iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the tag “Heaven”

MARCH 2, 2022


Today is Ash Wednesday. It is a solemn day in which I take my Christian faith seriously and begin the next 40 days on a journey to the cross of my Savior Jesus Christ knowing that the cross is not the end. I observe fasting ingrained from my Catholic upbringing and tie it in with a Lenten Grace group devotional from my practicing Protestant tradition.

Today also marks the third anniversary of my mother’s entrance to heaven.

I started this blog in 2010 after my father passed away in 2009. Writing helps me sort out all the thoughts that tornado in my mind and gives you, the reader, a peek at how I incorporate God in the whirlwind.

I wrote many blogs on grief (Late Night Visitor series) after my mother’s passing. It was a healthy way for me to voice the pain of loss. I acknowledged the elephant in the room of my mind and gave it space even though it was very hard. But it was definitely healing.

I think of my parents daily as they were such big influences in my life. After helping to care for each of them at the end of their lives, I remain a little empty and lost. When my mom passed away, I paced around my house not knowing what to do with myself since she was a big part of my day for the three years prior to her passing.

As we read in the Bible, the disciples of Jesus were lost and confused after Jesus’s death on the cross. In fact, they hid in fear that they were next. But the three years they spent with Jesus on his journey to the cross gave them the directions they needed for their life ahead. God gave them His strength for their calling to grow His kingdom.

My parents worked hard to give my family a good life. I know my mother would be shaking her head at me if she saw me shed a tear for her today. She and my dad raised me in the Christian faith, and I know death is not the end. She is face to face with Jesus and all her family and friends that went before her. So mom, the tears I shed today are because I miss your physical presence. I miss the wonderful aromas filtering through the house from your days of cooking and baking. I miss talking to you each night and I miss how you kept our family traditions. I am so thankful God gave me you as a mother.

Today I will have ashes placed on my forehead as remembrance that I am from dust and to dust I shall go. I will begin the journey on the road to the cross with Jesus knowing that death has no victory. I will shed a tear or two in remembrance of my mother and then God will give me His strength to keep going to grow His kingdom.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

Like Peeling an Onion


Today is Father’s Day. I can say the simple phrase that many people can voice with me, “I miss my dad.” But this phrase packs a lot within and it really is not a simple phrase. Sort of like peeling an onion, there is so much more to the phrase.

Let me peel about my dad.

Outer layer, I miss my dad; he’s been in heaven since 2009. He worked hard at his job and he worked hard caring for his wife and kids. He loved my mom and that is the most important example he could share with all five of his children. Mom and dad bickered a lot but they were both perfectionists who would approach a process differently but always end up with the same outcome. I don’t think they ever went to bed angry at each other. Another valuable life lesson from both of them. Sadly, my first marriage was nothing like theirs and it fell apart quickly. Dad stood by me through that difficult time; never judging, but always supporting me.

The second layer, he loved his kids. He never belittled us. His conversations with us were always positive words and he was lovingly stern so we would turn out to be respectful adults. My siblings and I are high-functioning people. He was always goofing around with us too. He’d be in the back yard with my brothers and me as we played basketball. He had a famous “hook shot” which I picked up and made as my famous shot when I play basketball with my nephews. The hook shot is a lifesaver when we play a game of Horse.

The next layer includes the grandkids of which he was blessed with many thanks to one sister and one brother. He went by the name “Gramps” and it still sticks when we talk about him. He loved each grandchild and treated them so kindly. He used to slip bingo winnings into the hands of my niece and nephew when they lived with my parents for a short time. He put up a small basketball hoop on the side of the garage much lower than normal because my nephew used to play basketball like the big kids. And, he was really good for such a little guy. Of the great-grandkids he got to meet, he showered the exact same love, but his health was failing and he could not do as much with them. However, his love was evident. Always giving of himself.

In the next layer I remember a back-and-forth conversation with the neighbor kid, you know, the one where you say, “My dad could beat up your dad”. Thinking back to the other dad, yes, I bet my dad could have whooped him, but in truth, my dad was friends with everyone. I never saw him fight, nor did I hear him bad-mouth anyone. In fact, I was invited many times to run errands with him and in the course of each trip, he would talk with everyone he met as he seemed to know at least one person at each errand. I commented to him that everyone likes him. He assured me that was not true, and in my youth I did not comprehend that we cannot be liked by everyone, but he didn’t explain it. I had to learn that lesson on my own. Not everyone was his friend, but he treated everyone equally with kindness. What a beautiful life-lesson and I am thankful for the invite to go on errands.

The next layer, he was a devoted son. His dad was a watchmaker and when he needed parts, my dad would have to walk, after school, to get what he needed, bring it back home and head out to baseball practice or a game. My grandma would make dinner and leave him a plate and even though it was late he always cleaned up after himself. I clearly remember him jumping up from our dinner table to begin doing the dishes after a meal my mom cooked for the family. Dad was aware of what was important to others and a clean kitchen was important to my mom.

Getting deeper into the onion, my dad thought he felt called to be a Priest. Obviously that did not pan out as I am here today blogging about him. But his Catholic faith was important to him; my parents saw to it that we all attended Catholic school. Those years have planted Holy Spirit seeds in my heart and the love for the Trinity has sprouted within me.

He also was a very good baseball player; a pitcher actually. He tried out for the Detroit Tigers one time, but realized that his shoulder was not built for the majors. Instead he coached my brothers’ little league teams.

Can we talk aim for a second? That man had an eye for a straight line whether it was baseball, horseshoes, basketball, or those, heaven-forbid, pointy lawn jarts. He had an aim that kept him a winner much of the time.

At the core of my dad, he loved. He loved his country and it was evident when he quit school at the age of 17 to join the Navy during WWII. I regret not remembering much about his stories of his Navy days but I am fortunate to be the holder of his photo album from that period in his life. He was a handsome Sailor. At the conclusion of his church funeral, the Honor Guard performed a service of their own for their fallen comrade. They removed the flag that covered his casket, folded it and presented it to my mom. Someone snapped the most precious photo of that flag transfer and the look on my mom’s face was priceless. She was proud of my dad and was honored to hold his flag. The bugler began playing taps and that is where we all shed some heavy tears.

Truly cutting into an onion gets the eyes to water; thinking about my dad has the same effect. I miss my dad.

Late Night Visitor – Grief Does Not Social Distance


My aunt passed away yesterday on the most beautiful, blue-skied sunny day of May.  There were no clouds in her way when her spirit met with Jesus and together they soared up to heaven to meet her husband, her baby boy, and all the family and friends who have gone before her.  Her 93-year-old body has been vacated.  She can breathe, walk, run, and move freely forever in the light of Christ.

The funeral will be small, holding to the group size restrictions during the pandemic.  Not all of her immediate family will be in the same room to gather for the final blessings, but they will be near by.  The grief felt at a funeral is temporarily snuffed out by a hug; however, there will be no touching and the face masks worn will double as tissue.

I grieve with my cousins, their spouses, and the grandchildren.  From my own experience, I know the feeling of being an orphan and losing the matriarch of the family. It feels so unnatural to not be there to hug each cousin, kiss my aunt on the forehead and wish her godspeed.

    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.

Your Most Important Meal of the Day


My drive to work is a leisurely 25 mph around 7 a.m. through an affluent residential neighborhood. Some houses along the route illumine against the dark winter morning sky. Families are waking at this hour and because they do not have window coverings, I am allowed a glimpse of their morning routine.

For example, I pass a house with a little child pushed up close to the table in a high chair sitting to the left of an adult at the head of the table. The adult is feeding the child, which to most of you reading this is no big deal. One of those, “been there, done that” moments in life. But I was never blessed with a child and this is a moment I can only imagine taking place in my kitchen.

Each morning, I eat breakfast alone.

I am not desperate enough for breakfast companionship to knock on the door of the family I spy on my way to work; that would just be creepy.

I recently started to watch YouTube videos by Max Lucado, who is a best-selling Christian author and pastor at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas.  He has a series on prayer called, Your Best Ten Minutes. Your best ten minutes are about prayer.  Even if I did not know how to pray, Max teaches this simple prayer: “God you are good. I need help; so do they. Thank you.” This prayer packs a punch. Each part of this prayer is a conversation starter with God. When this little prayer is barely a whisper, Jesus knocks on our heart, to be with us eagerly waiting to hear our praises to Him as well as share what hurts us and what hurts others.  According to Max, “Prayer is the hand of faith on the doorknob of my heart”.

Revelation 3:20 NIV

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

“God you are good. I need help; so do they. Thank you.”

I never will eat breakfast alone again!!


My drive to work is a leisurely 25 mph around 7 a.m. through a residential neighborhood. Some houses along the route illumine against the dark winter morning sky. Families are waking at this hour and because they do not have window coverings, I am allowed a glimpse of their morning routine.

For example, I pass a house with a little child pushed up close to the table in a high chair sitting to the left of an adult at the head of the table. The adult is feeding the child, which to most of you reading this is no big deal. One of those, “been there, done that” moment in life. But to me, who was never blessed with a child, this is a moment I can only imagine taking place in my kitchen.

In the morning before work, I eat breakfast alone.

20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Revelation 3:20 NIV

My house illumines the dark winter mornings as I eat breakfast. If there was a knock at my door so early in the day, I would be hesitant to open it.

But from this verse in a literal sense, I would have to open the door in case it was Jesus standing there. I would invite Him in and be awestruct that He was there How would I know it was Jesus, though? this day and age, I think I would be afraid of someone knocking at my door early in the morning. However, the light illumining in the dark winter sky had attracted someone to knock.

I do not have window coverings on the window in front of my sink, but my kitchen is in the back of my house. Let’s assume this is you in the morning going about your routine with your child and suddenly there is a knock at your door.

You are in your pajamas, or robe, and your hair is a mess from sleeping. You breathe in the palm of your hand to check just how bad your morning breath resonates. Are you going to open the door to see who is calling at such an early hour? You really cannot hide from the visitor because you have no window coverings.

What if Jesus was riding through your neighborhood and stopped at your house because He saw you eating breakfast through an undressed window?

Jesus knocks at your door.

Reference Check


Have you ever been asked to be a reference for someone for a job they were applying?  Read more…

Tears


I shed tears. Read more…

Timeless Tuesday


From my first post on Facebook, nothing is forgotten on my personal page unless I physically deleted it.  Read more…

Final Destination


Perhaps you lost a loved one years ago, a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago.
Death stops us in our tracks and we begin to question where we go after we die. I believe in Heaven as my eternal life destination, yet I still wonder what it will be like. Thank you, MercyMe, for this song of questioning.

John 14:2 (NIV)
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

It Is Finished


I have purchased some very nice fabrics Read more…

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