Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Embracing Freedoms


I was invited to celebrate our nation's 245th birthday at the home of Gray Beard and Blondie, which happens to be next door to where I'll be moving sometime next year! 

While in that town, I met with my home builder to sign the contract and this week my bookkeeper and banker are taking care of the financial paperwork. The adventure has officially begun!

My land has been partially cleared by the man who sold it to me, but for the most part it is undeveloped. I took my mud boots on this trip so I could tromp around my acreage (1.6 to be exact) with abandon. As you can see, there are a lot of trees, and I love that. 

We don't know just exactly where the house will sit because the health department has to determine the location for the septic tank. Apparently they get the first word and everything else will conform around that decision. 

But the weekend was not entirely about the contract for my new house. It was also the opportunity for all eleven of my grands to be together under one roof. Pictured above are four of them, representing two families, along with Surfer Girl.

This was also a meeting of my three grand puppies from two families. Surfer Boy was holding one of his who looks content but was a little stressed with so many people and animals. I am happy to report there no squabbles, human or canine!

For those who have been concerned over my weight loss since Beloved's homegoing, I'm sharing a couple pictures of the calories I consumed during the weekend visit. 

Blondie served us Indian cuisine the first night to accompany the viewing of Sight and Sound Theatre's "Esther" on DVD. No, the old Testament Esther did not live in India, but it was still an appropriate dish to go with the theme of the show. 

My contribution was a Jewish recipe for a cookie referred to as "Hamen's Hats" (also called "Hamen's Ears"), or Hamentaschen. I have done very little REAL cooking these past seven months and am therefore out of practice. It took me TWO tours of my kitchen to locate my rolling pin! I couldn't remember where it was kept! The cookies didn't turn out like the picture on the recipe, but the family gobbled them up, so the taste was not adversely affected. Grandson #1 (who at 21 years of age, definitely knows his way around the kitchen) even asked for the recipe

On another night Blondie made the most wonderful meatloaf. Since I live alone now, preparing meatloaf is something I haven't done in a long time. It was soooo good!

We also enjoyed cupcakes that met with misfortune in the trip home from the grocery store. But Granddaughter #1 gave them a make-over which resulted in this festive display. 

I suppose I should have taken more effort to style the food on my plate, but it tasted so good that I just dove in before even thinking to take a snapshot. You're looking at Cranberry Pork Roast, Cabbage Salad, an orange salad with Cool Whip, well-cooked green beans (prepared the yummy way), and a Hawaiian dinner roll. 

The weekend was fun, kinda rainy, full of good food, and I got hugs abundant, which, like meatloaf, are in short-supply for me these days. I was able to attend my family's church again, which is always a treat. It is huge and we sit in the balcony so we can see everything. I love that.

Switching gears here, gradually I am getting glimpses of who I am, now that Beloved is gone. That's "a thing" in GriefShare. We talked about it in this evening's session. This may be true with the loss of any family member, but most surely in the loss of a spouse, we come to the place where we need to think about who we are in this different chapter of life. 

We are learning that the experience of loss should not define us because it is Christ who defines us. It is not healthy to stay in the arena of loss for the rest of our lives. Moving on is the better choice. 

A part of me wants to remain sentimentally close,  attached to everything that is connected to the Love of My Life. But choosing to find myself, to discover who I am without him, is the healthy alternative. Being a widow is an experience but it should not be my identification. This is a new freedom I have not considered seriously until now. 

I am a child of God, the God Who loves me and gave Himself for me. For a time (a long time) He blessed me with Beloved but now it's time to allow God to take me where He wants me to go.

These conclusions are not realized overnight. Through the initial hours, days, weeks, and months changes in thinking take place and when guided by the Lord, it gets a little easier. 

"There are no shortcuts to grieving. We're going through the pain in order to heal, because pain does heal." Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeege

I close this out as we wait to see what Hurricane/Tropical Storm Elsa is going to do. I'm praying she stays out in the Gulf and just fizzles out because she is forecasted to stomp directly over my county as she changes direction toward the Atlantic. 

Outdoor furniture has been secured, I've got my hurricane supplies in the pantry, and if the generator needs to be fired up, I've got neighbors to help me with that. But in the meantime, I'm heading to bed and expect to wake in the morning to hear Elsa was a "no show."

God will keep in perfect peace all who trust in Him, all whose thoughts are fixed on Him. Isaiah 26:3


  1. I enjoyed reading this post, Barbara, as I am awake early, listening to the beginnings of Elsa passing by. I am praying it will stay largely offshore and not come too far inland to affect you or us adversely, or anyone else, for that matter! I am so happy you were able to travel up to your family's home for the holiday weekend, and that all of your grandchildren were together under one roof for a few days! What fun that must have been! And I am SO excited to hear of the progress you are making with the building of your new home. I am so happy for you to have that opportunity and pray that all will come together beautifully and in record time. I know your Beloved must be smiling down at you as he sees you making this progress in your life. Knowing him, I can imagine that most of all he wants you to be safe and happy and near your family...and that is exactly what you are doing. God is so good to lead you each step of the way through this process, and you know He will never forsake you. You are a beautiful example for us to follow when the day comes for us. Oh, those desserts, etc. all look so good and sound like you all had so much fun together!!! Joy joy joy. Now, let's watch Elsa fly on by and away!!

  2. So happy to see what progress you are making on your journey forward, Barbara. God is truly with you! Enjoyed your photos and family news, too.

  3. Loved seeing your new lot and the grands and hearing that you got lots of hugs. Grief share is good. I know this has been a hard journey but I am inspired by you. Take care and hopefully Elsa will pass by quickly. It has been a rainy summer so far, but I must say all is very green and lush.

  4. Barbara, I enjoyed reading this post so much. It gives great insight into who you are and that God is continuing to mold and shape you into the "You" He desires you to be. What a great time your family must have had together. And, how exciting to begin the process of building your new home. Praying Elsa missed you, but I have a feeling you will feel some affect.

  5. Love seeing the wonderful food and dessert. Making me hungry and I just had my teeth cleaned! LOL! So glad you got to enjoy family and I am getting excited for you with your new journey with building your new home. One step at a time, right? And, you are so right about there being no shortcuts to grieving. I have learned that with family members and dear friends that I truly loved so very much. But, I too know that only GOD....only God. Stay safe...having lots of rain my way right now. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  6. This was such a great post and I can see the lifting of your heart to a new place and it is so sweet. I know Gerri will one day get to this place as well but her heart is so broken right now and she is still so tired and weary from the 7 months of constant care she provided for Charles. Such a tough journey. Can't wait to watch the progress of your new house. Exciting times!

  7. How nice to have all 11 under one roof...I think. I suppose it could be quite chaotic, too. It's good to follow your journey here. Glad you can have meals with your family and enjoy things you aren't making at home. Those Septic tanks are important! :)

  8. My prayer every day is that I can listen to God and make the right choices that he lays before me. If I get off the path He wants me to follow, I ask that He hit me with a 2x4 so I will pay attention. (LOL) Seriously, I do! It is a journey and I think we are both doing okay. God is directing and I know we both trust in Him. Looking forward to seeing you soon!! xo

  9. I'm happy to see all the ways God is blessing you in this time. Thanks for sharing what you are learning along the way.

  10. So glad you are doing well Barbara. You are so right, we have to move on through difficult circumstances and losing a spouse has to be right at the top. Especially when you have had a good marriage. You inspire me. And hey eat all that yummy goodness without one feeling of guilt. Looking forward to seeing all the action on the new house.

  11. Getting ready to build a new house is sooo exciting. Enjoy it, hugs, Edna B.

  12. I am so excited for you, Barbara, truly I am. I have been keeping you in prayer, sweet friend.

  13. Barbara, what I wonderful post to read this morning as I play catch up from being away and off line. Those cupcakes and the cookies you made look mighty delicious. It looks like you had a good time with your family over the holiday weekend. I am happy that a bit of progress has been made toward your new home. Thinking of you!

  14. This was an encourgeing post Barbara for I have two friends right now dealing with the grief of loss. ONe is moving on a little, the other is young, lost her son, is in ill health made worst by her loss. I pray a lot for her. the other friend as I said is doing better through her loss. You made some great points in this post. Thanks you.

  15. Your posts are always insightful. It is encouraging to "watch" you go through this grief process. The idea that being a widow should not be your identification is profound. The land your new home will be on looks wonderful. I love trees, too. :)