Monday, December 17, 2007

Life is something else

I just am back from visiting my ladies group in Newark last night. I have been so touched by their gift of friendship in the last 17 years. This weekend again touched me in deep ways. The picture above was done 20 years ago when my aunt Barb and I went to Paris together on a trip. A artist in Montmartre asked to sketch me and then wanted 100 francs for the picture. I ended up giving him 20 francs. He told me I had the saddest eyes he had ever seen. I have had this picture rolled up in a container all these years, but this last summer, gave it to my friend Connie to look at getting it framed finally. I always loved looking at where I had come from-the sorrow that was so evident in my eyes and life at the time. Well, here I am visiting my friends this weekend--and after they gave me 3 baskets full of gifts to open in the year to come--heartful hug presents-to open--some on specific days--others on days I needed to. Those gifts alone blew me away--such kind and wonderful friends they are. I was deeply touched by these dear women. Then they told me they had one more gift they have been trying to give me for the last month or 2--since all this happened to Sarah. They even have brought this gift to Cleveland and took it home as it wasn't the right time to give it to me. They weren't even sure if this was the right time. As I opened it, I was again so deeply blown away. The picture of me-20 years ago--with those eyes was framed in the most beautiful frame and setting. It gave rich value to the woman and her journey. I felt that I was honored in some sort of deep way by this framing job. I know my eyes still hold deep sorrow. But in those eyes is the most firm hope...the hope of a future in the kingdom of God. Weeping may last for the night--but JOY comes in the morning. I am richer for these gifts, they will travel my year of 2008 with me. They will lighten deep days of grief and remind me of the riches in friends and memories given to me. How rich I am. Wow. I am blown away by the goodness of God in the land of the living.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

feels like a big hole

I was thinking of the 9/11 attack yesterday and thought of how the city of Manhatten was so devastatingly affected in the communication and how the city could function and that is how it feels like to me---Like I am the island of Manhattan and a big hole has been blown in me...and there is this gaping hole--and so much devastation---and just trying to go through the wreckage now to see what is there..
Not to say I have experienced that horrific tragedy that took so many lives--but to me, I can think of no greater loss than to lose Sarah. I feel it has impacted me in the most significant way. Christopher too--and many others have been terribly impacted by this tragedy. I can't seem to look past the minute on some days--and certainly not past the day. It is so hard. I am trying to keep writing and talking and connecting---still terribly sucks. often, the word is ugh...I write it alot in my journal...ugh...just a deep aching...
Trying to lean close to Jesus---knowing He is close--holding me. I know people tell me everyday they are praying for me and for Chris all the time...I know it is true and can't imagine what it would be like if they weren't.
Heaven is inviting---life is calling us to live...and to live and grieve with an eternal hope that says we will see her again...and to live it out before everyone. God please help me, help us to do that.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy 29th Birthday my dear girl

My dear girl-Happy birthday to you. I hold you in my heart today-as do so many of us. I can't imagine what you are doing today--celebrating and dancing? I can't wait to see you and hug you. It is hard to be on this side of the veil and wonder. To trust and believe that there is the most incredible kingdom of God--full of life and love and no more death, sorrow, tears....
You are the joy of my life. You have brought me the best times. I just have loved you Sarah C so much. I can't imagine the days ahead without your imput. So many people have said that they know what you would say about all the things they think about---they are always spoke with clarity and truth. I loved that about you. Underneath the words you would speak was in incredible love for all of us---to compell us to live our lives better--richer, fuller--not holding back. Going for it.
Today I will celebrate your life--and hold you dearly to me. I will toast to you. I feel you leaning on my back sometimes--out of my sight, but like you are so close. I will hug your dear husband today who misses you so....and encourage him to press on too---we do have the best hope to see you again. We need to live that hope out before others--so they too will believe. We want others to know about heaven and Jesus--and how He is the real deal too.
God help us all today who grieve for our dear bella Sarah to not grieve as though we don't have hope---but to grieve with hope--to see her again. To know that this side of heaven is nothing compared to there. I have to believe Sarah is having the best birthday ever and she is hugging on us today somehow.
She was born at 3:27 p.m today---Sarah Christen Ruksenos My angel. What a joy she has been---
I am grateful to have been her mom--the best job I ever have had.
With love to you my dear one---your mom

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Days of grey

It has been 6 weeks ago that Sarah died. It has been the most difficult journey I have ever taken so far in my life. This picture was taken in the Cinque Terra with the 2 of them before her death.
I am speechless for words to adequately describe this journey of loss. I know that dear Christopher also has the same loss of words for his journey of the terrible loss of his wife.
In this, we have seen incredible ways that God has moved to bring more clarity and purpose to many of those traveling this road with us. People living more intentionally. It stops one in their tracks-this type of tragic loss.
I yearn more to go to heaven than ever before. I read Hebrews 13 and want to run fast---towards that place-where there is no more pain, nor sorrow, nor tears, nor death. I am numb. I am lost without my dear daughter to call and tell and talk everything over with. I am missing the many calls during the day with no reason other than to one to make future plans for all the things we loved to do. It is hard to think about trying to do any of them again--and not be sad.
I know that many walk this road-and their steps are slowed for a long time.
I pray that God will help both of us--and all the other dear ones who are also grieving--to have the hope of heaven like never before--to press on, to hope in Jesus. To not grieve as one without hope. She was my bright one--a shining joy that will be so missed. I can hardly stand it in some moments....
May our dear Lord help us all. She will be sorely so many. I am thankful to have had her as my child. In just 11 days, she would have turned 29...and that is even odd---does she always stay 28 now....would have been..... Death is hard--not right, not fair...
ugh...some days are not made for any sense. Those are the days of grey.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sarah's myspace page

My dear son in law has put together a wonderful page in honor of Sarah. Please feel free to visit it: Here is the link.

MySpace URL:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

a note God had me find----3 years later today, one month anniversary.

today has had its’ difficult moments for sure…as I was getting some things ready for Chris and Sarah’s friends to come over tonight, I ran across a card Sarah gave me on April 9, 2004, right in the middle of us coming to look at the cottage to rent it….

These cards at the ones with words on the front and she had so many of them—plastered all over her office and would send many to people. This is the one she sent to me:

20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do thank by the ones you did, so throw off the bowlines, said away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Inside she wrote---

Mom, just a small note of encouragement to you this week. I want you to know how very proud I am of all that you are doing in your life right now. It’s so scary sometimes, sailing into the unknown and taking a risk, but I believe what this card says, it was so hard to go through Sunday night with the cottage, but I am glad we did it together. Your courage and faith is a testament to me, and I want you to know how much I admire you for all of this…moving, working, making new friends, exploring new places and revisiting the old. So keep on throwing off those bowlines, because I know God has a plan for you and I will always be right here by your side. I love you, Sarah

This was kind of God today---I so miss her.

dreary day

One month today---dreary, but hopeful...only in the kingdom. thank you God for taking care of that for we could come home when our lives are over..and see one another--those who know you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just minute by minute

It is Oct. 24, almost one month since my dear Sarah died tragically after getting hit by the wave in Cinque Terra, Italy. It has been such a month of things to walk through and go through. I am trying minute by minute to live. To breathe, to go on.
I am watching her dear husband Christopher do the same. Trying to find a purpose in the midst of this loss to move us to the next minute. To believe we will see her again in heaven. To know she is doing well-and free in this new eternal land. So many things to believe by faith--to know that on this side of heaven, there is no more of memories, no more talking, shopping, gardening, playing, hanging out, no babies, no more of any of it. hard. So hard to move to the next minute.
God, I need to know she is there--and so alive in her spirit. Looking at her body empty of life, no spirit, no "Sarah" being present was the hardest see her lifeless, still...quiet....broken. Now to try to imagine that spirit in Your presence..full of life and joy and being...and that I too will see her again in the most glorious place of heaven.
Help us who are left, find purpose and calling and reason to press on to this high not get distracted by living in the margin, but to live like we will not fail, not less, but more---not small but large. Help me to know where to place my feet. How to walk this out. Help me be an example to YOU and all you are. Help others to know you and to come into a full relationship with you. Help us to not be afraid, to trust you and lean more and more into you.
Here is the link to her myspace---

What a joy she has been to me. My dearest of friends and my dearest daughter. Help me to remember her beauty, inside and out. She touched so many people, she sowed much into her short life. I am deeply proud of her and can hear her also saying---Hey mom, Live!!!

One of her favorite quotes was: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming, "Wow, what a ride!"

The President of the Cinque Terra penned this poem for her:

"She came from Ohio, to our paradise
From far away the sea, saw her, smiled at her.
The beloved groom, the Via Dell ' Amore,
dreams that come true, her heart beat strongly.
The beloved Cinque Terre from school days,
Riomaggiore, Manarola......
....a white cloud, the halo of a star, embraced Sarah, and thus she becomes even more beautiful.

Franco Bonanini

God has blessed us so much in this past month-many friends, cards, love, care...come Lord and help us to continue to walk this out to your Glory.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bella Sarah 11-19-78 to 8-27-07

This is the last picture of Sarah taken before she was taken to the sea by a huge wave while she and her husband Christopher were vacationing on the coast of Cinque Terra Italy. This is my dear and only daughter. My dearest of friends.

I have no words at this time for this loss. I wrote so long on this blog mourning the loss of my mom, never knowing that one day I would also write of my daughter.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Great summer

It really has been a good summer. Is now Sept. 2. Hard to believe how fast time flies. We will be leaving for the mediterranean cruise in 17 days now for my sister's 50th birthday. This is certainly the way to celebrate it!
Another great thing is this week the church council has decided to license and ordain me...I am touched and humbled to serve Jesus and them in this manner. God, please help me to follow you--close.
I am so grateful today for so much--so blessed.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

first sunset of the year.

long time no writing

Hard to believe how long since I even looked at this blog. I am settled well into summer now. Have truly enjoyed the beach and the weather this year. Has been an intense year of helping others in some trying times, but also a growing year for me. Sarah and Chris are coming up on their 3 anniversary. Have been in this cottage now for 3+ years. I am truly at home and loving being on the water. Just happy. that's all today.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

too many for one week

I find my way to this blog sometimes when all of life is hard to walk. I have seen and been a part of 5 deaths close to me this week. None are related by blood-at least by natural birth. All are from the community of faith. The hardest one has been the very tragic death of a 7 year old, Elisha, who died of a very rare case of strep going into the blood stream. He leaves a mother and father-2 younger brothers and a younger sister. His parents have been through so much this week. Our church was a wonderful example of the family of Christ. I was amazed at the outpouring of love and support. Our pastor talked about grief coming over us like waves--and how if we try to stop the wave of it--it will push us over and take us down, but to let the wave come over us--not to fight it. I left the service at 1 p.m. where we had our normal weekly service, but also tried to work through the loss--my daughter and son in law worked with the kids in their classes to do some art work for the family. My family and I then went to another funeral home to see the wife and family of a dear man who also died this week---too young. Again I was amazed at the love and care of the community of believers. As I rode home from this to try to rest before going back into the work world--I called a dear friend to see if we could reschedule our dinner for Monday evening, only to have her tell me another dear friend and pastor lost his brave fight with cancer and had died yesterday. I just broke...under the sorrow of loss.
Life is sometimes just too hard---and it is just too sad. I know the hope I have for each of these brothers and sisters who has walked through the final door--I know I will see them again--and that I too will walk through that door someday and others will grieve for me. Just today, it is just plain hard. Even with the hope of the resurrection--there is a mystery to this whole thing we call life. So often we just go about it in a mode of "living like it will never change" and then the unexpected happens...and wham!! All normalcy stops, all the boring details we just go through everyday are hard to do because we are trying to just breathe one breath at a time---over and over till even that becomes normal again. Don't get me wrong---I am doing pretty good-for sure I am sad today, but I do have the greatest hope that Jesus is for real and that there is something so much bigger and better than anything that goes on here.

So, just needed to touch this place that seems to be more about death--this blog. I keep thinking I will write about other stuff here, but it seems holy in a way to me. If you are reading this and don't have a hope in life the whole book of John and ask God to show you himself in a real way--and find a vineyard church nearby and ask someone how to know Jesus in a personal way. It is a good day to get this settled for yourself. I love Jesus--and am surely looking forward to seeing the ones who have gone before me. Well, enough for today. Thanks be to God! Bless all you guys who just have left for your new home. I will surely miss you---each of you touched my life in a real way. All different ages and you know for sure---what you hoped in.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Freezing February

It is absolutely freezing here in Cleveland! We have had so much snow and it is so cold! I am ready to do the spring countdown now--as March 21 is not too far away. I am ready to be outside again without a ton of clothes on. Harry-my dog has to jump to get around as there is so much snow outside.
Had to shovel alot of snow yesterday and feel pretty sore. I think everyone is getting alittle tired of winter. Heard that the lake is 90% frozen over now. I am glad as it cuts down on the snow affect at least.
Have the urge to hibernate the rest of the winter and need to dig myself out of my own mental "snow drift". I am feeling pretty lazy most of the time at home--and need to get excited about something, anything! Well, needed to write something--has been too long. hope all out there are doing well.