Friday, October 8, 2021

Adding Cheer


The days weary on, so to speak, when dealing with grief. While some tears seep out of my eyes on just about a daily basis, I am tired of them. All the grief websites and experts say it never ends, that we just get used to it. That's depressing. It sounds like a curse. 

I'm pro-actively looking for ways to be cheerful. I've gotta do this to survive. The Lord is blessing that line of thought for me, which confirms it's okay to look for "happy." 

An advantage to living in Florida is that I can enjoy my breakfast  out on the back porch for most months. It's a fairly private place with a lovely, thick band of tall Cypress trees along my back yard. Birds and butterflies flit about, with an occasional bright red cardinal darting through the branches. 

The large pots on the paver patio have flowers that always bring a smile to my thoughts, if not to my face. The pink ones are my current favorites but the yellow mums are happy, too. 

Beloved and I spent many hours on this back porch with our coffee in quiet conversations. I have finally got past the place where the memories of sitting out there drew tears and now I listen to a Charles Stanley podcast. 

That usually ends before I'm done sipping my smoothie, so I just watch the wildlife and the plants. Sometimes there is a rabbit, today the resident black snake sunned himself in the pine straw by the trees, and earlier this week a lone dove sat on the metal bench, unabashedly cooing for his love. 

Neighbors say we have had a panther (or some kind of big wild cat) prowling around those trees at day's end. Gladly, I have not seen him but if I did, I would feel fairly safe within the confines of the screened porch.  (that applies to the snake, too, by the way)

Those who know me well are aware of my love to decorate my home for the seasons. That habit has all but dried up over the past ten months. But all my children and grands will be here for Thanksgiving and I do want to make the atmosphere as upbeat as I can handle, so I unpacked my boxes of autumn decor.

Those who have followed my blog for years know that autumn is when I made a big deal of my Pilgrim collection parading their way on the carpeted staircase to the main parts of the house where they would station themselves for the season, until time for Christmas to enter.

Beloved always enjoyed that playfulness and he went along with my antics. This year I couldn't bring myself to repeat the show. I carried an armload of the Pilgrim people, lay them on the dining table and then looked around to see where they should go.

With that done (not all are pictured in today's post), I decided to pull out Pumpkin Man and place him beside the framed family photo that was taken on the day of Beloved's funeral. That was, to me, a little bit of an act of defiance -- adding a spot of cheer to what was one of the saddest days of my life. But he's still there. We all want to move on, and Pumpkin Man is helping with that.

Then there was the front porch to decorate. I do like to make some kind of a statement on my front porch. It, too, is screened (keeping in mind how much I detest those little geckos getting inside my house). 

A professional florist would probably shudder at the combinations I make with the silks I have on hand, but I'm okay with it. I leave the greens there year 'round and then add whatever colors I want for the season and pretty much call it done.

I don't do Halloween at all anymore, but I have nothing against a smiling scarecrow or two. This couple greets anyone who comes to my front door. This display is on the other side of the front door from the big pot with the lantern.

While my Colorado family and friends have tugged at my love for my home state with their many Face Book photos of the golden Aspens, I do have to say I enjoy the charm and practicality of screened-in porches of the South, which is why I have one on both the front and back of my home. 

Stepping back into the house now, and continuing with my theme of adding cheer, I bought these bright pink sandals on a whim at Walmart several months ago. I needed some house slippers and ended up with these. I liked them so much (and they were not expensive), that I got two pair, just alike!!  Since they are so cheap, they may not last long, hence the second set. The color speaks to my need for more "happy."

Julia Roberts said in Steel Magnolias, "pink is my signature color." I can't go so far as to say that about me, but I do like pink in just about any shade it appears.

I'm somewhere between ten and eleven months along in this uncomfortable season of my life. The holidays were so horrible last year that I've not been looking forward to them as they approach. But as I said earlier, I am tired of being sad. Tears are therapeutic, but I know Beloved would want me to move on. During our nearly 50 years of marriage, he laid down his preferences many times for the sake of my happiness. 

The verse I've been carrying around in my pocket today is Psalm 138:8, "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy O LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Grace and peace to you. Thanks for stopping by and even more so, thank you for praying for me. The Lord has heard you. I am so grateful.


  1. Dear friend, you are always in my daily prayers and I know I am in yours. We do need more joy and happy in our lives. I am so glad you will have all the kids and grands with you for Thanksgiving. It will be therapeutic for all and especially for you. Tom and Joe would want us to be happy and not linger in grief. They both knew how much they were loved. I agree with you that it is time. I love your decorations! Sending love & hugs!!

  2. So thrilled you actively seek "happy." I really do feel like that in due time you will not feel this sadness so strongly. Yes, your life will never be the same but you are doing a good job of "keeping on keeping on." Sending more prayers and hugs your way.

  3. Hooray that at Thanksgiving you will be surrounded by your loving family. Thanksgiving this year with the whole family is a no go. We are flexible and will wait for the right time to gather. I'm glad you are choosing some happy to add to your grief. We swooped through the eastern part of Colorado today not venturing into Denver but took back roads into Wyoming.

  4. Well, I just had the most wonderful (I thought) comment ready to publish here to you, and something clicked and I was "redirected" away and now it's gone! Maybe that wasn't the message God wanted me to share with you. I don't know, but I was wanting you to know how much I loved this post and to see that you are little by little bringing out your autumn/Thanksgiving decorations...the Pilgrims in particular. These are little mementos that will also make your children and grandchildren smile as they see familiar faces and traditions being kept going. Continuity of memories is important to family, and although we know nothing will ever be exactly the same as it was, it is good to carry on special traditions and maybe even start some new ones. I am sure your Beloved was smiling down at you as you brought out the Pilgrim families, even if you couldn't bring yourself to march them down the stairs, at least they have arrived in time to welcome your family and to make your home more festive for the season. And I'm sure they were happy to come out of hiding and once again participate in the activities of the season. I love all your little touches of decor, and I am sure they help warm your heart and make you smile a bit too as you see them. I love your pink "slippers"! Yes, those ought to bring a smile to your face each day too! so bright and cheery, and hopefully comfortable!! Oh, I am so glad your family is coming to your house for Thanksgiving. God will bless you as you prepare and enjoy that time together, and I know your Beloved's presence will be felt as you see him smiling through your sweet children and grandchildren's will be a sweet time together and it will mean a lot to every member of your family. (((hugs))) to you this morning. Jesus is helping you day by day. So thankful for you.

  5. The view from your back porch is so lovely and peaceful, Barbara, and I'm glad to know you are spending some quiet time there in spite of the memories evoked. So happy to know that you will have lots of family with you during the holidays - those are, indeed, especially difficult after losing a beloved spouse. Keep adding those decorative touches of "happy" to your home, and know prayers are lifted for you every day.

  6. I failed this week in following through on one of those things I think the Lord lays on my heart. Well, actually two of them. You were in my thoughts early one morning and I prayed for you but I was going to text and check on you. The day got away from me, so I know I was supposed to do that and I need to follow through on those things. I think a pop of pink is good for us ladies. I have a strong affinity for it and wear it a good bit. I do hope you and the family can enjoy your time together this Thanksgiving. I know those times will be hard for the obvious reason, but I pray family can help.
    I think you should look up Good Morning by Mandisa on Youtube and start your day dancing with that. I love country music but Mandisa can put a pep in my step.
    Small steps forward to a better day:)

  7. Barbara, as someone just observing from your blog, I do see REAL progress in your journey. I think just getting out the fall touches for your home is a big step in your healing. I love all the colors in your arrangement and I almost bought that same pair of sandals at Walmart the other day. They were on clearance!! One of my dear friends lost her husband last Saturday. While he had been ill this was rather unexpected. Her name is Janet. Would you say a prayer for her? You can pray for her in a way I cannot. Much love to you and I look forward to seeing your big Thanksgiving celebration.

  8. I enjoyed seeing your bits of fall decor as I read your post this morning, Barbara. The big pot with the lantern is awesome and looks very inviting. While I am not a pink person, those sandals are neat. Enjoy the peacefulness of your weekend. Thinking of you.

  9. Oh, my friend, there is so much I could say. You'll be glad that I am keeping my mouth shut. The Lord is doing a fine job bringing you safely along through (for we must go through) this season of your life. I wonder if He smiles at our ignorance or if He is the One sitting beside us, holding us close. Your Beloved would be so excited about the entire family gathering for Thanksgiving. I know that the excitement will show up for you, too. Enjoy the process.

  10. Two steps forward, one step back... Grief hits at the most unexpected time, Barbara, but you are definitely getting ahead of it. The fact that you've pulled your decorations out and are looking forward to your family being there for Thanksgiving is a huge step. And you are starting to enjoy the little things again like breakfast on your back porch and listening to the birds and watching the wildlife. I still have terrible cries over missing my mom from time to time--in fact I had one just yesterday and she's been gone 15 months. But, I keep telling myself that she would want me to move on and do happy things for myself and others. Sending a hug your way ♥

  11. What a touching post. I am so sorry that you are in that season of life that no one wants to be in, but will eventually. I have not yet lost my Beloved - but I try and cherish each day I have with him, never knowing. Sure he makes me mad over stupid stuff, but he's a wonderful man and I am blessed. After I made this comment, I plan to go over to him and give him a big hug and kiss.

    I practically lived in grief mode my entire 50's. My son died at age 25, my dad died, my mom died of suicide, I lost 2 friends - my sister died 6 years ago and my neice died Nov 2020 of a drug overdose - just a couple of weeks later my 94 year old FIL passed away in Dec 2020.

    I too had to make a descion to live life and to be happy again. It was hard at first and I still have my days but I am happier. The grief groups might do good for some, but for me I felt they encouraged me too much to grieve and to continue to grieve. So I got stuck.

    Anyway, lovely post and I do wish you the best.

  12. {{{Barbara}}} Keeping in prayer. I simply don't know what to say...grief is so unexpected and one never knows when it will happen.

    ---on another thought--I have the same flip flops/shoes. Summer never last long here in the great North East--however with that said, it seems summer has lasted a bit longer than usual here, LOL.

  13. Sitting out on the porch with a cup of coffee, listening to nature, seems a bit of heaven to me. Your pink slippers look quite comfy. You have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

  14. Girl...loving those pink slip on shoes! YES! Oh I wish I could sit out on the porch with you and enjoy a cup of coffee and talk. I bet we would have to do the "time out" sign so we could take turns talking. LOL! I love all the little things you have decorated with to make your home ready for family gathering time during the holiday. Makes me smile so big! I am certain that you are dealing with far more than I ever hope to know about personally but I also see how our Jesus is carrying you each step of the way. You are precious and so dang cute to top it off! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  15. Dear sweet Barbara, I have followed you along this journey of grief, and I've seen how the Lord has provided each and every day for you, in one way or another, and grief is a journey, that has ebbs and flows. You are moving, and not just stuck, as you put out your decor, and I know that your Beloved would smile seeing you doing those things. How lovely to have those screened in porches, what a blessing to enjoy the wildlife and not have to worry about the bugs and critters! Such a beautiful way to start your day! Your decor is just lovely, and those pink sandals make me smile too! Praying for you dear friend!

  16. Barbara…we have lost 19 family and friends In The last year and half…some Covid some not…I have read through the blogs you wrote as you were praying for your husband in the hospital…I have written before that three good good friends have lost husbands recently…we lost two aunts…a dear brother…uncle of my children…and so on and so on…a friend’s son age 50 died last week of Covid…I would like to encourage you( as a retired educator high school and university) to write your story…your journey…your faithful journey…your dear sweet husband died before there was a vaccine which would maybe have saved this precious person…yes I believe God is in control, but I believe He uses the advances of medicine to help us…you could write a book that would help other widows…Covid related or not…you are talented and gifted…I know that you are going through some horrible times, but when your mind comes together, you could do this…you write one of the best blogs I have ever read…it reads like a Memoir…I have told others about your words and often read them to my friends…just a suggestion…again…I will be glad to read the book as you go…I edited an author’s series of books as a volunteer reader…just a thought dear lady…you have taken us through vallies…yet you do not whine or complain or blame the government for this insidious disease…I am thankful we have a vaccine to help us…thank you for,your words…prayers…prayers prayers

  17. I love all the ways you're finding cheer! That can certainly be challenging in a season of grief but I love that the Lord is coming alongside you to help you still find joy.