Sunday, August 19, 2012

Remembering Lynn...

It is with a very heavy heart that I share that my friend Lynn Brookside passed away, I found out yesterday on my phone during a belated birthday celebration for my son Jonathan. My heart just broke thinking the last message I got from Lynn was on on my blog last week saying how much she was looking forward to hearing how his swim meet went. I hadn't blogged about it yet being so busy with summer stuff and our release and blog hops after we returned, and now it's too late.* (A sad emoticon at the end of that sentence wouldn't even begin to cover how I feel about not doing that.)

What I regret even more, is that I'd planned to do a Q & A about her on my blog as a follow up to some of the cards she made with the Wild Flowers set, so I, and my readers, would know more about this dear woman who was always ready with wonderful compliments for people and loved participating in the StampTV community and uploading her own art, which by the way, was absolutely beautiful. Just look at this card she made, less than a week ago! It's so full of joy and abundance.
Rebekah's bday '12
She knew I planned to do that, I just hadn't sent the questions, and of course she waited patiently, on me, and I never got around to it. Questions like, Can you tell us more about your condition? How are you able to press through pain and craft? How did you get started stamping? What's your favorite Bible verse? And now I'll never know, at least on this side of eternity...I feel terrible that I left things undone...(I invite any of you to share these answers below, if you know)

There's a LOT I don't know about Lynn. I know she lived in California, but don't know how old she was or what she looked like. She represented herself with this sweet kitten avatar on StampTV. Seated, content, in the flowers. I'd just always imagined her as someone with smile on her face and a light in her eyes.

I don't know about her family, although I got the impression she didn't have them around. I was told this weekend that, sadly, they were estranged. Just recently though she 'liked" my sons' school on Facebook to help their school earn gift cards for supplies, since she didn't have any children in school of her own she wanted to help mine out! She was so sweet to think of things like that, and seemed overjoyed when I replied thanking her for "adopting my little ones.

I do know she had chronic pain. I'm not sure she even wanted to tell me all the physical problems she had, (perhaps that would have seemed too much like complaining) because I asked where the pain was if I could pray about it specifically, but she never responded with details. Lynn didn't define herself by those problems, and other than praying about it, it didn't really come up in our correspondence again. She had too many things she was excited about, like praying for others, and making cards that would brighten someone's day. (I know she LOVED making cards!)

I know she was very humble. When I read on Facebook not too long ago, she was praying God would take her life because she was suffering so much pain physically I wrote and asked if we could do a card drive for her. Her response was that there other people in more need of cards than she. Just knowing people would want to do something like that for was enough to lift her spirit.
single hibiscus
I know she was in a wheelchair, which made it almost impossible for her to get out, even to church, which was very difficult for her not to have that fellowship or time to worship. Living alone made the friends she had online that much more precious to her.
Shaker card

I know she believed the best about people.
I'm still amazed, humbled, and thankful how generously she wrote to me and prayed for me, when she knew so little about who I was.

I know she was a Christian
. Not just because she was a praying person, but because she knew Jesus. That's how our friendship and correspondence began about 6 months ago, that she must have known I was a Christian also from a previous stamp set and from reading my blog, and she reached out to me requesting I create a new set that contained more Bible verses. The funny thing was, "Wild Flowers" had already been etched in rubber and was scheduled for release the very next week , yet I had completed it almost two years ago at the same time I was working on Wild at Heart. Would she like a copy? Once she saw it, she said she felt it was made just for her. That we finally brought it out at that time, made me feel like it was God's timing that it was meant for Lynn.

And, because she knew Jesus, I know that she is out of out of her wheelchair today dancing with angels. That was an image that comforted me last night as I was laying awake so sad and regretting that things felt so unfinished between us. Praise God!

Finally I will share something Lynn wrote to me in February after I shared the Bible verse (But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." which really helped me when I was having trouble with my hand, although my pain and problem was nothing compared to what she was dealing with) Her response in italics:

"The scriptures you shared, are, indeed, ones that I cling to a lot. Otherwise, I would be caught in a web of despair with no way out. I don't know WHY God is allowing this to happen in my life, but I'm content to know that He has a purpose and that it's not a senseless accident. He knows what He's doing and that's (usually) enough for me. Sometimes, like today, though, I catch myself looking down at my pain rather than up at Him. Your message brought me right out of that.

Thank you, also, for sending me to your blog entry where you discussed your own bout with injury and pain. I'm praising God that He didn't keep you there but allowed you to resume creating things for other people's benefit -- mine in particular.

Being a shut-in means not getting to church or to a Bible study and so messages like yours make a world of difference to me. You've ministered to my heart, today, in a way no one else has in a very long time."

It's so amazing how God can use everything that happens to us, to just bless and minister to one another back and forth, how I could feel grateful that I had been through something difficult to witness to her what helped me, and that experience. I also knew Lynn had probably read that verse a hundred times but being able to talk about that together really created a strong bond and trust between us. God's word is never wasted. What if I hadn't shared it that day?
Lynn's response of course, lifted me up too, reminding me how blessed I am and not to sweat the small stuff I can get so wrapped up in. And her emails that I've saved will continue to do so, about what kind of example I need to be to others when things are tough. To always find my hope and contentment in Him, not my circumstances.

Lynn, you earned your rest and finished your work, being salt and light on this earth. Thank you, for blessing me with your prayers and kindness. The memory of your example of encouraging others and handling the worst trials with grace will be with me forever. Thank you for caring about my family, for praying for my boys, and praying for my success with professional projects and my art. Thank you for sharing the vision you had for the work that God intends to do through me. I hope I have the courage and energy to accomplish it all. As you would say, "Bear Hugs"

"Being confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil 1:6

Honor Lynn today and bless yourself by going through her gallery and seeing that "stamp of herself" she left on the world and chose to reveal to all of us, things of beauty, not pain, and her concern and caring for others (as well as how much she loved Gina K stamps! What a fan!) BTW, I just spied this one from two years ago, checking to see how long she has been an STV member, called "Not Alone". The sentiment, all things considered, gives me chills. It's like a message to me to pick myself up.
not alone

I could go on and on about Lynn but honestly this is all the energy I have for this now, I'm feeling defeated by the loss as well as inspired at the same time recounting what a remarkable person she was. Sorry for the rambling or if parts don't make sense, it's the best I can manage. I'll close by saying that I pray that all of you who read this today will go send that card or make that phone call you've been putting off because life is busy or because "there will be time tomorrow." We don't know what the future holds. Don't wait.

Thanks for reading. Several StampTV members are working on finding addresses or details for those of you who might want to do something more for Lynn, so stay tuned. Happy Sunday, and God bless!

*PS I *will* share about the swim meet. That is next. When I cried this morning that I left that undone and she had been looking forward to it, William put his arms around my neck and said, "Mama, can't you ask God to tell her for you?"

38 comments:

Libby Hickson said...

My heart is so heavy reading this Melanie.

Misti said...

Melanie, thank you for sharing this today. I just found out last night. I love William's comment!!!

Donna Phelan said...

This is a wonderful Blog Post, remembering our dear Lynn! She was enstranged from her family, but through STV I like to think that we ALL became her family. She was always so quick with a note or comment of praise for anyone who passed her way, often times I would just leave a {heart} on her page, just to let her know I was thinking of her. I will miss her, but am thankful to have known her! xoxo

Tina said...

Beautiful, Melanie. And yes, William has the right idea... God will let her know and SHE is smiling and blessed and dancing for joy that you have left his wonderful dedicated post. Bless you my friend... God will comfort us all and Lynn will forever be in our hearts. *HUGS*

alex said...

What a wonderful tribute to such a lovely and special lady, I wish I had had the chance to know her better, her comments and mail was always so bright and uplifting, she is now at peace and may God bless her, thank you so much Mel for putting into words how so many of us are feeling

Vicki Dutcher said...

Beautiful tribute to Lynn. I am sure she is smiling down at you~

Jan Castle said...

Thank you Melanie for sharing....a definite reminder to us all not to put off sending the card of encouragement or saying an uplifting comment. Lynn knows how you feel....William told you how! Heaven is a wonderful place...rest in the knowledge Lynn is enjoying herself! I did not know her, but I'm sure she wants you to be happy knowing you will meet her there one day!
Paper Hugs,
Jan

Kay S said...

Thanks for this beautiful post and for the reminders of how short and fragile our lives are. You were obviously a blessing to Lynn, so do not be hard on yourself for not following up on some of those things. Hugs to you.

MaxineD said...

what a beautiful person Lynn was/is - God was honoured through her life. May you be comforted in your grief. Thank you for the timely reminder not ot procrastinate in life, especially when God prompts us to dosomething.
Blessings
Maxine

Verna Angerhofer said...

I am so sad hearing about Lynn's passing but I rejoice in the fact that she is no longer suffering and that she is dancing free of pain and happy in Heaven. It is always a comfort to know our friends and loved ones know their Lord when they pass on. I was always thrilled with her artwork, he lovely comments she left on my cards and for all the wonderful messages she would send me too. I only met her through StampTV a few years ago but we enjoyed sharing our love of stamping. Thanks for letting us know about her and I thank God for bringing her into my life for a brief time. God bless you too.

Michelle said...

What a lovely tribute! It's obvious Lynn was an amazing woman. The image of her dancing in Heaven is just joyous. I pray peace for all who knew her personally. Lynn may not have 'left' her house, but it's clear she spread joy around the world.

Judy Woodland said...

Thank you Melanie for such a lovely tribute. Your words say it all. Many of us are curious about her life and what she went through. Perhaps we'll never know the whole story. But one thing's for sure, we will never forget her. I feel honored to have known her, if for just a little bit of time. What an inspiration she was. And now she's free. I take such comfort in that, but I will miss her sweet comments and encouragement.

Scrapacat said...

God bless you, Melanie. You are such a beautiful presence in all our lives. Love that wonderful boy you are raising. You've taught him the right stuff and his heart is full of God's light. I will miss Lynn, too. There are so many people I would love to know more about, but don't know how to start the conversations because I don't want to appear nosy. Instead, maybe I will work to be more transparent with my life. God bless your tender, broken heart.

Janeen said...

Melanie, thanks for posting. I just read this news on FB and I gasped. I am glad Lynn is free from her pain. You are right, even in talking directly to her, she never let me know exactly what it was she was dealing with. I know she was saddened when she couldn't get out to church anymore b/c of the confinement of the wheelchair.
I know she was an Editor for books, stories and manuscripts. Most of all I know she reached out to everyone and uplifted and encouraged and one would never know she was in so much pain. I do have a physical address for her home but don't know anything about her children. I know she has a grown son.

Cheri said...

What a wonderful tribute to Lynn, Melanie. She touched so many lives by her gentle spirit and selfless caring of others. I'm sure your words would bring her so much joy. Having now broken the bonds of pain and suffering, she is free. May she rest in perfect peace.

Ina said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings. It must have been so hard for you to write. It is a sad day to see someone pass but we know she is now in a better place looking down on us and smiling.

Ellen said...

Melanie, your tribute to Lynn was heartfelt and loving. I had the blessing of having known her for about 16 years; we were email friends and met once in person. Over the years, I learned about her life...to put it gently, it was extremely difficult, but she always leaned on God, was never bitter about her circumstances.

She has/had two children; Daniel who passed away seven years ago as a result of a chemical addiction and Angela, who is married and has two small boys. It is from Angela that she was estranged and hadn't seen the little boys for at least three years.

We emailed every day and she talked often of her StampTV family!! She loved you all and was so honored and thrilled, Melanie, when you invited her to create some cards with your designs. There was not very much in her life that gave her joy other than her stamp making and online friends.

She was such a dear friend to me, she opened up about just about everything in her life although she sometimes did so cautiously because she didn't know how much of it I could "take". Though she was weak physically and in constant pain, she was so strong spiritually and trusted God with and in everything in her life...she was and will always be an inspiration to me....I rejoice she is reunited with her beloved Daniel and is dancing in Glory, no longer needing her wheelchair or pain killers!!

In a way this feels disjointed as I write because it's hard to write...she meant so very much to me. Oh, :-) her cat's name was Bonnie...Lynn's nickname as a child was "Angel"... her mother is living; they did not have a close relationship but Lynn was determined to follow "honor thy mother and father". Her father and a brother have predeceased her; she has a sister who separated her from the family years ago.

Blessings to all,
Ellen

Jennie said...

Beautiful post Melanie... I only heard late last night that had passed away but thrilled in thinking of her now in Heaven free from all physical and emotional pain and discomfort. I was truly blessed by her personal comments on my blog and via private emails/messages. I too didn't know specifics, but knew she was a kind hearted lady who longed to be with her Savior. Looking forward to meeting her one day in Heaven...

Betty Neville said...

A beautiful and moving tribute. Lynn was indeed an inspiration. You have also given me much to think about. Many of us are blessed with close family, friends, children, work - things that we often take for granted, things that keep us busy 24/7. But to those who are lonely, ill, or shut-in, a visit; a kind comment; or a word of encouragement can mean all the difference. I truly believe that Lynn valued your on-line friendship; and that you did make a difference in her life. Thank you for sharing.

Joyce T. said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I didn't have the privilege of knowing Lynn but reading your entry today....I know she's my sister in Christ and that she left a tremendous example to follow. I'll look forward to meeting her in person one day in place where there is no more pain or sorrow or suffering or tears. As for the swim meet details....she already knows the results and is satisfied in her Lord. God Bless

Brian Vanderbyl said...

I have been reading everyone's comments on Lynn. It sounds like you all have been touched by Lynn as I have been. I knew her very well and prayed with her many times. She has touched many lives during her stay here on earth. I know that she suffered every day and was in a lot of constant pain. So her passing on to be with God in heaven is a true blessing for her. It is what she longed for. To be with God and with her son Daniel. She will be sorely missed. Whenever I was really in need of someone to help me back on my feet I knew I could count on her to pray for me.

I love you Lynn.

Brian Vanderbyl

Dee said...

Thank you, Melanie, for sharing the sadness in your life regarding Lynn. Knowing she was a Christian makes such a difference in life, and possibly the reason her family shut her out of their lives. God knows, and loved her unconditionally. Your William had such a sweet remedy for your grief. Blessings to you and yours!

Diana E. said...

Melanie, you know me not and I know you not, but that never means an attachment to one another can not be achieved. This is what you and Lynn had, and how wonderful it was. Yes, God's way of giving each of you something you needed. Tears fill my eyes, tears fill my heart, but knowing the person you shared so much with is with OUR LORD and free from pain is a Blessing for you AND for HER ! God's Blessing to you, Melanie for being her friend.

Tammie Lien said...

Melanie,Thanks so much for sharing and she will be truely missed.She is our angel fron up above just like she was here...

Theresa Momber said...

What a beautiful remembrance of Lynn. She was so generous and kind with her praise and positive outlook. {{{hugs}}}

Suzanne J Dean said...

That's a beautiful post Mel and a fine tribute to a very generous and kind-hearted woman. Lynn was always first to comment with a sweet note and I know she suffered...I for sure know she is up above singing sweetly with the other angels. Thanks for writing this about her and for her...very fitting for who she was!

hugz,
Suzanne

Lee (LuvLee on SCS) said...

HUGS Mel......I know how much that took for you to write and share that post. Just wanted you to know you have touched so many with what you've shared and Lynn would be so happy and yet so humble. She left a truly giving and encouraging legacy!

Cheryl Wright said...

Melanie, thanks for writing such a beautiful post about our dear Lynn.

She was such a special person, and touched so many people with her kindness and thoughtfulness.

The world will definitely be worse off without her in it.

RIP dear friend.

Doris W. said...

Beautiful tribute. Being fairly new to STV I was just getting to know her. She touched a lot of lives.

Carolyn King said...

So sad. What a wonderful tribute to your friend. I did not know her but feel like i do after reading this. I love your heartfelt way at remembering her and honoring her memory. xo PS---William is precious!

Ellen said...

Melanie and all,

The following was apparently shared by Susan on the StampTV site (of which I'm not a member) and wanted to share it here.

blessings, Ellen

****

I have Lynn's daughter's address. Lynn was estranged from her daughter, but she had expressed a wish to her friend that when she died, she hoped that everyone would send a card to her daughter to let her daughter know that other people loved her. I would like to honor that wish and would love it if all of you would do the same.
Angela Chisum
2971 N.W. Moore Ct.
Bend, OR 97701
I have some other sad news as well and need your prayers. Lynn's beloved cat, Bonnie Blue, is missing. They think she ran out while the police and ambulance were there. They are searching for her, but have not found her yet. Please pray that they find her and get her to a nice safe home.
On behalf of Lynn's friends, thank you all for such wonderful words about her. I don't think Lynn actually knew how much we all loved her and how much she touched all of our lives. She will be greatly missed

Angela said...

Melanie, thank you for sharing this...I did not know her very well, only chatted with her a few times and she left some lovely comments on my cards at Stamptv, but she was always so kind and encouraging and I was so sad to learn of her passing. I am so greatly encourged however, to learn she was a Christian and truely knew Jesus. You have no idea what that does for my heart. Her passing reminds me that we should express our thankfulness and our appreciation for each other much more often...don't be afraid to tell someone how much they mean to you!

lisa808 said...

I am so sorry about the loss of your good blogging friend. Though I did not know Lynn, I have learned through your post what a special person she was.

redwasher1 said...

Melanie, what a wonderful tribute to Lynn. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, prayers and your friendship with Lynn. Dear friend, you are the mortar that keeps us a family !! Hugs, Geri

Kathryn A said...

Thank you for sharing such a touching tribute to Lynn. I only recently "met" her on STV, but she touched my heart with her kind comments about my cards. Melanie, I love your stamps, and I'm so humbled to be part of a such a wonderful, caring, online community. God bless you!

scrapperatheart.com said...

Melanie, Thanks for this wonderful tribute to Lynn. It was such a pleasure to know her even if it was only over text and as you said she had such a kind spirit about her. Thanks for letting us get to know her a little better and I can agree with you that she is now dancing with the angels! Blessings to you!

Kaity said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. I was Lynn's housekeeper for the past four months, so I saw first hand the kind of the pain she was in. She was always making cards while I was working, but I had no idea that she had such an amazing network of friends here. It makes me so happy to know that she did. She was much more than an employer to me, she was just the sweetest and most kind person. She would send me to Starbucks to get something for her, but always made sure that I got something for myself on her gift card. She also gave me a sixpence for my future wedding. I'm going to miss her dearly. But I am so thankful that she is finally pain free and can walk and run and dance with no pain. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything that everyone did for her - even just talking to her. I would usually clean her house on Fridays so today has been tough.

Omega said...

Wow, what an awesome tribute. I was very touched by this post and so grateful I can across it. Reading what you shared and seeing her cards I felt floods of love and God's abundant Grace. I'm so glad to be a member of StampTV and have seen and read thing that have lifted my spirit just when I needed it and it just feels right. I've only been doing cardmaking for one year now but I have found it is such a blessing to share with others your craft in this way I am so glad I started and I hope I can be that kind of inspiration that Lynn was in her life. I don't even know that I was aware of her before now but still feel a sense of loss for what I've missed but I'm forever touched by her inspiration. I pray God's peace for all who knew her and are feeling the loss, but just know now she's in no pain and resting in the arms of her Savior. Be blessed & thanks for sharing.