On pressing forward without her.

Ruby Wren and I were about to make sprinkle cookies. We had finished cleaning up our lunch mess, and I had just gotten out my collection of colored sugars. The oven was preheated, the dough ready, the cookie sheets prepped. Ruby was excited and adorable in the little apron that I keep for when any of the grandbabies come help me in the kitchen. But I didn’t get to make cookies with Ruby that day … instead, the phone rang.

My mom had died. Very unexpectedly. She had been fine … active … busy. Until suddenly she just wasn’t. She had simply been stopped. Halted. Her time on this earth was completed. Finished. Over.

God had called her Home.

Thankfully, my husband was here that day, so he stepped in with Ruby and the cookies as soon as he heard what I was saying back to the voice on the phone. Honestly, I had been preparing myself for the impending sprinkle explosion in my kitchen, I was nowhere near braced for the chaos that would ensue in my head as I listened to the caller’s words. Suddenly there was so much to process and to do – and I had absolutely no idea where to even start.

Just pack a bag, Debi … get in the car … drive.

What has followed since that day has been a month of basically living in my mother’s house, making a few trips back home in hopes of rest, but not finding much here. My mind always remained there.

Surrounded by her things.

Taking walks where she had walked.

Dwelling in her space.

Learning so much more about her.

I slept in her room while I was there. It was difficult at first, but it quickly became comforting to be surrounded by what was most personal to her. I never knew that she wore perfume – clearly an Oscar De La Renta girl. She had four bottles, as well as the dusting powder. I had always thought that was just Mom’s natural scent.

She had an impeccably neat closet – all items arranged by color, evenly spaced apart. I definitely did not inherit that gene from her. After raising me and my rebellious self, I’m sure she would easily attest to that fact.

She actually sat down at a vanity table when she got ready to go out. This fact surprised me because she never seemed like the type who would have such a ritual. I always figured she just stood at the bathroom mirror. All of her makeup and hair brushes sat in baskets on either side of her vanity’s attached mirror, right in front of the matching lamps that ensured she had the best lighting.

Oh, and “Plumalicious” seemed to be her favorite lip shade. Again … I never knew she even wore any.

To be completely honest here, Mom and I did not share the best relationship. Really for much of my life. We loved each other deeply – and even shared several common interests – but we just didn’t think alike, nor did we love the same way. But that’s okay because we both loved the same God who knit us each together exactly as he meant for us to be. And I believe he taught us both much through our struggles.

So now Mom’s been laid to rest and I’m back home with my precious people and my overgrown, very weedy garden. There’s much to get caught up on here, and I was looking forward to no longer straddling these two completely different worlds – Mom’s and my own. I was ready to leave all the heaviness of the last month behind and just press forward.

Yesterday I was excited to finally restock my fridge with good food after eating a whole lot of whatever for the past month. But as I drove to the store, the tears randomly started tickling the backs of my eyes and rolling down my cheeks. Here I was finally back home living my life again, but this meant it was officially time to start pressing forward without her. And I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet.

Thanks for growing with me. ❤

I’ll see you again in Glory, Mom.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

When you’re a work in progress.

I wish I could do better – to not need to go through an emotional rollercoaster every time I have some sort of disappointment or setback. I wish I could just automatically engage full throttle “faith-mode” and be content with whatever my current reality may be at the time.

But that’s not really how it goes in Debi’s world. Not at all.

I’m re-sharing a post today that is near and dear to my heart … and more true every year. I personally need reminding over and over again. And by looking at the people out in the world around me, I have a feeling I’m not the only one. So I’m sending this one out again in hopes that it’ll help lift you somehow, as it did me today when it reminded me EXACTLY why I need that baby we’re celebrating right now. He’s not through growing me. Thank you, Jesus. Just thank you. ❤

Claw marks on the Merry Christmas Highway.

When poopers lurk in the bathroom.

I was smack dab in the middle of 5 years of nonstop nursing school. Or rather 5 years of nonstop frantically-trying-not-to-drown-from-the-pressure-because-they’re-cramming-so-much-into-your-head-that-it-feels-like-you’re-drinking-from-a-firehose-that-never-turns-off. And it won’t stop until you pass your boards. That’s exactly the place where I was that day.

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On wrestling with that ice-cold bucket of Plan B.

These last few months have been full of accepting unwanted realities, haven’t they? Actually, my last few years have been weighted pretty heavily with this, if I’m totally honest. Illness, challenges, pain, disappointments, shock, loss, grief, acceptance … I personally continue to trip my way through this muck of tangles on a daily basis.

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On catching everybody up.

Totally confuddling my mind today is the realization that “Growing Nurse Debi” continues to grow! This is not because of me, my friends, but in SPITE of me. God alone receives all the glory here.

So … in light of all these new readers … I thought it would be a good idea to re-share the backstory of how it all began … ❤

How we’ve come to this place.

On grabbing hold of some squiggly, wiggly joy.

You can call us crazy, if you want. It’s okay. You can shake your heads with that knowing smile at the chaos that’s certain to become our lives. We don’t mind. You can even think it’s way too soon after losing our sweet Cookie just a week before. That’s fine. We just disagree.

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