Monday, August 23, 2010

Strange But True

It's strange, and it's scary at the same time. It was one thing to go through it myself, it's a whole nother thing to experience one of our children going through it. It's a part of life really, a part of life we sheltered our kids from and think would never happen to us, in our family. The denial mentality, "you may be going through it but it'd never happen to me" arrogance. But it does happen. Death, divorce, remarriage, "your kids", "my kids", trying to be a family, trying to put things back together. Striving for permanence, security.

We all want the same thing really. We want to be loved. We want to be accepted. We want to succeed. We want to have a family, a place and a purpose. People fail, families fail, churches fail, jobs fail. But God never fails. He is the God of second changes, new beginnings, grace and mercy. He loves us all the same and is the Father of us all.

The greatest joy, blessing and freedom is to open our hearts and our arms and extend grace and mercy and love to each other. To love one another and welcome family whether they be yours or mine or theirs. Family's family. First time, second time. Everyday is a brand new day of grace. God the Father "remembers no more", can't we do the same?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

All is Vanity!

When it doesn't matter, than I've arrived. Yes, I know we have to eat and sleep and work but when only the Lord and my relationship to Him and the infiltration of His Word into my being matter than everything else will fall into place and I will be at peace.

I am beginning to grasp what The Preacher was talking about when he writes, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."

I am so very touched today by Brian and Lindsey's post on Pleasant Drive.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Hate It

Do you know what I hate? Not just hate, but detest? I get so upset and down right angry when I realize it's taking over, again. It consumes my thoughts, my mind. The sad part is, I like it. It feels justified, deserved, and safe.

The culprit: selfishness, self-centeredness, self-preservation.

These lead to fear, and loss. Which leads to suspicion, blame, stubbornness, and refusal to budge for fear of loss or change. Then a feeling of being stuck and helpless.

All the while I'm consumed in selfishness, feeling "safe", or justified, I am the one who's losing. I'm losing joy and happiness and fellowship with my family, true fellowship, openness and oneness.

I hate this battle - this internal battle that's always there but magnifies itself especially when I'm in pain, or tired, or worried or stressed. I just made an excuse for it, didn't I? There's no excuses. But I should realize that it's during these life processes that I'm vulverable and will let my guard down in order to protect myself which is also selfishness. So it's actually a vicious cycle.

The only solution is: to renew my mind according to The Word. Continually. It doesn't just happen once. Oh that would be wonderful wouldn't it, "Ok, Renewed." No, it doesn't happen that way. It's an ongoing process, day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

I thank God because He is a God of new beginnings. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. It's really true, every day is a brand new day. My prayer for today is that I will be renewed according to His Word one moment at a time. I am so very blessed!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day

Andrew and Ellwyn sent me this card for Mother's Day. On the inside it says "Only the Strong Survive!" Then he wrote, "I imagine you felt like this once or twice!! Haha"

The sad thing is, it's probably what he remembers.

Andrew had just turned three when Alex was born, Aaron was five and Amy was seven. I was overwhelmed. I love my children, love them all, love them all the same. And I did my best. I am settled with the fact I did not and do not have a career along with motherhood and homemaking. I always looked at those who do however and thought, "What's wrong with me?" I understand now it was a privilege and a blessing to be at home and raise my children.

Now that I have two precious grandbabies I realize that as much as I love being a mother I should have been a grandmother first. All those things I thought were so important as a mother are not important at all. That's the catch-22.

I love my husband and my home. I love my children. I love my grandchildren. They are the love and joy of my life. This is the love and joy of my life, my husband, our home, my children, my grandchildren. It's a little bit of heaven.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

All Roads Lead To . . .

Where? Here? "Oh no! Not again!"

I remember one time when I was in junior high or so a group of us from church were taken to the State Fair in Tulsa. We were so excited to go and after we got there ran from ride to ride. Several of us decided to go into the "House of Mirrors" or mirror maze. My best friend and I stayed right together and the others ran ahead. We went this way and that way and were ecstatic when we found the "exit" only to be told by the ticket people that it was the entrance and we couldn't come out that way. We went back in and finally without bursting into tears, but almost, I might add, found the exit and there waiting patiently, stood the others. How did they get through so fast? And without anxiety or fear, as if they had a secret map?

It seems like life is very much like that. It seems that most people hug the straight line of normal. Get up, go to work, raise their babies, manage this challenge here, sail over that inconvenice there, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, generation after generation.

And then there's me. Why sometimes do I tend to find myself in the same situation over and over again? Say for example it's a situation that I keep winding up in even after years of thinking that situation is totally in the past. Why do I feel our life is a series of one step forward two steps back?

I have to dig deeper and think that it's a lesson the Lord wants me to learn but I never quite learn it. Why sometimes can I feel free to be me, outgoing and in control, someone who makes "it" happen and then something in side me shuts down, feels stifled, afraid, silenced. Personality type? Possibly. Past life situations? Possibly. Just life? I'm not so sure.

I find my answer in knowing that God's ways are not our ways. There's a comfort in knowing that He holds the future, even the future as close as an hour from now. I absolutelly do not know what will happen tomorrow. I do know the Lord will fight for us; we need only to be still.

Me, Myself and I

Have you ever felt just empty? I mean totally empty? Void of thought or information or direction, yet experience an overwhelming peace at the same time? Have you ever known who you are and realized that you are you no matter what? That's where I am right now. I am who I am. It doesn't matter where I live, who my husband is, who my children are, how much education I have or what my vocation is. It doesn't matter who my friends and relatives are or how much money we have or don't have. I am who I am. I was who I am at 2 years old, 17 years old, 32 years old and now at 55 years old. I am who I am.

There are things about me that are predetermined and of which I have no control, like birth-order and personality type. Then there are experiences and life-situations. My birth-order and personality type determine my response to these and the effect they have on my life. What I understand and believe spiritually also effects my response to situations that effect my life. But at the core I am who I am.

Some people realize who they are early in life and live all their lives as themselves, totally themselves. Some people never know and spend their entire life searching or being what they think other people expect. Some people know who they are and don't want other people to know so they wear masks and the mask changes for different situations.

I've spent a lifetime wondering, searching, changing, adjusting. But now I know. Now I know who I am. I am who I am. I am happy and at peace with that.

The Lord has blessed my husband and me with a year long sabbatical that has allowed us to rest, rejuvenate, search, replenish and resolve. We are looking forward to tomorrow and each and every day after that. It is our desire that who we are is a blessing and a help to each other and everyone we know. I would like to reach out my hand and impart to everyone peace and blessing. I am who I am, you are who you are. I love you. Peace and Blessings!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cats vs. Dogs

"Cats Rule - Dogs Drool." I can't remember the first time I heard this but it might have been in the movie "Cats and Dogs".

I am a closet cat lover. I say that because we have neither a cat nor a dog and I act rather indifferent to either. When I see a cat however I feel a certain affirmation towards them. A co-worker at a temp job I had once said, "Sandy, you're just like a cat. You walk in here and deliver whatever and I don't even know you came in." I like cats because they can take care of themselves and really don't command a response from people. They're rather stately and regal too. And they are quiet and stealth. Most people like dogs, it seems

A friend of mine several years ago was telling me about the door corsage she ordered for her daughter and newborn baby granddaughter. It sounded beautiful and so elaborate, then she said, "I was going to include a banner that said, 'Girls Rule - Boys Drool' but I decided I better not." We got a chuckle out of the idea.

So there we have it, the age old battle - who's better, not cats or dogs but boys or girls? men or women?

I have observed that men reach their peak at about 28-35 years of age and women reach theirs at about 38-45. Mike first pointed this out to me several years ago and every once in a while I'll see something and realize the truth in it. Men and women actually pass each other at a certain point and almost change roles in a sense. Did you see the movie "Benjamin Button"? Now that was interesting. Think about it.

Women while in their early twenties want to get married, have a home, raise babies. Whereas men in their early twenties are building a career, active in sports, and are adventurous and daring. Women want to settle down, men are not quite to the settling down stage.

Then at about 38 years old, women want to go back to school, advance their career, travel, do something daring and adventurous. Men in their late 30's start getting thick around the middle, slow down, want to stay home. See what I'm saying?

Last Sunday while we were enjoying our usual after church breakfast at Lori's Cafe, I noticed an older retired couple sitting directly across from us. They had just come from church too and were very well dressed. The wife wore a mink jacket and more than one large diamond on her finger. The husband had on a nice dark suit. I happened to glance over their way just as he was starting to say something to her and he said it a bit loud she thought. I didn't think so but she shhhed him. He was embarrassed and put his head down. I noticed his hearing aid and felt sympathy for him. He at one time had obviously been someone very important and had provided very well for her. They were no doubt still living on that provision. I could see the role reversal in this instance, she was still strong and maybe even stronger, he was weakening.

It's not who's stronger, or who's better, or who's more important, or who contributes more. It's each one cherishing the gifting of the other and allowing them to fully operate in their gifting. It's respect and honor and communication and the bottom line of it all is thankfulness.

Dogs can live without cats and vice versa. They don't even come close to needing each other and there will always be a debate between dog lovers and cat lovers about which one is superior. But unlike dogs and cats, God created men and women to be partners and to complement each other and bring out one another's best. He created us to work as a team, a unit and to cherish, protect and care for one another. God did and I couldn't be happier.

"For better, For worse, Richer or Poorer, In sickness and in health, 'Til Death Do Us Part."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

3D - 2D

There have been several 3D movies released in the past couple of years. I love going to the movies but I really didn't like the idea of wearing weird fitting plastic glasses on top of my corrective lenses. Adrian wanted to go to "Toy Story 1 & 2", a 3D double feature for his birthday. Well, wanting to do something special for him, we agreed. We took him to almost 4 hours of 3D kids utopia. I made it through the 4 hours but it got to be a little long to say the least.

At the beginning of November "The Christmas Carol" with Jim Carry was released. We wanted to see the movie because Jim Carry was so exceptional as the Grinch in "The Grinch". We reluctantly resigned to the fact that to see the movie we'd have to see it in 3D. We saw it, but, I did not enjoy looking through the uncomfortable, odd fitting plastic eye apparatus for over 2 hours. We left the movie and agreed that would be our last 3D movie. The kids can have it.

One 3D real life fact that the kids have and we can not escape is the 3-dimensional aspect to our beings. It is becoming more and more apparent to me as I get older (ahem) and life progresses that we as human beings are 3 dimensions, body, soul and spirit. Now that's no secret, but the realization for me is: I am beginning to be able to discern which dimension of my being is dominating at the time.

My sweet niece, Lindsey who inspired me to create this blog and begin posting, is beginning her second bout with cancer. She is 26 years old. Her blog, Pleasant Drive is a chronicle of her life since June 2008 when she and my nephew Brian married. Less than two months after the wedding she found out she had cancer. She also has great faith. She posted a very right on post entitled Fear or Faith? What's It Gonna Be? she states that she believes she is in a spiritual battle first and then a physical battle. And I say, "Right On!"

We as 3-dimensional beings live in a 2-dimensional world. The world we live in is physical but it is also spiritual. What happens happens in the spiritual realm first, then it happens in the physical realm. We live and believe it's the other way around. Does that answer the question "Why do bad things happen to "good" people?" How about the question, "Why are our prayers not answered?" Yes, I believe it does. I believe it answers both seemingly answerless questions.

We, as Christians, are saved, and we live in a physical world. The only difference between our life and an unsaved person's life is salvation. We are both subject to decisions, opportunities, heritage, circumstances, gravity, physics, etc. It is only when we crossover the physical barrier and live in the spiritual dimension that we experience a true, miraculous, unexplained, blessed life.

We crossover the physical realm and live in the spiritual realm by getting to know God, really know Him. That comes from pushing past doctrines and cliche's and "truths". Things we've believed all our lives, and opening our spirit and soul to understanding His Word. When we know His Word, truly know deep in our spirit, we actually begin living more and more in the spiritual realm and that determines what happens in the physical realm.

We, because we're saved Christians living in a physical world and don't know otherwise, pray for healing, safety, prosperity, provision, etc. Things that are provided for in the Word. Asking God to provide for us or keep us safe or heal us is like my Sweet Berkley asking me to take care of her. I would be so hurt if I felt she was genuinely afraid I would not take care of her and kept asking me to do so over and over. Not only would I be hurt but I would not be able to respond because I am already doing what she is asking me to do.

Because we pray for things that are already provided for in The Word, our prayers are merely words of comfort to one another. Then after we've comforted one another we just wait and see what happens and usually the natural course of life takes it course, sometimes good and sometimes not good. Then we explain it by saying, "Well, it must not have been God's will."

To pray according to the Word we need to be thanking and praising God for what He has already provided for. We then need to ask for wisdom, opportunity, and discernment, etc. to make decisions in the physical realm that will be in line with what The Word says (the spiritual realm). We should pray against fear, unbelief, pride, confusion, etc. things in the soul realm that are against the spirit realm. When we, deep in the heart of our being know The Word, then we pray according to The Word, then our prayers are answered according to the Word.

Living according to the Word and praying according to the Word, causes things to happen in the Spirit realm before they happen in the physical realm.

I won't be attending any more 3D movies but I am excited about being a 3D being in a 2D world. I look forward with anticipation as I through His Word know God more and more and journey spiritually in a physical world.

Disclaimer: I am neither a theologian or a Bible scholar. This is an account of my belief, understanding and experience.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Search is Over

Have you ever noticed that even after you buy something you've been looking at for a long time, like a house or a car or a piece of furniture, an appliance or even a special outfit you have a tendency to keep looking to make sure you made the right choice? Or maybe I'm the only one but I catch myself doing this, or I used to.

When Mike and I met he told his daughter, "I've found someone who shares my same beliefs." And he did. We are so like-minded, mentally, emotionally, spiritally it's almost unbelievable. And maybe that was my problem, unbelief. After we were married he'd comment to me, "You're still searching." I didn't understand what he was talking about. He'd say, "There's nothing out there. You're all I've ever wanted, we have everything." He is all I've ever wanted too and I knew we had everything.

Several months after we were married a family member was driving through town and stopped long enough for an early dinner and a brief visit. We went to a chinese buffet and at the end of the meal, as expected, the server brought each of us a fortune cookie. Mike opened his and it read, "Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you." I leaned over his shoulder and read along then I smiled and felt good inside. Not knowing what to expect but full of anticipation I opened my cookie. It read, "Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you." There were four other people at the table and their sayings were all different. It was one of those divine moments.

That was twelve years ago. I can honestly say I am no longer searching. I am sorry it has taken me so long to believe, trust and get settled. The Lord has blessed us with each other, and all the necessities of life. He has blessed us with wonderful capable children who have families and careers and lives of their own. We have grandchildren, (just a little bit of heaven). We have each other. We are of one heart, one mind, one soul, one goal, one intent. We have good health and most of all we have The Word, The Lord God and Jesus Christ who is the glue that holds it all together. We have everything.

It's an awesome state of being to not know the future but to know Who holds the future. There's an extreme sense of peace to no longer search. This is contentment I did not know existed. I am very thankful. We are very blessed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Very Small Box

I don't know if it's because I'm first born or if it's because I have felt inferior or maybe it's just human nature, but I had a need to be right. Unfortunately, I would debate the minutest detail (usually with my husband) just to have all the facts right, or correct details that really didn't make a difference for the overall content of the story just to feel that everything was absolutely truthful. Everything to me was black and white, right or wrong, only one way. My life was full of "Don't", "Can't", "Not allowed", "Not possible", and "What if?"

When I met Mike I knew I loved him. I knew my life would change forever. I knew he was the fulfillment of everything I had ever wanted and ever prayed for. I had love-sickness and couldn't eat or sleep. One night while I was tossing and turning the Lord assured me I could trust Mike as my husband, my life partner, my head, my provider. The Lord is right. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to relax in Him and trust that through my husband He would provide everything we need and bless us beyond what we could ever ask or think.

My inability to completely trust, my fear, kept me in a very small box. I had to be right in order to feel in control of life. The Lord has brought us to a place where we are completely dependent on Him and I am completely dependent on my husband.

When I gave up total control I noticed that I no longer have to be right. Since I no longer have to be constantly right I feel peace and in love with living. I feel free to make a mistake and I am thankful for correction. I have breathing room. I feel I can listen to my husband and learn. I feel completely myself. I feel I can love, accept and enjoy other people just as they are.

There are essential elements, convictions and truths in life that demand being right about. After those are established most decisions in life are flexible. I've given up control and embraced the joy and freedom of being wrong. Ironically I feel completely in control but actually it's confidence in the Lord, His Word and my husband.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Five Year Plan

It's 2010, a brand new year.

I've been pondering for the past few days, trying to gather some thoughts and ideas and goals, some sort of direction for this new year. I feel like a blank slate. It's as if I've been walking around with a clipboard and a pen listening, thinking, observing, reading, talking, struggling, struggling for something, anything, to write down. You know what? Zilch. Nada. Nothing. I feel completely void of ideas, goals and direction for the future past this very moment.

My Sweet Niece Lindsey posted an honest, and humbling post A New Year...A New Me in which she was asked about her and Brian's Five Year Plan. I don't know what she actually said at the time but in her post she responds with a scripture Isaian 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither your ways my ways declares the Lord."

Like Lindsey I am not against planning and long term goals and financial regulation to make those goals and plans happen. I admire and envy people who can form a plan and make it happen. But for me life is just not that way. I've tried but it's never happened. Not the way I planned and worked toward anyway.

I cling to Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

I say "I cling" but actually I stray, a lot. I get scared, tired, panicky, frustrated, and feel totally out of control more often than not it seems. Then I get back to trust - Trust in the LORD, trust in my husband, trust in myself, trust that everything will be all right.

My clipboard is no longer a blank slate. It says, "Thank you Lord for the plans, for welfare, for the absence of calamity, for a future and for hope." "Your thoughts are NOT my thoughts (thank God) and my ways are NOT Your ways (thank God again).

Life is a series of one day at a time. Moment by moment. Thank God Again and Again.

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