Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Being Real

Relocation has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a child I lived in 6 different homes...and these do not include the ones before my memory begins. Then, as a married adult, I have made 8 different moves in 27 years. All of these moves in my adulthood were to different cities and four of these have been cross country relocations. No, my husband is not in the military (nor was my father) but it seems that God has a plan for me that frequently requires a move.

As a forty something year old woman, this most recent move has been different. In the past, I was able to make friends quite quickly. I have found that having young children creates a bond between women - sometimes in a matter of seconds, so friends were easy to find. Now that my children are grown and older, I find myself with no "excuse" to get together with other women, no play dates, no field trips or birthday parties. So, friendship building has become much more purposeful.

Having lived in the same area for over ten years prior to this move, I also notice that I have history with my "old" friends. They know what I have been through, what I enjoy, what I don't enjoy...some of them know the good, the bad, and the ugly. They know the "real" Liz. Here and now, I have a totally new start, able to be who I want to be, or who I think I want to be. Hmm. Interesting. Can I really start totally over?


I do have one friend who lives in this area who has known me for almost 20 years. Not likely I can fool her with a new me!

And I am making new friends. It is fun! What is funny is, I find that even my new friends are describing me the same way my "old" ones do! Last week I got a note from one of these new friends. She wrote, "You are inspiring, you are real and sincere." I stared at her words. It was the second time I had heard them from someone who doesn't REALLY know me in a week!

So, I started thinking...about being real and being sincere. I concluded that I don't like to keep secrets. I am not the type of person who likes to hide who I really am. I am not usually afraid of what others would think if they find out the truth about me. Keeping secrets cause me to feel separate, different, and inadequate. Secrets about me, kept from others, are burdensome and hinder my ability to experience peace, which I strive for daily.

I prefer self disclosure. It is risky business, but it is humbling and it is necessary for me to make "real" friends. When I tell others who I really am, it opens the door for them to do the same. Then we become bonded and God's unconditional love becomes the foundation in our relationship. Our tarnished selves become lovable as we strive for oneness with God and oneness with one another.

May I look for opportunities to share my secrets, to be real and sincere today, tomorrow, and in the months ahead. I will be courageous in my ability to be real in my friendships - old and new!

Real and sincere. I like it.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I have many scars. There is one from my childhood that remains on my forehead today. My younger brother was angry with me and hit me over the head with his toy machine gun. It was one of those plastic ones that makes a shooting sound when you hold the trigger. Unfortunately, the gun broke in half when it made contact with my hard head. I will never forget it.

That is how it is when we get angry and try to hurt others. In our anger, we lash out at the person who hurt us, but often times something precious to us gets broken in the process. And we don't apologize to the person we hurt, but focus on our own injury or loss.

And the one who gets hit...well, they focus on the scar. I know I did. I was quick to show my injury to my mom and even as the skin healed, I focused on the scar it was leaving. I worried because it was on my forehead, for all the world to see. As I grew older, I spent time being concerned about whether my make-up would cover it accurately and whether others were as aware of it as I was.

Physical scars aren't the only ones that affect us this way. The scars that we bear from emotional hurt can really distract us. We waste time looking at them, licking them, showing them to others and being angry with the ones who gave them to us.

We forget that we have a God who can heal them. We let them fester and grow. Sometimes the outer surface will appear healed or we will bandage them for a while.

But the REAL scars that we should be proud of, the ones that we should be focused on are the scars of Jesus Christ. His scars from the cross are healing. The are the ones we should boast about and tell others about. I am the most proud of His scars and they are the ones that I will focus on. Thank you, Jesus. You paid it all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Diversity & Friendship

Back in June, I posted a blog entry about my daughter and two of her best friends. I was watching them together at the end of school year band concert and realized what a beautiful picture of friendship, acceptance, and diversity these girls are. It was my hope to get a photograph of the three girls to capture their beauty as young ladies, but also to capture the bigger picture of love. Last night I was finally able to assemble the three of them for a photograph since they had a sleep over at our home before the start of school next week.

My heart soars with joy when I watch them together, each of them so very different, not only in appearance, but also in culture. As they spend time together they learn more and more that not everyone is exactly the same, but it is ok, even good to be different. They learn from one another. They enjoy one another. What a blessing for them to have such a great friendship!

They are each beautiful girls, ethnically different, and absolutely beautiful. As a circle of friends and as individuals, they are perfect. Look at them...aren't they lovely!?!!

Psalm 119:133

Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.
Psalm 119:133 NKJV

Direct my footsteps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me.
Psalm 119:133 NIV

Steady my steps with your Word of promise so nothing malign gets the better of me.
Psalm 119:133 The Message

Keep your promise and don't let me stumble or let sin control my life.
Psalm 119:133 CEV

I go to the coolest church...Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. My pastor is beginning a new series in a couple of weeks.

Check this out, it is really neat! (plus the customer service gal in here is my friend!)

I have posted my change....what's yours?

Monday, August 20, 2007

God's gifts...the ocean and friends!

I love the beach. I lived in Hampton Roads, Virginia for over 10 years and while I was there, I found a part of myself that I didn't know I existed...Beach Bum. There is something about the beach that became part of me. I love it. I am amazed by the vast space that the ocean takes up and that for as far as I can see is water. I love to day dream about the people and places on the other side and the creatures that are living in an entirely different world below. My heart is captured by the way the water calls me to play. She beckons me with words like, "See my waves? Don't you want to jump and yell for joy at the way my water tosses and turns with you?" And then she says, "Sit. Relax. My sounds will calm you, will settle you. I will dance for you. Enjoy the way the sunlight glistens on my surface for you, the way the waves bubble for you. Get lost in the gentle rocking that I provide as my tide moves in and moves out." I love the sights, the sounds, and the gentle power that lives within that big ocean.

The other day I received one of the best gifts ever. A friend of mine called me early one morning...from the coast of Nags Head, North Carolina. I could hear the excitement in her voice as she said, "LISTEN! I want you to hear this!" It was the crashing waves of the ocean. She had set her alarm early (and she is NOT an early bird!!) so that she could enjoy the sunrise and the early morning. She has moved inland like me and was very excited to be back at the beach! I had a little bit of time when she called, so we chatted. We talked about the beach, how much we love the beach and moved on to share a little about life. The beach does that...relaxes, causes one to think, and seems to put a more positive light on lots of things. We hung up the phone and I felt up beat and excited about life. I was happy and thought about her spending time in such a special place. I praised God for our friendship, the way He has worked in her life and in mine, and then I praised Him for the beach!

Thanks, God! You are awesome.

Thanks for calling, Wendy. You made my day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Learning to Live

This is a revised post.

It seems that my earlier comments were received as unforgiving, in a post about forgiveness. Not unforgiving but part of the process, yes. My process. Out of respect, (for my good friend) I have revised this blog. And I continue to pray that God will bless the ones who judge me and talk about me instead of to me.

This blog is mine, to post what is on my heart. Sometimes what I write is unedited and from my heart. Read at your own risk. If you are going to judge me and talk about me, please find somewhere else to spend your free time.

I have many "drafts" in the "Manage blog" section of this web site that have to do with the topic of forgiveness. It seems I start to write them and don't ever finish. I realize it is much like the way I forgive, I start to do it, have the intention and the desire to do it, and can't quite seem to do the final step. In blogger terms, I don't seem to ever "Post Blog".

But, I am going to do it this time. I will post the blog. And I am determined to have the same persevering attitude about forgiving.

There are a few people in my life that have hurt me. It is tempting to carry the hurt and bitterness with me, but I choose to not do so. Some of the hurts have been deep, coming from people who I trusted, who I loved, and I thought were people who loved others the way God does. People are not as trustworthy as God is. They still hurt and apologies never come...over and over again, even. I find myself saying to God, "WHEW! This is too hard! I am glad you think I can handle this because I don't think I can!"

GOD IS GOOD! He is a wonderful healer. He also is a great teacher. He gives me everything I need to develop character that will allow me freedom from bitterness. I experience true freedom in Christ whether or not the people who have hurt me ever accept my request for forgiveness. (some of them haven't) Here are some things that have helped change my attitude about my enemies when I am tempted to hold on to the pain of hurt and become bitter.

Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die.


With hands freshly loosed, I find liberty to embrace the One who never changes and the courage to release those who will.

I do not want to be the type of person who refuses to forgive others, and it is one of my biggest temptations. I want to remain aware of the sober reality of God's will on this matter...He forgives me, so I must forgive.

I want to understand that the punishment and repercussions that come to people when they have done wrong is often sufficient for them. Instead of causing more grief, I want to forgive and comfort that person (when the opportunity is there) so that they will not be overwhelmed by sorrow and guilt.

I want to be the kind of person I would want ministering to me after I had failed.

Post blog.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Summer's End

It has been a wonderful summer. Adam was here for two and a half months, Aaron and his girlfriend, Amy, were around quite a bit, and Rebecca enjoyed being at home too. Fred's classes ended in June, so we got to spend a good deal of family time. Among the favorite things to do was poker. Adam got a poker game for his birthday, and challenged us every time he had the chance. Some of us got pretty good, and some of us hung in there, but we had a blast playing family poker games. Rebecca and I spent hours upon hours at the pool. Countless afternoons were spent on air mattresses, talking about boys, life, family, school, and many other things. It was a wonderful way to develop a deeper relationship with my daughter.

Summer nears it's end now being the middle of August. We have made school clothes purchases, school supplies are waiting for the trip to the locker, band practice begins this week and boxes of college books have arrived in the mail. Routine begins. Bedtimes and alarm clocks and after school snacks will all become part of our daily routine again. It was a great summer!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Brain Dumping

My son recently transferred all of his on-line journaling from Xanga to blog spot. I laughed when I saw it because he selected the name "Adam's brain dump" to describe his writings. Here is how it looks:

"Adam's Brain Dump
I was talking to him earlier on the phone and shared with him how I laughed when I read the title. The conversation went on to blogging, why we blog, etc. I told him I hadn't posted in a week because I usually need to be inspired to write something. He responded that he posts when he has "too much on his mind and needs to put it somewhere else." And of course I laughed again and said, "Hence the name Brain Dump". He replied, "yeah...."

I totally agreed.

As we talked I started to evaluate how different people "brain dump". Most of the time, I talk. Which I did share with Adam. When something is really bogging down my brain, I will usually make a phone call to someone who I know loves me and can tolerate the many words that exit my mouth as a result of too much information on my mind. There are only a few people who are on this mom and my best friend, sometimes Adam or Aaron (my other son)...all depending on the subject. My husband is not a good one for brain dumps unless it is truly important or involving him. (He tolerates enough of my chatter without my adding more)

I have been aware of this interesting need of mine for some time. The first time I realized I was doing it was after I got married. It seemed when my husband and I would crawl into bed after a long day, he would feel romantic and I would start to talk about one subject then quickly jump to the next. It drove him nutty, thinking that I was avoiding his romantic advances and my response was, "I just need to clear my mind first." Eye opening for both of us.

I do the same thing now. My best friend and I still like to have slumber parties, even at our old age. We like to stay up late drinking coffee, talking, sometimes listening to music or watching movies. She falls asleep when she starts to get matter where we are or what we are doing. As we finally make our way to bed, she is thinking happy thoughts of sleep and I start to talk incessantly. She moans or snores. I apologize and say, "I am dumping information so I can sleep." I think she might be used to it by now.

To keep from irritating everyone that I know and spend time with, I journal. I journal in the morning. I journal sometimes at work. I keep a journal beside my bed, and now keep this blog.
Brain Dumping.

I love it.

I am happy that Adam has found an outlet for this necessary aspect of mental health.

And if you want to check it is the link...