Monday, May 31, 2010

May I Never Forget

There are a lot of things I hope to always remember: Meeting my children for the first time, falling in love, the morning I woke up from a dead sleep, with tears in my eyes and said aloud, "oh.... You died for ME...."

But today, I have something I hope to never forget.

I have spent the past several months really focusing on eating "right". Healthier choices, we'll call it. I've had some success (and some opportunities to improve!), and I've seen some results from those choices.

Tonight, was an opportunity to remember, so I may choose better next time. One of the BIG changes I've made is in the world of fast food. I used to be a regular supporter, but now, not so much. Until today.

Between the late nights, early mornings, and long days at the hospital this holiday weekend, I decided to get "something quick" for supper.

I feel AWFUL!

May I never, ever forget how awful I feel, so I can choose more wisely in the future.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Writing Scripture on My Heart

Sitting down at work, to begin my Memorial Day Holiday Weekend, I took a moment to pause. As I sat quietly, a few words came to mind. "The Lord is my strength and my shield..."

How perfect for the beginning of a long holiday weekend in the world of trauma. I took a moment to google it and find the rest of the verse. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, God. The full verse is even more completely perfect.

I have been taught about writing scripture on my heart. Apparently at least a little of it has stuck. (Funny how that works...)

I have no idea exactly when I began actually reading my bible - and learning about it. I am just so, so grateful that I have.

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

RIght Speech...

I've got to admit, I like the Buddhist principle of "right speech".

"Right speech is described as speech which is truthful, speech which is affectionate (or kind), speech which is useful (or helpful), and speech which promotes concord."

Wrong speech is therefore the converse: untruthful, harsh, not useful or helpful and promotes discord.

I am grateful for my "internal editor", which typically filters my thoughts along the path of "right speech" before speaking them. On good days, I also try to put it through the "might Jesus say this?" filter as well.

Those are the good days....

Guard my lips, purify my heart and help me to see others as capable, creative and complete.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Behind the Eight Ball

I am beginning this long holiday weekend at work behind the eight ball, sleep-wise.

So, I am trying to implement a little of what I've learned about balance, and am calling it a night with a simple prayer request:

Please pray for me this holiday weekend and for all of those with whom I interact.

May I be your hands and feet.

May I speak Your words.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"No More Pencils, No More Books...."

I know my kids will learn that little jingle before too long... I just can't throw in the "No more teachers' dirty looks" into their memories. The world will have to do that for me.

It's true, though. School's out for summer.

I'm excited. My kids say they are too...though my daughter pulled out her math book tonight.

We're ready for a little break for all of us. We'll get that for a few weeks, and then there will be a bustle of activity in July.

But, for today.... we'll start with a No Alarm Clock day, and move straight into a MMA stripe test. Thursdays will remain busy throughout the summer, but will also involve some pool time.

Thank You God for the seasons of life. Change is good. We need it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh! THERE You are.....

I was beginning to wonder what was up.

This blog has felt like mere recollections and recounts of my days tied up with a simple expression of gratitude. (Which, is what I do when God and I aren't actively on the steep upward slope of a learning curve... review my day and count my blessings.)

If you can follow this convoluted train of thought, with it's leaps and stretches, you'll know how I arrived where I am now.

I'd walked the dog and been to my Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)class. I was preparing to shower before my last carpool pickup of the school year. Sometimes in those mindless moments of every routine, I am inspired with a topic for the blog. Nothing.

I considered retelling the story of the inspiration for the title. Nah.

I recalled one woman in my class showing pictures of a body-building friend of hers. She explaining that her focus on body-building began after a relationship ending.

Several random conversations and emails crossed my mind - continuing ed, ending projects, beginning projects, to do's...

I thought to the year of my divorce and the moment I knew that life was about to change dramatically. "What did I do?" I asked silently, knowing full well it hadn't been body-building. "I ran to God," has always been my reply.

And then I realized... no.... I didn't. I didn't run. I dropped my head as I let go of my plans and my ideas about my marriage and how it could be saved. When I turned, I walked smack-dab into Him. RIGHT THERE. He'd always been right there. And then I sat, and He did.

From there, some of the random conversations and emails rearranged themselves in my mind.

A recent prayer that I had whispered in a moment of feeling like I needed "just a little something" was whispered back to me. I paused. Oh! That's what You've been up to!

Once again, I turn and walk smack-dab into the midst of God and His choreography. I hope I was on cue.

(and I wonder what other prayers I have whispered recently.....)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Boy was it good to be back in the saddle. I haven't been on a horse since before my kids were born. It's been at least a decade.

But one day, sort of out of the blue, I said to a friend, "... if you ever need a riding buddy....."

My experience is limited - no more than a dozen times have I sat on the back of a horse. It has always been thoroughly enjoyable. I've loved it.

This time was no exception.

Yes, I have more of the images of the people I've cared for in the land of Trauma, following their equine accidents stored in the recesses of my brain, but still. Up I went. And, I loved it.

I'm grateful for this friendship, and this opportunity. I'm grateful for the internal nudge that put the request to ride out there.

Next time... more cantering.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mentoring in Action

I knew the Sunday morning worship service would be special. It was Youth Sunday, which means the Youth Band would be playing. They hadn't played since the changes took place - primarily, the school year changing - which lead to additions and subtractions to the previous group.

But the worship leader was wise, knowing that the new Youth Band was young and inexperience. He paired the young musicians with members of the adult band.

Over and over, during rehearsal, I got to witness the adults mentoring the kids. It touched my heart in a way that I didn't expect.

I am grateful for the mentors that God has sent my way. I am grateful for their perspective and their encouragement.... and even a pair of steel toed shoes.

I am grateful for their ability to change and shape my life - to point me in the direction of Him, whether they did so directly or not.

I am grateful to have been able to see it in action Sunday morning. It was a great gift.

Thank You, God!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Hint of Summer Vacation

Ah... what a lovely day.

No alarm clock. Instead, I woke with a hug from my daughter, asking for staples. She agreed to the "ten more minutes", and all was well.

After filling her stapler, we headed to the farmers' market. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love that.... and the fresh vegetables haven't even begun to arrive! We did get some strawberries - half of which I froze for later.

After a quick lunch, I headed out to the garden. The kids each took turns outside - one with water balloons and the other filling a bucket with water and sitting in it.

The boy rode himself to his friend's house, and the girl and I took a few minutes in the hammock together, evaluating the clouds and declaring their "look like"s.

A family walk with the dog and kids on bikes, and showers and dinner around the table.

It's one of those days that I would like to engrave in my memory and on my heart. Some days just flow well.

Thank You, God for the moments, the joy and the beauty of the earth!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Winding Down... and around....

Another school year is coming to a close. It's hard to believe. It goes so fast.

I've got to admit, I'm pleased to not have to set the alarm every morning. I look forward to a few later mornings, and some days by the pool. I look forward to a week of camp and some time with my family.

There are things coming to a close - my kids' second grade year, and my PTO presidency. There will be a little reprieve from my prayer group. There will be a little more space in my brain for things to rattle around.

Hopefully, there is some more time in the yard and some time to get my nose into a book.

And then, there are the big changes coming to my family this summer.... in the form of diet and exercise. We all need it. We'll all feel better.

So, things are winding down.... sort of. Setting the summer pace, anyhow.

I like that.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Been thinking a lot about my attitude toward people - those I know, strangers, you name it - and being aware of my internal dialog.

It has been interesting homework. Partly, because I am becoming aware of some judgments I didn't realize were tucked inside of me, but mostly, today, I am aware of the interactions in terms of energy expenditure.

Some people just take more energy to be around than others. I don't DISLIKE them, they just require more mental umph than others. Some of those people I really LIKE. I just have to have my cup filled before I interact with them.

Others seem to give energy, and I leave an interaction feeling more alive or inspired.

And, of course some are neutral.

It's not a static classification, it fluctuates - especially with my children. Sometimes they suck me dry, other times, they fill me overflowing.

It just is what it is.

And I'm just noticing.... (again).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Blooms

There are a couple of new blooms around lately. The peony that I transferred from the married house to this one, five years ago, has bloomed for the first time. I remember it being a dark pink there. In this yard, it is pale pink - beautiful nonetheless.

And then there is this flower.

Honestly, this one surprised me. It's been with me for a while, but never anything but green. Well, except for the last time I saw it in bloom. When I bought it. April 1999. It sat on the altar when we were married. Since then... nothing... til now.

2010 sure has been a curious year.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I am reminded again about choices, and how interwoven they are to everyday life. What to wear. What to do. What to eat. Which child to wake up first....? It goes on and on. Moment after moment, choice after choice.

And then there are the big choices: Asking for help. Asking others if they would like help. Staying. Going. Listening. Forgiving.

There are choices about my perspective, and my attitudes: The way I choose to see myself - or others. The things I choose to learn. How, when and if I choose to obey God's call on any day in any moment.

There are the choices that I am often not aware of in the moment. Choices that are so ingrained that they don't seem like choices, but they are. Staying in "victim" - a choice.

Even not choosing is a choice.

I am choosing to listen and to learn, and to open my eyes and my heart to the things not merely apparent.

Lead on.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Rainbow

I wonder, sometimes, how many people step out of the grocery store, into the sunshine, and ask, "Where's the rainbow?" Maybe, it's just me, but I love rainbows, and when I get that combination of elements, I start searching!

I looked. I didn't see it. Not enough rain, I decided.

So I loaded my groceries, and headed back to finish my reading for my class. The drops were heavier on my windshield, and as I turned to look for oncoming traffic before turning onto the main road, there it was.


It was bright! Deep, rich colors that lasted and lasted. For nearly ten minutes, I watched the rainbow over my left shoulder.

It doubled at one point. At another moment, I noticed it had made the complete arch. I don't know that I've seen a complete arch before, but tonight, I did.

Periodically, I say "I should carry my camera with me", and this was definitely one of those moments. I snapped a few shots with my phone. Compared to the real thing, they were incomplete.

They didn't capture it - not at all.

Thank You God for the undeniable rainbow and for Your undeniable presence in my life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Surrendering to my Humanity

I took an opportunity to surrender to my humanity today. Begrudgingly.

But, I really didn't have any other choice. (Which is usually how and why I surrender.)

I had volunteered to work the night shift for one of my coworkers so that she could go to a family wedding. Each time I work nights, I realize how much I hate it and how much it messes with my life - in very real physical ways. I feel awful! I feel like I am watching myself wander around with my brain kicking in a few minutes behind.

Typically, if I work a Saturday night, I decaffeinate myself and head to church Sunday morning- at least through the opening worship music set. About 3:30 Sunday morning, I knew there was no way I'd make it.

Instead, I spend the drive home praying - primarily for safety and wakefulness until I pulled into my driveway.

As I think about "surrendering to my humanity" - and how difficult that can be for me - and look at some of the things happening around me, I see lessons on "balance" and "boundaries" coming my way.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Half way there...

I don't know how I got there... exactly. Generally, I do: ate more, exercised less. But, there's no clear day when it happened.

There's a pretty clear day when it changed, though. I started my MMA in March. And things started changing. Little by little. Aside from the exercise itself - the kicking, the punching, the "jumping rope" (imaginary rope) - there is the mindset.

There is something about saying "I will avoid anything that will reduce my mental growth or my physical health" twice a week. After a while, it starts to stick.

And so do the little lifestyle changes. Especially the "easy" ones. Raising the priority of my walks and planning my meals.

And THEN the physical changes kick in. The pants get looser. The muscles get defined.

And THEN, I realize - as I'm turning down an offer for free pizza (and later, free cookies!) - I'm half-way through my weight loss goal! YES!

Thank You God!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Continuing Education

I have received the same informational email several times. Each time, I check out the website.

"Oh! That sounds interesting."

"I think I'd like that...."

It would count as continuing education for both of the licenses I hold....and it was half-price. And yet, I hesitate to enroll.

During my time Tending the Earth, it was something that came to mind repeatedly. Every time I thought of it, I got excited and had a sense that it is something that I need to do. It's a 12 week teleconference course - that I need to complete by the end of the year. I sat and I thought and I sat and I listened. Finally, I asked the question.

"What am I afraid of?"

Oh. THAT! Yeah.... that.

It will force me to look at myself differently, and look at others differently. It will bring change.

"It will change my life." Yeah. That.

We're going on a ride! Gotta fasten my seat belt.

I start Monday!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Finally... a day to Tend the Earth.

I feel very "behind", but perhaps, I'm not so much. The tomatoes have been in, the beans are NOW in. The strawberries are red, red, red -YUM!

The rosebush is beautiful. The sunflowers and dahlias are now in the ground. The peony is ready to bloom for the first time since we've been in this house. (YES!). A few gladiolas have survived the mole attack, and I'm carefully watching the raspberries and the rainfall.

Mostly, though, I spent some time ridding the vegetable and herb garden of it's grass.

Still have plenty to do there, but I enjoy it. It's essentially mindless work during which I can let my mind wander and God and I can talk.

It's good for me.

I like that!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I noticed it for the first time today: The sweet and heavy scent of honeysuckle as it lingers in the humid air.

I never thought too much about it, until the year that my friend, Karen died. There was something about it that captured me, and burned the connection into my brain. I remember driving to the married house, one evening in late June, 2003. As I stepped out of my vehicle, the breeze picked up and I was surrounded by the scent of the honeysuckle that grew on the wall by the drive.

As suddenly and completely as I was surrounded by the sweetness, I was surrounded by memories of my friend. "Oh, Karen...." I called out to the night air.

Since then, the smell of honeysuckle always reminds me of her. It reminds me of the love and support she extended to me, and all the difficult times she walked through with me.

I have been blessed by her presence in my life.

Thank You, God, for that!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Turning on a Dime

It's funny how life can turn on a dime sometimes.

Things are heading in one direction and something pops up and priorities change, or additional responsibilities get piled on.

I'm sort of on the sideline in a supporting role at the present moment. My sister has more of the day to day dealings. I get the phone contact (purely due to geography) and medical translation responsibilities. She gets to make the hospital visits to my mother.

So, I pray for both of them - healing for my mother, patience, strength and endurance for my sister.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

It has been a wonderful Mother's Day.

Church was uneventful from a parenting perspective, which is always a blessing. As a matter of fact, getting TO church was uneventful from a parenting perspective, which makes me twice blessed!

The afternoon was spent peacefully hanging out with a friend, as the children played. Her kids, my kids and random neighborhood kids, in and out of the house.

It is as it should be, and as close to my memories of childhood as the current culture will allow ... including the repetitive tolling of "Frère Jacques" announcing the ice cream truck's presence in our neighborhood.

The finale - a bedtime which was also uneventful from a parenting perspective.

Praise God! The trifecta!!! (from a parenting perspective!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Got Stuff?

I got a call from a friend. They were bringing some stuff to a shelter where a lot of children had been showing up after the flood in middle Tennessee. She said she'd be happy to bring any stuff that I had, if I wanted.

Oh yeah...

The kids and I went through some of their toys, to find some to send to the kids who had lost everything. I went through closets, pulling out children's clothes and sheets and towels and cleaning supplies.

My entry was filled by the time they arrived. We loaded up the remaining space in their minivan, and they headed off.

I have since found more stuff to send, and a new pile is forming in my entry.

I am blessed. Very, very blessed.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

An Evening Under the Stars....

Just a fun night of bunko with the women from church.

Good friends. Good food. Good fun.

Lots and lots of laughter, and enough breeze to keep the humidity and bugs at bay!

Thank You God for the fellowship with these women.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Day of Blog Rest

It's been a busy week, and it ain't over yet, so I'm taking a day of rest...

Counting my blessings and thanking God again and again....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Day of Service

seIt will be a day of service for me:

Appreciating teachers.


Appreciating teachers.

Mom's Taxi Service.

and then....

A little MMA for me. :)

Life is good....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lending a Hand

I had the opportunity to help my ex- begin his clean up process. One friend watched my kids and another drove with me to lend a hand as well.

It was quite a scene. That sticky-gooey mud that oozes up between your toes was everywhere. Literally, everywhere.

We started wiping down furniture that had been moved outside by a group of strangers lending a hand the day before. I sorted through piles of "stuff": opened up sleeping bags, lay them out to dry, peeled apart pictures of the kids that were stuck together in an envelope. Furniture, small appliances and nick-knacks got sorted into "keep" and "toss" piles.

Inside, the men were using snow shovels to remove that sticky-gooey mud from his living room, dining room and kitchen.

Once the furniture was clean(er), we headed inside to the kitchen. My friend and I sorted through the pantry, and wiped the mud off of the counter tops. We opened cabinet drawers, dumped out the water sitting in them, and sorted the contents into "keep" and "toss" piles as well.

Up and down the road, on either side were other similar piles - "keep" and "toss". As far as the eye could see, piles and piles of stuff.

At the point where we were preparing to leave, the men were removing the drywall from his condo, exposing the studs, setting fans on the generator, hoping to get things dry - really dry- very quickly.

As awful as that sounds, - and truly it is awful - there were miracles and acts of kindness wherever we looked. People dropped off cases of water and chips and snacks. A local restaurant had brought lunch, and were preparing to bring dinner as well. Several people walked up asking, "Can I help?"

Community in action. I love that.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Flood.... well, not THE flood... but, still...

It's really hard to put into words, but this video captures some of the emotion.

I was working the weekend. My kids were with their dad. Saturday morning, right after I finished blow-drying my hair, it started to rain. Not just an every day sort of rain, but a RAIN.

Driving home that night, I noticed that the creek - where my daughter and I were baptized - was running pretty high. I'd heard that there had been some flooding, and wondered if my trip back to work Sunday morning would be detoured.

Sunday stared like any other day. I'd been up late preparing for the upcoming Teacher Appreciation Week celebrations at school, so I headed out yawning to myself. It continued as such until about 8:30.

I got a phone call that sort of change the feel of the day. It was my ex. "We have a foot of water on the lower level..." The water outside was higher, at the level of the door of his SUV. Roads were closed, the power was off, and it was still raining.

By 11:00, the water was waist deep and they were packing bags to catch the next boat out of there. Literally. My daughter road on her daddy's back and my boy on the back of a fireman.

Those were the hardest hours - between "were waiting on a boat" and "we're on dry land". Powerless at its best. Nothing to do but pray, and nothing to say but "oh wow. That sucks!"

I've heard the fridge was floating and when he returned to assess damages, the baby grand piano was upside down. It's hard to remember "it's just stuff", when it's a big portion of your stuff - especially your expensive stuff! But, that it is.

They are safe. The waters are finally receding, and the blessings are beginning to pour forth. Community in action. Serving one another.

"God is at work" said one of my friends as I shared about the ministry I was seeing touch the lives of those I know who have lost much or most of what they possess.

"God is always at work", I replied, "I'm just grateful that people are hearing the cry to act and willing to be vulnerable to receive it."

Be with us, God, as we sort through, clean up and rebuild all that has been covered in water and mud.

Monday, May 3, 2010

QuickSign of Life

Just wanting to let everyone know: bottom line, we're all fine.

The flooding here in middle Tennessee is incomprehensible. Still trying to wrap my mind around it.

More later.

Must sleep now.... LONG day at work yesterday (like 20+ hours!)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

Seriously pouring! I believe we got at least our monthly rainfall, all on the first day of the month. (Literally!)

There is much flooding - which reminds me of my youth, and our annual basement pumping.

But I am safe and dry, and grateful for both.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Father, Forgive us....

It started off as an innocent enough walk. But, as I turned the corner that marked the half-way point, my thinking switched gears. I had been thinking about how still the air is, considering there is a storm brewing, and not a whole lot else.

But as I turned and the breeze picked up, so did the clarity of my thoughts. I began thinking of the school. Of the lunches, and of how much food is wasted every day. Milks and fruits and vegetables, that by law have to be given to the children, whether they'll eat it or not. So, much of it ends up in the trash. The absurdity of the waste goes much beyond that, but I'll stop there.

As I sat and considered all that we have that we squander, I looked up and said, "Father, forgive us."

From there, the list grew:

Forgive us for:
  • Not realizing the gifts that we have been given
  • Focusing on our perceived lack, rather that the abundance that surrounds us
  • Destroying the things that You have created in the name of improvement
  • Slowly killing ourselves in the name of convenience or comfort
  • Rushing through life without taking time to focus on You, on others and the blessings in our lives
  • Being so internally focused that we do not notice our neighbor in need
  • All that we waste
  • Our pride and greed and self-absorption
  • Our vanity and idolization of self
  • Our perceived entitlement and expectations
  • Our lack of personal responsibility and accountability
The list is unending...

Father, forgive us.....

Forgive me....