Build A Bridge…

Build a bridge… and get over it.

Grappling with grace is a full-time job.  Truly.  There are days when it’s easy peasy and then there are those other days.  You know the ones.  I woke up late.  The dog just puked on the floor, oh great ten emails and it’s only 6:30 am you say?  Yes, that’s how life goes.  At least my life. Often, and usually in the midst of a huge pity party, I’ve declared a day a total waste, washed up, gone, toast, you know — busted.

I am convicted.  In these moments, relishing in my dysfunction, believing I alone live in circumstance mired in pain and trouble. Seriously Liz, just start building that bridge. NOW. Don’t wait!Bamboo bridge

Blessings are as much a part of my life, even more so, than any curse I am capable of fathoming. I want for little, have an amazing support system in my life and often, even with all of the support that I have can wallow with the best of them.

Someone pass the hammer.

Truths. We are gifted with one life. That’s it…. just one.  What I choose to do with it is my own and as painful as it is to admit, hours maybe even days are spent far from grace supporting ideas, things, feelings which really don’t do much good at the end of it all.

Build the bridge carefully, make your supports grace.  Use care and good thoughts to support the structure. If prayer is a part of your support system, lean on it. Heavily.  Maybe the universe is your source of temperance, or meditation, whatever it is, go to that place, often, even when you don’t believe you need it. Especially then. We do.  I do.

 

  • Hebrews 4:16 (KJV)

    Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

 

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Words I’ve been meaning to share…

It’s almost been two months. I believe that we miss her as much today as we did on February 1st.  My heart is not aching as much as it had been, maybe just resorting to the dull pain and awareness of not being able to just pick up the phone. There are words I’ve been meaning to share… of Sandy and it just seems right. Today.

I am seldom at a loss for words.  Well, Sunday and “the big game” and just how to tell my Sandy story being the exceptions.

How do I tell you the story of this woman?  I need to share enough with you to understand the struggle of our relationship to help you understand the sheer beauty of it in our final months together.

And then… I woke up at 4:30.

Earlier last week I wrote in my blog as we walked with Sandy through her last steps.  I had commented to the Chaplin, that this experience, Sandy’s end-of-life seemed to me to be every bit the miracle that the birth of a child is, the other side of the same coin. That moment was probably the most helpful determination of this process.

calling heaven  I blogged that we often conceptualize “miracles” with the BIG and MIGHTY things we may expect.  Loaves and fishes, turning water into the finest wine, resurrecting on the third day….  And then I thought, death, perhaps fits right in with those miracles.

I woke up this morning with a to-do list that really needed to be to-done, before we arrived this morning, and, grateful that I had found my words.

My relationship with Sandy is one of my own little miracles.  We started in a pretty traditional way, I was just never going to be good enough, to be the woman that would marry her son.  In fact, until just hours ish before our wedding in May of 2011, Sandy was determined that she’d have no part of what was about to happen.  As it happened, Sandy had a last minute change of heart, and my brother Vito went on a mission for what I think is the first of a series of miracles in our relationship, and picked-up Sandy to attend the marriage of her son, to me… the girl she just didn’t think was good enough.calling heaven

I shared earlier this week that at our wedding Eric and I shared photos of our relationship as centerpieces.  A photo of he, a photo of me, and a photo of we.  We also had boxed truffles set as table gifts.  After the pleasantries of the reception, one of our guests, I think it was LeAnn… had commented to me that Sandy had been traveling from table to table availing herself of the photos of Eric, the remaining truffles…. Leaving me and we behind.  I share this, because more than five years later, I still find it hysterical.

It was after our wedding, that the miracle of Sandy and I really started.  She stopped introducing me as the maid, Lord knows I’m not….and Eric says so too. But I was able to spend time with Sandy on a different level, one of acceptance and as the days progressed, fondness.

In the past several months of Sandy’s life, I noticed, I think we all noticed a change in Sandy’s demeanor.  She became softer and kinder – traits I believe she always had, but was perhaps guarded in sharing having had a life that often included heartbreak or disappointment, and I had moved from being the maid, to being sweetie or honey… a hand hold here, and a hug there.

While Eric was traveling late last year, it offered the opportunity for Sandy and I to enjoy a girls day out for lunch and shopping…. it’s a gift to me, because it wasn’t a have-to-do, but a want-to-do and so we enjoyed a lunch at Chili’s and Christmas shopping.  I have to believe that she enjoyed the afternoon just as much as I did. I know, without a doubt, she enjoyed the chips and guacamole.

And in her last days… I was able to just be with Sandy and Eric through this.  Mostly holding her hand, reading to her, listening to Barry Manilow, and reflecting with her at just how far we’d come.

Our relationship… is my little miracle and Sandy’s gift to me.

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Heavenly Father…

Jacob at breakfast… “Heavenly Father, thank you for my mommy, daddy, my food, and my sins. Amen”  Jacob, is the youngest son of my HS classmate and his beautiful wife.  They, in the past few years have adopted three children into their family, having raised two of their own, and completing their tribe.

Thank you for my sins. Profound words from a small child.  It goes that way doesn’t it?  We often seek knowledge in all of the places we expect, and often overlook the places we’re likely to find but…. never think to look.long road

In my pursuit of grace I am finding myself more aware of myself, and those around me.  There have been days where I’ve been tickled at my ability to walk in that place, where grace is freely received and freely given, and I’ve also found myself walking in the space where my grace hasn’t been seen for miles.

All of this brings me back to the simple prayer of a young child, “Heavenly Father, thank you for my sins.”  You see…. without being aware of my sin, how would I know, and grow from the grace of the ONE who has given me NOTHING I deserve and EVERYTHING I don’t?

Well played Jacob…

That’s how it goes with grace.  A long road, a very long road with twists and turns.  Places of feeling perfectly at home and places where I couldn’t feel more lost. I will keep on the road, I know the destination is where I want to be, I will arrive, if only by the grace of God.

20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. — Romans 3:20-24
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Everyday….isn’t Perfect!!!

Quit allowing negative thoughts and negative people to keep you down. Today, let go of all things negative. With Love, Dr. K. L. Author of “Everyday Isn’t Perfect”: http://amzn.com/B01GNLNQ28.

via Let Go! — The Ninth Life

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When you don’t want to…

What happens? When you don’t want to give grace? Let’s be honest, but I’m guessing we’ve all been there.  Right. There. 

I am. Right. There.  It’s Monday and it started with a bang.  Every flavor of traffic difficulty imaginable, I think just to make my drive suck.  Production meeting at work and it just seems like there is a collective funk in the air and bad mood, seeping like a water spill from place to place and person to person.  So much for today…simplicity_pulling_my_hair_out_by_fullofsecrets

In our production meeting my phone was blown up by call after from my young man.  Of course he needs this and he needs that and he needs this.  And… how dare I be working and NOT available to take care of every little whim. Right. Now.  

So it’s gone from bad to worse and today I just don’t want to give grace anywhere…  It’s the kind of day where the entire planet is a part of some greater conspiratorial plan to see just where my break point is.

Borrowed from a blog I just read… and thank you Kristen, publisher of #chasingblueskies, because Lord knows that at least ten times today, at least ten…I was going to move right on past these suggestions.

1. Sit on the sarcasm. Snarkiness of any kind is just pride in a cute skirt. (Note to self.) If you’re like me, sitting on sarcasm sometimes means not saying anything at all. Biting my lip and even walking out of a room altogether.

2. Savor validation found in truth, not telling-off. Your true identity is seen by the God who sees everything. It is not our job to set everyone straight, but rather let him set each situation straight. No lasting worth ever came from getting the last word. (My parents would be thrilled to know I am finally understanding this!) While defensive positions and speaking up have their place, I can’t manage everyone’s opinion of me, especially at the cost of grace.

3. Stick to the blessing. Slow down. Let yourself embrace restraint because like we see in the example of Abraham in the Bible,  restraint comes with blessing. God met Abraham (Abram) right where he was and gave him a choice. Abram chose to obey God and when He did, he received the blessing. When we choose to obey God by showing grace rather than airing our grouses, we receive a blessing, too.

So this is hard… today, it feels near impossible.  So I think that for the rest of today, I will pray and meditate.  I’ll probably work on #1, a lot.  So like Abraham… perhaps today is a test.  I think it is.  If you’re in to such things… today I need prayers.  Prayers to find the elusive grace hiding from me today.

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Epilogue…

This… is the Epilogue to the story of Sandra Grosswiler.

Sandy has made it to the finish line.

I returned to the hospital about 4 o’clock this afternoon.  Eric and I held her hand and practiced the finer art of being a human “being.” Not doing, not distracted, just being with Sandy.  Helping here forage her way home.

We left for a quick dinner and as we made our way back to room 343 Sandy was ready to go.  The last precious few yards of her 81 year journey.

I wrote earlier today that I truly believe that death is every bit the miracle as birth.  These two human “transactions” are woven together — there is not one without the other.

Sandy finished her race.  I will love her always.  I will always be grateful for the man she raised that is my husband and I will do my level best to walk with him through the coming days… at his pleasure and with his heart in mind.

May God Bless and Keep YOU, Sandra Oxford Seeley Grosswiler

06-28-1935 — 02-01-2017sandy-birthday

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Miracles… Still Happen.

Today is day three of Sandy’s end of life journey.  She had a very peaceful night and now more than anything looks resting and when she makes the small sounds she is, it’s more the sounds of a someone reacting to a sweet or pleasant dream.  For that, I am grateful.

I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday.  Sandy’s journey from where I sit is resounding proofs that miracles…still happen.

miracles-in-johnWhen we, as people of faith think about miracles and the context of them, I think we often reflect on water turning into the finest of wine, or perhaps loaves and fishes sustaining the multitudes.  We think BIG.  I know, this is true for myself so much so that we miss the little miracles that happen. Every. Single. Day.

Sandy’s life and her forthcoming death are two sides on the same miracle coin.  Birth and death are indelibly tied to the miracle of life.  Sandy arrived in the world on       June 28, 1935 the date of her birth — a miracle that happened some 81 years ago.

And I stand in waiting…given the gift of helping her on her final journey through her life and assisting her in the miracle that will be her death.  Miracle?  Yes.  It is miraculous to me that our Creator, our Maker knew the exact hour that Sandy would enter the world, leave her mark on the lives she touched, the lives she birthcreated… and that our same Creator is applying the finishing stitches that are her life and is the sole determiner of her life’s end.

These past few days have been perhaps one of my greatest gifts.  The ability to support Eric in this journey, the gift of providing Sandy with the comfort that she needs to feel ready and ultimately able to leave this world with a destination of seeing dearly departed loved ones, and an eternal life free of pain.

Miracles…Still Happen.

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