That “C” Word and My Mom

Today’s post is through the eyes of Gretchen Robards, a photographer, willing to allow me to honestly write about her vulnerability and struggle  as she watched her mom, (Sara), go through cancer treatments while grieving the unexpected death of her uncle soon after her mom’s diagnosis. ________________________________________________ I see you there, you are strong and strong-willed, hard working, giving, dedicated, a prayer warrior whose humor can penetrate the hardest moment. Of course you’ve always been there, you’re my mom, you’re supposed to be there.  But then came that call when I was in New York…so far from you and home and fear gripped me. That dreaded “C” word. Twelve hours away and all I wanted was my mom, but you were the one...

Being hammered; on the anvil of change

Feel as if you are on or have been on the anvil? The pounding and the hammering hurts. It’s not easy being shaped. Purging those character traits that are so engrained takes time and unfortunately, a lot of pain. It isn’t out of anger or punishment that you are being molded, it’s out of love. It may appear as if God doesn’t care, that He’s even removed His hand. It may seem that He is either ignoring you or coming down hard on you…depending upon where your emotions tend to land – the ditch of despair, or the ditch of pride. Our tendency is to run, to hide, to beg God to remove the adversity, remove the pain. We naturally question why a loving God would allow such burdens, rather than understanding that He is teaching us...

Past shame doesn’t cancel your future

John 4:1-42 The woman at the well that day wasn’t expecting to meet the Messiah. Most likely, the fact that she had come during the heat of the day implies that she wasn’t expecting to meet anyone. She didn’t have to overhear the whispers to know what she was. Draped with shame, she was a woman living an immoral lifestyle.  Who would want to be seen with her? How shocked she was when Jesus, a Jewish man sitting at the well, asked her for a drink. It’s obvious from her past, that she was used to dealing with men, but Jewish men didn’t talk to Samaritan women let alone ask something from them.  Her words at first seem almost playful but notice that when Jesus reveals information about her life and the choices she’s made, she becomes a little more...

Throwback to the family dinner table

The smell of the swirling, creamy soup laced with tomatoes, loaded with potatoes drove my sense of smell crazy. Mom’s potato soup served on a crisp fall day was the perfect ending to a day at home. I was raised in a home where store bought cookies were only bought during special times like a family vacation.  My mom’s grocery list each week consisted of very basic staples like sugar, flour, tea, pasta and milk.  If she wanted to fix chicken for supper, she’d go out and wring a chicken’s neck. If she wanted beef, she’d open the freezer and pull out Petunia, the black Angus’ blessing to us. If she wanted to have warm bread for her family, she spent the afternoon kneading and allowing dough to rise. If ice cream sounded good...

Humble hero; filling his room with faces saved

During the time of the Nazi death camps, 669 Jewish Czechoslovakia children survived because of the heart of one man. Children like these in the picture below -  snatched from the jaws of death. They were part of an organized rescue operation by Sir Nicholas Winton. He took them to Great Britain from 1938-1939.  Years later, his wife found a scrap book – with the pictures of the children and their information. He had not spoken of this to her. The video below (at the end of the post) is from 1988, when he saw those “children,” fifty years later…without even knowing it was them. When he saw all those faces, did the memories flood his mind? Did he see frightened little children so vulnerable in the clutches of such evil? Was he humbly...

A year since that last breath

It’s been a year since I watched you take those last, drawn-out breaths. I always pictured myself in the barn as you would take that very last one…you weren’t there anyway, you were already on your way to glory. I had left your side…I had to get some fresh air. I couldn’t breath for you, I couldn’t take that last gasp for you but I could feel your presence in that sacred place between the sweet scent of straw and the thickened winter coat of the animals. I’d only be gone for a few minutes. I hear my brother-in-law whistle for me and I knew… you had completed your purpose and work here. You were now immersed in the holiness of God. You felt no pain, no sorrow, no more struggle, no more gasping, no more… you were...

How to rethink the holidays when you are grieving

For most, the holidays are a time of anticipation and joy. For others, they bring a sense of dread and a deeper feeling of loss. They are struggling with raw and ripping wounds. The loss, the shattered dreams are slapping them in the face every single day. Twinkling lights, merry music, snowy paths and a tree surrounded by wrapped presents are only a reminder of who’s not there, what’s missing, suffering, grief, loss. For those single moms it can be a ridiculously stressful time – it’s hard enough to do it alone but throw in all the expectations and extra expenses and she feels like she might as well count on barely being able to breath through these times of celebrations.  A family in crisis is more vulnerable for blow-ups and chaos and...

May friendship, encouragement and grace abound!