Read the Road Signs

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I recently attended an event where the car was parked in an unfamiliar area away from the action. While this normally would not be a problem, this particular evening one very important detail was skipped. I did not read the road signs. The road signs went unnoticed so that upon returning for the car, it couldn’t be found for quite a while. When the vehicle was finally occupied and headed toward the safety of home, I thought through the actions of the evening that caused the dilemma and had several revelations.

Upon initially parking, I was preoccupied and failed to remember the road signs near the car. I allowed unnecessary thoughts and conversations to take place to the point of distraction. While I didn’t realize it at the time, the enemy was setting me up for what he hoped to be catastrophe later in the evening. Instead of noticing where the parking lot was located, I blindly walked, following the crowd, to the event.

Which leads me to my second revelation. When leaving the event to find the car, I found that blindly following the crowd was not to my advantage. Often times when moving through grief, we see how others walk and where they are going and make the assumption that we are all going to the same location. That could not be further from the truth. While many face loss and grief, your journey is yours and is not the same as the people you watch and are inclined to follow. While they may be able to give direction and advice at times, their path is not necessarily your path.

Another lesson learned from failing to read the road signs is that when you are truly lost and have no clue as to where you are, recall what is familiar and go from there. What is it that worked for you in the past? Where have you found safety and comfort previously? Is it possible to back-up just a bit so that you can begin to retrace your steps and find something you recognize as a landmark in order to gain your bearings again? If so, take action and move in that direction. Be proactive in order to once again find your way.

The final revelation I will relate to you today is that lashing out at others will not help your situation. While you may be frustrated and perhaps even a bit frightened, try to remain kind and patient with yourself and with those around you. Getting upset will not help you find your way any faster. If you have failed to read the road signs, choose to problem solve and figure things out instead of allowing the enemy and the situation to get the better of you. Breathe a quiet prayer and ask for guidance and direction. You will be able to analyze and think clearer when you remain composed.

Just as the car was eventually located and my journey home begun because of persistence, you too can eventually find your way along your path. When you refuse to give in to defeat and hopelessness, you will gain confidence and realize that the lesson to read the road signs can apply to all of life. Pay attention to where you are and you will be able to look forward toward your destination with hope and excitement. Remembering to read the road signs will save you from frustration and wasted time and gain you confidence and joy as you walk your journey.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. With the holidays just around the corner, this may be just the gift your friends and family need to help them. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Push your buttons

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There are times in life when people do their best to push your buttons. They say things just to egg you on and get you to react. They may do this just to see what you are made of. Perhaps they feel this is a way to have some fun with you, hoping that your reaction will be one of joking right back with them. If you have siblings, you have probably experienced them pushing your buttons as you grew up. Doing so is a form of communication that is not necessarily bad.

As you walk through grief, it is possible for others to push your buttons unintentionally. Unknowingly, people may say things that remind you of your loved one and the loss you have suffered. Innocent comments inquiring as to your well-being can push you towards painful remembrances and lead you down a path you would rather avoid. Unfortunately avoidance can hold you back and keep you in your grief longer. There comes a time when you need to face your memories.

It is also possible for you to push your own buttons. In other words, you set yourself up for pain and ache by placing yourself in a position that reminds you of your grief. This can actually be a healing procedure. In order to get through your pain and to move along on your grief journey, you need to be able to face the path you have been forced to walk. Avoidance will only prolong your pain and slow down your journey through grief. The ability to live a full life again and learn to find joy instead of mourning your loss will be discovered as you have the courage to push your buttons to remember and embrace your loss.

When you are able to do this, you will see what you are truly made of. You may surprise yourself and discover that you can indeed endure and survive much more than you thought possible. Learning to move forward and feel better about life does not take the significance or the value away from the relationship you have seen come to an end. Learning to place one foot in front of the other does allow you to take the love and experience you have had in the past and put it toward healthy relationships now before you.

Do not fear it when you push your buttons. Realize that your courage is to be commended and others will be cheering for you along the way. Give yourself time and be patient. There is no need to push all of your buttons at the same time. Little by little you will make progress. Have a little grace with yourself and choose a button or two to approach and push. When you feel you have a handle on those items, then you will find it easier to push another button and continue your grief journey further. The progress you will make will please and amaze you.

So go ahead. Get ready, get set, and push your buttons. Watch your journey unfold as the fear and pain that hold you captive dissipate and you move forward along your path.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Learning through the pain

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I just read one of those silly quotes on Facebook that stated, “Starting tomorrow whatever life throws at me, I’m ducking so it hits someone else.” While I laughed when I saw this, I quickly realized what a profound statement this really is and I stopped smiling. If these last five years have taught me anything, it is to truly think of the impact that words and actions can have on yourself as well as on others. Learning through the pain of grief is possible and actually is something to be pursued.

Facing the loss of a loved one is certainly difficult. Saying a final good-bye is harder than anyone can imagine. Until you have to do this, until you survive the physical and mental anguish of death, there is no way you can truly know what another person is going through. While you may get tired of feeling hit and hurt by life, remember that learning through the pain is possible.

‘Life’ does have a way of throwing things at you, especially when you are feeling down. There will be days when you think there is no way you can take anymore. It hurts too much. You simply do not think you have the strength. When you feel that way, you need to realize the truth in that thought. You really do not have the ability to withstand all that ‘life’ brings your way. The key to surviving the ups and downs of life is to look hard to find the meaning behind your experiences and to know the source of true strength.

While I would never desire or ask to go through what I have experienced these last five years, I am able to now see that I have grown. I know that I cannot have empathy and real compassion for others if I have not experienced a pain of my own. My grief can be used to encourage and help others who face similar aches and losses. Even though I will not know the exact hurt or circumstance others may be facing, I can listen and show compassion. I can also point them to the Source of strength – God.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)

Knowing these things, I suppose I would be willing to take the blows again instead of ducking for someone else to be encumbered by them. So when you feel as if you have been cheated and beaten down, hold on to the fact that God is enough. He wants to see you through the difficult times. He has great plans for you and a purpose for your life. When you feel bombarded, stand strong and face the blows with confidence. Take a step back and regroup if you must. Keep trusting that there is a great life ahead.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Destructive Power

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A few days ago marked the fifty-year anniversary of a huge, powerful, F5 tornado that struck my hometown of Topeka, Kansas. June 8, 1966 was a day that changed life for many people, including my family. My family of 8, 2 parents, and six kids (the youngest to be born 6 months after this date) actually faired better than many did that fateful evening. The destructive power of that storm was easy to see in the path of flattened homes and the destroyed businesses left behind.

The pain of loss can also have destructive power, although it might not be as visible to the human eye. The ache of having to say good-bye to a loved one is physically painful especially in the early days of grief. However, when compared to the destructive power of a mighty storm, hope can be found if you are able to look beyond the initial shock and sting of loss.

Months and years following that huge, frightening tornado, found people rebuilding and slowly recovering after their great loss. The devastation of the storm did not last forever. While the path of the tornado was evident for years, hope sprung up as the cleanup began and new growth could be seen.

You can experience that same hope as healing from your loss begins in your life. Your journey of grief can slowly but surely lead you to new growth as well. It is important to acknowledge your loss and allow yourself to experience your pain so that you can move through it. Ignoring the destructive power of grief will only cause you to relapse and fail to heal. In order to build your life and create your new normal, you must recognize several facts.

First, admit that you have lost someone that you love and you miss. Coming to terms with the path of destruction that grief can create is the only way you will find the trail on which to build. Go ahead and allow yourself time to shed tears and mourn what is no longer. Doing so is productive and vital to your healing and growth in life.

Second, realize that the hurt and pain you now experience does not have to stay the same. The ugliness of loss can lead to a beautiful life if you are open to change and are willing to embrace it after you have given yourself time to grieve. Take hope is seeing how others have recovered after such devastating loss and know that you too, can one day hold your head high with a smile on your face.

Third, your future is what you make it. That may seem hard to grasp right now if you are in the midst of fresh loss. However, do the hard work of grief – admitting and feeling your pain and then being open to eventual change – and you will see the pay off by waking up one day and experiencing joy and happiness. Your deep sorrow will not last forever. Trust that fact and look for more.

Do not let the destructive power of death hold you captive. Choose instead to hope and dream that there will come a day when those dreams will be fulfilled. Here is to brighter days and beautiful future.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Special Memories

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Along the grief journey you reach a point where you are able to look back and reminisce without great pain. Allowing yourself to enjoy special memories is something you may doubt will ever happen. However, when you do the work of grief, facing your fears and being honest with yourself, you are rewarded with seeing a measure of joy in remembering.

Some of my special memories are the funny times. Recently I found an incredible gift. Sorting through papers I found an old email I had printed off years ago where Alan had spent time listing nearly one hundred special memories of our years together. It was almost as if he knew I would need that list someday. Reading through the page, I found myself chuckling again at some of the crazy, funny times that we had together.

I also noticed other times that held suspense and tension. Such as the time Alan courageously drove through the hollowed-out tree in the redwood forest. I was too nervous and claustrophobic to ride along so I had jumped out to watch him go through alone. Reading the list, I also recalled the time of sitting together with no electricity due to a blizzard raging outside while we kept our two fireplaces going to warm the house, hoping the pipes wouldn’t burst. Knowing that he “had my back” in those days still brings me comfort today. Realizing you are cared for in such a way impacts how you can move forward in life today.

Even if your loved one is not present in your life, you can picture how they used to cheer you on and speak up for you when others failed to do so. You are that same person even in their absence. You are someone who is valuable and worth defending; someone who can have the confidence to face the future because you remember what you have survived in your past.

Are you able to articulate what your special memories are to someone? Perhaps you find it easier to write them things down. Create a journal to carry forward with you. Maybe you choose to be more artistic and desire to develop a memory board or a photo display. Whatever it is that allows you to smile and think back fondly on past days with your loved one is worth spending time on. Facing your past allows you to move forward to your future.

Determine to begin remembering, listing, and enjoying your special memories for the sake of grieving your loved one in a healthy and productive way. You will be glad you did.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Every Man for Himself

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Barry Manilow concert in downtown Denver. This was a special night I had planned for months with friends of mine. As time approached I decided that I would take the light rail from my suburban home into Denver. Having done this quite often, I had no reservations about the plan. However, little did I know that the night would end up with me fighting the mentality of every man for himself.

The problem occurred after the fantastic evening at the Denver Convention Center where my friends and I greatly enjoyed the music and show. Thank you Barry! The walk to and wait for the train was not beyond what was expected. However, clues of difficulties could be seen as we jammed on a short train and crept along at a snail’s pace instead of the usual zipping from station to station. Apparently there was maintenance being done on the track down south that was slowing our progress. The four of us successfully made it to the transfer station and after a rather long wait I was first to bid my three friends good-bye as I hopped onto the D Line train.

Little did I know that my innocent choice would lead to several hours of being stranded and experiencing the every man for himself attitude of this world. We only managed to crawl slowly one stop south when apparently we lost power. This resulted in the air halting, the lights growing rather dim and completely going out at times, and most disturbingly our train being stuck. We sat for a while and then the conductor came on saying the train was out of commission and we were basically on our own. They were going to look into getting busses to pick us up but no timeline could be established. We could sit on the train or unload and figure it out on our own. They finally managed to get a couple of emergency doors open and we all began to pour out into the night, badly needing fresh air.

This is when the learning really began. There was no plan and no cooperation between passengers to figure things out. Thinking back on it this morning, I can compare the experience to journeying through grief.

As you find yourself disconnection and alone in a sudden unfamiliar life-path, you often have to figure out how to move forward outside of your well-laid-out plan. One moment you have your destination in sight and you are excited for what the future holds. The next, you are standing feeling very alone in a crowd of strangers with no one understanding quite what to do or in what direction to walk.

While the conductor on the light rail failed to give clear instructions last night, that is actually a great picture of what it is like to live facing death and loneliness. No one can really determine your path except for you. Hopefully you will be able to connect through support groups to find others in similar situations to help you learn to navigate your grief journey. However, in order to do so, you often need to be brave enough to reach out and admit your need for help and direction.

Last night, I swallowed my pride and usual sense of independence and called me son, who gladly came and picked me up even though it was close to midnight by that time. He later commented that he did not want me standing in the dark or riding a bus trying to figure out how to get to my car by myself.

That is how the grief journey is, my friends. There are people around more than willing to help. However, they often do not realize that you need assistance nor do they know how to come to your aid. They fear doing the wrong thing, so they fail to do anything at all. Put your pride aside, be courageous, and ask for help. Admit first to yourself that you do not know how to get to your destination and then be open to someone who God places in your life. These people can take your hand and cheer you on as you figure out how to move forward on your journey of grief.

Keep moving! Refuse to cave in to the every man for himself mentality of today. Instead open up and receive the blessing of others and the relationships they can offer you as you formulate and figure out your next step in moving forward.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

You can certainly do this

 

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While walking through grief, your emotions will freely flow and be quite unpredictable at times. One moment you are walking down the sidewalk and the next you are standing in tears. Perhaps you saw someone who looked just like your loved one. Maybe a familiar fragrance wafted through the air. A special song plays through the open window of a passing car taking you back to special memories that tug at your heartstrings and render you useless for a moment. As you try to recover, glancing over your shoulder to see if anyone is watching you fall apart, remember that you can certainly do this.

Dealing with the deep and lasting pain of grief and loss is hard. Unless it is experienced first-hand though, understanding the grief journey is difficult. Instead of living the life you had planned and dreamed of, you find yourself forging a new path, not quite sure of your destination. There is no clear map as to where to go, how to get there, and what your end goal actually is. Even with all those doubts and uncertainties cascading into your life, be encouraged and find hope. You can certainly do this.

One of my favorite lessons to teach and recite from the Bible is found in Numbers 13. It is the story of Moses sending a team to spy out the Promised Land for the Israelites. While the mission wasn’t exactly a success and doesn’t end the way you would expect, there are valuable lessons to learn. Moses sent out twelve men to sneak in and test the waters of a new country that God had promised His people. They were to check out the lay of the land. What food grew there? Who lived there? What were they like? Were the cities fortified?

When the spies returned from their mission, they brought with them evidence of the incredible crops that awaited them there. However, ten of the men were fearful, saying the people who lived there were too powerful for them to overtake. Never mind that God had promised them this land and victory over the inhabitants. They dug in their heels and refused to budge.

However, two of the spies spoke up and said let’s do this! We can win! God is on our side! There is nothing to fear! Unfortunately, because of the people’s doubts, they had to wait before experiencing victory over that land and the people there. Great blessings were missed and years of headship were ahead because of their stubbornness and fear.

The grief journey can be like the unknown territory that scared most of these spies into inaction and disobedience. It looks scary. Walking forward and moving into the unknown seems impossible and too big to handle. Be encouraged – you can certainly do this.

Though people and situations may render you unable to move forward at times, know that those are temporary bumps in the road. God promises that He has not brought you here to leave you helpless and hopeless. He wants to strengthen you, help you, and even carry you when you are unable to propel yourself forward.

Choose to let Him do this. Set your mind on the task ahead and move forward at your own pace. When you grow weary, stop and rest. When energy returns, continue on the journey. You can certainly do this. Hold tight to the promise that is given to Joshua, one of the spies who spoke up and believed the victory was theirs. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I never used to

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Before I experienced death and grief in my family, I never used to dread coming home from work and the long, quiet hours that accompanied the evening. I recall phone calls on the drive home talking about possibilities for dinner and plans for spending the night together. At times that involved household chores. Other days held the promise of a special movie, concert, or just sweet conversation together.

I never used to struggle with figuring out what to eat and how to fill my body with the proteins and nutrients needed to stay healthy when I have no desire to cook. Having an appetite has become a thing of the past. Caring about eating the right foods at acceptable times of the day has become a puzzle that oftentimes seems to be missing a piece.

Lying awake for hours is a nightly ritual. Dreading the routine of bedtime even when the body is fatigued makes no sense, but is a common battle these days. Restful sleep is elusive, causing mornings to be filled with exhaustion and a lack of energy. I never used to toss and turn in bed. I have heard it said, “Just close your eyes.” However, that only opens the door for the memories of times gone by, accentuating the reality of what is missing today.

While there is plenty to be done in the home to fill up hours, finding the motivation to accomplish these tasks is difficult. Doing the work of two people in keeping a house in shape demands organization and work. I never used to lack the desire to get busy and finish the to-do-lists. But now when I see those lists, I feel overwhelmed and experience despair. How will I ever get it all done? Why even try? It really does not matter anyway, does it?

I never used to cry so much. Even though the tears fall less often than when grief first struck our family, the intensity of the sobs has not lessened when they do break through the stoic front I have learned to put forth for the public. The force with which the tears flow at times is still paralyzing. The only comfort is that these episodes occur less often as when the journey first began.

There is one ‘I never used to’ that must be added to this list. Perhaps it is the most important one of all. For without knowing grief and loss personally, I am not sure if a person can honestly know this quality. It is the attribute of I never used to have such a close, minute-by-minute walk with Jesus. While I have known my Savior personally since the age of nine, the relationship I have with Him has been shaped and sharpened by the tragedy and sadness that invaded my family five years ago.

I never used to spend so much time with Him in prayer and Bible study. I never used to be so totally dependent upon Him for my every need. I never used to see His absolute care and provision for my life. I never used to be so bold as to speak out to other hurting people, telling them how they too, can receive help and comfort in their own grief journeys.

As you face your own list of ‘I never used to’, may you discover a new closeness to the only One who can truly make a difference in what your life is now. There is hope. There is healing. There are possibilities that will astound you as your new life – your new normal – takes shape. Be encouraged when you realize how greatly your life has changed. While it is difficult and not what you might have chosen, it can still be a good, productive, and blessed life.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Project Runway

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One of my favorite shows is Project Runway. I enjoy seeing the creativity of those designers. Watching how they make unbelievable clothing from practically nothing at times amazes me. Seeing their success inspires me to take what resources I hold and turn them into a beautiful life.

On Project Runway there is always a twist or theme to which the designers must adhere. However, on the grief journey, there are no such rules or outlines. No one can tell you what today should look like or what tomorrow will hold. So it is up to you to take every opportunity to cherish the past while you create lovely memories for your future.

As I watch the designers sketch, cut, and sew their creations, oftentimes their plans seem to make no sense. It is hard to catch the vision of their end goal. When Tim Gunn enters the room and gives his critique, alterations may occur and a new direction taken due to his expert advice.

Your journey is much the same. You may find that the path you are walking is not healthy or good for you. Perhaps you are failing to care for yourself physically. Maybe you have entered into harmful relationships where your best interest is not considered. Seeing these dangers and difficulties, you may need to change your path. Alter your journey in order to build a better life for yourself. While you are in the middle of grief, it is not easy to envision what your life will look like tomorrow, next month, or next year. However, it is important that you do your best to live each day with wise choices, being ready to adjust and make alterations along the way.

Five years after the loss of my husband, I am now seeing more good days. Life seems a bit brighter. I have had to make adjustments along the way and I am sure more will occur just down the road. That is all part of life in general. Preparing yourself to make small alterations in your journey as you are able, will help you fashion a better life for yourself in your own Project Runway experience.

The grief journey is not what anybody gladly chooses. However, it is something that everyone will experience at some time in life. Being willing to sketch, cut, and create your own new path will guide you toward a beautiful creation in the future. A creation that is brighter and better than you might ever think possible.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Little Things

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Journeying through grief is full of huge challenges. Whether you are saying goodbye to a loved one after a long illness, or find yourself suddenly dealing with a loss, there is no denying that change is part of your reality now. Facing the fact that life will be forever different is difficult and sad. While there are big hurdles to jump over as you learn to live without your loved one, you will find that the little things can also cause you to stop and catch your breath.

Finances can be tricky to maneuver when your loved one was the major breadwinner in your family. Perhaps you depended upon their transportation, not being a driver yourself. While these circumstances certainly demand immediate attention as you learn to adjust and survive the great pain of grief, what about the little things?

These are the everyday, rarely thought of items that occur in the background of life. The little things often taken for granted until they suddenly stop being part of your world. Things like the sound of fresh coffee brewing in the morning, dirty socks on the floor, and the aroma of soap and cologne drifting from the bathroom. Walking in the front door and seeing a bouquet of flowers on the table “just because” may be a sight you miss and remember fondly.

I recall coming home from various work trips to find that Alan would have repainted a kitchen wall as a surprise, rearranged the bedroom furniture to try something new, or he had built a fire in the fireplace with pillows and blankets placed on the floor, candlelight glowing and a favorite movie ready in the DVD player. The phone calls to ask what he could pick up from the store on the way home from work or choosing to let me sleep in a bit on a Saturday morning while he started a load of laundry for us were thoughtful tasks he performed. Washing the car and making sure it was full of gas and ready for the week were two things I could always count on him doing for me. Those little things are often overlooked and under appreciated until they are gone.

As you journey through grief, what are the little things that you miss? Recalling those and then finding a way to provide some of them for yourself can be comforting. I occasionally buy myself a little bouquet of flowers. Their aroma and pretty colors have a way of brightening my day. The little things can encourage you to move forward in grief, even in the midst of great loss and pain.

Take a look to determine if there is a something you can do to contribute to your happiness today. Perhaps making a list of the little things you miss the most will give you some creativity in moving forward toward health and healing as you journey through grief.

Until next time –

Karen

Won’t you consider buying Grief Letters for a loved one or for yourself? Begin the year with hope and purpose. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

ResizeImageHandler.ashx

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.