Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween....

Well, I suppose we're ready....

I bought candy a few hours ago, and there are "spider webs" to throw over the now-dead chrysanthemums.

Costumes are ready....

All I am lacking is the weather forecast to determine our location - scouring the neighborhood or finding a trunk or treat.

I pray that it is a safe and enjoyable evening of contradicting the instructions we give our children the other 364 days of the year. This was very apparent to me last year, as my son's best friend's 3 year old little brother was hesitant walking up to the door of the house. His mom encouraged him and I made a sassy little remark about "but MOM! You TOLD me not to take candy from strangers - or even talk to them - NOW you want me to beg candy from them?"

Must be confusing.

We'll see how it goes - we'll inventory the loot when we're done, I'm sure. All the don't likes and can't have (due to dental appliances) will get bartered back and forth. A few will (willingly) make it to Mom, and I'm sure I will get them to donate some to send overseas. We certainly don't need it.

But, let's not get my brain wrapped around why we continue the tradition...

Instead, I pray for safety for all, for fun and joy for those on the giving as well as the receiving end - as well as those of us who are simply observing the ritual!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Be safe, be well - and don't forget to set your clocks back tonight!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Girl Time....

I'm actually kinda excited....crazy as that may seem to those of you who truly KNOW me.

My boy will be at a sleep-over party, which presented an opportunity I have been praying for. Some "girl time" with my daughter.

I am almost continually reminded that she is growing up very quickly, especially as we are planning next month's birthday party. I am as frequently reminded that she is looking to me to set the example of being a girl and growing up into a woman. If I fail to be that example, she will look elsewhere.

I am not deluded in believing that she will not also look elsewhere. I know she will. The world, the media, and her peers are also setting examples. She is a girl who is very social, very impressionable and very much has her own sense of "style".

So, I asked her.... "what do you want to do for our girl night?" Her immediate reply: "SHOPPING!!"

The fact that that prospect excites me is nothing less than a miracle of God. Generally speaking, I LOATHE the mall. I think it's over priced, over crowded and utterly too commercially-focused. But... that's it's purpose, I suppose. And, for every bit of girly-girl that my daughter is, I am not.

I am the outdoorsy, down to earth, teach my little brother how to catch frogs kind of girl. If I HAVE to wear a dress, I will, but give me a pair of jeans and a regular old shirt, and I'm good! (I do have to say, for the record, I find myself picking some more "girly" tops and shoes with heels - and kinda liking them... so there is hope for my feminine side yet!)

Co-incidentally enough, it just happens to be the very same day that I get paid for my teaching and the extra shifts I've done at the hospital. So, there is actually a few dollars that can be allocated to this event!

We are thrilled and excited. I have so many things in my head to teach her - budget, comparative shopping - but mostly, I want to have some time with my daughter. Some time to be girls and connect with each other.

Oh... did I say, after we finish shopping, we plan to come home, soak our feet, give 'em a good scrub and a pedi....? Oh yeah....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

..... Wait.....

Sometimes, God tells me to "Wait". Generally, I'm pretty good about listening these days. I spent many, many years trying to force open God-closed doors to no avail. It didn't matter how many times I tried to push and force my way through them, it didn't work. Oh yes, sometimes they opened, but results were beyond "awful".

So, through trial and error and beating my head against many closed doors, I have learned to "wait". It's is not pretty, nor is it comfortable, but little irritates me more than having to be rescued from a self-made mess....especially if I have been ignoring instructions!

There are a few situations that arise from time to time, that I just want to barge through and "fix" myself. "Wait...." He says. I grumble. ".... Wait...."He says again. I grumble louder. "Not now." (or "not you" or "not that way"). Finally, I'm done. My prayers become very specific "God, please fix THIS (since You won't let ME do it!), or disconnect my heart from it".

Then comes the word I hate. "No." He says. "NO?! Are You KIDDING me? NO!??"


There are no words at that point. There is only the knowledge that, for the time being, the issue will ebb and flow.

"If You won't fix it and I can't fix it, and You won't disconnect me from it, will you PLEASE protect my heart from it - or at least help me to learn quickly so we can move on....?"

And so it has been....

And every so often, I see a bit of improvement - whether it's in my outlook or the situation itself, I'm not sure I'll ever know...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Love / Hate Relationships....

Crazy as it may sound, I have a love / hate relationship with the internet. I love being able to search for whatever I want, or shop for whatever I want, whenever I want. I can "window shop", or comparative shop from the privacy of my own home.

But, overall, I don't like to shop. I do like to converse with my friends. I like Facebook and email. I love having met some people who are very, very dear to me.... a few that I have never seen face to face.

But, there in lies another problem. I am very curious to see how this generation - this generation of "screens" - will turn out. I think of my children... they have never known a time when there wasn't the internet.... nor has my babysitter, for that matter. Cell phones, texting, ATMs, email.... DS....

There seems to be an interpersonal "disconnect"... and it's becoming one of my soap-boxes. Why call when I can text (I'm guilty as charged, by the way!)? I don't know the last time I sent a handwritten letter... Yes, the DS makes many, many situations more enjoyable for all involved, but does my son learn to be patient, to interact with a group of adults, or sit quietly through something as "BOR-ING" as a communion service if his head is buried in it?

It's interesting to me the dichotomy - or perhaps it's a revision of the definition of "Friend". "Friendship" by my definition, involves some sort of connection that is deeper than a casual interaction. Facebook tells me that I have 365 "friends" - one for each day of the year, I suppose. I couldn't list them if my life depended on it.... yet some of my dearest friends are NOT on that list .... they either haven't joined or don't have internet.

So, I'm curious. Yes, I am grateful for the conveniences in my personal life, but I fear we will kill ourselves in the name of convenience....literally....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When One Teaches, Two Learn

As the moments between today and tomorrow blur, I take time to review the events for the tomorrow.

I will get to meet new students beginning their second year of the nurse practitioner program. We'll tour the unit, and begin new relationships - with each other, with patients and with the nursing staff.

We will come together, form a team and move forth. We'll share six short weeks and then, continue on in separate directions.

Some of them will linger in my memory. I hope to be able to share some of what I have learned through the years in the world of nursing. Yet, I know, when one teaches, two learn.

I will learn from them as well. It's one of the things I love about teaching: I learn from my students. Oh yeah, and I love those "light bulb moments", when suddenly, it makes sense!

Guide me as I begin another semester. May I teach as much through my actions as my words.

Be with us as we begin...

Monday, October 26, 2009

"That Day": Tying Up Transitional Loose Ends

There are sometimes that I really love transitions. Those times when big events are over and other events are about to begin.

I especially like them when I have time to tie up the lose ends of the old and plan for the new.

Today is that day. I love "that day". First of all, I love having "that day" AVAILABLE! But, mostly, I love the fact that spending the time to tie up the lose ends frees my brain from the mental clutter of things left undone.

Household jobs are like that. Relationships are like that. Seasons are like that. These events are like that. Spiritual growth is like that.

There are always transitions. Always.

May I stay focused to task. May I experience closure as these events are completed...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Gratitude List

Thank You, God for a group of people that work well together....

Thank You, God for people who excel at "attention to detail"....

Thank You, God for those who keep things in perspective....

Thank You, God for those who make others smile.... and laugh....

Thank You, God for those who give generously - of their time and their resources....

Thank You, God for people who remind us how much we have to be grateful for....

Thank You, God for those who protect our safety...

Thank You, God for children and parents and teachers and administrators....

Thank You, God for families and villages and communities....

Thank You, God for all the blessings that You continue to bestow upon us....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Festival Time!

I just need to take a moment to brag on our Elementary School. We have a great group of students, teachers and parents!

It is an honor to volunteer with such a wonderful, creative, hardworking bunch of parents! Whenever there is a need, there is a set of hands to help. Small tasks, big tasks... somehow it gets done....

Every year, we have a Fall Festival. It is our big fundraiser of the year - games, inflatables, silent auction, live auction! (this year - PONIES!) I have always enjoyed watching it come together.... from basket assembly to coordination of donations. Game volunteer schedules and concession stand schedules.

The kids have fun, the parents have fun as we raise money to help support our students, teachers and school as a whole.

Today is that day! I covet your prayers for a day full of fun, laughter and safety. I pray for generous hearts, willing spirits and an air of enthusiastic cooperation.

I will be wearing my (figurative) hip-waders, fire-fighter hat and police officer badge - and the full armor of God. Pray for me that I will be an example of His grace and love during my day of service. May I let Him lead. Speak through me. Be with us...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Be Here Now....

Several women I have spoken with lately have all had the same thing to share: "I want my brain back!" And here I thought it was just me...

Seriously, though.... so many women I've spoken will all share the same feelings of disarray. Our houses are a mess and we can't be sure the we've done what we were supposed to.

This week for me was Girl Scout fall product distribution. I came up two tins short at distribution. So, now the task becomes figuring out if I didn't order enough, didn't receive enough, or send an extra tin with a couple of girls.

It seems the more I hurry through, the more time I take trying to figure out what I've done.

I am 100% sure that it is NOT a coincidence that I have taught 5 extra yoga classes the past two weeks. I needed time to breathe and be still - to stretch and find balance, even if just for a moment.

Thursday night, I heard myself say something that hung with me for a while. "Be. Here. Now."

I had been talking about leaving the events of the day at the door, and not picking up the events for the evening or the next day - Allowing the yoga room to be "sacred space", where we could simply Be. Here. Now.

Thoughts and feelings from other days, gone. Plans and memories, gone. Breath in, breath out. Simple as that.

hmmm. Simple as that.




May I remember.... May I listen...

May I




Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Lies Beneath....

I woke up a little angry. It took me a little while to recognize, but the tendency toward sarcasm is a sure give away for me.

My last thought the night before was "at least I'm sleeping through the night these days." For so long, between the kids and the dog, up-every-two-hours seemed to be the routine. As soon as I spoke the gratitude for it something inside me said "OH NO!" Sure enough... it was an every-two-hours night, with the dog.

So my angry morning was also a tired morning. I elected to sleep a few hours after getting the kids off to school, which ultimately helped, I'm sure - once I got over having missed most of another BEAUTIFUL fall day!

Sure, I enjoyed a few moments with the dog on our walk....but I am longing for a day to spend in the yard. Tending the Earth. I am painfully aware that these warm, sunny days are very, very limited, and how much there is to do... I am also very aware that it won't all get done, and I have peace about that... but my soul longs to spend a day digging in the dirt...

So, there I am - fighting the sarcasm.

I know that, for me, sarcasm and anger come together. I know that anger is my friend - it doesn't feel that way at the time, but it is. It tells me when boundaries are being crossed, and it moves me out of grief.

I take a moment to reflect and explore the anger. "What are you mad at?" I ask. The response comes quickly. "I am mad that there is NOTHING I can do to make this feeling go away... I can't eat, drink, sleep (literally or figuratively) the hurt away".

Oh, yeah. That.

It's nearing the end of October. Sometime soon is the anniversary of my divorce being final. It's a date I can never remember. It's not important, really. Divorce isn't a date, it's an event. A life-changing event. Yet every year, I look it up. October 27.

I wonder when the ghosts will disappear. When October will come and go without the lingering memories, without revisiting the hurts, without shedding tears.

I know that the only way through it is through it. It must be honored. It must be felt and grieved and processed. I also know that He is with me every step of the way, holding me steady, peeling away the layers of the onion, catching my tears in the palm of His hand.

I am not alone in this. I have never been alone in this...

Thank You, God....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Splash of Color....

What an absolutely gorgeous day! It seems like forever since we've seen the sun. Lately, it's been rain, rain and more rain. Cold, damp, drizzly rain. But finally - the sun! And Warmth! The perfect autumn day.

Unfortunately, I was not able to spend the day out in the yard, tending the earth, as would have been my preference. Instead, I typed a PTO agenda, led a meeting, cooked a meal - for two other families - and sorted through a stack of papers. I'd glance up from time to time, watch the leaves dancing on the tree branches.

I did steal away about an hour to walk the dog. He and I - and the dog - out walking in the beauty of fall. Deep, deep breaths. The sun on my face. My eyes filled with the contrasting colors around me, and my heart filled with a moment of joy.

I love to watch the colors turn. I love to find "The Most Beautiful Tree", wherever I am driving. On days like this one, they seem to be radiating, as if the sun were within them. It's one of my favorite parts of fall.

The changing colors of leaves and the putting on of sweaters. But, it's the warm crisp coolness that I like - not the drizzly overcast dampness we've been having. That's much too "winter".

And, yes, Winter has it's place... I'm just not ready for it yet.

So, despite the fact that my grown up life kept me from enjoying a little girl's autumn day to it's fullest, I am grateful for the moments I did have. For the sun, for the colors, for the breeze and blue, blue sky. For the Joy in my heart. I thank You....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I was laying on my yoga mat, at the end of class. Laying there, perfectly still - in Savasana - "corpse pose". Breathing in and breathing out, thinking of nothing in particular.

All of a sudden I 'hear' - "There are some things that "sorry" cannot fix". Piercing pain in my heart and a tear in my eye instantly appeared. "I know. I know." I thought, silently wiping the tear. I still needed to finish teaching, I couldn't lose my voice or have it crack... not right now.

I took some time after class to sit and to read and to let that statement really sink in. There are many things in life that human words or actions cannot fix and cannot make better. They cannot be made undone.

Hearts and dreams get shattered - seemingly irreparably. Yet, somehow, some way, those pieces are picked up. I believe that He examines each piece, decides which should stay and which should go, and then begins to rebuild.

Carefully, lovingly, He picks up the pieces and begins to recreate. While it is not the same, it is an opportunity to let Him mold and make my heart and my life into that which He would have it. Some of the pieces that were "mine", will surely get tossed aside.

Perhaps they will get replaced with something else - or perhaps they will remain unfilled - a hole. If I allow Him to fill it, or if I leave it as He has re-made it, I believe there will be beauty and grace that was not there before. Perhaps a window for His light to shine through. Perhaps a new opportunity, or a new desire.

The problem comes when I try to start picking up pieces and filling in holes. A heart is not something that I can fix - no matter how much I want to or I try to.

I must leave it to His hands. He knows the plans He has for me...

Perhaps, it is how He would have it...

May I yield to the Potter's hand....

Monday, October 19, 2009


Change is one of the certainties in life. It's all around us, every day. Sometimes, it's too subtle to notice immediately, like my childrens' growth, or the changing colors of the leaves. And sometimes it's so fast we're left with our heads spinning, not half aware of what just happened.

It's the subtle ones that have my attention today. Somewhere along the line, my dog developed some manners and respect for authority. My kids too, for that matter! And, yes, on both accounts, I've had days that I have prayed for the head-spinning kind of change - hoping I'd wake up one day, and they'd be well-adjusted, helpful, polite....

But no, it didn't happen overnight. It didn't happen easily, either. Instead, it's been day after day of teaching and reinforcing, praising and disciplining. Slow - SLOW - progress toward the goal. And really, that's OK. It's what I expect of them.

The question then becomes, why do I expect more of myself? I want to wake up and be changed, well-adjusted - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I want to wake up and be the woman God created me to be. * poof * Here she is....

But no.... not with me, either. It's still the day after day of teaching and reinforcing. The small milestones and the continuous discipline.

From time to time I get a glimpse back to see where I have been. Like seeing a picture of my children as infants shows me how much they have truly grown and developed, I have a moment of insight into my own growth and development.

But then, it is back to the day to day routine.

Help me to see the value in the day to day - the importance in the next step, not matter how small. Help me to know that, sometimes, just standing and facing the right direction is making progress.

Above all, help me to know at the core of my being, that You are in control, are by my side, and You know where we are going...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Going in Cold....

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."

I keep trying to remind myself of that.

I also remind myself that this day would come "one day". There would be "one day" when I absolutely have NO IDEA what is going to be played at church. Typically, I know ahead of time - but I haven't been able to get my hands on the set list this week.

Surprisingly, I'm not completely freaked out by it. Over the past few months, I have found myself checking the list to be sure there were no surprises - songs I'd never interpreted before - and perhaps listening to the music once or twice.

There have also been a few times when there WERE surprises - sometimes even Sunday morning. A little song switch here or there....

It's helped me to realize that I have made some progress in my interpreting skills in the past year. It's also been a good exercise in trust.

I find those times when I have nothing to give - nothing to offer - when I trust in and rely on Him, it all works out in the end.

Guess that's the plan for today...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Light of the World

The song gets stuck in my head sometimes.

"Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness
Open my eyes, let me see...."

Sometimes I use the past tense - "openED my eyes" - especially when there is an area of my life that I have previously not explored or truly seen for what it is.

I appreciate the Light being shown onto the truth of what is. I don't always appreciate it at the time - especially if it means change for me in real time.

But, retrospectively, I appreciate it.

Thank You, God for continuing to shine Your light into the dark corners of my life, my world, my heart.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Next Right Thing

It has been a busy week, this "fall break". By the time it's done, I will have put in a full-time work week, taken the kids for a few hours of fun at Chuck E. Cheese, and continued the mom-taxi service. And yet, in the midst of it, somehow, I am making some progress on the to do list.

One thing here, fifteen-minutes-toward-another there. It's easy for me to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of "to do"s. Broken down into smaller tasks, it's manageable.

I do have time to put a thing or two away, even if I can't clean the whole room. Seriously, I have enough filing to do to fill an afternoon. One day, I hope to HAVE an afternoon to do it. Today, I have ten minutes. With it, I could choose to let the whole pile sit until I can attend to the entirety of the task, or, I can sort and file for the minutes that I do have. Little by little, the task can get completed.

I feel like that with God sometimes, too. It seems too much, too huge and too impossible to go from where I am now to where I am meant to be with Him. So I must decide: Will I do the next right thing, take the next right step toward Him, or will I stand, unmoving, sure that I will never "get there"?

May I walk...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Ebb and The Flow...

It's funny to me how life has it's seasons. I'm sure I'll never understand the why's or how comes. I'm just barely learning to go with it.

I'm sure there were times this summer when I sort of whined and complained that the overtime I was hoping for didn't seem to be available. I had plans... things I needed to do... and for that, I needed some cash. But... nothing. No nursing. No massage. It was a time of "just enough".

Now, opportunities abound - at the hospital, at the Y, and in massage. Not only do doors keep opening with work opportunities, but some of my anticipated expenses are disappearing. It's a little surreal, and honestly, I wonder if there is a huge expense just around the bend for which He is preparing me.

Then I was nervous and prayerful...clinging to the knowledge that Thus Far, our needs had always been met. Now, I am tired, but grateful. It's a little hard sometimes transitioning back and forth between perceived lack and perceived abundance. Ultimately, it's all His....

For me, it's like standing in the ocean. The more fiercely I stand against the direction of the flow of water, the more difficult it becomes to do it. When I relax into the motion that surrounds me, not only is it easier to stay standing, but there is a feeling of comfort that accompanies the waves.

I try to stand, upright and ready. But I must also stand with a yielding spirit. Where He leads, I must follow....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Today, I make a simple observation.

The internal and the external - intimately connected.

As one becomes more or less cluttered, so does the other.

Look out world... I'm in a "cleaning" phase....

... and trusting He will show me what is to stay and what is to go.....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Feelings are Not Facts"

I remember being baffled the first time I heard it. "Feelings are not facts, " she said. I just stood quizzically staring at her. "what?" "Just because you feel something, doesn't make it true," she explained. I still didn't get it. I was new at "feelings", and I knew very little about "Truth"...

She went on to explain with the example of feeling alone. Back then, I often felt alone. I was living by myself, with two cats and two dogs. There were no kids underfoot. There was an on-again-off-again relationship, and a fledgling relationship with God.

I "got" that - I understood feeling "alone". "Now," she said, "are you REALLY alone?" I stared back at her, silent. "Really, truly, are you alone? No, you can call me for one..." We went on to list the people in my life that knew, loved and supported me.

For a while, I did something that seems ridiculous now, but was so necessary then. When I had a feeling I didn't know how to process, I'd call her and we'd talk through it. It was a gift. The most amazing gift.

Many, many years later, feelings still try to control my life and my actions from time to time. I can't call my friend anymore, but I can recall what He has said to me. When I feel alone, I can speak the truth into it:

"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

"Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me." John 16:32

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. "
~~ Psalm 23:4

Feelings are not facts. May I hold fast to the Truth.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Leap of Faith

The weekend at camp was wonderful. Good to see summer friends. Good to be out of doors - even if it was cold and overcast. Good to be away from the day to day. And good to learn a few lessons about faith.

Sunday's activities included a high ropes course entitled "The Leap of Faith".

I spent a good bit of time there - partly because both of my kids were there and partly because... well, we'll get there in the story....

"The Leap of Faith" is a high ropes element, where the kids - on belay, of course! - climb about 20-ish feet up into the air to a perch. From the perch, they take "The Leap of Faith" an try to touch a softball sized knot that is suspended in the air.

What was most interesting for me was the reactions of the kids.... Most were able to climb up just fine. My boy, once both feet were off the ground decided that this was not for him and turned back. (As his mother, I think that was a wise decision....)

A couple got to the perch, but required one of the counselors to climb up and coax them down. It was for this reason, I stayed. One girl spent over an hour before she was able to slide herself over the edge. I was expecting she would have used her day's worth of adrenaline with her fear and trembling, but, kids are resilient, and once down, she dried her tears and went on.

My daughter climbed up and walked off. Not a bit of hesitation. But, not a chance at the knot either.

And then, there was this guy. He climbed up, he stood and then he leaped. Fully graceful, fully confident, and fully obtained his goal.

And, I wonder which of these I am. Am I the one who sits and screams when everyone looking on begins to pray that she'll slip or he'll push her? Or, am I the one who climbs and does basically what is asked, without reaping the full benefits because I have failed to truly trust, and leap beyond my comfort zone? Or, am I the one who truly leaps, who obtains the goal, and gets to the ground and says "YES! THAT was AWESOME!"

I know which one I would like to be.... I also know which other two I am most likely to resemble.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


We spent a week this past summer at camp. "Camp YI" - Youth Incorporated - a mere hour south of where we live.

Even before my kids were born, I knew I wanted them to attend camp. I didn't know if it would be one or two or three kids, boys or girls.... I just knew I wanted them to experience camp. I have such fond memories of my weeks away from home, out in the woods, with a bunch of other kids. And I can't imagine where I would be, if I hadn't spent three summers as staff. They were truly life-changing!

I was (beyond!) thrilled to find a co-ed overnight camp, close to home. When I heard they needed a nurse for the week, it was perfect. It was their first experience with overnight camp. They would have adapted, I'm sure without me, but knowing I was there if needed, they thrived!

That was summer - full of warm, long days. Now, we experience it a little differently. The leaves are turning and the nights are cool.

Still, for this weekend, we have been experiencing the magic of camp. Ahhhhhh.... Yes!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Day of Rest

It was a day of rest....relatively speaking, anyhow....

I had intended to spend the day - 12 hours - at the hospital, working as a staff nurse, but got a call that morning saying I was no longer needed. There has been an abundance of overtime lately, and the dog and I were in desperate need of a walk. I hung up the phone, shrugged and went on with my day... (trust me, such a change of plans hasn't always rolled off my back so smoothly!)

So off I went, dropping my two kids - plus the 3 others in the carpool - off at the school. Arriving home, I considered briefly, crawling back into bed. "Nah, not today..." I just had this feeling I would never get up again....

The dog and took a walk, and then we just sat out on the deck. For a long time, we just sat there, enjoying the breeze and the noticeable drop in the temperature every few minutes. The storm was coming, but hadn't arrived yet.

The air held the energy that permeates before the rain arrives, and the wind blew the leaves on the trees as if to show off their newly colored edges.

It certainly wasn't what I had planned to do that day. At days end, it had included giving a massage session and some service work at the school. I also squeezed in an hour or two playing Wii with my son. It was way more enjoyable than what I had on the agenda!

It was a gift of a day. I got several things done that I hadn't expected to, and enjoyed some wonderful time with my children.

Thank You God for the day....

Friday, October 9, 2009

How Great Thou Art

"Then sings my soul, my Savior, God, to Thee....

How great Thou art, How great Thou art."

It is the song that comes to mind most often, these days. In the midst of "life abundantly", when all I can do is what is before me. I take a breath, and step forward into the next task, clinging tightly to Philippians 4:13.

While I am very, very grateful, I am also aware that until a few tasks are completed, I am at capacity. Seriously. I'm maxed! Fortunately, the big, and the extra tasks that are at hand are nearly completed!

Fall break, and the change in routine are welcomed, as are the weeks of vacation that follow. Who knew, months ago, when I filled out my schedule, that I would be ready for a period of rest exactly where they fall.... Oh yeah.... He did.

"How great Thou art...."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Doing the Next Right Thing....

Life sure can be busy sometimes! I am currently in the midst of a stretch of about two weeks that is PACKED. On top of the usual mom-taxi, regular work and service activities, I have several "extra" shifts at work, massages, additional service and a few other deadlines.

*phew* I get tired just even thinking of it. It's all good, though.... every bit. The extra work comes just in time to have money for Christmas and to pay off some bills. The service brings joy, focus and perspective.

But, you know, the combination brings long days and short nights. Fortunately, it is a season. The end is in sight. There will be a period of rest following this surge of activity. And there will be an abundant harvest... Thank You, God!

In the mean time, I do what I can. The alone time in the car becomes sacred - to pray or simply enjoy the silence. As each event comes into it's time, I say "thank you". Sometimes, it's "thank you" for the event itself, and sometimes it is "thank you" that I can cross it off my list and say "next!".

I have in the past become overwhelmed by the to do's, and become paralyzed into inaction. Today, I look at the list and ask what needs to be done next. There I focus.

Whatever is the Next Right Thing... there I focus.

May I remember to choose the important over the urgent, and not get distracted by things set out to veer me off course. Guide my feet, my heart, my hands and my choices...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recession 101

I've noticed these billboards recently as I drive up and down the interstates. As I searched the internet for a picture of one, I caught a comment here and there and it seems like I may be in the minority - I really like them!

My favorite is "Nobody can repossess your future", though I like the "CHILL..." message as well as the "... you're scaring the children" sign, too.

I suppose one of the blessings of not having a lot of extras - and being employed in health care - is that my economic situation hasn't changed much though all of this. We still have our needs met, and we still don't have a lot for extras.

The other piece of this puzzle is the reminder that this is temporary - transient. Not only is the economy situation temporary, this "life" thing is as well.

None of what I have here in this world is "mine". The "stuff" doesn't matter.

Like the birds of the air, we continue to receive our daily bread.... and we will....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Power of Service

I was having a "crying in my beer" - minus the beer - kind of morning. I had made the realization of how one of my friendships parallels similar frustrations to those in my marriage. It is one of those things that I HATE right now, but know I will LOVE later. After the "time" and the process and the healing....

Getting into my car, the CD my daughter had been listening to began to play.... country music. Another ah-ha... The reason I rarely listen to it: Country music brings me "there".... and "there" is painful and dark. As a tear began to roll down my cheek, I clicked the power off and continued the drive in silence, praying...

... for guidance. For wisdom. For an opportunity. For His words.

I pulled into the Elementary School and found a place to park. It was "art week". During "art week", the curriculum gets adjusted and the music teacher teaches visual arts. She had requested parental assistance, and we had agreed to provide it.

On the agenda, four classes, kindergarten through third grade. The youngest class arrived first, and somewhere between leaf rubbings and pastels, I realized that I was smiling and enjoying the tiny hands and their grins as they held up their work for my opinion. "Awesome!" I'd say, and some would do a little hop or skip as they lay their pictures in the completed file.

By the time third grade rolled around, I was humming. It wasn't until my hands began throwing off a sign or two between tasks that I paid attention to the lyrics that accompanied the tune...

"How great Thou art, How great Thou art..."

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Million Points of Gratitude....

Sunday was one of those days... a GOOD day, but not without it's issues...

For myself, it was actually pretty uneventful - save a moment or two of being convicted during the morning's worship service. The kids had a playdate - each with a friend over - which allowed me some less-interrupted time to do a few things to prepare myself for a busy week ahead.

For others, there were more acute issues: losses of independence, losses of jobs....

Yet, in the midst of it all, there were a million moments of gratitude. I do believe that God will work all things together for good. There will be strength and renewed spirits, and opportunity after opportunity for Gods grace and power to prevail.

I believe that in each circumstance God's hand is in the midst. I watch in awe and amazement at the way prayers pour forth... and I wait, expectantly, knowing they will be answered in His perfect timing.

They always have been for me...

I have not always been patient in waiting, but He has always been faithful.

My gratitude list goes on and on and on....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Close Your Eyes Now and Rest.....

I have my own little version of Brahms' Lullaby for my daughter. I've always loved the melody, but one night - when she was seven years old, she asked me to sing her a lullaby.

I couldn't remember all of the words, so I made some up and threw in her name for good measure. Our version has become a tradition - one that she frequently requests at bedtime.

"Lullaby and goodnight, my Amelia sleep tight...." it begins. At this point she smiles as I rub her back. Toward the end, as I ask "may your slumber be blessed...." she is just grinning contentedly. Her eyes are closed, and my heart is filled.

It's one of our "girl things". I'd never sing THAT song to her brother. It is ours. We need our own things... just as her brother and I need our own things...

Having something special that connects me with each of my children is a gift of Motherhood. I wouldn't trade it for the world. (Even on those days when I'm asking Him to step in and take over because they are driving me crazy....)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Aerial

It began in a dream.... this feeling....

I was walking across a vast field of lush green grass, me and many, many other people. Suddenly, I had the urge to do an aerial cartwheel, so I quickened my pace and did a perfect hands-free cartwheel.... and then the phone rang.

As I tried to get back to that dream-place, I could hear the same music, but not recreate the scene...

Behold he comes
Riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet's call
So lift your voice
It's the year of Jubilee
For out of Zion's Hill salvation comes

When I woke up again, the song was still on repeat-play in my head, and this "feeling" was rumbling around in my gut, tugging at my heart.

I started my day as usual, with a dog-walk. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing....which always reminds me of God's ACTIVE presence in my life. It was beautiful - delightful!

As I walked, my hands began a silent prayer: "Examine my heart. Show me the things that need to change...."

Getting home, the feeling remained.... I sensed that I had witnessed a glimpse of who I had been created to be - and endured the full realization of how far I am from that. To my prayer, I added "... remove my grubby little hands from whatever I am clinging to so tightly...."

A few IM conversations later, I am again aware that God will not "pry my hands" away from anything. That is my "to do"... I must let go. I consider changing my request to "make whatever I am clinging to detestable to me" - but that thought scares the daylights out of me. I pray it through the fear..

I can still feel the aerial in me, trying to come out..... wanting to...... needing to. As I walk down the hallway in my house, I throw my chest out, my arms back and my back leg up toward the sky. Yes, that is how it begins.

An hour later, I turn a few cartwheels in my yard, after checking to be sure I am out of the sight of neighbors. I try it one-handed and make it half-way over before I drop my second hand to the ground. I wonder if I will improve if I continue to practice... like every day.

Funny... I am sure I would continue to improve - especially if my practice includes removing my grubby fingers from that to which I cling. But first I must gain awareness of what I am holding to so tightly

The aerial cartwheel, I later realize - a perfect analogy. It's simple really - all I have to do is throw my legs out from under me, while actively NOT reaching for that which I believe will support me. It is faith-in-action.

I know where my true support lies. I do. It's just that so often I reach for that which I can more easily see and grab hold of. Unfortunately, in doing that, I deny myself the aerial. When I reach for the ground, I deny myself all that He has created me to be.

For curious minds: No, I don't believe - even in my gymnastics years - I have ever DONE an aerial cartwheel. One-handed, yes, no-handed, I don't think so. Fear not, though, when I DO do one - I will post the video here.... and if I break my arm trying, someone will let you know...

Friday, October 2, 2009


"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. "
Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd ed. p449.

I've heard much said on acceptance, but the quote listed above is probably one of my favorites. Partially, it is the one that I learned with. It's the one my friend Karen quoted the most as she helped me disentangle from my "unacceptable" perspective.

It helped me to learn that "acceptance" didn't mean agreement. I didn't have to LIKE it to accept it. As a matter of fact, I could be really angry and hurt by the situation or the circumstances. Acceptance simply meant looking at it in the Light of Truth, and not trying to change it.

I can't make people "do right"....heck, half of the time, I can't make MYSELF "do right". But, seeing in the Light of Truth, without trying to change it, or deny it, or flower it up nice, allows me to choose. I can choose the next right course of action for myself. That choice is a gift.

I can ask God to show me what to do next. If I'm busy trying to change it, deny it, manipulate it, I can't ask and I certainly can't hear.

I don't always like what I see. I don't like it that people don't respond like I think they should. I don't like it that people get hurt and make bad choices.

But I do get to decide: Where will I step? Will I wait? Will I walk away? Do I need to stand firmly? Hold a mirror? Extend grace?

Show me where to step, Lord...

Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yet Another Reason to Let Go....

A friend had given me a CD to listen to. "I think you'll like it." And, yes, I did.

It was the story of Patti O. in California and how Alcoholics Anonymous changed her life. I laughed and I cried and thanked God that I have WAY too many control issues to drink. I need my "internal editor" intact, thank-you-very-much.

She said many, many things that made me think...

But today, the thing that has stuck with me the most was when she was talking about service. She said that when we're sitting down here trying to work on fixing our own problems, that's where we get stuck --> focused on our own problems. It's in those moments when we set our issues aside and look to help another that God has the opportunity to work on our stuff for us.

It reminded me of all the times I had try to fix things MY WAY. I knew if I did this, that and/or the other thing, life would get better. Well, ah, no... it didn't. Whatever it was just got contorted into another set of issues. It wasn't until I stepped away and got my grubby little hands off and said "OK, God... can't do this myself...." that things began to improve.

Some things He changes Himself, others, are mine to do the footwork. I just have to do things His way. I need to let go and realized that He does indeed know the best way to handle a situation. If we disagree, it is my perspective that needs adjusting. Rather than and endless barrage of "But,..... but,..... but...."s, I'd do better to say, "show me...."

And, you know, I've been down this road enough to know... Some things I just can't change. Some things fall into the "acceptance" category - which is a blog unto itself.

Til then, Lord.... what would You have me do today....?