From my heart ...

From my heart ...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Outta Control

I'd like to think that I'm far from being a control freak.  I'd like to think that I'm more than willing to allow others to be the star of the show.  And, I'd like to think that I'm not bothered in the least when folks take over my kitchen.  Or my household chores.  Or anything else that belongs to me, and only me.

Contrary to my personal thoughts of self, its been brought to my attention by those closest to me that control might as well be my middle name.  That's right.

Self-realization can be tough to swallow.  *choke*cough*

Realization of self smacked me square in the face when my daughters requested that I relax this Christmas season, and allow them to do all the planning and cooking and cleaning for our annual Bowser Family Christmas.  I thought, 'this is gonna be great.'  Why in the world would I have any problem allowing all the work to be done for me?

Because someone else was doing it.  That's why!

It wasn't easy to sit back with my feet propped up ... not knowing what we were going to eat, not knowing for absolute certain that all the gifts were wrapped and properly placed under the tree, and not knowing what was going on in my kitchen while I sat in the next room pretending to be totally 'chill'.

Relax?  Out of the question.

I'm not exactly certain of the number of times I sent text messages to my daughters offering my advice, or asking if I could help in any way, or even how many times I popped up out of my recliner to simply check on things in my kitchen.  But, I think Shelby was counting.  Perhaps my kitchen appearances were one too many?  Outta control even?

I'll do better next time.  Because in the end, our Christmas celebration was perfect in every way.  Even without my contributions.

It's sometimes heartwarming to think, 'they can't get along without me.'  But on the flip side, it's good to know 'they can.'

Taking this whole control thing a step further, its quite possible that I attempt to manage or control my relationship with Jesus in the same manner.  I'm working on the whole 'not my will, but Thine' thing.

I'm a work in progress.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Veil So Thin

~ between the here and the hereafter ~
What's it like there?  The hereafter.

If I could only get a glimpse.

I've heard the veil is thin.  Thin enough for some who are teetering between the here and the hereafter to see through.  To go there for a time even, and then share their journey through the veil with those of us who remain right here.

A little spooky.  Even a bit frightening.

I used to disguise myself as fearless.  After all (I told myself and others), I know where I'm going when I leave this world for another.  Permanently.

But when I remove the fearless mask, I am indeed scared.  At least a little.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't.

I've carried my fear of the unknown for as long as I can remember.  And as each new year comes and goes, I find myself caught deep in thought about the afterlife.  My own.  And even more so, the afterlives of loved ones who have passed on before me.

What are they doing there?  Do they think of me from time to time?  Do they wish I'd make better choices with my life?  Do they miss me?  I sure miss them.

I'm not-at-all a fan of unknowns.  Oh, I don't mind a good mystery now and then, as long as it can be solved quickly.  You know, like in hours or days.  Certainly not my whole lifetime.

Every time someone close to my heart leaves here to encounter the hereafter, I'm reminded (eventually) that at some point I need to rely on faith and belief.  My faith in God, and my belief that He has prepared a perfect place for me.  And His promise of eternal life for all who accept Him.

I choose to believe that from the very moment I accepted Christ as my Savior, He began the project of constructing a perfect home in Heaven just for me.

And I'm certain that I'll be reunited in the hereafter with loved ones who preceded me from the here to the hereafter.

So that's it then.  What it's like there.  Perfect.

Maybe that's all I need to know, until I pass through that thin veil myself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Without Her

This is her 2nd Christmas in Heaven.

Her stocking still hangs on the mantle.  Her photograph still sits on my nightstand.  And her memory still lingers on.

I miss her sweet face, her soft brown hair, and the feel of my cheek against hers.  I miss her smiles and laughter too, but sadly those faded several years before she made Heaven her home.

I believe her Heavenly home is more beautiful, more peaceful and more 'heavenly' than I could even begin to imagine.  I believe she's having the time of her life ~ running, playing, singing, laughing, and smiling as she picks all the prettiest flowers surrounding her home on one of Heaven's gold streets.

It would be selfish of me to wish to take all that away from her.  She is realizing every little girl's dream.

But I miss my Princess, my sweet Granddaughter, Lindsey.

It's her 2nd Christmas in Heaven.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lindsey's New Home

Lindsey & her Daddy
Soccer Fans
Lindsey passed from this life to the next on July 5, 2015 at 5:31 p.m. - a Sunday evening.  She was just 12 years old.

For the greater part of her short life, she battled a rare terminal illness - Tay Sachs Disease.  Indeed, Lindsey Bowser was a fighter.  The strongest little girl we've ever had the pleasure of loving.

Though we were full aware that the chances of her beating all odds were slim-to-none, still we remained hopeful that in her lifetime a cure might be found.

It still has not been found.

Further, we felt confident we'd well-prepared our hearts and minds for the moment Lindsey's body determined it could no longer sustain her.

We still were not prepared.

Emptiness moved in and has taken permanent residence in our hearts.

That's the 'down-side' of Lindsey's story.

Here's the 'up-side'.

Lindsey lives in Heaven now with Jesus.  I have every confidence that one day Lindsey and I will be sharing stories, hugs, and laughter while walking hand-in-hand down Heaven's streets of gold.

I am Lindsey's paternal grandmother.  At her memorial service, her paternal Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ghiata, her PaPa Joe (paternal grandfather), and her two paternal aunts - Shelby and Shannon, asked me to share these thoughts for them ...

Lindsey's Daddy's Sister / Aunt Shannon said:  'When someone passes away, most people say "rest in peace."  Lindsey, my wishes for you are to run, jump, play, blow bubbles, laugh, skip, be silly, pet puppies, swim, skip, ride a bike, make friends, and eat ice cream!  Do all the things your earthly body could not allow!  I hope you experience the full freedom, love, peace, and FUN that Heaven offers.  I love you so much and I'm thankful that your pain is forever over.  We shall meet and play again one day sweet niece.  Your Aunt Shannon loves you.'

Lindsey's Daddy's Sister / Aunt Shelby said:  'Sunday evening, my niece Lindsey passed away after a long, hard-fought battle with Tay Sachs Disease.  She was the strongest little girl I have ever known.  I am heartbroken ... For the precious little girl that I loved so much ... For the life that she wasn't given the opportunity to live ... For my brother, whose daughter was the love of his life ... For my mother, a grandmother who loves her children and grandchildren with every ounce of her being.  I am sad.  I am angry.  I am confused.  I am a lot of things.  But as hurt as I am, I cannot help but to feel some joy as well.  Joy because I know where Lindsey is and who she is with.  I know that it's a place that's far beyond anything this world has to offer, and that what she's experiencing is far more amazing than any of us can imagine here on earth.  She has WON the battle.  She is running, jumping, laughing, singing, skipping, playing.  She is FREE.  We will all see you soon Princess Lindz.  Take care of Scrappy for me (Shelby's yorkie who passed away earlier this year.)  Your Aunt 'Shuby' (Lindsey always called her that) loves you.'

Lindsey's PaPa Joe (paternal grandfather) said:  'Lindsey touched many people's lives and brought out a part in each of us that we didn't even know we had.  Her gift to us will last forever and enrich us for the rest of our lives.  She launched a new career path for some.  She taught us to "just do it" even if we didn't think we could.  She taught us to live life day to day, and don't expect tomorrow to be the same.  She taught us to love deeper than ever thought possible.  She taught us to be strong, to cry, to take action, to be patient, brave and compassionate.  Lindsey gave us so much and expected nothing in return.  We love her so much.  My deepest memory with her was taking her to the swing set to play as we walked slowly hand in hand, talking along the way, and her letting me be that special grandpa for a while.  Every time one of my grandchildren calls me 'PaPa Joe', I think of her - because that's the name Lindsey gave me.

I shared some of my own memories as well ...

Lindsey - Some of my own sweet memories are:  When you picked the tops off all the flowers in my front yard - as your gift to me.  Now you can pick the tops off the prettiest flowers ever.  When you hid behind our couch, pulled off your eye patch, and stuck it to the back of the couch.  You thought I'd never notice.  So I pretended I didn't.  I still have your eye patch, even though you'll never need it again.  When you would run down the hall at our home - over and over again - as fast as your legs would carry you.  Now your perfect legs are allowing you to run again ... all over Heaven.  As fast as you want.  Forever.  My favorite memories are your hugs and kisses.  I miss them.  I miss you.  And I love you.  Until we meet again ...

Lindsey's Great Grandpa Ghiata shared these thoughts ...

We grieve for losing Lindsey.  We loved her and love you all, and are sorry we can't be there to share your grief.  We have happy memories of Lindsey.  There is a line from a song that goes, 'Memories are a gift from God, that death cannot destroy.'  God's word tells us, 'I don't want you to be ignorant concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.'   - Thessalonians 4: 13-14.  Lindsey is asleep in Jesus.  2nd Corinthians 5: 8  calls it being 'absent from the body and present with the Lord.'  So then, we are confident that Lindsey's body is asleep in Jesus, and her soul is present with the Lord.  God made us body, soul and spirit.  Tay Sachs damaged Lindsey's frail body until the Lord took her soul and spirit to live with Him in Heaven for all eternity.  Revelation 21: 4 says, 'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more pain - for the former things are passed away.'  This is what we look forward to as God's children.  We will meet again and all be together for all eternity.  This is God's promise to you.  Today, Lindsey has all her faculties, and is totally enjoying - beyond our imagination - the beauty and joy of Heaven.  But most of all, Lindsey is personally present with the Lord who loves her, died for her, and has taken her home.  With Love and Compassion, Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Ghiata

Friends - My hope and prayer is that if you have not yet accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, don't put it off.  Don't wait.  Tomorrow might be too late.  Your tomorrow may never come.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Grandma's Cutting Board

My dad's a saver.  He saves everything.  Everything!  He's undeniably sentimental.

Not me.  I save next-to-nothing.  I figure if I haven't used it in six months, I must not really need it. So, I either give it another home (via either a yard sale or a donation) or toss it in the trash.  As far as things go, I'm undeniably unsentimental.

During a trip to Ohio to visit my parents last summer, my dad (the saver) re-introduced me to things he's saved over the years.

Before the trip, I couldn't understand the reasoning behind his saving efforts.  During the trip, the reasoning became clear.

Sweet memories!

Of all the things my dad safely stored away for memory's sake, the one that brought back the sweetest memories for me was my grandmother's old cutting board.

Many of my fondest memories growing up include days spent in Grandma's kitchen on the farm (the same farm my dad grew up on) while she seemingly effortlessly prepared home-made breads, pies, cookies, and entire meals from scratch.  Without written recipes.  She knew them all by heart.

Grandma's heart went into her baking.  Most often, she could be found in her farmhouse kitchen cooking up something delicious for her loved ones.  As clear as day, I can see her in my mind's eye with her cutting board and rolling pin, and apple pies cooling in the window.  She even hand-picked the apples right from the apple trees in her own apple orchard.

I brought Grandma's cutting board back home to North Carolina with me.  Though I'm not at all fond of cooking or baking, I use Grandma's cutting board nearly every day.  So every day I'm reminded of my Grandma's love.

I'm saving her cutting board.  Forever.  Guess I'm sentimental after all.

... I brought home her rolling pin, too.

Psalm 145: 4
One generation commends
your works to another.
They tell of your mighty acts.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

An Easter Story

I'm not at all a fan of shopping.  It seems I'm never able to dredge up precisely what I'm seeking.  Regrettably, I leave the stores empty-handed.  This week's dismal shopping treks were no exception.

I'd simply wanted to purchase a few Easter storybooks for my grandkids.  The game plan was an 'in-and-out of the Christian bookstore in a jiffy' sort of plan.  I'd thought my strategy would work like a charm, since Easter is just around the corner.

I thought wrong.

Left empty-handed.  Again!

Oh, there were plenty of Easter storybooks alright.  Cute ones.  Some even hinted at the true meaning of Easter.  But, none told the whole story.  Not one.


I wanted to share the whole story with my grandkids.  I wanted to share it in storybook form.  In Paul Harvey-like manner, I wanted to tell my grandchildren, 'And now you know the rest of the story.'  

Determined not to let my disappointment get the best of me, and just as determined that this Easter my grandkids' hands and minds will grasp the whole Easter story, I'll create my own Easter storybook for them.  After all, I already know the rest of the story.  It never changes.

The rest of the story?  Jesus didn't have to die.  He chose to die.  He defeated Satan and sin when He died and rose again.  This is why Jesus is the only way to God.  The only way to be assured that we'll go to Heaven to live with Jesus forever after our earthly lives are over, is if we ask Jesus for forgiveness of our sins and accept Him as our Savior.

P.S.  I don't like shopping anyways.  So, it's a win-win.

Monday, March 9, 2015


There's light at the tunnel's end?

HOPE so.

Believing in HOPE
Didn't ask to go through it.  Never dreamed of going through it.

Too dark.  Too long.  Too exhausting.

Not a hint of light.  Not even a glimmer.  Not yet anyways. 

Still ... refusing to lose HOPE.

Still ... believing in HOPE.

'At least there's HOPE.' 
(said someone dear to my heart, whose heart is HOPEFUL.)

No light yet.  But it's there.
Just haven't reached it yet.  It's coming.

I KNOW so!

HOPE is:
  • not a notion, but a confidence
  • not a wish, but a promise
  • not a guess, but a belief
  • not an assumption, but an assurance
I am confident of Jesus' promise that if I believe, I am assured of HOPE.

1 Peter 3:15
'... Always be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.'

Romans 8:24 & 25
'... But hope that is seen is no hope at all.
Who hopes for what they already have?
But if we hope for what we do not yet have,
we wait for it patiently.'

Micah 7:7
'As for me, I watch in hope for the Lord.
I wait for God my Savior.
My God will hear me.'

Outta Control

I'd like to think that I'm far from being a control freak.  I'd like to think that I'm more than willing to allow others to ...