Saturday, December 29, 2012

What it is.....

I had visions of peacefully writing....fresh warm cup of coffee with a little cream, brown sugar and cinnamon; snow falling gently from the sky and a very clean and remodeled home. I sit strengthening my 'flexibility' muscles. 

My sweet 97 year old Granny is in the hospital for something fluish and miserable.  My seventy something Momma is taking her turn sitting with her and my children and I are taking a turn spending time with my seventy something Dad at our family home.  My coffee is in a stryofoam cup left over from a wonderful breakfast with a beautiful friend this morning and what's left of it is rather cold.  I'll probably drink it anyway.  My 11 year old son sits across from me seriously invested in a game on my smartphone, my 7 year old daughter is in the other room making melodies of her own on the keyboard.  My hardworking hubby is at home sanding and preparing to stain new wood floors.  I am doing laundry a little laundry for my parents and the washer continues to beep and stop cycling until I go push pause and start again.  This is really testing my elasticity!  I guess I should be proud...things are insanely out of my control and the thing that irritates me most is an uncooperative machine.

A new year is about to begin and I am intensely aware of the changes coming with us.  As a matter of fact, the older I get the more life seems to be a flux of constant change.  Viewing it as an adventure and leaning into the adventure (even and especially when it's hard) is something I've had the opportunity to begin to learn these past couple of while I am afraid and apprehensive I am also greeting the changes with open (mostly) arms.

I will begin working as a Resource Coordinator for Sooner Start this week.  I honestly cannot say it is my deepest desire to return to work full time - I am perfectly happy being home full time.  I can honestly say that if I need to go to work full time (and yes, I NEED to do this), the way this job 'came to me' is a total God thing (I know some of my dear friends would call it coincidences or acts of the universe, I believe God has his hand on me and in this situation particularly and that there are no accidents) and I am (cautiously) very excited to begin this journey.


When our family was at Disney World, I observed many families with special needs children.  I am of the mind that all children are 'special needs' and being a parent is a tough job. I've spent lots of time observing how very lacking our society is in fulfilling parental needs on many counts.  Having a hand in helping families strengthen and be able to help their children to the best of their abilities is a passion of my heart. 

Knowing that I would need to seek employment, on the flight back from Florida, Nathan and I discussed options.  I shared that I was feeling very drawn toward working with special needs kiddos and their families.  I have been substitute para-ing and have greatly enjoyed it but it's not where I feel I will have the strongest impact.  If I am to find a career outside of home, I want to feel as if I am spending that time fulfilling a purpose and passion of my heart.

The irony of this...when I graduated college in 1995, I stated with confidence to a professor that I would NEVER work with special needs kids.  It was not because I didn't love them.  The opposite was's because I loved them so deeply that I believed I would not be effective working with them in any capacity because I would feel sorry for them.  I have learned that 'love' looks very different than what I thought at that time.

Over the past few years I have established deep rooted friendships with families who are privileged enough to have a 'special needs' child.  I have met them through church, work, Pathways, friends of friends and so forth.  I say privileged because they have taught me incredible lessons about loving someone where they are at and trusting that God meets us every step of the way; and mostly about reinforcing my conviction that our biggest blessings often come disguised as hardships.  They have learned these lessons through parenting their special needs gifts and countless people have been touched by their example of living.

Go back in time (I don't wanna!) to that 'big ole stroke'.  Looking back, if the therapists had not cared enough to get me motivated to learn to dress myself again so I could get up and have that utility belt strapped around my waist only to be led through hospital halls; I very well may not be walking as I do today.  If therapists had not cared enough to put boxing gloves on my right hand so I was forced to use my left side (which had been injured in the stroke), would I have developed the dexterity to hold a book and read or to cook a meal for people I love?  If the doctors had not played that stupid little game where they made me follow their finger with my eyes and touch my finger to my nose...would I have regained that focal strength I now have (not perfected but greatly improved)?  From this I learned...compassion = awesomeness and pity = stagnation.  Having my own special needs greatly increased my desire to help others with special needs. 

As I stated earlier, I have been substitute para-ing for special needs kiddos.  What an amazing and exhausting experience!  One little boy in particular I got to spend two weeks with right before Sooner Start called me really grabbed my heart.  He had no words, but he had a smile that could light up the world and a contagious laugh that I would go great lengths to hear.  He had eyes that sparkled with wonder and my time with him was full of life lessons.  Words are not always necessary to communicate on a heart level.  I watched his mother in awe (she has two other 'typical' children) as she advocated for her child in the school system.  A tough job!  This was the final cement I needed to know I wanted to be a part of something that involved special needs children and their families.

Fast forward to home from Florida....

I posted on facebook that I needed a job...who had ideas?  An old acquaintance emailed me and told me of the position at Sooner Start as a resource coordinator working with families of special needs children. This was no more than 12 hours after my conversation with Nathan.  She and I chatted a bit about it and she gave me the number of the supervisor.  When I did get to talk to the supervisor she asked me to get in a resume and application that night as they were winding down on interviews.

No matter what I or Nathan did, my application and quickly created resume would not send.  Nathan can fix anything on the computer and when he couldn't, I was in despair.  I did not want the supervisor to think I didn't care.  I also didn't think she would appreciate a call from me at nearly midnight.  I waited until 7:30 the next morning to text her and let her know what happened.  She asked if I could come fill this out in person before 9 a.m.  YES!  I don't believe it was accidental that I had to physically go to the office and meet the supervisor.  There I was pleasantly surprised to see that two of my favorite past co workers were also employed at Sooner Start.  I was so very hopeful, and as I walked out the door I believed I was walking out the door of my future employer.

I was called for an interview.  I met with a supervisor and her supervisor.  It's been a LONG time since I have interviewed.  I made a conscious effort to not act prim and proper but to share my heart and trust God in this process.  It was good!  They let me know it would be a while before I heard anything as this was a state agency and things took a while.  My friends who work there shared that their hiring process were two and four months long.  That was in October.  I emailed once in a while (hoping not to bother) to get an update which was always answered kindly and quickly...but still not a final answer.  I still 'felt' this job was mine but tried to talk myself out of any possible 'magical' thinking while still staying positive and hopeful.  And I tried, I tried so hard to utilize patience and trust trust trust.

The Friday before Christmas break was a rough sort of day.  I was headed out to get a flu shot when a man jumped off a bridge in front of me and ended his life.  I felt some weird sort of bond with the man whose truck he jumped onto and the other witness and feel I will see them again in life.  But the event was tragic in every way... that's a whole nuther' story to write but you can see the day started off difficult to say the least.  Next, I went to my Dad's dr appointment with my Mom, Dad and sister.  I tell these things to emphasize that I longed for some happiness in the day.  When HR called to offer me this job, I was thrilled and I'm pretty sure I EEEKKKKEEEDDD! in the lady's ear.  A God kiss for me. 

I am sure I left out a detail or two but isn't it funny how things work?  Life events that lead us from one end of the spectrum to another...that change our perspective 180 degrees?  I am eagerly anticipating what lies ahead and deeply grateful for what is now.

"And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been."  -Rainer Maria Wilke

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Justifiable? Faith

I was challenged a great deal last week by some dear friends.  My dear friends are self proclaimed atheists, extreme intellects, well educated as well as compassionate, loving beings..  I am a self proclaimed Christian, a lover and follower of Jesus Christ, intelligent and educated as well as a compassionate, loving being.  I believe that despite our great differences, we have more in common than seen at first glance and I believe we have much to learn from one another so it would be tragic to stop at first glance. 

Our facebook conversation was interesting...many varying opinions given, thought provoking discussions with some heated emotions thrown in.  This is what is to be expected when two opposite sides of the coin are attempting to get the other to see their side.  So...before and while engaging in this conversation, it was my hope and prayer to live out the love in my heart.  I wanted to find value in what the 'other side' said and at the same time keep in tune with my own values and heart...I wanted to live out what it means to me to be Christlike. And certainly, I hoped they would find value in my views but I do understand the outcome is not up to me...I can only live as I know to live.

 One thing written by someone was, "I like your Christ but I don't like your Christians."  I certainly understood that.  Loud and clear. As I understand, my friends would like me to defend my faith as Paul would have me defend it.  While I am very much a thinker and a feeler, I probably am not as geared toward feeling the need to defend my side.  Plain truth, I don't know how to define something I feel in my heart as sure as I see the sunlight bouncing off my eyes in the morning to someone who is insistent on hearing the 'defense' or the intellectual side of things. To me, it is a matter of the heart and to intellectualize it places my faith, my God and myself in somebody's box of who I am..  My faith has and continues to be a journey for me.  I have been through some hard times with God and have deliberately chosen the path of Christianity....I could write a thousand pages on that but I'm going to try to sum it up so that both the feelers and the intellects can understand my own faith. 

I was raised with a half Catholic family and a half Protestant family.  My Dad's side Catholic and my Mom's side Protestant.  My Mom took me to church on occasion, my Dad never went unless there was a wedding or funeral so usually my Grandparents took me.

My Grandma took me to her Catholic church on Saturday mornings.  Sometimes my sisters on my Dad's side would go, usually it was just us.  My Papa never, ever went.  At that point, I think he didn't at all believe in God.  Anyway...she would take me to a little chapel at St. John's hospital sometimes and we'd go eat in the coffee shop afterward.  I remember loving the smell of incense burning and being fascinated by the ritualism and tradition of Catholicism.  However, it often felt very robotic to me.  Kneel....pray....repeat after the Father (who by the way was dressed in the same outfit each week and I thought it was kind of view) The sound of singing of the priest followed by the congregation was almost haunting to me. I didn't really like the priest at my Grandmas church, though he did stop once to purchase the wildflowers I had picked and was selling by the side of the road.  He then told my Grandma on me because he was concerned for my safety and I never sold wildflowers by the road again.  I recall going to light candles in a small room at church for people who were sick or who had died.  My Grandma taught me to say The Lords Prayer, which I still love.  She said many prayers with her rosary beads at night, Hail Mary Mother of Grace is the one that lingers in my memory....My Grandma's God was a punishing God.  He was watching my every move and whenever I was not a 'good girl' I knew there was a high possibility of my getting a trip to Hell.  He was scary and I'm not sure anyone could ever live up to this God's standards.  My Grandma wasn't so focused on the Bible...except her huge white Catholic Bible that was always open on her coffee table.  I can still feel it's pages, I used to love to flip through and read portions of it...I found them comforting.  In addition, my Grandma would put dried up flowers she'd been given along with a note of who gave it, why and when in Ziploc bags.  Those could be found amongst the pages.  My Grandma was very focused on serving in the church.  I often went with her to prepare communion.  I always loved doing this.  She was kind during those times and I felt proud and so important.  She always brought meals to families in need; that is a gift she passed onto me.  My Grandma was highly superstitious and made sure I behaved as a good girl should....always.  And that if I did not I knew how disappointed God would be in me.

Then there were my Granny and Granddaddy.  My Mom would usually drop me off at church with them and this I loved.  This was Jenks Church of Christ on Main Street.  There were lots of hugs for me from nurturing, motherly women, grandfatherly men with beautiful tenor voices and fun Sunday School classes.  I remember that sometimes my big brothers and sisters would do the puppets for those classes.  I LOVED it.  I loved it until that devil puppet with the horns scared the bajeebies out of me and I ran out.  Thankfully, my Momma was there and I know she tried to calm me but I don't think I went back to Sunday school for a good bit.  This church felt like home to me.  They frequently had pot lucks after church.  It smelled like church.  It smelled like comfort.  I loved the safe feeling here so much that I didn't care about the rules, I didn't care that no instruments were allowed, I only knew I felt God here.  I felt loved here and I loved it back.  This is maybe where I realized there was a different kind of God and he was a pretty loving guy.  After church, if there was not a potluck, my Granny and Grandaddy would take me to Arby's.  I would get the same every time...a ham and cheese sandwich, potato cakes and a small jamocha shake.  Lots of horsey and arby sauce.  My Granny would cut the sandwich into four perfect pieces.  Again, for just a while longer I felt so safe.  (I see some of my comfort with food patterns emerging...that's a different story). The best was when my Grandaddy would later take me to feed ducks and swans on Riverside Drive.  I didn't go often to their home...when I did I remember my Grandaddy softly scolding me for doing somersaults in the living room - he was scared I'd bump my head on the coffee table.  I loved him so very much.  I think I tied the gentleness and love of my Grandaddy in with the God they taught me about.  My Granny continues to live that love at 98 years of age.   The problems were that I knew when I went to this church my Grandma was going to act some kind of angry the next several days because she did was horribly jealous of me having a relationship with the 'other grandparents'.  I missed out on a lot because of my fear of her anger.  So...lots of confusion for a young kid.

So you see....already I knew two different Gods.  There was the one who was going to get me for any minor wrongdoing and the one who loved me just because.  Earned grace vs. redeeming grace

Wow!  This is longer than I thought.  Lots to process. My Momma started taking me to church again after my brother Brent died.  I was close to 16.  The church was lovely and I knew my Mom had great friends there.  Being the shy, guilt ridden person I was (my Grandma did not like me going to church with my Mom either - I think she had aspirations of my being a good Catholic girl one day) - I had a difficult time making friends at church.  I was probably awkward and a bit reclusive and I know I was a late bloomer.  I liked the conversations, I liked the youth group, I just didn't 'belong'.  So...I spent much of my time volunteering in the church nursery and gaining babysitting jobs from the parents I met.  I had a much easier time engaging with adults than youth because in hindsight, I'd been a grown up for a very long time.  At this time, I also attended a private Christian school.  It was there that I 'accepted Christ' into my heart.  At fourteen, I had no idea what this meant but it felt right and my friends did

My best friends throughout school were Charismatic, Pentecostal, Jewish and Muslim.  My Mother trusted God enough to let me explore.  I learned about being slain by the spirit, speaking in tongues, Passover, Bat and Bar mitzvah; men and women praying to Mecca in separate directions all in a matter of a few years.  I watched many different examples of faith.  In college I explored astrology, new age mysticism, out of body experiences and levitation, etc.  I searched high and low for the God I so desperately wanted to know.  In my heart, I knew all along that my path was Jesus, but I was deeply angry with him.  (I would've never acknowledged good Christian girl would).

Add in more life experiences. I cried out to God countless times during my teen years for him to take my life.  He did not.  As a matter of fact, although I would not acknowledge Him, it is only He that gave me life in the midst of those horrid years.  When my brother Brent died, my parents were so out of reach for a while.  I was alone again...just like with my Grandma.  I felt the same peace I did previously while begging to die and although I didn't name that peace as God, I knew I had a saving grace somewhere, somehow.

I got baptized at 32 (my Momma could not believe her youngest had slidden by without being baptized as a child).  I did this because the spirit was moving in my heart and life.  I read everything I could get my hands on regarding baptism, I prayed and I knew in the depths of me this is what I wanted.  When I heard our pastor, Tracy say that this represented forgiveness for all sins of all time and I spoke my desire to follow Christ, I was overcome with relief and tears.  I have never looked back.  I have however struggled tremendously to change my view of God as my persecutor and know that he is indeed my savior.

 When I met my husband, he wanted to be a youth minister.  This is a dream come true for such a 'good girl'. Over the years he decided to hate God, he decided he was an atheist.  This wounded me but my precious husband was so deeply wounded my a church and it's members.  Deeply. Once I realized this was not my battle to fight, or to make right and I handed him back over to God...things began to change.  (It only took me 14 years to get it).  When I dealt with crippling panic and anxiety I thought I wasn't good enough, faithful enough, something was missing for God to let me suffer like this.  Then I had that stroke and boy was I pissed.  Tired of being God's little chess piece to move as he pleased I resigned myself to the fact that if he was out to get me I'd at least be a thankful martyr....I mean really, he only puts the strong through this crap, right?

I didn't even know these were my ingrained views until I went to Step Beyond.   When I decided that I am a 'whole and surrendered woman basking in the warmth of God's love' and decided once and for all that this is MY TRUTH - my life turned around.  I make choices daily to surrender. Knowing that this doesn't mean I hand myself over so God can punish me and use me as he pleases.  It means that I can surrender this life to my heavenly father and crawl up in his lap for a snuggle. 

One thing I feel I must address to my precious friends and to anyone who has been deeply hurt at is made up of people. People are not God.  People (even well intended) hurt people.  People at church are some of the most imperfect ever and thankfully God has grace enough to cover us all.  I wonder what it costs someone to shut off all experiences that cannot be explained.  It is in things unexplained that I find great beauty.  My friend assumes I believe (as a Christian) that he is going to Hell.  I believe we can be in a Hell of our own making all through life.  I believe God is loving and trust that he works through this in the hearts of people who do not see and feel him.  I believe God is there but he is not pushy and will stay right outside your walls until you invite him in. I believe his grace is sufficient and I believe I am not in a position to judge things I cannot comprehend.  i.e.  I believe God loves the madman who killed these innocent children on Friday as much as he loves the children.  I believe evil and mental illness permeate out society.  I believe people make choices and the outcomes are between they and God.  I cannot fairly fathom this...I do not choose faith as an easy crutch.  In these circumstances, faith is far more difficult for me to choose because judgement and hatred are way more comfortable.

So see....if it's intellect one is searching for, I cannot give you a justifiable intellect.  If you want my heart, there it is.  From deep in my belly to the ocean of my soul - I know my Jesus loves me and I know I love him.  I don't know this because someone quoted me a scripture (though I do love my Bible), I know this because I have been loved.  Can you see love? You can see it in action, but can you 'see' love?  Can you touch love?  Probably not. Can love touch you?  I hope so.  Same for me and my faith.  Can I see it?  I can see it in action.  Can I touch it?  nope.  Does faith touch me?  absolutely.  That's all I have and that is more than enough for me.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The real ugly truth

Oh goodness, the last few times I have written my heart has been so heavy.  The difference is that I have not sunk into the despair as I have in the past but I have truly allowed myself to feel what I feel.  I have only momentarily gotten lost in the sadness but I continue to climb out and look around at the blessings around me.  My babies, my husband, our fur babies, the warm house we live in, the love from family and friends that keeps me going, the possibilities...the's there even when I have to reach deep to find it.  However, this is real life and real life is HARD HARD HARD sometimes. This is one of those times for us.  Same stuff as in my recent writings and add to the 'list' that my Nathan's work is beginning layoffs.   Ugh! and trust so often go hand in hand for me.

 This week, I worked as a para sub for a very special little boy.  This child has no verbal words; but the lessons he teaches me are endless.  His laugh can melt any ice in a room, his eyes twinkle enough to light up a sky and when there are no words the only choice is to look right into each others hearts to feel what is being said.  I have been blessed.  I have also been reminded of something in myself that makes me cry a river of tears. 

 When I attended Pathways core training, I was given the name 'two face'.  At the time I received that name, I thought to myself that it could've been much meaner and it was actually pretty sweet.  The value I found in it then and now was to say (as if in a recited script) -"this doesn't mean two faced like in the mean, gossipy way.  To me it means that the world got a lovelier, kinder me that my husband, children, parents and siblings got.  It meant I gave all of my good energy away and had none of the best left for my family.  It meant that although I constantly wore a smile for the outside world, inside I was so numb and hurt I didn't even know how to feel true emotion.  Two face.  That's what it was.  Living a different life than I felt...unauthentic."  And certainly those things are true, and certainly I have found HUGE value in those truths. a conversation with my brother (whom I treasure beyond words), I pointed out to him the definition of his 'con man' name.  In order to be helpful, and let him know I acknowledged my own special 'two face' name...I also looked up the definition.  Interesting that a full year has gone by and I (lover of  linguistics) that I am - have never looked this up.

Two face = double sided, hypocritical.  BLECH!  That's funny, I thought...hmmm...different value in that for me.  As I subbed this week, there was a situation that hurt my heart on many levels and I felt helpless and frustrated.  As a result of these feelings, I did something abhorrent (in my view).  When the door was opened, I chose to tell a few of the wrong people all about my hurt feelings.  They weren't 'wrong' people because they weren't trustworthy or friends, they were 'wrong' because they were NOT the person who hurt me.  And I realized I could've either kept my mouth shut at school and shared at home, I could've journaled my feelings, I could have (novel idea!) gone to the person I felt wounded me and spoken to them directly.  In doing that I may have not guaranteed a happy and safe outcome but I would've used my voice in a healthy way. I would've lived out being brave and worthy.   I would have not been playing both sides.  I would've not been a hypocrite (because I cannot stand gossip and untruths).  I chose to play both sides.  I chose to participate in what I despise.  I chose two face and I wore it well.  This is the unpleasant truth of the matter.

I do believe we are given opportunities for growth every single day, and I will take this lesson to heart.  I can't go back but I can move forward and do different.  Yay for second (and third up to a billion) new chances!

This morning my husband and a dear friend are working hard getting a room ready for our wood floors to go down.  My sweet children and I are in our bedroom watching Brave in our pj's.  Well...they are watching Brave - it's part of my background noise as I write.  It's finally fall weather and fall weather makes my soul sing.  I drink my yummy Heath creamer decorated coffee out of my fancy 'S' cup from my beautiful friend Darla and I breathe in this moment of peace.  Knowing full well that in the next moment I may be clinging to that peace with every fiber of my being and knowing again that I must stay in this moment...revel in it.  For as the cliché goes...this moment is all we have.  Somehow feeling and understanding that brings me a calm.  No need to rush forward, no need to go backwards, only an ache to stay right here, right now. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This season

Update...I don't know what's happened the last few days but my Daddy's dementia seems suddenly worse.  It's like he's had an awakening in a different world and it hit him that something is very wrong.  I admire my Momma so but I know both of their hearts are breaking and I can do nothing to stop or change this process.

Our home is in such flux and crazy messy - still not knowing what's happening with our contractors and our home is so stressful.

 Nathan has the crud right now....blech.

Lastly, (and hopefully?), it seems I may be working full time very soon.  Changes galore!

I am diligently making efforts to find a balance between staying connected and as not to sit on the sidelines as a spectator.  I feel like I'm riding a teeter totter with no one on the other side and although I know all we have is this moment, I am so afraid.  I don't feel lonely but I do feel alone. 

I guess the result of is that I snuggle into God's lap a little deeper without retreating from life.  I snuggle our beautiful babies, run my hands deep into our fur babies fur, don't miss an opportunity to say I love you, breathe in the crispy air and move forward while staying here.  I know how very blessed I am, but boy does my heart ache.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Redialing my compass

Oh dear (sarcasm)....when it takes me twenty minutes to remember what my password and email are for my blog site, I believe it's been too long since I've been here.  

I am still spinning a little as when I last wrote but hopefully all the laundry will come out clean and I will give myself permission for a fresh start (again).  It is almost the New Year, right?  I'm so thankful that I believe every day....actually every second of breath is a chance for do over's, new beginnings.  As I soak in what I just wrote I remember how very gracious God is and I know (again), everything is gonna be alright.

I could beat myself up (again)...I am a pro at that.  Beating others up is not my specialty but point the finger at myself and I'm off and running.  It's easier in a way.  If all faults lie within myself and I can 'fix' it all within me then no one else has to hurt and I certainly don't have to be a part of their epic fail.  I can own it all.  HA!  

I worked so hard for a year and I walked at least 5 days a week (I produced real sweat on these walks).  I lost weight and felt good!  I journaled and or/blogged a couple of times a week, prayed often and worked hard to stay engaged in life and with my family.  Somewhere along the way...since summer and our 'house project' began - I got a little lost in the woods.  

Walk?  That would mean taking time away from this wreck of a house or the business of that moment that I am busying myself with.  Eat well?  Oh much easier to grab a handful of Doritos (they are baked if it counts) or a couple of Oreos or on a good day maybe a banana.  Is a five pound addition all that bad?  That planning takes me away from the shows I care about my own self.  Write?  Nah....someone my criticize or judge my vulnerability and that hurts...preferable to hide out and self destruct.  Am I being dramatic?  Not so much.  These are little things that let me love me, let me live this life fully and show my children and husband that their wife and Momma is worth it! I am....trying to reset my compass and grasp a direction.  I can do it.  I've done it before and I will do it again. 

Blessings to count.....

My big brother Wes is 1/2 through Pathways core training and we are rebuilding our relationship.  When our brother Brent died, I was 15 and on that day I 'lost' both of my big brothers.  To have this honorable, good man back in my life is a dream come true and I am thankful for the big brother God gave me. 

Thanks to the hard work my brother and husband have done - John and Stella are now each in their own room.  They have been for an entire week and they have spent every night in their own beds.  HALLELULJAH!  I love these precious men and I love that my babies are so happy and thankful for their own space.

Although it is not perfect, we have a laundry room, bedroom and bathroom just for the grown ups.  (well...we are sharing the bathroom until the kids get their bathroom repaired).  And we have a lock on our door!

I have my Momma, my Daddy, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, Aunts and Uncles who each bless our life richly.  Add our friends to that list and how could I not be overwhelmed with gratitude?

Happy Saturday friends.  Find the blessings....they are there.  



Thursday, September 27, 2012

spin cycle

The last few months have been a time of fluctuating emotions and conflicting internal dialogue and I'm feeling pretty weary at this point.   I am on spin cycle and ready to slow down.

 I feel totally, overwhelmingly blessed yet guilty about the sadness and frustration I feel at the same time.  I remember feeling this way when I brought John home from the hospital.  I was so hormonal and I cried ALOT.  I would hold my beautiful boy, sobbing for many reasons while I felt out of this world grateful for this child.  I would pray and pray that God didn't let him feel my fear and despair and that he would only feel the love I had for him.  It was such a confusing time in my spirit, and I feel much the same right now.

Our whole home renovation project has been exceedingly more stressful than I had anticipated.  While I am overjoyed at having the new space, living in a constant state of flux, dust and limited privacy is wearing me down.  It's hard on a marriage, it's hard on the kids, it's hard on the fur babies,  it's just HARD!  Waaahhhh wah.  I know it's just a dot in life, right now it feels like a HUGE dot. 

We are going to begin visiting other churches this weekend.  We have gone to the same church since I was first pregnant.  Actually, I have gone there off and on my whole life.  The people there are our family.  I don't know if we are visiting to find a new church home or to see if we really are where God wants us.  Either way it is so scary.  I say I trust God but I haven't trusted him enough to step out of my comfort zone where church is concerned.  If I have learned one thing, it's that I cannot confine God to a box; and it is my belief that all of his children make up his church....but it's HARD to think of not being with what is and who is comfortable.  There is that resounding fear of loss...loss of friends, loss of security, loss of belonging; and then there are the God whispers assuring me 'it's gonna be alright'.

The countdown to Disney World is on.  I am so excited, so elated, so terrified and so apprehensive!  It will be a joyful, beautiful, memory making time.  Then my ridiculous what if's creep in and try to steal my happy thoughts.  If I could silence my mind long enough to listen to the voice that matters, I wonder how different my life would be?

Goodness.  Am I on spin cycle or what?  So here I am...messy and honest....sad, happy, teary, laughy, goofbally and serious, loving, loathing and trusting, non trusting all in a bundle of me.  Getting caught up in missing out on the living of today because I am living in the fear of the tomorrows.  Missing the beauty because I am caught up in matters not of the heart.

I wrote this on my fb page today..."I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."  Psalm 27:13-14

I think this is beautiful.  I spent the day with first graders, I can't think of a more effective way to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living than in the purity of children.  So, now I wait...wait for the Lord and take heart...working on the strong part.

Be blessed.....


Thursday, August 23, 2012

I am so tired, so tired I am.  It has been too long since I have written and although I could spend much time analyzing why that is...I think I'll just move forward.

A very wise person told me once that he thought I didn't have hope and if I didn't have could I dream and create the possibilities?  So I've prayed, dreamed about and asked God for a real and confident hope in my heart.  And I've become friends with hopeful hearted people...I learn from them.

Things are now coming to fruition that I never allowed myself to dream would come true.  For years, I did the opposite of dream; I sunk into the percieved dread of the future.  While I still struggle but seeing these things happen before my eyes, I am seeing an emerging hope spring forth from my spirit. 

We are adding onto our home.  A master bedroom and bathroom means my babies will no longer share a room. We will have a utility room with the washer and dryer in the same area and we will have a home with floors, counters and colors that WE choose.   Our son is in 5th grade, our daughter in 2nd.  They are blessings supreme.  My husband is quitting smoking and he is developing his faith and growth in Jesus.  We are vacationing in Disneyworld in October.  I will be 40 on September a couple of weeks.  Lord knows I doubted I'd make it to 40.  Nathan and I will celebrate our 14th anniversary in Disneyworld!

 I am feeling doubly blessed, hopeful and still just a smidgen of that familiar trepidation.  But I do have hope for a great future-that is God's promise to me and I'm going to cling to that promise with all my might.

God is good all the time.  All of the time, God is good. Just as I begin to 'settle' for what is, he shows me something bigger.  I am learning to find contentment in the value the process every bit as much as the answers I seek.  It seems the process is often the most important part.  A favorite quote of my husband and I....

"I beg have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.  don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.  and the point is, to live everything.  live the questions now, perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer...Rainer Maria Wilke

God bless and Good night.  May your heart be filled with hope and joy and may you live everything.....


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Today has been a day that I am writing in my heart, and it's about to get even better.  Nathan returns home in about an hour from being at teen camp all week.  I have missed him terribly, the kids have missed him tons...but in my heart I know he needed to be where he was this week and am just looking forward to having his physical presence in our home again. 

I don't talk often of my nieces and nephews here, mostly because I am afraid if I mention one, another will feel left out and so..... suffice it to say these ladies and gentlemen (some of whom were my 'practice' babies) totally have my heart and I consider it a huge privilege that they actually want to be around us almost 40 people and our young children.

Three of my lovely young nieces spent a night or three with us last week, along with one of their sweet friends.  They make my heart happy.  I am honored that they share some of their young lady life secrets with me, and they have no idea how very much they teach me.  Part of them are here again tonight and a few more will come tomorrow as they do every summer.  We will spend the bigger part of this week together, playing in the day and doing VBS in the evening.  I'm praying for a beautiful, bonding week for us.  I get to see a bit of myself in each of them and be reminded of the ups and downs of's a tough time, truly.

Church this morning was fabulous.  Fabulous.  Lots of tears, lots of joy, lots of prayer and it just felt good.  The sermon hit home with me and resonated with my perception of life so well, other parts of it caused me to pause and challenge myself.  I love that!

There are times I am trying to sing/praise/worship and for whatever reason I am not fully there.  I think it's usually preoccupation or pride but I love the times I am able to let go and fully be in God's presence (despite or in addition to the presence of others).  I sat with one of my nieces who happens to be a snuggle bug and it  was a comfort to hold her hand as we prayed, sang and I let my tears flow.  During one song, I got out of my seat and knelt on the chair before me to pray.  I am much of the time so worried about others thinking I'm a weirdo (finding out if they are going to think that, they are going to regardless) or that I am not doing it 'right', I hold myself back.  I had no thought process regarding kneeling to pray, my heart just knew this is how it needed to worship God this morning and there I better way to bask in the warmth of God's sunshine.  I love when I am overwhelmed with God's love like this and I ask myself how often he wants to love me like this but I play the come here, get away game like a champ. 

There was healing in my heart today with some relationships.  That was a blessing. 

I'm also getting to the point of resolve and forgiveness in others.  I have thought hard, I do not believe forgiveness and reconciliation go hand in hand, nor do I believe forgiveness and division go hand in hand.  It is calming after praying and thinking to know in peace where my heart is. 

May you find peace in your now, in your tomorrow and in your yesterday.

Be blessed.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Good morning!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.  Psalm 143:8

I shared this verse with a friend last night as my prayer to her for today, and it has ended up being my own prayer.  I woke up heavy hearted.  You know that feeling when you wake up all happy because it's a new day and then it hits you...the memory of something not right in your current life that is weighing heavily on you.  That's what I first felt.  Then this verse popped into my heart and I'm so thankful for that.

I walked this morning for an hour and a half.  I have skipped out on walking for over a month 'because of the heat' (or so I say).  A few moments into my walk, I bumped into my Dad who was having his morning walk.  He's wearing sandals because his tennis shoes hurt his big toe.  I hate that he's wearing sandals because they seem to make his shuffly kind of gate even more pronounced.  The open toe on them is not good for his walking, kind of trips him up.  So I decided to join him for his walk.  For about thirty minutes we walked and I listened to him talk of things that irritate him; of my Mom's delicious cooking and her need to have a hip replaced; of his idea to put awning all around the house and of course...I listened to the latest tractor/lawn mower stories and we talked about my van and Nathan's truck and how they were holding up.  I held his hand for a bit as we walked along the street.  I love my Daddy's big, strong, callused man hands.  I used to love driving his work truck because his steering wheel smelled like his hands...a combination of cologne and grease from changing peoples tires and messing with their engines. It's odd to be holding his hand in a form of protection when he has always been the one to hold my hand and offer the protection.   I love my Daddy and I hate that he is fading away.  I got to walk him home and hug my Momma and tell her about my hurt heart.  There is nothing like telling my Momma, no matter how old I am - she is all safety and comfort to me. She is my heart and I am desperately sad that I can do nothing to better what is her reality right now.

For the latter half of my walk I had a beautiful conversation with a beloved friend.  I heard her say some things to me and I had to remind myself that they weren't judgements, just her input.  I was thankful for her feedback, it's given me food for thought so I have much to ponder and pray about.  She is a wise friend, an imperfect friend and a safe friend.  I love that she cares enough to hear my heart and trusts me enough to share her own heart. 

We talked about my blogging and I guess some people take it personally.  I knew when I decided to write honestly from my heart that I was setting myself up to be judged.  Considering the gift of healing my writing brings to me, and to a few others  -- I have decided to trust the process.  I will continue to write from my heart and know God will send the people who will find value in it, and also those who will contribute value to me.  So for now, if it's the way it is....I am okay to be Noah in the desert, as was so eloquently put.

After this, I recieved a call from another friend.  Another beautiful conversation, very similar to the first, though a little harder and a lot more tearful on my part.  Again I got to share my heart, hear her heart and gain much insight and value.  Again I was given things to weigh and choose to take into my heart as truth or let go as loving thoughts to grow from.  I'm taking both options this time. 

I am in a place of feeling convicted of so many wrongdoings in my past but also in a position of seeing some things I have done really well...and some in between.  Not one cancels another out.  I am growing and risking and learning and I trying to implement.  I don't like to be judged, I see that I clearly have been judged.  I don't like to be criticized in a mean spirited way, and I have been.  I don't like when I become feisty and insolent and indignant, I have done that.  I don't like when I hide and mistrust and let fear rule, I have done that. 

And all of it is okay, because I am learning to be different.  I wish to threaten or hurt no one with my life, I wish to live well and as my friend Darla says, 'like Jesus with skin on.'  Sometimes I fail an attempt, as I am human - I am not Jesus.  I am going to keep running the race with my head held high; for in the end only He and I know my heart  and this is the one truth that will reside with me. 

Blessings on this Friday.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Where am I?

This has been a wacky week.  Tonight my heart feels broken and I want to crawl in the covers with my babies and not write.  Not write about the things that have caused my brokenness, because seeing it here makes things too real. 

Above all, I want to continue down the road of healing.  God is making me a new creation and I understand that I have to lean into life and embrace all of it, even the pain.  To me, this is part of trusting God. 

I mentioned previously that I had some hard conversations to be had.  I felt God wanted me to be brave and to accept.  I knew this meant stepping into the arena with hard and hurt and giving all I had to give despite the outcome.  And I know that the part of accept means to grieve or rejoice; let go or hang on.  I knew I had none of the answers and all of the anxiety that comes with not knowing.  I knew the pain of knowing I was not trusting God and being brave was another version of letting fear run my life and I knew I was ready to do different.  And so I began with  a prayer, and another prayer, and another prayer. 

I had the first conversation.  It was anything but pleasant.  I don't honestly know if things are 'better', they might be worse before they get better.  I do know that God has us both in his hands and I'm going to all I have to give to this relationship in a brave and accepting way.  I love my friend, regardless of what comes. 

The other person I had hoped to converse with opted to not have the conversation.  I already feel betrayed in this relationship, and to hear her lack of desire to talk was all it took for me to become a temporary heap of tears.  Listening to old tapes....I'm not worth the effort.  After some serious boohooing, I began to pray.  Even now as I write, I hurt and I cry but I know that tonight when I fall back into bed I will be falling into God's arms.  I know I am being held by him right now and I can softly hear the whisper in my soul.  I feel like God is saying, 'baby girl, you were brave; now accept.'  I'm trying God, can you help me? 

A lovely friend commented on my previous post.  Her words have been beautiful music to my hurting spirit.  I am reminded by her that others can only give me what they have to give and that it is okay for me to let go and walk away stronger than I was before.  It is hard for me to let go without resolution, but I'm receiving training in this like never before.

I guess here is the true test.  I stepped in and went where my heart led me.  One result was good but could be better, the conversation that didn't happen hurt the worst.  I trusted God and stepped in.  I was a brave because he makes me brave.  Now that I see I have not been able to find peace in a conversation, I am left to ask God for that peace.  I must accept that it does not come from a person.  I hurt.  God didn't ever promise me I would not hurt.  But he's here.  He loves me and tonight I will ask him for the peace only he can give. 

A friend called conversations with God a God dyad.  I loved that.  I am so loved and I love deeply. 
My precious Lord, Thank you God for hearing my heart, I am hurting horribly but in my hurt I feel you.  Someone accused me of being a fraud, of not living out what I write about.  That stung.  I thought deeply about it.  It's not a truth about my heart, I know that for sure.  God, I am a far cry from perfection, I am only me.  I feel changes in me and I know you are making me new.  Help me continue to be patient with myself and with others. Help me to grow in your image.  I am so blessed.  I look at my sleeping angels, I think of the work my husband is blessed to be doing right now.  My nieces and nephews, siblings, parents and extended family, my friends, the love you surround me with and the life you give me....I AM BLESSED.  Would you please watch closely over my Daddy as his dementia steals more of his mind and please protect my precious Momma who is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.   I am a little afraid, I could not make this without you in my life.   God help me to continue being brave and help me to accept...for I only have the snapshot and you have the panoramic view.  Amen.

God did this so that, but two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the sanctuary behind the curtains.  Hebrews 6:18-19

There is no fear in love (dread does not exist), but full grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!  For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and (so) he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love (is not yet grown into love's complete perfection.)  1 John 4:18

Monday, July 23, 2012

Be brave and accept

I have a whole lot of work to do on myself.  So much that if I think too far ahead, I just want to quit before I begin. 

Tonight, I got to process with a very dear friend.  I called her because I thought I needed a listening ear and perhaps a little feedback.  An hour later, I found myself sitting on the back of Nathan's truck with an abundance of warm, quiet tears running down my cheeks.  It's funny how God works out scenarios that are so different than the scenes I have thought out and planned.

I have been hurting, aching deep in my heart over the loss of friendships.  I have written that before.  I don't write the details because as much as I am feeling sad and hurt, it is not my wish to lash out and dishonor .  I have tried to reach out to a couple of those hearts no longer tied to my own; there has been no response.  Ouch. 

I am the original peacemaker, I am the good girl, I am the one to make things right, to make them okay.  I try and I try to forgive, to let them not give up who I am in the process.  I try but I have failed.  This is why I called my friend.  I want to 'get it', to make sense of these losses so that I may be at peace about it. 

My friend asked me this...'Who treats me with less dignity and respect than I would like to be treated?"  Ah...the names come to my heart without hesitation.  I see the people vividly in my mind's eye.  'How do they do this?' Let me count the ways. 
Then...'who taught them to treat me that way?'  This is clear as me, myself and I move to the forefront.  Finally...'who taught me that it is okay for friends to treat friends like this?"  And goes back to my Grandma again.  Every time I think I let all of the ick go, God shows me just another way I'm letting the ick run my life. I'm thankful he shows me; I think.  No, I am.  I am thankful.  I'm just a wee bit tired.

As I tell my friend through my sobs that I don't want to be the puppy with my tail tucked between my legs chasing in hopes of a friendship crumb; she reminds me what forgiveness is and what forgiveness isn't.  Forgiveness isn't acceptance of the way I have been treated; nor is it an invitation back into my life.  It is only forgiveness.  It is a gift for me.  I am reminded that I can, with a very sincere heart, listen and apologize for my part in someone's hurting heart.  Same rules apply as with forgiveness. 

I recognize, when people turn their backs on me; ignore me purposefully as we walk by one another; talk about me rather than to me; play nice in front of others, etc - I am brought back to childhood and I shrink down to fit the bill.  I hide.  I have hidden.  I have avoided.  I have sooooo much hard work ahead.  I am reminded that these heart relationships hold exponentially more value to me than the need to be right or good does. 

I weep.  I cIose my eyes and I transport myself to a place very special to me, a place only I can travel to.  I am leaning into the arms of Jesus, he covers and cradles me all at once.  It is here that I am 100% safe from any person, situation, pain, anything.  I am back in the womb safe.  Can I trust this in real life?  Can I step into something difficult trusting that although I cannot plan the outcome, and although I may HATE the hurt of the outcome; I AM SAFE.  I am held.  I am loved.  I am worth it. 

I hear clearly in my heart what I believe are direct words from God.  Be brave and accept.  I know exactly what this means and I know exactly what I must do. Outwardly living congruent to what is in my heart involves me taking steps forward, out of my box and directly into discomfort.  Am I worth it?  Absolutely.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.  Matthew 5:9
(Peacemaker is defined as 'One that makes peace, especially by settling disputes.'  I am trusting that applies to the disputes going on in my own heart.)

  I went further to look up definitions of peace and found...
1. The absence of war or other hostilities.
2. An agreement or a treaty to end hostilities.
3. Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations: roommates living in peace with each other.
4.  Inner contentment; serenity
I like that none of this indicates I must be responsible for fixing, none of it says I must settle or be a doormat and none of it says I have to even continue the friendship.  In my heart I must love, I must forgive and I must find peace.  I'm looking forward to doing different, to doing better.
May your life be filled with the love you deserve.