Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It IS tempting to do it, but I agree with Mark Twain, who said:
"To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing."
OK, one might say that a good resolution is a promise TO DO something! Well, that doesn't work for me, either......... because the premise of the resolution is to do it all year long. That is just too much pressure for me. One day at a time is all I can handle.
So, here's wishing you a safe and happy New Year's Eve, and, one day at a time, a blessed and peaceful year of 2010.
Friday, December 25, 2009
I have a special place in my heart for small choirs (because I've sung in small choirs since the 4th grade). I'm not sure how others make You-tube videos show up directly on their blog, so I'll just include a link to a wonderful small-choir version of Gesu Bambino. Let us adore Him, absolutely!
YouTube Gesu Bambino
Sunday, December 6, 2009
An amazing "aha" moment happened for me this past Friday during my Advent candle-lighting devotion. The scripture was Isaiah 58: 6 - 9. Here's verse 6 in the Contermporary English version:
"I'll tell you what it really means to worship the LORD. Remove the chains of prisoners who are chained unjustly. Free those who are abused!"
What does that have to do with a stone wall? Well, I have this tendency to build a wall around my inner self when I've been hurt; trying to protect myself from being hurt again. Let me tell you, that doesn't work! It just turns me into a prisoner of my own making. I've been building that wall again lately, and reading this reading woke me up to the fact!
The rest of the reading:
"Share your food with everyone who is hungry; share your home with the poor and homeless. Give clothes to those in need; don't turn away your relative. Then your light will shine like the dawning sun, and you will quickly be healed. Your honesty will protect you as you advance, and the glory of the LORD will defend you from behind. When you beg the LORD for help, he will answer, "Here I am!"
I can already feel the healing in my spirit. What a joy!
Oh, and if you click on the photo, you'll see the original post on Flickr, along with the lyrics to Jim Croce's song "Stone Walls". Jim Croce, and perhaps the person posting on Flickr, must have felt just like I feel!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
This feels like just what I needed to bring light, warmth, and joy to my home this year. December will be my third month living without my children in the house, and it has been challenging to keep the house feeling like a home. Each evening, I'll be lighting the candle, saying some prayers and reading a scripture.
To each of you who read this, I wish you peace, "shalom", this Advent season.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Talk about some curves! Here are some of the ways my life has been turned upside down in the past few weeks:
1. My son was in an auto accident. He braked to miss a deer on the road, lost control, and slammed into a telephone pole. Thankfully, he's alive! He has his broken jaw wired shut, a broken nose, broken bones around his eye, and a broken collar bone. I drove the 3 hours to go see him last weekend in the hospital. It was hard to see him in that shape, and harder still to leave to drive back home!
2. A long-time close, supportive friendship seems to have ended. What more can I say, than to say that this hurts. This was the friend I would have called first when I learned that my son was hurt. I've heard that when one door closes, another will be open. The trick is to avoid staring for too long at that closed door. I've been finding myself doing my share of staring back, though. Maybe I need to, just for a little while, so that I can feel my feelings of grief over the lost relationship.
3. Speaking of open doors......... I've actually been on my first date since 1979! You see, I was married in 1980 and divorced in 2004. Since then I've been finding healing in many ways. On the very same day that I learned of my friends desire to back away from our friendship, I was introduced to a charming man, who later asked me out on a date! Can you imagine how exciting AND how scary it can be to start dating after 30 years!!!!!!! Whew!
So, for now, one day at a time, I'll keep trusting that God is not surprised by any of the changes along this curvy journey I'm taking. Whatever comes, I'm not alone.
Oh, by the way, this picture came from Flickr....... if you click on it, it will link to the original post. My understanding is that it's OK to post with a link. :~)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Then, oh my, my world has been rocked. If you want to see a picture of how upside down my little world has felt, then watch this amazing rock slide HERE. I'll have to post more about it later, when I've had time to gain some perspective. For today, that's my goal. Keep breathing, keep letting love and faith guide me, (including loving myself just as I am.......... I've found that to be so important!) and learn the lessons life is teaching me right now.
I've had a little bit of help in finding perspective, thanks to Roberta's camera lens HERE.
Oops, just heard my clock chiming. It's time to go to work!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
1. I have a church women's event on Saturday, and I really need to spend some time doing housework during the weekend, and
2. I'm intimidated by the thought of figuring out a costume.
Then, I remembered how much fun I have at these gatherings, and how important it is to me to nurture my relationships with my friends.... and I tried to imagine how I would feel doing housework while the gals are having fun. So, I'm going!
So what's with me and my dislike for Halloween costumes? Well, for one, creativity is NOT my strong suit. The bigger thing is that I just don't like masks any more! I spent SO many years wearing a mask all of the time. I had a mask for any occasion! I'd walk into a room, survey the mood, and pull out the appropriate mask. It's like I was living the Santana song "Tell me just what you want me to be..........".
It feels SO good to be living without the masks! Imagine the freedom of feeling however I want to feel, instead of trying to figure out what I "should" be feeling and then trying to pretend. You see, in my masked days, I walked around numb and emotionless. Life happened TO me; I didn't live. Now, I can FEEL my feelings, and I've learned how to "mean what I say, say what I mean, just don't say it mean!" The grammar is awful, but the saying is memorable.
So, putting on a costume is a challenge for me..... and funds are limited. I thought about putting on white face paint, wearing black, and being a mime. That sounds easy..... but, I just don't know about covering my face like that! Sigh.............
I'll be sure and post whatever I decide to "be". Most importantly, behind that costume, I'll still BE myself!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I'm very grateful that the weather was just perfect! I love going to the beach at this time of year! And, it only rained once.
This morning I woke up while it was still dark, looked at the time, and rolled over to go back to sleep. Then, I started getting this urge to get up, and go see the sunrise! I suddenly felt the excitement of a little child who was excited and exuberant about a surprise gift.
I did get out of bed, and wrapped up and went to the beach (we were only a few feet away!). I was sitting there watching the stars, thinking of the Bible verse about waiting for God like a watchman waits for the morning. That verse came to life for me in a new way. I've always thought of it as the watchman thinking that the night would never end. Today I thought about how there was absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that the sunrise would come right on schedule.
The sunrise was a beauty, as there were clouds in the sky adding drama to the picture. I stood there by the water and sang "How Great Thou Art", feeling very grateful for my unexpected gift of seeing the sunrise over the ocean. Then, right on cue, when the sun was up, the rain started!
Oh, and I had one more gift! I went to a 6:30 p.m. church service this afternoon. What was the prelude so magnificently played? You might have guessed............ "How Great Thou Art".
Yes, indeed, God is great, and, somehow I think He had a hand in my awakening to see His handiwork in the sunrise. God DOES know how to give good gifts to His children.
Thanks to One Small Blog (you can click on their link on the top left of this page, if you're interestd)!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Give me a candle of the Spirit, O God, as I go down into the deeps of my being. Show me the hidden things, the creatures of my dreams, the storehouse of forgotten memories and hurts. Take me down to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name. Give me freedom to grow, so that I may become that self, the seed of which you planted in me at my making. Out of the deeps I cry to you, O God.” --Prayer at night by Jim Cotter
I do need a candle of the Spirit today. My life has been so full of changes and challenges! For now, rest is just what I need. Have you ever thought about the difference between "sleep" and "rest"? There are some mornings when I feel like I've worked all night, even though I've slept.
Praying for peace and rest for each of us. . .
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
OK, now that I've read that quote from Plato, I'm ready to keep on posting to this blog!
Continual is NOT the same as continuous. CONTINUAL means recurring often, or repeated regularly and frequently. CONTINUOUS means unceasing. So, I'm continually sharing my thoughts on this blog. Even if that seems to have dribbled down to once a month!
That said, I do hope that we find a way to encourage our politicians to make SOME progress on healthcare reform this year. I'm encouraged that the debate is taking place. My prayers are for wisdom on the part of the lawmakers.
I've had an al-anon setback this month. My son lost his job, in part due to his drinking. That was quite a blow! So, what can I say, except that he's old enough to make his own decisions and live with his own consequences. My heart aches, though. I know that my son has a "Higher Power", and that sure isn't me. I just keep praying and trusting, one day at a time!
Meanwhile, my Spanish classes are over.... what a joy they have been! Now, it's on to tax preparation classes two nights a week. I've got a set of Spanish CD's to listen to as I commute. I don't want to lose what I've learned! One important phrase I've learned is "mas despacio, por favor"............. which means "more slowly, please". Have you ever tried to understand a foreign language being spoken as quickly as Spanish is spoken???? I don't hear that fast!
I'm so grateful that my life lessons are taught at a speed I can handle. So, I'll take Plato's advice, and try not to be discouraged, because sometimes my progress seems S-O S-L-O-W!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
One of my favorite quotes is "Be still, and know that I am God". That's what I've been doing this past month, helped along by a hurt knee! It's amazing how, now that I'm FIFTY years young, I can simply walk down some steps, hear a pop, and be in for 2 weeks of increasing pain! My knee is better now..... but it will be a LONG while before I think about wearing heels again!
I've started attending a Spanish class, and I'm actually excited about it! I studied Spanish in Jr. High and High School, and I just loved the language. I dreamed of being a translator (back then my dream was at the United Nations!), and I've got an inkling that perhaps there will be a way for me to live that dream on a smaller scale in the future. WOW!
I've spent so many years just "watching life happen TO me", that actually thinking about a dream is a HUGE sign of new life for me.
Imagine that........ this feels like a little miracle.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Let's see, I can think about my own father, who lives a 10-hour drive away, and with whom I have a perfunctory relationship..... or I can think about the father of my children, who lives nearby, but has NO relationship with his (and my) children. That one hurts more than thinking of my own father. Is it because I feel guilty over having chosen such a self-centered man as the father of my children? In my defense I'll say that he put up a pretty good front before we were married.
My "children" are adults, so I don't feel the need to insist that they contact their father on Father's Day. Even if I felt the need to insist, they would most certainly NOT feel the need to comply........ you know how that goes!
I DID call my father, and had a pleasant chat. That's good, I guess. I wish I had the nerve to ask him some important questions, such as "are you ready now to tell me about your memories of my mother?", or "how did it feel to have your wife first become disabled and then die, as you had five children to care for?" Alas, that subject has been absolutely TABOO for 45 years now. Sadly, I don't want to talk much if we can't talk about that.
To end this post on a happier note, I DO have a heavenly Father, and I am so grateful that I can talk to that Father about anything and everything!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
And, now the art quote isn't even THERE any more. To paraphrase, it said that art must first be gentle and then honest.
Well, for me, gentleness with myself doesn't come naturally. I'm working on that! Honesty without gentleness, when dealing with changes that I need to make in my life......... well, that just turns into downright meanness. I prefer gentleness these days, thank you........... I've had quite enough of the other.
It's weird how, when I first saw the report of the accident in the paper, I somehow knew in the pit of my stomach...... that someone I knew had died there.
Later, I found that the names had been released. There, unmistakably was a fellow "soccer mom" with whom I had cheered on the sidelines. She was one of those people who put their all into life, and it showed! We have crossed paths many times over the years, and we've always been happy to see each other and "catch up" on our children's lives. Her son, who played soccer with my son, is now motherless and brotherless. Her daughter, who, as a toddler, played on the sidelines with my daughter, and who graduated high school with my daughter just one year ago,..... her mother and brother are gone.
The road where they died is on the way to the beach. I travelled that way tonight, and almost started crying as I passed the place where the terrible accident happened. Yes, the road has been cleared........ no sign of the tragedy is left. I imagine my trips to the beach will be just a little bit different now. As I come to that curve in the road, I hope I'll pause and remember a dear lady whose smile was contagious. She shouted encouragement to her son, and to mine. As I pause, I hope I remember to pray for the "children".... ahem, the young adults, who are left with only a memory of their mother and brother.
May light perpetual shine upon them.......... and may peace be with those they left behind.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
This weekend, we have SUNSHINE!
At last, I found my way to the beach. The beach is "my place" for rejuvenation. I feel so much better now. There's something about soaking up the sun, picking up seashells, breathing in the salt air, and feeling the sand between my toes that is pure joy for me!
People-watching at the beach is a joy, too. I just LOVE to see toddlers chasing the waves, young adults playing bocchi or tossing a ball around in the surf, people in love walking hand in hand.... in a world all their own.
Yes, today was truly a gift!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Say to myself
This doesn't have to be!
Own your anger;
Put it in its place!
Make room for God's grace
OUT with guilt and with shame
Vent your true feelings, then
In no time at all
New energy returns
Giving joy with each step
Oh, may I remember this little rhyme
Next time my emotions are on the decline!
Anger is one emotion I just don't want to face! I learned early on that the only safe thing was to turn it inward onto myself. I hope I can remember this poem, and stop the insanity!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
You can read the poem here.
I can hear Jesus' words: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. . ."
My response today............ "come into my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee".
What a moment of grace!
Friday, March 27, 2009
So far, it has indeed been a time of "letting go" for me. Here's a list so far:
- My adult son has moved out of my house, and become financially independent of me! So, I've let go of the need to "mother" him. Now, he has actually had me over to his house that he shares with 2 other guys, and they MADE DINNER FOR ME! What a joy!
- I have a lifelong "survival skill" that has become quite a liability for me. That skill is turning my anger inward. Last week I realized that holding onto that coping mechanism is causing me WAY too much pain. I wrote a "thank you and good-bye" letter to that way of handling anger. So, I've let it go, and now I'm taking baby steps toward finding a healthier way that works for me. It's time!
- After almost 3 years of working a 12-step program to help me stop eating compulsively, I've finally admitted that, yes, foods made with white flour are like poison to me. So, I'm letting go of those foods, with God's help......... I know I can't do it with willpower alone..... one day at a time.
All of this letting go is making room for a sense of joy in living, and I am so grateful today!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
About 2 weeks ago, one kitten found a home with the friend of a friend. This dear lady had suffered the loss of her husband and 2 cats within 3 months. I'm so grateful that our little kitten is able to bring some joy and companionship to her home! Her resident cat didn't even mind. :~)
I've been telling everyone (I thought) about these sweet kittens that needed a home, to no avail. Last night I bought a digital camera. I, the technologically-challenged one, was planning to spend the afternoon learning how to upload pictures to post on Craig's list.
I'm happy to say that God had other plans! I arrived at choir practice, and a fellow choir member asks "does anyone know someone that has kittens?"! She must have been absent from choir when I asked there if anyone wanted a kitten.
The story gets more amazing! Another choir member just happened to have a car full of cat supplies (litter box, litter, toys, etc.) that she was planning to donate to the humane society this afternoon.
So, this afternoon, two little boys are thrilled to have two new kittens at their house, and no need to go out and buy all of the kitten supplies! Praise be to God!
Yes, I'm sad that my dear little "Winky", the tuxedo cat with only one eye, has left me. I'm so grateful that she has a loving home! I still have one fluffy kitten, and I think I'll keep him.
Whew, I'm SAVED from having to learn how to upload pictures this afternoon!
Who knows, maybe one day I'll learn how to do it, and will be able to post a picture or two now and then.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
In the place of silver and brass, there is wrought iron. The wrought iron candlesticks with their simple pillar candles are beautiful in their own way.
When I was young, I thought Lent was "so depressing". Now, I'm learning to appreciate the time to stop and reflect.
My pastor sends a "mid-week musings" e-mail. In the e-mail, he encourages us to share the message with our friends.
Today, he said, in part .... " Lent is not so much about giving up or taking on as it is a season of letting go. Letting go of our pride, our fear, our sins and our prejudices in order that we make room in the deep recesses of our souls for Jesus Christ through the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit."
This Lent, I want to make room.............. as in the old hymn: "Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee."
It's Lent. It's time to quiet my mind, and open my heart.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Today, I'm trying not to focus on the love that I don't have (even as I sit here in tears). Today, I'm asking God for healing for the broken parts of me that have such a hard time accepting love.
I'm learning that "trying NOT to do something" just doesn't work. If you don't believe me, well then take a moment and ask yourself NOT to think of the color purple. It just simply brings purple into my thoughts more and more!
For today, where is love in my life?
- Christ's love is always present, as he says "behold, I stand at the door and knock"........ today I'll open the door to my heart.
- As I remember the agony of all of the Valentine's Days at work, seeing all of the flowers on others' desks............ I choose to remember with gratitude the co-worker who placed a small plant on my desk one year........... Ginnie, you're an angel.
- I've been blessed with a group of friends, and our friendship is a gift indeed, whatever is happening in our lives.
- My children.......... both my daughter who freely shows her love, and my son, whose love is there, though often hidden behind the young macho man image!
- The plentiful pets in my house at the moment: my sweet older dog Megan, who now needs help getting up in the bed with me; Midnight, the cat whom my children found wandering the street as a kitten; Midnight's FOUR six-week-old kittens; Ronnie, my daughter's new rambuncious puppy.
- My two sisters, who are an inspiration and a strength to me, across the miles.
- My niece Kate, and her two adorable children! They have moved closer to me (it only takes 5 1/2 hours to drive to see her!), and we're discovering a new, richer relationship
So, today I'm celebrating a different kind of Valentine's Day. Love is all around me, and that's what I'm celebrating today! Oh, and yes, I AM grateful that just for this year, it is SATURDAY, so I don't have the challenge of all of the flowers delivered to others at work! :~)
Happy Valentine's Day!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
May we each have friends (and BE friends) as loyal as this elephant!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts I've received in my life.
Over 22 years ago, a my friend moved in next door to me. Somehow, we bonded immediately. Later she told me that she probably wouldn't have even talked to me if we didn't both have our dogs to "kick off" the conversation.
What a gift her friendship is! She now lives halfway across the United States, and yet, thanks to affordable cell phone rates, we keep talking and caring about each other.
Right now, she's (understandably) in a fury over a situation that's partly political, partly religious.
As for me, when I'm discussing politics, religion, or anything controversial.......... I find it important to try to at least understand ALL sides. So, my conversations tend to take the form of presenting "the others' point of view.
Now, this is becoming difficult. I love this friend, and want to keep the conversation going. Right now, she can ONLY talk about this issue. She says that if I'm "not with her, then I'm against her". Sigh.
So, for now, I'm supporting her in her passion, and helping her brainstorm things that SHE can do to speak out for her cause. I'm saddened, though, because she feels that if I don't speak out about her issue MYSELF, then I'm not being her friend.
This world is FAR too divided, on so many issues.
So, do I stop presenting the other side's view when I'm talking to her?
Do I request that we just DON'T talk about that issue, when it's her passion?
Do I stop calling? I KNOW that's not what I want to do.
No, there don't seem to be answers. I've come to distrust anyone who says "WE (or I) HAVE THE ANSWER!" I'm learning that sometimes it's OK to just have questions.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Inspired by Jayne at JOURNEY THROUGH GRACE, I've been looking back through my blog this year.
I started this blog on February 21, so I don't have quite a year. It's been a year full of challenges, joys, and one hurricane that was too close for comfort.
For my blog, it's been a year of starts and stops........ one step forward, then plop, down I fall! Well, I am just a baby in the blogworld, aren't I? The good news is that I keep getting up and trying again......... and there's joy in the process!
Looking back through the year helped me realize a few things that are true for me.
- Looking for the beauty and joy in each day is IMPORTANT for me!
- I miss writing poetry......... I find my voice there
- I've found inspiration, hope, and joy in following others' blogs....... thank you all!
- Being still, and opening my heart to God, will keep me grounded, and I'll find strength and guidance through any challenge
So, Happy New Year, my friends!