May You Dance

May You Dance.

A great New Years message from Christina Rasmussen

Dear Janene,

May your coming year be the year you get to believe that life is owned by you and nobody should tell you how to live it.

I hope you spend countless hours walking next to beautiful crushing waves with sand all over your feet.

May you find ways to express all your feelings so you are open wide for new loves.

I hope this year you will feel understood, seen and loved like never before.

You will find a way every day to laugh regardless of the sorrow you hold in your heart.

I hope this year will be about letting go of your guilt and any regrets you have lingering.

May this year be full of dinners with friends over candle light.

May you dance.

May you laugh so hard your stomach will hurt.

May you see many sunsets.

And start to see the beauty around you once again.

I hope you choose to have less material things and more life experiences.

I wish for you to travel more, even if it is to go to the town next door.

May your coming year give you the courage to look in the mirror without walking out on yourself. (Click to Tweet!)

And I hope you get more flowers. Flowers everywhere.

And more music, more art.

More you.

More play.

More of everything you want.

But most of all more hope, hope that things can get better. Not because time is passing by but because you are strong enough to choose life once again.

Happy New Year.

Christina Rasmussen

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A New Pair of Shoes

new shoes

Girls like shoes. Girls like new shoes…and clothes and well you know everything!

I am a girl and I like them too, but I don’t like shopping. That’s a dilemma. You can’t get new if you don’t go out to get new. (Yes I know you can shop online but that doesn’t fit the analogy…just go with it).

Recently I have lost weight, no not from grief, that’s how I gained most of it, I ate my feelings. Over and over, there were a lot of feelings! I was frumpy, unfit and unhappy. I made a very conscious decision to change all that and am glad to say its’ working. So I have a pile of fat clothes and a dwindling amount of things that actually fit properly. But I hate shopping.

So I can stay in my fat clothes, or make the effort to get new ones.   I face a few of these dilemmas nowadays.   Buying new clothes is not a big dilemma but what I sell and what I keep, do I move house, what church I attend now, how do I parent alone…all have been big questions for me, but they are all figured out the same way. By asking myself “what is the best thing in order to keep moving forward. “

The fact is I need a whole new wardrobe. My clothes had to change to a new size, a no-more-husband-size, its different now. But my shoes still fit, my feet didn’t get fat! So do I need new shoes too?

New clothes need new shoes to match. A new life needs a new attitude. The old things just don’t match anymore. It’s not the same. I cannot move forward holding onto the past. Is my husband only in my past, no! He will forever occupy a room in my heart; he will forever be my kids’ dad and if there is ever anyone new to love in my life they will need to accept that. But my life is different now. If I keep looking backwards I can’t see where I am going, I trip and I fall.

I need to look to happiness, to love, to life, to a future. I need new things that fit my new life.

I need new shoes to match the outfit.

“No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.” Mat 9:17 (The Message)


Prickle Underfoot

I’ve had a setback.

But that’s just life I have decided. Rocky roads and prickly ground does not signal the end of happiness.

It was a hard week. I was really down, I felt let down by a friend, it accentuated my aloneness and it hurt. So I decided to take my mind of it with a girly pampering afternoon…but it didn’t work. While being girlied up one of my kids had an accident (reserving details because it’s not just my story), this couldn’t be happening.

On my way to the accident scene I switched into crazy-mumma-fix-it-get-everything-done mode and powered through the rest of the day which included hours at hospital and police reporting. By the time we got home I was exhausted. I tossed all night long and woke early for work and to juggle the next round of accident related needs.

I chose to ignore the fact that I didn’t yet have enough emotional resilience for all of this. That was a big mistake. 24 hours later my world became unstable. I felt flung back into the depths of grief, and it felt permanent. Like an old enemy had sprung up ready to shoot me down.

When asked I was “fine thanks” when help was offered I honestly didn’t know what to ask for. Except… I really just wanted a hug, but found it hard to ask for one!! Do you do that? Or is that just me?

Whilst going for a walk a couple of days later I trod on some prickles, and then some more prickles. They weren’t life threatening, but for that moment they took my breath away and for the next few steps I could still feel the pain. Of course I am fine now, no prickles can be felt. But it highlighted my previous couple of days. They had been the same. They took my breath away and I have had a little limp ever since, but I know I will recover.

Prickles are just part of life. A well-tended lawn may not seem to have any, but an unexpected prickle can still spike you when you least expect it. Grief is like that. Life is like that. All is well then a couple of prickles move your attention again to pain. But it’s not a permanent injury.

It’s just a prickle.

A few deep breaths the pain is gone, life can resume. I will keep reminding myself of that. Life will resume. My child is OK, I am OK.

It was just a prickle.


The Upside of Death

light in the dark

What is it about death that causes you to stand up and pay attention to life?

I used to be a very content home body. Happy being wife and mum, in fact, I felt it was my highest calling. I know I’m supposed to go on about how women can have it all these days, but for me, it was having it all. Oftentimes that calling was exhausting and time alone at home was a rare prize. But I loved it. Now I can hardly contain the need to get out and live.

I guess living becomes more deliberate, more on purpose; after all it is precious and finite. I know that now. I think the living helps the loss to shrink. It pushes grief out of the way, like light chasing away the shadows and illuminating a path to hope I was convinced I’d never see again. Not denial, I certainly know it happened, that empty space beside me screams it, I am fully aware of what I have lost.

I also feel a responsibility to show the kids life goes on, even after our darkest days. I’m it, the only parent left so I better be fit, healthy and living a full and happy life. I can do this, and so can they. Of course, realistically, I still have grief moments that interrupt the living, but they are part of the remembering and that’s OK, as long as the living is resumed.

Loving kids, family and friends have been crucial, I would not have made it on my own.  But I can see now that my faith has been a huge influence. Even when I blamed God and couldn’t understand how He was loving and just in letting Paul die, even then, I felt His hand in the small of my back nudging me on, willing me to live. A patient Gentlemen who never swore back at me, even in the coldness of my accusations. I am eternally grateful.

So I guess this is an upside of grief…that seems so wrong to write, but surely I deserve an upside, a silver lining, a rainbow after the storm?? Life is the upside.  A determined spotlight on living.

The contrast between life and death is massive, like the difference between light and dark. Once the light hits the darkness it just isn’t dark anymore.


Bull by the Horns!

I am doing well.

16 months into this journey I know I am a different person to what I was. I now feel a determination to get on with life. To take the preverbal bull by the horns, dig my heels in and live. Oops mixed metaphors! But one was not enough!

I don‘t want to think about death all the time, I get it already!! I know grief and I just don’t want to look at it anymore. I know I will still have moments; I’m not naive to that. But the doom and gloom has to end. I’m giving it immediate notice, it needs to move out, its role has ceased.

Instead, I can look to living well and begin to make decisions that bring hope for the future. I will always, always love my Paul, no question there. Indisputable.  But I think even he will be glad to gaze down from Heaven and think “Thank God woman, just get the heck on with it!” I knew him, I know how he thought. Just not sure if you can say “heck” from actual Heaven??

If something scares me I just need to do it afraid from now on. I believe strongly that God has my back, I will be OK. He is my backstop, nothing gets by Him. I also know myself and know I’ll stuff something up. I am over emotional at times, read situations more sensitively than I ought and discouragement can chase me. Maybe I should just let those things through to the Keeper.

I will take the bull by the horns, stare that sucker in the eye and bullrefuse to let him run me down. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what the actual future holds, really none, but I am going to live it anyway.

I am going to live it well, no bull.


Honouring Paul

Sometimes grief has nowhere to go, nowhere to hide and no solace to be found. Sometimes I’m just homesick for a place I cannot go. I am not a mess in tears, I am not falling to pieces, I just have an ache. I miss him, I miss us, I miss him being dad. Every minute filled with a memory, a regret or a longing. A hundred thoughts one minute and then a single thought of holding his hand the next.

Today he is gone 15months, tomorrow is his birthday, he would have been 43, and in 4 days it’s Father’s day. A week to honour him, a week to look Heavenward and try and feel his smile shining back down. The ache has me a little stuck in my emotions, a little spent, a little not quite knowing if I’ll cope to open the floodgates again.

So in order to get my thoughts, my love, out and unstuck I will share my honour of Paul with you. 

  • I honour you my love for loving me above everyone else on the entire planet
  • For finding grace in the midst of pain
  • For loving your kids more than your own life
  • For always, always wanting the best for your family
  • For never ever calling me fat! Even when I was!
  • For working out my love language before I knew it
  • For tirelessly seeking Gods best for us all
  • For holding me
  • For being my best friend, my soul mate, my confidant
  • For convincing me two are better than one, then proving it
  • For being open, honest and real with me, even when it hurt
  • For being a spunk, more and more every year
  • For battling bravely for 18 months through pain and fear
  • For believing in me more than I do myself
  • For all the beautiful moments I cannot share here
  • For waiting, for showing purity in an impure world
  • For giving up on arguing and trying to kiss me when I was still mad
  • For being taller than me and loving my tallness
  • For believing I loved you and sharing your heart with me

And for so much more, but they are tonight’s thoughts.  I am lighter, and the ache is a little less. Honour is a good thing. Being thankful, even in the midst of loss, can free a burden, and put things right.

 He is gone from here, but honoured forever. 

Is 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.” (Amplified Bible)

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Single Parenthood – Grace in the Desert

                                                   hand-pouring-sand

I realize single parents have to do all the tasks; laundry, cleaning, shopping, endless running around after kids etc. But it’s not always those things that are the hardest. Of course sometimes the actual doing of these things is exhausting beyond belief but when rest finally finds you, recovery follows.

I am a widowed single parent. Something hard to understand until you’ve faced it personally, when you’re forced to stare in the face of circumstances and make them part of your life. Your own life, not someone else’s, not a movie you can watch and leave behind in the cinema, but yours. This is hard for me, I know I am a single parent logically, but in my heart I still find it hard to accept. All the responsibilities land on me, no one else, no Dad somewhere else, no consultation about anything. I have focused hard on coming to terms with my widowhood, and focused on trying to heal, but being a single mum adds another dimension.

The hardest part about being a single parent for me is not having a partner. Sounds obvious right? What that means to me is that there is no one else on the face of this earth that has the same vested interest, unconditional love, or do-whatever-it-takes energy towards my family as I do. No one to come alongside when I have had enough, no one that chooses not to just come and go in the kids’ lives as they please, because parents, well good parents, no matter the circumstances are always there for their kids. So when two becomes one there is just less and that just seems so unfair for the kids. That becomes part of the kids “loss” and the control freak in me just can’t handle not being able to change that.

For arguments sake let’s say shared parenting is about 50/50. Now that I’m on my own, can I possibly become the 100% they need? I really don’t believe I can. My reality is that I became about 75%, give or take. Your normal 50 + everything extra you try to cover. But try as I might I can never be male, never be their Dad, never be all they need; I come up short, and very tired! So two things come to mind about figuring this out. Firstly I just need to accept the reality, it is what it is so for goodness sake I should take the pressure of myself and quit trying to be everything. Secondly, I have faith in God and He will need to help me accept the first thing and I need to trust Him to be there tangibly for my kids.

I have come to believe that Gods love for my kids is endless, fearless and pursuing. Even if they can’t see that yet. From the time they were but a twinkle in His eye He has loved them unconditionally and without hesitation, and will continue to do so forevermore. Gods position on that love does not move if they doubt or make a mistake, His desire is relationship with them not retribution, He is fearless. God is a pursuer, He never gives up on people, instead He waits for them to choose Him. He never forces, He actively waits, endlessly offering love, acceptance and grace.

When all seems hopeless, dry deserts, lost loves, battles lost, God offers us love, grace and repair. That’s one amazing Dad. Even if I tried my hardest every single minute of every single day I could not offer what He can, I can never ever be enough, it’s His design. I will believe in that design and hope my actions follow suit. I will trust that He is enough for my kids, enough for me; He is Father to the fatherless.

This is the way God put it:
“They found grace out in the desert,
these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again,
dear virgin Israel.
You’ll resume your singing,
grabbing tambourines and joining the dance.
You’ll go back to your old work of planting vineyards
on the Samaritan hillsides,
And sit back and enjoy the fruit—
oh, how you’ll enjoy those harvests!
The time’s coming when watchmen will call out
from the hilltops of Ephraim:
‘On your feet! Let’s go to Zion,
go to meet our God!’”
Jeremiah 31:2-6 (The Message Bible)


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