I’m gonna sit right here

I had no idea what to write about this week until I was driving home today and heard this song on the radio – I’ve heard it many times before but hadn’t ever paid any attention to any of the lyrics until today. I’ve sang with the song even the harmony, but literally could not tell you even what the song was about… but tuning into the lyrics and listening today it was just so perfect. I listened to it at LEAST 20 times between 5pm and 10:30 p.m.

This is my favorite part of the song –

Funny how the good ones go
Too soon, but the good Lord knows
The reasons why, I guess

Sometimes the greater plan
Is kinda hard to understand
Right now it don’t make sense
I can’t make it all make sense

So I’m gonna sit right here
On the edge of this pier
And Watch the sunset disappear
And drink a beer

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At this moment – I am sitting in it. I’m not trying to make sense of any of it, but just sitting in this thing we call life. Thinking and crying through memories that I was lucky to share with my dad. It would be just like my dad to sit and watch a sunset and enjoy a beer, or a glass of wine or a margarita… and even if there was chaos around him, he would admire that sunset because that’s what was happening at that moment.

He was so good about quiet reflection, and was always about the special moments and lived his life Carpe Diem ~ seizing the day!

He had a knack for turning ordinary moments into extraordinary moments and if you were lucky enough to be near him during these times, made you feel like you were the most special person on Earth.

I’ve been reading and marinating through Psalm 23 which was one of the readings we picked out for my dads services. I also picked up a book that really goes in and dissects Psalm 23 verse by verse, word by word so that you can really drink it in.  Currently I’m really focused in on verses 1-3.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.

I really feel as though the Lord is placing in my heart a feeling of contentment. He makes me lie down in green pastures – or sit on the edge of the pier – where I am safe from the turbulent waters. He calms the waters, and is restoring my soul. Not to say that some nights I don’t cry myself to sleep or have my moments, but overall I have a peace about me that is unexplainable. Its as if God and my dad have a hand on my shoulder… saying… we’re right here. Its okay.

For whatever reason I’ve been called to this moment. So, I’m going to walk out and sit on the edge of this pier of life and watch the oceans rise and fall, and be in this moment. Seek what it is teaching me beyond what lies on the surface, seek out the beauty of this moment…and watch the sunset disappear. ~ And have a glass of wine.

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Proverbs 3:5

Since my last post I have gone out to see my dad’s grave site which now has a marker on it. It sets things in, and makes this whole ordeal real. My daughter and I laid in front of the marker, and stared up at the heavens. I asked her what she thought “Poppie” was doing at this moment, and she thought perhaps that he was watching Snow White with all the kids that were already in heaven… (a favorite past time of theirs).

“I sat at his grave and cried for my missing friend and for all the lost opportunities.
God is good and God is sovereign, but sometimes he’s so hard to understand.”
-Sam Childers ‘Another Man’s War’
Compliments of Danielle Conley

Proverbs 3:5 comes immediately to mind, when reading the quote above –  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. (NLT). Isn’t that so true. In these precious moments I have nothing BUT to trust in the Lord with all of my heart. I dare not depend on my own understanding because nothing about what happened makes sense. But I feel a sense of calm come over me anytime that I just repeat to myself that God is good… and God is sovereign. He is in control and someday I will too will understand.

I honestly try hard not to think about it too much. – the why’s and the what ifs… It hurts my head, causes me anxiety and puts in me a fearful heart. Do not confuse this with “stuffing it down” which I certainly am not…I’m being a realist. I could search this world until the end of time, and I am convinced I will never have the answer. So why dwell on it and waste emotion on unanswerable questions.

I’m currently living with forgetting. Not forgetting my dad in general of course and not flat out denial that he died, but just forgetting that he did die. Just yesterday a friend of mine wrote a post on Facebook about a housing inspection she needed to get through and I almost commented stating that I would ask my dad if he could do it… In a blink I smirked to myself forgetting for a moment that he was no longer on this side of heaven.

In his book “A Grief Observed C.S. Lewis talks about this. “Its not true that I’m always thinking of H. Work and conversation make that impossible. But the times when I’m not are perhaps my worst. For then, though I have forgotten the reason, there is spread over everything a vague sense of wrongness of something amiss. Like in those dreams where nothing terrible occurs – nothing that would sound even remarkable if you told it as breakfast-time – but the atmosphere, the taste, of the whole thing is deadly. So with this. I see the rowan berries reddening and don’t know for a moment why they, of all things, should be depressing. I hear a clock strike and some quality it always had before has gone out of the sound. What’s wrong with the world to make it so flat, shabby, worn-out looking? Then I remember.”

Each day brings me something new. Most days I have purely blissful moments, and now, more often than not I am generally happy. But I still feel this cloud looming over me, as if it is following me, raining down, getting me wet, ruining my plans, and being generally annoying.

I’m learning to dance in the rain though… and make the most of it. It’s my new normal as my cousin’s wife pointed out to me shortly after my fathers passing. She shared,

“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.” – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and John Kessler.

So what am I learning from dancing in the rain? I have grown so much closer to God in this place. Though I am wet, and damp, and frustrated that my plans didn’t turn out how I thought they should go there is a beauty here that I wouldn’t have known had I not been here.  I feel a sense of newness in my relationship with Christ that is stronger than ever before. I feel so deeply dependent and in love with Him, not as a crutch, but in gratitude that I don’t have to figure any of this out on my own. I don’t have to do this by myself, or try to understand it. I can cast all my cares on to God who will sustain me, and not let me be shaken. ~ Psalm 55:22. (My paraphrase from NIV)

I am learning through Philippians 4:13 (NLT). “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”. I can get through this grief and see the sunshine of tomorrow behind the veil of the rain. I can rest assured that my father is joyfully praising our Creator face to face. I feel strengthened by Christ, and closer to him and more thankful to Him than ever before. I will pour out praise to Him over and over again because it is His breath in my lungs.

You give hope, You restore

Every heart that is broken

GREAT – ARE – YOU – LORD

Canning

Oh, hello there!

I have been busy blogging over at, Where Feet May Fail after the sudden passing of my father, but did want to get back to you guys and the happenings of life in Minnesota.

Our daughter has gone back to school already and is in the 1st grade and loving it! Last year she was the last class in Minnesota of 1/2 day Kindergarteners, and now all schools must provide all day kindergarten to all of their students. The transition in to a full day of learning leaves our little one tired, but also excited for learning! We can’t wait to see how she grows this next year!

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I’ve been signing up for the “Pick of the Week” program at Minnesota Fresh Farm which has proved to be an invaluable find this summer! Each week I pick up $25-30 worth of produce for just $20. I have been getting fresh cucumbers (since mine went to crap), tomatoes (since mine went to crap), green beans, peas, corn, and more! We’ve gotten so many cucumbers I decided this weekend to make pickles! I’ve never made pickles before, but thought I’d give it ago. I had two different recipes making for two different kinds of pickles.

Traditional Easy Refrigerator Pickles.

IMG_2656 My co-worker Breanne who blogs over at Borealis ~ Northern Life passed down her grandmothers recipe to me! I felt like I had won the lottery because aren’t grandmothers recipes the best, and always completely delicious!

It called for:
7 c. very thinly sliced cucumbers (into very thin coins) – Approximately 4-5 cucumbers.
1 c. sliced onion (I rough chopped mine since my husband hates onions, but doesn’t mind the flavor)
1/2 c. green pepper/cut lengthwise
2 T. Salt
1 T. Celery seed

Mix all together and place in 1 quart canning jars.

In a small saucepan heat until boiling together:
2 C. Sugar
1 C. White Vinegar

Pour sugar/vinegar mixture over the cucumbers in the canning jars to the top and refrigerate.

I have no idea how long they take to “cure” – so I need to find that out. They are so pretty however right?

Fresh Pickles
I found this baby on my favorite website – Pinterest! Of course it is complements of the blog Red Star Lone Star.
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2lbs small cucumbers ( I used regular size and just cut in half and then cut into quarters spears or more)
1 bunch fresh dill
Several cloves peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups (1 liter) unflavored club soda/carbonated water
3 tablespoons salt

Trim the ends off cucumbers. Layer cucumbers, dill and garlic in a glass container. Dissolve salt in water, pour over the cucumbers to cover them completely. Cover and brine in refrigerator at least 24 hours.

Apparently the carbonated water is supposed to make the pickles extra crunchy! I’m actually not a big fan of pickles… but my husband loves them, so I thought why not try something new. Plus homesteading is so much fun!

Take me DEEPER than my feet could ever wander

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This past week has been hard. Reality is starting to sink in and I realize I need to cling to our sovereign Lord  tighter than ever before. Each night when my head hits the pillow and I go to finally shut my eyes I just find a flood of tears rolling down my face. I think this is okay and I find it healing.

Sometimes its just good to cry, and let it all out. I’ve been finding myself, when feeling choked up to choke it back down. Not for any particular reason like not wanting my friends to see me cry, because I’m a pretty “wear my life on my sleeve” kind of gal, and I’m not trying to be, “A strong christian woman” who never cries, because as we know from John 11:35 “Then Jesus wept”; God cries too.

We have a God who loves us, and empathizes with us and weeps openly with us. Perhaps I hold it in because I know once I start I can’t stop, or perhaps I’m not in the mood to grieve, or I’m having a good moment. This past week though, involuntarily as soon as I shut my eyes at night I too weep.

My Shepard is leading me DEEPER than my feet have ever wandered before. To a place that is the holiest of holies. The lyric in the song by Oceans says, Take me DEEPER than my feet would ever wander, where my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior…

I feel closer to God than ever before and today at the spur of the moment I decided to go back to Eagle Brook Church for worship and I’m so glad I did. I was treated to Pastor Steve’s last day there. He is the worship pastor and his musicality is unlike anything I’ve ever heard in my life. Today of all days was his last day as Worship pastor at EBC. I’m disappointed that he is moving on, but I was so lucky that I chose today of all days to worship with him to worship the God of the universe.

During the message we were invited to memorize our key verse which was so fitting for this season of my life, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” ~ Psalm 42:56

I was locked in with God this morning, and will praise Him again and again. I do know why I am discouraged and why my heart is so sad, and I will still praise him again and again and again! Because of what He did on the cross, He broke the curtain that separated us from Him. My father is worshiping with my heavenly Father and someday I too will join them! There is a tender loving reason to celebreate.

He brought me deeper into worship than my feet would have ever gone by themselves. During the song posted below I drunk in each word, and the tears flooded down my face as I could barely sing any of the words aloud.

My Lord is my first, He is my last, He is my Future, He is my past.

I’m so thankful down on my knees that I’ve known Jesus my whole life. He is my first and my past because of my dad [and mom] who faithfully lead me to church every Sunday growing up. My dad pointed me towards this loving God of the universe, and through his own life imiated Christ. He showed the world what it really meant to love one another, and extend mercies beyond all understanding.

I’m no closer to having any answers, but I’ve leaned into God more this week than I have ever before, which is exactly where I think God wants me to be. He is my Future and always has been, but i just see it so much clearer now.

I invite you to listen to this beautiful song that in the words of Pastor Steve, made my eyes sweat today!

Running is like Grief

I’m still getting that “age old” question, “how are you”. Its a question people ask the grieving that is as old as the dawn of time. Mostly I now just tell people that I’m fine because I am fine. Some days I have downright amazing days, and other times its just so sad to think that new memories won’t be made with that part of my life.

Above all though this journey could be compared to running. Since 1999 I have been a runner. I began running over the winter that year to get prepared for boot-camp the following year, and started running three miles at a time a few times a week. I was hooked.

While I was in the Navy I became more serious about running, and even ran my first marathon in 2002 and countless half marathons after that. (In fact my very first official race was the marathon! Go big or go home right?)

After a particularly difficult 10 mile race last summer I decided I was going to hang up my laces for a while and took an 11 month hard break from running. I ran five miles on National Running day this year on June 4th which was nearly unbearable, and then began running more regularly just last week. Just two and three miles at a time, a few times each week.

I’m so out of shape. Running just two miles at a 10 minute pace is grueling but like life I just have to put one foot in front of another and continue. Like running I wake up, get dressed, go to work, and try to be a normal and happy person, and it mostly works.

I take each day, day-by-day- each hour by hour, and each moment by moment, just like I take each marathon by half marathon, half marathon by mile, and mile by step. My friend Hannah blogs over at Feet Move Forward and I think she’s really on to something. You just have to move forward.

Do I want to lay in bed all day and wallow in despair? Yes. But I have my husband counting on me, my daughter counting on me, my animals (all 9) counting on me, and my work counting on me. You just move. Move forward. It doesn’t matter how much that day, just move.

I’ve been daydreaming lately of running goals I have over the next year… – as this metaphor continues, and like my blog’s namesake says, “Feet May Fail” some of these daydreams might fail. My day might fail me, and the hour or minute might fail me, but I have to try something. Go out where feet may fail, and not be afraid to get out of the boat.

I think 2015 is going to be a spectacular come back year for me. I don’t want to give too much away, but stay tuned throughout my journey as I use running as a healing outlet for me to cope with this grief.

One block… one mile… one half marathon, and one marathon at a time!

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Hebrews 12:1 And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.