Tag Archives: green hope

Hope & Healing in the Holidays

A week before Thanksgiving, I am noticing many people are writing or sharing posts and articles about ways to find hope and healing in the holidays.

But honestly the holidays are still one of the most difficult moments in my grief.

Our daughters, Caitlin and Brielle, come home – though often not at the same time. They are each married now so we’ve also added two special son-in-laws. But when we are all together we are more aware than ever that Leisha is not among us.

After some earlier losses in life, I could still “manufacture” some of sparkle and gratitude of the holidays. I could still muster it mostly because I’m a positive person and worked hard to at least ‘appear’ happy.

But after Leisha died, it was not possible even pretend to make that happen.

I’m sure I’ve shared this before, but for me grief was a feeling of being in a really dark tunnel where the mud was up past the top of my head and I couldn’t move a finger let alone breathe.

The harder I tried to get out the deeper I got Into the mire, into the mud, into the darkness.

Maybe you are reading this because you are desperate-  I just described how you feel right now. Loss has paralyzed you. You are stuck in this dark, damp tunnel of mud with fist raised.

Is that you?

Or maybe you don’t feel so desperate anymore. But there is still this ache that won’t go away and you wonder if it ever will.

While you want more than anything “Keep living until you feel alive again”,  you also struggle to move past that last connection you had with your loved one.

Which ends up being their death.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Or maybe you are walking with someone you care about. You experienced the same loss, but you don’t feel the loss with the same intensity as your mother does or as much as your spouse or friend does. You know what they are experiencing is very real, but you don’t know what to do – or say.  You don’t know how to help.

Who are you walking with?

But whoever you are look around. You are not alone.

You are not alone In the experience of loss- which sometimes is a comfort of its own.  Grief is a lonely journey in many ways, but misery loves company.

But you are also not alone in the journey through grief.

A book that I highly recommend is called “A Grace Disguised’.  The author, Jerry Sittser lost his wife, his mother and his 4 year old daughter in a tragic accident with a drunk driver.  He writes.

“The experience of loss does not have to be the defining moment in our lives. Instead the defining moment can be our response to the loss. It is not what happens to us that matters so much as what happens in us.” 

Jerry says “It’s not our loss that defines us”,
though many of us feel defined by the day
our Husband died,
our daughter died
we lost the job
Or we got that diagnosis

Those are losses indeed- yet they are things we have very little control over.

But if the defining moment can be how we respond to that loss–
well, that we can do something about.  

What do you think about that?
Can you choose how to respond when you experience a loss?
When you think about your losses in your life, what was your response?

Hope & Healing is in our control as we choose our response Click To Tweet

I’m not saying it is easy. In fact, I’m here to say it sure wasn’t for me.

But how about we take a moment in preparation for these holidays and stop to notice our options –  not just in our response to our loss but as move through our grief.

And also through our holidays.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you an exercise I learned to help me in my response in my loss.  Actually, it has a lot to do with the RED SEA again.

See you tomorrow.

What Happens When a Moment Changes Your Life

In the last post, I talked about the big moments we can recall in vivid detail.  We remember who was with us, what happened, how it felt.  Often, we share how that moment changed our life.

I shared one moment that is talked about a lot in scripture- I call it the RED SEA story -when the children of Israel were caught between death – and death.  It was that moment when God showed up like he had never shown up before and they were saved. (You can read more about that in the post from yesterday)

I’m guessing that even as you read that description, you immediately think of one or more occasions in your own story that changed you.

I wish we could sit over a cup of coffee and share those moments together.  I would love to hear about the moment that changed you in the comments section or via email at kathy@greenhopecoaching.com.

For now, I’ll share my story RED SEA moment with you. It was the day my 15 year old daughter, Leisha, died.

I didn’t know how I was going to survive the grief tunnel any more than the children of Israel knew how they were going to get out of Egypt, or get through the Red Sea.

God had to show up! And he had to show up differently than he ever had before! Continue reading What Happens When a Moment Changes Your Life

Plans to Give You Hope!

I’ve read this passage so many times.
I memorized it as a child.
It was given to me in cards and notes over and over again after Leisha died.

God has plans to prosper me- not harm me

God has plans to give me hope and a future.

But I today I read the verse in context of chapter 29.

This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

First thing I notice is to be in exile is the condition of someone being sent or kept away from their own country, village, home, etc.  CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH DICTIONARY

The Lord tells them through Jeremiah to:

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

Hmmm?  Sounds like God is saying make the most of the situation you are in – whether it is good or not, whether it is where you want to be or not.

Then in verse 10 the Lord says; ”

When seventy years are completed in Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 

And that is where Jeremiah 29:11 comes in.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

SEVENTY YEARS????

Continue reading Plans to Give You Hope!

New WORD for a New Year

My Word for the year is EnJoy!

I am quite excited about this word.  Over the last 10 years my words have been  Hope- Hope & More HOPE!  I had that word for several years. It’s a great word, but it was a desperate time for me.

One year the word was TRUST, another year it was BE STILL. (I know technically two words, right?) Last year my word was FINISH which was appropriate since my goal was to complete the Lovely Traces of Hope book.

These were all great words and they were significant to me at the time, but they all had a urgency to them, desperation is still the better word.  Even being still was a challenge word at the time.

But this year, the word that keeps coming to me Continue reading New WORD for a New Year

A Broken Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving Eve, though I have seldom heard it described in such a way, not like Christmas Eve or New Years Eve. But tonight it seems appropriate. It is the day before ‘the day’ set aside for thanks and gratitude.

Yet I sit huddled on my sofa, tears just boiling under the surface waiting to spill over. Emotions are all over the place and I wonder if I will ever again feel free to experience joy without a deep sense of sadness.

If all the conditions were right, Continue reading A Broken Thanksgiving

The Beauty of Signing a Book!

OK! It’s official! I’m an author!  I held my first book signing thanks to the gracious and persistent Tanya Augsburger of the Bluffton Public Library, Bluffton, OH.

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Months ago- before there was an actual book, Tanya engaged me to consider hosting an author event at the library.  I thought she was jumping the gun, but I appreciated her thinking ahead for me. It was a delight for me to work with Tanya to put together this book signing event. I am so grateful for her and the Library for hosting this opportunity.

I knew that book signings were often part of an author’s next steps.  I knew that it was valuable to connect with interested and potential new readers.

But I witnessed so much BEAUTY in this moment and in the people who attended. Continue reading The Beauty of Signing a Book!

Influence Like a Dandelion

Ten years ago next weekend, we gathered to remember a spunky little gal named Leisha.

We celebrated her life And mourned our loss of her.

We remembered the things she didTo make us laugh

To make us cry,

To make us crazy!

She touched our lives and she taught us,

She changed us in the living and the dying.

Would she have made such a difference in our lives if she had just lived?  I know I’m her momma, but I think so.

The day she died, I met her on our country road. I was teasing her because she was so eager to get her driver’s permit. I said,” you just want power. ”

I could see the wheels spinning in her head and her eyes were sparkling.

She spoke,  “I don’t need power. I want to influence. I want to say, I’m going come with me.”

“Honey you were made to influence,” I replied as I stroked her nose like I had so many days since she was born.

10 minutes later,  she was gone.

I want to influence. I want to say, I'm going come with me. Click To Tweet

my first bookSeveral have asked why, out of all the pictures I have of Leisha,  I chose a black and white one of her blowing a dandelion for the cover.

Well, dandelions have long been important at the Burrus house.

For one thing, Continue reading Influence Like a Dandelion

A Book to Proof

I was sittting at the Arby’s across from the mall in the area that is all window. People watching at its best.  The sky was clear with the exception of a few, very small, very white clouds slowly drifting by.  What a beautiful day!

Every thing about this moment was life-giving. Even the woman Continue reading A Book to Proof