Joni Parsley Daydream Believer
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
After so much of that, I became resentful and angry at others but mostly myself. Why did pleasing people matter so much? Why did approval of others matter and why did I never upset the apple cart when I had every right to? I kept shrinking away while creating this supermom and killing myself to do so. I wanted my husband and kids to think I was amazing, and even though I enjoyed all of my endeavors, my digging uncovered what it cost later in life and more importantly, who and what I lost.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
How does one sum up a lifetime in just a few paragraphs? Last week, we said goodbye to my father’s only sibling, his beloved brother, James Askoff who went to Heaven after a short illness. Although in their eighties, these brothers were active together and together they were until the very end. I think that describes this relationship…always together. As children of Yugoslavian immigrants, they have an unparalleled history.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

It feels odd to get back to life when it looks unrecognizable. After the death of someone or a significant loss, how can we get back to “usual” when “usual” doesn’t exist anymore? There is this empty space where a person belonged and everything that went along with them. That void takes your heart to the pit of your stomach at the very thought of their absence. Life is supposed to go on but it feels like it does so in slow motion.

There are stages to grief and I’ve read about them and gone through them, but I think it’s personal; different for each individual. I really don’t feel that psychology got the science down to five stages and that’s it. I also don’t agree with people who say that grief is an enemy and should be rebuked like the common cold. I know that grief, left unchecked and uncommitted into the healing hands of our Savior, can become a problem that shows up in many other ways. Nonetheless, the scriptures give us permission to have a season to grieve.

We are humans that hurt; we feel pain. If we can’t feel pain ourselves then we can’t feel it for others. God knew what separation felt like and made provisions for us to have a time of mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). We have permission! We can reflect, remember, and feel all our feelings and yet, are in the recuperative company of the Comforter when we do so…we are never alone even when we feel like we are.

In 2 Samuel 12:23, David said something that was and is so significant. After the death of his son, he returned from the tabernacle where he’d worshiped the Lord. He told his aides, who were amazed by his resolve, this enduring truth regarding the loss of his son, “I shall go to him, he shall not return to me.”

One might ask, how could someone worship God after the death of their baby? I believe David was thanking God that his sins were forgiven and that he had the hope of heaven and would see his son again. That is something to think about! What a hope we have…and that hope WILL be a reality! This life is but a moment but eternity is FOREVER!

God’s word is tethered to our hearts in times like these…we just have to tug! I can hurt but also proclaim, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). I can also feel afraid…yes, I said it!

C.S. Lewis wrote, what I believe is a definitive work on the subject of grief in, “A Grief Observed.” It was written after the loss of his beloved wife and reminds me of a psalm in its painful honesty and moments of questioning. He said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” The uncertainty of life changing so drastically, after loss, is frightening; the fear of an unplanned future that suddenly visited us is daunting.

However, fear is one of God’s specialties! Just the faith of a mustard seed can know He holds tomorrow and today and the next five minutes we don’t think we can even breathe through. Jesus was called, “The Man of Sorrows.” He was well-acquainted with grief and our sorrows cannot compare. But, His love answered the distant cries of our hurting hearts and He bore it all on the Cross…He didn’t have to but He did it anyway. In our hardest moments, we can look to Him and that undeniable love and know He will give us “beauty for ashes” and “that He heals the brokenhearted.”

What God gives in this life cannot be described, much less comprehended. But it doesn’t end here… so we can’t act like it does. I have - I admit it! In my life, there have been those moments where I felt like I couldn’t take another breath…but I did and I wasn’t breathing alone.

"Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27

Filed In: Prayer, Grievance, Prayer Cloth |  |   8 Comments
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I want to thank all of you for your support during these last weeks of difficulty-I guess I don’t know what else to call it. The end of life for someone is simply hard to watch and hard to endure. My next post addresses the subject of grief and the challenges of going on in the face of it. I put a few other posts on hold to discuss this life experience. It seemed more appropriate anyway.

I’m actually writing this on a plane as we travel back home. We took a few days away to just be before the Lord and be with each other. It was a working trip with some free moments attached to it. All I can say is… prayers were felt! I thank you deeply for your kind words of encouragement and the prayers that have strengthened us each and every day.

It is a wonderful thing to be part of God’s family where people genuinely care. Compassion is an outgrowth of love and we have been the blessed beneficiaries of both.

We now have the task of settling back in to normal life that feels very abnormal now. God is ever-present and has been the loving Father we know Him to be. However, we are still in “that place” and I’ll talk about it more in the post to come.

While we were gone, I watched the beautiful, vast ocean one afternoon. I became fascinated by the surfers. They are a patient group! They sat on their boards, in the still water, for long periods of time just waiting and watching. They were looking for the direction of the waves to swim towards and ride. Most of them could catch that wave and ride it all the way to the shore and then, go right back out again.

I thought a lot about grief being so much like that. Things are still and quiet and then a wave of emotion comes and I know I can either drown in it or ride to shore where it’s safe. However, being patient through the process is important…there is a time to mourn. But, there is always a safe place…always.

Thank you so much, once again! I love you all and pray that the God of all Grace meets you at the point of your need for He is our FAITHFUL SUPPLY!

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Monday, July 01, 2013

See You in the Funny Papers-My Tribute to “Clyde”

*note-this is my personal tribute to my late (and great) father-in-law. It’s an open letter to him so forgive me, if I don’t use formal titles etc. He and I were never formal and I liked it that way. He was so many things to so many people but this is who he was to me and I certainly could never do him justice in these few paragraphs.

Dearest Clyde,

I only write this in letter form because I have no other way that comes to mind. This is all simply surreal. I don’t particularly like the world without you in it and it’s an odd and empty feeling. I’ve known you since I was nineteen years old-most of my adult life. Seven years later, when I married your son, I had no idea that I got two great guys in the deal-well, really three if you count Austin. Your moral code, work ethic and sense of honor and integrity reminded me so much of my own Dad-I guess that’s why you both got along so well. I always loved overhearing your conversations about fighting in Korea and, the laughter that went along with some of the stories, made me think you two got in a little trouble while you were there!

Your laugh is what I may miss most but there’s no way I could pick just one thing. Most people don’t know what our relationship was like because few really saw it. It was forged in the many days and nights while I was alone, with the kids, while Rodney was on the road preaching. Often, Ellen was gone ministering too and we were both alone. Since we were neighbors, you quickly became our safety net as you came over to check on us, have dinner, or take the kids outside for an adventure. Unfortunately for you, the “emergency repairman” title came along with it too! Oh, the many times I called you with a dead car battery, a clogged drain, a basement flood or some broken “this or that”. My favorite emergency was the infamous garbage disposal explosion. I had put an entire pan of rice down the disposal and it exploded like The Yellowstone Geyser! You and I waded through rice and water up to our ankles and you just laughed, took off your shoes and socks, and rolled up those khaki pants you always wore. I deserved a lecture but you never said a word-I’m still really sorry over that one!

I can still picture the countless times you walked through the back door, coffee cup in hand, saying, “Do you need anything boys?” From there our chats covered several topics and often, we’d vent to each other about things that always remained between us. Thank you for being a sounding board and a voice of reason since no one else would have, or could have, understood what it was like being the background to someone else’s foreground. Even though we’d have it no other way, there were still drawbacks that only we knew relative to our particular situations. I always felt better knowing you were there…now what am I supposed to do?

I remember one of our conversations about the things that matter in life. You told me your goal was to be a great Paw Paw and what I can say to that is… Mission Accomplished! More people should have goals like that; uncomplicated but everlasting. What memories you gave your three grandkids! I could never list them all but you know and they know and that’s all that really matters. You never needed applause or accolades…people that have great depth of character don’t. Your applause came in the squeals of Austin’s delight on the four-wheeler, the pride on Amy’s face as you taught her to shoot her first gun, and the pure pleasure of teaching Ashton to drive the junky “Buck Truck” at age ten! Your accolades came in the time you had with your family and your devotion was matchless. I watched intently as you hovered over your daughter’s bedside and we’ll leave it at that since you are joyfully together now…as it should be. You stood beside your son in ways that are indescribable-you built way more than just buildings. You cheered on your wife as she pursued her calling and by example, helped me do the same.

I could go on and on but the volumes I have left will forever remain in the torn and tattered pages of this wounded heart that I wear on my sleeve right now. You are not just one of the good ones; you are one of the great ones. Whenever you left my house, you always left your coffee cup and I’d wait until I had three or four before I return them. The other day, I found one of them in the back of a cupboard I was cleaning out…um, you’re not getting it back! I’ll keep it along with my fondest of all memories -what you always said when you left, “Well, I’ll see you in the funny papers.” I miss hearing that, I miss laughing over the Letters to the Editor in your hometown paper, I miss your orange paint on everything, I miss hearing the sound of your truck pulling in the drive, I miss your jokes, I even miss your singing…I guess you could say I miss everything.

This I know, there is a heaven and you’re there. You deserve your Crown of Righteousness and your Eternal Reward. You deserve to have no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more loss. You deserve the joy of being with your daughter, your loved ones and your Lord. You deserve it all and that’s my solace. As Ashton said, “Paw Paw had too much life to stay in that body”. I agree, as hard as it is to say, but I agree. I’m comforted in knowing that this goodbye isn’t forever but until then, please know that I love you and well… I’ll see you in the funny papers.

Love Always,


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About Joni

Thanking God for blessings too many to list. He is my all and my always-the glory and the lifter of my head... He never fails.

Why the Name

"For a child, it’s as easy as blowing out candles on a cake, or wishing upon a star. But as for one of those 'grown-ups,' 'No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work.' " ...