It’s not over until…

21 10 2016

DSCN0353 In the beginning of this Widow’s journey I spent a lot of time on the couch, crying and thinking mostly. Did I do everything right? Did I miss something medically? Was I a comfort to Ed by continuing to work and bring in an income or should I have come home earlier?

Today, more than five years later, I know that I did the best I knew to do. I am still doing the best I know how to do as I continue my journey. I still feel the empty ache in my heart but I also experience something like joy when friends share a good Ed story with me. It is a comfort to remember how honestly funny he was and what a compassionate man he was. He was terrible at telling a joke and yet he made us laugh so hard at his attempt to tell it. Sometimes he would laugh so hard at his own awful jokes that we couldn’t help but laugh with him. God, I loved that man so much. Still do. And I know he loved me as deeply as anyone could.

I have had to learn how to manage my life without my biggest fan and best friend. I will honestly tell you that I do not like it one single bit. However, I am secure in the knowledge that God has more for me.

Ed genuinely loved to hear me sing. He would ask me to sing to him often. After he passed, my song changed. I went through a period of time when I thought I had lost my ear and my voice. Nothing I sang sounded right to me and I finally decided that I just would not sing anymore. I lost my song. I left my beloved praise team and hardly sang out loud in the congregation for quite some time. A couple of people really tried to convince me that I needed to be singing but I thought they were just being kind.

During this time, I was invited to sing in a choir that a dear couple was leading but first I made them promise that they would not let me be the old lady warbling out of tune in the soprano section. They assured me I could trust them to have my back. Every time the choir or praise teams sang worship my heart ached and I cried. I attributed those many tears to grief but I also think that God was cleansing my heart during that time. Music has always spoken to that deepest place in my heart. One step at a time, I began to feel my song again.    I am singing again. From my heart. I am a member of the choir now and sometimes I am asked to lead a song or to sing a special solo. I am honored to worship my Lord and Savior with Psalms and spiritual songs. My heart is healing.

I am blazing a new trail in this Widow’s journey. I am stretching myself beyond the boundaries of only gospel music. I have successfully auditioned for Opera Wilmington out of UNC Wilmington. I also have registered to audition for America’s Got Talent on February 1, 2017, in Charleston, SC. I am ready for new adventures and I want to grow in the journey. Here we go.

 

 

 





He is with me

14 06 2011

Ed was such a fighter. As many trips to the hospital ER as we had taken, he always rallied and came home. Sometimes after a day or two , but he always came home. We began to call him the energizer bunny because he kept going and going. If you are old enough to remember a certain commercial about a Timex watch, you can repeat this with me… “Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin.” I guess that slogan doesn’t translate well in this age of digital time pieces but Ed felt that it still applied to him.

It took some time for us to come to grips with the seriousness of Ed’s illness. We vacillated between acceptance and denial. After one of our discussions on what Ed would like for his final arrangements, I heard this song by Mandisa while driving in my Toyota. The words struck me deep with a measure of acceptance and encouragement, reminding me where Ed and I would get the strength to walk this journey ahead of us. When I got home, I went to iTunes and down loaded it, then I played it for Ed. Together we listened to this song about 4 times in a row that first day. Whenever we would ride someplace in the car he asked me to play that song. Then he asked me to sing with the song. Then he would ask me just to sing the song to him. Ed always loved to hear me sing. I always loved singing to him. I sang to him at our wedding reception and just never stopped. He was my biggest fan and always my greatest supporter.

I was blessed by my friends, Becky and David, to be able to make a recording of me singing “He is With You.” It was a gift to My Love for our 28th wedding anniversary. (thank you again guys) I had no way of knowing at that time that Ed would request that recording to be played at his memorial service. Many of the folks there were under the impression that I wrote the song but I cannot take the credit for that. The words were so fitting that it was easy to sing it straight from my heart.

Today, I am struck with the irony that I sang a love song to my Eddie on the day that we entered into our covenant and I sang to him again as we fulfilled our vows, “… until death us do part.” He has been with us. Jesus Himself promised that He would never leave me or forsake me. That word never  means NEVER. He is with me until death overtakes me. My work here is not finished, my time has not come. But when it does, I will be ready to rest in the arms of My Savior and let Him take me home. Until that time, I know He is with me.





Travelin’ shoes

29 05 2011

Me and my old lady
Ain’t been getting along
If things don’t get better
I’ll soon be long gone

The situation is driving me insane
Somebody fetch me my hat and coat
And hand me my walking cane

(CHORUS)
Gotta put on my traveling shoes

By Elvin Bishop

These are the lyrics to one of the songs that Ed chose for his memorial service. When I listened to the words, I asked him, “is this really the legacy you want to leave me with?” After a good laugh, he decided to take this one out of the line up. The song has a great guitar rift and a great chorus in it. That is what made it a favorite of his. We would play the song on my itunes and he would sit in his recliner and dance as only Eddie can dance while sitting down. <Those of you who know him are picturing that right now aren’t you?>

Well, the morning after Ed passed, I woke up with the melody in my mind. I knew I had to find a place in the service for the song. I also felt a need to incorporate one of the simple things that brought us joy and made him laugh out loud every time; the nose and glasses. I sent an email to my senior pastor who knows us both very well. I asked if it seemed disrespectful or offensive in any way. Pastor Bryan and Pastor Ron impressed on me that a memorial service should reflect the personality of the person being remembered. That helped me to put it together.

We played the favorite part of Ed’s song and invited the friends present to don their nose and glasses and join the family in the celebration of Ed. There was hand clapping,dancing, laughter and some tears. Some folks just stood watching and all of it was good. I just imagined my Eddie, standing up straight and dancing with energy. No cane, No oxygen tank!! Just free and dancing… with Jesus.

Hope you enjoy these pictures, courtesy of our friend, Pastor Matthew Ray.





Happy place

27 03 2009

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This is my happy place. That is my friend and sister in Christ, Helen Fuller. We are blessed to sing with the best praise band in Wilmington.

Come here this Sunday at 10AM to see what I mean.





Fabulous Sunday

15 02 2009

It feels like forever since I have posted. Work on One Tree Hill has taken up all my creative time except for Saturday, which I spend creating beauty and funkiness in my studio. 

I have carved out a piece of this fabulous Sunday to drop in and say that I am getting back on course.

I began the day at Rock Church, dressed in my red and white, valentine love colors. A couple of weeks ago our music leader asked me to sing a Van Morrison song with the band (the Rock Church band is killer!) for Valentines Day. I said yes right away even though I wasn’t so sure I could pull this one off. This is just the kind of challenge I enjoy. So, this morning, I sang Crazy Love and I sang with the praise team. I had a blast! The congregation seemed to enjoy Crazy Love too as we made it a love song about Jesus. “He gives me love, love, love, love, crazy love!” I truly think I am the happiest when I am singing about Jesus and His amazing love. An added blessing was the fact that someone I invited actually came today… and she brought a friend with her. Then, after service, I stayed to rehearse for next Sunday’s service. We are pulling some oldies out of the vault. I am really excited about next week too.

So, to wrap it all up;  I woke up and went to church to sing about Jesus’ love, sat with my husband, had the joy of seeing a friend at church, heard an inspiring message about Jesus’ love, sang some more about Jesus’ love, came home for lunch with Ed and made time to write something. What a fabulous Sunday so far.

Now, I am heading back to church for my small group meeting. We have a Biggest Loser group where we encourage each other to take better care of our bodies, work out and weigh in together. I don’t even mind the weighing in part because nobody has anything negative or embarrassing to say about anyone’s weight. We all have different life circumstances and the main object is to get healthy, not necessarily skinny. Although, we will be quite happy if skinny accompanies healthy. 😉 Today, we will work out with Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser. Oh yeah, bring it on.

I love Sundays!!!!





It’s CHRISTmas people

7 12 2008

One of our local elementary schools is going through the nonsense that the holidays bring out in people.
The HOLIDAY ( also known as HOLY day) referred to here is Christmas. It is not Mohamed-mas. It is not Buddha-mas. It is not Wikka-mas, Spirit of the wind-mas, Protestant-mas, Catholic-mas or even Christian-mas.

It is CHRISTmas people. This HOLY day has been dedicated to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Babe in the manger, New born King, King of Kings, Messiah and Savior of the world. You do not have to celebrate this HOLY day if you do not believe that Jesus Christ was born to save the world from sin. There is NO law demanding that you must believe and celebrate and I am very grateful for that. There are some holidays that I do not celebrate either. It is my right NOT to. I, however, do not demand that these religions be banned from my sight or NOT be proclaimed within my hearing. I simply choose NOT to celebrate them. I respect the right of folks to celebrate Hanukka, Kwanzza, Ramadan or whatever their HOLYday might be.
That is why it is so difficult for me to understand why someone would raise a rucus about a song being sung at a HOLIday concert because it has the word Chrtistmas in it. Bet you want to know the offending song title. Any guesses?
You would never get this one in a million years. It is Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. Yup, there is that offensive, religious phrase that goes like this: “…then one foggy Christmas eve…”

*gasp*

What other night would Santa Claus be seen out with his red nosed reindeer? Puh-lease! Clue phone, is it on???

The song was going to be removed from the line up because ONE parent protested the use of the song. Apparently many other parents thought this was ludicrous and raised their own voices. The verdict? The song remains, the offended parent has pulled their child out of the concert and the show will go on.

Stop the madness!!! Either celebrate CHRISTmas or don’t but do not take away MY rights to CHRISTmas. Or Santa’s. Or Rudolph’s.

Oh, by the way, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Love ya!





whisper, call, shout

2 11 2008

Sundays are my favorite day of the week. There is so much to look forward to, starting with going to church. I LOVE, LOVE singing at the Rock. Whether I am up on the platform or in a corner of the sanctuary facing the wall. That is MY time to fellowship with Jesus in a most intimate way. Most of the time, words do not come to me when I want to tell God how much I appreciate him. To be able to sing the words that someone else has written that convey my deepest heart is just incredible. It is deeply personal and, well, not to over use the word but, intimate. God is well aware of what is going on inside me at all times. The struggles I face, the fears, concerns, opportunities to choose from. He knows it all. You see me from the outside and really have no idea of what it looks like in my head. Lucky for you. 😉 I see you from the outside too. I don’t know if you are hurt or happy on the inside. We are all masters at masquerading our true heart of hearts in front of each other. But, God. He knows. He has the plan. He wants me to seek Him. He wants me to know the answers He has for me. So, when we sang a song this morning called Whisper His Name, He heard me whisper. Then, He heard me call. Then, He heard me shout. Not because I have a loud opera voice but because it was the cry of my heart. In the whisper, in the calling and in the shout of His Name my heart was speaking to His heart. He hears me and He understands me.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week because I am lead and inspired. But, He is ready to listen to me every day of the week, 24 hours a day, no matter where I am. He always shows up. Awesome.