Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Through the pain

Just yesterday I started writing a post about how blissfully normal my life has become. But distracted by the the blissful 'normalness' I didn't complete what I was writing.

Completely true to form, today is anything from blissful. Grief is taken a hold again and today I am having trouble focusing on anything positive. But, I will remind myself, life is good, blissful, normal and completely OK. This turmoil I feel is not 'out there' but 'in here' and really everything is ok. It is just me, feeling all this awfulness fresh today.

I refuse to be dragged down by it. While there has to be space in my life for grief and pain, to allow healthy grieving, I will not be dragged down to a pit of darkness that will take me days or weeks to climb out of. So, instead, I will recognize, that this 19th would have been our wedding anniversary and that yes it is still awful here without Jouke. Yes, I still miss him. Everything about him. And yes, it still hurts. A lot.

But I was also recognize that I am surrounded by so many GREAT things.

I am surrounded by 3 little humans who I love because:

* they remind me everyday of their Pappa
* they are complete human beings with their own personalities, sense of humour, fears, quirks and oddities and that makes everyday busy and fun
* they learn new things everyday and life is new and exciting through their eyes
* I get many fuzzy hugs everyday (sometimes because they need them, but mostly because I need to feel their little arms around my neck)
* they say the funniest things
* they love me right back

I am loved by a great guy whom I love because:

* he so willingly puts up with all of us and does so with a smile
* he never answers the phone in a normal way.
* he calls me princess, babe or bub
* he loves fun and is fun to be around
* things get done with he is home. He's not lazy and doesn't mind helping out
* he has got a big heart and thinks of others first
* he loves me right back

So, see, when you think about it, everything is OK. Because I am surrounded by love. And because I know that this is what Jouke would have wanted for us. To get on with it, to be loved and to fight through the pain to see all the good things everyday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chenille Baby Blanket

Yesterday's post might be somewhat explained by today's post. It might explain why I have been rather disinterested in cleaning. You see my darling husband bought me a present. A brand new sewing machine!!! I have wanted a Bernina for oh, so, long and I am very, very happy with it.

And that, combined with this post over at Dana's blog, left me completely inspired to try my hand at making on of these beautiful chenille blankets for a friend who is about to have a baby. I needed a little more information and so I had a dig around the internet and came across this tutorial that showed exactly what need to be done.

Let me warn you that this is not a "complete in an afternoon" project. While it is very simple to do, it is somewhat time consuming and rather repetitive. That said, I could not be happier with the result and would definitely be making more.

Also it is absolutely worth spending the $30 to buy a chenille cutter as it makes the job if cutting the flannel so much easier and also ensures you don't cut through your backing fabric (which knowing me, I would have done).

I cannot wait to give this lovely soft blanket to my dear, dear friend. It is so perfectly suited to tiny newborns, as it is soft and cosy and has the promise of getting softer with every wash.

Next time I will do it a little differently, though. While I used good quality quilter's cotton for the backing I think that a heavier home decor fabric would have worked better, by providing more stability. Also, I would not be making it out of a fabric with a very linear symmetrical pattern again. Only because, the quilting has pulled the fabric a little and now my rows aren't lining up as I would have liked.

That aside, what an easy and fun project to do! It is just as lovely as I had hoped and I do pray that little baby toes with spend many hours soundly asleep under it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Mamma's of Blogworld I need your help!

After a long and somewhat painful conversation with my loving and very supportive husband I have come to realise that my housekeeping skills are, well, somewhat lacking. I just don't like cleaning and I am far to easily distracted by other, far more, appealing things. While the house isn't completely drowning in clutter and mess, there are very clearly some areas in need of improvement.

I want to be better at it. I want to give my husband and children a peaceful and clean home to live in and I don't want to constantly feel as though I am lacking.

What do you do it keep a clean home? Do you have a cleaning roster? Do you dedicate a specific amount of time everyday to cleaning? Do you hire help? How do you fit in cleaning, washing, cooking, parenting and stay sane?

Please tell me what you do. Inspire me and help me be the wife and mother I so desperately want to be!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Because I love you...

I bought Kasey Chambers' new CD yesterday and when I got to the car I popped it straight in. I love her music and I love the new CD. Much to my delight I found that there was a secret song at the end of the album. The lyrics are so beautiful.

Mix all my words up and say it all wrong
Don't see enough, but I stare way to long.
These are the stupid things that I do 'cause I love you.

This is exactly how I am feeling. Completely besotted, stupidly in love and crazy about the man I call my husband. Oh, to be so blessed!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sunny summer dress

It seems that I have got a real little princess on my hands. Little miss Anja is refusing to wear anything but dresses and skirts and after day upon day of fights in the morning I have given in and made her a whole stack of skirts and a dress so that she can wear something twirly everyday of the week.

I have made the circle skirt and the market skirt, both found on Dana's blog and they were so easy and quick to sew. I set myself the challenge to use only fabric out of my stash so the only money I spend was some wide elastic that came to a total of $5.

By far my favourite princess outfit thought, is this little dress that made today out of fabric I bought last year from the remnants bin. I made it following this tutorial and I just love the fullness of the skirt and the shirring in the back. Obviously, my princess loves it, but then what little girl doesn't love a twirly dress, in bright sunshine yellow?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Little Miss Anja has always worried me. Out of the 3 kids she felt the death of her Pappa so violently that it shook ever part of her being and displayed itself in every way possible. Everyday I would lift her up to Jesus (as I do with all my children) and ask that He would carry her through and bring her out stronger on the other side. Everyday I did all I could to show her love and to help her through.

And while I still pray for her daily and fear for her in this world, I now believe that she is starting to do better. I know because she is sleeping, she has finally starting to manage to make it to the toilet on time and she is laughing real belly laughs again.

I also know because her drawings have changed. For a long time she just drew pictures of sad things or really scary things. Lately though, people are always smiling and there are lots of princesses and butterflies and sunshine in her pictures. She drew these today. If you can't tell, that is me next to our house and the one below is the dog next to its kennel. I think they are just too cute.

And then this one put a real big smile on my face. Its a picture of me and Adrian and a love heart "because you really like him Mamma". There is also a picture of my engagement ring, a toadstool and a butterfly and down the bottom she wrote her name (in mirror image) and drew a picture of herself.

Slowly-but-surely she is starting to come out the other side. I don't believe that her grief is by any stretch of the imagination over, but at least for right now, she is coping better. And I praise God for that!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Foiled Plans

I woke this morning with a long list of plans for the day. I was going to sew some summer skirts for my girl who is refusing to wear pants, finish digging and planting the front garden and have a picnic with the kids. Non of that happened. I'll show you why:


In the middle of October! Right here in town, after we've had a week of warm sunny weather that made me hopeful that I could finally pack our winter clothes away.

The kids thought it was great and had so much fun.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I often dig around this blog and her writing often has me laughing, but more often leaves me in tears. Powerful, scary and oh, so, real.

Her latest post is simply a quote from Ernest Hemingway. It says:

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

May it also be true about me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Still not over

I just got off a phone call from WorkCover. I get these 'update' phone calls every so often to tell me where the process is up to. Every time it's the same thing: the investigation is in progress. We still don't know what the final outcome will be.

Little does the person on the other end of the line know how much these calls upset me. Little does she know that she manages to shatter a perfectly fine day by reminding me, yet again that Jouke is dead and that I might yet have to face court to pin criminal charges on people that I consider friends.

Its the same way I am rattled by paperwork and banks and solicitors. Last week I filed paperwork to claim outstanding long service leave and for the first time in a long time, I had to write his name again. I was physically shaking by the end. The same way I was shaking after an appointment with the solicitor to update our wills. He was casually asking about what would happen should we die one day.

Like the one day, that came to soon.

I am terrified will come too soon again.

Death is messy, its ugly and it follows you. Even on sunny days, when all else is fine, it manages to rattle you to the core and remind you of the fragility of life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Not so many months ago I remember talking to a friend about Jouke's death and how we were coping. I remember telling her that one of the hardest changes that I had to make was a shift in language. In an effort to help my brain to except the death of my spouse I forced myself to start referring to things as mine and to use me and I. What a struggle! I constantly kept on referring to our, us and we. And ever time I did use me or mine I would feel the pain of loss again.

It did however, over time, become normal. I got used to being me and referring to my house, my bed, my car. In part, it was rebellion. Maybe even pride. Like a 'watch-me-do-it-alone' attitude. I hated being alone, going alone, doing alone, but I was slowly adjusting to that and in small ways (very small ways) loved the freedom to choose, like what I watched on TV.

Thing is, now that I am married again, I am finding that I have to adjust back again to us, we, ours. I love it, but for some reason it has taking a while for me to fully get my head around it. Finally, gladly it is our house, our car, our bed! My head will just take a minute to catch up.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 things

Right now life is good. Its not easy, its not stress-free, its not uncomplicated, but it is good. Right now, smiling is easy and the gap between tears is starting to widen. Here are 5 things that I am particularly loving right now:

1. Laying in bed and talking to someone about the day. And hearing "Goodnight, I love you" just before I fall asleep.

2. How settled the kids are at the moment. For the last week I have only had to deal with normal childhood issues. Normal tantrums, normal tears, normal giggles and a lot more smiles and laughing. I love that!!

3. Standing in front of the deli counter yesterday, as I am placing my order, the phone rings. I ask the lady to wait while I quickly answer, only the hear Adrian singing "I just called to say, I love you" on the other end of the line. I giggle nervously and the sales person waits patiently. It put a smile on my face the rest of the day. Oh, how to be loved changes the colour of any day!

4. Spring days, friends, coffee and lots of chatter.

5. Being so completely aware of God's love, and knowing for sure that He is in control of whatever life holds.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Brand New Day

Two weeks ago I got married. What a day!!! I thought I would be nervous and emotional. I thought it would be bitter sweet. But I loved it. It was exactly as I had hoped, filled with family and friends with the focus on God and His grace. And of course, Adrian. The sweet funny-man who is now my husband. I am oh, so, blessed!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I was listening to a sermon series by Mark Driscoll titled "Redeeming Ruth". In it Mark explains the story of Ruth and how that reflects the story of Jesus. Much as Boaz redeemed Ruth, a broken, poor widow and gave her a second chance, so Jesus is redeeming us. Because of His work on the cross we are saved, redeemed and given a second chance at life and the promise of eternity. What a wonderful story!!!

Mark, in the same series, also took some time to talk to young unmarried men and call them to stand up and become men and be like Boaz, offering women, widows and Godly single mothers and new life by being their redeemers (with a little r). It is a Christ-like, selfless act to take on a women that cames with baggage, that has been through trials and who does not fit the worlds standard of perfection.

I am marrying one such man. His love for Jesus is his most precious quality followed closely by his love for others. He has listened to God's call and opened his heart and life to me and my three kids. He calls us his package deal.

I am reminded of God's love and Jesus' promise of salvation every time I look at him. And as my mum said: "How is it that in your 29 years you have have managed to snag 2 of the most amazing men you will ever meet. It is definitely a God thing!"

I agree! Praise Jesus.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sick of it!

I am so sick of everything I do, everyday, being somehow tainted with grief and sadness. Even the happiest things.
I watched my son sing in his kindergarten choir and I cried.
I laughed at my little girl's antics and then in the next breath I feel like crying.
I am planning my wedding! I am happy, but always, somewhere, there is the knowledge that this wouldn't be happening if it was not for the loss of a great man.

Today I did a really great thing. I rearranged my wardrobe to make space for my soon-to-be husband. The wedding is getting that close. In 30 sleeps I don't have to sleep alone anymore. I am so excited!

But what sucks about grief is that these things also makes me sad. Sad, because it screams so loudly that Jouke isn't coming back.

And I hate that death has robbed me of joy even in the happiest of moments!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My kids

I love these guys. They are fun and they keep me sane and make me laugh!

* I realise that Tiaan's photo should have been rotated, but I just can't seem to get it to. Sorry. Just turn your head sideways, it helps.

Really good day

Anja said grace at dinner tonight:

"Dear God, dankie for Pappa up in the sky, dankie for mum making us dinner, dankie for going to school today, dankie for Timmy bringing us a present, dankie for a really good day. Dankie for everything. Amen."

Indeed, dankie for a really good day!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


A few nights ago, Tiaan called out to me from his bed. "Can I phone Pappa, please?", he asked. "Oh sweet, you know that we can't phone Pappa. How I wish we could." A flood to tears followed, gut wrenching tears. He was so sad. Finally he lifts his head, "He's never coming back, is he?".

What a horrible thing for a little boy to finally understand.

I knew that day would come, the day when the kids will finally begin to understand permanence of death and what that means for us. But I was not ready. I'm still not.

While we have been given a new beginning, a new promises for the future and joy, it does not take away our deep sense of loss. There are days at a time when life feels normal and we get on with things and we are living, not just surviving. But then there are days, like yesterday, when the loss of Jouke, of Pappa, of a really great guy, threatens to consume us again.

For me personally watching my kids hurt is the hardest. I feel so completely helpless.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It's weird.
Weird, to be this happy.
Weird, because I did not expect happiness again, so soon, maybe ever.

But, it is a good weird. A great weird. I shake my head in wonder, at this and at God's majesty. In wonder that it is possible and that it is real.

I am completely happy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


When Jouke died, I lost so much. Not only did I loose my husband, the father to my kids, but a really great man. He was one of the kindest people I knew, full of fun, and a really wonderful father. I also lost my sense of security, friend, my partner and the only person who knew everything about me and loved me completely anyway.

The thing that I lost that scared me most however, was the loss of dreams and a hope for the future. Every dream I held for me and the kids was coupled to Jouke. Every plan I had for us was buried with him that day. Suddenly, we were living (if you could call it that) minute by minute. Suddenly I could not plan my day beyond lunch and then beyond getting the kids to bed. Little chucks at a time. No hope for the future, no planning beyond today.

New Years eve I remember sitting alone at home and just crying. Terrible sad, heartbreaking sobs. I cried for the loss of Jouke, but also for the loss of me, my dreams, my future and the utter loneliness I felt. It was that night that I decided I could not live like this anymore. I loved Jouke, and I always will, but I could not hold on to him any longer because I was dying too. I uncoupled my self that night. I took my wedding band off, not long after. I stopped feeling married and in the process allowed myself to begin the dream of a new future.

Little did I know God's plans. Little did I know exactly how wonderfully and beautifully God answers prayer. Little than 2 months later, I am dreaming again. I am happy and excited. And I am loved.

One of Jouke's mates has been coming around weekly to make sure we are ok and to spend time with the kids. He did not come around expecting anything in return. He did not show up with any other intention, but to be a faithful mate and to make sure that Jouke's family was looked after. And then one night, suddenly, things changed.
He saw me.

I praise God! He is a wonderful man who is willing and wanting to take on this package deal. He knows loving me means loving my children and he does so shamelessly. He realises what I (and Jouke) had to loose for us to find each other and he is not scared. Jouke will always be part of us and he is ok with that.

I cannot even begin to tell you about God's grace and mercy. I cannot begin to explain to you the power of God and how he answers prayer. All this is God's doing, without Him this smile on my face would not be possible. I thank you Jesus.

I am dreaming again. Wonderful new dreams. Hope is a beautiful thing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


"When we win lotto..."

We used to dream and wonder what it would be like to be rich. Jouke had dreams of helping his family, going on fantastic camping (huh?) holidays and making sure we owned our own home. His dreams seem small, but to us they were huge. I mean, imagine owning your own home! Being debt free! Imagine...

We never once bought a lotto ticket.

Yet here I am knowing that, in a matter of weeks, I will own our house. I will be debt free.

Instead of being elated and relieved, it feels awful. I don't feel rich. I would give it all back in heartbeat. I would trade EVERYTHING for just another moment. For a chance to say goodbye.

Riches, it turns out, has got nothing to do with money. Riches, wealth, is not material. It's not stuff.

Instead, it is a house filled with laughter and fun.
It is being surrounded by people and noise and banter.
It is the dimple in a boy's cheek that makes him look exactly like his pappa.
It is chubby arms wrapped around your neck and warm snuggles early in the morning.
It is the sure knowledge and certain hope of eternity.

It is hearing a muffled "I love you" in your ear just as you are about to fall asleep.
It is the gentle rhythm of his heartbeat and his breath on your cheek.

Monday, February 22, 2010


It is 8:30pm. I am covered in grass, hot and sweaty. I just finished moving the lawn, but I ran out of fuel as the sun set, so for today I am done.

This makes me mad.

Not mowing the lawn, but needing to mow it late, after the kids are in bed and having to stop because I can't go get more fuel while the kids are in bed. Not to mention - I can't see where I am going anymore.

Today the burden of responsibility feels to heavy to carry. I am 28. 28! What 28 year old carries this weight of responsibility? How is it that at this age when most people are just settling down for the first time or are busily climbing the corporate ladder, I am left dealing with all this?

I love my kids. I do. Everyday they are the reason I get up and function. They are the reason I want to "get better". I will not want to trade them - EVER. But some days this is too hard. Caring for them while they grieve.
Caring for them full stop.
I knew before I became a parent that this job is hard work. I knew it was a long time commitment. I thought it would be a job shared. Thought that I would have a fall-back.

Last night I had a really horrible dream. Horrible and all day I have been followed by it. And then tonight I realised that I NEED A BREAK!!

I do breakfast every morning, I care for the house, I care for the dogs, I care for the yard, I feed everyone, I clean everything, and every night I tuck 3 little bodies into bed. Then, instead of the reward of a job well done I am then faced with a long lonely night until sleep finally comes. Sleep, my only break. Unless I dream like I did last night, and then I get no rest ALL DAY LONG!

I need to find a pause button somewhere. I want to stop the ride and get off. I want to for just a few moments not have to carry this load, do all these things. I want to shake the responsibility.

I am just. so. TIRED!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Half your life

My baby will be 2 tomorrow. Last night we had a little party for her. Nothing huge, more just something to mark the day.

Today I can't stop thinking that she has now spend half her life without knowing her Pappa.

She is such a happy little girl. Obsessed by puppies and crazy about soft toys, she is always laughing and playing and brings me much joy.
The 8 months following Jouke's death she wasn't doing so well. She was hard work, she was clingy and impossible to deal with. But one day, almost overnight, she started to sleep better and cry less and wasn't scared of people anymore. For now she is doing ok and, for now, I think she has dealt with her grief.

This (I know it sounds weird), makes me sad. Sad that she now has no idea what it is like to have a Pappa. Sad that she touched a man's face the other day and was freaked out by the stubble. Sad that she will grieve one day for someone she does not know.

Beautiful Alani, Jesus gave you to me because he knew that I would need you as much as you need me. You are such a ray of sunshine. The gleam in your eyes and the speed with which you get around will forever remind me about your wonderful Pappa. You were given his energy and lust for life and adventure and he would have just loved getting into mischief with you. We love you honey. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pappa in the sky

So far I have been talking mainly about how I am dealing with grief. Strange as it may sound, its the easy option. By far easier than talking about how my kids are fairing. The sadness in their eyes, their tears and their questions are tough. As a mother we are programmed to fix our children's pain. Band-aids, kisses and cuddles - these are our tools. Love is what I have been given. Tonight it doesn't feel like enough.

"When Pappa come down from the sky...."

This is how Anja's questions start. I gently remind her every time that he wouldn't be coming down from the sky, he can't come back. She refuses to believe. Its normal for a 3 year old not to understand the permanence of death, but its cruel. Cruel that she lives in hope not realizing that her hope, her dream, can never be true.

She sobbed on Tuesday night "I want Pappa back!!". I cried with her, for her.
"Jesus isn't real", she said, "you just say He is to make me feel better."
I sat there stunned. I thought we adults had the corner on doubt. I was wrong. We talked, I asked more questions and explained again about heaven, about Jesus.
"Then I want to go to heaven. When can I go?" Again, stunned. I had no answers. I still don't have any.

I remember the week following Jouke's death. I slept on the floor in their bedroom as I wanted to be near them and because I just couldn't sleep in our bed. One night Anja, then only 2, asks me to bring her a bucket. Thinking she is sick, I run. When I get back, she takes the bucket and tries to make herself be sick. After a while she hands the bucket back. "Are you ok? Do you feel sick?", I ask. "I just want to get this yucky out", she says "just want this yucky out."

How I wish I can do that for them. How I wish that I could take the yucky out and make it all better.
Problem is, death is the one un-fixable in life.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


When Jouke first died I was completely overwhelmed with questions of "Why?". A million different questions ran through my mind, but by far the question I asked most was "why now?". He was only 32, I was only 27 and our kids were (are) still only babies.


Its a question that will drive you mad. There is no answer, there is no knowing.

It has now nearly been a year. 12 months, 365 days. A life time ago and yet only yesterday. Our grief is still raw, he tears are still close and we are still learning exactly how to do this without the one person that kept it all together. That said, I feel as though we have learned a little. Some growth has taken place and while I still really HATE this situation, there are times when there are moments of acceptance.

One of the things that I am coming to see is God's powerful hand and events leading up to his death. Things that happened that meant we were able to say goodbye and have no feelings of regret. I thought I might outline some of those below.

* Jouke and I met and married very young. Were were young but we were given nearly a decade fulled with joy and adventures.

* We always wanted 4 children. Two within 2 years then a 4 year gap and then 2 again. It didn't exactly work out that way. Alani joined our family about 3 years too soon (on our timetable) and because we had 3 children in 3 years time, we felt our family was complete.
Now I see that God knew what an immense blessing that little girl would be to us and what a huge role she is playing in my healing. He also kindly took away the feeling that we 'should have'. Not our timing, but His perfect hand for the good of his people.

* When Anja was 7 months old we spend about a month living with a friend who had lost his wife in a horrible car accident. We needed a place to stay and he needed the company. It worked out well. Now I see the lessons I learned about grief, widowhood, loneliness and pain. Never before had I ever confronted any of these emotions, but because of the time spend with Ian I was able to recognize them in me. They are horrible, but they are not completely unknown. I am ever thankful to our friend who not only taught us much, but who continues to be a wonderful supportive friend.

* Jouke worked a flexi-week. 4 days on and 3 days off. Because of this we often went on weekend breaks and very rarely used his annual leave. At one point he had so many weeks saved that his boss told him to take two weeks off, or else.
So this time last year we went on a 10 day camping holiday. It was fun and the time we spend as a family, and with some wonderful friends, will forever be treasured memories. When we returned we used the last few days of his leave to renovate the laundry and lay some new flooring. The night of the 3rd of March we finished. The last shelf was up and we headed to bed. That is my last memory of Jouke.
Now I see that those weeks were a gift. Precious, precious time together. Wonderful memories. And I now live in a house that Jouke had made practical and livable. His work is everywhere I look, a memory in every corner of this house.

* The Sunday night before his accident, Jouke suddenly dropped his paintbrush and headed for the computer. Confused, he told me that something was wrong with his family and he needed to speak to them. He was worried, something felt wrong. Via Skype he spoke to his parents, his siblings and some friends. By the time he was finished he felt silly, because everybody was well. Now I see that he was given an opportunity to say goodbye. One last chance to tell them he loved them.

There are many more such things that happened in the months and weeks leading up to his death. People we met, that have been amazing support for me through this past year; financial decisions we made that have helped us survive; buying our house and managing to get in front to help cushion the blow for me later and being part of a church that takes their call to support the widow and the fatherless very seriously.

For all these things I am thankful. Not my timing, but God's timing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I ♥ U

The strangest thing happened to me today.

I spend a wonderful day in Sydney with a friend while my kids were being cared for by another of my dear friends. Novelty. Spending the day without kids. Watching a show. Catching up.

All day, though, I was dreading the drive home. Alone, just as the sun was setting. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not so confident with driving.
I set of for home nervously at first, but soon found myself relaxing and rather enjoying the time in my own thoughts. The music was turned right up and I was one of those people singing to themselves in the car, looking like an idiot.

About halfway home I noticed heavy rain clouds and they made nervous.
I don't do storms.
I don't like wind.
Rain freaks me out.
I never have and probably never will. Jouke loved rain and storms.

After another 10 minutes driving I started to realise that I was about to drive right into the middle of that storm and then I began to really panic. I called a friend at home who tells me that the storm had just pasted through and that it dropped a fair amount of hail and she thought it best that I find cover.
Now I am praying aloud. Shaking with fear, I pull over just as the wind begins to rock the car and minutes later the hail and rain comes. I wait it out. The lightning strikes as the thunder sounds and the sky turns orange. If I wasn't so scared it would have been beautiful.

As the wind and rain ease I hit the road again. Its still raining but the storm is passing and ahead I can see clear sky as the sun sets.
And then I see it. In the clouds. As if written by hand or some sky-writing plane:

I ♥ U

For 10 minutes it stays in the sky, right in front of me. (I know, it sounds nuts. If I had a camera I would have taken a photo.) Now, I'm not one to look for signs, but this was undeniable. It was real. I like to think that it was a message. From Jouke? From Jesus? Both? Either way - WOW!!!!!!

When I get home and get out of the car I look back to where I had come from. Black. The sky is black and angry looking. In front of me though, the sky is clearing and in then middle are those words.

I ♥ U

Maybe its a metaphor, a synonym, a parallel for this road I'm walking. Maybe God is showing me where I've been and what is in front of me. I ache everyday to know if Jouke still loves me. To know that I am still worthy of love. God answered that prayer tonight. He is carrying me through this storm and He is loving me even when I feel rather unlovable.

How I love seeing God's majesty displayed!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I think that is where I am right now. I thought that given that I now know how fleeting this life can be that I would be willing to forgive more, love more, excuse more. Instead, its the opposite.

I have my hackles up. All. the. time.

I feel like I have to stand up for my self. Fight for my kids. Explain myself. Defend, defend, defend!

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't remember being this way 'before'. Sure, I got mad, had fights, but I never let things fester before. Didn't mind backing down.

Why do I feel so defensive? Why can't I let things go?

Grief is changing me.
Loosing Jouke has changed me.

I am praying that this is a stage, part of the process. I am praying the those I love and those I hurt will be patient with me. I am praying that instead of being hardened by this loss, I will be softened, humbled and be made useful.