Harry Potter First Editions – Are They Valuable?

Gen X and Millennials love their books and toys, but don’t we all? My Harry Potter First Editions Hit Biggeneration loves their Barbies and G. I. Joes. The 70’s and 80’s collectibles of Star Wars toys are also setting records. My nieces fell in love with Harry Potter books when their grandmother (my mom, Mary Helen) bought them the first American printing of J. K. Rowling’s, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in October 1998. Each new release “MeMe” bought them the new book. That American first printing of The Sorcerer’s Stone is now worth about $6500 (it has its dust jacket and is in fine to near fine condition).

The second book, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” can be worth Harry Potter Chamber of Secretsup to $9000. If you are among the few who happen to have a First Printing First Edition of the UK edition of the first book, which was called, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, you really have a treasure! Auction prices for this book have been rising dramatically over recent months. Heritage Auctions in Dallas sold one on September 14 for $81,250. This particular book did not have a dust jacket, but was in fine condition. The reason the UK editions are worth so much more than US printings is due to the number printed. The first printings of this book in the UK only consisted of 500 books and 300 of them were distributed to libraries. The publisher had no idea that the book would be so popular. When the book was successful in the United Kingdom, United States publishers printed thousands of books on the first release; hence, the lower value. The first four books in the Harry Potter series are highly sought after. The value goes down with each release due to large numbers that are available, but they are still worth several hundred dollars. The original list price was $25.95.

How do you tell if you have a first printing of the first edition of a Harry Potter book? Go to the copyright page and look at the series of numbers printed on that page. A UK printing should have a print line that reads “10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1” and credits of “Joanne Rowling” rather than JK. Hardcover first editions of the American version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—check for the number line of 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 8 9/9 0/0 01 02″ on the copyright page, along with “Printed in the U.S.A.23″ and “First American edition, October 1998. The third book, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, had some early prints of this book mistakenly printed with “Joanne Rowling” rather than “JK Rowling” on the copyright page. Naturally, this screw-up renders this version of the book far more valuable—signed copies in excellent condition can go for up to $12,000. Again, look for that 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 number line. For the fourth book, “Harry Potter Goblet of Fireand The Goblet of Fire”, look for the limited editions with original watercolor illustrations by Giles Greenfield (Bloomsbury’s UK edition) and Mary GrandPre (Scholastic’s US edition, of which only 25 copies were made). They will be worth four digits. A first edition, first US Printing book should fetch three digits. Look for the 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and 0/0 01 02, etc. It will have a maroon board with a black cloth binding. The number 4 will be embossed in gold on the binding and the dust jacket. The original price of $25.95 will be printed on the inside fold, upper corner of the dust jacket.

I happen to have a client who has a US first printing of this fourth book for sale for $150. Let me know if you are interested.

How To Start a Collection

One can start a collection of almost anything and spend as much or as little Having Fun Collectingmoney as desired. What do you love? What interests do you find enjoyable? Do you enjoy the hunt? Starting a collection with no more investment than your time and energy is easy, if you enjoy treasure hunting. Whether it be scoping the beach for seashells or things that get washed up on shore or digging in the dirt of an old farm or landfill in search of bottles and discarded items of long ago, one can find things that tell a story and can make an interesting collection. Just two or more things that have something in common is all you need to begin a collection.

You can also satisfy the need for the thrill of the hunt through shopping flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, antique stores, and auctions. Do your research and have an idea of what you are willing to pay for a new acquisition. Sometimes you may want to trade or sell something already in your collection for a more rare or better example.

Seasoned Life Transitions, Inc. consigns collectibles from clients who desire to sell them. We have several items for sale on CollectiblesClearinghouse.com that are inexpensive and a great start or addition to a collection. My top three choices are:

1.  Snuff Bottles

Snuff bottles first appeared in the late 1800’s and were made until the Oriental Snuff Bottle1920’s and 30’s. They were made to hold snuff, but often became appreciated for just a pretty thing to carry.


2.  Old Books

Books as part of a home decor are very important in making a room seem Antique Booksinviting and interesting. Collectible books are great conversation pieces. Who doesn’t have a favorite book or author? Childhood memories of reading about Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer or the Nancy Drew mysteries are thought of fondly.

3.  Occupied Japan Porcelain Figures

Occupied Japan” is a term used for the time period from 1945 (after World Occupied Japan FiguresWar II) through April 25, 1952 which was the time that the Allies were in Japan to help rebuild and renew trade. Many items from porcelain to toys were required to be marked with this designation.



If you are interested in consigning collectibles or acquiring more, visit our website. If you use coupon codeAPPRAISALTABLE” upon checkout, you will get a 15% Discount, plus FREE SHIPPING!

Diary of a Seasoned Life – What Is My Purpose?

Do you find yourself asking your friends, family, God, or just within your own thoughts, “What is my purpose?” It usually gets asked after a life event has occurred and we are full of questions about why things happen. We are facing changes in life and questioning where to go from here. The older we get, the more often it seems that these inevitable changes are happening.

In the last year and a half, so many people who mean the world to me Flooded Househave suffered loss. It is heartbreaking to see the sadness and pain in their eyes. My mother suffered a stroke, one of my closest friends lost his mother, my brother and sister suffered severe flood damage to their homes due to Hurricane Harvey, another dear friend lost his brother and a friend within 3 weeks of each other, my brother’s sister-in-law lost her husband to cancer, and my niece’s husband lost his grandparents within weeks of each other. All of these people, including myself, have asked themselves that question, as well as, “What do I do now?”

You can never go wrong in reaching out to people in pain and offering Funeral Photothem a chance to talk. Just having someone to listen to them is often more helpful than you can imagine. Giving to others often lessens the pain and takes one’s mind off their troubles. Feeling pain after a loss is normal. You can’t cure normal. Only time heals. One’s purpose can simply be to be a good friend or loved one to others and keep living. Those that were lost to us on earth would want us to keep living and moving forward. Remember them fondly and live life for them.

To those that have suffered loss, my heart is with you.

Diary of A Seasoned Life – What Are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

This morning, I attended a presentation by a representative from Baylor, Scott, & White Medical Center sharing information about stroke and stroke symptoms. I knew most of the people attending the meeting and was keenly aware that at least half of them had been personally affected by stroke through a loved one, including myself. It dawned on me that tomorrow marks the 1.5 year mark since my mother suffered her stroke. Hence, today’s blog about stroke symptoms.

The American Stroke Association states that about 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year and it is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. 37% of all Americans cannot accurately identify even one warning sign of stroke. What exactly is a stroke? It is a brain injury caused when a blood vessel to the brain becomes blocked or bursts, cutting off blood flow and oxygen to the brain. 87% of stroke victims have what is called an Ischemic stroke, which occurs from a blockage in the blood vessels to the brain. The other 13% suffer a hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by a burst or leaking of blood from the vessels in the brain.

Many stroke victims have a series of “mini strokes” called Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA’s) before a major stroke. These TIA’s occur when the blood flow to the brain is reduced or partially blocked. They are often written off as something else, instead of the warning signs your body is giving you. You should always consider these warning signs a medical emergency and seek help. Are you or a loved one noticing one side of the face drooping or feeling numb? Ask them to smile. Is there a noticeable upturn in the mouth only on one side? This is a symptom. Arm weakness is another signal. Hold out both arms in front for 10 seconds. Does one arm tend to struggle to stay up? Slurred speech, or even difficulty in speaking at all, is a third symptom. Try to repeat a simple sentence, like “Roses are red.” If it cannot be successfully repeated, get to the hospital or call 911.

Other symptoms that could indicate a TIA or stroke occurring are:

  • sudden numbness or weakness in a leg
  • sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • sudden severe headache with no known cause

If you are or a loved one thinks a stroke is happening, call 911 and check the time that the first symptoms appeared. This is important in proper treatment at the hospital. The sooner a stroke victim gets medical treatment, the better the chances they will survive or get better. Of course, you want to prevent a stroke from ever happening, so being more health conscious is a must. Don’t smoke, exercise regularly, lose excess weight, lower cholesterol, eat less sodium, and control high blood pressure.

In my mom’s case, she was overweight and did not exercise regularly. She

Mom Working with Physical Therapist

did have high blood pressure and was taking medications to control it. For several months prior to her stroke, she complained of dizziness and an inability to keep her balance. She did go to the doctor and was diagnosed with vertigo. She got better for a while, but eventually, the dizziness returned. If she had not self diagnosed it as vertigo again and convinced herself that there was nothing that could be done, she might have been able to get her doctor to check for clogged arteries via an MRI. Her stroke was major, but she survived. Today, she is still paralyzed on her right side and suffers from aphasia. She is able to do many things, but she can no longer live on her own.

I hope this information helps someone else prevent their life from being changed in a heartbeat. You can find out more information at strokeassociation.org and heartcheckmark.org .

Diary of a Seasoned Life – Is Milk Glass Worth Anything?

Although milk glass is rising again in popularity, it’s value is dependent Milk Glass Bowlon its age, quality, and condition. Most of the milk glass seen in flea markets and antique malls is from the 1940’s and 50’s that were once wedding gifts to brides during that time. Much of the quality is not as nice as the much older versions of milk glass that are true antiques. There is also a large supply of really cheap milk glass that came from the floral shops in the late 20th Century. How do you tell the difference in quality and old versus new?

The first way is to feel the glass. Older, quality milk glass has a very smooth, silky feel. Newer, cheaper glass will have more texture or have a grainy feel. Many pieces of antique milk glass have some marks to help identify it. A “C” shaped rough spot on the foot of the glass was formed in the molding. You will not find this mark on new pieces. Also, older milk glass has less blue tone in the color and the glass is heavier. Ellen Schroy, author of “Warman’s Depression Glass”, states that older milk glass has a “ring of fire. You hold the piece up in the sunlight to look for a halo of iridescent colors right around the edge, look for reds, blues and golds. This ring was caused by the addition of iridized salts into the milk glass formula. If this ring is present, it’s probably an old piece.” Appropriate patterns for specific makers are also something to watch for, such as Fenton’s “Hobnail” pattern. Collectors should always check for condition issues such as damage and discoloration. According to Schroy, there is no remedy for discolored glass, and cracked and chipped pieces should be avoided, as they are prone to further damage.

The cheap floral industry milk glass vases, bowls, flower pots from the Cheap Floral Milk Glass1960’s and 70’s, Schroy advises, “… are pale, usually widely spaced hollow back hobnails patterns. If you find these pieces at garage sales, flea markets, and can pick them up cheaply, they make cute containers for bathroom accessories, etc., but probably will never appreciate much in value.”

Values on the older and larger functional pieces, such as a Fenton Hobnail cake platter on a pedestal, are higher. Today, you can expect around $60 for the cake plate. According to milkglass.org, some of the more desirable items are:

The Fenton Hobnail Punch Bowl that comes with 12 cups is worth $666. Milk Glass Punch Bowl
The 11” Westmoreland Paneled Grape Cannister is valued at $205.
A Lace Edged Pedestal Banana Bowl is valued at $69.
Fenton Hobnail Toothpick Holder you can find for $42.

If you have some milk glass that you would like appraised, contact Seasoned Life Transitions. Kim Lawrence is a certified antique appraiser and graduate of the Asheford Institute of Antiques.

www.seasonedlifetransitions.com or call 866-653-9669


Diary of a Seasoned Life – Our Love for Barbie

Of all the toys I played with as a child, my Barbie doll and friends were my favorite by far. Even now, I cannot part with the dolls I played with as a child. Since the introduction of Barbie in 1959, the world has been in love with her, too.

In 1945, Ruth and Elliott Handler and a friend, Harold Matson, founded Mattel. At first, they manufactured picture frames. Mr. Handler started using the scraps of wood to make doll furniture, hence the toy business began. Due to illness, Mr. Matson left the business after the first few years. The creation of toys was Elliott’s responsibility and the marketing was Ruth’s. In 1955, Ruth used a large part of the company’s funds to advertise their toys as a sponsor of the TV show, “The Mickey Mouse Club”. This helped grow the business tremendously.

In 1958, the Handler’s patented a fashion doll, named Barbie. I have two 1959 Barbie Dolldifferent versions of how her name came about. According to “The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Barbie Dolls & Collectibles” by Sibyl DeWein & Joan Ashabraner, Ruth named the doll after her daughter. My studies at the Asheford Institute of Antiques stated that Barbie was based on a doll called, “Bildhilli” from Europe that Ruth Handler came across in her travels. They both agree that Barbie was first introduced at the American Toy Fair in 1959 held in New York. The first Barbie doll was sold that year. Mattel became a major player in toys due to Barbie.

The very first dolls are very rare and collectible today. The first release doll had metal cylinders in both legs with openings at the feet. These were used to attach the doll to a pedestal stand with two prongs. These holes are the easiest way to identify the first release doll. She came with either blonde or brunette hair (twice as many blondes were made as the brunettes) that was in a ponytail with curly bangs. Barbie had bright red lips and nails, heavy eyeliner, arched eyebrows, white irises in her eyes (not blue), black and white striped one piece bathing suit, black high heel sandals, gold hoop earrings, sunglasses, booklet, and a box.

If you are lucky enough to have a brunette Barbie with all the accessories and box, as well as, in good condition, you have a true treasure! A few have sold at auction for over $25,000. The 2nd release doll averages a value of $6000 and a doll without the box averages $4500. Later models are still collectible, but the values go down quite a bit. After the second release, the number 3 Barbie averages $400. Dolls from the first half of the 1960’s are the most valuable. A doll’s condition is extremely important in determining value, as well as, if it still has its original outfit and accessories. It does help if you can dress it in an original outfit of its time. Some of the clothes and accessories are very collectible, as well.

As the year’s went by, Mattel released many friends of Barbie, including Ken, Midge, Skipper, Francie, Casey, Stacey, Tutti, Todd, Allan, Skooter, Chris, Curtis, and Christie. These dolls are collectible, too, but not as valuable as Barbie. A 1971 Twist-n-Turn Francie doll is probably the most valuable friend at about $1500 (in a box and in excellent condition).

Here is the sad news. If you invested very much money in the Collector’s Millennial BarbieSeries dolls that were made in the 1980’s and onward, you will be disappointed to know that they are not worth more than you paid 20-30 years ago. The reason for this is mass production. Mattel made millions of these dolls and many of them are still around (even in an unopened box). These dolls may have cost anywhere from $25 and up when they first came out. Today, you would be lucky to get what you paid for it.

My dolls, which include a 1960’s Ken and Stacey; 1971 Living Barbie; 1960’s Skippers; 1970’s Barbie; and a 1960’s Midge were all well played My Old Dollswith and probably more valuable to me in the memories of playing with them endlessly as a child. What was your favorite toy?

See some of the collectible toys available on our collectibles website:

www.collectiblesclearinghouse.com . If you have some collectible toys you would like to consign with us, give me a call or email below:

866-653-9669  or seasonedlifetransitions@gmail.com


Diary of a Seasoned Life – Discovering Old Toys

During an appraisal event recently, I got a chance to see something very Buddy L Cement Mixerspecial in the vintage toy category – an old Buddy L toy Cement Mixer. It was very rusty and dirty, so it took me a few minutes to find the labels on the piece to help identify it. The lady who brought the piece in had no idea what it was and said it had been out in the yard and then moved into her garage for a number of years. Little did she know what a buried treasure she had found!

Fred A. Lundahl owned Moline Pressed Steel Co. in the early 1900’s. The Cleaner Buddy L Mixercompany was in the automobile parts business, but started making metal toys in 1921. He made toys for his son out of scrap metal and turned that into a business. They made pull toys, small trucks and other work vehicles, and large vehicles children could ride. Buddy L was considered a pioneer in the steel toy field and held contracts with Marshall Fields and F. A. O. Schwarz. The company was sold during the depression.

Earlier toys are generally higher quality and built to last. They are very desired by collectors and can bring a high price. The toys made later are still valued and sought after. Values depend upon rarity and condition. Even though this lady’s toy was in very rusty condition, it is still collectible and very valuable. I encouraged her to clean up some of the dirt and dust, but to be very careful about any other restoration of the toy. NEVER try to repaint an old metal toy (or wooden toys). It may look prettier, but it will destroy the value. I felt quite confident her toy was made prior to the sale of the toy line, which was in the 1930’s, dating her piece to the 1920’s. I appraised the piece to be around $700. Needless, to say, I recommended she find a better place to store the toy from now on!

Any old toy, especially made prior to 1900, is collectible. Always try to 1940 Buddy L Baggage Truckkeep its original condition and labeling. If there is a box, make sure to keep the box and the toy together. That will increase its value. Early cast iron banks, cap guns, horse drawn carriages, pull toys, tools, figures, trains, and animals are sought after collectibles. If you are seeking to buy these items, just be careful of reproductions. Most toys of age will have a certain patina, show signs of wear, have older construction methods, and older types of paints that cannot be used today (lead).

We happen to have a Buddy L toy truck listed for sale on https://collectiblesclearinghouse.com/collections/toys/products/1940-buddy-l-metal-toy-baggage-truck

For those interested in learning more about Buddy L toys, they have a museum. Here is the link to their website: http://www.buddylmuseum.com/

If you have collectibles you would like to consign with Seasoned Life Transitions, please contact us. There is a contact link on the blog or you can email us from our website: www.seasonedlifetransitions.com . You can call our toll free number 866-653-9669.

Diary of a Seasoned Life – How to “Antique” Furniture

One of the hottest trends in bringing older furniture back to life is refinishing it with a rustic look. There are now tons of stores selling brands of chalk paint and even offering classes for the do-it-yourself people. Although chalk paint is the trend right now, you will not find many professional furniture re-finishers using it.

In my studies with Asheford Institute of Antiques, I learned, in great detail, various methods of repairing and restoring furniture. They provided great instruction on adding an antique finish to certain pieces of furniture. This method should only be used on old wooden furniture that are not true antiques. You can increase the value of natural wood furniture that has already lost much of its desirability due to prior poorly executed refinishing, being out of date, or damaged by stains or deep scratches.

Some call this method antiquing or shabby chic, which is a little rough around the edges and results in a look that is more similar to unrestored antique furniture. Here is what you will need:

  1. Medium and Fine Sandpaper
  2. Flat White Paint for the basecoat
  3. Any flat pastel or white paint for the final coat
  4. Tube of raw (burnt) turkey umber oil (oil paint)
  5. Turpentine
  6. Clear Waterproof Flat Varnish
  7. Paint and Varnish Brushes
  8. Soft Clean Rags
  9. Boiled Linseed Oil
  10. Pumice Powder

You will need to first completely clean with soap and water the piece of furniture. Sanding is the next step, but it is not necessary to completely remove all the old finish. Sand just enough to allow the base coat of paint to adhere. Always use a flat white paint for the base coat due the the fact that old dark stains will bleed through any pastel shades. If the finish is very dark, it may require more than one coat of the primer paint. The final coat of base paint must be allowed to dry completely before any further steps or decoration. You can check for any tackiness to determine when it is dry. It is important the final coat be smooth, which may mean a little more light sanding.

You can add decoration (monograms, added carved elements, painted artwork, metal or other materials) to the piece at this stage, if desired. Oil paints, such as an artist’s paint, would be used for decoration. If you hand painted some decorations, it may take days for the oil paints to completely dry. In some cases, it might take two weeks. You must be patient in this stage to get a good result.

Now you can apply a coat of flat varnish to protect the section of the piece with your decoration, and let it dry for 24 hours. When it is dry, you can now add the overtone to the furniture. The formula for a medium-dark overtone is 2 tablespoons of the raw turkey umber, 3 tablespoons of turpentine, 1 tablespoon of clear waterproof varnish, and a drop of linseed oil. Squeeze the burnt umber into a jar, add the turpentine, and mix with a brush. Next, add the varnish and mix well. Finally, add a drop of the linseed oil. The linseed oil keeps the mixture from drying too quickly. Follow those steps to the tea for the right result!

The overtone is applied with a two inch brush and then, using a piece of soft clean cloth, rub off the overtone that you just applied using circular motions. The center or top of a panel should be lighter than the sides. This will leave the darker tones in the cracks and depressions of the piece or any carving. When the overtone is first put on, it will appear dark, but do not worry as it wipes off easily leaving an elegant parchment type of appearance. Wait 12 hours for the overtone to dry.

Once the overtone is dry, you can apply the flat varnish to give protection to the overtone. As the piece ages, this varnish will enhance the appearance of the piece. Doing any type of re-finishing on furniture requires patience. Do not rush it. Try this treatment on a small inexpensive piece to gain experience before tackling a bigger piece.

If you try this, send me photos of your before and after. I would love to see a once loved item become lovable again!

Diary of a Seasoned Life – What to Do with Used Furniture

If you ever took any economics classes, you have heard of the laws of supply and demand. If the supply is high and the demand is low, the prices are low. If the supply is low and the demand is high, the prices are high. I am sure many of you have felt the later the last couple of weeks when you went to the gas pump!

We are a couple of years into an ever increasing supply of furniture and other used household items coming on the market and very few buyers. There are many reasons for this, such as, many large retailers offering new, relatively inexpensive furniture in mass quantities. The public will buy these pieces knowing that they are not meant to last a lifetime. It is really like disposable furniture. Another reason is that there are many baby boomers starting to retire and looking to move into smaller homes. They have a large home full of furniture, some of which, was passed down from previous generations. Much of this furniture was well made from well known furniture manufacturers and may have cost thousands of dollars when bought new. When these empty nesters are ready to downsize, they are finding it very difficult to sell the furniture. Many auction houses, estate sale services, antique and used furniture dealers, and even charitable organizations are becoming selective with what they will take and some are even flat out refusing to deal with furniture at all. There is just so much of it out there right now and will continue to be the case for years to come.

So what do you do, if you have a number of pieces to unload?

  1. Lower your expectations of what price you can expect to get for even the good quality pieces.  Dining room tables, china cabinets, large bedroom suites, entertainment centers, sofas, recliners, and armoires are the least desirable pieces today. I have personally seen entire sets of dining room furniture (table with extra leaves, 8 chairs, and a china cabinet) sell at auction for under $100 in the last couple of months.
  2. Consider donating the pieces to a charity like Habitat for the Humanties or The Salvation Army. The write off value for tax purposes may be greater than selling it outright.
  3. Can the furniture be re-purposed in order to make it more desirable with today’s styles and trends? If you have the time and willing to put in a little work, it may pay off in the end. Darker stained woods are less popular right now and a trend towards lighter colors has developed. Antiqued or painted furniture in white, ivory, gray, and even blues and greens is red hot in retail stores and vintage shops. Many dealers are buying vintage 70’s and 80’s furniture cheaply and then doing this rustic treatment and successfully selling what otherwise would have been undesirable for 5-10 times what they paid.
  4. Inquire with dealers in your area about any desire they have to purchase your pieces. Smaller items like plant stands, blanket boxes, benches, rockers, secretaries and small desks, drop leaf tables, end tables, coffee tables, shelves, game tables, and the like are easier to sell.
  5. Hold your own sale and advertise the pieces in your ads using Craigslist, Facebook, garage sale listing sites, or even phone apps.
  6. Hire a professional service or auction house to hold a downsizing sale for you. You will have to pay them a commission, but they do the work and generally have the ability to market the sale on a broader scale. (Seasoned Life Transitions is happy to help with this: www.seasonedlifetransitions.com )

One important thing I must point out about re-purposing furniture. Do not do this type of technique on a true antique unless it has already been devalued by damage or poor restoration. This suggestion is meant for a way to bring life back to an old piece of furniture that otherwise may end up in a junk pile or at Goodwill. There are some Victorian pieces that were mass produced pieces that are acceptable to refinish this way, but be careful about those decisions.

Diary of a Seasoned Life – Coping with a Death

It should be safe to say that all of us have lost a very dear loved one or friend in our lifetime. As we get older, it seems more frequent. My first memories of loss would be that of my grandfathers. Both of them passed away when I was under 10 years of age. Today I only remember being around them when they were alive and what was endearing of each one instead of the funerals. Children are often more resilient in dealing with loss than adults.

As I got older I had to learn to deal with grief after losing my grandmothers, beloved pets, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and my father. Losing a spouse, child, or beloved parent can be some of the more devastating experiences. Many people deal with grief differently. There are some who do not deal with it at all.

Men tend to fall into this category most often. They may feel that showing any emotion is showing weakness or they mask their pain by staying busy and ignoring the hurt. Most grief experts emphasize the critical importance of a man’s awareness of his own grief, his conscious relationship with it, and his ability to feel it. A man needs to allow grief to move through him so that his natural energy and innate masculine power will not be blocked and withheld, both from himself and the world.

Most people just want to know how to make the pain go away. To answer this, I have to quote Dr. Laura Schlessinger. When she is asked from callers how to get over the pain of loss, she says, “I can’t cure normal. The pain you feel after losing someone is normal.”  You have to feel it. You have to learn to cope with it. In time, the pain will become less and less. It just takes time.

Having a support mechanism is crucial. Find someone with whom you can talk, whether it be with a friend, pastor, therapist, or family member. If talking with strangers is more comfortable, find a grief support group in your community. Just finding that you are not alone is sometimes a big help. I  reached out to Pastor Gunnar Ledermann of the Divine Peace Church of Rockwall, Texas for his insight concerning death. I asked, “Do you recommend support groups, and if so, what is your experience with them and how they have helped those grieving?” He answered, “Yes, I do recommend Christian support groups who help people by giving them a place to vent their frustrations to those willing to listen and share the load of their burdens. The pitfall of many groups is that they are Christian in name, only in that, they attempt to help people by giving them a set of steps or rules by which they can improve their state of mind, but this only adds to someone’s burden. Rather, a Christian support group listens to those who are grieving, grieves with them and gives them the ultimate comfort that Jesus has overcome death by his resurrection. Those who hope in Jesus, do not have to fear death and get to look forward to being reunited with their loved ones in heaven.”

He sent me a copy of a sermon he gave at Easter time. Below is an excerpt:

“Jesus came to this world to suffer and die because that is what all of us do. All of us live in this world for a while, then we die. We die for the same reason we experience hardships in this world because of sin. Sin is evil, it is doing something that is bad. When someone does something bad, they deserve punishment. God tells us that the punishment he demands for sin is death. Death means separation from the living and death in sin means separation from God, but God doesn’t want us to be separated from him. God loves us, so he sent Jesus into this world to rescue us.

Jesus had to come into this world to suffer and die, but he didn’t do anything bad, he wasn’t sinful. Instead, he lived a perfect life, so he didn’t deserve to die. Because he didn’t deserve to die, he died as a sacrifice. He made a trade, one perfect life of the Son of God for all the sinful lives of mankind. That was the plan God revealed in his Word from the beginning and that is what Jesus did. God said that he would punish Jesus for our sins, then treat us as if we had lived Jesus’ perfect life. Credited with Jesus’ perfect life, we now appear good before God and look forward to resurrection and life.”

People who have lost someone need to hear this message. “This is the only message that is stronger than the pain that death causes. Jesus’ resurrection stopped the tears of the women. He showed them that they hadn’t lost him, but he had won them the victory over death. Jesus’ resurrection meant that those women would someday be resurrected and reunited to live with Jesus forever in heaven.

We cannot live in this world without Jesus. We cannot live without him in our lives or we are merely surviving until we die. When we remain connected to God’s Word, then we see what Jesus’ resurrection has done for us. Jesus has freed us from finding our only hope for life in this world. Jesus frees us from our sins and death so that we can live in this world at peace knowing that when we face death, it is not the end. Jesus told us that he would rise from the dead and so will you.”

After my father passed away, there were many times that I felt he was Guardian Angels are With Us Allwatching over me. I have had many dreams about my grandmother in which she is comforting me in times of stress. These experiences were strong and seemed so real. I asked Pastor Ledermann about guardian angels. He commented, “We all have angels guarding us at all times. They are God’s messengers who help us. They are a great comfort. The great comfort in Matthew 18 is also how passionate God is for all those who believe in him. He wants those who know him to remain faithful, so his cautions in this chapter are to remain faithful in the study of his Word, not to change his Word and not to lead others astray by changing his Word.”

In closing, it is normal to grieve and it is an important process one must go through in order to move on with life. Your loved one would want you to continue on and remember what was good and special about your relationship. God wants you to have faith you will be with them again someday.

P. S.  Divine Peace Church Rockwall is located at 305 S. Fannin St (the wedding chapel) in Rockwall, TX 75087. The website is: divinepeace.com. You can email Pastor Gunnar Ledermann at gunnar@divinepeace.com .