Today is a day to be thankful. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for! However, this also a very sad day for many because someone will be missing. I always remember both. My heart for today is that we all remember what today is really about. Hug those you love and don’t leave things unspoken, for tomorrow is never promised. If you are one with a heavy heart because your person is missing, I will say a special prayer for you today. Again, there is always something to be thankful for, but that in now way negates the fact that you are missing someone, that there will be an empty chair.
Wishing all my friends and family a beautifully blessed day ♥️
I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Losing my Dad has been a very difficult thing to deal with. That, coupled with this already being a tough time of year, it’s been a pretty trying time. I was thinking tonight about different ways that I could help myself to feel better. Although I haven’t felt like I have much to say lately, I was reminded how helpful writing has been to me. I guess it’s kind of been my therapy. So, I’m going to make an effort to get back to that.
Hope that each of you are doing well. I look forward to catching up with you and on your writings.
An Open Letter to My Dad in Heaven
I woke up this morning feeling different than I ever have in my entire life. There isn’t even an adjective that could adequately describe it. I should be able to use a word I’ve used before because I know the pain of loss. But, just as people can’t truly be compared, neither can any loss.
I bounce back and forth from one moment feeling relief that you are not suffering and are in a better place, to the next where there is the heart-wrenching realization that you are never coming back.
I can’t believe you’re gone. It still seems so unreal.
But, it is real.
I can’t pick up the phone and call you. I can’t hear your voice. I can’t stop in to visit. I can’t see you.
I’m heart broken because I love you more than you could have ever known. There were two or three times over the years where I either wrote in a card or told you how much I appreciated who you were in my life, but no words could have ever expressed what you meant to me.
You were the first man I ever loved. You were the strong and silent presence in my childhood and as I was growing up. You became my friend as I got older and went through many hard times with me in my adult life, while still being the strong voice of reason that never sugar coated anything. You were one that I could always count on to give it to me straight, whether I wanted to hear it or not. You were the constant in a life filled with chaos, tragedy, and pain.
You were the strong example of what a man should be. Not only for me, but for my kids who didn’t have that in their life when they lost their own Dad so young. They lost so much on top of losing him and although they might not have seen you every single day, they knew you were there.
That’s what real love is.
I will never be able to fully express what that has meant to me; to all of us.
You are loved and will be so incredibly missed.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for being my Dad.
Thank you for being you.
Change. It’s inevitable!
Sometimes change is exciting and at times, scary. It can be tough and uncomfortable to navigate through. It can also be easy to be derailed in transition. I’ll give you an example.
When I started this blog it was at a point in my life when change was exciting. I had a job that gave me the freedom to start dreaming. It came with the gift of time. I was being creative and starting new things. I was writing again. I was finding myself in a new way, working through hurts and things that had been holding me back, and finding God in a new way. There was a renewed sense of hope.
Fast forward to this past February…
The company I was working for was dissolving and I found myself in a place of uncertainty. Change was happening again and I wasn’t excited. I spent the next four months looking for a new job, trying to have faith that God would carry me through; that He had a plan.
A lot happened in that four months as I was stretched in many ways. I’ll write about that in a different post.
I started a new job in June. More change. It was a big transition, coming from working from home and having so much freedom with my time. My focus became learning and becoming acclimated to a new career. It’s a great job, a great company to work for, and I love the people I work with.
I realized something today. I’ve been so busy with my new job that I haven’t had time to write, do anything with my apparel company, or much of anything else really. Most importantly, I’ve not made time to maintain my relationship with God like I should. How quickly we fall away from that if we aren’t careful.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m reminded how important balance is in life. Instead of saying that I don’t have time to __________________; I need to MAKE time for the things that are important. I need to make time for God. I need to make time to work on the creative projects that I started that made me happy. I need to make time to write. I need to make time for me!
There are only 24 hours in each day and most days that definitely doesn’t seem like enough! But, it’s up to me to prioritize and be disciplined enough to use the time I do have in the best way I know how.
Here’s to attempting to find that balance that I so desperately need!
I always have a butterfly come to me while at the cemetery, since the very first time. Leaving the cemetery today I stopped and looked across the street into the field. I saw a butterfly. Then I saw a few more. I looked closer and there were actually hundreds of butterflies.
A beautiful reminder to take a minute, stop, and look around. I’d hate to think of all the beauty missed, simply because I didn’t take the time to just stop and be still.
I was reading a post recently of a fellow widow and it broke my heart. It broke my heart for her and her child and it broke my heart for my own children.
It is a fact that often when someone loses a spouse, they lose many people that were in their life pre-loss. I’ve written about this before and given my thoughts and perspectives as to why this might happen. But, quite honestly, it is just plain sad.
This woman made a post on her personal FB page stating that she was tired of people disappointing her child. Now, normally we save that sort of thing for our widow support groups where we can freely talk about things with people who truly understand. She was brave enough to just come out and say it. GOOD. FOR. HER.
People should know that their actions (or lack thereof) have real and damaging affects on children who have already lost so much. It’s hard enough for us as adults; children should not have to suffer so much loss.
Children who have lost a parent should be shown MORE love, not experience more loss.
Some might not like to hear that but they need to.
I’m gonna go ahead and leave this right here.
On this day 6 years ago, I had no idea that in one short week, our lives would be forever changed. In an instant.
Some days it feels like yesterday while other days it seems like it’s been an entire lifetime since I’ve seen you.
So much has happened.
You’ve missed so much.
What I’m finally realizing?
I’VE MISSED SO MUCH
The majority of the last 6 years has been spent going through the motions, getting by each day, surviving. We have come so very far, but the fact still remains that I haven’t been able to truly live.
Why haven’t I been able to live?
I haven’t been able to let go.
I wrote a post about this very thing nearly a year ago (click Letting Go to read that post) and I have done what I said I was going to do. I said I was going to try and give the pain over to God with the intention of moving forward.
How is it that I have been working at “letting go” for almost an entire year and my hurt is still so present that I’m wiping tears as I write this?
It’s a process. A long process. It takes intent. It takes work. It’s not easy.
I feel like I’ve done the work, but now what?
I have to make an actual decision, speak it out loud, and really let it go.
I know what this looks like in my mind, but my heart just can’t do it and mean it.
But I have to.
Stay tuned, friends 💕
How do you let go of someone who was so much a part of you? How do you let go when your heart still loves them with every beat? How?
Joni Grief to Life
I love this so much!
I remember a time when my Mom said, stop apologizing! I said, what do you mean??
She told me that I apologized for everything, all the time, even for things that I shouldn’t. What’s crazy is that I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I became so accustomed to saying I’m sorry that it basically became a habit.
I’m what I like to call a “recovering people pleaser.”
I’ve spent most of my life trying to make other people happy, a lot of times at the expense of my own happiness. What I realized is that, in striving to be everything to everyone, I forgot about me. I was like a chameleon, changing (sometimes moment by moment) to adapt to who I was around; just being who they needed at the time. Well, you do that for long enough and you can wake up one day with the realization that you don’t even know who you really are.
Losing one of my identities only complicated this further. I was Jonathan’s wife. So, when I lost him, I really lost my sense of self. For almost 6 years now, I’ve been on a journey of grief, only parenting grieving kids, trying to maintain a household by myself, navigating my way through changed relationships, deconstructing (and reconstructing) my faith, and trying to learn to live again.
One of the biggest things I’ve had to face is seeing myself for who I really am. I realized that I felt my worth was all about what I did for others.
I was Jonathan’s wife
I am Chase and Brenna’s Mom
I am a daughter, a sibling, an aunt, a friend
I am still all of those things and they are important, but above all else, I’m Joni.
I am not what has happened to me
I am not who I used to be
I am not the mistakes I have made
I am not who others think I am
I am not invisible or anonymous
I am not what I look like
I am not what I do
So many of us practically kill ourselves trying to be something or someone else. Desperately and tirelessly attempting to fulfill this imaginary list of qualities or capabilities that we think will make us feel loved or happy. And then we have to spend a ridiculous amount of time tearing through the layers of unrealistic pressures and expectations we have put on ourselves. It’s exhausting. I know because it’s what I have done.
I am the daughter of the most high God, who created me in His image. He doesn’t make mistakes. He formed me with His very hands. He loves me. He created me completely unique, down to my fingertips. So why shouldn’t that be good enough for me??
I am… ENOUGH
Be unapologetically YOU ♥️
When you feel like you don’t fit where you used to, it can take you to a really low place. The thing to remember is, it’s not your fault, don’t stay there. It’s hard to realize that there are things that you just can’t change, but that’s part of life. Along with the good, life brings change and loss. Move forward knowing that God, if you let Him, will place you where you fit perfectly. 🌈🙌🏼💗