Gripe Session

What goes in…must come out. It’s inevitable…the way things work. Good in…good out. Bad in…bad out. Like the computer geek said, garbage in, garbage out. The same holds true with the living. If we are at all concerned about our lives and what impact they will have on our circumstances and other’s lives, we need to guard ourselves to the things we allow into our lives.

Try as we might to make the right choices it only takes one bad decision to start us down a path so dark we end up wondering how in the world we got there.

Have you EVER had a moment when you just wanted the whole world to stop and let you get off? Eh, sometimes? Ha, it happens more often than I want to admit. Life just gets too loud and hectic and crazy. A deep breath and a hot bubble bath are often what is truly needed to de-stress.  Right now, for example, I am going through sugar withdrawal and it is not pretty. I have pain issues because of Fibromyalgia but when I got my new job a lot of my pain subsided…so I decided to start losing the weight that I gained and finish my weight loss program so that I can be as healthy as possible. Yay me! Uh-huh…the exercise is good for me and I know I will eventually get in shape enough that I won’t hurt from it (as much) but the lack of sweets is really hard…I mean…really hard. I totally understand people who are quitting smoking…I am NOT a pleasant person right now. I believe if I could just sleep through the next few days it would be SO much better on the rest of the world and me.

So I eat…and I chastise myself for being weak. Surely Raisin Bran can’t be that bad for me…right? I mean there is fiber and milk for calcium…but alas…the weight stays and the spiral goes down even farther.

The beautiful thing about a tirade on your computer is this…there is this little key on my keyboard called delete.

When is Old

I am 60…I’m not old…I laugh when I remember my mother telling me at 75 that she didn’t think she was old yet so she would push “being old” out to 85…at 84 she smiled and said, “well maybe 90″…my mother passed on to heaven last year still “not old” at 90. I loved my Mom and she was a wonderful mother. Such an example of a strong woman who loved her family and GOD FORBID that ANYONE hurt her babies. It didn’t matter that her baby at her passing was nearing 60 and I only had a couple months before I (her next to last) was to hit 60…we were still her babies and she loved us as fiercely then as she did when we were babies. She didn’t accept Christ until I was nearly 40 but when she did – she (like me) loved Him with all of her being. True she wasn’t at the Church every time the doors were open…but you could sense Jesus with her ALL the time. She walked with Him as surely as the apostles did while Jesus was here on earth. I miss her so very much.

Overcome or Overcomer

I want to … but I can’t. It comes and then goes before I can grasp the thought. It’s supposed to flow but then it is dammed up inside and the dam is quivering with the strain. I’m going to start spending more time alone so I can hear it. Understand what it is and let it flow through me. Lord, I KNOW it is only YOU that gives the GOOD words. I will hear You Lord.

As I was just listening to Mandissa sing “Overcomer” it occurred to me that at the last concert we were at she admitted the friend that had inspired the song did succumb to the cancer that had attacked her. Being that the young lady was just told she was pregnant she chose to save her baby and sacrifice herself to bring that beautiful baby boy into the world. Some would say she was overcome…and Mandissa said it truly challenged her faith when her dear friend passed. But she did what she felt needed to be done. She answered the call that she received. We do not know what that little boy is going to need to do – and if his mother had chosen to sacrifice his life for hers, what would the world miss that it so badly needed.

We are so quick to claim VICTORY over sickness and sometimes the victory is in what others would see as defeat. Look at Jesus…His disciples thought He was defeated when He was crucified…but WE know that it was HIS DEATH that gives US LIFE. We have to remember faith requires us to accept  God’s outcome, even when it doesn’t make sense to us. We can’t see the BIG picture, we only see our tiny little part of it and from the wrong side of the tapestry at that. If we see a black thread and believe our life is just a huge black thread and only see ugly…we have to remember that diamonds are made more beautiful set on a background of black. What we see as bad, most times are just our perspective not the truth.

Take time to talk to the Author of our lives. Spend TIME with Him…listen to Him. He does speak. He LOVES to spend time with His children, one on one. He loves to hear us praise Him and honor Him…but more He loves when we just practice quietness and sit quietly in His wonderful presence. He gives us glimpses of things too wonderful to speak sometimes. The wonder I have experienced when He has walked me through times beyond my own knowledge. He has amazed others through me when I have been able to tell them what is going to happen before it does. Lost people have asked in wonder how I “knew” and all I could say was “God”.

Overcome or Overcomer? Most times they are the very same thing…it’s all in what you want to see.

Sheer Happiness

This picture is such wonderful depiction of pure happiness. The description is not quite correct though. I moved into a high rise building where I leased a beautiful condo on the fifth floor. In that building I was perhaps the youngest person living there, at 53. I can’t tell you how many times I saw people coming and going from our building with head hunched down between shoulders and a frown on their faces. This was not a low rent “old folks” apartment building…they were, for the most-part well off. This building was in a more reputable area of town…but I saw very few smiles from the tenants or their visitors. That puzzled me…I had just gotten out of a bad second marriage I understood why I had depression issues…but these people? One day I decided I couldn’t deal with all the sadness and was going to do something about it. I bought a big bubble wand and bubble solution and stood on my balcony. When I saw people sitting on their balconies below me, or busy getting out of cars I would wave my magic bubble wand and magically…miraculously smiles appeared where there had been a frown. They would look around and see me, I would wave at them with a smile…and funny thing…I would get a smile back in return. NO ONE can be sad with bubbles. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Children + bubbles = pure joy.

via A Photo A Day in February: Success! — Discover

Nostalgia

Nostalgia: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.

Wistful, I love that word…not wishing just thoughtful reminisces. I was just listening to an old Carpenter song “Close to You,” and it made me smile because I remember singing that song to my first husband. He fit the picture too, golden hair and eyes of blue with flecks of gold in them. I was so in love with being in love. We had some very good times and some very bad times. I was hurt and so was he, but I would not undo my decision to marry him. God used the experiences I had with him to help mold me into the person I am today.

It would be nice if we could learn the hard lessons without the pain…but it is the pain, many times that purifies us – like the heat used in purifying silver and gold. And while we are going through the fire we can see no way that it could bring good of any kind – after all – it HURTS! With tears in my eyes and a broken heart I cried out to God…WHY! But through it all He was there beside me. Through that experience God taught me TRUE forgiveness…not just in word, but truly and honestly forgiving all the pain inflicted – not just from my ex, but from my childhood pain of rejection and feelings of never being good enough. God has used me to help others go through very similar experiences…He never wastes anything. God has a plan to use whatever we endure to His glory IF we are willing to be used in that way.

God has called me to be a teacher…as such, He has given me an insatiable desire to “understand” everything. God gives wisdom when we ask but if you look a little further He tells us not only to ask for wisdom but seek understanding. Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all they getting get understanding.”  It took too long to understand what my motivation was (why I wanted to understand was such a driving force in my life) but since I have realized it – I have embraced it. Which is totally what Proverbs 4:8-9 tell me to do WITH PROMISE! “Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee honor, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.  My crown of glory? well…I guess that would be my “natural” hair color – I’m not TOTALLY grey but let’s just say it sparkles well.

 

What Lies Ahead

The pendulum swung lazily back and forth, back and forth. Other than the ticking of the old grandfather clock in the hall, the house was quiet. Peaches sat quietly watching the rain trickle down the glass in tiny rivulets converging and separating as it would with no seeming rhyme or reason. She smiled a little, shaking her head at an idle thought that came and went so quickly she couldn’t even put words to it. This life had it’s ups and downs that’s for sure. Sometimes the ups were so glorious, ah, just had to smile at the mountain tops. Her mind’s eye could see the sun glittering on fresh snow with the crisp clean air blowing gently through her mind. And the downs. Well, they were just that and with no apology at all.

This was a down…funny it had to start raining today of all days. It had been clear for the last week or so after the last storm front went through. The spring grass was getting greener and greener, so much so that Peaches had thought she might go to her favorite market and get some annuals to plant in her little flower garden beside the house. It was just a routine annual check up. She expected the usual “you are healthy as a horse” result as every other year. Her doctor was concerned though, her white blood count was too high. Way too high. More tests were ordered and more blood drawn today. Sure, she had felt a little more tired than she normally did, but shoot, she was pushing 65 pretty hard and shouldn’t she expect to slow down some? Dr. Blanchard was concerned that she might have Leukemia. Wow…ok that definitely took the wind out of her sails. Of course until they got the results from this last battery of tests would they know for sure…only then would they decide the next steps.

Bug stretched her legs a bit in her sleep and disturbed Chip who grumbled slightly, curled a little more tightly than she had been, sighed and fell back to sleep. Peaches smiled fondly at her 2 golden retrievers, what would she do without them. Then the thought crossed her mind and made her catch her breath…if…if she truly did have leukemia, what would become of Princess Doodle Bug and Lady Luck Let the Chips Fall where they May. At 7 and 9 they were not old, but neither were they young. Peaches HAD to do some planning for certain. Even if she didn’t have that diagnosis…she had to make some decisions about what would come of her dear friends if anything were to happen to her. She had never given any real thought to this issue and knew it was important.

 

 

Discipline

Discipline: training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: “A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.” 

That last little excerpt was fitting I think…because that is EXACTLY what I was thinking about. Maybe not with a typewriter (alas, those days are long gone but fondly remembered). Today was a typical Monday…busy, busy but not so much so that I could not think or have time to breathe. Thank You Jesus! I have had enough of those days and I am not naïve enough to think they are a thing of my past. I do after all live in the “real world” with real people. Too many things going on in my head to actually get it wrapped around writing anything…but yet…discipline keeps me coming back to my keyboard and computer.

I went this weekend and bought dry erase markers for my little board at work. I know it sounds goofy but, when I found out that some of my co-workers actually looked forward to seeing my encouraging message each day I wanted to make it more colorful so that it would be fun to see as well as read. I try each day to say something positive on my board and today I had more than one customer say something about liking it as well. It may not be much but it’s something. Sometimes we just need one positive thought to help us through the day. I work in a county office that helps people who need help and I hope some days that my little positive message is that one positive note in that person’s day. I trust God and pray each day that He will bring the people that need to be there so that if not me…then my board will touch their lives. It’s not much…but it is something. And Jesus can take the widow’s mite and make it so much more than it was to start. I believe He does the same with my board.

The Jesus heart

This is just a sweet, sweet piece. I have been there…Love it.

Wrestling with Faith - Dancing with Jesus

It was 2012 January. It was cold and Japan was still much affected by the 2011 triple disaster and I was very much affected by the fact that our child had been traumatized in her Japanese kindergarten. overkwork.jpeg
My body was weak and my heart was slowly freezing. I was trying to recoup so I could help my child overcome. But my mental and physical condition was rather bad. I slept 2 to 3 hours pr. night. This was before my husband sent me off to the doctor to get some sleeping pills… (So glad he did!).

To get away from it all, we went to the mountains in the Kanto region near Mt. Fuji during that January. Just my daughter and me. I thought I needed to get away… It didn’t do my health much good, but the Lord gave me a Blessing I’ll never forget:
While there, we visited the…

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Amazing

What a day, what a week. Started Weight Watchers on Wednesday of last week. So it’s been 5 full days. I’m still not totally comfortable yet with the eating and tracking of points, but it is a new adventure. I joined the gym again…yes again…how many gyms have I joined over my lifetime. Pretty sure that would be too dang many…and this one I joined a couple years ago and went a whopping 3 times or so…paid every month but didn’t go…now that is just plain dumb. I have decided THIS time that I not only will be very regular and I will meet the health goals that I have set for myself. This year, I intend to eat right and exercise. Yessireebub…that’s my plan. We all know what happens to the well laid plans of mice and men. Ha.

True, I am excited about the new adventure…but I am so at peace with myself and my Lord that I can feel excited. Does that make sense to anyone but me?  I saw the movie “The Shack” last night…I loved they way they portrayed God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I truly appreciated the way they portrayed the RELATIONSHIP that God wants with PEOPLE. When the dad (main character) was told that since he wanted to set himself up as judge he would need to judge between his own kids and choose which one he would send to heaven and which to hell…he couldn’t – he said “take me…don’t take them…take me” and I cried. They portrayed GOD’s heart SO WELL there you would have to be totally cement hearted NOT to understand that picture. When he asked God “is there ANYONE you are not particularly fond of?” and God answered “no, I can’t think of any” I smiled. God loves us SO much. He gave Himself because He couldn’t choose which of His kids He wanted to send to hell so He took our place in the form of Jesus. I truly have never seen anything done by Hollywood that brought more glory to God than that movie. Wow.

Hmm, so, how does my being excited about losing weight and getting healthy have anything to do with the movie “The Shack”…I am God’s kid. When you take a moment to realize the volume of those four words, it all makes sense. There is nothing about my life that isn’t important to Him. There is nothing about your life that isn’t important to Him. Does that mean BECAUSE I have chosen to accept Jesus as my sacrifice so that I can be God’s child I now live a perfect life? I WISH! But…just like in the movie…I never have to go through ANY of the hard times alone. Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in the pain that we forget we are not alone. I have been very bad about wallowing in my stuff. And I can’t think of ONE bad situation that wasn’t MY choice. Even though I made the choice with good motives (sometimes) they were still wrong choices…and I got hurt. God’s heart breaks for His kids when we hurt…but He is there with us IF we choose to seek Him through it. He never fails, He never gives up on us…He is ALWAYS faithful. If that doesn’t cause you to pause and ponder…well…it sure does me.

 

Pause…

Hmmm, what do you do when your mind is running a thousand miles an hour and your body is saying, “yeah…that ain’t happening.” Write…so many things going through my mind right now. I love living with a friend and sharing expenses, but sometimes I miss the alone time that I had before. Quiet is a beautiful thing…it really is. Ah, there are ways to make it work. Always a way.

Sitting here with my earphones on listening to Pandora while I think and let the words come. My mind is floating lightly on the sound like a boat on a lake on a warm spring day. The gentle breeze of thought touch here and there and make me smile. None linger long enough to take hold, just a brief moment and off again. And then…there’s the commercials (because I’m cheap and don’t want to PAY for radio). OK, so frugal is the nice way of saying it but it still remains the dollar in my pocket can better be spent on stuff that I can’t get for free. Yup, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sometimes I just get lost in a place where it is just me. I can be in a crowded room or maybe at the mall or bookstore (I love bookstores) and find myself somewhere far beyond where I am physically. I often wonder if anyone else has these moments. I sort of feel like I am cocooned warm, loved and secure. It’s so easy to want to stay there. I know that the life I am living now is truly just training ground for my true life that starts when I shed this one…I kind of think these moments are small glimpses into that life. I hope they are anyway. The quiet times…the sweet memories that wash over me and remind me whose I am.