Bobby’s Heavenly 33rd Birthday – “Looking Back”

Standard

Birthday in Heaven

Today, April 14, 2017, is Bobby’s Heavenly 33rd Birthday. Our only son. I miss him being here on earth. Heaven seems so far away. I can’t visit there. If I’d go, I’d have to stay. God’s not ready for me yet. 

My thoughts….

I – “The Hardest Day”

Bobby lost his life on May 31, 2013, trying to save others. He died a beloved hero.

Bobby loved his job as a firefighter. He knew the risks, and he went for it anyway. He always had a servants heart and he was a very hard worker. He survived 2 tours of duty in Iraq before coming home to become a firefighter. It seems unfair to have survived a war in a foreign land, and to come back home to be taken, in the end, by a deadly hotel fire. 

II – “Siblings”

Bobby was the only boy amongst our 3 girls (plus myself), and he always felt outnumbered. Well, he was! But if any one of his sisters ever really needed something, he was there for them. They might have knock down drag out fights, but when it counted most, he was there for them. 

Lauren was 10 years younger than Bobby. He thought she was SOOOO cute. He loved it when she said and did silly things. He got such a kick out of her. I would tell him not to laugh if she said a bad word, or got certain phrases wrong (ie. New York Yankers), but he could not help himself. He was only 10, and at 10 years old, I guess that was funny to him. The more I told him not to encourage her by laughing, the funnier it became to him. I get it. I too have a younger sibling. What goes around, comes around, so don’t make fun of your siblings. 🙂

Bobby had a close relationship with Liz.They were only 18 months apart. She would draw the line with him, and he knew not to cross it. He tried it – once. He never tried that again. When she “set a boundary”, she meant it, and he knew it. Their bedrooms shared a wall. At night, I would hear them knocking on the wall from one bedroom to the other. As it turned out, they were “talking in code”. They had a special code word for goodnight. So sweet. We still use that word today. 

As children, Bobby had sort of a love/hate relationship with Nicole. She was 6 years older than he. She had to babysit him a lot because I was a single mom and I couldn’t be everywhere at once. When he got upset with her, he would yell at her, “You’re not the boss of me!” He gave her a very hard time when she needed to correct him because, well, she wasn’t his mom. But when Nicole needed some money for college, he gave her all he had – $50. No one asked him to do that, he just did. It was his heart, and she was in it.

III – “Math Whiz”

Bobby knew the value of a dollar and he worked very hard at saving. He was the only one of the kids who was able to save his money. When the girls were broke (almost always), they visited the “Bank of Bobby.” He gladly gave them a lone, but only if a proper interest rate was negotiated in advance. 😉 Smart boy.

Bobby was good at math even as a little boy. As I’ve mentioned before, when he was 6 years old, and I was trying to divvy up lunch money in the morning for the 3 of them (amidst all of the chaos), he would quickly take charge of all the coins laid out on the bed, and divide them into thirds quicker than I could blink. He never had trouble with his “math facts”. Never.

IV – “Reconciliation” 

Even though Bobby struggled with different things and with us parents as many teens do, I always knew he loved me. He would slip notes under my bedroom door a lot of times to say “I’m sorry” for misbehaving, and to say that he loved me. I would tell him that I forgive him, and we’d work out what he could do differently next time. Although it was difficult at the time, I treasure those sweet notes now more than ever before. 

IV – “Goodnight Sweetheart

At bedtime, when Bobby was about 14, I would say goodnight to Bobby and send him off to bed. A few minutes later my bedroom door would crack open. There was Bobby with his head poked through the crack, smiling, and singing to me – “Goodnight  sweetheart, goodnight, wherever you arrrre!” He had a very good singing voice. I would say, “Goodnight”. A few minutes later, he was back – “Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight, wherever you arrrrre!” Me: “Goodnight Bobby.” Just as I was falling off to sleep, he was back – “Goodnight sweetheart goodnight wherever you arrrrrre!” Me: “Goodnight Bobby! Go to bed!” Bobby: “Ok, goodnight. Love you.” Me: “Love you too Bobby.” ❤

V – “Looking Back”

I love looking back and seeing that picture in my mind of Bobby poking his head in my bedroom doorway and singing. I wish those would have been the days of “selfies”. I still remember what Bobby’s voice sounded like at 14. You know, that age where a teen boy’s voice gets crackly and deeper? That was it. It still makes me smile. It’s one of my favorite memories of him.

At the time of Bobby’s serenades, in a very rowdy household (4 teens and a blended family), all I wanted him to do was go to bed so I could get some sleep for another rowdy day. But look now, how special it is, that God left me with some of the best memories of him ever. There are more, but this is all for now.

VI – “Love You Forever”

Now I say to Bobby, “Goodnight, sweetheart, goodnight, wherever you arrrrre!” 🎶 

Happy Birthday in Heaven my sweet boy.  🚒 💙🇺🇸 Sadness over the loss of you is here to stay, but my memories of you will never go away.

Advertisements

If you have a need – Sow a seed

Standard

Do you have a need in your life that you want God to meet?

Any need – big or small?

I for one am not ashamed to admit that I have so many needs in my life. I have emotional needs, physical needs, needs for healing, spiritual needs, and family relationships. Some of you may have similar needs, and some may have very different needs. But, everyone has needs of one sort or another.

Have you ever heard of this?  If you have a need, sow a seed? I used this principle in my own life today. I knew that God would reward me because I know that we can’t out give God.

2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

When we face difficulties, it’s easy to become ingrown, to where all we think about is my problem, my illness, my hurt, my bills, or my loneliness. As long as we’re only focused on ourselves, we’ll get stuck where we are.  In our time of need, we have to learn to sow a seed.

The way to get what you want is by giving away what you need. If you need happiness, don’t sit around in self-pity, go out and make somebody else happy. God will use that “seed” to bring you happiness. (Sow happiness – reap happiness)

I realize that this goes against human nature, but when God sees you getting outside of yourself, when He sees you being good to somebody even though you’re struggling, that’s the seed God will use to bring a harvest back into your own life.

When you reach out to others, the seed you sow will come back to you.

Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Every day, I have needs.  We all do (some more than others) but we all do.  God doesn’t care how big or how small, He wants to meet your every need.

Over the past week or so, I was made aware of the injustices being imposed on the Pastors in the Houston area by Mayor Annise Parker.  I wanted to help protect the Kingdom in any way that I could. Governor Mike Huckabee (a Christian), suggested that we all send the mayor a copy of the Bible. Listening to wise counsel, I did it.

Since Bobby died, I have not been able to leave the house except mostly for necessities, and that was only if Harold was not able to do it for me. I have been isolating due to the tremendous traumas that I suffered last year.

I am convinced that because of the prayers of others and prayers of my own, that God gave me the strength and courage to get out of the house today (feeling good all the while) to do something for Him.  I was so happy to do it.  It was good to feel good for a change. I wanted to sow a seed for my need.

While at the post office, as I was standing in line, I noticed that the young man in front of me had on a navy t-shirt with the number 68 on it. It stood out to me because that was Bobby’s Fire Station number.  I mustered up the courage to speak to him, and asked if he was a firefighter. He said no, that he was a police officer.

(I had promised myself since Bobby died that I would try to thank every single police officer, firefighter, and military service member that I see for the courageous work that they do.)

Then I noticed that Bobby’s name was on his sleeve. I mentioned to him that Bobby was my son. It turned out that this young man was the brother-in-law of the fiance of Anne Sullivan (the girl who died with Bobby in the fire). And the girl standing in front of this young police officer was the sister of Anne’s fiance Dan.  And this girl (Dan’s sister) is good friends with my daughter Nicole (who hasn’t spoken to me since Bobby died for I don’t know the reason to this day). And come to find out, my daughter Nicole, had sold this young police officer his (Station #68) t-shirt. AND he and I were wearing the same Station #68 bracelet!  Now what are the chances of THAT – in ALL of this humongous city of Houston?!?!

This young man began to tell me his story of that horrific day, May 31, 2013. He just happened to be with Anne’s (the deceased’s) husband driving down the freeway and saw the smoke from the fire. They knew that this could have been Anne’s station at the scene of the fire, so they headed toward the fire. As they were driving toward the fire, they got a call to go home immediately, that Anne had died in the fire.

This young police officer told me that he was witness to his brother-in-law becoming hysterical and his tremendous suffering on that day. He told me that he didn’t know what to do. He began to tell me how helpless he felt. I told him how sorry I was that he had to go through that situation and how I felt for him. I tried to reassure him that just being there for comfort was all he could have done. That really is all you can do.  I could tell that he really needed to say his story to someone. I was happy to listen, even though it was hard. I was able to share with him how I found out and he was able to hear me as well.

THEN the lady 3 people in front of me heard us talking, and said that she also knew Anne Sullivan personally. By this time I was in tears at the goodness of God, and I wasn’t even finished sewing my seed!! This lady came and gave me the biggest hug and told me she was sorry and that she would pray for me and she said, “God bless you, I’m so sorry”.

You see, God knew that this is a HUGE need that I have – for people to know my story and understand the grief that I feel on a pretty regular basis. Anne’s future sister-in-law and I were able to talk about how we still get triggered by different things, songs, something someone says, a particular place, a photo, and how our grief comes up all over again, like the very day that the accident happened. This sharing was once again another small piece to my healing – like a soothing gel that God poured over my still open wound. How great is He for that?

I can’t even count how many blessings I received just today (in one day!),  just by simply sowing a seed. I wasn’t even up to the post office counter yet, and God was blessing me more than I could even imagine – exceedingly and abundantly even more than I could ask or think.

If you have a need – sow a seed 🙂

My day with a cop – a speeding ticket – and a gift from God

Standard

So today, I was cruising down the empty tollway when I saw those dreaded flashing lights behind me in my rear view mirror.  In the old days, when that happened to me, I could feel my heart drop into my stomach.  I would get completely freaked out, but because I was a single mom with 4 children and no money.  So, back then, a traffic ticket was like one of my worst nightmares.  That meant that we were going to have to make do with less – again, and it was all my fault.

But today, I saw the lights in my rear view mirror and I just pulled over.  No sinking feeling.  This time, I wasn’t upset, crying, and freaking out.  So at least that was good.  This time, I felt bad in a different kind of way. This time I wasn’t afraid about the money; I wasn’t afraid of getting yelled at by a husband.  I was just disappointed in myself. I didn’t need to be going so fast.  There was no emergency. In fact, I didn’t even know my car could go that fast (92 mph in a 65) (without me at least noticing it). I tell you, I was stunned when the officer told me that he clocked me at 92!!  But I believed him – no question.

I got my license and proof of insurance out and ready to hand to the officer.  He came up to my window, and of course he asked the usual question, “Ma’m, do you know why I pulled you over?” I said, “No, was it speeding?” He said, “Yes ma’m.  I clocked you at 92. The speed limit right here is 65.” I said, “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it! I’m so stunned right now!” I said, “Where were you?? I didn’t even see you!” He politely told me. Then I said, “You know what?  I’m actually glad you stopped me. I am. I seriously needed to know that I was driving so fast. I’m in shock that I didn’t realize my speed.”

Then all of a sudden he said, “You know what?  I’m going to change the speed to 82.  That way you can take defensive driving if you choose to do so.”  I just put my hands together and said, “THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Thank You God!” I could hear my brain thinking, “YOU ARE THANKING A COP FOR GIVING YOU A TICKET???  HAVE YOU COMPLETELY LOST YOUR MIND???”  I was so grateful though because I fully deserved that ticket. And I told him that I completely understood.

By this point, I felt like we were old friends.  And, as I would say to a friend, I said, “You know, I haven’t been thinking clearly for a while.” Then I teared up. (I was trying not to but was just overcome by my emotions.) I went on to say, “I lost my son in that hotel fire last year. He was one of the 4 firefighters who died. I’m actually on my way to therapy right now.  I still go 4 times a week to try and heal from the loss.”  Then I felt “the ugly cry” coming on. As much as I tried to hold back the tears, there was no stopping them at this point.

He looked at me and said, “Your son was a firefighter?”  I said, “Yeeeesss, he was one of the fallen four.”  He looked me right in the face and said, “I’m dismissing the ticket. Thank you so much for your son’s service, really, thank you so much.  I’m so sorry for your loss ok?  I’m sorry, really sorry for your loss.”  He shook my hand and said, “You have a good day ok m’am? I’m so sorry for your loss.”  I said, “Thank you so much, you have a good day toooooo.”

I can’t even put into words how good it felt to hear ‘those words; and that is why I cried. He drove off and I sat in my car on the side of the road, and just bawled for what seemed like forever. The tears didn’t seem to want to stop no matter how hard I tried to stop them.  They just kept coming.

I realized that the tears weren’t even about the speeding ticket.  The tears came because, when Bobby died, I didn’t get the usual condolences that a mother normally would get at a funeral and memorial.  They mostly all went to my 3 daughters (my oldest in particular). It was like Bobby didn’t even have a mom, (and at least the higher ranking people involved knew who I was). There was not even a mention of his mom.

It’s still a mystery to me why this happened. I don’t know why all of this occurred, and I’m no longer trying to figure out why. I have learned that it just ‘is what it is’. (I’m not saying this for pity, and certainly not to put down the Fire Department – not at all.)  I SO love and appreciate every single member of the Fire Department, whether I know them or not. And I especially appreciate the ones who did reach out to me, who were extremely kind to me, and who are still kind to me to this day.)

I’m saying all of this to show you in a minute just how good God is to us.

[Side note:  Anytime you see a fireman, you should stop them and thank them for putting their lives on the line every single day for us, as well as police officers, and members of the military.]

Just last night, (after having another grief meltdown at home for what seemed to be for no particular reason at the time), I told my husband how sad I felt about us having 3 surviving adult children, who (to this day) have never even said to me, “Mom, I’m sorry that you lost Bobby.”  And I was telling him that I was sad also that I never got condolences from the many of the officials at the Fire Department.  I feel like those condolences are such a large part of a persons healing after losing a loved one; I really do.  So just last night, guess I was still having a need to hear comforting condolences from someone in a position such as this officer today.

All of that to say this.  I know that God doesn’t send bad things to us, or punish us, or put sickness on us, or or anything like that.  And He certainly isn’t the blame for a speeding ticket.

What I DO know, is that sometimes God will allow situations like today to happen for a reason.  And the reason is usually to teach us something that we could not have learned any other way, or maybe so that we could be a blessing to someone else down the road with what we have learned, or to give us a gift.

Today I got a “God gift” in the form of a sincere and heartfelt condolence, that I was so desperately needing to hear.

Thank you Jesus for loving me so much.  I am in awe of Your goodness to me.

police-clipart-police-car

The Little Things

Standard

IMG_1251-Edit-2Have you ever wondered if God cares about the little things? After all, He’s God. God does BIG things right? He’s God! He flung the stars into the universe! He made the sun, the moon, all of the planets. He created man. He created each and every animal one by one. God is God – He does big things! We can probably all understand this right?

But what about the little things? Why would our BIG God care that you failed a test, or you had a bad day, or you just couldn’t get a handle on your emotions one day. It may seem a bit odd that He (The Creator of the Universe) would take the time out of His busy day to concern Himself with the “little things”.

There is good news my friend. The Bible says in Luke 12:7,

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Think about this: God doesn’t sleep! He is up 24/7 working on things that may concern you.

Let’s not judge whether God cares or whether or not his concern is based on the size of your worry. That is not EVEN an issue. God does most certainly care about the “little things” in our lives, because He cares about us, and because we love Him.

Compared to God and His glory, our whole lives are made up of those “little things.” Psalm 139:17–18 says,

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them, Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I am awake, I am still with you.”

Wow!

I love this Scripture too. Psalm 138:8,

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”

Here is a recent example of these “little things” in my own life, that just happened to me yesterday.

Yesterday would have been my only son’s 30th Birthday. This was (sadly for me) his first Birthday in Heaven. My son Robert was a Firefighter, Station #68 in Houston, TX. He died a tragic death in a hotel fire on Highway 59 along with 3 of his Firefighter brothers.  Saddest day (and year) of my life.

Most days, still, I feel like I don’t know which end is up. I think I have to control things. I wait for the other shoe to drop. I never know when I may have a random meltdown, etc. Heck, I might even cry over a broken nail, depending on what else may be going on at the time. I tend to forget that I do not have to concern myself with these things because God is behind the scenes working them all out.

So, yesterday, on Bobby’s Birthday, the tears and sadness overwhelmed me. I only spoke about it to my husband, no one else. I felt like an open wound that just had salt poured all into it. It hurt – a lot! I couldn’t make it stop hurting. I cried, I wrote poetry, I watched TV, I played on my iPad, I pet the dogs, I soaked in the tub, etc. I did everything I could think of just to distract myself from the fact that I was facing Bobby’s first birthday, with the realization sinking in, that for sure I would never again see or hear from Bobby ever again on this earth. I truly was in a deep dark pit. By this point in the day it was almost time for bed.

About that time, my sister Suzy, pings my husband telling him to go look in the mailbox because she had sent something to me. Now, keep in mind, he usually checks that mailbox regularly. But this time, it had been a while. So he checked the mailbox, and sure enough there was a “Get Well” Card from Suzy. Never mind the fact that the recent major surgery that I’d had was already a week an a half ago, it just made my day! I SO needed some love. It was sort of like finally getting a band-aid for that big boo boo, you know?

Well, also in the mail was a package from an old high school friend, Betty M. (whom I have not seen since high school – only speaking through FB). When he handed me the package, I then recalled that my friend, Betty, had asked me for my address a while back. I had forgotten all about it. BUT God didn’t forget. And remember, there are no coincidences with God.

I opened the package and this is what I saw. Two of the cutest little Firefighter’s sitting in the palm of God’s hands.

Sent to me by my High School friend, Betty Mallet :)

Sent to me by my High School friend, Betty Mallet 🙂

Also inside was a very sweet and touching note to me. Betty spoke of how she was cleaning her mother’s house one day before putting it up for sale. While going through the things she’d packed away, she opened up these two little boxes. She found the little Firefighters inside, and it made her think of me (she had heard about Bobby’s story). In the note, she said that she thought that I might have a special place for them! Oh Man!

Do you see the Hand of God all over this??? God used a friend from high school (whom I have not seen or spoken to in over 40 years except for Facebook), to be the hands and feet of Jesus to me here on this earth. Not only that….who knows how long that precious package had been sitting the mailbox? And then, look how God used my sister (who knew nothing of Bobby’s birthday yet) to prompt my husband to go the mailbox that night – at that moment. Who knows how long her card had been in there also?

Through all of the anxiety, all day long, I had not even cried out to God! BUT GOD, was paying attention to every single little thing about me to make sure that these “little things” happened in just the right way, to affect just the right outcome, at just the right time! ONLY GOD can pull this stuff off!  He’s seldom early, but He’s never late!

The Bible says in Romans 2:11, what He’ll do for one he’ll do for another. God cares about my “little things” and He cares about YOUR “little things” too.

We are ALL God’s favorite.

Just wanted you to know. XOXO