Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Loneliness and Regret

I think that loneliness and regret are the two hardest emotions to deal with.

Loneliness can seep in and create a darkness that is suffocating.  The silence, the emptiness, the ache for another human to be there can be painful.  Physically painful. Loneliness is a hard emotion to handle.  Loneliness is a hard emotion to live with.

Regret is just as painful.  Only not the same.  Regret causes tears, sorrow, questioning.  Regret is a hard emotion to handle. Regret is a hard emotion to live with.

But combine the two?  And life is almost unbearable.  The weeping while questioning decisions that I made in my past haunt me.  The sorrow that I feel in knowing how my decisions not only affect me but others as well.  Namely my children.

Recently all my emotions came to a head.  The loneliness was choking me and the regret of past choices was causing such a physical ache that I almost couldn't handle it.

I would cry myself to sleep.  Then I would wake up with a sadness not knowing why...until I remembered.  Then the crying would begin again.  Throughout my day thoughts would come and go.  And tears would suddenly swell in my eyes and trickle down my face at the memories.

My early twenties were the hardest years of my life. I had many things going against me.  And through that  I made some very poor choices.  Choices I will regret until I die.  Some choices may seem unmentionable.  Yet I carry them within my heart everyday.  Some choices I could give good excuses for.  But in truth they are empty excuses.  I have only myself to blame.

Through my decisions I have hurt many people, and some of these people are still hurting.  Its hard to imagine when making decisions how that choice you make will affect that person and the rest of their life.  Its hard to imagine when you are young how your choices will affect your future. And your children.  My children beg me for a dad.  Yet because of my bad choices they are without one.

If I could go back I would.  The first thing I would do is to tell certain people how much I loved them and how much their presence in my life meant to me.  Maybe it would have changed the course of time. And maybe not. Maybe some would still be alive. And maybe not.   

While these thoughts of regret and loneliness have been swimming around in my head I have had healing. Through this healing I have come to understand that I may be suffering for the decisions now, but God can redeem.  And in time I believe He will.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Most of you who know me, know that I love.love.love to bake.  All sorts of yummies and goodies and treats.

I thought it would be fun to have a weekly post, with the recipe and pictures of one of my latest baking adventure.

I'm starting this out out with a post about Rhianna's birthday cake.

Her birthday was almost three weeks ago, but there is a reason why it took me so long to do this post.

I had to get my nerve up to do it.  I am a perfectionist to the worst degree.  I expect perfection out of myself and nothing less.  It gets tiring 'cause I never can really ever obtain that.


The cake didn't turn out that great.  In fact it was pretty ugly.  But it was my very first cake that was a shape. And that is something to be proud of. Right?

And why should I be nervous about posting it?

You see.  There is a blog called cakewrecks.  I follow it daily for my daily dose of the giggles. It has pictures of goofy cakes that are messed up or ugly and they blog about them. 

I was terrified someone would take the picture of the cake I am about to blog about and put it on that blog. 

Then I figured, who cares, Rhianna loved it and that is all that matters.

So here goes.

My first attempt at a shaped cake.

 (Because I am a perfectionist I have to have an excuse when I do something that is not even remotely good)
I was very very tired when I did this cake.  I had only a hour to do this cake, using frosting that takes a half hour to make.  Did I mention I was very Very VERY tired when I made this cake? Because I was really Really REALLY tired when I made this cake.

Rhianna wanted a princess themed cake.  I decided it would be fun to do a crown cake.  Originally I was going to do sheet cakes and cut them in the shape of a crown and stack them. 

Then one day at work I saw an angel food cake and starting thinking....

Instead of a flat cake in the shape of a crown, I could do a 3-D look.  A round cake with the crown wrapped around it.

To start:

Next, I iced the cake with a fudge frosting for the fondant to have something to stick to. Rhianna couldn't decide between a white or a chocolate cake. So I made it both flavors (White cake~Chocolate frosting).

The best part about frosting a cake?  Licking the spoon!

Next step was to make the fondant.  (Sorry, recipe is a secret :o)

Then I kneaded the yellow into the fondant to color it the color of gold.  I rolled it out and cut it into the correct shape and size.  I carefully placed it around the cake, patching as I went.

Once the fondant was on the cake and I made a poor attempt of smoothing it, I colored the royal icing to make the gems. 

Rhianna, being the sweetie that she is, picked green for the color of the icing for her name. "'Cause green is Reagan's favorite color."

Rhianna was thrilled with her cake.  She said it was the most beautiful cake she had ever seen.  I realize that it is NOT the most beautiful cake that I have ever seen. But it is what it is.  It made my girlie smile and it doesn't get any better than that.

However, it does look like she is cringing here. Doesn't it? 

And there is my first attempt at a shaped cake.  I guess I can only get better from this point on!

At Rhianna's birthday party I had asked my four year old niece Molly to think of a shape she would like for her birthday cake 'cause I want to practice fun shaped cakes.  Her response?  "I'll take any shape but a rhombus".  I 'bout howled with laughter.

 *And please don't submit this to cakewrecks...I'd probably cry ;-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quiet Reflection

Sunday mornings I drop the kids off at church for Sunday School and I head back to the cemetery to have a chat with my dad.

 I haven't been doing this for that long of a time.  About a month ago it hit me that once I move, I won't be able to visit dad whenever I wanted. 

And to be totally honest, I didn't make it there as often as I would have liked.

So I decided that a Sunday morning routine was in order.

I have found that I start to look forward to our visits.  By Friday afternoon I look forward to the quiet time I have with my dad. 

I take a cup of coffee and sit at the foot of his gravestone and just chat.  I tell him what I'm sad about.  I tell him what I'm thankful for.  I update him on my week.  I ask him questions.  Questions that I would ask if he were alive.  I always, always tell him how much I miss him and I don't think I can go another day without him.  I.just.plain.miss.my.dad. 

Often I pray to my heavenly Father.  I ask Him for my needs and my desires.  Sometimes I ask Him if He is still there and if He still hears me.  Almost every single time, the clouds break open and the sun rays beam down upon me.  I know that someday, on earth or in heaven, all the desires of my heart will be fulfilled.

I love my weekly talks with my dad.  Its one things I will desperately miss when I'm moved.

A few weeks ago I noticed an older man from our church coming to visit his wife.  I don't know him all that well, but we have some connections.

Last week I waved as he drove by.  I knew that this was a hard place for him to come as well, yet he needed to come as badly as I did.  His wife died 6 months or so ago and he misses her and needs the time to reflect and remember.

After church last week, I went up to him and spoke with him a few minutes about our common meeting place.  He smiled with tears in his eyes and said "its hard to miss someone, isn't it?"

This morning was like other Sunday mornings. 

I dropped the children off for Sunday School and then headed back the long, private lane to our cemetery.

I walked through the wet, muddy grass to dad's resting place.  I squatted down in front of the stone.  Staring at the words "Our Loving Father" printed so clearly on the top.  As much as I want to fight it, tears come to my eyes and begin to fall down my cheeks.  I know I shouldn't be so surprised to see his name etched into the stone.  But every time I see it I gasp for breath.  "It can't be true" I think to myself. "I can't be sitting in front of my dad's grave.  This cannot be happening to me."  One would think that after ten years I would have come to accept this fact.  But I haven't yet.  The thought of it still stuns me and stabs my heart. 

As I sit in front of the marker, telling Dad about my week and the wonderful news that Tricia was being announced for peace at church.  I knew how happy he would be at this.  And I wanted to tell him.  As I sit there in the bitter cold, sipping my hot coffee, I see a truck pull in the lane.  It comes around the gravel drive and pulls up to my car.  The older gentleman steps out and begins to walk across the grass.  My dad was his great-nephew.  So he knows why I'm there.

He stands a few feet from me as I walk towards him.  He throws his arms around me and weeps on my shoulder.  He says "We are both here for the same reason aren't we?  We are here to remember and to reflect."  We both cry for a moment while we hold each other.  He then patted my arm and slowly turned to go.  He needed to visit his wife and knew I needed to finish talking to my dad. 

Later I saw him at church and he looked my way and smiled.  While I always knew we had familial connections, I never had a personal connection with him before.  Now I do.  And I'm thankful for that. 

Next week, on a Sunday morning, I'll expect to see him.  We'll probably stop for a moment and grieve together.  I'm thankful we will have each other on those mornings so it won't seem so empty and lonely. 

Pray for us both, won't you?