Monday, August 25, 2014

A Mother's Last Words

I write funny letters to my kids on Facebook. They start "Dear Adult Child", "Dear Teenage Son", (there are quite a few of those!)...etc., etc., and go on to state something they have taught me, or some way they have "affected" my life. 

Here's an example:

and another:

Here's the one that really had an effect :

No, he didn't want to "see" that! The belt is now part of his daily attire :) Perhaps I should've said they were notes that threaten my children with public embarrassment, lol! Yeah, I'm a snarky mom, but remember, I've raised a small tribe, and we ARE a large, loud, Italian family (well, my kids like to remind me that I'm NOT Italian, that comes from my husband, lol) :)

I know that I haven't been on here in months. In that time, my life has changed. It is different than it has ever been. You see, this month, I lost the most influential woman in my life. I lost my mom. Yet, God, in His mercy, gave us over a year to prepare for this, over a year to say "Until, we meet you again." Not everyone gets that opportunity. Not everyone gets to have their mom as long as I did. Not everyone gets to feel wanted the way my brother and I did. Not everyone gets to see their parents celebrate 66 years of marriage before saying goodbye to one of them. 
We've been blessed.

My mother lost her mom before my brother and I were born. She was never able to call and ask her mom for advice when raising her own children like I was. Yet, my grandmother's influence has affected my life in many ways. In this past year, my mom spoke often of seeing her again. There was a longing to see her mother. 
I understand it now.

My grandmother wrote a letter to my mom right before she died. She was in the hospital in Missouri, facing surgery the next morning, and wrote a letter to her daughter in California. She didn't survive the surgery. My mom and dad were called, and flew back to be with family. After attending her mother's funeral, she returned home to California and the letter that had arrived while she was gone.

In this letter, my grandmother spoke of general things about her life, this and that, things about my grandfather, just simple things about their simple life....and then she added this:

"I don't have any dread of surgery. I feel if it's my time to be promoted, I'm ready to go. You know, to the Christian, death is "Just Promotion". If the Lord spares me, I feel I'll be beneficial. If not, I'm ready."

The last words of her mother. Could she ever ask for a better gift?

 My mother often spoke of how this letter comforted her. The words of her mother gave her hope that still remained 58 years after she lost her. I found this letter in some of her things. The letter was written on April 12, 1956, the day before she died. Until I saw it, I never knew that the letter that had meant so much to her was written on April 12th. 

That is my anniversary. I was married on April 12th, 1986. Thirty years after the letter was written. My husband and I didn't choose that date for any other reason than convenience. It worked out for us. Yet seeing that date, written in my grandmother's handwriting was special in it's own way. Coincidence? I suppose, but it's a comforting coincidence, nonetheless.

The last few weeks of my mom's life were the hardest for her. She had a stroke and was unable to speak. I had visited her a few days before that last stroke. I'd gone over to 'visit', but actually I'd wanted to get away for a little while from my own 13yo twin boys, who were getting on my last nerve that day. 

I didn't know it would be the last time my mom would be able to speak to me. I didn't know how much her words would mean. I actually lamented to her a little, telling her about how my boys were giving me 'fits', and, being identical, when they wrestled, no one could win, so their wrestling matches went on and on and on, (amongst other things). Her speech had been affected for months by a previous stroke, but she sat up on her bed and she listened, and when she finally spoke, this is what she said:

"You've still got a lot to learn".  

(Um, excuse me mom, but I've got 6 kids. I've been through this with 4 others. You only raised two, and you never had twin boys!)
No, I didn't say that, but I thought it. Yeah, I was a little indignant. I think she saw this. 
She just smiled and said it again.

"You've still got a lot to learn". 

Wow. You know what? She's right. 
I don't even know enough to know how little I know, lol. 

Our lives can be forever affected by words, forever changed by what we say and what is said to us. We are always changing, always learning. My words to my children aren't always what I want them to be. Sometimes they're too harsh, sometimes too thoughtless, sometimes too snarky. I want to convey love, but I fail at times. 
Yes, I still have a lot to learn.

As I turned to leave that day, I kissed her forehead, and said "Mom, I love you."
She replied:
"I know you do...
and I love you too."
Those were the last words ever spoken to me by my mom.
Could I ever ask for a better gift?

I spent many hours with her after that last stroke, when she was unable to speak. She was still imparting lessons to me. She was teaching me how to have grace in adversity.
Without words.
My father taught us all how to love your spouse unconditionally during those weeks and months leading up to her passing. My mother taught us how to gracefully accept that love and help. Their devotion to each other inspired everyone at the assisted living facility. A local article about them, about their devotion to each other, and their marriage of 66 years, written on their anniversary and just days before her passing, received hundreds of responses.

Yes Mom, I still have a lot to learn :)

Thank you for all that you tried to teach me...
and especially for your comfort and your love.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Meet Addison Renee...
One of the reasons I've been a little preoccupied the past few months :)

It is so fun being Nona to this lovely little girl,
she has captured my heart!
There are a lot of guys in our family,
but we ladies are adding to our ranks :)

I also thought I'd share a photo of my daughter Serena, from a recent modeling shoot :)

Yes, I'm a proud mama :)
You can find more of Casey's wonderful photos here.

Thank you to everyone who has written to check on me.
I'm doing well. My parents are stable and have adjusted well
to assisted living. Also, Jordan and his family have moved into their new home,
provided for them by Homes for Our Troops! What a blessing!!

I'd love to get back to blogging and visiting all of you.
I hope to write again soon :)
Thank you again!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Together...we are blessed :)

So thankful to God for the many blessings in my life,
and for my wonderful husband
who walks beside me through the ups and downs,
~ holding my hand every step of the way ~

We are blessed. 
This year, the lives of my parents have changed drastically.
We are all learning through this. Even with their many health issues and the fading memories that are a part of dementia, they have continued to teach us so much about love and devotion that comes from years of commitment to each other.

We are blessed.
My husband and I both realize that our marriage shouldn't have lasted. We were that couple people bet against. The "they won't last a year", or "I'll give it 6 months" kind of bet. We did struggle. He was an addict; I was foolish and very naive. Yet, even with all of the outside influences and all of the attacks, we survived. It was by the grace of God, and the prayers of godly parents. Now we love each other more than we ever thought possible.  

We are blessed.
God has never abandoned us, and He never will. With my parents needing us more and more, we are learning to rely on Him in a whole new way, but even in the midst of this season of life, He shows us His love in a very special way. My son Randy and his wife Sarah, are expecting a baby girl next month :)) We are all looking forward to meeting her. She's a sweet gift from God, a reminder of His constant goodness.

God is good.
I'm so thankful He's allowed me to do life with this incredible, loving man :)

Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate...Mark 10:9 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My View Today...

My view today...
Oh, how I love beach weather!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Changes of Life

It's been a long time since I've blogged. 
So many things have changed over the past 6 months.
We go through seasons of life, 
some easier and some harder.

The details change from person to person of course,
but we all go through them. 
Seasons...they can bring love, hope, joy and trust,
but they also bring pain, fear, sadness and betrayal.
If we could choose, we'd never choose the latter would we? 

For those of you that have wondered about Jordan,
I'll share a little story that will warm your heart.

He was here with his family last weekend. One of the many changes 
in my life is that my mom's health has been failing. 
Jordan wanted to spend some time with her. 
He wheeled himself to her bedroom door, and though for weeks she
had barely been speaking, she said clearly,
"I don't think your wheelchair will fit through the door."
As I stood there next to her, I heard him quietly and humbly reply,

"It's okay Grandma, I'll crawl."

And so he did.
He hopped down from his chair and crawled to her side :) 

He whispered quietly to her that he loved her and wanted her to get better.
I love this young man. His tenderness with her was precious to watch.
This is the best medicine we could ask for :)
That's him with my mom and his son.

My father's love for the bride of his youth has shown through too.
He hardly leaves her side and his gentleness with her is so touching.
They're 65th anniversary is next month. 
They have truly lived their vows to each other.

This season has brought many changes to my life. 
I know there are more to come.
When we feel like we can't take a step forward,
sometimes we need to be reminded that it's okay to "crawl". 
 Thank you Jordan, for that gentle reminder.

The words to this song remind me 
"Who" to crawl to when heartaches come.
If you have a couple of minutes to listen to it,
you'll be blessed :)

Need You Now
Well, everybody's got a story to tell
And everybody's got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there's beauty here
'Cause oh I get so tired of holding on
I can't let go, I can't move on
I want to believe there's meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now

Standing on a road I didn't plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I'm trying to hear that still small voice
I'm trying to hear above the noise


Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows,
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, Please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many time have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
"God please take this?"
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now

I need you now

Friday, January 4, 2013

Step, Stroll and a Stride

Happy New Year!!
I've been meaning to share the link to my son and daughter in law's blog,
and this seemed like the perfect time. 
They're in Korea, enjoying the adventure of a lifetime! 
Here's their newest post...beautifully written by Sarah :)

There’s something about a New Year’s Eve that gets me thinking.  If you’re like me, you made resolutions in years past that you’ve probably not kept. And you’ve regretted even making the ones you knew you weren’t going to keep anyway. This blog isn’t about resolutions, because let’s be honest, the last things I need a longer list of things to do. It is, however, about is God’s goodness, and that my friends it worth list making!

2013 is kind of a big question mark. We don’t where we’ll be this time next year. I personally don’t know if I’ll be working, if i’ll be a mom, or if I could, by some small chance, be at a job that requires me to waste time on Pinterest. (Now, that would be AWESOME!) I also have no idea where I’ll be living, what church i’ll be attending, or what crazy ideas i have for the next coming year. But, what i do know is this. Every year is an panorama of God’s goodness. And 2012, as all my years past, was just the same. It was packed-- rich and full-- with the favor of the Lord and that is worth every bit of reflection. 

A little over a year ago, my best friend ask me to marry him at a little place folks call Disneyland. Maybe you’ve heard of it? And it seems like life to follow moved at warp speed. (Baby, it can be used outside of Star Wars... and yes, i know what it is!) The Lord “gifted” Randy and I with eagerness( some would call it impatience), and we set a wedding date 5 months out. No big deal,eh?! (Ask my mom about that one... maybe she’d answer differently.) Regardless of the timeline, the details (while awesome!), and the endless hours of DIY-ing, the Lord’s favor covered it all. Down to the smallest, seemingly insignificant, details. It was as if the Lord could calculate how to gift me with the simplest and smallest things that would make me the most happy. As a good Daddy does.  From a perfect wedding venue, the blessing of a woman who had all the lovelies to make it beautiful, the perfect mustard yellow bridesmaid dresses(which i hunted down and secured like a mad woman through several wee hour mornings) and a family who gave more than imaginable to make it wonderful! That my friends, is the favor of the Lord! Not simply over the celebration of a wedding, but over the marriage I was going to enter! It was the Lord’s favor that blessed me with my husband. One who loves and serves me like Jesus, and makes life sweeter by the day. The Lord’s favor is sweet... and while so underserved, too rich and good to not ask for more.

The days and weeks following our wedding were something akin to chaos. Some said we were crazy and questioned what we were doing. But the Lord’s favor covered it all. He’s good like that! And in hindsight things are always a lot clearer! Three weeks after the wedding, with 10 days notice,  we packed up our first house and moved to South Korea. How we managed to get on the plane in one piece-- without any big brawls-- with the essentials for two in a foreign country is a blessing in itself. One only to be attributed to the Lord! I’m ever more convinced that  he calls and moves and blesses those whom he desires. And it’s there his favor rests. It is that favor that establishes the work of our hands.... and the direction of a plane in some cases.

Life has settled down for the Murpheys. And yet life continues. Even as I watch life happen, admittedly from my News Feed, I’m daily reminded of the goodness of the Lord and the favor he covers his beloved with. A daily reminder that draws my heart to worship! 

My list is short and far from complete... but they are good reminders of God's favor!

The favor of the Lord is on my cousins, who, in all different directions, are forging the world with the love of Christ. Architecture, medicine missions and airplanes. You are connecting the dots of the Gospel for people and creating a web of grace for them to look at. The Lord’s favor is on you... and big things are ahead for you!

I see the Lord's favor all over my brother. He's got one of the most giving and gracious hearts I’ve ever known. He’s one of those guys who would literally give his jacket and shoes off for anyone in need, take them to Denny’s for a $2 stack of unlimited pancakes, and then bless the waiter with a $30 tip on a 4 dollar bill. Yea, he’s that guy. And the Lord’s favor-- so very evident in his life-- establishes the work of his hands! Big things are ahead of him!

I’ve watch my lovely sister, brother and their two beautiful daughters. The favor of the Lord is all over this family! His favor is over Kenny’s job. It’s over Sharon’s ministry to Kenny and raising two Godly, hilarious, kind hearted girls! The Lord is establishing this family to be a powerful tool in the lives of people around them. It’s such a beautiful thing to watch... only bigger things are to come!

My brother-in-law rocked a full time job and started an awesome master program. Another started the police academy. My best friend give birth to a sweet baby girl!  Our dear friends gave birth to a handsome little man. Friends have been provided with stellar job. New house. Long awaited diplomas.  People have been saved. Baptized. And called to missions. Friends have written books. Moved to new places. Gotten engaged. Married. And all to many have been impregnated. That, my friends, is the favor of the Lord littering my News Feed!

(Did i just justify Facebook?) :)

You can thank me later.

When i think about the favor of the Lord, it’s a little baffling. It seems to land, undeservedly, on the most unexpected in extraordinary ways. And that’s what’s so beautiful and baffling about it! It just doesn’t make sense, but there is something so rich about it!  It’s like a cloak of royalty on a the back of a simple woman.  It humbles me to be covered in it, and yet there’s no where else i’d rather be. 

"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" Psalm 90:17

Go over and follow them if you get a chance, at:
Step, Stroll and a Stride
May God bless you in 2013!