Thanks to Easter!


Another Easter week end has arrived. This will be the fourth Easter since my husband went home to be with the Lord.  Just over the last couple weeks, I was rather melancholy as I thought about that last Easter he was with me. I came across a picture of us on his last Easter and was amazed at how good he looked. I’m sure he had had a few treatments that had his tumors at bay for that time. Then I saw pictures of him the following month at my granddaughter’s birthday party. Again, he looked good. However, I remembered that he said he wasn’t feeling well as we left that day. The next month he was home with the Lord. The pictures of my husband that last month do not look like him. They look like an old man and just a skeleton of one at best.

All the pictures and memories have given me mixed feelings. They make me sad and make me miss him more than ever; yet, they remind me of God’s great love. I had asked God to take Phil quickly if He was not going to heal him. I didn’t want to see him suffer. That’s exactly what God did. It felt like a hurricane blew through that house and took Phil him with it. When I remember that, I think of how gracious and loving our Heavenly Father is. The pictures I have of Phil are the evidence of just that. Our Lord didn’t allow him to suffer for long. From when the doctor said Phil would have only a few months, it was three weeks.

I continue to think about God and His goodness during this week-end. Without Easter, I would have no hope. As Christ died on that cross, bearing my sins for me, He made a way for me to have that hope. As a teen-ager  At the age of 16, I realized that even though I believed in Jesus and that He died for me and rose from the grave the third day, I had never taken that fact from my head and trusted Him with my heart. Since that day, He has been with me in Spirit. I know I will spend eternity in Heaven.

I can remember many times that He prevented me from falling during all those years and held my hand through many trials. When our son was killed along with his girlfriend, even though I grieved, it was not as one without hope. I knew they both had allowed Christ into their hearts, as well, which meant that one day I would be reunited with them again in Heaven.  I knew they were safe and in His presence. I knew God had just taken two of His own.

Last evening as I sat through a special Easter service in church, commemorating Christ’s crucifixion, I realized just how much that meant to me. When I became a widow, I was not alone. I had Christ to talk to any- time day or night. I had His hand of protection, and I had His constant companionship.

Did I grieve and weep over the loss of my son and husband? Of course, I did. The Bible tells us that even our Lord wept. But I wept not as one without hope. I wept over losing my other half while I remain here on earth. I wept over the loss of my life as a wife. However, I’m not at a loss as those who don’t have the Lord.  They have no one to call out to, in their loneliness and fear. I can’t imagine living my life without knowing that He’s there by my side at all times. He even promises to be “as a husband to me.”  In Isaiah 54:4 it reads, “…For your maker is your husband…”.

The service last night commemorated Christ’s death and burial. The services tomorrow, Easter Sunday, will celebrate His resurrection! It’s because He arose and stands at the right hand of the Father that I can praise Him! That’s why I can say thanks to Easter, and I can face tomorrow!

Happy Easter!

I pray if you don’t have Christ as your Savior, this Easter season will be the time of your new birth! Ask Him to come into your heart and save you! Thank Him for dying for you!

May God bless you,

Kathy

Give Thanks


Thanksgiving pic

I’ve been thinking about how I can say to others, “Give thanks.” If you’ve recently lost a loved one or are still grieving the loss of a loved one, you may think, How can I give thanks?

As I thought about what I wanted to write to you this Thanksgiving week, I thought, Can I say that I’m thankful that God took my husband home to Himself? Can I say I’m thankful that I am a widow? “No.”

I realized I’m not thankful for those precise things. But I can say that I’m thankful that God didn’t allow my husband to linger in great pain and suffering.  I’m  thankful I know Phil is in heaven with our Lord.  I’m thankful God’s promises have continued to be true. He’s remained faithfully by my side. God promises that He’ll work all things for good if we just trust Him. I have experienced that in my own life and am eternally thankful.

I’m thankful for the normal things in our lives: my family, my church, food, clothing, and health. But I’m also thankful for so much more. I’m thankful for my salvation, that Christ gave His life for me. I’m thankful God never leaves nor forsakes His own.  I’m thankful  I had a loving husband and the evidence of that love that still surrounds me. I ‘m thankful for the healing of my grief and strength for those first few years. The beauty of this earth, even in its fallen state, can’t go unmentioned.

I could write pages about all the things I’m thankful for. Instead, I’ll close with this verse, “Jeremiah 33:11 “Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Let’s praise the Lord for His goodness to us, which  is everlasting!

  “Thank You, Father”

(by Marsha Hubler)

 Thank you, Heavenly Father
  for your strength
which has seen me
through many trials.
Because of you,
I have had the courage
to face tomorrow’s unknown.
Your wisdom
from days gone by
now guides me
to make the right decisions
when I reach the forks
in the road of life.
Thank you, Father,
for the cherished cloak
of family ties
which has molded me …
now enfolds me …
… and fills me
with love and gratitude.

4/14/15 Final Preparations for Haiti Trip


This past Sunday we had our mission team’s last meeting. We skyped with the team from Calvary Church in Los Gatos, CA.  This team consists of 10 members, one who is Dr KIM JEE HEE, an ophthalmologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ophthalmic conditions, medical and surgical eye care, including LASIK, Premium multifocal lens Cataract Surgery, and Corneal Surgery. We are so fortunate to have someone with her knowledge on our team. As our team performs the regular eye examinations, she will be able to see the ones that need further or more extensive eye care. No surgeries will be able to be performed on this trip; however she will determine if she could do so in the future. We will have prescription eye drops/ medications available for her to prescribe. We are also taking a wide range of prescription lens and frames. These will be very basic for near – far vision. Our team provides 300-400 glasses. What a blessing to be able to help someone to finally see! 600 adult, 400UV, sunglasses will also be given out.

God blesses our pharmacist by enabling him to access resources to obtain medications that add up to thousands of dollars. The final packing of supplies in extra-large suitcases, one per person, was completed today.

We will be setting up clinics in five mountain villages. Along with the medical supplies we are taking volley- balls , Frisbees, and outdoor items to play with the children. Lord willing, as we show God’s love and share His word, many will come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.

It was good to meet several of the team. I feel more now like I have faces to names. I am so excited to work with these precious, God-honoring people. I pray for Satan to be defeated in any of his attempts to attack us as we near our time to leave. I’m thankful that God is allowing me to be a part of what he is doing in Haiti.

Some have said, “Why don’t churches just send the money to them?”  This can be answered by the words of one of the Haitians. “When we see you show up, it shows you care.” They love seeing some of the same faces return again and again. Proverbs 25:25 says, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”

I hope you’ ll be in prayer for us as we leave this Saturday, April 18th. We need prayer for safe travels, both to and from the country and while in the country as well. Pray for all of us to have the wisdom of God and to be able show His love. We want to fulfill His purpose for sending us.

God bless you for following me in this new chapter of my life.  Kathy

 haiti shirt2Haiti shirt 4Haiti shirt 1

03/28/2014 Spiritual Preparation for Haiti Missions Trip


An important aspect of our trip to Haiti is spiritual preparation. We want to share the love of Christ. It may be through sharing our drinking water with them, meeting their medical needs, helping with construction, or actually sharing God’s plan of salvation. Our goal is to encourage their lives to be changed and for them to be self-supporting people.

The time has gone quickly, and I have not had the chance to write this blog as I had desired.  In my last blog, I touched briefly on a few things needed when packing for Haiti.

We’re now down to 13 days before we leave. I have been busy gathering many other things to take with me. Since we’ll be away from the Haitian compound all day, we’re taking many protein bars and various other snacks. We’ll take several of these snacks with us each day for ourselves and for our translator. We also are packing plenty of peanut butter and tuna and flat bread, including bagels. We’ll take a sandwich with us for lunch. I have collected pencils, spiral notebooks and erasers for the children in the school. My grandchildren’s Awana club collected many little items for me to take for the Haitian children. Needless to say, my list keeps growing as I think of more things I should take.

While I’ve been working on my list for packing, I also have realized I need to think of my physical needs and preparation. I’ve even packed a little battery-operated fan and lots of batteries! Along with that thought, knowing I’m not used to the heat, I purchased several bandanas that can be moistened and help keep me cool. We’ll do more walking than I am used to, so I’ve tried to start walking near my house, although I’ve not been too faithful. However, I have lost some weight to be in better shape. I’ve also received the necessary immunizations and shots required along with any meds that the doctor recommended “just in case.”

The second area I’ve been preparing is my mind. I’ve had to learn how to use the wordless bracelet and the few variations that are necessary for a different culture. For instance, how could a child understand that God will make their hearts as white as snow when they’ve never seen snow? Instead we’ll say, “as white as the little girls dresses in church.” It’s also important I remember all the scriptures  I  want  to use. We all have given the leader our testimony and need to be able to give it anytime we are asked.

The third and most important preparation is that of my heart. I have responded to God’s stirring and made myself available; however, if my heart is not prepared, I’ll leave nothing of eternal value in Haiti. Our team was given a spiritual preparation worksheet to complete before we leave, and also the team leader recommended a daily devotional book called, Before You Go by Jack Hempling. This little book is excellent. I feel everyone should read it before going on a missions trip. With the help of this book, I’m able to concentrate on areas of my spiritual life I may not have realized were important.

Jack Hempling writes that anyone who goes on a missions trip needs to go with a servant’s attitude. A sweet spirit is necessary to live beside the others in the team and to work together. I need to enter Haiti sensitive to the Holy Spirit  so I can hear His prompting and guidance, whether it be to witness to someone or to be aware of a need as small as sharing a cup of my water.  If I leave on this trip without spending extra time every day with God, allowing him to prepare my heart, I’ll be wasting my time by even going.

My last and fourth area to prepare is my prayer support. I’ve already received my financial support, but prayer support is vital as well. I ask that you pray for me and ask God to prepare me to be a willing vessel.

May God bless you,

Kathy

3/22/2015 Haiti Preparation Continues


As the time for the missions trip gets closer, it’s becoming more surreal. In just four weeks I will land at this airport.

haiti airport runway

Toussaint_Louverture_International_Airport

Once we arrive at the airport,  we will be transported in one these of tap-taps.tap tap photos - Google Search

Today our team received more updates telling us how to prepare for our trip and suggestions for items to pack, including insect repellent with a high level of DEET. Chikungunya virus carried by daytime mosquitoes is now prevalent in Haiti. The windows have screens on, but some travelers still take their own netting for night time. As a first- time traveler, and most likely, an extra cautious one at that, I checked on Amazon to purchase my own netting.

My list of essentials to pack becomes more interesting as I add “one roll of toilet paper” and plenty of tissues “for my pocket along with our own Imodium!”

As I prepare to work in the clinic, I am reminded to take a headlamp and extra batteries since we will still be working after dark and will need to have our hands free. The Haitian people are, indeed, very needy, arriving early at the clinic and  coming throughout the day into the late hours.

I am requesting much prayer as our teams prepare. We want to all be in unison one with another and to be witnesses and a blessing to these Haitian people. We are also praying that our coordinator can locate a few of the nurses in the area, who could follow-up with our work after we leave.

Thank you for following me as I prepare to partake in this wonderful blessing.

“Haiti 8” Missions Trip


This June will mark the fourth anniversary of my husband’s home-going. The past four years held many ups and downs. However, I am thankful my Lord has brought me through those deep waters without letting them overtake me.

At one point I thought, perhaps, I would always carry sadness within me. I learned since then that I have a choice. I could keep looking back and thinking of my loss and what could have been, or I could look up instead. I chose to make an effort to look up to God and to help myself move on.  I started to realize that God had plans for me. He planned for my husband to go home with Him, but what were His plans for me?

He promises to “makes our crooked paths straight” (Isaiah 45:2).  I feel content in the path He has chosen for me. God has opened up new exciting adventures in my life. He led me to start this blog, and recently He directed me to start a fellowship for widows in my area.

Today I want to share with you the recent blessing He has given me. I’ll be joining a team from a local church on their 8th missions trip to Haiti. Because it is their 8th trip they call it “Haiti 8” missions trip.

Step one was to send in my application and references. I praised the Lord when I received acceptance. There will be a few on the team that will be doing fluoride treatments on children, others will be giving eye exams, and some will be working with a doctor on the team.  Because I am an LPN, I’ll be helping  the medical team. Others in our group will work on construction.

I attended my first meeting a few weeks ago and was given a spiritual preparation work booklet and guidelines of what must be accomplished before we leave.

My second challenge was raising support for the trip. Writing a  letter of appeal and sending it  to friends and family was not something I was accustomed to doing, but I realized it would give each of them a chance to be a part of helping those in need in another country.

Next, I had to start the process to receive a passport.

“Did I have my birth certificate?” I was asked.

Hmm…. I found the birth certificate, but it appeared I was hatched, since it had no parents’ names on it. Now obtaining an acceptable birth certificate as soon as possible became a top priority on my list of things to do. After a trip to Harrisburg, Pa., I came home four hours later with the official document in my hand. (Thank you Lord!)  Not too long afterward, I opened the mailbox to find my passport had arrived!

The next very important task took me to the doctor’s office to receive my inoculations. Then the second week of March I received news that my total support was in. This was definitely another praise to the Lord. I started the process late, but God blessed the process in a short amount of time!

The trip will be from April 18th to April 25th. Due to the lack of electricity, and the need to use a generator for a couple hours each evening I will not be able to send regular updates in my blog. Once I am back home I will share the trip with you. I hope you’ll follow me with my preparation and eventual journey to serve the people of Haiti and share Christ’s love with those who need his gift of salvation.

God bless you,

Kathy

Proverbs 4:5&6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him,  and He will direct thy paths. “

God’s Blessings in 2014


I could never begin to mention all of God’s blessings I have received. I thought about what to write for my first 2015 blog and I could not help but think how good God has been to me. He promises to never leave nor forsake us.

Since Phil has gone home to be with the Lord, I am more aware of God’s presence than ever before. It’s natural to call out to your husband when he is still with you. I know I depended on mine for so many things. Now that he is not here I call out to the Lord more readily than I did before. I am more attuned to His presence in my life and I have drawn closer to Him because of this.

Someone said to me, “You are completely different than you used to be.” I would say that’ is because I am different now. I am a grown up version of the single person I was before I was married. However, I was only 18 at that time. I had to learn who I was as a single/widowed woman.

When you are walking through the deep waters no man or woman can go there with you. Only the Lord Jesus can be by your side, who helps you to mature by the time you reach the other side.  Just as the monarch butterfly has to struggle and change to become what God intended it to be, so do we. I love the story about the butterfly.

The Cocoon

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, so the man sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. And we never could walk through this life the way He intended.

God has blessed me with good health, a great family, a wonderful church family, a part-time job I love, and the ability to make a lot of good memories during the past year. I could never list all of His blessings, but what I am the most thankful for is the peace and joy He has given me.

I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do in my life during 2015! How about you?FREE Butterfly Clip Art 18

God bless you, Kathy

Holidays

Holidays


Holidays and other special days are always a challenge for those who have lost loved ones. This is especially true for the first few years after this loss. The first year is usually the toughest year. However, I know for me the third Christmas after losing my husband was my hardest one. We are all different, and, of course, we all grieve differently. There is no set rule or way to know exactly how each of us will react with these special days.
My husband’s birthday was October 10th. I have realized, with some help from one of my daughters, that my emotions started churning around that time every year. Hunting season follows with everyone talking about hunting, their deer, and adventures. My husband loved to hunt, so my emotions churn more. The hunting leads into Thanksgiving, and then of course, Christmas. I also lost my son in an accident on January 2nd, 1996. It is after that time passes, that everything will starts to go back to normal within me.
For the first couple years of my husband’s passing, I was fully aware of my grief and tried to control my thoughts and emotions. This year, my fourth year, it seems my sub conscious has taken over. I am no longer consciously thinking about a certain day, like his birthday. I start to get emotional and ask myself why. It’s only then that I realize it was in my sub conscience! How do you gain control over that? That’s something I have yet to learn. However, there are many other things I have learned. Our heart does control our emotions and our conscience, but it also is the place where our faith lives. It is because of my faith in God, that I can continue going forward, step by step.
There are many things that we can control. Thankfulness is one of many things that is a choice. If we choose to be thankful in all circumstances, we will be able to lighten our steps.
You may ask what you have to be thankful for.
I am thankful for the basic things; my immediate family, my church family, God’s provisions, and too many things to enumerate. If you struggle to be thankful for these things right now, we have many other things to hold onto and to add to our list of blessings. Psalm 136 lists many things we are to give thanks for: that God is good, His mercy endureth forever, for His wonderful works to the children of men. Only He can satisfy the longing in our souls for perfect peace. On the top of all of these things is the gift of God’s Son to make a way of salvation for us.
These are the things I want to consciously think about during this Christmas time. God’s gift to my son and his girlfriend almost 19 years ago was to allow them to enter into His glory. He also allowed my husband that same gift over three years ago. God’s goodness endureth forever. He saw fit to leave me here to “hold the fort.” I’m thankful that He’ll never leave me alone. He’s with me daily. I need only to reach out and take His hand. I can have peace and joy even in the midst of missing my son and husband.
You can have this peace and joy as well if you accept the greatest gift of all, God’s son. I pray you will reach out to Him over these holidays.
Please contact me if you need help in doing so. Merry CHRISTmas! Kathy

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God’s Goodness in Our Lives


Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to all that love God….” How can good come from the loss of a husband? As I prayed about how to explain this to the ladies at my church, I found it harder to explain to others than it was to believe it in my heart.  This verse does not mean it is good for a woman to lose her husband.  It does, however, mean that since all things work together for good, God can work good things into our lives even through the loss of a husband.

As I was searching how to approach this subject I read online about the Harm’s family. They were told that their baby would be born with a rare chromosome abnormality. This couple searched their hearts to learn how this problem with their precious child could possibly work for good. They loved God and knew that He is good. The new father said that one day after his baby was born the light bulb went on. He was able to see how God was taking care of them through their trial and how He had been faithful to them. He recognized that having this child in his life made him depend on God in a way he never would have.

As time went on, this family had another beautiful baby. After many bouts of sickness and seizures, they learned that she had a rare disease called Alexander’s disease. Through this new grief, just before she passed away, the Holy Spirit reminded them of that same truth again. God is good. They knew that God would be with them. Just as it was unexplainable to their minds how a baby dying can be for good, it is unexplainable to me how a husband dying can be good. But as this family accepts it, I also accept it. I know that if it were better, if it would bring more glory to God to have their baby here, or my husband here, then both would still be here. As God revealed to the Harm’s that their lives were touched by God’s faithfulness, that He has always been good, I too, as a widow have been able to realize this truth. The fact that He never fails to direct me has strengthened my faith and has given me peace through my loss.

I will admit that for a while I could not see beyond my sorrow. I wanted my old life back. But as I allowed God to heal me and to work in me, I saw how He was using my loss for good. Once again, I do not mean that it is good that Phil is gone and that I am a widow. But through that trial, God has worked in my life for good. When God handed me widowhood, He gradually handed me other things as well.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11).

God has shown His goodness to me over and over. He filled my arms with a new grandbaby. He surrounded me with loving children and grandchildren, not to mention my church family.

He moved my daughter and her family not only to Pennsylvania, from Arizona, but right next door to me.

He has filled my heart and life with joy.

God prompted me to start this blog and reach out to other widows. He has used this blog to truly bless me and to bring other widows into my pathway. God has allowed me to reach out to many people who are hurting for various reasons. I think of one person that is living one of the worst nightmares I can think of, but as I read his blog and see how he praises the Lord, I am blessed richly. Without my trials and heartache I would never have had this opportunity. Writing this blog has truly enriched my life. I can add this ministry as one of many ways that God has fulfilled His promise of good in my life.

I dragged my feet about going to a Christian Writers’ Conference a few months ago. However, I knew that for some reason God wanted me to go, and He provided the finances. While there I met a sweet Christian lady, who is an author. She also works for a company that has an online devotional site. She was looking for others to help write devotions for this site. She was willing to work with me if I would send her my devotions. There is no monetary pay; it is considered as tithe to the Lord.  I do not have God – given talent to write anything. But when God prompts me to write something, whether it is another posting for my blog or another devotional, He always gives me the words to write. That in itself is a huge blessing.

God worked good in Phil’s life by rewarding him with eternal bliss in Heaven. I can share with confidence that God has used that trial in my life to continually bless me as well with good things in my life.

How has God used your loss to bring good into life? Share your trial and God’s goodness here. I look forward to hearing from you. Let’s continue to look for God’s goodness.

Kathy