Unseen Hope

When I think of sharing my thoughts or new found information on a blog, I often feel the need to blog frequently.  I have to believe anyone that blogs does so in an effort to find kindred spirits or others who may follow the blog and offer the writer an entirely different perspective.  I often fear the lack of frequent postings may send a message of lethargy and followers may become dis-interested.

My struggle with frequent blogging for the sake of blogging is after experiencing the loss of our 22 year old son, words became almost holy.  In choosing a card to send someone, I almost have to completely re-write the card deleting certain words and adding others. The intention and clarity is imperative.  My thought is, this could possibly be the last card the receiver reads or it could be the last card I send.  Either way, I want it to be as right as it can be.  No question of what message I want to relay.

I feel the same about blogging.  While during the down times, messages, information, ideas and my thoughts are constantly racing through my mind.  Yet, while I am emotionally moved to blog them, I have not been physically moved to do so.  When I find myself at the keyboard, the passion pouring out upon the screen, then and only then do I feel the intention and clarity will meet my personal standards.

This may explain the long periods of time between posts.  I do have a few things I want to share today.  I saw this verse on a garden stone this week, “Anyone who plants a garden has hope for the future.”  I thought how simple yet profound.  My husband and I have planted gardens for thirty years.  It was always just the season for planting to me.  Winter has moved on, the sun is warming and birds are gathering nesting material.  It’s time to prepare the ground.  I was only in the moment.  I was, as many spiritual teachers are touting lately, in the now.  For the garden, the now was not the mission.  Sure without the preparing of the ground and planting of the seed there would be no harvest.  I had completely ignored my hope.  If when I planted those seeds or pepper plants I knew without a shadow of a doubt I would not harvest a single vegetable there is no way I would have not bothered wasting my time.

It was the “unseen” hope.  It was there all along.  It was always there, every season.  I never contemplated it.  Never considered it, never uttered the words, “I hope we get peppers.”  It was the activity of planting the garden that already demonstrated the hope and future.

I share this because one of the verses in the Bible that has forever been imprinted on my soul is, “and God placed man in a garden.”  I have often asked myself during my times of reflection, “Are we supposed to travel away from our birthplace?”  If God, who placed man in a garden, is it our right to move to a new garden, or are we to work the ground where we are?  It is one of the questions of life which I have struggled with for years.

Many spiritual teachers of our time are advising us there are no coincidences.  There is a reason and purpose behind everything.  Many go as far as to say they do not believe in luck but purpose.  I can quote many verses in the Bible that refer to bad luck.  If there is bad luck, should there not then be good luck?  Why did the translators use the word luck instead of purpose?

I cannot describe to you the shock I felt while going through personal papers of my 22 year old son who passed through a motorcycle accident, when I found his writings from scripture.  The first page and the first verse of several pages of scripture was, “And God placed man in a garden.”



I remain puzzled.  I want to share what I have come to understand for myself.  God placed man in a garden.  It’s okay to spread your wings.  It was not about the placement.  It was about the “unseen hope”.

By the mere activity of placing man in the garden, God foresaw a future.  We aren’t told he said, “I hope I get people”, by the mere placement of man in the Garden, God’s hope for the future had already been demonstrated.

This has been a monumental moment of awakening for me on a spiritual level.  I have been tormented for years over that verse.  “And God placed man in a garden.”  Do you realize how many questions you can dream up over seven simple words in an attempt to make sure you are on the path and fulfilling the journey you have been born to fulfill?

Then for me to find this particular verse in my son’s personal things did nothing more than  increase my quest for answers.

I now find myself double-checking my activities.  Is this “unseen hope” being demonstrated in the smallest of my activities and I am not even aware of it?  The possibility is highly likely!  A living hope within each and every one of us that we are not even conscious of at the time.

I am asking myself if there is anything that I do that does not have an “unseen” attachment to the future and is it possible for me to know that future.  I also find in scripture that God knows, “the end from the beginning.”  There you have it, the demonstration of placing/planting; the unseen hope and the known future.

Have you ever experienced that sense of well-being when others around you are cautious or fearful?  The feeling deep, deep within you of “unseen knowing” that your hope will be fulfilled.

The “I know, that I know, that I know feeling.

I know this, I am not alone.  In the deepest part of my soul, where I search for answers, who I share only with my soul, I am not alone.  Wisdom is there.  When the day and time is right, when the season for harvest comes, those questions that have been planted, the answers come from the “unseen hope”.

Never stop seeking.  Never stop asking.  Your harvest is on its way.

(Yes, these photos are from our harvest in our backyard.)

Has Your Love Been Tested?

Grief has tormented me but has not deterred my belief in life after death or Eternity in Paradise.  I am a Christian.  I am a mother.  I am human.  I have been plagued with a mental battle these past few weeks.  I will try to control my emotions and set the foundation of what I have come to believe has been a life lesson for me.  Each one of us has our own specific journeys and life lessons and I share my personal lesson for the benefit of someone who may be a spiritual classmate.

We have all asked the question, “What came first the chicken or the egg?”  On my journey, I was first a human, second a Christian and third a mother.  The reason I think it is important to look at the levels of my house is no matter how dedicated or firm my Christian faith, I will always be human, not superhuman.  The same holds true with my motherly instincts, I will always be human first.

The emotions and weakness of my own humanity are what drive my fears.  After repeated personal traumas, my humanity has chosen fear.  Fear of who is next?  Fear of when it will happen and Fear of how it will happen.  The Fear of the next shoe dropping we say in the South.

 When I am afraid,

I put my trust in You.

 Psalm  56:3



A multitude of Scriptures remind us not to be fearful.  Most churches impress upon these Scriptures and overcoming Fear.  When my humanity is overwhelmed with emotion and weakness, I am held captive by Fear, mentally tormented and physically tortured.  I no longer want to isolate myself in shame.  I will believe in the Psalmist, David who assures me there are times I will surely be afraid.  When those times are upon me, find safety in knowing there is One in whom I can place my trust.  David does not make me feel guilty or ashamed for being afraid.  David recognizes my humanity and its frailties.

If you and your family have been lucky enough to dodge tragedy, it will be difficult for you to understand living in fear.  Let me compare it to an abused animal.  If you ever visited an animal shelter or humane society contemplating adopting an orphaned pet you have witnessed the full range of emotions from friendly, happy, barking and trembling in fear.  Those animals who cower in a corner, shake and tremble are those who have experienced terror and abuse.  While many of these abused animals make wonderful family pets, they never recover from the memories, haunted always by Fear that torments them.  When placed in familiar situations of the abuse, they will exhibit those emotions of fear.  This is how post traumatic stress disorder operates.  A news channel can report a similar story. A co-worker may share an event within their family or events within your own personal space can trigger these responses.  Many times, much of the personal progress battling fear can seem lost when an event triggers your post traumatic stress.

All of us are witness to those interviewed shortly after dodging a tragic bullet whether it is a traffic accident or a tornado and you will hear them give God the credit for keeping them safe and alive.  What those of us who have experienced tragedy understand is that God is with us in life and death.  God is with us in good times and bad.  My personal belief is there are many variables in place when tragedy strikes and when tragedy is averted.  I believe in luck and chance; I also believe in predestination.  This means, I believe there is a specific time to be born and a time to die but I also believe based on Scripture these appointed times can be negotiated.  This life and all that we are to learn is between us and God.  We owe an explanation of our choices to no one.  Many Christians do not believe in chance and there are a lot of teachings out today telling us everything is orchestrated.  There are a few Scriptures below that tell me there is chance and there is negotiation.


I’m striding in the presence of God,

Alive in the land of the living!

I stayed faithful, though bedeviled,

And despite a ton of bad luck,

Despite giving up on the human race,

Saying, “They are all liars and cheats!”

Psalm 116:9-11


I took a walk around the neighborhood,

And realized that on this earth as it is,

The race is not always to the swift,

Nor the battle to the strong,

Nor satisfaction to the wise,

Nor riches to the smart,

Nor grace to the learned.

Sooner or later bad luck hits us all.

Ecclesiastes 9:10-12


And Jacob had a son by Zilpah,

He was named Gad (Lucky).

Genesis 30:10


Hezekiah became ill and was about to die,

And he prayed and cried out to God,

To remember all that he had done.

God heard his prayer and saw his tears,

God healed Hezekiah and added fifteen years to his life,

Saved him from the King of Assyria.

2 Kings 20:3-5

 So what does all this talk about Fear have to do with my ability to love?  As Christians, Scripture encourages that we practice what has been preached.  After suffering the tragedy of my oldest sister being murdered I found my ability to forgive and to love challenged.  Challenged but not constrained.  The Scripture tells me I can not expect forgiveness if I have been unwilling to forgive.  It was with this Scripture that I prepared a letter of forgiveness and a Bible, placed in the mail and addressed to my sister’s murderer.

We all hear the coined phrase, “unconditional love.”  It may be in Scripture but I haven’t been able to find it yet in the numerous translations we have available.  This belief in unconditional love is what allows many of us to reach beyond ourselves and love, support and nurture those who give us the greatest struggles.  Maybe you have a family member struggling with drug addiction.  You know the pressures the addiction lifestyle puts on a family from finances, security, housing and employment.  It might be your spouse is unfaithful or abusive and you continue to rise above the status quo to love them through their ugliness.  The struggle could be a teenager desperately trying to find their footing all the while falling prey to poor choices and predators.

I have personally had to find the willingness to love beyond the ugly in most of the scenarios I posed.  I always spoke up for the under dog and the under privileged.  I go to battle for the vulnerable.  I always thought I had a big heart, full of compassion.  Then the test came.  Do you believe God tests His people?


After all this, God tested Abraham.

Genesis 22:1


Once again God’s anger blazed out againstIsrael,

He tested David by telling him,

“Go and take a census ofIsraelandJudah.”

 2 Samuel 24:1


God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified,

To be trusted with this message.

1 Thessalonians 2:3


Then the test came.  Tragedy struck.  Bad luck comes to us all.  Just after our son passed, one of the trauma physicians walked with us outside and shared, “bad things happen to good people.”  He shared some of the bad things he had witnessed and today would be no different.


Everyone can master Grief,

But he that has it.

 William Shakespeare


No one ever told me Grief felt so much like Fear.

 C. S. Lewis


If God tests servants such as Abraham and David, how much more would He tests the young ones?  An Executive Director or CEO certainly doesn’t jump the same hurdles as the clerk’s first day in the mail room.  Have you ever asked yourself what it really cost you to love the un-loveable?


It is easy when we are in prosperity,

To give advice to the afflicted.



As Aeschylus reminds us, when we are at the top of our game, when luck is riding our way and we feel insulated from the worries of the world it’s real easy to love the un-loveable.  It takes little energy or effort, it takes mainly a decision to reach out to those in a struggle.  The test of Love can come when you have little or no energy.  The test of Love can come when you feel the emptiest or when you are in pain.  To Love beyond your emptiness and your pain is going to require a lot more than a mental decision to do so.

First, you are going to have to face the Fear of leaving your place of safety.  The minute you begin to reach out Fear is going to remind you of what can happen.  You are going to find yourself vulnerable and exposed.  Fear feeds on vulnerability and exposure.  This reaching out to Love when you are injured, tormented and tortured is going to require more than mental effort it is going to require physical and emotional strength.

I have only now recognized this test.  Only now can I see where I am.  It has taken almost six years.  This is the first step and I am shadowed by Fear just from the awareness I now have.

My question today is, “Has your Love been tested?”  If so, please share with followers how it was tested and how you responded.  Jesus told us a similar story as He sat at the Treasurer’s table and the cost of the contribution from the widow and the rich man.  The rich man gave out of his abundance.  It is easy when we are in prosperity.  This journey is not about taking the easy way.  Our eternal future is weighed in the scales.


What matters.

Saturday morning my husband and I went for breakfast at a local Frisch’s.  The waitress shared several of them had just returned from the funeral home.  The lady who ran the cash register there for 11 years passed away. 

She had beaten cancer once.  Cancer returned with a vengance and she would spend the last month of her life in a nursing home.  The waitress with tears in her eyes shared their co-worker didn’t have many family members and the family chose to have her cremated.  The visitation had four small photos and a couple of candles.

The co-workers were saddened.  They knew her to be a hard working, pleasant person and wished they could have done more for her.  They felt like she deserved better.

Halfway across the country millions of viewers and thousands in attendance for the funeral service of Whitney Houston, a celebrity, musical artist.  As the service concluded and the casket carried out Whitney would sing “I will always love you” the song written by Dolly Parton and made famous in the movie with Kevin Costner, “The BodyGuard”.    Whitney would be transported in a gold hearse.

Her family, friends and co-workers are sad and grieving. 

So what’s important here?  The fact the cashier for Frisch’s was not surrounded by material goods or the fact her co-workers took time off work to visit with her and celebrate her life.  Definitely, the fact she had friends willing to take time away from their day to say goodbye.

No one needs a gold hearse.

Everyone needs a friend.


This weekend millions of viewers witnessed the home going of Miss Whitney Elizabeth Houston.  It was noted by one speaker there were more stars in attendance for the service than were in attendance for the Grammy’s.  If I have ever had a personal fear about dying, it has been that I would out live my family and friends.  It’s not that I want a million viewers but my heart just breaks for those whose home going is a lonely time.  If I had to choose one blessing from my son’s funeral, it’s the fact that he was young enough that friends throughout school were still around.  He wouldn’t be going home alone, there was a celebration sendoff.


Mega-Pastor, T.D. Jakes noted the heavy hearts and the pain.  Jakes reminded us that during the time of loss we think that Death has won.  He shared the Major Prophets all died.  The great Sages and scientists all die though they are brilliant.  Jakes reminds us the Bible says that Love is stronger than Death.  Though in the middle of a loss, pain and suffering when it looks like Death has won, remind yourself the Bible promises us that Love is stronger than Death.


1 Corinthians 15:51 All the Saints would not die; but all would be changed.  Let us seek the full assurance of Faith and Hope, that in the midst of pain and in the prospect of Death, we may think calmly of the horrors of the tomb, assured that our bodies will there sleep and in the meantime our souls will present with the Redeemer.  Sin gives Death all its hurtful power.  But Christ by dying has taken the sting out of Death.  Christ made atonement for sin.  He has attained remission of it.  Death is terrible to the unbelieving.


Death may seize a Believer, but it can not hold him in its power.  Believers should be steadfast, firm in the faith of the Gospel, which the Apostle preached and they received.  To be unmovable in their hope and expectation of this great privilege, of being raised incorruptible and immortal, to abound in the work of the Lord, always doing the Lord’s service, and obeying the Lord’s commands.


May Christ give us faith and increase our faith that we may not only be safe but joyful and triumphant.


Death has not won.  It has no power over us.  Just as Noah escaped the flood and yet he did not escape Death.  Death has no power over him.


Jakes is honest when tells the family, soon the well wishers and the phone calls will stop.  The cakes and pies will stop.  People around you will leave and you will think Death has won.  You will look around and sometimes feel like you don’t belong anywhere.  You will think Death has won.  Still the Bible promises us that Love is stronger than Death.  The Apostle Paul tells us, ‘nothing will separate us from the Love of God.’


Death has not won.


Alicia Keys sang her song, Send Me an Angel.


I’ve never heard the song but I can tell you this is where Grief will take you.


            Sometimes I don’t feel like I belong anywhere

            It’s gonna take so long for me to get to somewhere

            Sometimes I feel so heavy hearted

            But I can’t explain because I am so guarded

            But that’s a lonely road to travel

            And a heavy load to bear

            And it’s a long, long way to Heaven

            But I gotta get there

            Can you send me an Angel?

            Can you send me an Angel?



It’s been a long, heavy load.  It’s been a long, windy road.  I haven’t had the strength to cry out for an Angel.  Laughter has evaded me.  Death has convinced me I am alone.  Death has convinced me he is my friend.  Death has convinced he is the only way.  Death has convinced me to he can eliminate the pain.  Yet, I know it is Death that is pain and suffering.


Death offers me nothing.  Death has not won.


I still feel out of place.  I still witness the world alive around me.  I peer through the looking glass and wonder can they not see, can they not hear?  Do they not know I am missing in action?  A prisoner of the war between Love and Death wondering if there is an escape for me.
























eBook released February 14th, 2012, a mother exposes the hidden secrets of grief for those who don’t find success with the 5-stages of grief. A mother who understands grief is not an emotion with built-in stages. Grief has become a member of the family. Learning to make room for grief is the first step to empowerment.

Find it on www.Amazon.com for Kindle; www.smashwords.com  for Barnes and Noble for Nook; PDF download for computers.


P.S. I Love You

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and Lifetime has a ‘Love Love’ marathon running today.  I watched a 2007 release with Hilary Swank, “P.S. I Love You.”  The storyline surrounds a young widow whose husband passed away from a tumor at age 38.  While the young widow believes her spouse is sending her letters with encouraging ways to cope without him. 

The widow and her mother have a strained relationship but seems it is her mother who the husband entrusted with the secret and delivery of the letters. 

While the movie shows the challenges of a grieving widow it deals with the journey of grief. One particular scene has the widow with two girlfriends travelling to Ireland where they are stranded in a boat after losing the oars in the lake.  When the thought of not getting rescued one friend shares she is pregnant and the second friend shares she is getting married. 

The response was perfect.  It was obvious the grieving widow was stuck in time while her friends had started moving on with life.  Both friends apologizing saying they didn’t want to tell her until after the road trip.  

As the movie goes on the friendships become strained as the friends move on and the grieving widow is left struggling with direction and focus.

Who has lost a loved one that hasn’t felt this way?  Especially the loss of a child.  The world of social media now makes it easier than ever to stay posted on the daily achievements and changes to our children’s friends.

The new jobs, relationships, weddings, babies, vacations and graduations.  The accomplishments and changes are unlimited.  How is it possible not to compare our loss to continued progress.  Why do some depart so soon? 

I want to believe their work, their purpose fulfilled.  Yet, my flesh says, ‘but there was so much more to do.’  When will this end?  The mental, emotional torment of a dream left unfinished. 

Until the answer comes,

P.S. I Love You

In continuation of my Day 1, TAO Challenge confronting Double Standards seems everything in our physical world and my personal thoughts have labels.  Having been taught from an early age to label and judge everything I come in contact with, I realized quickly to look at an object and not have a label and a judgment for it, well is next to impossible.

I will continue my work on this Day 1 Challenge; I hope just the awareness I have now about the labeling system, and how it affects my walk with the TAO and the Universe is a start.

 I found that I label personalities, procedures, people and products.  What I have learned from this first challenge so far is I placed a label on these things only because there was an opposite to compare it to.

 In dissecting this labeling process, I believe it simply comes down to comparison and competiveness.  Both of these actions are opposite of the ‘oneness’ the TAO is teaching.  I don’t see myself as part of, rather I am comparing myself to. 

I also don’t see myself as equal to, if I feel the need to compete.

It is time to become one.  If all is energy….If I admire a Lexus and shutter at a Jalopy, I need only remind myself they are both ‘energy’; energy created from fuel. 

If vegetarians abstain from meat from a ‘living’ point of view, then is a head of cabbage growing in the garden any less a ‘living’ energy. 


When I observe a man and a woman if I choose to go even further than seeing them as human beings but see each as ‘energy’, is the The Way of the TAO?  If I consider a white man and a black woman and I choose to see ‘energy’ and not gender or race is this The Way of the TAO?  Oneness?

When a father mutilates his children and sets the home on fire, if I choose to see the father as ‘energy’ and the innocent children as ‘energy’, is this The Way of the TAO?  Oneness? 

Scripture tells us the rain falls upon the just and the unjust.  Oneness?

Is this The Way, TAO, Jesus Christ and the Prophets of Old? 

When I choose to see death as ‘energy’ and birth as ‘energy’, is this The Way of the TAO?

Oneness?  Death and Life – no beginning and no end?


If you struggle with grief the belief of Oneness may be an avenue you might consider investigating.  I do agree with the TAO concerning the first nine months of my life.  I trusted.  I trusted the Universe for everything.  A mother to carry me, a mother to feed me, a mother to protect me and a mother willing to die to give me birth. 

The World Health Organization reports a woman dies every minute from complications due to pregnancy or childbirth.  An estimated half a million mothers pay the ultimate price for their young. 

For nine months without any labels or judgment, without any opinions or assistance and possibly not even my own will influenced the Universe.  I have to believe it was dark much like some of the storms those struggling with grief face. 

I am going to struggle in my attempt to re-program my brain/thoughts.  The labels just appear so quick, actually without even thinking about it.  The work is going to be the ‘thinking’ process to ‘not think’.  It’s just energy, not greater, not less than, it just is.




My TAO Challenge

Day 1


 1.)        Identify a personal annoyance or irritant.

My decision:  Double Standards

Within the workplace, financial market place, employment opportunities and housing provisions

TAO instructions:  turn my attention to become open minded and allow permissiveness to befriend the mystery within me.  As I allow ‘Double Standards’ to enter within myself it manifests as: anger, a feeling of less than, injustice, inequality, sub-standard, being slighted, suppression and oppression.

TAO instructions:  allow the feelings to be, while giving non-judgmental attention

  • Anger-only effects me
  • Less than-destroys my passion
  • Being slighted-fuels the anger
  • Oppression-destroys hope
  • Suppression-steals creativity
  • Injustice-places myself in the Judge’s chair 
  • Inequality-fuels division
  • Sub-standard-destroys possibilities 
  • Rejection-lowers self-esteem

    (My first admission – this may take awhile!)

TAO instructions:  Monitor each feeling with compassion.  Accept whatever comes.  No labels.  No defending.  Only I can take responsibility for the labels.


Looks like I created an existence of two worlds.  One world I created with my choice of labels, and the second world I created is my response to my labels.

The two worlds I created offered no avenue for creativity, passion, hope or opportunities.

Action plan:


  • Identify the situation.  Is it ‘chatter’, news reports, gossip, social media?  Am I personally affected by the situation? 
  • Turn off the ‘chatter’.  Limit my exposure to news related information to 15 min/day.  When gossip enters the conversation, remove myself.
  • Assist others in the area of overcoming double standard situations.     

What would you have chosen as a personal annoyance or irritant?  This is a question all of us could face but if you are someone struggling with grief, I believe the annoyances are magnified as we learn to walk with our grief.

Join me in the TAO Challenge, what is your action plan?

One thing I have recognized from comments left on various grief support pages, is the unlimited words of wisdom from those who surround us.  I want to believe most of the advice is with the upmost well intention.  Yet, it is advice by non-professionals.  You don’t go to a doctor for an illness who has not attended medical school. 

Today, I watched the movie “The Tree of Life” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.  Wow!  It is a very difficult movie to follow, but did it drive the 1950’s home.  My dad was a Sargeant during World War II.  My oldest sister couldn’t do anything as perfect as he wanted it done.  She was a straight A student and named to the National Honor Society.  She would struggle with emotional issues her whole life.  Our dad passed away when I was 8 years old and my sister was 18.  I really did understand the oldest son praying that God would remove him from the family. 

The movie begins with a letter being delivered to the home.  Within the first 5 minutes you see a neighbor (well wisher) with all those great words of wisdom:

Life goes on, the pain will pass in time, you still got the other two kids, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.

I just wanted to crawl through the t.v. and ask the well wisher from what part of her life did she acquire all that wisdom.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word,

is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Mark Twain

I will stop there – if you haven’t had an opportunity to see the movie you can rent at RedBox for $1.00 and if you have seen it please share your thoughts of the movie with us.

As the movie travelled around the world it was like exposing emotions I have experienced over the last 5 1/2 years:

  • Boiling water that surfaces
  • Steam from a geiser
  • Explosions
  • Implosions
  • Break of dawn
  • Sunset
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Molten lava

Do you recognize any of these emotions or experiences from your journey?  Please share with us.

“The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.”

– Napoleon Hill