Saturday, January 31, 2009

Be Who You Are...

I recently started reading "Respectable Sins: Confronting the sins we tolerate". I can tell it is one of those books that I will read more than once. I am reading with a pencil, underlining the words, phrased and concepts that stand out to me.

Sitting in the car rider line at the Elementary School, I read. The author was describing the way our society has focused sin through an easier, softer lens - if we identify it at all - making it easier to minimize, overlook and tolerate.

He also calls us to "Be who you are". (whoa!)

He likens Christians to officers in the military - set apart for a distinct purpose, with distinct standards of conduct. Big or small infractions, he likens to "behavior unbecoming of an officer". Interesting concept. I thought of that for a long while... and of the "be who you are".

I've been aware lately of many ways that some great wisdom has been focused through a "world view" - and totally destroyed, or at least distorted. "Be who you are", for example. My perspective of "who I am", defines, how I live (which is true!). Through a worldly view of "who I am", my behavior would be very different than through a Biblical view. My thoughts, actions and perceptions are totally different - based entirely on the starting point... and where I set my eyes. Woman of God, or Woman of the world?

Daughter of the King. Set aside for God. Moriah - "God is my teacher". That is who I am. Is that who the world sees?

It was later on - in the bathroom, of all places - when the question hit. I'm not entirely sure if it hit my head or my heart - I felt it between the eyes. "Why are you afraid to be who God would have you be?" Not "ARE you....?", but "WHY are you....?"

Those are love/hate questions for me.... I love it that they come, and the process of working through them, hopefully discovering an answer and assisting in the removal of some of my stumbling blocks... but I hate it that they come, and the process of working through them. Sometimes, I'm not fond of answers and would prefer to keep my stumbling blocks, thank You very much....

I do not speak very publicly about my faith... though, as He would have it, I was given an opportunity to do so that very evening. "Be bold in your faith", I have heard again and again... and as I write this, the radio sings "Let my life song sing to You..."

May I be bold in my faith. May my Life Song sing to You. May I be who I am... the woman You would have me be.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tagged .... The Hawk.

I don't usually play the "tagging" games. (well, here... I do a few on Facebook...) But I did get "tagged" by my friend, Katie.... and I did recently have a question posed to a group I was in that sort of fit as well... "Do you take time to play with your friends and your toys?" Uhm... no, not much.

So, I figured I'd bite... I'd look in the fourth folder for the fourth picture... perhaps it would provide inspiration for a topic. And who showed up.... the hawk.

This hawk is one of three that visit me from time to time. I was first aware of hawks in the neighborhood when I was on a walk. I was deep in thought - talking with God about something. I heard some squawking. Then I saw a hawk low-flying across the street. I followed the flight path to the nest where the other adult was stationed. The noise quieted until the adult left. I stood and watched for a long time. I'd never witnessed a hawk feeding its young before.

The next time I saw the hawks, I had pulled into my driveway after dropping the kids off at school. I remember being deep in thought - preparing to meet a new friend for lunch. I looked up and stopped in my tracks. My breathing stilled as I watched in amazement. This beautiful creature. In my backyard. wow.

They have joined me on walks, and called to me as I sit on my porch, or dig in my garden. From time to time, they show up and perch in my yard. Most recently, it was just outside my bedroom window, perching on the chain link fence about 10 feet from the window. We stared at each other for a long, long time...

They always tend to show up, and make me pause. Whatever is going on stops, and I am awed by the beauty of this creature God has designed.... and grateful to be a part of His world.

(oh, and quickly, the rules: post the 4th picture in the 4th folder on your computer. Tell about it - then tag four other people)

My tags: Braden, JoAnn, Brea and Kerry.

Thank You God for my friends.... and some fun.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yesterday was one of those rare beautiful days in middle Tennessee. It snowed! I sat (briefly) and watched the beauty of the flakes falling and dancing in the wind. I knew by mid-afternoon it would be mostly cleared up. No shoveling. No slush. No real need for boots. And, of course, no school.

It's not always this beautiful and simplistic. Sometimes, there is ice. And sometimes there is more snow - an inch or two, even. Both bring things to a screeching halt.

Yes, I am speaking somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I grew up in New England, and remember the Blizzard of '78. 27+ inches of snow dropped very quickly outside of Boston, Massachusetts. No power. No phone. No end to the shoveling! THAT was some snow.

It's different here in the south... but with good reason. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. In just a few more weeks, the daffodils will be peaking their heads through the ground.

Thank you, God for this beautiful day. Thank You for the snow - for the peace and tranquility of winter. Thank You for the unscheduled day of rest.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Praying....without ceasing

I have found myself praying for many people recently. People I know, and people I don't...and some that I "know", but have never "met". I pray for situations I know completely, and some I really don't know at all. I have been praying for joy and peace, balance and strength. For courage and for Truth. For clarity and discernment. For those who are being "stalked" by God to quit running, and receive the gifts that are there. Prayers of praise and of supplication. Prayers for His will be done.

I have been praying for individuals, for couples, for families, for children, for adults. For men, for women, for mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. For babies, born and unborn, (and even the loss of a few). For mothers rejoicing and mothers grieving. For those who know God, and those who do not.

I have been praying over court proceedings and school proceedings. For marriage crises and health crises. You name it, I've prayed it... or so it seems.

Some, are very public, and I will share... others are very private, and I will maintain their confidences. I've become very aware lately, that for every known need for prayer, there seem to be at least a dozen unknown.

As more and more become known to me, it is becoming easier and easier to "pray without ceasing"... and harder and harder not to...

I have been praying for an very brave eight year old girl - that I do know - named Makenzie. Makenzie had surgery for a brain tumor last fall. She is now finished radiation and beginning chemotherapy. Medically, she is doing well - she has made amazing progress and has an unsquelchable spirit... and she continues to beat her dad at Wii bowling! I have been encouraged not only by her healing and her spunk, but also by the community that has continued to support this family - in deed and in prayer - and by the strength and courage that she, her parents, her twin sister and her brother have received as a result. Go! Fight! Win! Makenzie!

The other young girl - whom I don't know - that I pray for, is pictured above. Abby. Abby has leukemia, and a genetic variation that makes her response to treatment more life-threatening. I am just beginning to get a feel for her, her situation, and her family. I do know they welcome prayer.... lots and lots of prayer ... for Abby... and for their family... (their blog is amazing as well.... if you like amazing blogs!)

Finally, a woman I don't know - I know her sister. Cassie is rejoicing...and she is healing...and she is praising God for His hand over, around and supporting the birth of her daughter...and saving her life. Her story reminds me that birth is a natural process, but not always a benign process. Congratulations, Cassie, and praise God!

So long as there are prayers to pray, my voice - and my hands - will be among those raising request and praise to God. If you have a prayer request, feel free to comment, or email me privately (under 'my complete profile'). I will add you to my prayer list.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

There is My Joy...

This is a much more articulate version of what I shared at 2:42. I had this printed out, but summarized it as I remembered: (and I only cried once...)


When I was asked to speak on Sunday night, it was suggested I talk of Joy and God working in my life. Perhaps talking about my blog, or of my interpreting. Instead, I chose to share part of my journey. Likely one of the most pivotal points of my faith journey.

It was in the moment when crisis had hit my marriage and I realized that *I* couldn't fix it, that I was broken enough to surrender and willing to get still enough to really listen. I looked around at my life... at the people I'd met, and the places I'd been. I didn't understand how I had gotten there. But, at that moment I had a brief glimpse of clarity and a change of heart.

I had been told that "God is always with you", that He has plans for me, but I didn't really get it. I hadn't really experienced it.... Then, I realized that He had surrounded me with the people that I needed in my life. The women in my bible study, the women in my yoga class. I was exactly where I was meant to be in that moment. It was then that I first understood. My crazy mixed-up story is a part of His plan.

As I walked through those next months, I searched for Him. "Are You still there?" I'd ask. Without fail, there He was. Guiding, comforting, encouraging. Meeting my needs, and often providing answers to my questions before I asked. It was a truly amazing time. I could go on and on with examples of "All I have needed Thy hand hath provided..."

Life continued to move forward. Times of growth and refinement. Times of rest. Valleys and Mountain tops. Always, Him with me, whether I noticed at the time or not. Not too long ago, we headed into another "growth spurt". I resisted, and learned of His patience. It was following that experience, that I named my blog...though it was a month or so later that I ever considered blogging.

He was leading me to another valley. More learning. More examining my heart. I was tired. I didn't want to grow right then. He spoke, I ignored. I kept busy doing nothing so I didn't have to hear... or so I thought. At the end of a very long weekend of me turning away, I sat on my bed, exhausted. It was if He said "Are you done yet?" Surprised, I said aloud, "My God.... You are stalking me!" And then, I sighed, lowered my head and said "yes... I'm done. Where are we going?"

Day after day, month after month, year after year. There He is. Beside me. With me. Whether I am interpreting on the stage, or sitting to write my blog. So long as my heart is open and my eyes are fixed on Him, I am aware of His presence. When I look away, He is still there. Patiently encouraging me to turn toward Him. It is as we had just sung: "I turn to You and You are always there". That has been my experience.

THERE is my Joy. God working in my life. Valleys. Mountain tops. Doesn't matter. Focusing on Him - be it blogging, interpreting, parenting. Doesn't matter. My favorite sign -"God-connect" - is what matters. THERE is my Joy.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Song Remembers When...

It was the night before the 2:42 service. I was having a child-free Saturday evening... at the mall. I hate the mall. Too many people. Too much stuff. Too much potential to spend money. But, I needed to return some things my kids had received for Christmas, so I popped my earbuds in and headed into the crowd. (Saturday night, WHAT was I thinking?!)

I hadn't had time to move the music I needed to learn (in ASL) to the top of my ipod playlist, so as I was walking, I was playing through, searching for the appropriate songs. My pace quickened and slowed with the tempo. From time to time, a one-handed "hallelujah" or "thank You", "King" or "Lord" would spontaneously come forth.

My ipod shuffle is filled with the songs that I have interpreted at church over the past several months. Song after song played. As I listened, I could see the signs in my mind's eye. More often than not, an event, or a lesson, or a blessing had been associated with the song in my heart and in my mind. I remembered back through the months - the journey that I have been on with God.

The first song I ever interpreted came on. I was taken back to the very first time I stood before my congregation. I remembered standing there, hoping my hands would work, and my legs would hold me. Then, suddenly, I was calm. "Perfect" came off my teachers hands as I returned to my seat. It was surreal. I could barely believe what had happened. Me. Up there. Signing. No way.

I continued to listen, and remember, returning to those moments when God had spoken to me, through the words of the songs - sometimes at home, often on the stage.

I wiped the tears running down my face as it hit me how blessed I have been being a part of this deaf ministry. Yes, the people I have met have been great, and I love them dearly, but the time with God is beyond compare.

Thank You, thank You, thank You...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When Asked to Speak...

I have been asked to speak at our 2:42 service Sunday Night. This is a time of fellowship, prayer and communion, based on Acts 2:42. I have been asked to share some of the joy of the presence of God in my life. Whoa... me?

Of course, I said yes. When I am asked to share about how my life has changed, and about how He has done that, I always say yes. So, I have to work... small detail.

I have no idea what I will say. I can barely even remember what she said to me when she asked me to share - aside from the fact that they know I will cry. Most likely, they are right. Those moments when I am overcome with the knowledge of how my life has changed - by the Grace of God - move me to tears.. of joy.

She suggested I speak of my blog - or my interpreting. The fact that nothing comes when I think of those things - though I KNOW they are a result of obedience, and have been a great blessing to me - they are not to be the focus of my talk.

So I wait.... and I wait... and I pray that I will know where to focus. My brain says "C'mon, Lord... only a few more days... I need to prepare....". My heart says "wait..." The Gentle Voice Within says "listen..." So I try to wait some more....

Then I get a glimpse. It is clear for a moment...but just a moment. THAT is the topic - the focus.... "OK... how about the words?" "wait..." "listen..." So I try to wait some more....

As I do - I play the music that we will be singing, and I will be signing. My heart skips a beat as I realize the words I just sang summarize the moment of clarity that I had just had.

"Trust Me." I will do my best (but I really DO hope I have a better idea of what I will say before I actually stand up there...)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Power of Touch

I believe in the power of touch. I also believe that far too many are touch-deprived. I consider it a blessing that most of my jobs allow - or even REQUIRE - me to touch people. Everything that I have been called to do, requires my hands.

Touch has the ability to stir or settle emotion. It has the power to connect, to communicate, to heal. It also has the power to destroy. It must be used wisely. Appropriately. Well-timed. There are some who tolerate less touch than others. I must respect their preference.

The past 3 days have been filled with massage. I have (literally) touched more than 35 lives in the past 72 hours. I recognize it as a gift. I honor the trust that people put into my hands.

I remember being on the receiving end. I was in the process of my divorce: married, but separated. The only touch in my life was from my kids... and my massage therapist. He had an innate ability to 'hold the space', and allow my grieving, my insights...and he worked out the pain in my right shoulder from chronically handing stuff into the back seat to my kids.

Tomorrow, I go to work in my nursing world, and will touch more lives. "Heal with your hands," He said. Heal with my hands....

May I bring good-will, peace, hope and joy to those I touch at a time.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Moments of Gratitude: A Rest

I am in the midst of one of the busiest weeks. I have felt the prayers of those who have sent them. There has been this incredible peace as I move from event to event. And I keep receiving the most wonderful gifts. The gifts of "Exactly What I Need".

The morning started in class - CPR renewal. Getting out an hour early may not seem like a big deal, but for me, WOW. YES! I got home, made lunch and walked the dog. It was a beautiful day - sunny, few clouds - warm enough to remind me that spring is on the way. The extra time in my schedule allowed us to not have to rush around the neighborhood. We could take the time to truly enjoy our walk.

As we re-entered the fenced portion of our back yard, I took the opportunity to sit on the deck for a few minutes. The sun still shining - though not on me - a nice breeze tossling the branches of the pine trees, brushing against my face, and brushing my hair back. I closed my eyes to listen. The birds were chirping, the wind chimes playing their melodies. And the dog... the dog was behaving.

That may seem like another small thing, but in my life, it's darn near a miracle! He is a 14 month old chocolate lab, which is, essentially, three strikes against "well-behaved". Today, in this moment, he was.

I sat for a while, looking out over the back yard, listening to the sounds of the neighborhood, and just smiled. "Thank You, God" For this home, for this day, and for this moment to just sit and be in Your presence.

It doesn't get any better than that!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Impatience is WHAT?

I was completing some at-home continuing education. I'd had as much as I could handle for one day, though I still had few more topics to go. I flipped through one of them as I put the unfinished packets into my work bag.

One sentence caught my eye: "Impatience is sub-clinical anxiety". I'm sorry, WHAT? My first thought was "no, no, no....", but the statement stuck with me. I soon recognized that crazy spinning that my brain does when it's just been hit between the eyes with a truth it wants to disprove!

I don't consider myself to be an anxious person. Most people say I'm a very patient person, but I'm more like a duck. Calm, cool, collected is what can usually be seen, but I'm often paddling like mad under the surface.

My "internal editor" is a blessing in these situations. It lets me wait 'patiently', and not speak the thousand "c'mon! c'mon! COME ON.... can you not just DO IT!?" s that are going through my brain.

I am not patient with MYSELF one bit. OK, I might have ONE bit of patience - but that's it... and I've worked hard to get that!

I consider the times that I show my impatience, and ask myself "why?" "Why do I get impatient?" Usually, it's because I'm worried (DOH!) about being late, or not getting something done. Worried. Hmmmm... Anxious. Ugh! "No, no, no, no, no...." says the brain. Drat. For me, that statement is true. Sub-clinical anxiety... me. * sigh *

I'm not anxious to the point where it impairs my life.... just to the point where it keeps me from acting as I should... patiently. For Love is patient and kind.... Patience is fruit of the spirit... it is much needed in our world today - let it begin with me.

May I walk in patience and in love. May I trust Your timing. May I lay my worries at Your feet.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, Ephesians 4:1-2

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's REALLY Girl Scout Cookie Time...

I promised when I wrote the original version of this, that I would resend it when it truly IS Girl Scout Cookie time. And it is.... Girls here in the South have started taking orders - believe they will soon follow in the North.

One thing I have learned since I originally posted this - though I think the girls like getting cookies as well, is there is a "Gift of Caring" community service project. The girls can pick an organization to whom cookies will be donated if people would like to buy them for donation. So, your options are many...

Enjoy the re-telling: Originally published Saturday September 13, 2008:

It's Girl Scout Cookie Time!!!

Well, no, not really. Cookies come in the spring. But my daughter just signed up for Brownies, so we've been doing some reminiscing. I pulled out my old Girl Scout vest and we looked at my badges and my star pins (which she liked best). She put on my old beanie and gave me an ear to ear grin. It begins.

It's changed a lot in the years since I was a scout. The thing I notice most - since I've not actively been involved in scouting - thus far! - is how cookies are sold. In my day (and yes, I know I'm dating myself here - I'm OK with that!), we sold cookies door to door... and they were a dollar a box! One year, I had sold the most in my district - 265 boxes (or something equally ridiculous). And that wasn't mom or dad taking the order form to the office, it was DOOR TO DOOR. The reality of that designation hit me when I was loading up yet another wagon full to deliver them... door to door. (I vowed never to seek that honor again!)

These days, they set up outside of Wal*mart or the grocery store. Several girls and their leader or adult volunteer. For the past several years, I've developed my own Girl Scout cookie tradition (that my sister has encouraged me to share here!). I love the cookies and I believe in scouting. But, my problem: I love the cookies. It wouldn't matter how many boxes I bought, I'd eat them all - without an opportunity to teach my kids about sharing. So, I've gone about it in a little different way.

When I see them set up outside the store, I now grin ear to ear in anticipation. I enjoy that feeling while I do my shopping. On my way out, I stop at the table.

"Would you like to buy some cookies?" they ask. I ask how much they cost, and quickly count the number of girls at the table. I then ask each girl in turn what their favorite flavor is. "Thin mints", "Tagalongs", "Samoas". I tell them I'll take one of each. They stack them up and tell me how much I owe - now significantly more than a dollar a box! Change in hand, I pick up the stack of boxes and hand each box to the girl who expressed it as her favorite. "Enjoy!" I say as I walk away.

It's interesting to hear what happens next - and honestly, I wish I could be a fly on the wall to truly witness it with my eyes, but I'm walking away, so I have to trust my ears. At first they are baffled. "for me?" the silence says. I can only imagine they look at each other and then the shrieking begins or the laughter, and the "THANK YOU!!"s. "You're welcome", I call back.

I am able to donate to a worthy cause, demonstrate random acts of kindness, and I save myself THOUSANDS of calories. That is a definite win-win situation!

I'll repost this in the spring, when it IS Girl Scout Cookie time, with a challenge to make a Girl Scout's day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Song, A Dance, and A Sign...

"Watch me, Mommy!", she said. "I made up movements for my song". She is learning to sing the song "Breakaway". I'd never heard it before.

It's a song about a girl feeling stuck in her small town. "I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly," she sings. She spends the song dreaming and praying of what she'll do when she is able to "break away".

As my daughter sings those lines, she leaps and flaps her wings, as only little girls can do. She sways, she twirls, she reaches for the sky.

The lyrics remind me of my youth. It also reminded me that my little girl is growing up - fast! Before I know it, she'll be a grown woman, moving into her own life. Assuming we both survive her adolescent years, that is...

The fact that she'll be spending the next few years testing her wings and will one day fly away caused me to pause. I know she, like me, will move into her own life. As it should be.

The thing that caught me off guard. She incorporated some American Sign Language that I didn't know she knew. Each time she sang the words "break away", she signed 'disconnect'. They really do watch every moment, don't they.

May I be a woman worthy of small eyes watching. May I remember how quickly the years fly by and cherish every moment. May I remember that her 'disconnect' as she grows is what she is meant to do. May I give her roots, but allow her her wings. Watch over us all as we grow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Presence of God...

I recently got to experience the expression "The presence of God won't take you, where the Grace of God won't keep you...."

It was Sunday morning. I was at the rehearsal with the band before the service. My kids were technologically entertained with a DS and an ipod. The presence of God was all around - I could feel it the moment I set foot on the stage. I could see it on the face of the pastor's daughter as she danced and clapped her hands to the music.

As we rehearsed, each of the songs touched my heart, more and more deeply. We started with "Your Grace is enough...." My hands made the signs for "grace" and "enough" and "satisfy", as I considered that - His grace IS enough...and yet, I have been blessed with so much more... the "stuff", the friendships, my children, other children... blessed, I tell you! Beyond my wildest imaginings!

We moved into the next set - "Blessed be Your name" led. As I signed of the "land that is plentiful" and the "walk through the wilderness", I pictured both in my life. Those moments when everything was 'right' in the world, and my most difficult struggles. As I walked through each, He has been there. Over time, I am learning to praise Him in the midst of both.

That thought segued right into the next song "oh, oh, You never let go...". But it wasn't that line that captured me. It was the 23rd Psalm part - "I will fear no evil, for my God is with me. And if my God is with me, whom then shall I fear?" No one - which is what I signed as the question repeated: "people influence fear, who? none!"

The forth song, was an invitation for God to be near. Over and over, I signed "Be near, oh God...", which ended in "Another Hallelujah". For some reason, that song seems to stay on my hands. There aren't that many words, and most of them are "Hallelujah!" - a killer for the shoulders, but wonderful for the heart.

It was a wonderful, wonderful time with God - all before the congregation arrived.

It was during the service itself, that I witnessed the grace of God keeping me in a very, very different way.

As I stood up front, interpreting the music, He held my tongue and moved my hands as I struggled with the overwhelming urge to tell my son - who was chattering away (loudly enough for me to hear him) - to "SHUT UP!"

Fortunately, my internal stress had diminished following the prayer, and I was able to speak with him rationally - and not screaming from the stage!

Thank you God for Your constant hand on my shoulder....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Search me, Try me, Lead me

I love this verse.

Search me,
Try me, and
Lead me.

Open my heart - come in, explore. Show me the things that need to be refined, removed, renewed. Guide me along the way everlasting.... YOUR way, not mine.

It comes down to three parts, really: Willingness to become transparent before God - allowing Him to explore my interior world and challenge me outside of my comfort zone. To listen to the results of His interior survey, and then to surrender my plans to His, and allow Him to transform me. Easier said than done, for sure!

Open my heart - come in, explore. Speak to me. Show me. Refine me. Humble me, and lead me along your path.

Psalm 139:23-24.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Accountability, Transparency and Respectable Sin

It has been a long time coming...I have heard it in so many ways and from so many people. I know it in my mind and I have heard it in my heart. I have finally been given the courage to speak it. One of the "respectable sins" that I struggle with is my relationship with food.

It has been a life-long struggle, if I am honest - though I haven't always been aware of it. I have recently become aware of the fact that I turn to 'comfort foods' when I should turn to God. The irony is, of course that 'comfort food', comforts only very briefly. It then often becomes uncomfortable - either physically, mentally or emotionally. Since my awareness, it has also become uncomfortable spiritually.

This 'body temple' is not as God has designed it. I have not cared for it as I should. It is time to change that. Accountability, Transparency and bringing it forth, is the only way I know to loosen the noose enough, so I can finally let it go and give it to God.

So, before my house becomes a temporary storehouse for literally a thousand boxes of Girl Scout cookies, I have chosen to "show up", bring it to the Light, and trust that His Grace will be sufficient.

May I turn to You in my moments of fear and frustration. Search my heart - shine Your Light in any dark corners where pieces of this may still be hiding. Free me.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,"
(1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Truth and the Light

I have been told, and I have witnessed it over and over again - the Truth ALWAYS comes into the light. Whether it be a Truth of great blessing, or a truth that everyone wishes would remain hidden, it always comes to the light.

Sometimes it is hard waiting, for it to be revealed. Other times it is agonizing watching it unfold, as we - or someone we love - try to cover it up again. Or, perhaps, we are trying to come clean with our hidden truths, and we stand still as it unfolds around us, quietly awaiting consequences, and praying for grace.

Sometime, someone tries to present a false truth - which, of course, would not be the truth at all, but they so believe it to be. Denial runs deep and lies and manipulation run close along side. To quote a friend "God allows fools to be revealed when they insist upon it.... and they usually do".

I've been taught, "I am only as sick as my secrets", and thus, I try to live a very 'transparent' life. It is not always easy, and it's not always pretty. But I remember how difficult it was to try to stuff down the truth, and display what the world wanted to see in my life. I don't want to live there again. It was infinitely harder than whatever ever consequence come my way.

See, Truth and Grace, they run hand in hand as well.

I want to live in the Truth. It always - one way or another - bubbles up to the surface. Thank God.

May I live in Truth - with Joy and Hope and Grace - and help me to know that the deception in the world will fall away, as the Light reveals and brings forth the Truth.

Thank You God...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Never Let Go....

The song is new to me this week, though the concept is not. It's essentially the 23rd Psalm modernized. As I sat with my mentor to translate the lyrics into American Sign Language, I was reminded of a conversation I'd had recently with a friend of mine. We were discussing the goings on in her life. Her 'storms'. I was also reminded of mine.

One line stuck with me, as I read and later listened:

"And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life, I won't turn back. I know You are near"

I am grateful for the moments of darkness - those trips through the valley - when I know, without a doubt, that He is near. Those journeys are never easy - but are so much more bearable feeling His presence.

Sometimes, it is in the midst of the storms that I am MORE aware of His presence... probably because I am actively searching for Him then.

It's the journeys that more mirror the Barlow Girl's song, Never Alone, that are more difficult. Those moments where I just want to run and hide. Please tell me when it's over! Those moments are captured in the chorus of their song:

"I cry out with no reply and
I can't feel You by my side
So I'll hold tight to what I know
You're here and I'm never alone."

In those times, the only thing that made me believe that God is near, was that I had been told that He is. Those moments are the tough ones. They are the ones that require faith. I thank those people who reminded me - again and again - of His ever-presence. The people who pointed Him out when I could not see. The people who restored my faith when I was in short supply. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I have many of those "valley" experiences under my belt. Retrospectively, I've realized that no matter what I felt in the midst of it, He was there. He has Never Let Go. He will Never Let Go. That perspective builds my faith that in the present, or in the future, as I walk forth, He will be with me. I shall not fear.

Thank You, God, for Your ever-presence in my life. May I search for You "through the calm and through the storm". May those walking "through the valley of the shadow of death" feel your presence, and fear no evil.

You Never Let Go...


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From Those Who Are Given Much...

I had been thinking of service this past summer, and speaking with a friend about it. "I don't know what I'd do", she said. "Just ask that He show you", I replied. Silently, I asked. "Show me."

The next day, my phone rang. It was a woman who had been visiting my church. She shared a story with me about a young friend of hers who was living in a nursing home. She had experienced a stroke several years ago, and that had left her unable to care for herself at home. Her family was several states away - opposite ends of the country, if you must know. She wanted to bring her friend to TN for a visit. She had called the church office asking for names of nurses in the congregation - and then called me. I nodded as I spoke on the phone and thought... "Just ask..."

I agreed to help, and she began to work on the details. I met her face to face for the first time the next Sunday. We set up a day - with another nurse as well - to do a home assessment. We came up with a list of things that would make the visit do-able and more easily successful. (We also had some wonderful fellowship.)

The pieces began to fall into place - equipment was donated - air miles were donated. Not long afterwards, we received more good news. Her family had heard she was coming and would like to join the reunion. And so it was. Three days in early September, she'd be in TN.
Some people said, "Wow. That's a big committment - for someone you don't even know". "I have been given much - by many I don't even know", I replied. Much is expected - and I'm OK with that.
Finally, the day arrived. My children and I met them at the house, and got them settled for the night. Medication reviewed, they were off, chatting and reminiscing. I came in daily to assist with personal care, and be sure all was well. I'd stay to visit for a little while, and let her know how very brave I thought she was for making the journey.

It was a wonderful opportunity to serve, to witness her faith and her courage. I got to witness the softening of her face, and the joy increasing in her spirit visiting her friend here. Peripherally, I heard stories of a family reconnected.
Now, we wait to see if and when she musters the courage to move in with her family. They're all waiting for her to agree.

And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required
Luke 12:48 (ERV)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Being of Service

I believe it was Priscilla Shirer who pointed this out to me again recently. This thing called "service": what it is, what it should be, and what it has often become. Her presentation then became an interesting discussion in our bible study group.

The dictionary defines service as "work done by one person or group that benefits another". Basic. Simple. True. What Priscilla talked about - and we later expounded upon - was the why's and how's of service.

I have been 'serving' others for years. I would do for others - but my motives were all wrong. I'd do for them, hoping they'd do similarly for me - and become angry and resentful when they didn't. I was a definite ' box checker '. Much of what I did was because I felt I "had to" or I "should" (*big sigh*). It was obligatory, for sure.

As I began my growth process, I was told that service should be a gift - a TRUE gift - that is given without the expectation of it being returned. I was given 'service assignments': set up chairs before a meeting, help set up the coffee, clean up afterwards. Honestly, it started out as work - hard work. I was an isolater, remember - and very shy. I soon learned that I enjoyed the interaction with others on a mutual task. Getting "out of my self" was good for me, and I enjoyed their reactions - smiles, thank yous, obvious relief with an overwhelming task. (MUCH later, I realized I had already been given much more than I was doing!!)

Not long after that, the movie "Pay it Forward" came out. I thought, "my God, this boy is a genius!". If you haven't seen it, it's a good one. The premise is that Trevor - an 11 year old boy - is given a social studies class assignment: "Think of a way to change our world and put it into action". His plan: "Pay it Forward". If he helps 3 people today do something they couldn't do on their own, and they each help 3 people the next day, and so on and so forth, the results would be astonishing. In two weeks, he projects that 4,782,969 people's lives would be changed for the better.

Coupled with the book "Random Acts of Kindness", that I had also recently discovered, I was sent into an all out service frenzy. My favorite was paying the toll of the car behind me. That year, I travelled half the length of the state of Massachusetts, on the Mass Pike. I started at the very first toll booth. The toll taker gave me a quizzical look when I asked to pay for the car behind me as well. When I insisted, he said "whatevah", and I was on my way. For the duration of the trip, I'm not sure what was more exciting - going to visit Amherst and my friends, or knowing that I'd soon have another opportunity to "pay it forward".

This is when I truly began to appreciate service. To see it with a different heart. Yes, there will be things that I will do, not so much because I want to, but because they need to be done. And, then there will be service that I love beyond measure. Either way, I want to serve with a grateful heart - as an extension and expression of all that has been given to me, thus far.

I want my doing to be truly "service" - something I do because of the love, and grace that I have been blessed with. I want it to be a natural outpouring of these, and not an obligatory 'box to check'.

May my life overflow with Your love. May I pass it on to others through service.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

I have been blessed with a couple of (dare I say it?) quiet days at work. Life is about to become very busy for the next few weeks as I take on instructing a Clinical Rotation. It's a job I love, despite the early mornings two more days per week... Thank God for my "village" who makes it possible!

Fortunately, I've now had the opportunity to catch up on some paperwork and some "to do's" that had gotten piled up. I am grateful for that - there's nothing worse than starting a race feeling 'behind'.

I've been given - and taken - the opportunity to rest. It is the one thing I will need to focus on (and be reminded of) as I head off. Staying rested will be the key to success.

Looking at my (regular) work schedule today, I noticed, that "coincidentally", I am on vacation the week after the bustle of activity ends! It was a week I picked randomly to balance the use of my vacation time throughout the year. Apparently, it was anticipated I'd need an official rest period at that point. Perfectly timed. I love it! Thank You, God!

Help me find balance as the pace temporarily increases. May I stay focused on You, for there lies my peace and my rest.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Living in Community - Encouraging One Another

I like to say that if God had intended for us to live in isolation, He would have created us each on our own planet. There was a time, when I think I would have preferred that. But not anymore.

I love living in community. I love my "village". I love the things that we do for each other to encourage one another. Whether it be "Supper Club", or the carpool driver, (picking up my children to bring them to school) reminding me "13 more seconds, Linda". Apparently, she could tell I was counting every one til I could crawl back into my bed!

Sometimes, it's a formal "C'mon! You can do it", or a "Hey! I'm proud of you" that encourages. The clapping, the cheering (or the 'steel toed boots' in my behind).

What I've been aware of recently is the other ways that I am also encouraged:

Watching someone walk through a dark time, a life-changing event, or a difficult emotion - encourages me greatly! If they can, perhaps I can too!

Sometimes, it's the silent standing by, a hand on a shoulder or a quiet word of prayer.

Sometimes it is the gentle courtesies that seem far away and lost in the hustle of day to day life - the holding of a door, yielding right-of-way, "please", "thank you".

And, sometimes.... it's things that I don't even notice at the time. The Facebook "status" about running in the cold - that encouraged me to pick my walking pace up to a run when I was cold. The people I encounter (who find me!) who are on similar journeys. The moments of conversation that later remind me that I am not alone in this world. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else is walking the same path is encouragement enough.

I have been given people in my life - many, many people - who encourage me, who walk with me, who stand by me, who pray with and for me, who laugh with me and sit silently beside me. They remind me that there is much Grace, Joy and Love in this world.

I am truly, truly blessed. Thank you God for my "village". May I return to them, what has been so freely given to me.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Heb 3:13

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Finding the Divine in the Mundane

It's one of the things I hope for: Finding the Divine in the mundane. Feeling the presence of God in my everyday life.

I do believe that God meets me in the details of my life - in the laundry, the cooking, the carpooling. I have experienced Him there. On the days when there is joy in systematically disassembling piles of dirty clothes, I feel Him. In the moments when I cook with love and not obligation, I know He is with me.

I believe that is the answer. I find God in the mundane details of my life when I am in a place of service. When I look at my home as a mission field and my family as those I can serve, rather than a bunch of people whose needs I have the obligation to meet, there He is.

It *IS* my job to meet many of these needs - to perform these tasks - to maintain the household. But in changing my perspective, the resentment and "have to" disappears. In its place appears the privilege of "get to", the honor of service, and the joy and love of the presence of God.

May I remember that I am here to serve - even those people with whom I live.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Renewed... Renamed

I have been thinking of renewal a lot lately. I don't know if it is the New Year or the changes that have been going on, that is bringing it to mind. I just know that it's there. From time to time, a song pops into my head. It's not one I hear on the radio, or on my ipod (though I might have to see if I can find it!). It's a song that we sang at my old church - actually, two churches ago, so it's been a while. But it is one I will never forget.

The pastor was talking about historic name changes: Abram/Abraham, Jacob/Israel, Simon/Peter to name a few. He talked about the "old things pass[ing] away", and us "becoming new". Renamed. Then, we sang the song:

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast
Lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness
Overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks my face.

Tears started to stream down my face. I was just beginning to not feel wounded, outcast, lonely and afraid. I was rediscovering Joy. Confidence would come later. And yes, I was overcoming, and seeking God.

As we finished singing, he closed with a question: "What would God rename you?" I just looked at him. I'd never considered it. Yet, I knew: "Moriah". The entire drive home, my head kept asking "Moriah?" My heart kept answering, "Yes. Moriah". By the time I was home, my curiosity was piqued. Of course, you know I searched in the baby names listings to find out what it means. As it popped up on the screen, I froze.

Moriah: God is my teacher.

Now, I've not gone so far as to consider changing it legally.... but if I ever need a pseudonym, it's in the top three.

   Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new.

2Cor 5:17

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Prayer, Prayer and More Prayer

It has not gone unnoticed in my brain that I have been being surrounded by wonderful women who pray for a couple of years now. They started showing up in my life, one by one. Initially, it was informal, or connected to a bible study group. Then, last year, when my kids started Kindergarten, I got asked if I'd like to be a part of a Moms in Touch group. "I'm not used to praying aloud..." I told her. She reassured me that whatever I prayed would be OK.

Now, God and I... we talk all day long... but pray ALOUD. That's something entirely different. I am not used to that even yet. But, as you might imagine, opportunities keep presenting themselves. Some days, leaving the prayer circle before worship starts, I am caught wiping a tear as I take my position on the stage. Her eyebrow raises. "had to pray" I sign. She nods.

A few weeks ago, we had a special communion service. I went and sat with someone I'm just getting to know. I asked if she wanted to pray and I'd sign what she said. "I'm not used to praying aloud" she said. ("OK, God. Thanks" I think...) "OK", I told her, and I began.

I'm getting used to praying for the schoolchildren. When I'm a little insecure, all I have to do is think back to Kindergarten Graduation last year. Not only was I thrilled for my kids, but at one point, I was awed. I became suddenly aware that every single one of these children walking across the stage has been prayed for - by name - over the course of the school year. One by one, they got called up to receive their 'diplomas', just as one by one, their names had been lifted up to God.

And yet, when I recently got called "Prayer Warrior", I was stunned. Prayer Warrior? Where? ME? Nah... Oh, OK... I guess. If you say so....

God's not done with me on this one. I am a work in progress. Whether I will ever be completely comfortable praying aloud, I don't know. I do know I will continue to give it my best shot.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

You Will Be Safe....

I spent some time recently with an friend, discussing the ins and outs of personal growth. The process - the PAIN of the process. The fear that accompanies it. The physical, mental and emotional exhaustion - and then the clarity and peace - that follows. We both know that the only way through it, is through it. We long for the light at the end of the darkness, and we trust the process - and God's presence in the MIDST of it...even if He may seem very far away at the time.

What was interesting to me throughout our conversation, was the radio. As the topic would take on a particular focus, there would be song playing that addressed it. The topic would shift a little, and so would the song. It was a very real reminder to me that YES! God is present in the midst of it all. Standing right beside us -surrounding us actually- and our discussion.

I am grateful for friends like these. This day, it was her journey we were discussing. Another day, it will be mine. It is an honor to stand beside someone in the midst of their pain. I can't "fix" it for her, I know - just as no one can walk through my process but me. But I do know how it has been for me to have someone standing beside me as I do.

As I was reflecting on some of the things we said - since there always seem to be tidbits for me as well - this song came on:

Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe in my arms

I just smiled and smiled, closed my eyes and said "Thank You, God". Clouds WILL rage in, and storms WILL race in. Rains WILL pour down, and waves WILL crash around. And in the middle of all of that, I may feel like I am drowning, and I'll never make it. But I truly do believe...

I WILL be safe in His arms.

So will you, my friend....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"God Night"

It all started with a typo. Which, is kinda funny in itself, since many of the true blessings I have received have been the result of an accident or some sort of mistake. Yet another version of the "Beauty from Ashes" that permeates my day to day life.

I had been IM-ing a friend. I was trying to wish her "Good Night", and no matter how hard I tried,or how many times I typed it, I could only get one "o" into it. Finally, I just sent it. I told her I must be meant to wish her a "God Night".

I thought of that for a while - a "God Night". I wondered what exactly that would be like. Then I realized, I've had those. Several versions, actually. Some nights were similar to Jacob's, wrestling with God. I'd awakened limping, but renewed. Some nights were similar to Samuel's God Night, where I initially mistake who is calling to me. And some.... some involved the great comfort of feeling held in the midst of the pain and loneliness of the divorce process.

I think of some other "God Nights" I've had. Nights sitting out under the stars, feeling the vastness of All There Is and the realization that even though I am small in comparison, I am a part of it all - and well loved and cared for to boot! Those nights put things in perspective better than anything else can.

I remember the "God Nights" of raising infant twins. As I sat holding one, and then the other, the moon and stars moving through the sky, they taught me the word "cherish". Feeling the depths of the love I have for them, gave me a deeper understand of God's feelings toward me. They also taught me about the faithfulness of such a love. Both brought me tears of joy, and hope beyond measure.

We don't even try to correct it now. We embrace the "mistake", and have turned it into a sweet endearment. "God Night", we say, "Love you muchly".

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Gift of Accountability...

We have begun a new sermon series at church. "Coincidentally" and conveniently enough, the concept the pastor has been discussing has been coming to me from other areas of my life as well. His words are acting as confirmation to the other messages surrounding me.

He was was talking this week about "Cleaning out the Cobwebs": Of giving God the go-ahead to thoroughly search our hearts and lives, and show us the areas that need a clean-up. Those areas that we have overlooked - either incidentally or intentionally.

I liken it to allowing Him open access to my heart, rather than giving Him a tour. I have spent many years giving God (and my fellow human beings) a tour of my heart and my life. I'd steer Him toward the goodness and beauty, and... "oh, no, Lord....let's not open that door!" Little did I know that He was there to redeem, not ridicule, me.

I kept other people at that "safe" (NOT!) distance as well. In trying to protect myself from their judgment and my shame, I did not allow others access to the truth of my life. What I didn't realize was what a toll it was taking on my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Finally, I was in enough pain to allow one woman - and then another - behind my wall.

Rather than run out of my life, they stood beside me. They helped shine the light into the shadows, exposing the cobwebs thick in the corners. They helped me inventory the "stuff" that I had been carrying - much of which really didn't belong to me. I had just accepted it, carried it, and soon adopted it as my own.

It was this that came to mind when we had some reflective time as he closed the service. I thought of the series of people who have come into my life, offering the gift of accountability. Those who have loved me enough to challenge my erroneous ways, to hold up mirrors, so that I can see myself clearly, and to shine the light into the dark corners of my life. Those women, with whom I can be completely transparent. And, if they see me heading off the path, they let me know.

It was later in the afternoon, still reflecting on the decade or more of "teachers" and friends He has sent, that I realized how blessed I have been. My life changed - significantly changed - when I accepted the gift of accountability. When I quit running away from the truth, overlooking "little things", and started some personal, spiritual house-cleaning, my life really, really improved.

I thank You for the gift of accountability, and those You have sent who offer it.

Come in, Lord. Welcome. Make Yourself at home...and if you see a cobweb, please, let me know...

Galatians 6:1-2 "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Empty me....

There are days when I have no idea of what I will write. Sometimes I sit and stare at the computer screen. Other days, I start writing and end up with a few "drafts" that go nowhere but into a "drafts" folder. Other days, like today, I go on with life and see where it leads....

As I sat snuggling my daughter on my lap, a song came on her radio: "Empty Me". The chorus (below) is very similar to my Sunday morning prayer. As I kneel before the cross on the mornings when I will interpret, the same prayer comes off of my hands: "Open my heart. Take my Self out. You come in"

Today, I particularly like the phrase "And any foolish thing my heart holds to". As I see the signs I would use to interpret that phrase flash through my mind, I am brought to a song that I will interpret this week. "Take my Love"

In a nutshell, it's a song about trying to disconnect from the love of worldly things... or as stated in the song I heard while snuggling my girl, "any foolish thing my heart holds to".

Take my love away.... Empty me...

Open my heart, take my Self out, and You come in...

"Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Finding Balance, Joy and Restoration

I had an interesting conversation with a woman the other day. We were talking of the seasons of life. Specifically, for me, comparing the time when I was in graduate school and the present. A little over a decade ago, I was working full time, going to school full time, and attempting to resuscitate a struggling relationship. It was a time of survival - of doing what needed to get done to get on to the next task at hand. There was little joy, no balance, and no time for anything restorative. There was absolutely no time for God.

Fast forward to the present. There are days when it doesn't seem like much has changed. The week before Christmas, I was operating in "deadline to deadline" mode. There was much to do, and not so much time to do it. But then, I got a little perspective. It is different. There is Joy in my life today....and I do take time for restoration and renewal. In that, there is some balance. But, I want more. I need more.

Living intentionally is one of my goals for 2009. I am a 'do-er'. I will always have several pots on the fire. This year, I want to be sure that all of the pots have a distinct purpose. I don't want to be doing, just for the sake of doing. I want my actions and activities to reflect Him and His purposes.

I also need to be intentional about having my Linda-time and my God-time. Fortunately, they are often one and the same. If I am to continue to care for and serve others this year, I must care for my self as well. I must take time to "be still and know" God. I must quiet down enough to listen. My God-cup must be filled for it to 'runneth over' to others. I need time to rest, time to pray, time to exercise, and time to simply BE with God in the stillness of my self.

The things that I do that are unnecessary - or even someone else's responsibility - I need to relinquish. Pure and simple.

"Do more!" "Be more!!" says the world. Not me. I need to do less. I need to slow down, live intentionally, and simply BE.

Help me to see, through Your eyes, the parts of my life that honor and glorify You.
Help me to let go of those things that hold me back, limit my purpose or drain me unnecessarily.
Help me to know You. Really. Truly.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Song Remembers When...

It was her 26th birthday, and we went out singing....Karoake. Been a long, LONG time since I've done that. I sing to myself in the shower, at home, in the car. I sing to my kids. I sing as part of my church body, when I am not interpreting. But, publicly... uhm... not so much.

Some of the songs I knew, many I didn't. Some were well done, others, well....lets just say I made a comment about how pleased I was to have the "closed captioning" for those I couldn't understand. I enjoyed an evening of being with friends, and was also reminded of the influence music has in my life.

I am frequently aware of how it moves me in the present - I witness that every week, often daily, as the lyrics and melodies speak to me, calm me, focus my attention in a certain direction. But, I'd forgotten how vividly the past can be tied to a song as well. That night, there were a few from my junior high years - one in particular reminding me of the awkwardness of adolescence. (Agh!) And then, there was one, from MY 26th year.

I was in a different place in life - literally and figuratively. I was living in a different state, and certainly didn't have much "God-connect", then. Aside from a few moments of solitude and some 'soul-searching' in my journal, there was no structured time for God. What relationship I did have was haphazard at best - consisting solely of those moments where He would act so intently that He'd grab my attention...momentarily.

I had much "world-connect"...and a fair bit of drama.

Retrospectively, yes, I am sure God was "stalking" me then - and He definitely had my back. I'm sure I walked away mid-conversation more than once or twice, totally oblivious to what was going on. But, we live and we learn. And God loves and forgives us as we do. And patiently encourages us to seek Him.

Continually, He reaches for me, arms extended. What happens next is up to me. Do I reach back, or walk away? Do I listen and accept what is offered, or do I continue "my way" and see what I can come up with? I have done both. I don't have to tell you which is 'easier' - though it often doesn't seem that way at the time.

I am grateful for the reminders of where my life has been. Grateful for some perspective on the past and the path I have traveled. Every step I have taken has brought me to this moment, right now. God truly has blessed the broken road...

Did I make some choices that led to difficult terrain? Yes, absolutely. But, in the midst of it all, God was always with me. My awareness - or lack there of - had no bearing on His presence. He was there, I just couldn't see. Or wouldn't.

Thank You God for music - for the way You use it in my life: to speak to me in the present, and remind me of the past.

And thank You for the gentle reminders of where my life could be if I were to walk away from You.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I like the whole "New Year" concept, though, honestly, I need to remember: it's just another day. Somehow, it's been given this big glorious entry, this big celebration. Yes, it's a new calendar and birthday list for my fridge. And, yes, I do have an idea of how I would like to live differently - focus differently - in 2009. But, I don't have to wait until the New Year to do that.

Every day - every moment, actually - were are given the opportunity to begin again. To start anew. To choose differently. At any point, I can re-direct. It's interesting to me, that I choose THIS day - New Year's Day - to do that. How often I forget that I am able to reset my attitude, or shift my behavior at any moment.

I do appreciate the (not so subtle) reminder to evaluate and set goals. It does help me. But I wish for it to be a daily inventory, rather than a more prolonged one. Remind me, Lord.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2009! May Peace, Joy, Hope and Love abound! May we continue to be "stalked" as we make our way into this New Year.