Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's ALL Hard; Choose Your Hard

It is hard to be stuck in grief.

It is hard to walk through the heaviness of grief and process the pain so you can move forward.


It is hard to regret poor food choices and neglect your health to the point of obesity.

It is hard to wake up early and prioritize your personal health and fitness goals.


It is hard to “check out” from parental responsibilities and then deal with the aftermath of your absence in your children’s lives.

It is hard to be truly present with your children and remain consistent and firm in your parenting.


It is hard to face difficult times without a firm foundation in God.

It is hard to be diligent in setting aside daily time for Him.


It is hard to date.

It is hard to be single.


It is hard to feel isolated in a relationship and watch it crumble around you seemingly out of your control.
It is hard to roll up your sleeves and work through the communication that will make you a stronger couple.

It is hard to keep your experiences locked inside yourself.

It is hard to be vulnerable enough to share your story.

In this life, we have choice after choice to make.  Which "hard" will you choose for yourself?  Because really, it's ALL hard; so choose YOUR hard wisely.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fill My Days with Living

“And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
Job 42:17
My husband died in the supposed prime of his life. He was 45 years young when he passed away.  He never even got to have his midlife crisis!  In a few weeks, it will be my 45th birthday.  The shock of being alone has worn off over the past few years.  The rhythm of this new dance without him by my side has settled into its familiar cadence.  Grief cuts in occasionally now, but the debilitating occurrences are further apart.  Maybe partially because I refuse to slow dance with my grief over and over again or possibly because the time spent on the dance floor of widowhood has changed me.

I appreciated my husband. I was blessed and I knew it.  I had one of the good ones; a hard worker and great provider, an involved father to our children, a follower of Christ, and a hilariously witty man.  May I tell you a secret?
Sometimes it makes me sad that he isn’t here to be loved by the new me. 
Don't get me wrong, we loved each other well, but losing him has made me more aware of my faults and flaws in the marriage.  It has given me fresh perspective on struggles we encountered and how I could have been more for him.  He knew he was cherished and respected.  He was secure in my love for him.  We had great communication and a ton of laughter.  But, if I was given a do-over with him as who I am now, I think he would be pleasantly surprised at how mellow his loss has made me.  I hope I would remember to sweat the small stuff less, not worrying over the goal of perfection in each area of our lives.  We loved our life together, but I'm fairly certain he would be super proud of my increased passion for living.

Tim was perfect for me as he softened my rough edges and taught me it is okay to not always have a plan A, B, and C.  Losing him to cancer taught me that I can only control my responses to life’s circumstances, not always the circumstances themselves. I am softer in many ways and much stronger in others.  I still laugh at most things (that is just part of who I am and part of why he loved me); and in general, I now tend to keep things lighter and more relaxed around our home.  I am more tolerant of others personal journeys and less accepting of unnecessary input and opinions in my life.  I wish my Tim could be loved by this Lori.  I am a better person for the spins I have taken on the dance floor of terminal illness, death, and the aftermath of loss.

Losing him caused my deepest pain so far in this life.  I could choose to park myself in that despair, focusing on the negative, and miss the gifts his loss gave me.
The gifts of…

awareness that time is fleeting and we won’t all be given a life “full of days”, which causes a sense of urgency within me to fill my days with living!

knowing God’s strength will never fail me, and choosing to tap into His strength!

a deeper desire to enjoy the now and the wisdom to slow down and soak up moments!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Worth It

On this weekend, 23 years ago I went on a blind date to an outdoor rodeo with a handsome cowboy whose blue eyes and sly smile intrigued me.

I’ve made a lot of poor choices in this life.  I have plenty of regrets.

Reluctantly agreeing to meet Tim Streller at a rodeo was neither.  Instead, it was one of the best decisions of my life.

We had twenty years of laughter and love.  God built a beautiful life and an amazing family for us.  We experienced heartache and joy holding tightly to each other’s hands.  Our life together was spectacular.  We kept our eyes on Christ and prioritized open and honest communication, even when it was painful to do so.

A good marriage is work.  It requires the desire to build the other up with kindness and encouragement.  It demands self-sacrifice and commitment.  It requests honor, protection, and respect; but a good marriage is also FUN and carefree.  It is comfortable and casual.  It is late night giggles and arms wide open.  It prefers to do life together.  It is safety and security, in it you find the one place you can be completely you without risk of judgment or abandonment.

A good marriage has you knowing you are treasured and chosen.  It is rolling up your sleeves and working beside each other for common goals.  It is being the cheerleader outside of the limelight, the quiet supporter of each other’s dreams. 

I am immensely proud to have been the wife of a man who chose to make me feel beautiful even when I wasn’t (both internally and externally); one who challenged me to be the best version of myself; one who didn’t walk away in the hard, but stayed in the messy and did the work to make us a better team.

I’m forever grateful I said “yes” to the rodeo blind date that late September evening.  And even knowing now how our lives would end up, I’d tell that young girl to SAY YES AGAIN!  The two decades together were worth it.  His love was worth it. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

His Voice!

We are a picture taking family. Anyone who attended Tim's Celebration of Life service can attest to that fact. However, we have never owned a video camera or been big into home movies.

I regret that now.

He has been gone for over two and a half years and was ill for two years before his passing. He had throat cancer. His voice changed drastically throughout his battle.

It pains me to admit, we have forgotten the sound of Tim's healthy voice. Today, as I was going through photos on my computer and reminiscing over our daughter's childhood in this, her 16th birthday month, I came across some iphone footage of Tim in the pool with the kids and in the driveway with my parents dog. I have played them too many times to count and was just able to share them with the kids.


To hear his strong voice and contagious laughter again warms my soul. The thought of him having a restored healthy voice makes me joy filled.

He will always be missed, forever be loved, continually be appreciated and respected.

Today's find didn't leave me crumpled on the floor in despair. Instead, it found me crying through my smiles and laughter as I listened over and over to the sound of his voice.

I think God led me to find those videos as a little birthday gift for our girl who just last week commented that she missed his voice and couldn't remember how it sounded anymore.

He is still at work in our lives. Our God is redeeming years of pain for His glory. He is an intimate Savior who cares about the little things that matter to us.

And I am one grateful Momma!

Monday, September 5, 2016

LIVE RIGHT NOW, Trust God Has Your Tomorrow

Even when it feels like life isn't going "as planned".

Even if you've made mistakes you can't imagine Him redeeming.

Even though you have walked through loss that seems impossible for Him to provide restoration in.

He has already made a path for your future. The tree has been planted. Your future needs will be met.

Learn to rest in the now, forgive the past, and have hope for the "next".

Don't waste time regretting what has been nor dreading what will be.

LIVE RIGHT NOW, EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE. Find the joy here. Trust God has your tomorrow.