My good friend Anna Maria died on May 12th. She had had cancer and the tumors and other stuff going on in her body were finally too much for her. She died three days before she turned 80 years old.
I had been friends with Anna Maria for 30 years. The 25+ year difference between our ages never made a difference in our friendship. She was funny and gracious and intelligent and friendly and so easy to know and be friends with.
She had longed to be with Jesus and sit at his feet all her life. I am so happy that she is no longer in any pain, and all her sorrows and sighings have faded. But — I was not ready to let her go. I will see her again, but in the meantime I have to live on this earth without her friendship.
Anna Maria was an example to me of someone who truly had a deep personal relationship with God. Her prayer life was amazing, and the number of answered prayers were too many to count. I can only hope to be half the good Christian woman she was.
Perhaps the best example of her relationship with God and how it shone out was an email all her friends got about 5 days after she passed. Anna Maria came from a big family, most of whom are gone now, but one of her sisters in Florida had asked one her nephews to go visit Anna Maria. She herself couldn’t make the trip, so since he lived nearby she asked him to visit.
He said he was surprised his aunt had a relative near him, he never had any idea there was family close by. He went to Anna Maria about 5 weeks before she passed, expecting to find someone dying. Instead he found a woman who welcomed him. Someone who, while not real happy to be in an assisted living environment, nevertheless did not complain or talk about herself. She was interested in him and his family and he was amazed by her graciousness. He wanted to bring his wife and children to meet her as soon as possible. He told us that Anna Maria was just as nice and polite to his wife and children, greeting and talking to each one. She asked that each child play on the piano in the common room and bless everyone with their music. He and his family enjoyed their visit so much and he said he thought God had brought Anna Maria into his life, even for a short period, because he needed the example of faith and gratitude.
I miss her still, and will always miss her. When it comes time for me to go home and be with God I hope to be remembered half so well. How do you think you will be remembered if God took you home to be with Him today?
I have the gift of faith. I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not believe in God. It is often hard for me to explain my faith to people, to express my faith in ways that people, especially non-Christians, can understand.
I’m in the midst of reading a series by one author, and the two central characters in these stories have three kids. Their oldest is a pretty devout Catholic, and she was explaining to her (born Jewish, now atheist) father about how she gets through the really hard times in life. In the story, one of her good friends just had her parents murdered.
“Oh, I’m different. I have all this support. I have faith, I’m in a community of believers, I have all kinds of rituals and practices that would make something like that bearable…….. all this would have drove me bananas if I hadn’t had the faith. I mean, death is not the same thing, if you do.”
The Bible says all we need is a tiny bit of faith, and God can do the rest. Faith as small as the period at the end of this sentence. He can do the rest.
My faith has gotten me through many things in my life. I am so grateful for the power of God, who can do all things in me and through me, because of my faith.
I had a birthday recently, which means I’m one year further into middle age. I made a choice a long, long time ago not to get freaked out about my age, and growing older. Everyone gets older, each year they live. Why fight it? Why try to deny it? Heck — I’ve worked hard to get this far in life; I’m going to enjoy it and embrace it. I might not like the changes or the way I used to be able to to do some things easily and now it takes much effort — but it is what it is. Am I right?
My boyfriend is having problems with vertigo and so I spent this past weekend cooking for him and storing the food in the fridge and freezer. It is nice to be useful, isn’t it? Doing something simple and, for me, fun — cooking for someone. Now he can get nourishment with a minimum of prep and fuss.
I’m not one to make a “to do” list or a “bucket list”. I have some things I want to do and accomplish this summer, but those things are not really “to do” things, or even “bucket list” things. If I do them – great. If not – well, maybe another time. What about you? What do you want to do/accomplish/complete this summer?
It has been many years since I was able to wear something new for Easter Sunday service.
Wearing something new for Easter goes back to my childhood. I never make a big deal out of it, but for a long time I was able to buy a dress or blouse or something new to wear just for Easter Sunday. I would buy it and not wear it until Easter. Do you have any habits that date from your childhood?
Well, life intervened the past 10 years and for various reason that are long and involved that I won’t bore you with — I was not able to wear anything new on Easter. I always dressed carefully, I always tried to be extra “spiffy”. But nothing new.
Until this year. By God’s grace and the help of a super shopper I was able to buy new clothes for the first time in 8 years and on Easter Sunday I went to church wearing everything new — including a new alligator-type hair clip a friend had given to me for my birthday.
YEAH! No one in the building had any idea I was new from head to toe except me and God, but it didn’t matter. I was there on Easter to celebrate and rejoice in the risen Christ and I was brand new shiny for it.
I hope your Easter was peaceful and pleasant and that you experienced the wonder of knowing a risen savior.
When you were younger, did you have a “LIST” of what qualities your future mate would have? I did. What was on your list?
I remember having a long list. They had to have at least an interest (better yet – active interest) in a variety of things I was interested in. They had to be of a certain height and be employed in a job that would provide for us in the event I would stay home. They had to like and want kids, they had to have a family that lived nearby, and they had to like but not be fanatics about football. I can’t really remember everything on the list, but it went something like that.
Do you still have it? Your “LIST”? How has it changed over the years? IF it has changed, that is.
As I got older I realized that I got along with a wide variety of people (and they with me), and those people did not have many of the qualities that were on my “LIST”. So, I thought, why is my list so long? And that got me thinking – what were the most important things, to me? What were the non compromisers, the got to haves, the bottom line?
I read an article recently that the online dating world is currently in a trend where your credit score is one of the things you are expected to reveal. Whether in your profile, or after meeting someone. There is even a dating web site dedicated to matching people with their credit scores.
Now in my opinion accepting or rejecting someone just on their credit score is too narrow a criterion to evaluate whether someone would be a good life mate for me. If you think about it, there are a lot of reasons why someone might have a low credit score, that really have nothing to do with their core character or values. For instance, I know more than person who went through years of struggle and credit problems because their divorced spouse had run up charges on multiple credit cards, or defaulted on a business, right before the divorce. A credit score can be an indicator of the kind of person someone is, to be sure. But I don’t think it is the only, nor even the final criteria.
So – do you have a “LIST”? What is on it? Since being in a committed dating relationship the past year and a half, I truly don’t remember what used to be on my “LIST”.
What would you do if you had met the man of your dreams…. but there was just one thing that made you hesitate? Or second guess yourself? Or give you pause?
For instance, what if you met a man (talking men here, since I’m a lady, but the same thing applies to women) who, as you got to know him more and more after dating several months, turned out to be the kind of man you had dreamed about and prayed for and who seemed to match you perfectly. Terrific, right? Except….. there was just one thing about him. Just one, really.
Not that he was perfect. Oh, he had his faults and shortcomings. But then, so do you. No, the non-perfect things about him were nothing that would be deal breakers. But….. that one thing.
What would that one thing be for you?
That he ate with his mouth open?
That you couldn’t stand his grown kids?
That his family was a horrible mix of dysfunction, addiction, alcoholism, and incarceration? AND they lived nearby?
That he sometimes skipped church on Sunday for other things?
That he only bathed twice a week?
That he was unemployed and living on Assistance and Welfare?
That he wanted badly to move to (fill in the blank) but you really did not want to live there?
That he didn’t handle his money well?
That he was not a born-again Christian?
That his health was not good, and was sure to get worse?
That he was a really bad driver?
That your family and friends all liked him…. except for that one thing?
And let us assume that the one thing we are talking about is something that, while possible to change (or improve, or remove) there was very little chance it would ever do so. Especially since we are talking about a middle-aged man (since I’m a middle-aged woman we will assume that). Then what?
What would you do? What is your one thing?
I work at a school district. I am in the district office of a high school district. I have been overwhelmed with emotion at the news from Newtown, CT. Everyone in the office was quiet and weepy eyed as the news unfolded on that Friday. We also lost two of our high school students this month. One to an inoperable brain tumor, and the other killed herself.
I have more posts to write. I have things swirling around in my head that I’d like to share. But this month has been a hard one, and I find I don’t have the emotional strength to write.
There may be evil and violence and sadness and loss. Yes, we have that and more in the world. But this thing I know, and this thing I am sure of:
My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
My prayer is for you to have all the peace and comfort you can scrape together during this holiday season. Peace.