Two Months Since My Last Blog…

This Christmas, my second as a widow, was a vast improvement over my first (last year). This year, my three daughters made the long trek to my recently acquired home in Suffolk, Virginia and we had a lovely time together on Christmas morning.

This morning (Wednesday), everyone went back home and that was tough. For three glorious days, I was not the widow of a man who took his own life, but a mother to three beautiful girls, and with their good energy and happy enthusiasm, we created some lovely new memories.

And yet, this morning, the tears returned. Two of the girls (and their significant others) live more than 600 miles away. I miss them so very much, and yet they’re in their 30s. I raised them to be independent, strong-willed, self-supporting, capable adults, ready and able to “fly the coop.”

They’re back home now, far away, and I realize that I need a strong distraction for the hours and the days and the weeks and the months.

I’m wondering if it’s time for me to move into the next phase, which is finding a job or volunteer work. My writing days are behind me. Right now, it’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever write another book. I never did like writing. It’s misery and it’s solitude and as far as income goes, it’s barely more than a hobby. The Penniman book (which represented six years of research) is being polished and prepared for a second printing.

What’s a former writer and historian to do?

I just don’t know.

I do know that sitting in my lovely house and sobbing every morning and every evening isn’t a good plan.

As always, please keep me in your prayers and please leave a comment below.


For Christmas, my three daughters wrote "love notes" on bits of paper and put them in this vintage cookie tin. It was one of the loveliest and most thoughtful gifts I've ever received. The tin is just like a tin from my childhood home.

For Christmas, my three daughters wrote "love notes" on bits of paper and put them in this vintage cookie tin. It was one of the loveliest and most thoughtful gifts I've ever received. The tin is just like a tin from my childhood home. If I remember correctly, my mother purchased a tin much like this in the 1960s, and she would "bake" that small glass plug in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The idea was that those absorbent crystals would keep things crisp.


  1. Susan Schnittger

    I am so glad that you had a happy Christmas.

    As for what to do, maybe it could be an offshoot of writing.

    I bet you would be a powerful editor. Perhaps along those lines you could be a contractor providing that kind of thing.

    That way you could hire in for a specified period of time and not have to commit to a full time job. If something like that appeals to you, maybe a temp agency could let you know if there is any interest in it.

    It is good to see another of your blogs.I do enjoy them.

    Never doubt your fan club. 🙂

  2. Janet LaMonica

    Rosemary, I was so very happy to hear that you had a lovely Christmas! We enjoyed a quiet one here at the campground in Florida.

    Your idea to look for volunteer work is worthwhile for sure and my suggestion is to stop by the library.

    They could probably use someone with your talents in a number of ways!

    I hope we can visit in person after we return to New Bern in April.

  3. bfish

    You remember correctly about the canister your daughters gave you — I recognized it at a glance, our household also having bought one of these in the 1960s.

    You are still a writer — with this blog and your Sears home group on Facebook.

    Many of us enjoy what you have to say on a wide range of topics!

    As for other pursuits, maybe something stemming from your love of dogs?

    (If you’d ended up moving to Portsmouth rather than Suffolk, I’d have suggested you become a commentator on Portsmouth politics; lots of material there!)

    Also, I’m so glad that all of your daughters joined you for Christmas ——

  4. Gemma

    Thank you for the update, dear Rosie.

    Perhaps that home inspection job offered to you years ago would still be available?

    I know from experience that charitable work does indeed heal the scars of what we both have been through.

    May the red and blue rays of Divine Mercy beam upon you.

  5. Judy Marks

    Rosemary whatever opportunity you choose, you will make a meaningful contribution. The holidays and the aftermath are always a bit rough. I am sending you love and appreciation from far away in California.

  6. Cathy Yocum

    After reading your blog these were in my email. I can’t help but feel I am supposed to share with you.

    Pace Yourself: Real-life Devotions by Lysa TerKeurst, Day 6
    Today’s reading is drawn from Job 7:11, Psalm 31:9, Proverbs 17:18, and 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.


    Trapped like a firefly in a mason jar. Stifled, I peered out, watching others’ dreams, hopes and joys twinkle and fly by my stagnant ones. My own desires sat dusty in my valley of pain.

    Extinguished. Exhausted. Expectant no longer.

    “I’m so sorry your dreams are dashed,” my friend offered. “I wish I had known sooner how painful this disappointment has been. It would have been an honor to walk it out with you.”

    “Thanks. But a broken heart is silly. Especially in light of others’ pain.” Who was I to be sad about a mere breakup?

    Silenced by self-doubt. Belittled by unworthiness. I diminished my pain, fearing it insignificant. In the process I belittled God’s care about my pain. Healing had been offered, yet I walked away, thinking it not worth his trouble.

    My friend took my hand, and we journeyed back to when she had lost two children. Someone then had told her to check her pain at the door. Keep it in perspective to others’ pain.

    We journeyed back to another time when pain was acknowledged, not tucked in a dark corner. Then she turned to the Lord, who administered healing from the grief of empty arms and empty cribs.

    My friend took my hand again and we journeyed forward. “Don’t belittle your grief. Your pain is genuine. This valley is real. You must acknowledge the Lord is near and accept his help to get out.”

    My friend granted me permission to feel my ache and loss. Drastically different than her own, yet no less honest. In that moment I realized I’d held my pain at a distance. Yet truth resonated in her words. No one loves us or offers healing like God does.

    Perhaps it is time to acknowledge the pain, like Job did in Job 7:11. To become aware of the Lord’s care—an “always there” presence. No matter what other voices have said, your pain is valid. God cares deeply and longs to heal you. No pain is too great … or too small.

    Often we just need someone to remind us that God longs to remove the lid on our mason jar and fly next to us, out of the valley.

    By Samantha Reed

  7. Cathy Yocum

    Beauty in the Struggle

    “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)

    All of us go through things that “break” us.

    The break might be a small chip or crack, or more like something shattering into a million pieces. And then we struggle to glue the pieces back together. Some wounds are so deep only Christ can bring the healing and forgiveness we need to move on. But when we invite Him into our pain, He not only has the ability to heal us, He can also use us in extraordinary ways.

    When someone asks about a hard time in our lives, most of us take a second and go back to that moment. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, and other times it can be absolutely heartbreaking. A lot of us don’t want to go there, so it can be hard to let others peer into that part of our lives. Even when you’re just getting started in life — like I am. What we often don’t recognize, though, is the beauty in the midst of our trials.

    How can there be beauty in the struggle?

    In our key verse, the Lord reminds Isaiah “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).

    No matter what has happened in our lives, we can be comforted that God is there. When reading this verse, I imagine walking through the roughest times in my life but feeling the most amazing peace and comfort. I think that’s what God wants us to be reminded of. This world is full of hardship, but we can be comforted in knowing that He knows our hearts more than anyone, even ourselves. He hears our cries and wants us to run to Him.

    In the hard times it can be difficult to see what good could come from our “mess,” so I want to share three ways God can shine beauty through our struggle.

    We lean in. It’s in our desperation — the hardships, pain and trials we face — that we cling to God most tightly. When I was growing up in the church, I was always told, “listen to the still small voice” — meaning the voice of God. He wants us to lean in and listen. I remember that sticking with me. God is gentle with His children, and He never forces us to spend time with Him. Much like any relationship we have with our siblings, children or parents, our relationship with Him is a two-way street. He beckons us into His presence. And not just to list off all of our prayers for the day. He invites us to take a breath and say, “Dear God, You know my heart, and all I ask is for rest. I need Your comfort right now.”

    We grow in wisdom. Growth is never comfortable. It stretches us in ways we may not enjoy, but it molds us into who God is making us. No matter how old we are, we all have opportunities to grow in wisdom. When I’m discouraged by the struggle, I remember the process is beautiful … because I’m learning how to be more like my heavenly Father.

    We help ourselves help others. I used to think I was alone in many of my struggles. Once I became aware that others were in the same boat, my whole perspective changed. Our pain can be our platform to relate to anyone. Everyone longs to be understood. It feels good to have someone who’s been there and isn’t afraid to admit it. There is beauty in being vulnerable with your pain or struggle.

    When looking at so many examples in Scripture, I cannot help but look at the whole picture of the Bible. It’s truly one beautiful story made up of many ordinary people like you and me. But the best part of all is that Jesus walked with those people in the midst of their struggles, which means He will for us, too! Whatever it may be. He’s there. He’s listening, and He wants to fight for us. All He asks for us to do is rest in Him.

    Dear Jesus, give me the strength today to endure all that is in front of me. Help me believe You are with me in the highs and lows of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    2 Corinthians 4:16, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (ESV)

  8. Anne

    I don’t think “former writer” is a permanent descriptor.

    I’d like to see you tackle another book, if only to exorcise the memories of Penniman that are all entangled with the bad memories.

    And, as someone said earlier, you would make an awesome editor.

    With online access, you can collaborate with authors and editors anywhere, doesn’t have to be local to Virginia.

    I also think you’d make a dynamite librarian. Most library schools offer online degree programs nowadays, if you wanted to pursue an advanced degree.

    Volunteering in a library is a good way to test the waters.

  9. Alice

    Thank you for your website and your blog. I have just recently discovered them and find them very informational and inspiring. I see that you have a loyal following.

    How wonderful to have that support, and yet I know it can’t fill the empty places that a tragic loss causes.

    If you get a chance, could you let me know if Good Housekeeping magazine had mail order kit houses?

    We bought an 1891 farmhouse in WA State in 1975 and someone told me that it had been from Good Housekeeping magazine or from Sears Roebuck.

    I have learned from you that Sears started selling their kits in 1911, so Sears was not the source.

    I can Google for an answer, but I thought it might be more direct to ask you, an expert in this area.

    All the best, and Happy 2018!

  10. Sandi daniel

    Ok, it’s your BLUNT friend….and you know I never sugarcoat much.

    Time to get up, get out and get on to the things that will bring positive energy to your life. You will have the rest of your life to recover, a minute at a time.

    But staying home and sobbing, spending lonely hours dwelling on the past that can’t be changed is sucking vital minutes from your life that CAN be productive and joyous.

    Reinvent yourself, Rose. If anybody can do it, you can.

    For those reading this, I’m not being cold. I, too, am a widow and a suicide survivor (although those 2 events were not related).

    Rose and I have spent countless hours on the phone so we know each other well.

    Rose, you have too much to offer to keep selling yourself short. Now that you are settled in your new home, it’s time to get out and let an old or new talent blossom.

    Maybe you WON’T write another book, but maybe you could paint a masterpiece, rebuild a car engine, read to the blind, teach a child how to write, or change the world in some way.

    Let God lead you. Your next adventure is right outside your front door….just lock it on the way out. Time’s a-wastn’, Woman!!!!!

  11. Roger Duroid

    Yes, help teach children to read that have been left behind and have lost their confidence.

    Not sure how to find them or how to do it but you can figure it out.

    Parents who care, will pay for this

  12. Rita Wilson

    So pleased to read that the girls came to visit you for a Happy Christmas. Always sad when they leave and you are left floundering.

    Rosemary, you have a whole world outside your door. The possibilities are endless for what you might choose to do with your life as a hobby or a career.

    With this unique opportunity, you can do anything and everything you dreamt of over the years.

    A love of real estate is a part of you.

    You might well be the one who will be the match maker who leads a family or an individual to the property that will set their heart singing.

    Or perhaps you will be the painter or wallpaper hanger who will transform a room into the perfect place.

    There are countless numbers of people out in the world who are like yourself alone and hurting. Shake off your sadness and find them and bring companionship and caring into their lives.

    A young child needs someone to lean on when their parent(s) are unable to be there for them after school. Not everyone can each but everyone can love.

    Dig down into yourself and bring up what you once desired to do with your life but turned away from.

    Rosemary, be the woman YOU want to be not the woman that tragedy made.

  13. Lorraine Hudspeth

    Rosemary, I happened across your blog as I was searching info on Sears Catalog Homes.

    You have certainly invested years of research on this subject. As I read your story, I felt compelled to reach out to you.

    I am so sorry about what you have been through. I don’t know you and can’t say I know what you are going through. I am older and lost my husband last year from a lung disease.

    My loss was not the same as yours but pain is pain. I have a strong faith and a great family, still at times I have felt so lost.

    It is out of character for me to reach out to a stranger, but just wanted to say Happy New Year, and hopefully, the best is yet to come in your life.

    I browsed through the pictures of your new home.

    It is wonderful, and with time hope it will provide the comfort and healing that you need. Just take your time and don’t try to rush things. God Bless You, Lorraine

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