Friday, April 25, 2014

Why Spring Can Make You Sad

Spring. Buds, blooms, color. Thick coats of yellow stuff. Pollen. It's invaded, giving me a headache right between my eyes. Tears come at unexpected intervals.

But I love the flowers and warm weather, so it has to be more than allergies that make me sad this spring. Spring comes in full force in North Carolina. It starts with daffodils at the end of February, and by April, central North Carolina is a decorated beauty queen.

Yet sometimes that can be too much color at once. It's not just color, it's other things. Oh, it's always other things when it comes to the death of a child.

It's Easter----that special holy day that sometimes falls at the end of April instead of in March (March is when nature is just easing away from winter and not as colorful). But when Easter falls on April 20th as it did this year, well, that's almost too much to take in.

The dogwood and azaleas show off their gorgeous flowers and my mind sails back to memories of laughter, eggs, and a three-year-old boy with a mouth covered in chocolate and hands equally as stained. It's Easter 1996. Who knew it would be his last Easter egg hunt, his last Easter to ask about angels pushing away the stone at Jesus' tomb?

Grief is part of my life now. Grief became a resident when Daniel took his last little breath. I hate it when people think you can get over it. Grief follows me everywhere now, although not as obvious as it once was. Sometimes it wears a camouflage cloak or hides in the shadows. I think it's been tamed, like a domesticated kitten. But when spring is at its finest and the smell of wisteria is in the air, grief lurks like a wild animal. It claws at my heart strings. It makes me have to go out and buy another box of tissues.

We didn't know he had cancer during our festivities that Easter of '96. It was a month later when the swelling in the left side of his neck would have a name other than, "Maybe allergies."

We were naive and innocent back then. We didn't have a clue that spring could be just as harsh on the heart as winter.

Now I know that spring, in spite of all her stylish beauty, can fill a mind with ugly reminders of a cancer diagnosis. How I wish that cancer had not knocked on our door that spring.

I like to remember Daniel at age four as an energetic kid. I like to look at photos of him with hair and smiles. But the truth is, cancer stole all that at the end. Daniel was a bloated child, unconscious, comatose, and covered in bed sores when I held him last.

Some memories I have to swing at, push them away.

Some memories are more sad than sad.

This Easter I cried. I sat in church as the choir sang and something happened. For the first time since Daniel's death, I felt comforted by those words people are always trying to comfort you with: "You'll see him again in Heaven." All of the times before when people had tried to comfort me with, "You'll see him again," I struggled because I wanted him here with me now. I also believed that my life with him as my little son had ended; there would be no more of me being his mother, watching him grow, teaching him how to read or how to ride a bike. Did people not realize that? Were people too ignorant to grasp that family reunions where families will recreate the life from earth in the heavenly places isn't going to be?

But there in that pew, I thought, it won't be a repeat of earth, but at least I will see him. And Daniel and I will be two people among billions of others, all free from pain and tears, all in new bodies.

So I sat in the pew trying not to let the tears soak my dress, thinking about meeting Daniel as an older person, as an equal. In Heaven. And the choir sang that Jesus is risen.

It's a mixed up life we bereaved parents live. It's joy at having had our child, but it's a big ball of sorrow right in the gut at losing him. Joy and sorrow. And grief. You have to know that grief is not a bad thing. It is an inevitable resident after the death of a child. And being sad at spring doesn't mean you can't enjoy an iris blooming in your garden. It just makes you more in tune with how life works and how love is.

And sometimes you have to take a break from all the color.

~ Alice J. Wisler 2014 ~ For more about living through grief and loss and love, read Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache..

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest Author Pam Thorson

Today I welcome Pam Thorson, who has a new devotional, Out from the Shadows.

Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), pulls back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Pam resides with her family in the Northwest.

Synopsis for Out from the Shadows:
No place is so dark, no shadow so deep, that God can't find us.

Does the suffering you witness or experience seem pointless? Do you feel like your problems are endless? Do you wonder if God cares about you?

Caregivers live in the daily shadows of death, countless duties, and shattered dreams. But they don t have to exist in the shadows of their faith.

Nurse and veteran caregiver Pam Thorson offers weary families hope and insights gained from her own struggles. Out from the Shadows is a collection of thirty-one stories that pull back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Each devotion draws from the author s own experiences to reveal a fresh understanding of Jesus call upon our lives as we care for others.

I heartily recommend this book for anyone and everyone who deals with disability in the family! - Joni Eareckson Tada

Find Pam's book
Book Link & Info:
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Visit Pam here:
Pam's Website
Pam on Twitter
Pam on Facebook
Pam on Pinterest

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bible Study Expo features women authors and their books

Once again, it's time for the Bible Study Expo week. I'm a party hostess this year at the event which will take place at this website on April 17th between 1 and 4 PM (CT). For those in my time zone, that means it starts at 2 PM EST. Prior to that, many authors are featured on blogs across the Internet. Some of the authors I know who are part of this Expo are ones I've "met" via cyberworld:
* Kathy Howard
* Suzanne Eller
* Liz Curtis Higgs

Join the Expo on April 17th!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Restoring the old into something new

Recently a customer asked us (Carved By Heart) to fix a kitchen knife. The plastic handle had come off due to wear and tear. "I know it's not an expensive knife," the customer said, "but it cuts well and I'd like to keep it."

Carl looked the knife over and said he could do something.

Owning the creative mind he does, Carl didn't just replace the plastic handle of the knife with a wooden handle. He thought of the couple who used the knife. One is left handed and one is right handed. And soon Carl had carved "Lefty" on one side of the handle and "Righty" on the other.

Carl's creativity supplied a wonderful repair to this old knife. When the customer came to pick it up, she exclaimed, "You went over and beyond what I asked. Thank you!"

Another customer asked for repair for one of her lawn ornaments because it no longer attached to the spike that allowed it to stick into the ground.

She also needed help with her rotting birdhouses.

These were simple fixes but important ones, as each one extended the lives of our customers' sentimental possessions. We here at Carved By Heart offer restorations as well as new products. Visit our Etsy shop to see the new additions to our carved items.

"You think it: we carve it!"