Thursday, May 7, 2015

Missing Sara

Four years ago today we buried Sara's earthly body and celebrated the hope of one day being reunited with her in heaven.  We hold on to that hope. . . . but oh how we miss her!  This week has been busy, and full of the drama of all that is going on in life right now.   In spite of it all, in quiet moments my mind still floods with memories of those last days we spent with Sara four years ago.  I have much to be thankful for. . . and I am thankful.  But all I can think of tonight is how much I miss her. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015


"We pray for blessings. 
We pray for peace, comfort for family, protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing, for prosperity. 
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
And all the while You hear each spoken need, yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear.
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.
We doubt Your goodness.
We doubt Your love, as if ev'ry promise from Your Word is not enough.
And all the while You hear each desp'rate plea, and long that we'd have faith to believe.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win,
we know that pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not our home.
It's not our home.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life,
is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?
And what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights,
are Your mercies in disguise?"      (words and music by Laura Story)

When Sara was dying of cancer in the Spring of 2011, this song spoke to my heart.  I think the line that caught ahold of me then was "What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?"  Sam even painted a pair of pictures the week after Sara's death that seemed to illustrate the song for me. . . . One of a single gerber daisy bent over under a dark and stormy rain, and another of several gerber daisies in a green field with their bright faces lifted to the sun.

I heard the song on the radio this morning on my way to work, and realized that this is still the song of my heart.  It somehow allows me to acknowledge all the doubt, fear, and heartache of this life . . . and yet at the same time embrace God's continued blessings. . . . His mercy and forgiveness, His love, His faithfulness, and the hope that we have in Jesus. 

This is not our home.  Lord help me put aside my selfishness, and let me view the trials of this life. . . as Your mercies in disguise. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

A New Year

I don't know exactly why it has become harder for me to come here to write over the past year or so, but I do know I don't want to let this go.  I don't think I am a blogger at heart.  I don't typically share my heart with others.  But "Letters on Lined Paper" was born out of my writing on Caring Bridge, which was born out of our journey with Sara and her battle with cancer, and I need things that continue to connect me to her.

The passing of time is hard.  It has been three and a half years since Sara went to be with the Lord.  It seems like a long time.  On the other hand, it seems like no time at all.  So often I wish she could step back into our lives and just be here with us.  If I'm honest, I can't deny the many days that I battle the "what ifs".  I know those "what ifs" are totally unproductive and a result of taking my focus away from trusting God. . . .but it is an honest struggle.  What if we had gotten Sara to the doctor sooner?  What if we had sought a different treatment?  What if we had made a more drastic change in her diet?  What if we had prayed harder or differently?  What if we had made her go back into the hospital for more intense treatment after her cancer kept returning?  They go on and on, getting more unproductive the longer I allow my mind to go there.  I need to choose to stop going there.  I need to choose to trust in God's sovereignty and faithfulness.  I do thank Him every day for his grace, and His constant forgiveness.  My doubt and the fear of moving forward is so often overwhelming.   I'm still trying to figure out how to do this . . . how to accept and trust and be thankful. . . .and how to carry all the memories graciously, and still be able to keep them all close in my heart.

God has been so gracious to our family.  We are so blessed with our children and our grandchildren.  Thank you Lord.

Monday, September 1, 2014


I think I miss Sara most on weekends.  That is when we can usually connect with all our other kids, and I just can't shake the feeling that something is missing.  It is also when I am usually home cleaning the house.  There are countless little reminders of her everywhere.  I LOVE the reminders, I wouldn't want it any other way, but it does make me a little melancholy.  I just miss her. 

Five years ago, on August 31, 2009, Sara had her first major surgery related to her cancer.  The surgeons removed her entire femur, knee, and hip, and gave her what Sara called "a bionic leg".  It was the most traumatic of her surgeries, and Sara faced it like a champ.  She endured two and a half weeks in the hospital, 92 staples, six weeks of a cumbersome brace that encircled her waist and extended down below her knee, and was back in the hospital facing more chemo three and a half weeks after her surgery.  I look back now and am so amazed at how tough she was and how little she complained.  God brought us all through each step of the way.

Four years ago at this time, she was back starting classes at Corban College, determined to finish her senior  year.  We missed her, but we were rejoicing and praising God that He had brought her through the year of treatment, that the cancer was beaten, and that she was actually able to go back to school.

Three years ago, we were still trying to figure out how to accept the fact that Sara was gone, that the cancer had returned, and that God's plan was to take her home at the age of 22.  Some days I feel like I'm still trying to figure out how to accept that.  TRUST is a big thing.

I know this is true for countless others who have suffered loss, and I know everyone has.  It is a struggle of life.  When Sara died, there were people who said (in a loving and well-meaning way) that it would get better with time.  I don't think I really believe it gets better, it just becomes different.   I'm praying that God would grant me a deeper TRUST in Him, which is the basis of FAITH, which is the basis of HOPE.
 August 2010 - Sam's wedding

Friday, May 2, 2014

3 years

It's been eight months since I've written here on my blog.  I don't know why exactly.  I think I reached a point where I felt like I couldn't condense my thoughts into words that were worth sharing.  I think it is just hard to see life going on. . . . but it does.  It often still feels like I'd rather suspend time so that all my memories of Sara remain clear and fresh, and recent. . . . .or, fast forward to the time that we can all be together for eternity. 

Today. . . . three years since the night that Sara went to be with the Lord. . . .for HER sake. . . I would not wish her back here to live with the pain and stress of cancer.  She is far better off where she is.  But I would so love to be able to spend the weekend with her. . . .hearing all about the last three years she has spent in heaven. 

As it is for everyone. . . my daily struggle is Philippians 4:8. . . ."whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things"

Focusing on all the lovely memories and trying to let go of all the things I wish were different but can't be. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dreams and Thoughts

I'm dreaming again.  I am a person who has always had very vivid and outlandish dreams (that I could usually remember with much clarity).  Then I went through I time when I stopped dreaming (probably has something to do with the fact that it has also been quite awhile since I have had a good nights sleep).  Sleep still eludes me, but I usually fall asleep and stay that way sometime between 2:00 and 3:00am.  Now that school has started, I'm back to getting up between 5:00 and 5:30am, and this week I have had some crazy dreams that stay with me when my alarm goes off.

The first day of school I woke up from a dream where I had decided to go see my friend Leslie in California for one last visit before school started.  I had spent the night, confident that I could get up, get ready, and make it to school by 7:00am.  In my dream, my alarm went off at 5:00am and I realized that there was no way I could drive from Southern California to get here to Fallon by 7:00.  To make matters worse, I couldn't find her bathroom to take a shower, couldn't find my clothes. . . . and I finally woke up, relieved that I really only had a 10 minute drive to school!

Some of my other dreams this week have included Woody and I moving into an old "antique style" house, complete with many interesting nooks and crannies (that I have never seen in reality but somehow recognized from previous dreams).  Weird!  I also dreamt that I was diagnosed with Siberian cancer of the mouth (have no idea where that came from, but it was so real that I was ready to look it up on the internet the next morning to see if there was such a thing).  I even dreamt that I had a baby.  It was supposed to be a boy, but actually turned out to be a girl.  She came out talking and looking exactly like one of my adorable 2nd graders at school, with long brown hair and freckles.  The best dream was that Sara was actually with me all the time, but no one could see her except me.  Selfish I know, but it was wonderful!  How I wish that could be true.  I would absolutely be willing to share her if we could have her back!  I'm thankful for the dream anyway. . . . hope I have it again. 

I went to get my hair cut on Thursday after school and picked up a magazine while I was waiting.  The first thing I opened to was an advertisement for the City of Hope cancer center.  The ad said something like. . . "Two of my friends were knocked down by cancer.  The doctor told them they should just enjoy the time they had left.  Instead of giving up, they contacted the City of Hope Cancer Center, and now. . . they are both cancer free!"  I can't even tell you what that did to my heart.  I am happy for those people, but it takes my mind right back down the path of. . . . maybe we didn't do the right thing for Sara.  Maybe we should have left UCSF and sought another opinion or another course of treatment.  Maybe we should have made Sara stay on an intensive regimen of chemo even when the doctors said it wouldn't cure her but would only make her last days more miserable.  Maybe we should have pursued some of the obscure clinics or treatment plans that were constantly swirling around us.  Maybe we just didn't pray hard enough. . . . .maybe, maybe.    I know all these thoughts are futile and unproductive (and not God-honoring).  I know that we have to trust that God took Sara EXACTLY when and how He planned.  But it is still hard.  It will always be hard.  Trusting God and surrendering to Him is a DAILY, no HOURLY discipline.  We know we need to do it, but we need HIS strength to keep at it and to let HIM accomplish it in us. 

Philippians 4:8  ". . .whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."    Still counting 1000 (plus) gifts. . .

370.  Sleeping long enough to dream
371.  Good memories
372.  Children
373.  Grandchildren
374.  Busy days at school
375.  Recess outside
376.  Constant and complete forgiveness
377.  Air conditioning
378.  Early morning sunshine
379.  Three day weekends
380.  Anticipation of Fall
381.  Pumpkin everything!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer's Over - Back to School

So another summer comes to an end.  This summer ended on a very high note with the birth of our third grandbaby on August 21st.  Graden Ames Timmerman joined his brother Wyatt, and sweet little cousin Ellery.  We feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to spend so much time with all of our children this summer, and to have plenty (although never enough) of grandma and grandpa time.

Enjoyed some good books, worked in the yard, grew some beautiful flowers, found some fun antiques (or maybe just good junk with character), did some craft projects, worked with children's musical theater camp and put on a fun pirate musical, spent a little time with friends, and spent a lot of time with family.  God has used many things this summer to keep me reflecting on where my heart is.  The best thing I know to do when things seem rough is to focus on blessings, and all I have to be thankful for.   So thankful for God's grace! 

The REAL pirates. . . .


And our precious grandchildren . . .