Because I believe it is important to “Remember and Celebrate God’s Goodness,” I share my personal/spiritual growth journey since the summer of 2005.Â Â Telling my story here gives you a perspective from which I write.
I grew up in a Christian home and have always loved Jesus.Â The summer of 2005 was one of those defining moments, where nothing is ever the same again. Â November 8, 2005 is my “Before and After.” Â My world was rocked, my faith tested.Â And I still love Jesus even though doubt comes knocking when I least expect it.
Earlier that Â summer of 2005, I began meeting with a small group at church.Â Later the summer,Â I almost lost my mother and that fall,Â Nov. 8, 2005 I lost my only surviving brother, Gordon, age 49. He was hunting, got lost in the Beartooth Mountains in Montana and died of hypothermia before he was found. Â This rocked my world, having lost two other siblings as a child, a tiny baby sister and a 2 1/2 year old brother.
In addition, four months later my husband lost his job unexpectedly as Executive Pastor at our church. This additional loss on top of the loss of my brother and the potential loss of the community who was supporting me eventually led me to seek the help of a counselor, as I walked the grief journey along with close friends.
March 1, 2013 I retired from my 25 year career with a direct sales company. Three weeks later, my father broke his hip and had to move in with us. (By this time, my mother had died after an extended illness.) Our financial plans went awry three weeks later when my company declared bankruptcy and the retirement income we counted on disappeared. Â My dad could not be left alone and after twelve weeks of us not being able to leave the house together, God blessed us with a caregiver, who lived with us in return for 10 hours per week of elder care. Â We called her our Earth Angel! Â In a way, I was glad my dad’s declining cognitive abilities prevented him from understanding all the implications of this change for us. Â He was Â grateful, accommodating and it turned our world upside down. Â May 16, 2014 he got to go see his wife. Â He never stopped missing her.
These days I miss my siblings more than ever.
I am a wife of 48 years, mom of 3 sons, MIL to 3 daughters-in-law, grandmother to 6 grandsons and 4 granddaughters and friend to those who walk this journey with me.Â Each of these precious people bring much joy to my life.
I am a writer of Â poetry and sometimes “poetic prose” (at least that is what one of my writing teachers says). Â I love Â purple and shades of rose, blue , lavender. Lilacs, waterfalls, any body of water, porch swings and Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi make me happy. Â (Well, I’d rather have the caffeine……but……)
Carol Longenecker Hiestand