill the spots where emptiness seemed to loom. But it only covered it up.
And the things that would usually cover it up no longer did it as well.

I prayed, I asked friends to pray. Still, some underlying darkness prevailed in my quiet moments.

Well, yesterday, and today I felt better. I felt like the cloud was lifting. I saw color again. I saw flowers instead of weeds. I saw the brightness of all God's creation around me. I saw hope.

Is there a secret, instant answer to how this happened? Did I do one certain thing that made yesterday and today better? No. I wish there was. I wish I could say to those of you who feel the same as I did, "do this, and it will all go away. Do that, and it will get better." But there isn't.

Saying to 'persevere', to 'hang in there', is easy to say, hard to do. But, we must do it.
We must continue to be willing to be healed, shaped, formed, loved.
I persevered. With the help of friends, I hung in there, although some days I slept extra, I watched TV more. I'm still here.

We must continue to cry out to God with out heartaches, our loneliness, our hurts. We must continue to praise and thank Him, even when we do not feel a thing when we say it. We must continue to have friends pray for us, even when we fear they are sick of hearing it. That is the enemy. He is a liar!! We are here to support each other in times of need. And we all have seasons when we need help. We need each other!

God knows our hearts. He knows our desire to please Him. He knows our desire to be whole, and healed. He is there, and willing. He is reaching out. He sees us as a blooming, and beautiful flower.
He rejoices over us with singing. He loves us.

Can you, will you, reach out to Him? Can you go just one more day? One more mile? One more step? YES. YOU CAN!!! YOU HAVE THE POWER OF THE RISEN LORD IN YOU!

God's blessings and peace as you walk with Him.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dancing Before the Lord.

My morning insight:

David shed his clothes to dance before the lord
His clothes represented encumbrances in his life.
Once removed he was free to dance.

Lord, Please help me not to be sidetracked by the things of this world.
Set me free from encumbrances, that I might freely dance before you.
Thank you Jesus. Amen

Sweet blessings friends.

barbara jean

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thank You

Taking a moment to thank the Lord for all His blessings.
Among them, my friends who take time to read this blog,
and the 100 that have so graciously signed up to follow it.

May God Bless you all with an awareness of His presence
as you walk each day trusting Him.
His Peace and Grace to you.

Barbara Jean

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hearing His Heart Beat

You know how a child sits on someones lap, and their head rests on that persons chest?
You can hear their heartbeat. It is very loud, and you can settle in and become focused on it.

This was my friends prayer for me today:

"Father, please show Miss Barbara Jean how special she is today. Hold her close to your heart, so close that the tempo and steadiness of its beat will calm her and give her peace. We thank you, because of your amazing grace, that we can come to you with our petitions and that you care about us so much! In Jesus name, Amen."

So, I closed my eyes, and envisioned myself as a child, sitting on Jesus lap. My head resting on His chest, His arms around me. I feel safe, and loved.
I was listening for His heartbeat.
Then I realized that the white noise of the computer was getting in the way. That I could not hear it clearly, or enjoy the peace it would bring.

So, as soon as I finish this, I am turning the computer off.
I'm going to sit with Jesus, let Him hold me tight, and listen to His Heart Beat. I'm going to receive the love and peace that only He can bring.

I hope you will take time to sit with Jesus. I hope you will quiet yourself, listen to His heartbeat, and feel surrounded by His love.

Blessings on your day.

barbara jean

Friday, April 29, 2011

Darkness or Light?

On the way to see my parents yesterday, I could not help
but notice how dark the sky was.
These pictures do not even come close to what I saw.
There was such a thick darkness, and it seemed to be everywhere.

It made me think of how dark, foreboding, and overpowering,
it can seem in this life sometimes.

I saw the clouds as evil, covering this earth, and
how sometimes we cannot see past it.
The darkness seems to overcome us.

I thought of the word "despair".
How sometimes we despair in the darkness of this world,
and life's circumstances.
How there seems to be no hope in things to come.

Then I noticed the light.
It seemed very far away, but it was there!
And the more I looked, the more light I saw.
I had to look past the overwhelming darkness,
and keep my eyes on the light.

Jesus is the light of the world.
He has overcome the darkness and despair of this world.
Christ gives us the strength to overcome.

" all these things we are more than conquerors
through Christ who strengthens us."
Romans 8:37

Blessings as you reach for His light.
Barbara Jean