Thursday, September 30, 2010

I am a Woman Who....

One of the things I am being reminded of in this season of life is exactly who I am.

I am reminded that:

I am a woman who loves autumn.

I am a woman who loves jeans, and boots and sweaters.

I am a woman who loves being out of doors.

I am a woman who loves cool crisp mornings and warm breezes on her face.

I am a woman who does what she says she will do. (though sometimes spreads herself a little thin doing it....)

I am a woman who wears many hats - and for the most part, I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.

But, most importantly. I am a woman of God. A daughter of the King. His little girl.

What an honor.... and a responsibility...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So Much to Say, So Little Time

I have so much to say.... More things to share from my kayak adventure and life in general....

But alas.... my census at the hospital has EXPLODED, and I am falling a little behind on a few other tasks to complete...

... and then... there is sleep...

So... today... I'm focusing on the next right thing...

I hope to share my moment above the water tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Day on The Water

The day had come. I was on my way to the waters that run underneath the railroad trestle bridge where God and I reunited many years ago.

I had always wanted to explore the areas that I couldn't see beyond the bend in the river. Finally, I had the opportunity.

I loaded the kayak into the minivan - yes, into. :) - and headed west. I hadn't been to the trailhead in over a year. Back in the day - when I lived across the street - I visited every day.

I wasn't sure exactly what I'd find. I know things change through the years - and I knew that most of the houses down the hill from where I lived would have been significantly damaged by the flood this past May.

I drove down the road. I was right. Most of the houses there were in the process of being rebuilt - or had been abandoned. Sad, really. And, sad, also that I hadn't known a single neighbor when I lived there.

It was there that I began my comparisons of then and now. I realized that back then, not only did I not take action on buying myself a kayak, I also never asked if I could borrow one. Even if I had, I'm not sure I would have had the courage to get myself out on the water.

But, these days, I do. I set the boat in, loaded with my snack, my lunch, my paper, a pen, my camera and my phone, (Just gotta say here... LOVE the GPS/Map feature on my phone and used it to it's full capacities!) and I was off....

One of the things I had intended to do was make a list of all of the false truths that had been tormenting me on Saturday. I backed the kayak up against the shore of the peninsula where the cows grazed, pulled out the pen and began to write.

After I wrote the second statement, I paused and thought through the rest of the process. These false statements would be burnt up .... but wait... what I wrote was TRUE. Really. Seriously.

I had begun writing the truth of what I know about food, and my body. The real truth, not the world's truth.

I pulled out another piece and started again. What was it that was bothering me so much on Saturday? Couldn't remember. Oh yeah. I wrote it down.

When I had filled the page, I wadded it up, placed it in the empty tuna can I had brought and set it afire. The smoking can, I then placed floating beside me on the water.

As the lies turned to smoke and the paper to ashes, I prayed: "Stand between me and the lies of the world. As they are spoken to me, whisper the truth into my ear and engrave it in my heart."

When the smoke had stopped and the can had cooled, I put the whole mess back into the ziploc it had been packaged in, and set off to explore further.

As I paddled around the waters, from time to time, I'd hear a truth. There I'd pause, pull out the paper and pen, and write them down.

It wasn't a day of drama, and there were no tears. It was a day of being quietly on the waters with God and hearing small - but somehow crucial - truths being whispered into my heart.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Walking Forward

I know not where the day will lead.

But, I do know where similar days have led.... they have been amazing....

I know not what I will find.

But, I do know what I have previously found.... healing. inspiration.

I know not how it will turn out.

But I do know what His plans are for me... plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

I am walking forward, Lord..... lead on....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Burnt Offering of Sorts

Well, the plan for retreat is coming together.....

I have picked up the kayak and I have a task to complete.

The onslaught of old thoughts and inaccurate perceptions, and even "facts" that were from a previous time that no longer hold true..... They've got to go.

I continue to remind myself that I am "new" in Christ. And certainly my life has changed dramatically in the past 15 - 20 years. I don't even think it would be possible to go back even if I wanted to.... But, there are some pieces of the past still need to be debrided out of me... apparently.

"Bury them!" someone suggested. And that is when I remembered something I had done in the past - perhaps even for the first time at The Womb House, not far from the water where I'll be paddling. I remember it being very healing at the time.

It is a funeral of sorts, but more of a cremation. The list will be created, and then it will be burnt. All the old tapes that nag at me.... sent to God in a stream of smoke. (They're harder for me to take back that way.... and certainly, if buried, I would try to find a way to dig them up again!)

All I will be left with is ashes..... And we all know what He can do with ashes...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Messing with My Head

I woke up feeling great. Showered. Got dressed - a little "sassy" even. I mean, it even had a ruffle, which is a little more "girly" than I usually find myself wearing. I went to a couple of meetings, and headed to the grocery store.

I was thrilled to find myself - at the store - craving HEALTHY things. I mean, I barely even walked through the middle of the store. It was like "what other wonderful thing can I add to my salad for lunch?" (and it was a GOOOOOD salad!)

Driving home, it started. I glanced over my shoulder to switch lanes. I noticed my arm. "Uhm, that doesn't look like MY arm...." It's changed. There is definition.

Same thing as I passed the mirror... Tucked in my shirt.... Lay on the floor and stretched.

It doesn't look or feel like "me".

It's not BAD. I have worked hard for this.... and I haven't reached my goal yet. But it's different from where I was. And that sort of messes with my head.

I'm glad I can speak it. And I'm glad I can ask God to heal it. I want to fully rejoice in it. But, right now.... it's just a little weird.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Premieres and ANOTHER New Belt

I don't know exactly what to say....

Honestly, I'm a little distracted.... it's the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. They are the only shows I watch. Typically, I DVR them, but tonight, I had the opportunity to watch them "live".... commercials and all.

I've been spoiled by the DVR, and will choose to miss the commercials in the future.

And, while the commercial break continues, let me just say - the Orange Belt isn't the only new belt I will be receiving....

I need to buy a new belt-to-hold-up-my-jeans..... It's too big. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Orange Belt

This week, my daughter and I should be receiving our Orange Belts in our respective martial arts classes..... and the boy-child will be receiving his Brown Belt.

It is a reminder to me of all the hard work we have been putting into our training.

It also is a reminder to me of what a positive impact martial arts has had on my family.

I feel better - physically, mentally, spiritually. It's hard to describe, really. "Stronger", yes... but not in the muscle-y way. "Stronger" in a 'deep-in-my-core' sort of way..... There in my gut, I feel it.

The chatter in my head slows down, and my spirit has a moment to be still.

Between the kia's and the kicks, you wouldn't thing there would be a place for silence and solitude, but there is.

And then, there are the characteristics of being a Black Belt that we aim toward that remind me of the goodness in life.

Thank You God for bringing me - kicking an screaming (LITERALLY!) - to my MMA!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Preparing to Retreat

Well.... it's time for my fall retreat. :)

I love those days.... just me and God. May not be a WHOLE day - heck, can't be a WHOLE day, there are kids to pick up and cart around....

But... I have the plan, and the means to put it into action.

AND... it's something on my "Bucket List".

When I lived in The Womb House, there was a trail with some backwaters that surrounded it. The whole time I lived there (5 years), I thought to myself - "I should explore this area in a kayak".

Well.... there you go. Next week: One kayak, one woman, one God, one day.

I can't wait!

(ESPECIALLY since I have a zillion things to cross off my list before then... :) )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Enjoying Time with Esther

I've just recently started Beth Moore's Esther bible study. I am really enjoying it!

We've been talking about "beauty".... and the difference between surface beauty and inner beauty. And how hard it is to be a women in a world that is obsessed with outward appearances.

Beth made a comment tonight on the video about a card that she keeps on her desk at all times, with 3 verses on it: (she has taken the liberty to personalize them, and so have I....)

They are:

Colossians 2:10 - I am complete in Christ

Song of Solomon 7:10 - I am my beloved's and his desire is for me

Psalms 90:17 - Let the beauty of the Lord be upon me. (KJV)

Ironically enough - the Psalms 90:17 is also the verse our deaf ministry has declared for ourselves:

"May the favor of the Lord be upon us. Establish the work of our hands, yes, establish the work of our hands" (ESV)

I am grateful for Beth's reminders, and grateful for the richness of the book of Esther.

Monday, September 20, 2010

They Grow Up Fast

I knew the day would come. One day, I would teach my boy-child to mow the grass. I didn't realize it would be NOW.

I wasn't sure he was tall enough. Pushing a lawnmower is hard enough - but even more so, when it's at chest level. It's nearly impossible when the handle is over your head. But he has grown tall enough and strong enough.

He show enough respect for the mower - both in terms of using it appropriately, and having the wisdom to know to keep his hands and feet away from the spinning blades. I filled it with gas and pulled the cord. He giggled in awe with the "emergency off" in releasing the safety bar.

I guided him through the edge work of the fenced dog area. Once we'd been around, I stepped back, and let him lead. He did great.

I am so, so proud of him.

Thank You, God for my children. Help me to appreciate them NOW.... because they grow up fast!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The People in My Life

Today, I am very grateful for the people who have come into my life. Some have come to support me, others to encourage me. Some have come to hold up mirrors and ask me to look. Others speak the Truth in ways that are undeniably from God. Some have very lovingly kicked me in the butt.

And then there are the others... the ones that annoy me to no end. Those who have betrayed trusts, stolen hopes and broken dreams. Ironically, they have at least as an important role in my life as those whom I call "friend".

I was talking with one such friend, as she discovered a truth and comforted a broken heart, that these people have purpose in my life.

It is in my "valley experiences" that I grow. I learn about my self, my brokenness and my need for others. I learn the meaning of words such as "loneliness", "grieving", and "anger".

But.... I also learn the meaning of words such as "faith", "hope", and "rebirth". I learn to trust God to guide my next step. I learn how to ask for help - both human and divine - and I learn the strength that comes with surrender.

I cannot live this life alone. I need people around me who love me and support me, encourage me and show me the Truth in the situation. I need a God who is active in the details of my life.

I have never had a need go unmet. And I have never had to weather a storm completely alone. I may not have always recognized His presence at the time, but He has always been there with me. Always.

I am grateful for the people God has sent into my life....

I am also grateful that others allow me to be a part of theirs.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something New

God is up to something.... I've known for a couple of weeks.

Some of the things I've been doing over the past few months and years - continuing ed., my areas of interest in reading and studying - have helped me to realize Him at work. I don't know where we're headed, but for now, I'm OK with that.

I was JUST ABOUT ready to ask a few people to pray about it, when Beth Moore said in her Bible Study on Ester, "God is about to do something new in your life". (yeah! I know! Exciting!)

But, before I asked for prayer, I thought I'd kick back a bit and see what He reveals. It's His timing anyhow..

I'm not OPPOSED to prayer, but, tonight, I saw a T-shirt that said "Wait Training", with "Isaiah 40:31" beneath it.

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

I will wait for You, Lord.... help me to prepare, to be in line and ready at the moment you bring it to fruition. But, until then... help me to wait.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two Years Ago

It is hard for me to believe it's been two years since I returned to "My Shack".

I had no idea what was going to happen, nor that so much would change from that experience.

I am grateful for the path I stepped on when I walked back into the chapel, lay myself on the altar - literally and figuratively - and let Him lead.

We're not done, I know. Most days, He is still leading.

There is much hope.

Thank You, God!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grace in the World

So.... I goofed. I didn't pay attention to details, and forgot to change the date that my mortgage would come out of my checking account, as I set up up the online payment for next month. It should have come out AFTER I got paid at the end of the month, and not before. Yes, as you might imagine, that was a big, painful mistake. "Stupid tax", as Dave Ramsey would call it.

Fortunately, it was merely inconvenient, and yes, I will pay "stupid tax", but it wasn't a complete disaster. A year ago, it would have been. But, God is gracious and kind.

I found out that my bank is as well. I went to ask if they still had the program where - if I do something stupid like that again - the money gets transferred from my savings account "automagically". They do, and I signed up for it. Then came the surprise.

He picked up the phone and called the branch where my account was initiated. He asked them if they could waive some of the fees they charged me for the items that went through after my mortgage was deducted. They ended up waiving about 60% of the fees. (Yea God!)

So.... I have experienced (unsolicited) grace, and been reminded once again... Details in my day to day life really DO matter.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Between lack of sleep and too much sugar, I ache.

It is amazing to me how much it effects me. May I continue to learn and remember!

I spent several weeks recently essentially sugar free, and felt GREAT.

Past 2 days... not so much.

Trusting that sleep, and returning to clean eating (and some motrin!) will help!

To healing.... lots and lots of healing...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Choosing wisely

I trust I have chosen wisely - spending and evening with my son....

...which leaves no time to blog before bed..... and way to close to wake up time at that!

My boy will not always be here with me in the evenings... he will grow and choose differently... So, I took advantage of the opportunity...

...and glad I did...

Monday, September 13, 2010

"You Make Me New...."

It was a typical Sunday morning. I was at church early to rehearse with the worship band. We went through each song. Amazing Grace touched my heart as it usually does, humbling my spirit and bringing a glimmer of a tear to my eye.

The band began the last song - Beautiful Things. It's not my favorite to interpret - the English in it is a little hard to express appropriately in American Sign Language. The Stand - which IS my favorite these days, is also a little hard, but it has touched my heart in a way Beautiful Things hadn't, and I have had the opportunity to let it sink into my spirit to grasp the meaning more completely.

So, Beautiful Things started. I knew I wanted to hand the song to my friend to interpret this week - I had struggled through it last week. But, since she wasn't there yet, I decided to work my way through it. Let God teach me as I listened to the words, and let go of my hands.

I struggled to hear the worship leader, who was protecting his voice from the cracking effects of the cold his family had shared with him. I turned to face the screen behind the band in order to read the lyrics. Behind the lyrics, pictures scrolled - heart-breaking situations and demonstrations of grace, pictures from 9/11 and subsequent relief efforts, the hope of seedlings bursting forth in the garden.

They played through the first few lines. I surrendered my hands, but noticed where they went. "YES! That's it...." For me. My interpretation.... But way to personal and vulnerable to "speak" knowing there would be a deaf visitor that I'd never met before.

During the chorus - "You make beautiful things, beautiful thing out of the dust. You make beautiful things, beautiful things out of us...." - I began to think back through my life. He surely has taken the dust and shambles of my life and recreated it. Beauty from ashes, as I like to call it.

They moved on to the bridge: "You make me new, You are making me new...." There, my hands dropped. I am sure that my chin dropped, too, and the tears burst forth uncontrollably. I had to walk away. There was no more interpreting. I was so moved and humbled, as God touched my heart. There were no words to speak - in either language.

There behind the words was a picture of my baptism in the creek two summers ago. There could not have been a more personal way to bring that message home to me again. "Here, Linda, let Me remind you... I am making you new..." -

Thank You, God for being so active and loving in my life, and for reminding me again and again that You are making me new - in so many ways, on so many levels....

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Forgive me - and Google/Blogger - as we transition to their new service level.

I am hoping, praying, and assuming that once things are really complete, we'll be in touch again...

Til then....

loving life, focusing on God, and taking life a day at a time.

Editor's note: SCORE! apparently we're back... Thank You God!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

It's one of those days I will never forget. I was at work - pretty hugely pregnant with twins - when we got word of the 9/11 tragedy.

It stunned me, to say the least.

I am amazed and my hope returns, though, when I see people coming together to support one another, encourage one another, and help one another.

It saddens me that it takes a tragedy to remind us of this.

May I never forget the tragedies in my life - the personal, the local, the national.

May I always remember that You have called me to love and encourage those I meet on a daily basis.

May I love as You have loved me.

May I forgive as You have forgiven me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Well, it has begin. People have noticed and are beginning to comment. And it is at this point where I begin to "freak out" a little.

I was gathering my kids and a woman got my attention. "I don't want to get into your business or nothing like that," she said, "but MY GOD, you've lost a TON of weight". I was speechless. (Not QUITE a full ton, but apparently enough that they had to really be sure it was me). One of my friends called out from across the room, "Yes! she has..."

She asked what I had done. "Martial arts, and changed the way I eat...." (now SHE was speechless....) Apparently, it's a good combination that works well for me. And.... I feel good. Really good.

But, seriously. When people start to notice is when I start to back off. I lose my focus and my discipline and it all falls apart. It's like that point where Light and Darkness meet - I think the song says that's "where the healing begins...."

So, I pray for perseverance. I pray that I continue to push through the obstacles - internal and external - and DO THIS.

May He walk before me and beside me. I trust He has placed the people and situations in my life that I need to succeed.... if I trust.

It's that leap of faith... and it's where the rubber meets the road. If we don't keep walking through this - He and I - I'll never get any farther than I have been.


for "inquiring minds", and the sake of being 'transparent' - it's 25 lbs thus far. (and yes, I'm thrilled...)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Joys of Living in Community

I love living in community. It hasn't always been that way for me, but these days, I am realizing the benefits of having people who know me love me, encourage me.

I used to prefer the solitary lifestyle. Retreat to my house, my land. Only thing.... it turned out to be a little lonely.

Now, I walk through my life and people know me and recognize me. People wave when I'm out walking the neighborhood. They share my joys and help carry my burdens. Our enthusiasm builds and the momentum carries us forward.

It is a rich, rich life that I am grateful to experience.

Thank You, God....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Time to Rest

I'm taking this opportunity to rest....

Thank You God for encouraging and allowing me to do so.

May you all have a wonderful, wonderful day...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Enjoying the Holiday

Labor day. It was a good one.

I spent time - long overdue time - in the yard.

My daughter practiced her new skill - crocheting scarves.

My boy spent the day with other boys - doing boy things

And at bedtime, we laughed and played with the retro camera on my phone. It was, by far, the best part of the day.

Thank You, God, for this glorious, wonderful day!

Joy. Laughter. Progress. I love it!
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Some TIme in The Yard

It was a beautiful day. After church and lunch, I had an opportunity to work in the yard.

It's been a while... too long.

There is something to be said for the peace and quiet of pulling grass out of a flower bed.

God and I have an opportunity to talk.

Which is good.... I need some time to listen.

I look forward to full-fledged autumn.

I have much to do in the yard.

And enjoy the opportunity to be quiet and listen.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Well, I have hit another milestone. Another 5 lbs lost.

I decided it was time to muster up some courage and see where where I stood with the rack of "too small" clothes in my closet.

Joy of joys - they fit. FINALLY. They're not ideal, yet - but I can get them on. Certainly couldn't say that 5, 10, 20, 25 pounds ago.

Thank You, thank You, thank You, God for helping me get here. Thank You for sending the people along the way who have supported and encouraged me in this.

Thank You for teaching me to "Decide in Advance"...

I'm still following where You will lead.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Truth, and My Friends

These words struck me as I heard them on the radio:
"The trouble with truth is it never lies
And the trouble with wrong's that it's never right
So I rest my head under Your light"
The truth, like a mirror, shows exactly what stands before it. It may not be pretty, but it is what it is.

The thing about the truth is, it shows us where we are. Without an honest appraisal, we're lost. Without a compass of right and wrong, we're lost.

I am fortunate to have a circle of friends that act as a mirror for me. They speak the truth to me. They give me insight into my Self. And, they also stand with a perspective that is able to discern the Truth from all else that exists.

I will rest my head - and my heart - under Your light. Shine in the dark places, til it's all You.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Lessons Continue

Over a month ago, the Deaf Ministry agreed to read Ephesians together. I was a little delayed in starting, but I am, of course, amused (but not surprised) at how perfectly the content of that book correlates with the lessons I am being taught right now.

I have found myself recently in situations that I anticipated would be awkward at best, perhaps with an array of fiery darts headed my way. That day, I picked up my bible, searching for some guidance. Not knowing where else to turn, I opened to Ephesians. I found it difficult to focus on the Letter itself, and started reading my notes in the margins. Notes about redeeming the time and walking in Christ-likeness. What stood out to me when I read it was, chapter 6, verse 16. Donning the Full Armor of God. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I was reminded the Shield of Faith could extinguish (not deflect, but EXTINGUISH) those fiery darts, if I should take it up. (I did my very best)

Today I picked it up and was reminded of putting off my old self, and putting on the new. I am not the woman I once was. Of that I am sure. Thinking of it isn't even comfortable. It doesn't seem to make sense to me anymore. Yet sometimes I fear I will fall back into it. I appreciate Paul's reminders, written so long ago, and applicable still to me today.

As I read, I thought back to the music I had playing during my morning run. A band called Skillet, singing "Awake and Alive". Through it, I was comforted and encouraged. By the end of the run, I felt empowered again! I'd heard over and over again the story of being "at war with the world", trying to "pull [them] into the dark". But, they had "Decided In Advance" not to sell their souls. Still, they felt weak in their faith, and felt their strength fading fast... And just like happens with me, He comes in, breathes in His new life, and they are reminded again of their faith and their decision. As I signed "I'm awake and I'm alive", the 'awake' came off my hands as "open-hearted". Oh, yeah. That.

Add to that a reminder this evening that "no matter what the obstacle, we can push through it, as long as we continue to try." My head did one of those double takes where I nearly miss the words, knowing their purpose is to teach me on a level much deeper than is merely apparent. Fortunately, it was written down, and the paper was coming with me. I can push through these obstacles, with perseverance, and "through Him who gives me strength". (What the Deaf Ministry just FINISHED reading together... Philippians.)

I am grateful that He continues to stand by me, encourage me, strengthen me, renew me - through His Word, the words and music that touch my heart, and the people He sends to walk beside me on this earth.

Why I ever doubt, I will never know...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Deciding In Advance

God and I have been doing some wrestling. Apparently, there are some things I still need to learn (go figure!)

I have been thinking lately about a lot of "past things", and He is showing me their relevance to my current life. Some of the things we're looking at took place during that period of my life when I was more focused on the world than on God. Not my best moment in time, but a part of my story none-the-less.

So, I'm thinking, He's teaching and all this STUFF is whirling around in my head. I can ignore it, I know... but it won't be healed until He and I sort through it.... together. So together we walk through my life, thinking, teaching, healing.

"Decide in Advance", the instructor said. I was at my MMA class, and he was explaining discipline and decision making. "Decide in Advance" and then there is no question when the time comes. It can be done with exercise, with food choices, with worldly choices.

His words resonated with me.

I will Decide in Advance.

I will Decide to follow Him.

I will also Decide to accept the grace that He freely offers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

He Loves Me .... Very Much....

I found myself talking with God as I mowed the grass. I'd been grumbling to him for a while about this and that, the different responsibilities pulling me in different directions. As my next complaint surfaced, I paused.

I know it will bring a gift with it - I know this one is of Him, and He always has a gift ready when I choose to walk where He leads. But, it wasn't on my agenda of things I wanted to do. It's not even something I think I'd really LIKE to do.... but still He calls....

I have other things on my agenda that I'd like to see prioritized above some of the others, but they don't seem to happen (in my timing). "I'm ready Lord!" At least I think I am....

As I reached the edge of the driveway and began to turn the mower back into the grass to be cut, I thought again of KNOWING, with all my heart, there will be gifts in this (oh yeah, and it's the right thing to do).

I wonder how many times I decline or miss out on the gifts He has for me because He has called me somewhere I don't REALLY want to go..... and I hesitate, or completely miss the opportunity.

How many blessings will He send my way, and still I ask for one more thing that I have in mind?

And despite all that (and SO much more)....

He loves me....

very much.