As a writer, of sorts, it’s probably not appropriate to make up silly words like I just did for this title.  But, it popped into my head, so there you go!

This week marked the one-year anniversary of my first blog post on this site.  As with the commemoration of so many key dates, we often are torn between how quickly the time goes, on one hand, and how it has painfully crawled along on the other.

I have some of those same emotions over this date.  In some ways, it seems like a lifetime ago when I clearly felt God directing me to work through this deep sorrow by writing about it.  And yet, I’m surprised by the realization that a year has passed.

I just reread the original post and it brought back many of the feelings I had then – excitement, but a bit of trepidation stepping into a world I knew very little about.  Blogging OR widowhood!

While wedding anniversaries are a time of reminiscing over all that a couple has shared together, so this anniversary will be one where I reminisce about all that has transpired from a ministry perspective.

The timing is appropriate because just a few days ago, I gave my newly “retooled” videotaped presentation to a group of friends at my church.  It felt like a new beginning – and one clearly led by God.

Maybe more than anything this past year, that’s what I take away from this.  Even though I’ve been a believer since I was 14-years-old, I have never so clearly seen God open up doors, drop people into my life when I most needed their expertise AND their kindnesses, and time after time give me words to express ideas and concepts that seemed to land in my mind out of “nowhere.”

It’s an incredible, humbling experience to be used by the Almighty God!  And I’m so grateful that He can take this pain of widowhood and use it to help others learn how to bless their hurting friends.  It is so like God to not waste an ounce of our pain, but to use it for good in this fallen world.

I’ve written about how the second year of widowhood is so much harder than the first, and as I was living that reality and struggling with extra difficult weeks recently, I tried to develop the infamous “attitude of gratitude.”  It might be a silly, secular idea, but there is also much biblical support for embracing this. (See my closing scripture.)

So, I decided one of the best ways to escape the daily heartache of this season (widowhood AND this nasty winter!) would be to look for blessings in Every. Single. Day.  It really isn’t that hard.  Every day does have good things and one of the blessings that rose to the top of the list was this ministry.

For the first time in almost 20 years, I don’t have any (human) family members whose care is my sole responsibility.  For the first time since I started working at the Pella Super Valu in 1971, I don’t have a job to fill up my days.  This ministry is now my life’s calling – and I take it seriously!

And the purpose and joy and excitement and insights and spiritual growth it brings to my life cannot be understated.  I’m grateful beyond measure.  If you haven’t been to the ministry website, I’d love for you to visit!

For those who have prayed with me, cried with me, laughed with me, challenged me, and simply hung in there with me through this last year – THANK YOU from the bottom of this grateful heart.  YOU are a blessing that rose to the top as well.

I look forward to the year ahead, not knowing often from day to day what that looks like.  Quite a change for this Type A planner!  But a more sovereign Planner is now in charge and I yield to His vision.

So, whether you spend your days in the workplace rat race, at home with children, in school, volunteering, or occupied by any other busy-ness that the world can throw at you, I pray that you too can put your trust in that same all-powerful and all-knowing Planner!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“You’re Still the One”

Every now and then, my country music roots show up in a blog post.  Usually accompanied by some kind of apology to those of you who aren’t fans!  So, I’m sorry…again.  😊

Now many of you would probably place Shania Twain in some sort of cross-over category and that’s fine.  But back in 1997, I purchased her newly released album entitled, “Come On Over.”  And of course, I proceeded to listen to all the cuts on the album.

When I got to the song, “You’re Still the One,” I immediately thought, “THIS is OUR song!”  So, I excitedly called Dale into the kitchen and told him to listen to this because it was OUR song!  Yes, I did feel pretty strongly about that, can you tell??  Dale wasn’t quite as “over the moon” as I was, but did agree that it represented our relationship pretty well.

There were several lines in the song that especially jumped out at me.

Ain’t nothin’ better

We beat the odds together.

I’m glad we didn’t listen.

Look at what we would be missin’

They said “I bet they’ll never make it”

But just look at us holdin’ on.

We’re still together still goin’ strong.

 As you can imagine, our 20-year age difference caused many to question just how long this relationship would last.  I found out years after our wedding that one of my aunts said this to another relative ON OUR WEDDING DAY, “I’ll give it a year.”

Honestly, it just makes me chuckle now after our 31-year marriage.  And a few years into that marriage, this same aunt, who has since passed away, would often write to me and include this in her letters, “Say Hi to the noble Dale.”  So, whenever I passed the greeting along, he’d say, “That’s a good thing, right?”  Yes, honey, that’s a very good thing – especially coming from my very happily single Aunt Margaret.

So, why write about this now?  Well, for some reason this song from 20-some years ago has been getting some playing time on my country radio station over the past couple of weeks.  And it’s made its way back into my psyche a bit – with a mixture of warm fuzzies for the joy of experiencing that together, and heartache over the loss of that kind of love.

So on this Valentine’s Day, celebrating all things “love,” I’d like to once again claim this as OUR song.  Despite all that’s we’ve gone through, and all the emptiness from these past 16 months, I can still, without hesitation say to Dale, “You’re still the one.”  Thank you, God, for blessing me with a love like that.

I pray that somewhere in your life, you, too, have experienced that kind of love.  If not with a spouse, then through the love of Jesus, which is greater than anything we humans can muster up in our own strength.  Ultimately, HE, Jesus is the One.

Take a walk down memory lane, by listening to Shania here.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13


I Lost My Processor!

Don’t panic!  Don’t call the Geek Squad!  It’s not my computer processor that I’ve lost.  I don’t really even have one anymore since it’s all in my laptop.

No, the processor I’m talking about is my husband.  One of the things I’m missing a lot lately is the daily “processing” of our lives together.  Most of it was pretty mundane, if I think back on it.  Just the minutiae of living life with someone for over 35 years.

We were blessed to have a relationship that allowed for discussion on pretty much any topic.  So, of course, Dale was my “go to” guy no matter what I needed to talk about.  And, when I shared something I was struggling with, his goal, like most men, was to get it fixed for me.  My goal was for him to listen to me, and maybe feel just a little sorry for me!

He was the first one I wanted to tell when something wonderful happened in my day.  And he would always celebrate and rejoice with me.

I know men say a LOT fewer words in a day than we women, but I was also Dale’s “go to” person when he wanted to share anything good or bad that was going on in his life.  It was just part of the rhythm of our lives together.

I miss that…every day.

Even when he was at the assisted living facility, I still talked to him at least twice a day on the phone, and went to see him almost every day.  Yes, the processor was losing a little of its battery, but it was still there.

I think that trying to find a new normal in my life has shined a light on this emptiness I’m currently struggling with.  Honestly, it’s extremely lonely.  Yes, I talk to my animals (like Dr. Doolittle…), but there’s not much conversation happening.

I do have friends that I process parts of my life with, sometimes on a daily basis, and I’m extremely grateful for that.  Recently, one of those friends was on an extended vacation out of the country in a very weird time zone 😊, with few opportunities to connect.  That was also a very tangible absence.

All of this caused me to take a closer look at what I should be learning through this.  I know God works through our trials, and I’ve learned to expect insights from Him any time a new heartache finds its way into my life.

I found that the lesson God was teaching me here wasn’t a new revelation.  He has tried to teach me this before!  But, how often does it take multiple knocks on our head to get our attention from God!?  I’m grateful for His patience!!

What He has shown me, once again, is that He is my All-Sufficiency.  When I’m sad or lonely or hurting or grieving, my “go to” guy should be God.

One of my favorite verses is from Philippians 4:6-7 which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

There is so much comfort in this verse, and it’s a great reminder that we can and should take everything that causes us to be anxious or hurting to the God Who knows us better than we know ourselves.  He CAN give us that famous “peace that passes all understanding.”

Yes, He does still bless us with friends and family and Church family who can lift us up during our hard times – and they are from Him – but I must remind myself that God should be where I want to run FIRST.

So, who is your processor?  If you’re married, it’s likely your spouse.  Or it might be a parent or child or best friend.  Someone in your life helps you work through the good and bad of your days.

Just a couple thoughts to ponder here.  As God is trying to teach me, do you find that you go first in prayer to Him?  Or are you processing everything through an earthly relationship?  I have been and continue to be guilty of this, too.

Do you take your processor for granted?  It’s VERY easy to do that.  I’m sure I did that for most of our married lives.  And, let’s face it, not every part of our processing is kind and unselfish and patient and…  Oh no, sometimes processing is just arguing!  So, it’s hard to always appreciate THOSE times.

But I challenge you to look at this part of your life through a lens of gratitude, knowing that someday, you too may lose your processor.

May God ALWAYS be the One you can count on!

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18