The Bracelet Story

Recently I had the privilege of spending time with a lovely group of ladies I’d not met before.  One of them noticed my bracelet, and commented on it, and asked if there was a story behind it.  I said, yes, and told them the story.  This morning, I woke up and decided to tell The Bracelet Story.

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know I’m a widow.  If this is the first time reading, then, there you have it.  I am a widow.  I joined the worst club in the world about 3.5 years ago.  I don’t tell you that for you to feel sorry for me, or to ask questions, I tell you that for a bit of a back story, and to help you understand that the bracelet isn’t about that part of my story.

I had met him at church in the spring of 2016, – pause – actually, I first saw him in October of 2105 it was a ‘huh’ moment,,, – hit play; and we talked every Sunday, or mostly every Sunday, sometimes one of us wasn’t there,  about darn near everything.  I mean. everything.  We laughed, we joked, we became ‘church friends’. I prayed.  I prayed some more. I may have prayed again.

In the fall of 2016, we became more than church friends.  I took a chance, and stepped about as far out of my comfort zone as possible, and went out with him. He was right – it seemed.  His jam was my jam.  Music. Movies. Stuff.

It was amazing, it was fun, it was exciting, it was crazy, it was confusing, confounding, intense, dreamy, head spinning, heart pounding, TEARS FLOWING, plain ol’ nuts.  Sweep me off my feet, type of all of the above. bracelet_story

(Here’s my gift to you – don’t let anyone tell you that dating as an adult is an easy walk.  IT. IS. NOT.)

We laughed together, we joked together, we were honest with each other, we – well. I’m sure by now you get the picture.  He met my #6, and they really clicked.  YEA!! ONE DOWN, FIVE TO GO!

And then. It crashed.  Hard.  Subsequently, I crashed. Harder. The month after the crash was, from my vantage point, harder than the death of my husband.

As I pondered the affect the crash of 2017 had on me, I realized that in my life, two songs represented my feelings.  One is Thy Will Be Done.  While I may NEVER understand, how my broken heart is a part of HIS plan, my step is ‘thy will be done’.  What the Lord has for me, WILL NOT pass by me, as HIS promises are all ‘yes and amen’.

I met a young lady at our local farmer’s market, and she crafted my bracelet for me.  Because, you see, according to Phil. 4:6-7, I am to be anxious for nothing, but IN EVERYTHING with fear and supplication, I am to let my request be made known to God, and the PEACE OF GOD will guard my HEART and mind in Christ Jesus.  Why?  Because at the end of the day, as the three little birds pitch by my doorstep, I’m reminded that every little thing is gonna be alright.

There you have it.  My story isn’t over.  I wake up every morning and am reminded that step by step The Lord leads me.  Your story isn’t over either.

Take every day,
Step by Step

Growing in Grace,
Laura G.

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Complete.

What do you think when you read that word?  Complete.  You finished something, checked everything off your list, closed the book on the last page of the last chapter.
The dictionary definition reads:
Complete:
adjective
1. having all parts or elements; lacking nothing; whole; entire; full:
a complete set of Mark Twain’s writings.

~~~ SCREECH! Wait?  What?!?  That sounds so final.  While, on the one hand, I agree.  When you complete something, it’s done, yet on the other,,,,
When Christ hmissioncompleteung and died on the Cross, it was done.  He even said so – It is Finished.  Or, was it?  No.  On the third day, He arose from the Grave.  Without His resurrection, Christ’s work on the cross was not complete.  There was more to be done.
That brings me to the heart of the matter.  You may or may not be aware, but, in November of 2015, I was gifted Scuba Diving lessons from Live The List Non-Profit.

The folks at Aqua-Hut were amazing.  They understood why I was there, gave fantastic instructions, encouraged me, and knew I could do it.

But.  Mid-spring came and I began to feel like going was not in my wheel house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the water, I loved what being under the water brought to my soul, my body and my mind. However, I was feeling this isn’t ‘for’ me.  For several months, I felt guilty about not going.  This wasn’t my money.  This was from donations; therefore, I knew I had to ‘complete’ my classes and get certified.

Summer? was a blur.  Busy doesn’t define it for me, I kept saying, I’ll go back ‘tomorrow’.  We all know tomorrow never comes – unless, of course, you are Scarlett O’Hara.

Fall came.  My life was changing, my desires were changing, my ‘list’ was changing. My ‘list’ became hiking, kayaking, backpacking, climbing a mountain.  That, my friends, is not scuba diving!

BUT.  The story isn’t over.  The lessons I did take, the things I did learn, were not so much about scuba, but, about me.  My lessons were complete.  At least, those lessons.  Did I complete my certification? No.  Yet, I’m okay with that.  I did complete that chapter.  My book isn’t done being written yet, but, Scuba completed what I needed.  I grew and stretched in personal, emotional, and spiritual ways I didn’t even know possible. My fire, once smoldering, has been re-kindled.

Maybe you are not sure what sparks you, I’d encourage you to go find out!  I’d also encourage you to not be disappointed in yourself if ‘complete’ looks different than the dictionary definition.

If you ask me, did you ‘complete’ your scuba? My answer will be most assuredly, YES!

Thanks for following along, I’d love your feedback!
Growing in Grace,
Laura G.

If confession is good for the soul,

here you have it.

I simply don’t want to do this alone.  I wasn’t supposed to be diving alone, not how I envisioned learning,  not how I envisioned chasing rubber torpedo’s in the water,  none of it. Yesterday, as I prepared for an event, I pulled this out of my folder.  When I saw this post on Michelle’s fb page, I cried.   I never thought it would be ‘me’.  It is me.  It was such a good reminder that yea, IT IS ME! fbscreen
I also needed to find something buried in my fb messages and ran across this from a dear friend: “I heard you panicked…just get back on the horse. You are stronger than you think.” Thank you, Star, for being my Christopher Robin. Since my epic melt down, I’ve been back and have put my tank together by myself (without any explosions), wrewinnie-the-pooh-quotes1stled the entire contraption out of the water, can pop my ears, clear my mask, and lose my ‘life support system’, all the while feeling rather accomplished. And alone.

I re-listened to my pod cast with Drew Myers from Defining Audacity.  (pod cast link, if you’d like to listen). Thank you, Drew, it helps keep me remembering where I am!
I am re-focused on May, and going into it with a pretty full calendar, but, I WILL find the time, because I want to – to get back in the pool again!  My friend Linda said, if you want to do it, you’ll find the time.  So, here’s to staying focused, carving out scubamethe time, staying scheduled, and getting back in the water.  Not because I ‘have’ to – but, because I ‘want’ to!

Thanks for following me along on this
wild journey!

Growing in Grace,
Laura B.
lgbeck59@gmail.com

 

I didn’t go today.

(This blog post was not harmed by spell check, grammar check or any other form of perfection.  It is once again, a shoot it from the hip blog.)
I chickened out, ran far away, melted down, choose one or all, and you would be correct.

Saturday’s dive was all set.  Last Saturday that is.  I spent the morning chiseling away on my epic kitchen ‘paint’ job.  kitchen I stopped at noon, knowing full well that I was in the pool at 2:30, and didn’t want to be worn out.   I was excited!  Today I was getting to go in the deep end!  Yea, I’m 56 years old, and am excited about going into the DEEP END of the pool.  With full scuba gear on, flippers, too.  I was EXXXCITED!  Until.  Until I had to wrestle my feet into booties and flippers. Until I had to try to remember to clear my ears every 2 feet.  Until I felt like the walls were closing in on me.
Until I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  Until my instructor, Jeff at The Aqua Hut, said I had a death grip on his finger.  Deep end equals eight feet of water, friends.  Eight. simple. feet.  For pete’s sakes, I had AIR in my lungs, I could touch the bottom, yet, I completely, 100%, totally, melted down.
I’m going to assume that you’ve seen Finding Nemo?  Remember when Nemo decided to swim away, and Marlin had a panic attack? Yup, that was me. marlin-screams-in-eac-in-finding-nemo Complete. It was not happening.  There was no way I was staying in that pool.  Or, at least, the deep end.  I stayed in the shallow end, and swam around like a little baby.  I felt like a wimp.

I could give you many reasons why I had a panic attack, so, I will!  Remember to clear your ears every two feet, remember to breathe right, remember you use your entire leg when you have flippers on.  I was surrounded by walls, and felt they were toppling in on me.

I planned on going back today, hanging in the shallow end, pretend to clear my ears, practice doing so, just keep swimming, keep swimming.  Keep breathing, keep breathing.

This morning, I was struck by the realization that I know the real reason I melted.  It wasn’t supposed to be eyesthis way.  I wasn’t supposed to be taking Scuba Lessons alone.  In that deep end, I should have had these eyes telling me, it’s okay, you can do this.  But, I don’t.  Who knew scuba diving could be emotional?  oy!

A new day is coming, schedules make it a bit crazy, but, early next week, back in the pool I go.  Knowing that I am taking it all, step by step.

 

Thanks for following along,
Growing in Grace,
Laura B.
lgbeck59@gmail.com
Beautycounter by Laura Grayce

 

 

Eeps! Bookwork for Scuba Diving, who knew?

In that regard, I don’t have much to update! Who knew you had to do book studies, or in this case, online courses for scuba lessons?  Well, I surely didn’t! I truly hope to get into the water within the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned,,,

However, today’s post isn’t about that.  If you are following this blog,widow_large you are aware that I’m a widow, if this is the first time reading this, then, bam! There you have it, I’m a widow.  It’s sort of an interesting badge, ya know?  That word, widow, conjures up quite a bit of emotion doesn’t it?  If you’ve never been there, then good for you!  But, still, what does it make you think?  Oh, what do I say to her?  How are you?  I’m sorry for your loss?  I hope you are ‘moving on’ okay,, eesh! Do you wring your hands when you are finally in a situation where you ‘have to’ say something (ugh)? Nothing?  Yea, all of those and so much more.  For those of us that are in this club we call widowhood, it’s lihappytenke this:
Does it make sense now?  Perhaps you’ve encountered a widow or widower and thought for sure they’ve lost their mind.  No, not typically.  It’s an emotional roller coaster that you simply can’t imagine!

But, I digress – the super-quick low-down of the life of a widow isn’t even why I’m writing today.  Recently, I’ve seen this meme (boy, that’s quite an odd word) on Facebook: tears stop

I have to say, I just don’t agree with that.  My story should continue to evoke emotion.  Shouldn’t yours?  Especially in this club called widowhood.  Without my story, I am not the woman I’ve become.  Nor the one I will be tomorrow.  No, I’m not asking for your pity, I’m not looking for condolences, but the reality is, my story does make me cry!  Does that mean I’m stuck?  By no means.  It means that I loved deeply, remember strongly, and will live on, and out loud.  Have I not healed?  What does that even mean to a widow?  Healed sort of sounds like ‘move on’.  There is so much more to being a widow then healing, or moving on, or, or, however you would choose to say it.

My sister is a widow, and re-married and she still is moved to tears over what isn’t any more.  Is she sad that she is now married to her Chapter Two? No, but, her first husband was the father of her children, she spent over 30 years married to him!  Life is beautiful, and I’m really thankful that her story still moves her to cry; because then I know it’s okay for mine to also!

I pray that my story will continue to evoke emotion.  I was married for 35 years. I pray that his memory will still sometimes leak out of my eyes.  I also know that I am a much stronger person today then I ever imagined.

What are your thoughts?  Does your story still bring you some tears?  Has your story had no bumps?  We all have a story, and for myself, I will hold mine close to my heart so that when I share it, I be able to share it with passion, with emotion, some of which will bring tears, others that will bring laughter, but it will always be with love.

Thanks for following my journey!
Growing in Grace,Laura B.
lgbeck59@gmail.com

Living it out, step by step ~ Part One

Do you know me?  Maybe not, maybe you do, maybe you follow my (very sporadic) blog posts.  Over the next few weeks, or, however, long it takes, I’m inviting you to go on a journey with me.

In October of 2013, my beloved went home to be with the Lord.  For about a year prior to his passing, we began to dream big, and decided to live large, as our children had all made it to adult-hood.  One of the big plans/dreams was to take scuba diving lessons, become certified, and dive in exotic places around the world.  Sadly, that did not materialize.   I gave up on living live out loud.  Or, at least, on those things we were going to do ‘together’.  As a matter of fact, one friend encouraged me to still dive, and I said, no – I didn’t even want to do that anymore.

I would have to say, about a year and a half into my ‘new normal’ journey, I stumbled upon a facebook page entitled One Fit Widow.  Her story of loss, but, more importantly, her desire to live, and to live out loud,  was simply inspiring for me.  She is truly, in my mind, a super-hero.

That is the back-story to where I find myself today. One of the facets of Michelle’s life is the building of a not-for-profit organization, called Live the List.  Michelle’s passion, along with her husband Keith (chapter 2, isn’t that amazing to be doubly blessed?), want to see widows and widowers live out the passions that they were unable to do because of the death of their spouse.

The Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, I applied.  I thought, I can’t lose, right?  I reached out to the Aqua-Hut to determine the cost of classes, etc.  It was soon after the first of the month that I saw this on Facebook:
fbscreenMan!  Did I feel honored that Michelle was posting about ‘me’.  I wanted to burst, so I did.  into tears!
On December 8th, I posted this on my Instagram, and Facebook: It was a couple of hours later that I received an email from Live the List that I had been selected!  So, yeoceans, I burst out in tears.   You probably are getting a pattern here!
Tears.  I read the email to my son, as I cried.
When I think about this, I continue to cry.  I am truly humbled and blessed beyond measure that I was chosen for this truly memorable gift!

Last night, I couldn’t sleep – as I scrolled Facebook, I ran across this post on the One Fit Widow Facebook Page:

Tonight I want to tell you a love story.

In the photo below is a beautiful couple who shared a lifetime together. This is Ted and Laura and they first met 12/31/1977 when they were snowed in for 5 days STRAIGHT at Laura’s sisters house during the blizzard of 78.

Talk about fate and timing!

For 35 plus years and 6 children – Laura loved Ted and Ted loved Laura.

Ted dreamed of taking scuba diving lessons when he recovered and received a liver transplant. Unfortunately Ted never got the chance to make this dream come true.onefitwidowpic

Laura has come to Live The List Nonprofit to help her complete this wish of Ted’s. She has decided it will help her move forward boldly with her own personal future all while honoring a man who gave her all of him.

That’s what our nonprofit wants to offer. You see, by fulfilling dreams they had for their future in many ways we decide to keep living our future. That’s what I personally learned when I started living Mitch’s list and I love that other widowers are able to have that incredible feeling too. Many widows don’t have the financial resources to have these simple moments of pure happiness because the difficult situations they were left in leave them strapped. No time to think of themselves and their wishes for the future. We want to grant as many wishes as possible because we believe it makes a difference in many lives.

Laura, I can’t wait to see the photos from your dive and I’m so glad our nonprofit was able to help you live this dream for Ted but also for YOU.

By December 31st our goal is to raise $10,000 for our baby nonprofit. We have currently raised about $2000. We are a 501c3 organization which means some or all of your donation is tax deductible. If everyone just gave $20 tonight we’d long surpass our goal and be able to help countless widows/widowers.

Can you help us help others Live the List?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for any shares or donations. We can’t do it without you.

Good night world – together we can make a difference,

Michelle

Guess what happened??? I cried my eyes out!!

With that, I’ll wrap up post #1.  I would love to see you follow my journey!
You can simply subscribe to my blog for updates!

Growing in Grace,
Laura B.
lgbeck59@gmail.com