Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lose the Blame Game

One day last week, I read a meditation reading that has stuck with me for 5 days now.
(Isn't that what we hope will happen when we read these things?)
The specific question that was asked in this particular reading, and the thought that has haunted me ever since is,

"What would happen if we stopped blaming anyone for anything?"

Placing blame is not foreign to me.
Thinking long and hard about my own responsibility with blame,
I realized that I didn't have to learn this well practiced human trait.
And as I struggled with feeling like a "bad" person, I was able to stop my thoughts long enough to place the blame where it really belonged...Adam and Eve, in the book of Genesis!
Of course, I can blame them...they started this whole thing anyway!
But seriously,
how quickly and how naturally our human nature wants to point the finger when things don't go well, or when we make a wrong decision, or we .... sin.
So, I gave myself a little exercise.
I decided I would try and catch myself anytime I tried to place blame on someone, something, or even myself, and then make the choice to not do it!
I really didn't think it would be that difficult to do.
(after all, I have done a lot of work in this area)

Ha! - again!

Lack of sleep was to blame.
My kids were to blame.
My husband was to blame.
The quiet was to blame.
The noise was to blame.
and on and on.

Yesterday, there was an accident on the highway that I travel to and from work.
and it happened when I was trying to make a 5:30 cycle class at the gym.
I blamed.
I didn't make the class.
The truth is, there was an accident on the highway. I did not get to the location of the gym until 30 minutes after the start of class, so I chose to not attend.
No blame.
Not even myself.
If I stop blaming anyone for anything,
might it be possible that I would experience miracles?
I would experience tolerance?
What rich spiritual blessings might occur as a result of eliminating blame and taking responsibility for my part in all things, even if just my attitude and choices.
Is it possible?
Would I experience real joy? Deep fulfillment?

"Who is to blame? Whom have I the right to blame? Let me concentrate on keeping my own conduct from being at fault; more I cannot do."
~One Day At A Time in Al-Anon
Sept. 24

Not to blame~

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Project 365 Week 19

Week 19
And what a full week it was.
Toward the end of the week, I couldn't pick just one photo.
Sunday...(today), I didn't even take one!
Here is how the week shaped up.

Monday, September 21
The first day of Homecoming week for Rebecca - her sophomore year!
Homecoming week in Texas is a great big deal! (as you will see)
This is how Rebecca started her week...
calling in sick.
Luckily, it was just a little cold, but this is a photo of how I left her on Monday a.m.

Tuesday, September 22
Here are a couple of my very best friends!
We get together once a month or so to catch up.
Tuesday night was the night. We talked for over 3 hours!

Wednesday, September 22
The sky looked really cool when I was driving to work.

Thursday, September 23
Homecoming parade
Picture above is part of the football team.
Below, Rebecca and Akeitha, marching.
They have been friends since 6th grade!

Friday, September 25
Rebecca wears her homecoming mum to school today.
These are the big Texas tradition!
Her boyfriend gave her this, and she gave him a garter (see below)

Here is a photo of my hubby and myself at the Homecoming football game.

And a photo of our best friend's son carrying his tuba up the stands.

Saturday, September 26
It was Homecoming Dance night.
This is a photo of Rebecca and her boyfriend all dressed up for the dance!
It was also University of North Texas Parent weekend.
So, after seeing Rebecca off for her dance, we headed up to Denton to watch the UNT football game. This is a photo of myself, my hubby, and my son, as we walked to the stadium from his apartment.

The sun setting on the UNT campus.
and the closest I got to taking a picture on Sunday!
I spent all day uploading, downloading, importing, and looking at Homecoming photos!

Have a fantastic week!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sand and Stone

I received the below in an email this week. You know, one of those forwarded stories that you receive and are suppose to pass along. I don't think there was any bad consequence to not forwarding it on (this time), but I did anyway, because it represents one of my favorite philosophies about life.

It took me a long time to totally understand true forgiveness.
It wasn't until I was in need of real forgiveness that I learned how to give it as well.
It is a little too late for some of the relationships that I lost along the way, but the lesson has been learned and I don't think I will ever look at relationships with the same pair of eyes.
I have found that all things can be forgiven. And often times, God is most glorified when reconciliation can take place and the wound is deeper and more difficult to forgive.
And this takes serious humility, which sadly, most people
(myself included) do not possess.
But, God has taken me on a journey of learning this.

If God can forgive a person for murder,
can I not forgive my friend for hurting me with her angry words?
If God looks at the rapist with mercy and love,
can I not forgive my friend who was abusive to his wife and child?
The list goes on and on.

I love this little poem.
It says it all just right.


Two friends were walking through the desert.
During some point of the journey,
they had an argument;
and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt,
but without saying anything
wrote in the sand,
"Today, my best friend slapped me in the face."

They kept on walking,
until they found an oasis,
where they decided to take a bath.

The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire
and started drowning
but the friend saved him.

After he recovered from the near drowning,
he wrote on a stone:

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him,
"After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand
and now,
you write on a stone,

The friend replied,
"When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand,
where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away.
But when someone does something good for us,
we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."


Something to live by,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thoughts on Love and Gratitude

Love doesn’t make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
~Franklin Jones

Read this quote on a fellow blogger's site today. Something to ponder.

Love is motivating me and giving me much direction today...consciously. I guess the world would go around without love since hate creates movement also. But, yes, love does make the ride worthwhile. Love is all around me and it does make going to sleep tonight worthwhile and waking tomorrow (God willing) worthwhile.

  • I am grateful for love, the love I receive and the love I am able to give. God is love.
  • I am grateful for my wonderful family...no matter where they live.
  • I am grateful for a free lunch at work today - one of the benefits of working for a doctor's office! Got to love those drug reps! Taco Salad was tasty, thank you!
  • I am grateful that I enjoy my job...even my new job, and look forward to going back tomorrow.
  • I am grateful for Flexible Benefits Accounts. I will make a deposit tomorrow that will replace monies spent out of pocket. I hope to move the dollars to our savings account.
  • I am grateful for being able to save...no matter if we spend it on a trip to the Grand Canyon, or Vietnam, I am grateful for the fact that I can save!
  • I am grateful for the ability to block email addresses. The fact that anyone can invade my home, and my serenity at the click of a "send" button is disturbing. I am grateful for "block" and boundaries.
  • I am grateful knowing that even though things have changed, I know there is still a bond of love in relationships that are broken. I know it in my heart. ( 143, forever. I know you read this)
  • I am grateful for the rain, even though I am tired of it...the thunder that roars as I type this lures me to my bed.
  • I am grateful for the freedom to go to bed when I am tired.
Which is what I am going to do.
Bring on the thunderstorm, God!
A loud lullaby is exactly what I need.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Project 365 Week 18

This week has been a weekend of interesting highs and lows.
As I look back over the pictures that I took, I don't think I captured the "mood" very well, but it still is a visual representation of my week.
Here we go...

Monday, September 14
Sunday night, I returned from a spiritual retreat extremely tired, but on a mountain top,
of sorts. I had only enough time to eat and go to bed before I turned around and went to work on Monday morning. By the time I returned home Monday night, I could not wait to sit down and relax. My husband was working out of town this week and my daughter and I took it easy on Monday night. I fixed a quick dinner, picked up the book I am reading, lit some candles, put on some soft music and relaxed! This is the scene.

Tuesday, September 15
I had to go to the grocery store after work. Still in a positive frame of mind, I purchased some flowers to enjoy during the week. These Peruvian lilies are always inexpensive, colorful, and last well over a week.

Wednesday, September 16
Still acclimating myself to my new work environment, this is the view out of the window of the room where the copy machine is. It rained the entire week in Texas, and this was one of the dry moments. The clouds are still there, but I could actually see the Dallas skyline in the distance.

Thursday, September 17
Every morning at 6:45 a.m., I drop my daughter off at the high school for band practice.
It never ceases to amaze me that I am in a traffic jam, at this time of the morning, in the high school parking lot.
It's a terrible picture, but there you have it.

Friday, September 18
The football game was an hour and a half away this week, which gave our family (and the family of our best friends) a break from football games. We decided to go out to dinner, which we try to do at least once a month. We have known these guys for almost 20 years, and by looking at our photograph, I don't think we were trying to impress each other! We had just finished catching up on all our kids, Fred and I sharing about the possibility of one of our son's moving over seas for a season. I was still weepy, but we took the picture anyway.

Saturday, September 19
I went to the birthday celebration of a very dear friend on this night! And, boy! I needed the time with close friends! One of the things we did to celebrate was prepare one of our favorite recipes, then present the recipe to the birthday girl as a gift. I made Warm Olive Bruschetta.
This is what it looked like as I was getting packed up and ready to go.

Sunday, September 20
My daughter and I went shopping at one of our favorite stores this afternoon.
We needed to accessorize her homecoming dance outfit and we found a lovely pearl and (fake) diamond necklace, bracelet, and earrings. She will look beautiful next weekend. While we were there, we picked up a couple of fun things for each of us. She, that pretty purple top, and the navy and turquoise one for myself. This boutique has the most wonderful accessories of anywhere I have ever been, and they carry fun tops and dresses for special occasions.
The best part about it...it's usually very affordable!
See the photos below, they have tons of items in every color! If you ever need something in particular, you are always in luck at Charming Charlies!

So, I started the week on a spiritual high, that was accompanied by exhaustion. I took care to take care of myself. God and I were walking along just beautifully, when I was given the news that my one son and his girlfriend could postpone the plans to move to Texas and spend a year in Vietnam instead. God had to pick me up and carry me for a couple of days, but then by the weekend again, I was back on track, realizing that God always knows what's best. He took care of me all week, and He takes care of my family too!

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Love One Another

"She's a mess!"

One friend answered for me when another friend asked me how I was doing. Gotta love friends that know and love you and are willing to tell the truth for you, just in case you were not going to tell it yourself.

The second friend gave me a big, heart-felt, love filled hug. And the "answering" friend gave me a wink.

I was with people who know me well tonight...the ones who hold me accountable, the ones who I admit even the deepest secrets because I know it will bring healing. This party was planned weeks ago, in honor of one of us having a 65th birthday. (yes, one of my best friends is 65!) But before it was planned, God knew where I would be when I walked into this party. And He also knew where I would be when I walked out.

Lifted up. Loved. Cared for.

And not only because I was honest with how I am, but because we are all honest with each other. And even though we are very different, we help each other along the way. When one is weak, another is strong. When one has questions, another can suggest answers. We spent four hours, sharing our lives; the best of it and the worst of it. And when push came to shove, we are all broken, but we are all in recovery from our brokenness. And we all know that God is our only hope.

So, even though I don't know if it will take me three hours or 16 hours to visit my son in the next year, and I wonder if my daughter will ever understand what I mean by the word, "respect", and my husband and I might not ever agree on some things...God will always work it all out.

And He gives me some wonderful girlfriends to walk with me along the way. Oh and they love me when I am on top of the world, and they love me when I am a mess...just the same way I love them.

I am grateful tonight.

And so very loved.

Happy Birthday to my dear and wonderful friend!

Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it!
1 Peter 5:22a

Loving life, loving people!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

You just never know.........

Is this where I will be taking my next vacation?
It could be.
(if you don't recognize the city, it is Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon)

Tonight, I am grateful for the previous post...grateful for the times that God lets me in on things.

Because tonight, I am wondering what in the world is going on.

Just when I think things are going one way....
something changes.

Yesterday, I thought my son and his girlfriend were moving to Texas this month.

Today, he told me they are thinking of moving to Vietnam.
(for a year)

It's not a done deal...but...
(he's been offered a job)

you just never know.

Hanging on for dear life,
In other words, trusting....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Falling into place

It is a wonderful thing when things add up to being just like they should be.

Sometimes, it is fun to see what the purpose might be as to why I met a particular person,
or why I was part of a certain situation.

Even when the edges are still a little fuzzy, the parts that are focused are crisp and clear.

Conversations happen, ones that were totally unexpected, and all of a sudden, I can hear.

A friend being lost for a long time comes back into my life and it is as if it were meant to be that way.

The world is small.

God is big.

I have a place and it is perfect.

and sometimes, I get to find out why.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Project 365 Week 17

Some weeks, things are just good.
This was one of those weeks.
It went by too fast,
glad I capture some of it in pictures.
here we go......

Sunday, September 6
Rebecca's boyfriend got a new car this week.
I took a picture of it...with them as they were getting ready to leave and go somewhere.
(can't remember now, but this little red beauty is part of my regular life, might as well take a photo!)
Monday, September 7
Labor Day
We had a great day, lounging by the pool, grilling, etc.
When it was all said and done, my daughter and I managed to steal away for a bit and catch a chick flick!

Tuesday, September 8
We have all done a little fall house cleaning.
I made a trip to the local donation center with a trunk full of goodies.

Wednesday, September 9
Rebecca and I went to the hair salon and on the way home, I filled up my gas tank.
I used the discount that I get from my grocery store discount card.
I paid 98 cents for gas!!!
Can you believe that?!
to fill up the tank of my Honda CRV...normally a $30.00 purchase!
What a deal!

Thursday, September 10
After working all day, my friend and I hopped a plane to Tulsa.
We are on our way to my mom's to spend the night so that we can drive to Mt.Vernon, MO
the next day for the annual Heart to Heart retreat!

Friday, September 11
Before leaving to drive to Missouri, my mother and I take my friend, Laurie, around Tulsa for a quick tour. One of the highlights is looking at the Art Deco in the downtown Tulsa area.
(see top building)
The other photo...part of the Tulsa skyline that reminds me of where I came from. I look at this and I see "home".
Feels good.

Also Friday
We arrived safely to 2009 Heart to Heart retreat! This photo was taken at check-in!

Saturday, September 12
A group of us took a walk down to the creek at the campground.
The day was beautiful and perfect!
We put our feet in the icy cold, spring fed creek.

Later, Saturday night, we got all fixed up for a lovely dinner!

Sunday, September 13
Might be my favorite tradition at this retreat.
On Sunday mornings, as part of our meditation, my worship, we are given the opportunity to release something to God.
We worship and pray amongst all these balloons, and after we spend some time in prayer, we write something that we are ready to let God have a hold of
(a person, a character defect, or a situation)
on a balloon,
and we release the balloons into the air, sending them up to God...with whatever we just gave Him....so He can do whatever He needs to do with that "thing" and make it right!

Sunday, September 13
The retreat was perfect....sent at the perfect time, by a perfect God, to do in me exactly what He needed me to do!
Love it!

Hope your week is wonderful!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Random Acts of Poetry

Last night, my 15 year old daughter and I went to the hair salon, so when thinking about the poem I would write based on one word, I chose the one word "Hair".

So, here is my poem, based on one word, Hair, written in 60 seconds.

For more see Seedlings in Stone

Let's cut
Let's color
White or yellow?

Flying, falling
Washing, drying
Up or down?
Short or long?

It's only hair

Havin' fun!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Websters definition:
-an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable

-a place of privacy or safety

-refuge a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director

Coming up? My annual trip to Heart to Heart...in the heart of the Ozark's, to allow some serious time for work on my heart!
  • Privacy
  • Refuge
  • prayer
  • meditation
  • safety
  • withdrawal
I love this time, grateful for another opportunity to attend. Grateful to spend this time with my mom. Grateful that my great friend will be going with me, for her first time at this retreat. (we have to fly and then drive...quite a distance from where we live) Grateful to see all my friends that I have made the past few years. Grateful for the recovery that God started at this retreat and grateful for the continued work that I have been able to do.

I can't wait to see what my "word" is. (every year, we are assigned a word...and usually there is some serendipity to the word we randomly "pull out of the hat") I am excited to hear the speakers and find out where they live and hear their stories, so I can learn from them, or be encouraged by them. I can't wait to spend quiet time with God, to journal, to seek and evaluate the things He will show me. I can't wait to eat! (the cooks are great!) And I can't wait to see what my love gift will be!

It is time for renewal, re-energizing, and refocusing! An entire weekend on the mountain top, so that I can be made into what He has created!

Jesus took . . . them up on a high mountain apart by themselves . . . —Mark 9:2

See you next week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Rejoicing? Oh yeah!

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:3

Some days, I just want to feel sorry for myself. You know, get all caught up in everything that isn't really going my way, host a pity party and make myself the guest of honor, whine, cry, and wonder why trials have to come my way. Humanly speaking, I don't like trials, and I really don't like suffering. Alone, I react negatively to difficulties.

But then I read something, or hear something, or God might just plop His word in front of me - like the one's above - to remind me - that life is not just about me.

One of the ways that I can test my own faith, is to pay attention to how I respond to things that I find challenging; trials, or suffering. If I remain in the state of mind of feeling sorry for myself, I know that I am not acting out in hope, not building character, and not persevering. I might need to snap myself out of an attitude and figure out how to rejoice! And yes, especially in the difficulty I am facing.

Sometimes - easier said than done. Oddly, sometimes it is easier when I know that I have zero control over the situation; like when my husband went through a corporate lay-off. There was nothing I could do and rejoicing was (strangely) part of that journey. However, when facing drama at work, or an unbelieving loved one, rejoicing is way more difficult for me.

I know from God's word that one who believes in the power and transforming work of God, is one who can look into the face of suffering and say, "Thank you, God! I rejoice even in this difficulty." I know that He will work all things for good according to His purpose....all things. (Romans 8:28) God uses all things, whether I call them trials or not, in order to mold me into the image of Christ. In order for us to have the qualities of Christ, we need to pass through difficulties. They teach us valuable lessons in the Christian school of experience. I don't want to miss out on the blessings that these taught lessons will bring.

So, okay! I am ending my pity party and am going to host a rejoicing party! Even my most difficult tribulations CAN be turned into something good! My God is bigger than that! And I have seen Him do it before!

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world
John 16:33

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Band Days

This photograph was taken at the first football game of the season. Don't they look like they are having a wonderful time?!!