Monday, July 28, 2008


Milton, here for Kristy:

I have determined to celebrate Kristy even through the tears. Tears come in waves as memories flood my mind. If I allow them to, they become bitterly brutal very quickly. Darkness tries to settle in my spirit with gloom and despair. But there is a way out and that is to release all those feelings and turn to the sweetness of our memories and then celebrate.

I'm a gourmet cook of the finest cereals.
Aren't kitchens hallways that lead to dining tables?
How did all those groceries turn into delicious meals?
How do you polish this furniture?
I'll ask Kristy....oh
Where did she store that.....?
We did that together when we were there....
Where did she keep the Thank You cards?
Go ask Kristy......?
She be back in a minute.....?
I'll call her....

Every thought could be pain or they could turn into whatever I choose them to become. I choose the celebration of life.

Our master walk-in-closet has two parts. As you walk into the closet, you find all of Kristy's clothes hanging, purses, shoes, etc., Then you pass through another door to my side of the closet. I have to walk past all her clothes every time I go get dressed. Our closet is neat, organized and efficient. That's Kristy. But right now, it is a closet of pain.

She thinned her closet of clothes months before her passing. She began giving special pieces of her jewelry to her sister and sister-in-laws. It was awful to watch this process. Terrible! I begged her to wait.

"Your going to get better," I would tell Kristy. "Wait and we'll give that to our children years from now," I hoped and prayed.

This past Friday when I returned home from taking the kiddies to the zoo, I walked into our master bedroom closet to change. I stepped through her closet toward my closet and the pain began to pulse through my body. "I can turn this into celebration or allow brutal pain to rule," I thought.

I got the girls and Sis and the sister-in-laws and they went on a free shopping spree. Purses, shoes, belts, robes, sweaters, all were flying around in that closet. It was better than a "blue light" special at Walmart. Tears turned into celebration as they helped each other choose items they liked.

"Get her jewelry," I told Julie and Jennifer. "Finish picking out what you want and then give the pieces you know your mom wanted her sister and sister-in-laws and my mother to have." Necklaces, bracelets, rings, ear rings, were selected with everybody choosing there favorite remembrance from Kristy. The jewelry department opened for a day in Kristy's bedroom.

Now the jewelry was alive and shining on necks and ears, and wrists and fingers. Joy was flowing through hearts and minds and memories. We were celebrating her life and memories were sweetly flooding every heart.

"Separate the nicer costume jewelry from the lessor pieces and go get the grands," I said. Claudia, Lorenzo, Nic and Alex came into the bedroom. I told my daughters, "Help them pick out things to enjoy." They began to go through the remaining jewelry and place them on fingers, ears, and necks. The older boys wanted to wear it, but they're boys and boys don't wear "girly" jewelry.

Norma said, "Alex. Nic. Don't you remember how the pirates wore the jewelry that they captured?"

"Yes," they both said as smiles lit their faces and necklaces, bracelets, rings, and ear rings were put on. They were pirates of the Caribbean and they looked around for their swords.

The kiddies were having a ball. There were no tears. It was celebration. In a few minutes the kiddies were all leaving. They have all cried and cried in recent partings, but this time the pirates and little princess eyes and faces were all gleaming. The princess and pirates loaded up with jewelry and swords headed toward home celebrating Nana, Nana, Nana, Nana.

Brutal tears were turned into celebration and sweet memories.

Can you see that necklace Norma is wearing? That's Kristy's. She was special.


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Robin Bayne said...

Praying the celebrations outnumber the tears. Have a peaceful Sunday.

At 10:14 AM, OpenID offeringband said...

WOW. I have no other word than WOW. What an amazing way to celebrate right in the middle of grief. Thank you, Milton, for sharing.


At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never met a family like yours, who "Really Know How" to celebrate the going home of a loved one. That "Blue Light Special" was super. Joy over sadden....that's God's way!

Your family story continues to teach we Christians how to Truly Live as Christ. Thanks so much!!!

Praying daily for each of you.
Trk N 4 JC

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Lady-in-the-Making said...

WOW, MILTON! I agree with anonymous! I have never seen this before and it is a miracle.

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO FORGE THROUGH THE GRIEF!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so very proud of you and your family.

Keep on keeping on, Milton. This was simply precious and a gorgeous tribute to Kristy.

Wow. You're definitely being held up.

God bless!

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous heather said...


You and your family are incredible. I can't even begin to imagine how much you all are hurting right now, yet you're still finding joy. I'm sure Kristy LOVED seeing the princess and pirates from up in heaven -- I remember she wrote some time ago about taking Claudia to Walmart and buying her a princess dress. What a beautiful way to celebrate her.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

- Heather

At 11:48 AM, Blogger ~~Deby said...

Kristi must be enjoying watching you all from heaven....
I share your grief, I share your joy...Jesus wept...but didn't get into sin..I guess that is the secret to it...I can see you know that already.
Washington State

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Arlene said...

I also agree. What a special way celebrate through grief.

Kristy is smiling from ear to ear in Heaven.

We weep with you. We celebrate with you. Thank you for you lessons in faith.

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderfully positive thing to do -- sharing Kristy's enjoyment of pretty things with the people you and she love the most. She was always giving somebody something and this sounds exactly like what she'd want you to do.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger PastorMac's Ann said...

Praying for you pastor, for you and those close to you and Kristy. "Jesus be near..."

At 3:26 PM, Blogger Carrie Turansky said...

This was a beautiful idea to share these special gifts with the family. You are choosing to celebrate Kristy, and I am blessed to watch.

I am praying for you today!
Carrie in NJ

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Lynette Sowell said...

Wonderful, that you could all do this together and with such joy. Just last night, I was cleaning my e-mail inbox (I had HUNDREDS of e-mails), and wouldn't you know--I came across a chapter critique that Kristy had e-mailed me years ago. She had been teaching an ACFW course at the time, and I had submitted the first chapter of a book idea for her to critique. Her personality shines through with each comment--she enthusiastically told me what she liked, she encouraged and made suggestions for improvement. Ironically, I'd somehow moved on to other projects and never started that story. Maybe one day. But what an unexpected e-mail from Kristy. :) May all your expected finds be turned into joyful moments!

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Karen Eve said...

I have to echo everyone else, what a wonderful way to send everyone off, with gifts from Kristy's closet. That is so much better than the usual sorting through the things. See her things alive and gracing those she loved is the best. I know that you're a very wise man Milton, but it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is giving you special guidance through this time. I pray his special covering will continue over you, the girls, the grands, and the rest of your family as you come through the grief of having Kristy leave a nanosecond ahead of the rest of you.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Shana said...

i could play the Nana video over and over. precious children, precioius Nana, precious family.

continuing to pray for your healing, hope and health - in Jesus.

Shana in Seattle

At 7:18 PM, Blogger THOMBU1 said...

Milton, please accept this prose I wrote as a comfort and blessing. God bless you, our friend.
Tom Bush


Heavens gates are open and glistening with the glory that you have brought.
Gleaming in the distance are the enraptured ones in glory Devine.
Streaming through the heavens are marvelous sights to wonderful for words.
There among the shadows you hide as it were your face.
Not seeming to desire all that was given you by grace.
You feel you are inadequate to receive such things that God has freely given.
To wonderful for words are His thoughts toward you.
He sees all you have done and all you will do.
The stairway to heaven, He is building for you.
You have given Him joy through your sacrifices so true.
He has taken notice of every small thing, done in His name.
He has taken you through paths, where no one else has come.
He has held you with His mighty strength through the thick and the thin.
And he has helped you to gather all His sheathes he has bundled for you.
His Glory has been what you have sought to bring Him.
His Grace he has imparted to all that you do.
He sees all the heartache and pain you’ve been through.
The suffering and loss that has been strewn on your path,
Has strengthened your resolve to deliver all from His wrath.
He has kept you through times of fear and despair.
When anguish of soul, and troubles ran deep,
Your soul He kept close in the pavilion of His love,
Sent down from His Glory on wings of a dove.
Such gentle whispers of pure love Devine that keeps you trusting in His will.
His will has been front and center of your stage in life.
He has blessed you with a precious gem, that gift that is your wife.
Your helpmate in honor and praise to your King makes your heart to sing.
To sing praises to the one you have served so well.
By snatching all those lives from the dangers of Hell.
What an entrance will be ministered to you when you end this path of life.
Well done, my good and faithful servant will ring from His lips.
His glory will wrap around like a garment filled with praise.
Yet your journey continues in the path set before you.
Your eyes fixed on the prize of souls led by God to cross pathways with you.
Catching those who have fallen prey to the evil one,
By preaching deliverance through Jesus the Son.
Heavens are rejoicing continually because of you, and all that you do.
You think it is nothing sometimes, just a job every now and then.
But Jesus gently nudges you when you feel that way.
He lets you know by some that are around you that what you do is blessed.
As you seek to save that which was lost, and find that which is hidden.
The hidden manna that no man knows is revealed to you from heaven.
The Word of God speaks to your heart, and opens the eyes of your soul.
You see revelations no one else can see.
You feel the burdens of lost ones so deep; you cannot wait to find the lost sheep.
The gracious Lord of Heaven surely delights in your way.
He gives light to your path, so it looks like the day.
The dayspring has risen with healing in His wings.
He fills you with laughter and makes you to sing.
You sing aloud of His mercies and Glory Devine.
He fills you with singing in melodies sublime.
Your heart swells with joy as the Spirit is poured out.
You feel like just bursting unless you can shout.
Your praises are kept in the bowls in heavenly mansions above.
To be poured out on Jesus in adoration and love.
Sweet melodies ring out to His ears that hear no sin.
They reach Him and bless Him again and again.
Don’t stop what you’re doing, not even one bit.
His favor and blessing are yours so don’t quit.
You flock is vast and sprawling, reaching here and there.
Your sheep in your pasture are safe in the Fathers care.
What vastness of riches and treasure await you, here and there.
To bring joy to the Lord is your strength.
Give praise, give praise I say again.
Do not worry about tomorrow as the Lord has told you many times.
Don’t fret about what you cannot change things that only God can perform.
Your life is being spent for the lover of your soul.
Shall He not provide all things that pertain to this life and the one to come?
Rejoice, and again rejoice I say again,
For you are serving the One who has even called you friend.
How great is His care for those who love Him.
He has provided all things that are needed along the path of life.
Shall He not continue to satisfy you soul with good things?
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
The angels walk with him and he is guarded by their sword.
Like the sword seen by the donkey, where the prophet sat.
He protects you by their might and keeps you in the hollow of His hand.
Keep your paths straight, aimed toward Jesus above.
All things will be yours, you son of His Love.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Milton,

I played the clip of you and the grands before reading your entire message. Joy bubbled up inside me, knowing for certain that beautiful Kristy was watching and applauding and laughing at this scenario! You know how you just see this stuff in the spirit? Kristy was bursting with joy.

Your family overflows with Christ's spirit of love and generosity. You brought joy to those she loved most by holding a "blue light special.":-)

I believe it was Pastor Hagee who once asked, "Ever see a U-Haul-It behind a hearse?" I laughed so hard at that line, but it hit me that the Lord is loaning us this stuff until it's our turn to go home. From this post, I can see you've all caught the vision a long time ago.

God's ABUNDANT blessings on all of you!


At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Mimi said...

i have to agree also, just how awesome. Still praying for everyone.
This may be a little of the subjut of Kristy. But I need prayer for my husband and I . He has bad leg cramps almost daily and we need help in our finances.

thank you

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is like offering "a sacrifice of praise." God must be so pleased, Milton. You are establishing a healthy groundwork for your family's journey through grief. Good for you!

May the good Lord strengthen you for the challenges ahead. Don't fear the tears, for they are healing--Jesus wept, too. But how wonderful that you are looking for joy in all the right places.

God bless you!

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Kristy woud laugh with delight over that! What a beautiful way to celebrate her. And every time someone puts on a piece of her jewelry, a sweet memory will push away the gloom. A story of joy and laughter will be told and celebrated.

When Momma went to Glory, after I went through and picked out what I wanted, I gave the rest to the drama ministry at our church. My mom loved drama, so I felt it fitting that the lesser pieces of costume jewelry go to be used on stage.

As always, I remember you all in prayer.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger John said...

We are praying for you during this most difficult time and send our love to you and yours,
John Joseph and family.
St. Petersburg, FL.

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Blissful said...

"Jesus wept."

He understands.

Grieving is a healing balm.

Take care.

At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Psalms 139:8-10: "If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me."

At 12:47 AM, Anonymous Sylvia Thomas said...

Bro Milton,
It is hard to find words to describe the feelings that welled within my heart as I read your latest,amazing entry to my husband and daughter. Your deep pain was tangible,but,also,your wisdom in allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to you & your family during this intense grieving, by turning sadness to joy in the blink of an eye! Kristy's hero husband is leading those left behind through sorrow & agony of soul, to celebrate their precious loved one! Our prayers continue for you & your family. God bless you, dear brother!
Lvoe & blessings, Sylvia & Mark Thomas

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Pam Meyers said...

Milton, the ache of grief is going to be there of course, but how we accept it and use it can make all the difference in the world. What a great idea to open Kristy's closet to the ladies as well as her jewelry box. Then to let the kids in on the celebration. Just what Kristy would have done, I'm sure. I have special things from my grandparents as well as my mom and dad. Much of their belongings were donated to charity or sold in an estate auction, but it's those special things that were theirs that I keep. I have my grandfather's wallet. He passed on in the 1970s, but I still pull it out sometimes and look at the things in that worn leather billfold, and my heart stirs at his memory.
I'll be praying for you over these days and weeks.

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Kristy's Mother Grace passed, Kristy held a party for all the friends of her mother. She had them all go through her mothers clothes ect.. and take what they could wear or just wanted. She called the party "Amazing Grace" !! That was Kristy, always giving and thinking of others. She would be proud of you Milton.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Eva Marie Everson said...

What a moment that must have been, Milton. A dear friend of mine passed into Glory the day after Kristy. She loved pretty clothes and jewelry, too. I'll bet they are shopping together right now at DIAMONDS & RUBIES & SAPPHIRES R U on Pearl Avenue!


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