The City That Is to Come

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.       Hebrews 13:14 ESV

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VISION

My heart is overwhelmed with sadness and grief

My soul cannot bear it alone

Lifes storms are too great for my steadfast feet

My spirit is sinking – I’m almost gone

But someone is reaching to take my burden away

He has a spirit of kindness and love

His touch has vanished the night into day

I’m light and free as the dove

He draws me nearer and nearer to his heavenly throne

and let’s me see visions of that city fair

I fancy I see loved ones perfectly at home

Basking in the sunshine of his presence – God’s son!

Written by

Letha Bernice Tackett

April 3, 1982

I wrote on Day 3 That Heaven’s Sounding Sweeter All the Time. I remember the night I first had those thoughts.  I was cocooned in the upstairs room that my Mom had wallpapered so beautifully.  I was waiting for sleep to come and thoughts flooded my mind and I spoke them into my phone app so I wouldn’t forget them.

In those moments if Jesus had said come I would have gone gladly.  Honestly, I think in those moments the reality of heaven spread over me in a way it never had before.

It is beginning to dawn on me that we have to live in the reality of heaven’s sweetness in order to truly be at peace in this life. We don’t really belong to this world if we are in Christ; We are just pilgrims passing through.

Click to hear the song, Heaven’s Sounding Sweeter All The Time

 

Grace for the Journey,

Teresa

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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POSTSCRIPT:

Thank you so much for reading along with me on this grief journey.  I have many more stories to share when the time is right, but for now, if you will grant me grace, I am going to stop shy of the 31 days.  I will be spending the day Saturday with a dear friend and then going home to spend a few days with my Dad.

I will probably take next week off, then when I’m back home I want to do a recap of what the past few weeks have taught me about my grief journey.  I am not naive enough to think that I can write for a few days and be over the grief.  Grief is an ongoing journey and once you have had a great loss it will always be with you, so I’m sure there will be many things to discover going forward.

I will be back to share more stories of my Mom, family, and other things.  I hope that you will stick around and continue reading.  I hope you have found hope and encouragement during this series.  I know you have been a tremendous encouragement to me.  Many of you have been gracious to tell me and that has been a blessing.

I hope you have enjoyed the poems of my mother’s that I have shared with you.  If they bring you comfort you are free to share but please make sure you credit them to her.  I’m hoping to find a way to publish all her poems in a collection.  I think that would please her very much.  She was a wonderful, creative, caring person and I want to pass her legacy on to her family and friends.

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Christ Our Only Hope

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Isaiah 15:55

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Is Death The Victory

What is it that comes trespassing on my threshold,

Trying to seize me as its prey?

It has come unexpectedly; a peculiar unwanted guest.

It seems to be a shadow, robbing self of its rest.

Countless times it comes to scores with me

In sickness, peril, or accidents unavoidable.

It is there, this dreaded enemy;

It seems to be allowing time, yet it has no timetable.

Is there no way to escape that my spirit might be free

From this visitor who at my appointed time will join ranks with me?

To think I could escape would be pretending a farce.

I’d be robbed all joys of living; left hopeless without faith.

Ah! There is another victor stronger than death itself.

By the eye of faith, I vision everlasting life.

My faith soars upward as on an eagle’s wing

Christ’s is the final victory; O death where is thy sting!

 

Written By Letha Bernice Tackett

Fall 1975

“I do believe Christ is the only hope.” Those words were written by my Mom at the end of the above poem.  She was right.  Christ is our only hope.  If we are in Christ, death has no victory over us. She is now enjoying everlasting life. Even in my grief, I recognize that the victory is now hers and I am happy that she is soaring on Eagles wings.

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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The Rainbow

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Journal – Thoughts from September 26, 2018:

The day we took Mom to hospice my cousin Patsy was with us.  She was a great support to us, not just during hospice, but from the beginning of the Alzheimer’s journey.  She is still in our corner and I am thankful for her.  We tell her she is the oldest child, Mom’s first child as Mom helped care for her when she was a baby.  She calls to check on us and she has come down to spend time with my father.  I don’t think we could handle this journey without her.

Patsy had a place in Mom’s heart long before she had her own children. Which is why I tell Patsy she is the older sister.

Patsy stayed with Mom that first night in Hospice while I took Dad home.  It had rained earlier and as we were driving home there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  A reminder of God’s faithfulness.  I knew it was a message for us that all would be well. I remember going to bed that night praying for God to be with Mom and for his will to be done.  I was hoping for some kind of miracle; hoping that the x-ray they were taking would show nothing broken even though we’d already been told that it was more than likely. Still, I was finding hope in a rainbow.

The next morning when we arrived back at hospice the doctor came in and confirmed our worst fears, that she was, in fact, suffering from a terminal injury.  I remember letting the news sink in and going a little numb.  No matter how much you are told in advance, you are never truly prepared for the moment when you have to face the inevitable.  We made calls to the family and prepared to stay by her side for as long as she was with us.

That second evening my Dad planned to stay and Patsy was going to go back home with me.  Before we left we ran out to get dinner for my dad.  On the way to the restaurant once again there was a rainbow in the sky.  Another promise.  This time I knew the promise did not hold a miracle this side of heaven but instead was a reminder that God is faithful, even in death. It was something to hold on to. He would give us new mercies.

When we knew that Mom would not be coming home again and that we’d need to be making arrangements for a service, Dad said he wanted one of Mom’s poems to be put on the memorial card and read at her service.  While looking through her poetry I came across one she’d written in 1974 called, The Rainbow.  It was the only choice because God had already pointed it out to us in the sky.

The Rainbow - Bernice Tackett. take 2. edited

Grace for the journey,

Teresa

Rainbow picture credit: Photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

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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Prompted By A Sunday Afternoon Drive

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This is definitely my time of year.  I can not soak up enough of the color that is in the air and on the trees.  It has prompted me on a couple of occasions to wax poetic.

 

Still

100_3774.3“Winding Roads wrap around my soul like a scarf splashing orange and red Autumn. 

Fiery hues consume me and lift me up to blue heaven. 

I soak in the peace and am grateful for His art and how it hushes me. 

Hope breathes still.”  

TLH

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I ask my husband every year to keep October as open as possible so we can bask in the glory of the season.  He tries, but usually still books too heavily.  Yet, we manage to squeeze in drives here and there.

This past Sunday, late afternoon, we made one last trek to gather up what was left of the color near Cave Run Lake.  It was a gorgeous day and I snapped a few pictures as usual.  I thought I would share them with you today.

My camera simply cannot capture the magnificence of God’s paintbrush, but it will give you an idea of the beauty that abounds in my neck of the woods!

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MY OCTOBER “The wind sifts through the trees, harmonizing with the trill of a bird, not yet gone south. The nearby creek thunders through the woods with a mighty roar. October leaves dance, swaying from green to gold, dipping into amber and orange, blazing fire red against a scrap of blue sky that hovers just above the stately mountains. The sun warms the crisp air and I sigh contentedly from my perch on the porch rocker knowing that at last My October has arrived.” TLH

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Wrapping color in grace,

Teresa

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For the complete Prompted to Write Series that is part of the Write 31 Days of October. click the button to the left.

Grace Came Down In A Barn

I wrote the title after the The Barn event and before Thanksgiving, knowing I wanted to write about the experience, but also knowing that I wasn’t quite ready yet.  Thoughts were marinating in the recesses of my mind, traveling on a journey filled with so many emotions.  I wanted to absorb, think, process.  Then write.  Honestly, I’m still not sure I can put into words exactly what I’m trying to say. If you were there, then you know.

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If you were there, you understand how words can’t really describe what happened. You understand that much of what was said could only come from grace.  His grace bestowed upon us.  His grace allowing Emily’s heart to speak to us. His grace opening our hearts to the poetry of our art. Thank you Emily, for helping me to see that I am a poem created by God to be used in his image. I don’t know what that means yet, for this stage of my journey, but I know it matters.

It matters that I was there.  It matters that I was in the presence of people that God chose ahead of time to put in my path.  God does not work in coincidence.  He goes ahead of us on the journey preparing the way. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) He knew in 2008, that I would be in the barn in 2013 and he knew it would matter.

In 2008 I stumbled across the Proverbs 31 devotional blog on Crosswalk.com, Encouragement for Today, purely by an accidental click of the mouse.  This lead to reading them on other occasions, which introduced me to The Nester, Myquillyn Smith, when she guest posted, which in turn introduced me to Chatting At The Sky and Emily Freeman. And then, in 2013 I discovered Emily’s book a million little ways and  I came to The Barn.

Where I met Emily Freeman, Myquillyn Smith and Renee Swope (from Proverbs 31) and a few other wonderful people.  When I entered the door of the barn, grace was extended by a hug from Emily and a gracious welcome. Hearing her speak was a delightful experience.  After the event, meeting Myquillyn, accompanied by a hug, was a blessing.   She and Emily have both inspired me so many times through their blogs and I found them both to be sincere and real. During the event, I was seated at the same table as Renee, who has also inspired me with her writing .  It was during a conversation with Renee that she said something that stuck with me.  She was sharing a situation in which God told her “don’t resist or resent”.  I knew God intended for me to hear those words. He knew in 2008 where I would be in 2013 and what my situation would be.  He knew I would need to hear those words.  It never ceases to amaze me how God puts people in our path at just the right moment.

Resisting and Resenting had both been paramount in my life for the past 12-18 months.  I had not really admitted that to myself, but just those simple words from Renee opened my eyes.  My husband and I moved home in June of 2012 to be closer to my parents who needed help due to health issues – mainly my mother.  Her illness has been very difficult and heartbreaking.  I have resented that she and we have had to go through this.  I don’t ‘understand why.  I can’t figure out how it fits into the future we thought we were going to have.

The barn reminded me that I don’t have to figure it out. I know that God’s grace is enough. God also knew in 2008 that I would need to read Emily’s book and hear her speak about how “God is the artist and he has made us.  We are his poem and we will make art.”  Whatever our circumstances, if we submit to his will, I know that he will allow us to make art. It may not look like the art I thought we were supposed to make, but if it is his art working through us, it will be even more beautiful than I imagined.

How do I know this? GRACE CAME DOWN IN A BARN.

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Making art in Grace,

Teresa

Favorite Season – 31:24

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Fall. Y’all.  I’m an Autumn girl for sure.

These are Just a few of my favorite things of fall:

1.  Cooler temperatures

2.  The splash of fall color

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3.  Hot Apple Cider

4.  The smell of Cinnamon

5.  A pot of soup simmering on the stove

6.  White Pumpkins

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7.  My October

8.  Curling up all cozy with a favorite book

9.  Bringing out the quilts

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10.  The satisfying crunch of leaves under foot

11. Shades of Indigo

What about you.  What is your favorite season and why?  What are your fall favorites?

Falling into Grace,

Teresa (Sadie Grace)

 

 

Favorite Emily – 31:4

Everybody has a favorite Emily.  I’m sure. I actually know, or know of, a few Emily’s. I could probably find reasons to say they are all my favorite Emily, but today I will focus on the one long gone. She inspires me in so many ways, but she is elusive and often obscure. That is probably one of the many reasons that I admire her.

She has a way with words that is both simple and complex.  Sometimes what you see on the surface is not what is really going on below the depths. She adds hue to the words in such a way that you want to pick them up and use them to color your world. You know that somehow if you could borrow from her palette you would paint a masterpiece.

In her later years she lived a quiet life among her flowers, wearing white and seeing only those close to her. She preferred to correspond via letters.  I imagine she found it easier to relate from behind closed doors using the written word to convey her thoughts rather than converse face to face.  This too is just one of the ways I can relate to her.

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original.Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original. Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

If you are not familiar with her, allow me to introduce to you Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most prolific poets.   After her death, several of her poems were found organized in portfolio’s and even more were found in a chest.  They were written on scraps of paper and untitled.  I too am a paper scrap writer, jotting down random thoughts on whatever happens to be available.  At our house scraps of paper cannot be thrown away without being read first, as they might contain the words to my great masterpiece. Or not.

Her poems are collected here if you are interested in reading them.  In closing I will share with you one of my favorite Dickinson poems.  Okay, maybe two.

She sweeps with many-colored brooms

She sweeps with many-colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you’ve littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars
And then I come away.

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Sweeping colors in grace,

Teresa (aka Sadie Grace)