Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Eclipsing Redux

It is most definitely July. My garden confirms it as well as the weeds.

How we arrived here, in July, I have no idea.
I remember clearly sitting in Mr. Nofzinger's class as a fifth grader, and the days were slow.
Then they weren't. And now it's July.

Despite the speed in which life is flying (although in other ways it's not moving at all) I have found in many ways I keep spinning in the same circle. Hitting the same feelings and thoughts and struggles. I set to browsing through old postings when I came across one that I thought felt right to revisit.

Last winter (2013-2014) for some reason was exceptionally long for me. Entering into February tends to bring some type of hope or relief but instead I felt bogged down (probably by feet of snow!).
Instead of me looking forward to spring (and the relief that comes with) I was living in the depths of winter.

Then, I went to church and as usual, (when I listen for a minute) God spoke to me.
(The below in italics is what I posted previously, originally found here.)

"... Life brings winter in summer and spring. When new life is growing, and taking shape, winter of life will rob us of the green blessings. That is what I allowed to happen to me. I have been wondering around (not literally because last week I realized I didn't leave my house once I got there Sunday night, and didn't leave really until Saturday) desperate and uncertain. Holding onto,
"What do I do?" and "What should I be?" instead of living in  the "Here I am now."

This morning I went to church full of anxiety. It could be about anything. Anxiety makes a big deal out of something that is really a "no" deal.

In the music service, there was a song that was sung. It is a song I have sung hundreds of times over several years. I know the words. I have sung the words (sorry to those in front of me) loudly. I believed them. But today one phrase jumped out to me. "Afflictions eclipsed by glory." The meaning of those four words announced itself and while the song was going on and on I was caught up and I stopped still.

Afflictions eclipsed by glory. See, in my winter, glory was eclipsed by affliction. I allowed all of the every day, the weariness, the tiredness, the anxiousness over shadow everything that God has for me. God has peace for me. Peace, that quiet calm feeling, inside when nothing is actually quiet. I know God has been trying to speak to me. Trying to get me to stop listening to the winter and focus on Him. (In fact I won a magnet this past week that had the word peace on it and with a definition.) God had been talking to me all week. He was saying be still. But above my noise and my shouting I couldn't hear Him.  God has a purpose for me. God has a plan for me. My world I know is very small. Regardless of that God has the desire to use me for a purpose and to take care of me along the way."

What is an eclipse? It is "an obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observer." In the moment of hearing that song I realized that my daily dreary drudgery was obscuring the shine that God had for me. And, because I love history so much I've let the eclipsing repeat itself.

But, God. Two of my favorite words to say together (when used correctly). But, God doesn't give up on me. He likes to remind me of things over and over and over again (and one day I might get it right). This weekend I've been ride the wave called crazy and have gone from moments of total peace, to moments of complete ...psycho.

So what's a gal to do? Continue on this same ride? Or, perhaps allow glory to eclipse these afflictions and toss off winter once and for all?
I'm thinkin' so.
It is after all July.

Be True,

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Turning Pages

I am a cheater.
I know that all of you must have gasped out loud as you read that statement. Stephanie? A cheater? No.
Alas, it is true, at least partly. I know as I'm about to type this statement I all have swarms of people shaking their heads in disdain, but this is a longtime habit that has yet to be broken.

I, Stephanie Hunter, look ahead.

It's true. I'm a last-chapter, final-minute-movie-watcher, look-aheader.
What does that mean?

Well, in the case of a book, I may frantically scan to the end of the book and peruse pages for my new *friends, ensuring their safety; confirming that the appropriate loves have connected, the mystery is solved, the story complete. And, when it comes to a movie, through squinted eyes, I forward the movie to the near ending and ensure the same.
I am typically... disappointed.
All of you aforementioned folks who find my habit despicable are now applauding. Serves me right, no? I deserve the disappointment at looking ahead. However, the disappointment might not be exactly what you think. The disappointment lies in the fact that the ending...makes no sense.
By soaring through days, months, years of my characters' lives I'm missing out on important pieces, the blocks that built the story perfectly, and quite frankly it makes no sense. Even skipping ahead a mere handful of pages (which may or may not have happened a week ago) I'm at a loss for what I missed. The end result is that I go back to where I was to begin with, and I must read or watch until the end.

So it is truly a good thing that God has not provided me with my Life Book, or I'd have done gone and ruined the ending. I say if only as though I'm secretly glad that don't have said book. I really wanna know. Life is more than a 200 page turner.  There are twists and corners. There are every days, full of dishes and cleaning the bathroom. There are sad and quiet days. More days of gardening and (movies and books) painting. Exciting days of visiting friends and squeezing on babies. However,  I keep flipping through to find what happens next, when really I need to live now. When we choose to live in any dimension other than the present, we miss out. We miss out on the purpose God has for us today, and really I'm no good today if I'm already into next week.

There is an ending that I do know about.  And while this does not guarantee that I will have everything I want, God will give me what I need.  Meantime, I just have to trust Him, shine a bit of light around and enjoy the story that's happening now.  No skipping ahead this time; the ink's not yet dry on today.

Much love,

Saturday, March 07, 2015


It was approximately midnight Wednesday night as my dad and I were driving down the tollroad when I burst into laughter.

I should probably go back a few days.

It was Sunday morning, and I was traveling to Connecticut for work. My dad was driving me to the airport (and picking me up when I returned) so that when I returned late Wednesday night I wouldn't be driving alone.

Of course it was March, and I was heading out East, so there was the possibility that the flights would be delayed. Of course, I had my packing completed, and my list of "what to take with me," crossed off, so I double checked my flight, and I was good to roll!

About an hour and a half later I checked my flight again, and there was no delay. Nope. Flipped right to cancelled. I made a phone call. Sent some texts. Made another phone call. And another. And, hey! We're still on our way, but instead of to Midway, we're off to O'Hare. (Again, great thing my dad is driving me.) The timing was perfect. I would arrive within plenty of time to find my gate, find a snack, settle in to a leisurely hour or two of waiting, working, reading, etc.

And then the announcement came. "Delayed."
And delayed again.
And then boarding began.
And then we were delayed.
And the people who boarded were deboarded(?)
And we were delayed.
On the plane.
And then we waited for an hour on the plane (far more comfortable to be waiting on the plane- as we were told).
And then we were off.
Arriving in New York at that  moment was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Of course, when it came time for my return flight I was expecting nothing less than a ten minute delay at least. Yeah, I was wrong, or perhaps right.
An hour after our initial boarding time, we did board. And remarkably we were in the air. And then we landed.
And then we had to wait because around a hundred planes were grounded because their flights were cancelled, so we had no empty gate.
Then we were assigned a gate. But, we couldn't get to the gate, because the pilot was not at the plane, because he was in another plane, waiting to be assigned to a gate.

Obviously, we did finally get a gate. And we finally unboarded(?) the plane. And I made it to baggage claim. Nothing made me happier than seeing my dad and Papaw waiting for me there.
And then my bag was not there.
It didn't arrive earlier.
It didn't arrive with me.
Apparently it just didn't arrive.

That leads us all to the tollroad. We were heading back home, bag-less, and I could do nothing but laugh.


The irony is, I am not patient when it comes to waiting. I'm a fast decider. I want things now. I never want to wait. I want what I want. I guess you could say I want it now. But for some reason this week, waiting for the plane(s) and the weather to change and my luggage to arrive I had an odd sense of calm. Odd as in I was not throwing an internal angry fit (as I have often done). There was nothing to be done. Nothing but wait. And yet, I saw quite a few instances of folks who were not okay with waiting (as you can probably imagine). I knew that I didn't want to be one of those angry because of something I couldn't change (like the weather).  While waiting in those (many, many, many, did I say many?) moments, I made choices. Choices to laugh instead of cry. Choices to smile instead of frown. Choices.

I don't typically make these (patient, I'm cool and calm and fine with waiting choices). But maybe in a small way I am learning to be patient.

"I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  I think I can live with that.

Oh, and yes, I finally did get my luggage.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Living in the Shadows- Toes in the Light

In so many ways, when I look back over all my years (I feel like I should not use that sentence unless I'm 95, but too late. I already did.) I feel like I'm exactly the same as the girl I was in high school. (I haven't grown taller, that's for sure.) Of course, there are the many ways I'm not the same (I haven't come my hair on fire in years. That's gotta be a plus.) Tonight I'm talking about the parts of me that are the same.

I was a worrier and a thinker and a wonderer. I was a closet creator, not quite sure of where I belonged and how my weirdness was not something to be worried about, but just something to be. I would worry though. And think. And I would wonder. What should I be? What should I do? How should I do it? Where should I go? Is it the right thing? Will I know if I am wrong?

I moved in to college doing the same worrying and thinking and wondering. Of course worrying, thinking and wondering can cause you to miss out on the activities that happened in front of you. So I faked my way around. Pretending I was living in the day all the while trying to turn the page and peek into tomorrow. I remember laying on my bed in my dorm room, talking to my mom and saying, "What am I gonna do? What should I do? Tell me what to do." And with all her wisdom she said these words.
"Stephanie. Just be. Where you are right now. That's what you are supposed to do. Be right now. Do what is right now. Not tomorrow."

It should not have been surprising to me that when I went to see Beth Moore a few weeks ago (a speaker, and writer, a mom, a Jesus fan) that when she spoke to the 190,000 listening (including pod-casters) that she was speaking directly to me. I should have just set up on the platform right next to her because while I was listening to her I literally said, (Okay, I literally whispered it) "Okay God. You told her to say this." As she was speaking, and giving her seven points, in there was a line directed toward me. And so I paraphrase the message that God has been sending to me for weeks before (and now two weeks after):

Stop. Just stop. Stop worrying. Stop thinking. Stop wondering. Stop flurrying around trying to figure out what and where and when, and how. Do today. Don't worry about tomorrow. Do today. Don't worry about where to go tomorrow, what you are going to do tomorrow, if you'll wear real pants tomorrow. Just stop. Do today. Be the Light today. Be You today. But STOP.

I don't like it. I have to be honest. I do not like it. I do not like the waiting. The stopping. The holding still. I want to be moving. Sometimes I think even if I were to go sideways, it's be better than being still because I'd rather be moving. And it's true that in the land of the Trains, there have been many times that instead of waiting for the train to finish I have flipped a U-ie (how on earth do you type that?), and gone around a whole block only to find that I did not get where I was going any faster.

The truth, the definite, no questions asked, truth is that I am not being productive with all this hoopla that I am putting myself through. I probably waste a lot of gas driving blocks out of my way when instead I should just be waiting. And in the mean time I'm setting up a tent and staking claim on a piece of property in the Land of Insanity. (It's jest not pretty.)

In all my thinking and wondering and worrying I'm also questioning myself. At times I find myself becoming edgy (not fun hipster edgy), but moody and uncertain. Unsettled. Cranky. When I do this thinking and worrying and wondering, when I refuse to just let go and trust God, and do not rest where I am, I shrink into the shadows.

I know that God is working. I just can't always physically see it. I have to believe that He has good plans for me because He did say it. I just can't always hear it. I have to hold on to the fact that He has someone good for me... I just haven't met him yet. I also know when I let go, open my hands and ask for peace (and actually sit still long enough) God provides it. I know it's true because in those moments the shadows dissipate and instead of sitting with only a foot and an elbow in the sunshine, I move all the way into the Light.

So now I have to ask myself, what's it gonna be little Weirdo?
More needless driving?
Or perhaps a little waiting would be just the thing?

Much love and chocolate,

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Becoming a Doer Being a Human

The last few months I have been truly considering what I wanted to be when I grew up. Since technically I arrived at "grown up" sometime over the last 15-ish years I am possibly arriving late to the game. However, the quest is on.

I could write.
I could be an interior designer.
Motivational Speaker.
I could be a fashion designer.
I could be an investigative journalist, or write for National Geographic/ National Geographic Adventure (Which would technically be awesome).
I could be a Jammer in Roller-derby (which seems totally exciting and yet absolutely terrifying/horrifying. Me. Traveling at high speeds on wheels) and you get a super cool name (which saying super cool probably lost me all the super cool points I earned today).
Lead guitarist in a garage band, appropriately named something like Garage Band.

All while working with the kidlings at my church (which I honestly love love love doing!)

Part of the trouble is that I don't want to do just one thing. I want to do them all. I want to write and design and create. I want to shoot photos and investigate. I want to learn Spanish and be able to play the piano and the guitar. I may be stretching it just a touch when I say I really want to Roller-derby gal (because again, me on wheels... terrifying!)

I've been considering them all. Calculating time- which is short. We don't know how much time we will have. Given that, I need to do with it things truly amazing and meaningful.

Yesterday I was considering all this, determining Stephanie's next step, when suddenly a word slapped me in the forehead.
Yep. Do. Do. (Did I say I work with kids? Because that's the excuse I have for reading those words before this sentence and then laughing.)
Do.  The thing about Do or doing is that it is a reflection of who we are, who we be. I have a tendency of putting so much effort in doing that I forget about the being. 

Being. Totally a weird word when it's just said alone. However, it's such an important one because what we are busy doing is usually a reflection of what we are being. The being is so much more than the doing. And what is it about my being, my inner "guts" that are requiring my attention? What qualities of my being am I displaying by my doing? Are my actions kind? Are my actions nice? Are they helpful? Do people see me and see Light? Or do my actions display anger, and meanness? Am I a gossiper? Do people leave me feeling better?
Ultimately, who I want to be is so much more important than what I want to do.

I am most certainly going to keep on doing. Paying extra close attention to my being. I am going to be kind. I'm going to check my attitude. I'm going to be a Light in the great darkness. I'm going to dance good to weird music (or is it dance weird to good music?). I am going to focus on my *guts* so that by the time I do I exude. And when (not if but when) I make a misstep and fall? I'm going to get back up. Clean up my tunic and give it another go.
I cannot write this without saying that God is who I want at my core. I don't always do Him justice, but I'll certainly keep giving it a go.

What about you? What are you being that is causing you to do? Are you going in circles? Not finding you? Talk to me because I have been there.

Life is messy. Deliciously messy. And my "do-ing" dilemma will most likely go on.  But in the midst of that you will find me being here at Pearl and more than likely making some type of mess in one of these rooms.

Jesus-follower. Great-Nelson-Tamer. Motivational Speaker. Daughter. Best Friend. Nerd. Crafter. Photographer. Guitarist. Planner. Designer. Teacher. Niece-r (sounded weird with no "r"). Love-spreader. Sister. Truth-teller. Writer. Geographer. Language(s) speaker.
And all in a day's work.

Be True,

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Setting Sail

I cannot lie. The first week of our intertwined lives, I was positive that one of us would not make it out alive. Almost 8 months later, Nelson is my friend. We not only survived, but lived, and I am quite certain I do not know what I would do without my little cat.  I was not quite sure how he would respond to be first abandoning him (he was well cared for), and then returning home. Would he be angry? Would I have weird "gifts" (you know what I'm sayin') hidden in strategic locations (between sheets and in walking paths)? The answer no.
The answer is that Nelson is even more of what he has always been; my friend.

I bought him a harness and a leash. Being an indoor cat, and me being paranoid I cannot let him out into the wild. Not on his own. Each day this week I have harnessed him and dragged him outside (literally dragged or carried) and we have begun "leash training."

Total side note: It is HILARIOUS. As soon as the harness is on, for a few minutes he has no idea what to do. He falls to the floor limp. (Not hurt in the least.) Then we make it outside and the hilarity continues. Seriously. Literally one of the funniest things I have seen. Ever.

Moving on.

Nelson has become more used to the leash. A few days ago I took him out for a leisurely stroll in the alley and we ended  up in my front yard. It hadn't been mowed yet, so it was like a wild cat oasis. Long grasses and the like.   The evening was beautiful. The sky was still it's day-blue hue, but the start of the pinks and purples were appearing. The puffy clouds were still deliciously white, not a stormy cloud among them, and the breeze was the perfect blend of cool and warm.

(I was looking particularly fetching in my "house sockish-things", and my new cat comfy pants and blue-shirt to match, and reading my book standing on the sidewalk.) But Nelson, walked over to the grass, and just sank down. He's been on grass before. It was just this moment though, of pure contentedness.  I don't know that he would have ever moved (except that there are probably things out there he'd try to eat, if not at least play with) should they have appeared in the yard.

I saw something in him, yes my cat, in that moment. He was content. His belly full. He has a home. Someone who feeds him tartar control treats, gives him Cat Sip and on fun days, baked chicken (skinless and boneless, mind you). He has everything he needs. Somehow that has transformed itself into contentment and even happiness.

I had just spoken to another friend on this topic of contentedness when the sight of my Nelson caused it to hit me again. Life is not perfect, and it's often really not fair. However, life wasn't made to be perfect, and no one said it would always be fair. I have everything I need. Beyond a place to live and clothes to wear. Beyond food to eat and water to drink. I have a good job. I have a great family- which is really a bunch of weird people who are my friends. I have great friends - which they are really a bunch of weird people are are my family.

Sometimes though. I want more. We want more and more. Contentedness is shaken off by the new shiny and bright.  And after all, Nelson is a cat. He doesn't have to worry about the bills. He does not have to go to the grocery store and find the buggy without the squeaky wheel. He does not have to do anything but show up.

This morning I woke up for work, and had no electricity. Typically you could drive a train through the room when I'm asleep and I'm out. However, last night that was not the case. I was awake and terrified as the storm swirled it's way around the area. As I drove over to my parents' I remembered the story in the Bible about the disciples being with Jesus on the boat. I was safe in my dry albeit dark house (although yes, I did periodically sneak a peek at my tomatoes in the front yard, which are doing quite remarkable still), and I was afraid. There was nothing I could do to stop the storm. I could not put up a barrier. I could not build a fence or a wall. My pleadings with the storm itself to stop were ignored. I cannot imagine being on a boat in that type of weather. I know why the disciples were afraid; they were going to sink. The boat was going to take on water. They would be struck by lightning. I can imagine Jesus rolling his eyes and saying to His disciples (yes I'm paraphrasing), "Seriously guys? Seriously?" Then turning to wind and the waves saying, "Peace. Be still." Suddenly, where there was a storm, there was calm. Where there were waves, there was a body of water with not one ripple. Where there were bolts of lightning, there was nothing but the deep dark blue sky. He silenced that storm.

Perhaps you would say that you are in a storm. Maybe it's a storm worry, bills to pay, a roof to replace. Maybe it's a storm of discontentment, a dishwasher calling your name (that could just be me). Maybe it's a storm of sorrow that envelopes you. Or a storm of bitterness that you cannot scrub away.

This is when Jesus wants to step in and say, "Peace. Be still." You just have to ask. He will not come to you until you do. However, when you do ask, you'll find He's right there at your side.

Sure, the waves may still rock the boat, but when I keep my eyes on Him, my heart knows the calm of a quiet sea.

I Timothy 6:6
Much love,

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Unpack the Bags

There's a saying in my house. Since it's really just me and Nelson most of the time, I am the one who uses the phrase. (I actually fear the day Nelson, or one of my "dormant" plants actually starts speaking.)

It can happen at any point, any room, or any time.
"Ohhhhh, Nelson." Typically followed up with a sigh (on my part again).

Nelson, my nine month old cat is very adept at finding himself in precarious situations.
"He'll learn, Stephanie," some might say.  Sometimes, though, I sit back and watch and I wonder if he truly will learn. On top of that, sometimes his actions result in consequences for others- not just himself. Unfortunately, my plant loves know that all too well. (Still holding out hope for some springtime growth. Don't give up on me Blanche!)

How can I truly blame him, my nine month old cat, when I, the grown up, the responsible adult, manages to find myself in dangerous situations. Situations that are treacherous to my mind and body. I could list them here, and most who would be honest would probably find at least one of them to be applicable to his or her own life. Or maybe you have your own list, with your own precarious cliffs.

Over the last eleven months I have come face to face with my own perilous condition.
There is one major shortcoming that I cannot seem to discard and leave it where it belongs- in the trash. Instead, I pack up this particular foible in one of my bags, between my Kindle and HGTV magazine, and I set off into the day.

This weekend left me tired. More exhausted in mind, but it translated into bodily exhaustion (new word find one). This afternoon as I contemplated what life over the next three months would look like, I realized once again I was beginning to worry. Not actually just begin, but set up a dwelling; and actually, it is more of a city.

When this reality struck me,  I was about knocked over with another realization immediately after that.

What is it that causes me to stop in my tracks?
My old frenemy- Worry.
Whenever I do get caught up in worry, I imagine God responding much like I do to Nelson.
"Ohhh, Stephanie."

God looks for us to have enjoyment in life. He gifts us with different talents and abilities. Even more so He rewards hard work. We know practice makes perfect. Unfotunately, I wouldn't even be able to claim a gold medal under worry, (despite the hours of time I spend "practicing"), basically because I'm no good at it.

If God had wanted me to be a worrier, he would have equipped me to be able to use it for some good. With my worry I would remove creases and wrinkles. Sickness? Gone would be gone because of the power of my worry. If God had wanted us to worry, I truly believe it would be because it would bring us to a desired ending. Instead, worry brings pain, creases in foreheads, frowns, restless sleep.

What should I do instead? Aside from painting, cleaning, laundry-ing, playing, (sleeping), there are a gamut of fun activities, and ultimately more productive. The worry that I pack in my bag each morning, I need to toss out, and leave behind.

This week God has reminded me of a couple of things.
Instead of worrying:

Look Up- Pray. Of course, I pray. But what about pray. What about pouring out my heart, saying what God already knows, but saying it anyways? Not enough. I suffer when I forget to look up and spend time really praying. Maybe the desired outcome was not reached? I've seen that. I've been disappointed and heartbroken more than I can explain at times. But, sleep in peace? Yes, when life made no sense, and my heart was aching, God breathed a calmness and surrounded me.  Who has seen someone recover? I have. Was it due to the doctors? Sure. But I believe that God gives wisdom to doctors. Who has known someone in need of true healing, die, and leave us? I have. I have grieved. I still grieve many losses. But who provides the hope that I can see them again? God. When we pray, we are looking to God, and He does always answer. Sometimes with a no, or a later. Sometimes with a yes. However, when we truly pray, he does provide us with peace that is transcendent beyond what we can imagine or hope for....

Look In- Sometimes what I see is UGLY. I'm not just talking about bed head. (Believe me, I can really sport crazy hair, even without having gone to sleep.) What do my insides (my guts) really show? When I worry, what I am displaying, if not pride.  Pride says that only I can take care of this situation, no one else. I do that a lot. I have to rid myself of that destructive behavior; it can only take me down.

Look Around- I become self-centered. Without meaning too, I do. I shut down and close people out. While things feel difficult I forget that others are out there with arms needing to keep busy, and who want to help. Folks who want to pray as well. When I stop focusing on me me me me me, and I look around and then move into action, I am making a difference. I am doing.

I heard something, and behind it was a message that I find resonating everywhere with as of late.  Why do I accept conditions of (unhappiness) instead of accepting that God has better for me. Better than worry.  He does not have a cure-all pill. We do live in a world of heartache and pain, and sin. I do not have to accept that as my own story. I have  a different ending already written for me.

Just a little somethin' to think about,

Friday, February 21, 2014

All We Want

All we want is time
Time to move ahead quickly
To jump to our favorite moments
and days
To speed forward
To bring us to what we've been waiting for
To give us love
and Flowers tossing in air

All we want is
Time to circle in repeat
to give us do-overs
to pass over moments of sorrow
Time for second chances
To erase regrets
To find our courage
For extra moments in bravery

All we want is
Time to slow down
Time to be close
to not require goodbyes
To bring us backwards
To not race ahead
All we want is time
to stop and hold still

All we want is
You to be brought back to us
To not have to let go
Time for healing
Time for one more
and Kiss
and conversation
Time to laugh together
To walk together
Time to not be cruel
and not say there is no more time

All we want is
More time

Monday, February 17, 2014

La Vie en Rose

This week my heart is heavy. A wonderful lady, who happens to be a wife and a mother and a friend, is at home with hospice. Her family is surrounding her, and friends are visiting and many are praying.  Cancer.

I do not know her well, but I have friends who do and I have spent time with her family - her girls.  Her Facebook wall is filled with messages of love and encouraging words. They have been busy over the years loving people and serving Jesus. Her husband, Ray, writes on Facebook, providing updates and in the updates he writes little snippets of their story:

My wife of 28 years (this year) was informed today that there is nothing that can be done for her and the fight with cancer is over. The best thing we could do is get her comfortable and the only time we got the doctor to state was, "it will be soon". Hospice not only came by but already has a hospital bed in place with oxygen and other items needed. Barb wanted her bed in the front living room so she could see people. We love people and plan on closing another chapter in our life doing what we always have done. Being a relationship building family and loving on others...
I have always loved to watch my wife do just about anything as she always had a smile on her face and she made me happy all the time for all these years. I keep praying and pressing for a miracle no matter what the doctor says We have spoke about all of our years together and broke out the pictures of the past We had an adventure in the last 28 years...

I found a letter she wrote in 1986 about us and it ends like this: "We have many new days ahead to make what we want of them. We are the sculptors, the days are the clay. What a wonderful piece of art we will make! ...

She would fill me in on the world events at dinner every night so I could skip the news. We had started walking together to train for a 5K before she fell sick... I rub her feet and think of all the good miles we have walked together in our 28 years and all the good news she spread with her love.

We look for romance, and we are jealous of those who's lives seem more exciting, forgetting that real true romance, the real mystery of love is moving forward together, through the future unknown. It's holding hands and taking out the trash. Kissing your crying babies and washing dishes. It is hard work and paying bills, and being together.  It is not knowing what is yet to come, but knowing that you are together and that you will make it.  Ray, who is longing for another day, another week, month, year wrote: 

Do not take for granted your loved ones, do something about it, dont dare close your eyes if you are upset with one another, tell them everyday you love them ( We did and even twenty times more right now) well at least I'm telling her but I know how she feels about me, still her eyes tell me. Married couples can get caught up in the world, kids, needs and forget how it all started. Start to remember and get to loving again... 

La Vie en Rose, a life in pink happiness. It is not hard to find. It is a choice and every day we that we awake and we choose to accept the joy that God has for us,  despite our circumstances we will live a life of love.  

Take time to hug those you love,  make phone calls, and send letters. Laugh together and offer forgiveness. While time is all ever want, we are not promised tomorrow.  

We love you Randolph family. We are praying for you.