Thursday, April 26, 2018

Missing You

My brain is not comprehending
how you were HERE
and now you're not.

My brain is feeling overwhelmed
with emotions
and memories.

My body is remembering
sitting next to you
holding your hand.

My spirit feels tired
until I remember
there is more than this
than missing you
than trying not to think
too much
not to feel
too much.

My soul can think
while my mind grapples
the past and the present
with small bits of the future.

The grief
I've shoved in a place
deep inside my mind
until I think
I'm ready
to deal with it
on my terms.

Your smile
your laugh
your heart
your YOU
Never forgotten.


It's been over a month since our dad lost his cancer battle. I don't know what I THOUGHT it would be like. I had time to prepare. I thought I was. I thought I did. It is not like what I thought. I have kept myself busy with some things that were really important and NEEDED to be done sooner than later. I have kept myself busy with stuff that just fills time. So I don't have to think or feel. I go through motions.

Missing You isn't just about grief. It is about life changes that have come up at a time I really don't need more to deal with. Time to make decisions about things I would rather not decide. Not now. Maybe not ever.

Following the thought of "God doesn't give you more than you can handle", I think God and my dad have more faith in my abilities than I do.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Papers and Needles

Most of the time, our jobs are more than something we do just to earn a paycheck. Sometimes we plan a career. Sometimes a career seems to fall in our lap. Sometimes we love it. Sometimes we are just passing time and waiting until a better opportunity comes along. People talk about passion. Sometimes what we are passionate about is not something that seems to be something we can make a living at. Sometimes we learn to love what we do. Sometimes not.

What a blessing that each of us has different talents. Can you imagine being forced into an occupation that maybe you do not have a talent for....or maybe even not have the stomach to do? The title Papers and Needles refers to my sister and I.

I am the papers. Bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, and numbers. Those are things I can handle. Writing when I was told to do it in school was not rewarding. Now I enjoy it. Even as we become more of a paperless society, I am more of a hands off type of person.

My sister is the needles. She is a nurse. Needles, blood, vitals and patients. Those are all things she can handle with ease. Patient care, informing families, and charting are all things she runs into on a normal night. She has planned her schooling and career around her family which I greatly admire. She is definitely hands on.

Communication and customer service are skills that are assets on any job. There are times that we are called to use (or fake our way through) skills we didn't even know we possessed. However, when given a choice, we usually know what we are best at and what type of jobs we feel we are best fitted for.

Often, if we are parents, we may be at home taking care of the littles, or in addition to our paid jobs. Parenting involves skills that can incorporate papers, needles, counseling and any other of a wide variety of skills we seem to learn along the way. Sometimes we may need to rely on “experts” just like on any other job. Sometimes we are learning skills that will help us help others along their journey or just be able to help someone by saying “me too”.

Wherever you are in your job search or career, I pray that you get to use your skills and talents to encourage yourself and others and to make a life while making a living.

Romans 12:6-8 (NIV) We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,  do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Who is that man?

I meant to write this AT Easter, but life stayed busy. The fog of grief is not easy to get out from under. Planning a funeral is like planning a big party, but the guest of honor doesn't attend. It is a sad occasion with glimpses of laughter clouded by tears. There is paperwork. SO much paperwork. And decisions. Some minor. Some major. Not all can wait until the fog clears. We move slowly through dealing with life without dad, and the world spins on while it feels like a bomb dropped in our family.

I kept thinking what else is there to be said at/about Easter? SO many things have already been said/written. BUT amazingly enough when glancing back there is a link for me this year that I have not felt before. An innocent question recently that reminded me of long ago.

"Who is that man?" asked a 5 year old at our dad's visitation. I had wondered if it would be too overwhelming for the grand kids and other children that would come to see us. While death is a part of life, it is not one that is easy for us as grown ups to process let alone share with children that have questions we may not even be ready to answer for ourselves.

I thought he was looking at my brother so I started to explain that man was my brother like he had his brother along.

"No," he said. "Who is that man lying in the box by the flag?" He meant our dad. I explained it was our dad's body, but he wasn't there anymore. I don't like to say sleeping because that seems like it would make kids scared to go to sleep.

We knew dad's life journey was coming to an end. He had battled melanoma cancer that returned more times than he could fight. We had some time to process at least a bit before that day. While it was painful for us as his children to start grieving. We, as parents, were also worried about how our kids would deal with losing "Grandpa Bob".

I started to explain death to them as a butterfly. The caterpillar goes into that cocoon. When it comes out it is not the same. It breaks out of the cocoon and it is set free!

Each of us are body, mind and spirit. Our spirit lives in our body, but when it is time, we leave this body behind and we are set free!

A long time ago, many people were asking that same question: "Who is that man?"

He was a carpenter's son, he understood things that teachers couldn't explain, he gathered a group of disciples around him, he traveled around doing miracles, healing people, talking about His father, and telling stories that had a deeper meaning. People started to think He was the king they had been waiting for. They welcomed him to town by waving palm branches and saying "Hosanna!"

A group of religious leaders were asking the same question: "Who is that man?" He says he is the son of God. That he can tear down the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. He is getting too powerful. We must stop him! They found a way to get Jesus out of the way. They took him to higher ups that found him not guilty.

They wanted death by crucifixion even if it meant letting someone worse go. The same people that welcomed Jesus to their town with a parade were now shouting "Crucify him!" and they did. They hung a sign over his head to tell the world who he was: Jesus, King of the Jews.

He was later placed in a tomb with a large stone and guards in front of it. On the 3rd day, when some of his friends came, they were met by an angel: He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:6 NIV)

"Who is that man?" JESUS He was and is who He claims to be.

This year, the promise of eternal life became more obvious for our family.

It is BECAUSE Jesus died, that we are changed, we can have everlasting life and we are set free.


Saturday, March 31, 2018


We are living in a world where bullying is almost constantly in the news. A world where we think it is just kids on a playground teasing each other. A world where on a "good" day it is "just" words and not fists....or guns. A world where social media can sing your good graces or broadcast your greatest failure instantly to millions of people. A world where it is not just children picking on each other.

One might think that bullying is a new trend or maybe we just hear about it more frequently. Bullying takes on many forms and there is even an instance of it in the Bible.

Jesus came as a teacher, a prophet, a teller of stories that had a deeper meaning and as a leader of twelve disciples that were hand-picked by him. He went into towns and did miracles of feeding thousands of people with only a small amount of food available. He healed people who had been sick for YEARS just by their asking....or touching his robe. He raised his friend from the dead 4 DAYS after he had died. People saw miracles. People wanted Jesus to be a King.

They gave him a parade as he entered town:

John 12:13 (NLT) took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
“Praise God!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”

However, when someone starts to get a following, there are also those that are not happy with how things are turning out. Maybe that someone is trying to take away their perceived power. Maybe it is "just" as simple as they feel threatened.

In this case, the "they" are the religious leaders at the time. Jesus was cutting in on their gig. He wasn't letting them get away being as holy as they let on. It sounds like they wanted people to act one way while they went on acting holier than thou and making new rules for others to follow that they usually were not following themselves.

They tried to trick Jesus into answering questions in a way that they felt justified their dissatisfaction. When Jesus would question them back, they knew how popular he was becoming and that they were losing ground.

They finally had enough and found a way to get him in front of a governor and demanded the death penalty by crucifixion. The governor wasn't having it. He declared Jesus not guilty. He said he would have Jesus whipped and let go. He sent Jesus to Herod. Also, not guilty. They put Jesus on trial and He did not give them the answers they wanted. In fact, most of the time, he was silent, said "you have said", or questioned them back which made the leaders more angry. They finally nailed him by having others state that Jesus had said he was the son of God.

Then things got even more ugly and it is obvious that bullying is not a new practice.

Matthew 26:67-68 (NLT) Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”

Matthew 27:27-31 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

Matthew 27:37 A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

Matthew 27:39-44 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way. 

Those that were chanting "crown Him!" and waved palm branches when He rode into town were the same ones yelling "crucify Him!" as they watched nails being driven above the palms of His hands. The same hands that would have been so willing.....that still willing to grab on to ours. No matter where we are in life. No matter what we have done. He is willing and able to be our King.

John 14:27-29 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

Thankfully, that wasn't the end of the story......

Friday, March 23, 2018


When I was born
a man became a daddy
He tickled my face
and waited for my first smile
He held my hands
as I took my first steps
He told me he loved me 
He told me of God 
and a love from above
He taught me of Jesus
and took me to church
He taught me with actions
not just from a book
The day is coming
when my daddy will take
his last breath
Then he'll see our Daddy 
he told me so much about
K.L. 3-9-18

Sunday, February 18, 2018

We are FAMILY has been a week and a day. Last Friday, our family world shifted...again. It isn't the first time. It won't be the last.

Our dad was diagnosed with melanoma in 2014. He has fought the battles. He has had surgeries. He has done treatments. It is a malicious beast. It fights back. Last Friday, we found out how much. It is much. For now, a steroid helps lessen the symptoms. For now.

This week, we have added Hospice to our arsenal. Their staff is helping our family help our dad. For this, we are grateful. We have had a chaplain, nurses, a social worker all WAY more versed in how this happens than we are.

This week, again, I watched our family pull together in ways I didn't know we would have to or could. It is understandable how the stress can pull families apart. OR push them together in a common goal: make the time there is the best time there can be.

This Saturday, we made one of the things our dad wanted to do, happen. In the overall scheme of life, it was something small and to us not really as important. BUT. It mattered to HIM.

As I sat at a table eating dinner with our dad and mom, I realized what an impact their lives have made on us and how our family has grown and continues to grow. We started as a family of 7. Mom, Dad, me, 3 brothers and a sister. (affectionately known as 5 K's or my 3 sons and the bookends) We have added 9 grandkids and 1 great far!

Our mom and dad gave us a foundation of faith that has made us part of a bigger family. A foundation that has given our dad the courage to say it is in God's hands. A family that has helped support each other and our mom and dad.

Deep down, we all know we are on limited time. We will count it a blessing to have received notice that the time is more limited than we would choose it to be.

I don't think it is a coincidence that the last letters in FAMILY are I.L.Y.
I Love You

F - siblings especially may not start out as friends, but hopefully, we end as friends BONUS

A - being a family can make us aware of the needs within our own circle, but also those beyond it

M - Me turns into we. We join forces and tackle life head on.

I -  Issues.....we all got 'em

L - usually we love our family, if we're lucky we get to like them too

Y - Yikes. None of this is easy.

Ecclesiastes 4:9
Easy-to-Read Version[ Friends and Family Give Strength ] Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Jesus Wept

One of the shortest verses in the Bible (making it really easy to memorize) is: Jesus wept. (John 11:35 NIV) As usual, with all good stories there is more to it than just those 2 words. I had heard the story of Lazarus many times. What was different this time?

Lazarus, as well as his sisters Mary and Martha, was a friend of Jesus. While Jesus was out of town, his friend became sick. His sisters sent word to Jesus and the disciples that Lazarus was sick. They knew that if Jesus could come back there, He could make Lazarus better. Jesus would heal him. They had seen Him perform miracles! However, by the time Jesus returned to their city, Lazarus had already been dead for 4 days. His family and friends were devastated and weary from grief.

They went to visit the tomb where Lazarus was. There was a stone placed in front of the tomb. The family and friends were crying. Jesus wept. The friends were thinking oh Jesus loved Lazarus so much. And He did. He also knew that this was a way to show people what could still be done for Lazarus.

Jesus prayed and said for Lazarus to come out. He did!

The extra thing I heard recently and the more I think about it makes a lot of sense is that Jesus may not have only been weeping over losing a friend. Jesus had the additional knowledge of the glorious place Lazarus had been and what He was bringing Lazarus back to.

Even as Christians and the promise of eternal life, death is hard, painful and sometimes almost unbearable. We do not see our family or friend. We can't just ring them up on the phone. We see and hear things that remind of us those we miss. We weep.

In the day to day grief, knowing there is a better place to be than the earth around us helps. Most days. Some days we just miss them so much that even knowing doesn't seem enough.The waiting just seems too long.

The miracle of Lazarus made some people angry and further set the wheels in motion leading toward the death of Jesus. People expected a King. Jesus is not the King they expected. Some of the same people that were amazed at the miracles were the same people that were later yelling "crucify him!"

Later, Jesus would be placed in a tomb behind a large stone, when His friends came weeping.....He was no longer in the tomb.

The full story of Lazarus is in John 11. is an excellent resource for looking up Bible (MANY versions) books, chapters, verses and words.

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?

Revelation 21:4 (NIV) ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The gifts of the tabernacle

Sometimes vacations include unexpected learning opportunities. I was able to have such an experience a few months ago. I learned. I felt in awe. I experienced an appreciation for the gift of Jesus. I started writing this around Christmas. I put it off...found other things to do. I then heard some things on the radio that enhanced upon the thoughts I'd been thinking. So I share, in a new year. A time we usually learn to refocus and make promises to ourselves to do better.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Jesus was born with a purpose of allowing us to be back in communion with God. On our own. Without a bunch of ritual, sacrifice or someone else (priest) bringing our concerns to God. We have the ability to pray and experience the Holy Spirit because that little baby came to earth and into our humanity.  

The trip was to Florida to help a friend relocate for the winter. We drove past a sign on the way to Tarpon Springs that mentioned Tabernacle in the Wilderness. We did some web searching and scheduled a tour. There were only 3 of us, but we received a tour that would have easily been expected for a group much larger. I could do a review of the site itself, but that really isn't the intent of this post. The post is more of a visual and reminder of the purpose of the tabernacle and how it plays a bigger part of the Bible and making it more real for me. 

We entered a rather unassuming (from the outside) building. The actual area of the tabernacle replica was (at first glance) similar to the inside of a large gym. However, when looked at closer and some was explained, we noticed the floor was painted to look like a desert. The far wall was painted to simulate mountains. The attention to detail was interesting and informative. 

The majority of what is written in the Bible about the tabernacle (tent of meeting) is in the book of Exodus. The Israelites (people of God) left Egypt. God served as their protection and what we could consider GPS by providing a cloud by day and fire by night that let the Israelites know when they should move or stay and led them where God wanted them to be. 

The biblical tabernacle was built to God's exact specifications of dimensions and materials. There were very specific instructions to Moses of what and how the tabernacle should be built. The priests were the only ones allowed IN the tabernacle. There were rules and laws of what the priests needed to do even before they entered the tabernacle. 

Throughout this time, even though the Israelites were able to see proof of the Lord, even they struggled with following the directions and laws the Lord made. They made idols. They rebelled. They wandered in the desert because even then they lacked faith in what God told them.

(The ark of the covenant contained the 10 commandments, the budding staff of Aaron, and a container of manna that God provided during the Israelites years in the desert)

Tabernacle in the Wilderness - Tarpon Springs FL website. The location also includes a large display of antique Bibles.

Hundreds of years later, Solomon was tasked with the job of building a permanent temple. Even in this temple and those that came after due to destruction, there was a curtain separating people from the ability of communicating directly with God. It was still the job of the priests.

1 Kings 6:37 (NIV)
The foundation of the temple of the Lord was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv. 38 In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it.

Many years later, Jesus referred to himself as a temple:

John 2:18-20 (NIV)
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

When Jesus was crucified and gave up his spirit to death, the temple curtain was torn in two. It was no longer required that only the priests could talk to God for us. We have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit and the ability to talk to God directly on our own.

The gifts continue as we look forward to Easter and celebrating a risen King that led His people through years of wilderness, tore the temple curtain and enables us to present our thanks and needs to a God that knew we needed a Savior because we would continue to try to save ourselves.