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

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