Monday, October 29, 2007

We survived "The World's Largest Cocktail Party" by leaving town! Saturday was the Florida vs. Georgia game...thus Lynn, Brooke, and I went to historic St. Augustine.

As far as the grieving process goes...I'm working through some redefinitions. For so long my purpose in life was for Chuck. My hope was hope was concrete...get Chuck home. So now what???? I know in my head what my hope is...but my "hoper" isn't quite feeling it. My "truster" isn't quite feeling it either. Thus, I'm working through...what am I good for now? Yes, feeling a bit sorry for myself. I know "the truth"...just not feeling it.

Yesterday at church I had a breakdown...singing "I Surrender All..." because I have...sorta. At the time of Chuck's death...I did surrender Chuck...trusting God with my whole heart. The problem with a living sacrifice (my heart) is that it keeps crawling off the alter! There's a difference in surrendering and feeling like something has been taken. I guess yesterday I felt robbed...bitter. That feeling is a clear reminder that I'm MAD and need to cry to God. That bitterness sneaks up on me...every time I look around at "happy people" and start to resent them their happiness...I know it's got me again. The only way I know through bitterness is to feel that cry those words I find so humiliating..."it's not fair!" So I confessed to God...I cried..."I miss Chuck. I didn't want him to die...HELP ME THROUGH THIS. It's not fair." (I cannot stand feeling that me it is such a sign of weakness...I cannot stand self-pity in myself. As a good friend of mine would prompt me...where does this pride come from? Oi.)

Even two months after his death, I still struggle with making Chuck an idol. It may be even more difficult he becomes somewhat saintly in my memory...his challenging traits drop away and I'm left with his endearing qualities...a gift. Chuck was my heart. When it comes to Chuck, I've always struggled with worshipping the creation rather than the Creator. As I'm working through redefinition of myself and my place...I'm also working through redefinition of my that the truth and my heart are in alignment. Thankfully the truth doesn't change. If only my fickle heart would follow suit!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I've fallen out of the loop! This is the first day I've had access to internet. Our business trip is going well...some highs...some lows.

Here are my brushes with fame. We are in Jacksonville at the Hyatt, and we are meeting in the luxury suites...oooh la la. The first two days of our arrival, all the ESPN guys...and some football team (yes, yes, I'm very into sports) were staying here. Apparently there was some big "Monday Night Football" shindig going on. Who knew? The place was over run with security guards.

Just last night I saw...but did not meet...Dick Hoyt of the amazing Team Hoyt. Chuck would be so disappointed in me. You all KNOW he would have rolled the two of us right up to Mr. Hoyt and introduced us as if it were the most obvious thing in the world to do. Forget the fact that Dick was speaking in front of a very large group, at a very fancy dinner, where everyone was dressed up. Chuck would have wheeled in...Chuck Taylors and all...and made himself right at home.

I'm so glad I was married to such a neat guy.

But more about Team Hoyt...just a beautiful thing. Dick's relationship with his son is the perfect illustration of God's relationship to us. Dick does for his son what his son is unable to do for himself...check this out...make sure you have kleenex:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'm sharing today's "Grief email." It cracks me up that my emails are numbered. I'm on day 19. "Day 19 of my grief." It sounds so official. (For those mathematicians out there...yes, it has been longer than 19 days...but I started the emails a month after Chuck's death...humor me.)

Today's post has to do with the hope a believer in Christ the midst of the sadness associated with losing someone to death. While it does not take away the pain and brings the promise of something beautiful!

It is biblical to grieve. It is necessary to grieve. You must not suppress your heartache and sorrow.

"Weep freely; share your anguish, your deep concern, but always with the joyful assurance that Jesus is with you. The Prince of Peace is with you, " said Dr. Bill Bright.

"There is nothing wrong with tears. You miss loved ones who have gone away. But you are not to weep as one who has no hope. Christians can still have joy even in the midst of sorrow. Everyone experiences tragedy, believers and nonbelievers alike. The difference is the believer has Christ with him."

At the graveside of his friend Lazarus, the Bible says that "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). He understands your tears.

Lord Jesus, You are my only hope. Teach me how to grieve. Amen
I'm off on a two-week work excursion. I will be in Jacksonville, Florida until November 2!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wow! I was really mad...I look back at my last post and wonder at how God could love me so how he could shower such blessing on someone so caught up in their own aguish. I remember feeling that way about Chuck. We'd have an argument, and I would be really ugly...showing warts and all...and he would still think I was the most amazing, lovely creature in the universe. Unconditional love just blows me away.

At work I have scripture on index cards...sidenote...I LOVE index cards. Want to make me really happy? Give me a stack of index cards...unlined really floats my boat...colored? Forget about it. Okay, so I found one with the following reminder:

1. God is who he says he is.
2. God can do what he says he can do.
3. I am who God says I am.
4. I can do all things through Christ.
5. God's word is active and alive in me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I am currently having a lovers' quarrel with...well myself as Chuck loved to point out when we had spats. However this one is between me and God...but it took me a while to figure it out. The longer I walk with the Lord and the more intimate our relationship becomes, the more it reminds me of a marriage. Here's the deal...working backwards....

Saturday was an EXCELLENT day. I want to hold on to EXCELLENT and milk it for all its worth. After Saturday I wanted to feel good all the time...or at least for a long time. So Sunday I'm still clinging to the loveliness of the day before. Sadly, I'm realizing it is a short-lived-event. On Monday I start to realize...hey, I'm sick of this widow stuff. It hurts too much. It's too hard. It's only been 2 months and I am soooooooooo done with it! Done...done...done. As I tend to do when faced with...something big and ugly...I "drift". I turn dreamy...avoiding said ugliness. If it's between sadness, disappointment, grief or numbness...I take numb. Still though...I'm not making the connection with me, God, and my refusal to talk to him about my real feelings...the fear that I will never be happy again. If I don't say it...if I don't acknowledge's not real.

Now Tuesday rolls around and I'm feeling kinda blah...and I know something's not right. Still don't know what. I figure...this is part of grieving...up/down/up/down. In my mind I'm still trusting God...still feeling all kissy-huggy...still denying my true feelings.

Today rolls around and it hits me...I'm A-N-G-R-Y. All of a sudden, I realize it's time to tell him what's what. My list of complaints is a bit long: This gig sucks! Yes, yes, we suffer so we can comfort others. Great...I don't want to do that. Nooooo...I do NOT want to be the one who holds the hand of the new widow because...that SUCKS. No one wants that job. I certainly don't want it. NOR do I want the task of walking people through the release of a loved one to death. NOR do I want the task of helping people deal with the pain of watching a loved one suffer for an extended period. Basically I've been molded and primed to handle all the really CRAPPY heartaches in life. GREAT! That's just GREAT! I want a new assignment please and thank you.

Now as I'm telling God what a mistake he's made with my life's direction, he is already softening my heart...softening my views...showing me the beauty of my roll...the joy and honor in my calling.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My assignment for the week is to identify my "safe places." Chuck was my safe place...he was always for matter what. This leaning on people thing is HARD, HARD, HARD for me. I tend to be very black and white...God is my rock...God is...not people. In my mind, leaning on people equates to turning ever so slightly away from God. (This inadvertently protects me from the potential harm of trusting people.) However, a wise friend reminded me that God calls us to community. He uses our family and friends to give us the hugs, kisses, pats...the physical manifestations of his affection. My pockets of safety are already in place...people have openly been loving, loving, loving me. My task is to identify these havens and praise God for his provision.
I have so very much to share...but will do it in as not to overwhelm! First, God gave me the BEST day I have had in YEARS...yes years. I don't know where it came from...or what was different...but God gave me a day of pure joy.

Saturday did not begin as a day of joy...but you know God, making all things work together for good. I woke up I stayed in bed and watched a movie (Sense and o' the BEST). Once I perked up, I spent the afternoon with two of my best friends...and it was pure delight. Laura, Nicole, and I went to the mall...and it was just fun...I had no tears. Next we went to dinner. tears. Just in my time with in my love for in in, joy, joy. My heart needed a day like that. I'm sure I will cling to it in the sad days ahead.

As ever, I am in awe of God's tender, loving care for me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I found my phone...but in the meantime Janet reminded me of a "Chuckism." When something was OBVIOUSLY Chuck's fault...he'd yell "Jan!" as if I had caused the problem...always cracked me up.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I have misplaced my phone AGAIN. Oi. I've checked all the obvious places and will soon start looking in the most likely of places...the refrigerator and washing machine. Sorry for the inconvenience. Can I blame this on Chuck somehow???

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This is my Grief Share assignment for the day:

I am to make a list of the qualities and facets of Chuck that I miss. Aparently my loss is not isolated to one thing...and I am to grieve over each loss. Oi vey!

Here is my list
• my source of delight
• my companion
• my encourager
• my "entertainer"
• the one who shares my private jokes
• my inspiration
• the one who knows me so well
• my "tucker-inner" at bedtime
• the graviational force toward which I move as I sleep
• the shoulder on which I cry
• my comforter for when I'm sick
• the arms that embrace me
• the one whose hand I to cling to
• the one who always cheers me
• my BEST friend
• my pride and joy
• my favorite movie date
• my favorite dinner date
• my favorite traveling companion

This is just my starter list. I miss Chuck.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There are many songs that speak peace to me...there are some that make me weep as they hit that spot that is broken...I love them all. There is one in particular that I listen to over and over. It deals with the issue of...would I have chosen differently? Sometimes it just feels so good to really wail; to cry over the pain Chuck endured; to cry over how lost I feel without my Chuck...and in the midst of the weeping to know...I am feel the comfort of a God who is my horizon and my hope.

Go to and click on "Sunrise." (Sorry, still don't know how to put a song on this thing!) The lyrics are below.

Sunrise by Nichole Nordeman
If I had the chance
To go back again
Take a different road, bear a lighter load
Tell an easy story

I would walk away
With my yesterdays
And I would not trade what is broken for beauty only

Every valley
Every bitter chill
Made me ready to climb back up the hill And find that…

You are sunrise
You are blue skies
How would I know the morning
If I knew not midnight?

You’re my horizon
You’re the light of a new dawn
So thank you, thank you
That after the long night, you are sunrise

There’s a moment when
Faith caves in
There’s a time when every soul is certain God is gone

But every shadow is evidence of sun
And every tomorrow holds out hope for us
For every one of us


You alone will shine
You alone can resurrect this heart of mine


You are sunrise

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Through MUCH personal research, I have discovered the BEST words of comfort for me are, "There, there." My friend, Amy, uses them all the time at work...and they bring me such peace! I'll be crying, and she puts her arm around me, pats me on the shoulder and whispers, "There, there." Works like a charm!

Monday, October 08, 2007

In being with my friend, Mindy, this weekend, I discoverd that I have developed a few "grieving quirks." Apparently I have created a whole system of rules...not even realizing it. Some of the rules are thus:

1) I may watch old movies that Chuck and I have seen before, but I may not watch movies that are coming out now.
2) I may not watch any new episodes of TV series that Chuck liked and is now "missing." Sadly "The Office" is out....
3) I may not buy any nice new clothes. HOWEVER I may buy workout clothes.

This is just a sampling of "the rules." With Mindy's encouragement, I did bring myself to buy an adorable new hat! Baby steps....

Another quirk is that I've developed a pretty nasty case of separation anxiety. When it is time to leave anyone that I love, I am overcome with a "homesick" feeling. I cry pretty hard for a few minutes...then it passes. My nephew, Matthew, is going through the same thing with his momma, Christy. Mom says I should try throwing myself on the ground while writhing around a bit. Kicking and screaming are a plus if I really want to get someone's attention. Of course those observing me should completely ignore my behavior until it stops.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I went to my first Grief Share class last night. It was very helpful. It was also eye-opening...grief is felt deeply by ALL. You see, I was the only female AND the only one under the age of 60. Yep, me and a bunch of "mature" men crying our eyes out. It really touched me...the love these men felt for their wives and the pain they are experiencing in the absence of those women...some even years later. It was a reminder that we will all go through this at some point...and it hurts A LOT no matter where you are in life.

A point that keeps coming up is FAITH. The fact that faith does not make the pain any less. It simply sustains you through the pain. This is a quote from today's Grief email: "Knowing the Lord and His comfort does not take away the ache; instead, it supports you in the middle of the ache." Yep....

I love Chuck and am happy today (at this particular moment in the day)...happy to have been his wife...happy to have been his best friend...happy he chose me. I'm feeling all kinds of blessed this morning.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The surprise is ready!!!! Go to Fix Up Chuck.
Check out the sunset on the Fix Up Chuck webpage. That is what God gave us at the end of Chuck's memorial service. Once again, God overwhelms me with his faithfulness. I trusted him to take care of the memorial was almost held indoors due to a chance of rain. He whispered to me, "No, this must be at the ampi-theater." Though I was worried, I trusted him...and LOOK WHAT HE DID!
This morning I am overwhelmed with a flood of affection for Chuck. It feels WONDERFUL! I've realized (through some spiritual prompting) that the grieving and the mourning that I do for Chuck is a special part of our marriage. I am honoring my husband by letting him go. As is my way, I want to do it well. I want to make him proud. So I am committed to feeling ALL of my feelings; embracing ALL of this process; actually being patient with a process. I tend to want to rush, rush, rush...get to the finished product. Not this time.

The "surprise" for the Fix Up Chuck website is almost ready...any day now!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Okay...I may keep the blog...just easier than creating a new one...I'm into "easy" these days. It's a hard habit to break...I just won't be as "loyal" as when I kept it for my beloved.

Today Stacie's Allstate office donated TWO $500.00 checks (that's $1000 for the mathematically impaired) in honor of Chuck to the San Antonio Founder Lions Club. The money will go to the camp.
A funny twist in the marathon gig...the Houston marathon is closed so Shea and Greg will be unable to join me in my run. HOWEVER, the Dallas marathon is wide open. It is the course that goes RIGHT IN FRONT OF BAYLOR SPECIALTY HOSPITAL. Granted, it is a month earlier = December 9. I'll have to step up my training...but it's do-able. As my three-year-old niece, Kilian, said when her dad offered to help her get dressed, "I can do all things through Christ." Actually she said..."No thanks, Dad. I can do all things through Christ," but you get the picture.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Internet AND my phone are up and running. Yea.

Alright, I feel like things are winding down on the ol' blog. I don't need it so desperately these days. God used it to help me through the toughest (and most precious) days of my life. Oh, I'll still post from time to time, but just cause.

Thank you to everyone who used the blog to encourage and uplift me. I will still use it to post prayer requests and bits and pieces of my life. Perhaps I'll create a new one. Who knows?

Okay, latest news, I have officially signed up for the Houston HALF-marathon. It will be in January. Greg has had me on a training schedule for a month already. This should be interesting!

My new verse...the verse I will use for a while, is Isaiah 40:31:
"But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

Monday, October 01, 2007

A friend directed me to Grief Share. I'd like to direct all of you to the web site as well. It can be found at Below is an example of a daily email that I will be receiving each day. If you are interested in help or encouragement, go to the site and sign up for their daily email. Today's posting was:

Grief is not an enemy or a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being human. Grief is the cost of loving someone.

Since grief comes to everyone, why do some people seem to work through it better than others?

“Some people think that going through the losses or crises of life are the exceptional times,” says Dr. H. Norman Wright.

“I see it differently. I see the times of calm as the exceptions. Life really is going through one loss after another, one crisis after another.

“Instead of avoiding talking about these times, let’s do our homework. When you know what to expect, you’re not thrown by them as much, and you’re going to be better able to recover.”

Join us each day for the next year as we walk with you on your journey through grief, strengthened and enabled through the Lord Jesus Christ.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Lord God, teach me to embrace my grief and not fight it, so that I may experience the true healing that comes from You. Amen.
Okay, I've alluded to something for the Fix Up Chuck site. Perhaps some clues are in order? You will be involved. It will be a way to motivate others. It will be FUN to create.

It's coming soon!