Friday, October 20, 2017

A Year Of Firsts - October 22, 2016 -October 22, 2017


In sickness and health til death do us part..........He's with you now Lord. How do I go on? That was my question the first few days after my Joe died. This blog will give you some insight how I got through the first year. I had to get use to the word widow. I told someone one day When I fill out a form I can check all the boxes..... after 76 years. Single, check, Married, check, Divorce, check, and Widow, check. I had been blogging for 12 1/2 years when Joe died. It was a way to journal our travels. I figured now that my travel days were over there was no reason to continue blogging. But that wasn't in the Lord's plans. The desire to write continued on. But the reason for blogging changed . It was now a way to document the many firsts that happens when the love of your life dies and you journey on as a widow. I changed the name of my blog to The Journey Continues and my prayer was that my sharing would help someone on this journey. 
Before Joe died we had long talks about things I would need to do, and things to remember. Working with a wonderful realtor I put the house up for sale in November and it sold before it ever went on the Market. My sister came from Washington to help me pack and Joe's son and daughter and their spouses and my son, came Thanksgiving weekend and finished up empty the shed's and helping me get ready for the move. On moving day, 13 members of my church loaded the Uhaul and moved me to my new apt. in Damascus. A beautiful and safe hideaway where I could heal. The pictures are the fall colors here where I live.

One of the firsts, was going to church by myself for the first time. After seriously praying about where I would make my church home I chose Happy Valley Evangelical Church. Joe and I had visited there before and Joe had "cousin" connections there. Pastor Steele had visited our home before Joe's mom died. We had her celebration of life there. So it wasn't like I was going somewhere where I didn't know anyone. Pastor also played the piano for Joe's Celebration of Life service. This church family has totally enveloped me with their love and care.
I spent the Christmas/New Year holidays with my sister in Washington State. I love the train so when I go to see her I go by train.Valentine's Day was difficult but I turned "lemons into lemonade" 
Joe knew I loved Pearls, but I always told him no I didn't need them... So on Valentines day I went to the Jewelry Store Joe has used for years and bought a beautiful but small pair of real pearl earrings and wear them most every day.

For years I have made it a practice when I read something that is meaningful to me, that will help me to grow in my Christian walk I write it in my bible. So today I have decided to use some of these to help explain how I endured the year of firsts without Joe. If I knew who wrote the quote, I wrote down their name. If there is no name it is because it's a quote I heard from a sermon or on the radio or TV etc. I'm getting better to remember to when I do this to get the name first before I write the quote.

1.I am here to be a servant, not to be served.

Over the years I have learned when I'm sad or feeling down, look for someone who needs help or just needs someone to listen . It gets my mind off my hurts.

2.Don't measure the size of the mountain, Talk to the one who can move it – Max Lucado
I Thank Him that he can take care of that “mountain” He doesn't need my help.

3.Don't doubt in the darkness what you've learned time and time again in the light. “ John 10:4 is still in the Bible. Trust and lean on the Lord. His track record is so good. - Jim Velez

I've had some tough situations in my life. God has brought me safely through every one of those tough times. That has helped me learn to trust Him in all things. 

4. Have an attitude of gratitude – M.J. Ryan
I learned something (yes, I'm still learning....) at camp meeting this summer. In the past when I prayed it was sort of a Lord, gimme, gimme, gimme. Now I begin my prayers thanking  Him for all He has done for me in the past, and how He is going to take care of my concerns according to His will in the future. It may not be the way I would have done it....but then I'm not God am I.  Yes, it's been a year of heart break, tears and sorrow but He is the healer of broken hearts, He is my comforter. I now have more days of smiles and less tears. 

These are some questions I ask myself routinely, 

Am I focusing on my losses or my gains?

Am I staring at a closed door behind me, or getting ready to walk through a new door in front of me doing what ever it is the Lord has for me to do?

Am I clinging to an ending or preparing for a new beginning doing what God wants me to do?

Am I complaining about things I can't change or am I changing the things I can?

Rest comes as I live in the moment...not in the past or the future. With an awareness that God loves me and wants to heal my anguish. As I let go and simply trust Him the empty spaces in my soul becomes the place God fills with the healing power of His presence.

It is through our suffering, our trials and our wounds that God's Glory is often revealed.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not “get over” the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”-― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Our former home was a two bedroom, two bath large double wide mobile home. And the furniture there was fine for it. When I moved, it was to a studio apt. I kept what I could fit in the apt. Our bed was a Queen size and it took up quite a bit of room here. So last week I down sized and now I am enjoying a very comfortable twin, electric bed. 
I also had a very nice glider and stool that was not comfortable for me . Now I am so comfortable in my small Lazy Boy rocker recliner.

I have two pregnant granddaughters at the moment. I will be great grandma next month and again in December. That will make 11  great grandchildren. So the one granddaughter and her husband are enjoying the queen size bed and the other granddaughter and her husband will be rocking my great grand baby in their new to them glider.

Now I begin another year. What are my plans you may ask. I'll do the same thing I do everyday. Wake up thanking the Lord for a new day, I will keep my eyes and ears open for what ever He has in mind for me for that day. There are some potential volunteer opportunities. If and when they become a reality at that time I will blog about them.  I do have one goal so far.

Joe bought me a Ukulele a couple years ago and shortly after that he was diagnosed with cancer. With his surgery and chemo, the Ukulele stayed in it's case. I read music and with all kinds of You Tube Tutorials I plan on teaching myself how to play. Other than that I plan on driving to Lynden, Washington next Spring or Summer to visit my sister in law. (Don't give up Blanche, I'll get there eventually)
When I said I have less tears and more smiles, that doesn't mean I don't miss my Joe.  I don't even know how to tell how much I miss him. I'm not lonely but the feeling of alone is unspeakable. I come home after being gone for a few hours, close the door and it is so quiet my ears ring. Sometimes the tears come.... I hear certain songs that were special to him, then the tears come,..but the good part of that is I don't stay stuck there. 
All three of my kids and Joe's son and daughter have walked right with me. They each have their "specialty" in helping mom when needed. I have the best friends ever. Widowed friends, friends with families, Pastor friends. No one ever tries to "fix" me. They all understand the tears. Most of them understand (or are learning or tolerating) my goofy sense of humor. I love them all. Best of all, I have a hope, I have a wonderful future in the fact I know I will see Joe and all my loved ones that have gone on before. I smile when I think about the fact that he has seen and is living where we will spend eternity. And that is a comfort in itself.

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD"   Psalm 27:13-14

He truly is Faithful
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cross Country, Al's Nursery and The Mason Jar

This past Monday I saw this post on my Face book Page from my Pastor's Daughter who is attending Corban University in Salem.HELLO FRIENDS!
Invitation!! This Saturday I would love to see some of your faces at my XC meet here in Salem!
When: September 30th (Saturday) @10AM
(race starts at 11AM)
Where: Bush Park (Salem Oregon)
I never gave it another thought until about 10:00PM Friday night... "Well now" I thought to myself. I had only driven to Salem twice and that was to the fairgrounds. I looked at my iPhone Maps and the address of Bush Park looked "doable" So I texted my friend Ruthie and asked her if she would like to ride along with me and she said sure. We got there with no problem at all. But getting there wasn't the problem. It was after we got there.  There was no place to park. There were runners from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana and Lots of big buses. A Salem Parks Dept truck pulled up and told us if we would leave the park turn left and go to the second light and turn left again, there was an almost empty parking lot and a lot closer to the stadium and track area. Great!! Next, how would I ever find my friends. No problem..... There was a couple walking next to us so I asked "you wouldn't happen to be here for the Corban team would you?" 
And sure enough they were, and knew where they were going. So they welcomed us to follow them. Bingo! There were our friends right in front of us, and an even better surprise was, Ruthie saw friends there that  she hadn't seen in a long time. What a fun time it was.

After the meet we were headed back to our car and came upon this group.....which happened to be the girls team from Corban University. They were having prayer. So we respectfully waited until they were finished and I got the biggest hug from my friends daughter.

Al's Nursery and Gifts in Woodburn was right on our way home. How convenient right?

They had it all. Fall, Halloween and Christmas

The above pictures were all inside. Then we went out to the next part of the nursery. Plants, bushes, flowers 

Weird Looking Pumpkins

Even the little birds enjoyed the straw and seeds on the ground

Lots of Ornamental Peppers. I always find walking through nurseries calming and peaceful..... and fun.

It was after 3:00 when we got back to Estacada and I hadn't eaten since breakfast. So we decided to have a late lunch/early supper at The Mason Jar, A Gathering Place

Good Food, Great Service and a great place to meet friends for a bite to eat. Right downtown Estacada.
Well that's all for now.

  • I'll love you for ever and for always
    Your Betty Girl

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Walk Down The Path On A Beautiful Fall Evening

Before I start my blog I want to share a couple of pictures. In my last blog I shared with you that my son David was taking care of my roses and showed you how beautiful the yellow roses were. Since then, my Mr. Lincoln has started blooming again.
 This is the Mr. Lincoln. I can almost smell the fragrance.
And here  are both the bushes together. Thank you again David for taking such good care of them. In a few weeks I will cut them back (so we can get them in the car) and bring them back to my place.
Yesterday I received a text from David and Jennifer along with this picture. "Look what the stork brought"  This is Harry. He's a three or four month old mix of Pit bull and American Bull Dog. They didn't waste any time either. Harry starts obedience training school on the 3rd of Oct. 
Now on to my blog for this evening.
Meet my friend and neighbor Laura  Laura has lots of reasons NOT  to smile but I don't think anyone has ever told her and if they did I don't think she'd believe them. It is pure joy and sometimes a little craziness to  be  around her. Never a dull moment. This evening we went for a walk to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and to see if we could see any wild life.  There were plenty of birds singing, and as we were almost finished with our walk she said "listen".... The Coyotes off in the distance were making their presence known.  Laura can make that "machine" she's sitting in go places I don't dare to walk!! She even picks blackberries in it. Tonight I held my breath because I thought she was going to tip it over. Nope. Not Laura. She had me laughing so hard. It's scary how well she operates that "go chair". It's heavy duty, made to be used outside. So for the rest of my blog, please enjoy the pictures of how the Lord has blessed my life by giving me such a beautiful place to live.

Laura has a beautiful Nikon CoolPix p900.83x zoom. 16.2 pixels. (Thanks for that info Laura)
 So she's taking pictures with that while I'm taking pictures with my iPhone. I have a smaller Nikon CoolPIx but it needs to be charged up and I only have two hands...right? I need one for my cane and the other to hold the camera/phone.


Sometimes, weeds can be just plain beautiful.
Thank you for joining us on our evening walk. Bye for now
I'll love you for ever and for always
Your Betty Girl