Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Selfishness vs Serving

Lately I've been struggling with those small persistent voices that tell you that you deserve something. Those small voices that say, 'hey you've put in your hours, you deserve a break. You're fair and this is owed to you' I'm sure you know the voices I'm talking about. On Saturday morning I actually listened to those voices and started focusing on myself and not on someone very dear and special to me. I placed myself first and this person second.

Do you know what happened????

We fought!!!! We yelled!!!! I cried and experienced pain and more importantly I caused pain to others as well.

I stopped and I could feel the Lord talk to me. He told very gently this wasn't the way He wanted things to be. He made us to love and to serve. He hurt because we hurt. He held me and I realized that I was wrong and that the most important thing I could do was to put this person before me. Now this person wasn't just anyone. I had made a commitment to this person almost 10 years ago. That commitment was to love & honor this person placing him above all else. This was my husband. I had hurt him and my children by placing myself first.

There were 2 good things to come from all of this. The first and was the touch from the Holy Spirit which showed me how wrong I was and the other was the teaching moment I got with my daughter. She was very worried about us because we don't normally fight like that. I was able to use the moment to show her that as grown ups we goof up. I was able to show her that the very first thing I did was I prayed and I was able to show her how important was to listen to God and the Holy Spirit when they talk. I showed her that she is still loved and mommy & daddy still love each other and her.

I used this time to teach her that when we place ourselves first, arguments and fights happen. I explained that if I had been focused on Daddy's needs then the yelling probably wouldn't have happened. The truth of the matter is that you can't fight with someone when you are trying to serve them and have their needs above your own.

He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Luke 10:27 (NIV)

This wasn't given to us as an occasional thing. We aren't supposed to pick and choose who we love. The scripture says your neighbor and that doesn't just mean the guy next door. It means everyone, the stinky homeless man, the bratty kids, the nosy lady next door. So if it is important to love a stranger, how much more important is it to place the person you've agreed and committed to live your life with.

Oh the importance of serving. It stretches like the ripple effect throughout our lives. I've learnt that it brings a peace and joy to your heart and I pray that I continue to grow in this area. Who knows maybe one day I'll actually get it right all the time, but until then I'll just keep trying.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mrs. Clean

It's been over 3 weeks since Dad went home to heaven and I'm only now really getting into cleaning up his old room. Helen has decided to move in there, leaving her old room to her brother. Now this is great, except that I now have two rooms to paint and get ready. Of course the biggest and most urgent is dad's.

Over the past couple of weeks I've gone into his room and sorted this or emptied that. We moved his furniture out last week as a friend and cabinet maker is restoring them so Helen can use them. Now this morning I actually started the cleaning up. I placed a large trash can in there and started throwing away the garbage. I've also started a box of garage sale stuff and yes I've also started a rather large pile of stuff I can't part with - at least not yet.

Probably my biggest and greatest find is that there were 2 painting hanging on dad's walls. To anyone else these would have been placed in the garage sale pile, but for me they are in the definitely don't get rid of under any circumstances pile. You see what makes these paintings special is that there on the back are the words 'Hand painted by Helen Bukowski' and 'Hand painted by Ronald Bukowski' What a piece of family heritage for the children. I'm going to find out how to clean them up and then I've already found the place I want to hang them. Hmmm maybe I can even put mom and dad's wedding picture close by. Going to have to think on that.

Okay so I've nothing profound to write about today, except that this has shown me that stuff is really just stuff and when we go we take nothing with us and in the long term it means nothing to us. It may mean something to those left behind, but to us it is nothing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Little blessings bring big smiles

This past Sunday was Helen's softball picnic. It was being held at Clay's Park. As a family we were being asked to pay for our admission fee and Helen would be paid for by the club. We had the option of not paying and just going for the picnic, which is the choice I made for us. Things are a little tight at the moment so paying for us to go wasn't really an option.

Towards the end of last week I got a phone call to let us know that our tickets were in. Now here is where our blessing comes in. It would seem that Clay's Park had made a mistake and that everybody was being asked to pay the entrance price, whether they were staying or not. Well someone one had paid for our tickets - thank you. Our family would now be able to enjoy the park and all it has to offer.

We woke up to rain on Sunday and a forecast that had scattered thunderstorms in it all day. Well I made the decision that since someone had paid for our tickets we were going to as long as there was no thunder or lightening. As we left home and headed out the weather was overcast and muggy. By the end of the picnic the sun was shining and the skies were clear.

The picnic was well attended and there was plenty of good food to share. All the girls got there trophies and recognition for participating. Here is a picture of Helen with her team and coaches.

Here are a couple of pictures of the fun we had as a family.

Someone's small act of kindness had a huge impact on us. We had time as a family we wouldn't normally have. We have family memories we wouldn't have had. God's blessing aren't always huge, big things, but sometimes they are very small. Not only did the Lord bless us with the tickets to the park, through someone else generousity, but He blessed us with a beautiful clear afternoon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Freedom is a word that generally brings to mind war, fighting, our troops and things of that natural. Well over the past couple of weeks freedom has come to mean a whole new thing to me. The one thing that has struck me the most is no matter what freedom you talk about, freedom is not free, freedom comes with a great price.

I've recently been given the gift of freedom, but the price I and my family paid was huge. For my freedom Dad had to go home to the Lord. Now I know that he is much better off, my goodness he is dining with Jesus and dancing with his wife who wouldn't want that. For me I've lost a huge chuck of my life. As Dad's primary care giver I was with him the most, did most things for him and I miss him. We fought all the time, shouted and argued, but we loved and laughed too. To see him with my kids was something I'm going to treasure all my days. To know that David isn't going to remember him breaks my heart. For me this is the price of my freedom.

The price for my freedom is trying to make finances stretch further than ever before. Its knowing that I won't have to worry about Grandpa giving out candy to the kids at 8 am in the morning. Its knowing that I don't have to worry about them eating too many snacks while sitting and watching television with Grandpa. Its knowing that the house is emptying when we leave and that there will be no light, no television, nobody sitting up in bed waiting when we get home. Its knowing that there isn't someone waiting to ask Ellie if she won her softball game, or if she had fun at her outing. Freedom for me is knowing that there isn't someone waiting to beam with pride when he hears of one of Paul's accomplishments or when he hears Paul sing. Freedom for me is the pain in my heart as I watch my husband come to terms with the loss.

Freedom is definitely something that is a joy and a gift. I didn't have a choice in whether I wanted it or not as my freedom is a gift from God. What I do with it is my choice. How I embrace it is my choice. The adjustment is hard and I'm struggling through it. A dear dear person died to give me my freedom. He didn't die in a war, but at home after an illness, but still he had to go home for me to have the freedom I now enjoy.

No matter what freedom we have we MUST be thankful for it, we MUST embrace it, we MUST enjoy it and yes we MUST pay the price. We must never forget the price or the sacrifices made.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Be the light

We laid Dad's earthly body to rest yesterday. It was an amazing service. Brenda had a message of hope and salvation for all of us. I could feel Christ there in the room and He was smiling. What a tribute it was to see all the people that had come to say 'goodbye'. My only hope is that some of them may have gotten it yesterday and realized that this is just a temporary home and that Dad is now in Heaven dining with Jesus and dancing with his wife Helen.

God is truly amazing. He has surrounded Paul and myself with so many good people that getting through this was smooth sailing. I'm still blown away by the love that surrounds us. I've not ever had the type of network of friends before. Some days it is very overwhelming. This is God's plan. We're not suppose to be alone. We're suppose to have an abundance of friends and family around us, but the world doesn't see that. The world wants us to concentrate on ourselves and everything is about me. What a lonely place that is - trust me I know, because I've been there. It hurts me deeply knowing there are so many lonely, hurting people out there that need the love of the Lord in their life. Commit to Him and EVERYTHING changes. Commit to Him and NOTHING remains the same.

Now there is a small caveat to that and that is that you do have to do something. You must live your life for Him. You must turn your back on the old life. Not the people, just the sin and that my friends can be very difficult. We live in a world that says we deserve a better life and that we don't have to work hard to get it. I'm saying yes we can have the best life, but we have to work at it. The Lord God our Father doesn't promise us a life without sorry, but He does offer us everlasting life of salvation. Knowing that God is by your side brings a peace that you won't believe. You need to trust Him. You need to allow Him control of your life. This goes against everything that surrounds us in the world.

I have to be different if I'm going to make a difference. I have to live a life that others want. I need to show people what it is like to be a Christ follower. God's word says in Matthew 5 14-16

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither
do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its
stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let
light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and
your Father
in heaven.

This tells us what we need to do. A light on a hill, or a light anywhere attracts attention, it draws you in when things are dark. Even the smallest candle light in a dark place with let off a light that can been seen over great distances. So no matter what happens I need to let the light of the Lord shine. I just need to be me, surrender control of my life to Jesus and allow myself to shine.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A new chapter

On Sunday 29, my father-in-law better known as Dad went home to the Lord. Now I've been caring for him since his first serious hospital stay in 2002 when we almost lost him due to a ruptured ulcer and heart problems. Since them we've had many, many arguments about his diet, his exercise or lack of it, his medicines, but we've also had many times of laughter and happiness. What a journey it has been!

I've so many memories and I'm so thankful for that. I've learnt that no matter how hard things seem, as long as I lean on God there is nothing that I can't do. I've learnt that it just isn't worth sweating the small stuff. Mind you I still struggle with this one, but I'm slowly getting the message.

I think the most important thing I've learnt just in the past couple of days is that there is truly joy in the passing of a loved one. Now don't get me wrong I struggle with grief and tears, but I have a peace in my heart and yes there is joy and happiness there too. I'm so thankful Dad has gone home, because now he is truly free from all the pain, hurt and limitations of this life. It was so hard to see dad struggle with his failing mind in those last couple of days and I now know that that isn't an issue any more. He is whole, complete and just waiting for us all to join him in heaven.

So today as I get ready to go away for a day or two on my road trip I realize that I've started a new chapter of my life. I need to concentrate on what's important and let go of what's not. I need to let go of the guilt I'm feeling and embrace my new freedom because this is a gift the Lord has given me and I don't want to squander it. I don't know how this chapter of my life is going to go, or what is going to fill the pages, but I'm going to be thankful for whatever happens. I'm going to focus on God, on my husband and on my family. When it gets so hard I can't stand it, I'm going to kneel and pray because God does answer prays. God is faithful. God is loving. Look at the good things He has given me.