Sunday, June 6, 2021

It's Getting Better

 Life is getting better. Nearly two weeks ago was the 6-month mark since Beloved entered Heaven's Gate to meet Jesus Christ face-to-face.  While I still love my man from the depths of my heart, living with his physical absence has become more bearable. I don't fully understand it, and I know I'm not strong enough to poke at it much, so I'll just leave it at that. 

God is good. He is mending my broken heart. 

After months of meditating on my losses, oddly enough, I'm now taking advantage of being the primary only decision-maker in this house. 

For example, I don't have to buy some particular groceries that he liked but I did not. I can stay up quite late reading and I won't have to watch football if I don't want to. While I'm not ready to donate all of his clothing yet, I have hung a lot of it on one bar, to create more space for me. His shirts, jackets and slacks will get smashed and possibly more wrinkled, but that is not a concern of his any more.😐

In meeting with the builder of my new house, I am opting for the lower bathroom counters and the standard height of toilets (please excuse if this is TMI). 😆  That's about as far as I've gone, but there is bound to be more as the realities of his absence continue to sink into my psyche.

The tears are not as profuse as they were, but then as soon as I say that, here they come! Grief is a strange animal. I've been taught to not stifle the crying but I can't help but wonder if a time comes when the grief is more of a self-pity thing. Genuine grief needs to be expressed, but I don't want to wallow in it. Sometimes people find a peculiar satisfaction in being sad.

I  think the time has come when I need to be pro-active in not allowing this to turn into depression. A couple of weeks ago, I did something interesting that has resulted in a turning point for the good.

Christian authors and teachers I respect remind me that as we think in our heart, that has a huge impact on the direction our life goes. When we think spiritually-minded thoughts, we get life and peace. Our thoughts produce feelings and feelings lead to action, good or bad, depending on the focus of our thoughts. Feelings in themselves are not good or bad, but it's what we do with those feelings that can bless or curse us.

Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..."

Romans 8:6 tells us, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

This mountain of grief wants to dog me at every turn, so the words of Jesus in Mark 11:23-24 caught my attention:

"Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

With that instruction from the lips of our Lord in mind, one late Saturday night I scribbled this on a napkin:

I spoke these exact words into the air as I stood beside my bed, speaking to the emotions bringing me down and declaring joy and peace to replace them. 

Then the next day, whenever people said to me, "How are you?" instead of the expected, "I'm fine" or "Doing well, thank you," my response was "I'm blessed!"  

A few years ago I had a Sunday School teacher who always said that. Do you know that this works?!  Speak aloud gratitude and life gets better!  It's so simple that some may discount it, but it's working for me, so I'm keeping it up!

Beloved on a snowmobile
Colorado Rocky Mountains 1971

Triggers and ambushes -- words used in GriefShare to describe those times when we are caught off-guard and the tears erupt all over again. Yes, they still come but my proactive stance to not linger over them helps my state of mind. This picture (above) ambushed me just the other day. Seeing Beloved so handsome, young, vital and smiling grabbed my heart but I'm so glad for this memory.

Speaking of memories, tomorrow is another special day in my family as Surfer Girl will celebrate her birthday! She spent sixteen years living a little girl's dream, working for the Mouse in costumes, dancing, singing, teaching choreography, heading up auditions, and as a staging manager. 

After becoming a wife and mom, she left Cinderella's castle to teach Jazzercise for a few years, continuing with the same bouncy enthusiasm that had kept the Mouse happy. 

Eventually all that passion for physical movement began to wear on her body, so she transitioned into a full-time career as a bookkeeper with her own business. This change has been a huge blessing to me since Beloved had been the one to manage our finances while I excelled in the kitchen and sewing room.

To wrap this up, life is getting better. The Lord is meeting me at every turn. When I encounter circumstances unfamiliar to me, I pray. I ask the Lord to show me what to do. He either gives me the information I need or leads me to people who can take care of the matters for me. I am so blessed!

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus... The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." I Thessalonians 5:16-18, 28


Change Coming - Change Coming - Change Coming 

For 12 years I have used Feedburner, a free service that allows you to subscribe to my blog by email. Those of us who use Blogger have been notified over the past couple of months that this service will be discontinued in July of this year. This means the automated emails to my subscribers will no longer be available. I am sad to see this happen. 

Maintaining a blog on Blogger is free. I am pleased and amazed I've been able to write hundreds of posts since 2009 at no cost. With that in mind, I haven't a leg to stand on when a free service chooses to withdraw. 

My blog will continue to be available for you to read, but you will need to make note of my blog address and access it yourself either manually or perhaps by some other link reminder provision on your computer. I cannot help you with that. 

While I occasionally will post a link to my blog on FaceBook, for privacy reasons, I don't do it often. That is not an option I am willing to consider.

My readership is large enough that I cannot manage sending the notifications myself. This is where my expertise (such as it is) comes to a halt. 

Feedburner has not given us the exact date this service will stop, but if you notice at some point that you are no longer getting an email stating I have a new blog post up, then that will probably mean the service has ended.

I will be posting this notice on my blog posts for the foreseeable future in an attempt to let my readers know what has happened.

The address for this blog is:

Thank you so much for subscribing up until now. I know that service made keeping up with Sweet Tea and Sandals so much easier. 


  1. Amen, Barb!! Amen!! One of my friends at church always replies "Blessed and Ducky" when you ask her how she is. It makes us both laugh! I love your heart as you share it with us here. I am also blessed. Praise God. xo

  2. Such an uplifting post today, Barbara! Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us from the depths of your heart. God is truly working a beautiful healing within you and I am glad you are able to acknowledge that. Yes, you will still have down times when you are very sad, but little by little you are embracing life and joy and again, and I believe with all my heart that is what your "Beloved" would want you to do. I love the picture of him above, so young and healthy. Beautiful scenery around him as well. God bless you dear friend. I am praying for you every day and look forward to seeing how everything comes together for you in your new journey.

  3. P s. We can tell Christian witnessing...prayers

  4. Thanks for your words of encouragement, Barbara. I think as we all age there is the temptation to be depressed at some of the physical changes we deal with, that Scripture is a good reminder to bring those thoughts under the control of the Holy Spirit within us. And yes, I am very blessed.

  5. So glad to hear things are getting better dear Barbara. I have a friend who says that we are what we speak. Good and bad. Sad or mad. She is firm about it but did admit once that it was much easier for her to speak words that reflected good, kind, encouragement and etc. over others than to her herself but she was working on it. That's the whole key to me with anything in life. Whether it be exercise, healthy eating, giving ourselves permission to be lazy for a takes work. Girl, you keep on working for it is best for you. Happy birthday to surfer girl. She is her mama. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  6. To be able to say you are blessed is definitely a positive sign of healing, Barbara. You have come a long way on this journey, and my prayers for you continue, my friend.

  7. I enjoyed reading along. Such sweet pictures of your daughter and of Tom in his younger days. I know it is not a journey one would have ever picked but you are leading the way. Good to hear from you.

  8. I'm so glad to hear you're doing better, and healing. What you said about our thoughts determining our course is so very simple, but such truth. I think of them as a rudder for our ship. We cannot help the storms that come, the feelings! God is good, He is very near, and always hears our prayers. Happy birthday to your Surfer Girl, you are truly blessed.

  9. Barb, thank you for sharing your thoughts, your photos, and your memories. You are indeed blessed and are a blessing. Thinking of you.

  10. Although this new chapter of your life is not one you expected or would have selected, you are growing and learning and living, Barbara. I'm glad the grief is lessening... you will always miss Tom dearly, but your faith and wonderful family will surely help you make this new chapter full and rewarding for you. Take care now ♥

  11. There is nothing more to be said than what has already been shared. God is good, You are doing well. For that, all your blogging friends are so relieved.

    I do have a question about Tom's cargo...I see a leg dangling... 😳

  12. So thankful to hear of the progress you've made in your grief journey. What a blessing that your daughter will be able to help you with your bookkeeping and financial needs. Surely the Lord is providing, and there is overcoming power in the name of Jesus! Praying you continue to experience victory in your grief journey, blessings and hugs!

  13. It was good to read this post. Happy Birthday to your Surfer Girl. She's had some fun careers. From the sermon on Sunday at our church directed at graduates but relevant for everyone. The Word of God is the instrument that lets us know we are on course. Our senses can be wrong. Be Instrument certified. :)

  14. A beautiful post, Barbara. The picture of your handsome beloved is wonderful. I am curious who's legs those are on the thing he's pulling. lol Or am I seeing correctly?

  15. Wonderful, wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us.

    We have a friend who always answers, "Praising the Lord", when people ask him how he is. Recently he and his wife lost their home due to a devastating fire on their property. We all pretty much knew that when folks would now ask how he is doing, the reply would be the same: he's praising the Lord for so much -- no loss of life, no one being home when the fire occurred, God's provision in so many ways. Very similar to your answer, "I'm blessed!"

    As far as the automated emails, what I did some time ago was to put all of my most favorite blogs into my sidebar. I can (usually) see at a glance when there is a new post, without needing to subscribe by email. That might be an alternative for your readers to consider.

  16. I love that answer to people asking how you are! Thank you for this beautiful post. Happy Birthday to Surfer Girl

  17. What an uplifting post Barbara. If I am ever faced with your same situation I will look at you for inspiration. Even in life we can allow our not so pleasant situations drag us down and squelch our joy. I'm going to let this post serve as a reminder to me in the future. So happy to know you are making progress. Hugs to you!