Legacy

Would you read letters from the dead?

Would you read letters from the dead?
Would you read letters from the dead?

It's been 11 weeks since I lost my grandmother. My heart still aches. Yesterday, I was watching Pearl Harbor. Or maybe I should say it was on while I was working. I hope I am not ruining it for anyone, but the after the love interest "dies" at war, the woman waiting back home still gets letters. The friend that hands them to her apologizes, and reminds her of the delay in mail.

My first response was, "that would suck."

Then, I thought about my grandmother. I would love to read new letters from her right now. I am so thankful I have her written thoughts and memories for our book. If you follow me at all, you know that I am writing a book, Save the Butter Tubs: Discover Your Worth in a Disposable World. It incorporates her writings. The whole book was her idea. She wanted me to write a book about all the good in her life.

I guess, when you get in your 90s you start reflecting on your life. She was counting her blessings. It's been an amazing journey learning her stories. I miss having our morning talks during my visits.

Last night my husband rented, Collateral Beauty with Will Smith. I knew it was going to be a heart breaker. After all, his lost his six year old daughter. I tried to distract myself with my phone so I wouldn't bawl all the way through the movie. Will Smith is a good actor. So many of the emotions I am feeling, he was acting out.

While I didn't lose a child, and pray I never do, the pain of losing someone I was so close to, someone I was working on a huge project with, someone I admired, respect and loved so dearly...it's just a lot to process.

The week before Easter I went to my grandmother's home to collect the last bits of furniture. I took her dining room table. Who would have thought that a dining room table would represent so much? First, she had it forever! When I was a child about seven or eight, she purchased it for her new house. I remember polishing the pedestal and all the chairs. Now, I have to laugh at how she made us crawl under the table. She was 50 years my elder so at 57 or 58, she was done crawling around on the floor when she had us littles that were so close to the floor. I get it and I'm not even 50 yet!

Many family meals, and game nights were shared around that table in the almost forty years she owned it. I remember clearly the last time I sat at it with her. We shared breakfast tacos. She would love that I took the table. In fact, before she even moved from her home at 92, she started giving me things. She wanted to make sure the things she valued and treasured went where they would be equally valued and treasured.

It took me a while to decide on the table. I have a beautiful table my husband and I bought in 2005 when we moved into a new house. My table has six nice chairs with it, but could fit up to twelve people around it if we pulled up odd chairs from around the house. Grandma's table actually has twelve chairs! Her table is oval. Mine is rectangle. Her table has a pedestal and mine has four legs. A few things you don't really think about until you try seating twelve.

That's what made me decide. I had a lovely group of ladies that I teach on Wednesday nights over. We squished around my rectangle with corners jabbing into the unfortunate ones that got those spots. I got up, took this picture and text my sister, "I'll take the table!"

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I never really connected the fact that I am the only one in my family that entertains in our home on a regular basis. We love entertaining, sharing a good meal with friends and family. Game nights are always a plus here as well. We've only had the table a week and have entertained three times! It's been wonderful! All my ladies seemed to enjoy it as well. I should have taken an after picture. (who knew I'd be posting about a table?)

Getting the table was like reading a letter from Grandma. The flood of memories and emotions that come to me every time I sit at it, every time I entertain, and every time I dust it. What a treasure!

Writing has been different since Grandma left. I have days I could just write forever. I think I'm having one now. Then, I have days that I write about webinars because I don't want to open my heart. Pain seeping out, hurts. At the same time, it is the most precious time. I feel her. I can see the light in her blue eyes sparkling as she is telling me stories. She had a way she would hold her hands, and move them when she talked. It is so vivid in my mind. I pray I never lose that visual memory.

Well, I am going to wrap this up. I need to get ready for church this morning and I need to blow my nose from all the tears running down my red face. It's an ugly cry kind of day. Time to wash my face like my mom used to make me do after I'd cry as a kid. It always seemed to help.

I do want to leave you with a few thoughts to take into your own home:

  1. What do you treasure and why?
  2. Does anyone in your family know the answer to #1?
  3. Don't wait. Share now. Things are just things, but they represent you.
  4. How does what you treasure represent you?
  5. Would you read letters from the dead?

I'd really love to hear from you in the comments if you're brave enough to open up. Be brave.

Love leaves legacies, Brenda

 

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I Didn't Expect These Flowers for Valentine's

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They say February is Love Month. Images come to mind of heart shaped boxes filled with yummy chocolates, pink and red flowers, cards with cupids, and romantic candlelight dinners.

That is not exactly the month I had. It was filled with love. It just looked differently.

On January 29, 2017 my 93 year-old grandmother fell and broke her femur at her hip. February rolled in while I was sitting at her bedside in a hospital five hours away from my Valentine. By the fourth we were saying our goodbyes as her kidneys couldn’t come back from all that she’d been through. It was a first for me. The first time I had lost anyone I was this close to. I’d lost loved ones before but I quickly learned that the more you know someone, the more you love someone, the more painful it is to say goodbye. Holding hands It was also the first time I had ever laid my hand on the chest of someone taking their final breath. Just days before that, it was the first time I’d ever been in a hospital room where the Rapid Response Team came flooding in ready with the Crash Cart. It was all happening so fast. My heart was breaking into a puzzle and now a piece would be forever missing. I am so thankful for each memory with my grandma. I am equally as thankful for my sister and the memories we made in that week alone.

Yes, February was Love Month! My love came in the form of holding the hand of the strongest woman I’d ever known while sitting with my sister, the second strongest woman I know. I felt love as my sister and I laughed about the pajama pants she brought me to wear for our hospital sleepover the night before my grandmother passed. One leg of the pants were smaller than the other…it was quite a scene. I wore them anyway and we laughed until we cried. Then we cried some more as our hearts filled with reality.

Love came in with my son and his wife, the next morning as my grandma decided to head home to be with her Forever Friend. The four of us counted the seconds between her breaths. She slipped off peacefully into a world where love never ends.

As my sister and I prepared her arrangements the next day, I had a feeling the funeral would be on Valentine’s Day. Sure enough, that is how it fell allowing enough time for family to arrive. I personally found it very fitting; After all, my grandmother had been one of my greatest loves. She taught me so much about life, love and legacy. I am so honored to be writing about it all in my upcoming book. I am of course saddened that she won’t be here to read it, but she lived it.

flowersThe flowers I received this year for Valentine's came when I got home between her passing and the funeral. My sweet husband and daughter had flowers waiting for me. Then of course on Valentine's the flowers were from loved ones, and a beautiful pink carnation casket spray, exactly what Grandma would have wanted. Jewelry this Valentine's was from Grandma as well. My sister, mom and cousin went through my grandmother's vintage jewelry the night before the visitation. I wore some of the pieces to both the visitation and the funeral. I could almost feel Grandma patting my face telling me how she loved the jewelry on me.

We were surprised with another gift of love when we received a phone call from the San Antonio Express News Paper. They wanted to do a feature story on my grandma. Priscilla Aguirre did an awesome job writing this article honoring my grandma.

Love continued to pour in through family and friends as we all said our final goodbyes. One man that worked with my grandma at the Elks Lodge years before, road his bicycle up to the visitation. Who does that? A man touched by my grandmother’s life, that’s who! Such love was felt from all whom attended her services, paid condolences and sent cards.

A sweet friend I call my Tyler grandma, (because we live by Tyler and she does, as well), gave me the sweetest gift. A pretty lace shawl in a gift bag covered with flowers. She said it was a bouquet of remembrance and that each time I wore it she hoped it brought sweet memories of my grandma. Love…that is love…

I am still numb, still grieving but know that as we Spring Forward (Daylight savings thing in Texas) now in March, that my grandma would want me to do the same…spring forward. She always believed that God had the solution to her problems long before she had the problems. I will do my best to spring forward. To get back to writing her book, writing here on my blog and on my hiking blog(we leave for a schedule trip Thursday!!!). I will continue to live as God has called me to knowing that would be exactly what she would have done.

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Big Fat Scary Dreams

There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typrwriter and bleed. I have a dream that scares me. My dream is bigger than me. It's bigger than my education. It's bigger than anything I've done before. Pursuing my dream is stretching me. I feel the tension. My words feel trapped in the thickness. Today, I am taking a deep breath and pushing myself further as I exhale.

Just like when we stretch our bodies, if we take a deep breath, we can stretch a bit further when we exhale. Try it. It's true. Exhaling is like letting go.

I am letting go of this vulnerable feeling. I am letting go of what you might think when you read this. I am letting go of the outcome. We can't control the outcome. What we can control changes and is limited. Today, I can control my actions, my reactions and my attitude. I am choosing to press on toward the goal; toward the calling on my heart.

I don't have all the answers. I don't have to. I just have to trust the one whom does and do the next right thing. My next right thing this morning was this post. Now, the next right thing is to complete a short ebook and get it published this week!

That’s a big fat scary dream…I almost deleted it. What if I don’t get it finished? What if I don’t get it published by the end of the week? Oh, but what if I do? What if I do and it inspires just one person? Either way, it has to come out. The dream has to come out. If it dies within me, a part of me dies. I can’t afford that. I need to be fully alive! Even if it means accomplishing my dream and not one person reads it. I did my part. I followed through.

[Tweet theme="tweet-box-normal-blue"]The dream has to come out. If it dies within me, a part of me dies. I can’t afford that. I need to be fully alive!BH[/Tweet] If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I do have a bigger dream. Yes, I have a dream of publishing a best selling book, Save the Butter Tubs. Ultimately, my dream is even bigger than that. I have so many books inside my head, it’s no wonder I can’t think straight. This week, I will begin to leak those thoughts to the public; My most vulnerable thoughts. My heart will be cut open and I will share. I will take the risk because I believe you are worth it. I will take the risk because I have to. I will purge my words. I will give away a precious part of my soul that I have hoarded for so long.

Fully living is vulnerable and raw. It’s risky. It’s rewarding.

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It's a Themed Party!

I love themed parties! Maybe it stems from one of my former jobs. I was once an event planner for a major hotel chain on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas. It was a fun job! I loved helping people plan and theme their events. I carried that over with my children's birthday parties. One year we had a Fear Factor theme complete with live worms. When we moved to East Texas almost nine years ago, we had a garden party for my daughter. All the children decorated clay pots and signed one large for her, then we planted flowers in them. Decorating the pots served as an activity and the finished product as the party favor. For the past several years, I have themed my years. Most people make New Year Resolutions. I came across, My One Word and loved the idea. Basically, it's like setting a theme for your year. Here are my themes over the last six years:

2012 Worthy 2013 Enough 2014 Uncaged 2015 Covered 2016 Metamorphosis 2017 Clear and Sincere

My Two Words for 2017, Clear and Sincere!

Yes, this year I have two words. I probably would have chosen "clarity" but, while visiting my 93 year old grandmother she spoke "clear and sincere" over me. I told her I was focusing full-time on "her" book. She told me to be clear and sincere so that people will understand it. Those words pierced my heart. For years, I have been struggling with clarity regarding this project. The book is finally taking shape and will be published this year. I can't wait to see her face when she is holding a copy.

Save the Butter Tubs is a joint venture born out of my grandmother's revelation in the middle of the night. In  2010, I was visiting my grandmother. We had a routine in the mornings where I would bring in her paper, while she got her coffee. Then we would chat about how we slept, and the day ahead.  This particular morning, I could tell something was different about her.  She had a childlike expression and almost bursting with excitement, she told me that she woke in the middle of the night, sat straight up in her bed and had a revelation that I was to write a book about all the good in her life.

She handed me a tattered notebook where she had already jotted down some thoughts, “A memory of one person’s pilgrimage (foot steps) through life, memories of my journey of a very full life.” As I read those words, I felt honored, and humbled as if I was touching a piece of precious history…I was. That was the beginning of a new journey for me. I wasn't sure when I agreed that day how any of this would turn out and to be honest, I'm still not. I just know that I can't let it go; That God used my grandmother to confirm the calling he placed on my life five years before. A calling that I avoided because I didn't think I was worthy or enough. I was caged by fear until I accepted God's promise to be my refuge and that His faithfulness would be my armor and protection. (Psalm 91:4).

2016 proved to be a year of metamorphosis, and boy, did I need God like never before! I went from being a full-time college student, to thirty days on bed rest, to a full-time writer. I was headed in a completely different direction until I found myself sick with Lyme Disease. Thankfully, after thirty-one days, I was healed. It's funny that a bug caused my metamorphosis, since it is a term most people use to describe a butterfly changing from a "bug" to a beautiful fluttering creature.

I challenge you, even if you have already made your resolutions (maybe, even already failed at them) to theme your year! Decide what kind of party you want it to be, and then throw yourself a party! I will have a physical party this year, the theme, launching my clear and sincere book, Save the Butter Tubs. Consider yourself invited! Of course, there will be more details to come as things unfold. Stay tuned. The book will be a life changer for those that read it!

Tell me below in the comments your One Word. I'd loved to hear what party you have planned for 2017!

The High Price of Unbelief And How to Pay It With Faith

(Disclosure: This post will not be about me shoving my faith in Jesus in your face. It will be about faith, beliefs and the high price of unbelief in whatever it is you are struggling to believe.)

The High Cost of Unbelief and How to Pay it with FaithBelief is complex. We can believe things because we see them. I believe my office needs a serious makeover because I see chaos when I open the door. We can also believe in things we cannot see. Faith is believing in something that you cannot see. I have faith in the brakes on my FJ Cruiser. I believe that when I push the brake pedal it will stop. Thankfully, it does.

What we believe about ourselves, our hopes and dreams work the same way. I believe that I am pale complexioned because I can look in the mirror. If mirrors didn't exist the sun would remind me in about fifteen minutes. I also believe I am capable of accomplishing things I have never done before. I haven't always felt that way.

When we don't believe we create stories in our heads. If I didn't have faith in my brakes, I could start fantasizing about all the horrible things that could happen to me. I could ignore the fact that my skin is pale hitting the beach all day with friends but the truth would be painful.

To start believing in myself, my abilities to accomplish my dreams, I looked back on my life. Now, I did share with you in the disclosure at the beginning of this that my faith is ultimately in Jesus. I believe that he will work all things together for those that love him and obey his commands. Let's just say for a moment you don't believe that, that's your choice. Either way, take a look back over your life. What things have you accomplished that you never thought were possible? Write them down. Think about how you felt before you did them. Did you believe you could accomplish them?

In 2010, I participated in a Sprint Triathlon. I will save the full story for another time but just know that I am not that kind of athlete. I was pushing myself to do something I had never done before. I didn't even own a bike! I borrowed one three days before the event. I didn't know if I could accomplish this goal or not. I was believing in something I had not seen before. Was I scared? You bet I was! Was it hard? Duh! Remember, I am not that kind of athlete. Not really an athlete at all to be honest.

Now, if I had never done that triathlon, what would it matter? It didn't shoot me to superstar status. I didn't make the Wheaties box. I didn't even get a participation medal. What I got was so much deeper. I accomplished a goal. I learned valuable lessons that I will carry with me forever. In fact, just writing this short snip bit about it gets me all fired up! It still blows my mind to this day.

I call this exercise of writing down your accomplishments your Victory Channel. (I also include my God moments. Like, the time a deer came out of nowhere almost running into the front tire of my FJ but then it was just gone, no explanation. I count those on my Victory Channel, too. They remind me that I am still here for a purpose.) When I feel my channel is stuck on the doubt station or the negativity station. I flip the switch. I read my Victory Channel list. I remind myself that I CAN do things I once doubted or at least I can try.

[Tweet theme="tweet-box-normal-blue"]I remind myself that I CAN do things I once doubted or at least I can try.[/Tweet]

What happens if you don't? If, I had never participated in that triathlon, if, I had never started this blog, what would the cost be? It breaks my heart to think of the cost. The cost is high for me and for you. Had I never done the triathlon I would be beating myself up with regret. My station would be stuck on doubt, on wondering. I would have never inspired anyone; no lessons would have been learned. No funny stories would be told. If I had not started this blog, you wouldn't be reading this. We would never meet (even if it's just over the web). My doubt station would be on. My heart would be filled with regret. My dream would be dead instead of taking off. It really comes down to the dreams in your heart. Let them out! Let them fly!

If you don’t believe in yourself, your dreams, a goal, you begin to tear yourself up. You find ways to avoid what your heart is calling you to do in faith. You make choices out a place of avoidance. Choices that can have lifelong consequences. Have patience and faith to do the next right thing that will lead you closer to your dream.

[Tweet theme="basic-white"]No matter how small, a step toward your dream is better than a step away from it.~BrendaHaire [/Tweet]

Is risk involved in believing? Sure, sometimes there is. Trust me when I say that the benefits far out weight the risks. This isn't an infomercial for one of those pills. You know the ones, grow your hair back but die of bleeding out your eyeballs... Was that too much?  You know exactly what I am talking about though and dreaming is not like that at all. The dreams are there because they are a part of you. It may be that one dream teaches you lessons to launch another. Dreams do change; however, when freed, the legacy they leave can be great.

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The High Cost of Unbelief and How to Pay it with Faith

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