Five Years

Five years ago today, my world turned upside down. I was in shock that something like that could happen to me. Surely, it COULDN’T be happening to me just ten weeks after I’d FINALLY got married. But it did. Those things don’t just happen to “other people”.

I thought my life was over. After waiting so long to get married, what hope did I have when less than three months later that long-awaited husband was gone? Who would want me now? What point was there in going on? How bleak the rest of my life looked! All I saw was a seemingly endless existence as a widow starting far too early and the dream of children shattered before it started.

I’ll never forget that day…those memories…those feelings…the horror. It all changed my life forever. I’ll never be the same person.

But I’ll also never forget the amazing friends and family that rallied around and carried me for far more than the next few weeks or months. Or the overwhelming global support of prayer, blog comments and e-mails that helped to keep me breathing in the first few weeks. Or the way that people rejoiced when God actually sent me another husband–far quicker than the first one had arrived!

I’m so grateful. I’m so blessed. I would never want to go through it again but I’m so overwhelmed as I think back.

I do miss Steve–but not in the same way anymore. I’ll forever be grateful that he was in my life. I’ll forever be grateful for the way he changed my life and for the people he introduced me to that impacted my life–and still do to this day.

I really struggle to comprehend the difference from then to now in what my life looks like. I have (another) amazing husband. I have been blessed with not one but two amazing, Godly men who have chosen to love me. That is more than some people get and yet I also have been blessed with beautiful children.

I survived and I’m far stronger for it. I hated God and yet I’m still here following Him.

Thank you, God.

A Closed Book

Nearly four years ago, on the way to the river the day Steve was killed, I was reading a book: Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd. After that day, I just couldn’t bring myself to open it or finish it. I’d been enjoying it but I just couldn’t go back there. Matter of fact, I didn’t read hardly at all for ages, especially not fiction–quite a phenomenon for someone like me who needs to read!

As the years went on, I started to think about picking up the book again and also reading the following two in the trilogy. I wasn’t sure how I’d go and I also wanted to read all three back-to-back. All this time, my bookmark (a flier from the CWCI convention I went to just before the accident) had started in that book holding my exact page. Right up until about two months ago when someone borrowed it and I never mentioned to them any significance behind the books.

Being on a roll in reading recently and having being told by the borrower she’d really enjoyed them and I should actually read them, I decided to take the plunge. I went back to the start and began again.

Obviously, the timing was right because I finished it easily. I couldn’t remember my previous stopping point and so there was no “sense of doom” in any way as I read. It was a good, fun read. And so were the other two!

So after all these years, after all this time, I have finally read that book and “closed that chapter”. I’ll never forget the significance of that book but they will no longer jump out at me from my shelf as something I could never go back to.

Something Other Than Books?!

It’s been a long time since I’ve really blogged. I mainly stopped because of things c0nnected to parenting a stepchild. There’s a lot of isses to consider that come with that. However, I discovered that a new friend is a blogger and reading through hers kind of wet my appetite to get back in. I don’t really even know where to start so leave some questions if you have an idea. 🙂

For starters…

We had our first wedding anniversary in June. I finally…FINALLY…made it to a first wedding anniversary. That was cool in itself. We very spontaneously ended up back spending the night in the country club where we got married–with a newborn in tow. 🙂 We spent most of Saturday and Sunday driving in order to stay overnight on the Saturday but it was really speial to be able to do that. The weather was beautiful for a day driving in the country so, for me, it was just nice to get out. We were very glad we took the risk! (And it was a risk because I hadn’t been comfortable driving in the car for even an hour since my Caesarean!!!)

One of my younger sisters got married in March and then one of my younger brothers got married in July. My brother married a Brazilian girl that he met when she was an exchange student out here. 🙂 I now have a married-to-my-brother sister-in-law and a sister-to-my-husband sister-in-law with the same name. 😛 My brother both got married and had his reception in the same place that Steve and I had our reception. Then I found out that the wedding coordinator for my wedding to Kallon had been transferred and was now the wedding coordinator at this other venue–she did my brother’s wedding, too! That was both bizarre and cool. I hadn’t been back there since my first wedding so that was a kind of weird feeling but not a problem.

My angel-baby has been rather challenging. She was easy-as for the first 6 weeks and I guess that’s when I really needed it. We have had a few issues to work through but love her to bits anyway. 🙂 I started off doing Babywise and it’s the one thing I wish most that I could change. Never again. She has also had a few issues with reflux and now colic but I know she could be a lot worse than she is so I’m grateful for that. Right at this very moment, she has been asleep for 3 hours (in the middle of the day) which has been rarer lately but makes so much difference for both of us. We are gradually figuring things out that help with her problems. That said, she is great at night and sometimes I prefer the night shift to the day shift!!! I have become a bit of an Ergo-wearer and even Kallon gets it on sometimes. 🙂 Katelyn smiles a lot and it’s absolutely beautiful. She started laughing yesterday and I can’t wait to see that grow! She has both smiled and laughed from a couple of weeks old (earliest I have ever seen in a baby for laughing) but yesterday was the first real time that you could say she knew what she was doing and was more than the “trying to” chuckle.

We have moved from the town we lived in when first married to a town about 40 mins away. Kallon’s mum and sister (and her boys) live here and we are loving it here. It wasn’t something we had planned but it definitely has been a good thing. We have no more moves planned for quite a while!!! Since we have bought this house, we should be good for a bit. 🙂

We have become part of an awesome country church. We felt really welcomed there from the first time we visited and are slowly starting to feel like we “belong”. There are lots of kids which is fantastic for Lukas and they are really intentional about the involvement of the kids in the church services and activities. They have a really great emphasis on Scripture memory too.

We are now 15-20 minutes from the beach which is the closest I have ever lived which is pretty cool. We are looking forward to taking advantage of that when the warmer weather comes, although we have been a couple of times through the year already!

For now, I think that’s about all that’s at the forefront of my mind. Comment away if you want something written about. 🙂

Three Years, Emotional Triggers & Firsts

I never wrote a three year blog post. I obviously didn’t forget the day but, as Facebook followers would know, I was involved in a two-day trial that spanned the ‘sad-iversary’ dates.  That took every speck of energy we had available (and more). I remembered but was forced to focus elsewhere.

After three years, you think you’d be done with all the firsts, wouldn’t you? I certainly didn’t think I had any left! However, I was wrong…

My family came to stay with us over Easter. This is the first time they’ve been able to visit us in our home since my new husband and I got married last June. It was only in the week or so before they came that it dawned on me that the last time my family visited me for the first time in my new home as a newlywed over Easter, my husband died. I knew that was totally irrational and irrelevant but it didn’t stop fear knocking at the door!

I told my husband and he understood and prayed with me about it. He was also sensitive to what was going on over the weekend when Easter did come around. Usually, Easter doesn’t really bother me. The date of Steve’s death and Easter never match up and the actual date always comes first and is passed by the time Easter comes around. This year, I really struggled with fear over something bad happening…particularly that history might repeat, but I was geared up for anything bad. My yet-unborn-baby picked Good Friday to have a very quiet day (naturally) so I was freaking out over that inside too!!

I didn’t let this battle with fear rule me or stop me and we did enjoy having my family stay! There is no doubt, though, that I–and my family–were all relieved when the weekend passed without incident. Another first down, another fear beaten, another victory won…

Two Years

(I'm sorry it's long but can you please read it all? :D)

I can't believe that I'm here. Two years ago, I thought I was going to die from the pain–and that would have been fine with me. Today, I've got the self-preservation instinct back and, each day, life looks increasingly brighter.

Walking the journey, each day was an excruciatingly painful, slow process. Looking back, I can't believe so much time has passed…but I never want to experience that level of pain again!

I really think that the timing of my move is specific and intentional and part of a Master plan. I feel that it's the end of one season and the beginning of another. I'm convinced that I needed to be here for these two years and I'm not sorry for a minute that I stayed or that I bought my house here.

At the same time, I think that there's far more than "coincidence" in the timing of my move coinciding with this anniversary and all the changes of the last few months. I believe that it's the beginning of a new chapter and I'm actually kind of excited to see what it holds!

This town will always have a part of my heart–my husband was buried here–and there are awesome, awesome people here who I love dearly and have supported me phenomenally. It won't be easy to leave but nor would it be easy to stay.

More

Big Moves – Part Two

One thing that's really stood out to me this year is PEACE.

When I said that moving to A-town started to "feel" right, I didn't mention this part. At the time, I was asking myself why that seemed to be such a good thing to act on. I was very aware of the fact that feelings can be deceiving and are not the best basis for decision-making.

On one trip to visit my family, I went a different way and entered the city at a very busy point. Not only was it a busy area but it was a busy time of day and I was not looking forward to the next 30 minutes of driving. Mentally, I was groaning and thinking, "Great, here comes the traffic…" What I FELT at that same minute was, "Ahhh, I'm home." It was the weirdest thing and definitely NOT what I've ever felt arriving in the city over the last 2 years! That has been what I've had when I get within half an hour of my current home. 🙂

I was telling somebody that and their response was, "Sounds like you're at peace about the move." It was like the penny dropped for me. Peace–that was it! My life had been so characterised by anxiety and insecurity that I'd ceased to recognise peace for what it was. Trust me, peace has been a wonderful acquisition. 🙂

One of the books I was reading on hearing God's voice (around a similar time) also mentioned peace as being our confirmation and so that tied in well too. I think what makes it clear to me that it's peace from God, and not me just feeling good, is the type of situations it's applied to. The decision to move wasn't just about everything that I wanted–it also required me to make sacrifices of things I like and places I'd previously felt led to be.

Rather than all the boxes being ticked and feeling happy about that, peace has been like a sense that something is good in spite of having all the answers. I'm seeing this happen in other areas as well. I'm not talking about going against common sense or making foolish decisions haphazardly. However, there are some things I attempted last year that I probably wouldn't have stuck at for so long if I had been looking for peace–because it was missing. However, hindsight is always 20/20 and I guess that's how we learn! 🙂

Anyway, I've had peace about this move, as well as a lot of confirmation–um, does this mean I'm really going to need it later?! 😉

Big Moves – Part One

I knew it was a while since I'd blogged but I didn't realise it was nearly two weeks! Things have been crazy around here…

Back in January, I wasn't really sure what to do with myself. I didn't feel like I fit anywhere and I wasn't really sure where I wanted to be. There were pros for my current location, Texas, and the city where my family is. There were also cons for all of them. 🙂 I started seriously considering moving back to A-town to be closer to my family. Given that I would be moving from a country town back to the city (something that didn't actually appeal much to me), I really wanted to know that it was the right decision and so…I started really praying about it.

Back when I moved off the farm, it was a hard thing to do but I knew it was the right thing for me. That surety has never left me. I told the Lord that I just wanted the same thing to be the case if I left the country to move back to the city. Well…!!!

I started putting out a few feelers while I kept thinking and praying. The more I thought about it, the more A-town seemed to feel like the right thing to do. In the later part of February, I put my house here on the market. TWO WEEKS to the day after signing the marketing agreement, I had an offer on the place. I countered and they agreed–to EXACTLY (to the dollar) what I had wanted to walk away with. One week to the day after that, the contract had cooled and become unconditional.

A few days after signing the marketing agreement, I was up at my parents' and a house came up for sale that was exactly what I was looking for. Back in January, I had seen one similar that I thought might be "the one for me" but it went under contract just before I could go and see it. Having seen God work everything together perfectly for me with the house I currently live in, I was determined to trust that it would all work out right again this time. So when this alternative came on the market, I was so excited. I would nearly have made an offer without seeing through it. 🙂

I organised to look through it before I travelled back home and it was perfect for me. Amazingly, the couple of issues with the house I'd missed out on weren't an issue with this new one. Unfortunately, though, the owners weren't willing to take any "subject to sale" contracts as they had already bought a new place. That was ok. I was disappointed but said that God knew and, if it was the right one for me, something would happen with my house. Later that week, my house went under offer. 🙂

So I called up and made an offer on the new house–for the exact amount I was selling my house here for. Apparently, there was another offer exactly the same as mine and one higher. The one higher was "subject to sale" so I didn't think it would be much competition. The offer the same as mine was by investors. Do you know why the owners accepted my offer? They didn't want to sell their house to investors to rent out!!!!! LOL

The settlement date for both houses is March 31st–which is 3 1/2 weeks from the time I knew  this house had sold and 3 weeks from the time I knew I was guaranteed of the one in A-town. So I have been living life in the whirlwind!

But you know what? I don't have any doubts abuot whether I'm making the right decision for me. 🙂

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