Sunday November 27 2011 8:00 pm | Comments (0) Tags: , , ,

It is November 27th and today I’m thinking about stuffing.

Of course I’ve been thinking of the yummy turkey and stuffing I ate on Thanksgiving at my sister Shelley’s house.

But today, a different kind of stuffing came to mind. This kind of stuffing isn’t edible but it affects every area of my life.

It is stuffed emotion.

As my husband, Steve, and I work through our How We Love book, many different issues have have been exposed and we are both working toward revealing them, feeling them, dealing with them and experiencing healing from them.

Our eight weeks of group meetings with our How We Love small group ended last Tuesday. I’m sad we won’t be gathering every Tuesday with an incredible group of people who started out as strangers and quickly became friends.

We all learned about feelings we never dealt with in our youth and how they affect all of our relationships as adults. We shared our stories and encouraged each other in the journey of discovering the love imprints that harm our marriages, friendships, family and work relationships. It is such a blessing to watch the healing begin.

There are so many emotions we experience in a lifetime but today I’m thinking about one in particular.


Grief is one of my stuffed emotions that came to the surface about the second week of our How We Love group meetings.

I realized today when I wrote the date in my journal that this grief had been buried deep in my soul for the last forty-six years.

On November 27, 1965, at 2:20 a.m., my dad took his last breath in a hard-fought battle lost with lung cancer.

We were all gathered in Helena, MT for Thanksgiving. Dad was in the VA Hospital. I had not been allowed in the hospital room where my dad was dying. So none of it was real to my little seven year old mind. I was confused but had no one to answer my questions.

Early Saturday morning, I suspected he had died because I overheard my Aunt Jo on the telephone telling someone “The angels took him home about 2:20 this morning.” But when I asked my brother Bob about it, he told me I was wrong and that I should never again say that dad was dead.

No one talked about it. We packed our bags and headed home to Anaconda. There was a buzz of activity but nobody sat me down to tell me the details.

I actually heard the truth that my dad had died that day when I overheard my sister LeAnne’s friend tell her she was sorry to hear our dad had died.

I never saw my mom cry about dad’s death. I’m sure she did, but not in front of me. The way my family dealt with this grief was to stuff it, pull up our bootstraps, and move forward with that Devine smile hiding the pain.

I had cried privately many times throughout my life, missing my dad. But I know now I had never really processed the grief in a healthy way.

My dad 9-19-17 to 11-27-65

That is until eight weeks ago when, while working through the How We Love homework,  I got an email from my cousin Howie Devine. It contained the words penned by my uncle Howard (Howie’s father and my dad’s brother) where he shared the detailed account of the last hours of my dad’s life. He described the church packed with family and friends and the meaningful military funeral with a twenty-one gun salute and taps played in the distance.

He told the story of how when he got home to Illinois, the clock in his bedroom has stopped at 2:20 a.m., the hour of dad’s death.

Suddenly it became real to me. After reading this letter, I could not stop crying. Forty-six years of stuffed tears flowed. I wondered if they would ever stop.

Thankfully I was able to share this with my siblings who had similar responses to the email. And I finally felt it was okay to let the tears flow. Then at small group later that night, I shared what happened and received the comfort and support that was missing so many years before.

Back in 1965, the amount of comfort I had received from an overwhelmed mom of ten kids who had just lost her husband, was the best my mom could give. But it taught me to stuff my pain and not ask for comfort in many other areas of my life.

Not any more. I can’t tell you how this process is changing my life. I’m letting go of things that have been buried for way too long.

Now I am using tools I learned in How We Love. I came up with four easy steps to work through the process of healing from past hurts that affect present relationships.

  • Reveal: Speak up when I feel the need for comfort. I’m talking about what is going on in my heart. No more buried feelings.
  • Feel: Use words from the feeling word list available in the book. (A great tool to help you explain what you are feeling.) Let the emotions flow.
  • Deal:  I’m asking questions when I need answers. I’m sharing feelings and thoughts with Steve that I never shared with him in the thirty-five years we’ve known each other. I’m getting help from my counselor in the areas I feel stuck.
  • Heal: I’m allowing Jesus to heal those broken places. My relationships are improving and we are learning a new love imprint of the secure connector.

No more stuffing for me! I’m free!

How about you? Do you have stuffed emotions you need to share with someone?

I hope you will share your story in the comment section of this blog. Maybe we can give one another comfort in the “stuff” of life that keeps us down.

Come back to my blog where I will continue to share the discoveries we are making in our journey to love the way God intended. It is an exciting journey! We are always learning something new.

God Bless Your Heart!


Learn more about this helpful tool we are using to discover our love imprint at Steve and I plan to continue to spend our Tuesday nights working through the chapters and workbook questions in more detail. We have so much to learn about each other. It is going to be an amazing journey.

A Kiss on the Cheek from God

Recently, I was on a two day writing retreat at Camp Berachah in the Auburn-Black Diamond area of Washington State. My plan was to enter the final edits of my son Gabe’s book titled My Message is C.L.E.A.R., and enjoy some quiet time all by myself. When I arrived, I was given a tour of the grounds.

As I walked the path past the cabins, the pool, the dining hall and the sanctuary, my mind was flooded with memories of the week Gabe attended his first summer church camp at this facility. That was eleven years ago, but it felt like yesterday as emotions I hadn’t felt in years rose in my heart.

That summer of his fifth grade year, he had a wonderful experience at camp, but it was one of the times Gabe was reminded of his limitations. We had not been prepared for the disappointments he experienced when he couldn’t climb on the climbing wall. He was sad when he was unable to participate in the obstacle course. Many of the games we played in the gymnasium were too difficult for him. We had to figure out how I would help him in the boy’s bathroom without embarrassing him or the other campers.

I remembered trying to encourage him at the end of each day while I helped him get ready for bed. We brainstormed alternative ways to participate with the other campers so he didn’t feel left out. For most of the activities we found a way for him to join in, but there were some things he just couldn’t do. Gabe was discouraged and sad. I prayed with him asking God to help us figure things out.

I didn’t want him to feel my own sadness so I maintained a positive attitude whenever I was with him. At night, however, I cried myself to sleep in discouragement and disappointment at the realization of how different Gabe’s abilities were compared to the other kids. It was a very hard time for me but I didn’t want anyone to know I was struggling. I simply stuffed my pain, put a smile on my face, and moved through the days.

Even with these disappointments, there were treasured moments of seeing God at work that entire week. Gabe felt close to God as he made new friends. At most meals, a whole group of girls asked him to eat with them at their table. The camp counselors did a good job trying to accommodate our unique needs.

I call these moments when I sense God at work “kisses on the cheek from God.” These are reminders that He is with us even in the hard times.

One of my favorite memories was when the worship team led the campers in a beautiful song that encouraged them to give their struggles to God and to “come just as you are.” I watched Gabe get out of his wheelchair and walk to the front of the church. A group of new friends surrounded him with prayer as he set his discouragement on the altar before God. It was a sweet moment, and felt a little bit like heaven to see these young people ministering to my broken-hearted son.

By the end of this week of camp, Gabe sensed God’s plan for him to share his story with other kids to encourage them in their own disappointments. Even as a young fifth grade boy, He knew God would use his story to help others. Two years later, he joined a school assembly program and started sharing his story.

You can imagine the emotion welling up in my heart as I sat in my room at the camp, all these years later, finalizing his book in the very place where God met Gabe and ministered to his broken heart.

After entering the edits on the book, I took another walk around the campus and allowed God to minister to all the sadness I had stuffed so many years ago. I listened to worship music on my I-pod and let the tears flow.

It was such a sweet moment to see how God had taken all of us full circle in the process of laying our burdens at His feet. Now as Gabe speaks to thousands of people and as we near the date this book will be released, we can see that God had a plan all along to take Gabe’s disappointments and turn them for good.

I’m thankful for the healing that took place.

This photo is a perfect reflection of how I felt as the healing took place.

I pray for healing in whatever is going on in your heart today. Allow God to touch those places you’ve locked up for years. Let your tears refresh your wounds.
I am praying for you, sweet friend.
My Message is C.L.E.A.R. will be available in January 2012. I will post updates as we approach the release date. Right now we are reserving a copy of the book for you if you make a minimum $15 donation to our nonprofit organization – Gabriel’s Foundation of HOPE. These donations allow us to offer Gabe’s speaking assembly program at minimal cost to the schools. We appreciate your support!


I Speak Dragon!

Monday night, November 7, 2011, I spoke dragon at our Northwest Christian Writer’s Association meeting at 7 pm at Northshore Baptist Church in Bothell, WA.

No need to bring your fire extinquisher. It was not the fire-breathing dragon type stuff. I haven’t quite perfected that skill yet.

During the Write Start portion of the evening program, I shared my experience with Dragon Naturally Speaking, speech recognition software program created by Nuance.
Save up to 40% in the Nuance Fall Sale!

This software is SO cool! Click on the link to check out the version I currently use which is the Home edition. (Scroll down on the above sale link).

Dragon speech recognition software makes it easier for anyone to use a computer. You talk, and it types. Use your voice to create and edit documents or emails, launch applications, open files, control your mouse, and more. Quickly and easily capture your thoughts and ideas while Dragon helps you get more done faster.

My son, Gabe, started using this when he was in junior high school. Imagine how much easier it is for him to type due to his limited finger control. The product has come a long way baby since the edition he first used and now it works so slick! So I bought a copy for myself.

The Dragon Home version is reasonably priced at $99.99 and works well for all your writing needs. (even email and web searches!) Right now they are running a holiday special for $74.99!

If you spend long hours typing, this product will be of great benefit to you. I know for me personally, it has saved my neck from the stiffness and pain I often get when I’m on the computer for long periods of time.

This video explains it way better than I can! Check it out to learn more.

With Christmas coming up, this might be just the gift you are looking for!

Have a blessed week.