It was Me

They led Him down to Calvary,
broken, bruised and wounded.
He was beaten and scourged,
whipped by their cold, calloused hand.
Despised and rejected by them,
He was taken as a lamb to the slaughter.
They openly mocked and mistreated
and in oppression and affliction,
He quietly bore the pain of their grief.
The crowd roared with harshness,
“Crucify! Crucify!” yet no man came to His side.
In innocence He bore sins and sorrows,
the cross weighed heavy on his back.
He was nailed, pierced and crushed,
and then in agony, He gave up the ghost.

We read and observe,
we recount the old words,
we pause and we wonder,
“Just how could it be?”
Where was their heart,
were they really that course,
how blind were their eyes
to the Man they led to the cross?

And I think, “What of me?”
Had I been standing there,
what might my reaction have been?
Oh, I never would have marched,
and called, “Crucify this man!”
how appalling and bitter the thought.

But today comes to mind,
and my head drops with shame,
do my actions still crucify him?
Am I beating and kicking His bruises and scars,
despising and calling out names?

Do dark, ugly sins, hidden down deep,
keep pushing the thorns in His skull?
Is it my hammer of ill-will, I harbor inside,
pounding the blows to the nails?
What of my attitude, small though it is,
is it piercing the sword in His side?
My lack of devotion, my heart less than contrite,
is it whipping and scourging his back?
Does His head hang with shame while He cries,
over the pride in my actions and words?
Unforgiveness, bitterness, and so much more,
am I crushing him low with my blows?
Am I swinging the whip and calling the names,
with my heart filled with mire and deceit?
Do I crucify Him over and over again
and yet think I would not do the same?

“Jesus!” I cry, as I kneel at His feet,
“Forgive me, forgive me today!
Forgive me for swinging that long, brutal whip,
while I accused others of causing your pain.
You hung on the cross with your head bending low,
and it was my eyes you saw staring back.
It was my sins you bore and my ugly, dark heart,
when you cried, ‘Father forgive, they don’t know!”
Then with love in his eyes, He stretched forth his hand,
and held mine with forgiveness and grace.

Thank you for loving me in my lowest of low,
for staying and taking the blame.
Thank you for walking that long, lonely road,
for dying that slow painful death.
Thank you for rising and setting me free,
Hallelujah, you’re coming again.

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Things I Learned on Vacation

Vacation [vāˈkāSH(ə)n] noun: a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday.

  • There is no such thing as the word ‘rest’ for the Mom while on vacation.

Everyone still needs all the things they needed before. Everyone still says “mom” and many more times than need be. All we did was leave the house and drive many hours to keep doing most of the things we did here.

  • While on vacation the father of the tribe does more than he is given credit for.

When he gets sick and spends a day in bed and another day recovering, you quickly realize how much weight he pulls.

  • Watching your kids learn about history is fun.

I am not a big history lover like their Father. He could stand in a museum and read for hours. I, on the other hand, get all twitching and itchy after 10 minutes of reading. The kids were highly intrigued with the Titanic and came away with lots of new information.
They were especially interested in this Captian and his story.

  • Cell phone addiction is a serious problem and some people are in need of rehab.

We spent a few days at an indoor water park and the kids loved it. I mainly spent my time people watching and standing in the shallow water keeping an eye on Kennedy.
I knew that people are addicted to their phones, but this took it to a whole new level. Seriously, people could not put their phones away to swim! They had them around their necks in a waterproof case or just carried them in their hand while they swam. (or tried to swim) Some of the parents carried theirs but for the most part, it was the teenagers and a few younger kids.
I overheard a conversation and I assumed it was a mom and her son. She was trying to get him to put his phone in her bag while he went into the water. He had all the attitude in the world as stated that he would not be putting his phone down for anything, not even swimming. As I said, rehab!

  • One little boy can do a lot of damage to some wings.
  • It takes a lotta, lotta food to feed this tribe when you eat out!
  • Little things can create great arguments.
    Like pushing the elevator buttons.
  • When the youngest of the clan calls from the backseat of the van and says she doesn’t feel good … you better MOVE! Now! Enough said on that subject.

  • Although it might not bother me in the least,
    fear of heights is a very real thing for some people.

This fear was much to the amusement of the other person on the lift with her.
We took the tram and then the lift to the top of the mountain. One of the girls had a much harder time than the other one. I’m all like, “Just close your eyes and don’t look around.” I was informed that doesn’t work because your mind is still working.

  • You know Spring has arrived when little flowers appear in little hands.
    (and you can’t resist those eyes.)
  • TN has some wicked pollen and northern people get attacked quite viciously.
  • I should probably not move to an area with a high tourist count. I would have to forever and always be repenting for swearing in traffic.

  • You take yourself (and your brain) along on vacation.

There is nothing like leaving it all behind, forgetting and not thinking about stuff. I sat in the big rocking chair on the back porch of the cabin with a coffee cup and contemplated life for a long time. The good, the bad and the ugly that has come my way.

Life keeps moving, changing, the words of my story keep flowing, page after page. There are pages written that bring laughter, when I can smile and say, “God is good!”

But when the paragraphs of fiery trials are written, what is my response? Do I want to rip that page out of my story and scream “No! Why?” Do I constantly want to grab the pen and reword it to suit me?

I can ask “Why?” all day long, but generally, there is no answer to that question. Instead, I often hear three quiet words from Him, “For My glory!” When the pages with trials are being written, am I looking for ways to bring glory to God in the midst of it or am I fighting, kicking and still asking why?

Am I allowing Him to write my story for His glory?
I cannot change what happened, but I can control my response.
It’s ugly, I don’t like this part of the story, but am I willing to say,
“Use me, for your glory!”

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Of School Things and more

If I were writing a Budget letter, I would start with the weather.
I would talk about how warm it was in February and how cold it is in March.

I would talk about the snow we had on Friday and how blue the sky was.
I would talk about how much snow we had this week and the fact that there was no school yesterday and the fact that it was in the 20’s and the fact that my three youngest stayed out for hours and the fact that I have no desire to leave the house.

But I’m not a Budget writer so I won’t start with all that. Instead, I will ramble on and on and tell you all the things that have been happening that one would not write in the Budget if one were a Budget writer.

~~~

Last week was simply full of running to and fro. Every day felt like a marathon. Marathon, funny I should compare anything to a marathon since I do not know the first thing about running one and would most assuredly pass out after running a simple half mile in this unconditioned body. Speaking of run-on, that would include the previous quite a few sentences today.

We made cut-out cookies one day for the Ohio State Open house at school.
What an affair of floured fun that was. Cut-out cookies and I do not get on well at all, in fact, I think they dislike me very much.

Every year our school does an open house and the kids are in charge. This year they studied the state of Ohio. Each group was in charge of a different set of years and had displays set up with information. It was very informative if you enjoy history.

There were people of all eras represented.

Each group was supposed to make a diorama to display. Obviously, this group’s era included the Wright Brothers.

Reagan was in her glory that night. She was so, so happy that she didn’t end up in a ‘boring modern day group!’ 🙂 Her time frame was 1786-1800 and let me tell ya, there is quite a lot I know about that time period due to helping with research!

Dakota’s research involved listening to us explain things while he spun in circles and picked on the sisters. He did watch some videos on the French and Indian war that brought things to life for him.

This group’s diorama was the Erie canal.
There is a canal full of water complete with boats and all behind the greenery.

Ohio supplied seven presidents for the United States. In a clashing of time line, we have President Grant and from the table next door, our very own governor, Mr. John Kasich.

If there is anything you would like to know about Ohio right now, stop by the school. I’m sure they could answer some questions.

And this one. She would have liked to be in the group that studied the 1950’s by the looks of things but instead she kept her Mother busy running marathons.

~~~

Other random things…

Do yourself a favor, make some scones.
Drizzle a coffee icing over them!

-There was a good-time brunch here on Friday.
-I made so much food on Saturday one would think I was feeding the five thousand.
-Sunday was too short.
-Time changed whipped me. How old does that make me considering it seemed to effect no one else living here?
-Confession: Snow days are not my favorite. If you are not a Mom, I will just leave you to wonder on this one.
-I was so hungry for donuts and cinnamon rolls after browsing facebook on a snow day. What’s up with everyone acting all Pioneer Woman and making me feel bad?
-The people living here will want food again tonight. What are you cooking up?
-Does my entire world revolve around food? It would seem so.
-My mental stability is entirely too unstable right now to listen to chewing children munching something crunchy.
-Speaking of food, what is your quick, last resort meal?

~~~

 Good day all!

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Of Taking Photos

Do you take photos?
What kind of photos do you take?
Do you use a camera? Do you use a phone?
Do you make your kids pose and smile?
Do you take photos when they are playing and doing normal things?
Does your house need to be clean for a photo?
Do you move the junk in the background to make it look like Pinterest?

However, whatever way, please, just pick up your phone or camera and use it.
Take photos!

Make them smile and say cheese.
And then take some of your everyday life!
I can’t say it enough. Just take photos.

You think you have the memory of an elephant, but I guarantee you won’t always remember what your 4th child looked like jumping on the sofa pillows that were spread all over the living room floor. Or for that matter, how the 11-year-old sits when she reads.

I would like to tell you to pick up a camera and use it, but if you won’t, that’s fine. At least use your phone to take photos. After you do that, save them somewhere and then print them. Two days from now when your two-year-old gives the phone a bath, you’ll want the photos you took today.

Don’t make them look and smile every time. The inner me wants to do that. I want to fix and primp and say, “Smile nicely. Look at me. Behave. Look normal.” All the while what I am really doing is creating an unnatural look because what child stands still, smiles nicely and is cleaned up 100% of the time? None. And while you’re at it, let the mess in the background. No one has a house straight from a magazine.
(well most of us don’t anyway)

Take photos of the kid covered in chocolate pudding.
(and print them, like the one on my fridge)
Take photos when you stop for ice cream in the summer or go to the park.


Take photos of them wrestling on the floor after supper.
(I would post that one, but one of them probably wouldn’t approve) 🙂
Take photos when they fall asleep on your lap with their rattiest clothes on.
Take common, ordinary, everyday photos!

Now let’s talk about you, the primary photo snapper. Are there any photos of you? Hand your camera or phone to your husband or kids and tell them to take pictures. They will love it and who cares if you think you look fat, your hair aren’t combed or whatever. In 20 years, you’ll think you look great!

Be intentional about photographing and videoing your family. Eric’s aunt texted me one day and asked if we owned a video camera? No, we don’t, we used to but we just use our phones now. “Buy one!” she said. They had just watched their home videos from when her kids were young and she couldn’t believe all the things she had forgotten.

Someday you will be glad for every single photo you have taken of your people and wish for even more. I love every photo we have of Tristan. I wish we had more. The other day I came across some more that I didn’t know we had and they are a treasure. We don’t care how he looks, we are just so glad for a few more visual memories of him.


Take a photo of the after school mess, the projects, the crafts and the one million things they can drag out to create one little thing.

All that to say, pull out your phone or camera, take some pictures, hand it off to have some taken of you and smile!

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Of the Deep Issues of Life (or not)

How is it that you can arrive home from town with a trunk full of groceries, walk in the house and immediately put something on your grocery list?

Why is it that a Mom just can.not.wait to go to bed, while the kids have to be herded, prodded and pushed there? But as soon as their lights go out, Mom doesn’t go to bed. Instead, she props open her eyelids and stays up much longer then she should. Why?

Why is on nights when you put the kids to bed and then go to bed shortly thereafter, they all stay in bed? And then on nights when you stay up until half past the moon, every other kid and their brother gets up in need of something or other and you have to quickly hide your snack? Every single time!

How can it be so that when the child of the household with the least amount of hair is told to take a shower, he will ask every.single.night. “Do I have to wash my hair?”

Whyyyyy do they always want supper?

And why do I wait until an hour before our evening meal and then go into panic mode over what to make? Where is the structured, organized woman inside me that plans everything to a T? She seems to have gone missing.

feb-17-11

Why are Monday mornings so dreadful? Is it because I didn’t keep up with the housework on Sunday and have a mound of dishes? Or maybe it’s Mt. Laundry down the hall waiting on me? Or maybe it’s a stigma of my brain just saying, “It’s Monday again. Let it be blue!”

Why did the creators of children’s toothpaste choose the color of brightest blue?

Why is it when we study memory verses for school that there is absolutely no retaining memory whatsoever. none. But the next day the teacher texts and says, “Word perfect!” How?

Why is it that after so many years of battling small children during church that when you find yourself sitting with only your 10-year-old at your side, you don’t even know how to concentrate anymore?

Why do I bother cleaning up around here? It takes less than 2.5 seconds after they hit the door for the fur to hit the ceiling and what a mess it is!

How is it that my children were born with such a marvelous knowledge of everything? No matter what advice, direction or command I give them, the reply is always the same, “I KNOW!” (now to ensure the proper understanding of this, one must draw out that last word long on the accent and the octaves rising over the syllables of the O‘s.
“I K-N-O-O-O-W!“ They know everything. It truly is amazing.
But thee most unbelievable part of it is this, 2 minutes after they K-N-O-O-O-W, they don’t know. When you ask them a question as to why they did or did not do a certain thing, the reply is always the same, “ I didn’t K-N-O-O-O-W!”
Tell me, how can this be? They K-N-O-O-O-W, but yet they didn’t K-N-O-O-O-W.

feb-17-13

Why is it that my clutter doesn’t bother me that much at all, but when the kids fill the entire desk with their stuff, I like to lose my mind with it all?

Why is it after I have just swept and mopped the floor that the sudden urge to eat crackers hits them all?

Why can my children not find their library book straight up in their backpack but they can see my candy wrapper at the bottom of the trash bag from 5 days ago?

Why do we wait until the last minute to do the nasty jobs? Why not do them immediately and get it over with?

With the amount of tangled, gross hair I extracted from the innards of my sweeper, someone in this house should be bald!

Does it seem to you that Praise and Worship songwriters these days must wear out their copy and paste method?

Why is everything I love to eat bad for me?

feb-17-12

Why do little people feel the need to snip around on their hair?

Yet the same three-year-old these days, when did she become so grown up? Like sitting and sipping cold coffee and when I go to take the cup she says, “Hey! I’m drinking that!” And when she saw her name in the church bulletin announcing her upcoming birthday and she says, “Hey! We need to get home and get started on my cake!”

How is it that a kid can rip, run, jump, and tear around the house for an hour but when asked to go downstairs and get something from the freezer … my word, they almost pass out from sheer exhaustion. It is as if their Mother had forced them to climb Mt Rushmore without oxygen!

Why do we wait until someone is gone to tell everyone about their strengths? Why don’t we tell them while we still have them with us?

feb-17-14

How is it that I was able to keep this plant alive for almost 5 months?
It loves dry and unattended soil.

And where is my urge to go to the basement and sew costumes for the school play?
MIA.

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Winter Days

News from around the farm…
Well, not really because we have no animals other than our fat cat named Jack, who is always free to a good home since he’s not technically ours but rather the neighbor’s, but I would give him away anyway!  Now wasn’t that a great run on sentence to start out with?! As far as news, I don’t know… January was fairly relaxed and rolled into the next month that has the weirdest spelling. This month has been crazy. All kinds of things happening at the same time. Too many things.

feb-17-8

Monday was butchering day… does that interest any of you? 🙂
I know some people just perish at the thought of butchering, but it really doesn’t bother me. It was something we did every winter when I was a kid so it has good memories.

~~~

Food wise around the farm….

feb-17-3

Madison continues to bake.
Not everything turns out perfect and this was one of those times. 🙂
The macaroons were not growing feet! ??
Don’t ask me.

feb-17-1-honey-dutch-blend

This stuff.
Oh, my word. Make it. Eat it.

It’s called Honey Dutch Blend. It’s not my recipe, it comes from my friend Anna and I think it came her way from someone in our big Miller family, never the less, make and eat. If you are a health nut, just skip over this recipe and keep reading. If you appreciate all things sticky, ooey, gooey and good, just turn a blind eye to the ingredients and enjoy it. 🙂

Honey Dutch Blend

1 box Honey Combs – 1 box Rice Chex -1 box Corn Chex – 1 bag of Pretzels
Mix together in a large bowl.

1 c. Honey
1 c. Karo
2 1/4 c. Brown Sugar
4 sticks of Butter
Bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes
Add 1/2 tsp baking soda
Stir and quickly pour over cereal mixture.
Spread on wax paper until dry.

It makes a huge batch and it can be cut in half if you wish.

We also made Mocha Brownie dessert the other night.

feb-17-2-mocha-brownie

This has got to stop, though!
When there is all this good food in the house I have no self-control. none.
Thankfully, we took this to a family gathering and only had half of it left to tempt me. With a crew like mine, that was only enough for one round of dessert.

~~~~~

Do your kids like to listen to stories?
Go HERE and listen to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.
Reagan loves them! I think she was born in the wrong era.

~~~

School Days for the kids…
Our teachers do a great job keeping the winter months exciting. Every week there is one or two days with something happening.

They had “clash day” in January but those pictures make me shudder!
One day was “Missionary Day.” The top activity for that day was when the kids smuggled Bibles into the school and hid them. The teachers spent quite a lot of time searching and declared that next year they will bring in reinforcements because the kids are getting better at it every year.
There is cozy-day, popcorn day, exchanging lunches, snack day and more. One day every family is supposed to bring a gallon of milk… hot chocolate day?

Last week we celebrated 100 days of school. They were supposed to dress like a 100-year-old person. I wasn’t home that morning but they needed very little help! One of them especially loved this day.
feb-17-7

I told Dakota to just wear sweatpants because if I were a 100-year-old, I would sit in my chair all day like that. 🙂
Reagan happily dug through a box of old lady dress up clothes I had for other occasions.
Madison didn’t know what to wear so I told her I would stop at Goodwill. I did, and there it was in all its glory for only $4. I took it up to check out and the two little old ladies working the register picked it up and started exclaiming. I opened my mouth to tell them why I was buying it when one says, “This is just beee-u-tiful!” I quickly closed my mouth without speaking and left grinning.

feb-17-9

Yesterday we spend 3 hours on the tubing slopes with the honor roll kids. It was a lovely, bright and sunny day and the kids quickly warmed up! To say they were hungry for lunch after 3 hours of this was an understatement.

~~~

The princess and I have been busy.
feb-17-4

Her room was always just leftover colors from Dakota and she dreamed of having a pink room. Well, her mother is not a lover of all things pink, but oh well, it shouldn’t be too hard to repaint when she is done with pink.

I did my usual painting thing. Started the day by planning to clean the room. Oh well, may as well paint a coat of pink, ah shoot, while it’s drying we’ll do a little gray. Hey, the pink is dry, let’s give it another coat, and by now I would hate to mess up another day, let’s just finish it all! And so by 4:30 we were done. She says, “I didn’t think we were going to do it all today!” Well, neither did I.

feb-17-5

She was happy, happy, happy that night!

~~~

feb-17-6

When you have a birthday and can almost not get to your gift because everyone else wants to see it too.

The princess has a birthday coming up too. She is all concerned about me going to town alone sometime or else she won’t have a gift for her birthday!
Unknown to her it’s already in hiding.

~~~

feb-17-10

Psalms 91:1-2
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting in Him.

What do we need in a storm?
shelter. rest. refuge. safety.
Where do we find that?
In Jesus.

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Walking With the Grieving

Grief-walking is a very long and lonely road. It is so long, in fact, it really has no end because as long as one lives, they will grieve their losses. As long as one lives, a part of their heart will be missing, holes left by the ones gone before.
While it is long and lonely, without fail Jesus is with us, helping to bear this burden. Sometimes he is a quiet presence you feel inside, other times he is there in a tangible sense in the form of a friend or neighbor.
Being willing to be Jesus to a hurting heart means so much to the one grieving. They see you putting yourself aside and giving time and talents to walk beside them. During my grieving, I was blessed in so many ways through the people around me. I knew without a doubt that they loved me, cared for me and while some had never walked this road, they were willing to step into my pain and be there for me. That is true friendship!

One thing to always remember is everyone is different. God created everyone unique and He loves that about us. Because of this, we will also grieve in our own unique way, each one differently than anyone else. When someone is not grieving as you think they should, just be gentle, give them time, love and encouragement.

This post is a compilation of many, many people’s thoughts and feelings. I had a very good response to my questions. Because everyone is different, there are many different ways listed to help someone. Not everyone will agree with everything listed here, so when you want to do something for someone, take into consideration what they would appreciate. Another thing to note, this list is full of things to do for anyone in need, not just a grieving person. Let’s be Jesus to someone today!

Prayer
“I would like to thank every person who has let me know they are praying for me.”
This cannot be overdone, it just cannot. There is so much power in prayer!
I’m not sure where I would be today if it weren’t for praying people.

Send a card.
This is an excellent idea because mail is always appreciated. Along with the card, write a note, a verse, a poem or something of meaning. Words carry weight!
“During the first year, I had a friend who sent a little something in the mail every month about the time my mom died.”

“I love when people talk to me about my loved one.”
This one was mentioned often. To know that the one you are missing has not been forgotten is so important. Talk about them by name, tell them what you miss or what you remember, or ask a question about them.

Babysitting
It was hard to think with the noise of small children around all the time. To have a few hours of peace and quiet alone was worth so much.

“I had church responsibilities when my loved one died. I wish someone would have offered to take my place teaching Sunday School for the rest of my term.”

Remember the important dates. Birthday. Anniversary. Date of death.
Remember with a word, a card, a text, or anything. Just remember.

Send Flowers
Not just over the time of the death, but flowers are appreciated anytime, like important dates or for no reason but to show you care.

“My loved one lived in a different community and over the time of the hospital stay and then death, we spent a lot of time and money on travel. Days off work are costly, gas is expensive. I wish someone had thought of this and if they were able, would have given towards our expenses in this way. Children are often bored while driving. A care package for them would have been wonderful!”

“A friend came just to sit and listen. She didn’t have words of advice, she just sat and listened to me cry and talk. It meant so much.”
It’s okay if you don’t have words, you don‘t need words. We are all prone to want to think of something to say, to have a beautiful reply for every problem, but the gift of sitting and listening is comfort in itself.

“I have a dear friend who stopped in about every week to chat, have coffee, or lunch or whatever. I never had to worry about how the house looked or what she would think of me. It felt so good to inhale the fresh air she brought with her.”

“When someone lets me share my story over and over, it’s therapy. It hurts, but it’s also healing.”

“Do. Not. Judge. And don’t make assumptions either. If you don’t understand, that’s ok. Likely the grief-walker doesn’t understand themselves or the situation any more than you do. Just love and give grace.”

“I wish people had not judged me for the dumb moves I made when my mind was numb with grief. I wish they would have encouraged me instead.”

“I know I am different than I used to be, I know grief has changed me. I just want people to give me grace and time to find the new me.”

“Don’t compare. I wish people would understand that everyone grieves differently. Just because your sibling died doesn’t mean you know how I feel when my Mom died.”

“After losing our baby at 13 weeks someone told me “Well I guess you just need to think about people who have it worse than you do”. Sure I get that, but when you are in the midst of hard grief, that’s not what you need to hear.”

“My Sunday School teacher didn’t put me on the spot by asking me about my loss in front of the entire class because she knew it would be too much for me.”

“Even if I look like I have it all together and am handling it well, inside I still want to hear that someone cares!”

“As a widow, friends are precious that are willing to stand by and be there when times are tough and you don’t even understand yourself! -see James 1:27-
Have a listening ear and not try to fix.
Words of life and encouragement are worth a lot!
If they have children, especially boys, there are godly men needed to be mentors!
A helping hand and acts of service are huge! Outside work, washing off the vehicle has meant a lot to me!!
Be open to what the Holy Spirit leads you, HE so knows when the need for a phone call, visit or coffee shop time!”

“She put a stack of note cards on my table filled with encouraging Bible verses to read when it was hard to open my Bible.”

Be available.
Let them know that you are available, day or night, no matter what time, for a call or text. Just be there.

“I really appreciated the people that listened to me the first year after our loss. Their listening ears helped me process my grief and shock. I really appreciated the few people who weren’t afraid to help me bear this messy, unpredictable burden of grief. I know my actions and responses hurt them at times, but still, they were gracious.”

“I have never experienced grief to this extent – I’ve had friends who have been thru those hard things. I’ve been putting effort into learning how to be a better friend to someone who is experiencing this. Someone who has faced trauma and sudden death said to the rest of us “We assume that we know how we will grieve when faced with death and we expect everyone else to grieve that way. The truth is that no one knows how they will react or grieve.” This has been very helpful to me when walking alongside a friend. And also being ok with being, uhm, maybe I could say, hurt by the grieving friend. In other words, understanding that they are hurting so badly that sometimes they hurt others unintentionally. So being willing to lay that hurt aside for the sake of the friendship.”

Acts of Service
“So many people brought meals and showed their love and care with food!”

Everyone needs to eat and it is hard to think about cooking at such a time!
Another lady said, “Bringing meals WITHOUT asking. It can be hard to say yes to an offer, but when a meal just shows up or is left in the freezer at church for you, it is such a blessing.”
Or this one, “Someone brought freezer meals in tinfoil pans for me. On days when I couldn’t think to cook, I used them and never had to worry about returning the dishes.”
If you have children, this one is great. “Once a month a lady dropped off a big bowl of cookies for us.”

Do some cleaning for her.
Not everyone is okay with this so if the person you are wanting to bless is home, send a text and ask if it’s okay. There is no end to the cleaning if you have a family and I’m sure there will be something you can do.
*When my brother died I know some ladies came over and cleaned my house while we were gone for the funeral. I am embarrassed to ask who all saw it in its messy state, but I am grateful for their kindness.

Money
Funeral expenses are astounding and even the smallest donation helps.

Ask. If you don’t know, just ask.
“Would you like to go out to eat with us or would you rather I bring a meal to your house?” “Would you like for me to take your children today or stay and clean your flowerbeds?”

“The smallest acts of kindness mean so much! When someone came for the evening and brought a little snack, it was so encouraging. When they dropped off a loaf of fresh bread or came and raked my leaves. Just little things, but they took time out of their busy schedule to be there for me.”

“After our loss, we had a couple people give us groceries/snacks in 31 totes. So thoughtful and I always think of them now when I use the bags. A couple stopped in one random evening with gifts for our children and flowers for my husband and I. We also received care packages in the mail with little gifts for the kids and snacks and candy. We were also blessed by an American Express gift card, restaurant gift card and Starbucks gift card all from the same person with a card stating that we are to use the AE gift card for a getaway. This was given right around the time our baby would have been due to arrive. I found that very thoughtful as so often we had intentions of going away by ourselves but it never happened because of work/money.”

Gift Cards
These can be used at any point in time when they feel up to going out again. They can be cards for the grocery store, shopping or a restaurant.

“Take things like paper plates, toilet paper, napkins, tissues, paper towels etc. to the house of those who just lost a loved one. Someone did that for us and it was a gift.”

“Friends got me out of the house for a few hours one day. They called and said they were coming to get me. We had a good day of shopping and coffee and it gave me something else to think about for a little bit.”

“When asked, “How are you?” I often didn’t know what to say. I did love to hear someone tell me they had been thinking about me this week and prayed!”
“How are you?” is a common question, it’s just one that comes out when we don’t know what else to ask. It is a very hard question to answer in the middle of grief, so don’t be offended if the grief-walker just smiles and says, “Okay” when you know they really aren’t. Most likely they themselves don’t know how they are.
“Be willing then to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to them…….be it a text, card, flowers, meal. Just do something. It doesn’t matter how small it is. It will mean the world. All I wanted was a hug and a tangible reminder that they cared.”

A hug without words
Sometimes just knowing someone cares is huge. You do not have to say anything. Actions speak louder than words many times.

“I loved the people who came through the viewing who just hugged me, cried and said ‘I am praying for you.’ At a time of sudden loss, you can’t remember everyone that came, much less the things they have to say. But that warm hug you will remember.”

“Give the gift of a massage. It is so relaxing once all the stress is over with to go and have a massage. It seems like a small gesture, but one I loved.”

“When someone dies, don‘t forget that their close friends are also grieving deeply.”
Death affects many, not just family. Check in on friends grieving a loss also.

“I wish people would have chosen something to do instead of saying,
“Let me know if you need anything!”
Most people who say this mean it with absolute sincerity, I did when I said it. I really, truly wanted them to let me know what they needed. Since then I have come to realize that often a grieving person is unable to process and think like they normally would, especially in the initial stages of shock. When someone walks up and says, “Let me know if you need anything!” there will almost never be a reply to the request. The griever is simply unable to think of what they need. When they do think of something, they still won’t call you because it just feels so needy.
Next time instead of leaving your question open-ended, be specific.
“Would you like for me to bring supper on Wednesday or Thursday night?”
“Would it be okay for me to stop in at 10 today and clean your windows?”
“I’ll be by in 20 minutes and will clean your bathrooms for you.” and when you clean the bathroom, stock it with toilet paper and etc.
“I’m running to the grocery store. Do you need any staples like bread, milk, or eggs? Or would you have a list ready that I could have?”

“I have walked a different journey of grief by becoming a single mom and sometimes reading posts like this makes me sad! I didn’t lose my husband to death but grieved just like it was a death and people don’t know what to do in situations like this, so they do nothing. In that first year, I would have loved for someone just to bring me a meal, help me with my 5 kids (just to give me a little break since I had that responsibility 24/7) or just to come visit! I did have my family who took turns coming at least once a week for a year and not sure how we would have survived without that! I don’t want to hurt anyone with what I said, but just a reminder that you don’t have to lose a loved one to death to grieve! So if you know someone facing this type of grief now, please reach out to them just like you would if her spouse had died!”

“Grief is the conflicting feeling caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern or behavior.”

Grief is not always through actual death. There are many, many forms of grief that need to be acknowledged with encouragement and support. There is grief like she mentioned above, or infertility, miscarriages, abuse, and many things along that line that feel like an enormous weight on your shoulders. Sometimes a form of grief can be brought on by changes in your life, loss of a relationship or a job, or any number of things that don’t look like a big deal to us if we haven’t walked in those shoes. If you see someone grieving like this, reach out to them even if you don’t understand because you’ve never been there. You can still show them you care through words and actions.

In the end, there is no amount of anything that will take away the pain of loss. The pain always remains, but when there is care, love and genuine concern shown, it is like a ray of sunshine on a dark day. When a friend is willing to stoop low and help carry your burden, the load seems lighter and the path easier knowing you are loved.

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