Heaven Is Sounding Sweeter

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Psalm 30: 11-12 NIV

 

Journal – Around August 23:

I love you, Mama. You were a beautiful woman.  It was a privilege and honor to be your daughter.  So many things on my heart to say but I don’t know where to start.

You were there when I took my first breath and I was there when you took your last. Thank you for allowing me to be there in your last moment.

We were two peas in a pod you and I and I don’t know how I’m going to do life without you.  I think of so many things that I wish could have been done differently but I know you wouldn’t want me to have regrets. You’d want me to remember the good times and smile about them and think of you being happy.  You were happy much of the time.  You had been singing a lot the weeks before you passed.  And, even up to the last you held onto your sense of humor teasing us and making us laugh.

You were my confidant so many times and I was yours.  Everything just feels a little different now. I know God is with me and he understands my hurt.  I know I will feel his peace again and that he will help me say goodbye to what was and accept what is.

I love you so much, Mama. I wasn’t ready to let you go but I am happy for you because I know you are not suffering anymore.  Your mind is clear again and your bones are healed.  You are dancing on the streets of Gold.  I told you when I arrived on Saturday that we were going to dance. We never got to dance, but I’m sure Jesus is a better dance partner than me.

I’m sure you are busy catching up with everybody and telling Jesus how much you love him. You never lost your faith in him. Wait for me, Mama because I will see you again one day.  I truly understand now why people say heaven is sounding sweeter all the time.

Goodnight mama, thanks for everything. I will never forget you and I will always hold you close in my heart my sweet Ladybug.

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I believe the night I wrote the above entry was the night that I listened to Elvis hymns on my phone.  I used to sing songs to my mom at night and sometimes we’d listen to Elvis sing Peace in the Valley. One night after her death I couldn’t sleep, so I listened to Elvis until I was ready to sleep. Music is a wonderful way to remember someone and it can be therapeutic in the grief process.

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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Too Soon to Share

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 31:18

Journal – Sometime in mid to late August after losing my mom:

Grief is a funny thing. People deal with it in myriad ways. I suppose there is no right or wrong way. Right now my grief is new.  I take it out every now and then and look at it much like I would a shiny trinket or bauble that someone has given me that I don’t know quite what to do with yet.  I’m still figuring out how to process grief.

It’s not that I haven’t experienced grief before – I have, but you see, I’ve lost my mother and it’s a whole different wave of feeling.  I don’t know how to live with it yet. And, it’s too soon to share it with others.

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When I wrote those words it was after a rough couple of weeks, one in hospice and one preparing for burial.  I was still surrounded by people.  But then everyone went home.  I stayed with my Dad for a while and it was just the two of us left in the house.  I remember the Saturday that My husband, My sister and her friends left; the house felt so lonely.  The fact that Mom was no longer there was palpable and I could hardly stand it.

My Dad felt it too and so we did what we knew to do.  We took dishes back to people who had dropped off food and then we stopped by the cemetery. Each day after that for the first week we kept busy running errands and taking care of business.  In the doing, we were able to process slowly.

At night I’d go up to my room and read or catch up on social media because it hurt too much to think. I kept telling God that I knew he was with me and that he understood, I just didn’t understand yet. I had too many questions and too much hurt to let the floodgates open – I didn’t dare, but I knew that it would come eventually.

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

Come back tomorrow for more of the journey?  Just a reminder that I usually post later in the day. Clicking on the ladybug graphic will take you to the first page in this series with links to the daily posts. Thanks for reading!

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Write 31 Days – A Journey Through Grief

There is a table of contents at the bottom of this post for the #write31days challenge.

For the month of October, there will be a group of bloggers writing feverishly for the whole month (most days) and sharing thoughts with you on multiple topics.  It is called Write 31 Days.

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I’ve decided to take you on my journey of processing grief after losing my mother on August 13 of this year.  The grief is still raw and I don’t know how this journey will progress.  Some of the things I share with you will be notes and thoughts I kept on an app on my phone so that I could capture my thoughts about losing her while they were fresh. Those will be shared with minimal editing so that you can have a sense of my thought process.  Others will be current real-time thoughts as they happen to come along from day to day. There will also be memories because I am finding that the memories are an important step in navigating grief. I will also share scriptures that I find helpful in my journey. It won’t be strictly chronological but I think you’ll be able to follow my wandering.

One important thing to know.  I’m not sharing this to be sentimental or emotional, although there will be elements of that I’m sure.  I’m not sharing because I want people to constantly tell me how sorry they are.  I assume if you are a decent person, then on some level, you are sorry that I have lost someone I love. Many people have been more than kind with prayers, cards, and thoughts.   But rather I am sharing because writing is the only way I know to get my thoughts out of my head so that I can understand how I’m moving forward.  Since this is a journey I need to take I thought maybe you’d allow me to share it with you and maybe it will be helpful to you as well.

If you want to engage in conversation in the comments you are more than welcome to do so.  I’d love to hear how you process grief.  And, just as a final thought, I don’t consider grief to be all tears and downturned faces.  There are also moments of laughter, hope, and joy that my sweet Mama is now in the arms of Jesus. Hopefully, you will see elements of all that in the writing.

My hope is that it will speak to you and that someday hence it will not become a regret that I shared too much or allowed you to see the raw, tender places in the depths of my heart.

This post is day one and each day I will share a link below to the newest post.  Each daily post will give you a date or an approximate date that it was written just so you have somewhat of a timeline.

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I have more stories and memories to share on the blog so I hope you continue to check back. Thanks for reading!

Grace for the Journey,

Teresa

What I Learned In September (is it really over already?)

This month has fled by, but it has truly been a beautiful month and not just the weather, although that has been great.  We are officially into my favorite time of the year.  Hot Cocoa and cozy, fleecy, clothes here I come (if the hot flashes don’t flare too high).  I can’t wait to curl up in the evening with a good book and a throw; somehow with the sun going down earlier, I don’t feel as guilty about the extra couch time.  I love soup simmering in the crockpot smelling the house up with wonder.  Life seems to slow down to a simple pace that I can keep up with and hibernating seems to be an acceptable social more.  But, I digress…

What did I learn in September?  As usual, I was not very adept at jotting down things and my mental lists don’t stick around as long as they used to, so I am just going to share some highlights.

1. I learned that my nephew is awesome.  Ok, so I already knew that, but he is an awesome singer and guitar player. A recent video he shared with me confirmed that he is, in fact, pretty awesome.  He is auditioning live this weekend at the Hoedown in the Holler Star Competition. Click on the picture below (when he was a wee lad) and it should take you to his video on FB.

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2.  I learned that Emily Freeman and Christa Wells are awesome.  Ok, so I already knew that as well, but it sure was great to sit under their storytelling this past Saturday at the Nester’s Barn and learn so many nuggets.  I am still processing and it usually takes me a few days to gather all my thoughts and write a post about them.  It may be November before I write about it, but rest assured I will write about the experience.

3.  One sweet thing that I will share from the Writer’s Event is about my Sense of Place.  Y’all they talked about our sense of place. You may or may not have noticed that the tagline on my blog (go ahead look up there at the top by the blog title) is a sense of place.  A  few  months back, I decided that my blog needed a tag line.  A real tag line that sort of defined what my blog was about, not just a random quote that changed often, or nothing at all, which is how it had been for a long time. While looking back through several of my posts, I realized that the one’s that spoke the most about who I am and what makes my heart soar were the posts that spoke of my sense of place – in my world and my family – the one’s that defined me and what I am about. I even had a post from 2011 that was titled Sense of Place, so to me it made sense for that to be my tagline.  Hearing those words at the Writer’s event was just like a confirmation that I was on the right track. I love it when those chill bump moments happen.  God has been working on me little by little to help me settle into his plans and trust the direction he is leading.

4. I discovered that I really like the Charlotte area of North Carolina and could probably live there.  Although, I don’t really like traveling down Interstates 64 and 77 to get there because it actually feels a lot more like traveling up in so many places and don’t even get me started on the curves in West Virginia, thank you very much.

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5.  Part of settling into God’s plans involved my husband opening the doors of our home to teach piano students. We don’t know where this will lead, but it is a start on doing fulfilling work in a small town that does not offer much for a classically trained pianist.  We even have a Facebook page for the studio.  I have lots of dreams and possible plans wobbling around on the back side of my mind for how this could all expand, but we’ll see how God is leading.

6.  Finally, nothing new, but I am a very last minute person.  I am still figuring out what my 31 Days will be about this year.  And the link-up is tomorrow evening.  I have jotted down notes and thoughts, but have not sank into a topic as of yet.  But, there is hope, so stay tuned and come back sometime tomorrow evening-ish for the big reveal. Because, I do know I want to accept the challenge. And hey, if you are reading this before noon -ish tomorrow, feel free to leave a suggestion about what you’d like for me to write about.  In case you are worried about my last minute, barely skidding to the link-up on time ways, just know that I once wrote a college term paper in a weekend.  I got an A- thank you very much. It might have helped that my professor really liked me and I was her work study, but still. I seem to work well under pressure.

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I Need Lots of Grace,

Teresa

(more) Random Favorites III – 31:31

Today is the end of the 31 days of writing.  I am patting myself on the back just a little that I made it for the entire 31 days.  I wasn’t sure what direction to go for my last post in this series.  I thought it should be something profound or gasp worthy. You know, go out with a bang! So you’d come back for more. The truth is, I still have lots of favorites marinating around in the back of my head and I couldn’t quite choose just one.  I thought about a list of my favorite quotes, or talking about my favorite ice cream.  Finally, I decided to just go with another list of random favorites.

1.  Current favorite ice cream – Kroger Private Selection Denali Caramel Caribou Ice Cream.  You can thank me later. After you have experienced it’s smooth creamy decadence.

2. One of my favorite magazines – Country Living.  I first fell in love with CL in my early 20’s when I was in full mode country decor phase.  In many ways I guess I would still be somewhat of a country decor gal, but not so much the layered country look.  Although if you came to my house right now you’d probably tell me it looked layered. In recent years CL has gone with a simple, clean, crisp country look for the most part. And they have kept up with the current trend of going vintage to re-purpose items.

3.  One of my favorite decorating elements is old windows:

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This is leaning in my kitchen window – the lights were up at Christmas.

4.  Using white lights and tulle to decorate for Christmas and silver ornaments:

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5.  My favorite Italian Restaurant – Melini Cucina.  We have eaten there several times and have never been disappointed.  The food is well worth the wait and everything I have tried has been wonderful.  My mouth is watering now just thinking about it.

6.  In closing I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes:

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for info about Marcus Tullius Cicero click here

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PM.mail.quote7.  And a favorite scripture quote – I discovered this one several years ago and I thought it was good advice:

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Enjoying favorites in grace,

Teresa (Sadie Grace)

Favorite Book (one of) – 31:30

For me to say I have a favorite book would be like asking Imelda Marcos to choose a favorite pair of shoes.  Although, I don’t think I have quite as many books as she did shoes, nor, do I think you can compare my love of books with her love of shoes.  I think the motives behind the love are different.  Still, you must get the point.  I could never have just one favorite book.

Some of  my books in the book hutch that found me
Some of my books in the book hutch that found me

I love books, and given cash to shop I would more than likely spend the money on books rather than shoes.  Shoes wear out and go out of style.  Books are timeless.  A good book transcends time and is relevant throughout the ages.

This would be where I would now list a very classic book that has been around since forever, proving it’s timelessness, that all great literary persons have read and recommend.  Except, I am not.  The book I have chosen to talk about today would be considered shallow by a lot of book lovers.

It’s a romance novel; one of the few books I’ve read more than once, or even twice and will probably read again at some point in the future.  I love all manner of books. And if you browse my shelves you will notice everything – children’s, classics, novels, self-help, organization, home decor, hymn books, Bibles, bible commentaries, inspirational, devotional, spiritual growth, humor, history, poetry….Some of the books would be profound and some would be fluff.  I have a pretty wide range of interests. But, I have always loved a good romance.

I grew up reading Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring Romance novels.  There were very few books that were mom-approved for my reading list.  Harlequin romance novels were off-limits, although I have read a few in my time.  My mom considered them not fit for my teenage mind.  I think some of them had a few bad words and too much kissing.

As I have gotten older the romance novel has interested me less, unless it is very well-written.  Which is why I think I still like some of the Emilie Loring books.  Even though they can be cliche, she still has somewhat of a classic style.  She has good description and she occasionally quotes snippets of classic poems, showing that she was well-read.  There is of course somewhat of a formula to romance novels, which is to be expected, but I think that was part of the attraction.  They provided a chance to escape for a while.  I could get lost in someone else’s life and imagine my life a little different, if just for awhile.

My favorite Emilie Loring book is Forsaking All Others.  It is about a young and upcoming stage actress who has become the guardian of her young nephew and for the sake of his health must give up her career and move to a better climate.  There is also a very young doctor who needs a wife to protect his reputation in a very gossipy dessert town. Throw in the older, mutual friend, who thinks marriage between the two would solve both their problems and you have the basic plot for a marriage of convenience that might just turn into real love.  Sappy, I know.  What can I say.  But there you have it. One of my favorite all time romance novels is Forsaking All Others.

A few months ago, I decided I needed to find a hardback copy of this book.  I found a first edition library copy at a reasonable price, so purchased it.  When it arrived I read the book again.  It did not disappoint. It now sits in the book hutch that found me waiting patiently to be loved again.

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My book hutch now, with a few more books than the first picture.   Notice the copy of Shakespeare on the top shelf?
My book hutch now, with a few more books than the first picture. Notice the copy of Shakespeare on the top shelf?  I have other shelves of books too.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite romance book?  A favorite any book?  You can click here for more about my reading habits.

Reading in grace,

Teresa (Sadie Grace)

New Favorites (salty and sweet)- 31:29

A series on favorites would not be complete without new favorites that I have found. Just in this past week, actually.  And they are both connected. In a round about way.

Let me explain.  There is this wonderfully cheeky blog called BooMama. Go ahead, check her out, but please come back here when you’re finished.

Back?  OK.  Isn’t she funny?  She takes the ordinary stuff of life, the mundane even and elevates it to a whole new level.  She makes me laugh almost every time I read her.  Sometimes she does serious and she does it well.  But, she is primarily a very inspiring, funny lady.  I would say she could hold her own with Chonda Pierce.

But, if you read close she is more than just a funny lady.  She has depth and character.  It shines through.  I relate to her.  She writes as if she has been inside my head picking at my thoughts.

I have been reading her blog for a while now.  I think I found her while reading another blog.  Either someone had a link to her, or she left a comment somewhere and I was intrigued to go check her out.  Glad I did.

So, the new favorites are both thanks to BooMama.  She does have a name.  It is Sophie.  Read her about me page to find out about the BooMama. Anyway, she had a recent post about my new favorite pie and I am not even a pie person.

You can ask Rocky, when I took the first bite of this pie (about 30 minutes after it came out of the oven) all warm and delectable, I practically swooned. It was Facebook status worthy, with a link and everything.  See:

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It is that good and only 3 something at Wal-Mart, or the Wal-mart’s as BooMama would say.  She is from the deep south, y’all.

I plan to buy more for the freezer just in case.  It is hands down the best apple pie I have ever eaten, including any homemade that I may have had.  If you have ever made  me homemade apple pie, please don’t be insulted.  I’m sure yours was good, it’s just that these are sooooo good.  Save yourself time and just stock up on the Ultimate Plush Pippin Deep Dish Apple Pie. OK. You can thank me later.

So, you may have noticed some books on the left of my Facebook screen shot.  This would bring me to my second new favorite discovered just yesterday.  Y’all!  BooMama has a book.  I knew she had a book and I had filed the information in the back of my mind as a book I’d like to read.  I finally ordered it the other day (and got free 2-day shipping thanks to my free trial of Amazon Prime.  Thanks to my new friend Karin for explaining how this works – I will probably cancel my Netflix and go with prime – it’s a win, win). Ok, back to the book.  It came yesterday (two days after I ordered it).

I started reading it yesterday evening.  When Rocky went to bed around midnight, I was still reading.  I wanted to finish a chapter.  I read another chapter.  And around page 67, I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to lose bladder control and poor Rocky probably wondered what in the world.  I was laughing so hard, the pages were in danger of becoming water-soaked from the tears.  I can’t wait to finish the book!

And just so you know, BooMama (Sophie Hudson), Wal-mart and Maplehurst Bakeries, did not have anything to do with this post or the rave reviews.  It was all me sharing the new loves I found.

What are some new favorites you have discovered lately?  If your answer is nothing, then maybe it’s time to get out of your rut and discover something new.  It doesn’t have to be major, simple will do.  Like the simple pleasure of a delightful book and a scrumptious slice of pie. You may need a little salty to cut the sweet.

discovering the new, in grace,

Teresa (sadie grace)