Posts Tagged ‘death’

The First 3 Rows

Monday, June 25th, 2018

If I were to ask you, “What are you doing with your life?” right this moment….how would you answer? Let me ask it another way, What are you living for? What gets you up out of bed and pushes you to do what you do? Why are you doing it? Are you simply on the treadmill of life, working a job every day…paying bills, waiting for that call to glory?

I only ask because so often many of us get trapped in this cycle of repetition and lose focus on the stuff that really matters in life.

As a woman, I’ve definitely relied on what the world has conditioned me to think was important for me and my life. I followed a plan. Not too risky, not too pathetic but just right as to not be judged or ridiculed by what society says is a worthy style of living. You know, tip-toe carefully around really living out loud.

Who wants to step on anyone’s toes? Not me.

From a graveside, I heard a gentleman describe his life in 10 year chunks. He was reflecting back on his relationship with his mother. She had been dead 10 years at this point and he reminisced about what life looked like when she was alive. He was B U S Y! He was on the hustle. He worked very long hours, he met with tons of clients and he spent hours on the phone with people who really have no connection to him or his life other than work. As he thought back, he realized most every person from that time period of his life were completely gone from his life. As in, no longer associated with through work or otherwise. They were gone. Not gone as in death, just gone. Many aren’t even in business anymore.

The person who mattered most to him during that time, his mother….she was gone too. Breast cancer ravaged her body and she passed away when he was 31 years old. He admits, he spent time with her and called her on the regular but many of those instances, he was pre-occupied or on the phone talking work. She always loved his visits, enjoyed every bit of him when he was around and was certainly understanding of work stuff.

Probably like many of you & me.

Work is work. It hogs up time. But, geez…we have to work. Bills don’t pay themselves. Not many of us are rolling around in dollar bills that afford us to just do whatever we want every day.

Truthfully? Even if we were able to do that, many of us would choose other things over the most important people in our lives anyway.

Imagine with me, if you passed away today….look at the first 3 rows of people sitting at your funeral. Who are they? Why are they there? Did you love them well? Did you give them your undivided attention and time? Do they know how much you loved them? Did you push them aside to chase other things? Things that don’t matter so much now?

I will tell you, the last 2 years of my life have given me such a different perspective on life. I never realized how much I took for granted until it was slowly yanked away. For me, no one I love passed away….only a job loss. Through that process, I’ve come to value the people in my life much more carefully than the pretty house, porch….flowers and freedom I once thought was so great.

Don’t misunderstand, stuff isn’t bad and neither is working hard a negative thing. Scripture is clear that we are to work and earn what we get in this life. The people in our lives, deserve to know how much we love them.

I see clearly the people in the first 3 rows of my life & death. They are there because of me. They loved me and I will make it my priority to make sure they know of my love for them. All the things of this world will pass away, so will the people. How well you and I love, how we’ve made others feel and the time we’ve invested will not fade away.

6 ways to show your first 3 rows people you love them:

1. Give them your time.

2. Be trustworthy.

3. Allow room for faults.

4. Speak up. Say meaningful words.

5. Forgive quickly.

6. Hug and hold tight. Physical touch is powerful.

I’m here on this earth for a reason. Help me to show YOUR LOVE and my own love to everyone you place in my path.

Mourn With One Another

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

When my mother passed away the summer of 2013 I had no idea what it would mean to me to have so many visitors come by and tell me what she meant to them. I was in a bit of turmoil inside and I wasn’t sure how to handle any of the arrangements for this woman who loved and lived so hard. She was my mother but she was also a lot of other things to many people while she was alive. I worried I couldn’t honor her properly with the state of my mind.


Do you know why we have funerals? We have funerals to publicly acknowledge the reality of the death of our loved one and to give testimony to that person’s life. It’s also the launching pad for our mourning which catapults us into a sort of grief reconciliation. All fancy words that equal healing.

Death leaves us reeling for understanding though. Even believers who know the promised truth of eternity with those who share their faith in Christ experience the painful ache of losing a loved one. Which brings me to mourning together.

When my husband’s Papaw passed away 26 years ago, people and cars were lined up as if a famous celebrity had died. The church was packed! He was beloved in our small town. His life was valued by many, not just us. We were blown away by the love and support shown to us in honor of our Papaw. The strength we gained through those who joined us to mourn his death was incredible. We also felt a physical love that cannot be described.

We need the support of friends and family. We cannot grieve properly without it. In the book of Job, Job’s friends heard about all the tragedies happening in his life and immediately set out to support him. They traveled from their prospective homes and the story says when they were getting close they saw him and he didn’t even look like himself. His grief, his pain was so distressing that they also stopped and broke down as well.

The story goes on that these friends sat with him for seven days and seven nights….in silent agony. Mourning.

I’ve thought so many times that I was all alone in my pain over my husband’s job loss. Truth is, no one wants to listen to the depressing reality of someone else’s troubles. It’s a drag to be around someone hurting like that. It’s easier to just avoid them.

mour n

Mourning doesn’t just happen in death. This world is full of hurting people with real life problems. Health issues, depression, family struggles, financial ruin, broken hearts, homelessness, job loss, loneliness and more. Real problems that break the heart and isolate the hurting from the love and support of others.

This is why we must mourn with those around us. Mourning alongside someone assures them that they’re not alone in their struggle. Like Job’s friends, mourning with someone might be in the form of just quietly sitting nearby. Some mourning might be done listening to them talk it out. Or even physical, you may have to literally hold someone while they cannot hold their own self upright. God knows how to use each of us if we are willing to be used.

I don’t know who in your life needs you but I bet you do. Don’t miss the chance to love and support someone who is mourning — your help may be all they receive.

mou rn


Friday, June 14th, 2013

I've heard so many times how important it is to have everything ready in case of a death and I'm finding out how true that really is.

These things are easy to ignore when you're going about living.  Now that we're facing a grim reality the business side of dying is begging for all my attention.  I feel overwhelmed!

I need prayer.  I need God's divine intervention.

Hubby and I have searched for important documents, gone through mail (old & new), tended to the lonely dog and tried to make sense of all that's happening late at night after we leave the hospital.  Last night I finally fell into bed (the pull-out couch) and cried.  I can't handle making big decisions that involve so many laws and rules.  It's all too complicated!

I want to love my mother on into eternity with Christ.  Not search for stuff I have no idea where she might have stashed.

So, for those of you convinced that you don't need to handle end of life business now…..get busy!  Take care of your insurance policies, switch over power of attorney (if needed), write out your will (legally, not on a piece of notebook paper) and make arrangements on home ownership and or deeds.  Help your family so they can focus on what's most important.  YOU!

In Memory of Bill Morgan

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I went to sleep with a heavy heart last night. That’s what happens when late night calls deliver sad news. For a family spread across the entire USA….news of a loved one’s death stings even a little harder than normal. The best way to describe it is helplessness. It’s hard to be over a thousand miles away when something like this happens.

Family needs family.

He was a devoted husband, a great father, a loving brother and so much more to all who knew him. In the 23 years that I’ve been a part of this family…I’ve never heard one negative thing about him. William (Bill) Morgan was the oldest son of Earl & Marie Morgan. I know him as my mother-in-law’s big brother. She tells stories of how they used to hang out with the same crowd growing up (much like my own 3 kids do now).

Over the years, the funny stories filled with Morgan shenanigans mostly stemmed from his ideas. He had a way of finding the fun or the funny in life. Anytime I was ever around him, he was smiling and making someone laugh. He was a happy person (no matter what life handed him) who made those around him feel joyful too. He passed that joy onto his kids.

Bill loved doing things with his family. I’ve heard so many times of how he would come home from work and play games with his kids. If you’re a parent, you know how hard it is to feel like playing around after a long day of work. Bill didn’t miss those chances with his kids. He made many memories that his kids will never forget. He helped mold them into the people they are today and they are each amazing people. He was so proud of them and they knew it.

I’m thankful for the family I’ve married into. They are special in so many ways. They’ve taught me a lot in terms of love, forgiveness and acceptance. It’s a blessing to be a part of such a legacy. It’s an honor to have known such a special man and uncle as Bill Morgan. May he be remembered by all who knew him.

I pray your peace fills my family now. The miles between us feel so far but your love and care is everywhere. Bless them as they make decisions and honor their Dad. Thank you for sharing him with our family.

Tom (youngest), Bill & Mary

It’s a doggy miracle!

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

I won’t even try to pretend that I’m not a bit crazy over my dogs…..I love them! I don’t do weird stuff for them or anything (like cook human food and serve it to them). No I feed them dog food. I realize they are “dogs” and I treat them accordingly. But I am thankful for them and their sweet loyalty and love that they show my family. Both our dogs are super sweet!

On Monday, I noticed our lab Maggie was acting so strange. She fell asleep in the middle of our kitchen and literally would not budge! She was stone cold out! I thought, hmm…she’s pooped! On Tuesday, when I walked in the house from school I nearly flipped out to find she had barfed in two huge spots on my family room rug! Eeek! It was horrible! She was clearly not ok.

I tried to figure out what was wrong….but she was down in our woods staggering around like a drunk person. The cats were surrounding her and acting weird (yea…a cat acting weird, I know). I called her repeatedly to come back up to the house. Finally she did. Only to fall down and just give out. We put her to bed in her room thinking….she’s probably gotten into some rotten food from one of our many brilliant neighbors.

By Wednesday, girlfriend was knocking hard on deaths doors. She was sick….and she wasn’t looking to pull through the night! It was grim! We cried. We called Gavin because his last words to us were…..”if anything happens to my dog…..PLEASE CALL ME! I don’t want to come home and hear…..Oh Maggie died!”. He said, “I’m coming home tonight!”. And he did!

We all sat around with her…..just stunned that our sweet dog was at the end of her short 9 year life. She was not able to get up at all and could barely lift her head. We just felt awful! She’s been the sweetest pet ever. Her reputation in our neighborhood is of queen status! There isn’t a neighbor that doesn’t love her. She’s been inside everyone’s home and eaten many good meals while she was there. Everybody loves black Maggie!

Thursday night….it was killing us. She was literally a weak two ton mass! We could give her little cups of water every little while but that was it. We prayed for God to go ahead and take her….we didn’t want to see her lay withering away (if he was taking her on). Our hearts were breaking…watching her go.

On Friday, we drug ourselves to school. Dreading coming back home, thinking this would be it. She would certainly have passed on by then. We opened the door and Ally hit her right in the face….SHE WAS STANDING AND WAGGING HER TAIL!!! It was just like old times. She wanted outside. She was still so weak, but she could walk and sniff. She drank a gallon out of the pond and did a loooooong tinkle in the grass and kept wagging that big fat tail!

We were dancing and squealing! Thanking God for giving us back our sweet Maggie! She was like….what’s up!?
We cannot figure it out. Either she was poisoned and we loved her back to life….or she had a virus/infection. We just do not know!

Thank you God….for loving us enough to create such sweet animals. We are blessed by you and your workmanship! Thank you for giving us a little more time with our Maggie dog!