Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Soothing my soul

Yet another amazing Sunday at my church leading my middle school girls. I love when God just speaks to me, especially through music.

It was a bit of a rough weekend. Heard from the 1st bill collector regarding Dad's estate. He hasn't even been gone a month yet & already the vultures are circling. Thankfully, I just handed out my lawyers phone number.

The Mayor was away this weekend with his high school group. Songbird was away too. So it was just me & Slugger hanging out. He's such a great young man. He heard me crying on the phone and he came in and started crying. His heart hurt because my heart was hurting. Ladies - you're in for a special man when he's available.

Back to God talking to me....

One of the songs we sang in Transit was Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons. I just LOVE this song. Since I first heard it, it spoke to my soul. This Sunday was no different.

The third verse reads:

"And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore."

My father spent the last 15+ years leading a Christian blues band, Breaking the Bondage Blues Band. Praising his Heavenly Father. This verse is a wonderful reminder that while dad's time on earth worshiping may be over, he's in Heaven praising God for eternity.

I'm not sure if my dad was aware he was dying. I'd like to think that he wasn't suffering. That in his heart he was able to praise God as he passed away. That death was just a fleeting moment for him. That once he got to heaven, a party ensued. Welcoming him. I can just see him with his friends who passed away before him passing him a harmonica and asking him to play.

This song & verse gives me comfort. A reminder that there is life after death.

Many blessings,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Too many hats

I usually strive on chaos. Being pulled in different directions. I think its because being chaotic let's me know I'm actually accomplishing something. Just another CHECK off my checklist.

Work is shorthanded, so there's been a ton of overtime. Until recently, I haven't minded. Extra money, helping my co-workers. I love my job. I love what I do. But since the death of my dad, things have changed for me.

I feel like I am being pulled in 20 different directions, without end. Family, work, church, coping w/ my dad's death, dealing w/ his estate. It's enough to drive a sane person crazy.

Lately, I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. I'm going to snap. Averaging 20+ hours of overtime each paycheck is crazy. Yet, overtime is mandatory. My time with my family is suffering. I haven't really been able to fully grieve my loss. Yeah, I've cried here & there, but there hasn't been that full blown grieve. It's coming - I feel it building.

I has always tried to help co-workers with scheduling needs in the hopes that one day, if I ever need the favor, someone will help me out.


We're all overworked. I am exhausted. On the days I do have off, I'm sleeping. Which means no time with the family. I'd love to say that this is only temporary, but I've been working this schedule for almost 2 years now.

Now add in my trips to NJ to help out w/ my father's house, I'll never have time with the kids.

Sure - the money will be great. But money isn't everything. I would rather live with less money and more time with my family. Heck, last night I got to the point where I almost begged the Mayor to let me quit. It's not that I don't like my job - I would just like to actually have a day off where I don't need to worry about getting called in to work.

This is just frustration talking. I know that.

But my fear is that my depression will surface causing me to go into a tailspin. At least I am aware. I've let others know how I'm feeling, so they can be aware too.

Praying for inner peace.

Many blessings,

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mending my heart

One of the benefits of volunteering with my middle school students is that on weekend when I'm working and unable to attend service, I still get a sermon.

The current middle school series is titled "The Amazing Grace" - all about how God's gift of grace cannot be earned. It is simply a gift for us to accept. It's a gift for ALL.

Today's lesson spoke directly to my heart. Even the worship music.

I was struggling a little this morning emotionally. I saw Jana for the 1st time since Kevin's funeral. She came over & loved on me, checking to see how I was holding up. As a started to cry on her shoulder and tell her just how much this all sucks, I whispered to her how we miss her - not just Cue52 but HER. She started to cry.

As worship started, I could feel my heart welling with emotion. The final song, Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin, turned on the water works. Part surrender, part joy.

When the speaker came forward, he talked about the gift of grace. How special it makes us feel to know that God offers us the gift for free. No strings attached. Then he started talking about when we realize that the gift is for everyone - even those who have hurt us.

We want so much for God to judge people the way we judge them. You hurt me, I cut you off. I want to punish you. You don't deserve MY grace. Thankfully God doesn't operate that way.

What is even better is that Christ came to heal the brokenhearted.

The Lord God has put his Spirit in me,
    because the Lord has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken,to tell the captives they are free,    and to tell the prisoners they are released. ~ Isaiah 61:1

That means He wants to heal MY broken heart. Whether it's my broken heart from my past or over the death of the my father. God wants to heal my heart.

This isn't a new concept for me. Mending Hearts is based on the promise in Psalms:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~ Psalms 147:3

Yet why did I need that reminder again? Sometimes, when we're in our grief we can't see clearly. We need a little nudge.

I left church feeling lighter, freer, comforted. I needed to hear that message. It may have been delivered to a group of middle school students, but it found its way to this adult heart. I am blessed.

Many blessings,

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New lesson in death

As I shared the other day, my father passed away a little over 2 weeks ago. It was very sudden. My sisters & I were really expecting another 20 years with him. Needless to say, we have been devastated.

I have found that people want to help. They hate feeling helpless when you're going through something so painful. Most offer their condolences, try to give you words of wisdom to help lessen the pain. Others cook. We've been the recipients of some delicious meals - THANK YOU!

They all have been kind and thoughtful and loving. I never knew how loved we were until this happened. I am humbled by the outpouring of love & support from our friends, family & people we don't even know. Hearing from those who knew my dad, sharing their stories of him. Those have been priceless! My father loved being that tough Bronx-born bad ass from New Jersey. Yet, inside beat the heart of a teddy bear.

One friend gently guided me to a website/email group. It's called Grief Share. The last thing I need is ANOTHER email, but since he took the time out to tell me about it, I wanted to check it out.

I've only been receiving the emails for the past 5 days, but they are spot on. It's amazing to open them and see someone putting in words what I am feeling. It brings such a peace. I am not alone in how I am feeling. What I am going through is normal. There isn't a right or wrong way to grieve. It's a personal journey. Each person experiences things differently. No matter what I feel, it's ok to feel it.

This is going to be a LONG journey. I am learning a new normal. I don't like the new normal and I probably never will. At least I can cling to the promise of seeing him again.

Many blessings,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A grandson's farewell

My father passed away suddenly 2 weeks ago. My sweet son asked to speak at his funeral. Here's what he said:

My Keepa (grandfather) was the best harmonica player I knew, not that I knew many, and he was overall amazing. When I saw him, I hugged him. (If I could I would tackle him to the floor). 

I remember the last time I saw him. He had a cane and I started to worry because I love him.

One of my favorite memories of him was when I was trying to teach him how to play Lego Batman 2: DC Superheros on the Wii and I had to repeat stuff over and over again. 

My mom told me that he served in the Vietnam War 18th Engineer Brigade and he worked in the Port Authority for 35 years.

His most recent visit I never thought it would be the last I saw him.

Now that I am here I realized that was not the last time I saw him, but I will see him one day in Heaven. Every day I will look forward to it.

                                                                      Christmas 2012

I have been trying to put down in words exactly what I am going through, but have been so unsuccessful. Certainly not because I'm dealing well with this loss. But because I have so many conflicting feelings right now. Anger, sadness, longing, content, happiness, hope. I'll just take each day as it comes.

Many blessings,