Tag Archives: heaven

Flying Solo Now

I 64A3576D-A59A-4DE3-A044-27CDEFBD1BF2write this on a flight to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to celebrate my son’s first published book release. He’s hosting a book launch party this weekend. It seems to be a thing authors do now and it’s a rather big deal.

David’s father would have been excited to attend this event. My husband should be here next to me. But the seat is as empty as the gapping hole in my heart.

We often went places without each other. I’d go and Mike would stay home with Jon or the reverse. Though we didn’t always enjoy our necessary separations, we accepted it as how things had to be. And I always knew he’d be waiting for me when I returned.

This flight feels different than any I’ve taken before. I’m surrounded by people, crammed together inside an Allegiant MD80, yet it’s so lonely. As the miles are absorbed beneath me and the land slides away, the one person on this planet, who knew me better than anyone, who made history and a life with me is missing. I could fly all the way around the circle of the earth in this plane, and not find him.

My husband won’t be there when I go back home. I’m flying solo now.

For those who say “He’s still with you,” or “He’s watching over you, I say “No. Maybe. I don’t know.” There’s no scriptural basis I can find for that. If he is watching me all the time he’s sad at how heartbroken I am without him. There’s not supposed to be any sadness or heartache in Heaven. So I have my doubts.

And right now it’s not enough to think he might be watching me from wherever he is. It’s just not enough for me. I can’t see, hear or touch him. I can talk to the air and tell him how proud we are of our kid’s accomplishments but Mike isn’t here with me to share in it. He doesn’t answer. All I get in return is silence.

Saying he’s with me doesn’t help. It doesn’t make me feel better. In fact, hearing that he’s watching from somewhere I’m not, makes it worse. Only a reminder Mike’s physical presence is sorely missing from mine.

Maybe I’ll be more accepting of such platitudes later. In a year. Or two. Or three. But not now.

So Mike, if by some chance you are listening and if you can see, I’ve arrived now and I’m holding a copy of our son’s book in my hands. It’s amazing. So is he. Just like his father.

And it’s cold in Chattanooga. You’d be complaining right along with me. Wish we could lay here together under this fluffy, warm comforter and talk about it all.

Just want you to know this weekend, you’ll sure be missed at this celebration of what we, and then our son, created.

Fighting The Good Fight

IMG_0858David and I brought Mike home in a 3X6 box yesterday. For now he is resting on the top shelf of the closet we shared covered in that silly Panama Jack hat he liked in Seaworld’s gift shop. Forty two years of a life together and when it’s done you’re handed a box. Talk about putting things in perspective!

My son and I sat in the car and cried together, feeling as if we’re living the book of Ecclesiastes right now. The things of Earth have become extremely dim and eternity seems very near.  Nothing here matters In this moment; not our homes, our cars, food, money, the long, long, long to do list, or even David’s soon to be published book. I admit, I’m saddened the death of his father has stolen David’s excitement for his accomplishment.

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:1.

Heaven is near and reminding us of what really matters. Obviously we must continue living and find provision for our journey here, but all of that is far less important than knowing the Father Heart of God and loving people.

Whatever time remains for us, we will continue honoring Mike’s legacy by doing just that, until it is our turn to proclaim:

“ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing,” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Welcome home, Michael Connis!

What REALLY Matters

IMG_0572Mike’s first job was a newspaper route, trudging through snow, dodging rain, walking the streets where he and I lived as neighbors in upstate New York, As a kid, I remember seeing him walk past our house with a loaded newspaper sack over his shoulder, each paper removed quickly from the bag, efficiently folded into a tight missile and hurled from the sidewalk into doorways and onto front steps. He saved the money he made and bought a motorcycle, his first ride, when he was finally old enough to drive.

He never stopped working after that. When we were first married money was tight, as it is for most couples starting out. Mike took a second job delivering newspapers but now had me to assist. We’d get up at 3 AM every morning. Yawning and blurry eyed, I asked him “Why so early?” He replied, “I guess people like to read the paper with breakfast.”

He taught me how to fold a newspaper into a threefold locked and loaded missile and he’d fire them from the open window of our 1967 Chevy Impala into doorways and and onto front steps. He rarely missed.

Every employer Mike worked for through the years, moved him quickly into a management position. They saw the same diligence in him I did. My husband was always a hard worker and wise money manager. I never had to worry there wouldn’t be a roof over head, food on the table, a car to drive, clothes to wear.

If there was such a thing as a Proverbs 31 man, he fit the description perfectly. He was a Superman provider. He took care of everyone he loved, mostly at his own neglect.

I can’t stop thinking about how he left me several weeks ago. They handed me back his wedding ring and the few items in his pockets and took him away with nothing but the clothes on his back. Every material thing he worked for, our home furnished with craigslist.com bargain treasures, two cars in the driveway, a closet full of clothes, all of it, left behind. He took none of it with him.

There are moments in life that create a seismic shift in priorities and this is one of them. While I’m grateful for a home and the things needed to live on this planet, I’m acutely aware of what matters most.

Jesus summed it up in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the midst of all his hard work, Mike loved his Heavenly Daddy fiercely and he cared deeply for people. His most recent sermon, preached several months ago, was titled, ‘People Matter,’ and many are now calling, writing or stopping to tell me how he touched their life. Everywhere we lived and everywhere he worked, he made a positive difference.

When the last breath leaves your lungs, when all is said and done, the only thing you take with you is the spirit God placed within you and the impact of the people your life has touched. If we are meant to invest in anything between birth and death, it is these.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with God, get one. Now! He has waited since eternity to love you. He wants you with Him when you leave here. So did Mike. So do I.

And every morning when you greet a new sunrise, be intentional in positively impacting every person who enters your day. Lift a life. Love them right where they are and show them they are valued.

Because in the end this is the conclusion of the matter.

This is the ONLY thing that counts.

Heaven Is Here

My dear friend Thelma came to stay with us for a few nights. She needed a quiet retreat to get some work done on several projects; the second, third and fourth books in her “God’s Lil People” series for kids, and another unusual book which I am really excited about! 

Since I’ve known Thelma, she has had a passion for exposing children to the miraculous and supernatural power of a living God. She and her husband, Lou, live with their oldest daughter, son-in-law and their three children in a sprawling house on several acres in Kissimmee, Florida. The oldest granddaughter, who is now ten, has been regularly visiting Heaven in her dreams at night for the past six years or so. When the family finally realizedthis, Thelma began chronicling Rachel’s experiences in the morning after she wakes up. Rachel recites and Grama writes with a fury. 

I just spent a good part of the last few days reading Rachel’s journeys to Heaven (since 2009); her descriptions of what she sees there, rooms and levels, healing grass, mountains that move then explode into waterfalls that flow with healing water to us on earth,  her personally assigned angels named Promise and Laughy, who take her places throughout Heaven, explain things to her and give her a birthday party, people she meets, such as her dad’s parents, who she never knew on earth because they died before she was born, and best of all her wonderful conversations with Jesus whom she often meets in their special “Love Tree” where they climb up to just sit and talk. According to Rachel, the Love Tree has large, beautiful roselike flowers all over it, you can eat them and they taste really wonderful.

It is an adventure full of joy, beauty, love and trust with simple, yet profound revelation of doctrine, theology and scripture, things that Rachel is still too young to understand, but are very evident in her conversations and discoveries. It is also an unveiling of the wondrous heart of God for all His children, who sparkle like diamonds on earth when Rachel and Jesus look at us from Heaven. 

The most awesome surprise in Rachel’s dreams is that Heaven is already on earth and we spend so much time mired in our natural and physical, temporary realities, we aren’t even aware of it. We don’t understand what being, “Seated in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6) really means or what, “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) can do for us nor do we totally grasp the concept of, “On earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We don’t realize that we are already living in the Eternal and this life is just a chapter in the never ending adventure.

The past decade of my life, God has been speaking to my own heart about how complicated I make Him, how I want to do what He has already done and how I attempt to reason instead of trust. Like Rachel says, your spirit where Jesus already lives, should always ‘pump up’ to your mind. Your mind should never ‘pump down’ to your spirit. How I long to live in that place where my mind is servant to God’s spirit within me!
To be privileged to read Rachel’s encounters and have my own understanding further enlightened and my heart set free inside a simple, yet deeper level of truth, is a great joy and honor. I feel as if I’m floating in another realm just thinking of it! I can’t give it all away, but I’m incredibly thankful that I have been asked to be a part of this project-layout, design, editing-whatever way I can help, I am thrilled to do so.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” (Mark:10:14) As Rachel teaches us about the Kingdom of God in Heaven and its connection to earth, I’m more than willing to follow along and learn of Him, whom my soul loves and longs for above all else.

Mark 10:13-16   People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them