Sunday, March 30, 2008
We drove to a church in Plano and found good seats where we could see. The church's worship band played a concert for us that was quite good and very uplifting. We clapped, and worshiped, and enjoyed being together.
Then, the comedian, Tim Hawkins, got on stage. He was very, very funny. I can't remember when I laughed so hard. My stomach hurt, my face hurt, and I was laughing from deep inside of my soul. It was uncontrollable and so much fun. The ladies I was with were laughing with the same kind of laughter. And I was so very grateful that one of them, sitting next to me, laughed with the same loud and free laughter that I did.
I was thinking about laughter as we left the performance and I continued to laugh out loud for the rest of the night. I thought about how laughter is so healing and how good I felt afterwards. And I thought about how laughing together creates a bond between people. We women saw each other in a raw, unreserved state that can only be shared through laughter. I have a book mark that exhibits one of my very favorite quotes on laughter....
-- Victor Borge
Sharing a night of laughter is something I hope to do more often. I hope to spend time with people who make me laugh. I will work on finding humor in more of the things in my life that I take too seriously.
There is very popular phrase that comes to mind.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
It has been one of those days that I look forward to! I had the perfect night's sleep last night after a little bout with insomnia. When the alarm clock beeped, I woke up happy because I realized that I had had an entire night of sound sleep! Oh, joy in the morning!
There was enough time to spend with my Heavenly Father this morning. His word spoke to me. My prayer time felt effective. My energy level was good...ready to start the day.
I absolutely love to spend a little time in the morning talking to a friend. After spending time with God, talking to a friend always lifts my spirits and helps me remember that I am not alone on this journey of life. I spent a little time chatting with my dear husband as we got ready for work. We had a genuine kiss good bye for the day...you know what I mean...a meaningful kiss, not just the obligatory kind. I left for work knowing that my man loves me. As I started my 35 minute commute into Dallas, I called a dear, dear friend in Virginia. We used to talk almost daily during this time, but not quite as often anymore. (I miss it tremendously!) But we did talk this morning and it was wonderful. I love her with the deepest parts of who I am and thank God for our friendship. It has weathered many changes and I thank God for giving me such a wonderful blessing.
The work day was good. Tough, but good. I had several problems come at me, but I managed to make the best of all of them, answering questions and solving problems all day long. Crazy, but I love it. It fits me well. I felt effective. I was satisfied. I knew I was doing my job. And it felt good....all day. Additionally, I have made friends. Some of my work relationships have moved into my heart...there are some folks that I genuinely care about. WOW! I enjoy some of these people. They add positives to my life. I feel that God might be using me in some of these relationships. What a great feeling! I love my job. I enjoy my co-workers. And I consider some of them friends. This is SUCH a huge blessing in my life. THANK YOU, GOD! Answered prayer!
I went to the gym after work. This has been somewhat of a drudgery the past month and a half. But, interesting....today, I could not wait. I looked forward to the 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. I anticipated the 15 minutes on the bike. I was eager to see how my abs felt after several days of strenuous work. I was pleased when I felt the tenderness in the muscles that I worked on over the weekend and yesterday. I actually experienced the "Zone". I had a little of the work out high. WOO HOO! Hooray for adrenaline!
When I arrived home, my dear husband was doing yard work. I thought he had intentionally taken off the pool cover, only to find out that it had been an accident that the cover moved off of the pool. I offered to help him finish the unplanned project, happily...for the first time in my memory! I was willing to be a help mate in an area that I had only been an observer in the past. And while preparing our swimming pool for spring, I enjoyed the wind blowing, the spring air, and even the snakes that were freaking out about our changing their environment. Life was good while in my back yard, the favorite part of my home, preparing my favorite place to spend time in warm weather...the backyard pool. Life is good.
I came in from the yard work to a message on my answering machine. I picked up the message to find an invitation to a comedy show on Friday night. My heart soared! Yeah! I had talked with my husband about possible Friday night plans and his homework would occupy him for the night. I was feeling sad and lonely until I picked up the invite from a new friend to go to a Christian Comedian Show on Friday night with a small group of ladies! Hip, hip, hooray! I received an invitation to do something fun...that I did not organize! Maybe someone actually desires to be my friend?!? What a lift in my spirits! I immediately returned the call and said "YES, I would love to go with you! THANK YOU FOR THE INVITATION!" God is good. He is faithful to answer prayer.
And I have signed up to do a Bloggy Bible Study. Way too cool. I am stoked to have such an opportunity to share with other ladies, from all over the USA, who all love our Lord Jesus! What a wonderful blessing. Check it out on my new and special friend, Lelia's blog....
I am so looking forward to what God has planned.
The trees are blooming and so is my heart. I watch the redbud's bloom, the tulip trees flower and know that Spring is in the air. New beginnings. Fresh starts. It is my absolute favorite time of year! I feel like everything is possible. I know that God is in control. He is the source of strength, my joy, and my best friend.
Life is good. God is good. He is so much a part of my life and knows my every need and my every desire. He is faithful to answer prayer. And today, I REJOICE at how wonderfully He takes care of me!
It has been a near perfect day!
Monday, March 24, 2008
I have been thinking a lot about what it might be like as a mother bird. I like birds and have always been a little fascinated by them. When the time comes for the mother bird to lay eggs, she begins to build a nest. Back and forth, back and forth, gathering supplies after selecting the safest place that she can locate in which to lay the eggs and hatch them. If you have ever watched birds make a nest, it is nonstop activity until the nest is complete. Then the female situates herself in the nest and the eggs are delivered. She waits patiently until they hatch and then cares for them until they grow the feathers necessary for flight. When that time comes, the mother knows it is time for them to grow up and head out on their own. So, she coaxes the baby birds out of the nest and chirps at them until they finally figure out how to lift and stay in the air. On the occasions that I have had the opportunity to watch this process, it always makes me nervous. The mother bird has no way to help the babies fly, she can only coax them along with her chirping. Sometimes, it almost sounds like a scream. The young ones either make it or they don't.
My life as a mother has followed a very similar course, but it has taken many years instead of a few weeks. When I found out that I was going to give birth to my first child, I went through an activity that has been named "nesting." It is named after the almost frantic way that the expectant birds prepare the nest for the eggs. I cleaned, washed, prepared, cleaned, washed, and prepared. It would not stop until the baby was born. Whew! Then I waited, not so patiently sometimes for my babies to grow wings so that they could fly. One of them has finished growing his wings and I am not sure how to act. I guess I should start chirping!
Adam graduated from college in December. It was a time of celebration and excitement. I didn't really give a lot of thought to the change that was about to take place. I just knew that he would now be looking for a job.
Well, the time has come. He has one job offer that is secure and another one on the way. He has a job interview tomorrow and it looks like he will have his choice of three different positions. They are all good opportunities and each has it's own particular perks. By the end of the week, he will know where he will be working for the next few years and be moving into his very own apartment, paid for with his very own salary, with his very own health insurance policy and paying his own bills.
So, I can relate to the momma bird. It is time for me to coax my son out of the nest and encourage him to fly on his own. He and I have talked about this process several times over the last few days. One of the most difficult things is that all of these jobs are in the state of Virginia and we live in the state of Texas. (sigh) I had no idea how much I would not like this idea. How do those mother birds just fly away after those baby birds take flight? Do they come back for visits? Do they find the same garden to dig for worms? Hmmmmmmm.
Deep breaths and lots of prayer. I know that God loves this man child more than I do and He will certainly take good care of him. After all, the jobs that are being offered are answers to prayer...we ALL agree on that. So, I am in the process of watching him practice flying, knowing that God is watching over Him where I cannot be there.
So, I am chirping away at him. I cannot wait to watch him fly!
Friday, March 21, 2008
These are ways that we describe the people in our family that are related to us biologically and although I have a lot of people in my life who are family, the biologically related ones are a little scarce.
When I was born, my mom was married to my biological father, but by the time I was two years old, the marriage disintegrated. My father spent time with me after the divorce, but didn't seem to have much interest in really being in my life. When my mom married her second husband, my biological father turned over his parental rights so that her new husband could raise me as his own. This happened so early in my life that I only remember my dad as the one who I call Dad to this day...although he is not my blood relation.
In the meantime, the brother of my biological father was keeping up with my life through regular letters to my mother. I always knew who he was, but only met him once when I was around 15 or so. I would see the letters and cards come in through the mail. It was so commonplace that I never asked what the purpose was, what was said or anything. I just knew they were from my uncle, my "real" uncle.
When I turned 18, I was contacted by the side of my family that had always remained at a distance. I met my father. I met my grandmother. And from that day forward, as an adult, I kept in touch with my uncle and my grandmother through written correspondence. When I was in my early twenty's, the man who fathered me, died of cancer. My relationship with my uncle and grandmother continued on.
Five or so years ago, his wife and my aunt died of cancer. I continued to stay in contact with my uncle.
Around two years ago, I received a phone call from him to let me know that my grandmother, his mother, had passed on.
I continued to stay in contact with my uncle. He had remarried and moved to Springfield, MO around the same time that I moved to Dallas, TX area. He asked me if I would consider coming for a visit, that he would really like to see me. I thought I might do it sometime.
And I did this past week.
My daughter, my mother, and myself went to visit this uncle who had so diligently stayed in contact with me. He seemed very pleased that we were coming. When we pulled up, he was waiting on the porch, just waiting for us to arrive. His wife pulled me aside and told me over and over how excited he was that we were there.
I was excited too. I was happy for my daughter to meet him and become aware of some of her history. I, for the first time ever, was able to ask about my paternal side of the family. Medical history that I have always answered, "Unknown", I can now give correct answers. I now know that my recently diagnosed hypertension is genetic from both sides of my family. (I was doomed from the start.) And I have looked into the face of someone who I "belong" to. Besides my mother and my children, it has been a rare occasion for me to look into the eyes of a person who shares my blood...kin. By brother died thirty years ago and my grandfather right after him, so it has been that long. And what a cool thing. I could see the resemblances that I have passed along in my boys, especially my oldest one, who carries the body stature and blond hair from this side of the family.
So, we talked. He and his wife (also an old classmate from way, way back) reminisced. Another classmate came by and had dinner. And I watched. I listened. I smiled.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
It has not been an easy time in my life the last several weeks. If you have been reading my blog, you know that. Those of you that know me are even more aware. It has been so difficult at times that I haven't even been able to write about it on this blog, it is too deeply personal. Although I am not usually shy with my struggles, there has been little to really write about since I am in the midst of it. But this time away has given me a chance to gain some fresh perspective. I have had a new understanding of what is important to me. I have a new determination to work on some things that I need desperately to work on. And I pray that God will give me the strength to keep the momentum that it will take for me to do the things that I need to do.
-Family. I am leaving this visit with an interesting view of family. I spent time with my biological uncle whom I have not seen since I was in Middle School, and that was only one short visit. My sister seems to be upset with some things that have happened in our family and I missed seeing my niece this time around. I did not know that this would hurt so badly. I am determined to make the most of the time that I have with my family and do what I can to stay close. There is something about family. The bond of love that is born into the relationship with family is as strong or as fragile as we make it. I like it strong.
-Friendships. Too much to say about this. I have some really great friends. Some of them have been difficult and some of them have been easy. Sometimes I realize how much I need them and sometimes I think I would be better off without them. But what it comes down to, is I do need friends. I don't want to loose the friends that I have a lot of time invested in, the ones who know me upside down and inside out and I want to get closer to my new ones. This requires work on my part, but I am willing to do it.
Friday, March 14, 2008
There is something that still feels good about coming home, even after living in my own home, with my own husband and children for nearly 26 years. (Woo hoo...anniversary coming up this Thursday!) I enjoy bringing my daughter and it amazes her that after all the years away (I haven't lived in the Tulsa area since 1989), I still call it home. I love to look at the skyline, the river, and all the things that are so familiar to me. I drive the streets as if I still own them, the same streets where I first learned to drive, where I rode bikes with my friends, I drove my first car, I had my first date. Time flies backward when I am here and I feel young (sort of), full of hope and like I belong somewhere.
So, while I am here I know I will rest. Why is it that I always rest when I am with my mom? Is it because I know her love is unconditional? Because she doesn't require chores? (not since I have become an adult!) Because I can be myself? All of the above? And I never feel guilty. I can just say, "Mom, I am tired. Can I just rest for a while?" and she always says, "Yes, my child."
I also expect to be refreshed. The resting is necessary. God created rest and said it was good. When I rest, it helps me see things more clearly. That allows me to become refreshed. The same old burdens somehow become lighter. I am able to say, "I am tired, God. Would you handle this for me?" And He ALWAYS says "Yes, my child."
So, even though I have places to go and people to see in the 5 days that we will be here, I look forward to the rest and the refreshment of coming home to a place where I belong, where love surrounds me. A place to spend time with my mom and also my Heavenly Father.
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
I am taking Him up on that offer!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
After the somewhat blah week that I had last week, I did what many girls do to try and lift the spirits...I went shopping! My sister-in-law and my 26 year old niece were with me and we were looking for great outfits to wear to a baby shower for my other niece. Both of my nieces are in retail, one at Belk and the other at Ambercrombie and Fitch, so I needed to look as cool as possible for a 46 year old aunt. Since my mood had been a little dark, I was drawn to bright colors in bold 1960's patterns and just couldn't keep my eyes off of them. So, I tried on a wild dress, in yellow, black, gray, and cream and loved it. With the approval of my niece, I made the purchase and wore it to the shower with black tights and tall black high heeled boots. Wow, did I feel great. Just having fun...that's what girls do!
I also found a blouse at the department store, also in yellows, blacks, whites, and grays. There was something about these colors that seemed to lift my spirits, as if all the yellow was bringing the sunshine in to cover up all the darkness that I had felt the past week! So, I bought it too, even though it is not anything like what I would normally wear- to work, especially.
So, this morning, while I was getting ready for the day...feeling a little gloomy and knowing that there was dense fog outside to start the day...I decided to wear that loud, bold, and bright top. I put it on with a pair of gray slacks and an extra cool pair of gray and black pumps and left for work. I felt pretty good, but wondered what all my coworkers would think of me in this crazy outfit. I am usually a little more reserved in my work attire, black, gray, navy and brown, simple, straight lines, cute but practical shoes...hmmm. But some days, a girl just has to have some fun, even at work!
I strutted my way in to the office, feeling just a little like I was saying, "Look at me!" and sat down at my desk. The first person to tell me good morning complimented my outfit. Then a few minutes later, someone else said, "Don't you look great today!" By noon, I had received at least 10 compliments. I know I was smiling all day! I really have never had so many positive remarks over a blouse in all my life! I know I was beaming and wow, did it ever lift my spirits and I was having fun!
I knew there was a reason that new clothes make a girl feel great! And now that the yellow top has helped bring the sunshine into my life, I hope that I will see it all week long!
Just having fun!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Placed inside my hands
Empty is the canvas
Patiently I plan
Stars are bright above me
That’s not where I am
Greens will be behind me
Blues will make the man
I can’t help but fear I’ve done this wrong
Cause seldom second chances come along
Greys are all around me
Fading into black
Stars were bright above me
Won’t you bring them back
I can’t help but fear I’ve done this wrong
Cause seldom second chances come along
If time can break us, will it make us strong
Cause seldom second chances come along
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Just a little update on my Pearl story. God has those dime store pearls that I talked about in my blog post dated February 11th. I am not taking them back. What I found out in the last month is that those cheap pearls are wrong doings...my own.
My application was:
"Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities, or even a job to which you have become so attached that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand. Sometimes it is impossible to see until we relinquish 'the cheap stuff'. But DO believe this one thing........God will never take away something or ask you to give it up without giving you something better in its place. He's had it in His hand all along."
Having relinquished what I believed to be harmful actually cleaned out the jewelry box and allowed me to see what is really in there! The dime store pearls are not people, but my own attitudes toward people, that have kept me from wearing the genuine pearls. He is the only thing that is genuine. The journey continues, but my heart is being shaped by Him. He heals. He continues His work and I give Him every relationship that I have, every habit and activity that I have, and all that I am.
I have seen the Genuine Pearls. He did have them in His hand all along!
Friday, March 7, 2008
Every first week of the month, my job requires that we close out the month. This requires a tremendous amount of work and thought as we accumulate all the services provided by the doctors we work for and make sure that everything is submitted accurately and by the deadline. This occurred yesterday. I spend the week on guard against errors, reassuring physicians and staff and coaching the employees that work for me to get the job done. It makes me very tired even though I love it.
That in itself is enough to exhaust a person. But this week, I also have had some emotionally and spiritually tiring situations.
One biggie in the list of lessons was how God goes about refining, and how He used it with me just this past week. I made a decision that I was certain to be of God but discovered through His loving reprimand that I had gone about it the wrong way. I was sitting in a service and a statement was made by the pastor speaking that caused my heart to stop and my palms to sweat. Had I not been a visitor in this congregation, I would have probably been prostrate on the floor within minutes, but my heart was certainly there. I sat, with tears in my eyes, in a dumb founded stupor, full of conviction. I walked directly to the parking lot and dialed up a friend of mine who is praying for me and holding me accountable to this decision. Within hours, I had made the amends that needed to be made, at least to the best of my human ability, with my friend holding me accountable to what I needed to do. Since that day, my heart has been heavy as the Enemy has tried to win me back...but he will not win!!!! The battle is enough to make me want to crawl into bed for days. God is my strength!
As all of this was playing out, it dawned on me...I am in a trial! Sometimes it takes me a while...the blond hair that I was born with occasionally affects my quick thinking skills and this was one of those times. So, once I realized what was going on, I began to pray more specifically. I came face to face with what He wanted me to see - just this week - and it is not pretty. I realized that I was in the fire of being refined (as in the refining of gold or silver) and what that meant. The purpose of the heat in the refining process is to allow the dross or the impurities in the metal to move to the surface. All of the yucky stuff is moved together, even the smallest particle and surfaces so that it can be skimmed away and the liquid is left pure. I saw a part of myself in the last few days that I had no idea was still part of my me anymore and boy did it hurt. Flesh woman, the one I thought was dead and buried came back in the form of an ugly monster and caused me to behave in a way that no eye should behold! Oh, the grief of resurrected sin. And worse yet, the grief over the ones that I hurt. Talk about tired...guilt can sure wear a person to the bone! But, once again, God is good...He is Redeemer...MY Redeemer!
I realize that to catch a glimpse of the Flesh Woman supposedly dead and buried, was His perfect way of challenging me to freedom. He does not expose the impurities to make me feel guilty and condemn me, but to forgive me, to heal me and give me freedom! Oh, I just pray that I will keep my eyes on Him, that I will love those around me the way that I want to love them and that they will forgive me for my messes. I covet the prayers of those who patiently wait along side of me, my husband, my children, my mother, and friends, as God continues the work that He is doing in me. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for looking past that monster and seeing me as God sees me.
At a time when my eyes weep with the pain of who I am without Christ, I also weep at how much mercy and grace He has given me. He blesses me with love and support. He gently guides me back into His will for my life. I am being refined. It was a tough week, but I hope that I am a little more like Him because of it.
Still a little warm-
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
My socks match my clothing but my friends match my heart!
It feels good to express love, whether through a smile, a touch, or a prayer. It heightens our sense of being alive. Acknowledging another's presence means that we, too, are acknowledged. Each of us is familiar with feeling forgotten, unnoticed, or taken for granted, and recognition assures us all that we haven't been overlooked.
Knowing we are loved may be the key to our doing the things we fear. Love supports us to charge ahead, and we can support others to charge ahead. We know that if we fail, we have someone to turn to.
Love heals. It strengthens, making us courageous both when we receive it and when we give it. Knowing we are loved makes our existence special. It affirms that we count in another's life. We need to honor our friends by assuring them of their specialness too.
(Each Day A New Beginning)
1 John 4:7
I need others. I need to strengthen my supports, my connections to others and love them with everything God gives me.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
As fun as it was to see it snow last night, it is equally as nice for me today as the sun is shining bright and the temperatures are warming to near 60 degrees. What I just experienced is my snowfall ideal. Beautiful coverage that lasts but for a short time. Long enough to stretch the morning out, but not interfering with the entire day!
I am not a winter person. I like the sun, the warmth and the brightness of it's light. I am not alone. Look at what God's word says about the sun in Ecclesiates 11:7 -
Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
So be it!
Monday, March 3, 2008
We moved our family from Virginia to Texas a little over two years ago. Virginia isn't known for great amounts of snow, but it certainly was known to happen. Texas, on the other hand, sees little snow. Our daughter has missed seeing the fluffy white stuff (unlike her bah humbug mother) and still, at 14 years old, will go outside and do the snow dance in hopes of a snow day!
Well, all winter long, we have had mild temperatures. In fact, over the weekend we were in the seventies. We have already seen 80 once or twice since the New Year, which is exactly how I like it. As the calendar just turned to March, I have been dreaming about warm weather, sunbathing, and planting flowers. So, when I heard that we had snow in the forecast for today, March 3, I was pessimistic and skeptical! Not my daughter. She watched, prayed, and danced and God heard her pleas!
So here she is - the face of total wonder and joy! "God heard my prayers, Mom! Look-it's snowing!"
Here she is, calling friends, reporting her joy, hoping for school closings!
The joy of a child, even a 14 year old one, as snowflakes melt on her tongue, and the sight melts my heart! I can do without snow, but will welcome it anytime when it brings such pleasure to the ones I love!
The wonder of God, of children, and snow!
Another resolve! Change this problem in thought life...IMMEDIATELY! Not that I want to blow off every negative thing that needs prayer and petition, but I will practice letting go and letting God! Be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
As I pondered these things this week, I found myself reading the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel, chapter 13. It is a horrible story of rape. What caught my attention this time was when Tamar confided in her brother what had happened, he told her to keep quiet, to not take it to heart. I was horrified! He did not want her to make a spectacle of the man who did her wrong. As I read on, I looked at the consequences that occurred as she followed her brothers advice. She lived a desolate life, the scriptures say. She lived the rest of her life unhappy and without hope, possibly feeling as if she herself had done something wrong. It broke my heart.
It seems to me that it does not please God when we stuff our heartache to protect ourselves, or others who have done wrong. God does not like lies and dishonesty. And He wants to heal our mourning hearts. He wants to see us dance in the streets with joy. I believe He wants us to express ourselves, be open with our emotions. He can help us with them when they are a reflection of something not right. If we are open with other believers, it gives Him even more opportunity to work, in more lives than just one.
I don't want to live a masquerade behind a face that lies about how I feel. I worry that we are becoming plastic in our relationships and I don't want to be that way. I want to dance when I am happy and wear ashes when I mourn, and give the Holy One every opportunity to make good on His promises. Read Isaiah 61:1-3 and rejoice!
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.