An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life is a Roller Coaster



I am beginning to think I am on a roller coaster that never seems to stop. Some times it takes my breath away, sometimes I feel like I am hanging on for dear life, other times I am having so much fun although I never know what is around the corner. Waves of grief still roll over me painfully touching my heart reminding me that things will never be the same without Joe and causing me to sigh and breathe deep. Other times I am in situations that make me feel like I am hanging on for dear life trying to figure out what to do. For example, I sat by a man on the airplane and we began to visit, talking about work, kids, Texas, Joe’s cancer, etc. I talk to people on elevators…….I am a social person but the next thing I know, the man asks for my phone number! I about died feeling like I was hanging on a cliff! I haven’t had that happen in over 30 years! What on earth was I going to do? Many thoughts went through my mind…….how could Joe leave me and put me in this situation, Joe hasn’t been gone three months, flattered and not feeling 50, and quickly realizing I need a game plan for situations like this. Although he was nice, he was a stranger! I certainly know that my heart needs more healing before I get into any relationship and know another man will not heal me. There are the times I am having a blast in life, like the week in Mexico with my kids. We had so much fun and there were very little tears that week and a great holiday even though we missed Joe…..but this week has been a little different………
I have gone back to work some, still have had kids at home which has been nice, but the thought of facing a new year without Joe has TRIED to overwhelm me and brought tears….like when someone told me they were going dancing for New Years….I have lost my favorite dance partner…ouch. I have also missed prayer times with Joe. We use to pray regularly about the New Year, things at work, the kids, etc. .I have really had to focus and breath…..focus on God’s faithfulness to me, focus on the fact that I am dearly loved by Him and preach to myself to just breathe deep. Things will never be the same but it is a new beginning……. I will encounter new things, have new adventures and new discoveries, will have lots of fun, will overcome, will grow and will change in the process. I will break though this year in some areas and most of all I will live like I am loved…,Live like you are loved Kathleen….that is what I feel the Lord saying to me for 2010. His perfect love casts down all my fears. ( I John 4:18-19 )


Still singing and Happy New 2010!

Kathleen

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Gift of Being



The Gift of Being
Dec.26th 2009

This Christmas didn’t look like others in the past in many ways. The kids told me right after Joe left us that they did not want to be home this Christmas. So I began to pray…..what else is a mother to do when her kids don’t want to come home for Christmas. Once again God provided in amazing ways….a place to stay, airline miles, a different country……On December 18th we left for San Juan Cabo San Lucas in Baja Mexico. Austin and Laura met us there. We had an amazing time snorkeling, enjoying the beach, sitting in the hot tub on our balcony and looking at the Sea of Cortez, playing games every night, laughing together, jet skiing, doing 12 zip lines through the canyon and bungee jumping……yes, at 50 I jumped backwards off a cliff and lived……after what I’ve been through in 2009, it was nothing……We spent a lot of time resting and it was exactly what all of us needed……great for Austin and Laura to be with all of us, great for Price to have his big brother, great for Mal as Rob went with us and a time for him to get to know the boys, and wonderful for me to have all my kids together. We shared some tears on Christmas Eve as we had our traditional family Christmas Eve service and talked about Joe, what we had learned about God this year but for the most part, we laughed again and began to learn how to navigate together again as a family that lost their leader. God’s grace covered all of us and some healing took place. We had a wonderful time together, lots of fun, lots of laughs, and new adventures. We didn’t have a tree in Cabo or stocking although Santa brought stocking stuffers and left them on the terrace of our condo……this year was different but great in many ways. As I walked along the beach one morning by myself, I had to thank God for His amazing love and goodness. I felt His presence is such a strong way each day. This year I got the best gift…..the gift of “being”. Being with God as I walked on the beach and being with my children. We didn’t give gifts to each other; our trip was our gift to one another…..the gift of simply “being.”

Many Many thanks to all who prayed for us this holiday season. Your prayers made a difference and we ask God to richly bless you.

Kathleen

Monday, December 21, 2009

Discovering Life

I had a great birthday celebration. When you have a birthday in December you celebrate along the way in life because it is such a busy season for everyone. I have had several friends take me to dinner or lunch, a small lunch with some friends and my kids all got together and took me to dinner the other night. I have decided that although Joe wasn't with me to celebrate, fifty is fun...... He had talked about giving me a party and was going to sing a Jim Brickman song to me. I am sure he sang, I just couldn't hear him. Another letting go moment for me.....but it is in the letting go and embracing that we really are not in control of life and situations that life goes on. It is in the letting go that our trust is strengthened. It is in the letting go that new life comes.
I am having a wonderful holiday with my kids. I love watching them talk about life, build their relationship and have fun. We are all building again, encouraging each other in the situations we find ourselves in in this season. It is fun to see the fruit of the years of labor we invested in them. Joe would say we have invested well. We are not a family with money but we have a strength and love with each other I wouldn't trade. God is healing all of us. I feel He is beginning to stitch my heart again. I will write more after the holiday about our time together, but for now, I want to enjoy every moment. It is a gift.
Jesus gives us many presents.......joy, peace, His love, the wonder of life, strength, rest.......all are ous if we simply open them each day reguardless of what we face in life.

Happy Christmas to all-

Kathleen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Letting go again

I woke up this morning after a dream. I decided to write it down and then began to journal. As I reflect on my life, most of the fun times I have had Joe has been a part of them. The one I have had the most fun with in life was Joe. We have shared a lot of fun memories. If something isn't fun, I look for a way to make it fun. It is part of overcoming to me and if Joe wasn't with me, I couldn't wait to tell him. We shared fun. It hit me as I journaled that I needed to let go of associating fun with Joe and sharing it with him....those days on earth are over...ouch......it was difficult and tearful but after writing him a letter and letting go and releasing it,, I felt so much better. I also felt like the Lord showed me that I have had to contend for fun and joy as I have had to walk through some very difficult situations. But in the contending I have learned much about walking with God and learned how to have fun, even on hard days. I know there are lots of fun days ahead for me because I know God. He is good and walking with Him is fun, not boring. Part of my life I can say was not that much fun walking with God and it was because I put Him in a box and my walk was more religious instead of relationship driven. Just as I want my kids to have fun in life, I feel God is the same way with us, his kids.
So......I am letting go again and letting go of 49 and on to "fabulous 50" not "frumpy 50."



Kathleen

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Things I love....

Dec. 15th 2009


There are many things I love in my life right now inspite of the great pain. I love sitting in my living room looking at the Christmas tree full of ornaments we have collected throughout the years. Each ornament has meaning. There are those from the first Christmas Joe and I shared. We didn’t have much money so we made ornaments. There are socks from each of our kid’s first Christmases and now ornaments from their universities. I love the warmth of candles and the fire place and am actually getting good at building a fire although the firewood fairy doesn’t bring wood inside anymore or clean out the ashes……..(those were things Joe did and I never had to do) Although I don’t share these things I love with him anymore, I love the presence of God that I enjoy in my home and have spent hours just sitting in the quite thinking and letting God’s presence comfort and heal me……..quite a change for the fast moving girl I am…..but necessary…..learning to simply “be” vs. “do” is a discipline……something God has been working on in my life for about 5-6 years now. Resting in His love for me helps me navigate through all the changes. Today I found something written in my journal on January 1, 2009, “the one word I hear for 2009 is change.” Then I wrote what I felt God said to me as I listened….”Rest in my love and faithfulness with the changes that are coming.” 2009 has brought lots of changes. The change has developed my trust in God. I have stronger “trusting muscles” than I did a year ago. We all have choices in how we handle change and crisis. Change, pain and crisis are a part of life here on earth…..they aren’t going away…….but at the end of the day, I know how I handle them now, affects my future. Life here on earth is hard, often not fair and challenging…….BUT God is good and He loves me and has always been faithful to see me through every change, pain and crisis I have faced, WHEN I TURN TO HIM FOR HELP……and sometimes I haven’t turned to Him immediately and He has patiently waited for me to discover Emmanual……….God with Us. What an incredible gift we have to open each and every day……if we choose to open and enjoy the present!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Crashing Waves

One of the things I don’t like about grief is the crashing waves that hit you out of nowhere. I went to Austin to see Price and Mallory, do some shopping and take them to dinner. On the way to Austin, I listened to Joe’s memorial service. It was healing to listen to it. There were tears in the beginning as I listened but I had to conclude that the service was all I wanted it to be and Joe wanted it to be. As I shopped, Christmas song after song played about someone you love not being with you at Christmas. Crashing waves hit me and the next thing I know I am crying. Memory after memory flooded my mind. Joe was a real trooper and he would shop with me at least a couple of times during the holiday season. It was always a date for us. He would sing Christmas carols to me, was usually very affectionate and romantic. I kept thinking of what we would be doing if we were together this holiday. He would be planning a 50th birthday party for me, we would be on our way to shop today, talking about our kids, and of course be at the big Tivy football game today. He was such a fan and loved the Antlers. We forgot to mention that at his service.

Although the waves crash, I have determined to overcome in the grief process. There are many promises in the bible for those that live out of the power of God in them and overcome. Revelation 2:26 says, “And he who overcomes and who obeys my commands I will give him authority and power over nations.” That is a good promise! For me overcoming is embracing where I am, remembering this is a season, focusing on God’s love for me and constantly opening my heart to Him. I am learning to live in Him and Him in me. I bet I told God 50 times in the past two days, “God I love you and open my heart to your love and healing.” Even though the pain has been great the last two days, the pain of not going on would be greater. God’s love for me gives me courage to face the future.

Breathing and focusing still-

Kathleen

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How am I doing?

I frequently am asked, “how are you doing?” I always answer as honestly as I can. There are hard times but for the most part, I feel I am making progress. Yesterday marked two months that Joe has been gone. I actually went two days in a row without crying at all and although it is not my goal not to cry, I felt like that was an accomplishment for me. But this morning I shed some tears..... Joe and I lived life full and enjoyed ourselves this past year but I will have to say I have seemed to cry as least a little more days than not just as an emotional release. I am feeling better, sleeping better but am still very much in a rebuilding state. I am learning to listen to my body and not push my self. I had a busy day yesterday with our CWJC Christmas party and spoke at the event. Although I really enjoyed it all, it really wore me out. I am aware that it will take me time to build my strength in more ways than one.

Last night I spoke from Luke 1. I shared about how Mary had a plan for her life to simply marry Joseph but God had an even bigger dream for her life. It was beyond what she could even comprehend.....but she had a choice and had to let go of her dreams and trust God even though there was much she didn't understand. I can really relate. I also think because Mary knew God, his love and faithfulness in her life, she was able to say, "Be it unto me according to your word." She simply said “yes” to God and trusted him. I am choosing to say
"yes" to God's plan for my life. One interesting note...my first name is Mary and Joe's real name is Joseph....although our kids are great, none of them are Jesus!

I talk to my kids frequently and Price is beginning finals. Mallory had her big annual observation today. Austin is busy with Navy life in California and Laura is learning to speak Spanish. We will be together for the holidays and it will be a time of rebuilding for all of us. It will be good for all of us to be together and I am looking forward to it.

Daily there are nice blessings in my life. I can say I live in wonder each day. Yesterday there was a gift from an unknown person with a CD and other goodies and a note that said, “you are greatly loved.” It made me smile…..and wonder……

Progressing and wondering,

Kathleen

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life Goes On...

As I reflect on the last few days, I feel I am making some progress....slow but sure. I have learned that living alone I only run the dishwasher two times a week, only fill up one trash can a week and have also learned how to build a fire in the fire place and clean out the ashes......where is Joe when I need him??? I have to do the honey do list now! Living alone has kept me pretty busy as I have had to learn to do things that he always did....but I am leaning.....boy am I learning! I am also learning not to push myself, listen to the Holy Spirit, and pace myself.

Although starting a new life at 50 does sound overwhelming I am reminded of I John 4 "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Because he is, so are we." The power to overcome is greater than anything I face. The power to overcome resides in us when we know the Lord. Personally I don't think many of us know the power of God that is in us and tap into it as we should. So how do we overcome? For me I think one of the first steps is acceptance of things but taking it to the Lord for truth and healing. I know many people that are in denial of situations and that keeps one stuck. As I take things to God, call it like it is, it is in that place I find clear focus and healing. As I was making eggs this weekend, I glanced down at my hand and saw my wedding ring. Tears filled my eyes as I wondered how long I would wear this ring. I liked being married. I liked being a couple. I love my wedding ring. I have to embrace the reality and keep my heart open to the Lord for healing. And He longs to help me overcome in the grief and heal me. The truth is God is good, change is good.....it just doesn't always feel like it. He promises to work all things together for our good when we love him.

Kathleen

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Seasons and Trust

It is a day of accomplishment for me as I opened the last card from my stack. I am overwhelmed by the love and kindness of people that love our family. Yes, I could have opened all the cards days ago but it would have been a task vs. enjoying them. I chose to take my time and read a few each day. I remember a journal entry from January 1st, 2009....it was what I felt the Lord saying to me..."I am going to overwhelm you with my love for you this year. Look for it." In the middle of such a hard and difficult season, I have been overwhelmed my God's love for me. Isn't that just like God? Yesterday I attended the Kerr County Women's Chamber. There were close to 500 people from our community there and they surprised me with dedicating the luncheon in memory of Joe and two other women that left the earth this year. It was special to receive the plaque in memory of him. He loved Kerrville and the people here.
Life with God is about embracing each season I find myself in. There are seasons of our lives. They come and they go just like seasons in the natural. First and foremost I must remember that in this season of pain, I am a child of God. Children are not designed to figure difficult things out. They are to trust and obey and enjoy life. As I look at all the decisions I have to make on my own, I am trying to remain child like.....living in wonder of a God that dearly loves me, trusting, obeying and living as a much loved child of God. Proverbs 3:5, "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path."

Kathleen

Monday, November 30, 2009

A little at a time


When I look at all the things I need to do and stay on top of, it is overwhelming. But when I do a little each day, stay balanced, stay focused, take little steps daily, I make progress. One step at a time..... Not at my usual fast pace.....I am moving at a slower pace....(maybe because I will turn 50 in a few weeks)grief has slowed me down but it hasn't stopped me. That is the important thing. This is by far the greatest challenge I have faced and on top of that there is so much to handle now, let alone I haven't even recuperated from the intense pace of Joe's illness. But I feel I am making progress, am feeling better, sleeping better and I have learned a lot of things. I can build a fire in the fire place, pay bills on line, learned about traditional and Roth IRA's, determined how much it cost for me to live and have filled out a longggggg USAA financial questioner all by myself! That may not seem like much to you, but those are things Joe always dealt with and he loved it and I loved not having to think about those things! I have also learned about probating a will. All of this in the past 8 weeks....I think I need another vacation! All are proof that "with Christ all things are possible." I am still going through mail, sorting through piles, writing thank you notes and have gone through two of Joe's drawers. Not only do I miss my best friend but I miss all the things he did for me. But God has daily blessed me though the love and gifts of wonderful people from all over. Each blessing is affirmation that people care that our hearts are hurting and they want to help our family. At the end of the day, I am so aware that God is keeping me, holding me and helping me each step of the day.

Please note that you can now receive email notification when I update the blog. You can also comment by clicking on the comment button at the end of each blog.

One step at a time,

Kathleen

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tears and Celebration

It has been an interesting few days. Our Thanksgiving went well. There were tears first thing in the morning as I reflected on how Joe and I would make coffee, visit, and then cook together. We loved sharing life together on holidays. Thursday was filled with family at my parent’s house and we had a good time together. I felt a tremendous grace throughout the day. That afternoon we went to some friends house where there were lots of people and watched the big game...Aggies vs. Longhorns.....the Aggies sure gave them a run for their money....Mallory said the Aggie's lost because Joe was cheering for the Longhorns and he had extra pull this year! Joe would have loved the game. I think the hardest thing for me on Thursday was seeing the pain on my kid’s faces......I can't fix it....it is their own journey and the best thing I can do is pray for them to embrace it and allow God to heal their hearts. I love my adult children and having a healthy relationship with adult kids is letting them go and trusting God. This is where the rubber meets the road in our trust in God. I know far too many parents that out of fear, try to control their kids even as they are adults. It takes more faith to let go of kids but it is necessary for them to be healthy and dependant on God. I can't heal them nor can they heal me.

For me, Friday was more difficult than Thursday. I shed tears throughout the day but I kept focused with worship music. I debated on getting Christmas decorations down as it is work and I am still building my strength. I finally concluded that Christmas is a celebration of Christ's birth and He is always worth celebrating no matter what circumstances we face. I will celebrate this holiday season because He is worthy no matter what. Price helped as we put lights on the manger Joe built, hung the wreath, and set up the tree. Those were all things Joe did the weekend after Thanksgiving....I reflected on how much he enjoyed it, how he would come in and give orders for us to help, take time to give me a kiss, and how it was last year that as he got the decorations out of the attic, he hit his shoulder and that was a clue something was wrong....he hit the tumor and it began to grow.

Grief is work. Suffering is a part of life here on earth. But we all have choices in how we navigate through it. Christ came so we could have life...an extra ordinary life! And I plan to have it..... Life to the full (John 10:10).

Kathleen

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Soooo thankful

It has been a challanging 8 weeks without Joe but we have so much to be thankful for. Above all, God has been good in providing comfort, love, peace, strength, gifts, undeserved kindness, and the list goes on. I am amazed........Grief is hard work and exhausting but focusing on what we have to be thankful for is an anchor and actually gives me strength. I am so thankful for all the support and love given to me and our family. Focus is the key in grief. Joe would want us to focus on God and all our blessings in this time verses our loss and him. He loved holidays.
Although we will cry some, we will make new memories this holiday season. I am amazed by much and my prayer is for a greater revelation of God's love for me and my kids. His love never fails and is amazing. If you have a minute, go to www.youtube.com and listen to the song Amazed by Desperation Band.

Better get back to cooking....

Happy Thanksgiving-

Kathleen

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Two steps forward, one step back

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:51 PM, CST
Happy Thanksgiving to all our wonderful friends and family!
Tuesday I woke up and realized that I hadn't cried at all on Monday and had slept 8 hours.! I was excited as that was progress......then Tuesday afternoon I went to USAA for a meeting and in the middle of the meeting just began to cry....Joe always dealt with that stuff and I never bothered to learn as that was his area of expertise..... so many decisions to make without him......I had a pretty tearful day although I shopped and actually accomplished much.....but that is the way grief is....three steps forward and one back....Mallory and Price surprised me and came home Tuesday evening! That was nice surprise and good to have people in the house.
Tomorrow we will have lunch at my parent's and then go to some friends house for the big football game.....it is always interesting with Aggies and Longhorns in the same family.
Many thanks to all of you that are praying for us as it is our first holiday without Joe. Mallory and I commented as we cooked dinner that last Thanksgiving was stellar in that we had a wonderful time with family on our deck and the weather was perfect. Things have changed and we will grow through the change, remembering those things which are behind but pressing forward.
I will have to say I have felt the Lord's presence in a very special way all day. God is good.



Kathleen

Monday, November 23, 2009

overwhelming love

January 1st 2009 I have written in my journal what I felt the Lord say to me, "I am going to overwhelm you with my love for you this year." I have really felt such overwhelming love throughout this journey. I have enjoyed God's presence in such a tangable way.....I wouldn't trade it....the peace, waves of joy in the midsts of the sorrow and the love of people has been wonderful. Tonight I got phone calls from 2 people I haven't heard from in years just telling me they love me and are praying for us. People have been so kind in little love gifts, gift cards, massage.....every day there is a new blessing. Everyday I wake up and wonder how God is going to show His love that day.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful we had nine months with Joe. As big as his cancer was when we checked into MDA....it was a miracle we had him that long. I am thankful we had a year with our empty nest. I am thankful we got some great family time together and a vacation. I am thankful for all the new friends I have at MDA. And my friends here......Soooooo, soooooo thankful for my wonderful friends that have been taking care of me.
o.k....as hard has I have tried, I am still not through all the cards, thank you notes, or USAA documents........and so many decision! But I am thankfulfor all the love and support, notes, messages. Isn't it amazing that the love of my life is gone but I still feel overwhelmed by love

Saturday, November 21, 2009

a first in 49 years

The other night I couldn't go back to sleep and was thinking......this is the first time in almost 50 years that I have lived alone. I left home, had a room mate in college and got married. Most of the time I have enjoyed the quiet and my cat (who is part human) and my dog keep me company. I seldom even watch TV. But I do miss someone to process life with.....my animals don't seem as interested as Joe was....
Although I am still going through piles of mail and papers in my house, I still wonder if I will ever get caught up. I could have gotten it done but am intent on keeping things balanced....time to work, grieve, exercise, rest, stuff around the house, mountains of paper work, time with my kids and friends and oh....my dad was in the emergency room this week and will be having surgery soon. What a life! Balance is a key to a healthy life.....I am trying. And grief is a part of all of our lives- yet I find that many people do ignore it and don't deal with it and it causes problems in their lives. There can be small griefs like disappoints in life, a move, job change, kids leaving home, loss of a loved one, death of a dream, death of the life you thought you had,,,grief comes in many forms and is a part of life. We must learn to embrace it, deal with it, run to Jesus to heal our wounds and wait for Him to heal us. He is in the waiting and it is in the waiting we get to know Him.....if we want to. We get to learn who He wants to be for us....how much He loves us,...He is just waiting for relationship with Him.

Kathleen

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things I miss

I am still singing but some days are harder than others. Tuesday was a hard day. I missed little things, like Joe's emails...he would usually email me several times a day to check on me or update me on how he was doing...it hit me that I would never get another email from him...stuff I know but grief reminds you this is real. Then I got a letter from the Social Security Office that stated answers to questions I had answered the other day and their statements....."Joseph Edwin Maxwell was married to Mary Kathleen Jones August 4th, 1979 in Kerr County. This marriage ended October 8, 2009 by death." I know I am not married anymore because he is gone....but there was something about them saying..."this marriage ended." Then there was the little 84 year old lady I ran into that said, "You are in the same boat I am in, my husband died in August." Am I in her boat??? I don't know about that.....then there was the 25 year old that asked if I had a boyfriend yet???? It has only been 7 weeks! Do people do that? I just need to breathe and rest is my thought for the day...............
On the other side, God has been so good to me. I daily have challanges but I feel His comfort and love. The thing I miss the most right now is having someone to download with each day. Joe was my sounding board and he was a good listener. I miss telling him about my day. I miss his kiss in the morning and in the evening.... The blessing today was someone told me that a portion of our caringbridge was mentioned at Oakhills Church (Max Lucado's church) on Sunday and our website posted. It was in the context of an inspirational story....amazing. That is a big church!

Instructions for my generation:

To make this website a bookmark:

1. Go to the website: www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com
2. When you are on the page, click the “Favorites” pull down bar at the top left of your screen.
3. You will see “Add to Favorites.”
4. Click on that and in the “Name” box you can type what you want this page to be called. I just left it as “The Maxwell Minutes.”
5. Click “OK.”
6. Whenever you want to open up the website, just open up a new browser page. Go to “Favorites” and click on the website. It should take you directly to the site.

For MACS:
1. Go to the website: www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com.
2. When you are on the page, click on the “Bookmarks” pull down bar.
3. Click on “Add a Bookmark,” and type the name of the blog.
4. Click on “Add” and it should appear in your bookmarks section.

To comment on a post:

Just as in Caring Bridge, you have to make a profile. Again, it takes a minute or two and you are set. You only have to do it once and then you can comment whenever you want to. Here are the steps.

1. Go to the website: www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com.
2. At the bottom of each post, you will see some grey words, “Posted by Kathleen at _____,” and then you will see “Comments.”
2. Click on the “Comments” link and it will take you to a screen that shows other’s comments for that post.
3. If you scroll all the way to the bottom, you will see a box that says “Post a Comment.” Type your comment in the box.
4. When you finish typing your comment, underneath that box is a pull down menu under the title of “Comment As.” Click on the pull down menu and choose “Google Account.”
5. Then click the “Post Comment” button underneath that.
6. If you already have a Google Account (if you use gmail or you have made a profile before) you can log in. When you post a comment to one of the posts, the post will have your name at the bottom of it. If you don’t already have a profile, you need to click on “Create a profile” that is in the log-in box. This will take you to an information page. Fill out your information. Follow directions on the information pages, and you should be all set with your profile!
7. The next time you pull up the blog website, there is a link in the right hand corner that says “Sign In.” Each time you want to post a comment, you can sign in.



Breathing and trying to take steps,

Kathleen

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Change and growth

The blessing keep coming each day. Friday Price came in for the weekend and I grilled him ribs. It was only the 2nd time I have cooked in weeks....it is too much trouble for one person. We enjoyed a nice evening on the deck and then a movie. Saturday someone left a basket of soup fixings on my front porch...what a nice blessing and today I made the soup and sent some back with Price. Daily there are little blessings and I see God caring for me at every turn. Saturday I went to Boerne to have dinner with Rob's family. It was a nice evening but as I drove back to Kerrville alone I decided that after 33 years of having a date everywhere I went, driving home alone was not that much fun. I am adjusting more and more each day but am not too sure I like it. I finished a book this weekend called A Widow's Walk. There were several quotes in there that were good...."you have just experienced the ultimate sorrow in marriage." That is true. ...."when your mind is preoccupied with grief, you become careless or inattentive." I can say I have forgotten my keys, cell phone etc. the last few weeks. "The process of overcoming grief will cause you to change." A friend of ours said, "you can't grow without change, and you can't change without growth." Looks like I am in for some change and growth....that sounds like work to me...but staying the same is boring when you get down to it. Change causes us to grow. We should always be growing and my heart is to grow in intimacy with God. At the end of the day, it is my intimacy with the Father that is getting me through this season and gives me hope and joy.

Changing-

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Mission accomplished! The fall CWJC class graduated on Wednesday and by the grace of God I had the energy through out the night.( I wear out pretty easily these days) Someone called and ask what CWJC was. I work for a non-profit, Christian Women's Job Corps of Kerr County that reaches out to women in need in our community. You can see our website at www.cwjckerrcounty.org
Yesterday I was pretty exhausted and stayed in my robe on my deck until noon. I shed a number of tears but I know that is part of the grief process and they need to flow to heal. But God is so good, as I had several people that I have known for over 25 years but do not see often, call and give me words that blessed and encouraged me. It is His faithfulness that anchors me in this season. I also had someone from MDA call and say that she had been passing on our caringbridge site to help others. I want our journey to help others. Resting and healing.......I plan to do a lot of these.....all the stress of the past months has taken its toll on my body and I know it will take time to build back. People have been great and I have been given massages to help. Yea God! Jesus has came to restore and heal us and I fully believe that is what He has for me and my kids. I have had people say "You will never get over this." I don't believe that. Never forget - yes - I won't forget Joe - we shared too much but I do expect to get to the place where it doesn't sting like it does now. Psalms 147:3 says, "He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds." I also believe the blood of Jesus provides for emotional healing if we want to be healed and take the hurt to him. There are people that have never gotten over the pain of loosing loved ones, lifes disappointments, abuse, fearful experiences, painful memories,hurtful things but I have seen God heal those that want healing and keep pressing into God for it. He offers it to us and He has come so we can have life and life abundantly no matter what! (John 10:10 - "I have come so you can have life and life to the full!)


Resting and healing,

Kathleen

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Worship is healing

My favorite song right now is this song - Inside out- by Hillsong. You can hear it by going to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwJEdo1FlMo

"Your will above all else, my purpose remains. My heart and my soul, I give you control, Everlasting your light will shine when all else fades- never ending your glory goes beyond all fame, and the cry of my heart is to bring you praise. From the inside out, oh my soul cries out. Consume me from the inside out. To love you from the inside out."

I am learning to live from the inside out.....from the spirit of God in me, not in my circumstances.....it works for me. It gives me strength, comforts me, anchors me as I grieve.

These words are powerful.....worship is healing to me.....

As I sit here and prepare for my first graduation without Joe it seems so strange that he will not be a part. Even though it is a ceremony for my job, he has always played a big part in the ministry I am involved with. He prayed for each class, cheered me on as well as them, volunteered countless hours and was the best support and encourager. I will miss him. But I must "forget those things that are behind and press toward the prize." That will be one thing I will talk about in my speech.

The kids seem to be doing well and pressing in to God in their own journey. I talk to them frequently.....they are great! My piles of paperwork are stacked all over my house, USAA papers, cards, thank yous.......I guess one day I will get through it all. After graduation I will be taking some time off and hope to get through it all as well as give myself time to heal.

Again, by the end of the week, I plan to transition to only the blog. www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Living from the inside out,

Kathleen

Sunday, November 8, 2009

another step

Sunday, November 8, 2009 4:31 PM, CST

As I sat on the deck yesterday and looked at the tree our family stood in front of last Thanksgiving, I noticed the leaves beginning to change. Although it was a reminder of all the other changes this year, there was a calming peace of His presence. I am so aware of God's presence carrying me, loving me and helping me. I have never felt alone in this whole journey....sometimes I have felt that people have not really understood but how could they if they have not walked through a rare agressive cancer journey and lost the love of their life?
Friday was the first day I felt "good" physically....maybe it was that I slept better or that my body didn't ache as much. I was grateful as we had a busy day at the Christian Women's Job Corps....we baptized 5 ladies! Yea God! We will have our graduation of 12 ladies this Wednesday at 7:00 at Impact Christian Fellowship if you want to come. You will be encouraged.

This weekend hasn't been as painful as last weekend as I have sat on the deck. I went to dinner with a couple and several ladies...I had fun although it was strange not having Joe at my side. Mal and Rob came in Saturday afternoon as they had a party that evening and it was good to see them. That evening I went to a gathering with some close friends...it was strange driving by myself and Joe not escorting me and for all of us, our first time to get together since he has been gone. I missed him and I know others did too, but I felt covered in grace the whole evening. Although all these firsts without Joe are painful, I know it is better to embrace them vs. avoid them. Too many times in my life I have stuffed the pain, denied it, fed it,or avoided it.....not doing that this time. I know healing comes as I embrace it, cry, and open my heart for God to heal. The hurt is real and the pain cuts deep but I firmly believe my heart will be healed. Too many times in scripture God promises to heal our broken hearts (Isaiah 61) and he has healed me other times my heart has been broken.....we just have to acknowledge the pain and run to Him......when something painful triggers you, try it. Offer a simple prayer, "God this hurts my heart, I open my heart to you, please heal me." He will do it! I know.

ok....this week I plan to transition to the blog and will discontinue posting here. I will provide instructions for my generation later....you can go to the website:
www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Feeling so loved by God,

Kathleen

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Daily Blessings...

Joe has been gone a month now.  Although the pain  and loss has been great, I have felt God's love pour over me and there are special blessings each day.  I am beginning to wake up and wonder what "the blessing of the day will be"!  Monday I came home and someone had left beautiful sunflowers and chocolates at my front door and a out of town friend visited and took me to dinner.  Tuesday I had a friend drive me to Fredericksburg for a doctor's appointment (one I had to cancel 3 times because of Joe) which was great as I was exhausted by 2:30.  I also found an unexpected blessing with my insurance.   Yesterday I had someone fix my garage door.  Wonder what today will hold?  As I have "stepped back into Kerrville" people have been wonderful and the hugs and encouragement.  Many have told me of how God used Joe's memorial service to touch them and how they were blessed.  Yea God!  He is good.    I love how he works when we least expect it.   I still seem lost in my home of 24 years as I have tried to find some rythem to life but I have felt the Lord hold me each time I cry.
Thanks so much for all the cards you have sent.  I still haven't gone though all of them......but will as life settles down.

Held-

Kathleen

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Things

It has been 3 weeks since Joe began his citizenship in heaven and I have now lived at home alone 4 days. I have had waves of tears as I have embraced the pain but I’ve tried to establish some routine as routine has not been a part of my vocabulary the last 10 months…..I’ve worked about 6 hours each day which has been good and I have done new things…..like begun to figure out how to probate a will, had 4 evenings in a quite house, gone to the funeral home and taken care of things…..I am learning to listen to the Holy Spirit as to what to do when….Monday I felt God say, “you don’t have to go to get the death certificates today…but Tuesday, I felt Him say, “you can do this today, I am with you.” God totally supplied the strength and I actually shared with some of the staff about the goodness of God to us in this journey. Yea God! Another new thing I did was begin a little book called, ­­­The Widow’s Way that was sent to me….my first thought was, “I don’t want to read that.” But I decided to as I am all about not resisting circumstances but advancing through them. Embrace grief – but not be overcome by it……The book said that much of the purpose and meaning of life revolves around family members, especially one’s mate…..that most widows choose to live even though struggling to find meaning and purpose. I loved Joe dearly, he was my best friend and lover. But MY purpose in life wasn’t him or my kids. I feel I know my purpose in life (I might share more about that later) and my identity was not rooted in Joe.
As a young bride and into the first ½ of our marriage, I looked to Joe to make me happy. He was my focus…. If he didn’t tell me I was pretty or that he loved me or we had a disagreement, it was a bad day. God began to deal with that in my heart. He began to show me that I had made my husband an idol and that wasn’t right. I had to confess that as sin and began to shift my heart to look to Jesus each day for satisfaction and affirmation. As I did that, the intimacy and love in my relationship with Joe grew. I began to get my identity as a child of God instead getting my identity as a wife or mother I am first a daughter of the Most High God. ( I have actually written a little book about this) Being a daughter of the King, defines me, gives me value and is my identity………not being a wife or mother…..those things can fade……. My job is to simply live in that confident place of being a much loved child of God, His daughter and let God heal my heart as only He can. Hebrews 10:35 in the Amplified version says, “Do not therefore fling away your fearless confidence. For it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.” My confidence and identity is rooted in Him.

Healing and holding His hand,

Kathleen

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pressing on...

The past few days have been interesting as our family has tried to get back to normal.....whatever that is....I am still trying to figure that out. Saturday I said goodbye to Austin and Laura, my son and the best daughter-in-law in the world and Price picked me up in SA. He left Sunday to go back to Austin at 12:45.....God's grace met me as I closed the door and tried to figure out what to do next. I went to HEB to discover how to shop for one, went on a walk with Tammy, and later Nina came over...I love my friends! Today I went to work until about 2:00 and that was good. I came home and began going through the mail, accomplishing opening the envelopes of important papers and beginning to organize...so much to do....one step at a time. At 5:30 I decided to go to the gym and work out for the first time in 5 weeks....next decided I better buy epsom salts so I can get out of bed tomorrow!This morning I read Philippians 3:10-14...it spoke to me...here is my version - "my purpose is to know Him more progressively and understand His person more strongly and clearly and that in the suffering continually be transformed into His likeness. I press on to lay hold of that which Jesus has laid hold of- I belong to Him...forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what lies ahead- I press on." Forget Joe...never...but let go of the life I have known beause Jesus has a plan for me.  Adjusting, crying, breathing and trusting, Kathleen

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Making the Times

News Flash.......yesterday as I stepped off my American Airlines flight in DFW, I had a call from the reporter from the New York Times asking me another question about Joe. She also told me the article would be on the front page of today's paper! We are just one of many she interviewed and I think her article depicts the world of cancer we faced in our battle. The interview took place the morning we left MDA and it was the last time Joe had a lengthy conversation with anyone.... 45 minutes he focused like God said and answered her questions....I was so proud of him! If you click on his name in the article, Joe Maxwell ,it will take people directly to our caringbridge website. Our prayer is that others will be encouraged by our battle and come to know God in a closer way as they read our story. Click the title of the article below, "Forty Years War: A Place Where Cancer is the Norm," to read from the New York Times today.Smiling in Texas,KathleenHEALTH / RESEARCH October 25, 2009 Forty Years' War: A Place Where Cancer Is the Norm By GINA KOLATA M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the largest freestanding cancer hospital, is on the front lines battling a disease that still faces grim odds. Advertisement

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Season

Greetings dear friends,

After many of you encouraged me to continue my journey with Caringbridge, my kids decided to start this blog for me. I am humbled that there are people that want to simply read about my journey with God in this season. Thanks for all the cheering on in this season of my life......not sure where to go from here but God will lead.

Blessings,

Kathleen