Debbie Williamson

Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Wednesday

14

February 2018

5

COMMENTS

My Front Row

Written by , Posted in General

After I stopped attending church, I continued to be a part of a small bible study that meets on Tuesday nights. For me, church is about community. I can get good teaching on the internet or in books, I can play worship music, but the thing I was missing was community. On Tuesday nights, I get it.

Over the two years we’ve been meeting, the 11 of us have walked the hard road of death, divorce, infidelity, confusing children, job changes, boyfriends, living situations . . .

We laugh and we cry. We say the right things and we say the wrong things. But we keep coming back each week to connect with each other and with God and to encourage one another in our scary, tragic, hopeful, forgiving journeys.

I have a talk called Your Front Row that I’ve shared dozens of times with groups of women. The theme is:

Life is a theatre, so invite your audience carefully.
Not everyone needs a seat in the front row of your life.
The idea is to be mindful, very mindful, about the people you keep closest to you, your front row friends, because these are the ones you trust with your heart and your soul.

Wednesday

31

January 2018

4

COMMENTS

An Uncommon Year

Written by , Posted in Family, General

2017

It was an uncommon year. So much happiness and celebration. So much sorrow and hardship.

From January 3, 2017, when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, to July 28 when my dad died, our family crammed into the in between months 5 graduations, a baby and a wedding.

And I’m still not going to church.

Yes, an uncommon year.

So, now what?

What about 2018?

My mom’s doing great in her new apartment home, making new friends, and spending time with old friends. She’s closer to her church and Macy’s, and the Charles Shultz Museum (of Peanuts fame) is around the corner.

And I miss my dad every day.

Tuesday

16

January 2018

4

COMMENTS

The Work From My Soul

Written by , Posted in General, Substitute Teaching

It was one of my first jobs as a new substitute teacher. I’d passed the CBest, been fingerprinted, and was nervously preparing on that January day, to do my new sub thing in an 8th grade advanced math class. Middle daughter’s advanced math class.

Not everyone knew we were related and she begged me not to tell the others. However, mid way through the period she decided she needed water, my water bottle — I guess the little cherub was thirsty. So in a moment of mothering clarity, I said she could have it only if she told the class we were mother and daughter.

Reluctantly she agreed, and the water bottle was hers.

Wednesday

10

January 2018

5

COMMENTS

We Can’t Just Hope for Fruit

Written by , Posted in General

We lived in Yakima, Washington, for four years. Midway between Seattle and Spokane, but closer to the Columbia River, Yakima is a leader among all counties in the nation in the production of apples, hops, sweet cherries and mint.

Out and about each day, I would drive by acre after acre of orchards. Having lived only in urban areas, I loved being a part of an agricultural community. I now know what a smudge pot is, why farmers spray water on newly budding fruit trees in the middle of winter when the temperature drops below freezing, and the purpose of those shiny ribbons tied to the branches. Many of our friends worked in the fruit industry in Yakima, so we spent fall weekends picking apples and cherries.

And they worked hard. Up all night sometimes in the winter months, and long, long days during harvest season. Hard, never-ending work tending and nurturing the trees that produced the fruit.

Friday

5

January 2018

12

COMMENTS

Out Of The Ashes . . .

Written by , Posted in Family, General

The people of Santa Rosa are sifting through the ashes. Literally. And the people of Ventura and Fallbrook probably are too. The fires that consumed so much of California this year have wreaked havoc on families and communities up and down the state.

I was in Santa Rosa in December. I’d flown up to celebrate my mom’s birthday, her first birthday in 58 years that she’s not spent with my dad.

The fires in Santa Rosa had burned down the place we had planned on moving her into after my dad died, so we found another place. It’s just miles from the Coffey neighborhood.

And the Coffey neighborhood is gone. The fires had jumped the 101 and had burned home after home, block after block, acre after acre. Everything is gone. 1347 homes in all.

As we drove through in December, there was nothing left. Nothing. We’d seen the Fountain Grove neighborhood, 1590 homes burned there. In the Coffey neighborhood . . . nothing. Every couple of lots there was the shell of a car, blackened trees, a chimney. Other than that — ashes. Empty lots. Driveways to nowhere. The insurance companies had been by and on every lot there was a sign with a check list, things that needed to be verified so the insurance claim could proceed.

And every couple of blocks, a family had come to put up a Christmas tree on their destroyed lot with a few ornaments and some battery powered lights. I cried.

Saturday

28

October 2017

6

COMMENTS

Life is Hard. God is Good.

Written by , Posted in Alzheimer's, Family

When our mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January, my siblings and I decided to start a Meal Train calendar to let people know our need for care and companionship for her and give them the opportunity to help, signing up for meals and/or visits.

Throughout these ten months, I have been regularly sending emails to this group of about 70, updating them and telling them of our mom’s current need.

When our dad died in July, we began looking for an assisted living community for our mom. That had always been the plan — when dad died, she would move closer to Santa Rosa and her church.

We worked tirelessly to find just the right place.

And we did! Find just the right place. Beautiful residence, gorgeous view, moving date set for October 12.

And then, on October 9, the devastating Santa Rosa, California fires roared through that community, burning to the ground over 8,000 structures. One of those was the community we had been calling her new home. The cable guys were scheduled, the new sofa bed was coming, and she was excited to join the walking group.

I guess not.

Thursday

12

October 2017

12

COMMENTS

Is Ignorance Bliss?

Written by , Posted in Alzheimer's, Family, General

Today, Oct. 12, 2017, was the day we were moving our mom into a perfect for her assisted living facility in Santa Rosa, California. Sadly, though, we didn’t. It burned to the ground on Monday in what is fast becoming the most deadly fire in California history.

This is one of many things that have unfolded in my life over the year that I never, ever thought would be true . . .

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
My dad died.
My husband has been unemployed for 7 months.
My mom evacuated from her home. We’re praying it doesn’t burn down.
And this is when I know that I really don’t want to know the future.

This is when I embrace the mystery of God’s perfect plan and purpose. (I don’t like it, but I embrace it.)

This is when my life of faith makes all the difference.

I’m reposting one of my all time favorite posts. The bandwidth of my brain is so full of sadness and uncertainty that I’m pretty unable to be creative, or even be very nice to 6th graders. So I thought this would be great to repost, to reread, since this speaks deeply to me about how ignorance can be bliss.

Sunday

1

October 2017

10

COMMENTS

Hate the Glitches!

Written by , Posted in Family, General

Since February, my email subscriber service has been glitchy. That means if your email for my blog is in the bottom half of the alphabet, you’ve not been getting any alerts that I’ve been writing. And I have been! Such a bummer. But my genius tech guy did some sleuthing and figured it all out. All emails are ready to be alerted next time I post.

So in order to catch half of you up, I’m going to repost the latest one I wrote about things I’ve learned since my dad died. It’s a good one and something we all need to be more aware of. I know I needed it! If you’ve already read it, so sorry that it’s coming again. But maybe it’s important enough to reread.

Happy October, email friends. Thanks for being a part of this blogging journey of mine. I appreciate your comments and encouragement and private messages of support and love. It’s been a wild and crazy and grief-filled year, but there’s always light, right? The darkness never, never overcomes the light. And that’s a good thing. It keeps me hoping. It keeps me keeping on.

Monday

4

September 2017

6

COMMENTS

The 2 Lessons I’ve Learned Since My Dad Died

Written by , Posted in Family, General

It’s been 37 days since my dad stopped breathing that July night in the ICU.

(I had to clarify with the night nurse who’d called us that “stopped breathing” wasn’t a euphemism for anything other than dead. Right, I asked him? My dad’s dead? Yes, he said, and he was so sorry for our loss. Ranks as weirdest phone conversation ever.)

Since then it’s been non-stop action — Planning the memorial service and the spreading of his ashes. Calling the realtor and beginning the painful, laborious process of getting the house ready to sell. Finding just the perfect place for my mom to be as the Alzheimer’s slowly and methodically tangles her brain. Keeping the meals and the visits organized and coming. Going through the house room by room, desk by desk, closet by closet, file cabinet by file cabinet and deciding what to do with everything. Every.single.thing. Every dish, towel, painting, sheet, bed, chair, rug, patio furniture, candle, pillow, picture, rake, shovel, bags of potting mix, windmill on the hill in the backyard. EVERYTHING.

So the grieving process gets interrupted by all the busyness.

But every so often it crashes in in a wave.

Monday

14

August 2017

9

COMMENTS