“The Lord said to Abram after Lot had left him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are.” -Genesis 13:14
Lot and Abram had to separate because the land was not big enough to sustain all of their herds, helpers and goods. Abram gave Lot the first choice on whether to choose the better land in the Jordan Valley or the less desirable land of Canaan. Lot chose the Jordan Valley.
This story has great meaning in my life today. It is far too easy to become discouraged because my sons were born with a life threatening disease without a cure. God doesn’t want us to focus on everything we have lost. He wants us to lift up our eyes and trust that He will lead us into a bright future filled with possibilities and joy. It is impossible to notice His blessings and miracles when our eyes are focused on the ground or when our hearts and minds are stuck in the past. God wants us to lift up our eyes and focus on everything we have, not on what we do not have. When we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we will see that He has plans to bless us.
Only when we lift up our eyes can we see the blueness of the sky, the way the white clouds effortlessly float past the window, the bird on the branch, or the flower on the windowsill. When we thank the Lord for a new day the minute we open our eyes each morning, we invite His blessings into our daily lives.
Looking up can bring us out of a state of depression and discouragement, and even help us to feel confident. Today, I encourage you to believe that no matter how difficult your circumstances may be, God wants to bless you and prosper you.
When I was a youngster, Thanksgiving meant Ritz crackers and cheese, mince meat and pumpkin pie made from scratch by my grandma, cranberry sauce, yams, turkey, rolls, olives and movie marathons. I always looked forward to my grandpa stopping by to drop off the pies and chatting with my mom over a cup of coffee. We never had any large family get togethers but it always included mom, dad, myself and my two younger sisters.
Over the years, as my nieces and nephews have grown and my sisters have moved away, we have had a few big gatherings. We would have a houseful – people sleeping in the spare bedroom, on the couch, air mattress and the floor. These were Christian’s favorite Thanksgivings.
For the last 2 years, the three of us have had a quiet meal while the fourth chair remains empty. We will visit the cemetery tomorrow morning and do our best to enjoy another Thanksgiving without our boy. Christian always loved and appreciated his Thanksgiving meal. He also remained thankful for the smallest of things until his last breath.
Every time I see something beautiful, I wonder if Christian is showing me what he always appreciated while he was on this earth.
I am thankful each and every day that I was able to take care of Christian for 21 years. I am thankful for the conversations we had while I cared for him, the things he did to make me smile and for the strength I had to care for my boys with little to no help. I am thankful for everything Christian taught me and for the things I continue to learn as I care for Andrew. When you care for someone who cannot leave the house because of their failing health, you learn just what we should truly be thankful for – a dove on the sidewalk, the warmth of a blanket fresh out of the dryer, a short visit from a dear friend, music, hugs, a birdsong, the smell of fresh coffee, a clean house or hearing the sound of the warm air flowing through the vents on a chilly winter night. The more I become thankful for, the more reasons I find to praise God. Praising God for the small miracles opens our hearts to the bigger gifts. Our lives become filled with peace and unexplainable joy as we carry Thankgiving into our everyday lives.
I must admit I was a bit shocked when I saw how long it had been since my last blog post. I have read in more that one place that we have to make time to do the things that matter or we will never do them. We also must not wait until everything is perfect before we pursue our dreams. Our lives are ever-changing but our dreams remain in our hearts. I have a dream of writing a book about my sons and their daily battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A book that I hope will inspire people to donate to the MDA and reach out to families afflicted with devastating, neuromuscular diseases.
So much has changed since my last post. After over 10 years of being a full-time caregiver for my sons, I am back at work. Not just any place of employment but the very company that I left to care for my sons. I feel tremendously blessed to be rehired. Even with blessings, it’s easy to still experience moments of fear and doubt. Questions circled in my mind such as wondering if I would remember everything. There is also the social aspect of working outside of the home that I have been missing for far too long. It has been fun seeing people who I haven’t seen in years, literally. It has been difficult not seeing my son as much but this change enables us to be a healthier and happier family.
October 27th marked the one year anniversary since Christian passed away. I honestly thought it would be beneficial for me to go to work and with this year being the first one, I didn’t know what to expect. Let’s just say I had to go home. Being with my family made the day easier to bear for all of us. This fall has been painful. As I have been watching the leaves turn and fall off of the trees and the sun shine at a different angle, I have been flashing back to our last few weeks with Christian. The good Lord has given me the comfort and strength I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. One sign of the healing that has taken place over the last year is the little moments of joy that fill my heart at the most simple of things. A squirrel greeted me on one of my courthouse runs with a mouthful of leaves. A house finch called to me from under a car in the parking lot behind the treasurer’s office. A pigeon greeted me above the door before I went inside. The simplest of sights are the most beautiful.
I had to remind myself lately that going back to work full-time does not mean I have to stop pursuing my dreams. We can always carve out a little time every day to write, play a song on the piano or take a 30 minute walk. I would love to hear about your dreams and I will keep you posted on mine. I have a piano that I would love to start playing again but with most things, I will need to take baby steps. I read a blog post by Tsh Oxenreider (theartofsimple.net) about not setting goals too big or it sets us up to fail. It’s far easier to exceed a goal that’s simpler and realistic. Wise words!